I’ve not played much since end of October due to moving house and running a tournament in December and have been toying with a few lists. So here is my next one for an upcoming tournament.
Now with the old adage of fly what you know in mind, I have decided to keep to my three ship imperial build for an upcoming Winter Kit event. So far I have been really happy with two of the three elements in the list, Darth Vadar and Echo. The third ship has so far been, problematic.
I like to run Vadar with Advanced targeting computer, engine upgrade and Veteran instincts. Mainly for mirror matches and to out PS other ace builds. I have found this to be a good build and have been more than happy although unlike say with predator you are more susceptible to a bad roll, I feel the benefits in general outweigh the negatives.
I love the Tie phantom and when the nerf came, which was a good move by FFG to balance the Phantom, I did not feel it effected Echo in the same way as Whisper or other phantoms. Due to the way Echo decloaks, you really have to think about which way you are going to be pointing in the right direction. More often than not it really meant that the direction of the decloak was effectively fixed due to what you selected on the dial.
One other thing with Echo is the EPT slot. Being PS 6 means that veteran instincts is not that useful as its not going to get you above other aces. My default build for Echo has long been Lone Wolf, Advanced Cloaking Device and Recon Specialist. Echo sits on the fringes and dispenses love from afar for the most part.
The Plus One
Vadar as above totals 35 and a slim line echo with just lone wolf and ACD is 36 which gives me 29 points to play with. So far I have tried my old friend Lt. Colzet (with the left over points going on Echo), Maarek Steele with ATC and either VI or crack shot, two obsidian Tie fighters and Carnor Jax with VI and auto thrusters. I also have a Tie Advanced prototype on pre order so the Inquisitor with VI, title and auto thrusters is an option depending when it gets off the boat. I could use Pappa P, (Emperor Palpatine), which I have done numerous times but find that the emperor builds lack a bit of punch at times.
What I have found so far is that unless I do something stupid, the plus one always dies first. The plus one’s job is to fly as wing mate to Vader whilst Echo skulks around the edges. The problem is that whilst Vader can arc dodge and do multiple actions the plus one in general cannot. This makes them an easier target early on unless the opponent gets obsessed with chasing Echo. I’ve tried Interceptors, and whilst it is one of my favourite ships and Im good at flying A wings, the interceptor seems to hate me.
Enter The Tie/FO
Or more accurately, Zeta Leader. Zeta Leader is PS7 with an EPT slot and pilot ability that is, “when attacking, if you are not stressed, you may receive 1 stress token to roll one additional attack die.”
Yay, three dice attack Tie/FO with an option of using almost any EPT plus access to the Tech slot. I have decided to put the Comms Relay on Zeta Leader so as to become a poor man’s Sontir Fel. First action of the day will be to Evade so as to keep it for the opening engagement. The ability to keep the evade token rather than have to ditch it in the end phase is really handy although 3 points seems slightly expensive for it. Not forgetting that the Tie/FO has a a great dial with all its two manoeuvres being green.
The trickier bit is the EPT selection. I can’t take a stress inducing EPT due to not being able to then get the pilot ability off, and I really want to be rolling that extra attack die. With Miranda Doni being popular at the moment it’s tempting to go for veteran instincts to bump up to PS9 although in the same token I wonder how useful it could be across a series of games. Other options include the ever popular crack shot, Juke or Wired. I was not a big fan of Wired when it first came out but looking at Zeta Leader I feel it might have a spot on him.
Darth Vader, Veteran instincts, Engine upgrade, Title, advanced Targeting Computer
Zeta Leader, Wired, Comms Relay
Echo, Lone Wolf, Advanced Cloaking Device, Sensor jammer.
Wired and Comms Relay should make Zeta Leader more resilient and put out more reliable damage while the Sensor Jammer on Echo should again make Echo more resilient. I’m not overly convinced about the Sensor Jammer but it started to get some play in Worlds so I figure it’s worth a shot to give it a go. I found in playing my one practice game that it was easy to put a target lock on at range three with Zeta Leader to utilise in a round or two later.
A Third Way
Whilst I’m sticking with this due to lack of flying time, I am also tempted to drop Echo from the equation and run two Omega Squadron pilots with weapons guidance and crack shot. I like weapons guidance on a two shot ship as I feel it increases the likelihood of getting two hits if focused. The only bad roll is a focus and blank combo, or double blank. Another possibility that sprang to mind was running Vader with four Zeta Squadron Pilots in a PS 3 Tie/FO mini swarm. I like the idea but again lack of flight time would make it a gamble.
I still feel Echo has a place in the game especially with a move towards more small ships and I know how to fly it, although I over thought it the other night and should have either done a standard move or cut and run. The result was a dead Echo but Zeta Leader rocked. The amount of Mirandas about is a bit of an issue for Echo but I am hoping that the Sensor Jammer may go some way to re-address it. I’m still wondering about veteran instincts on Zeta Leader but I guess we will see after the weekend.