With a huge decision facing a lot of Imperial players looming on the 23rd of June I ask myself should I Remain with my initial choice of the Tie/D title or Leave and go to the X7 title?
In my initial article back in January I plumped for the increased fire output of Tie/D and the fun you can have with that. I since then played a small tournament with a defender list to get a bit of groundwork in. I based it around a two defender plus friend list which I would contemplate running when veterans is released as well as something that I could run with the stuff I had with me at the Yavin Open. It also gave me a clean conscience that I would not be jumping on the latest hot and shiny train as I have already been an ardent Tie Defender player having played them in a tournament.
Hanger Bay, (or Hung Over Bay)
Now despite the overall tiredness and in fact only moderate consumption of alcohol on the Saturday I still naturally woke up at 6.40am on the Sunday morning, (thanks kids). I felt great, had a tasty breakfast of Eggs Benedict and then rolled into the Expo around 10.30am with the rest of the gang and then promptly felt like death warmed up for the rest of the day. I had a bit of malaise about what to run in the afternoon and seeing as there were a lot of vendors selling space ships and that my wife had inadvertently crushed my half painted Tie defender I purchased two new ones plus yet another Tie/Fo.
I decided that I would run a defender list in the Hanger bay to see where that would go. Also I planned to keep my mind open to what the X7 title could be doing if I had it.
British politicians weigh in on Remain with Tie D title or Leave it and go X7
With the polls neck and neck, The Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged that people have been finding the debate “perhaps quite confusing”
I’ve Played Defenders Before it Becomes Cool or Over Powered
Rexlar Brath. Crack shot
Colonel Vessery, veteran instincts
Omega Leader Juke, comms relay
What I would preferably have run if Imperial Veterans were out and cool and over powered:
Rexlar Brath. Push the Limits, Twin Ion engines, X7 Title
Colonel Vessery, veteran instincts, twin Ion engines, x7 Title
Omega Leader Juke, comms relay
Never the less I thought it would provide some interesting data about the viability of Defenders against possibly some of the current meta builds. These are not blow by blow accounts but just my musings of ‘what if I had the new goodies.’
5 green squadron A wings, crack shot, adaptability auto thrusters.
My set up was poor and although I got an agreeable opening engagement by downing one A wing and dropping another to one hull I took some heavy damage and Rexlar went down soon after. I made a few mistakes and over thought a few things and I lost 100- 40.
What I learned though is that looking at how you generally dial in manoeuvres with a Defender the X7 title will be quite handy, especially with the only hard turn not red being the three speed hard turn. Looking at the game as it played out I would have had quite a few free evades and that would have probably influenced my choice of manoeuvres more at crucial times. My opening conclusion from this match was that the X7 title was looking tasty.
Mr Johnson said, (about X7): ‘It is about control. It is about security and being in charge.
Gary, (I mentioned in my previous article about the Yavin Open that there seemed to be a lot of players I played with Gary esque names, of course I may be remembering completely wrong, but Gary was the only proper Gary. No esque).
Echo Tie Phantom, Veteran instincts, Advanced cloaking device, recon specialist, fire control systems
The inquisitor, Predator, Title, stealth device
Omega Ace, Push the limit, comms relay, shield upgrade
In this match I saw where potentially Countess Ryad could come into her own with some K turning jousting on the Inquisitor by Rexlar. Also as repositioning with a defender is often quickest and easiest by K turning I can see how the Countess can stay in the fight more after the initial pass. I had Vessery out for a turn after K turning to get Echo and Echo went off somewhere else. My only issue with the Countess is that it could be a bit situational as to how useful her ability actually is, but that is the general problem with most of the named Defender pilots.
I think I won 100-0 although I’m not sure if Rexlar went down. I don’t think so but I don’t mind being corrected on that. Parts of the weekend are a bit hazy. I dropped Omega ace first, followed by the Inquisitor then ganged up on Echo. I did find it difficult to concentrate fire and remain doing so on one target. I had Omega ace down to one hull and the Inquisitor shieldless, (apparently no such word as sheildless), and then had to completely re-engage, all the while steering clear of Echo as best I could.
Again the X7 title would have been quite useful, as well as the Mk2 Ion engines due to either making a hard one or two turn with Rexlar early on. It took a while to actually shift the stress even though I was playing K Turn tag with the Inquisitor.
“I’ve got four days to go,” he said. “I want to do better at getting this argument across,” and argued that it would be “crazy” if people voted to leave, (Tie/D for X7).
Dengar, Push the limit, Unhinged astro Mech, K4 security droid, engine upgrade, punishing one title.
Zuckass, adaptability, bobba fett crew, title, tractor cannon, fire control systems
Gavin actually moved house the week before to be half an hour away from the venue. I can’t remember now if that was just coincidence due to a new job but lets just assume its dedication to toy space ships gone wrong and he now has a three hour commute rather than booking a hotel for the Open. I quite liked push the limit and engine upgrade on Dengar and it did not overly effect his positioning.
In the first round Gavin had forgotten to dial in a manoeuvre for Dengar when it came to move him. As he was near to a board edge I did the only reasonable thing and flew it straight off. Actually, much to his relief and surprise I just let him do whatever with it, even though it moved last. It would have totally defeated the point of what I wanted to do and ruined the game if I flew Dengar off the board. After all we were only playing for some pointless alternative art cards which I will probably never use and could live with having one less of.
And live with one less of I did as I went down 28-100. My initial engagement was good but could have been better as my three ships focused in on a solitary Dengar. Again I could see the benefit of the X7 title and the MK2 Ion Engines as I was left with a tricky decision on manoeuvres to keep the pressure up on Dengar. I ended up by hard one turning Vessery while Rexlar clipped a debris field.
The Ion engine certainly would have proved really useful in dropping the stress as being limited to straight manoeuvres is not ideal. I believe my mistake in this match resolved around trying to keep the assault on Dengar going where by switching to the slow rolling Z95 and Zuckass would have proved a better option. More so if they had the X7 title as I could engage these two ships more confidently loaded up with evades while Dengar would be out of action for a turn or two.
Attacking the Remain Tie/D side, he added: ‘They endlessly say we can’t do it, we daren’t do it, we mustn’t do it – and we say that we can, (go X7).’
Remain Tie/D or Leave to X7
It’s tricky not to get too clouded by perception bias as I was specifically thinking about when the X7 and when Tie Mk2 ion engines may kick in. Also bearing in mind I was not playing at my best nor with a tried and trusted squad, I made mistakes in game one and decided to chase Dengar in game three, when I should have left him and gone and thumped Zuckass.
If I had been running Tie/D instead the squad would have probably looked like this:
Onyx Squadron Pilot, (PS3). Ion cannon, Tie/D Title
Colonel Vessery, veteran instincts, Ion cannon, Tie/D Title
Omega Leader Juke, comms relay
This would not have made a dramatic difference in who moved and shot first in each game and bearing in mind that I was running without the X7 title the defenders did last remarkably well and the added hitting power would have certainly made a big difference. The control mechanic and option of shooting two different targets would have aided in the swarm match up and could have easily controlled Dengar and sorted out the awkward manoeuvring options after the initial engagement.
- A Tie Defender is not an arc dodger.
- You purchase a Tie defender for the chassis, 3 shields, 3 hull, 3 agility 3 attack.
- You should not build to utilise the named pilots pilot abilities. They are a nice bonus when they kick in but you will be chasing bad points after bad to try and synergise it with the rest of the squad. Colonel Vessery is the possible exception now that target locks are more readily available to the Imperials and Ryad will have her moments.
I feel the X7 title will certainly make the Tie defender a lot more durable. Even without the X7 title it is near enough impossible to destroy a full health Defender in a single shot. You would need four hits to go through with the last one being a crit which then is a major explosion which deals a follow on double damage. It may be the best first choice to get used to flying a defender before considering the more heavy hitting Tie/D title.
Just like Dave Cam my preference for Tie/D is the Ion cannon as it will give you the equivalent damage output to a heavy laser cannon but with more options and a control element. It probably makes it redundant to put a heavy laser cannon on a Tie Defender as a Tie/D Ion cannon combo is better in most scenarios. I have always felt that the tractor cannon is over hyped and I have seen relatively few on the table, especially when not on a mist hunter. The Defender is a better and probably the best chassis for a tractor cannon with Tie/D although I am not overly convinced it is worth it versus the Ion cannon.
Impacting the Meta
We will have Defenders everywhere for a bit but I do not feel that they in general will automatically sit top of the tree at larger events. A lot will depend on how you want to integrate a Tie Defender into your squad or if you go for a triple of double defender build.
I’m not wholly convinced that a two or three Tie defender build can cover all the meta builds with equal aplomb. Contracted scouts will still be an issue and a lot will depend upon those beloved green dice. Certainly an X7 titled Tie Defender if tokened up will prove an issue to destroy. Two torpedoes could destroy a tokened up X7 in one although it would depend on the green dice and what type of crits are rolled with the subsequent Proton torpedo shot after the plasma torpedo.
Death by a thousand cuts is on the cards from swarms but once the crack shot is gone an X7 will be very tricky to get rid of. This will apply to triple jumpmasters too as once the ordnance has gone it will be near enough impossible to take out an X7 Defender with a two attack value primary weapon. Integrating a single defender into a squad may be the strongest option although one has to bear in mind that they will not function quite the same as an Ace in terms of dropping it into a triple ace or palpatine build.
If going for three, seeing how defenders fly I would be tempted with the following:
Two Glaive Squadron pilots with adaptability, X7 title, 64 points
36 points on either Colonel Vessery or Countess Ryad, both having X7 title.
Rather tanky and jousty and not my normal style but it may suit others. I personally like the idea of incorporating just the one into a squad. I would be quite happy substituting one of the Phantoms out of my Open list for Colonel Vessery. With a Phantom slapping down a target lock with fire control systems and possibly the third ship lighting something up Vessery becomes very accurate offensively and can afford to go the X7 route. Naturally the Tie/D is also a happy option for him but I am inclined to look at the durability of the X7 title as a compliment to a triple ace style list.
True that a Tie Defender is not really an Ace but it’s fast enough and can hit hard enough to warrant a place in a triple ace build. I would be tempted to look at either Countess Ryad or Vessery to take the place of Soontir Fel or the points equivalent ace with X7 title. Another option could be to use a Tie/D Vessery with Ion cannon to replace a Whisper as that is the realm of points you are venturing into.
Countess Ryad with push the limit, ion engines and X7 title 36 points.
Colonel Vessery with Lone Wolf and X7 title, (with or without Ion Engines) 35 or 36 points.
Colonel Vessery with an EPT, (points and flavour dependant on rest of squad), Ion cannon and Tie D title. 38 points plus EPT.
Dropping one of these into a triple ace build instead of a Phantom or lower costing ace adds a bit more durability to the squad without sacrificing offensive fire power. I will go out on a limb a bit and predict that we will start to see triple ace builds with a Defender in to shore up the reliance on green dice. I feel this will be the more successful use of Tie defenders in lists and will most likely be the X7 title to allow more points spent on the other ships and to boost the defence. If you are spending forty or so points on a Tie/D Defender you are in the same realms as a fully loaded Whisper and have to question which of these will offer more in terms of positioning, offence and durability.
So for now I have flip-flopped from Tie/D to X7 but the proof as always is in the pudding. Roll on Thursday and bring on the Defenders.