So having put finger to touch screen I came up with an updated version of Whisper and mini swarm which I took to its first gig last week against Dengaroo and new jumpmasters.
Scary Spice, Whisper Tie Phantom: Veteran Instincts, Fire Control Systems, Agent kallus, Advanced Cloaking device
Posh, Baby & Sporty Spice, 3 X Black Squadron Tie Fighter: Crack Shot
Ginger Spice, Wampa Tie Fighter
My problem with a full swarm is at present if fighting against an experienced swarm player is that I should lose due to lack of experience. Looking at the lists from my previous article and considering the differences between the Pattiswarm and Last Winter’s Night I felt my ace strings being tugged. Added to that the idea of taking it one step at a time I considered an oldie but goodie, Whisper and mini swarm.
Now ace plus mini swarm has fallen from ‘the meta’ and Mynock Squadron Podcast were recently discussing it in terms of not bad for a new player to pick up and get a flavour for a bit of ace and a bit of swarm play. They then went on to dismiss it now as a spent concept and not competitive in today’s environment, admittedly this was before the FAQ on deadeye. Their example was mini swarm plus Soontir Fel. Now I looked at Winter’s Night and thought, “what if I take out Omega leader and another Tie fighter, what does that leave me with?”
Answer, forty or forty one points.
To get my preferred Whisper build of Fire control and Agent Kallus it meant dropping a black crack for Wampa. I like Wampa with a way to modify his dice and going cold turkey with no Palp, Howlrunner or Youngster with Marksmanship even, seems wrong. Well Youngster with Marksmanship probably is wrong. Then again if Last Winter’s Night has worked so well for Sable Griffin with an unmodifiable Wampa why not give it a whirl. Wampa acts like an Imperial Biggs but with an added bite if it comes off.
Whisper gives me a way to deal with swarms and in general do Whisper things and I’m well versed in using the ship. Whisper still has issues with Dengar and probably soon Rey Falcon with veteran instincts although I should be able to mitigate that if using the swarm correctly. The meta at present has seen a rise in the use of large base low agility ships like the ghost, lancer and jumpmaster with the falcon probably about to return. Tie fighters love these.
First Gig for Spice World
I rocked up at Man Of Monkey’s abode for a couple of games to try out the list, a cup of tea or two, discuss the final of the Great British Bake Off and test the post FAQ water. Also offered some biscuits which strictly speaking due to my new health regime I should not eat but it would have been rude to refuse.
What does one do when your double jumpmaster and Zuckass list which you have got painted up gets the hard nerf? Drop Zuckass and try Dengaroo!
Dengar: Lone Wolf, R5-P8, Zuckass, Plasma Torpedoes, Zuckass, Counter Measures, Glitter Stim, Punishing One title
Manaroo: Push the limit, Unhinged Agro Mech, Recon Specialist, feedback array, engine upgrade.
In certain respects this was like two people getting the new shiney ships for the first time in terms of how much we probably got out of the game. Monkey learned to remember that he hates flying two ship builds whilst I learned that four tie fighters flying in formation take up a lot more space than expected and are more manoeuvrable than Poe, Biggs and two Talas flying in block.
Oh and they deleted Manaroo in one round of shooting when I snared her and only used the one crack shot in doing so. Whisper had dropped two shields off her the turn before though and three of the Ties were at range one. We both also learned that Wampa is a prick, even without dice re-rolls or Palp. We played one more round before calling it with Wampa having K turned dealing a damage on Dengar at range three through a rock, one blank, one crit. Wampa!
From an initiative choice perspective this was interesting as both our two lumps of ships were at PS9 and PS4 respectively. Either way it would be slightly detrimental to the other ship or ships in the squad. If I had Initiative then it’s good for Whisper in terms of shooting and re-cloaking but if Dengaroo has Initiative it’s easier for the Ties to chase Manaroo down if I so choose whilst Dengar can shoot at an uncloaked Whisper.
Game two saw the return of double scout and Zuckass but with a modified loadout to combat the loss of deadeye. This hampered Zuckass a bit as he was without the much loved title and tractor cannon.
2 x Contracted Scout: adaptability, extra munitions, plasma torpedoes, K4 Securtiy Droid, overclocked agromech, Guidence chips
Zuckass, fire control systems, 4-Lomm, crack shot.
This was a harder more positional affair but did prove that scouts will need a slight rethink in how you use them. The lack of deadeye prevented a co-ordinated double torpedo barrage and made Whisper’s life easier. The game brought out Wampa’s Biggs factor as he took the first Torpedo and dropped to one Hull. In return I had dropped the lead scout to one or two Hull expending all three crack shots in doing so. Whisper cleaned it up the following turn.
The large foot print of the Tie Fighters messed with the remaining scout’s movement and having the ability to not worry about a Howlrunner re-roll allowed me to break formation without thinking about trying to maintain a range one bubble. The K4 security droid paid dividends in keeping Whisper honest even though the scout kept bumping into Ties. By the time I had dropped Zuckass I was left with just one full health Tie fighter, Sporty Spice, and Whisper, (or Scary Spice if using squad themed names). The scout had lost a few shields and taken a damage card from Wampa with just one torpedo left and we called it there.
One worrying point in the game was just after I had dropped the first scout as I soon had three Tie fighters on one hull each which then all folded pretty quickly in the next couple of rounds. Although I had got a good initial engagement and exchange I soon ended up bumping all over the place with the ties due to the scout’s blocking. Without any focus, evades or crack shot as they were all gone I quickly stated to rack up the damage on them. The plus side was that I managed to work it a bit to my advantage and block Zuckass and allow Whisper to scout round the fur ball unmolested.
Looking at contracted scouts, in this game mindlink would not have made much difference although it could still have potential on the build. Theorist wrote an article recently which covers his theory about giving them veteran instincts. Maybe jiggling the two scouts and swaping Zuckass for Fenn with mindlink and title might be an option.
What’s in a name?
Personalising all your generic ships does have a hidden downside. You can build up a perception that one or two behave in a different way to the others even though they are exactly the same. I had this problem years ago with my two Daemon Princes in my Chaos Space Marine army. The more heavily converted, better looking model seamed to die at the drop of a hat at any inconvenient moment even though they had exactly the same stats. Posh Spice started to develop a personality which is most unlike the real one, personality that is. The danger here is believing in the perceived behavioural traits of the ship and then playing to them even though it is no different to the other generic or matching ships on the table.
Wampa: The Perception of.
The perception of Wampa is a double edged sword. I slightly revelled in it when Monkey slapped a target lock down on Wampa in game two. Wampa pushed another hit through in this game due to his crit mechanic. I then got a cold shudder as I appreciated the threat of Wampa for ships with low hull like E-wings, Tie advanced prototypes and Tie Phantoms. On average if you are rolling two dice each time over four rounds of shooting Wampa will squeeze through a damage card due to rolling a crit. This means potentially in five rounds of shooting you could reliably expect to drop one of these ships.
In fact you could drop one in two rounds or have a one in four chance of knocking a hull off at the start of the game. That will keep people honest and change target priorities pretty quickly.
Isn’t Crack Shot great?
Slightly obvious but putting multiple crack shots into practice was eye opening, even though I have played against it a few times. I’ve always looked at crack shot as spending one point in your list to gain one point of damage on your opponent or force token expenditure which is why it is great in multiples. To force three points of damage through when otherwise you were not going to is huge. It enabled me to almost drop the contracted scout before it shot. Remembering to use it is useful too as in game one I forgot to use it on a early pot shot on Dengar although I likewise did not get painbotted back for the same reason. In hindsight it was probably better to have saved it for Manaroo. I must have subconsciously planned it that way.
I enjoyed playing it and in many ways it played a bit like a Phantom and Decimator list although I could be more aggressive with the Tie swarm and not worry about arc dodging so much. I certainly need to get more games under my belt with it but feel it does have potential. Dealing with X7 Defenders will be the next thing to work on but if a standard crack swarm can deal with them then certainly the added sauce of Whisper should help.
I’m looking forward to Spice World’s next gig.