Having built a squad and then the results don’t go as one hopes for, when is it the right decision to stop and try something else?
I’m faced with this thorny question. The current squad I have been flying has fallen a bit flat after a tournament run out and I’m left with a ticking clock and not much gaming time to the Yavin Open 2017.
Having played seventeen games or thereabouts with the squad I’ve got to the point of either just pushing forwards and practicing more or switching out to a different squad altogether. The last seven matches have raised it to a head.
When looking at a squad and deciding whether it’s working out or not it boils down between squad construction and whether you can fly it. You can pull a net list off the shelf, (and there is nothing wrong with doing so), and it just doesn’t cut the mustard for you. This can be the more extreme playstyles like the galaxy note 7, (three k wings with bombs), to an in your face list like Dengaroo or triple defenders. Sometimes the play style for the list will not match your own whether that is getting the enjoyment from it or getting the hang of flying it.
Some lists on paper seem easy, or at least the inter web may make it sound, but lists like double Aggressors or Dengaroo take some skill to fly well. These two squads for instance have slight minor variations which can be tweaked for personal style and preferences which will take a bit of playing with to figure out what works for you and your local meta. Even when building you own squad or variation of, how many games and opponents do you need to run through before deciding it’s not working and time for something new?
Reasons why it is not working
- Bad squad construction: it could be that simple.
- Bad play: you make some errors due to inexperience with the squad which result in a loss.
- Bad match up: you might just happen across a bad match up or two which are tricky to win until you get more experience with the squad.
- it’s just not for you: for whatever reason, the way it flys either does not match your style or temperament. Learning to fly a squad and fly it correctly and well may clash with your natural play style, temperament and game ethos.
I’ve often heard about ten games is about right, so my current run down of matches pre-tournament, (ten or so, 9-1 win record), is about right to figure out whether the squad is working or not.
My personal conundrum is focused around the following squad. I took it to a 21 player, 5 round event just before Christmas.
Fenn Rau: Attanni Mindlink, Auto thrusters,
IG88B: Attanni Mindlink, Fire Control Systems, Heavy laser Cannon, auto thrusters, burnout slam.
Kaato Leeachos: Attanni Mindlink,concusion missiles, guidance chips
I dropped the title on Fenn and added some bite to Kaato with the missiles and tried to utilise both of them better. I found that if you are flying Fenn well, then the title is irrelevant and only came into usefulness when desperate. That being said if you have the odd spare point I would tag it on, but certainly it is not an essential on Fenn.
Previously in the first ten games the IG88 had been doing the heavy lifting and I was working on flying Fenn better and more effectively. In the two practice games the night before the tournament were a resounding defeat and an effective draw which would have been a crushing victory or soul wrenching defeat, (long story), I then went two wins to 3 defeats in the tournament.
In all three tournament defeats I got good position with Fenn and the IG early to mid-game then blew it. Mistakes either with Kaato or the IG88 put paid to chances of victory. My focus on flying Fenn better had led to flying the IG88 poorer. I was also trying a range of different openings which may or may not have had an effect.
All in all I have played about seventeen games which have seen the results slide after the first positive ten games to suggest it is time to rethink. This could be as simple as switching a ship or more drastically putting the list into the long grass for a bit.
The Weak Spot
With any mind link list the focus generator, so often Manaroo, is the weak link which once removed reduces the effectiveness of the other ships. In my particular case Kaato is easy to remove and catch if wanting to drop him. Going forward I had already toyed with the following:
Fenn Rau: Attanni Mindlink, Auto thrusters,
IG88B: Attanni Mindlink, Fire Control Systems, Heavy laser Cannon, auto thrusters
Sarco Plank, Quad Jumper: Attanni Mindlink, Space tug tractor array.
The PS5 space tug has five hull and if I keep it motoring at speed three, three evade dice. As a bonus if I want to chuck it into the fray it has some tractor beam shenanigans to play with although at the expense of generating focus all round for the big hitters. The downside of trying this is literally waiting till wave ten drops which if it goes into February maybe too late for Yavin 2017.
Deciding when to stop
One of the big bonuses and at the same time big negatives about X-Wing is how easy it is to just completely change the squad you are flying from one game to the next. It can be very easy to re-actively change the make-up of a squad after one or two bad games. It could be a multitude of reasons for the poor performance but in general if you stick with the core bones of it for a few games you can work out whether it is the squad or yourself.
I have six weeks to Yavin 2017 and due to a January full of social engagements, only one warm up tournament the week before the big one. The squad I feel still has potential and a lot of the slew of defeats came down to poor play. Too much focusing on getting Fenn right possibly stopped the IG88 wrecking face as it needs to be pointing in the right direction all the time which I fear I failed to do. In this case I feel the answer is a bit of both. Poor play and something not quite clicking with the combinations.
Squad construction could be an issue here. Its great to try and be a special snowflake but if it does not net the results you want you just end up melting in the dirt with all the rest. I could practice it more but it might still come up short. It seemed to be using a lot of grey cells to fly right which maintaining that level of concentration over the initial seven rounds at Yavin will be tough.
With the clock ticking it’s a tough call to either continue with the experiment or go back to an archetype I know that I can fly well like triple imperial aces, RAC plus one or palp aces. All my tournament wins and decent placing have been with Imperials since 2015. So should one stop with the current experiment and settle into something more comfortable? Personal vanity and pride suggest sticking with it but from a more pragmatic approach I feel it will take too long to get a better feel for the combination and chance waiting for the Quadjumper to possibly improve the squad.
I still have around 16 games inclusive of a tournament to look at options and get some momentum going. This is enough games to get a squad going and to feel where it is prior to the event. I’ve not seriously played Imperials since July but it is the faction I have played the most of. Fly what you know and all that.
In my own case with this squad I’m kicking it into touch for a bit and will look at taking the good guys to Yavin. Maybe I’ll give it a run in Hanger bay but till then it’s just a matter of picking a squad for the main event. So for Koocachoo it’s time to stop and say goodbye for now whilst I bring the Imperials back out, some friendship never ends. I have a couple of ideas for imperials it’s just a case of funnelling the ideas down so that 2 become 1.
So if its not quite working and you can’t quite put your finger on why then it is probably time t stop and try soemthing else.
Till next time, viva forever.