Com-Scan #3 - Fear of the Darth

Welcome squad leaders to Com-Scan, where we go over squadron break-down and tactica relating to footage recorded by the Wookie’s surveillance ship. For this week’s video we have a fan-requested 6-Interceptor squadron commanded by Matt, while I fly an experimental rebel swarm. When you return I have something a little different in store for you:

Hope you enjoyed that blow-by-blow.  As for this week’s com-scan report, I recently participated in our regions first 2016 Store Championship. When I say our region, I mean 3 hours in a transport barreling through the icy tundra of Canada packed in with 6 burly squad-mates. That being said, the event was an absolute blast, being tired, hungry and wired never felt so good!  

To launch my competitive games this year I wanted to tap into my inner dark-side, turning fear and anger into brutal and fun games. To exemplify this; I needed none other than the Dark Lord of the Sith himself: DARTH VADER. Vader has dibs on the best pilots the empire has to offer as his wing-men, so let’s see who made the cut.

• Darth Vader    TIE Advanced
 TIE/x1      Predator      Advanced Targeting Computer
• Soontir Fel    TIE Interceptor
 Royal Guard TIE  Push the Limit      Autothrusters      Shield Upgrade
• “Dark Curse”    TIE Fighter
• “Night Beast”    TIE Fighter

At 100 points, this list brings some pretty elite pilots each being aggravating to deal with in their own way. This Darth Vader is taking the back seat to nobody, no more handing out crits and no more handing-out actions. This Vader, is all about being a total badass…after all it IS his destiny. With Predator and the new Adv. Targeting Computer, Vader can leverage his actions defensively, while still popping out a disgusting amount of damage. 




Soontir Fel is another top notch pilot, and it is no surprise to find him in here, He has a ton of action economy, has high pilot skill,  and flying a ship as maneuverable as the interceptor, can go anywhere and harass everyone. He is decked out with custom modifications to make him as survivable as needs to be, and with Autothrusters on this Goateed Baron of badassery, he can give any turreted ship a run for their money. Lastly we have two named TIE Fighters; Dark Curse and Night Beast. Dark Curse is probably the most annoying TIE pilot around; no one wants to shoot at him because they don’t get any dice modification, and in X-wing the best defence is not getting shot. This guy usually sticks around the whole game, and a lone TIE that can play risky is a very dangerous dirtbag indeed. Night Beast is everyone’s favourite party animal, being able to focus and evade means he can tank pretty well despite being only a 3-hull TIE Fighter. As you notice everyone in this list, save Dark Curse, can take at least two actions. High action economy will be a great strength for this squadron.

The Wolf Pack

The squadron was only flown a couple of times before the event, but the game plan I came up with was still fairly solid. The squadron flies “wolf pack” style, With all four ships flying essentially independent of one another, they attempt to encircle their foe for a devastating coordinated strike.  Unable to focus all their efforts on any one ship, enemies are picked apart and killed piecemeal (all the while thinking “I have you now!”). That’s the theory, at least.

I have high enough pilot skill on Vader and Soontir that I should be able to counter deploy, and the TIE/ln can go middle board to act as an anvil. Vader generally has the hardest time jousting so he really wants to get behind fighters and stay behind them. My hope is that my opponents will try to waste time going after Soontir or Vader, opening me up to evasive maneuvers while the TIE/In becomes the offense.   With the plan in place, it's time to take a look at the first Store Championship of the season!

 Round 1 – FIGHT!!!

The first game is against Rebel enthusiast Chis M. Right off the bat he is energetic and happy to get in some games, and I'm right there with him!  He even pulled out some sound effects off his tablets, a tactic to try to pull me back to the light, I'm sure. He flew an interesting list, lets take a look: 

* Roark Garnet    HWK-290
Ion Cannon Turret      Tactician
* Blue Squadron Pilot #1    B-Wing
Fire-Control System      Heavy Laser Cannon      B-Wing/E2      Gunner
* Blue Squadron Pilot #2    B-Wing
Fire-Control System      Heavy Laser Cannon      B-Wing/E2      Gunner

Those B-wings pack a punch and Roark’s ability to make one of them Pilot Skill 12 is really brutal against aces. Going in I figure that I still have the Pilot sill advantage for the activation phase and with my maneuverable fighters I should be able to swarm his B-wings and take them out.  He deploys in formation on the flank, so I counter with Soontir on the opposite flank, Vader mid, and the TIEs directly facing.

I know B-wings don’t really care for asteroids and I love them so I want him to come to me, however I was totally okay with him trying to go after my extremely annoying TIE fighters. He opts instead to reposition and go after Vader, while Soontir screams across the board to flank and my TIEs come up to apply pressure. I get one of the B-wings down to 1 hull in the first two volleys before I get tar pitted, unfortunately I play Vader a little too aggressively and he gets punked by 2 really bad defense rolls. (I was taking focus rather than evades).

Vaders goes down! Soontir piles in!  Fel gets stressed and ionized from the HWK, but with all his actions and additional shield, he manages to tank for a turn before disengaging. The TIEs mix it up by blocking while still getting some shots in. Pretty soon, Chris has one B-wing completely out of the fight (the 1-hull ship) while the other is stressed and blocked. Not having Vader is hurting my damage as I am relying on basic TIES to do a lot of wet-work, but I feel confident about the situation. 

Chris reveals a 2-K on his stressed B-wing with a crushing moment of realization. The ship still had 2 shields, but his navigation system sends him careening to the edge of the board.  Thanks to his stress he won't even be able to do a 1-turn to save himself. Soontir gets turned around to finish off the 1 Hull B-wing, and the HWK gets plinked to death by Dark Curse and Night Beast! That brings the first game to a close.

Round 2- How close was it Vader?

The second game of the event was against Chris G, AKA the guy I sat next to in the transport. We've never had a game together despite both of being from the same city, I have to laugh at the irony that it took a 350KM journey just for us to play one another. Not only that but he too is playing Darth Vader! He is flying a mini-swarm to support the big man:

* Darth Vader    TIE Advanced
 TIE/x1      Veteran Instincts      Engine Upgrade      Advanced Targeting Computer
* “Howlrunner”    TIE Fighter
Crack Shot
* 4x Black Squadron Pilot     TIE Fighter   
Crack Shot

His Darth has the PS advantage and is more maneuverable, while mine is more of a beatstick. My TIEs have the PS advantage against his TIEs which gives me some wiggle room, and Dark Curse is is down right disgusting to deal with when all he has to contend with is 2 ATK ships.

He sets up relatively mid field, while I place my TIEs across from them, Vader and Soontir each taking a flank. His Vader deploys opposite Soontir, obviously with the intent of frying him early. My game plan: take out Howlrunner early, damage a TIE or two, then go after Vader. I feel that if I can get the TIEs to break off or split their fire, I will have a good chance of winning this game.

First rounds of dials has us vying for position, His TIEs are poised in such a way that if I were to attempt a break off Soontir and reposition, he could easily get behind me with everything. That simply won't do, so Soontir goes full throttle towards Vader with a 5- forward, then barrel rolls and boosts to safety. My TIEs rush up to flank, while attempting to stay out of arc from at least some of the swarm. Vader is plucking along, and trying to get an early target lock on Howlrunner but has to be content with locking onto a Black Squadron goon instead. Opening shots go my way, with Chris suffering major damage on Howlrunner and one of his BSP.  Dark Curse is relatively untouched due to his douche-bag Pilot Talent completely negating Howlrunner’s rerolls or the Black TIEs' focus.  

Chris’ Vader cuts through the middle to deal with my fighters himself. Because his TIEs go before mine I am forced to disengage with mine to avoid getting blocked, especially since BadVader is barreling down at me. The game is going well for me, but I start getting blood thirsty, more like blood hungry, actually just hungry. I try to push my advantage and kill things quickly by barrel rolling Soontir extremely aggressively to get in fire arc of Howlrunner.

Dark Curse falls to a thousand paper cuts but I am able to confirm the kill on Howl Runner, good trade.  The Vaders tussle around for a bit but Chris’ gets away and turns around thanks to his Engine upgrade (TURBO!!!). My previous aggression with Soontir comes back to bite me as I get body blocked twice by TIE fighters and BadVader swoops down like a majestic angel of death.

Night Beast and my Vader are able to put BadVader in his place bringing him down to 1 hull, but I lose Night Beast in the process. I am in a good position and there is 30 mins left on the clock. At this point, I am mind-numbingly hungry, but I feel confident that I can justdeal with these TIEs once BadVader is toast, so I start the chase. Thanks to the engine upgrade and Pilot Skill advantage I am unable land the killing blow on his Vader after 30 minutes of chasing. I realized that I should have punted the TIEs and  “TIEd” the game, I don’t like me when I am hungry, it’s been 7 hours since I last ate, food time. 

Food Break!

I was able to sit down with Chris after our game for a quick bite to eat, because our game went to time we only had 25 mins to go get food and shovel it into our faces before running back. That game pretty much sold me on giving Darth an engine upgrade. I am thinking of dropping Night Beast down for an Academy to give me a cheap blocker, and swapping the shield upgrade for either a stealth device or a hull. Either way there are three more games left in this tourney so ! Want to find out the rest? Tune in next week…That’s right, just like Empire Strikes Back, I am leaving this on a cliff hanger!