Wednesday 29 April 2015

There's too many of them! - X-Wings vs TIE Fighters in Star Wars: Armada

The humble fighter craft in Armada are a key part of any admiral's offensive, and defensive, capabilities. Only a madman would roll out onto the field without their support.....

This article won't be very long (edit: complete lie), simply because the only two squadrons available right now are X-Wings and TIEs! Thankfully though, they are a hell of a lot of fun to play with.

You know what I hate more than a squadron of TIE Fighters? Ten squadrons of them. Or more....

An accurate description...

Anyway, here we are:

Not a bad package for 8 points. However, TIE Fighters are the ultimate glass cannon. The absolute worst thing you can do is to leave a 1-2 squadrons of your fighters out vs 3-4 of these guys (especially if Howlrunner is about...but don't worry about her for now). They will eat you alive. The movement of 4 is critical against X-Wings. What it means is that the Rebel fighters are very rarely going to be the ones moving to engage. All the Imperial player has to do is sit back out of range (movement 3 + range 1 for attacking for an X-Wing) and he is laughing. Roll up with Tarkin to give out squadron tokens, make sure to slap a hanger bay onto your Star Destroyer and you've got as many as 5 squadrons activating at once. Believe me when I say it can hurt a lot when four or more 8 point squadrons active and wipe out 2-3 of your own.

However.... they die pretty quickly. If a Nebulon-B Escort is hanging around, then I would put a lot of money on the Rebel player using his two blue dice anti-fighter armament as often as possible. Which in itself is exactly what an Imperial player wants you to do. For every shot you are taking at TIEs, that Star Destroyer isn't dying, and that is definitely bad. The worst part is that it is really a lose-lose situation. If you leave them to romp around your X-Wings, then you can pretty much guarantee that they will win out and start hitting you with Blue dice bombing thanks. They may not have the Bomber keyword, but adding 2-3 more blue dice a turn will hurt. 

The real ace of the game is Howlrunner (currently). Her ability to add a bonus anti-squadron dice to another squadron with Swarm is insane. Make sure to move her first though, as you don't want to make the mistake of not getting her within distance 1 of the engagement. Always remember though that if there is ANYTHING left alive after you have done your shenanigans, you can pretty much guarantee that she will be the one who is targeted. A great tactic to use is to move her in first and engage 1-2 squadrons that you want taken out, followed closely by three more tie squadrons. It is far better to selectively target squadrons then just go wildly into the fray (Unlike X-Wings). 

Most of our games see the TIEs moving in and absolutely demolishing half of the X-Wings.... to be then completely wiped by a combined effort of retaliation and supporting Nebulon-B's. I am yet to work a way around not using anti-fighter attacks from my ships.....something to work on I guess!

Who doesn't love the Iconic nature of the X-Wing? It is the symbol of freedom! Well......let's not go into the minor details of a death star population massacre here. 

Who remembers the first time they saw this?

 ....I do

In Armada, the X-Wing boasts five hull points, four blue anti-fighter armaments, and a single red dice vs ships. Let's not forget to mention the keyword Bomber as well. All for 13 points. Now, for a five point difference, some say that the TIE Fighters are much better. It's a valid point, but my advice is stop talking about things you don't know about. You're wrong. You ask an Imperial player how they find dealing with the added hull points? Oh no! Your two TIE Fighter squadrons that you used didn't manage to wipe 5 hull points - I'll shoot back now thanks. *Wipes a TIE Fighter off the board*. Has happened many times. 

However, as I said above, it's not all that easy. You can't simply rely on the X-Wings extra hull to get by. They have to be supported by an Escort Nebulon-B. This is largely for two reasons. Firstly, for the Squadron activation of 2 (3 with a token). If you are moving first, try not to pull off a squadron activation until you are already engaged. If you can survive the first wave of TIEs coming in, then you will be able to hit back - hard. Activating 3 X-Wings means you could, in theory, wipe off 3 TIE Squadrons. Obviously this almost never happens though, but 1-2 is almost a given. The second reason for bringing the Nebulon is that whatever you don't wipe out completely can be taken out by the anti-squadron armament (the only ship in the game, currently, to sport 2 blue dice and actually give you a legitimate use for shooting at fighters). Think of it this way:

1. Roll 4 blue dice, get on average 2 damage. 
2. Your next squadron should just leave that guy there (situational of course) and shoot at another Tie.
3. Take out the remaining 1 hull fighters with your two blue off of the Nebulon.

This has happened a few times before, and it usually results in a whole host of TIEs being wiped out. Remember though, that this is precisely the function that they are serving. Every-time you open up with anti-squadron, you aren't piling red dice into that Star Destroyer.

Here's a thing. I've stopped using Luke. Shock horror! I'm just not hugely sold on him right now. His ability is absolutely incredible if you have a free reign of the board, but I'm just not getting through those fighters fast enough for this to happen. When Wedge comes out however.......

In our 400 point games, I settle on 6 X-Wing squadrons. Mostly because I find that is enough to deal with around 10 TIEs, but it also means that I can squeeze in an additional Nebulon-B. 

Wave 1:
The upcoming fighter packs will bring far more diversity to the game. Spicerack is looking forward to some speed 5 Interceptor shenanigans, and I am looking forward to bringing some speed 2 bombers....the mighty B-Wings! Not to mention Wedge, whose ability is just plain awesome:



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