Greetings all, Ed here from NOVA Squadron Radio! This will be another one of my series of X-Wing Tactics articles here on Bell of Lost Souls. Today we will address what will soon be THE hot build in X-Wing, the 58 Point Dash build. What is this new Dash build? How do you fly it and more importantly, how do you defeat it?
Welcome to Wave 5, welcome to the new ‘Dash’ meta!
Wave 5 is finally here! Bringing with it much rejoicing from the masses that weren’t able to make it to GenCon or Worlds. With everyone now having the opportunity to fly these new ships and them becoming legal for competitive play let’s take a look at what new options, builds and problems (and I am not just talking about how to store the beastly Decimator…) they will be bringing to the table. Starting of course with Super Dash and his Doughnut of Doom!
Right out of the gate this smoking hot combo is poised to be all the rage at your local game store for the next several months, at least! But is this list really THAT good and will it really push all of the top dogs, like Fat Han, out of their spot? Many believe the answer to that question is an easy yes. This list is faster, hits harder, and does crazier things on the battlefield. It is a much more forgiving list for the new pilots to the game, as obstacles will not be as punishing to strip actions away and cause damage to your ship, but it still will require some skill to fly. If you fly it more like an Interceptor then a pinball, you should be fine. It will have a huge impact, even at the local tournament level, on the meta as a whole. So what is this new ‘Super’ Dash build we keep hearing about, and why is it so good?
The stock 58 Point Dash Doughnut of Doom:
|Dash Rendar (36), The Outrider Title (5), Heavy Laser Cannon (7), Kyle Katarn (Crew) (3), Push the Limit (3), and Engine Upgrade (5)|
The rest of the 42 points worth of the list is usually styled to taste, and still up for debate at this early point. Right now, you will see all sorts of things to accompany this list, things like another YT-2400 with another HLC, 2 Rookie pilots, some Zs, and so on. But Dash is usually the centerpiece to the list, and it’s most powerful asset.
Because the ship has a native barrel roll action (which prompted the FAQ change to how large base ships barrel roll, which HAD to have been exposed by this build in play-testing!) along with the added boost action from Engine Upgrade, this ship is deceivingly fast, and can be behind you in a heartbeat with a 4 attack die turret to sling laser bolts all over the board. And of course, let’s not forget Dash’s ability to ignore obstacles in the Activation phase. This basically means that he can barrel roll/boost on to an asteroid or debris field, skips their effects thanks to his ability, and perform a boost or barrel roll action to move off of them again. This makes the ship very forgiving to the new player and just deadly in the hands of an experienced pilot.
How Fast is Fast?
Here is just a quick demonstration of how fast this ship really is. If you start with Dash as far forward as you can in your deployment area, use the straight 4 forward movement, barrel roll left or right as far forward as you can, and then boost forward as well, you can get half way across the board in a single activation phase. That is easily faster than any other ship in the game. Please see the comparison below with Sootir Fel in the ‘speedy’ TIE Interceptor with triple actions.
|Speed kills peaches!|
How Mobile is Mobile?
With the native barrel roll alongside the added boost action, hard turns, and a turret weapon, this ship can easily get behind your squad in a flash. In the example below, this TIE mini-Swarm is closing in on Dash, only to be completely out of firing arc after his movement and actions. And now they will be victims to that big Heavy Laser Cannon which will wreck their day.
|Really hard to lock this ship down|
How Hard is Hard?
Those 4 Attack dice with the Heavy Laser cannon hit really hard, and can easily one shot TIES, Z-95s, and do a ton of damage to large based ships too. Sure, the first roll of the dice forces you to convert crits to hits, as per the rules of the HLC. However, on the re-roll from a Target Locks, for example, any crits that are rolled then are kept. With three actions, one of which is always a free focus action, you can guarantee the ‘Target Lock’ and ‘Focus’ combo every round and basically ensure 4 hits on your target. That kind of hitting power and reliability is quite powerful. And keep in mind, most likely this ship will be behind your firing arcs when unleashing this sort of firepower, not seeing much of a counter attack.
|The most vicious Doughnut in the world!|
Eating the Doughnut of Doom: Where is this list weakest?
So if this combo is so good, how does one defeat it? Where are its weaknesses and what can best exploit them? Well, for starters it is called the Doughnut of Doom for a reason. It has one really big hole right in the middle! With the HLC + Outrider combo, this ship has no shots at range 1, and with this gigantic hole in it’s defenses, exploiting this is the easiest way to defeat it.
PS 8 or better:
Typically, people will not run ‘Veteran Instincts’ on Dash, opting for the triple action fun of ‘Push the Limit.’. Meaning his Pilot Skill of 7 is a weakness. Pilots with a PS of 8 or better will have the ability to move after Dash, get in close, and hit him with Range 1 shots with no fear of return fire. Pilots like the aforementioned Soontir Fel, and the named Phantoms of Whisper and Echo, are good examples of ships that can best exploit this hole. Especially Echo with her ability to have a far more unpredictable declock then her higher Pilot Skilled counterpart Whisper, and hence less likely to be blocked out. I am really looking forward to seeing more Echoes on the board; she is my personal favorite ship in the game. But any ship with a PS 8 or better, accompanied by a lot of movement, be that a decloak move, or a boost, will all do bad things to Dash.
A Stressed Dash is your Friend:
In order to get the most out of Dash, the player flying him will usually have him stressed so that he can use Kyle Katarn’s ability to generate a free focus token and get that triple action fun going. And while this indeed makes the ship quite powerful, it also limits what movements it can pull off. If you look at the YT-2400’s dial, you will see that it only has four green maneuvers, the 1 and 2 straight and the 1 banks. Meaning you can pretty much know where this ship is going to be next turn. Now, if the player decides to not blow off their stress, then they are really limiting the power of their ship, not using all the actions available to them, and these are all good things for you.
You can further compound this with any other card that adds stress to Dash, cards like Flchette Torpedoes and Tactician are amazing to keep Dash really hand cuffed on what he can do as he tries to blow off multiple stress tokens. Also, one of the ‘other’ YT-2400 pilots Eaden Vrill, along with a Gunner, is another good way to exploit Dash’s constant state of stress.
|Helpful Stress Aides|
A sample anti-Dash List: The Stress List
So I am still trying to zero in on a list I believe will work well in the Wave 5 meta, that both addresses the Dash menace and is still viable in the post wave 4 meta as well. However, at the early onset of this new meta, one list really stands out to me. One of lists that really turned a lot of heads at Worlds 2014 is one I believe will give Dash all sorts of fits of frustration. I will credit Scott Williams (Mr. Forggies) and Jonathan Gomes for the follow list, and it made top 32 at Worlds, so it will still hold up to the older ships as well:
|A Very Stressful Game!|
The thought process behind this list is to exploit two things about the Dash build. First, Dash wants to be at range two or better, which is great for B-Wings with Tactician, because they will love piling on the stress tokens on to Dash. Second, I really like the idea of being able to Ionize Dash as well as having several stress tokens on top of him. And with a turret, Dash’s ability to be behind my ships isn’t such a bad thing. Not to mention that the B-Wings can just pull a 2-K Turn and keep Dash in firing arcs.
What are your thoughts? What do you think of the Dash list and how would you counter it?