Every time you think you have the meta down – along comes a wrecking ball.
So I was running a pretty competitive list against my friend tonight and we normally play very competitive. The list I brought was pretty standard, Rieekan Carriers, basically the bees knees when it comes to being a very solid, all-rounded list. Out of nowhere, he whips out Motti double ISD-Is with literally a billion ties. I think he had something like 12 squadrons out there with old school Howl, Dengar and Vader carrying 9 or so regular TIE Fighters. Despite playing pretty well, I lost the game, but it made me think about something.
If the meta is running Rhymerballs, Fireballs or Rebel Aces, why are people not putting out a billion cheap TIEs to act as a hard counter? They’re cheap enough that they can flood the field, and their damage output is very respectable when you consider the extra dice, the re-roll and the Counter from Dengar. Sure, the list I brought would have been great against top-heavy lists, as well as Fireballs and other meta plays like DeMSU, but I was completely unprepared to face the TIE Swarm. For a second, I seriously thought I was playing X-Wing with the amount of accurate blue anti-squadron coming towards my aces.
Think about this for a second realistically: If Rhymerballs, Fireballs and Rieekan Aces exist in the meta, the most cost-effective counter to them would be in Imperials right? They already have the Raider I with OE and Kallus (serious counter to Rebel Aces), and now you add a TIE Swarm and I think you can have a very strong list against the meta. When you have that many squadrons, even synergistic aces like Dutch + Wedge or Yavaris start to feel the pressure is being outnumbered, and out-diced. You’re looking at a 20-point X-Wing like Wedge having to deal with a TIE who costs 2.5x less than he does throwing out questionably better damage over time, especially when you’re bidding to go after he does. If you weren’t playing Rieekan for example, and are just running a stock Rhymerball or Fireball, or even 5x YTs, there’s a chance none of your squadrons will be able to attack back before they get killed by such an onslaught of anti-squadron damage.
Anyways, I just wanted to share this semi-random, but totally valid experience. If the meta is going into an arena where you’ll encounter more squadrons, Bomber Command Center, and carrier lists and/or Rhymerball variants will be strong, I think it would be wise to entertain the idea that we might be onto something here.
For now, I’m picturing: Tagge, ISD-II, Raider with OE/Kallus, a Demolisher maybe or stock VSD, and run a big, healthy TIE Swarm with Howl, Vader and Dengar. Who knows, maybe Dengar isn’t even needed, but having him there to give accurate pseudo-Counter 2s is always good.
~What meta-busting fleets have you run into unexpectedly?