X-Wing: Swarm Theory – Pt. 3 – Howlrunner!
So just as a quick recap over the last two parts of Swarm Theory we have gone over how the basic TIE Swarm works with lots of small attacks focused in to one area and the advantages that presenting multiple targets has by helping you keep ships alive after they have taken damage, due to the fact that they continue to operate at full effectiveness until dead, so if you can keep them an extra turn or two with some fancy flying it can really help drag the enemy down.
We also covered how important the opening moves are for a Swarm and I stressed the importance of practicing them a few times, even if it is by yourself. This principle gets even more important when flying with a fulcrum such as Howlrunner (or Biggs if you are Rebel Scum…)
So lets just jump right in and show all of you TIE lovers the woman of your dreams!
Here she is, Howlrunner in all of her 18 Point glory. She is still just a TIE Fighter but does boast a lovely Pilot Skill of 8 and has access to an Elite Pilot Talent.
The important part though, is her Pilot Ability;
“When another friendly ship at Range 1 is attacking with its primary weapon, it may reroll 1 attack die.”
Having done the rough math* this bumps your base chance to hit to the same as if you took a Focus Action. If you stack that with a Focus Action and assuming range band 2 or 3 that give you a 98% chance of getting at least one Hit or Crit Result and an 84% chance of getting 2 Hits of some sort.
If you feel like taking an Evading Action instead of a Focus Action the numbers are still a 75% Chance of at least one Hit and a 38% chance of 2 Hits.
As a force multiplier this is fairly insane and while obviously your opponent will still get a chance to Evade your shots as long as you took a Focus Action you will have a 78% chance of getting at least one Hit through two Un-Focused Evade Dice, which is not too shabby at all when you are rolling up to 6 Attacks.
*Take numbers with a pinch of salt as its a dice game and some rounding was done to keep the math easy.
Now that we have covered what she does and why it is good lets look at how she fits in to a 100 Point Squad.
===================As Basic As It Gets===================Howlrunner (18)Academy Pilot (12)Academy Pilot (12)Academy Pilot (12)Academy Pilot (12)Academy Pilot (12)Academy Pilot (12)90 points
Now obviously as she is 18 points you can no longer fit 8 Ships in to a list with Howlrunner. The simplest thing to do is stick with TIE Fighters and if you went with 6 Academy pilots you have 10 Points left for Upgrades.
The Upgrades I like the most are things to help Howlrunner stick around for a bit longer, with a Stealth Device being a popular choice that gives you an extra Evade Dice until you suffer your first hit.
With the emergence of Lt. Blount with Wave 4 and his ability to always count as hitting his target I can see a Hull Upgrade becoming more popular but that could just be a knee jerk reaction.
I am also a fan of giving her Determination for 1 Point as her Elite Pilot Talent, ensuring that you ignore any pilot related critical hits can help to ensure that you Pilot Ability continues to function even if you are hit by an Injured Pilot result. It may not happen often but when it does you will be glad of the one point spent! There are 8 Critical Hits that are related to the Pilot and seeing as that is just under 25% of the deck there is a fair bet you will get some mileage out of it, especially if you do go Hull Upgrade rather than Stealth Device.
So even if you go for that you will still have 6 points left to play with and this is what is so interesting about a 7 TIE Swarm. After the essentials of Howlruner and something to help her you have between 10 and 6 squad points left to upgrade a TIE or two.
The same options are open to you as in the 8 TIE Swarm where you can include a named TIE to add either some more Offense or Defense depending on your play style. The most common choices are Dark Curse or Night Beast for defensive options or Mauler Mithel or Backstabber for a more offensive take on the theme.
Next time on Swarm Tactics we will be covering the actual flying of both the 6 TIE group and whatever you chose to be the 7th Ship. If you have any interesting experience with or against a 7 TIE swarm I would love to hear about them so comment away! Also worth pointing out the slight name change of the series to just Swarm Theory rather than TIE Swarm Theory so yes there will be some Rebel Swarm talk soon…