The Imperials have made a pretty strong showing at the last two System Open Series Events – lets take a look at what makes them tick!
Hey BoLS Readers and X-Wing Pilots. As many of you know Fantasy Flight Games is hosting the System Open Series in which 8 events will be held in 8 nations with the winner of each event invited to the Coruscant Invitational to be held in London, England.
It’s kind of a big deal. Now, with 3 of those events over and the next 5 on the way, we’ve seen The Empire pull ahead of the other two factions in wins. This had many players confused as Scum had such a strong showing in the Hoth Open with the new JumpMaster 5000. It was a big meta shift but now a bit of a sleeper ship has popped up as The Inquisitor in his TIE Advanced Prototype has been making waves with the Emperor. Lets look at the two winning lists.
Jakku Open – Imperial List
Endor Open – Winning List
When running these two lists, both players had similar advice.
Fernando: “Fly very conservative, try to take advantage in the first round of combat at Range 3, then try to get the Shuttle in the middle of the combat to get extra firepower and cause some bumps. Use Proton Rockets to get rid of an important ship, and then let Soontir [Fel] and The Inquisitor do their job.”
Piotr: “Actually I have two hints for aspiring players. Place your asteroids carefully. Some of my games, especially against large ships such as Aggressors, were won mainly due to conveniently placed obstacles. Furthermore, you must learn to be patient. If you attack too quickly, your opponent will counter you with his full force. Wait until he breaks his formation or needs to avoid an obstacle.”
It’s not always about packing the most points efficient ships and weapons and pointing them at your opponents. Obstacle placement, maneuvering and patience paid off for these two winners. One of the things that was implied is that use of bumping to setup the real killer hits. If you read the full articles from FFG, each pilot also talked about some really close games that came down to maneuvering and a bit of luck:
Piotr: “I especially remember my 9th round game. I was playing against a Crackshot Swarm and a very experienced player. My opponent had bad luck at the beginning of combat and lost two important ships, each receiving a Direct Hit (Howlrunner and “Scourge”). Despite that fact, he showed superb skills, and his crippled Swarm successively destroyed three of my ships (“Wampa”, “Omega Leader”, and Omicron Group Pilot), losing only one TIE Fighter. At this point in time, I was losing the game, and due to my low MoV, I would not make it to the Top 8.
My remaining ship (The Inquisitor) was moving last—after Mauler Mithel and two Black Squadron Pilots—and my opponent successfully managed to block me or evade my shots. Three minutes before the end of round, I finally killed Mauler Mithel and won the game 70-69.”
Fernando: “Against Franck Beaujot that put me up against Chopper with Autoblaster Turret, Gold Squadron with Twin Laser Turret, [BTL-A4 Y-wing] title, and R3-A2, and Wes Janson with Veteran Instincts and BB-8. I loved the list as [soon as] I saw it, and I thought I was going to lose. But my good luck and my gambit on the Gold Squadron pilot paid off. Memorable match!”
What’s important to note is that both of these guys played with cool heads even when things were looking down. Piotr was able to scrape by and get a win by a single point and Fernando pushed his luck vs a list he thought he was going to lose to and got a win.
But enough about the players, let’s talk about the lists really quick:
The Omicron Group Pilot is the cheapest way to get Emperor Palpatine in a Shuttle. It’s a big, beefy ship that has a surprising amount of firepower. If you haven’t seen in action before you would think “oh that’s that crappy shuttle from the movies, it doesn’t even have guns.” Well, you’d be wrong. A big ship with a 3 dice primary can fulfill an important battlefield roll – bumping. It’s going to have a big target on it’s head (mostly due to Emperor Palpatine’s ability) and the temptation to shoot at this ship vs your more fragile fighters just might tip the scales. Those 3 dice will also allow you to play mop-up if this ship gets ignored. It’s PS 2 so it’s probably firing last – after your Aces have done all the work. Hey, 3 dice is still 3 dice that something has to dodge – don’t count this ship out!
This load-out lets the you become one slippery snake. The Inquisitor is one mean arc dodger and his return fire will always be 3 dice. You can sprinkle in rockets if you’d like but even without them his ship will be hard to pin down and it will make you pay for being in it’s arc – even at range 3. Because of Autothrusters it’s also able to really stay back and plink shots at range 3 and it also helps to mitigate those pesky turret ships. They synergize with The Inquisitor’s ability really well to add some much appreciated defense to this ship. This is going to be a strong ship in the Imperial Arsenal so be sure you’re prepared for it.
Even though both lists used those two as basically a base for their list similarities, you can see the divergence in ships. Piotr opted for a pair of strong wingmen in “Wampa” and “Omega Leader” and Fernando decided to put the rest of his points in another super effective Imperial Ace – Soontir Fel.
None of those ships scream “I tank all the damage!” – no these are all ships that are designed to be flown with some skill. They all pack a punch as well and will pick apart a ship given the right maneuvers and timing. Anyone off the street could put together these two lists, but flying them effectively is the real challenge. It’s not easy to line up shots after that initial fly-by pass which is why many players want to load-up on the Alpha Strike and hope for hot dice turn 1-2. Make no mistake, these two lists are NOT for rookies. But if you want to get better, you’re going to want to take them out for a spin. Just keep reminding yourself to play patience and when you see the opportunity – Go for it!
So X-Wing Aces – What is YOUR counter for Arc Dodgers? I think it’s really a matter of piloting and dog fighting skills…