Monday, January 30, 2017

"Stay on target..." - The Y Wing Starfighter

To pair with our initial X-wing and TIE posts, I thought I'd throw out the Y Wing post.  The cheapest original squadron on the Rebel side, it had the easiest "Front Towards Enemy" approach.

A lot of people look at the Y wing as Baby's First Squadron, and people just use them as a stepping stone to better (B-Wing) squadrons.  But these aren't just Luigi to the X-wing's Mario, the second player controller you give your little brother.  They're Mario 2 (Doki Doki Panic) Luigi! With extra high jumps and a weirder looking sprite for your guy (this metaphor has gotten away from me, haha).

Two blue dice isnt much to write home about, but let's compare them to a TIE Bomber.  The Bomber has one more speed, and is one point cheaper.  That's all the benefits it gets, compared to a Y wing, in my (COMPLETELY UNBIASED) view.  The Y wing has one more hit point, which means it survives longer.  It gets 2 blue dice, which as JJ showed at Worlds 2016 (albeit with Flight Controllers) can be enough to mulch your way through a lot of enemy squadrons, especially with a Toryn Farr reroll.  JJ applied the lessons of Squadron Combat (Here's MY thoughts on it...) and overwhelmed any squadrons with copious amounts of dice.  Braces and Scatters on enemy aces died under the intense efforts.  You can't scatter 5 atttacks, no matter what happens.  And then the Y wings started hitting the enemy ships.

Y Wings are Bombers.  As we covered before, the primary role of your bombers is to hit enemy ships.  Every turn (except 1) that they're not hitting enemy ships is a turn they're not getting more value for you that they could be.  The ideal case is that you're somehow hitting ships with your Y wings on turns 2 through 6, but that's not an actual thing that happens.  The more turns you have them hitting ships, though, the more turns you have them rolling black dice.  There's nothing more satisfying than watching someone have to decide if they really want to spend the Raider's Brace to reduce the Hit+Crit down to the more manageable one damage that MAY keep them alive.  Mmmm, tasty.

That cheapness is another benefit of the Y wing.  Speed 3 keeps them the same speed as your X-wings, so they can escort them into combat, let Intel and your fighters lock down the enemy squadrons, and then send the Y-wings on in.  ISDs die to Concentrated Squadron Fire, just due to sheer overwhelming of the defense tokens.  When it has to choose to redirect 2 damage from one bomb to just not take it on the unshielded side, that's great usage for its power.  Imagine doing that 3-4 times..... And big ships without shields are just floating rocks, waiting for death.

So I hear you want to swarm....
If we're going to talk Y Wings and swarming, though, we need to mention the new Norra Wexley.  Thanks to the way damage resolution works, they have to choose their Defense Tokens before you resolve a critical effect.  If they aren't redirecting the damage away the side you're attacking, you can choose the Extra Shield damage and just start cracking into the hull that much sooner.

Let me propose a scenario for you.  Norra and 3 Y wings are attacking a Raider.  Norra goes first and thanks to Bomber Command Center, gets a hit and crit.  The Raider braces it down, but the crit still triggers and down goes its 2 side shields.  The remaining 3 Y wings now can, with some good rolls and a lucky crit or two, deal the necessary 4 damage to kill the Raider.  That's a terrifying thing that ships are going to need to be concerned about.  Or, even more terrifying, if the Y wings wipe out the shields on an ISD on 2-3 sides, the MC30 that follows up with all the black dice cant WAIT to hit an unshielded ship that has 2 useless redirects.

Gold Squadron is the new hotness.  With the plethora of reroll options now, its a more guaranteed 2 damage.  I like it, and it combines really well with Precision Strike (give up the Hit dice you rolled, let the Crit dice or other Hit Dice go through for ANOTHER damage plus the 15 points).  Even against Mon Mothma, she can only make you reroll one.  And if you're firing on a flotilla, an accuracy and a hit are great together!

Dutch and Wedge were one of the great Wave II combos.  I still love using them together, especially with Yavaris.  Shut down 2 squadrons, use Wedge to Kill them SUPER dead.  I havent used the combo since then, but with Toryn Farr now it's even more of a pain as you have a very good chance of guaranteeing the hit from Dutch.  No real reason I've moved away from it, but it's still good.

Y wings can get work done.  They're not as glamorous as B wings, not as good against squadrons as X wings, but for sheer points and ability, they can wreck Big Ship lives.  They're basic bombers, but their damage is significantly higher than you'd think, just rolling wave after wave of damage into ships.  Admirals on ISDs need to learn to fear the Wishbone...