Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Using the LFC: Bombers and YOU!

Having finished the flotilla article that I'm linking to right now, it's time to get back to one of my other passions:
"My passions, concentrated on a single point, resemble the rays of a sun assembled by a magnifying glass: they immediately set fire to whatever object they find in their way."
No, not.....that.  Not that AT ALL.  We're talking about how to use your LFC group!

Before we begin, and much like last time, we need to figure out our examples for you and your opponent's squadrons.  For us, we're going to use the New Rebel Hotness:
That Norra is so hot right now.
Wait, here's the actual one.
Tremble in fear at my many squadrons coming at you! Moo hoo ha haaaaa!
Shara Bey, Wedge Antilles, Jan Ors, 3 B-wings, Norra Wexley, Gold Squadron, and a Z95 Headhunter.  As for our Imperial friends, and since we're solving this puzzle (finally!) let's hear from our good friend contractually obligated friend stolen Google Image search Alex Trebek.
This won't be the only joke today with a man in a mustache!
 "From Coruscant, this group of pilots represents our example of the SFC."
Are we still here? Have we not been shot yet?
What are 6 TIE fighters?  Correct!

"Billed as the Start of the Imperial Squadron Renaissance, these MFC mooks excel at killing Rebel squadrons because they are big jerks with their stupid jerk faces."
You know its true because the fancy man in the suit said so!
What are 6 TIE Defenders? Also correct!

"And lastly in the category, the pilot of Scimitar 1, he ran away from the Second Death Star Battle like a little whiner when his side lost: he took his LFC Ball and went home, if you will."
I'd make an answer about Mauler Mithel, but he died too quickly.  He was Vader's wingman who yelled "Look out!" when Han shot him.
Who are Major Rhymer, 2 Jumpmasters, 5 TIE Bombers, Tempest Squadron, a TIE Advanced, Black Squadron, and Mauler Mithel? Correct, way to sweep the category!

It's the same 3 groups as before, and they actually all represent different things, so we'll hit all three of them below.  And our LAST bit of all this, before we get to the prequel before the article.
I'm aware this lead in is taking a while, yes.  But koala-tee is important.
I just want to reiterate our key points from the Using the SFC article, as they relatively relate here and I don't need to re-explain these all. We'll be making some additions to these for the LFC, but we'll get to THAT later.

1) Measure and Visualize Your Ranges
2) Squadrons activated by squadron commands > Rogue squadrons > Unactivated regular squadrons
3) When attacking enemy squadrons, one dead squadrons beats 2 mostly injured ones
4) Use your flak shots to HELP damage enemy squadrons when you can
5A) When attacking a fighter group, move in as a group with your own fighters and engage one side of the squadron ball
5B) When attacking a fighter group, send in your fighters to have them engage different sides of your opponent's squadron ball, and try to have them meet in the middle.
6) Always remember that the main goal of the SFC is to occupy enemy squadrons as long as possible, potentially even at the cost of their own lives.

How do these change for the LFC? Well, let me do the introduction first!  So the joke opening (after my prequel, redeclaration of what we already know, and reintroduction of everyone we use as examples, haha!) to start out this all out is that when you're at work and you have the thought to say something during a meeting, you need to consider three things.
Is this working?
1) Does this need to be said?
2) Does this need to be said by me?
3) Does this need to be said by me today?

The focus of these questions lets you decide whether or not interjecting your opinion into a discussion is both 1) relevant, 2) worth potentially angering someone above you in an effort to point out something you notice 3) and whether or not it's pressing enough that you need to say it NOW.  If your boss is trying to spend half a million dollars on a new piece of equipment, ask yourself those questions to determine if you need to speak up in the meeting.  It's a very good tool, now if only I would follow it!

So why do I bring THAT all up? Because using the LFC is very similar!  Each time you activate a squadron near OTHER squadrons, you need to ask yourself 3 questions as well!

1) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron?
2) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate?
3) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate with THIS squadron?

If your opponent didn't bring squadrons or if you've dealt with them all, you can go right ahead and start bombing his ships.  You mainly need to worry about dealing with other squadrons first, and THEN you can worry about hitting his ships.  I'm not going to get into How to Bomb here, as I mainly did that in the LFC group before.

I mean, basically, yeah.
Let's break these thoughts down 1 at a time.

1) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron?
First, you need to evaluate how important killing that specific squadron is.  Let's look at an example below.

There's a lot of pictures and examples here, I try to break them all up with the jokey jokes.
The TIE fighter in the top left of the picture is engaged by Shara at full health, and your B-wings are near the front of that Gladiator.  There sure is another TIE fighter in front of that Gladiator, and that could be a problem... if it wasn't in that Intel bubble and engaging Wedge! Thanks, Jan Ors!  Your B-wings don't need to attack those enemy TIEs, they can go right for the Gladiator they want to be hitting.  Let's look at another example below.
When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way.  From your first cigarette to your last dying day!
Across from your squadrons that are about to activate are several other TIEs.  You have several choices of who is going to act, but whatever squadron you activate is going to want to be able to deal/lock down those TIEs.  You don't want them being able to move and attack you, so you need/want to send in a squadron or two to get them locked down before they can attack you (Shara seems like a lovely choice, and she can engage most if not all of them at the same time if she jumps in that opening in the middle!).  Hit them before they hit you, don't let them engage several sides of your bubble, I say, referencing my own work like a more literate Bon Jovi.
Shots fired at both Tommy and Gina
2) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate?
This is very similar, but it's a different version of the above.  It's a matter of determining whether or not your opponent's squadron activating will help or hinder your plans significantly.  This one helps with more examples.  First!

A lot going on here, but it gets explained below.
As we can see in the picture, I have 2 TIEs engaged and 2 unengaged.  The 2 engaged ones can activate as needed, but with one Hit Point left each and engaging different squadrons each, they will not be killing anyone and moving, no matter HOW well they roll.  With the unengaged 2, however, Jan Ors is nowhere in sight (deliberately, for this example, of course.)  SOMEONE (Wedge maybe?) is going to have to get over there and engage them before they can jump your bombers and prevent them from moving this turn.  Your LFC in this case is acting like half of a SFC (jumping your opponent's squadrons before they can go and engage your bombers) and half a bomber cloud.  The benefit of the Rebel squadrons is that most of your squadrons can double as both as needed.  Even your Y-wings can throw semi-competent dice at your opponent's squadrons if needed.

Not just for Death Stars anymore!
However, let's take a look at a DIFFERENT example that warrants more thought and care.
Look, up at the top! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a Demolisher!
In this picture, we have Wedge engaging two different TIEs, and it's been a heck of a space battle so far.  The B-wing is down to one health, as are the 2 TIEs engaging him.  Wedge is nearby and at full health, but he's engaging TIEs himself!  Based on this image, we can see that if those TIEs on the left get to go, they're going to hit that B-wing and likely kill it.  We can move Jan Ors in to make the TIEs engaging Wedge heavy (and we can attack one with her too!), so he can go and save that B-wing with his Escort.

However, this is a deceptive example.  What's the status of the Demolisher near those TIEs? He's only partially pictured, nor are the rest of your squadrons (Shara, Norra, Gold, etc).  Maybe right now it's crucially more important that we send our other 2 B-wings in to attack Demolisher, or finish off Motti's ISD (not pictured), nearly dead B-wing be darned.

Darned to heck as much as Motti's ISD is in this picture
What this point means is that you not only need to determine if the squadron is worth fighting, but you need to determine if it's worth fighting NOW.  You need to look at the game state, see what's going on, what you're trying to accomplish, what ships you're attempting to blow up this turn, this activation, right now.  Last example:

You would think that based on my constant attacking of it, I really dislike Demolisher.  You would think correctly.
Similar TIEs, similar lack of engagement.  But you have Demolisher in range.  Now, when your opponent goes, he's likely going to send those TIEs in to hit your squadrons before they can go.  However, you have Miss Jan Ors in an unactivated position.  Any engaged squadron can have Jan move into place and free them up to continue bombing Demolisher.  If they don't move the squadrons in next activation, you can just keep going on bombing and not needing to worry if they're engaged or not!
No one tell my girlfriend I made this.  Not because we ALL have a crush on Jan Ors, but because I then have to explain a bunch of Armada gameplay to her that only makes me look even more like a giant nerd.
3) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate with THIS squadron?

This one isn't as complicated, it's more of a designation of roles and activation orders.  Simply enough, if you're activating X squadrons, what are those X squadrons going to do? Who's going to fight what?  Simple example 1
Two of the most different squadrons we can bring to this example
In this example, we've got a wounded TIE and a healthy TIE across from us, and let's say that we only have 2 squadrons left to activate: Shara Bey and a Z95.  Who do we send, who goes first, what's the plan, Stan?
Don't need to be coy, Roy, just listen to me.
The smartest way to do things (again, in THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE) is to send in Shara first to hit the undamaged TIE.  Then, since she's also engaging the wounded TIE, you can send in the Z95 and use the Swarm reroll if needed to hit that wounded TIE.  What if you had Wedge and Gold Squadron? Wedge hits the unhurt one, and Gold hits the wounded one.  This is a combination of knowing what you roll versus what your opponent's squadrons can do.  Let's pull another example together.
A lot going on here...
Somehow in this example, we've got Norra, a mess of B-wings, and Shara Bey all in range of some squadrons.  If we had (in this example), the Independence (not pictured) with a squadron token pushing all 5, what do we do?  We can push Norra and the B-wings into attacking the Demolisher right over there, and with our 5th squadron activation, we can either have Shara go for those TIEs, or we can push her into attacking Demolisher.  What if we had smacked Demolisher down to 4 hit points wounded and no shields anywhere to redirect to? Then we'd be very glad that we didn't send Shara in to engage those TIEs earlier in the turn when 6/8 dice sides of hers would be death for Demolisher.
Shara's playing this game better than any of the rest of us now!  Also, I'm so grateful for Google Image Search.
If however, Demolisher wasn't near death, and you had a second group of squadrons coming in next activation, Shara would want to go for those TIEs to make sure they aren't moving and preventing your other bombers/squadrons from doing their jobs.  As a Rebel, remember that a lot of your squadrons can double up on the jobs of fighters and bombers.  X-wings, B-wings, Y-wings after a fashion (more Bomber with slight fighter ability as needed.  Please don't need it often...), etc.  Remember the real goal of your bombers: SUBSTANTIAL damage into enemy ships.

In reality, these questions are ones you should be asking yourself with all squadrons and groups of squadrons, be they SFC, MFC, LFC, or KFC.
Told you I'd have more Guys with Mustaches jokes.  I would rank this joke as finger licking good, too.
But it's much simpler for using the SFC to just occupy whatever is going where and saying "Delay them from doing damage as much as possible."  There's a LOT to squadron combat, and more as you go up and up in size of squadrons being brought.  I tried to keep the last time simple, but you get the complicated here.  A lot of this, of course, is going to be understood better in practice.

Let's break this all down with each squadron group and see how these rules apply to fighting each group, as they have different roles and different plans for each group:

LFC vs SFC
We've been running a lot of TIEs in our previous examples, as they're easy enough to distinguish from our Rebel squadrons.  With a recognizable SFC, they're trying to buy time to occupy you for as long as possible.  They want to waste as much of your time as they can, forcing you to jump all over with your Intel ship and making bombing his ships harder to do.  Remember point 6 above? Let's repost it here, with a Simpsons image with it.

Always remember that the main goal of the SFC is to occupy enemy squadrons as long as possible, potentially even at the cost of their own lives.
So how do you deal with that? You have 2 options, which really ONLY apply to Rebel squadrons because of the way they're built.

You can either treat your entire swath of squadrons as a larger bundle of SFC, where you use EVERYTHING to hit your opponent's squadrons, stopping them from ever engaging you or bothering you the rest of the game

OR

You take the representatives of your LFC that are meant to be hitting squadrons (YT-1300s, X-wings, A-wings, etc) and use those to engage your opponent's squadrons, leaving your bombers to go do their jobs.

The second way is really the Imperial way, as all the Imp squadrons are specialized in their jobs.  You CAN send in TIE Bombers to attack your opponent's squadrons (and I'm sure Eric has feelings on this!) but I wouldn't (Eric, anything to add?) Don't send a dupe to do a squint's job, you know?

Why yes I did just start rereading this today, why do you ask?
There isn't a great way to determine what you need to do.  If your opponent is smart, they throw their TIEs all over and engage your squadrons six different ways from Sunday.  Eric does this to me all the time, and it's very aggravating to fight.  Jan can't be everywhere, right?  This is the benefit of the 2 YT-1300s/2 HWK-290s plan, in that you can just keep jumping them around and blowing up whatever you need as everything else goes, giving out Intel where needed as well.  It's going to come down to game state and what matters, but remember what the original goal of your bombers is: messing up enemy ships.  Keep them free to attack what's important, but if you end up spending one turn just wiping out all your opponent's squadrons, that's several turns you can spend bombing his ships with ALL your squadrons, and that's money in the bank.  And I suppose damage into his ships, as well.  Phrasing both of those instructions slightly better:

7) When attacking a squadron group less than yours, you can either send everything in to overwhelm them and wipe them out, or you can send enough to occupy them while your others go and attack their ships.
This applies to both the MFC and LFC, luckily enough!  And you'll need to determine the answers to those 3 questions from above, too!

1) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron?
2) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate?
3) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate with THIS squadron?

When attacking the SFC with your LFC, remember those questions and your goal.  This SEEMS very complicated, and is relatively a lot of the reason I started writing this whole series.  I realize me getting to the very end of the series and then being like "Decide for yourselves what to do!" is a very crappy ending to this, but it's going to depend so much on game state and everything.  Your LFC isn't JUST your squadrons, but your ships, their flak, Toryn Farr, Bomber Command Center, the objective, and everything else.  The whole story needs to get taken into account and I can't tell you how to interpret the ending, that's up to you to do, as unhelpful and as crappy of an ending as it is.

Steve, I love you and your writing, but the joke popped into my head the moment I realized what I had done with this article
What about the LFC fighting the MFC?
Well, we look back at number 7 (it's like one paragraph ago!) and see what we have there.  I've got 6 TIE Defenders coming at me, and that's not great for ANY of my squadrons.  That's a lot of stupid jerk faces (Alex Trebek's words, remember!) coming at me and hitting my squadrons.  And they HURT.  A LOT.  If we send in Wedge and Shara and the Z95 only, they're gone in like 2 turns! And if I send in everything, how will my B-wings fight their way out of trouble? They're going to get squished and not bomb ships and I am sad about that!
Red Rover, Red Rover.... why don't you all stay over there away from me?
Well, as I said, the original goal of your Bombers is to bomb ships.  The goal of the game, though, is much different.

8) The goal of the game is to score the most points.

Really simple, really stupid, really important to remember.  If your B-wings team up and wail on a Defender each turn, killing 4 of them and staying alive, that's 42 points of yours you kept alive and 64 points of his that are dead.  That's a 102 point swing there in an 800 total point game.  If you take out your opponent's ship that was going to get points from Fire Lanes before it can, that's 15-45 points you just won/prevented from going to your opponent.  If you're playing Precision Strike and you can go blow up Demolisher with your B-wings, that's a dead Demolisher's worth of points you're getting PLUS the Precision Strike points!  You ARE, of course, potentially trading Wedge and Shara for that Demolisher's worth of points.  You have to evaluate what something is worth to you and what it's worth risking.  Is a dead Demolisher worth Wedge having to punch out of his X-wing from a Defender attack (In my opinion, heccccccck yes!)  If you can take out the carrier that's pushing those Defenders, that's a much stronger kill on your side, because of the always present, always important, First Law of Squadrons, displayed in number 2 above and reiterated here, as we always do, once per squadron post.

Say it along with us or the Rubber Ducky gets it
Squadrons activated by squadron commands > Rogue squadrons > Unactivated regular squadrons

Combine this with rule 3, and you know what to do.  Wail on those Defenders with everything you've got going at them, in order to kill them before they can hit you.  When I say "going at them", again, I'm not telling you what to send.  You're going to need to evaluate the 3 questions as usual here.

1) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron?
2) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate?
3) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate with THIS squadron?

I personally in this specific instance would take all 130 odd points of squadrons I've got and start shooting Defenders with them, if I can, but that's still a lot of squadrons you're hoping to kill here and that doesn't take Objective Use into account.  In this SPECIFIC instance (where we don't consider Objective!), I'd have my squadrons act as fighters first, killing a significant number of your opponent's squadrons until you can either have them dead or occupied enough that you can then go for the remaining ships.  I have, fortunately, not seen 6 Defenders anywhere in use yet, as that's 96 odd points of squadrons that have to be commanded.
You know, maybe we DON'T need Wave 6 here that soon.... Ow! Ow! Stop hitting me, Eric!
As for some LFC vs LFC action?
We're back in that "it depends" action again, just what you all wanted to hear.

I swear, I'm not forcing mustache related jokes in here, but they just keep applying!
In a race to kill a ship between you and another bomber cloud, you're going to beat a mess of TIE bombers in speed and time.  Norra and all your multi-dice squadrons will usually result in you just punching your way out of a LOT of problems, FAST.  However, you're both going to be in a heck of a slugging match, just both of you taking a lot of damage and hurting bombs.
Saving America, one punch at a time
When you're running the Rebellion, and ESPECIALLY because you're up against Major Rhymer, you're going to want to wail on those bombers before they can hit you.  The group we're facing in this instance isn't able to put significant damage into you into your squadrons before you can start hitting them all with everything you've got.  Remember point 8, and the fact that there's 134 points of squadrons sitting right there waiting to get shot by you.

1) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron?
2) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate?
3) Do I need to deal with that opponent's squadron before it can activate with THIS squadron?

Using the 3 questions, you're going to want to deal with the Intel and then Major Rhymer.  Once you've got the Intel down, any squadrons on their end that are engaged are STAYING engaged.  And once you can take out Major Rhymer, the efficacy of the Bomber cloud is significantly reduced, resulting in your bombers going and hitting the ships they want while your SFC core (Wedge, the Z95, Shara, for example) wailing on Bombers as they shrug off individual black dices of damage.

What happens if you face the mirror match? Rebel on Rebel violence?  It's a possibility in tournaments, you know.
They're different from us, which means they can't be trusted!
I've ACTUALLY faced this, and I can tell you all about it.  Specifically, what not to do.
As a Bears fan, I am used to loss.  I'd make a Cubs joke, but WORLD SERIES BABY WOOOOO!
In the game (it was at a Regionals), I sent my squadrons in early and hit a ship or two.  I then DIDN'T combine the damage into his ships with my ships, and then any later efforts of my own to kill his squadrons resulted in failure on my end.  He got the jump on my squadrons, when I COULD have had the jump on him and started hitting his squadrons first.  My dice completely abandoned me (it's a poor Commander who blames his dice, but I did roll 3 different squadrons (2 of them X-wings!) and find myself unable to roll the single hit needed to kill his Jan Ors) and I didn't lock up his squadrons.  I DIDN'T use my ships to supplement the damage going into them (that's on me, not the dice, and I'll admit that), nor did I engage his squadrons when I could have, and consequently I lost.  Facing a significant investment in squadrons, no matter what you have, you need to remember to supplement your damage as much as you can.  But the major loss on my end, was that I didn't hit his squadrons first before hitting his ships, letting him get the jump on me.  I ignored them, and that resulted in my loss.  Which brings us to the 9th point I'll bring up here, and it's applicable across the board (which is what we've transitioned to, now, I suppose!)

9) Make sure you have a plan for your opponent's squadrons, as ignoring them will result in your loss.

I don't intend to sound like a pompous oaf, but I have a good idea of what I'm doing with squadrons.  When a lot of people were first getting into the game in our store, they weren't bringing squadrons, no matter how much Eric and I sounded like Cassandra telling people to do so.
On the darkest of nights, Nobody knew how to fight, And we were caught in our sleep
So I threw B-wings at them, and bam, people started bringing squadrons.  In this day and age, you NEED to plan for your opponents having squadrons, and you have to have an answer for them.  You don't need to know everything you'll do in every specific situation, because there's so many builds and things that can happen in a game, but you need an answer for squadrons in every game you play.  Even if the other guy only brings Shara and Tycho, you not bringing squadrons results in 10 (skip turn 1) black dice going into your ships all game.  Is that really something you want?

What it all amounts to, while using the LFC, is that you need to figure out an answer for your opponent's squadrons beyond ignoring them and hoping they go away.  How does that rectify with question 1, though? Because question 1 is something you ask yourself EVERY TIME.  It's not a matter of being able to ignore them all the time, it's the ones you're activating and what you're bringing to bear on THIS SPECIFIC ACTIVATION of squadrons.  It's something you ask when you decide to activate a ship and push your squadrons.  Let's look back at our first example again.
Hello darkness, my old friend...
Remember this one, where the TIE fighter in the picture is engaged by Shara, and your B-wings are near the front of that Gladiator.  Jan and Wedge are effectively shutting down that other TIE as well.  What I said before was that the B-wings could hit Demolisher.  When Shara, Jan, and Wedge activate, their goals are quite different.  Jan will be perfectly happy shooting the TIE right next to her, but Wedge might want to throw a Bomber Black Dice at Demolisher if he can.  You ask question 1 with regards to the squadrons you're activating right now and what you can foresee happening in the future.  Wedge might want to end that TIE just to make sure that it can't get in the way of any other B-wings any more, OR he might want to shoot Demolisher.  You'll need to figure it out based on game state.

Of course, the last question to arise being that when you activate, what squadrons DO you activate?  Welcome back to game state, of course.  Use rule 1, measure what you can, and hit what you can.  Part of me wants to make an even 10 points for us all, so I'll throw this designation out here, based especially on a comment on a previous article.

10) When building your list, make sure that you can potentially push all the (non-Rogue) squadrons you bring on the same turn, if necessary.

If your opponent didn't bring any squadrons, you're going to want to be able to send everything in, hitting his ships with everything you've got. You won't need to do this every turn (especially if you can stay in the same arc, like I advised in the Bomber article), but being able to do so on one turn will also allow you to get the jump on his squadrons before they can go and try to have an answer for yours!

So that's it.  The 10 Commandments of Squadrons, as far as I can tell.
He supposes his toeses are roses.
I've talked (again, haha) too darn long on squadrons and using them, but it's what I'm passionate about (remember when you started this article like 2 days ago and I made that horrid Marquis de Sade joke? Good times, good times).  I'm not planning on writing the MFC article, as it's effectively a hybrid SFC/LFC.  Use the killing instructions from 5A/5B of the SFC, with a focus on 8 and 3.  I'd use the "wipe them out with everything" plan personally.  Wow, so much quicker than a real article!  All that's missing is me stealing jokes from the Muppet Show to supplement it!
There's still a part of that considers "Ah, a bear in his natural habitat - a Studebaker" to be the funniest line ever created.
Eric addendum regarding Imperials
Because my input was requested earlier, I'll add a little side note here at the end. John's advice on the whole is applicable for Imperial squadrons as well as Rebels. He's correct that due to their more specialized squadrons it's generally less advisable for Imperials to just throw your everything at your opponent's squadron group as your TIE Bombers and the like just aren't great at dogfighting. This is why I find that overall putting together larger more diverse squadron groups for Imperials is more difficult than for Rebels - if you're not careful, you can suffer real problems in the strategic ("fleet building") stage before you even worry about the tactical ("actually playing a game") stage. I covered this a bit in the building an LFC post I contributed a bit to earlier, so if it sounds familiar you shouldn't be surprised 😉.

So I would say first and foremost it's important to give serious consideration (even more so than your Rebel rivals) to your squadron build when you're going Imperial heavy squadrons. In particular, you need a good plan for how you expect to handle your opponent's fighter squadrons that are clearly not keen on Rhymer and friends setting up little beach chairs and lobbing bombs at their ships. I've seen the wheels come off of several Imperial squadron-heavy fleets because they simply brought too much in the way of bombers and bomber support (Intel, Escort) and too little in the way of fighters/anti-squadron options; by the time the Escort and Intel squadrons were chewed through by around turn 3 or 4, the bombers were largely dead in the water engaged by enemy fighters and the substantial investment in Gozantis and squadrons didn't really pay off well.

So with all that said, actual usage will depend a lot on exactly what kind of composition you bring to the fight. You do have one ace in the whole, though, and that ace is Major Rhymer. Rhymer is a common inclusion in most Imperial LFC groups because he greatly extends the threat range on your anti-ship attacks, making your bombers a possible threat to enemy ships by the middle of turn 1 (or at the very least at the top of turn 2). Because Rhymer so greatly extends your squadrons' anti-ship threat range, it flips the usual bomber squadron dynamics around: normally, bombers need to be hurled into the teeth of enemy squadrons and flak to get hits in on ships early on. With Rhymer, you can set up your bombers at a comfortable range of their prey and the enemy fighters are now obliged to enter attack range of your fighters and ship flak to try to stop them. This not only gives you a tempo edge (in that you're in possession of "the thing that needs to be stopped") it also allows for much more successful use of your own fighter assets, as it will usually allow you to use your TIE Fighters away from enemy flak, which makes them much happier.  Careful arrangement of them all will be necessary to engage your opponent's squadrons with your TIEs while still remaining out of black dice flak range, but it IS possible.

That's not to say the only way to play an Imperial LFC group is with Major Rhymer, merely that he helps to solve a lot of the basic problems you encounter with more conventional Imperial LFC groups. You can make more Rebel-style mixed groups by using more mixed-role squadrons like TIE Defenders, TIE Phantoms (be careful with these, they're fragile!), and Decimators and the like, but well-considered and well-used groups of specialist teams can get the job done quite well. Just be very careful to keep tweaking your squadron composition for your meta until you get the right mix of bombers to support to fighters for your LFC to work. It may take a few tries until you get it just right and in my experience, it's fairly common for early drafts to go a bit too heavy on non-fighters.
"Fly the friendly skies" he says....
John's back now!
I've started to develop more thoughts on squadrons and what FFG sees their purpose as, but that's not really a discussion for here/this site.  For now, let's leave this series with me posting all 10 Commandments below for ease of use and reference for you all.  I'll get to the Wave V squadrons soon, I just need more experience with several of them.  If anyone has ANY questions, about anything related to squadrons, please let me know and I can answer them.  We all know I don't mind talking....

1) Measure and Visualize Your Ranges
2) Squadrons activated by squadron commands > Rogue squadrons > Unactivated regular squadrons
3) When attacking enemy squadrons, one dead squadrons beats 2 mostly injured ones
4) Use your flak shots to HELP damage enemy squadrons when you can
5A) When attacking a fighter group, move in as a group with your own fighters and engage one side of the squadron ball
5B) When attacking a fighter group, send in your fighters to have them engage different sides of your opponent's squadron ball, and try to have them meet in the middle.
6) Always remember that the main goal of the SFC is to occupy enemy squadrons as long as possible, potentially even at the cost of their own lives.
7) When attacking a squadron group less than yours, you can either send everything in to overwhelm them and wipe them out, or you can send enough to occupy them while your others go and attack their ships.
8) The goal of the game is to score the most points.
9) Make sure you have a plan for your opponent's squadrons, as ignoring them will result in your loss.
10) When building your list, make sure that you can potentially push all the (non-Rogue) squadrons you bring on the same turn, if necessary.

6 comments:

  1. Now that we have a LFC covered, which ships do you recommend to scoot them around the battlefield?

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    1. It really depends on your faction, commander, and rest of the fleet. Generally if you're going squadron-heavy you should look to squadron-value-efficient ships like flotillas, Nebulon-Bs (Yavaris), Assault Frigate MkIIBs, HMC80s, Peltas, VSDs, and ISDs.

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  2. Awesome! I was thinking the HMC80 with Exp. Hangar Bay and the Pelta too. Great articles! Keep up the great work

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    1. The Command HMC80 and Command Pelta can both use the Expanded Hangar Bays+Fighter Coordination Teams + Flight Commander combination as well, which can result in a lot of additional squadron movement, substantially improving your squadron threat range and repositioning capability!

      If you're going for a bomber group with Rebels, though, don't neglect to include a GR75 with Bomber Command Center. The reroll on bomber attacks makes the whole group much more reliable at their job.

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  3. Great article! So how do we convince you to share your thoughts on FFG's vision for squads? Just to be clear I'm asking you to talk more on a topic you're passionate about.

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    1. I'm not entirely sure I understand the question but my own feelings are FFG intends for squadrons to be a thing. Each wave has brought something new for squadrons (and wave 6 will as well with the Quasar and Sloane) and no-squadron fleets are increasingly playing Russian Roulette in competitive events.

      I come across the occasional "I refuse to play squadrons" person online and I'm always a bit puzzled by the sentiment. Star Wars space combat is strongly based off of World War 2 (specifically in the Pacific) naval combat, where bombers and fighters (and aircraft carriers) were core elements of naval warfare. You don't need to go super heavy on squadrons yourself (I run my 6 TIE Fighter squadrons group pretty regularly and I'm happy with it) but your fleet needs a plan to deal with them, similarly to how it needs a plan to handle other major archetypes your opponent is going to try to defeat you with.

      Hopefully that helped?

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