Tuesday, May 23, 2017

E-wings! Or: John gets whiny about Star Wars lore!

We're barrelling through Wave 5 right now, what with this and the Z95s being the only thing left on my end before I go back and update everything as needed.  Oh, and write up Sato, haha.  Anyways, let's talk today about E-wings and the Snipe mechanic!  (Warning, there are spoilers for Vector Prime below, along with a rather large rant about the Yuuzhan Vong series.  Keep that in mind if you're still reading that).
You can almost feel his disappointment for this pun.  I choose to believe he's disappointed in the Yuuzhan Vong series.
So let's throw the card up there, instead of NBA 90s stars who weren't as good as Jordan (that's right, shade thrown, New York!)
Prepare for several paragraphs of conjecture, as I don't often play them!
So it's basically an X-wing with some slight changes (ironic, since it was canonically intended to replace them).  Listing the changes in no particular order:
  • It costs 2 more points.  Which is technically bad, but it's worth it for everything else it does.
  • It loses Escort, which is both good and bad.  It's not going to be taking shots for your other squadrons, but it doesn't necessarily want to be doing that.
  • It gains a speed, bringing it to speed 4.  This is good, and it can get to speed 5 under All Fighters Follow Me! or better than speed 5 with a Fighter Coordination Team move from somewhere (see Eric's fancy MSPaint diagram in the Phantoms article about how 4+1>5)
  • It keeps the X-wing red bomber dice and 4 blue anti-squadron attack at distance 1, and....
  • It gains Snipe 3.  And THIS is why it's worth 2 more points than an X-wing.
Snipe is a great ability, IF YOU USE IT WELL.  Your snipers want to stay as far away as they can while still doing damage.  It also DOES interact with Flight Controllers, so you can increase your sniping power as needed.
I only go on Assault Frigates.  LMC80s need Gunnery Team, MC30s have squadron 1.

Thanks to the latest FAQ, we now know how it all interacts with everything.  See the below diagram for a full explanation.
Extreeeeeeeeeeeeeme close-up!
So let's talk about each of our two E-wing friends here (conveniently differentiated by their health).  The one at 5 health can hit either the TIE fighter he's currently engaged with for FOUR blue dice (his normal component), or he can hit the Interceptor OR Darth Vader for THREE blue sniping.  He can choose to hit EITHER of them.  Even though he's engaged with the TIE fighter, it does not have Escort, so he CAN snipe if he wants to.  He is NOT engaged with Vader, so Vader's Escort ability does not factor in here.

Our slightly damaged friend with 4 health is not so lucky.  He ALSO has the Interceptor in Snipe range (he does, trust me), but he's engaged with the Escort TIE Advanced squadron.  He HAS to attack AN Escort squadron before he can try to hit the Interceptor in any way.  He can amusingly enough attack Darth Vader with Snipe, because Vader also has Escort, even though Vader is at distance 2.  So you can snipe and kill Darth Vader before he ever gets to move in and shoot you.  Everyone get that?

So why do you want to Snipe? Several reasons, but it breaks down to:
  • Ignore counter
  • Shoot Intel squadrons before they can make you heavy and let the Bombers move away (and especially if you aren't engaged with Escorts)
  • Shoot other important squadrons that your opponent's strategy hinges on being alive (Luke, Jan Ors, Rhymer, Shara Bey, Norra Wexley, Howlrunner....)
  • Shoot squadrons that can't shoot you back, giving you way more options.
It's a LOT harder for Jan Ors/Jumpmasters to hide in a blob of squadrons when you only need to be distance 2 away to start shooting them.  And they don't get to counter back, which is good for you (especially against Shara, oof).  My one issue with them is that currently, there's not a lot of squadron presence in our Imperial heavy meta, so I don't often have reason to run them.
Angrily glares.....
I expect this to change soon.  When you've sniped out the Intel squadron or the Ace that you really needed dead, they can go in and start mixing it up as well as X-wings if needed.  But why not just keep them dancing and letting them stay in Snipe range, where the Imperials can't get at them without commanding them?  It's more fun and keeps your stuff alive, which is REALLY what you want!  (Side note: this goes out the window when you're fighting a bunch of TIE bombers.  You WANT to go in and engage them so they can't hit your ships!)

They do great work with Hera, jumping all over with Rogue and killing what needs to be killed.  Bring along some Escort friends for her, though, and probably them too.  They seem like they'd be great with X-wings (or potentially A-wings) jumping in afterwards.  Let the E-wings soften up a target with Snipe, and then have the X-wings leapfrog in and finish off your opponent's damaged squadron.  Move out what you have to after that, in order to get stuff more dead.  Bringing Jan Ors for yourself isn't a foolish idea, either, what with the X-wing health the E-wings have.  Everyone loves free brace tokens.

I've used them occasionally, but I expect to use them MORE as I start seeing crazy amounts of Imperial squadrons coming in from Sloan and the Quasar (DJ Rhymer and his funky fresh beats need to get shot more than Tupac did).  Expect updates on this section with more experience, but if anyone has any ACTUAL experience with them (I've heard of people using them with Scurrgs, using the snipe to free up the Scurrgs to Grit their way towards bombing a ship) I am more than willing to listen and to try out suggestions with them.
I have not played X-wing. I have no intention of playing, I just like a bigger scale.  Let THAT influence the following rant.
Well, they had to put Corran somewhere I guess.  And it's not like they had a PERFECTLY GOOD SERIES OF BOOKS WRITTEN BY MICHAEL STACKPOLE, NOOOOOOOO! PUT HIM IN AN E-WING, THAT'S WHERE HE BELONGS! YOU KNOW THE ONLY TIMES HE PROBABLY FLEW AN E-WING? IN THAT DUMB YUUZHAN VONG SERIES WHERE THEY KILLED OFF CHEWIE! THAT'S RIGHT KIDS, SOMEONE THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT IDEA TO DROP A PLANET ON CHEWBACCA AND KILL HIM! Sure, it was an attempt to save Han's stupid wiener son (no the other one.  Alright fine they were both wieners), the one who made Kylo Ren look well adjusted.  Yeah, it's fine, kill off the one character everyone loves for no reason than shock value! Then it turns out the Yuuzhan Vong were both "Outside the Force" and loved organ grafting and hurting themselves more than Pinhead from Hellraiser.  Ugh, that was a terrible series, and I read all of it because I'm a masochist, apparently.  Also they all hated machines and their starships were alive like a garbage version of the Zerg from Starcraft.  This was a real series of like 15-20 books, that people bought and read.

ANYWAYS

So Corran in his......E-wing..... (it's fine, it's fine, you can paint it Cor-Sec green and black and pretend it's an X-wing)...... is really just an upgraded E-wing.  He gets Rogue, Snipe 4, and 2 brace tokens.  Other than that, it's the same as a regular E-wing.  Snipe 4 is better than Snipe 3, and he has a much better chance of one-shotting a TIE or Interceptor with it (and especially with Toryn's help!).  You've also got a better chance of rolling an accuracy against scatter aces than with Snipe 3 (rolling 4 dice has a better chance of seeing an accuracy than rolling 3 dice, crazy how math works like that!), but you're using him for Snipe.  Hit the targets that need to be hit, before they can shoot you back.  There's also about a 3% possibility that you can get the one accuracy you need and 3 damage, making TIE aces quite sad with him near (they can brace the 3 damage down to 2, leaving them with 1 HP left).  Snipe away!

Corran (I think?) wants other snipe friends to help him hit squadrons that need to stay down, but I can see running him alone as part of a MFC.  You want to be using him to wipe out enemy squadrons as much as possible, especially with his sniping ability.  And with Rogue and Snipe 4, you're able to shoot a LOT of squadrons.  Especially the ones trying to run away.  They just die tired!
It looks like a slightly less stubby Viper from Battlestar Galactica!
Snipe is a relatively new ability, but I expect it to pick up a fair amount over the next few months, as we get further into a squadron-heavy meta on both sides.  Try them out if you have a spare few points, see if you stay alive longer as you kill enemy squadrons from a distance they can't hit you back at.