A Bit of Pew Pew #9

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Thanks to some amazing insight and helpful advice from the X-Wing community (I’m truly grateful) after Pew Pew #8, I pulled myself together, had a think about what I want to do, and knocked up a new list to take into battle.

One of the best pieces of advice was to take a ship and make it the core of my lists. There was only one choice.

TIE Defender

The TIE Defender is a large reason for me playing X-Wing in the first place. Ask anyone in the Portsmouth community what my ship is and they’ll tell you it’s this one. Back around the time of Wave V, I flew three Deltas with Ion Cannons. ‘Defender Hipster’? Yep, I was flying these bad boys before they were cool. Imp Vets just made them the ship they always should have been. I also do not care about the X7 nerf, before you ask. It’s still a great option. There isn’t a focus on a particular pilot. From Delta to Ryad to Vess to Rex; Defender pilots are very nicely judged bunch with some good abilities. It’s merely a case of picking the best pilot for the squad you’re going for.

Now, I’ve played two games since I made this choice, both against Don and his successful RAC/Whisper build. I didn’t know he’d be the opponent either time, so the build was never optimised to counter him.

The Decimator has some nice attacking mods and with EU can get around very quickly whilst Whisper is Whisper. A few weeks back Don completely wiped me out with this list. But this time…this time things would be different.


The main difference for me, list aside, would be my approach to his list. GASP! Have I actually learnt something? Just maybe.

Game 1

A browse through the FFG forums raised the idea that unique TIEs might be a good place to start. Soon I had VI Mauler Mithel and VI Scourge. Nasty little abilities in cheap ships. Having these two at such a high PS meant I wanted to go high on the Defender too. Rex with VI, TIE/D and a Tractor Beam stepped up. At PS10 he could get some hits in to tee up the others. One spot left, unless I went double Academy. I used a Striker for the first time recently and fancied giving it another go, so I plumped for Pure Sabacc and his four red attack at PS6. Perhaps he could zoom around and pick off ships after the others softened them up.

Rexler Brath (39) – TIE Defender (37), Tractor beam (1), Veteran Instincts (1), TIE/D (0)

“Pure Sabacc” (24) – TIE Striker (22), Crack Shot (1), Adaptive Ailerons (0), Twin Ion Engine Mk. II (1)

“Scourge” (18) – TIE Fighter (17), Veteran Instincts (1)

“Mauler Mithel” (18) – TIE Fighter (17), Veteran Instincts (1)

In the past I’d aim straight for the Deci, hoping to quickly overpower its lack of agility before moving onto Whisper. But I’ve come to learn that that is the fools way of doing it. An EU Deci is slippery, and all the time you’re chasing it around Whisper chips away at you. You celebrate the death of the Deci and realise that you’ve got one ship left against a healthy Whisper. Not good.

So Whisper is the target. Could I engineer a situation where all my ships are pointing at it whilst it isn’t cloaked?

It turns out I could! I set up away from Don’s ships to give myself more chance to plan the approach. I figured that the more angles I could get on Whisper, the less chance she had of being jinky, and it might just split his focus.

Several turns in the RAC managed some great blocking that screwed up the positioning I was aiming for with the TIEs, but Rex and Sabacc were on different paths and it didn’t affect them. Rex came in with the tractor beam on Whisper which left her decloaked and with one agility. A fine sight indeed! The tractor beam moved her near rocks, completely stuffing her next move. Both shields were then lost to Rex and the game was on!

It wasn’t long until Whisper died. I’d lost Scourge, and Sabacc went too, but the plan really kicked in at this point. Mauler and Rex chased down the annoyingly jinky Deci, chipping away at it. Don flew the ship well but it was a matter of time as long as I could stay in range. With no Whisper to distract me he went down and made me a very happy chappy. I had a plan, stuck to it, and it worked!

There were some shaky moments but for once I actually felt fairly in control of a match. Pretty much ignoring RAC, I managed to get all my guns pointing at Whisper from different angles. No jinkiness could save her!

Game 2

I knew I’d want to make some tweaks after Game 1. You could argue I didn’t give the Striker a chance, but I wasn’t sure about it. 24 points, or 25 once I’d tweaked Rexlar with Adaptability to make him PS9, could get me something useful. I spent a long time on the list builder looking at pocket aces and cheaper options. Then it hit me, why not a cheap Special Forces TIE! A Zeta Specialist is 23 points and the title is free. Collision Detector is free whilst TIE Mk.II and Primed Thrusters are cheap. It’s tanky and has two arcs, so well worth a punt. No one takes cheap SFs so I liked the idea of it. It scratches the urge to punt.

Rexler Brath (40) – TIE Defender (37), Tractor beam (1), Adaptability (0), TIE/D (0), Twin Ion Engine Mk. II (1)

Zeta Specialist (24) – Special Forces TIE (23), Collision Detector (0), Primed Thrusters (1), Twin Ion Engine Mk. II (1), Special Ops Training (0)

“Mauler Mithel” (18) – TIE Fighter (17), Veteran Instincts (1)

“Scourge” (18) – TIE Fighter (17), Veteran Instincts (1)

I figured I’d follow the same plan as last time as it worked well. Bonus points if I could get the Zeta pointing at both of this ships at the same time.

That plan changed within the first couple of rounds. Set up left me across the right side of the board, facing RAC. Whisper was central so I figured she’d try to flank. Rocks weren’t kind to that so I thought I’d hold back a little and see what came up.

RAC came up first, as Don bolted out of the traps. Looked like I was shooting him then! What followed was essentially a joust, with the Deci coming off badly. Rex in particular loved this, facing up to the Deci before K-turning behind and then following. The tractor was useless but I managed to take a focus or two from Whisper with it.

Scourge and Mithel came in from the left with the Zeta following. As Rex turned Zeta kept going. I did manage a bit of a cluster with my TIEs baking in from the left but it didn’t too much damage. Things got busy at this point. Whisper joined the fray, RAC went down to sustained fire, and Scourge, bumped and facing the wrong way, went kablooey. Twice now I’ve lost him before he could do anything, annoying is it would have been good against the Decimator. I’ll persevere with him though. Pocket ace!

So then, three ships versus Whisper. Rex and Mithel were a distance away, but the Zeta managed to fox Don into a position where he couldn’t really avoid a rock. The rear arc was particularly handy here. From that point I was all about the kill box. With three ships and some actual thought applied to my positioning, it took a couple of rounds.

Whisper did manage to take out Mithel due to simultaneous attack, but there was no way out. Another win! Well chuffed as this means last week wasn’t a fluke. Don is good with this squad so it’s very pleasing.

Further tweaking will take place before this week’s games but I’m keeping the Zeta, once I glue him back together! Bit of DIY one wrong on that one…

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