104 – What Do You Mean “Nobody Knows”?

This lesson brought to you by “Bochi.”

So here’s a situation most of you hate to find yourselves in. You’re flying a squad with nothing fancy on the dial, while on the opposite side of the board are three TIE Interceptors.e1

So here’s the problem with having no tricks on your dial. In the initial approach we see the X-Wing going after the middle TIE, and the round ends with them just a bit out of range of each other.e2

The X-Wing thinks his best option to catch the Interceptor is a 1 forward. Cast a wide net he thinks the Interceptor can’t escape from.

But of course, the Interceptor can easily scoot past the X-Wing. His buddies move in and it’s game over.e3

The X-Wing could have chosen to turn, which would make it harder for the Interceptor to escape, but only if he guessed the turn correctly.

Of course if you remember the previous lesson, you know just how important wingmen are. A lone X-Wing will have trouble catching an Interceptor, but a squad of X-Wings is a very different story.

I’ve set this squad up in my classic formation. I’ve got my Leader, Trailer, Flanker, and Peeber.e4

In the first round the Lead and Flank ships do a 4 forward to minimize the amount of time the Interceptors have to pull any shenanigans. The Trail ship does a 3, to provide some extra maneuvering options later and to set up a better set of firing arcs.e5

The Interceptors do their thing, and again we see the center ship just outside the X-Wing arc.e6

X-Wings all pull a forward 1, just like our loner X-Wing did. But, now we see a very wide arc the Interceptors have to clear. It’s nearly he entire width of the board.e8

If he banks, he can’t boost out of arc. And even if he were to try to rush past (he would have bumped, but let’s pretend he wouldn’t), he’d get caught with a range 1 shot from the Trail X-Wing.e9

Now, you’re not likely to kill an Interceptor with just one shot. Even a Range 1 Predator Wedge with Focus still struggles to 1-shot an Interceptor. But, even just 1 hit is great. You get in some damage, strip a Stealth Device, and make that Interceptor play very cautiously for the rest of the game.

 

The real power of this loose formation though is that while you’re casting a net too wide for the Interceptor to escape from, you also have lots of opportunities for crossfires. e10 e11 e12

Ordinarily, changing targets is a great way to lose a match. Against squishy arc dodgers tough, it’s less of an issue. Damage against them is rarely wasted, and if you can get two shots on one of them, there’s a good chance of killing it.

This formation also has some tricks up its sleeve. Not everyone needs to pull a one forward. For instance, the Flank position could bank in. This gives up the net on the left side of the board, but creates a lot more overlapping arcs on the right. If the right Interceptor turned in, he’s going to have a very bad day e13

And then the squad is set up to create a crossfire. The Lead ship does a 4K, the Trail does a 1 forward, and the Flank can do a few things — 1 forward, 4K, or a faster bank or turn depending on where the Interceptors ended up the turn before. The cross arcs of the Lead and Trail make it very hard for the Interceptors to hide, and the Flank can either move to concentrate fire or cast a wider net, and in general works to keep the enemy on his toes.e14

I know some people think the only way to beat Interceptors is with turrets, but typically you’re only running 1 turret ship in your squad (unless it’s double YT). Two ships placed strategically can provide something comparable to a turret’s arc — with the added benefit of not proccing autothrusters, and having the opportunity for two attacks.e15Dealing with arc dodgers ultimately comes down to this one fundamental fact: They can’t be nowhere.

The board isn’t that big. Set yourself up so that no matter what happens, you get to take shots, and if the Interceptors guess wrong, you get two or three shots. It’s no a hard counter to Interceptors, but it prevents them from being a hard counter to your list. When all they’ve got is 9 total hit points, all you need is a fair fight.

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