In light of the uproar over the last meta breakdown post, I thought I’d share with everyone a moderately comprehensive list of the squads that are “viable” these days. And by “viable” I mean something very specific: A skilled player who has put in the time and prep work to understand how the squad works and the dynamics of common matchups has a fair chance to go undefeated at a 3 or 4 round tournament in the Nova region. Basically, what’s “Nova viable.” Unlike the meta analysis, this isn’t what is actually winning, but what could reasonably win. This is based on playing a ton of games, watching a bunch, talking to other players, some historical data, and just a smidge of theory crafting. Some, but not all, of the black boxed squads may be mentioned here (that’s all I’ll say, so don’t ask).
Many of these squads will have an “I have a bad feeling about this” quality to them. You may think they’ll get stomped. I’ll just refer you back to the criteria: They won’t always win. They probably won’t win in the hands of a mediocre player. A few have some hard counters. They simply have the potential to go undefeated in a short-but-competitive event in the Nova region.
As for what’s viable at Worlds… eh, no one knows. The person holding the winning squad right now doesn’t even know it. The meta is diverse enough at this point that a lot will come down to matchups and the timing of those matchups (hit your tough game first round of swiss, not in the elimination rounds). It’s really hard to say squads have the staying power to win 8ish matches and then another 4-5 more. But, if a squad can go 3-0 or 4-0 at a smaller event, I think it’s hard to argue it’s not viable. Maybe an underdog, but it still has a shot.
If you want to know the exact loadouts on a squad… then you’re asking the wrong question. Almost all of these have several different good options. Open up a squad builder and season to taste.
Starting with the Rebels:
Kanan and Biggs. TLT and Autoblaster are the most popular options here, but I prefer Ion Turret, RecSpec and Jan Ors on Kanan with enough points for R2-D2 on Biggs. Season to taste.
Ghost + Bomber K. Kinda straight forward. K-Wing takes Connor Nets and sets up for the Ghost to drop the hammer. This one won Nova Open.
Double Ghost +1. Two ghosts with autoblaster and FCS, and some other ship. You’ve all seen the Y-Wing variant, but an A-Wing can go in there as well, or a support HWK.
Double Ghost. Two ghosts with autoblaster, FCS, extra munitions, guidance chips, and your choice of torpedo. Lots of points left for crew or pilot upgrades. Season to taste.
Miranda and Esege. Loaded with TLTs and a ton of bombs, the trick is to force your opponent to split up their fire so neither K drops until very late in the game.
Bomber K + 2 Bomber Ys. Not enough points for a turret on the K, but you can give the Ys TLTs and two bombs each. I like Cluster Mines here for the width of the bomb drop and Sabine damage. Bombers need to joust to be deadly with the bombs.
Biggs + 2 Rebels. Pretty basic formula here, pick your favorites. Jake, Corran, Wes, Wedge, Poe, Miranda, Keyan, or those newfangled ARC-170s. Just fly whatever you have fun with, it’s a strong template.
Han and Jake. It struggles against triple jumps or double jumps +1, but that squad has become less common here lately. Does about 50/50 against Dengaroo, and some very careful planning can tip the odds.
5 Rebels. If it’s stupid but it works, then it ain’t stupid. Season to taste.
And now the Imperial squads.
Palp Aces. Ol’ faithful squad, of course. Season to taste.
Two Defenders +Tomax. I like Cool Hand, Fleet Officer, and Rebel Captive for more survivability. I find Systems Officer a bit harder to get mileage out of.
Oicunn +1/2. Load him out and take a high point cost ace, or go a little leaner and take Wampa and Inquisitor/Omega Leader.
Deathrain + Mini Howl Crackswarm. Advanced Sensors, Experimental Interface, and two Connor Nets makes Deathrain brutal (though very expensive). The net sets up for the mini swarm to chew through a defenseless target.
TIE Swarm. Most popular version is Howl, 3x Black Crack, 3x Acadmy TIE, but you can season to taste.
And finally, the scum.
Triple Torpedo Boats. It’s not popular here, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t win tournaments.
Double Torp Boats +1. Zuckuss was the most popular add-on for a while, but now it’s the Party Bus. You can also run one of the new Fangs or a Bumpmaster.
Dengaroo. Season to taste.
Old Fenn’aroo. Fenn, Old Teroch, Manaroo. Go in very aggressive. Season to taste.
2 TLT Ys +1. Really simple scum formula: Take 2 Y-Wings, give them TLTs, and add the large base ship du jure.
3 TLT Ys +1. Same idea, but add on a cheapish small base ship. 28 points to play with if you don’t have any droids on the Ys. Heck, you could do this with rebels and Biggs.
4 TLT Ys. Triple torp boats knocked these guys out of the meta, but Dengaroo, Ventress, and Defenders could bring them back.
Bossk +1. Typically that +1 is Tel, but you can do Dengar or any of your favorite heavy hitting scum ship. Lots of ways to trick out Bossk — don’t overlook the Concussion Missile.