After wave 5 came out, I let my trusty swarm on the shelf in favor of the new hotness : Decimators and YTs. I've only been playing for about a year now and almost only played the Tie swarm from my first tournament in March 2014 to Worlds, so playing the big pancakes was a pretty nice change in gameplay.
I've tried Fat Han+3 bandits, Kenkirk+Echo, and finally Oicunn + Whisper with pretty loopsided kill ratios. However I read Hothie Evolving the shark series saturday morning and that inspired me to take out the swarm for the Waaagh Tavern monthly tournament.
Can the Tie swarm still play with the big boys?
Find out after the break!
I decided to take Hothie's classic Tie swarm:
Black squadron, draw there fire
to see if it would work for me. The list is flown in 2 groups with 2 Obsidians + Backstabber on one side and Howlrunner leading the rest. This is really similar to how I usually fly my 8 Tie swarm so I was pretty confident I could make it work but I was more worried about Howl survival.
It was a small 14 players tournament with 4 swiss rounds.
Game 1:My first opponent was Petit Batard with a standard Super Dash list:
Dash Rendar, Kyle, heavy laser canon, outrider title, engine upgrade, push the limit
A very good list in my opinion if you can keep Dash at range 2+ of his targets.
I played my asteroids defensively, trying to prevent him from forming a 3 debris cluster in the middle of the board for Dash and deployed my swarm on the right hand corner where I would have the biggest lanes for my group.
He deployed in a large line, trying to flank me with either Dash or the prototypes.
I moved Howl group 2 forward to see whether Dash would rush in and moved 5 forward with Backstabber group, creating a staggered formation.
Dash moved very aggressively, pushing the limit for boost+ barrel roll.
At that point my choice was made for me: by moving so aggressively with Dash, Petit Batard gave me the opportunity to swarm Dash and try to take him out of the game fast. I moved left with all the swarm, trying to get Dash in arc of most ships and setting up block opportunities.
In the fire exchange I lost Howl while Backstabber and an obsidian managed to take down a prototype, and a lucky shot from the black removed 2 shields to Dash.
After that I swarmed his potential green moves (and even some whites), by parking Ties in front. He guessed wrong with a 3 white bank and collided with the black squadron.
Backstabber bought it this turn, but with no actions for Dash defense, my 5 Ties did a whooping 6 damages, destroying Dash HLC.
First win for the swarm! Take that meta!
Game 2:My second opponent Da Dieg was flying an interesting double Decimator list:
Oicunn, Isard, Mara Jade, determination
Kenkirk, predator, rebel captive
|Double decimators, Oicunn is left, Kenkirk right|
I was not to worried about that pairing as Tie fighters should chew through Decimators with ease, but I flew really badly and it was a lot closer than it should have been with only Howlrunner, the Black and an Obsidian left at the end of the game after taking down Oicunn.
I made several mistakes in that game :
1) I blocked Oicunn with the AP, when I should have stayed at range on the engagement turn. This meant one less gun, and a stressed pilot for the next round.
2) I should have relied on Howlrunner rerolls and set up chain blocks on engagement turn 2 to keep my guns on Oicunn, instead I played into his hand and let my swarm be stressed and having to change targets.
The list differential carried the day though and I won.
My opponent for game 3 was Cornelius from my gaming club and one of my usual sparring partners.
He was playing a list we discussed before, with me trying to convince him to use engine upgrades:
Chewbacca, C3P0, predator, Millenium Falcon title, engine upgrade
Fringer, HLC, title, engine upgrade
I knew that I could probably stay in the fringer donut hole in the end game with my superior PS Ties, so I went all in on Chewbacca in the early game. As I feared, he used the engine upgrade to great effect, preventing a lot of shots early on, but made a crucial mistake and landed Chewie on a rock by 2 or 3 millimeters after a 4 forward and I took him down on the next turn.
The game ended with the fringer on 1 hull and I got a minor victory with my 4 remaining Ties. It was my closest game of the tournament and would have changed completely had Chewie managed to bypass that rock : 60 minutes rounds are hard for the swarm in this matchup.
Game 4:Pelayo with :
Chiraneau, gunner, Isard, predator, rebel captive
Echo, VI, mercenary copilot, ACD, FCS
Following a suggestion by Hothie in his articles, I placed the asteroids in a loose basket, creating an enticing empty area in the middle of the board, hopefully to lure Echo and constrain his decloak options.
Chiraneau did not have engine upgrade so was a prime target for the swarm early on and I hoped to have enough ships left after that to deal with Echo.
Pelayo made a mistake though and landed Chiraneau in front of a rock with Ties on each side.
He was unlucky with his attack rolls and failed to destroy a Tie only dealing 2 damages.
On the next turn I blocked Chiraneau on the rock and finished him. Echo barrel rolled to escape some fire arcs and again only dealt 1 damage having switched targets.
Next you can see how I blocked 2 of his decloak lanes, which meant that constrained by the board edge he only had 2 options left : either right front or front left.
He decloaked front left, hard turned 2, but realised he did not have a shot and barreled rolled in front of Howl+ friends to trigger ACD.
Howl had initiative and removed 1 shield, and again with no action Echo only dealt one damage while the 3 other Ties finished him for the win (2 consistent hits versus 4 unmodified green dices are not that bad but he did roll slightly below average ).
If you're playing Echo : at this point you need to be conservative, you need at all cost to only skirt the swarm in order to keep a maximum of decloak options. Obviously for that the board edge is bad, constraining your moves.but remember that you don't have to fire every turn, and always keep in mind that you can extend and escape to return to the fray in a better position.
4-0 for the Tie swarm!
The swarm does suffer a bit against the highly maneuverable ships of wave 5, but blocking and focus fire will carry the day. Keep to the fundamentals and you should be okay.
Hope you enjoyed that report, time to reload,