30 May 2013

Tournament Lists- Han Falcon and Chewie Falcon

Standard X-Wing Miniatures List Discussion Disclaimer- The most important element you can bring with you to any X-Wing Tournament is your own experience with the game. You can take the nastiest, meanest, and most bestest internet list with you to a Tournament, but if you don't know how to manage Pilot Skill, Actions, and Maneuvers, you are going to get sent home with an donut for your W's. 

I can't stress this enough- this game is not 40k where you plop down the most points-optimized net list from the latest codex, push it forward the max amount, then win. Your list is important, but you need to be familiar with the game and you need to be familiar with playing the list you're using if you want to consistently compete at a high level. 

Here's another pretty popular list making the rounds these days. Not a lot of variants to report other than upgrades, and even that is fairly set in at least quick-drying concrete if not stone. 

Sample 100 Points Han Falcon and Chewie Falcon List
Han Solo w/ Gunner
Chewbacca w/ Draw Their Fire, Gunner, Millennium Falcon

So, any time you see Solo with a Gunner Crew Member, instead of going with "Han Shoots First", you could just about call it "I Never Miss." Amirite? Hells yeah I'm right. And I talked about  pairing up Han with Gunner or Luke in the Han article, which I'll courteously paste below so you don't have to navigate away from this page to read it. 

More or less, it boils down to if you choose to use Han’s card text, then you have to re-roll all of your attack dice. You don’t get to keep hits/ crits (local parlance) or hits/ crits and eyeballs (also local parlance) like you would with a Target Lock- if you choose to activate the Han ability, then you have to pick all the dice up and re-roll them all.

This is generally going to leave you with a two option scenario-
1) Attack isn’t great, so you decide to re-roll everything
2) Attack roll isn't great, but it's more beneficial to apply some other dice modifying mechanism, i.e. Focus, Marksmanship, etc. than re-roll everything. 

Now, all that being said, once you've activated Han's card text and re-rolled your dice, you can decide to apply Marksmanship, a Focus, etc. as per usual just as you would doing re-rolls with Target Lock. 

Makin' dollars to ya? Picking up what I'm laying down? Catchin' my drift? 

Cool. Now we'll talk about how Han's ability interacts with Gunner.

First, this would be as good as time as any to remind you that once a die has been re-rolled, it can't be re-rolled a second time. Says so in the rule book. However, Gunner doesn't really count as a re-roll from a rule book perspective.

Basically, if your attack doesn't hit (rule book sense of the word- see BBB- The Combat Phase Explained! for more detailed info), then the ability activates. So regardless of whether you went with option 1 or 2 above to try and improve a sub-standard Attack roll, if the target cancels all of your hits and crits (local parlance), Gunner kicks on, you pick up all those dice, and make a primary attack (again, distinction here only in case you initially fired Missiles of some sort- works perfectly fine if you made a primary attack as your first attack). This is important- it was clarified to not be considered a re-roll, so you're totally cool using Gunner and not violating that pesky "you can only re-roll a die once" rule- you're technically not re-rolling, you're making another primary attack.

Whew. Ok. So you roll your dice (all of them- no choosing a la Target Lock) as a primary weapon attack. What can you do with them now? Can you modify any of them?

Yes. If you kicked on Marksmanship
 (I know, I know- I didn't say Han took Marksmanship in the list I posted above, but somebody may modify this list slightly and find the points to buy it for him as that's a very common variant of this list, so I've left this paragraph in so I don't have to answer the question in the comments), again- it's on the entire attacking round, so it would affect these kinds of rolls just like it did the initial roll.

If you burned a Focus token on your initial roll, then no, it won't still be in effect. Now, if you've managed to get your hands on a second Focus token, you can of course, use it to modify this roll.  

Last, and perhaps your best option depending on what you actually rolled, Han's card text ability can re-roll these dice too. Recall his card text just stipulates "When attacking...", well you're still attacking, aren't you? So re-roll those dice. Ha. Wondered why I was making such a big deal about that back at the beginning weren't you? Foreshadowing FTW.

So that's why Han's important to the list- he's going to provide steady, consistent damage which of course, is massively important in a 2-ship list. What about Chewie though? What's that guy's story? 

First recall that Chewie's special ability is to not take crits. If that doesn't impress you, here's another way to put it- a Chewie Falcon is essentially a ship with 13 Shields and 0 Hull. Did that get your attention? Ok, good deal. Now, take a look at Draw Their Fire. It allows Chewie to take a crit from Han if they're within Range 1 of each other (remember that you're talking about big base ships here as well). So you can let Han take his own lumps until he loses his shields, then you can take any criticals on Chewie, and immediately flip them face down before they resolve. 

Long story long, neither of these ships are going to be subject to critical infliction meta until pretty late in the game, if ever.

Sticking Gunner on Chewie just helps him deal out his share of damage alongside his pal (again- important in this list especially), and the Falcon title of course, helps him stay on the table a bit longer for a measly point. 

Sounds pretty awesome, right? 

Well, sure it does. One caveat though- this isn't the list for a beginner. It's pretty forgiving compared to some lists, but at the end of the day you're still only flying two ships. They're two ships that are pretty tough to kill because of all that stuff I said above and the fact that they both have Attack 3 weapons with a 360 arc of fire, but they're still just two ships. 

Running the cold data, you get this- 

Dual Falcons (Solo and Chewie)
Total Attack Dice at Range 2: 6
Total Hull: 16*
Total Shields: 10*
Total HP: 26*
*- Again, this is a little misleading because of Chewbacca and Draw Their Fire

You're not going to do a ton of damage per round with this list, but you are pretty likely to hit with all 6 of those shots the majority of the time, and as mentioned before, it has survivability out the wazoo. Which is good, because even the worst focus-firer on the planet is going to to at least inadvertently correct target priority mistakes about half the time with this list. 

So how do you beat it? Focus fire on Chewbacca, no question. If at all possible, put Chewbacca between you and Han any time you can. Han will still fire on you, and he'll probably still hit, but you don't have to make it easy on him. You're going to need a lot of guns and a lot of hits to beat this list and there are some popular lists that would really struggle against this setup- namely just about any list that features three or less ships. They're going to have trouble putting enough lead in the air to get Chewie off the table, and as the points are so even between Han and Chewie, you can't really try to BS around for a modified win either the way you can against Han Shoots First. 

The fact that this list is out there and there are folks who are actually pretty good with it should be a pretty strong case for why you should take Missiles and/ or Torps on at least one of your ships. Trading fire with an Attack 3 turret is bad enough to start with. Having to close to Range 1 to try and whittle down those hit points faster against two Gunners? Not my idea of a fun time, frankly. If you can pull off some of those hit points at Range 3, so much the better. 

The natural predator for this kind of list is a Firespray with HLC-centric list. Maybe even two of them. As that's also a pretty popular list, I'll talk about that one tomorrow. 

Another possible ploy would be to sport a couple of Ion Weapons. I mentioned before that the rules say big ships need two Ion Tokens to feel the effects, but those rules also don't mention anything about a big ship getting rid of an Ion Token in the meantime. Do I think a couple of Y-Wings would work against this list? Hell naw. Would a couple of Firesprays with Ion Cannons? Oh fo sho. You don't even really have to ion both of them to get the advantage as they have to stay within Range 1 of each other for Draw Their Fire to work. If you're waiting for me to say something about Kath Scarlet, keep on waiting. Her special ability isn't going to do anything fancy against these guys and their crit mitigating shell game as if you read the cards closely, Draw Their Fire still applies a crit, and Chewie lets the crit happen, he just turns around and immediately flips the card back face down. 

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