14 February 2014

Tournament Talk: B-Wings w/ Advanced Sensors

Tournament Talk is a new thing I'm trying on here where we talk about game meta and what's prevalent on the X-Wing Miniatures Tournament scene. 

I did some reading tonight on some of the more popular forums and stuff hoping to find the new version of Han Shoots First. To put it another way, as we come into Store Championship season, I was looking to find the current incarnation of "The List." 

Kinda didn't really find it. 

Which is awesome, for the game. It makes what I'd set out to do tougher, but I was happy to read about all kinds of different stuff, without that one dominating list that just about everyone was referencing in how to fly it or how to fly against it. There's a ton of diversity out there on the X-Wing tournament scene from what I can tell, but there were a few components of builds that I kept seeing repeated, so instead of talking about the 2014 version of "The List", I'll talk about that stuff that keeps on cropping up. 

B-Wings are cool. They're like Clarence from True Romance- always have, always will be. Cool I mean (brief aside, if you remember who told him that in the bathroom at the end, you're officially ok in my book- this offer is void if you have to look it up on the internet), they're just funky and awesome looking and in the game, they're pretty capable ships for not a ton of points. 

One of the most common ways I saw of tooling up a B-Wing was to pick one of the lower PS versions (Dagger or Blue) and stick Advanced Sensors on it. I mean, just about every iteration of B-Wings I saw in "tournament" lists had Advanced Sensors (except of course for Ibtisam). 

Why is that? 

Ok, well first, check out your B-Wing dial- 

Second, recall what Advanced Sensors gets you. 

Looking at the dial above, without regard to color, you see the B-Wing is pretty maneuverable at low speeds, especially for a Rebel ship. You've got every possible speed 1 move except for a K-Turn, and every possible Speed 2 move including a K-Turn. At Speed 3 you lose the Turns, and of course at Speed 4 you've only got a straight. So you've got a ship here that's got quite a lot of movement options when you're in close quarters. Recalling the fact that you can also Barrel Roll a B-Wing, and you've got a pretty good array of options here for when things get tight, and let's be completely honest here- things get tight, and by tight I mean close range combat, in X-Wing Miniatures quite a friggin' lot. 

The obvious downside here is, of course, a lot of that maneuverability comes at a price- namely a Stress Token. Of the 11 possible Speed 1 and 2 maneuvers available, 3 of them are Reds including maybe the two most beneficial maneuvers- the 1 Turns. 

So yeah, you know where this is going- if only there was some way to mitigate those effects, right? This is where Advanced Sensors comes into play. 

While Advanced Sensors doesn't keep you from getting your Stress Token, it does still allow you to Perform Action, which you'll recall, is the reason why most folks hate Stress Tokens on their ships. 

Long story short on Advanced Sensors (if you want the long story, click the link a few paragraphs back), is you perform a Free Action before you reveal your maneuver. As such, if you're going to invoke Stress from a red maneuver, if you have Advanced Sensors, you're doing your Free Action before you actually get the Stress Token from your red maneuver. 

That's pretty cool as you can use all of those different movement options in the dial above with little (or at least less) regard to the stuff that's red, and still have a Focus or a Target Lock. Of course you can use Barrel Roll too, but you'll do your rolling before your maneuver. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, just be aware of it.  

Not only that, but if you're flying in tight around Obstacles or other ships, you get that Free Action before you bonk into something or somebody. 

When you couple those two tidbits up together, you see why this is such a popular option for B-Wings- basically, regardless of how well or poorly you can fly the ship in regard to red maneuvers or other stuff on the table, you potentially at least, always have the ability to get your Perform Action step. 

This creates a huge amount of forgiveness when it comes to using an already pretty capable ship. 

Remember when I talked about why Han Shoots First is so good? Like the actual reasons why? This is kinda similar- B-Wings with Advanced Sensors favors not only a newer player who maybe isn't aces at moving around on the table just yet, but it also aids the veteran player flying against another vet who employs more unpredictable movement tactics while opening up all kinds of tactical movement options of their own. It's a win-win situation for the guy with the Bs. 

Just for fun, I threw together the following list featuring a couple of B-Wings with Advanced Sensors. It probably wouldn't win you anything, but I think it'd be fun to fly and pretty capable.

My own track record of wins and losses aside, I like lists that don't have an obvious priority target. Lots of folks focus fire in this game (including me, of course), so when you don't project that juicy target- be it somebody worth more than 33 points or somebody who is super dangerous, or somebody who is super handy for the rest of the squadron to benefit from or whatever, it can make folks split their fire amongst all of your ships. Or maybe they still focus, but it has less of an overall effect because everything is decently capable of handling things on their own. This list definitely supports that kind of thing, as even 'ol Dutch isn't that juicy of a target sporting only an Ion Turret and his card text. 

The two Blues with Advanced Sensors run a nice and even 50 points too, so it's easy to plug in other stuff to taste. Or you could just elect to run 4 that way, but it wouldn't be cheap in real life as the Advanced Sensors card is only available with the Lambda right now, which come to think of it, is probably the other reason why you see a pair of B-Wings sporting Advanced Sensors, but rarely more in people's lists. 

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