All right, so any possible respect I might have gotten from the competitive/ veteran gamer elite of the X-Wing Miniatures scene for being part of the duo that created APLs and Ionzes is about to soundly get flushed down the toilet with this article. Know that going in if you're one of those listy, math-centric people this article is probably going to make you want to burn down my house or something equally hyperbolic.
So in the days leading up to the tournament last weekend, Sean and I were messaging about our lists and of course, I was reading y'all's comments in regard to the list-centric articles I was running and as you'll recall, there was a whooooole lotta talk about B-Wings, BBXX, et cetera, et cetera, so naturally I wanted to come up with something that was tooled a bit into facing that meta.
Of course, that meta wasn't present at AG, but I didn't know that, so this happened anyway.
Other contributing factors in this decision making process included Sean's as usual, dead-on conclusions based upon my weird unwitting hipster logic, an email I got from a guy in England asking me why the Advanced gets such a bad rap, and the Swarm, Again article when I kinda forced myself into thinking about other possible Imperial Swarms, regardless of how effective they might or might not be.
So would 4 Advanced each with a Missile loadout be competitive?
Again, I'm unfortunately in conjecture territory here, but I think it could be, yes.
The Advanced gets a bad rap for several reasons, but I think the actual reason is because it doesn't fit into the plans of most Imperial players since the game was released. It's too expensive to fit into a traditional Swarm list (except for possibly Vader- pretty much anything you say about the Advanced is prefaced with, "Except for possibly Vader"), it hasn't got the moves or the guns of the Interceptor, and while it features the ability to carry Missiles and sport a Shield value, I don't think many dedicated Imperial players really care about either of those things, generally speaking.
It didn't seem like a terrible idea to me in light of the BBXX meta though. Advanced are more maneuverable than either of those ships in a stock, unmodified sense, and their ability to sport Missiles offsets their 2 Attack to a certain extent. I picked the loadout I did because the Clusters are effective against ships with only one Defend dice while the Concussions do better against ships with 2 or more green dice.
Truthfully, when I flew it in a couple of test games against Sean the night before, the list flew better than I thought it would. Maybe that's because I was expecting it to fall flat on its ass, so anything better than that seemed like a surprising success, or maybe it's not that bad of a list. In any case, I was kind of pleasantly surprised that a 4 Advanced list seemed at least plausible, if maybe not still completely viable.
In-game it performs pretty much how you'd expect- with three green dice at their disposal, TIE Advanced are tough to hit, and when your enemy does manage to hit, the 2 Shields go a long way to keeping you in the fight. The problem of course, is the low damage potential, but you can offset that with the aforementioned Missiles. I found that trying to fly up the flanks to get some Target Locks before turning around and then Focusing on the guys I Target Locked wasn't impossible to pull off and as you're overly relying on those Missiles doing some big things for you (read down at least a couple of ships), it's an absolute must you fire them Focused and TLed.
Moving such a maneuverable ship at PS2 is kind of a nice thing as you can set yourself up to a certain extent, and the Advanced really does have a pretty good dial. The only red maneuver is the 4 K-Turn, and aside from the 1 Banks you see on the TIE Fighter dial, I never really found myself wishing for a particular move on the dial like I do sometimes with Y-Wings, Shuttles, or HWKs.
I knew going in the main thing this list would have trouble with would be TIE Swarms, so it didn't help much that I ran into the eventual Store Champion as the TIE runner of choice, but post Wave 4, I'm thinking this list may drop a set of Concussions and a set of Clusters to include a load of Assault Missiles to help with Swarms and as that last Advanced will only have 3 points to spend on Missiles, Ion Pulse Missiles seem like a good fit. Probably wouldn't have been night and day different or anything, but I might have at least downed a couple of TIEs had I gotten off an Assault Missile shot at some point.
So look, once again, I'm not saying this is some huge, meta-shattering list, but I do think it would fly decently well against the current Rebel meta, or at least has some potential to, so maybe give it a fly and see how it treats ya.