These are the Meta-Wing ranking tables for the calendar month of September 2017, which has included the results of several major National Championships.
If you don't know what Meta-Wing is then please read my blog introducing it here.
It's worth repeating some of the provisos about Meta-Wing, just to head off some of the people who get cranky about this sort of thing.
- Not every tournament is entered in Listjuggler. You're not seeing a complete picture from every X-Wing tournament being played, and indeed it might be weighted towards certain regions, stores or TOs that run tournaments more frequently, or are more rigorous in entering their results on Listjuggler.
- When a tournament is entered in Listjuggler it's rare for every squad to be entered. Most commonly you'll get TOs entering only the Top 4 or Top 8 squads and this means you're not seeing every squad or ship that's being played, even from the tournaments that are entered. Even at the World Championships, for instance, only the Day Two lists were entered and even then it wasn't quite all of them.
- Meta-wing doesn't add or amend the Listjuggler data at all. If it's entered wrong in Listjuggler then it's wrong in Meta-wing. Errors are rare but they do happen, and when you start aggregating data up those errors become difficult to spot (thought fortunately they also become a small part of a larger sample size).
The Concord Dawn/Attani Mindlink connection is finally done. Fenn/Teroch/Inaldra all take big drops in the pilots chart, while Paratanni & Sick Fang Man drop out of the top squads. The Protectorate Starfighter has been a solid fixture at the top of the ship rankings as the only 'ace' really able to hold its own in the bombs meta, but this month it plummets from being #1 ship in August to the #12 spot!
The meta drifts slightly more towards Rebel dominance. Rebel Nym is now ranked ahead of Scum Nym, and the big growth in squads is coming in Miranda/Dash/Nym combinations, while Poe's brief moment in the sun appears to be over.
- One of the big stories of the month is the rise in four different Rebel squads using variations of Miranda, Nym and Dash. Almost 1 in 10 of all players on Listjuggler switched their squads to either Nymranda, Mirandash, Nymble Dash and 'OP Cubed' last month.
- The other big story is the sudden resurgence of Triple Jumps, which won the UK National Championships under the steady piloting of Faan Langelaan. This has caught a lot of people by surprise but perhaps it shouldn't have done, as Faan had already placed a marker down when he used them to take down his Store Championship in July. The Contracted Scout is looking just as dangerous as ever, but the question really is: where did it go?
TRIPLE JUMPS - SEPT 2017 (Winner UK National Championships)
- I think the answer is that Wave 9 just gave players better options for Mindlink so you saw the Contracted Scouts being replaced by either one or two Protectorate Starfighters (in Rauboats and Old Man Fenn, respectively), and of course there was the distraction of Paratanni. Captain Nym has reversed all that though and brought the Contracted Scout racing back to the top of the charts. On one hand the bombs have scared away the Protectorate Starfighters which had replaced the Scouts, and on the other hand the large hull of the Contracted Scout is good against bombs and it's small turret likes that there's not a lot of Agility around at present. Getting access to Rigged Cargo Chute to mess with Miranda and Nym is just gravy.
"OP CUBED" (Runner-Up UK National Championships)
OP Cubed is an important squad to discuss in more depth as it's an interesting hybrid of Fair Ship Rebels and Nymranda, replacing Jess Pava and Captain Rex with the durable Miranda threat.
Given the rise of arc-dodging turrets this seems a pretty strong move as the damage output from Jess and Rex is a lot less reliable that you can keep them on-arc of their target. Another thing that occurs to me about OP Cubed is how much it reminds me of Paul Heaver's list that he used to win the Naboo Open earlier this year, which was Miranda/Biggs/Stressbot. The structure then was that you had to deal with the Stressbot and Biggs then had Miranda waiting for you in the endgame, and OP Cubed is very similar except that it's Biggs & Lowhhrick you need to deal with before you get to your boss battle against the K-Wing.
The comparison of specific matchups is a lot sketchier because that information isn't always stored in Listjuggler, so from 100+ examples of players using Denym you only get a handful of specific 'Denym vs Mirandash' results, for instance. So keep a punch of salt on hand for some of this.
- Contracted Scouts beat the two-ship lists, but struggle against the Biggs/Lowhhrick lists. This makes good sense as Fair Ship Rebels first proved itself by being able to soak Dengar's alpha strikes.
- Fair Ship Rebels really doesn't like the bombs, with a rotten record against anything with Nym in.
- It's a second consecutive month without an Imperial pilot cracking the Top10, although Quickdraw holds his position in the 11th spot, so the top Imperial Aces pilots are very close.
- It's a very good month if you're a Rebel pilot with access to a turret. Miranda, Nym, Dash, Gold Squadron Pilot, Kanan and Zeb are all climbing places this month and overall the Rebels have now locked up 12 of the Top-20 pilot spots. It's a level of faction dominance only occasionally seen since Wave 6 added the Scum & Villainy faction to the game.
- It's a very bad month if you're an agile starfighter trying to use your primary firing arc, and even Fenn Rau finally takes a dive due to the ever-increasing level of bombs. Fenn drops from 2nd to 12th, while Omega Leader, Inaldra and Old Teroch drop out of the Top-20 entirely.
- Rebel Nym has now climbed ahead of Scum Nym. Partly he's just got better wingmen in the Rebel faction (Miranda & Dash, and Sabine Wren crew) but more and more players are finding that the Rebel Nym's pilot ability is just as strong as the Scum version, and arguably better once you get used to how to use it.
Half of the top 20 upgrades are dedicated to secondary weapons, either the weapons themselves (Bomblet Generator, Twin Laser Turret, Plasma Torpedoes) or to making them work (Sabine Wren, Guidance Chips, Advanced SLAM).
- Burnout SLAM. Sitting in at the #13th best Upgrade in the game, this is the one card that has given me the most 'WTF' in the upgrades table so I did a bit of digging into the squads it's appearing in.
There's two broad camps: YT-1300/YT-2400s who are just including the Burnout SLAM as a 'Get Out Of Jail' card with a spare point, and Jumpmaster 5000's who are pairing it with Cikatro Vizago and using it to switch in Rigged Cargo Chutes or Black Market Slicer Tools against unsuspecting opponents.
- Autothrusters. Dropping back from 16th spot in August to 38th in Septembr, with the weakest percentile performance of any of those cards in the table above, Autothrusters aren't doing very well. This is well worth pointing out because the main trend we saw in the Squads and Pilots is that turreted ships are on the rise, so you'd expect Autothrusters to be turning up to counter them. It appears the opposite it true though, which could well be that the nimble ships who would use Autothrusters (like Fenn Rau, or The Inquisitor) are struggling too much against the Bombs.
Finally, the full ships power level breakdown suggests that Guns For Hire can't bring buffs fast enough for the KIhraxz or Starviper! Languishing down at the bottom of the tables Scum ace pilots have to hope that there's some serious power boosts in Guns For Hire, or all they'll succeed in doing is being pushed up into the mid-table. That's what happened to the TIE Bomber when Imperial Veterans landed, and it remains to be seen if the likes of Thweek are more like Countess Ryad or Deathfire in power level.