Saturday, 8 September 2018

Ten Squads in Ten Days - 6) Rho Rho Rho Your Boat

It's the midseason lull here at Ten Squads in Ten Days, but don't worry as we'll soon start building towards the showstopping series finale.
Hot on the heels of one squad that's using SLAM to move unpredictably about the board and outmaneuver opponents comes... another squad that's using SLAM to move unpredictably about the board and outmaneuver opponents.  This time it's grey ships not white ships.


For whatever reason the Alpha Class Starwing, or Gunboat, has a legion of fans who had spent hundreds and hundreds of pages of the FFG forums bugging the holy crap of the X-Wing design team until they finally got their favourite ship into the game.  And the Gunboat arrived with a real splash to become an important part of the Imperial arsenal... so what are Gunboats for in 2nd Edition?

Rho Rho Rho Your Boat
  • Rho Squadron Pilot - Crack Shot, XG-1 Assault Loadout, Ion Cannon, Fire Control System, Advanced SLAM (49)
  • Rho Squadron Pilot - Crack Shot, XG-1 Assault Loadout, Ion Cannon, Fire Control System, Advanced SLAM (49)
  • Rho Squadron Pilot - Crack Shot, XG-1 Assault Loadout, Ion Cannon, Fire Control System, Advanced SLAM (49)
  • Duchess - Outmaneuver (48)

To be honest with you I can't take much credit for this squad because it was kindly fed to me by James Dowdall of the 186th Squadron when he saw me flapping about not having ten squads I liked!  James is a man who likes his SLAM and though I don't know if either of us would really stake our lives on this being an actually strong squad it's something that we both would like to see on the table, just to be sure.

The list features three identical Alpha-Class Starwings (aka. Gunboats) and the loadout for each of those is almost entirely decided by the inclusion of one card: XG-1 Assault Loadout.  One you've decided to play the XG-1 Assault Loadout then pretty much everything else follows suit.  If you want to be able to SLAM around and fire your cannon, as XG-1 lets you do, then you're almost certainly going to want an Ion Cannon.  It's early days for the Second Edition card pool and there's slim pickings in the Cannon department - neither Tractor Beam or Jamming Beam does damage, and if you take the new slimline Heavy Laser Cannon you're both gambling on SLAMing into bullseye shots and restricted from firing that 4th red dice anyway by XG-1!

That puts you into Ion Cannon as it's a 3 red dice Cannon that doesn't need bullseye and actually deals damage, albeit only 1 damage, and then the mechanics of the new Ion Cannon (and Turret) mean you're really looking to roll max hits every time to actually push Ion tokens onto the target.  The 1st Edition Ion Cannon would deal 1 damage and 1 Ion on the first dice that hit then ignore all further results, while the 2nd Edition Ion Cannon deals damage on the first hit then only adds Ion tokens for any additional hits... it's quite a bit worse unless your red dice are really solid.  That requirement means backing them up with both a Fire Control System and the opportunity to Focus after your SLAM action with Advanced SLAM.

The last nice touch on that line of thinking is that it uses the elite Rho Squadron Pilot and brings a Crack Shot as the pilot's Talent.  Crack Shot is only a shadow of its former self and I tend to resist playing it in 2nd Edition squads, but in this case that ability to force an extra hit through and ensure you Ionise a target is far more likely to be clutch than if you were just shipping one more damage card.

And there's three of these things to deal with.  Three Gunboats SLAMing rapidly and unpredictably around the table, like the K-Wings, but unlike the K-Wings being able to do so and keep on firing their Ion Cannons.

Assuming this all works and you've left your opponent with just an armada of broken and lifeless ships, then you're going to need somebody to actually blow them up and that's where I bring Duchess into the squad.  With her excellent maneuvering abilities the Duchess will find it child's play to Outmaneuver the ionised ships and swiftly reduce them to rubble!  Probably.

As I said when I introduced this squad I don't know that it's a really strong squad, but I do believe that the Gunboat has proven itself to be such a solid and flexible platform that there's something in here.  Do you need three Ion Gunboats?  Can you run with two, and maybe even cut them to Nu Squadron Pilots, to bring another ace to help Duchess out in the damage stakes?  Or maybe a Defender or Darth Vader?  There's plenty of room for experimentation here, I think, and I know the Gunboat has plenty of fans who will want to try...

1 comment:

  1. Crack shot doesn't work with ion cannon, it's primary weapon only.