With the Scum and Villainy expansions for X-wing travelling across the land in the cargo holds of countless spice runners (a.k.a. UPS trucks), it’s hard not to come up with a bunch of new lists to try out for the newest kids on the block. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, so I’m just going to take it step by step. Fantasy Flight continues to make their champions into bona fide gamer celebrities, publishing great articles like this excellent one by repeat world champ Paul Heaver. In addition to some excellent strategy basics (describing the rock/paper/scissors nature of jousters vs. turrets vs. arc dodgers), Paul provides some interesting lists to try out for the Scum. Let’s take a quick look at the ship archetypes as he describes them:
Jousters are straight-forward, efficient little buggers that often blanket the battlefield in no-frills ships. A little underwhelming individually, they are ruthlessly effective in medium to large sized groups, even without upgrades.
Arc Dodgers are very dangerous, slippery little space ninjas really. Fast and highly manoeuvrable, they generally pack a large punch but can’t take a hit in return. Their best defense is usually to avoid being shot at all, and they do this by arc dodging — moving last and often spending their actions boosting or barrel rolling into prime locations. The ultimate goal is often to get into range band 1 of an opponent who isn’t able to shoot you back, but a lot of the time you settle for range band 3 against targets with lower agility than you. Your mid-strength attacks can still hurt them, but their attacks will hopefully fail to crack your higher agility, range bonuses and/or defensive tokens. Either situation benefits the arc dodger.
Turrets are rampant right now due to the strength of the Phantom, which is an arc dodger on steroids. It’s difficult to catch and often even harder to hit (with 2+2=4 agility while cloaked), and brings huge firepower to the game as well. With turret ships, you are generally throwing big attacks around in any direction, which negates at least some of the Phantom’s big strengths. Even in the hands of a brilliant player, swarmy jousting lists (and even many arc dodger squads) can’t keep up with the Phantom.
Nothing beats rock.
The relationship between the three archetypes is a lot like rock, paper, scissors. Turrets are rocks. They bring a ton of hit points and are fairly simple to use, even for beginners. Jousters are paper, blanketing the opposition in ships, covering a lot of territory, and inflicting death by a thousand paper cuts. Arc dodgers are scissors, cutting through paper by applying a lot of force onto single ships in the swarm, while dodging some, most or all of the return fire. And looping back around, turrets largely laugh at arc dodgers, as their points spend on manoeuvrability count for a lot less against a ship with 360 degree attacks.
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