Monday, August 17, 2015

A Look At The Next Generation of Bombing - A Poor Grey Pilot Strategy Update

                In light of Wave 7's arrival, here is my next strategy update: bombs. There is a reason why Wave 7 is called the Bombs and Ordnance Wave and there a lot of changes coming our way.

Three Variants of Bombers
                The old meta really only had one type of bomber: if your ship had a bomb slot then it drop a bomb. Wave 7 is going to revolutionize the strategy of bombing with ship that have 2 bomb slots, as well as the Extra Munitions upgrade. These changes will expand the Bomber role from one variant to three.
                The first of these is the Basic Bomber. This variant essentially has one bomb slot and so can only do basic bombing techniques. The two ships here are: the Aggressor and the un-titled Firespray. If you see either of these with a bomb, you can rest assured that it can do no more than a one-and-done drop.
                The second variant is the Standard bomber. These ships have one bomb slot as well as a torpedo for extra munitions. This means that most bombers on the table will be threatening for more than one round. This kind of bomber includes: the Y-wing, Tie Bomber, Slave 1, and Decimator. While these ships have access to multiple bombs, they are only allowed to have one type. So if you are going to field one make sure that you adequately pick the right bomb for your squad's needs. If you are facing one ingame, then you only have to worry about one type of bomb. Try to find out your enemy's bombing strategy and proceed with the correct counter.
                The third and final variant is the Advanced Bomber. These ships can equip more than one type of bomb and have access to multiple bombing techniques. This variant includes: the Andrasta, K-wing, and Tie Punisher. The latter two have two bomb slots and a torpedo slot, and therefore can take two different types of bombs and a total of 4. As for the Andrasta, it can't take extra munitions but it can give you up to three different types of bombs.

Bombs vs Mines
                The upgrade from basic to standard is an obvious advantage: getting more bombs at a discount is awesome. However, transitioning from one type of bomb to multiple is a more suble advantage. Yes, you have more options for strategy, but the main advantage comes from the diffrences between the two categories of bombs, bombs and mines.
                Bombs in X-wing are characterized as such: they don't require an action to use, are released from your ship before you reveal a maneuver, and always explode at the end of the activation phase. A mine's defining characteristics are the exact opposite of bombs: they require an action to drop, are used after you make your maneuver, and don't explode until a ship moves over them.
                The mechanics of bombs and mines are different, and so it makes sense that their applications are different as well. Bombs explode during the same turn you drop them, so you want them to do damage right then. They are most effective when placed next to ships that have already activated, and therefore are most easily used against lower pilot skills. Mines, on the other hand, have two applicable uses. The first is to place them to lock down a lane or block an escape route, thus giving you more control over the board. The second strategy is placing mines ontop of ships unmoved ships. Since mines explode when a ship touches it, it doesn't matter whether or not the enemy has moved. Because of this, mines are more easily used against high pilot ships.
Application of the Advanced Bomber
                If you want your bomber to target high pilot skill ships, then you should pick low skill pilots and arm them with mines. To target low skill pilots, you should take an ace bomber and load him with bombs. Both of these builds are strong against the ships they hunt. But it also creates a weakness in squad building. If you have a low PS bomber with conner nets, it won't do so well against an enemy swarm. Conversely, if you have an ace bomber with proton bombs, he is not going to do much against a 2-ship large-base build. We don't want to leave a gap like that in squad strategy. One answer is to fly multiple bombers, one with bombs and the other with mines.
                However another option has been presented with the new Advanced Bomber role. This type of bomber can to save you squad points because it can equip both a bomb and a mine. That way you are able to easily switch your bombing strategies based off of the different squads you meet in tournaments.

Choosing Your Pilot Skill
                First off, don't pick low skill pilots. They will be great against aces but will be vulnerable to other generics. On the other hand, most ace bomber pilots are a good choice because they generally have lower pilot skills than other named pilots. However, if you are going to spend the points for an ace make sure you are getting a good bomber ability, such as Emon or Deathrain.
                If you want to keep your advanced bomber on the cheaper side, then you can consider the option of taking a middle-skilled generic pilot. Normally these pilots are overcosted but, in this situation, their skill level is a perfect fit. They are high enough to take on generic swarms but also low enough to terrorize aces. A Guardian K-wing, Black Eight Punisher, or Mandalorian Firespray can be devastating to every enemy ship on the table.

                I hope you are as excited as I am for the new wave of bombers to come out. Keep practicing and fly casual.

Punisher w/ Black Eight - 35 Points
                Seismic Charges
                Cluster Mines
                Extra Munitions
                Twin Ion Engine Mk II
                Advanced Sensors

K-wing w/ Guardian - 36 Points
                Seismic Charges
                Conner Net
                Extra Munitions
                Advanced Slam

Firespray w/ Mandalorian - 44 Points
                Andrasta Title
                2 Proximity Mines
                Seismic Charges
                Inertial Dampeners

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