Monday, October 19, 2015

Serissu & Laetin - Veterans of the Battle of Tansarii Point Station

                To say that the Scum and Villainy of the galaxy is a faction in the Civil War is somewhat of a misnomer. "Scum" in Star Wars can range from mercenaries to smugglers to crime bosses. With such a diverse range of people - and potitical motives - it can be hard to believe that any of them could be considered in the same category. However, all underworld syndcates share two things: a sense of amorality and a desire for power and money. When looking at the situation from that angle, we can understand why the Empire is correct in lumping the Hutts in with the Black Sun but is wrong in assuming that the Alliance to Restore the Republic is simply more "rebel scum". It also makes sense to us gamers why FFG is justified in making Scum and Villiany its own faction in X-wing Miniatures. Its not rather difficult to believe that any greedy pirate can be put in your fleet for the right number of credits.
                However, today's pilot highlight is actually drawn from a moment where this "faction" was actually divided. The Battle of Tansarii Point is part of the Star Wars Galaxies MMORPG. The young Car'das Smuggler Cartel owned the Tansarii Point Station in the Bright Jewel star system. This station oversaw mining operations and was also the biggest trading post in the sector. And as such the Black Sun Syndicate saw it and wanted it for themselves. After many covert attempts to take the station failed the Black Sun discarded all attempts at stealth and launched a full assault on the facility. In the end the Car'das smugglers were able to hold off the attack (in large part to the playable character of the video game) and were then able to make several key counter strikes against Black Sun facilities. Needless to say it was one of the biggest upsets in the history of scum inter-rivalry. For this reason the title of Tansarii Point Veteran was a big deal and as notable as the Greek's title of Veteran of Marathon.
                These Car'das veterans flew M3-A "Scyk" Interceptors during the battle. The Scyk was created by MadalMotors to be an starfighter that filled a niche. It was to be much more versatile in combat than a Tie Fighter as well as be much more customizable. And on the opposite side it was to be cheaper than other interceptor-class ships. It is the same inside X-wing Miniatures and we benefit the most when we learn this ship's niches. As I talked about in my Scum article, one of them is in being the cheapest cannon ship in the game. Another niche is that it is the only Interceptor in the game with the 1 bank maneuver, thus allowing the ship to slow play. And finally this ship gives us two named pilots with amazing defensive abilities. Let's take a look at these Tansarii Point Veterans.

Laetin A'Shera
                Many people disregard Laetin, claiming that he isn't worth the points. Even Major Juggler stated in his Math Wing analysis that his pilot ability is "easily bypassed". True, if you just throw Laetin into the fray for no reason, he will easily be killed without fulfilling a purpose. But what interceptor wouldn't? In this writers opinion, his pilot ability is actually what gives him so much strength. The easiest way to counter Laetin's ability is to never shoot at him, and that is the best thing you want in an Interceptor.
                In my experience there are two proper ways to fly Laetin. The first is in escort mode. Suppose you fly Laetin on point in a joust and have Boba Fett further back at range 3 of the enemy. If the enemy squad shoots at Laetin then Fett is protected this round and can move unscathed into range 1 next round. And Laetin has a good chance of shirking off the damage with his ability. But if he dies, at least your high priority ship was protected. If the opponent opts to shoot at Fett instead then Laetin is free to blast away at close range. For only 18 points he is a good investment to make sure another ship lives.
                The second way to fly Laetin is in counter mode. Place him in your squad and you can have strong power against certain builds. Give him a stealth device and he is a shield against Twin Laser Turrets, especially since the turret is counted as two attacks. And since the turrets are found on low agility ships, your Scyk's two red dice won't go to waste. Or you can consider picking him to punish 2 Ship builds. When a squad only gets 1-2 shots a round, it isn't efficient to waste one on a cheap, low attack ship that might get stronger from being shot at. That means that Laetin will have more freedom to hunt these ships from the flanks, like an interceptor should. Finally, Laetin punishes the Gunner crew. I know for me that that crew card is really annoying, moreso when it wastes your actions. But Laetin isn't bothered by it: either he gets an extra evade or else the gunner isn't even used.
                Whether its to protect a bigger ally or to counter certain abilities, Laein A'Shera can be just the right fit. Try him out and see if he fits into your squad's needs.

                Serissu is a really fun character. She is a Bothan pilot that is your first quest-giver in the Galaxies game. She shares the same Scyk survivablity as Laetin but rather than keeping it for herself she passes it onto others. And what is most interesting about this is that she is a rare exception in Scum philosophy. Instead of benefiting from flying solo, Serissu wants to be in range 1 of allies and adds great squad strength when in formation.
                Just like with Laetin, Serissu is strong at escorting allies. You can add her to a Xizor Headhunter swarm to make it even more tanky. Or perhaps you want to make a stationary turret as suggested in Alex Davy's Scum article. Take Moralo Eval with a Heavy Laser Cannon and an Outlaw Tech and have Serissu accompany him with Wingman and a Steath Device. Our Bothan can use her green 1 bank to make slow circles around your immobile battle station. With her there, Moralo has great chance to get 1 evade on every defense. And if your opponent choose to shoot the supporting Scyk instead then that gives your Hounds Tooth that much more time to blast things out of the sky. A third idea is to run Serissu alongside the Andrasta with Proximity Mines. Attach the Juke card to her and she can mess with enemy's' defenses while giving defensive rerolls to your action-less bomber.
                Of course, you aren't limited to just squad flying. Serissu also makes a wonderful arc-dodger. Give her Veteran Instincts and you have a 21 point ship that can hunt enemy aces for a fraction of the price. With PS 10, as well as the barrel roll action, she can outmaneuver pilots like Fel Turtles or Super Corrans. And after she comes in on a flanking vector she can swoop into the fray at range 1 to provide help to allies in traffic jams. The build possibilities for her are vast and all you need to do is work to find the one that is right for you.

                In closing, these pilots can be just as good in X-wing Miniatures as they were in the Battle of Tansarii Point. Their low attacks and fragile hulls just mean that they need extra care to find the right squad niche and be effective. But that shouldn't be new to us in the X-wing world. So here's to hard work and efficient squad building: may you find the joy of the game therein. And who knows, maybe we'll see a future release of a Scyk/Viper Scum Aces pack. Poor Grey Pilot out.

                This squad offers a powerful ace as well as a strong escort force. Kath is the heavy hitter, being able to shoot with 4 attack dice in either the forward or auxiliary arc. Serissu wants to stick close to Kath to keep her alive. She can use her Juke to have an evade for both offense and defense. And finally the 2 Headhunters can be versatile support. You can put them in front for cover, have them sweep on a flank from the side or even slow play behind your aces to catch enemy arc-dodgers.

Truant Squad - 100 Points
Firespray w/ Kath Scarlet - 51 Points
                Recon Specialist
Scyk w/ Serissu - 25 Points
                Stealth Device
Headhunter w/ Binayre Pirate - 12 Points
Headhunter w/ Binayre Pirate - 12 Points

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