Monday, December 14, 2015

Application Of The Dorsal Turret - A Poor Grey Pilot Strat Update

Out to Lunch
                Hello PGP fans! After today I will be taking the rest of the month off. I am helping my Dad film and edit a documentary for our family's history and that will be taking up a lot of my free time. But don't worry because I am planning on restarting X-wing articles in January. I have gotten into a good groove of once a week and will continue to publish my analyses every Monday morning. Over this last year I've received lots of great feedback and encouragement for my writing and so I want to thank everyone who has read and commented. You are the ones that truly bring the Poor Grey Pilot to life. If you have an idea for an topic you would like me to look at, be sure to let me know in the comments below. 
The Dorsal Turret
                X-wing Miniatures attracts so many players because its many parts can appeal to different gamers. What is fun for me in X-wing is using Turrets, Ordnance, and the lore behind the pilots I fly. So it is with great joy I bring to you my strat update of the latest in the line of turrets: The Dorsal Turret.
                The first thing I want to discuss is the fact that this turret has special circumstances, just like all other turret upgrades. I hope that players don't look at this and think: "Oh no, another weird turret. When can we just get a normal 2/3 attack, 1-3 range turret with no gimmicks?" If this is what you are waiting for then you will be waiting a long time. That turret was already introduced in Wave 2 as the 'natural primary turret'. The fact behind the Turret Upgrade is this: it is meant to be a unique mechanic and bring new things to the table, just like any other upgrade slot. A primary-style Turret Upgrade would only bring a boring repeat of the natural primary turret and take away from the uniqueness of both of these game aspects. If a natural primary turret is what you are looking for then you are in luck because there are many ships with it: the Falcon, the YT-2200, the K-wing, the Punishing One, and the Decimator.
                With that being said, the Dorsal Turret brings another unique turret mechanic to the X-wing game. And I am not going to lie: it was this upgrade, not all the characters, that sold me on wanting the Ghost Expansion. I just hope that I can portray the why well enough that you can understand my joy and will want to try out this upgrade as well.
                First and foremost, it is a cheap upgrade. The DT becomes the second cheapest turret option, just like how Plasma Torpedoes became the second cheapest torpedo. You can always find room for a Dorsal Turret, unlike the Ion or Twin Laser Turret. Second, it carries the same Range 1 deterrent as a natural primary turret. Enemies will be more averse to get into Range 1 of your ship because it gives both players a bonus. Third, it doesn't have the same range limitation as the Autoblaster. When I was practicing and competing with my Hot Shot Blaster this last month, it was quite eye-opening to see how much area you cover with a Range 2 turret. The HSB is an expensive one-shot item because it gives ships like the Headhunter and Viper a huge range of attack! And this leads me to point four; the Dorsal Turret gets the same amount of attack at Range 1 as a HSB but is permanent. Sure, you only have 2 attack dice at Range 2 but that is an exchange I would make any day.
                The fifth and most important feature of the Dorsal Turret is that it is a better version of the Blaster Turret. You don't have to waste a focus token just to fire. This means you are free to chose whatever upgrades you want, rather than being forced to chose only upgrades that give you dice modification. The Dorsal Turret is more efficient and reliable than the Blaster Turret and it even costs 1 squad point fewer.
                The DT also has a wide reach of influence because it can benefit all but one of the ships with the turret upgrade slot. The Y-wing, both Rebel and Scum, now has a new turret to mix up the strategy of Range 2 board control. The Hawk can get into the middle of a battle and dish out good punishment without needing a focus battery. And the Ghost and the Attack Shuttle benefit greatly because it gives these Jousting ships some defense against Arc-Dodgers. Interestingly, the only ship that doesn't benefit from the Dorsal Turret is the K-wing since its natural primary turret can already do everything the upgrade can.
                Apart from filling a needed niche and benefiting many ships in the game, the Dorsal Turret also has good synergy when paired with certain pilots. Let's take a look at a few of my favorites.

Pilot Combos
                Many players have been waiting for a good turret to pair with this pirate and we finally have it. Kavil doesn't care if he loses an attack die at Range 2. He gets it back when firing outside his forward firing arc, as well as a fourth die when at Range 1! This combo is the best of both worlds as Kavil can hit as hard as a Blaster Turret but no longer needs the R4 Aggromech for dice modification. Instead, consider using upgrades to tank him up on defense or for mobility.
                I mentioned the Hot Shot before and it applies here as well. As long as you point Kavil in the right direction, he has a limitless supply of Hot Shots at his disposal. We also get a crazy-cheap attack of 4 dice at Range 1. This is cheaper than any Falcon and requires only a little work on your part, unlike a Eaden Stress combo. The Dorsal Turret really frees up this pilot and lets him shine.
                Coming from a different angle, we actually can have some fun with the new Wired EPT. Give Kavil the Wired ability and your Y-wing can use its red moves to self-stress. Once you are stressed you can reroll eyeballs when attacking and defending. If you equip an Unhinged Astromech then you can switch between using the red 4 forward and green 3 turns for a surprisingly fast and cheap Y-wing Ace.

Tank Kavil - 33 points
                Dorsal Turret
                Salvaged Astromech
                Hull Upgrade

Speed Kavil - 29 points
                Dorsal Turret
                Unhinged Astromech

                Horton is the only Y-wing that I've ever considered running with a Blaster Turret and nothing else. His ability to reroll at Range 2 gives partial dice modification that makes the turret at least usable. Yet the build was always a hassle to fly since Range 1 gave no modification and Y-wings are so unmaneuverable.
                Both those problems are fixed with the Dorsal Turret. You don't need to spend a focus to fire and that lets Horton use the token to modify shots at Range 1. Moreover, he can use the focus and his ability to consistently give 2 hit results when firing at Range 2.
                The second problem, mobility, is also solved with the Dorsal Turret. I really love running Horton with R7-T1 but I have always had trouble perfecting the build since no weapon worked quite right. The Autoblaster was too limited, the Ion Turret was not powerful enough and the TLT's didn't jive with Range 1. Finally, the Blaster Turret couldn't even be fired in this combo since Artee gives you a Target Lock instead of a Focus. But the Dorsal Turret works perfectly. It has the same range requirement as Artee's ability. And it gives your Y-wing both mobility and powerful attack. More importantly, the combo is very flexible. You can boost into Range 1 and spend your Target Lock for a modified 3 dice attack. Or you can boost out to Range 2 for an ability modified 2 dice attack and save the Target Lock for later. This build is great. Not only is it powerful and fun to fly, it also keeps Horton's cost low.
                Another possibility is taking R5-P9. I put a lot of emphasis in articles about having good dice modification but, honestly, sometimes even modifying actions can fail you. Maybe you roll all blanks on offense and defense and can't use your focus token. Normally it would just disappear at the end of the round but P9 can use it to give you a shield recharge. While I would never take R2-D2 on a Y-wing, I feel it is a good combo to take R5-P9 (there is a reason the art shows P9 on a Y-wing). Taking a Dorsal Turret instead of a Blaster Turret makes sure that Horton can get his focus and R5-P9 makes sure you get the maximum value out of the token.

Mobile Horton - 31 points
                Dorsal Turret

Recharge Horton - 31 points
                Dorsal Turret

Dutch Vander
                Dutch also works well with R7-T1. The combo gives you a Y-wing that can get a boost, a Target Lock, and also give a TL to an ally. However, Dutch is even more vulnerable to enemy arc dodgers than Horton because of his pilot skill of 6. So if you fly this build be sure to have an ally ship with an Intelligence Agent so you can know the best times and places to boost.
                But Dutch also pairs well with other droids. You can try using the R7 Astromech. Not needing a focus for a Blaster Turret means that Dutch can take Target Lock actions for his ability. That way you give yourself a defensive TL and an offensive one for an ally. Or you could take an R5 Astromech with a hull upgrade. This creates a hearty support Y-wing that can give dice modification to allies, give out good attack of its own, and take a lot of hits from the enemy.

Tank Dutch - 30 points
                - Dorsal Turret
                - R5 Astromech
                - Hull Upgrade

Defensive Dutch - 28 points
                - Dorsal Turret
                - R7 Astromech

                There are many other possibilities out there for the use of the Dorsal Turret. Perhaps you will want to run a ship a DT alongside Jan Ors in the Moldy Crow. And for those of you who have tried the AIS B-wing, this is another Range 2 turret that you can use the Advanced Strafe against. I don't expect the upgrade will make as big of meta splash as the Twin Laser Turret but I am sure the niche will help many players in their squad building. So what are your plans on using the Dorsal Turret? Let me know in the comments below.

                Before I go I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. I hope that you can remember the true Spirit of the Season as well as have stockings brim full of blister packs! See you in January. PGP out.


  1. Horton Slam works beautiful with TLT

    1. Horton Salm does work wonderfully with a TLT and I love to fly that build. However, I've found that a TLT/RT-71 combo leaves Horton very vulnerable to enemy Aces like Vader since you have to boost first and hope they can't catch up and move into the Range 1 blindspot. I only run that the combo if I have an Intelligence Agent in my squad as well. In my own practicing of the Dorsal Turret I've found that I enjoy the safety net at Range 1 more than the loss of Range 3. It all just depends on what you like to fly. :)

  2. I've been running the following config: Kavil, VI, Dorsal Turret, EU, Unhinged Astromech, Proton Bombs, Extra Munitions, 40pts. Makes him very agile and deadly at Range 1. Pair him with 3 low PS Khiraxz or 5 Pirate Z95s.