Monday, December 28, 2015

Building a Fleet - Squadron Composition in Wave 2

In our previous Squadron Composition article, we discussed how to build our lists with squadrons in Wave 1.  Well, Wave 2 brings us new toys, and new strategies necessary to work with and counter against those new squadrons.  Let's jump right in.

What Ships?

No discussion on squadrons is complete without discussing ships.  Even Rogue squadrons are there to support their capital ships - either by contributing to the damage against enemy ships, or by screening their capital ships from enemy Bombers.  Lets take a look at each ship, and see what kind of fighter support it can offer, either directly (Squadron Commands) or indirectly.

Rebel Ships:

Poor Squadron Support:
CR90 Corvette - 1 Squadron Value
MC30c Frigate - 1 Squadron Value / Weapons Team
Nebulon B Support Refit - 1 Squadron Value

All of these ships have only a single squadron value, and poor anti-squadron fire (1 Blue).  A fleet comprised primarily of these ships will either need Rogue squadrons, some other escort, or squadrons capable of operating independently in some other way (A-Wings).

Escort Support:
Nebulon B Escort Frigate - 2 Squadron Value / 2 Blue Anti-Squadron / Yavaris Title
Assault Frigate Mk II A - 2 Squadron Value / 2 Blue Anti-Squadron / Weapons Team / Offensive Retrofit / Gallant Haven Title
MC80 Assault - 3 Squadron Value / 2 Blue Anti-Squadron / Independence Title

These ships are capable of helping anti-squadron fire, supporting a limited number of fighters or bombers and contributing respectable anti-squadron fire as well, especially from broadsides.  Yavaris alone is an amazing squadron based upgrade, turning Bombers into murder machines, and X-Wings into anti-squadron monsters.

Dedicated Carrier:
Assault Frigate Mk II B - 3 Squadron Value / Weapons Team / Offensive Retrofit / Gallant Haven Title
MC80 Command - 4 Squadron Value / 1 Black, 1 Blue Anti-Squadron / Offensive Retrofit / Independence Title

Both of these ships are able to activate a large number of squadrons, particularly for their cost.  While not really designed to directly contribute to the squadron fight (though the MC80 command can argue for the role), they are capable of taking offensive retrofits for Boosted Comms or Expanded Hangers to improve the quality of each activation.  Furthermore, they each have a specific title that can help different carrier strategies - Gallant Haven for squadrons that want to sit back and screen your ships, and Independence for getting slower Bombers into the fight faster.

Imperial Ships:

Escort Support:
Raider I Class Corvette - 1 Squadron Value / 2 Black anti-squadron dice / Weapons Team / Offensive Retrofit / Titles
Raider II Class Corvette - 1 Squadron Value / 1 Blue, 1 Black anti-squadron dice / Weapons Team / Offensive Retrofit / Titles
Gladiator I Class Star Destroyer - 2 Squadron Value / Weapons Team
Gladiator II Class Star Destroyer - 2 Squadron Value / Weapons Team / 2 Blue anti-squadron dice

All of the Imperial small ships are capable of contributing in some way anti-squadron escort duties.  The Raider primarily from close quarters anti-squadron fire, though it could be set up with an Expanded Hanger or Tarkin tokens for multi-squadron activations.  The GSD can already activate 2 squadrons, and the GSD2 is capable of also laying down a respectable anti-squadron fire.

Dedicated Carrier:
Victory Star Destroyer - 3 Squadron Value / Weapons Team / Offensive Retrofit / Warlord Title (w/ H9 Turbolasers)
Imperial I Class Star Destroyer - 4 Squadron Value / 1 Blue, 1 Black anti-squadron dice / Weapons Team / Double Offensive Retrofits
Imperial II Class Star Destroyers - 4 Squadron Value / 2 Blue anti-squadron dice / Weapons Team / Offensive Retrofit

The big ships also double as carriers.  The ISD1 being the best equipped of the group, able to take both Boosted Comms and Expanded Hangers, it can activate 5 fighters at long range or 6 with a token.  You won't need any bounty hunter scum with that many activations.  The other ships also can fill the role, with the VSD1 being the most cost effective carrier for the activations to points.  All have a way of contributing to the anti-squadron fire, with the VSD needing a fairly pricey combo of Warlord and H9 Turbolasers however.

Unsupported Squadrons

Previously, squadrons with Counter could work well independent of ship activations as an anti-squadron screen, as they'd still get some sort of attack if they moved and engaged the enemy.  That is less true now with dedicated Rogue squadrons as well as the Intel keyword.  That being said, the A-Wing and TIE Interceptor still are capable of operating independent of ship activations to a limited extent, mostly as an the interceptor they were designed to be.  Careful possitioning can split the enemy forces, either forcing them to shoot at you, and not move, or forcing the Intel ship to move into range 1, spoiling further move and splitting their forces up when the formerly pinned squadrons move away.

Again, TIE Fighters, with their Swarm keyword, can also be used as a cheep cost throwaway squadron, which at speed 4 can jump in and waste a pair of attacks or an Intel before freeing up the enemy squadrons.

The big independent squadrons though are the Rogues.  Able to both move and attack, Firesprays, YT-2400s, and Aggressors all enter as generics that don't require support ships to be dangerous.  Of these, the Aggressor is the best anti-squadron platform, with both 4 Blue dice and Counter 1, with the Firespray works best as a Bomber, with 2 Blue anti-ship dice, and the YT-2400 being an interceptor with Speed 4.  All are purchased at a premium though, 

Squadron Archetypes:

Bomber Wing:  Designed primarily as anti-ship, but with enough anti-squadron to fight back if the enemy brings fighter cover.  Now, Intel is pretty much a requirement to get the Bombers on target.  For Rebels, an example would be Truthiness's recent Vassal Tournament build - B-Wings or Scurrgs, a HWK, and some escort fighters.  For Imperials, the Rhymer Ball or one of its variants (Fireball) - Rhymer, Jumpmaster, TIE Bombers / Firesprays, and TIE Advanced for cover.  Look for this to be at least 100 points dedicated to squadrons, with most invested in the Bombers themselves.  For the Rebels, you will likely need dedicated carriers to make the squadrons fly properly, while Imperials can get away without dedicating squadron commands (though it can help) in the case of the Firespray ball.

Fighter/Bomber Wing:  Edging back toward anti-squadron, but with the ability to turn and engage enemy ships if necessary.  Again, looking to be around 100 points, with carrier support (or escort support and lots of Rogue fighters)  For Rebels, A-Wings and YT-2400s are king, with X-Wings and Jan Ors being another viable option.  For Imperials, massed Aggressors and the Fel's Flying Circus (Fel and multiple TIE Advanced Escorts, possibly with Howlrunner) are the gold standard.

Fighter Screen:  Designed not to go after enemy ships, this build is a pure hedge against the Bomber Wing.  For Rebels, this is really a Fighter / Bomber wing that is slightly less large in size, but for Imperials, they can bring TIE Fighter / Interceptor swarms to increase options for a stalled deployment.

Limited Fighter Screen / No Squadrons - Really at this point, no squadrons or just 1-2 squadrons might as well be the same thing, especially with Intel being a big part of Bomber Wings.  You have to be very certain your Brawler list can take the un-contested hits from the enemy squadrons while tabling the opponent.  I'm not entirely sure of its viability at this point in time.

Squadron Roles:

X-Wings – Space Superiority & Bomber Escort / Secondary Bomber
Y-Wings – Bomber Attack
A-Wings – Interceptor & Bomber Escort / Secondary Space Superiority & Bomber
B-Wings – Ship Escort
YT-2400 – Interceptor, Space Superiority, Unsupported
YT-1300 – B-Wing Escort / Secondary Ship Escort
Scurrg – Bomber Attack
HWK – Intel / Secondary Interceptor

TIE Fighter – Space Superiority & Anti-Squadron Escort / Secondary Interceptor / Emergency Bomber
TIE Interceptor – Interceptor, Anti-Squadron Escort & Space Superiority
TIE Advanced – Support for TIE Interceptors / Secondary Bomber & Interceptor
TIE Bomber – Bomber Attack
Firespray - Bomber Attack, Unsupported / Secondary Space Superiority
Aggressor - Space Superiority, Interceptor, Unsupported
Jumpmaster - Intel
YV-666 - Close quarters anti-squadron escort

That's it for this article.  Hopefully you've all had a great holiday.  Let's get out there and put what we've discussed into practice!


  1. Replies
    1. Glad this helped you. Let me know if there's anything you want to see in the future!

  2. I respectfully disagree with your designation of the B-Wing. "Catapulting" B-Wings with Independence means that they can be used much like Y-Wings (1-2 turns of 4-move means that their subsequent move and shoots aren't too painful). Truthiness discussed this in your interview with him.

    1. This is all true. But it should be noted that it does require the Independence title to use them in that way.

  3. I have this list that I've been wanting to test for a while. 2 YT-2400s, 2 A-wings and 2 Y-wings.

    If they could only hurry up and deliver the squadrons I ordered over a month ago!