Without further ado, the first of the two interviews with Imperial finalists (and contest runner-up) Alexandra Smith and her self-named fleet: "Daala's Darksabers"
Tell us a bit about your thought process in creating this list. Was the requirement to include both new ships a difficult one to make work?
Well my primary list starts with an ISD/VSD/and one other ship. I've messed around with a raider and GSD, but I keep going back to the VSD. So working with large, heavy ships, is second nature to me. I initially wanted to try and do an ISD and Interdictor but the cost of both those ships is prohibitive in terms of getting anything else in the list.
The biggest thing that lead me to the list was Konstantine himself. Realizing that it was every ship in range was kind of huge to me. I went with two Gozanti's to try and out activation, and allow me to active what I wanted when I wanted, as getting the tractor at the right time is important. The TIE's were the most anti squadron with the points that were made. If I made any changes it would be to move to a more dedicated AS ball, of Howl/Soontir/Advanced/Interceptor, though that would change the list a bit.
Obviously you didn't get to play the games - are you happy with the decisions that the developers made? Anything that you would have done differently?
Rolling better to go second, obviously.
I think the biggest thing would be to split the Intel Sweep tokens to try and pull off something for the last game, as losing the Gozanti doesn't matter as much as something from Craig's list. Without seeing what they set for dials its hard to really criticize, though in deployment I would've gone VSD/Interdictor/VSD, tempting shots at the Interdictor to try and take advantage of its high engineering. And it does not look like they tractored the MC30 enough, given that it got behind the squad. But they also didn't give us that detailed of an AAR, so they might've done that and still lost.
You had a 398 bid - did your list have any preference towards first or second player? Are you happy with the choice of Intel Sweep - or would you have gone with a different objective as first player?
Yeah, second player is my preference by a very large margin. Granted that's not my list entirely, but so much my preference when it comes to playing. I've barely tried playing first, and my regional performance was certainly put off the few times I had to play as first player. I didn't really build the fleet with a bid in mind, I just thought that would be more useful than Needa.
The choice of objectives is very different. I certainly don't feel that letting a MC30 doubletap is a good idea, so it was between Sweep and Fire Lanes. Fire Lanes could've been competitive, but I think overall Sweep was the one that was my fleet could most easily tackle, but they just deployed all the tokens very close to the Rebel fleet for some reason, and the Gozanti's weren't set to capture them.
Will we be seeing you bringing this list or (something like it) to worlds?
Sadly not, a trip up there is just outside of my budget right. I'm sure there will be some people using Konstantine though, he is priced very aggressively with a very powerful ability. As is the Interdictor, though I think the Combat Refit with just the reroll will be more popular given its price.
Off the topic of the contest: What are you most excited about that is upcoming? How are you looking at integrating the new waves (and Correllian Conflict) into your list?
They haven't revealed all that much about Correllian Conflict, as apparently there is at least one new option for every squadron, so there will be some staggering choices there, which is good. I think that the Interdictor will be the most game changing element of those releases, as anytime you can dictate things to your opponent and make them have to react to you, it's powerful. A 9 point escort squadron in Black Squadron will also be nice for Imperial AS games, making them take damage from Soontir longer is always a great thing.
Sadly on the Rebel side, well I own no Rebels. I never got into them early, and now the buy in, along with them not really having an archetype I can get behind (I'm very into large flying bricks with lots of guns, if that isn't obvious enough) has kept me from getting them. Though X-Wings in general are going to really like transports for the squadron commands, Toryn Farr for Swarm, and Bomber Command to make that red die more consistent. Now if only they'd make a variant of the AF MK 2 that doesn't look ridiculous.
Do you think the game is in a good place right now?
I haven't really followed the meta or regional results like I have for X-Wing, so I'm not entirely qualified on that. The one regional I went to was very small, under 20 people, but there was a very large variety in the fleets people brought, only one Demolisher/Raider fleet for example. I think that points to things still being discovered, which is a very good thing. I'm also not a very good player in general, so there are things that are incredibly frustrating to play against (a friends Home One XI-7 powered fleet that removes Imperial braces from play and makes redirect useless), but I'm sure there ways to beat it I just have yet to discover it.
If there was anything I would change about the game, I would wish that it was easier to bring squadrons along. Currently when building a list it feels like I can either play with and upgrade my ships, or get involved in the squadron game, whether that's bringing fighters to defend against bombers, or bringing bombers yourself. Having the clouds of fighters is the most Star Warsy thing about the game, so I hate that if I want to play with a lot of neat toys, it means leaving the fighter synergies at home.