X Wing: Striking While the Iron is Hot

Today X Wing TO and regular competitor Harrison Sharp discusses how he’s working to improve his performance with his new favourite ship, the TIE Striker. See if you can pick up any tips – or maybe even add a few!

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Welcome back, Inspiring Recruits! Today I’m going to look at one of the Wave 10 ships for the Empire, the TIE Striker. I’m not going to lie; this ship has been on my mind a lot recently. Quite frankly, it’s exactly what I want in X Wing. The way it moves is unlike any other ship in the game, which poses a unique problem in flying it that I can’t get enough of at the moment. This is the first ship in a long time that I’ve had to put on the table on my own, just to find out what it moves like.

During the course of my journey of self-discovery (entitled “Getting Good at TIE Strikers: An Underdog Story”) I decided to make a game to help me out; which I’ve decided to share with you all so you can give it a go. I would love to give it some sort of original name, but I’m lazy so will just call it “Asteroids”:

Asteroids

Setup
Take all 12 rocks from both core sets and place them on the board. I like to make a box in a box, with one rock in the middle, and leave one side of the outer box without a rock like so:

 

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of room for more rocks. In fact that small space in the bottom middle is the only legal place to put a rock. So the setup is relatively simple.

Now for the hard bit. I like to call it my three step programme for getting good with TIE Strikers:

Step 1

Position your ship(s) in your deployment zone and try to navigate through the rocks without hitting any. This is the same advice that is usually given to a new player to get used to the way the ships of the game move, so nothing new here. The only thing that’s new is that you have to have the Adaptive Ailerons Title on your ship, and you must always use the pre-manoeuvre 1 straight or bank.

One thing that I noticed from this is that I always went a lot further forward than I expected to. It took me a bit of getting my head around, but it finally clicked when I realised what I had been doing wrong: I had been visualising the templates and where they would land me, but completely forgetting about the extra ship length from the ship itself having to move. My first piece of advice about flying Strikers is to remember this, and if you are in any doubt about how far you’re going to move, expect to move a little further than you thought you would.

Step 2

Start with the same setup as step one, but this time take out some Focus Tokens and place them where you think your ship will end up. Be prepared to get a bit salty at this step, as I’m going to guarantee that you will not be able to hit the token every time. I’m lucky, or foolish, enough to own three Strikers, so I set up all three to see how far out I was. Here’s what it looked like:

Striker 5 and 6 had partially landed on the token, so I put it to the side of them and awarded myself a point. Striker 10 missed the token, and so I move it away from him and didn’t get a point. Once you’re consistently getting 3 points, it’s time to move on to the next part of step 2 – step 2B if you will.

Award yourself 2 points if your base completely overlaps the token. Sounds easy, but with the added difficulty of picturing precisely where two separate manoeuvres will land you, you will find that you’re going to have a hard time getting your eye that precise. By the time you are consistently scoring over 3 points, you should be pretty much set for step 3:

Step 3

Add a ship into the space where you didn’t have an asteroid before in your outer box, then set up your ships in your deployment zone:

By now you should be ready for a cup of your favourite beverage (see empty coffee cup above) – I know I was! But everything was going well and so I thought I would try out one final step. Put a ship on the board and try to keep it in arc while still predicting where you will end up. Award yourself the same 1 point for landing on the token and 2 for covering it entirely, but add a point for getting the target ship in arc. The ship itself should either be piloted in a way that you feel makes sense (trying to keep people in arc, avoiding rocks etc.), or using one of the X Wing AI systems that you can get an app for. You can even adapt the Heroes of the Aturi Cluster AI if you fancy it, whatever works for you. If you can get someone else to pilot the ship, even better, but at that point I would suggest you both just have a game. Practice is great, but you will learn more from flying your Strikers in a real game, having to react to your opponents’ actions.

Increasing the difficulty

So you’ve done really well and are now consistently getting 6 points in the game above and want to turn it up a notch. Here are a few suggestions for ramping up the difficulty:

Minus 1 point if you are in arc of the target ship and haven’t bumped into it.
Minus 1 point for an unintentional bump, but no minus points if you’ve intentionally bumped to avoid a shot or slow down your Ailerons move.
Minus 1 point for missing the Focus Token completely.
Minus 1 point for having to Barrel Roll to avoid an Obstacle next turn.
Minus 2 points for landing on an obstacle.

If you can consistently keep your 6 points after all of those minuses, then you’re doing very well indeed! Try to use your Barrel Roll action to keep out of arcs, or put yourself in a better position for next turn and see where that puts you. It’s quite amazing exactly where you can end up with both a pre-move Boost and a post-move Barrel Roll.

I hope that this little game keeps you entertained for a couple of hours and that you learn a few tricks to flying the TIE Striker. Now that my competitive X Wing season has come to an end, I plan on getting a lot of table time in with these wonderful little ships. Now comes the decision on how to build a list with the Striker, preferably multiples of them. In my previous article about the Striker, I mentioned a list with the three named pilots and a Palp Shuttle. I’ve given that list a few games now and found that, while it’s a heck of a lot of fun to fly around the table, those Strikers really need the Lightweight Frame to survive. The next list that I’m planning on taking out is this:

By adding Omega Leader into the list instead of the Palp Shuttle, I save three points. This allows me to add Lightweight Frame to Duchess, which I have found to be always worth the extra two points. I was originally unsold on its usefulness on Duchess, but after several games with her, I’ve found that sooner or later you will end up in arc of your opponents’ ships. Without the extra Evade dice, Duchess can’t survive even one round of being caught. The other point could be spent on an Initiative bid, but I’ve decided to go with Twin Ion Engine Mk. 2 on countdown. Every game so far that I’ve played Countdown has seen me pitted against a squad that has some way of dealing stress, which usually leads to Countdown getting stressed out and unable to use his ability. With Twin Ion Engine Mk. 2, he gets a long 3 bank to dis-engage with and can hopefully come back around for another pass. I’ve found that Countdown gets stressed because of his ability and then is unable to K turn or effectively reposition, usually making his 1 bank into the action very predictable and easy to either block or kill box around. With these new additions I am really hoping to find a four ship list that hits like a truck and that I enjoy flying.

That covers how I’m trying to improve my flying, as well as what I plan to fly next. Do you have a list that you’re going to try out with one or more TIE Striker? Leave it in the comments below and I may give it a try! One thing’s for sure, I’m not going to be putting my Strikers back onto the shelf any time soon!

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