So it’s been a while … I didn’t manage to play much from the start of December 2016 and a whole new set of ships has come out since I’ve played much, so I’ve decided to have a look at a few of these and place the beloved “Party Pack” on ice for the moment and explore some other options.

Now – the Quadjumper has me intrigued and I’ve seen it and the Shadowcaster used to great effect with the tractor beam – but I think that I’ll concentrate on the Empire for now.  With that in mind – we now have the Upsilon Shuttle and the Tie Striker.

The meta at the moment doesn’t seem to favour these ships, with lots of Parattanni squads and variations doing well at the Yavin Open this year.  Though there seem to be a number of non-traditional lists doing well there too – including a showing of the Upsilon in a Palp-Aces list.

So that’s where I’ll start – the premise is this – we use the Upsilon Shuttle in the place of the Lambda, noting that we’d like to get more use out of the 4 dice primary attack, and see what we can pair it with.  First up is the Tie Striker – my initial thought is to use “Pure Sabacc” and the extra dice ability, though I ended up going with “Duchess” instead – giving her Veteran Instincts to provide a PS10 ace like role in the squad.  Coupled with the title and Lightweight frame, Adaptive Ailerons gives her the ability to do a pre-boost movement (or not with her ability), helping her reposition and arc dodge (with or without a barrel roll).

Given “Duchess” has only 4 hull, I decided that I’d want something a bit more survivable as a second ace.  It’s hard to go past a Defender with the Tie/x7 title, and with the K-turn ability, “Countess Ryad” is an obvious choice.

This just leaves the fit-out for the Shuttle.  As I want to try out the Coordinate action, I choose “Major Stridan” as the pilot – providing a range of 1 to 3 for the ability (instead of being limited to 1 to 2) and the Emperor as the crew.  In hindsight (and this will likely be the subject of another post), I’d probably drop the pilot down to a “Starkiller base pilot” and use the extra 2 points elsewhere – but more of that later.

Armed now with my new list, I sought to test it out, with the following results:

  • Game 1 (vs Tie Defenders x 3) – win (100-20)
  • Game 2 (vs Tie Defenders x 3) – win (100-20)
  • Game 3 (vs Dual Shadowcasters) – win (100-20)
  • Game 4 (vs Imperial aces: Whisper, Vessery, Duchess)  – Loss (40-100)

Overall, I think that the list performed well.  However, there is certainly room for improvement – specifically the following thoughts (in no particular order):

  • I need to learn to fly the Upsilon – in my eagerness to get the most out of the 4 dice primary attack, I engage too early and then find myself out of position for the majority of the rest of the game (the worst instance of this was in my loss)
  • As an alternative to hanging-back with the Upsilon, I could look to kit it out to assist it’s average dial – I’m thinking along the lines of adding an Engine Upgrade and Pattern analyser – though this would necessitate a change of supporting aces as the extra cost would need to be paid for somewhere.
  • I shouldn’t second guess my plans – I’ve fallen down when I changed my plans – especially for duchess in the early game.
  • The Tie striker as an ace probably isn’t (on paper anyway) as good as other options, but having a slippery ship with PS10 coming in at 26 points kitted-out – it’s hard to argue that it’s not value and, with the exception of the last game (where it was the last ship of mine to die), it hasn’t been taken out by an opponent yet. I haven’t flown the Scum Protectorate Starfighter yet – but I’d imagine that flying duchess would be similar to flying Fenn Rau.
  • One annoying thing about my flying at the moment is that the shuttle spends a lot of time just carrying the Emperor (and not being in arc or having something to do). The obvious 2 point answer to that is to give it the title and start handing out stress at the end of the combat phase (something that can be achieved by downgrading the Pilot from Stridan to the Starkiller base pilot and adding the title).  The more complex answer is to see whether I can make it into a viable / aggressive ship – ideally this would mean:
    • Adding engine upgrade for boosting (due to no K-turns / S-Loops or T-rolls) in order to get it back into the fight
    • Pattern analyser – to allow a boost (or any other action) after a red move – again, beneficial in getting back into the fight.
    • The only problem then comes down to cost – with the base ship coming in at 44 points – this restricts the aces that you can then partner with.

No final answers yet – I think I need to play the list against a wider variety of  opponents and lists to truly get an answer on the viability of the list.

Fly casual!