1/4 Portion (100)
Asajj Ventress: Push the Limit, Latts Razzi, Rigged Cargo Chute, Gyroscopic Targeting, Shadow Caster **
Unkar Plutt: Intelligence Agent, Seismic Charges, Pattern Analyzer, Cloaking Device, Spacetug Tractor Array **
Syndicate Thug: Twin Laser Turret, R4 Agromech **
I had mixed feelings coming out of the 2017 Dallas Regionals. That event marked my first time really playing outside of close friends and family. I finished 3-3 with Rey/Norra, placing 44th overall out of a field of 124 (more another time on why I should have finished 4-2). I viewed that as a huge positive, and had a great time playing. On the flip side, I couldn’t beat Marc and Zach to save my life. Marc likes to fly OldFennAroo, though with some critical departures from that now-common list. Zach likes to fly Modified Palp Aces, with Soontir and Ryad flanking the Palp Shuttle. A two ship Rebel list needs to be connecting every turn to be successful, and both Marc and Zach fly well enough that often times one of my ships (Norra) either wasn’t firing at all, or was firing without mods due to excellent bumps by their large base ships (both Marc and Zach fly their support ships aggressively as blockers).
Something had to give, and it was either going to be my love of X-Wing, or my love of Rey/Norra.
1/4 Portion is a completely different list archetype than Rey/Norra. Rey/Norra is an in your face brawler, tossing out large numbers of hit/crits and shrugging off the incoming fire. It’s a “Mike Tyson” list, where you go for a KO early. The longer the game goes, though, the more likely you are to lose. 1/4 turns those ideas on their head. It is an attrition & control list, designed to whittle you down over time. The longer the fight goes, the more certain it is to win. It wants games to go long. It craves that. It doesn’t open with a haymaker, it jabs. And jabs. And jabs while dropping in that incremental damage over time.
So what are the key pieces to the list? Asajj is an obvious one. Her pilot ability paired with Latts Razzi makes her deceptively tanky. She wants to treat stress as a resource, piling it on and relieving it in the same round as necessary. She’s tank and control, with low damage.
I’m sure that people the world over are familiar with the TLT Y-Wing, but it is in the list so we’ll discuss it. Despite its small base, the Syndicate Thug is another “big body” with eight combined health for people to chop down over time. +1 in the Tanky category. With its TLT, and especially when said TLT is paired with the R4 Agromech, the Y-Wing also fills the much needed “Consistent Damage” category as well. It is very common for two TLT shots to end with +2 damage on the targeted ship. Again, no haymaker. Jab, jab, jab. Enough jabs and Fenn Rau, Soontir Fell, Inquisitor, etc… all go down, and that’s the point. The list needed something that could effectively orbit the battlefield, raining fire down on the those in the thick of it.
Which leaves us with Unkar. Disclaimer: I do not think that the Quadjumper is the “best ship ever made.” I wanted to get that out of the way so that you don’t come to that assumption based off what I’ll include next: I LOVE THE QUADJUMPER.
Why? Let us count the ways.
- It is low costed. Seriously, a fully decked out, ever slot used Unkar Plutt is a very palatable 26 points
- The dial. What a great dial, especially when paired with the Decloak or Barrel Roll actions. Confession, I haven’t used the reverse maneuvers yet a ton, but white turns and 2-sloops are glorious things on a barrel roller.
- Pre-combat tractor tokens. One of the problems with tractor tokens before was when they were applied…during the Combat Phase. That meant, theoretically, that you wanted the highest Pilot Skill possible in order to apply this really cool effect (-1 agility, anyone?) and maximize its potential. The Spacetug Tractor Array, not to mention Unkar’s pilot ability, make taking advantage of tractor token stacking so much easier. Your big gun firing at PS 9? Boom, you’re still rolling against reduced agility, rather than having to wait for Asajj or Ketsu.
Unkar isn’t in the list to do damage. And, at just five hull, he’s not very tanky either. He’s there for disruption. A successful game with Unkar should result in your opponent heading to court to file a restraining order not allowing the Quadjumper within a hundred yards of his ace. He’s there to make the precision maneuvers of an ace unreliable. You wanted to land here? Nope, you’re moving there instead. Ohhh, that put you back in arc, or on an asteroid, or where your follow-up ship is going to bump?
In a perfect world, here is how a turn might play out:
- Start of the Activation Phase, trigger Intelligence Agent. Find out where that ace is going that you snuggled up against last turn. Execute your maneuver. Do you need to barrel roll to cause ace to bump? No? Is there another enemy ship at R1 in arc? Yes? Tractor him. Move that guy where he doesn’t have a shot, or onto a rock, or where it is most beneficial to you.
- Opposing ace moves. Bumps you. Tractor him at end of Activation. Move that guy where he doesn’t have a shot, or onto a rock, or where it is most beneficial to you.
- Start of Combat Phase, Asajj stresses.
- Asajj fires against one of the tractored targets. She hits, applying another tractor token. -2 agility!
- Unkar fires. Who cares?
- Syndicate Thug fires TLT. Two TLT shots, even without R4 Agromech, should be two relatively guaranteed damage.
Rinse, repeat. There were probably some rocks in there for potential damage that round (and maybe the one thereafter), and loss of actions. The best part is, if Unkar goes up in flames during the opening engage (yeah, more on that when we do an AAR of the 1/4 Portion games…it happened), he’s not a critical piece to the puzzle. This isn’t a Rebel Synergy list where if one piece explodes you’re essentially done. He’s an expendable piece. He’s a Pawn, while Asajj is the Queen and our friendly Syndicate Thug is the Bishop.
Mindlink lists – I consider Minklink lists to be 1/4 Portion’s best match-up. Mindlinks are typically incredibly resilient against stress. One ship takes a green, everyone gets a focus, life goes on. That still holds true here. What makes this list (and Parattanni for that matter) different is that Mindlinks exponentially increase its tankiness. That one stress that I applied to Fenn/Terroch/Manaroo/Asajj/whoever? Awesome. When you attack Asajj this round, which you will because of her placement, I get 2-5 guaranteed evades instead of just the one. Asajj flies vanguard here to soak “damage”, with Unkarr typically attaching at the hip to one of the opposing small ships in an attempt to deny green maneuvers. A single tractor can ruin Fenn/Terroch’s day, making our Y-Wing’s job that much easier.
Note: The above does not include Parattanni. That build will be discussed below in Weaknesses.
PTL Aces lists – The PTL aces I’ve flown against typically use their extra actions for re-positioning. Soontir Fel is a great example here. He moves last due to his Pilot Skill, has a good dial, and baked in action economy gaining a focus when he becomes stressed. More often than not, Zach boosts and barrel rolls his Soontir into just the right position, letting him fire and either deny a return shot, or reducing the out of arc turret shots deadliness via autothrusters. Most turns, he’s ending stressed, at Range 1, “out of arc”.
Which is right where 1/4 Portion wants him. Asajj wants him stressed, in close, and has twice the arc to work with, reducing the effectiveness of autothrusters. Autothrusters says nothing about “primary firing arc”, which means the mobile arc shots don’t grant Soontir any additional defensibility. Better (or worse, if you are the Soontir pilot), if the Baron is avoiding your primary arc, he’s probably in your mobile. +1 stress. If he’s avoiding your stress and tractor by staying in your primary arc…that’s okay too.
In this match-up, Unkar serves as an escort for Asajj. You still want to engage through the rocks, and Unkar’s presence next to Asajj leads to a large NOPE zone for Soontir. If he chooses to engage your Y-Wing instead? You know just where the Y is going, so position your mobile accordingly.
Yes, it stinks that you will catch Soontir with his pants down, only to have the Palp come to the rescue. It happens. Push through. Drop your cargo net. Use Unkar’s auto-damage bomb. Attrition games favor you. Jabjabjabjab your way to victory. Note: This is a much harder match-up than both the Mindlink and Two Ship Rebel lists. Don’t be surprised if you go to time with just Asajj and Soontir remaining on the field. Your Asajj is worth 48. Soontir’s worth 32. Stay above half health and you’ll win on points at time.
Two Ship Rebel lists – This is the archetype that I’ve flown almost exclusively since 10/22/2016. Miranda/Corran, Rey/Norra, Miranda/Rey, Dash/Miranda, Miranda/Norra, Kannan/Miranda, the list goes on. The common theme is that most two ship Rebel lists are one large + one small, or two small.
There’s not a lot to go into here that hasn’t already been talked about. I guess the exception is that each of the Rebel ships individually are superior to their Imperial and Scum counterparts. 52 point Miranda is scary. 41 point Norra is scary. 48 point Corran is scary. 59 point Rey is scary. They’re all scary…but two of them are not as scary as three good Imperial or Scum ships. See “Scum Strikes Back” for further breakdown on that topic.
Further, most two ship Rebel lists feature low agility pilots. Ghost – 0, Falcon – 1, K-Wing – 1, ARC – 1. Low agility large base ships means tractors do less work (see double/triple large base lists below). Low agility small base ships means tractor pilots cackle madly with glee at the thought of physically shoving their targets about. “Yes, I’ll gladly roll heavily modified red dice against your now-zero agility. You have C-3P0 and want to guess 0? Sorry…you’re not actually rolling dice now.” Zero agility means even Unkar gets in meaningfully into the damage-dealing game.
Does that mean this match-up is a pushover? Heck no. The amount of damage that Rey/Norra can put out is terrifying, if you let them setup appropriately. But here stress and tractor mechanics are your friend. Stress that Rey to deny her stress-free slooping, focuses, or Expertise. Stress that Norra so that she can’t BB-8 when revealing a green. Throw her around with tractors, preferably onto rocks, denying that big alphas that are possible.
If Miranda is shooting Asajj or the Thug, Asajj and the Thug can shoot back. There’s not a single time that Miranda should end a turn up a shield through regen. Punish her engage. Strip those shields off early so that she can’t 5-dice Homing Missile you.
Obviously how you approach this match-up will change based on the ships actually fielded. However, a single bit of advice holds constant for every one of them: Block. You have three ships. They have two ships. If you can spend 1/3 of your ships to deny 1/2 of their ships actions, do it. Every time. Without exception. Gain those little incremental advantages round by round by putting them in bad spots.
Double/triple large base lists – Ouch. This is rough. The incremental value that Unkar, and tractors in general, contributes is significantly reduced. TLT’s are usually already hitting large base ships given the inherent agility loss. Tractor tokens can’t move large base ships, meaning fewer opportunities to rock and deny actions that way. Unkar takes point in these match-ups, hoping to soak some fire and block to deny actions while Asajj does work. The Y-Wing continues its orbit of jabjab death.
Parattanni falls into the above. The opposing Asajj and Manaroo simply aren’t threatened by Unkar, and can shrug off round after round of the Y-Wing’s fire. The only thing that 1/4 Portion still has going for it is the exponentially larger tankiness of our Asajj. That stress still cascades. Against Parattanni, I revert back to flying Asajj in first, with Unkar doing whatever he can possibly do to single out Fenn. If we get Fenn, we win. If we don’t get Fenn, man, that’s an uphill battle that is rough to climb, but not nearly as bad as Brobots, Dengaroo, Double Ghost, Twin Shadows, etc…
Thug Life – Something something TLT. Honestly, this is probably as close to an auto-lose as exists for 1/4 Portion. If you can hit them, it is likely that 3-4 of the Y-Wings can hit you. That means one round dead for Unkar. Two rounds dead for my Thug. And then plinkplink away at Asajj.
The key with any list against Thug Life is to get into R1 as fast as possible and stay there. Asajj is good at this due to her dial. Oh heavens her dial.
Green. 3 Turns. So. Pretty. She can essentially match anything that the Y’s want to do, and with a big base she’s more likely to be closer to more Y’s than a small base ship would be. Get in, stay in, and cross your fingers when the Thugs scatter.
Same rule applies for Unkar, whose dial is very comparable to the Y-Wing’s. He doesn’t have a 3 Turn or a 4 K-Turn, but the Y-Wing’s aren’t doing that for more than one turn in a row anyway, and a 2 Turn + Barrel Roll gets you right back on their tail.
This match-up scares me more than Double Large Base or Parattanni.
Defenders – I have not yet played against defenders enough to appropriately gauge the match-up. On the plus side, they’re all small ships that fly rather predictably. That’s a recipe for tractors chipping away at their rather good defenses. TLT’s are also historically above average in this match-up, dealing a single damage or so a round.
On the downside, they’re still Defenders. Their action economy is second-to-none. They’ve got a ridiculous stat line. They’re sometimes backup up by Palp to rescue them on the few times their native defenses fail.
Thanks for wading through this far longer than anticipated write-up on 1/4 Portion. I don’t think that it is “the list” to beat by any stretch of the imagination. I also don’t think that it is bad, rather that it falls somewhere between the two extremes with some really good match-ups, some really poor match-ups, and some rather even or without sufficient information to gauge properly.
I hope you enjoyed the list evaluation. I’ll be doing the same, or asking Marc and Zach to do so, for the lists that they commonly run.