Kel Special (direct link)
Miranda Doni: Twin Laser Turret, Extra Munitions, Intelligence Agent, Conner Net, Ion Bombs, Advanced Slam **
Lothal Rebel: Fire-Control System, Twin Laser Turret, Extra Munitions, Plasma Torpedoes, Sabine Wren, “Chopper”, Guidance Chips, Cluster Mines **
In the wake of the 2017 Dallas Regionals, I found myself looking for a new list. Rey/Norra, previously List Reviewed in the Rebel Mobility post, had served me well. It was fun. It smashed face when up against certain ships, doing so in spectacular fashion. The list could not keep up with the continued evolution of the meta, though. The bad matchups surfaced with increased frequency, while the good matchups became scarce.
Enter ¼ Portion. I never considered it a truly viable competitive list, but instead a response to the meta. ¼ Portion feasted on Attanni Mindlink lists. Marc was flying a highly modified OldFennAroo, the same list he’d been running for weeks/months before Regionals. ¼ Portion served up the “Marcaroo’s” first loss in dozen or more games. The list lacked firepower against non-Mindlink lists, though. So the search continued.
@kelrien is one of the other frequent contributors on the XWingTMG slack chat. He experimented with quite a few squads in the lead-up to Lothal before finally settling on what I’m calling the Kel Special. A 6-3 finish at the Lothal Open is nothing to scoff at either. He took a quick few moments to explain the origin of the list for us.
Kelrien: Do you know how that list came to life?
Kelrien: Before that list I flew a Fat Han + normal K-Wing with bombs, and I thought about getting a K-Wing and another large based ship with bombs. So I thought to myself, “Which ship is actually good for carrying bombs?“
Mike: Yeah. I love me some bombs.
Kelrien: As we know there are none, so the only large ship on Rebels that can carry bombs with extra munitions is the Ghost (the U-Wing is just bad)
Mike: Agreed, especially on the latter
Kelrien: And then it clicked and figured that Miranda would fit, and after that I had 3 points left and put the plasma torps on because why not?
If we’re being honest, he had me at “bombs.” I asked Kelrien if I could use his list as I began my Worlds prep. He agreed, and I’ve been running it for a few weeks now to pretty good success.
The Kel Special is an ordinance toolbox list. To liken it to American Football, it is a Bill Belichek coached team, adaptable without changing parts to what the opponent brings to the table. It uses its bombs to deal damage, dictate range, and control your opponent’s movements, setting up advantageous engages whenever and wherever possible. It backs up those bombs with the raw firepower and massive HP buffer of the Ghost and the sustainability of Miranda.
So what is the key piece to the list? I struggled providing a definitive answer to this question. I think cases can be made for both ships. With their respective loadouts, both can close out games against a variety of opponents. Both are tanky, whether through base stat line or pilot ability. Both can do consistent damage at range, or big damage up close. And yes, both carry bombs. So rather than picking a single key piece, let’s talk about what both ships bring to the table individually.
The Ghost is one of my favorite ships in the game. I’m a fan of the Rebels TV show, and the Ghost was one of my first X-Wing purchases last year. The model is fantastic: it looks like a tank, and has both the HP values and firepower to back that look up. But don’t let the whopping 16 points of hull and shield confuse you, a focused Ghost goes down remarkably fast.
The Lothal Rebel in the Kel Special comes loaded for bear. We won’t touch on every single upgrade right now, but let’s highlight a few of the interactions:
- Fire-Control System on a 4 Attack ship is good. Not having to spend an action to modify your dice is even better. There’s a reason FCS is a staple on so many ships with the Systems upgrade slot.
- Twin Laser Turret is a highly accurate, relatively low damage attack. This is the first of three upgrades that give the Ghost some bite outside of its primary firing arc. With the way that I typically fly the Ghost in the Kel Special (more on this in a bit), I’m usually trying to stay at Range 2 or 3 and take an Evade action to minimize incoming damage. This often becomes my primary attack.
- Plasma Torpedoes are the second of three upgrades that let the Ghost hit outside its front arc. Even without a docked shuttle, the Ghost has the special ability to fire torpedoes out of its rear arc. Added punch that will sometimes catch a player by surprise the first time? Awesome.
- Cluster Mines are the third and final upgrade that gives your Ghost an additional damage dimension. With Sabine Wren as the crew of the Ghost, you have access to bombs *and* Extra Munitions. Bombs with more bombs, yes please. Cluster Mines fill two primary roles on your ship. The first, they deter people following close behind you in that awkward Range 1 dead zone. Get too close? Bombs away! Second, they’re a good source of Activation Phase damage. 1-7 damage for a single action starts at “okay” and rapidly scales up to “holy…”
- “Chopper.” I think I can say with very little hesitation that Chop is an MVP of this list. Don’t laugh. I’m being serious. The number of times I’ve Target Locked, Focused, or Bombed when stressed is high. And, the first time at least, it almost always catches my opponent by surprise. Having your opponent say, “Wait, what?” when you drop a bomb after executing a 1 or 3 turn or a 5 k-turn is downright priceless, and usually well worth the single damage that you take in a turn. Obviously you don’t want to do this every turn, but it is a nice ace to pull out unexpectedly.
Lothal Rebel examples of play to consider:
In a typical engage, I’m trying to engage at Range 3 with Twin Laser Turret to both deal a little damage, and acquire a TL with FCS. On the next turn you might maneuver past the enemy, getting in close yourself knowing that they’ll likely then move back out to R2 or R3 with their own move. If you land close enough when past them, it might be a good time to drop bombs in your wake. After they move, assuming they’re back out at R2 or R3, launch a torpedo from the rear with Guidance Chips to cover the necessarily modification to your roll. Rinse, repeat, profit.
The Range Ruler Bombing Run
This one takes some practice, but is oh-so-rewarding if you manage to pull it off. A range ruler is 7.5 ship lengths long. Assume that an enemy ship is sitting just outside of R3 in front of you.
A 5 k-turn with a Ghost moves you 7 ship lengths forward. This plants you right in front of the enemy with the rear of your ship facing them. While they may be expecting the K-Turn, we previously discussed Chopper being an MVP on this list. You’re stressed, but Chop lets you take an action at the cost of one damage. Drop those Cluster Mines! Bombs are dropped one straight behind you, and should be immediately overlapping the enemy. Time for them to roll damage, and don’t forget your Sabine trigger!
Time to talk about Miranda. I think it can be categorically said that Miranda is the best small-base ship in the Rebel fleet at present. She’s good at 38 points fitting something as simple as C-3PO and TLT, and scales all the way up to awesome at 52 points loaded with another paragraph worth of modifications. In Kel Special, Miranda clocks in at 46 points. That’s a lot of points to invest into a small-base ship. Yep. But she’s worth it.
As with the Lothal Rebel above, let’s highlight a few of the interactions:
- Twin Laser Turret is a highly accurate, relatively low damage attack. You might as well think of this as Miranda’s primary weapon. You will use it most rounds that you aren’t Slamming. With it you both deal damage, and interact in cool ways with Miranda’s pilot ability. Most of the time, especially if she is under fire, you’ll want to roll one fewer die on one of the two attacks you get to regen a shield. Hint, this should be your second attack, not the first. Force them to spent their tokens defending against the first attack by rolling all three dice, then roll one fewer on the second attack against softer defenses. Of course, sometimes you really want to push that extra damage through. Again, same rule applies, roll a normal three dice on your first attack to soften them up, then spend a shield and roll four dice on the second attack to go for an easier hit.
- Conner Net, oh how I love thee. I first fell in love with Conner Net when playing Miranda/Corran against my youngest brother’s Modified Palp Aces. After spending round, after round, after round, after round (you get the picture) attacking with normal attacks and missing over, and over, and over again, I needed something different to hit Soontir Fel. Enter the Conner Net. Two guaranteed damage, no dice rolling, AND a control effect making the Interceptor’s movements predictable? Yes, all the yes. This is one third of your damage + control combination, primarily (but not solely) focused on hitting ships higher Pilot Skill than you.
- Ion Bombs are the “other Conner Net.” Miranda is in a nice spot at PS 8. Lots of ships move before her. Reveal Bombs are awesome for ships that move before you. You get to watch them land close behind your ship, smile, and let loose the little ionizers of doom. With Sabine in the list you have the added bonus that one ship hit will also be taking a damage, but mass ionization is really the name of the game here. This is the second piece of your damage + control combination, focused mainly on hitting ships lower Pilot Skill than you.
- Intelligence Agent is the final piece to your bomb combination, letting you see where those PS 9-11 aces are going to land at the beginning of the Activation phase. Intelligence Agent should really be renamed, “All The Options.” It lets you reliably choose when to make use of your Reveal Bombs against higher pilot skill pilots, but also informs your choice on Slamming. Not Slamming can be just as bad as Slamming when you don’t need to. Intelligence Agent helps cut the variability down by letting you know exactly what is coming.
- Advanced Slam is a real gem. It might be the MVP of Miranda’s loadout, as it is what lets you use bombs aggressively. Moving, Slamming, and then dropping a Conner Net on someone is a level of fun reserved for few things in X-Wing. But the ability has other uses too. If you have to Slam to get out of a Range 1 Whisper’s firing arc (Intelligence Agent, yay!), you might as well get some value out of that action, right? Taking a Focus or a Target Lock so that your next turn’s attacks are modified is always a good thing. This is just such a good ability, and well worth the 2 point investment.
Miranda examples of play to consider:
The Good Slam
Slamming is an art. When it goes well, it is truly a thing of beauty. It lets your “slow” K-Wing suddenly dash forward unpredictably to dodge arc, get behind someone, or drop a bomb.
When Slamming, it is important to keep in mind just how far you can go. Let’s setup the above picture: On turn one Vessery did a 4 forward. Miranda did a 3 forward. Given the above, we knew without having to measure that they were not in range. 4+1+3+1 = 9 ship lengths toward each other, 2 ship lengths outside of Target Lock range (assuming we lined up across from each other, we didn’t).
The next turn, I had a choice to make. I knew that Vessery (armed with TIE/D and an Ion Cannon) wanted to get in close. He didn’t want to deal with the TLT, and had Vader close by backing him up. However, my opponent thought that I might execute some sort of 2 or 3 maneuver, so split the difference with his own pursuit and dialed in a 2 bank right. Unfortunately, that was a little bit too close. That’s a little bit more than 3 ship lengths forward, putting our combined movement toward each other at 12 (roughly).
Based on where Vessery was the previous turn, I knew I had two choices. I could execute a 2, or 3 maneuver to the left and pull range, or I could dial in a 3 maneuver right and come in fast. Terrified of what an Ion Cannon will do against my 1 agility ship, I thought my only chance of coming out on top was to go hard in. When Vessery executed his 2 bank, I knew that I could slam in behind him by Slamming with a 3 bank left after my maneuver. Conner net away! Vessery was taken out of the match for a good three turns (ionized, K-turn, 5-speed back in), letting Miranda and the Ghost pick on the TIE Shuttle now missing its wingman.
The Bad Slam
If the above is an excellent case on when to slam, what comes next is the exact opposite.
In the above, Quickdraw and Echo have not yet activated. I thought that my opponent thought that I’d turn left, and as a result his ships would come screaming in to take advantage of what would have been poor positioning. Rather than executing the 2 turn left or 3 bank left that I should have done, I got stupid. I committed to a 2 turn right, followed by a 2 bank right and a dropped Conner Net. Chopper is looking at Miranda’s positioning with dismay.
My opponent had not brought his ships in hot pursuit of what would have been a great choice on my part. Instead, he committed to the right turn on the off-chance that I acted stupidly (read: I did). In his mind, if I went left and he went straight, the worst that could happen was a single long-range attack from Miranda at Quickdraw. But if I went right, dead Miranda. Weighing the options, he made the best of choices. Yes, Miranda died the first round of combat.
What’s the lesson here? There’s no reason to Slam toward your opponent if you’re not going to overshoot them, or get a relatively guaranteed arc dodge. At best my guess was 50/50, but a 50% chance of being R1 of two very attack-heavy ships is not a wager that you should regularly go around making. So when should you Slam? Let’s break Slamming out into two different categories: the Planned Slam and the Reactionary Slam.
The Planned Slam
The first of the two categories, the Planned Slam, is when you take a look at the board at the beginning of the Planning Phase and dial in your maneuver with the intention of executing a Slam action. You either know that you need to dodge an arc and are planning for it in advance, or you want to drop a bomb on someone whose position is known. The Good Slam example above is a picture perfect scenario of a Planned Slam. I knew (roughly) where Vessery and Vader were going to be. I knew that I could clear any maneuver they did, or dodge the arc should they slow roll. Either I got a bomb to land, or I skate by without taking shots from the enemy.
What you should not do with a Planned Slam is take a big chance. Refer back to the Bad Slam example above. A 2 turn followed by any other 2 speed maneuver put me in a very vulnerable spot. Half the maneuvers on both Quickdraw and Echo left Miranda at Range 1, unable to fire back. The other half of their maneuver dials would not have put Miranda in danger, but would not have hit the Conner Net that I dropped earlier in the turn. It was a stupid move, and a good example of what you should not do with a Planned Slam.
The Planned Slam is executed when you have a definitive outcome that you can see in advance that will lead to a quality outcome without placing yourself in a disadvantageous position. You can execute it against lower PS pilots who have already moved and higher PS pilots who have not yet activated.
The Reactionary Slam
Sometimes your opponent does not do what you expected them to do. You dialed in a 2 turn, but Vessery unexpectedly moved to cover that exact spot and you’re looking at taking 4 red dice to the face. Not a good spot to be in. Yes, you might be able to drop a bomb on Vess because of where you landed, but ending the turn shieldless/in hull is not okay. Discretion is the better part of valor, so a Reactionary Slam is called for putting you out of arc and leaving your shields/hull intact.
The problem with the Reactionary Slam is that it leaves Miranda with a weapons disabled token at a time that you weren’t necessarily expecting her to have one. If Miranda is already low shields and she’s having to Slam to stay out of arc, she isn’t regenerating. There’s only so many times you are going to be able to execute a Reactionary Slam and remain damage-free from all of the opposing ships. They’ll eventually get you into a killbox that you can’t easily escape from.
The Reactionary Slam is executed when your opponent did something unexpected and/or guessed your planned maneuver correctly, with the intention of minimizing damage received. You can execute it against lower PS pilots who have already activated.
Thus far I’ve chosen the same setup every time, as it allows for a flexible opening based on where your opponent lines up and what you’re up against. During asteroid placement, I try to make a rough triangle of large rocks on my side of the board. I want to give Miranda a Slam lane utilizing the left or right banks. The Ghost deploys in one of the two corners at a 45 degree angle. Miranda deploys roughly the middle of the field, lined up with the middle asteroid of the triangle.
Based on where the opponent deployed, I will take either a 3 bank left or right with the Ghost. If I want to force the opponent to engage in the middle of all the asteroids and Miranda’s inevitable bombs, I will head away from their initial placement. If I want the Ghost to get some early damage on with TLT, Plasma Torps, or its primary weapon, I’ll bank toward their engagement. If they deploy in the far corner, I usually opt for a center of the map engagement. Note: even if you/the opponent places a rock a 2×2 from your corner, a 3 bank will still clear it.
With Miranda, I almost always execute a 3 straight. I want to get her into a position where I can maneuver left or right easily, and to catch overly aggressive pilots before they realize I can get to them. I want people off their game by turn three at the latest.
With the triangle placement of the asteroids, and having moved as far forward as I can normally, Miranda is setup great to engage ships that were just outside of firing range after the first turn.
Starting with Turn Two, the key to success is how you are going to dictate the pace of the match. Yes, you. You must dictate the pace of the game to be successful with the Kel Special. As soon as your opponent starts forcing you into things you don’t want to do, your chances of success just went way down. Do you want to play the kiting game with your fast ships? Do it. Turn away. Move fast with your Ghost. Get some quality R3 engages. Do you want to get in close and blast the living daylights out of them? Do it. Turn in for a Slam/Bomb combination. Follow Miranda in with the Ghost and its own stash of ordinance. There’s a time, place, and list for both, but executing the wrong strategy on the wrong list will prove disastrous.
High Agility, Low HP Lists (also commonly referred to as Aces Lists) – These ships have traditionally been the bane of my existence. Rey/Norra could not handle them. Rey/Poe could not handle them. My other lists could not handle them. The Kel Special can. Why? Bombs.
Soontir Fel and Fenn Rau are great examples here. Both are very, very hard to hit with traditional weaponry. In one of my games, I TLT’d seven times with target lock, and managed do deal a whopping 0 damage to Soontir. My rolls were not bad. My rolls were above average. His rolls were below average. But three or four green dice, plus focus and evade tokens, with autothrusters means a single evade result is usually more than sufficient to avoid taking damage. Honestly, flipping the table has entered my mind on more than one occasion trying to hit Soontir.
Bombs provide a reliable alternative means of dealing damage. Sootir has three hull. A single Conner Net is going to deal two damage to him, and set him up for a relatively easy death later that turn or the next. An Ion Bomb might just deal one damage, but it sets up the same next-turn kill opportunity. Cluster Mines have some additionally variability, but he’s taking a minimum of one regardless of how poorly he might roll (or Palp away). All three remove your opponent’s stacked up, modified green dice from the equation, and that’s a good thing.
These games still aren’t easy. Just scroll up and take another look at the failed Advanced Slam. Quickdraw and Echo vaporized Miranda opening round of combat. She’s not invincible. She may very well die. But that’s where the Ghost comes in. The Ghost has firepower in spades, and a massive amount of HP to back it up. It can run fast or go slow, depending on which Ace(s) you might be up against. You might run fast, only to drop bombs in your wake or next turn take it slow. You might intentionally turn into them hoping to bump, as the next turn you’ll definitely land at least one Cluster Mine.
With the tools at your disposal, you should generally win this match-up.
Low Agility Lists – Low Agility Lists are another good match-up. Yes, I know, I just gave you both ends of the spectrum. Kel Special is good against this list for entirely different reasons than the above. Toolbox, remember?
Where Bombs are the central focus to beating Aces Lists, you have a whole slew of other solutions at your disposal against Low Agility Lists. The Ghost has a 4 attack dice primary, with FCS to provide easy modifications. It is also packing Plasma Torpedoes, backed up by Guidance Chips. If you’re not picking up what I’m putting down, the Ghost is going to do a lot of damage to opposing Low Agility ships.
Additionally, Miranda’s survivability doesn’t come at the cost of reduced damage. Often when rolling one fewer on a TLT attack to regen a shield, that automatically equates to a miss. Not so when rolling against zero or one green dice. Now you get a shield back and do two damage that turn. Win, win!
If you fly better than your opponent, you should win this match-up.
Two Ship Rebel Lists – This is an archetype variation on the above. It is also 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. The weakness of two ship lists is that both of them really need to be on target, every round, if you want to beat your opponent.
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. Scary as they may be, though, most two ship Rebel lists feature low agility pilots. Ghost – 0, Falcon – 1, K-Wing – 1, ARC – 1. X-Wing, 2. YT-2400, 2.
Does that mean this match-up is a pushover? Heck no. The amount of damage that other two ship lists out there can put out is terrifying, if you let them setup appropriately. And should they setup correctly, they’re firing against your two low agility ships.
If you fly better than your opponent, you should win this match-up.
Swarms -Swarms are fun to fly against. On one hand, there is something awesome about seeing four, five, six, or more ships flying in formation. It just looks *cool*. I love seeing Swarms on the table.
The problem with Swarms is that they rely (usually) on being at Range 1-2 with overlapping firing arcs on their target. For ships that are limited to only their primary firing arc, this presents a challenge. For two turret ships that can move fast and engage at long range regardless of firing arc, defeating Swarms is relatively straightforward.
Your ideal engagement is R3 taking potshots with TLT. Swarm ships are *usually* limited to a two attack primary. Miranda gets to roll two agility dice at R3. Ghost gets to roll one with an evade token to back it up. Sure, they’re probably going to hit you, but you’re just as likely to hit them and have a lot more HP to keep you in the fight turn after turn.
If they’re having to chase when you’re moving fast, drop a bomb in your wake. They will either take damage from the Cluster Mine or Conner Net, or scatter their formation, removing the overlapping arcs which make them so dangerous. The situation is to your advantage either way.
What you don’t want to do in engaging a Swarm is dive into Range 1. If you get trapped here, you’re in trouble. Take a look at the picture below.
Miranda decided to get a little cheeky and engage the A-Wing Swarm directly rather than kiting at range. My opponent set up the killbox to great effect, with blockers for each of the obvious moves that I could execute. Miranda got blocked by the far left A-Wing pictured, putting her right in the line of fire of three A-Wings at Range 1. She had a 50/50 shot at being killboxed and blocked again next turn, removing her from play. Thankfully I guessed right, putting me in a great position to ionize the entire Swarm a turn or two later. From there the game devolved to mopping up action.
Keep at range, play the kiting game, drop bombs to break up the Swarm’s formation, and pick them off one at a time. Once you minimize the number of enemy ships, you can alter your strategy and bring the full firepower of the Ghost’s primary weapon to bear.
Quad TLT – On one hand, Quad TLT is filled with Low Agility ships that are easy to hit. The Ghost and Miranda both likes targets that are easy to hit. However, the problem in going against Quad TLT is they can hit you if you can hit them. Assume for a moment that all four Y-Wings can TLT either the Ghost or Miranda. That is very likely 8 damage. The Ghost has 16 HP. Miranda has 9 HP. Two rounds of combat like that and either ship is dead. Ouch.
So how do you deal with Quad TLT? It depends. Your opponent places first in this match-up. Did he place all of his ships together, or did he space them out a little bit? If together, close range as fast as possible. Get in that Range 1 donut hull that the Y-Wings have. Light them up with the Ghost’s primary 5 dice attack firing against their 1 agility dice. Stay in the donut of as many Y-Wings as possible for as long as possible. Drop mines. Just know that you’re going to lose your Ghost early in the game because you *will* take damage every turn.
If they space them out? My advice is to keep range. Your ships move faster than theirs do. Stay at Range 2-3, in combat range of as few of them as possible. You have more HP than they do, and Miranda can confidently regen against the Y-Wings. If they’re chasing to stay in range, drop Cluster Mines or Conner Nets in your wake. You take one or two of these out in this method without losing more than half HP on your Ghost and this should be a win. If they group back up, try and execute the first strategy.
Either way, this is a tough match. Lose a ship early against Quad TLT and you’re probably done.
Triple Jumpmasters – All that is old is new again. The Triple Jumpmaster Wolfpack is back with a vengeance in the wake of the most recent FAQ. And yes, they’re the big boogeyman for the Kel Special. Wolfpacks have high alpha potential, a large pool of HP, a great dial, and like to engage at the same ranges for the same reasons. There’s the distinct possibility for Miranda to be deleted the opening round of combat, or for the Ghost to be removed in two. Yikes.
Let’s unpack the above a bit. The Ghost wants to either engage at R3 to take adantage of the TLT, Munitions, 100% increase to your agility dice roll, and an evade token, or dive on in to R1 to leverage its 5 attack dice rolls modified by FCS with a bomb follow-up. Yeah, neither of those will work.
Torpedo Wolfpack is actually a pretty clever list. The non-munitions Jumpmaster takes a focus action, which gives the rest of the list a focus via Attanni Mindlink. The other two Jumps then take a Target Lock after they activate. Now you have the necessary TL to trigger Plasma and Proton Torpedoes, and a Focus Token to trigger Agromech. Spend the initial lock to fire Plasma Torpedos, spend the Focus token to modify any Focus results (and also if you roll multiple blanks), immediately re-acquiring a Target Lock via Agromech, rerolling any of the dice you need to, and then Guidance Chip if necessary. So. Many. Mods. On. One. Roll. The likelihood of four hits, or a combination of hits and crits, is high. There go all of Miranda’s shields, or all but one of the Ghost’s.
And then the Proton Torpedo boat follows up with his shot. Same scenario. Spend the lock to fire. Spend the Focus, but in this case modify none of your Focus results (you must modify All or None) to re-acquire the Target Lock. Reroll your blanks and additional Focuses (leaving one). Guidance Chips. And then Proton Torpedo from a Focus to a Critical Hit. Again, the likelihood of three hits and a crit or some other similar combination is very high. Now Miranda is all-but dead (1 hull left), and the Ghost is limping along just over half hull. The non-munitions Jumpmaster then rolls its two or three red dice to potentially finish the K-Wing off.
And they can do all that a second time due to Extra Munitions. Ouch.
You aren’t really in that much better shape if you choose to dive in close rather than hanging out at Range 2-3. You’re still facing fully modified, 360 degree attacks with either 2 or 3 dice. Assuming the Ghost has a single Evade Token, you’re going to take ~1.8 damage on the first attack, and 2.8 on the other two subsequent attacks. Let’s round that to 6 damage taken. On average, you’re dealing 3 damage back with the Ghost. Miranda, with a Focus, will probably do 1 damage. To recap: You’ve taken 6, they’ve received 4.
The difference is that the Jumpmasters can dodge the Ghost’s primary firing arc with relative ease on subsequent turns. They’ll still deal ~6 damage the next turn. Your damage might fall off to 2 or 3. That is an unsustainable damage curve. Either the Ghost or Miranda will die. Once one goes the other is likely not far behind.
So how do you deal with the Torpedo Wolfpack? Honestly? I’m not sure. I’m speculating that diving in close, taking a R1 primary with the Ghost and flying past the next turn to both drop bombs and Torpedo out the rear is the way to go. Miranda dodges the primary firing arcs of the Jumpmasters during this time, still taking fire but not dying in a single round. You want 1.5 Jumpmasters down before Miranda begins taking damage…and I’m not sure that is possible.
Color me stumped.
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 bombs 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.
I am very much in love with Kel Special in its current form. It is strong against the very lists that have given me fits in the past. It hits hard, tanks long, and has the bombs that I love oh so dearly. That said, that variability of Cluster Mines vexes me. A few nights ago, Boba Fett took seven damage to the face, taking him from full to almost dead. But during our mini-tournament on Saturday night, Vader tripped all three mines but skated through having rolled a single hit (two damage total, counting Sabine). To that end, I’m considering the variation below:
Miranda Doni: Twin Laser Turret, Extra Munitions, Intelligence Agent, Conner Net, Ion Bombs, Advanced Slam **
Lothal Rebel: Fire-Control System, Twin Laser Turret, Extra Munitions, Plasma Torpedoes, Sabine Wren, “Chopper”, Guidance Chips, Conner Net **
Swapping out Cluster Mines for Conner Net nets you more consistent damage (always two), and an additional source of control. If one of the two reasons you have Cluster Mines on the Ghost is to deter people from closing with you, Conner Net does the job as effectively as Cluster mines. Yes, you lose out damage on the high end, but the extra control and lack of blank outs might be worth it.
My final verdict on this one is (4.5 X-Wings out of 5). A special thanks to @kelrien for coming up with this list. It has the pieces parts of a fun, resilient squad that can change how it fights depending on the match-up at hand. Bonus points for being bomb-centric, one of the few viable ways in the current meta to exert control elements on your opponent. The Kel Special still has some bad match-ups (Triple Jumpmasters…*shudder*), but is in a pretty good spot against many of the other lists in the current meta.
This write-up ended up being much, much longer than initially intended. If you made it this far, please let me know what you think about the thoroughness and length of the post. Too long? Too many images? Too much explanation? Just right? Too short (hah!)?