In my last post, I introduced my rules of listbuilding. In this post, I'll show you how I used these rules to build a fun and effective list around Colonel Vessery and Deathfire. Don't expect this list to show up at big tournaments, but it's strong in casual games and has the potential to win small store tournaments.
TIE/x7 and Countess Ryad are the strongest additions in Imperial Veterans, but I was most excited for the TIE/D title and Deathfire. I'm pretty fond of double-tap abilities and I love Conner Nets after running into one (literally) in one of my first games.
with this core:
- (38pts) TIE Defender, Colonel Vessery: Ion Cannon, TIE/D
- (23pts) TIE Bomber, "Deathfire": Conner Net, Extra Munitions, Long-Range Scanners
- 39 points unspent
- Do I have enough damage? While TIE/D lets Colonel Vessery function as two 3-dice attacks, I should include another ship with at least decent damage output with my 39 points.
- What's the obvious first target in this list? TIE/D Defenders are almost always a good first target, and Vessery is no exception. Right now, losing Deathfire is also bad because that turns off Vessery's ability.
- Are there ships that give this list a hard time? Stress is a potential concern. Vessery can function with stress, but he doesn't have a lot of green maneuvers and he's squishier without the focus token. It also stops Deathfire from dropping bombs.
Wes Janson counters the tractor beam synergy in this list, but it doesn't hurt the list too badly. After I made the list, the Black One title is an even better counter to Vessery. Thankfully, that can be shut down with ion.
- Can this list handle strong jousters? The core should be able to joust most squads. It might have trouble against better jousting squads since neither ship is that maneuverable.
- Can this list handle arc-dodgers? I'm not worried. Vessery's white K-Turn is hard to arc-dodge (clarification: arc-dodging the K-Turn isn't too hard but it makes the end-game against an arc-dodger a lot stronger), and Deathfire feasts on bombing arc-dodgers.
- Can this list handle evasive ships? Yup. The double-tap and bombs are good against evasive ships, if I add a third ship with a good attack.
- Can this list handle high-HP ships? Yup. I chose the Ion Cannon over the Tractor Beam to better deal with large ships with 0 agility.
With this in mind, how would you spend that last 39 points?
I decided to spend my last 39 points to 1) add more priority targets, 2) add another source of target lock, and 3) shore up my weakness to strong jousters.
First, I spent 5 points putting Homing Missiles on Deathfire. Homing Missiles is the best missile/torpedo for Deathfire because shooting the torpedo doesn't require spending the target lock. I can take a target lock on turn 1 and shoot with 4 dice modified by both focus and target lock for a very consistent 3-4 hits. This small investment changes Deathfire from an annoying control ship into a strong damage threat. It improves my joust and gives my opponents another priority target. The downside is it encourages me to spend Deathfire's target lock, and getting it back with Long Range Scanners isn't easy after the fight's engaged.
I spent another 31 points to add the standard Inquisitor (Push the Limit, TIE/v1, Autothrusters) to my squad. The Inquisitor wants to target lock every turn, taking the pressure off Deathfire. It's a strong closer, making it another priority target. It also improves my matchup against joust lists as a flanking threat.
Using the Inquisitor as my other target lock source requires spending 1 point on Veteran Instincts for Colonel Vessery so he can shoot first. I ended up with two points left. PS 8 is quite popular, but I didn't need the bid too badly. I spent one more point to add Twin Ion Engines Mk. II on Vessery to give him more options when stressed.
- (40pts) TIE Defender, Colonel Vessery: Veteran Instincts, Ion Cannon, TIE/D, Twin Ion Engines Mk. II
- (28pts) TIE Bomber, "Deathfire": Extra Munitions, Homing Missiles, Conner Net, Long-Range Scanners
- (31pts) TIE Adv. Prototype, The Inquisitor: Push the Limit, TIE/v1, Autothrusters
- 1 point unspent
This list gives opponents hard choices on target selection. If he targets Vessery first (probably still the best choice), Vessery is tanky enough to usually survive a round of shooting. Deathfire gets to do his thing and the Inquisitor gets harder to take down the longer the game goes. Deathfire is reasonably squishy and is a good first target, but that leaves the teeth of my list alive. Targeting the Inquisitor first can be tricky, plus it means I get to play with my fun ships longer (I highly encourage including an efficient meta ship or two in fun lists for precisely this reason).
I think the list flies best with Deathfire and Vessery together on one board edge and the Inquisitor either flanking against a lower-PS list or with them against a higher-PS list. It's very important Deathfire gets a good approach and does not get flanked.
I've had good success with this on VASSAL, including a game where Deathfire clutched it out against a TLT HWK with his primary attack! (protip: if you need a target lock and have Long Range Scanners, go slow :p) I've played three games with this list in person, two of which were some of the most enjoyable games I've ever played.
In one game, I got my opponent into this hilariously awkward situation (roughly recreated; he did not have Hera crew on his Ghost):
In the other game, a Conner Net and an overzealous 3-turn led to this result for my opponent's loaded Tomax Bren (we were playing on the mat, not the painted wood below):
This happened shortly after the first Conner Net took the last hull off my opponent's Vessery.
This list concept is extremely flexible and can be built from the core in many different ways. How would you build this list? I look forward to seeing your ideas in the comments and on Reddit!