Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Learning to Fly: Carnor Jax

TIE interceptors, there is no middle ground, either you love them or you hate them. I am in the first group :)
They are nice, quick, deadly and fragile; an interesting combo.
When people think about TIE interceptors, they usually think about almost-all-mighty Soontir Fel. I like him a lot. He is the best; so simple; no further discussions.
However, there are other named TIE interceptors there who are also very good and in the right hands can be even better than Soontir (yes, this is a contradiction of my previous statement, but the universe is a place full of contradictions :D ).
Once of those potential heroes of the Empire is Carnor Jax, a 26 points pilot with a PS of 8 and a nice special ability: "Enemy ships at Range 1 can't perform Evade or Focus Actions, nor spend Evade or Focus tokens" which will potentially cripple the options of his enemies. The key, of course, is to stay alive and at range 1 which being a very fragile interceptor maybe is easier said than done.
I have played with him only two or three times before, so I am still learning to fly with him. Last time it was a bit disappointing, this time was a bit better but still, I think that for the upcoming regionals I will take Soontir Fel. I feel better flying with him :)
Anyway, the lists.
My list was the usual stuff:

  • Sigma Squadron Pilot (34) x 2 - TIE Phantom (25), Recon Specialist (3), Sensor Jammer (4), Stygium Particle Accelerator (2)
  • Carnor Jax (31) - TIE Interceptor (26), Royal Guard TIE (0), Push the Limit (3), Autothrusters (2)

My regular opponent list was quite different of the usual two ships list he was flying lately (100 points total):

  • Keyan Farlander (37) B-Wing (29), Fire-Control System (2), Stay on Target (2), B-Wing/E2 (1), C-3PO (3) 
  • Etahn A’baht (40) E-Wing (32), R2-D2 (4), Stay on Target (2), Fire-Control System (2) 
  • Arvel Crynyd (23) A-Wing (23), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Chardaan Refit (-2), Stay on Target (2)

My main problem with Carnor is that I forget to use his ability and that I am not flying him in an optimal way to be able to use it. Both issue are, of course, heavy related. You can not optimize for something you keep on forgetting :)

I was having initiative, so I placed the first big asteroid :)

Set Up
Set Up
Keyan Farlander, the B-Wing, has the ability to use stress token as focus tokens, so for him, being stressed is very good. My opponent loves Stay on Target to be able to correct his planned movement, so he was equipped with it instead of the more common Push the Limits. To try to put some more stress on the game, he took Debris Clouds, three of them, as obstacles. I continued using the three biggest rocks :)
I deployed my Sigmas behind the asteroid on my left with the idea to move right behind it and decloak left or right depending on my needs.
He placed his A-wing to my left, alone, and the other two ships close to the centre.
So, I decided to place Carnor on my left to try to go for the lonely A-wing to destroy it on round two or three with concentrated fire.

1st round
As planned my sigmas moved 4 forwards behind the rock and cloaked (I did a mistake here as I placed the dial on 3 straight but my opponent let me correct it)
All his ships moved 3 straight and focus, approaching the centre at a slow pace.
I hit the gas with Carnor and he went 5 forwards, boost to his right and focus.

1st round end of movement
Carnor was able to shred 1 shield from Arvel, who was not able to hit him with his return fire. The special ability of Carnor did not play any roll here due to his range limitation.

2nd round
It was clear to me that his other two ships were terribly close to the centre and that they will join there before Carnor could move there.
I just discovered that I do not have a picture of this round. Maybe the presence of other people talking to us distracted me and I forgot...
Anyway, the phantoms decloaked left (no surprise here) and one moved 3 forwards whereas the other did a 3 right bank, both of them did barrel roll in opposite directions to block the path of the A-wing.
The E-wing did a 3 right bank and focused. The A-wing did a 5 K-turn and the B-wing did a 2 right bank and focus.
Carnor avoided the centre and did a 4 straight with boost right.
There was heavy fired involved as my opponent targeted one of my phantoms with concentrated fire but luckily nothing happened.

3rd round
The phantoms moved to block. Number one did a 1 right turn and barrel roll right; the other one did a 3 right turn and focused.
The blockade was successful as the E-wing tried a 3 K-turn which made him to collide with my phantom. The A-wing went after Carnor with a 2 right bank and focus. The B-wing did a 2 right turn, avoided collision and barrel roll to the left to face the other phantom.
Carnor decided to hide to live another day and did a 1 left turn followed by a barrel roll to his right which left him behind the rock.
3rd round end of movement
The exchange of fire between the phantom and the B-wing went in my favour as the B-wing lost 3 shields and the phantom escaped undamaged.
Here I was able to fire with the phantom either at the B-wing or at the E-wing. I decided to fire at the B-wing even if it has a higher durability due to the regeneration of the E-wing due to R2-D2. I was not going to be able to kill it before it would be able to regenerate for sure one shield, at least two and with bad luck even three :)

4th round
Here I was having no idea what to do. My two phantoms were blocked in the middle of the fight, Carnor was lost behind a rock and without easy way to come back. I played with the idea of disengage totally, have Carnor fly to his right, out of business for a round, try to regroup and come back; but that will let my phantoms without clear flying options.
My opponent was facing similar problems with his forces.
Difficult to see the future was ;)

The phantom which had collided with the E-wing on the previous round did a 3 left turn and cloaked. The other phantom did a 2 right turn and also cloaked. Both of them were just buying time for the crowded fight to dissolve.
The E-wing did a 2 right turn and focused, right behind a phantom and outside his firing arc. The A-wing tried to go again after Carnor but this time went for the block with a 5 forwards. The B-wing did his 2 K-turn and Carnor trying to do a 3 left turn collided with the expecting A-wing.
This was perfectly done by my opponent !
At the beginning of the game, as we were looking to our lists, we were discussing that precisely this situation was the best for Arvel, that is, when he moves and uses his action for whatever (here it was a Target Lock) and then, his opponent collides with him, losing actions and being unable to return fire.
Great move :)
4th round end of movement
Arvel was able to hit Carnor and caused him 1 damage (luckily).

5th round
The phantom in front of the rock decloaked left, did 2 left turn and a left barrel roll which let him between the initial positions of the E-wing and the B-wing.
The other phantom decloaked to his right, did a 1 right turn and a barrel roll to the right, trying to close the gap so that the E-wing will be not able to fly away.
Here, my opponent revealed a 2 right turn as his idea was to impact with my phantoms but to stay behind them. After looking to the position of the ships he decided to Stay on Target for a 2 right bank. We place the template, look to the final position, blocked by the phantom on the left, start moving the E-wing backwards and, surprise!, it fits in between the phantom and it only overlaps the one on the left, letting the one on his right able to fire at point-blank. Both of us were without words. I took some pictures trying to get a close up of the final position as it will cost my opponent the E-wing.
The A-wing did a 1 right turn and collided with Carnor, whereas the B-wing did a 1 right bank by-passing the phantoms and the E-wing and barrel roll right. Carnor did a 3 left turn and collided with the asteroid also by a millimetre (Karma in action).
5th round end of movement
You can see the millimetre gap between the phantom on the right and the E-wing.
Close up
 And here the overlap (now touching) with the other phantom.

close up, other angle
The phantom fired 5 attack dice at the E-wing for 3 shields and 1 critical damage, damaged cockpit, reducing his PS to zero.

6th and final round
The E-wing moved first due to his PS 0 and did a 2 left bank, which been green gave him 1 shield back.
I was still with the idea that my phantoms were to move first, so both of them were suppose to try to (pre)follow the E-wing; therefore, the one on the left did a 1 right turn and focus, whereas the other did also a 1 right turn but collided with the E-wing which suddenly was were it was not supposed to be.
The A-wing did a 3 K-turn to get into position for another pass on the next round which will not take place. The B-wing did a 2 K-turn to engage the phantoms and Carnor did a 2 straight over the Debris cloud.
Here I was considering focussing on the B-wing instead of on the E-wing as the K-turn of the B-wing was the more obvious movement and I was afraid of collisions between my own ships on the narrow space behind the E-wing. Also, in case the E-wing collided with my ships under the wrong assumption that he was going to move after my sigmas will have left him behind them and outside of firing arc.
6th round end of movement
The final exchange of fire was enormous. Carnor removed the shield of the E-wing. The B-wing disabled the shields of the phantom on the left and damaged him once. However, the final fire of the other phantom did 4 damage to the poor E-wing, more than enough to reduce it to atoms.

End of the Game

This time I was more consistent in not forgetting my Sensor Jammer with the phantoms but still not really aware of the ability of Carnor. I have the impression that I lost the possibility to use it a few times during the game. This is very probably not correct but, still, it is my impression and impressions are very difficult to remove :(
As I said previously, for this Saturday regionals I will come back to Soontir I-am-the-best Fel and see how I fare there.
I will try to report afterwards, but being five games, one after each other with a very strict time limit, I am afraid that I will not be able to have such a complete picture overview of the games...

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