ARCs and (theory)Crafts

Also Feat. How to build a deployment

The first thing I wanted to try (and did try) when Wave 3 came out was ARCs. Medium base, lots of health, 3 attack dice, seemed to fit my playstyle well. Unlike the Rebel ARCs, the Republic have generic ARCs, and the I2 ones came out a pretty competitive points cost. So here comes an ARCticle.

Also Separatists have no medium based ships. Because you know I’m all about that base.

Pilots

Currently dedicated to the binder
  • 104th Battalion Pilot (I2, 42 points) – cheap = good, competitively priced compared to other similar ships with 3 attack, 1 defense, lots of health.
  • Squad Seven Veteran (I3, 47 points) – expensive = bad, 5 point jump for 1 initiative and a Talent slot? Seems bad. I guess they might have found something in playtesting (probably with Dedicated), as it’s the same for the V-19 Torrents; the higher initiative generic with Talent slot seems way overpriced. The named pilots also suffer a bit from this, all being substantially more expensive than the 104th Battalion Pilots, but can make up for this somewhat with good pilot abilities.
  • Jag (I3, 49 points) – seems pretty good. Free mods are never bad, and the timing of his ability is good for getting double mods (Focus action, free Lock when enemy shoots a friendly at I3-6). Alternatively can have a Biggs-like effect to protect friendly ships. While his ability doesn’t immediately work with R3 Astromech, his ability can easily trigger twice for a second Lock. Free Locks also good for Proton Torpedoes.
  • Sinker (I3, 54 points) – Rerolls on attack dice for friendly ships has a lot of potential. Think Howlrunner and Drea. A lot more on Sinker later, main part of this article, flying Sinker with other ARCs
  • Wolffe (I4, 51 points) – The dream for Wolffe is to equip Veteran Tail Gunner, shoot out the front with a reroll, then shoot out the back with an extra dice and reset the charge to boost both attacks again next turn. Sounds great in theory, not so good in practice. With VTG being only 4 points, it was well worth a few games to see how it goes, but not worth it at all. But this is why we try things. Ability is still solid, double-modded front attack, and an extra dice on the rear arc attacks. The trick would be getting the charge flipped frequently to get a benefit most attacks. Definitely has potential.
  • Odd Ball (I5, 55 points) – free dice mods, that’s always good right? Yes, but no. It’s not the simplest ability pull off with the bullseye requirement, and unlike Jag, a consequence of the timing for gaining the free Lock, is that it can’t happen on a round where you take a regular Focus action, so no double mods. Only get access to a single mod on turns you might otherwise not have any mods. Could take R4-P44 to get a free calculate with some of the free Locks, but that’s more points into an already overly expensive ship. Free Locks are good for Proton Torpedoes.

And Some Upgrade Cards:

Republic have some cool new options in the largely unexplored Gunner upgrade slot. Both Clone Commander Cody and Seventh Fleet Gunner are very nice options.

Cody feels like a bargain at 3 points, on an ARC that shoots first/early in your squad. Though with strain, you do need the follow up shot to hurt and not waste the strain token. Seventh Fleet Gunner is interesting, bit pricey at 9 points but the ability is quite strong. The recharge is tricky at the cost of an attack, but both sides of the ability (extra dice, then recharge) are well timed, I think it could be devastating. Or Plo Koon can give an assist, and make the recharge more flexible.

  • Veteran Tail Gunner is cheap at 4 points, and sounds good in theory, but lining up the two shots doesn’t happen by accident, and not worth trying to do intentionally. Pass
  • Chancellor Palpatine feels like he can’t quite do enough on the ARC chassis for the 15 points. The stress control is nice, but with a only single force charge, the ship could crumble to a round of focused fire. Coordinate is always good, but too pricey here. Better option for Republic coordinate is probably a Jedi with Battle Meditation. Pass
  • Dedicated – ships that can equip it are too pricey, but well worth a revisit in a few months when they might get cheaper. Pass
  • Synchronized Console, action neutral so often not gaining anything. Gets expensive quickly if you’re equipping it on multiple ships. Might be something to it particularly with Torpedoes (or Missiles on V-19s), where the Lock is necessary for the attack, but in most squads isn’t worth it.
  • Astromechs. Nothing especially noteworthy here. Can be useful includes, but not missing much if not including any.

ARCetypes

And lists. Because people like lists.

4 ARCs 1 V

104th Battalion Pilot (42)
– Total: 42
104th Battalion Pilot (42)
– Total: 42
104th Battalion Pilot (42)
– Total: 42
104th Battalion Pilot (42)
– Total: 42
Gold Squadron Trooper (25)
– Total: 25
Total: 193

The most ARC spam with 4 ARCs and 9 firing arcs. For the last 7 points; do what you want man. Nothing really jumped out as an important include, maybe Cody, or a couple of Hull Upgrades. Changing up any pilots doesn’t feel worth the points.
41 hit points, and 14 attack dice at range 2-3. Keeps it simple.

Sinker + ARCs

You can fit 3 with him (and still have 20 points left for upgrades) but then it is more tricky to fly and maximise the rerolls. Might still be pretty good even without maximising Sinker rerolls every turn, but I prefer the idea of only 2 friendly ARCs, and then something else (though not a lot of choice at the moment, a Jedi, or 2x V-19s).

List 1 with Ahsoka
Sinker
(54)
– Total: 54
104th Battalion Pilot (42)
– Total: 42
104th Battalion Pilot (42)
– Total: 42
Ahsoka Tano (47)
Delta-7B (15) – Total: 62
Total: 200

Line this one up perfectly and you have 4x 3-die attacks with double mods (Ahsoka can coordinate to Sinker). Calibrated Laser Targeting or no Configuration on Ahsoka are also reasonable options to free up some points for other flavors to taste.

List 2 with V-19s
Sinker
(54)
Clone Commander Cody (3), Hull Upgrade (3) – Total: 60
104th Battalion Pilot (42)
Hull Upgrade (3) – Total: 45
104th Battalion Pilot (42)
Hull Upgrade (3)– Total: 45 
Gold Squadron Trooper (25)
– Total: 25
Gold Squadron Trooper (25)
– Total: 25
Total: 200

Could easily do other things with the last few points, Cody is solid with double modded (focus + Sinker reroll) attacks following, and Hull Upgrades at 3 points are a bargain. Or a Seventh Fleet Gunner is another option.

More on flying Sinker with 2 ARCs later, because attacking rerolls are good, and well worth the deep dive.

Other Triple ARCs

I guess you could if you wanted to (I don’t) with Jag, Wolffe and Oddball (as Sinker’s dope pilot ability doesn’t complement theirs, all of which grant themselves Locks/rerolls).

There’s plenty of points to play with (45 of them), so could tool them out a lot (or add more ships). I made a quick list all with Proton Torpedoes, for a nasty alpha strike, and both Jag and Oddball’s abilities help with getting Locks. But it was such a quick list, that I wasn’t especially interested in and couldn’t recommend it, so I haven’t included it.

You never know, there might be something to this ARCetype, if you want to explore it, go nuts!

Lone ARC

With Jedi making a bit of a splash in some Hyperspace Trials around the world, an option for ARCs is to support 2 named Jedi. A increasingly popular, and pretty fun squad is Anakin, Ahsoka/Mace and 2 V-19 Torrents, and for variation could easily replace the Torrents with an ARC for a little bit more punch.

1 ARC, 2 Jedi
Wollfe (51)
– Total: 51
Anakin Skywalker (60)
R2 Astromech (4), Delta-7B (18) – Total: 82
Ahsoka Tano/Mace Windu (47/46)
R2 Astromech (4), Delta-7B (15/16) – Total: 66
Total: 199

Can flavor to taste, R2 astromechs are good because regen is (surprise, surprise) still pretty good, but options to replace them with other astromechs or whatever, or drop them for a larger initiative first player bid (? I guess that’s what it should be called now, even though you’re generally bidding for second player, as initiative means something else entirely).

And I’m sure there are even more ways of using ARCs effectively in Republic squads.

Sinker and Side arcs

With the Republic come a number of synergies that benefit from being in friendly ships side arcs. (Sinker, Jag, Dedicated, Axe) This is a new mechanic, with other abilities have been previously simple range bubbles (360 degrees) or attached to the firing arc.

Thematically, its pretty cool too. Clone troopers wanting to fight side by side, which is different from a Howlrunner-style box formation, or a Drea swarm with everyone all over the place.

As I keep saying, Sinker looks really good, but the set-up and flying for maximizing his ability isn’t so straightforward. First thought might be to deploy them all in a long line, side by side. This probably works pretty well, until you have to turn. Which unless your opponent gives you the most honorable of jousts, is likely going to need to happen.


The 104th Battalion Pilots are no longer in Sinker’s side arcs after they all perform 2-turns.

You can somewhat make turning work, by spreading them out a little more, a small stagger and a very wide turning circle:

Yes, both 104’s are still in Sinker’s side arcs, but this is hardly a mobile formation. That is a very wide turning circle, and obstacles are also a thing that will get in the way of trying to fly a 3 medium base wide formation. Next!

Maybe Noah and his ark were onto something about ARC formations, could try two by two (with 4 ARCs):

This isn’t perfect, with only 2 out of 3 friendlies in the side arc at each step, but looks easier to fly and maintain, so we’re starting to get somewhere. What happens if we turn the two by two into a pinwheel:

So the pinwheel formation gets all 3 generics into Sinker’s side arcs for straights and turns (possibly could get banks as well with a little more tinkering on the pinwheel spacing).

Yep, we definitely have potential here. But the next big problem is you can’t actually deploy them like this, there isn’t enough space in the range 1 deployment zone…

How to build a deployment

Note: Don’t really need to do this, or at least without so much planning and precision for most squads

Figuring out how to deploy a Sinker squad to get the optimal formation and maximise the rerolls felt very similar to building a castle, something I have fair amount of experience with.

Without wanting to get into a debate about the merits of castling, the goal of a castle was to not move from the opening deployment until the opposing squad engaged you on your terms, and move out from the corner when necessary into an effective formation, and with multiple options for breaking out.

These Sinker squads need something similar, a way to deploy them such that they can “break out” into the optimal formation for maximizing his ability and the rerolls. While castling has a soft-ban and less ease of use now, the theory of setting up a castle/deployment can still be utilized.

With focussing on the Sinker + 2 104s squad, as an example, and that’s what I’m personally most interested in (and I’ll ignore any other ships, because a double repositioning Jedi can end up wherever they want after a couple turns, less preplanning required). Here’s what I came up with after 20-30 minutes of tinkering (would likely tweak after some more tinkering, but the article was getting long):

But (1) what were the steps involved in getting there, and (2) what can it do?

What do you want to achieve?

This will vary from squad to squad. Here, the goal is have the 104 Sq. Pilots in Sinker’s side arcs, and have them stay after different movements. Some progress to getting there already shown above. Lets try a 3 ship pinwheel/staggered/thing.

This looks good, both 104s remain in Sinker’s side arcs after different turning maneuvers. However, after the 2-turns, Sinker (at I3) ends up in front of 104 #2 (at I2). This would make future maneuvers, particularly going straight or slow, difficult, as Sinker is in the way. One solution might be to promote the 104 Sq. Pilots to Squad Seven Veterans to share I3 with Sinker, but that seems like too many point for little gain. Let’s keep working on the formation.

Finally a formation I’m satisfied with. Can keep both 104s in Sinker’s side arcs after different turning maneuvers, and keep the formation in a position to keep turning.

Next step: Figure out how to deploy it

Clearly, you cannot simply deploy the squad in the formation (due to the size of medium bases), so some kind of deployment building is necessary. My first thought, just from looking at it is to deploy Sinker facing forward and as far back as possible, 104 #1 next to Sinker, facing forward and as far forward as possible, and 104 #2 facing sideways (towards the other 2), with distances to be experimented with.

To find the distances for 104 #2, easiest to work backwards. Move Sinker and 104 #1 forward at speed 2 or 3, place 104 #2 where you would want him, and then see what maneuver, and from where in the deployment zone puts him there.

And then use some templates or range rulers to figure out where precisely that ships needs to start (Picture 2 above).

You could quite comfortably call it finished there, but then you’re pretty much locked into a specific set of opening moves, 2-straight with Sinker and 104 #1, and a 2-right-turn with 104#2. Most of the time, that’s completely alright, but a better castle or deployment will have several options to move out from, which is good for replaying opponents later in events, or if they do something unexpected with their deployment.

Multiple break-outs

With what we have at the moment (deployment v1), the only way out is straight ahead up the side of the board. It would be nice to be able to move out another direction. How about to the right, and along that side of the board….

Easy way to do that, move 104 #2 backwards so that he can perform a 4-koiogran. Then make sure everything else still works.

104#2 isn’t quite as far left as he was previously, but let’s see if turning maneuvers still work.

Nope, the 2-turns breaks it. But you could fix it by doing 3-turns with 104 #1 and Sinker, and a 2-turn with 104#2. As you can probably tell by now, this is absolutely trial and error, and I could go on writing this forever (trying to avoid making it too long).

I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work

Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb

The point of changing 104 #2’s starting position was to create an alternate break out, so let’s have a look at that:

2-turn and barrel roll forward by 104 #1, 4-koiogran by 104#2 and 2-turn by Sinker. Yeah, that’s looks pretty familiar, except facing 90 degrees to the right.

And put your Jedi where ever you want, can be figured out last, as double repositioning is stupid and lets you move almost anywhere.

There’s is endless tinkering that can be done, figuring out more optimal spacing, or different moves out, but I’m sure this is getting repetitive by now. So one final point is on obstacles.

Obstacles

With a few different preplanned opening maneuvers, it’s good to be certain which moves are safe from hitting obstacles.

For example, with this set-up, you know you will avoid a small obstacle placed in the corner with 2-banks.

Again, heaps of tinkering can occur here, figure out positions where obstacles are not in the way. Obstacle selection and placement matters. And both corners are functionally identical for deployment (unless there is a Jumpmaster on the table – seems unlikely), so goal of obstacle placement is to ensure you have a good corner to build in.
Or don’t even build in a corner! That can work too.

Other things

While I might initially build and tinker on Vassal, making sure you can get everything in the precise positions on an actual table, and do the opening moves you want is very worthwhile. Accuracy of measurements and precision of maneuvers are important for reproducibility and having the planing be worthwhile. And yes, this can very easily be done without slow play.

And you’re never going to keep the good formation forever. No good plan survives contact with the enemy. So improvisation is always necessary, so good flying as well as good planning.

More ARCs

Not going to write a full section on Rebel ARCs, but Norra Wexley is worth a mention. She’s basically a mini Boba, and is really, really good (anyone remember when Boba was the hottest thing? Little points increase and nobody cares anymore). The more well known Nathan took her to the final table at the Adepticon System Open a few weeks ago.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an Arc Caster cannon upgrade make it into the game at some point. It was in 1st edition, made it’s way into X-Wing: The Card Game Destiny recently, so FFG must like it as an idea.

Actual X-Wing arts and crafts in the last article with the Autothruster meme clouds ;P

And an ARC on a ball magnet I did recently, because I was clumsy enough to drop it right before it’s first game.

Was actually super easy, and pretty fun to be a child again playing with the magnet, so tempting to do it all my many ships. But want see how I like physically playing with the magnetized ships, having them turn around the wrong way might be annoying.

So yep. Quick guide to building a deployment, some things to consider when applying it to different squads. Hit me up if I skipped over anything, or assumed some knowledge, hard to find the balance and hit the right amount of comprehensive.

-Nathan, King of the Castle.

Wow, two in one week! This is unlikely to be maintained, I had the week off and a couple of mostly developed topics. I’ll be back when I have time and a topic. And I’m not sure how, but these articles keep getting longer and longer (even after I cut so much probably egotistical rambling about castles out)

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