I’m on the leader: The importance of target priority

Greetings pilots, welcome once again to a strategy article on the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game. This week I am going to give you an overview of target priority and why it can help you win games.

I have you now! - There’s a reason Vader has such a high kill count

What is target priority?

Put plainly, what do you kill first?

When you first set up opposite your opponent and have a look at what they are using, it can be quite daunting to work out what to shoot at. Normally for a newer player it tends to boil down to what the ships look like.

“Is it scary? Is it cool? I’m gonna pew at it !!!”

Or even simply

“That one closest, let’s target that”

Whilst this can work in a few games, as you gain more experience and play against seasoned veterans you realise that they always seem to have their best ships floating through space unscathed at the end of the game.

Q: Why can I never kill howlrunner! A: Body Shields…

With this in mind, here are a few things you can think about when deciding where to place your crosshairs.

Shoot the Big Ones!

Sometimes bigger is better… I’m not talking about ship size here but points values. If your opponent has sunk over half the points in his list into a single ship, then you can bet its important to them.

With that in mind, doing your level best to turn it into drifting space junk as quickly as possible should put a nice big hole in their plans. It gives you a better chance of winning when the expensive monster is in peices over there… there… and ooooh look, there’s some way over there.

What a nice looking ship you have there, shame if somebody were to break it

Nobody Likes a Hanger On

We’ve all had one of those games where you look over to the other side of the table and normally with some form of expletive, explain why you just hate That Guy (sorry Greenaways!).

Some ships are built to survive when the chips are down. Be it that slippery fish Soontir Fel, ‘Can’t modify this' Omega Leader or every other Rebel ship that recovers its shields faster than you can remove them.

The only way you are going to kill these things is with lots of firepower and the best chance you will have is when all of your ships are healthy and in one piece. I have lost many a game with Corran Horn when my opponent spotted the threat early and set out to nuke him from the get go.

How do you deal with Rebel regen? With napalm. Lots and lots of napalm

Breaking down the big guns

The last consideration you should have when picking a victim is which of your opponent’s ships is going to murderise you in the shortest amount of time? In this situation the game can turn into a damage race, the survival of the scariest.

In the game at present there are a few ships that can shoot multiple times per round. If you have never witnessed two Dengar clones face off, it is a thing of beauty, fireworks and mutually assured destruction.

It is normally a bad idea to leave such ships on the table for long. If they can catch you out of position, it can spell the certain doom of your small plastic fleet. I made this mistake in a recent store championships final. Facing Justin Phua’s incredible Dengar Tel list flown by OJ Hemmings.

Making the choice to kill Tel Trevura first seemed like the right move as he was the easier Jumpmaster to get at. While poor Trevor went down like a sack of spuds I now had to deal with a very angry Dengar with two torpedoes and a thirst for vengeance. Being out of position, and with OJ’s good flying, Dengar was able to destroy all three of my ships on his own, clinging on to his last remaining hull points and taking the day.

He may look like he’s wrapped in toilet paper but don’t make him angry!

A mistake I shall not be making again when I play against that list is leaving such a potent threat free to roam for longer than I have to.

Phil GC has had some similar thoughts on this recently. Sometimes the best way to beat these big guns such as Quickdraw or Dengar is simply to bring more firepower than they do. It can be painful but depending on what you are flying, oh so satisfying.

Is the target always the same?

Simply. No.

No two games of X-Wing are the same. That means sometimes the first target can change. I will always go into a game with a plan of what I want to destroy first but we all know that no plan survives contact with the enemy. Sometimes the nature of the game you are playing allows you to pick off a juicy target at the best, and most unexpected, of opportunities.

Sometimes opportunities just fall into your lap…

I am never one to look a gift horse in the mouth and if you can take an opportunity to jump one of your opponent’s ships in a dark alley between two rocks (or you know… out of position) you should take it. So long as it doesn’t distract you for too long from your original target. Be careful with this as you can end up playing a game akin to Whack-A-Mole. Shooting one for a bit as it dances out of range only to be swapped in for a healthier target.

In Soviet Russia, mole whack you!

Let him go! Stay on the leader

The biggest faux pas that players tend to have, and probably the most common way to throw away a game, is to keep swapping targets. Looking over at your opponent’s list to find each of his ships a single hull point away from death and wondering how you didn’t quite manage to finish the job.

Once you start shooting something you need to confirm the kill. The less ships on the board, the less pew coming back at you. Every ship that escapes to fight another day can do just that. You commonly find them taking pot-shots at the rear of your ships after you’ve all but forgotten about them.

Not dead yet…

If you make sure that you focus fire on one ship at a time and kill them quickly, you remove your opponent’s ability to deal with the problems in your list. Eventually handing you the perfect situation where you can chase a beleaguered and battered remenant around the local sector.

So to wrap up, remember to take Darth Vader’s advice: focus your firepower on that one ship you know absolutely, definitely has to die first and don’t get distracted.

Don’t forget to double tap!

Fly Casual Pilots

Oli