Investing in Bad Dice?

Last weekend at Firestorm Cards, Chris Morrell was running an A-Wing with Heroic. We all knew about this because every  time it triggered Chris would give a small exultant shout, we heard this shout maybe twice in four games. On the flip side of this we also heard Chris be less jubilant every time his A-Wing rolled blank, blank and focus or another equally unhelpful roll. A somewhat more frequent occurrence during the day. At the end of the event I think it was safe to say he had talked himself into running Trickshot as a one point talent on A-Wings in future.

Heroic can be either the best one point Talent in the game or the worst. It depends on your perception of how well your dice roll. While we were in France a few weeks ago Alex Birt summed up Heroic as “You’re just investing points hoping for bad dice.” I’ve been guilty in the past of blaming dice for loses, hopefully in the last few months you’ll have noticed a decrease in that. It’s a journey I’m on and it’s on-going, confirmation bias is a thing. They still make a difference to games and I’m pretty sure that any player can point to more than one incident that they have been legitimately dice screwed.

The number crunching has been done by people way more understanding of percentages than me, but here’s my less mathy way of understanding dice. Writing this has really helped me look at dice in a different way. Maths is apparently useful.

Heroic RZ-2 A-Wings (hence forth referred to A2)

To roll a blank on a red dice is a one in four chance. So one in every four dice rolls you should roll a blank on a red dice. When you roll two red dice the odds of coming up blanks goes down significantly. Both those dice have to hit that one in four chance at the same time which is very unlikely. Statistically you’re only likely to achieve it one in every 16 dice rolls. Unless you’re running a lot of ships that all roll two red dice all the time it’s not likely to trigger that often.

For the sake of this post we’re going to assume that the average game lasts about 16 turns and to keep things simple we’re rolling the dice every turn. If this is the case your plucky A2 will blank out on the red dice once a game, is that worth a point? It could be if it’s a key roll, but I don’t think it’s worthwhile.

The story is worse on green dice. Sure the odds of rolling a blank are three in eight, better than the chances on a red dice. But when you’re rolling three dice the maths goes horribly against you. Heroic will likely trigger only 27 times in 512 dice rolls. That’s once every 19 dice rolls. If we again look at a game as having 16 turns on average then every other game you might get to use Heroic on your A2s green dice. (Unless you’re playing against a TIE Swarm, then the odds of it triggering go up substantially!)

All this says to me is that Heroic on A2s is probably a bad idea, sure it’s only a point but that point could contribute to an initiative bid that lets you arc dodge or block depending on the pilots you have chosen, or trickshot which increases their damage potential significantly.

Heroic T-70s

The odds of blanking out on 3 red dice and triggering heroic is one in sixty four, that means every fourth game you play with a heroic T-70 you’ll get to re-roll your red dice. So once a normal store level tournament. Definitely not worth the investment.

But (as you will have no doubt anticipated) the green dice on the T-70 is where heroic “shines”. 9 times every 64 dice rolls you’ll get to pick up those green dice and roll them again! That’s basically three times a game you can expect heroic to trigger on a T-70. The odds of rolling double blanks into double blanks are about one in ever 50 dice rolls, you’d have to be very unlucky for Heroic to not improve your dice roll.

I’ve made some helpful tables to summarise how useful heroic is where:

Dice ThrownTwoThreeFourFive
Red1 in 161 in 641 in 2561 in 1024
Green9 in 6427 in 51281 in 4096243 in 32768

And then percentages for maths people rounded to make them not silly

Dice ThrownTwoThreeFourFive

All of which leads to the rather obvious conclusion that Heroic is more likely to trigger on the green dice of a T-70 more than anything else.

After a year of predominantly flying Boba and Guri they have retired. I’m looking forward to Hyperspace (HS). I think as a game mode it has a lot to offer and will make for some really interesting X-Wing events. There are two ships that I think I’m going to spend time looking at with HS in mind, the first (and no surprise to longer term readers) is the Fang. The second (no surprise to those reading at the moment) is the T-70.

This weekend I’m at the Game Shop in Aldershot. The event is Extended, but I know that others like me are running HS legal lists for it. Last weekend Steve Fase was flying a list he’s working on for HS and said that he was looking at taking it to any events he was going to attend regardless of game mode, taking it to extended events would be “hard mode” and give him the best preparation possible. If his Falcon and Fangs can learn to deal with whatever the game has to throw at them then the more limited meta of HS should be a much easier place to overcome down the line.

Building the List

My initial T-70 list was Poe and Nein, both heavily upgraded, it looked a lot of fun but more sensible voices (thank you Dale Cromwell) pointed out that as fun as it might be, 2 X-Wings would still die very quickly. Experiments with E-Wings last year confirmed that this might well be the case. So I’m going for three of them. The upgrades are a lot thinner on the ground than I normally play around with, odd that that makes me feel uncomfortable, but I’m going for stripped back efficiency rather than all the toys.

Poe DameronNein NumbEllo Asty
R4Pattern Analyser

It comes in at 189 points, which I think is very cost effective for three high mobility, high initiative and big gun ships. Poe and Nein can both do two actions a turn. The changes to Pattern Analyser meaning you can perform an action before you check for stress and then an action in your normal action window, rather than moving the action step like it did in 1.0, so as long as Nein is doing red moves there is nothing to stop him re-positioning to trigger his ability and then taking a focus. Poe is taking an R4 to keep his dial as open as possible when he uses his ability.

The initiative bid is still strong. I5 and 6 are still very busy places in the game and with an ace like Poe who can double re-position it is nice to have more information. I suspect with the promised points revision some of the larger initiative bids we’ve been seeing (15 points +) are going to disappear and 10 points could be a fairly significant bid going forward.

The final part of the list is the obstacles I am taking, again this is done with HS in mind. I’m anticipating the Mining Guild TIE here, I think it’s a very strong ship and it likes rocks. I don’t want to give them that many more movement options so I have opted for debris, which they can’t just ignore. It also plays to Nein’s strengths as he can zoom over debris and clear the stress.

How Will it Fly?

So this is obviously all hypothetical at the moment. There’s a lot to be said for bringing all three guns to bare on the same target, so formation flying isn’t out of the question. The issue I have with formation flying higher initiative ships is that it makes you very predictable, these aren’t Rebels who are very much jousters with the ability to spread damage about. When you have three ships that all have plenty of movement options that feels counter intuitive.

Whilst the T-70 is not as agile or quick as say, a Fang or a Tie FO they are still pretty nippy, the ability to close the S-Foils and roll is not to be sniffed at and they are mobile for ships with seven health. Coordinating attacks is the best way to put damage through, all those attacks do not have to come from the same direction, it’s just easier to fly (and avoid) when they do.

If you’re aiming to get the best out of Heroic then keeping the green dice to two and the incoming red dice to a minimum is the key, so flying at range 2 permanently is the plan. However if you’re list is designed to get the best out of Heroic your game plan is flawed… it’s a nice bonus to have, not a tactic defining talent (like Outmanoeuvre can be).

So to Aldershot and 4 rounds of X-Wing to see how often Heroic Triggers.

Game one was against Joel North, blogger and fellow 186th. Joel was running a couple of Mining Guild Ties, Han in the Scum Falcon and Fenn Rau.

We’ve played a few times over the years and Joel is never less than a fantastic opponent. His plan was obviously to make use of the debris fields that littered the board and trigger the numerous trickshotting ships that he had at his disposal. My plan was to stop him. Joel used debris, and realised pretty quickly that he should have been running asteroids to make the most of the Mining Guild TIEs very strong ability, but then the scum Falcon likes shooting things that are stressed so both options have their merits.

One shotting one of the TIEs with Nein in the opening engagement was a huge swing in my favour early on. I wanted them gone as those things can really hurt. Fenn was also a priority. Despite the Falcons potential to roll a million dice (trickshot, Han, Title, range one….) at my ships it wasn’t my focus because I knew that if I could get my T-70s all pointed at it in the end game it would die fast. I just needed to make sure my T-70s got to the end game. Sure enough I was able to drop Fenn and the other TIE relatively quickly, but for some reason Joels Falcon just refused to take any damage, I just chipped away at its shields.

Once the shields were gone thought the three T-70s (all half pointed) began tearing the YT-1300 to pieces and in 2 turns of sustained fire Han Solo dropped. Still 67 minutes played! Heroic triggered twice all game once in attack and once in defence, but a 200-95 win was a good start to the day.

My second opponent for the day was Scott Nixor, playing his first tournament. In his first round match up he had beaten Alex Birt (who was flying Poe, Nein and an L’ulo) Alex instructed me to get revenge for him, so I did my best. Scott had Juke Rexlar, and I1 Defender and an I2 Bomber. I didn’t really want to play with those Barrage Rockets or Prox Mines so the Bomber died first, taking two turns of shooting from Poe and Nein.

Then the mobility of my I5 T-70s absolutely shone, Rexlar is a threat, with his token stack and tankyness he takes a lot of killing, but as his K-Turns were more or less cancelled out by my Talon Rolls I was able to bring guns to bear on him a lot. It was a pretty quick game, and finished 200-0 to me (I blame Alex, he asked me to get revenge after all) and on the four sets of green dice I rolled Heroic had triggered once. 200-0 and off for lunch before the business end of the tournament.

My third opponent was another new comer, Peter Wren, flying Super Kylo, Quickdraw and Null (Epsilon Ace/Giraffe for those still stuck in 1.0 speak – like me). With Kylo worth a bucket load of points in the list he was my first target, and when Peter landed him on a rock Poe was quick to take advantage, putting three damage into the Silencer. Null did what all TIE fighters do: first defensive roll against three hits, perfect dice, second defensive roll against 4 hits, perfect blanks. Thankfully the First Order don’t get to he Heroic and that was a nuisance ship out of the way pretty quickly.

My top tip for the day comes from this game, Poe taking a double panicked pilot in a turn is really bad and makes his wing-men very uncomfortable…

Kylo expired suit a couple of turns later as Quickdraw finished off Ello, then Poe and Nein turned on the TIE SF and as you would expect Quickdraw wilted under the sustained firepower. Quickdraw might now be the monster she was in first edition, but that double tap is still a terrifying prospect to deal with. Heroic triggered four times in this match up, once on 3 green dice, that re-rolled into three green blanks… for those following the maths that a 729 in 262144 chance of happening. (or in percentages 0.28% chance) basically it should only happens once in every 357 dice rolls.

This would turn out to be the most bruising encounter of the day but I got the win (200-128) putting me on 3-0 and a showdown with the list I least wanted to see for the final match up.

Another 186th, this time Andrew Pattison running a Mining Guild swarm with support from a Outer Rim Pioneer (so they can not only ignore rocks for movement but shoot while sitting on them) and Old Teroch to give some real muscle. Andrew had started the day somewhat under the weather, but he’d still managed to go 3-0. However flying six ships for the day and not starting it in the brightest fashion led to him making a couple of uncharacteristic errors that I was able to capitalise on.

Neither of us expected to win this game. Heroic triggering three times in a turn on Ello in the opening engagement was unexpected. It seems Heroic is REALLY good at range two of multiple TIE fighters. With Poe flanking and just taking long range shots, Ello being the bait it was over to Nein to get stuck in. This was the first game that I saw just how good the S-Foils on a T-70 are. Nein rolling, linking into the focus and not taking the stress, then getting the bullseye shot so he didn’t lose an attack dice was incredibly rewarding.

Had Andrew split the swarm a turn earlier than he had there may have been some blocks coming into play which would have massively reduced the effectiveness of my firepower. I traded Ello and two shields on Nien for half his list, with an Poe untouched. Once Teroch dropped, with only a TIE and an escape pod on the table Andrew conceded giving me the 200-57 win. Heroic had more than justified it’s cost in this game.

I learned a lot about the T-70 today. I had some good dice, I had some bad dice: Heroic triggered 9 times over the day, 7 on green dice and twice on the reds. I think I flew pretty well, there were only a couple of moments that I can point to where I made mistakes. Having been flying two ships for so long flying three was actually a bit of a head ache by the end of the day (although that could be because I was flying against 6 ships in that final game).

I really enjoyed the list. It’s tactically versatile and has good firepower whilst still letting me play a game that is interesting enough from a positional point of view to not make me miss Guri too much. And Heroic – It has DEFINITELY earned it’s place in my X-Wing case.

Another Tournament done and for the first time in since November I’ve gone undefeated at an event, putting me on 68% wins out of 97 tournament games played in 2.0. Next weekend sees trips to Ibuywargames in Woking and the Dice Saloon in Brighton happening, 10 rounds to see if the T-70 and I really do have a future.

Next Time: T-70s again!

If you’re looking for X-Wing Tournaments head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar.


    • yes, then discounted it. I’ve played against it a couple of times but with only 2 charges I think that it is just not very good and very expensive. It’s better advanced sensors for one more point but only 2 uses. The R4 synergises with him a lot better and is less points. Bizarrely I think it is better on Nein than Poe when combined with black one.


      • I agree, BBs at only 2 uses is tricky to work in well with Poe. You will be using Poe’s ability most turns, ending up stressed, which means you can’t BB the next. So you have to plan to use the BB in advance. R4 you will use a lot more for much cheaper.

        Am really liking the BBs on the other T-70s though, Snap, Ello, Nien etc. if points allow.

        Thanks for article also 🙂


  1. Man, your explosion and laser additions to your batrep pics are only getting better! I think Nien Numb is going to be the best ace for us Guri players in Resistance: good dial, excellent action economy with pattern analyzer. Poe seems too good not to pair with him, but what if Poe isn’t the right answer?

    I am kind of annoyed that someone else found out my Scum TIE swarm with Outer Rim Pioneer trick. It works fairly well. I went 4-1 at a tourney this weekend with it. Variance took me out in the last game; Five ships shooting at a tokenless A-wing should net more than 1 damage only due to crack shot. Next round saw 0 damage done to a tokenless Starfortress from three TIEs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The ‘faction talents’ have such a weird and interesting place in the game.

    Heroic is the bad dice investment, Ruthless is a self-damage investment (that you can only really proc a few times per game), Fearless has you defending a point-blank shot and Fanatical triggers only once you’ve lost your shields. Selfless seems to the be only talent that doesn’t carry that risk/danger yet is probably the least used out of all of them.

    I felt Heroic looked good on paper and you seem to be pretty keen on it. However I liked your note-to-self that’s it’s an upgrade, not a tactic. The other talents listed above seem to have a greater impact on how you fly the list as a whole. Heroic seems really flexible in that regard, could easily be considered the strongest talent of the 5.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree, ruthless particularly shapes how you approach a game.

      Depending on playstyle fearless can totally be a tactic shaping card.

      A friend parked 3 TIE FOs on a proton bomb on Saturday and they all became fanatical at the same time.

      Selfless shapes tactics because you have to formation fly, which is the rebel way


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