This list is absolutely blowing up and is being seen all over the world during the 2017 regional season. For this who are not indoctrinated here it is https://geordanr.github.io/xwing/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v4!s!173:176,-1,-1,-1,-1,-1:-1:-1:;219:176,190,-1,-1:-1:-1:;212:176,-1:43:15:&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron
Doesn’t look like much at first glance but this list knocked both Sozin and I out of the Seattle regional and the guy who did it, Chris Norris, went on to win the whole thing http://lists.starwarsclubhouse.com/get_tourney_details?tourney_id=2459. It’s won at least 2 other regionals to the best of my knowledge and has made the cut at almost every single one since mid December so if you still have one or a system open coming up be prepared to see this.
So how do you deal with it? Great question, and one that has no real easy answer. This is what Dom likes to call a toolbox list as it has the ability to deal with lots of things and doesn’t have any big, glaring weaknesses. Because of that there really is no real playbook on how to beat it. Manaroo in my opinion is the lowest value target because while she is the lynch pin of the list she’s mostly just there for support and blocking and is easily the weakest end game ship of the three. Overall though, I’d say just go for whoever presents the easiest target to begin with and try to stay on them. Splitting fire against this list is death because they can continue to bring support even when out of combat and the effectiveness of the list shrinks exponentially as the ships die. Your strategy for sure all depends on your list, though. Certain lists might take a different approach depending on the match up so that’s just an overall idea on how to face it at the start.
Here’s a rough depiction of the game where I was knocked out. This is the board at the end of turn 2.
I’ve basically got two choices here I can blast ahead or turn into Fenn. A lot of Soontir players here would use Soontir as bait and go 4/5 fwd with him but it’s important to remember Fenn is not Soontir, especially in this list, he’s not nearly as scared as getting blocked because he can still get 2 focuses and he’s just as hard to hit at range 1 as range 3. There’s not much Manaroo can do here really. A three left bank or a hard 1 are really her only options. So I decided to go with the sure thing and go for her. In hindsight turning into Fenn probably would’ve been the optimal move as I probably would’ve been able to kill him. So sure enough Fenn turned in but Manaroo also did the 1 hard. Fenn boosted to r1 of my far left Gold and got a focus and tl from Manaroo. I got a little unlucky and lost the Gold before it fired but was still able to kill Manaroo with my remaining ships. It ended up being a great game I got Asajj and Fenn down to 1hp each but just couldn’t put either away. Overall though, I felt like my squad has a pretty good match up against this list, the three ships don’t have much re-positional abilities so I can gun them down fairly easily and Fenn is a little more wary of getting into r1 than against most lists because of my ABT’s.
If you’re not into Rebel swarms, though and you’re unsure of what to bring to handle this then there a few things to note when squad building. First, anything with PTL that moves before Asajj is a bad idea. Lyle had Ryad with PTL and that’s very hard to know when to push or not because you’re moving first. Juke is also less effective against this list because the Paratanni player can see the entire board state at the start of combat before passing off that additional focus with Manaroo. Control is also less effective because they still all can get focuses and if you’re using stress bot Asajj can use that against you with Latts. Rebel Captive is great but there’s already few viable options for that card with Empire right now, really Decis and Phantoms are the only options in my opinion and since Asajj eats Echo/Whisper for breakfast that kinda limits your choices. Bombs are good choices because they can push past all the defensive mods Asajj and Fenn get but a list like Mark’s Galaxy Note 7 is kind of a push in this match up due to the kiting abilities of Asajj and Manaroo. TLT’s can do work on Manaroo and Asajj but struggle against Fenn obviously. I’ve seen some Bossk/Dengar Bossk/Ketsu lists have some success lately and I think those could certainly do well against this if you’re into that sort of thing.
So what have we learned through all this? Basically everything we already knew at the start this is a great list with no big holes in it and is especially strong against the current meta. I might honestly call this the strongest list we have out there right now. I think if you were to take 100 random X-Wing players, give 1/3 of them this, and the rest variations of 2-3 Defender lists and Dengaroo, the Paratanni players would make up roughly half of the final cut on average. I think the list will continue to get even more popular until more ways of removing/shutting down focus are introduced to the game or the whispers I’ve heard of Manaroo being nerfed come to fruition.
But there still are a few weaknesses and holes that can help you in a match against it. If you’re running a 2-3 ship list yourself you definitely want to split up. Forcing Asajj into difficult decisions about where to put her mobile arc or even just making her spend actions to do it can be very helpful. Like I mentioned before the list doesn’t have many re-positional abilities so through all their shenanigans the 3 ships are relatively easy to keep in arc and you should be able to get consistent shots on them. Being able to range control against this list is pretty imperative as well. Fenn loves to knife fight, I’ve seen him dodge RAC with Gunner and pred at range 1 multiple times, Asajj obviously only activates her ability at range 1-2 so if you can stay at long range of her she’s much less effective. A lot of people would think blocking isn’t super effective against this list but I’d still argue it is, not for the conventional reasons but to help range control in that manner. If you look back up at the image I posted had I blocked Fenn turning in with that far out Bandit the rest of my list would’ve had him at range 2 mostly where he’s the most vulnerable. So while he still would’ve got two focuses he’s still so glass-cannony I probably would’ve been able to drop him right there.
I hope all this helped. I don’t know how people feel about this list whether they think it’s too good or not but I’m honestly kinda glad it’s having the success that it is. It’s killing off the Defender/Dengaroo meta that dominated Worlds and while it’s very strong I still feel like it requires a good amount of skill to be successful with it and that’s always a good thing in my opinion.