Using Deathrain has become a source of frustration recently. The other issue of course stems from what to take with him as support. Normally a fully tooled up Deathrain sits just under 40 squad points leaving room for ships such as 2 Defenders, 2 Royal Guard Pilots, or even 5 Academy pilots. Iv'e been running 3 tempest squadron pilots and lately I've been suffering for it.
It appears that the lack of a high pilot skills certainly hurts me however as lists I've struggled against are built on combinations such as Whisper and Rear Admiral Chireneau or Corran Horn and any other Rebel Ace that joins him. On the flip side there are a lot of successful lists that don't have high pilot skills so I can't help but feel the majority of the problem isn't so much match up dependant but perhaps tightening up the squad but the majority of it would fall into the category of player skill.
Another aspect that I need to re-evaluate is the upgrades I am taking on Deathrain. I've never considered taking anything except proximity mines and through lack of experience I haven't tried ion bombs or proton bombs for example that could have wonderful utility to allow the rest of the support ships in the list to nail a target or critical damage effectively crippling a ship or reducing its role in the combat phase.
Also in the system upgrade slot I have always automatically gone to the enhanced scope upgrade whereas I shouldn't be afraid to experiment with advanced sensors for something different. Being able to boost then drop a bomb, barrel roll and then manoeuvre away would provide a better solution because I would be flying away from the enemy rather than into and still providing somewhat of a threat.
My current 'normal' Deathrain build is as follows:
Deathrain - Enhanced Scope, Proximity Mine x 2, Extra Munitions, Twin Ion Engine MKII (36)
It's the only build I've ever used since the TIE Punisher's release and perhaps that's where I'm going all wrong. With Enhanced Scope this means Deathrain is always moving first allowing him to drop his Proximity mines forward or backward of his position as his action before making a barrel roll to an optimal position. I think this system upgrade is probably the best for the proximity mine build allowing you to block movement lanes or just flying up in front of on coming traffic and unloading before anyone makes a move. The engine is purely there for the extra point but it has helped out in a few games here and there.
Deathrain - Sensor Jammer, Ion Bombs x 2, Extra Munitions (36)
Now the Sensor Jammer is something I'm just playing around with but it's probably the first thing I'd drop and then all of a sudden Deathrain is closer to the 30 point margin which I'm fond of. He's cheap because of the 2 point Ion Bombs, dropping these upon revealing the manoeuvre dial has the advantage that I can see where every ship that is pilot skill 5 and lower will end up moving to, obviously the disadvantage is that I'm still guessing with the higher pilot skilled ships in the area.
This probably raises the question now that if Deathrain doesn't take mines because he's using bombs then essentially it frees up an action, then is it worth while considering adding a missile or torpedo to take advantage of the action but secondly because of extra munitions he's capable of dishing out some hurt at longer ranges but of course it all comes at a cost and pushes Deathrain to the 40 point mark once again.
Deathrain - Ion Bomb, Proton Bomb, Extra Munitions (35)
Now Deathrain comes with no system upgrade because I nearly struggle to see what would work best for him in this setup. Once again with bombs he's not using an action to get rid of them so it frees him up for a focus/boost or target lock. I think having a Proton Bomb or two in this case would be a great surprise for the enemy that get a bit too close or K-Turn behind Deathrain to set an attack run.
Deathrain - Enhanced Scope, Proximity Mine, Conner Net, Extra Munitions (36)
This build appears to have far more flexibility in terms of payload and I think requires more planning and co-ordination from the remaining squad members in order to ensure that whatever is hit by the conner net drifts into a zone that is covered by every ship and gets nailed for it's mistake. Easier said than done of course but with practice I'm hoping I could eventually lay claim to that. Once again Enhanced Scope makes an appearance to ensure Deathrain is setting up these before anyone moves but I do however see the value in swapping this out for Advanced Sensors taking it to 37 points to drop the bomb first and to get a bit of a map in terms of where players are moving their earlier ships.
Every ship I believe in X-wing needs more than a single role, for instance whilst TIE Fighters aren't renowned for destroying ships in a single hit over the course of multiple turns they can accomplish this whilst maintaining their high defence dice making them difficult to remove. Outside of dropping bombs and mines Deathrain doesn't seem to do anything else well and that's where I struggle with him. Sure it will unleash some ordnance for a few turns before having no targets and having to circle back around at a slow back however all the while it's shields and hull get eaten up because of it's single green dice. Is the key to make his side kick so scary that the enemy must focus on this?
Hopefully this week with some more games under my belt I might be a step closer to the answer. I'll try a few different builds above and will also swap out some of the support ships to ensure I get a wide variety of options and report back with the findings.