Essential Guide #1: Can YOU beat the Yuuzhan Vong?
You can’t miss the RELAUNCH of Age of Legends: The Essential Guide. In this 1st weekly newsletter, find out how YOU can beat the Vong, how to use your SSDs, and what’s in store for the weeks ahead.
So You’re The Ace?
“So you’re the ace?” the Senior Flight Instructor inquired, his green lekku twitching with suspicion.
“That’s right. Two tours on the Remonda with Polearm Squadron. The second as a flight group leader,” replied Lieutenant Dessin Yulehra. “Four kills,” he added, with satisfaction.
“Pirates,” Yulehra replied at once.
“Flying Preybirds,” the pilot answered coolly. “Armed with state-of-the-art concussion missiles.”
“Hm,” the Instructor said. “Alright, well, see what you make of this Lieutenant. It’s a new Hostile, engaged in an action on the Outer Rim, in the New Territories two weeks ago.”
“No problem.” Yulehra had no idea why he’d been sent twenty-five parsecs from his squadron’s base to sit in a simulator, nor why it was classified. The Galaxy had been at peace for years; for the entirety of his military service. “A one-on-one engagement?”
The Instructor nodded.
Lieutenant Yulehra frowned. Even stranger. He cracked his knuckles and sat down, putting on his standard flight helmet, connected now to data feeds from the simulator, itself an old T-65 cockpit stripped out of its original craft and grounded. The visual display filled his vision and he found himself at the more familiar controls of an RZ-1 A-wing, the blue-painted hull and New Republic starbird beneath the view of his virtual cockpit.
He flicked his lasers to twin-fire mode and diverted power from shields to engines: better to be missed with low shields than hit with high. That was the A-wing flight jock philosophy, drilled into them on the Fortressa Training Base. It hadn’t done him wrong so far. He eased into the simulation, snaking his craft around dense asteroids and clouds of debris. Then, closing suddenly from two kliks, a unknown craft, coloured yellow, marking ‘Presumed Hostile’. No ID.
Outside the simulator the Instructor checked his chronometer. Thirty seconds to make contact. Two seconds to engage. Two seconds to finish the… The simulator hatch opened. The smile had been wiped-off the Lieutenant’s face.
“What was that?” he gasped, looking back at the simulator in confusion, as if it had somehow tricked him.
“That, was a Coralskipper. We’ve yet to find a pilot to beat it first time.”
“How can anyone beat that?”
That’s the question from Discord user Green, who writes: “I'm still unsure of how to fight the Vong”.
In early scenarios set in the first years of the Invasion, the Yuuzhan Vong have superior technology. Their dovin basal gravity wells can strip the shields from your capital ships, while intercepting a percentage of all incoming weapons fire. Their fighters are superior to even the best available starfighters: TIE Defenders or E-wings can struggle to engage Coralskippers 1v1.
But the Vong can be beaten.
Stutter-fire, Superiority, And Defeat In Detail
Yuuzhan Vong ships are heavily defended, but they lack conventional shields, instead relying on their dovin basals for protection. The starfighter pilots of Galactic Alliance developed a tactic called Stutter-fire where they’d fire low energy laser blasts to distract the dovin basals, and allow standard-strength lasers to hit the hull of the Coralskipper or other Yuuzhan Vong craft (this tactic worked against capital ships and fighters alike).
You can do the same. To engage fearsome looking swarms of Coralskippers, use corvettes or gunships, or even capital ships, to fire at the Vong fighters and overload their defences, while interceptors and fighters close-in and finish the job. If you don’t have any corvettes to-hand, or if your forces are outnumbered, you can try breaking Coralskipper swarms up and using a real-world military tactic: defeat them in detail.
In circumstances where you are outnumbered or don’t have fire support from corvettes, you want to keep your fighters concentrated, and only engage where you have a local numerical advantage, before moving on and hitting the next enemy squadrons. An Endurance-class fleet carrier comes with a handy Ferret recon scout. You can use the Ferret’s long-range sensor ability to identify targets, and keep your fighters on the move.
Once you’ve attained overall fighter superiority and the Vong have run out of Coralskippers, you can then use your fighters to engage their capital ships. TIE Fighters or A-wings can do little to no damage against conventional capital ships: but here they can perform the Stutter-fire role, firing off their virtually harmless lasers to distract the dovin basals, while your own capital ships and bombers move in to do the heavy damage-dealing.
The A-Wing Slash
If you don’t have the luxury of fighter superiority, you can use a variation or inversion of a real in-universe tactic called the A-wing Slash.
Form your fighters (1), interceptors (2) and bombers (3) into control or flight groups.
Flight Group 1 can engage Vong fighters, while the interceptors of Flight Group 2 take on an atypical role of capital strike – they fire their lasers (and concussion missiles if they have them) at the enemy ship, just as Flight Group 3 (the bombers) arrive to launch rockets, torpedoes and all the ordnance they have.
Flight Group 2 can then divert to assist Flight Group 1 with engaging fighters, while the bombers line up their next attack run. At which point Flight Group 2 re-divert to capital strike to provide their Stutter-Fire support, before returning to assist Flight Group 1. And repeat.
In this way, with careful management of your interceptors, you can put even ships like TIE Interceptors which have no traditional anti-capital capability to highly effective use in bringing down Yuuzhan Vong capital ships. As above, once you have local fighter superiority, all flight groups can then target the capital.
A simpler version of this strategy, of use in large-scale engagement where you can’t micromanage everything in this level of detail, is simply to pair light fighters or interceptors with bombers of heavy bombers: A-wings with K-wings, TIE Interceptors with TIE Turbos, IRD-As with Skiprays, and so on. This would be a strange arrangement in traditional Empire at War gameplay, but against the Vong it is effective.
What tactics do you use? Do you have a suggestion for other players? Let me know on Discord and I can include it next time.
What Doesn’t Work
Super Star Destroyers. Or Star Defenders. These mighty Star Dreadnoughts have a role, but you cannot use them in the traditional way. During the Galactic Civil War, a single Executor-class could obliterate an entire New Republic or warlord fleet. But their reliance on super heavy turbolaser banks significantly reduces their offensive potential: a super heavy turbolaser and be engulfed by a dovin basal just as easily as a single TIE Fighter laser.
These behemoths have a role, but it is not what it once was. Given the ability of all Yuuzhan Vong capital ships to drain shields with their dovin basals, SSDs cannot risk engaging in very close range combat with Vong armadas. The commander of such a vessel could find their shields gone in minutes, and their fighters engaged in disparate engagements all over the map.
Instead, you need to use these ships how wise Galactic Alliance strategists deployed them in the war. On the galactic map they are a powerful fleet-in-being, essentially a deterrent, that can sit over a vital shipyard world like Mon Calamari or Kuat and discourage the Vong from attacking.
If and when they do attack, the Star Dreadnought should typically be positioned once only, adjacent to the likely site of battle, and kept generally stationary. There it can be used like a giant artillery platform, providing fire support while you use the tactics described above to overwhelm the defences of individual Yuuzhan Vong ships. In this capacity, a Super Star Destroyer or Viscount-class Star Defender can be highly effective.
Advanced New Fighters
As the war went on, new ships were developed that were highly effective against the invaders. From the SIV E-wing to the XJ3 T-65 X-wing, or the Republic-class heavy cruiser, a glass cannon able to provide heavy fire support for a low build cost. If you’re struggling with the tough early campaigns, take a look at the later eras, with campaigns set in 28 or 29 ABY.
By the end of the war the Galactic Alliance fielded Rejuvenator-class Star Destroyers equipped with jamming technology that dramatically reduce the effectiveness of Coralskippers, while the Imperial Remnant began pumping large sums of credits into R&D, the end result being the TIE Turbo, the Victory III-class Star Destroyer, and the Defiant-class subtype of the ISD-II. All of these craft are purpose-built to engage the Yuuzhan Vong.
What’s Coming Up
Exciting new short stories:
– “AMBASSADOR TO THE EMPIRE”. The first New Republic ambassador to Bastion following the end of the Galactic Civil War is briefed by a grey cabal of old Rebel leaders, before his first meeting with Pellaeon.
– “JEDI MISSION I: STORM-RIDERS OF BESPIN”. The Jedi Knight Streen returns to his homeworld to investigate a mysterious Force-sensitive pirate known only as the Prospector.
– “FOR THE REMNANT!” A ragtag force of Imperial Army Troopers on a remote world come under alien attack.
– “NERVES OF STELE”. Imperial fighter ace Maarek Stele finds himself coming to the aid of an old enemy as the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion begins.
– Surviving the Dark Empire’s Super Star Destroyer Doomstacks
– After Action Report: The Battle For N’Zoth
– Corporate Security: How To Defend The CSA’s Borders
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How You Can Help And Get Involved:
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You can also join our thriving Discord community.
Can you defeat the Yuuzhan Vong invaders? You can play the Age of Legends mod for Star Wars: Empire at War to find out: the mod features dozens of scenarios set during the New Jedi Order era, with hundreds of units and heroes both iconic and obscure.