Steel: nerves of, mind like trap of

Part I: A mind like a steel trap

There’s a new kid in town. Dengaroo is here, and s/he really, really, nearly, nearly won the US X Wing Nationals. Two things to this – what is Dengaroo, and second, I’ll look at the final of the US nationals to how it can work in action. First off, I’ll look at Dengaroo, which has not featured in the Euro meta to any great extent to date.

Jeff Berling is the first player to bring to prominence a list that’s been floating around for a while now. He’s no fool, having made the final last year, as Nova Squadron reported. He runs it as follows:

Dengar + Punishing One + Lone Wolf + R5-P8 + Glitterstim + Plasma Torpedoes + Zuckuss + Counter-Measures
Manaroo + Feedback Array + Push the Limit + Unhinged Astromech + Engine Upgrade + Recon Specialist
99 Points

There are multiple synchronicities in this list that make it very efficient and able to dance through the present meta. But he didn’t win the final, right? And there’s a good reason that I’ll look at in Part II.

US Nationals 1

Early on in the final of US Nationals. More of those in Part II

The list works, in crude terms, by ensuring Dengar survives a long time by maxing out the efficiency of his dice whilst at the same time removing threats by ensuring that he can throw out hugely powerful shots. Experienced players will spot how good it is, and curse themselves for not thinking of how good it was themselves. For those like me, who still didn’t fully get it even after playing it (I know, I know) it goes like this.

Manaroo will usually choose to play a very limited role in the game. Her job is to run, run, run, fitting her role as one of Jabba’s former dancers. With Push the Limit allowing her to Boost and Barrel Roll, she can, in effect, make what would be a forward 9 move for a small ship (4 standard, barrel roll forward one more, a boost for one more and 2 for the extra length that his large base provides). And the Unhinged Mech lets her lose the accumulated stress (She’s hanging with Dengar – she could probably use a nice spa weekend with the girls rather than a nutty robot, but who knows what makes a relationship tick). Her real job is to pass focus to Dengar, hence the Recon Specialist, so she can use the boost or barrel to set up her escape, whilst still taking focus actions. Feedback Array is a nice tool against Aces, and we’ll see, is not a thing to be dropped.


To be honest, I’d just buy him another pint, if I were you, mate. It’s not worth it.

Dengar’s build is complex, but not subtle. He’s staying away from Manaroo in order to re-roll one of his blanks via Lone Wolf, hoping for a hit or an evade, but if not, using one of the focus tokens Manaroo has dropped on him to turn his focus into a successful result. In a bad turn, Dengar might be making multiple rolls – and the odds of needing a focus token on a 2 dice defensive roll are a little over evens – so any turn he’s facing 3+ attacks that might be expected to be a problem, as he runs out of tokens. So, for that turn, there’s Glitterstim. Ideal for that one turn when he’s taking multiple incoming shots, but wants to use his Dengar double tap ability.

But 2 green dice… meh. Rebel pilots across the galaxy will explain why that won’t do it, or at least won’t do it for long. So, again for the one special turn, there is the real genius of the list: Countermeasures . Who’s ever even heard of it, let alone played it? For one turn it adds a green dice to Dengar. Good luck swarms. Good luck triple jumps, that need good luck or plasma torps to even get 2 damage through. And if Omega Leader is floating about, it knackers him too, removing the Target Lock.

Offensively, it’s a no brainer to take the expensive 12 point title giving him a third or fourth attack dice. There is a 75% chance of 3 hits on four dice, and a whopping 63% chance of 4 hits at range 1. When those dice play the percentages, Zuckuss is a beast against 3 green dice ships. He can force re-roll after re-roll of the green dice. And he never cares about the resulting stress, because the actions are being handled by Mrs Dengar, Manaroo.


Yes! It’s in the fluff! This list is themey, nerdling friends!

But those characters with 4 dice… AWings at range 3, Soontir, all kinds of phantoms. There’s an answer for that too: R5P8 For every shot those aces take at Dengar, there’s a 50% chance of being hit back with an additional 12.5% chance of Dengar being hit too. Statistically, Soontir shouldn’t be shooting Dengar more than 6 times in a game.

All of that, and he’s rocking a 3 point plasma torp, to boost damage output against the big fat shielded ships like Dash, Ghost and the Falcon.

Oh. and if you shoot him while you’re in his arc, once per turn he can take a punt back. Probably with focus too. Nice.

This is a thing and it’s not surprise to see it reach the final of US Nationals, especially with as skilled a pilot as Jeff Berling behind it. But it’s far from a perfect build, as we’ll look at in Part II.

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