25 February 2013

Elite Pilot Skills- Draw Their Fire

This post regarding Elite Pilot Skills is part of a larger article regarding Wave 2 listbuilding- the rest of the posts n this series will be available in the coming weeks as I'm revealing a post or two per day on the various topics in that larger article. For more info, click the "Ship List Articles" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.

Draw Their Fire (1)
Card Text: When a friendly ship at Range 1 is hit by an attack, you may suffer 1 of the uncancelled <critical damage symbol> results of the target ship.
Usage in game: Critical damage placement mitigation
Action?: No.

Breakdown: First, and perhaps most importantly, note the word may in there. You don't have to use this card when the triggers for it are satisfied; it's solely up to you when Draw Your Fire comes into play.

The usage of this card is pretty straightforward- if you have a ship with a crit assigned to it, you can pass it to the ship bearing Draw Their Fire, so long as the ship with DTF is within Range 1 of that ship.

That in mind, let's look at what ships would benefit from carrying this upgrade.

First, recall that a hit and a crit both have the same effect against ship shields- they're both just hits in that context. In my mind, this is the main mechanism of decision making when it comes to choosing whether or not to utilize Draw Their Fire or just let the original target take the hit- if the target has a shield to spare and is unlikely to get hammered on by other ships in the vicinity, let them take it. If not, take it on the DTF ship (assuming of course it has shields and isn't likely to get hammered on either). The only other criteria I'd look at in this selection process is if Kath Scarlett was the attacker. She has a special ability that turns cancelled Critical Damages into Stress. It's too early to tell obviously, but if she sees heavy use post Wave 2, that definitely does limit the effectiveness of this upgrade.

So the ideal application would be to use this on a ship with a lot of shields and hull by default.  

Looking at it from a Rebel player perspective, I'm not really interested in considering an A-Wing though it is possible. A Y-Wing would be nice, but none of the Y-Wing pilots can use Elite Pilot Talents so the're out too. For a surprise, you could stick it on an X-Wing with Shield Upgrade and/ or a damage mitigation droid like R5 Astromech or R2-D2 perhaps, but again- this isn't a ship upgrade, this is an Elite Pilot Skill, so you're really only looking at Luke or Wedge who could take this and frankly, I feel as though there are other, better Elite Pilot Skills to give both of those guys, so like the A-Wing, it's an option, just not a particularly useful one comparitively. Long story long, a Rebel player is likely left with the YT-1300 being the candidate.

That in mind, what are some good YT-1300 pilots or upgrades that make this Elite Pilot Skill work better or help to mitigate the effect? Well, Chewie has the ability to turn a Critical Damage into a facedown Damage card without resolving the ability, so that's a pretty nice instance of synergy right there. Not only does the original recipient of the crit get away clean, the Chewie Falcon with DTF only gets a facedown Damage, worst case scenario. Not bad at all. Lando and Han have less inherent synergy with this card, and again, there are probably better Elite Pilot Skills for both of those guys, but with the amount of shields and hull a YT-1300 possesses, you could still make use of this card. You're likely to have already added Shield Upgrade and or Engine Upgrade anyway and both of those help to increase the effectiveness of Draw Their Fire.

I think rolling a Chewie Falcon with Draw Their Fire would be a great way to help an ship using Expose, another Wave 2 Elite Pilot Skill card, stay alive. That's kind of the thing that jumps out at me, but obviously it'd work well with any pilot you need to survive because of some bigger picture reason like the ability to push Swarm Tactics, for example. In it's usage, using DTF is sorta, kinda like a Biggs you can turn off as you need to. Obviously it's not always in play the way Biggs is, but being able to kick it on when you need to makes it more valuable in my book. An opponent can key on Biggs and know that he's going to take all the hits, then he's out. With this kind of DTF setup, he can't really do that as you may or may not elect to take that crit. It also neuters the effectiveness of Winged Gundark, which is kind of unfortunate as he was fair to middlin' to begin with.

On the Imperial side of the fence, nothing jumps out at me as particularly synergistic with DTF. That doesn't make it useless for Imperials, just not quite as effective as it plays for Chewie.

Picking ships that are good candidates for DTF is much like the Rebel selection process we went through earlier, but much shorter as half of the Imperial ships don't have shields to eat up the crits, I wouldn't consider sticking DTF on anybody without at least some shields, so that drastically speeds up the selection process here. We could talk about sticking it on a Black Squadron TIE with the aim of making it kind of a 14 point sin eater, but like the A-Wing, I'm not nuts over the idea.

Darth Vader I think you could make a case for DTF. Now, hear me out! As I said in the Vader article, Vader's bloody hard to kill for the reasons discussed uh, well, in... that ... article. As such, can he take a hit once in awhile to keep somebody important like Howlrunner or Turr Phennir from taking a crit? Sure. If he can pull it into his shields especially, it's not a big deal because let's be honest- he's probably not getting shot anyway with his ability to both Evade and Focus every turn. Am I saying I'm in love with the idea and it's a no-brainer selection? No. Can I see a dedicated player working it out with some practice? Sure, I can.

Boba Fett has his sneaky movement ability kind of works here as you could fool an opponent into thinking he's not close enough to use DTF and subsequently trigger it anyway, but honestly that's stretching an application pretty thin. Truthfully, I think any of the Firespray pilots who can take Elite Pilot Skills will probably have as much luck tanking it up with DTF as Fett would, and Fett would probably be better served with an Elite Pilot skill like Deadeye or Swarm Tactics. Really though, the Empire stuff just screams offense to me from every angle and as Wave 2 ships seem no different, I'd suggest leaving this card at home if you're a dedicated Imperial player.