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.


  1. I do think a Black Squadron with it is good. Use him around Howlrunner or a Firespray & he can be good. Sure, it's not awesome, but if you are desperate for anything to help keep Howlrunner alive, then it's good. Also considered if Howl has Cloaking Device. Let's say that only 1 critical gets through. Pop it over to chump Black squadie & keep the Cloaking Device! Situational? Sure. Uncommon? Not too much. Criticals are the last to be removed.

  2. I dig what you're saying, and it does work to a certain extent, but me personally, I can't justify 15 points for what is essentially a sin-eater when maybe those 15 points could be spent elsewhere and used more effectively.

    I think the 100 point standard is what makes X-Wing inherently more complicated when it comes to unit selection than say, a 2,000 point 40k game. At that level, you can take literally hundreds of points of models that don't have to really do much of anything and still feasibly win the game. If we played a 150 point game of X-Wing, I'd be in complete agreement with you and would be editing the post right now. As it stands though, I can't *quite* get behind it.

    That's me though, y'know? I'm just this guy. Your mileage may vary.

  3. Think of it this way, you are paying 3 more points than an Academy Pilot to get Pilot Skill 4 *AND* a sin-eater!

    As an Imperial player, it's all about the first round trade off. What happens? The two fly at each other and exchange shots in a bloody first round. Who is the one tie fighter that ALWAYS gets shot at first? Howlrunner. The trick for Imps is to not get too much blown up on the first pass and to try to ensure you can kill one in return. Then, it's still not ensured. By keeping Howlrunner alive in that one first turn, you do a lot to help your side out in the game.

  4. Do you work in marketing by chance? :)

    From now on, I'ma call this this Black Squadron TIE + Draw Their Fire setup the "Chadwick Configuration".

    So let it be written, and all that.

  5. Haha! I love it.

    I thought about working in marketing when I was younger, but then I realized I had an eternal soul and didn't want to tarnish it....

    It's also good when you enter in Firespray ships in Wave 2. I hear they stack crits like Wedge does kills.

  6. Haha! I love it.

    I thought about working in marketing when I was younger, but then I realized I had an eternal soul and didn't want to tarnish it....

    It's also good when you enter in Firespray ships in Wave 2. I hear they stack crits like Wedge does kills.

  7. Word. I think that might be what some of the stat heads are missing about the effectiveness of the Firespray. Can't wait to give her pilots the metal bikini treatment!

  8. I like running draw their fire on the Falcon with Biggs+R2-F2. Biggs gets 3 evade dice, and crits effectively apply damage to a supply of 12 other health. Keeping Biggs alive maintains 2 extra evade dice for the Falcon.

  9. That's a brilliantly simple tactic Patrick!

    Let me ask you- I've been toying around with an Exposing Falcon list with Biggs+R2-F2 tanking for her when she kicks on Expose. Did you by chance give that a go with the above config? Seems truly nasty on paper, especially with Chewie as the pilot in case any shots do manage to land on the hull...

  10. I don't have a Slave I yet, so I can't run anything with expose (well, I probably could, I don't think Heychadwick would mind me not having the card). But I think the problem with expose is you blow your action for an extra die, so you can't focus or target lock, without which only half of your attack dice will hit. It might work with Han+gunner, Biggs+R2F2, and a prototype pilot.

  11. What I want to try is an maximum offense build of Wedge+Expose with Lando to give him an action for focus or target lock, but there's not much room for another ship and a two ship build sounds like suicide. Fun suicide, but suicide none the less.

  12. I can dig it. Don't think I'd roll it, but I can dig it.

    I got sidetracked while I was trying to come up with a solid Exposing Falcon list, but the strongest squadron on paper (haven't played it yet) looked like this-

    Chewbacca w/ Expose, Gunner
    Biggs w/ R2-F2
    Rookie X-Wing

    It ain't great, but I don't know where you can wring points from to make it any better. I'm not nuts about Gray Squadron Y-Wings, especially without ICTs, and feel largely the same about Prototype A-Wings.

    I get the Lando gambit, but I like Chewbacca as he mitigates crits into hits and at some point you're inevitably going to be faced with that tough decision to Expose or not without Biggs taking shots for you.

    Honestly, as time goes on, I think folks are going to run across much better uses of Expose than on the Falcon, but good Lord it's versatile on that 360 turret...

  13. I think the problem with that build (as I imagine, yay theory-craft) is that TIEs can barrel roll or boost to an arc that doesn't have Biggs, but does have the massive base of the Falcon in it's sights. And then you have a defenseless chunk of hull. Especially with interceptors who are rolling 3 dice of doom at poor Chewie.

  14. True. I'm not at all in love with that build. As it seems you found out as well, there's just really not a solid Falcon Expose list that doesn't make some major compromises in other areas.

    And for what really, y'know? You're still just going to take out a max of one ship per turn whether it's rolling your ass off with a completely stock turret, or one that's within Range 1, Marksmanshipped, with a Gunner standing by, that just Exposed. The manufacturing engineer in me says it's overkill the longer I examine it. I don't think the Falcon pilots need Expose to be effective.

    Also, completely agree- the "large" ships are certainly that. I plan on giving myself a whoooooole lotta time to figure out how to maneuver one effectively before I pack one for anything more than a friendly.