28 February 2013

Elite Pilot Skills- Expose

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.

Expose (4)
Card Text: Until the end of the round, increase your primary weapon value by 1 and decrease your agility value by 1.
Usage in game: When your primary attack value just isn't enough.
Action?: Yes.

Breakdown: Expose is one of those cards people have been talking about since the Kessel Run Tournaments were held and we started getting glimpses of Wave 2 cards, and with good reason. It's a pretty nasty Action, that really any ship that can take Elite Pilot Skills can theoretically make good use of, after all, who couldn't use a +1 to their primary weapon value?

To me, the question of Expose boils down more to who does it work even better with because it works pretty well with anyone. The reason it is so universally great is it has a rather significant downside- the whole sacrifice 1 agility thing, meaning of course, you're rolling one less green die when you're fired upon. You also need to keep in mind that this is Elite Pilot Skill that requires an Action, so it's kind of two downsides really.

I can see this card becoming one of those, "I find such-and-such a bit underwhelming" kind of things with a lot of players, but folks who know how to move and maneuver will absolutely punish people with this card. The main way to mitigate that 1 less Agility downside? Yup- you guessed it, don't give your opponent a shot back at you. Perhaps fly the bearer of Expose out on a flank on somebody with a high PR so you kill the one guy who can shoot you back then move on down the line? Hmmm?

So who should you put it on? As it requires an Action (and you might not be able to Focus or TL as a result), I want to look at anybody who already has a buff to their primary attacks as with some careful maneuvering, you can hopefully kill off whoever would get a shot back before they have a chance to fire. So a guy like Wedge benefits like mad. A guy like Solo benefits to a nearly disgusting amount- you just need to find a way to mitigate the downside (Biggs, a nearby ship with Squad Leader that could throw an extra Action which would ideally become an Evade if you took the Falcon title, Chewie as a Crew member, Shield Upgrade, or a nearby friend with Draw Their Fire spring to mind as possibilities of varying degrees of validity). Other Rebel pilots benefit too, but again, everyone benefits on paper with Expose- I'm just calling out those two because they go from already powerful offense to really kind of ridiculous. Luke is the third person on here as his Focus-lite defense ability sort of mitigates the downside of the Expose and functions without an Action. An A-Wing isn't bad either as they have a 3 Agility stock and a couple of shields to boot, and Tycho Celchu can even do a K-Turn then use Expose with his pilot ability. That shouldn't be underestimated by anyone. It ain't cheap, but oh boy, if you opponent likes to fly his ships in a line and you sandwich him in between with Tycho as one piece of bread and the rest of your stuff as the other? Wow.

For the Imperials who have a defend die to spare in just about all cases and still come out fairly even except at close range, it's a similar line of thinking. Throw it on a guy with high PR who already does more damage, or somebody who is usually operating in a Swarm Tactics bubble that gives him an unusually high PR. Mauler Mithel gets pretty ridiculous too if you can get him in Range 1 to a target, of course Vader can deal with the loss of a Defend die with his two stock actions and shields to boot, and Maarek starts to approach dangerous with this card, but doesn't quite make it. I also like it with Kath Scarlet as it let's her roll another die to try and score a crit. You could stick it on the TIE Interceptor pilots, because of their superior available maneuvers just like you could stick it on a Black Squadron TIE, but other than that, there's no real synergy to speak of like you get with some of the other pilots already mentioned.

The thing to bear in mind here is it's 4 points. That's kind of not cheap in this game. I realize it's tempting to stick this on every ship that can take an Elite Pilot Skill, but to get your points worth, you want to use Expose at least a couple of times in your game, so try and stick it on somebody who will either really make the shot count and can live with the downside as they don't live and die by Focusing, Target Locking, or any other Action. Anything fair to middlin' ought not to be considered if you ask me.