This post regarding Elite Pilot Skills is part of a larger article regarding Wave 1 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.
Swarm Tactics (2)
Card Text: At the start of the Combat Phase, choose 1 ship at Range 1. Until the end of this phase, treat the chosen ship as if it’s pilot skill were equal to your pilot skill.
Usage in Game: To boost a ship/ pilot’s Pilot Rank to get some shots off earlier than he’d normally fire.
It’s still kind of amazing to me that Swarm Tactics isn’t a “dotted” card, doesn’t require an Action, and is such a low-points card. Regardless of what faction you play, this is a card you should have on your best pilots, full stop. The ability to have a low Pilot Rank ship resolve its combat at a higher step is massive in this game and with the only real limitation being the target ship having to be within Range 1? Oh well.
Swarm Tactics isn’t without it’s more complicated applications either- it has been confirmed in the FAQ that multiple Swarm Tactics upgrades “chain” together. For example, Vader with Swarm Tactics flanked with two Black Squadron Pilots, one of whom has Swarm Tactics, effectively bestows Swarm Tactics to all three ships, and yes, all three ships resolve combat at Pilot Rank 9. Nasty Imperial players could use this chaining ability to create high Pilot Rank “bubbles” that move about as needed bestowing the higher Pilot Rank to ships who need it most. It would take some fairly precise moving and maneuvering, but imagine the previous example of Vader and the 2 Black Squadron Pilots, but now imagine they all possess Swarm Tactics and the wingmen are spread to the limits of Range 1 from Vader. That’s a pretty big area of Pilot Rank 9 effect.
While this bubble trick doesn’t work as well with Rebels, Swarm Tactics is still quite useful, even if you don't deploy in one big pile in the middle. Pair Luke with Swarm Tactics with a Rookie Pilot following closely enough behind to be within Range 1 of him, and you’ve got one heckuva 1-2 punch that’ll drop just about anyone but Vader before they have a chance to really react.