06 February 2013

Named Pilots- Garven Dreis

This post regarding Named Pilots 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.

Card: Garven Dreis (X-Wing) 26 pts.
Special ability: After spending a Focus token, you may place that token on any friendly ship at range 1-2 (instead of discarding it).
Ability is an Action?: No.
Excels at: Support
Quick Take: Dries’ ability is fairly easy to get off, but can be a little tricky to use effectively in reality. Contextually, it can be a huge boon, otherwise, he’s basically the same as a Red Squadron Pilot with +2 Pilot Ranking for 3 more points. 

The long story short here is Dries’ is a great wingman for other pilots using abilities that require them to spend their Actions on stuff besides Focusing or Target Locking. For example, a pilot using R2-F2 will love having Dreis around because they can opt to use the R2-F2 ability (which requires an action), but then receive a Focus token from Dries after he burns his own Focus token. The timing however, requires a a little planning and careful execution for it to work properly.

The thing to be cautious of here is the timing of all this- the card states when Dreis uses his Focus token, he gives it to another ship instead of discarding it. This means if he uses it in the attack portion of his turn, he can effectively only give it to a ship with a Pilot Ranking lower than his. If he uses his Focus as the result of a defense attempt, he could conceivably pass the token to a ship with a higher Pilot Ranking, but obviously this use would be hugely contextual and dependent on the opponent- basically he'd need to get shot by an opposing pilot with a higher PR, burn the token, then give it to his higher PR wingman.

Now, that being said, it's still useful even if it happens kind of late- just be careful with it and think about the order of events with regard to Pilot Ranking before you start buildling lists with Dreis being a major focal point. This is one of those pilots who I feel looks better in the vacuum of paper space than in the reality of the tabletop. Don't misunderstand- Dreis has his uses, but novice players need to be careful with him just as they need to be careful with Biggs. A certain amount of familiarity with the game needs to be in the player's arsenal before you can really use a pilot like Dreis effectively.

You can sort of mitigate all that by having Luke or Wedge use Swarm Tactics on Dreis and having him attack before them as Swarm Tactics happens at the start of the turn and it's within the rules to have the recipient of Swarm Tactics take their turn before the provider of Swarm Tactics (as they're both at the same PR at that point).

Dreis and Dutch Vander are totally BFFs (Best Friends Forever- that's for you Sean), BTW. This has gone on long enough, so I'll talk more about that when I post the article about Vander.

Elite Skills/ Upgrades: Like Biggs, Dreis does not have access to the Elite Skills, so he’s limited to droids or Torps for upgrades. R5-K6 could be somewhat useful here as Dreis wouldn’t have to spend a turn acquiring a Target Lock instead of Focusing, and ideally, he's always Focusing.

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