15 March 2013

Crew Members- Luke Skywalker

This post regarding Crew Members 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.

Luke Skywalker (7)
Card Text: After you perform an attack that does not hit, immediately perform a primary weapon attack. You may change one <eyeball result> to a <hit> result. You cannot perform another attack this round.

Usage in game: Attack outcome insurance policy
Action?: No

Breakdown: Luke Skywalker as a crew member is kind of a confusing card at first glance. There's kind of a lot going on, and it took me several read-throughs, and before I went to type up this post, I still stopped by the rules section of the FFG forums just to be sure I had it right before I went to the mat with this info.

So, reading the card text step-by-step, here's what we've got-

1. You've performed an attack that doesn't hit.
Ok- what does that mean though? Like I missed with all my dice or I got some hits, but they were mitigated by the target's defense dice, Evade tokens, Draw Their Fire, etc?

Right. When we play this game, if you're like me, you roll the Attack dice and say stuff like, "2 hits, 1 crit." This isn't entirely accurate if you read the Combat Phase steps. What you've really got are filled explosion symbols and unfilled explosion symbols. If those results aren't Cancelled then those symbol results become capital-H Hits and Critical Damage, respectively. 

That's why cards like Crew Member Skywalker can get confusing at times.

So what does the card text mean by "doesn't hit?" An attack that nets no hits against the defender. That is, you didn't roll any explosion symbols or you didn't roll enough to get past his evade die rolls, eyeball results and he burns a Focus, his Evade tokens, or any combination thereof. If you didn't register a hit against the target ship in the Combat Phase sense of the word, then you can trigger Skywalker, so something like Draw Their Fire wouldn't work as a trigger for Skywalker's ability- the attack hit, it just gets moved to another ship. Other than that, I think it's pretty much up to the (Luke) owning player.

EDIT: In the comments, Bikini Aficionado Patrick brings up a point that Dark Curse's special text might not affect Luke after all- and I can see where he's coming from. 

DC's card text says no Focus and no re-rolls. Technically, Luke's ability is not a re-roll, instead termed "a primary weapon attack"- not a specifically called-out re-roll. I'd keep an eye on the FFG Rules Forums and subsequent FAQs because I could see this falling on either side of the fence depending on how the game devs wanted DC's ability to work exactly, but for now, I think Luke's ability does work against Dark Curse.

Note that if your target spends a token in an effort to mitigate your initial attack, that token of course, stays gone (yet another reason why I think Action and token management is going to be super important to successful lists nowadays).

Last bit to add about this- while it's probably somewhat unlikely that you're firing missiles from a YT-1300, Luke doesn't care if the attack is from a primary or secondary weapon- if the attack don't hit, you must acquit. I mean, you can trigger Luke's ability.

2. Immediately perform a primary weapon attack.
Ok, so you must fire the primary weapon of the ship Luke's riding around inside. No missiles, etc.

3. You may change one <eyeball result> to a <hit> result.
Luke's starting to get on good terms with the Force obviously, so if you roll an eyeball, you can flip it to a hit symbol, sorta like the offensive version of the Luke Skywalker, X-Wing Pilot ability.

4. You cannot perform another attack this round.
This last bit throws folks for a bit of a loop too. My take on it is if you've managed to not hit with your first, initial attack, then you manage to somehow not hit with Luke too, you can't then turn around and attempt a third attack, via Gunner or something (remember the YT-1300 pilots all have two Crew Member icons). Either that or it's written with Wave 3 in mind and perhaps there's some mechanism that allows a ship more than one attack per round. In any case, once you're done with Luke, you're done with that ship.

Still with me? Makin' dollars to ya? It's kind of not too bad if you break it down in chunks when you try to understand it. Of course, that said, I've probably gone and effed something up that'll get me torn apart in the comments.

I think the usage of this upgrade is fairly self-explanatory- if you've tooled up an offensive Falcon in your list, but don't have a ton of Actions floating around, Luke's likely a must-have. I'd say he's also something to consider if you're already taking Gunner, because for 2 more points, you get the same upgrade with a bit of a Focus-lite ability for free and without using an Action which leaves you to take Focus or an Evade, assuming of course you sprung for the 1 point Falcon title upgrade.

All right, so last thing I want to mention for this post is this: you need to think a little carefully with Crew Member Luke the first few times you use him. There are times you might want to do some things that seem a little counter-intuitive at first glance to try and maximize your options. Don't get in the habit of purposely throwing away good rolls to try and trigger Luke, but at the same time, if you don't have a great attack, don't waste your Focus tokens to register a single hit on a ship with more than 1 Hull Point left. Ideally, you want to make that token count, as your ship likely only has 1 defense die, and you could probably get better use out of it on a defense roll later in the turn. 

Conversely, if you're defending against someone who has Luke on board, there are times you might not want to spend your Focus or Evade tokens too. If you can get away with only 1 hit on an otherwise undamaged ship, you might be better off saving your tokens for later attacks too. By allowing that single hit to register, you prevent your opponent from triggering Luke and probably making it much worse on yourself. 

Bear in mind in either of those scenarios listed above, it's still up to you when to spend a Focus token. You could opt to not spend the Focus on your initial attack roll, but then spend it to modify the Luke roll and be completely and totally within the rules of the game. For defenders, looking to not take a butt kicking, keep an eye on the tokens available to the ship with Luke- if he scores a single hit and is sitting on a Focus token, for goodness' sake, take that hit! If he re-rolls with the Luke ability and a Focus token? Hoo boy.  

Using Luke can be a bit of a gamble (in that you've already got a pretty decent shot at hitting what you're shooting at to begin with kind of gamble, not in respect to outcome- Luke darn near guarantees it at that point), and a 7 points, it's not a gamble for everybody. I plan on flying my YT-1300 without him for a bunch of games to weigh whether or not I really need to spend that 7 points to make sure I hit my targets. As usual, your mileage may vary. I tend to play from a more survival-focused, try not to die, try not to lose, kind of mindset rather than max out on attacks and go for broke approach. That's just me and the way I usually play games of just about any kind. Luke's probably not the greatest fit for me and my lists, but he may be exactly what you need to make sure that all those points you spent on Han Solo are downing a ship or getting really close to it every single time the Falcon throws some red out of that 360 turret.


  1. Hmmmm....I haven't thought about the fact that I should take a hit when the enemy has Luke (or a gunner for that matter). Thanks! You are absolutely right on that.

    While I like staying alive and don't want to focus too much on just causing damage, I do like the idea of actually causing damage. The extra crew to give you another shot is just spiffy and helps validate the points of your craft. I'd even say it's one of the most important upgrades to me. It can be devastating and really ensure you are taking out a tie a turn. I think Luke is worth it for the extra focus-lite, but understand that people need to save points. Maybe it's just my recent streak of really bad dice rolling. So bad, I bought the dice app just to help out with averages...

  2. No problem!

    The whole causing damage is kind of a personal bias of mine. I used to see so many folks tool 40k lists around the notion of causing damage to the point of compromising themselves that I kind of automatically don't look at those options.

    You also have to keep in mind where I'm coming from- for the past 15 years or so, I've worked jobs where I've fixed stuff in an industrial production setting. Equipment, computers, networks, processes, whatever. The point is- I'm good at analyzing means to minimize potential risk and maximize potential return in atypical situations. Going offensive is always going to be inherently risky, so I kind of automatically dismiss it as viable.

    Doesn't make it a bad idea, it just kind of falls into my blind spot.

    Kinda goes back to that whole, "Playing to not lose" mindset.

  3. Got interrupted while typing this. I had one other thought.

    To elaborate on the above point about Luke being worth it, what I'm saying is, if I normally get 2 hits on the three available attack dice on the YT-1300 primary (via Focus, Target Lock, etc.), is it worth 7 points for me to get the third hit result?

  4. Why wouldn't Luke work on Dark Curse? Dark Curse stops you from using a target lock to reroll dice or a focus token, I don't think Luke is effected.

  5. I guess it depends on how exactly you define the Luke ability. To me, making another primary weapon attack is a re-roll, but I can definitely see where you're coming from.

    Technically, it isn't really a re-roll, or at least it isn't specifically called out as a re-roll. Dark Curse says you can't use Focus tokens, but doesn't say anything about re-rolls from Target Locks in particular, just re-rolls in general.

    Good point, Patrick. I'll edit in a note up there.

  6. Oh, I get the defensive mindset. No worries there. It is part of the reason I am hesitant to use Tie Interceptors. They are just as fragile as Tie Fighters. Sure, they get the extra attack die, but they usually get shot at quite a bit! Why pay so much for a guy that's just going to die so soon?

  7. 4. You cannot perform another attack this round.

    To me this implies that the player cannot make another attack this round with any of his remaining ships as the text says, "YOU cannot.." rather than, "This ship cannot make another attack this round". The "You" implies the player, not the ship that Luke is attached to.

  8. From the callout on page 19 of the rulebook entitled Card Abilities-

    Many card abilities use the word “you”
    to specifically reference that Ship card.
    Abilities on Ship cards cannot affect
    other ships unless explicitly specified
    by the ability.

    Example: Night Beast’s ability reads:
    “After executing a green maneuver, you
    may perform a free focus action.” This
    ability can only be used to give Night
    Beast a free focus action (and only after
    his ship executes a green maneuver).

    Don't feel bad though- I thought the same thing the first time I read the card too! It wasn't until I noticed damn near every card with some kind of ability actually says "You" that I kind of went, "Wait a minute..." and started thumbing through the rulebook and found that callout box.

  9. Thanks for the clarification Clint. I missed that. :-/

  10. Thanks for the clarification Clint. I missed that. :-/

  11. Ain't no thing, chicken wing. It's what I'm here for!