19 March 2013

Crew Members- Weapons Engineer

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.

Weapons Engineer (3)
Card Text: You may maintain two target locks (only 1 per enemy ship). When you acquire a Target Lock, you may lock onto 2 different ships.

Usage in game: Free Action Target Lock
Action?: No

Breakdown: When the text for this card broke after the Kessel Run Tournaments, it confused some people. It did me as well, but for a different reason.

It does what it says it does- if you've purchased the Weapons Engineer Crew Member and you perform a Target Lock, instead of just locking onto one enemy ship at Range 1-3, you can stick a token on a second ship also within Range 1-3. You don't pass the second token along a la Dutch Vander or anything strange like that, and like the card explicitly calls out, you can't Target Lock the same ship twice. You perform one Target Lock, you can grab two ships instead of one and maintain both of the locks until you spend the tokens. That's it.

What confused me is why exactly you'd bother with this card, but after doing some reading of the card texts and forums, I can see a pretty interesting use for this card now.

The thing that was mainly tripping me up is why I'd be willing to spend 3 points just to get a second Target Lock. I mean yeah, TL re-rolls are cool and all, and yeah, if you've got a Target Lock and a Focus, it's bloody hard not to hit with your full Attack value, but 3 points? If a large ship could somehow shoot twice in the same round, then I'd see the value in it, but as it stands, 3 points is a lot for something like this.

I'm still not entirely convinced my earlier opinion isn't the case, but I'd be remiss if I didn't let you in on the Weapon Engineer advocate's top secret use for this card. Besides the flexibility in target selection you get with being able to acquire and maintain two Target Locks, obviously.

If you look closely at the text for Gunner and Crew Member Luke, you'll note that nowhere in the text does it say that when you make your primary weapon attack (because you blew your first attack) that you have to fire on the same target as the initial attack.

I'll admit it- that blew right by me on the first pass too.

So what's the ramifications of that little nugget and why am I mentioning it on the Weapons Engineer post? Dig the following scenario-

1. Falcon with Weapons Engineer and Crew Member Luke declares Target Lock as their Action for the turn. They acquire a ship very close to them, and one very distant from them, but still in Range of the Target Lock.

2. Falcon fires on the far away Range 3 target as it's like some super dangerous guy like Turr Phennir or Vader or somebody. After performing the steps in the Combat Phase, the Falcon has burned it's Target Lock on Phennir, but no hits (rulebook sense of the word) land against the Range 3 target.

3. Criteria for Crew Member Luke is met, Luke fires on the Range 1 target, spends Target Lock to re-roll attack dice if necessary.

That's pretty cool. Doubly so if firing on that Range 3 target burns off a Focus or Evade token and somebody else in your list can put some shots on him that he can't modify.

That said, you're talking about a pretty good amount of points for all that to happen, even downgrading Luke to Gunner, and it's also fairly contextual on maneuvers, PR, rolls, and possibly an opponent who makes a less than optimal decision regarding the interaction of hits and Crew Member Luke/ Gunner when they're fired upon. What I mean to say is this- I've not tried this little gambit yet. At first glance, it seems very much like one of those things that looks pretty good on paper, but may perform less than desired in real life. Still though, it does provide some flexibility in target selection, and if you were already planning on taking everything mentioned above except the Weapons Engineer, this might be just the boost your list needs to get past your usual opponent.

Note that play works on the Firespray as well, but as there's no 360 turret, your Target Lock options are a little more limited, so use with caution. Understand though, the initial part of this might work a little better as the Firespray has access to the Heavy Laser Cannon or Ion Cannon, neither of which would allow for an extra defense die at Range 3 as they're both Secondary Weapon Systems.

As linking to random-ass YouTube clips is sort of becoming a staple on here and this article currently has none, let me just say, I'm not goan' talk about Judy. In fact, we're not goan' talk about Judy at all. We're goan' keep her out of this.


  1. I like the random youtube clips.... Shows a good sense of humor. (Great Articles btw!! keep it up!)

  2. They do seem to be a hit!

    Thanks pal!

  3. Love the Twin Peaks one. Made me pull out my soundtrack...

    As for the two weapons locks, I think it's useful just for the face up value. The big ships are always short on actions. When you spend one turn to target lock, you get two ships. Then, you can fire at them at your leisure. Could you just spend another turn and target lock the second target? Sure, but why not just focus that turn and fire with both target lock and focus? Or save your focus for defense or something? Or use an Evade that turn and still get your Target Lock?

    I think the big ships attract a lot of attention and you need to accomplish a lot with them. Get two target locks when at range 3 and then use that action for something like Evade or Focus when in close. I think it's better used on the Falcon as he gets 360 fire and it's hard to hide from him.

  4. "I know, Coop!" Still trips me out nearly 20 years later. Hell, the whole damn series does. I just bought the wife the gold ed. box set for Valentine's Day.

    Agree about the usefulness. The tough thing about X-Wing versus say, 40k, is there are so few "This is terrible" type units/ upgrades.

    Weapons Engineer undeniably provides a benefit. The question is does he provide a benefit worthy of the points and taking up a seat in the Crew Members slot. That answer is going to vary between players, so I just try and present the pros and cons as best I can to help folks realize whether or not he'll work for them. 3 points isn't going to be the sole reason you win or lose your match, but it could be the difference between a supporting ship being an Academy TIE or a Black Squadron Pilot... :)