22 March 2013

Modifications- Engine Upgrade

This post regarding Ship Upgrades 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.

Note: Ship Upgrades are considered Modifications. Any ship may purchase and use a single Modification.

Engine Upgrade (4)
Card Text:
Your action bar gains the <boost symbol> action icon.
Usage in game: Uhhh... when you want the Boost Action available to a ship that doesn't normally possess it?
Breakdown: I wrote a BBB on the Boost Action a couple of weeks ago, so I don't plan on rehashing what the Boost Action is in this article, so if you're not familiar with Boost and what it's good for, take a moment to peek at that article before reading on. 

The coolest thing about Engine Upgrade, and Modifications in general is you can stick them on any ship (so long as you have the points, of course). You're still able to take Pilot Skills, weapons, droids, whatever in addition to the Modification, so except for the other available mods, you're not really giving up anything or locking yourself out of another upgrade.

I want to like Engine Upgrade in particular because it's the only Modification currently that can't really get shot off your ship- at least without drawing a face-up Damage card that disallows stuff in your Action Bar. Is it worth it though? Seems cool on paper, but how does it work for rizzle?

First, let's look at what ships we'd consider for an Engine Upgrade, which is ships that don't have the Boost Action stock.

Rebs: X-Wing, Y-Wing, YT-1300
Imps: TIE Fighters, TIE Advanced, Firespray-31

Secondly, are there any ships that Boosting would be particularly effective with? Especially in comparison to the other Modifications? 

I think for the Rebels and Imperials, having a Boosting big ship is kinda pointless. I mean sure, maybe you can use it to get into Range 1 or something, but as you're burning an Action to perform your Boost, you'd probably be better off just declaring Focus most of the time with a ship that big. Also realize that this Modification isn't going to keep you from (or even allow you to) bonking into Obstacles or other ships, which is where a lot of folks have issues using the big ships. If you hear people talking about using Engine Upgrade to create some blocking ships, just remember they can't overlap you with a Boost Action. 

Briefly re-hashing, I think the main thing Boost gets you is a little more maneuverability- namely moving out of an enemy's firing arc or moving so that an enemy outside of your arc is now in your arc probably being the most common uses. As the big ships have such gigantic bases, I think it's fairly unlikely a Boost is going to do much in either of those departments for you. Not saying it's not possible, just saying it's probably not likely enough to be worth the 4 points. Doubly so when you take into account the YT-1300 has the 360 degree firing arc and the Firespray can shoot its primary weapon backwards. 

So what about the smaller ships? 

I want to like the idea of a Boosting Y-Wing, but I can't get behind that. Most everyone sticks an Ion Cannon Turret on their Y-Wings anyway, so like the YT, having somebody in your arc isn't a big deal. Yes, you could use it to potentially escape some enemy ship's firing arc, but the Y-Wing is already so limited in maneuverability, most opponents will be all over a Y-Wing like a wet blanket if they want to be, Boost Action or no. PTL + Engine Upgrade doesn't work here either because none of the Y-Wing pilots can take Elite Pilot Skills. A case could be made for looking at adding an Engine Upgrade in lieu of an Ion Cannon Turret to save a point and add some maneuverability to get that primary weapon in a position where it can do more damage, but that's strictly a theory on my part- I've not tried it on the tabletop. Long story long, I think, much like the big ships, there are better Modifications for this ship than Engine Upgrade. 

Ships that get in close to the action will likely benefit from a Boost Action and X-Wings often get up close and personal when they're fighting. When you're that close to your enemy, a Boost maneuver can easily get you out of harm's way or get an opponent ship into your own firing arc. Additionally, one could roll a PTL + Engine Upgrade combo with Wedge and get fairly scary results, especially with another pilot dishing Free Actions or tokens of some kind. Like sticking Expert Handling on Luke or Wedge, Engine Upgrade could be good to produce completely unexpected movement results, especially against those seasoned players who seem to have the maneuverability table memorized for every single ship and plan accordingly.

4 points seems like a fairly significant investment in a TIE Fighter, where it can be anywhere from a third of the cost of the ship itself to a little under a quarter of the cost, depending what pilot you decide to stick it to. I do like it though. Again, TIEs get up close and personal, so being able to Boost out of a Range 1 X-Wing's arc is pretty nice. Is it worth it on a ship that can already Barrel Roll? That's solely going to depend on you and your ability to play the Boost. I have to think though having that as additional option could come in handy. Especially on a ship like Backstabber (to get out of the target's firing arc), Gundark (to get into Range 1), Night Beast (largely because he usually has an Action to spare, so why not?) or even to give a Black Squadron TIE a little more maneuverability to help keep him within the Range of any Elite Pilot Skills he might be carrying. As Bikini Aficionado heychadwick pointed out in the BBB- Boost Action Explained! comments, pulling a 1 turn then a Boost is darn near a 180 that's completely Stress free.

Advanced seem a decent fit for an Engine Upgrade, but not overwhelmingly so. Vader's an obvious candidate with his two Actions per round special rule, Maarek and the rest of the Advanced? Nothing spectacular really comes to mind, though again- if you're the type of player who pushes things forward, and let's face it, in this context that's a great way to try and get a little more juice out of those 2 Attack dice guns, being able to Boost isn't a bad thing. 
Regardless of what ship you attach the Engine Upgrade to, being an Action, you're going to get more precise use out of it with higher PR pilots, which of course, means more expensive pilots. Tacking on another 4 points to the overall cost of a ship is kinda significant, but as Wave 2 lists seem to be skewing towards less, but better pilots with more upgrades, it's worth giving a day in court


  1. I have always wanted to be an aficienado. Sounds classier than fan.

    Been away for a bit & first day back I get a mention.

  2. I've tried it on big ships and small ships and have barely found an in-game use for it. Sounds great on paper, but I'd rather take the extra shields instead.

  3. We're all about class on themetalbikini.com, baby. We like a school around here, we got so much class.

    I probably could have done a better job emphasizing it Ryan, but yeah. The usefulness of this upgrade pretty much solely depends on whether or not you use the Boost Action in your games. I know people who seemingly can't make a move without it, then there's other people like me and probably you as well, that use it maybe once in an entire game on one ship. Most of the time, I'd rather take Focus or whatever.

    It does provide some additional flexibility, and I can see wanting it late game when there's only a few ships left and it becomes much easier and perhaps even more signfiicant to move into and out of your and your opponent's firing arcs, respectively.

  4. I really want to try the pilot that can use a boost or roll After his attack... I can't remember which pilot he was, but I just haven't gotten to try him out yet.

  5. You mean Turd Ferguson, err... Turr Phennir as the common folk call him. I'm going to be playing him tonight against my dad, a/k/a Clint Weisgerber. Or am I your dad? I forget. I'll let you know how that goes. That part about Turd Ferguson, I mean...not the dad part.

  6. I read Ryan's question earlier in my mail, but couldn't get to my computer fast enough. Stupid work.

    I really, REALLY wanted to steal that joke out from under you.

  7. My favorite combo is Wedge with PTL, engine upgrade and a generic R2. Usually I just target lock+focus, but a sharp 2 turn then a boost is great for turning around and boosting can put targets into your sights or get you out of theirs often enough to make it worth it. I plan to try the same combo on Luke to see if it works out better.

  8. Really solid combo, Patrick!

    "Just" TLing and Focusing isn't to be dismissed, especially when you're dealing with one less Defense die!

  9. Yeah TL+focus is awesome, it basically guarantees the maximum number of hits.

    I think you underestimate boost on larger ships. Because they are longer, a 1 forward becomes a 2 forward making it often more effective. Also both the YT and the Firespray have special arcs which often lets them not worry about keeping their shot making it easier to get out of an arc. Not to mention Boba Fett + boost will pretty much let you pick your maneuver after almost everyone else has moved.

  10. In all honesty, I probably do underestimate the Boost Maneuver. I personally don't use it much. That said, I did provide a caveat above stating basically the same thing.

    I hear you on the bigger ships points, and I think if one of those big ships had multiple Actions available, it could be worth it in some circumstances, but I still think for 4 points, your points are better spent elsewhere on the big ships.