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.
Card Text: Increase your agility value by 1. If you are hit by an attack, discard this card.
Usage in game: Making the already hard to hit, darn near unhittable.
Breakdown: Once again, we're looking at a pretty straightforward Modification card that is a benefit to any ship willing to pay the 3 points. There's no ship that somehow gets worse with an extra Defense die, so there's no problem there. Like Shield Upgrade, we're really looking at this card in the context of what other Modifications you might be denying yourself rather than weighing pros and cons of the card itself, because really, there aren't any cons.
Also remember that this card is a Modification which means that any ship in the game may take it as long as they have the points to pay for it and they don't already have a Modification.
Before we begin though, really quickly lets review what the card text means by "hit."
As discussed in the Bikini Battle Basics- The Combat Phase Explained! article last week, players often use the words "hits" and "crits" to describe attack dice results- namely the filled explosion symbols and unfilled explosion symbols, respectively. I call these hits and crits local parlance, because that's what they are- they're effectively slang terms.
In game terms, or rule book terms as I'm wont to call it, hits are what happens to those explosion symbols that aren't mitigated by a wavy arrow roll, the spending of an Evade token, or an eyeball result which the defending player spends a Focus Token to change into a wavy arrow result. If you roll three explosions and your opponent can only mitigate two of those, you've netted one rule book hit.
So that's what makes Stealth Device go away- one of those rule book style hits. Scary, huh? 3 points for something that vanishes the first time you're hit? And it doesn't mitigate any Damage you received in the process?
Yeah, no. Not really. They still have to hit you to get it to go away. And trust me, as a primarily Rebel player who's been on the wrong end of Stealth Device a lot lately, that's much easier said than done.
Stealth device is pure evil and don't let anyone tell you any differently. There's a reason why everyone on X-Wing Miniatures messageboards all over the internet have been complaining about the Stealth Device cards only coming in the Slave I ship box, all the while drooling over the potential, especially for Imperial ships though of course, the card is faction agnostic and can be applied to Rebel ships just as well.
Rebel players, you know how hard it is to ding a TIE fighter at Range 3, right? Well, Stealth Device makes it Range 3 all the time. Except of course when it really is Range 3- then it's even worse. Ditto for asteroids, I mean Obstacles. And Dark Curse with a Stealth Device? I'll be honest, I usually don't even bother firing on him unless I'm Range 1 with four dice, and even then I don't bother if he has a token of some kind.
I'll tell you who else really benefits from a Stealth Device and that's a Firespray with a Heavy Laser Cannon and a Mercenary Copilot. Is it cheap? No, but man, if you can manage to keep that thing at Range 3 by having your other ships run interference? That's 4 Evade dice to enemy ships firing on him. 4. On a large ship. Let that sink in for a second.
4 Defense dice. I try really hard to keep it PG on here; if there was a beep button, I'd be sounding like Happy Gilmore missing that putt (which if any of you Bikini Aficionados can find that clip online, friggin' mail it to me- I've been looking for it for 25 minutes now and have come up with nada. I'm starting to think I made it up in my head.) On a ship that has 4 attack dice at Range 3 (remember I said it has a HLC). God help you if Trelix or Kath Scarlet with Marksmanship is driving the damn thing. Holy Mackerel (sorry guys, best I can do- skip ahead to about the seventh minute if you get tired of waiting).
On the Rebel side of the galactic fence (I know, I know, I said take Shield Upgrade on Rebel ships, but I said in general too), X-Wing Pilot Luke gets better being able to roll another Defense die with his defense-only Focus-lite ability, even more so if he's got R2-F2 as a backseat driver. I see a lot people talking about running it on Biggs too, but I personally have a hard time putting Stealth Device on a guy I actually want to be shot. In the interest of full disclosure, the people who advocate putting Stealth Device on Biggs 99% of the time follow it up with R2-F2, so it's not a bad idea, I just don't like the feel of it, personally. Now, A-Wings? That I can support. 4 Defense dice all the time with no other upgrades? Y'all got to feel me.
So all that said, let's say you've got a build of your own making in your hands that doesn't feature any of those pilots or ships and you're still trying to decide between Shield Upgrade and Stealth Device. I think there's two general criteria to keep in mind- 1) If the ship already has shields, stay with that and go Shield Upgrade- if not, throw on a Stealth Device. 2) If you intend the ship to get in very close to your opponent, opt for the Shield Upgrade unless you feel like point 1 outweighs this decision.
Again, at the end of the day, both of these upgrades are great upgrades that will benefit any ship that takes them- Rebel, Imperial, shielded or not. I strongly suggest, as I do with anything and everything in this game, you try both out and see which one suits your playstyle more. Don't rely on strangers you've never met telling you how to play your game- the choice is yours!
Yeah, you're right. I got a little cheesy in that last paragraph solely to set up some Black Sheep. What about it? :)