This post regarding Secondary Weapon Systems 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 "Listbuilding Articles" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.
Attack Dice: 4
Card Text: Immediately after rolling your attack dice, you must change all of your <crit> results to <hit> results.
Usage in game: Giving you an excuse to say, "From downtown!" (skip ahead to 1:49- this guy is painfully bad) like the NBA Jam announcer. Also, if you have OCD and want to roll 4 Attack dice at all times.
Breakdown: A lot of people, early on, were calling this upgrade an unlimited Proton Torpedoes. They're not far off in that assessment. It's 4 Attack dice at Range 3 as many times as you want. It's also 4 dice at Range 2, and if you're at Range 1? Well, don't use the HLC as it won't work, however, the Firespray-31 Primary is normally Attack 3, so you're still rolling 4 Attack dice. The downside? You lose your crit results if you rolled any, but not entirely- they just become hit results instead.
EDIT: I usually go out of my way to remind people about Secondary Weapon Systems not granting the defender their usual bonus die at Range 3, but I didn't call it out in this article and Bikini Aficionado mhanan called me out on it in the comments. So yeah- if you're bombing in those aforementioned Range 3 HLC bolts, by all means, do not allow your target to roll more than his stock Agility value!
So how significant is that loss of crit results?
In Wave 1, I'd have said, "Not very", and left it at that. However, I think you're going to see a more and more people try and integrate attacks that deal crit results now that Wave 2 is here. "Why now?", you ask?
Because big ships have a lot of hull. And can, if not will, be flying around, shooting up your stuff for at least a few turns without their shields. If you can lay a decent face-up Damage card on one of those guys sooner rather than later, you likely did a whole lot to decrease it's survivability or reduce it's offfensive or maneuvering capabilities.
So as long as folks field big ships, everybody should be doing what they can to inflict critical results on them. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
Ok, so all that crit talk in mind, is HLC a bad choice for a Firespray secondary weapon?
Not at all! Luckily, there's an upgrade, a Crew upgrade, called Mercenary Copilot. He costs 2 points and you get to change one of your hit results into a critical result.
So now I'm looking at 9 points if I want an HLC that can produce critical results? This is starting to feel like signing up for cable or something- I'm getting nickeled and dimed, here.
True. And if it came right down to it, as long as you had some other crit dealers in your list, you'd get a pass from me for not having the Mercenary Copilot jockeying the controls for the HLC. Also, he only works if you're firing at something at Range 3, so take that for what it's worth. If you're the kind of player who likes to rush things forward and get those extra dice at Range 1, I'd skip the Mercenary Copilot, and maybe even the HLC all together as you'd probably be better served with a Shield Upgrade or one of the Bombs or something.
At the end of the day though, if you're one of those players who can resist the siren song of close combat in space, an HLC would serve you well- bombing in 4 attack dice from long range isn't to be underestimated in the hands of someone who's smart with target priority and knows how to maneuver, Mercenary Copilot or not. If you don't take him, take a Firespray pilot with a higher PR and peel off shields while the other members of your squadron inflict the hull damage later in the combat phase. If you do invest in a Mercenary Copilot, you're virtually assured one critical per salvo with the HLC, so stay at Range 3 with a lower PR firespray pilot, and let the opposite happen- fly your higher PR ships in there to eat up shields, then finish them off with the HLC. Hmmm, if only there were a low PR Firespray pilot who had some interesting ability...
Or hell, maybe you're just somebody who loves working in NBA Jam quotes any chance you get, keeping an eye out for anyone who pops their head up, because you know you can now make Tom Gugliotta jokes, and they likely won't go unnoticed.
EDIT: No, you're not crazy. I changed the Condescending Wonka joke after I got to work today, so roughly 150 people saw the previous version, which upon sleep and reflection, was a little more snarky than it needed to be.