11 April 2013

Named Pilots- Boba Fett

This post regarding Named Pilots 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.

Boba Fett (39)
Card Text: When you reveal a bank maneuver, you may rotate your dial to the other bank maneuver of the same speed.

Usage in game: Additional maneuverability options. Excuse to wear Mandalorian hoodie.
Breakdown: Boba Fett is another one of those X-Wing Miniatures pilots who doesn't get much love on the internets. 

While he's one of the most badass, capable, ruthless, and downright scary fictional fictional film villain dudes this side of Mickey Knox, Frank Booth, or Max Cady, many folks who play X-Wing Miniatures who are also big fans of the character find his card text ability lacking in general, and downright insulting compared to the other Slave I pilots Krassis Trelix and Kath Scarlet. 

So what's the problem?

Well, Fett's ability isn't exactly an obvious benefit the way either of those pilot's abilities are, and I'll be frank- I don't make good use of it yet myself, so don't think I'm like Caine from Kung Fu telling you to snatch the Firespray from my hand or something. I don't have the answer. I don't know that there even is an answer, to be completely honest. I mean, yeah, the ability has its uses, but I've yet to see it make a massive, game changing difference. It could though, I suppose, if you were to set things up juuuust right.

The ability to flip your bank maneuver to the other way can be handy, don't get me wrong. Fett being Pilot Skill 8 is going to move after just about everyone else on the table; by being able to choose the other direction after you've seen (most) everyone else make their moves can keep you from getting into overlaps with other ships or obstacles, or conversely, allows you to change your mind after dials start getting revealed to take advantage of an opponent who just overlapped a ship or obstacle. Could be you use the card ability to allow you to back out of what could have been a location where maybe you fell within some overlapping fire arcs or maybe a Range 1 situation, or perhaps puts you into a situation that's more beneficial to your particular weapons loadout- i.e. gets you into Range 1 with your primary or Cluster Missiles, or backs you off into Range 2 or 3 for the longer ranged Secondary Weapon Systems. A Firespray has bank maneuvers at speeds 1, 2, and 3, so if you were curious how many different maneuvers you could conceivably hedge your bets on with Fett, there ya go- it isn't like you don't have options.

I think the question boils down to is having that ability and one more level of Pilot Skill for an additional point worth giving up Kath Scarlet's ability, and as usual, I don't have an answer for you- all I can do is try to present whatever we're talking about in an objective light and pass along any interesting thoughts along the way. It always boils down to whether or not you can make it work in your list. 

In all likelihood though, it probably doesn't. At least not right now. Maybe in the future, but right now, you'd probably rather take Kath's more significant ability to inflict stress when the defender cancels a crit result and save the point. In the future though, once you've become adept at moving and maneuvering the Firespray, who knows? Maybe you play a couple of games keeping an eye out for instances where you could have used Fett's ability and eventually you give him a shot.

For the sake of debate though, let's say you're dead set on Fett right now- how should you kit him out?

Well, none of the Elite Pilot Skills really scream synergy with Fett to me. I kinda think Expose could get some use here if you were good enough at moving and maneuvering to stay out of people's firing arcs with Fett's card ability, and an Attack 4 primary weapon at ranges 2-3, and of course 5 at Range 1 isn't anything to sneeze at. Long time readers will know I'm always a fan of Swarm Tactics on pilots with Pilot Skills on the high end of things, so that's a possibility as well. As a Firespray only has 4 green maneuvers, two of which are straights and of course no Nien Nunb option, you might want to stay away from any of the Stressful Elite Pilot Skills, but a debate could be made as the 1 bank maneuver is green for a Firespray and Fett could of course, flip that if necessary.

As Fett is perhaps a bit more easy to maneuver in smaller spaces, unlike Trelix and Scarlet, I'd lean towards tooling him for closer combat. Having a Firespray that actually flies in with her wingmen I think is something of an anomaly right now based upon battle reports and Regionals write-ups I've seen, so maybe consider an Elite Pilot Skills like Draw Their Fire to try and keep those TIE Fighters or Interceptors alive a little longer.

Going with this notion of making Fett your close to medium range role player, secondary weapon systems like Cluster Missiles or the Ion Cannon could find their home in your list, or even just going with the plain ol' primary Firespray weapon. Either of the bombs I think get easier to use too, under this close-range notion, and also because Fett's text allows you to react at the time you're making your move rather than having to necessarily stick with what you picked on your dial. Some folks dismiss the bombs because they don't do a ton of damage when they go off, but I still think there's something to be said for damaging a ship outside of the Combat Phase. As always, your mileage may vary.

Getting in close kind of negates the idea of using Mercenary Copilot as your crew member, but Gunner works just fine at any range, and Weapons Engineer could be beneficial as you could conceivably be more likely to get close to the ship you've TLed with Fett's ability if there are two of those ships out there flying around.

Ship upgrades, I could see Engine Upgrade being worth it on Fett because if you're good enough to make good use of his bank template flipping, you're probably also good enough to Boost a Firespray effectively. If you're not nuts about that idea, I'd lean more towards Shield Upgrade than Stealth Device if you're going with the idea of making Fett a medium to close range fighter. As for the Slave I title, I don't know man- I was stretching it pretty thin in that article just to find a use for it without working with the idea of a closer range fighter. Sure, it's an alpha strike, and lots of opponents won't expect it, but I still have a hard time saying, "Yes, have some", in this context.

I think Fett's one of those guys you'll see two types of people use regularly- dyed in the wool fanboys who simply must field him or risk feeling like sellouts and really advanced players who can make good use of his movement options. To put it another way, when you set up across the table from someone using Fett, it'll probably either make you roll your eyes or start to sweat a little bit. I doubt we see a lot of in-betweeners using Fett in competitive settings, but of course, only time will tell.