24 July 2013

Just the FAQs, Ma'am. Well, and Tourney Rules too!

My goodness, I finally have something new to talk about on here that doesn't feel completely forced to my internal editor mechanisms. 

Yesterday (well, two days ago by the time you read this, but yesterday while I'm writing it- ah screw it, July 22nd in any case) FFG updated both the X-Wing Miniatures FAQ and the X-Wing Miniatures Tournament Rules. Let's take a peek and see what's up, shall we? 

First, because it's much shorter, the Tournament Rules addendum.  Here's the short versions of the new stuff- 

Tournaments must now have at least one TO who is not playing. 
I think this is great. I remember reading a thread on the FFG forums where a guy kind of felt like he got the shaft playing against one of the TOs. I don't remember the whole scenario, but I think it was something along the lines of the TO wasn't making people use asteroids, this dude called him on it, and the TO was a bit whateva about it. Again- I might have that wrong, but it was something along those lines. It wasn't anything like obviously bad, but it was enough to put a bad taste in this poster's mouth and I remember posting something like, "They should just not allow TOs to play in the tournaments they're TOing." 

Y'all may have read the blog long enough to read between the lines and realize that I'm a big soccer/ football fan. To me, being a TO that plays in his own tournament is like being the visiting team while Howard Webb refs your match against United at Old Trafford. 

You have no idea the self control I'm exhibiting right now not just posting another 20 Webb United pics for my own personal amusement

You can use 3rd party rulers and templates are still allowed, but bases, ships, and card proxies are not. 
You may recall in the previous edition of the FAQ, FFG allowed for 3rd party rulers and templates, but made no mention of the bases, ships, and cards, except to say you couldn't proxy and you had to have a copy of ever upgrade you were representing in your list, etc., etc. 

The only real difference I see here is they make a really big deal out of not continuing your turn without a ship on a base. Man, I didn't think he'd be that mad. They go on to remind us of what's in the rulebook about taking a peg off the base if your models are going to touch if the bases aren't, etc., etc. Again, I get the point I guess, but the reality is this is kinda clunky if you thought you weren't going to touch, you move your ship, ah jeez, they do actually touch, hold on, let me move back along my movement template, now let me remove a peg, now back forward along the template enough so that our bases are now touching. Sheesh. 

They still have the bit about using a single set of rulers and templates if you think somebody is gaining an advantage, but they added in this is all up to the TO now. 

Squad Deployment Procedure must be used before the start of each game, and may be used before the tournament round. 
The fifth time I read this, I think I finally got the point- you and your opponent can perform the 7 Squad Deployment steps before the clock starts on the actual game. If you think about it, this is kind of a big deal, especially if you're in a tournament that only allows the bare minimum of time for each round. Deployment doesn't have to take a long time, but I'd bet on average in a tournament setting, performing your Squad Deployment step before the match would save you a good 5 minutes. Doesn't seem like much, but they're the ones at the end where it's going to matter, y'know? Where you can get three full game turns in 5 minutes easy. Could potentially make a pretty big difference. 

Point total calculations
The last bits are about scoring and the red ink is spread out enough it kinda won't make sense if I quote it directly the way I have the other topics. Suffice it to say, I think they're just clarifying wording. I don't see anything in there that's different from how I've played it or told you guys to play it. You add up how much stuff you killed from the other guy's list (including upgrades). Higher score gets a Match Modified Win, if you killed 33 or more points than the other guy, it's a straight Win, if you both killed the same amount of points, it's a draw unless you're in a championship bracket round in which case the guy with initiative wins. 

That's it for the Tournament Rules, so let's move along to the FAQ. There's a ton of stuff in the FAQ, and I'm not going to hit all of it- much of it is just clarifying the way you probably already play it, but there are a few things in here that made my eyebrows go up, so I'll talk about those a bit. 

Daredevil wording change
I can't decide if this is a big deal or not, probably because I wasn't one of those guys who made a case for Daredevil not actually giving a Stress Token because it happened in the Action phase which is actually after the "Check for Pilot Stress" step happens, and blah, blah, blah. In any case, the wording on the card has been changed from doing a red 1 turn right or left to a white 1 turn right or left, then take a Stress Token. Note that only replaces the first sentence- the second part (the part about if you don't have the Boost Action roll two dice...) is still in play. 

Boost Action wording change
Again, this is probably how you were already playing it, but in case you were only not Boosting when your actual ship base was going to overlap an obstacle/ other ship, to clarify- yes, your template counts too. If your Boost Action will make your ship base or your maneuver template overlap, you can't perform the Boost Action. 

Barrel Roll wording change
Basically, same as above regarding Boost Action. Or to put it in internet speak, "Also barrel roll." 

If two ships are oriented so that their closest edges are parallel, there is no single closest-point-to-closest-point line between the two ships. If one ship attacked the other, could it choose which line to use?
I don't think this has ever happened to me in an actual game, but I can see the potential for it occurring especially if you play X-Wing via Vassal. Long story short, the attacking player can choose the path that doesn't cross over an obstacle if the above condition (100% parallel bases) occurs. 

When a ship executes a maneuver, is the entire width of the ship considered to be moving along the maneuver template and possibly hitting obstacles?
I'm pretty sure I've talked about this on here before, but it kinda seems like it wasn't in an article; most likely somebody asked about this in the comments or maybe they even emailed me the question. In any case, yeah, as strange as it may seem, ships in X-Wing just kinda magically go from one end of the maneuver template to the other without actually crossing the space in-between. 

This really only comes into play if your maneuver template just barely misses touching an obstacle or other ship. If that happens, you're still good assuming of course your base doesn't overlap. 

During an attack, can the defender choose not to roll defense dice?
This is kind of a big deal because of the way FFG chose to clarify Kath Scarlet's ability interacting with an Ion Cannon later on. Simply put, the answer to this question is "No." You gotta roll the dice if you have them available. 

Are a bomb token’s movement guides considered when measuring range or when a ship overlaps them?
This one jumped out at me because I swear I read on a rules forum somewhere there was some precedent for another rule that seemed to indicate the opposite. Answer according to FAQ though? They count. 

Are bomb tokens obstacles?
This is another one of those wishful thinking, "Well, it doesn't say they aren't, so maybe they are", kind of questions. Answer? No. 

If a ship with the Stunned Pilot Damage card executes a maneuver in which only its maneuver template overlaps an obstacle, does the ship suffer the effect of the Damage card?
Ok, so this one kinda surprised me. There was really no precedent for this, I just usually play stuff that can go either way in the most negative fashion for me so nobody can complain that I cheated, but the answer here surprising is "No." Stunned Pilot apparently only activates if you actually overlap the obstacle with your ship base. 

Can “Dark Curse” be the target of a secondary weapon attack that requires the attacker to spend a focus token?
I thought this one was kind of interesting because I've never had it come up in one of my games, but after thinking about it for a moment, it seems like it would come up all the time. In any case, the answer is "No." Take that torpedo aficionados and future HWK-290 players!

If “Night Beast” has a stress token when he executes a green maneuver, is he able to perform a free focus action?
Ok, here's one I've almost certainly gotten wrong and allowed other people to get wrong. The answer here is, "No." The reason given? Night Beast's ability triggers before the Check Pilot Stress step. Which, I guess, reading between the lines, clarifies for future reference when your ship actually loses its Stress Token. I'd always played it that you lost it right after you pull a green, but apparently that wasn't accurate. 

These next two really, really surprised me- 

If a ship equipped with R2-D2 executes a green maneuver and moves through or overlaps an obstacle, does it recover a shield before rolling for damage?

If a ship equipped with R2-D2 executes a green maneuver and moves through a proximity mine token, does it recover a shield before rolling for damage?

Surprisingly, to me at least, the answers here are not the same. The first question, FFG says, that R2-D2 recovers a shield before rolling for damage. The second question, he does not. 

I suspect if I really looked closely in the book at the timing of Actions versus the book text for moving through/ overlapping an obstacle versus the card text of the Bombs card and the Proximity Mine card, there's some differences there, but I never noticed it before. 

If Kath Scarlet attacks with Ion Cannon, obtains a <unfilled explosion> result, and then the Ion Cannon’s effect cancels all dice results, does Kath Scarlet’s ability trigger?
Ah, so here's the big one. Answer? "No." The explanation goes on to say the <unfilled explosion> result has to be cancelled by a Defense die, Evade token, etc. 

When a ship uses Daredevil, does the ship follow all of the normal maneuvering rules?
Long story short? Yeah. It's a maneuver, after all. Says so on the card. So you're free to go overlapping if you want and anything that triggers upon executing a maneuver kicks on here too. 

If a ship equipped with Nien Nunb or R2 Astromech suffers the ion token effect and must execute a white [ 1] maneuver, can he treat it as a green maneuver?
This one really kind of f@cked me up. I have always played this as a white maneuver, too bad, so sad. I swear I remember reading rules debates on this that quoted the rulebook and previous incarnation of the FAQ that made this white instead of green a fully foregone conclusion. As of the new FAQ though? Nope! You pull a green instead of a white if you've got Nunb or R2 Astro along for the ride. Still can't believe that's how this works. 

This next one is kind of a two parter- 

If a ship using Cluster Missiles hits with the first attack, but then misses with the second attack, can he still use Gunner/ Luke Skywalker even though the first attack hit?
If a ship using Cluster Missiles misses with the first attack and then triggers Gunner/Luke Skywalker, can it still perform the remaining attack granted by Cluster Missiles? 

The answer to the first question is a "Yes", while the answer to the second question is a "No." They're that way for the same reason- the Luke Skywalker Copilot card text. 

The first scenario is acceptable because Cluster Missles is two separate attacks on the same target, so even if you hit with the first, but missed with the second (and again- missing here is missing as in not hitting per the rules definition of the word), Luke or Gunner triggers a primary attack (which doesn't have to be at the same target). 

The second scenario doesn't work because the last bit on Luke or Gunner is "You cannot perform another attack this round." 

The rest of the FAQ addresses some finer points about declaring Target Locks, Barrel Rolls, and Boosts. To be honest, these clarifications won't affect the way 99% of you play because they really don't matter much. It's like, the Target Lock thing is technically you declare your intended target first.  Is that exactly how you've been playing it? Probably not. You probably throw your range ruler out on the table, check to see if the ship you want is in range, then you declare him TLed. Does it make a functional difference? No, because the rules go on to say if the ship isn't in range, if after measuring you find you're out of range, you can then opt to declare a different target or declare a wholly different Action. Long story long, it's the same outcome. Maybe there's some stuff in Wave 3 that'll make this more significant, or maybe there's some scenario already out there I've never heard/ read/ though about, but as it stands, it seems as though they're just nailing down floorboards to make sure the house doesn't creak. 

So there ya go. Like I said, there's more stuff in the FAQ than what I've mentioned, but a lot of those things are either pretty self-evident upon a close look at the rules or I've already clarified them on here in Bikini Battle Basics articles, Veteran Instincts articles, ship articles, or upgrade articles. If you think I've missed anything though, by all means, call it out in the comments and we'll talk. 

18 July 2013

Wave 3 Preview- Advanced Sensors and Ten Numb

During my recent hiatus (hiatuses? I don't know- you tell me), you guys might have run across another FFG Wave 3 preview article called simply, "Advanced Technology." Ostensibly, the article is about the new Advanced Systems upgrade cards available to ships with the little radar dish icon (which from the way the opening of the article reads, is the B-Wing and the Lambda). 

We've already talked about a couple of these Advanced System cards in the past, but this article calls out one that I'd not seen the text on just yet. 

Right. So instead of revealing your chosen maneuver, performing the maneuver, then declaring your Action, you declare then reveal, then maneuver. 

So what's the big deal? 

The obvious thing that jumps out is you still have a chance to declare an Action even if you're going to run into somebody or some thing. That's kind of a big deal. I mean really the only thing that keeps me from jumping out of my seat is that earlier mentioned fact that only a couple of ships can take this upgrade. If this were a Modification instead? Holy mackerel. 

I kept thinking about it, and the other pretty big deal is that since you're essentially changing when the Perform Action step is happening for this particular turn, you could perform a maneuver that would normally Stress you out, then if you've selected a green maneuver from your dial, you'd lose that Stress token just about immediately. Will everybody and their dogs start rolling Daredevil finally? It's still too early to say, but I'd say folks will at least be performing K-Turns more often than they were before in ships that can take Advanced Systems. 

Before you completely dismiss Daredevil again, bear in mind that you'd actually be doing the Daredevil maneuver before your normal maneuver. That's pretty tricky, really. 

Of course, you don't have to limit yourself to Stress-generating maneuvers. Barrel Rolls, Expert Handling, and Boosts by way of Engine Upgrade also lend themselves to some interesting potential by rearranging when the Perform Action step occurs in relation to maneuvering. 

The other card that was revealed for the first time in that article was the Ten Numb card. 

The first thing that jumps out at you is probably the first thing that jumped out at me- the cost. 31 points! Wow- that's really kind of a lot, no? It's a cool card and all- the text is good and hard to deny, B-Wings have 3 Actions stock, the stats aren't bad, Mr. Numb is Pilot Skill 8 and has access to the Elite Pilot Skills, what's not to like? 

That 1 Agility sucks, boyee. I know, I know, it's not the end of the world- this thing is basically a fence-sitter on the backline bombing in shots like a HLC'ed up Firespray, not to mention it has a Barrel Roll available to it as well as all those other icons. It just still seems like a lot to me. You could hit 35 or 40 points with this guy, easy. 

I'm not saying it's bad, but I am saying you better watch your step. Sure, he's got a good amount of Shields, but Numb in particular is going to be a pretty high-points, high-priority target so when you go to upgrading him, I think you either tool him so offensive he's likely to kill back his point cost quickly before he gets shot down, or you try to make him unkillable with Expert Handling, Shield Upgrade, etc. 

I'm really curious to see what the other B-Wing pilots look like now! Well, I mean, I was before too, but now I'm like italics-level curious now

17 July 2013

Product Review- Urban Lasercraft Token Set

You'll probably remember a few weeks back, Urban Lasercraft sent me a couple of sets of their super swanky X-Wing movement templates. Well, not long after that, Will sent me one of their token sets for review as well!

Most of what I said in that earlier review applies here still- they're made from translucent acrylic in several colors, the edges are nice, sharp, and clean, not jagged or fractured, and the shapes Will has chosen to cut these guys out in are unlikely to get broken (i.e., they're not strange shapes that will likely get broken as you use them. 

So what's the advantage to using these tokens over the stock set? 

Well, first, you're unlikely to get them mixed up with your opponent, obviously. I remember before I played in the Kessel Run, I took a black Sharpie marker and made some marks on my asteroids and tokens to try and identify what was my stuff. Now, I didn't spend like hours on it, but I'd guess I spent a good 20 or 30 minutes picking out my tokens and making little stripey edges on them to make them stand out. If you're rolling these guys out, obviously you won't have to worry about that. 

Another advantage I think you get using these guys is you can use Will's blue lightning bolt token (which is supposed to represent Ionization) to represent the "other" Actions, you know what I'm sayin'? Like declaring Marksmanship or using R2-F2. I usually have a hard time keeping track of those kinds of things because there's not really a token to represent them. Maybe you've come across a way of mitigating that problem, but I've always wished for a generic card-effect type token. 

Lastly, well, they just look cooler than the stock tokens. If you've ever used fiber optic sights on a gun, you know how those inserts collect the available light and sort of concentrate it on the ends so that they kinda look like they're glowing? Well, these guys, especially the lighter colors like the green and the orange, do basically the same thing which really makes them stand out on the table. As y'all recall, a lot of times when I play folks in-person (as opposed to over the net), I use a piece of black felt I've made as a starfield. Since the stock tokens use a lot of black in them, sometimes they get lost in the stars (especially if you've Sharpied the edges of them), so to speak. With Urban Lasercraft's tokens, that's MUCH less likely to happen. 

If you're interested, you can find Will's eBay page for the tokens here. Also note, Urban Lasercraft has some combined shipping and bundle deals if you've not ordered his movement templates and think you'll pick up a set or two of those as well. If you've got a buddy who wants one of the movement template sets and you're taking the other while also considering a token sets, dig on the following- 

If you order a token set and ANY template set, you'll get combined shipping (Request invoice since it has to be done outside the two listings) AND get 5 more tokens of any type FREE! You will notice that in the X-Wing Templates and Range Ruler auction, any order of TWO templates comes with a free mini token set of 3 Critical tokens, 3 Stress tokens, and 2 shield tokens. This means that if you order ONE Token Set, TWO Template sets you end up getting Two template sets and range rulers, SIXTY-EIGHT (68) Tokens (5 bonus per template set, 8 bonus for dual set) AND save on shipping and handling by having it all shipped together. That's an unbelievable value of $80 for all those tokens and templates. Join with a friend, get your whole club to participate!

Not a bad deal! 

Lastly, if you're still just not totally convinced about the tokens or templates not seeing them first-hand for yourself, Will mentioned to me in an email he's probably going to GenCon. I'll keep you posted on that. 

Thanks again for the tokens Will! Hope you sell a ton of them, man! 

10 July 2013

The Metal Mailbag- Jamie's 100 Pt. Rebel List

I wouldn't say it happens all the time, but I'd say at least a couple of times a week since oh... March? I get an email asking for list advice. In the past, I'd stop, take a few minutes, and write a 10,000 word reply which would outline some suggestions, make a bunch of 90's rap references/ jokes, thank them for their kind words, and peace out. 

Yesterday, I got a similar email. I didn't have time to reply when I first read it, and I originally intended to write back last night after I finished yesterday's update, but then my youngest woke up again, so I was thinking about it today at work, and decided that instead of just replying, I'd post it on here, give my usual advice, but then also turn it over to you guys- my army of bikini aficionados (which, if you're curious- I think was a term I learned from this guy), so other alternate viewpoints might also be represented. 

I don't know. Seems fun to me in theory. We'll see how this goes. 

Here's the original letter from one Jamie Bell- 

Hey man!

Love your site and all the resources, thank you so much for doing it and being an enjoyable and worthwhile read.

I am new to the game and going to a tournament this weekend, having just played a 100 pt game Sunday night and with a few more practice games in this week hopefully. I know what I have read says I should go with and stick to X-Wings until I get a better grasp of the game but I was wondering if I could tank the game out in a pair of YT-1300's with less expensive pilots and options? Is more hull and shields an option in the game, or will the swarms basically nullify that advantage by sheer volume of die rolls which have a chance of succeeding and destroying the ships?

Looking for fun, but also some competitive advantage. My current list options are about 2 X-Wings and a Y-Wing, which seems like it's still low for 100 pt games where I am likely to face Tie Swarms.

Help me, Weisi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope...

First off Jamie, your welcome! Glad you're diggin' the site! 

On to the list advice, I'll just kinda go stream of consciousness here (like I wasn't going to anyway, right?). 

The thing that jumps out at me is that you say you're a new player. Secondly, although you don't come right out and say it, you're looking for a Rebel list. Third, you're under the impression you're going to be facing TIE swarms. I don't know if you have a pair of YT-1300s in your collection, but the way you've phrased it, it sounds like even if you don't, you'd be fine with picking them up if they seem worthwhile. You've also got a couple of X-Wings and a Y-Wing to play with. 

Right on. 

To answer your first question or address the idea, yeah, I think with the right upgrade options you could definitely tank out a pair of YT-1300s. Now, there are a ton of variables in X-Wing, many of which can't necessarily be controlled reliably or even maybe predictably, so I usually just look at stuff in kind of an average setting. In other words, when I'm thinking about the question you asked about Swarms versus a couple of tanky YT-1300s, I look at it like this- a TIE Fighter has two Attack dice at Range 2. Could they have more because of a named pilot or because they got into Range 1 or blah, blah, blah? Yes. For me though, and my non-heavy math brain, I just kind of boil things down to an unmodified standard average, which again- 2 Attack dice. 

So let's say it's a 6-ship swarm (again- kind of an average; there are swarms from 5-8 ships, but 6 will do for this exercise) can get off 12 shots per turn, average. Might be more, might be less, might be Focused, who knows, but for basic spitballing or brainstorming, let's say 12 shots. Two YT-1300s have either 20 HP (hull + shields) or 26 HP depending on if you have the Outer Rim Smuggler or one of the named pilots flying, respectively. Fudging a little to try and represent missed Attacks, Focused dice, shots from close range, shots from longer range, and I'm comfortable saying to take down a couple of ORS, the Swarm's looking at likely three or four rounds of firing, and substantially more for the named pilots when you factor in how significant Chewie, Lando, and Han's card texts are. 

Long story long, yeah, I think you can tank your way to a win here, and being a new player, it isn't going to be impossible for you to run a list like this and have some success. 

My suggestion would be to run the Chewie + Han list that I did a little spotlight on back before my Regionals. I'm not going to rehash everything I said in that article here, but suffice it to say, it meets most all the criteria you're looking for Jamie. 

That said, if you don't have time to play a few games where you're moving a couple of Falcons around, it might not be the right list for you. The thing you've got to watch in a low ship count list is collisions. Now, that Chewie + Han list doesn't depend on actions to win like some lists do, but they certainly don't hurt anything. If you've gotten the hang of driving ships around without running into stuff (or having stuff run into you), I'd say this is your list right here. 

If you're not crazy about that idea for whatever reason, I wrote an article about why Han Shoots First is so much more dangerous than what a couple of X-Wings and Han really ought to be and why specifically, that list is so forgiving to a new player. To be 100% forthcoming, HSF is easier for a new player to drive than Chewie + Han. The only reason I recommended C+H over HSF is that you're already thinking about a couple of tanky Falcons, and that's like the ultimate tanky Falcon list in my opinion. If you'd be down with the idea of HSF, I'd suggest taking that instead, but I wouldn't go so far as to say I strongly suggest it instead.   

Why the semantics? 

Well, just like the disclaimer says above those list articles I wrote back at the end of May, this game isn't 40k or Magic: The Gathering. X-Wing Miniatures isn't the kind of game where you spend 80% of your work on the list itself, then 20% on playing the game tactically- it's kinda the opposite, actually and I think anyone who has played this game more than 5 times with another newbie would agree (of course, the internet people who never played this game with anybody other than some other new player, if they bothered to play it at all, are the same people who talk about how this game has no depth or strategy and is too dice oriented- right).

Best advice I can give you Jamie is to play as many games as you possibly can before your tournament. If you can move your ships around the board without hitting stuff, you're already money ahead. Don't laugh- it's harder than it looks and dual Falcons mean dual big ship bases. Good news is you've got 360 arcs on your guns, so you can focus more on not running into stuff instead of folks who have to worry about the obstacles and their firing arc. 

Past that, run yourself a solid list like one of the ones mentioned above. If you're curious about the 4-ship X-Wing build's advantages and disadvantages, check out this article. You might brush up on articles in the New Player Info section too so you fully understand the rules.

And for God's sake, don't let those swarm players move one ship then just pick up and put down the ships next to him because they all did the same maneuver.  

By the way, apologies for how out of date those articles linked out of the top tabs are. Holy mackerel. I need to do some work there. 

So there ya go- tell Jamie what I've gotten right, what I've gotten wrong, and what you think is better for the Rebs at 100 points, and Jamie- you come back after your tournament and tell us how you did, deal? 

Lastly- I try not to go too straight up off-topic on here, but congrats to my Twitter buddy Stu Holden for scoring his first National Team goal this evening against Belize since getting mugged in Manchester a couple of years ago. Happy I made the dude laugh awhile back. 

By all means, if you find me entertaining on here, you should check out my Twitters some time. Be aware though- I tweet and retweet a whole lotta randomly funny things I've just thought to myself, stuff my kid says, soccer/ football articles, and other people's funny stuff. I rarely talk about games other than to give a quick "I won" or "I lost because the sun was in my eyes" kind of update. I don't usually go back and forth with people about games on Twitter. Not saying I wouldn't, just know that there isn't going to be a ton of X-Wing banter in your timeline just because you followed me and I run this site, dig? 

09 July 2013

Arts & (Space)Crafts- Flocky & Rebel's Falcon Engine Strip V3.0

You may remember a few weeks back an Australian gentlemen by the llamo of Flocky sent me the awesome idea of not painting the Falcon engine strip, but instead, printing out a light blue and white strip of photo paper, then cutting it to fit. 

Well, a couple of weeks ago, Flocky pushed me the final 3.0 version. 


The latest engine template is in. This is our version 3. Can you give a shout out to Dave "Blackwulf" The Rebel for all the hard work.
I can't take credit for this.
It fits like a glove if you cut it out exactly.
More than enough for anyone on one sheet.


Are these dudes collectively da man or what? I mean, the first two were cool, but that engine strip up there is the bizzle fo shizzle. Muy impressed fellas and thanks again for sending it to me to pass on the other bikini aficionados! 

Cheers back at ya!

08 July 2013

More Wave 3 Reveals- HWK-290, Part 3

Right on, so remember last week when we talked about Kyle Katarn on here? And how he was obviously, so much super kickass better than everyone else, you could throw their cards in the trash? 

You know I have a flair for the hyperbole, right? 

Still though... I kinda stand by that. 

Again- not saying you can't make Jan Ors, or Mr. Roark here work, just that Katarn's kinda obviously the better choice. 

That said, Mr. Roark isn't terrible. Boosting up another friendly to PS 12 at the start of the Combat Phase is nothing to sneeze at, not to mention it's on a 19 point ship. Sure, you're going to want to tool up that ship a little with upgrades, but it's still not bad, y'know? 

I think the main knock I have against him is that, unlike Katarn and Ors, he can't take Elite Pilot Skills. Which, I mean, I don't know that I was super-duper sold on any of them anyway, when paired up with a HWK-290, so maybe that statement's a little misleading. Well, that and he's... flying... A... HWK-290. 

The ability is kinda better than you think at first glance. First, you just pick a friendly at Range 1-3. It's not the closest or anything like that, you just pick any old ship at the start of the Combat Phase and poof! He's PS 12. 

Now, you might be thinking, "Yeah, but dude- it'd be better if he moved at PS 12 too!" 

Not really. Stop and think about this for a moment- with all your ships moving at their usual PS, the opponent either try to ignore/ deny or try and move every one of their ships like the opponent ship near them could possibly be the one that bumps to PS 12. That's tough. 

So I dunno, that in mind, maybe you'd be best served by trying to field as many friendlys (good mix of X-Wings, A-Wings, maybe a Y-Wing too- ain't nobody ever been ionized at PS 12 before) as possible along with Mr. Roark to try to get your opponent to tie himself in a knot anticipating who the recipient of the PS 12 will be, or against that first guy, maybe take a low-number, high-specialization type named ships (dude- a PS 12 Chewie Falcon with Draw Their Fire, perhaps) to really have the most impact in the Combat Phase. 

In either case, I think you run Roark pretty stripped down- maybe a Shield Upgrade. Maybe, maybe a Crew Member or Turret Weapon, but that's about it. You don't want to make him too tempting of a target. One that will hopefully be kind of dismissed as not having that much of an impact on the proceedings. 

Which is great, because a potentially different ship of your choice firing at PS 12 every Combat Phase obviously does have a significant impact on the proceedings. 

So there ya go. That's my take on it anyway- run him stripped down and with some friends. What am I missing here? There's usually at least one really interesting combo type thing with these ships, but I'm not feelin' it with Roark. Am I missing something? 

02 July 2013

More Wave 3 Reveals- HWK-290, Part 2

Ok, remember when you bought your TIE Advanced and immediately threw away all the pilot cards except Vader because they paled in comparison to the awesome power of the Dark Side

All right, maybe you kept those other cards, but you tell me, how much do you use them? Right. As I thought. 98 hands for Vader, 1 for Maarek Steele, and one guy talking on his phone while tipping back a frosty TheMetalBikini.com mug who was unable to vote. 

I think the HWK-290 is going to be largely the same way. 

Full disclosure, I've only read the Mr. Roark card a couple of times and haven't even really thought about how to apply it, but Jan leaves me wanting a bit compared to Mr. Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (too bad it's not Jedi Outkast, amirite?) himself, Kyle Katarn. 

Ok, so stats are nothing special as usual- a HWK-290 with a Pilot Skill of 6. Not terrible, not great- firmly middle of the road and not insulting for a named pilot at 21 points. 

Right, so card text- a bit like Garven Dries at a glance because you see the words "Focus Tokens", but past that, they're actually fairly dissimilar. I saw a lot of people saying no one would bother with Dries after Katarn showed up. Admittedly, not knowing the dial for the HWK-290, I think it's hard to say definitevely either way, but as I mentioned, they actually do kinda differ in their application if the end result is essentially the same- giving someone else a Focus Token. 

(Also in case you were wondering, we're sort of into Multiple Actions, Same Actions Explained! territory here, so review that article if you need more info, but TL;DR, a friendly ship could declare Focus as his Action and still receive and use a Focus Token from Katarn.)

First and most significant difference, Dreis gives his away when he uses it, Katarn just gives his away at the start of the Combat Phase. Katarn's version also goes out to Range 3 where Dreis stops at 2. 

So here's where the lovefest begins and why I say you can probably pitch the pilots besides Katarn. Ol' Kyle has the same upgrade icons that Jan does- the turret weapon, the single Crew Member and the Elite Pilot Skills medal. 

Right on. First, Recon Specialist is the obvious choice for Katarn's Crew Member. 

Perform a Focus Action, net two Focus Tokens? Sign me up. 

Second? HWK-290 title, Moldy Crow. 

There's really nothing to even compare this to. I want to say, "Now your Focus Tokens are persistent like your Target Locks", but it's better than that obviously, because you can only have one Target Lock at a time (without Weapons Engineer, of course) and Moldy Crow allows you to bank Focus tokens... I guess indefinitely. 

As for the Elite Pilot Skill, ideally you want to be Focusing as your Action every turn to max the return on investment of Recon Specialist and Moldy Crow, so don't take anything that involves an Action- Marksmanship, Expose, etc. Instead, since you're going to be quite the target throwing around Focus Tokens like they're beads at Mardi Gras, consider Determination or if you've got some change left over from your 100 points,another passive Skill that increases your survivability while not eating up an Action- maybe Elusiveness or Veteran Instincts. Or I don't know, maybe nothing at all from the Elite Pilot Skills. 

Like Jan, I think a turret weapon is kind of an auto-include with Katarn as well, and I'd probably opt for the Blaster Turret over the Ion Cannon Turret, though just by a smidge. 

For a Modification, I'd strongly suggest Shield Upgrade as again, you're going to be a huge target for your opponent, and not being a particularly tough nut to crack to start with, there's little reason for him to not attack Katarn should he want to though a compelling case could be made for Engine Upgrade for the same reasons I mentioned yesterday with Jan- the best defense possible is not even being in your opponent's firing arc. Now, is it worth using your Perform Action step on a Boost instead of a Focus with Katarn? Well, it probably is if you're about to get shot out of the sky by a Range 1 Interceptor or something. Is it worth it compared to a Shield Upgrade? Depends on if you're good at using Boosts. 

This Katarn configuration (KK + Recon Specialist + Moldy Crow + Blaster Turret + Shield Upgrade) comes to a cool 35 points. It ain't cheap, so at some point you may want to stop and ask yourself, "Is this worth it?" 

I've been thinking about it- it being Katarn's card text, and I kinda think maybe it is. This is probably not at all viable, but I kinda look at it the same way I used Dreis in that Lando/ Dries/ Goldie list I made a long time ago. I also think it would be crazy, but that Katarn might work with some A-Wings because they have so many other fun Action things available and one of them could still pick up an extra Focus token every turn as well. In any case, it sure seems worth it on paper, at least. I think even if this build doesn't work out as awesomely on table as in theory, Katarn would be fun to fly, in any case. 

Also, this particular incarnation of the HWK-290 may be significantly more hearty than other versions when configured somewhat similar to the above. Generating two Focus Tokens per turn without having to discard them in End Phase is going to build up quick. I've never playtested a ship that could Focus on defense against each salvo of fire from say, three or four different ships after the second or third turn and still potentially build up more going forward, but I have to imagine it does increase the survivability pretty noticeably. I mean, yeah, you're still only rolling one green die, but that green die is going to help you more often than not if you're Focusing it every time you roll it. 

And hey, look at it this way- if your opponent is shooting that often at Katarn, yeah, he may not have Focuses to give away, but if you're kind of using him as either bait or a Focus gifter, either way, he's doing his job- either buffing up your other ships, or drawing fire away from them letting them roam freely amongst your opponent's ships. Imagine buddying up with a Chewie Falcon with Draw Their Fire and some other random ship or two to round out your list- those ships are likely to be on-table for a good long while for one reason or another. 

01 July 2013

More Wave 3 Reveals- HWK-290, Part 1

All right, in addition to revealing all the Imperial Shuttle pilots in the FFG article called, "New Wingmen for the Win", we also know all the HWK-290 pilots as well, which I'll be predictably talking about for the next few days. 

First up is Jan Ors. 

Brief sidenote- can I just take a moment and tell you how silly it is for internet peoples (mainly bloggaz [that's right son, straight up blogga from the streets, yo!{Man, I can't believe I never thought of that joke before}]), to open a post with, "So-and-so here." Am I supposed to be reading their article out loud in my head in a newscaster voice or something? It's redundant too, which really sets the manufacturing engineer in my on edge. "So-and-so here", yeah, no kidding; I read the two words after "By" under the title of your post. "Clint here with news on the Jan Ors card revealed a couple of weeks ago on the FFG site. I'd go live on the scene, but the scene is my kitchen table, and we kind of can't go there because it might wake my kid up, but hey, we're really not going there anyway, so whatever right?" I mean, what's with that?

Oh, by the way, triple-parenthetical? Yeah. Totally don't even know if that's real. Probably isn't. Moving on...

Ok, anyway, Jan Ors is the highest PR HWK-290 pilot coming in at a middle of the road 25 points. As I've mentioned before, the HWK-290 isn't exactly an awesome ship stat-wise. The 1 Attack is decidedly milquetoast, 2 Defense is pretty average, then it gets kinda weird- 4 hull and 1 shield? 

Now here's the part where somebody who's not only read, but memorized The Star Wars Technical Manuals gets on the comments and tells me about how that's canon. Ok, I played Dark Forces back in the day on Playstation 1. In Austin. In like 1996. I got kinda obsessed with it for a little bit, but I didn't even remember the name of the ship, let alone that it was called the Moldy Crow. So TL;DR? Don't get on your high horse telling everybody they should already know all about the HWK-290. 

Where was I? Oh right- fairly weak stats on the HWK-290. Ok, so that in mind, what's driving up the cost of Jan Ors to 25? 

Well, one, her high Pilot Skill. 8 isn't the greatest, but it's fairly up there, so I'm sure a couple of points went towards that. Secondly, she can take some upgrades- Crew Members, Turret Weapons, and Elite Pilot Skills! 

Before we get sold on any of this stuff though, we should look more closely at Jan's card text. It's kinda long, but to break it down, it's more or less this:

If Jan does not have a Stress Token,
A friendly ship within 1-3 of Jan who is attacking-
May roll an additional attack die- 
Jan gets a Stress Token.

I have no idea why I wrote that out that way, but when I just separated those thoughts/ sentence fragments/ whatever with commas, it seemed more confusing. I really wish I could write a haiku about Jan's card text, but I don't think I can pull that off. 

So that's awesome, right? A little bit of a built-in limiter with the bit about Jan not being Stressed when she does this trick, but not bad- it's more or less Expose without the downside. 

That in mind, there's really not a lot that directly dovetails with that text. If there were something that got rid of Stress Tokens when you got them or something that'd be nice, but to my knowledge, there's nothing like that out there, so we're left with adding green maneuvers which will give us more movement options while ridding ourselves of those tokens. She can't take an R2 Astromech, but she could take Nien Nunb, which for a measly point, probably isn't a bad move, unless you have him in a Lando Falcon already. Past Nunb, it's the usual suspects- Chewie could help that rotten Shield value, Gunner can help make that one Attack die count, etc. Stay away from stuff that helps to induce Stress, obviously, take stuff like Determination that helps to mitigate the inevitable face-ups you'll be piling up, and you won't be in bad shape. 

Not knowing what the HWK-290's maneuver dial looks like, I'm talking out of my ass a little with this statement, but I think one of the two turrets should be considered an auto-include on any HWK-290. 

What, what, what? Two turrets? 

Yup, the Ion Cannon Turret and... 

Whoa! An Attack 3 turret weapon on something besides a YT-1300? Not bad, huh? Ok, caveats- first, like the Ion Cannon Turret, it only goes out to Range 2. You should also keep in mind that this is a small-base ship, so if you've been flying a Falcon around and blasting things left, right, and center, understand this ship is much less likely to do that. Smaller base plus shorter range to begin with equals not a Falcon. I'm just giving you a heads-up. Second, while it's a point cheaper than the ICT and has the potential to well, actually damage something, it does require a Focus just to fire it.  

Probably should have saved that for the upcoming article on Katarn, but oh well. Cat's outta the bag now. 

I said earlier that this gun or the ICT should be auto-include. Let me elaborate a little bit on that statement- I think either of them should be auto-include because having a 1 Attack weapon is terrible and you can't justify a quarter of what's probably your list total on a ship that you're never going to attack with because it's only a support ship. Whateva. I'm not saying Jan needs to be in the middle of the melee like the like that Blood Ravens Sergeant in the Dawn of War trailer, but actually planning on never firing a shot with her or doing nothing to try and upgrade that Attack value is a tremendous waste of points. That's why I think, although I freely admit it's might be the teensiest bit counter-intuitive, you gotta stick one of the turret guns on ol' girl. 

So that's more or less it. No missiles, ray guns, or even the new Systems Upgrade icon to talk about on Jan. As for modifications, Shield Upgrade is probably the only one I'd really consider, but Engine Upgrade might be a good choice if you use the Boost maneuver to get yourself out of an enemy's firing arc. She could take the Moldy Crow title, but much like the Blaster Turret, that works much better with Katarn. Unlike the Blaster Turret, I'm not spoiling that card in this article. I'd much rather talk about it in the context of using it with him instead. 

I'm probably missing something that y'all will remind me of in the comments, but I gotta say, while her ability is pretty awesome, I'm not nuts about her at 25 points, especially compared to Captain Yorr for 1 point less. I mean, yeah, she makes Wedge stupid good, and the range on that card text ability is pretty forgiving to get that extra die where you need it, but I don't know. If I played only against Interceptors with Stealth Devices, I'd probably be placing my HWK-290 pre-order right now, but as I don't, I'm just kind of not that fired up for her. Maybe in a themed game or a more than 100 points game. Again, I'm not saying she's terrible, I just think it's a tougher decision than you might think based on her awesome card text.