Adrenaline Rush (1)
Card Text: When you reveal a red maneuver, you may discard this card to treat that maneuver as a white maneuver until the end of the Activation Phase.
Usage in game: Single-use Stress mitigation
Breakdown: As you may or may not have noticed, Adrenaline Rush is the only Elite Pilot Skill for Wave 3; everything else is new weapons or pilots or whatever, but as I recall, I always started off talking about the Elite Pilot Skills, and as I'm something of a creature of habit, I figured why change now?
So Adrenaline Rush. Seems like a relatively straightforward card, right? Let's break it down and see what other fun stuff we can discover while we're dissecting this card.
First, as I'm sure all of y'all bikini aficionados know, red maneuvers generally invoke Stress on the pilot performing them. 99% of the time, this is a bad thing, or at least a detrimental thing, but once in awhile it's a good thing. Obviously you're not going to want to use Adrenaline Rush in the one or two situations where invoking Stress gives you additional and/ or Free Actions, etc.
That said, are we really looking at a get out of jail free card here for a K-Turn? What's that business about the Activation Phase?
In short, yeah- it's a get out of jail free card. If you pull out your X-Wing Rulebook and look up the section about the Activation Phase, you'll see that it's on page 7 and looks suspiciously exactly like the following-
So yeah, since the Activation Phase would start with you revealing that red maneuver which is would then become the point at which you'd choose to discard Adrenaline Rush, any red maneuver on your dial be it a K-Turn or whatever, is considered to be a white maneuver for Step 4 which of course is when you assign a Stress Token if you executed a red maneuver.
Right on. So now that we know exactly how and when the card works, who is it good for? What pilots could benefit from being able to rid themselves of a Stress Token before they even receive it once per game?
To me, this is a primarily offensive-type card. Most of the time, when we screw ourselves out of an Action by invoking Stress, we're cutting down on our offensive output capabilities more than our defense. That's debateable of course, and it'll depend a lot on the player, but I think if you look at the context in which people are pulling reds, it's usually to make up for some problem with maneuvering in a previous round or it's an all-out attempt to try and get some other ship off the board, Actions be damned.
That in mind, I think you also have to look hard at pilots who don't have an obvious, no-brainer Elite Pilot Skill you always take on them anyway. Guys like Tycho, Wedge, Luke, Vader, Turd Ferguson, etc., they have at least one Elite Pilot Skill that really nicely accents their card text, Pilot Skill number, or whatever. I mean look, would a guy like Wedge benefit from being able to Focus after a K-Turn once per game? Of course. Would Solo? Most definitely. All I'm saying is if you're going to burn that one Elite Pilot Skill slot on those guys, you'd probably get more mileage taking something like Swarm Tactics or Marksmanship or whatever than Adrenaline Rush.
So now that I've told you who doesn't benefit, who would get some use out of Adrenaline Rush?
I think those mid-level Pilot Skill guys, for sure. Maybe it's me and my own playstyle, but I always have a hard time tacking on some EPS that's really good to a Black Squadron Pilot, for example. It might not be a night and day difference, but as the card only costs a point, if you aren't worried about initiative, why not give it a shot? It could work even better on Green Squadron Pilots carrying warheads of some sort as they need an Action (either a Target Lock or a Focus) to be able to unload them.
I also think it works well on pilots who have such good card text that you generally don't find yourself needing to tack an Elite Pilot Skill on them to make them more effective or on guys who don't have card text that pairs up with an existing EPS. If you don't find yourself using Draw Their Fire on a Chewie Falcon for example, having a K-Turning Falcon that can still Focus or Target Lock bearing down on you has got to be a pants-wetting moment for sure against the average Imperial player. On the flipside, you could easily make a case for sticking it on Boba Fett as there's not really EPS that sort of directly fit on him and well, let's face it- if you're good enough to be rolling Fett successfully over an easier to use pilot like Kath Scarlet or Krassis Trelix, being able to pull a K-Turn with impunity is probably going to be really significant in your game.
Lastly, if you're looking for a way to mix things up with the way you've been playing one of those named pilots who has the obvious, no-brainer skill, or you- for whatever reason, never got the hang of running a named pilot with the most popular internet setup, take a look at Adrenaline Rush. Like say you run your Vader as kind of a roaming solo ship that finishes off wounded enemies. Traditional internet logic says to run either Swarm Tactics or Squad Leader on him, but neither of those may work all that well for you if he's off on his own away from the rest of the swarm. Really, come to think of it, anybody who is usually kind of off on their own is a pretty good candidate for Adrenaline Rush, especially those somebodies are in a low ship count kind of list and need options to keep themselves alive.