17 September 2013

Secondary Weapon Systems- Autoblaster

This post regarding Elite Pilot Skills is part of a larger article regarding Wave 3 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 "List Building Resources" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.

Autoblaster (5)
Attack Value: 3
Range: 1
Card Text: Your <filled explosion symbol> results cannot be cancelled by defense dice. The defender may cancel <unfilled explosion symbol> results before <filled explosion symbol> results.
Usage: Playing my first game last weekend after a rather lengthy layoff from X-Wing, I found myself a bit rusty at the old spatial thinking when it came to templates. Now, I was never a surgeon with the templates to begin with, but I'd at least gotten to the point where I wasn't high-fiving myself for not hitting a single asteroid after a match. Last weekend I bonked a couple of asteroids and a couple of ships, the former being an accident, the latter? Not quite as much, but still, the result was the same- loss of the Perform Action step which left me making unmodified Attack rolls more than I cared to.

Trademark digressions as article intros aside, the first thing I love about Autoblaster is it's a buffed attack that doesn't rely on an Action. This isn't to say that it doesn't work even better with an Action like Target Lock or Focus, but if for some reason you don't have one available at the moment because of a collision or a Stress Token or whatever, you're not completely naked when you go to throw those dice which is great when you don't have an Action Token because the poop hit the fan. Er, because your ship hit a rock. Whatever.

Secondly, as it's got the "Attack: Attack a single ship" bit in the card text, it's just a Secondary Weapon System (a Cannon, by the icon or as I like to call them, Funky Rayguns), so you can put it on even no-name, generic pilot ships unlike Elite Pilot Talents (the other way you usually end up with abilities that aren't entirely Action dependent outside of named pilot card text) so long as it has the right icon in the upgrade bar.

Third, this is one of those Attacking options on the short list of cards that do manage to give you some sort of bonus when going after Dark Curse.

Right on- so that all sounds pretty cool, but is it worth 5 points? Let me try to think of some downsides here.

First thing that comes to mind is the way the card is worded: Your <filled explosion symbol> results cannot be cancelled by defense dice. So that means while a wavy arrow Evade result on your buddy's green roll doesn't work against an Autoblaster hit, an Evade Token certainly seems to. What about a Focus Token and some green eyeballs? Those don't work against hits from an Autoblaster as they'd simply end up being wavy arrows if your target played the token.

Second thing of course is the bit about being able to cancel the crits you've rolled against your target. That kinda stinks.

So we've got a couple of votes for and a couple of votes against- what's the final verdict?

I think it's a good upgrade right now despite the cost because not many people choose Evade as an Action. Your meta may vary, but I've seen messageboard threads dedicated to turning prospective players off to the idea of declaring an Evade Action in virtually any situation, so I'm pretty comfortable making that blanket statement

Now, I know you're thinking, "Well, so what? A player can choose or choose not to Evade contextually if there's an Autoblaster roaming around.", And you'd be right of course. The thing is though, most folks aren't going to do that repeatedly in a match. If you were to float a ship bearing an Autoblaster up into range of two or three different ships with Evade as a potential Action, the player is unlikely to declare Evade with all three of those ships and go into the Combat Phase with unmodified Attack rolls. He might, sure- maybe he's got a lot of hull and or shields or maybe he has named pilots with card text that mitigates not having an Attack-oriented Action, but maybe he doesn't. This is of course, assuming he even is flying a list with access to an Evade Token at all- a Firespray or Shuttle sporting an Autoblaster against a Rebel list may not even have to worry about this, and even if they do have a Falcon title or an A-Wing, well, so what? You're still keeping them from Focusing, Target Locking, Marksmanshiping, or whatever, or well... they decide not to worry about it and they take a chance you're dinging them up better than usual.

So what ships does Autoblaster seem to work particularly well on?

Well first, what ships even have the option to take it? Prior to Wave 3 there was exactly one ship that could take funky raygun weapons- the Firespray. Post Wave 3 release, we've also got the B-Wing and the Imperial Shuttle.

You can put it on the Shuttle, but personally, I think the dial on a Shuttle is way too restrictive to fly it into short range combat, which of course is where the Autoblaster has to be used. You could use it on somebody that tries to come get you, but at this point, all signs seem to point to the Shuttle being a long-range support gunship, and as it only has one funky raygun icon, I think you're better served rolling an Ion Cannon or Heavy Laser Cannon if anything, and if you're that worried about somebody coming after you on the backline, consider an Anti-Pursuit Laser and just make like that boat in Ben Hur.

The B-Wing is more maneuverable and I think a case could be made for stocking an Autoblaster on a B-Wing you intend to get into the mix a bit, especially if you're decently handy with maneuvering and Barrel Rolling. It'd work especially well on Ten Numb, his card text stating that one crit can't be cancelled and it being fairly unlikely you'd roll more than one on three dice anyway. That said, for the extra LOLs, you could always roll him with an Autoblaster and Marksmanship and while you'd kinda be putting all your eggs in one basket points-wise (39 if my math's right), it's a basket that hits like a brick to the face, yo.

On a Firespray, I think is where most folks can get a lot of good use out of this card. While Kath Scarlet is the pilot who immediately springs to mind because of her crit-cancelling shenanigans, I like the Autoblaster on Krassis Trelix too as he allows you to reroll an Attack die on Secondaries for free just because of his card text leaving you contextually able to defensive Focus or Evade with your Action to help him survive close combat. It works decently well on Fett too as you can use his card text to position yourself in the thick of things so long as you pick banks.