Attack Value: 3
Card Text: Attack (Focus): Spend 1 focus token to perform this attack against 1 ship (even a ship outside your firing arc).
Usage: It's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of the HWK-290. I'm not trying to be a hater, I'm just still not all that impressed with it. I don't want to get totally sidetracked, so let me just say before you fill the comments for this article with example after example of why the ship isn't that bad, let me head you off at the pass and say that there are some really good combos you can pull off with an HWK-290 I'll be discussing more in the future. For example, Sean used Jan Ors in conjunction with a Chewie Falcon on me a couple of weekends ago and it worked famously.
So again- I know it's super fun to engage in over the top hyperbole on the internet, but let me once again reiterate- I don't hate the HWK-290, I'm just not particularly impressed with it.
I bring all this up because I think we all kind of assumed the Blaster Turret would be the gun that'd balance out that 1 Attack and fairly rotten maneuver dial kinda the way we all worked out that a Y-Wing without an Ion Cannon Turret is a bit triflin' for the same reasons.
We were sort of right.
The knock of course on the Blaster Turret is that you have to burn a Focus token to fire the damn thing. Is that such a big deal? Well, yes and no. Yes because, well, it'd be nice to use that Focus token to modify your Attack roll results instead using it solely to get to roll three dice. Yes also because you (probably) need to have a Perform Action step at your disposal to get that Focus token to fire it and anybody's who's played this game a few times knows that isn't always a luxury at your disposal. No because there are ways of mitigating getting your hands on a Focus token through traditional means.
People inherently want to compare this to the Falcon's turret because they're both Attack 3 turrets. That's a mistake right off the bat because this Blaster Turret is not a Primary Weapon like the Falcon turret which means of course that you never roll the additional die for being at Range 1 because it's a Secondary Weapon System. While that also means the defender doesn't get an additional defense die at Range 3, recall this thing only has a range of 1-2 so that's not going to come up. Again, this isn't to say that it's terrible because of this, but it is something to keep in mind.
With having to burn the Focus token to fire it, you really need to have both a Target Lock and a Focus token, multiple Focus tokens, or some card text that allows you to hit more easily for your Combat Phase to be reliably successful on the attack. You don't have to hear any of that noise of course, but obviously you're going to have much better results if you do, and that's not always something easily done without a HWK carrying a Recon Specialist or some wingmen like Dutch Vander, Lando Calrissian, or Garven Dreis flying along with you. Now, again, if you want to build a list around this idea, by all means knock yourself out- it could be really fun to play and you'd definitely get some style points from me for breaking some new ground and being different, but looking at it in a vacuum, it's not the best setup.
It all boils down to should you take it though, right? Well, as usual, it depends. Only two ships can currently equip a Blaster Turret- the Y-Wing and the HWK-290.
If you're flying a HWK-290, almost certainly, yes- it's worth it. It may be possible to land a hit with only one Attack die HWK, but you're not going to be doing it regularly. Now, I know, I know, you only use your HWK-290 as a support ship. I get it. I still wouldn't leave home without one just like it'd be a rare friggin' occasion you'd catch me fielding a Y-Wing without an Ion Cannon Turret. Not saying I've never done it, but it doesn't happen much. Again- take that for what it's worth. Sean wasn't packing one on Jan and like I said, that was still a very effective combo.
While lots of people, me included, were excited about the notion of throwing this gun on a Y-Wing, after reading the card and thinking about it a lot I feel pretty strongly that the Blaster Turret is made for the HWK-290. So unless you are terrified at the notion of having to keep an enemy ship in your forward arc to roll red dice, or you have an intense love affair with the idea of a Y-Wing with a Blaster Turret, I just don't really see the point. I think the Y-Wing was made to sport an Ion Cannon Turret and that's the best use for the turret mount on that ship. If you're considering the Blaster Turret because you're looking to deal more damage, I'd look at a different ship entirely in that role before I'd seriously consider strapping a Blaster Turret on a Y-Wing.
I really don't like the fact that I can't seem to come up with a good argument for the Blaster Turret, but I've been writing this article for about two hours now and I still just can't really justify it. Am I missing something here?