12 November 2013

Crew Members- Saboteur

This post regarding Crew Members 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.

Saboteur (2)
Card Text: Choose 1 enemy ship at Range 1 and roll 1 attack die. On a <filled explosion symbol> or <unfilled explosion symbol>, choose 1 random facedown Damage card assigned to that ship, flip it faceup, and resolve it.

Usage in game: Crit assignment outside of the Combat Phase. Also LOLs.
Action?: Yes
Breakdown: If ever there was a card in X-Wing Miniatures that made me want to affect a terrible French accent and twirl an invisible mustache with my finger tips, it's Saboteur.

For a measly two points, you have a 50% (there are four damaging faces on an Attack die- 3 filled explosion symbols and one unfilled) chance of turning somebody's hull damage into a critical so long as they're within Range 1. In the immortal words of that redheaded kid from Harry Potter, "That's bloody brilliant."

Think about this for a second- it may be because it's really late or it may be because my mind races with possibility while I think about this card, but in any case, there are some really interesting things to note about this particular Crew Upgrade that I'll now describe in a fairly stream-of-consciousness, rather unorganized fashion.

Note that unlike pretty much every other friggin' Crew Member card, this thing is an Action. That means for once, you're kind of almost better off sticking it on a low PS pilot. Also bear in mind that you'll have the chance to move into Range 1 with your target ship and trigger this business before a higher skilled enemy pilot has the opportunity to move away from you. That's pretty sweet. Just remember not to crash into stuff or otherwise cheat yourself out of your Perform Action step or it'll be kind of a waste. That kinda dovetails nicely with using it on a low PS pilot, assuming you can avoid hitting rocks of course, huh?

Also note this thing resolves in the Activation Phase. You have the potential to really ruin somebody's day with this card. As mentioned in the FAQ article, if you manage to flip up a damage card with a Stressful effect (Damaged Engine, Thrust Control Fire, etc.) and your opponent has selected a red maneuver, and hey- if he thought you were going to move into Range 1 of him, he very well may have done just that, you're going to finally get to bust out that "drive the other guy's ship" rule that nobody ever gets to use. Not only that, you might flip Munitions Failure (discard a secondary weapon), Weapons Malfunction (reduce primary attack by 1), Damaged Sensor Array (can't pick Actions from the Action Bar), or a host of other crappy, strategy ruining other cards.

I've talked ad nauseum on here about how important it is to inflict Critical Damage to neuter the capabilities of big ships. This card makes it that much easier to do. True, it still doesn't work on a Chewie Falcon, but on everyone else, it's totally going to suck for them if you can manage to get it off.

EDIT: After some of the Bikini Aficionados commented on the verbiage present on the Chewbacca Falcon pilot card, I'm inclined to agree with them that Saboteur does in fact manage to stick Chewie with a critical (if it goes off successfully, of course). Reason being? Chewie's card says, "When you are dealt a faceup damage card...", and Saboteur doesn't actually deal the damage card- it just flips over an already dealt card. This'll probably get FAQed when Wave 4 comes out, but until then, I'm quite comfortable flipping over a damage card if somebody Sabotages my Chewie Falcon.

Speaking of which, what ships should be packing a Saboteur?

As is usually the case, a YT-1300 is a great choice- two seats of which only one is usually occupied makes Saboteur a small sacrifice, a big base makes getting into Range 1 that much simpler, and the 360 degree firing arc means you don't have to worry about which way you're pointing when you do get into Range 1. If you've been on the fence about how to roll an Outer Rim Smuggler, this just could be your answer.

The card comes with the HWK-290, but I'm not 100% behind the idea of putting him in there. I'm not saying it's a terrible idea, just that I'm not completely sold on the notion. On the one hand, lots of folks roll a cheap HWK as some sort of support, and not really combat capable. This can lead to your opponent just ignoring the ship entirely unless you're just absolutely master-class at making that whole support thing actually work. Putting a Saboteur in there lets you not only support your allied ships with Garnet, Katarn, or Ors card text, but also lets you put a pretty good dent in any enemy ship that happens to wander too closely to you. I also like the idea because it makes the setup much harder to outright ignore, especially when you're playing against low-count, high cost Imperial lists.

On the other hand though, the HWK-290 has a terrible dial, which assuming your opponent is about the same skill level as you, makes the idea of trying to actually get within Range 1 of him relatively difficult. It also has the small base which doesn't help, and the fact that we're using an Action to fire this thing off can make for some tough decision making if you're trying to fly to live with the light shields and aforementioned crap dial.

A Firespray can make good use of a Saboteur, but I think there are other better crew options for the named Firespray pilots. As previously mentioned, Navigator with Fett is just nasty, Scarlet has Gunner or Mercenary Copilot, Trelix the same. If there were two seats in a Firespray or some way of adding another Crew Member via some Modification or something, I'd absolutely recommend it for Fett in an instant, but there isn't so I won't. On a Bounty Hunter that you've tooled for more closeup work though? Sure, why not? Much like the Outer Rim Smuggler, if you've been looking for some way to throw one of those on the table and not be staggeringly vanilla or cheap about it, it'd be worth a go- big base, great maneuver dial, why not?

The Lambda falls somewhere in between Firespray and HWK-290 for me. It's a safer bet because of the two seats and big base, but you've got an even worse dial which makes getting into Range 1 theoretically tougher, but less reliance on Actions just to survive, so I think it comes out slightly ahead. Again, I think you go with Saboteur on a low PS flavor of Shuttle pilot like the Omicron or possibly Yorr (YOOOORRRRRR!) although me personally, I'd probably just stick with Omicron in a kind of suicide boat setup where I'm basically just going to make for the center of the board and hope for the best. And yes, pairing Saboteur up with Darth Vader is particularly bad form and I 100% stand behind the spoil-sporting nature of that idea as absolutely hilarious until it is done to me at which point I'll probably write some whiny post about this game is becoming too win-at-all-costs these days.

All that being said, you can make a case for sticking this on a high Pilot Skill pilot if you're good at maneuvering or guessing your opponent's maneuvers. Any pilot who can take Elite Pilot Skills and drive a crew worthy ship could make pretty amazing use of this card as perhaps the best thing about it (critical damage allocation outside the Combat Phase) still happens. True, your opponent will have probably already performed his maneuver and declared his Action, but it's still only two points with a pretty decent chance of affecting if not wrecking their Combat Phase.

It's also cool because there are those damage cards that say, "Action: roll a die and on a something result, flip this card face down." If you stick them with Saboteur after their Perform Action step because you've gone against the grain and used this on a high PS pilot, they have to live with that effect during the subsequent Combat Phase before they can get rid of it.

I think most folks will probably opt for more sure-thing type upgrades on those ships though and leave the chancy stuff like Saboteur to the lower PS guys though.

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