Card Text: When attacking with a secondary weapon, you may increase or decrease the weapon range by 1 to a limit of Range 1-3.
Usage in game: Shootin' off missiles like you're Kim Jong Il (God- why didn't I become a rapper?)
Breakdown: Secondary Weapon Systems, specifically missiles and torpedoes have kinda gotten a bum rap in X-Wing since their inception back in Wave 1. I think folks have finally come around now to their usefulness against big ships, but if you're one of those Luddites who still think that 4 or 5 (or even 6) points on a one-shot weapon is a waste, well, Major Rhymer probably ain't for you. I'm not going to waste a bunch of space in this article trying to talk you into the notion of Missiles or Torps- you either use them or don't, and at this point, it's probably unlikely anything I say is going to change your mind much (though going up against a list with multiple big ships might).
Additionally, the Rhyme Animal is going to be a points sink for you. There's pretty much no two ways about it. He's really only worth taking if you're going to load him up with some secondaries, and really, you're better off taking a double set of full tubes if you're going to roll him, y'know? Might as well make it worth it. If you're one of those people who don't like unbalanced points among your ships, The Young Cannibal is also probably not for you.
If you're cool with those first two paragraphs though, you can get some good mileage out of this dude.
First, as always, understand the card text. It's pretty straightforward this time, but humor me for a moment. Rhymer can increase or decrease a Secondary Weapon's range by 1, while staying in the 1-3 limit. Ok, great. So what secondaries can a Bomber sport? What are we really talking about here?
Missiles and Torps.
Notice I didn't say Bombs, just Missiles and Torps. Bombs aren't Secondary Weapons. Says so on the card that explains Bombs, but if you want the real reason it's because they don't say, "ATTACK: Blah, blah, blah" in their card text.
That's not to say you can't use Bombs on Rhymer, just that his card text won't work with them.
Moving on, ok, so are there any Missiles or Torps that get better or worse with Rhymer's card text?
Well, first remember that the Bomber isn't an "or" kind of siutaiton unless you want it to be. All the bomber cards have two torpedo icons and two missile icons, so yeah, you can sport anywhere between zero and two Missiles and zero and two Torpedoes. Would it be expensive? Sure. Would it be absolutely terrifying to see Rhymer flying around with four full loaded tubes? Sho' 'nuff.
I can't really think of a better way to do this right now, so I'm just going to break it down list style.
Advanced Proton Torpedoes- Expensive, but with Rhymer they become Range 1-2. Five Attack dice at Range 1 is scary enough, but Bombers aren't the most nimble of craft, so I always kind of look at it as something of a risk to bank on the idea of me getting into Range 1 with somebody- not to mention that Bombers don't have the shields to really survive close-combat and come out unscathed. Sure, they have the beefier hull, but with no shields to mitigate crits, I'm not nuts about the idea. Rhymer with APTs makes that much easier for me to get behind. Especially if you're running Jendon in the same list for free Target Locks or the other named TIE Bomber pilot Captain Jonus for the ability to re-roll two Attack dice. Again- is it cheap? No, but it does have the ability to one-shot an X-Wing at Range 2 which is pretty spectacular. Just remember you really do need to have a Target Lock and a Focus to make this worthwhile. Depending on your skill level (not to mention your opponent's), that might be easier said than done.
EDIT: Something I should have mentioned harder that was brought to my attention by +Jeff Wilder in the comments is using APTs along with Push The Limit on ol' Hard Rhymer. What can I say? I try to look at this stuff from multiple angles and skill levels, but sometimes the siren song of a warm bed makes me hit that "Publish" button a little sooner than I should have.
Of course, sometimes I just miss things too. I'd considered running APT with PTL on Rhymer, but it makes him a little too expensive for my tastes, so I'd never given it a shot. That said, I still should have mentioned it because it may not make him too expensive for your tastes, and it really does make him pretty scary. Just be careful of opponents ganging up on him to get him off the table. Rhymer's high PS is going to make that more difficult, but those of y'all who aren't aces with maneuvering just yet might want to watch it.
So kudos to Jeff- thanks for the heads up!
Proton Torpedoes- With the card text, you're gaining the ability to shoot them at an enemy at Range 1. Not exactly an idea I'd build an entire strategy around, but it does give you some flexibility if the opportunity presents itself and you don't think the Bomber's 3 dice (at Range 1) will do the job, but a fourth die would. Also nice as it has the little built-in "Focus-lite" ability to make one rolled eyeball a hit, which is nice as it (hopefully) allows you to save that Focus token for defense. As Rhymer can take Elite Pilot Skills, you can play the Marksmanship card here (literally) if you're so inclined. Personally, I'm not nuts about regular PTs on Rhymer as you're probably not really getting your money's worth out of his card text running a 2-3 Range weapon even with the "Focus-lite", but your mileage may vary- especially if your games tend to end up as big hairballs of ships running into each other in the middle of the map as it's a much safer bet than...
Assault Missles- The thing about Assault Missiles is that you can hurt your own ships with them. The fact that you only get to use Rhymer's card text by hitting yourself with the splash damage makes me say "Pass" on this card with this pilot.
Cluster Missiles- I've long caught flak over my advocation of Cluster Missiles, but a few people have read my articles and started to come around. Yes, your opponent has two changes to roll Defense dice, but again- against ships with only 1 Defense die, 6 Attack dice is going to hurt something. The fact that Rhymer can extend these two attacks out to Range 3 makes this as close to a must have in any list with the popularity of the YT-1300 in its various configurations. I mean, come on- with a fairly standard roll, you've got the opportunity to burn off a Falcon's shields entirely with one round of shooting from one ship. For 4 points. At Range 3. That's solid, y'all.
Concussion Missiles- Like their cousin Proton Torpedoes, Rhymer gets that fourth attack die at Range 1, which is only one more than he'd be normally getting. Is that and ability to change a rolled blank into a hit worth it for you? Only you really know, but if you're good enough to have a Target Lock and a Focus before the tubes empty, you're virtually assured of one hit result at least. Again, I think using 2-3 Ranged warheads with Rhymer is kind of a waste, but giving him a load of Concussions is probably not the silliest thing you could do that particular day.
Homing Missiles- Another 2-3 Range card, but this one I like a little more than PTs or Concussions. No, you don't get a ton out of the card text as previously mentioned, however don't completely discount the whole, "Defender may not spend Evade tokens" thing with Homers. Fired at Range 1, you get 4 Attack dice, but your target can't Evade. Against a Rebel player? Well, he probably doesn't have Evade anyway, but if you're heading to a tournament where you're going to be facing both factions with the same list, Homing Missiles become more useful in Imp v Imp matches. Bear in mind, I still wouldn't call them game-changing or anything because many people don't Evade, but there is some potential there.
Like I said a few paragraphs back, Rhymer can take Elite Pilot Skills as apparently he's kind of a big deal. As you know, there are many too choose from and old chestnuts like Marksmanship and Veteran Instincts would be well played here. For me though, and knowing that I'm going to run this cat with as many Missiles and Torps as I can afford to run on him, I'm taking Deadeye every single time. The ability to bust off those warheads with just a Focus token? Sign me up, yo. This is really cool as Deadeye was kinda fair to middlin' prior to Rhymer if you ask me. I can't think of too many times I tried to use it outside of a shrug worthy decision to stick it on a Green Squadron A-Wing. Push The Limit would provide similar functionality and would be especially useful if you favor a warhead that works better with a Target Lock and a Focus, but it's a bit more points than just rolling Deadeye and you're probably already spending more on Rhymer than you'd like. Adrenaline Rush might be fun just to see the look on your buddy's face when you pull that 5 speed K-Turn, TL him, then blast him with something.