30 June 2014

Elite Pilot Skills- Decoy

This post regarding Elite Pilot Skills is part of a larger article regarding Wave 4 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.

Decoy (2)
Card Text: At the start of the Combat Phase, you may choose 1 friendly ship at Range 1-2. Exchange your Pilot Skill with that ship's Pilot Skill until the end of the phase.
Usage in game: Game turn progression modification
Action?: No.

Breakdown: So this is an interesting little card, no? Admittedly, with much sexier and accessible Elite Pilot Skills (Marksmanship, Push The Limit, etc.), this card maybe doesn't quite get the attention it deserves yet, but it's got some possibilities.

The thing the first occurred to me when I read this card was how it compares to Swarm Tactics as it has kind of a similar effect. I mean, at the end of the day, you're (probably) raising another ship's PS to that of an ally's PS, right? So what's the difference?

The main thing here is Decoy is kinda like Swarm Tactics in reverse.

What I mean is this- how many times did you take Swarm Tactics on a guy like Vader or Wedge so you could enjoy that sweet PS elsewhere? If you've been playing since Wave 1 especially, probably a lot. The only downside was when these other cool Elite Pilot Skills started turning up and you kinda thought to yourself, "Dang- I'd really rather have Push The Limit (or whatever) on that guy, but I really like being able to push around that high PS via Swarm Tactics..."

Well, instead of sticking Swarm Tactics on a Wedge or a Vader, now you can stick it on the guy you were going to benefit.

It's not quite the same, and hopefully I've made that abundantly clear with the preceding paragraphs there, but functionally it's a similar end result. Again, the main benefit here is that you're not wasting the high PS pilot's EPS slot to bump up a buddy's PS.

The downside to all of this is unlike Swarm Tactics, you don't just bump up the low PS guy to the high PS value, you actually exchange it in this instance. What I mean by that is this- say for example you've got Wedge with Swarm Tactics and a Rookie Pilot flying next to him (within Range 1). For all intents and purposes, at the start of the Combat Phase those guys are both PS 9. Trade out Swarm Tactics and now you've got Wedge with Decoy and a Rookie. At the start of the Combat Phase (should you choose to use Decoy of course), now you've got Wedge firing at PS 2 and the Rookie firing at PS 9.

That's the tradeoff. Well, that and Decoy works out to Range 2 where Swarm Tactics is Range 1 only. 

So is it worth it? Compared to Swarm Tactics, I mean. I think the main benefit of Decoy rather than Swarm Tactics besides what's been previously stated is that Decoy doesn't require you to stick to formation or devote forethought while selecting maneuvers nearly as much. Conceivably, anybody that's an ally and within range can be the target of Decoy, where the high PS ship was the necessarily obvious focal point of Swarm Tactics, so you get some flexibility there. Doubly so perhaps since that high PS pilot already has a big ol' bullseye on him to begin with.  

Is Decoy likely to invalidate Swarm Tactics or guys like Garnet Roark? Nah, I don't think so. However, I do think for only a couple of points it's worth sticking on a Black Squadron TIE or Green Squadron A-Wing once in awhile for grins. It doesn't suddenly make those ships truly menacing or anything, but it does change up the way the Combat Round progresses, which depending on your ability to apply it and your opponent's ability to mitigate it, can make for some rather interesting situations that'll keep him on his toes. Good for making your opponent decide whether or not to burn that Focus token a little earlier than he'd planned, for example, or for burning off that last shield on a Falcon with a lesser PS ship then letting somebody cooler move in and use their card text or Secondary do more work than possible had they fired earlier in the Phase. Stuff like that. Like I said, it's subtle in it's application. 

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