02 July 2014

Elite Pilot Skills- Predator

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.






Predator (3)
Card Text: When attacking, you may re-roll one Attack die. If the Defender's Pilot Skill is "2" or lower, you may instead re-roll up to two Attack dice.
Usage in game: Hazing rookies and freshmen.
Action?: No.

Breakdown: I know I've mentioned it on here a bunch of times in the past, but it warrants repeating again because I think it explains the mindset the FFG developers had when creating cards like this.

I don't think FFG likes the low Pilot Skill, buncha ships meta that's been prevalent almost since the beginning of X-Wing Miniatures. To their credit though, they're trying to develop ways to throw some new options at different styles of list without coming in all heavy-handed and making sweeping changes to existing units and rules and stuff like other game companies might be tempted to do.

Here's a card that is functionally an always on Target Lock lite kind of ability, and while it ostensibly works against anybody, it works even better against scrubs with low PS. Now, when I say it's Target Lock lite, I'm talking about how it grants a re-roll. Obviously you can't touch off a set of missiles or torpedoes with this card. I know you weren't thinking that, I just wanted to make it abundantly clear.

So three points ain't exactly cheap, how useful is this card?

Again, it's not the same as a Target Lock, but it does get you rolling more than just naked dice, which is always nice. Or maybe it makes your decision between a Focus and a Target Lock a little easier early game if you're often torn between which way to go while choosing your Action for the turn.

Of course, if you play against somebody who loves to use a bunch of low Pilot Skill ships, this upgrade is likely worth its weight in gold, at least until they break meta and start picking other pilots.

Speaking of which, what are the PS 2 and lower pilots anyway you might be wondering? Nice guy that I am, I made a list- 

  • Academy Pilot (TIE Fighter)
  • Alpha Squadron Pilot (TIE Interceptor)
  • Bandit Squadron Pilot (Z-95)
  • Blue Squadron Pilot (B-Wing)
  • Delta Squadron Pilot (TIE Defender)
  • Gold Squadron Pilot (Y-Wing)
  • Knave Squadron Pilot (E-Wing)
  • Omicron Group Pilot (Lambda Shuttle)
  • Outer Rim Smuggler (YT-1300)
  • Prototype Pilot (A-Wing)
  • Rebel Operative (HWK-290)
  • Rookie Pilot (X-Wing)
  • Scimitar Squadron Pilot (TIE Bomber)
  • Tempest Squadron Pilot (TIE Advanced)


If any of those ships frequently turn up on the other side of the table from ya (and hey- let's be honest here, if you haven't faced off against a couple of Blue Squadron B-Wings and a couple of Rookie X-Wings, you probably haven't been playing this game lately), taking Predator for a spin probably won't be the worst idea you've had all day.

Much like yesterday's article, note that there's no qualifier on the Attack in the card text up there- if you're Attacking, it works. Point being, this re-roll also can be applied to Secondary Weapons like Ion Turrets, Heavy Laser Cannons, and the various flavors of torpedoes and missiles. In fact, using Predator along with torps and missiles might just be the debatably best use for this Elite Pilot Skill. Dig this for a second- normally you have to burn a Target Lock (which you hopefully acquired from a previous round) to touch off the shot, then ideally you've got a Focus token to modify your Attack roll. Usually, you don't get to re-roll any of those dice, just modify them via a Focus; best case scenario. Having a ship with Predator allows you to re-roll at least one of those dice, then modify it with a Focus. That's not bad, right? Especially since it seems as though the missiles and torps were kinda designed to mitigate the spent Target Lock by giving you 4 Attack dice most of the time to start with. Being able to re-roll one of those 4 red dice and then apply a Focus as well is pretty sweet if you ask me.

I used to spend a lot of time telling you what pilots had particular synergy with Elite Pilot Skills, but honestly there are so many of them now and with some of the EPS working with pretty much anybody, I'm kinda loathe to even attempt it, but let me make a general statement here- if you've got one of those pilots who is often Stressed and doesn't have a real solid way to mitigate that Stress in regard to not being able to pick an Action, Predator is going to probably end up being his best friend. Say a guy like Ibtisam or Soontir Fel, for example. I could see it working on guys like Corran Horn too as he's not especially likely to have any Action tokens lying around to use for his second Attack.

Also if you've got a pilot who benefits from a particular Action-using Droid or Crew Member, or maybe on a guy like Kyle Katarn who almost always chooses the same Action all the time and would like a little more functionality in case he gets jumped, this card holds some potential. Or hey, what about a ship with a Blaster Turret that gets caught in a pinch or unexpectedly ends up right next to a particularly juicy target? Re-rolling one die is better than nothing, right? Sticking it on Rexler Brath and hopefully freeing up that Focus token to flip up damage cards rather than just modify the initial Attack roll? Not terrible either.

The only caveat I'll mention here is to remember that you can't re-roll a re-rolled die in this game, so bear that in mind before trying to use Predator after you've already re-rolled from a Target Lock or card text ability, for example. That said, remember that we sometimes gloss over things like say, Han Solo's card text (duh- my bad; I mean) Crew Member Gunner's ability to make another Attack entirely by describing or thinking of it as a re-roll (thanks for keeping me honest, +Danny Brase). Same deal with Cluster Missiles too- Predator would conceivably modify both of those Attack rolls too. So don't get the no re-rolling re-rolls rule wrong, but don't short change yourself either!