08 July 2014

Secondary Weapon Systems- Ion Pulse Missiles

This post regarding Secondary Weapon Systems is part of a larger article regarding Wave 4 listbuilding- the rest of the posts in 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.

Ion Pulse Missiles (3)
Attack Value: 3
Range: 2-3
Card Text: Attack (Target Lock): Discard this card to perform this attack. If this attack hits, the defender suffers 1 damage and receives 2 ion tokens. Then cancel all dice results.
Usage: When FFG first started revealing the Wave 4 cards, this was one card I got a little excited over. Now, whether or not that was entirely justified is still very much up for debate, but I'll tell you the thing that first jumped out at me, then I'll tell you what jumped out at me later, well, later.

Ok, so first thing that hit me was the point cost. A 3 point missile secondary is pretty sweet. I like the idea of taking Missiles because most of the ships that can sport them usually need a little boost in the Attack department to begin with, but 4 points to me is right on the edge of kinda maybe not being worth it, you know what I mean? I don't know, maybe it's me, but it's like four points is kind of a significant difference in this game and I can't always quite get my head behind that ball if you'll allow me to mix my metaphors (why stop now, right?).

That being said, to me, 3 points is an entirely different monster. I don't know if it should be, maybe it's just like the sales techniques that cause me to buy 2 boxes of White Castle burgers from the freezer section of the local Walgreen's than the 1 box I was originally going to buy, y'know? There's a sign that says I can get two boxes for 6 bucks, which seems like a good deal to me. I have no idea how much one box of White Castle burgers actually costs mind you, but usually when I wander up to the counter with only one of something the girl at the cash register will be all like, "You know for like another dollar fifty you could have two of those instead of one, right?" To which I usually reply, "No, I had no idea." As I turn around to go grab another of whatever it was I took up there- baby wipes, Hot Wheels cars, a knee brace, who knows.

So yeah, maybe there's no like actual, concrete, compelling evidence to sway me into thinking 3 points is perfectly acceptable for a 3 Attack missile when a 4 point, 4 Attack Torpedo seems too expensive too me, but that's the way my brain works.

In any case, I don't think it's a terrible deal regardless of how you slice it because having Ion capability on ships that don't normally have ion capability simply has to be worth something. Again, I don't think being able to Ion a ship is like the most amazing thing ever, but there have been times for sure that I've found myself in a position to run a big ship off table with a well-timed Ion hit, but don't have an Ion Weapon on the table, y'know? I'm sure you've been there too. Sometimes you haven't taken any ships that can roll Ions, sometimes you just can't find the points, but either way Ion Pulse Missles opens that up a little more than usual.

I think another thing that makes this so appealing is I've never completely fallen in love with any of the other Missiles currently available. Again, don't get me wrong- they all have their times and places most of which I think I've already discussed, but they're all kinda meta-dependent and are a bit scissors-paper-rockish in that something like say Clusters works really well against a low Agility target, but not so much against anything else or Assault Missles which are great against formations, but kinda not so much against anything else, etc. Since I've not really found a go to Missile loadout I'm like super comfortable in love with, I feel like Ion Pulse Missiles could become that option.

Then, as I was writing the card text earlier, I noticed for the first time that this card is like Homing Missiles in that you don't actually burn your Target Lock when you touch these dudes off.

Yeah I know, right? Totally missed it the first time, but check it out- I even looked up the actual card image from the reveal article to be sure.

Friggin' A, y'all! Probably all of y'all have been talking about it all over the internets, but I completely missed this initially. So yeah, the love affair has gone from flirty to dating for sure when it comes to me and Ion Pulse Missiles. 

Now that I'm like 1,000 words into this article, let's finally talk about the rest of the card text. 

If your Attack Hits, which again- we're talking about Hits in the post-Compare Results portion of the Combat Phase sense of the word here, you get to stick your target with 1 damage just like any other Ion Weapons, but the Missile version sticks them with two Ion Tokens rather than just one. Of course, you go on to cancel all the other results, so long story long, no criticals. 

It isn't completely common for a ship to end up with two Ion Tokens, so let's take a look at that for a second. First and foremost, if you remember your Big Ship (Falcon, Firespray, Shuttle) rules, you remember it takes two Ion Tokens to Ion a Big Ship. So there's your first answer. A more challenging question though would be what happens when you Hit a starfighter-sized ship with an Ion Pulse Missile? 

Well, unfortunately, it's the same whether a starfighter-sized ship has a signle Ion Token or multiple Ion Tokens. According to the Ion Weapons card, they- don't assign a maneuver dial to the afflicted ship in the Planning Phase and then proceed to perform a 1 Straight which counts as a white in the Activation Phase. Once this Straight 1 is complete, the ship loses all of its Ion Tokens and it's business as usual. 

Nothing particularly special going on here really, aside from the fact that it can conceivably Ionize a Big Ship in a single salvo, which couldn't be done really prior to this. 

So what ships/ pilots benefit from something like Ion Pulse Missiles? Again, I think a good use would be on ships like A-Wings or Advanced because those ships could use a little extra functionality to begin with and they're both maneuverable or hearty enough respectively to be able to get themselves into position to make good use of the IPMs. As for named pilots, as y'all have mentioned to me before and as Sean reminded me tonight, Bluntman, er Major Blount sure would be a likely candidate for a rack full of these bad boys...

Feel like gettin' Ionized? Good, cause somebody is if you're flying against Blount. 

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