08 September 2014

Bikini Squadron Analysis by Tract, Part 1

As I mentioned earlier, Tract has his own X-Wing site which you can check out here. And if the images don't work, blame me- not him. I previewed this post and they seem to be showing up the way I've posted his article, but I sometimes have trouble getting the images right if somebody else writes, so let a brotha know if they aren't showing up and I'll fix it first chance I get. 

After the Make-Your-Own-Pilot-Card-Contest (or MYOPCC for short – wait, that isn’t very short), there were a lot of pilots that came in with genuinely interesting pilot skills or tweaks to the ships. I’ve pulled 43 out of the 121. There were a plethora of Cathar pilots, and while it thrills me to see more obviously non-human pilots, I don’t intend to look at pilots that were either jokes, or obviously overpowered. To be clear, I’m only going to look at pilots where it’s either something that I could straight up see used in a game, or something that’s close enough that a minor tweak would make it useable. One more thing to point out, is that most of these cards weren’t properly balanced on the pilot-building. That is, most of them have had their cost raised by 3 to reflect a PS that is 3 higher than the base, but they haven’t had any points added to their cost for their pilot ability. So, keep that in mind if you want to try these, or when making your own for serious use.

To start things off, I’ve got a couple Firespray pilots that caught my eye. First we have “Stretch”:

I’m a sucker for the idea of one ship against a mob. Maybe that’s just my hero-worship showing, but maybe that’s part of why I like playing Rebels, since I’m often outnumbered. Anyway, this pilot’s ability gives him a boost when he’s alone. A huge boost too. Now, bearing in mind that in order for this pilot skill to do anything for you, he either has to be the last ship standing on your side (hoping your opponent doesn’t target him first to prevent exactly that), or you fly him alone to begin with. Just looking at the card, I think the point cost is supposed to be a little higher (but I think we’ll run into that a lot with these custom cards), but still really neat.

And Beynek:

This one is a touch on the overpowered side, but it’s such an interesting idea that I can’t quite ignore it. The idea here, I think, is that you still lose your action after doing a red maneuver, but don’t have to do a green maneuver next round. It’s a little more freedom of movement, but where I think it goes too far is that you’re discarding a stress token any time you receive it. If this was restricted to red maneuvers (spell check tells me that isn’t a word. What’s the plural of maneuver?), I think it would be great. As it is, what happens when someone shoots you with a flechette torpedo? Drop the stress, and skip your action for the round that you’ve already done the action for? Any card effects that would otherwise cause you to take stress would be pretty much nullified, and that’s just too good. Again, if it was just affecting your movement after a red maneuver, I think it’ll work.

Moving right along, we come to our first TIE pilot. I can’t quite decide if this is too ridiculous or not. The card is basically Push the Limit applied very specifically. I think I would leave this, but I wouldn’t give the pilot also an EPT slot because to me that sounds like too much opportunity for abuse. It definitely sounds fun though.

This ability isn’t shocking, but I like it because it reminds me of Backstabber, crossed with Opportunist. As if we needed to be punished any more for taking stress, Mr. Bean here will make you pay extra. Fortunately, it’s a TIE fighter, so it doesn’t pack that much punch to begin with, which is why I would give this pilot ability the go-ahead. Though, I might take off the EPT. This ability plus Opportunist would be very, very scary. Not to mention none of the named pilots under a cost of 17 has an EPT, so either drop it, or up the cost a fair bit.

This guy is kind of a Sensor Jammer, in reverse. In fact, this ability is so situational that I would be tempted to ditch the stress stipulation so that you can do it every round for free. I mean it’s an Advanced, the poor thing needs all the help it can get. I’m not a big fan of Sensor Jammer, because it really only does anything if the guy attacking you doesn’t have a focus token, and I find that’s so rare that it just isn’t worth it. I mean, when in doubt, Focus, right? Besides, he’s only rolling two dice and each one only has a ¼ of rolling a blank anyway so you may not even get to use it every round. So, bottom line, I like it, but go further and knock off the stress.

This is pretty much Turr Phennir (or as our bartender prefers, Turd Ferguson), except in an Advanced instead of an intercetor, and with a barrel roll instead of a boost. And you have to actually hit the guy to trigger it, not just right after the attack. Ok, it’s not that similar, but it is pretty similar. I’m a big fan of migrating pilots to other ships to see how their abilities would affect the game then, and this drops nicely into that niche. I don’t think I would have the scoring a hit stipulation, just make it like Turd and go for the BR after your attack.

Don’t look at his cleavage don’t look at his... damn it.

I’m doing these pilots together because their abilities both have the same flavor. They’re both strongly reminiscent of Draw Their Fire, except in reverse. This kind of “bad wingman” power is very interesting (I say bad, because really, you’re making your buddy take something crappy for you, as opposed to a “good wingman” who takes something bad voluntarily?). Can you imagine a power like this on someone like Han Solo? “Hey, rookie-x-wing-that’s-just-here-to-absorb-hits-while-I-dish-out-the-damage. Here, have this one too.” Or worse, to a Blue. Anyway, I think a power like this on an X-wing or an Interceptor, the way these guys have, works just fine, ESPECIALLY since they both put a range 1 limiter on.

Right up front, let me say, this card is overpowered. I know, I said I wasn’t going to address obviously overpowered cards. However, this card brings something really interesting that I just can’t ignore. See that first sentence? “After destroying an enemy ship”? That’s really cool to me. I mean, we have Turr Phennir who gets to move after shooting, a couple other pilots like Whisper that get effects after they hit, but no one has effects specific to actually killing an enemy ship (right?). Getting to fire again, that’s what makes this card overpowered. However, getting some kind of bonus from killing a ship is super cool. Especially considering he’s PS 9, that’s going to be kind of hard to do unless you’re already a couple rounds in or it’s something really fragile.

This guy strikes me as interesting. He’s a pretty middle of the road numerically in terms of pilot skill, which is good. Basically, he’s punishing people who shoot before him, at him. This would make for a very interesting dynamic in that Wedge wouldn’t want to shoot at him, but your Rookie would. Well, Wedge will shoot at anything. Bad example. Still, you see what I mean. +2 Agility is pretty darn huge though. Maybe if it was as your action? I would think that in terms of balancing his PS, you would want him pretty central. However, this game is very bottom-heavy. Even Bloody Daggers would be lower than him, and that’s considered a high PS since so much of the game is played at PS 1 & 2. So, there’s some room for debate there, but this ability is definitely something I would consider worth pursuing.

These guys also have very similar powers, so I’ll address them together. I quite like the idea of being able to sort of “blind-fire” your ordinance when you’re right on top of the guy, and I especially like that both these cards had the foresight to punish you for doing it. I’m more inclined to like Felis Kree, since I feel like killing yourself to do, AT MOST 5 damage, and probably more like 1 damage, is a bit steep. However, having that explosion go off right beside (or under) you and having to roll damage? That makes a lot of sense.

Well that was ten entries. I’m going to leave it there for now, let you guys think about these, maybe come up with some new ones, and be back with the next post. We’ll do another ten entries, and get into the Rebel side of things.

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