16 September 2014

Bikini Squadron Analysis by Tract, Part 4

Here's the final installment in Tract's Bikini Squadron Analysis articles. Enjoy and be sure to check out his site too! 

Today we’re going to talk about what may just be my favorite entry, a Rebel Interceptor. This is the last entry for this, which makes me sad, but it’ll also be good to get back to talking about the game for real, and not just imagining “what ifs”. First off we’re going to finish up the A-wings, which if you’ve been keeping score, is the second most popular ship from this list at six entries (X-wings topped at ten).

Look at this guy! Bad Wingman-ing it up alllll over the place! This is very similar to a couple abilities already in the game, like Captain Yorr or Wingman, except that instead of the upgrade being on the ship that’s receiving, it’s on the ship that’s giving the stress. This gives you a whole lot more options, since you can decide which ship gets the stress. However, this is an A-wing, and I’m never worried about stress anyway. I’d rather see this on another ship that would be more affected by stress.

Hey didn’t we just see this guy? Arvel is a popular template, apparently. Now, the text of this card is kinda garbled, but bear with me. Before you attack, you can make your firing-arc into a rear arc, for a reduction in range. That’s pretty cool. It has some interesting possibilities with ships that have when-outside-firing-arcs abilities, since you can change it. And there’s some issue with knowing exactly where the edge of it would be, so you’d probably have to print a new ship base to go with it, but this pilot is actually pretty cool. I’ve heard lots of people wonder why A-wings can’t shoot backwards, and although I don’t have any knowledge that suggests they should be able to, it’s definitely an interesting mechanic (being an A-Wing nerd from waaaay back, I do remember reading that bit about A-Wings being able to rotate their guns 180 degrees... somewhere- Clint). 

This card is the most fun I’ve seen in a while. It’s just so COOL. It’s a traitor card that limits your opponent’s knowledge of the traitor. It doesn’t punish your opponent in any way except that this ship starts in a really awkward position for him. Besides, the idea of flipping an Interceptor is just so Wraith Squadron, that what’s not to love? I know I said this is one of my favorite entries, but I actually have very little to say about it. I feel like it may be overcosted (unusual with custom cards), since by the time it shoots you have a Royal Guard that costs 5 points more that maybe, maybe, is in a better position. I think dropping it down to 25 would make a lot of sense.

This ability is pretty conservative. Instead of giving away a target lock, the friendly can just use yours for their attack. In the interest of balance, I’d pull the range limiter in. Being able to fire off ordinance with a focus and TL, from Range 3 away from this guy, would be pretty darn easy. Otherwise, he’s really putting the HWK into its support role.

I really like this ability. It lets you use your attack for defense, but really hinders your attack. I’d be curious at what point it takes place. I mean, if you’re attacking a guy and you roll 3 hits and he only has 1 hull, sure flipping two over to recover shields would be great, but if he hasn’t rolled yet that’s a huge gamble. If it’s after he’s rolled, that’s a pretty huge benefit for almost no downside, though it’s very situational. I’d say this is a great card that just needs to be a little more specific for it to be used.

This is obviously an anti-flanker card. I’d say that for this card to be remotely fair you’d have to give him a stress for it. The idea is that if they can shoot you and you can’t shoot them, you get to move so they can’t shoot you (hopefully). There was that X-wing that could do a barrel roll in response, but at least that one costs you a stress. Anyway, it’s fun trying to do little tricks like moving out of arcs, but this one needs a little more downside.

I think this could be cool. I feel like giving this ship a free 4-point upgrade for the cost of coming in 1 round late is a little too much. I mean, ok first round all my ships do a 1 straight. Now here comes Battlement with his free shield upgrade! I might say something like “for every round this pilot does not enter the fight, you may spend one extra point on an upgrade for it”. That’s not worded very well, but the idea is that if you want the shield upgrade, you have to wait 4 rounds to enter the fight. Now that I’m thinking about it I might make that more like 2 points every round, but cap it at 4 rounds or something so that it does have to come in at some point and can’t be fully loaded when your Z95 is down to its last HP or something. Anyway, the idea of hurting yourself now for greater benefits later is something I would totally go for (I thought this card was especially cool myself- it got even cooler when the author told me that he came up with the idea because he was stationed in Afghanistan when his pals back home started playing X-Wing before he made it back, hence the "Late to the Fight" deal).

Ah, the lovely Mara Jade, finally put on the RIGHT side of the fight (sorry, my Rebel is showing). I’m intrigued by this card, since it triggers on an opponent’s miss. It needs to be a little more specific though. Is it once per round or per game? I hope per round. I’m also going to assume that “misses” means that the attack scores no hits, the way the Gunner text reads. The card has had the Evade action added to the bar, which we can debate, but mostly I’m just looking at this pilot ability. It’s reminiscent of some of the cards we’ve seen, where you can avoid being attacked and somewhat like Turr Phennir in that he gets to move after an attack, except that Mara has to successfully dodge an attack in order to pull off her ability. Still, if only as a set-up for next round’s movement, it could come in pretty handy.

This ability is so close to overpowered and ridiculous that I almost didn’t talk about it. The ability to reverse a target lock is so weird and so doesn’t make sense, but I’m attracted to it. Not only that, the way this guy has worded the card you can do it to ANY target lock, between ANY two ships, ANYWHERE on the board. That means that as long as this guy is on the board, he’s screwing with your game plan. Now, this ability will be totally useless against a build like a TIE swarm that can’t ever Target Lock, or someone like me that usually takes Focus anyway, but it’s still really interesting. Just make sure that this ability is limited to one use per round.

Well that does it. Those were the entries from Bikini Squadron that I picked out as being the most likely to see some table time, or at least who could inspire some new content. Did you like taking a look at some custom content? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for hanging out with us here at the hippest pilot bar in the galaxy, and we’ll see you soon.