06 October 2014

Modifications- Munitions Failsafe

This post regarding Modifications 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.

Munitions Failsafe (1)
Card Text: When attacking with a secondary weapon that instructs you to discard it to perform the attack, do not discard it unless the attack hits.

Usage in game: Insurance for your Missles and/ or Torpedoes.
Breakdown: We've all been there at some point or another. You've got the shot lined up, you actually managed to outmaneuver the guy you Target Locked a couple of turns back, you somehow got through being shot at by some higher PS dude without burning your Focus, and now you're ready to touch off those warheads that have been weighing down your tubes since you left the Home One. You grab a handful of red dice, pick up your Target Locks, shout "Fox 2!" like you're Cousin Eddie in Independence Day, and throw those plastic bones on the table.

And then it happens. Four blanks.

Or hell, maybe it's even worse- maybe you have that moment of joy when you actually roll two <filled explosion symbols> and two <unfilled explosion symbols> and you're high-fiving the confused stranger at the table next to you playing Ticket to Ride or Yu-Gi-Oh! or something, but your opponent calmly rolls three <wavy arrows> and spends his Evade token.

Is there anything worse? (Well yeah- I mean, there's lots of stuff that's worse, but I'm just talking X-Wing Miniatures worse).

One-shot Secondaries have long held a tumultuous position of opinion amongst X-Wing players. For something that plays such a huge role in the movies, they're a bit underwhelming for the most part in our beloved table top miniatures game. Many folks have composed many spreadsheets of data showing how they kinda suck really, I've talked about it on here, and you, dear reader, have no doubt had your own ups and downs with them, so in the interest of brevity (or at least as close as I ever get to brevity), I'm not going to rehash all that. It's kind of an AR-15 versus AK-47 type debate where both sides are fairly entrenched in their opinions and are unlikely to be swayed regardless of data presented.

What I will do is tell you that if you're one of those folks who does enjoy the gamble of using one-shot Secondaries, Munitions Failsafe is the closest thing to a sure bet.

All right, so breaking it down, Munitions Failsafe says if you use a Secondary that says you have to discard it upon use, you don't actually discard it unless the weapon hits. Simple enough, right?

It pretty much is. 

I've talked on here before about the difference between what people call a hit (usually a rolled <filled explosion symbol>) and what a hit actually is (a rolled <filled explosion symbol> or <unfilled explosion symbol> that isn't cancelled by an Evade token, a rolled <wavy arrow symbol>, etc.), but since new people are still getting into this game, it bears repeating (which I just did in the parentheticals there). So unless your one-shot Secondary attack actually hits the target, you don't actually discard the weapon. Meaning of course, you're free to fire it again the next chance you get, and just like the first time, if you don't hit, you must acquit. I mean, you can again claim Munitions Failsafe and try, try, again.

A couple of additional things here-

First off, remember that if you're required to spend something just to fire your one-shot Secondary (a Target Lock most commonly, but sometimes a Focus), that's still gone. It's not like Munitions Failsafe is a huge reset button for your Combat Phase or whatever.

Secondly, remember that not all one-shot weapons are Secondaries- namely, Bombs. I talked about why they're not Secondaries in the Proton Bomb article (which also applies to the Seismic Charges and Proximity Mines), but the short version is because they don't say, "ATTACK: Blah, blah, blah" on their card. The Rules say that makes them not a Secondary Weapon System, so Munitions Failsafe doesn't do it's magic on Bombs, which is kind of a bummer as they seem to be chronically underused, but I digress.

Trying to think of other stuff to mention on here in regard to this... oh- Cluster Missiles. Let's talk about how Munitions Failsafe works with Cluster Missiles for a second. 

So Cluster Missiles are kinda weird to begin with. They're effectively two separate attacks against the same target, but you only have to spend a single Target Lock to perform both attacks. According to the FAQ (thank God I didn't have to actually try to work this out in my own head), Munitions Failsafe only kicks in with Cluster Missiles if you miss with both attacks. How likely is that to happen? I don't know, depends on what you're shooting at, I guess. 

As some of y'all pointed out in the comments of the Flechette Torpedoes article last week, Munitions Failsafe and Flechette Torpedoes go together like peanut butter and chocolate and produces the possibly rather unexpected rules interaction of Stressing the target regardless of whether or not you actually hit the target. In a weird way, you kind of want to keep missing, assuming of course you're fine with only inflicting Stress rather than actual damage. So fire away at those TIE Phantoms or whatever- doesn't matter if they roll a bucket of green dice when you shoot at them, they're still going to get Stressed as a result. 

Is Munitions Failsafe worth it? I think if you're already committed to the idea of using a one-shot Secondary on a particular ship, yeah, most likely they are. I want to say it's debatable whether one-shot Secondaries are a good idea in general, but it really kind of isn't. Debatable, I mean. Not all the ships that can take one-shot secondaries should, but some of them that can, definitely ought to. For those that definitely ought to, I think you can probably find it in your points to add Munitions Failsafe and enjoy the results. 

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