At the end of the wave two meta, this card is basically blank as no opponent with an ISD or an MC80 will rationally consider taking it. The exposure is too great for them. But lets assume they have a plan and you have a plan for this double edged sword (just like we discussed in Advanced Gunnery). How do you make sure your plan is better?
Lets start with some serious recommendation about list building around this objective.
1) Never take with less than three ships. You need at least the average number of ships in a list to secure the tactical advantage. So anything less than three means you’re giving dice that you’re not getting from the average opponent.
2) Never take with a large base ship(s) in your build. This objective is a giant screw you to big ships. Half of an ISD is a Gladiator. Half of an MC80 is a Nebulon B. You want to minimize your own risk while maximizing your opponent’s risk. In this case that means not taking large base ships.
3) Be aware that a spam list will give you lots of dice, but might get your little ships killed much quicker. A lot of Mon Motha and GRRRR players favor this list because they get a lot of extra dice without offering up much in the way of points. And they’re right. It’s a great choice for them. However, what few of them consider are the now devastating first punches at long range coming off of an Ackbar infused Assault Frigate MkII. Yes, you get two black dice, but you’re now taking seven dice that are more than likely enhanced by a turbolaser. To the average Raider or CR90, that’s a one shot kill on turn two. So, if you’re thinking about taking it with a spam list make sure you can withstand the casualties you’re likely to suffer.
4) I don’t see it a lot but this objective works great on fighter centric lists with cheaper ship support (any list with 100+ points of fighters and no single ship costing over 100 points). You again minimize your own risk while maximizing your opponent’s risk. But you’re also making your fireball or Luke Skywalker more valuable as they only have to land on shot to rack up the points.
5) In my opinion, this objective works best on lists with four ships, no large bases, and a lot of navigation orders.
Now that you’ve had a moment to consider your list lets talk about the plan you’re going to execute with it.
Your real goal is to hold your first shot until a solid (if not optimal) opportunity presents itself while denying the first shot to your opponent. Even if you have your opponent severely overmatched, this is the one objective that penalizes you for simply trading shots. It’s better to wait and take minor pokes onto your shields then go in for the kill.
To that end, you’re going to need to stack navigation orders or take the navigation officer upgrade card to keep maintain positioning on your opponent’s ships (them in your primary arc and you not in their primary arc).
Your second goal is to put one damage card on each ship. Killing ships is awesome. The idea of blowing up an ISD is what gets me out of bed some mornings. But it’s half the fleet cost, including upgrades. This is where Luke or blobs of fighter mines (as Fire When Ready calls them) can earn more points than ever before. A shoestring of three A-Wings can plink away at an incoming ship and earn their collective points costs back in a single turn.
Upgrades You Should Take
X17 OR Heavy Turbolaser TurretsOne of these is a must take for this objective on every ship in your fleet. They are interchangeable on this list because you don’t care at all about how the damage card gets there as long as it’s there. So restricting the overall defense is what’s important. When you do the math, there is approximately a one point variable between specific ships depending on their shield structure.
If you have the points this isn’t a bad idea. After all, denying an opponent 20-60 points at the last moment on a mildly damaged ship could win you the game or run up your margin of victory.
If you have the points, take them. They can help move you out of or into a bad arc. They can make sure you don’t get rammed on turn six and take damage card that costs you the game. They can in short be the difference between victory or defeat for this objective.
Upgrades You Should Avoid
Intel OfficersThis card is good at killing but not so great at wounding ships. Yes, they lost a brace or whatever, but they still had it when they needed to keep the cards off their hull.
This card is normally pitched as a cheaper version engineering captains or similar officer slot. But that’s not true here where your most important order effects will be discarding damage cards and gaining a bit of extra yaw.
Support Officer/Nav TeamNo, they don’t do the same thing, but they fill the same role: recovering from bad decision making (or compensating from an unforeseen event). These are cards you take to help you along in a pinch. My advice for this objective is to take them early on in your list building/play testing process (I always do).
AckbarThis choice doesn’t need any real help. And adding two dice to another two dice mixed with a normal broadside isn’t math, it’s murder. For example, on an MC30c Scout Frigate with Ackbar, this makes your first shot at long range a six or seven die murder fest. Not bad for a 69 point crap bucket with weird dice and no brace token.
VadarThe re-roll effect is nice and very useful if you’re planning on throw a lot of red and black dice. Vadar lets you gamble harder and invest bigger than most other commanders. That said, you have all the standard draw backs of a Vadar list to consider.
He lets you take a Defense Liaison with confidence. He gives you a re-roll for your big first shot. He does it all and more because he’s a Grand Moff. He gives you a nice amount of flexibility with this objective while still providing all the benefits he did before.
I hope this was somewhat helpful and informative. Until next time—She’s Got Admiral Ackbar Eyes.