Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Post OP5 Thoughts

I've got a few minutes here to draft an update. I attended at my OP5 yesterday at 401 games in Toronto and as usual had a great time. The guys there are great to play with and everyone is getting along nicely. As you can probably tell from my lack of updates over the last few weeks, I hadn't done too much testing (mainly because my testing partner has a case of the "real lifes") and just brought my usual Engage Build with Chekov in the pilot seat on the Valdore- (UGH).

Of course, without proper testing, I got my deployment all wrong in the last game. Usually when I deploy with the Engage Build against non-independently moving ships, the key is to separate deployment. This is why I didn't take the flagship upgrade, because the bonuses generally apply to ships in formation. The spread deployment forces the opponent to make a decision on where they are going to focus their fire, and then Engage lets me get out of arcs and attack their rear. That's how it's SUPPOSED to work, when I'm not being a goof. I also underestimated my opponent and he played a KILLER game. He had a very interesting build that in my opinion was perfectly situated for bringing down my Engage Build.
1. He used a stacked Gor Portas with an Energy Dissipator, Scotty, Picard and a Flagship. It's not hard to bring down IF you have initiative.
2. 98 points!!!! FUUUUUU... Part of the Engage Build is ensuring Initiative. You need to see where your opponent is going prior to using Engage, so that you can use it to maximum power. It's very difficult to play an Engage Build against an opponent with a higher initiative than you. I've done it to great success on most other occasions, but on this occasion my opponent correctly guessed all of my moves.
3. If the Enterprise gets hit with an Energy Dissipator it's goodbye Enterprise. HOLY MOLY.
The Command Tokens were MVP as usual- saving my ass on more than one occasion. The game I lost came down to movement 100%. Most games come down to movement, but this was very clearly a movement centered games- he made all the right moves, and I made all the wrong ones.

You HAVE to read this article by Clint over at the Metal Bikini:


That's part one, and I'm sure you can follow the links for part 2 and 3. I went up against a really tough Dominion list, but my opponent wasn't too familiar with the consequences of tight formation and issuing the same movements. When someone is moving in tight formation ALWAYS get them to measure out the moves. If you're planning on running a tight formation, those articles are essential.
I won 2 games and lost 1, but the loss doesn't put me off the Engage Build. I've got a few tricks in mind for future games. What I'm seeing a my local store is a very varied mix of lists, and a lot of crazy and fun tactics. I also haven't seen another Engage Build pop up yet- maybe it won't!

There's a crazy combo that came up in my discussion with the Tournament Organizer. It involves the following:

Flagship that allows elite Talent, original Weyoun and Conditional Surrender, with a crew member.

From my understanding, you discard the crew member to pop conditional surrender, and then use Weyoun to keep your crew member from being discarded. If it hasn't already been FAQ'd, I anticipate that Conditional Surrender will have a condition placed on it that the crew member must actually be removed from the ship before it works. Something like- Conditional Surrender checks to see if the crew member has been actually removed from the ship prior to activating. I don't think it's a game breaking combo, but it certainly is weird enough that I'd like a FAQ saying that it can't be done. The potential for abuse is not particularly bad at this point, but I don't like what it could potentially do on the Dominion Cruiser coming out, or even the potential for it making a Borg Cube invincible.

So those are my thoughts post-OP5. OP5 itself was not a very good scenario, as it just involved turtle speed play to make sure that you could wipe out the OWPs. Not very exciting or interesting.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Lojur and Rand- Review!

Today I'll look at the remaining crew cards- Janice Rand and Lojur.

Lojur (Federation/USS Excelsior Expansion) 
When your ship fires a [Secondary Weapon] Upgrade that requires you to disable it, you may disable Lojur instead of that [Secondary Weapon] Upgrade.
Cost: 2

Lojur is very straight forward, and provides a decent benefit without having to discard. He doesn't take up an action which is great. You've got to look at Lojur as a 2 point add-on for the benefit of getting to shoot torpedoes in consecutive turns, without having to take Picard/Dukat/Martok shenanigans. That's what Lojur is essentially doing. Is Lojur worth 2 points? Yes. I think this ability is perfectly costed. Whether you think Lojur is REALLY good is dependent upon whether you think Torpedoes are a good investment. That ultimately depends on what kind of force suits your play style. I've seen people wreck face with Torpedoes, and I've seen Torpedoes do very little. There are a number of other secondary weapons that would benefit from Lojur's ability, so it'll really depend on your list, and if you're finding your secondaries are not going the distance quickly enough. 

Moving on, we'll take a look at Janice Rand:

Janice Rand (Federation/USS Excelsior Expansion) 
After your ship moves, discard Rand to allow your Captain to perform the Action on one of his [Elite Talent] Upgrades as a free Action this round.
Cost: 2

Well HELLO JANICE! That ability only costs 2 points. There are a number of great abilities that can be used with Janice Rand. Interestingly enough, Engage doesn't really get that much better with Janice. Engage has to be built around to work effectively, and I don't think Rand brings a whole lot to that build... you may get an extra battlestations from Picard, but I actually think Janice Rand works really well with the Klingon offensive upgrades. You get to make those big attacks punch really well with Rand. At that point, you're looking at a 3 point upgrade instead of a 2 point upgrade, so it's really up to your build and whether it really needs a boost to the elite talent. I could see this working best on builds that have a really tight action economy. On Donatra's ship in a Klingon Attack Build, this really could be great (since Martok is going to give his action to Gowron etc.,)

These are low cost upgrades that do one thing really well. The game doesn't have enough of these kinds of cards. Attack Wing is sometimes a game of inches, and these cards definitely help get every inch out of your upgrades. They are not auto includes by any stretch of the imagination, but for 2 points, should definitely be considered in builds with Elite Talents and Secondary Weapons.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Feint and Valtane- Review!

Weird... very weird...

I'm Back!

Well, I'm going on Vacation next week, so I'm not back for long. Work has been insane. It doesn't help that I've started back into painting up a Warhammer army, so there's less time for Attack Wing than there used to be, but that doesn't mean that I can't drop an article a few times a week to review the sets. So without further ado, more excelsior!

Feint (Federation/USS Excelsior Expansion)
Action: Discard this Upgrade to target a ship at Range 2-3. If you attack that ship this round, it rolls 2 less defense dice.
Cost: 4

Feint isn't bad. It takes up an Elite Talent Slot, which I've always considered a very important slot, especially with things like Engage floating around. If you have access to an Elite Talent Slot, you should probably make use of it, but it tends to make your Captain cost 10+ points. If your build is looking for a lot of options (a two ship build looking for versatility in the ship), you should add in an Elite Talent. 

At any rate, what does Feint do? It causes a ship at range 2-3 to roll 2 less defense dice against an attack. You have to discard the upgrade, so it's a one time use thing. Range 2-3 is not bad, but you won't get the benefit of the +1 attack dice at range 1. In fact, your opponent will get the +1 defense dice at range 3, so there's a sweet spot of effectiveness on Feint, and it's range 2. For 4 points, and one time use, you really want to be at Range 2 when you take this action. That definitely limits its usefulness. 

This is a card that screams out for min-maxing. Generally, you don't want to take a 3 attack ship and use something like Feint. There isn't going to be enough oomph on the attack roll to make 4 points and a discard AND an action a very worthwhile investment. It can definitely be a "kill card", but it's a pretty expensive kill card. I don't think that Feint is going to attract a lot of heat though, so you can be pretty confident that if you put Feint on a decently sized vessel, that it won't jump up in the target priority. 

Overall, I think feint is probably best used on a tricked out Klingon ship with a lot of buffs, OR on a ship that has Quantum Torpedoes- but you're going to need a lot of planning to make something like this work. You'll need to probably have either Dukat or Picard on the ship so that you can Target lock in the same turn (or battlestations if you target locked the turn before). 

While the two aren't really comparable, I still think Engage is a much better card than this one, and is my number one Elite Talent. This doesn't really come close. 

Dimitri Valtane (Federation/USS Excelsior Expansion) 
If your ship has a [Sensor] Token beside it when you attack, you may re-roll up to 2 of your attack dice.
Cost: 3

Moving on, I'll also review Valtane today. This guy is like a mini-Spock, and is definitely the scan card that you want to cross faction (if your cross faction ship has scan) OR if you are already using Spock in the build OR if you're DYING for two points elsewhere. I think Spock is probably more bang for your buck, but I know that Valtane can be a beast when used on something like the Excelsior. That's the real kicker- the USS Excelsior was made for scanning exploits. If you're running the Excelsior without either Valtane or Spock, I think you're missing out a huge opportunity. 

Passive upgrades are, in theory, better than active upgrades. This is a passive upgrade that is very good, but you obviously need to have a ship that you intend to scan with almost every turn. The Enterprise D is a great scanning ship, as is the Excelsior. You're also going to want a very large arc, so that you can be shooting every turn. 

Both Spock and Valtane are fantastic offensive upgrades that turn your ship into a powerhouse in a way that usually gets under the radar. Most people see ships equipped with Torpedoes, and other offensive upgrades and think that they need to go asap- people tend to put scanning ships lower on the heat meter, and target them less. They think that 3-4 attacks aren't going to be that bad- but Scan is fantastic, and Spock and Valtane make those attacks VERY punishing. 

I'll try to post up something soon to finish the review!