Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Counter Attack: Threat 101

The Enterprise... Counter Attacking. Pretty simple really.

Okay, let's keep the ball rolling on Pilot Talents from the base set. Counter Attack is the only other talent available for those of you who purchased the base set only, so let's review shall we?

Counter Attack
Action: If you ship's Shields or Hull are damaged by a ship in your forward firing arc this round, you may immediately make 1 free attack against that ship. You may not make this attack if your ship is destroyed. 3pts

So, like my review of Riker, I have to remind you that you only get one free attack, and do not get to attack every ship that hits you from the front. This diminishes the power of the attack, but it's still an effective card and has a place in certain builds. 

Counter Attack takes up an action, so don't stack it on a ship that already has multiple things that it needs to do per turn. For example- sticking it on an Enterprise D with Picard and Sulu and Spock is throwing away points. Don't throw away your points people. 

Counter Attack goes directly to the heart of the threat concept. Suppose your one ship build is facing down two ships. Both ships are equal except that ship two has the ability to destroy your ship this turn, and the other ship doesn't. Obviously, your best bet is to target the more threatening ship. This is the most basic threat analysis you can do. There are dozens of competing factors in Attack Wing for threat- next turn will the other player be able to get a good arc on me with that ship... that ship only has one hull point left but has 5 attacks available this turn... etc., Generally, you want to attack the most threatening ship with your most effective attacks, to either cripple the ship, or outright destroy it before it gets to deploy its threat. Typically, this involves combined fire- your 5 attack dice may be effective, but 15 will be better, so you gang up on one ship, destroying it and removing a large chunk of your opponent's points. 

In a game of attack wing, destroying 1 ship/turn is a lot better than spreading out your attacks. 

Counter Attack lets you disrupt the typical metrics. If you only use one Counter Attack, you're trying to force your opponent to either accept the consequences of their attack OR are trying to deflect the threat off your own ship. This will cause your opponent to make a decision- and decisions are where your opponent can go wrong. The more decisions a player has to make, the more likely they will make a wrong decision. This is why I typically build towards fewer decision on my end- but fewer decisions often means predictable builds- which can not only get boring, but can telegraph your intentions. 

Counter Attack is a card that let's you throw the ball in your opponent's court. Put it on your best ship, and watch them try to crunch the decision in their head. 

Better yet, take three ships with three decent captains and use counter attack on each ship. You'll get 1-3 extra attacks per turn. It's beardy but effective in the right build. 

If you're using Counter Attack, you won't be cloaking on most ships. You should build towards this, and I think counter attack works well on ships with two base agility.


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  2. You didn't mention the coolest combo for Counter Attack: the Kraxon! With 4 attack dice and a 180 degree firing arc there's pretty much nothing your opponent can do to avoid the attack and it'll probably hurt.

    Since you'll be making 2 attacks it works best with upgrades/actions that are constant. [Kraxon, Picard, Counter Attack, Spock] could be an interesting combo (expensive though). Breen Aide would be a much cheaper, if slightly less effective, alternative to Spock.

    One other note: as per the FAQ at BGG you can use secondary weapons with counter attack. Probably some interesting possibilities there eventually. Forward Weapons Grid is the only one I can see with the current secondary weapons. Put 1 attack die on the ship that triggered the counter attack and then you can put the other 4 on any ship in your firing arc.

  3. Generally, I haven't been mentioning cards I haven't spoken about- mainly because if I start doing that, I'll run out of potential articles quickly! The Kraxon is a ship that is under rated I think.

  4. I had this card on one of my Romulan ships at the event I played yesterday. While I think it can be situationally useful, it ended up being wasted in OP2 because cloaking and sensor echoing proved much more valuable. In a game where you've much more room to maneuver I'm sure I would have used it a lot more.

  5. You've pretty much got to build around Counter Attack- it has to be on a very threatening ship, or you have to have it on all ships. It requires a lot of consideration before you can put it into a list.

  6. The Jem'Hadar battleship is likely to show up in two-ship fleets, especially if your play environment is using the Strike Force orders card. Packing Counter Attack on both of them is a very likely build - eating 6 dice in exchange for scratching the paint on one of those behemoths is a painful prospect.

    And yes, the Kraxon is amazing with Counter Attack, and even better if you make it a Flagship when using your resource slot (the correct choice of which can add attack, shield, and potentially even an elite talent to the ship).