Friday, January 8, 2016

Tactical Discussion - Accuracy, Defense Tokens, and Upgrades

I got the idea for this article from this post on the FFG Forums.  Which brings up a good point - how does one prioritize defense token negation through accuracy tokens, not to mention upgrade related cards such as Electronic Countermeasures or Intel Officer.

Let's look at a few examples and some basic rules that we will want to follow when shooting at an enemy ship:




Defense Tokens:

At the moment, when shooting at ships we have four different defense tokens to concern ourselves with, not counting one extra that only deals with squadron defense (scatter).  Let's look at the four ship ones for now, and see what priority we want to assign each:

Brace - Reducing the amount of damage the attack deals by 1/2 (rounded up).  This is a big upgrade for big damage shots - anything above 3 damage will have it removing 2 damage or more from the attack.  The bigger the shot, the better Brace is in preventing damage.  All of the Medium and Large ships as of Wave 2 have access to a single Brace token, as do both of the Imperial Small ships.  For the Rebels, the MC30c and CR90 do not have access to the token, while the Nebulon B has redundant tokens.  Of all the upgrades, Heavy Turbolaser Turrets are an indirect counter to Brace tokens, requiring you to use no other tokens if you want to use Brace at its fullest power.

Evade - At long range, it cancels one dice, and at medium range, it causes one dice to be re-rolled.  This can save you from a double hit Red at long range, or reroll damage at medium range hoping for a miss (odds say it is the same average damage removed if you reroll Red or Blue hits, though Red has the chance of backfiring into a double hit (1/8) but has more misses (3/8).)  Mon Mothma makes this medium for evades, and short range / squadron shots for rerolls.  This is better against low dice count shots, as you can prevent most, if not all, of the damage done.  All rebel ships save the MC80 have Evade, with the MC30 and CR90 having redundant evades.  Of the Imperial ships, the Raider has redundant evades, the Gladiator has just one, and the Victory or Imperial cannot have one without Needa as an officer upgrade.  

Redirect - This defense token lets you move damage to one adjacent hull zone that has shields remaining.  This doesn't actually prevent any damage, but moves it onto a type of damage that is easier to repair (2 engineering points vs 3 to repair shields vs damage cards) and cannot suffer standard critical effects.  Plus, as you are destroyed when you have damage cards equal to your hull, using all your shields to take damage gives you an effective boost to your total health - so long as the zone you take shields from isn't one that is about to be attacked.  Of all the ships, only two do not have at least one redirect token - the Nebulon B and Raider.  Redundant Redirects are present on the Imperial, Victory, and MC80.  XI7 Turbolasers directly affect Redirect, reducing the amount that can be redirected with each token use to 1.

Contain - This defense token doesn't do anything to damage directly, instead it prevents the standard critical effect from being used.  Not a terrible token if you are in a situation where you are likely to take damage to your hull - the MC80 and ISD both have this token, but no other ships do.

Accuracy Token Blocking:


There are three things you should look for when prioritizing accuracy results to block tokens, in the following order:

1)  How can I maximize the number of points I get for this shot?  This in turn encompasses two points:  "Can I destroy the enemy ship?" and "Can I get any special rule points for this shot?"  For example, if you are unable to destroy a ship no matter what token is blocked - can you block the Contain token to get a critical across for Precision Strikes?  On the other side, is there a specific defense token that blocked will let you destroy the ship?

2) How can I destroy this ship in future attacks?  Does the opponent have a Red token?  Often you can feel free to let them use it - best case scenario you don't see it again when you take more shots at that ship.  Worst case they don't use it, and it is like you blocked it anyways.  On the other hand, if blocking that specific token will set them up to be destroyed by the next activation, you may as well block that token anyway.  Basically, the more damage they have left when all is said and done, the more you want to get rid of their tokens instead of dealing damage directly to hull.

3) How can I maximize my damage to this ship in this specific attack?  All other things being equal, this is a game about doing damage to the enemy.  I like to mentally consider hull to be worth 3 points, shields to be worth 2, and face up damage to be worth a potential 4 (since I don't know exactly how nasty the flip will be).  With this in mind, Contain will only ever be worth 1 point (4 vs 3) so it goes lowest on the totem pole unless I am getting some other sort of victory token for it.

For non-contain tokens, it depends on the amount of damage being dealt, the range of the engagement, and whether a critical effect is going to take place.

It is unfortunately just about impossible to make a chart of all the range, token, and hull vs shield possibilities.   Instead, let us look at some examples and you can figure out the optimum accuracy placement:

Example 1:  Firing from long range at an AFII with one of each token:  Brace, Redirect, Evade.  Four Red dice land Hit/Hit, Blank, Crit, Accuracy.  The ship has full shields and hull.  Which token do you block with the one accuracy result?  (Answer at the bottom)

Example 2:  Firing from short range at a GSD, with one of each token:  Brace (Red), Redirect (Red), Evade (Green).  It has 1 shield in this hull zone, and 3 in the neighboring hull zone, and 2 hull remaining.  4 Red and 1 Blue dice land Hit/Hit, Hit, Hit, Hit, Accuracy.  What should you use for the accuracy result?

Example 3:  Duel with an ISD vs your MC80.  ISD has four tokens - Redirect (Red), Redirect (Green), Brace (Red), Contain (Green).  10 hull remain, and the ship has 2 shields in your zone, and 3 in the highest adjacent zone.  Your roll is for 10 damage with 2 accuracy and a critical result.  Precision Strike is the objective.  What is your plan of attack?

Example 4:  Same as Example 3, but you only got 1 accuracy result.

Upgrades:

Electronic Countermeasures are the big defensive upgrade for ensuring that one of your accuracy results don't matter on one big hit each round.  Essentially, there is little that you can do about this upgrade other than making sure it is used so that it cannot be on later attacks.  There is no reason at all to change up your accuracy plan because of ECM.

Intel Officer functions as a pseudo-accuracy, allowing you to pick one of the defenders tokens and tell them they must discard that token if they spend it on this attack.  Again, like accuracy results, this is usually best being put on the token that will prevent the most damage, to convince your opponent not to use it, or on a green token if the opponent has redundancy and the other is Red.

XI7 and Heavy Turbolasers were discussed on Wednesday in Wave 2 Turbolasers - if you don't want to read the article, XI7s are better against low hull targets and low dice counts, while Heavy Turbolasers are better against Medium and Large targets, and when you throw a lot of (low accuracy) dice.  In terms of prioritizing tokens, XI7s let you essentially ignore redirects with your accuracy results, which you will likely be doing anyway.  Heavy Turbolasers let you ignore accuracy results completely, in favor of SW-7 Ions or rerolls for example, confident that your opponent cannot burn a any other token if he wants his Brace to be useful.

Advanced Projectors give a lot of utility to your redirects - putting shields off to a side that won't be attacked is pretty much an extra point on the scale (1 to move shields, 2 to repair), meaning without XI7s on the table it can make Redirects actually worth blocking with accuracy tokens.  I loved this upgrade when it was a soft counter for XI7s, but now with the rule change, there are too many XI7 ISDs flying around my meta to even think of bringing it back out (I have only myself to blame for running Advanced Projector on every AFII).


Well, that is it for this discussion.  Got any comments to my methodology?  Post away!



Answer Sheet:


Answer 1:  Block the evade - 2 damage cancelled from the Evade is greater than a single damage reduced from the Brace.

Answer 2:  Block the redirect - without being able to move the damage onto the adjacent hull shield, 3 damage after the brace will be enough to kill him.

Answer 3:  First, the ship has a damage card on it, so spend a hit to flip a card - 15 points.  Block both the Brace and Contain to get 4 damage through the shields, and another face up card - 15 more points.

Answer 4:  Again, spend a hit to flip a card - 15 points.  Block the Green Redirect - your opponent will have to chose to burn their Brace and other Redirect to keep more damage off of his hull.  You are unlikely to pick up any more points, but you've set yourself up well for the next round of firing.

6 comments:

  1. Example 2:
    Firing from short range at a GSD, with one of each token: Brace (Red), Redirect (Red), Evade (Green). It has 1 shield in this hull zone, and 2 in the neighboring hull zone, and 2 hull remaining. 3 Red and 1 Blue dice land Hit/Hit, Hit, Hit, Accuracy. What should you use for the accuracy result?
    .....
    That's four damage and an accuracy - if you acc his brace, then opponent has to burn his redirect (and deplete all shields) and you still get one damage through - if he doesn't redirect then that's three damage through and no more gladiator...

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    Replies
    1. ... and if you acc the redirect then opponent can brace damage down to two - which removes last facing shield and one hull, leaves one hull remaining.

      Delete
  2. Great stuff - really useful!

    Warburton

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