Monday, March 5, 2018

Wave 7 Upgrades - Grand Admiral Thrawn

What ship wouldn't want to make 2 commands?  Today, we'll look at one of the two newest commanders for Wave 7 and the best character to come out of the Expanded Universe.  Ladies and Gentlemen... Grand Admiral Thrawn!

Grand Admiral Thrawn - 32 points

After deploying fleets, place 3 facedown command dials on this card.  At the start of each Ship Phase, you may reveal and discard 1 of those dials.  If you do, until the end of the round, before each friendly ship activates, it gains 1 additional dial matching the discarded dial.

So, who wants multiple commands?  You only get to use this ability 3 times, but honestly, you're probably only going to be needing to make multiple commands for 3 rounds of the 6 anyways.  Also, what commands would be best to double up on?  On the surface this looks like an incredible ability, but it quickly becomes difficult to not only plan what bonus commands you will want to use, but also when they will be most useful.

A quick refresher on the commands, and how useful they are:

Concentrate Fire - Add one die of any color already in your attack pool.  An add damage effect is welcome.  Gets better the more ships area able to attack.  Many small ships benefit the most.

Engineering - Gives you your Engineering Value worth of Engineering Points.  The more Engineering Value, the better the result.  Doesn't do much good if you've not been attacked yet, unless you have projections experts.  "Larger" ships benefit the most.

Navigate - Change speed by 1, add one additional yaw.  This should be the default command if you have nothing better to do.  Good all the time.  Good with any ship.  Some ships builds more or less require it.

Squadron - Activate your Squadron Value worth of squadrons.  Alternatively, utilize a boarding team of some sort.  More beneficial the more Squadron Value you have (or if you have a boarding team equipped).

The most obvious answer for using Thrawn is to make him the Navigate commander.  Dial in whatever you ships want to do (Concentrate Fire / Squadron) and pop Thrawn on turns where you will need to change speed and have something better to be doing.  This lets you build a balanced list (not everyone wanting to Concentrate Fire or Squadron Command) where ships are free to make an "offensive" command during skirmish or engagement without worrying about losing out on positioning.

Alternatively, if you've ever run one of me and Shmitty's old Garm Projection tank lists, you can see how you could tailor this to Thrawn.  Your heavy hitter gets Engineering, your Inter-doctor gets Engineering to move shields over to your heavy, your Repair Crews Gozanti gets engineering to heal hull damage.  Let's face it, you only really need 3 rounds of Engineering to the Max anyway.

Now, onto something a little bit rule lawyer-ish:

Thrawn's ability states that at the "start of each ship phase you (as in the ship he is on) may reveal and discard one of those (command) dials" and then "before each friendly ship activates, it gains 1 additional dial matching the discarded dial."

So, what does this mean?  It means you can't turn the Thrawn bonus dial into a token.  "When a ship's dial is revealed, that dial can be spent to assign the corresponding command token to that ship."  Because the bonus dial is gained and not revealed, it cannot be turned into a token.


Thrawn does cause a dial to be revealed by his flagship at the start of the ship phase.  It bypasses all the other part of a ship activation, and is discarded without a chance to do anything else with that revealed dial.  But, anything that triggers on a revealed command would still trigger at that time.

Commandant Aresko - If he's not on Thrawn's flagship but nearby, he can be used to grab a token.
Director Isard - If she is on the flagship, she can look at an enemy ship's command dials, then look again on the flagship's activation.
Taskmaster Grint - If Thrawn reveals the command matching your token, you gain the appropriate token.
Skilled First Officer - Can technically be triggered at this time to discard the top card of your assigned Command Dials, but has no effect on the Thrawn dial.  Maybe useful if you're worried he is going to be discarded by a Vader (boarding team) but mostly an academic thought.
Veteran Captain - Much the same as Skilled First Officer.  You can trigger him here to gain a command token.  Might be useful to do to give yourself a token just in time to use it with a Fleet Command.
Defense / Weapons Liaisons - You can discard a command token to change your dial to the commands shown in their card.  Hey, even Thrawn makes mistakes.
Wing Commander, etc - You can change your dial to the associated command instead.

**Dual Turbolaser Turrets Addendum** - It is possible that all upgrade cards work like Dual Turbolaser Turrets, in that the entire effect must be performed before other cards may be used.  (Though DTT merely states that other dice modification effects cannot be used, not no effects at all.)  If so the Liaisons and Wing Commander type cards will not function at all, as by the time you are able to trigger then, the dial will already have been discarded.

Check with your Marshall before you try to Liaison / Wing Commander a Thrawn Dial.

Now, I know what you're thinking here:  "You don't reveal a command with Thrawn, you're revealing a command dial!"  Well, there is no distinction to revealing a Command vs a Command Dial.  The actual step in the rules reference is titled:  "Reveal Command Dial"  Rules as written, Thrawn works with these upgrades in this way.

Honestly though, these interactions are far from gamebreaking.  They are more interesting than anything else.

**Crew Panic Addendum** - Before you reveal a command dial, you must either suffer 1 damage or discard that dial.  If you discard it, do not reveal a dial this round.
Rules as written allows you to do the following:

1) Declare your intent to reveal a Thrawn dial.
1a) Discard that dial without revealing it.
1b) Later that turn, activate Thrawn's flagship.
1c) You are not allowed to reveal a command dial during the reveal command dial step.  You also do not discard any dials at this time (as you couldn't reveal one to begin with)
1d) You end your activation without having used any dials from your stack.  It is possible in this way that you will not add any new command dials during the Command Phase next turn.

Whoops, Errata cleared this up as of 4/7/18.


  1. Doesn't crew panic effect the ship itself, not any upgrades that may be on it?

    1. Yes, Crew Panic affects the ship, but Thrawn also does. The "you" in Thrawn refers to the ship itself, so the flagship is what is revealing the dial.

  2. *pssssst* I'd just edit that whole last section out if I were not sow confusion.

    1. Remind me to do that when it's no longer rules as written. I COULD always write how using Thrawn straight up breaks your list, if you'd like.