Vorpal Sword said:
On the topic of Expose, you say it isn't getting enough attention for how good it is, and I disagree: it's getting way more attention than it merits, given how bad it is. In most cases, it has a smaller offensive benefit than Focus--and Focus doesn't inflate your point value or cripple your defense. It's only valuable in a list where the ship running it can gain an extra action, and even then you need to keep a careful eye on how you're going to minimize the defensive risk.
I agree on expose - if a ship has to chose between expose and focus or target lock, its generally at least equal odds, if not better odds, to take the focus. There are exceptions to this: 1 attack die - you would be better to expose for 2 AD than to focus 1 AD. 3 and 4 Attack Dice w/ target Lock OR focus is slightly better than 2 and 3 attack dice with target lock and focus.
If you can find a way to stack extra actions on a ship with expose, especially both target lock and focus on a ship, expose is worth a look. This means that without squad leader or another benefit, on the ship with expose, you're better just taking the focus. Lets look at the situations where we can stack extra actions:
In rebels, you're rather limited in what you can take Expose on - you've got Luke, Wedge, Chewie, Lando, Han, Green Squadron, and Tycho. Squad leader is the most obvious way to stack the extra action, but that won't work on Wedge and Han, and you can pretty much leave out Lando as well due to point concerns. You probably don't want to put expose on Luke, either, since his pilot ability works on Green Dice and you really don't want to decrease those. Lando and Tycho can't benefit from Garvin's focus offensively and you don't have many options to get them benefits from squad leader and still work in another buff, so I wouldn't recommend expose on either of them either. That pretty much leaves us with Chewie and the Green Squadron.
Lando w/ Squad Leader, or Dutch and Garvin can give target lock and focus to a Green Squadron w/ Expose. This is a pretty good increase in firepower at range 2 and 3 over a stock A-Wing, but you'll still manage more hits buying a Concussion Missile. At range one you only need to stack expose with a target lock or a focus to get an increase in firepower but you have to keep Lando in Range 2 or have Dutch or Garvin within range 2. You'll have to watch out for the low Pilot Skill, as the Green Squadron can end up taking quite a bit of fire before it actually gets to shoot.
Much like a Green Squadron, Lando w/ Squad Leader, or Dutch and Garvin can give target lock and focus to a Chewie w/ Expose. At range 2 and 3, you get a minimal increase in firepower with expose + target lock (as opposed to target lock and focus) to the point where 0 defense dice isn't worth it. You'll get a much larger increase in damage with expose + target lock and focus, but you still get 0 defense dice. Additonally, there isn't much room left in the list for upgrades either way you go, and chewie with a gunner may be a better option than chewie with expose (with expose, you may squeeze 1 damage in, whereas with a gunner, the first shot may miss and the second shot may land multiple hits now that their defense is removed).
In imperial, you've got extra options for expose (Black Squadron, Sabre Squadron, Mauler, Boba, Kath, Vader, Maarek, Soontir, and Turr). Howlrunner gives a semi target lock to friendly ships and can be given squad leader to stack the extra action without having to bring other ships to do the buffing in the squad. Without Howlrunner around, you really don't pick up much (a few tenths of a perctage in expected hits) in imperials with Expose as you can't stack both target lock and focus on anything but the Firespray and the Tie Advanced. Then, you have the same problems with PS 9, so I think we can rule out Boba and Soontir from really wanting expose. Maarek would prefer marksman ship to try to trigger his pilot skill, so he is out. The Black Squadron isn't really worth it IMO, as for 18 points you can just bring an interceptor, though you do pick up some pilot skill with the Black Squadron. Sabre Squadron w/ Expose has promise, though you're still at PS 4, but for fewer points you can bring Mauler who is even higher pilot skill and might kill his target before it gets to shoot back. So, the interesting options are Mauler, Vader, Kath, and Turr.
Turr is probably the most obvious place for expose - if you can't benfit from Squad leader you're still better to Focus with Turr, but if you can get the focus from squad leader, you can expose and either destory your target or potentially barrell roll out of their arc. Howrunner helps Turr even more, but being able to shoot so early and move out of arcs is really in favor of Turr w/ Expose. Just watch out for 360 arcs as you're looking at a 29 point Turr…
Vader gets two actions, so he can target lock and expose, and he gets to fire first almost all the time, so if you can kill your target before it gets to shoot back expose can be an OK choice. As long as Vader isn't in the line of fire from multiple enemy ships, Expose isn't a bad choice here, but it still bumps him up to 33 points for a small increase in offensive firepower and a pretty big decrease in survivability. I'd say, use with caution.
Expose gives Mauler interceptor firepower for the same points as as a Sabre squadron. You'll lose out on the boost action, but you do get the higher pilot skill. Not a terrible choice, but Mauler only has 3 hull and he can't get out of danger as easily as Turr. If you're considering an Alpha squadron and already have Howl Runner w/ Squad leader floating around, I'd be tempted to go with Mauler w/ Expose instead.
You'll probably be firing the heavy laser every turn when you're not in range one, but you would have the option to fire 5 dice at range one with Howlrunner giving a reroll. The problem is, once you drop Expose on Kath you're pretty much limited to a 4 ship list, and 3 of those ships will be ties. I'm not sure how competitive that is in the long run…