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Rythbryt

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  1. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from etims in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Our in-depth look at campaign heroes begins with Gaarkhan (Core Set). If you missed our general discussion of Gaarkhan's traits and abilities, you can find that here. This time, we'll take an in-depth look at the first of many possible Gaarkhan builds, which I've nicknamed...
    "The Brawler"

    The Big Picture. The game-plan of this build is beautifully simplistic: Gaarkhan “charges” every activation, bashing into as many hostile figures as possible and dealing as many of them as possible as much damage as possible. Since he’s (literally) charging head-first into the rat’s nest (ok, maybe not completely literally), he expects to get damaged a lot, and probably wounded (especially if your IP is more like a dungeon-master than another competitor, with stormtroopers who act realistically [“There’s a wookiee right on top of us!”] instead of making… rational gameplay decisions).
     
    Core Xp strategy: if we expect to be wounded, “Unstoppable” is a complete no-brainer. If the IP leaves Gaarkhan alone and healthy, he has the Endurance to trigger “Charge” with its insane five space range (perpetually without resting, if we run with a weapon designed to net us a couple extra surges each round for Recover). And if the IP targets us, we still have good endurance and speed while wounded, plus a static +2D bonus. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right? Since “Charge” is an essential part of our play strategy, “Rampage” is an obvious include, too (more damage). So is “Brutal Cleave” (What’s better than spending a single activation to rush 5 spaces, deal splash damage to a bunch of bucketheads, attack them, and have a second action left for a follow-up attack? How about a third attack?). That’s a core of three skills for 11 xp, which we should be able to get even if the Rebels tank the campaign.
    Xp perks: If we have xp left over, there are some additional skills we could consider. In most campaigns the Rebels can get to 12xp, and for 1 xp “Wookie Fortitude” gives us a cheap option to remove a Stun or Bleed if we want a full, unimpeded activation (to “Charge,” of course) or to recover some extra damage on the back-end. If we manage to land 13 xp, “Ferocity” might be attractive, especially if the IP does focus-fire Gaarkhan (or if we have another ally like Diala or Gideon who can Focus us). And if we somehow end up with a whopping 14xp (not likely, but it can happen), we could either grab both of these or lock-in the option to get +1D for a strain through “Vicious Strike.” Whether or not we have the +2D from “Unstoppable,” the option to add +1D on a dime may mean the difference between a target living or dying, applying or not applying a keyword, etc.
    Weapon choice: Speaking of keywords, to inflict maximum damage we probably want a weapon with Cleave, either natively or through the addition of the Weighted Head mod (once we get access to Tier II). Decent surge chance would be nice in the abstract (especially since we’re planning to spend 2 strain each activation to “Charge,” and eventually at least one more to “Brutal Cleave”), although it’s probably more important to make sure our dice pool will deal the 1D+ past defense dice that we need to trigger Cleave in the first place. We should probably consider the Balanced Hilt on weapons with a native Cleave ability (or with two mod slots) to help the Cleave fire more consistently, especially if our weapon is rolling one (or more) Red. And it would also be nice to have Reach or the ability to Pierce without spending surges, although those may end up being luxuries we can’t afford.
    Item choice: This will depend on just how much we spend on our weapon. But if we can find a relatively cheap weapon (1000-1200 credits), we could end up with 300-400 credits to spend on other accessories. If strain management is an issue (because our weapon doesn’t roll enough surges to consistently Recover, the IP is running a strain-focused imperial class deck, etc), we might look for items that either buff our Endurance or remove strain (either completely or allow us to shuffle it elsewhere). If not, items that buff our weapon’s damage--and especially our weapon’s surge procs--would be fantastic buys, especially if we have multiple surge abilities for Cleave (and especially if we also have Reach). Items that allow us to do additional unblockable damage to another target (or two) without depleting or spending an action (or to obtain items like that) could also be valuable in this build if they’re not too cost prohibitive.
    So with those broad brush strokes in place, time to dive into the nitty-gritty!
     
    Early Campaign (0-3xp, Tier I Gear, ~600 Credits)
     
    Mid-Campaign (4-8xp, Tier I & II Gear, ~1200 Credits)
     
     
    Late Campaign (9-12xp, Tier I, II, & III Gear, ~1600 Credits)
     
    Well, that's a wrap on our first Gaarkhan archetype, "the Brawler." Have you played Gaarkhan as an in-your-face, no-holds barred melee menace? Did you opt for Cleave, or did you go with some other combat goal? What weapons did you like (or discover you didn't)? If you've got something to share, join the conversation and build the communal knowledge! And if you've got a Gaarkhan build you'd like us to math, let us know!
     
    Other entries in this series:
     
    Gaarkhan: The Basics (11/3/2017) Gaarkhan: "The Brawler" (11/4/2017) [Rampage, Unstoppable, Brutal Cleave, Wookiee Fortitude]  
     
    Additional Resources:
     
     
  2. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from AphraFanBoy in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   Part the Second: "Battle Tactics 0.1" (in which we examine how our heroes' much-maligned melee weapons perform in actual combat... and are mostly less than impressed) Topics discussed: Melee Starter Weapons, Expected Damage, Expected Damage vs. 1 Black die, Expected Damage vs. 1 Black die,  Luke Skywalker: Hero of the Rebellion, Saber Strike   In this discussion, we'll be focusing primarily on how defense dice interact with our heroes' melee starter weapons, and in particular, how they affect the probability that an attack will deal damage to the target (we'll leave discussion of how these dice affect the application of conditions, like stun, and advanced combat effects, like Cleave, for a later discussion). The answer, as you might expect, is that defense dice affect these probabilities a fair bit. Bullet-point highlights below: Different weapons, dice pools, and surge abilities have preferred defense die targets. Surge-dependent weapons like black defense dice, not white defense dice; weapons with Pierce really like black defense dice; and the Dodge forces itself into every white die's probability. The introduction of just a single defense die can dramatically reduce the probability that an attack will be effective and damaging the target. Once defense dice are introduced into the equation, our starting melee weapons--which were fairly clustered in terms of average and expected raw damage--actually have a clear pecking order. A surprising weapon forces its way into the "best-in-class" conversation, while an early favorite lags behind. Plus, our first IA Skirmish case study! If any of  that piqued your interest, you'll find the details below. Otherwise, thanks for dropping in!   For those of you who are still left (...anybody?), on with the show!    A [skirmish] Case Study   In our last discussion, we ended by talking about an at-least damage chart, which shows us the likelihood that a particular dice pool will produce at least a particular event. While it can be fun to see how often we'll attain a particular result, more often we're more concerned with how likely we are to cross a particular goal or threshold. That sort of knowledge helps us to apply the general things we've been learning about a weapon to a myriad of practical situations and scenarios. After all, IA is a tactical game, and nowhere is that more evident than during a campaign mission, where there are specific objectives that have to be met, obstacles that have to be overcome, and (usually) the drumbeat of inevitability pounding ever closer.    Anyone who's played an IA campaign before knows there are... circumstances... where meeting--or falling short of--that benchmark can make all the difference. You know, that one time... where you had to do that one thing... at that one particular moment in time... and you didn't quite make it? I sure do.   Since we're trying to avoid spoilers, we'll illustrate this point with our very first skirmish example! Suppose you're playing that wonderful 4-player free-for-all on the Hoth Battlefield map, and it's your last activation before the end of round. At the start of the round, your Rebel opponent smugly plugged the Terminal Network with R2-D2, and will gain enough victory points at the end of your activation to secure the victory. But you can snag victory from the jaws of defeat if your Rebel force can defeat a Royal Guard who's been limping around for two rounds. Looking to your own Rebel force, Luke (Hero of the Rebellion) is your only figure who is left to activate. The Royal Guard has sustained 5 damage, meaning you need 3 damage to defeat him.  The Royal Guard is also 2 spaces away from Luke, meaning Luke is close enough to perform either his default ranged attack (YGB), or his special Saber Strike melee attack (RY, automatic Pierce 3), but he can only perform one. Which gives him the best odds at succeeding?   Well, plugging in Luke's attack data into one of our trusty combat calculators, we can not only find out the answer, but also display our options using a highly-informative "at least" damage graph:   If this type of chart is new to you, you'll find a basic walk-through at the end of our last discussion, here. Suffice it to say, we'll be using these types of charts a lot.   While Luke's ranged attack has more dice, Saber Strike has a significantly better chance of dealing the 3+ damage we need past the Royal Guard's black defense die (94% vs. 78%) thanks, in large part, to its automatic Pierce 3. And when we apply this data to Luke's damage floor, we see why: Luke's worst possible damage result, given his Red-Yellow damage pool, his surge abilities, and the special bonus from Saber Strike, is 2 damage with a Pierce 3 (both the red and yellow dice roll only a single damage result). The Pierce 3 means that any result other than snake eyes on our two dice will negate 5/6 of the black dice results. Conversely, so long as we score at least 2 damage on the red die (5/6, ~83%) and at least 1 damage or two surges on the yellow die (4/6, ~67%), we'll safely escape the lone Evade result on the black die (the only result that renders Pierce 3 ineffectual). The ranged attack still has a good chance at dealing the damage we need (78%), but there are more scenarios where Luke doesn't deal the damage necessary to overwhelm the Royal Guard's blocks (up to 6 damage may be required). So Saber Strike is the simplest play.   Now, just for kicks, what if that final unit we had to defeat was not a Royal Guard, but rather a unit that rolls a white die? For simplicity's sake, we'll say it's an ISB Infiltrator (mostly because it can't Cower). The total damage we need to push through is the same (3D), but the defender is now rolling 1 white die. Is Saber Strike still the obvious answer? Well, as it turns out...     Talk about flipping the script. First, notice that the odds of dealing at least 1 damage with either attack caps out at only 83%. In fact, no matter what weapon we buy, mod we add, or how many dice we roll, our heroes will never improve on 83% as their odds of dealing damage to a defender with a white die, because that's the defender's odds of rolling that Dodge (1/6, ~17%). Second, while the Dodge caps our maximum probability against a white die, Saber Strike shows us that our damage probabilities can fall quite a bit lower than 83%. In this particular example, it's because of the multiplicity of Evades on the white die. On a white die, 3/6 faces have at least 1 Evade, and if we include the Dodge, that's a 4/6, or ~67% chance of losing an evade. Because Saber Strike has only a two-die pool, it is much more dependent on surge results to generate high damage totals than Luke's default ranged attack, which has a three-die pool. Those Evades consistently keep the damage total low, Additionally, the scant Block results on the white die means Saber Strike's Pierce 3 isn't doing nearly as much work as it did against the Royal Guard's black.   In other words, those pesky defense dice actually matter. Against a black die, the vast majority of scenarios (94%) give Luke the victory he needs with Saber Strike. He still has a pretty good chance with the ranged attack (78%), but Saber Strike is the more consistent option. The absence of the Pierce 3 on the ranged attack means Luke's damage total needs to climb with each improved defense roll, and that leaves open more scenarios for the Royal Guard to squeak past with at least 1 health remaining. Against the white die, Luke has a lower overall chance of victory no matter what attack we choose (94% vs. 83%), but given the alternatives that are available to him, this time the ranged attack is the better choice for pushing three damage through (76% vs. 48%).   Counter-Point: Expected Damage vs. Defense Dice   With that in mind, let's reconsider those melee starter weapons we discussed in so much detail last time, and compare their expected "at least" damage with no defense dice vs. their expected damage against the two most common dice pools: 1 black die and 1 white die. Here's how they fare:     Here's what we started with...     ... and here's how we fare against actual targets.   Ok... let's get in some quick big-picture takeaways before we all panic (or rub your hands in glee, if you're a sadistic IP eavesdropping on this discussion): For starters, our odds of pushing just 1 damage past either defense die with any of these weapons hovers just around 80% for most weapons (Vibro-Ax is the high, with a 91% chance of 1D+ vs. 1 Black, Plasteel Staff checks in with the law, at 78% chance of 1D+ vs. 1 Black). So that's... a silver lining, I guess? At least we can reliably push one damage past any defense die! Woot!!! Small victories, right? Also remember that we can set our expectation benchmark at whatever we want ("50%+ odds? All in!!!"). I generally set my benchmark at ~80% probability before I consider a particular outcome "reliable." That may be because I'm generally risk-adverse, although people smarter than me have suggested it's a good indicator. Either way, I think it's safe to say that this is less than we'd hoped. As a result, what we have here is a major expectations-check. That 4 damage result the Fighting Knife scores a whopping 32% of the time? Well, probabilities say we're not landing that much damage on an actual target nearly as often as that (and if we expect to, we're going to have a frustrating gameplay experience). In fact, the odds of landing damage decrease successively the more damage we attempt to add, no matter the die we're facing (at least with these weapons). The sooner we come to grips with that fact, the sooner we can see past a weapon's luster to its substance. This will become increasingly important for us to keep in mind as we branch out into more enticing (and expensive) weapons and mods. Third, although the raw damage probabilities of these four weapons were basically the same, there's a clear hierarchy that emerges once we add defense dice. The Vibro-Ax and the Fighting Knife are the clear winners (Vibro-Ax vs. Black dice, and against the white die on 4+ damage; Fighting Knife on 1-2D vs. white die). The Plasteel Staff (which was best-in-class in terms of top-end average damage) lags behind, especially against the black die where its lack of pierce and inability to climb above 4 damage are real hindrances. Fourth, while all these weapons start with lower probabilities versus the white die (remember, success against a white die is capped at 83%, because of the Dodge), the script flips for each weapon somewhere on the chart, where odds of scoring damage against the white die actually become better than the odds of scoring the same amount of damage against the black. For the Fighting Knife and Vibro-Ax, this occurs at the 2+ damage marker, and holds steady from there. The Plasteel Staff and Heirloom Dagger catch up at 3D+, suggesting that these weapons are probably more surge-dependent for damage. If they roll low (any mix of pure surges or single-damage + single-surge faces--which makes up a fair bit of their available roll pool), the white die will do a very good job of keeping the total damage dealt low. The more natural damage that is rolled, the quicker the white die falls off the pace. Fifth, bear in mind that these are the odds against a single defense die, with no modifiers. Special abilities, like a Royal Guard's Sentinel or an Officer's Cower will affect our odds of scoring damage negatively, so this is by no means the end of the analysis. But it's a good start. Finally, while these charts are helpful for knowing the individual odds of scoring damage against a given target's defense die, the heroes seldom know precisely what enemy they will face at the start of a mission (and almost never know who's coming in mid-mission, from mission prompts and open groups). Since we can't know all that hidden information when we're making weapon purchase decisions, we have some options to make an informed decision:  
    First, we can combine the average expected damage of a weapon against both black and white defense dice, and opt for the weapon that fares the best (or at least fares very well) between them. For these four weapons, that sort of combined odds chart would look something like this:
     
      While this data isn't as precise as the information in the previous two charts, it does give us an accurate impression of the levels of damage we can generally expect, no matter the type of defense die we face. Viewed in this way, Gaarkhan's Vibro-Ax does have a clear (albiet, relatively small) advantage over all the other weapons we've considered so far, with a better than 70% chance of landing 2+ damage over either defense die.   Second, we could consider making some educated assumptions about the types of defense dice we are likely to face. As a general matter, most of the units we will be facing in a campaign use a single black defense die, while whites are relatively rare: Black: *IG-88, *Kayn Somos, *General Sorin, *Dengar, *Agent Blaise, Rancor, Royal Guard, HK Assassin Droid, Wampa, E-Web Engineer, Trandoshan Hunter, Wing Guard, Snowtrooper, Stormtrooper, Jet Trooper, Tusken Raider, Gamorrean Guard, Weequay Pirate, Ugnaut Tinkerer, Probe Droid Modified Black: *Boba Fett, SC2-M Repulsor Tank, Heavy Stormtrooper Double Black: *General Weise,  AT-ST Modified Double Black: *Darth Vader White: *Greedo, ISB Infiltrators, Hired Guns, Imperial Officer Modified White: *Bossk, *The Grand Inquisitor, Nexu Mix: Royal Guard Champion None: Bantha Rider   With this in mind, it would not be unreasonable for us to opt for a weapon that performs exceptionally well against black dice, and just accept that when we inevitably face the rare white die, we'll have to make do.
     
    Third, we can choose a weapon based on a specialized group role. Some heroes have class skills (Diala's Precise Strike, Mak's Execute) perform better against certain dice types anyway, so selecting a weapon that caters to that dice type can be a legitimate tactical decision. If so, those earlier charts showing weapon performance vs. 1 black or 1 white defense die will probably be more informative.
     
    Fourth, we may just decide that the difference in effectiveness for these weapons against both types of defense dice is so minimal, that we're not going to sweat it. And that's not unreasonable here, since we're looking at relatively small percentage differences. Depending on how we like to play the game, a -6% chance to do damage against one defense die over another may not matter to us... or it might matter severely. 
     
    Looking Ahead   The above information, while certainly not all that could be said about these starter weapons (focused vs. not-focused, mod selection, class skill bonuses, etc.), provides us with some useful benchmarks for measuring and comparing these different weapons. With that knowledge in-hand, we can now turn to comparing these weapons (over which we have no selection control) with the selections available in the Item Deck, which we'll turn to next time.    Until then, here's a sneak peak of where we're headed...       Inevitable Post-Posting Edits: So far, so good...   
  3. Thanks
    Rythbryt got a reaction from AphraFanBoy in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Our in-depth look at campaign heroes begins with Gaarkhan (Core Set). If you missed our general discussion of Gaarkhan's traits and abilities, you can find that here. This time, we'll take an in-depth look at the first of many possible Gaarkhan builds, which I've nicknamed...
    "The Brawler"

    The Big Picture. The game-plan of this build is beautifully simplistic: Gaarkhan “charges” every activation, bashing into as many hostile figures as possible and dealing as many of them as possible as much damage as possible. Since he’s (literally) charging head-first into the rat’s nest (ok, maybe not completely literally), he expects to get damaged a lot, and probably wounded (especially if your IP is more like a dungeon-master than another competitor, with stormtroopers who act realistically [“There’s a wookiee right on top of us!”] instead of making… rational gameplay decisions).
     
    Core Xp strategy: if we expect to be wounded, “Unstoppable” is a complete no-brainer. If the IP leaves Gaarkhan alone and healthy, he has the Endurance to trigger “Charge” with its insane five space range (perpetually without resting, if we run with a weapon designed to net us a couple extra surges each round for Recover). And if the IP targets us, we still have good endurance and speed while wounded, plus a static +2D bonus. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right? Since “Charge” is an essential part of our play strategy, “Rampage” is an obvious include, too (more damage). So is “Brutal Cleave” (What’s better than spending a single activation to rush 5 spaces, deal splash damage to a bunch of bucketheads, attack them, and have a second action left for a follow-up attack? How about a third attack?). That’s a core of three skills for 11 xp, which we should be able to get even if the Rebels tank the campaign.
    Xp perks: If we have xp left over, there are some additional skills we could consider. In most campaigns the Rebels can get to 12xp, and for 1 xp “Wookie Fortitude” gives us a cheap option to remove a Stun or Bleed if we want a full, unimpeded activation (to “Charge,” of course) or to recover some extra damage on the back-end. If we manage to land 13 xp, “Ferocity” might be attractive, especially if the IP does focus-fire Gaarkhan (or if we have another ally like Diala or Gideon who can Focus us). And if we somehow end up with a whopping 14xp (not likely, but it can happen), we could either grab both of these or lock-in the option to get +1D for a strain through “Vicious Strike.” Whether or not we have the +2D from “Unstoppable,” the option to add +1D on a dime may mean the difference between a target living or dying, applying or not applying a keyword, etc.
    Weapon choice: Speaking of keywords, to inflict maximum damage we probably want a weapon with Cleave, either natively or through the addition of the Weighted Head mod (once we get access to Tier II). Decent surge chance would be nice in the abstract (especially since we’re planning to spend 2 strain each activation to “Charge,” and eventually at least one more to “Brutal Cleave”), although it’s probably more important to make sure our dice pool will deal the 1D+ past defense dice that we need to trigger Cleave in the first place. We should probably consider the Balanced Hilt on weapons with a native Cleave ability (or with two mod slots) to help the Cleave fire more consistently, especially if our weapon is rolling one (or more) Red. And it would also be nice to have Reach or the ability to Pierce without spending surges, although those may end up being luxuries we can’t afford.
    Item choice: This will depend on just how much we spend on our weapon. But if we can find a relatively cheap weapon (1000-1200 credits), we could end up with 300-400 credits to spend on other accessories. If strain management is an issue (because our weapon doesn’t roll enough surges to consistently Recover, the IP is running a strain-focused imperial class deck, etc), we might look for items that either buff our Endurance or remove strain (either completely or allow us to shuffle it elsewhere). If not, items that buff our weapon’s damage--and especially our weapon’s surge procs--would be fantastic buys, especially if we have multiple surge abilities for Cleave (and especially if we also have Reach). Items that allow us to do additional unblockable damage to another target (or two) without depleting or spending an action (or to obtain items like that) could also be valuable in this build if they’re not too cost prohibitive.
    So with those broad brush strokes in place, time to dive into the nitty-gritty!
     
    Early Campaign (0-3xp, Tier I Gear, ~600 Credits)
     
    Mid-Campaign (4-8xp, Tier I & II Gear, ~1200 Credits)
     
     
    Late Campaign (9-12xp, Tier I, II, & III Gear, ~1600 Credits)
     
    Well, that's a wrap on our first Gaarkhan archetype, "the Brawler." Have you played Gaarkhan as an in-your-face, no-holds barred melee menace? Did you opt for Cleave, or did you go with some other combat goal? What weapons did you like (or discover you didn't)? If you've got something to share, join the conversation and build the communal knowledge! And if you've got a Gaarkhan build you'd like us to math, let us know!
     
    Other entries in this series:
     
    Gaarkhan: The Basics (11/3/2017) Gaarkhan: "The Brawler" (11/4/2017) [Rampage, Unstoppable, Brutal Cleave, Wookiee Fortitude]  
     
    Additional Resources:
     
     
  4. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from Jedi Sidious in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Our in-depth look at campaign heroes begins with Gaarkhan (Core Set). If you missed our general discussion of Gaarkhan's traits and abilities, you can find that here. This time, we'll take an in-depth look at the first of many possible Gaarkhan builds, which I've nicknamed...
    "The Brawler"

    The Big Picture. The game-plan of this build is beautifully simplistic: Gaarkhan “charges” every activation, bashing into as many hostile figures as possible and dealing as many of them as possible as much damage as possible. Since he’s (literally) charging head-first into the rat’s nest (ok, maybe not completely literally), he expects to get damaged a lot, and probably wounded (especially if your IP is more like a dungeon-master than another competitor, with stormtroopers who act realistically [“There’s a wookiee right on top of us!”] instead of making… rational gameplay decisions).
     
    Core Xp strategy: if we expect to be wounded, “Unstoppable” is a complete no-brainer. If the IP leaves Gaarkhan alone and healthy, he has the Endurance to trigger “Charge” with its insane five space range (perpetually without resting, if we run with a weapon designed to net us a couple extra surges each round for Recover). And if the IP targets us, we still have good endurance and speed while wounded, plus a static +2D bonus. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right? Since “Charge” is an essential part of our play strategy, “Rampage” is an obvious include, too (more damage). So is “Brutal Cleave” (What’s better than spending a single activation to rush 5 spaces, deal splash damage to a bunch of bucketheads, attack them, and have a second action left for a follow-up attack? How about a third attack?). That’s a core of three skills for 11 xp, which we should be able to get even if the Rebels tank the campaign.
    Xp perks: If we have xp left over, there are some additional skills we could consider. In most campaigns the Rebels can get to 12xp, and for 1 xp “Wookie Fortitude” gives us a cheap option to remove a Stun or Bleed if we want a full, unimpeded activation (to “Charge,” of course) or to recover some extra damage on the back-end. If we manage to land 13 xp, “Ferocity” might be attractive, especially if the IP does focus-fire Gaarkhan (or if we have another ally like Diala or Gideon who can Focus us). And if we somehow end up with a whopping 14xp (not likely, but it can happen), we could either grab both of these or lock-in the option to get +1D for a strain through “Vicious Strike.” Whether or not we have the +2D from “Unstoppable,” the option to add +1D on a dime may mean the difference between a target living or dying, applying or not applying a keyword, etc.
    Weapon choice: Speaking of keywords, to inflict maximum damage we probably want a weapon with Cleave, either natively or through the addition of the Weighted Head mod (once we get access to Tier II). Decent surge chance would be nice in the abstract (especially since we’re planning to spend 2 strain each activation to “Charge,” and eventually at least one more to “Brutal Cleave”), although it’s probably more important to make sure our dice pool will deal the 1D+ past defense dice that we need to trigger Cleave in the first place. We should probably consider the Balanced Hilt on weapons with a native Cleave ability (or with two mod slots) to help the Cleave fire more consistently, especially if our weapon is rolling one (or more) Red. And it would also be nice to have Reach or the ability to Pierce without spending surges, although those may end up being luxuries we can’t afford.
    Item choice: This will depend on just how much we spend on our weapon. But if we can find a relatively cheap weapon (1000-1200 credits), we could end up with 300-400 credits to spend on other accessories. If strain management is an issue (because our weapon doesn’t roll enough surges to consistently Recover, the IP is running a strain-focused imperial class deck, etc), we might look for items that either buff our Endurance or remove strain (either completely or allow us to shuffle it elsewhere). If not, items that buff our weapon’s damage--and especially our weapon’s surge procs--would be fantastic buys, especially if we have multiple surge abilities for Cleave (and especially if we also have Reach). Items that allow us to do additional unblockable damage to another target (or two) without depleting or spending an action (or to obtain items like that) could also be valuable in this build if they’re not too cost prohibitive.
    So with those broad brush strokes in place, time to dive into the nitty-gritty!
     
    Early Campaign (0-3xp, Tier I Gear, ~600 Credits)
     
    Mid-Campaign (4-8xp, Tier I & II Gear, ~1200 Credits)
     
     
    Late Campaign (9-12xp, Tier I, II, & III Gear, ~1600 Credits)
     
    Well, that's a wrap on our first Gaarkhan archetype, "the Brawler." Have you played Gaarkhan as an in-your-face, no-holds barred melee menace? Did you opt for Cleave, or did you go with some other combat goal? What weapons did you like (or discover you didn't)? If you've got something to share, join the conversation and build the communal knowledge! And if you've got a Gaarkhan build you'd like us to math, let us know!
     
    Other entries in this series:
     
    Gaarkhan: The Basics (11/3/2017) Gaarkhan: "The Brawler" (11/4/2017) [Rampage, Unstoppable, Brutal Cleave, Wookiee Fortitude]  
     
    Additional Resources:
     
     
  5. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from Georgedpalpatine in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Subversive Tactics   The factor that contributed most to the demise of the Republic was not, in fact, the war, but rampant self-interest. Endemic to the political process our ancestors engineered, the insidious pursuit of self-enrichment grew only more pervasive through the long centuries, and in the end left the body politic feckless and corrupt.   The reason our Emperor was able to negotiate the dark waters that characterized the terminal years of the Republic and remain at the helm through a catastrophic war that spanned the galaxy is that he has never been interested in status or self-glorification. On the contrary, he has been tireless in his devotion to unify the galaxy and assure the well-being of its myriad populations.   This bold vision of the future requires not only the service of those of immaculate reputation and consummate skill in the just exercise of power, but also the service of a vast military dedicated to upholding the laws necessary to ensure galactic harmony. It may appear to some that the enactment of universal laws and the widespread deployment of a heavily armed military are steps toward galactic domination, but these actions are taken merely to protect us from those who would invade, enslave, exploit, or foment political dissent, and to punish accordingly any who engage in such acts.   Look on our new military not as trespassers or interlopers, but as gatekeepers, here to shore up the Emperor's vision of a pacified and prosperous galaxy.   ~ Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin  
      Memorandum #2693: Subversive Tactics   The loss of the data repository on Scariff, while a minor blow to Imperial infrastructure, has highlighted the lengths that armed rebels will go to threaten the peace and security of the galaxy. After analyzing their unorthodox tactics, I believe the greatest challenge to Imperial power in the near future will arise not from organized resistance but small bands of sleeper cells, who will attempt to hit other high-priority targets through covert means. To repel these attacks successfully, our command personnel, from core commanders to field officers, must be trained to recognize and respond to these threats quickly and decisively. By working covertly to subvert their organization and cooperation, we can defeat their efforts before any meaningful threats ever materialize.   Piling on Strain (and Damage): Surgical Strike (1xp), Exploit Weakness (2xp), Heavy Pressure (2xp), and Weary Target (3xp)   The foundation of these tactics is to use brute force to slow down hostiles, frustrating their aims long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Like the Jedi mystics of old, the rebels like to "exert" themselves, spending precious energy to move faster, hit harder, and be more heroic than should be biologically possible. So the first step to slowing them down is to sap them of that precious energy by making exacting strikes of our own.           The initial opportunity is at the moment of attack, with a "Surgical Strike" (1xp). This flexible ability allows imperial forces who engage a hostile in combat to inflict an additional damage and strain on their target, regardless of whether not that engagement ended in success or failure. Although this ability can only be used once per round, it should be used once every round.   If the hostile figure has proven particularly troublesome, heavy units may engage that figure with "Heavy Pressure" (2xp). Although wounding rebels should remain a top priority, it is acceptable to skimp on damage dealt if the outcome will be to deprive the target of his ability to perform heroic actions. This is particularly true if the figure has been quiet for some time, and seems to be gearing up to return to the fray.   If possible, our forces should concentrate these efforts on a single figure, until that figure becomes completely fatigued. In the event that the primary target has not been completely fatigued by the end of the round, it may be appropriate to single that figure out as a "Weary Target" (3xp), in a final attempt to wear him (or her) down. If the target is almost fatigued, it may also suffer additional damage from this action. This would be an ideal outcome.   As hostile forces become more familiar with these tactics, it is reasonable to anticipate that their own tactics and strategies may evolve. Imperial forces who spot these traitors catching their breath are authorized to "Exploit [any] Weakness" (2xp) they observe, and to shoot-on-sight if able or regroup with their unit for a more concentrated push. As with our surgical strikes and heavy pressure, we must make a point to exploit weaknesses every round.        As a word of caution, while these tactics are extremely effective at curbing the effectiveness of a single hero, the fact that they can only be resolved once per round may prove too slow for aggressive terror cells. While some mixture of these tactics could supplement a more aggressive response, a complete implementation of this strategy is likely to frustrate field commanders unless supported by resilient field units who are prepared to dig in for the long-haul against rebel cells, while sustaining heavy fire. Standard trooper units are unlikely to provide the resistance needed to systematically wear down rebel units, particularly if those units have significant combat experience.   Unnatural Resilience: Prey Upon Doubt (0 xp) and Oppression (4xp)     "Prey Upon Doubt" (0xp) not only helps with our forces' resilience, but it also toys with the enemy's mind by forcing another decision-point upon them. Additional protection against surge damage may seem a small price for a hero to pay to preserve some of his precious energy, but it can be devastating depending on the weapon that hero is using. A hero with a weapon that doesn't rely on surge energy for damage is not a great candidate, as additional surge protection does little to reduce the damage our forces are likely to take:     But such weapons are relatively rare. Our forces are far more likely to face enemies with weapons that rely on surges, in some cases heavily. Adding extra surge protection to a Black die makes our forces far more difficult to wound reliably, and can dramatically reduce the likelihood that they will suffer harmful effects. Here's data collected from a case study involving a captured BD-1 Vibro Ax, which a terrorist had modified with a specialized melee focusing beam and a hilt aimed at improving the weapon's balance:     Without the benefit of added surge protection, this weapon is highly dangerous to its primary target, dealing enough damage to kill an armored elite Stormtrooper and a reasonably good chance to deal Cleave damage into another target up to 2 spaces from the assailant. But adding that single surge protection virtually eliminates the chance that our trooper will be killed by a single blow, and makes it impossible for the assailant to strike both his primary and secondary target.   We've seen similar results in tests captured with ancient Jedi relics. A common lightsaber variant suffered a significant loss in damage effectiveness against our surge-reinforced armor, which became impossible to pierce. We anticipate that the single-strike fatality rate for our elite Stormtroopers will fall from around 70% to just 15%, just by making this adjustment:     And while this new anti-surge plating has proven most effective against weapons that rely on surge energy, there are definite benefits even against weapons that need only a single surge to function. We recently performed tests with a modified Electrostaff rumored to be among the most powerful weapons available to the rebellion. Although the weapon still proves devastating to its primary target (and it still poses a danger to nearby units), the odds of taking significant damage decreased noticeably with the addition of our anti-surge plating.     All-in-all, the addition of just a single anti-surge element has an impact on the damage of weapons that aren't surge-independent. And in some cases, the reduction in average damage dealt can be as much as two damage, which for our units on the front lines could mean the difference between life and death.     Lastly, while our technicians have only been able to apply this technology to a single target each round, and while the initial prototype can unfortunately be worked-around by hostiles who are willing to exert themselves to overcome it, those willing to invest the necessary time and resources can take advantage of "Oppression" (4xp), a global solution that offers this same degree of protection to entire squads during multiple attacks, as long as the attacker has suffered at least 2 strain.     Working in tandem with other efforts to exhaust the rebels, this increase in defensive armoring should go a long way to blunt the impact of even the most advanced weaponry, and give our forces the staying power they need to oppress and cow the enemy forces.   Mortar and Flame: Executioner (3xp)     While many field commanders may be willing to dig in for the long haul, more aggressive commanders may wish to try their hand at "Executioner" (3xp). There are risks, of course. The amount of investment that goes into this tactic is not insignificant; the tactic is difficult, and thus can only be executed once per round; and it requires that the unit commander spend some of his precious threat, which may impede the flow of reinforcements moving forward.   The trade-off is the ability to finish-off fatigued hostiles with devastating efficiency. Field tests conducted with rank and file Stormtroopers, against both heavily- and lightly-armored fatigued targets, were extremely promising:     While a standard rank-and-file Stormtrooper poses only minimal threat to a rebel figure, that risk doubles when the hostile has suffered 1 strain, triples when the hostile has suffered 2 strain, and quadruples when the hostile has suffered 3 or more fatigue. This same generic trooper has a 50% chance or greater of dealing at least 5 damage past heavy-armor, and a nearly 65% chance of dealing that much damage past light armor.   Results with elite Stormtrooper units were even more devastating:     Against a target with even a single point of fatigue, our elite units were able to deal 3 or more damage past heavy armor more than 70% of the time, and had a 70% chance of dealing 5 or more damage past heavy armor against hostiles who had suffered 3 or more fatigue. With appropriate Squad Training, that number can climb to as high as 80%, with around a 50% chance of dealing 6 or more damage.       Persistent Firepower: Savage Weaponry (1xp) and No Quarter (4xp)   While most of the tactics described so far have been single-use attempts to mire the terrorists in fatigue, these last two upgrades offer powerful tools to persistently hamper these cells. In a miracle of modern scientific achievement, our researchers have developed an extremely inexpensive yet powerful upgrade that can be equipped to entire combat units:     This "Savage Weaponry" (1xp) serves two primary purposes. First, it drastically improves the firepower of our forces by equipping them with armor-piercing rounds. This contribution, while small on its face, drastically reduces the effectiveness of heavy armor, and renders light armor almost useless. Second, these armor-piercing rounds have a tendency to rip through enemy flesh, producing painful Bleed wounds that either have to be tended to immediately, or will fatigue (and eventually damage) the target. Since very few rebels seem equipped with skills to deal with these devastating Bleeds, most are forced to stop and rest, buying our forces valuable time to strengthen and consolidate their positions.   Testing with rank-and-file Stormtroopers illustrate just how effective this new weaponry can be. A traditional trooper, with traditional rounds, deals damage past heavy or light armor about 80% of the time, may deal 2 or more damage about half the time, and has difficulty dealing more than 2 damage. We can improve these performances slightly through Squad Training, but the threat still remains minor:     But the addition of savage weaponry improves the effectiveness of these rank-and-file soldiers tremendously. The odds of dealing three or more damage past heavy armor rises to around 60% (with around 15% chance for an additional Bleed), and 70% against light armor (but with a smaller Bleed chance).     Our elite troopers have around a 75% chance of dealing 3 or more damage to their target, and around a 40% chance of dealing 4 or more damage, also with an outside chance to inflict Bleed:     Imperial forces can further exploit fatigued heroes to bolster their own offensive firepower through "No Quarter" (4xp).      Like "Oppression" (4xp), "No Quarter" keys off rebels who have suffered 2 or more strain, and gives our own units an additional surge while attacking those rebels. This persistent, unit-wide effect also has a noticeable impact in the damage dealt by our rank and file troopers...     ...and our elite enforcers:     With appropriate planning and resource development, the effects of both "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" can also be stacked in a single unit, creating a powerful, versatile front-line enforcer who can devastate the advance of even the most determined rebels. A rank-and-file Stormtrooper, armed with these offensive upgrades, has a good chance of dealing at least 3 damage and a Bleed on any target he engages:     And a squad of three elite Stormtroopers bolstered by these upgrades can deal 3-4 damage and a Bleed on up to 3 different targets, or between 9-12 damage and a Bleed to a single heavily-armored target in a single activation:     And this just scratches the surface of the potential that can be attained by specialized combat units bolstered by this weaponry. Below are additional tests run with six of the most common units deployed by unit commanders throughout the corners of the galaxy, and how potent they are when they have access to these upgrades:              Core Campaign: Tier 3 Trandoshan Hunters - When adjacent to their primary target, the Pierce 1 from "Savage Weaponry" combines with a +1D bonus from their scatterguns (and a potential surge for Pierce 2) to decimate heavy armor (83% chance of 3D+ vs. 1 Black die). Combined with an additional strain when they declare an attack on a target within 3 spaces, and a 94% chance to trigger a Bleed (83% vs. a White die), and the Trandoshan is a relatively cheap, hearty unit that makes an excellent candidate for "Savage Weaponry," especially against inexperienced hostiles. If a garrison places elite Trandoshan Hunters at your disposal, they are particularly devastating with "Savage Weaponry" equipped. Twin Shadows: Tier 4 Elite Heavy Stormtroopers - Extremely resilient in their own right, these 8 health figures become extremely difficult to kill with the benefit of "Prey Upon Doubt" or "Oppression" (especially if they are being attacked from 4 or more spaces away). They have two excellent surge abilities (+2D and Blast 2), and even if they choose to prioritize the Blast 2 (as they have in our tests), they do excellent damage with "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" (50% chance of 4 or more damage past heavy or light armor), with a 90% chance of Blast 2 against a Black die and a nearly 75% chance of Blast 2 against a White. Return to Hoth: Tier 4 HK Assassin Droids - Significantly weaker than the Heavy Troopers, these assassins pack a punch especially against Black dice, where their surge for Pierce 1 combos with "Savage Weaponry" to rip through the target's defenses. With an 81% chance to inflict Bleed and a 40% chance to inflict Weaken (70% and 30%, respectively, against a White die, combined with a 60% chance of 4D+), these droids can significantly impair the progress of the enemy (Bleed), while making them more vulnerable to attacks and less likely to deal damage to imperial forces (Weaken), all at extremely long distances.              Bespin Gambit: Tier 3 Elite Wing Guards - About as durable as Elite Stormtroopers, but slightly more resilient (thanks to Recover 2), a single elite Wing Guard can deal 4 damage past heavy armor 60% of the time, with about the same odds of dealing Bleed (56%). And with the benefit of Squad Training, it's possible for them to fish for the particular result they want, especially with a free surge from "No Quarter." Also like the elite Stormtroopers, this unit is large enough that they can fight on several fronts at once, or can swarm together for a devastating strike to debilitate a single priority target. Jabba's Realm: Tier 4 Elite Weequay Pirates - "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" combine to give the devastating Weequay Pirates an 80% chance of dealing 4 or more damage past armor, and a 50% chance or better at Bleed. And that's before we factor in the reroll from "Raider" or an extra surge from being Hidden. Heart of the Empire: Tier 3 Elite Riot Trooper - Second only to the Elite Heavy Stormtroopers in total health, the Elite Riot Troopers offer tremendous flexibility for the Subversive Tactics commander. They are durable enough to be front-line fighters, and can become extremely difficult to kill if supported by "Oppress" (between their Black die, an extra Evade, and then a block power token in reserve from "Shield"). Offensively, they are extremely potent and flexible. Bolstered by "Savage Weaponry," the have three quality surge abilities to choose from (+2D, +1D, and Bleed) depending on the situation at hand, and that free surge from "No Quarter" (along with a reroll from "Professional") gives them a good chance at getting at least one of those to trigger. They also apply Weaken any time they deal at least 1 damage to their target (which is virtually guaranteed to happen every time, unless the target rolls a Dodge on the White die), making it more difficult for their target to press the attack and more susceptible to supporting fire from other imperial units. Lastly, the flexible "Crowd Control" offers another way for the astute commander to trade damage for strain, to ensure that strain-triggered upgrades like "Oppress" and "No Quarter" remain available to the empire throughout the round, or to set-up a huge killing blow from "Execute." Armed with these skills, resources, equipment, and tactics, our front-line commanders have ample tools at their disposal to deal with rebel incursions in lightly-defended systems. For more remote outposts, where the defenses consists largely of droids and mechanical defense systems, without the presence of core imperial soldiers, a more technologically-oriented approach may be necessary.       Inevitable Post-Posting Edits:  
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    Rythbryt got a reaction from Georgedpalpatine in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Part the Twentieth: "Deadly two-dice beat sticks...," or part two of our analysis of Heart of the Empire's Focusing Beam. 
    Anniversary week continues with a return to our flagship series on campaign melee weapons. In our previous entry, we took our first foray into the melee weapons of "Heart of the Empire," with an analysis of how the Tier II Focusing Beam impacts the melee damage of all the Starter and itemized melee weapons that we've studied. The early returns were extremely promising, as the addition of the Focusing Beam resulted in a dramatic shake-up of our top-tier melee weapons, thanks in large part to a significant bump in our odds of dealing damage past White dice (thanks to either a "free" Pierce 1 or -1 Dodge).
    That said, our previous entry looked only at the addition of the Focusing Beam in isolation. And while that's all we have available for most melee weapons, there are two melee weapons that can pair the Focusing Beam with one other modification for even more offensive firepower. Since both have been largely overshadowed by newer items, today they're getting some special treatment. 
    Return to Bespin

    [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]
    I was initially very dismissive of the Vibrosword when we first looked at it ages ago. Part of that was probably recency bias, because the Gaffi Stick + Vibrogenerator was such a surprise (and for less). It also wasn't sustainable (except with the Vibrogenerator, but the Vibrosword + Vibrogenerator was worse than and more expensive than the Gaffi + Vibrogenerator, so again, hard to be excited about), and it took almost 900 credits to make something that looked at least semi-viable (which, at the time, seemed like a lot).
    A lot has changed since then. We now recognize that the Gaffi + Vibrogenerator is a huge outlier when it comes to cost.  We also know that most top-end Tier III weapons don't have sustainable damage anyway; because the Vibrogenerator ends up costing us 1-2 surges, we end up getting more damage output on three-dice weapons if we use exhaustible mods like the Focusing Beam, Balanced Hilt, or Shock Emitter. And we're now accustomed to spending 900-1200 credits on a good-to-very-good melee weapon, and 1200-1500 (or more) for a great melee weapon. Given all that's transpired, I think it's time to give the Tier I Vibrosword a fresh look.
    Even with it's "high" cost for a Tier I weapon, 350 credits still offers us a tremendously cheap path to a top-100 damage weapon. And it's not like we're getting a bum weapon either, for the price. While the Green-Blue dice pool is a bummer (although, as it turns out, it could be a whole lot worse... like Yellow-Green ), we still get (1) two mod slots, (2) an innate ability to surge for +2D, and (3) a "free" Pierce 1, provided we haven't taken strain equal to our endurance. Having just one of those things on a 350 credit weapon would be fabulous in and of itself, so the fact that we get all of them for 300 credits less than the Double-Vibrosword, 650 credits less than the Ancient Lightsaber, and 900 credits less than the Electrostaff is nothing short of miraculous.
    We also have multiple mod-options to pump up our damage while keeping our total buy-in costs below 1000 credits. We'll look at just two of the most promising today: the Vibrosword + Balanced Hilt + Focusing Beam (which costs a cool 900 credits and can be completely assembled as early as Tier II) and the Vibrosword + Focusing Beam + Vibrogenerator (which requires a Tier III component, but costs just 950 credits).
    On their own, neither the Balanced Hilt nor the Vibrogenerator make the Vibrosword particularly good. We have pretty good odds of dealing 2 or more damage past defense dice (which is something), but the weapons rank 180th and 169th, respectively, among all our melee+mod combos.
      But we've already seen that adding the Focusing Beam to just a one-mod weapon (in the 200s before it's modded) can bump that weapon up as many as 100 spaces. Stacking the Focusing Beam on top of either of these weapons achieves similar results. Let's start with the Balanced Hilt...           [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]
      Adding just the Pierce 1 from the Focusing Beam is good enough to propel our Vibrosword from 180th to 110th overall, and push our "80%" odds from 2D+ to 3D+ (which, conceptually, makes total sense). And adding the "smart" Focusing Beam, to either Pierce 1 or Dodge against the White die, improves our odds even further, from 110th to 72nd:     If 72nd highest damage was the best we could do with a Tier I weapon that costs 900 credits, we'd probably be very happy. For reference, that's better damage than the Tier II BD-1 with the High-Impact Guard and Shock Emitter which comes in at 99th (and costs a terrifying 1600 credits). We also have a 2-in-3 chance of dealing 4 or more damage (thanks in large part to that surge ability for +2D, which we only need 1 surge to trigger), the Balanced Hilt to (hopefully) get it to fire both times we attack in a typical activation, we have a surge for Bleed in our back pocket if we get lucky and roll more than 1 surge, and now we've eliminated the guess-work if we attack a White die (once per activation). Not too shabby for less than the naked Ryyk Blades, right?   And then consider this: we still haven't tapped the full potential of this Vibrosword. Sustainability issues aside (and they're there), we also have the option for a "free" Pierce 1, which we can then add on top of the "free" Pierce (or -1 Dodge, though we'd never do that unless we're facing a Black+White combo target) to improve our damage even more. Just how much more? Well...      Adding the Vibrosword's Pierce 1 to the Pierce 1 from the Focusing Blade gives us a top-80(ish) weapon (83rd overall) with a 2-in-3 chance of 4D+, and a 1-in-3 chance of 5D+. And pairing it with our "smart" Focusing Blade pushes what began as the 180th overall weapon into the top-50 (48th), with a 3-in-4 chance of 4D+ and a nearly 2-in-5 chance of 5D+. Again, for just 900 credits. For perspective, that's damage consistency (though not a damage ceiling) on-par with what we'd get from a Yellow-Green-Blue Ancient Lightsaber or Ryyk Blade, a Force Pike with the Shock Emitter, or a Red-Green-Green Electrostaff:               [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]
      The Vibrosword with the Vibrogenerator also picks up significant damage gains when we add the Focusing Beam. Just the Pierce 1 improves its damage ranking by more than 80 spots (from 169th to 84th). The -1 Dodge improves things slightly, from 84th to 75th, although the damage distribution is oddly affected. Our odds of 1-3D+ go up, our odds of 4D+ are level, and our odds of 5-6D+ actually went down by about 3-4 percentage points, which is larger than our margin of error. I'm not sure why that's the case...     The ship rightens once we add that extra Pierce 1 from the Vibrosword. Now armed with a Pierce 2 (against Black dice) and +2D, we have an 80% chance of dealing 4 or more damage (with the "smart" Focusing Beam), and nearly a 50% chance of five or more.       The fact that we can get top-40 damage out of a Tier I weapon (36th out of more than 250 total weapon mods) is impressive enough (although to be fair, we do have a Tier III mod equipped). And with a total cost of 950 credits, its cost compares very favorably to the weapons that immediately surround it in the rankings (all of which have exhaust-to-use parts and are niche melee weapons for either a strength- or insight- melee hero):       The Evolution of the Ax   Our only other (itemized) two-mod melee weapon is the BD-1 Vibro-Ax. While the naked Ax is kind of a mixed bag, and there are lots of ways to dump tons of credits into it and still come away with disappointingly low or inconsistent damage (like that 1600 credit High-Impact Guard + Shock Emitter variant that placed just 99th), the jewels have combined the BD-1's Red die with the Vibrogenerator and either the Extended Haft (for a consistently free Pierce 1 + 2D combo on every attack) or the Shock Emitter (for a consistent +2D and an exhaust to use +1D). Alternatively, the Balanced Hilt sacrifices some damage output, but also gives us a pretty good chance of getting that Cleave 2 to fire off (especially against a Black die) that pairs nicely with Reach.        [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]
      Pairing the Focusing Beam with the Balanced Hilt nets us very good damage. Once we factor in the ability to remove a Dodge, this weapon (which is available as early as Tier II and costs just 1150 credits) deals top-60 damage, with a good Cleave 2 chance and Reach for some very reasonably priced combat flexibility:     To put it in perspective, the damage output is slightly better than what we'd get from the naked Electrostaff, even though it uses only two dice. And while our odds of Cleave 2 aren't as good as we have on the Electrostaff (the Cleave 2 is "free," as long as the Electrostaff hits), we do have Reach available whenever we Cleave 2, which is more flexibility than we have in the naked Electrostaff (which has to choose between Reach and Cleave 2).     But the real magic happens when we pair the BD-1 and Focusing Beam with the Vibrogenerator.         [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]     Just adding the Vibrogenerator to a BD-1 makes that ax a top-100 weapon (87th), using the Focusing Beam to Pierce 1 pushes it into the top-15 (12th overall, with an 80% chance of dealing 4D+, and a nearly 2-in-5 chance of dealing 6D+), and once we factor in the -1 Dodge, it's a top-3 weapon:     It's crowded at the top, to be sure, but just look at how favorably the damage compares to our damage-dealing heavy hitters:     Yes its damage ceiling is lower (no chance at 8 or 9 damage), and yes its damage stats begin to fade once we get to 6D+. Yes, the Ancient LIghtsaber is probably "better" with the Focusing Beam on it, but only if we're wounded and only if we're an insight melee hero. And yes, we give up the chance for Cleave 2 with this set-up (because we can't roll more than 2 surges with just a Red-Green dice pool), which is an advantage for the Electrostaff. But still... for just 1200 credits, and with the added benefit of Reach (which only the Electrostaff could also gain, and only without Cleave 2), the BD-1 makes a solid top-tier weapon choice, at a solid price.   Which is very reassuring, because I wasn't sure the BD-1 still had a place once this beauty dropped...     For next time.   Inevitable post-posting edits:  
  7. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from machfalcon in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Our in-depth look at campaign heroes begins with Gaarkhan (Core Set). If you missed our general discussion of Gaarkhan's traits and abilities, you can find that here. This time, we'll take an in-depth look at the first of many possible Gaarkhan builds, which I've nicknamed...
    "The Brawler"

    The Big Picture. The game-plan of this build is beautifully simplistic: Gaarkhan “charges” every activation, bashing into as many hostile figures as possible and dealing as many of them as possible as much damage as possible. Since he’s (literally) charging head-first into the rat’s nest (ok, maybe not completely literally), he expects to get damaged a lot, and probably wounded (especially if your IP is more like a dungeon-master than another competitor, with stormtroopers who act realistically [“There’s a wookiee right on top of us!”] instead of making… rational gameplay decisions).
     
    Core Xp strategy: if we expect to be wounded, “Unstoppable” is a complete no-brainer. If the IP leaves Gaarkhan alone and healthy, he has the Endurance to trigger “Charge” with its insane five space range (perpetually without resting, if we run with a weapon designed to net us a couple extra surges each round for Recover). And if the IP targets us, we still have good endurance and speed while wounded, plus a static +2D bonus. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right? Since “Charge” is an essential part of our play strategy, “Rampage” is an obvious include, too (more damage). So is “Brutal Cleave” (What’s better than spending a single activation to rush 5 spaces, deal splash damage to a bunch of bucketheads, attack them, and have a second action left for a follow-up attack? How about a third attack?). That’s a core of three skills for 11 xp, which we should be able to get even if the Rebels tank the campaign.
    Xp perks: If we have xp left over, there are some additional skills we could consider. In most campaigns the Rebels can get to 12xp, and for 1 xp “Wookie Fortitude” gives us a cheap option to remove a Stun or Bleed if we want a full, unimpeded activation (to “Charge,” of course) or to recover some extra damage on the back-end. If we manage to land 13 xp, “Ferocity” might be attractive, especially if the IP does focus-fire Gaarkhan (or if we have another ally like Diala or Gideon who can Focus us). And if we somehow end up with a whopping 14xp (not likely, but it can happen), we could either grab both of these or lock-in the option to get +1D for a strain through “Vicious Strike.” Whether or not we have the +2D from “Unstoppable,” the option to add +1D on a dime may mean the difference between a target living or dying, applying or not applying a keyword, etc.
    Weapon choice: Speaking of keywords, to inflict maximum damage we probably want a weapon with Cleave, either natively or through the addition of the Weighted Head mod (once we get access to Tier II). Decent surge chance would be nice in the abstract (especially since we’re planning to spend 2 strain each activation to “Charge,” and eventually at least one more to “Brutal Cleave”), although it’s probably more important to make sure our dice pool will deal the 1D+ past defense dice that we need to trigger Cleave in the first place. We should probably consider the Balanced Hilt on weapons with a native Cleave ability (or with two mod slots) to help the Cleave fire more consistently, especially if our weapon is rolling one (or more) Red. And it would also be nice to have Reach or the ability to Pierce without spending surges, although those may end up being luxuries we can’t afford.
    Item choice: This will depend on just how much we spend on our weapon. But if we can find a relatively cheap weapon (1000-1200 credits), we could end up with 300-400 credits to spend on other accessories. If strain management is an issue (because our weapon doesn’t roll enough surges to consistently Recover, the IP is running a strain-focused imperial class deck, etc), we might look for items that either buff our Endurance or remove strain (either completely or allow us to shuffle it elsewhere). If not, items that buff our weapon’s damage--and especially our weapon’s surge procs--would be fantastic buys, especially if we have multiple surge abilities for Cleave (and especially if we also have Reach). Items that allow us to do additional unblockable damage to another target (or two) without depleting or spending an action (or to obtain items like that) could also be valuable in this build if they’re not too cost prohibitive.
    So with those broad brush strokes in place, time to dive into the nitty-gritty!
     
    Early Campaign (0-3xp, Tier I Gear, ~600 Credits)
     
    Mid-Campaign (4-8xp, Tier I & II Gear, ~1200 Credits)
     
     
    Late Campaign (9-12xp, Tier I, II, & III Gear, ~1600 Credits)
     
    Well, that's a wrap on our first Gaarkhan archetype, "the Brawler." Have you played Gaarkhan as an in-your-face, no-holds barred melee menace? Did you opt for Cleave, or did you go with some other combat goal? What weapons did you like (or discover you didn't)? If you've got something to share, join the conversation and build the communal knowledge! And if you've got a Gaarkhan build you'd like us to math, let us know!
     
    Other entries in this series:
     
    Gaarkhan: The Basics (11/3/2017) Gaarkhan: "The Brawler" (11/4/2017) [Rampage, Unstoppable, Brutal Cleave, Wookiee Fortitude]  
     
    Additional Resources:
     
     
  8. Like
    Rythbryt reacted to a1bert in Ugh Riot Troopers And Sentry Droids   
    Yeah, Shyla and Vinto are so good that they might be even better than Diala and Fenn! The imperial player has less and less chance to win nowadays.
     
  9. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from thestag in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    "Anniversary week" is finally wrapping up over here, and we've saved the best (or at least my favorite) for last. I initially started looking at weapon probabilities as a means to an end. While it was fun to find the "best weapon" or the "deadliest weapon" or the "Cleave-iest weapon," those designations only have a certain amount of value in a vacuum. Because weapons are ultimately wielded by heroes, the true test of weapon's value is whether it helps our hero succeeds. And that requires a whole new level of thinking.
    One year and countless calculations later, we're returning to where it all began, with a detailed look at a cornerstone melee hero:

    As with the rest of our series, I'd like to prevent this from becoming an apology piece for the "best" Gaarkhan build, or whether Gaarkhan is the "best" melee hero (or a "garbage" melee hero, though I don't get the sense that many people feel that way about him). With all of these hero pieces, I'm going to proceed on the assumption that someone out there wants to play him (or her), and that the reasons for playing a particular hero may have everything to do with that hero's efficiency, utility, resiliency, combat acumen... or may have nothing at all to do with those things (flavor, artwork, a sense of adventure, a desire for a new challenge). Our goal will be to assess what roles a hero could conceivably play, and then given each role, what xp progress, gear choices, weapon selection, and other decision points might look like in order to make the ride as enjoyable and life-changing (or at least as pain- and frustration-free) as possible.
    In this first post on Gaarkhan, we'll cover the basics: his stat cards, special abilities, and xp deck. Then in subsequent posts, we'll tackle specific Gaarkhan builds, progressing from the earliest moments of the campaign to the great and glorious finale.
     
    Gaarkhan: The Basics
     
    Gaarkhan is an all-around solid melee hero. In fact, in some ways, he's better than solid. He has excellent Health (14) and a Black defense die to keep him alive when he's up in the enemy's grill. His Might attribute is also very strong (YGB), which opens up the possibility of the Ryyk Blades. His Speed 4 isn't great, but gets much better when paired with his special action "Charge": at the cost of two strain, Gaarkhan can move a number of spaces up to his Speed (4 spaces), then perform an attack (melee weapon only) as part of the same action. There's lots of good stuff here. It's fantastic action economy (movement + attack in one action), which makes Gaarkhan remarkably flexible (Move/Attack + Attack, Move + Move/Attack, Rest + Move/Attack). And because "Charge" allows him to move a number of spaces up to his speed, Gaarkhan ignores movement cost penalties for both difficult terrain and moving through hostile figures while performing that special action.
     
    That said, there are some limitations. Gaarkhan's base Endurance is also "4," which again is just adequate. At two strain a pop, it's only possible to chain "Charge" for two activations in a row without resting, unless Gaarkhan has some other way to reduce his strain count. And he has up to four additional xp abilities that have associated strain costs, too, so the strain tends to pile up quick. Moving four spaces and attacking twice sounds fantastic in theory (and it is), but for Gaarkhan to do it consistently requires some planning. Gaarkhan also has a way to self-Focus, which again is fantastic in theory. But it's dependent on him getting attacked by hostile figures (which the IP can play around) and on taking three or more damage in a single attack. The IP can try to play around this, too, by chipping away at Gaarkhan with multiple, consecutive attacks by weaker figures, getting in 5-6 damage over three attacks but never triggering "Rage." And Gaarkhan's Black defense die can also inadvertently get in his own way; if he's consistently rolling two blocks (there's a 50% chance of rolling 2 or more blocks on a Black die, after all), it's extremely difficult for low-cost IP units to deal 3 or more damage to him. In other words, "Rage" does not Focus Gaarkhan on demand; it's far more situational.
     
    Having said that, there are very good reasons for the IP to try to wound Gaarkhan quickly, especially in the early campaign. His "Charge," while still extremely efficient, is significantly less threatening once Gaarkhan becomes wounded, and his Speed drops from "4" to "3."
     
      
    "Charge's" strain cost also becomes a major issue once Gaarkhan is wounded. An endurance of "3" only allows Gaarkhan to fire "Charge" once before he has to rest the following activation. And if Gaarkhan is suffering strain from other sources (Trandoshans, Wing Guards, "Subversive Tactics," etc.), he may be forced to rest every activation. To be sure, Gaarkhan can weather a forced-rest rotation better than most heroes (that's the benefit of a special action that combines movement with an attack). But it definitely caps his combat potential. Gaarkhan loses his "Rage" ability to Focus when he becomes wounded, too (and the official ruling from FFG is that if Gaarkhan takes sufficient damage to become wounded, he loses "Rage" before its Focus-effect is resolved... meaning no Focus on his way out, which just adds insult to [a literal] injury).
    Gaarkhan also has a range of class abilities to buff his strengths or weaknesses. Although to be fair, the word "range" may be a bit of a stretch. Gaarkhan's class abilities are almost all offense-oriented. The only clear exception is his 1xp skill, "Wookiee Loyalty," and to a lesser extent his other 1xp skill “Wookie Fortitude.”
         
    "Wookiee Loyalty" is basically a block-on-demand at the cost of 1xp and an exhaust penalty. At first glance, this is a very attractive skill given how much more potent Gaarkhan is when he's healthy vs. when he's wounded. A Black die bolstered by another Block can take a lot of punishment. And it can even serve a small support function if Gaarkhan is adjacent to a friendly figure.
    At the same time, injudicious use of this skill is yet another way Gaarkhan can get in his own way when it comes to "Rage." Adding the free "Block" to bump damage down from "3" to "2" may cost Gaarkhan a Focus. So if "Rage" is a central part of Gaarkhan's combat strategy, the trick would be to hold "Wookiee Loyalty" in reserve until after Gaarkhan becomes Focused through "Rage" (since a hero can't have more than one Focus token at a time) or to offer some mitigation to very powerful attacks (4 or more damage past defense dice) where the extra block won't push the damage total under 3.
    At first blush, Gaarkhan's other 1xp skill, "Wookiee Fortitude" looks like a defense-oriented skill, too. And it certainly could be played this way. Outside of performing a "rest," most heroes don't have any way to recover damage, and since "Rage" basically begs Gaarkhan to take significant damage at least once per activation, "Fortitude" is a way to semi-control--or at least mitigate--Gaarkhan's overall damage count.
    But there are some potential downsides to this approach. The biggest is that this is another ability with a strain cost; and while taking 1 strain to remove 2 health is a pretty efficient exchange, that plus "Charge" is a full round's Endurance if Gaarkhan is wounded, and leaves Gaarkhan with just 1 Endurance left if he's not. So if we want to treat "Fortitude" like a "spam" skill, it will require some forethought.
    The alternative is to treat "Fortitude" as an emergency skill (instead of an every-round skill), and as an emergency skill, its alternate effect of discarding a condition becomes the main attraction. It doesn’t take the IP long to figure out that the best way to “slow down” a charging Gaarkhan is to Stun him. While stunned, a hero can't voluntarily exit its space or perform an attack. And generally, the only way to remove a Stun is to spend an action removing it. Gaarkhan can weather a Stun better than most heroes (melee heroes in particular) because he can still spend his second remaining action for movement and an attack with "Charge" (assuming he has sufficient endurance left and doesn't need to rest). But even so, taking that action still stunts his potential.
    Because "Fortitude" isn't resolved as an action, and because it can be triggered at any time during Gaarkhan's activation, it gives him a way to situationally remove conditions like Stun before a "Charge," without hampering his action economy; it also doesn’t count as an “action” so Gaarkhan avoids taking damage if he’s Bleeding instead; and if Gaarkhan doesn't need “Wookie Fortitude” for condition removal at the start of his activation, he can wait until later in his activation (or even til the very end of it) before deciding whether to remove 2 damage or pass on "Fortitude's" strain cost. That’s fantastic utility and flexibility out of a 1xp skill.
     
         
    Gaarkhan’s 2xp skills both play off of Keywords. "Staggering Blow" (2xp) allows him to inflict Stun on one of his opponents, although there are some important caveats. He has to inflict at least 3 damage on a target in a single attack (making this, essentially, a reverse-"Rage"). And there's a 1 strain cost to doing this. Situationally, the ability to Stun could be extremely useful, and if Gaarkhan’s melee weapon can also reliably proc a Bleed, it’s possible for the timely use of this skill to force the target into the difficult choice of spending both its actions on condition-removal (remove Bleed, remove Stun), spending one action to remove the Bleed and a second action that can’t be spent on attacking or moving, or salvaging one action at the cost of two damage (remove Stun, 1 strain for damage from Bleed; second action, 1 additional strain for damage from Bleed).
         
    “Ferocity” (also 2xp) gives Gaarkhan the ability to add Cleave 1 to an attack, if he’s Focused, which could be quite nice. Cleave is a relatively rare keyword on weapons, and the only mod that adds it to a weapon of our choice is the Weighted Head which, while a good mod if we have a strong keyword dice pool, does consume the only mod slot on most melee weapons. So the option to add Cleave while leaving that mod slot open for another mod (Balanced Hilt, anyone?) is a great boon. It also imposes a mandatory dice-swap whenever we’re focused: instead of rolling a Green Focus die, we have to roll a Red Focus die instead. To the uninitiated, this looks counter-intuitive (“How am I supposed to Cleave 1 if I lose the surge-friendly Green die?), but as we’ve seen countless times in our Melee Weapon series, swapping a Red die in for any die is always the best option for improving our overall damage.
    The rest of Gaarkhan’s skills are all about adding damage and/or making Gaarkhan’s attacks--and particularly “Charge”--even more devastating.
    At first blush, “Vicious Strike” looks like an expensive buy at 3xp, because (1) we have to use it when we “declare an attack,” not “during an attack” (so we have to decide whether to use it before we see what we roll and what the target rolls), (2) it costs 1 strain to use, and (3) it only adds +1D to our attack results. And it looks a lot worse when we compare it to Gaarkhan’s other 3xp skill, “Rampage”:
       
    Now make no mistake: “Rampage” is a beast. It’s unblockable damage (no defense dice and no way for the IP to mitigate it… at least not yet), so that right there is a major plus. And since “Charge” allows movement using spaces (and thus is not limited by difficult terrain or hostile figures), it’s not difficult for Gaarkhan to set up a “Charge” that hits two or more figures each activation unless the IP works really hard to play around it. And, of course, the splash damage from “Rampage” is directly followed-up by the attack from “Charge,” and automatically softening up a target you’re about to attack (and/or Cleave into during your next attack) is always a solid tactic. Plus there’s no strain cost (or, if you prefer, it gives us a way to get more mileage out of the 2 strain we’re paying anyway to “Charge”).
    Having said all that, “Vicious Strike’s” saving grace is that we don’t have to exhaust it to use. It is, in essence, a Shock Emitter on a stick, as long as we have strain to spend. As as we’ve seen consistently, the ability to add +1D to an attack roll without having to roll or spend surges is a big deal, and while paying 1 strain is a definite cost, getting bonus damage for two (or more) times per activation--assuming we have ways to manage Gaarkhan’s strain level--is a serious benefit. Speaking of which...
              
    Gaarkhan’s 4xp abilities are both legit. The first, “Brutal Cleave,” allows Gaarkhan to have all sorts of major activation advantages. For the cost of just three strain, Gaarkhan can move a number of spaces up to his speed, perform an attack with a melee weapon, perform a second attack with a melee weapon, and still have one additional action left over for another attack if he’s managed to recoup strain from those previous two attacks, another full move either before or after those two attacks (or a partial move before and after them), or even a rest if strain and/or damage is a problem. The limit is that the melee attack needs to target a different figure (no “backsies”... if “backsies” is the word I want), and that different figure also needs to be adjacent to the figure we just finished attacking. It’s also an exhaust-to-use card, but it’d be broken if it wasn’t so…
    And then there’s “Unstoppable.” Which helps make Gaarkhan… well, basically unstoppable. It’s a static +1 Endurance and +1 Speed upgrade, both of which improve “Charge.” Gaarkhan can now “Charge” 5 spaces, ignoring movement point penalties. With a base endurance of “5” while healthy, Gaarkhan now has more flexibility to fire off “Charge” as well as some of those other strain-to-use abilities (“Brutal Cleave,” “Vicious Strike,” “Wookie Fortitude,” “Staggering Blow”).
     
    Since Gaarkhan is always flirting with being wounded (since he wants to take at least 3 damage once per activation to become Focused), having 4 endurance while wounded makes “Charge” a lot easier to trigger and his speed while charging only drops to “4” (instead of dropping to “3,” which is just so much more limiting), while retaining its ability to avoid movement penalties from difficult terrain or hostile figures. And that’s before we get to the ultimate “please wound me” boost: a static +2D bonus while wounded that costs him nothing (no strain cost, no exhaust-to-use penalty) and can be stacked on top of other damage bonuses (+2D from Vibrogenerator, +1D from Shock Emitter, +1D from “Vicious Strike,” etc.) for some truly terrifying single-target damage.
     
    Practical Outcomes
     
    Well, that's enough abstract theory-crafting. Time to turn our attention to some practical Gaarkhan builds (well, more like archetypes), which you'll find linked below. And if there's something we've missed, or something you've discovered during your own campaign play, or you've written about Gaarkhan elsewhere and want it linked here for all posterity, join in the conversation and let us know!
     
     
     
    Other entries in this series:
     
    Gaarkhan: The Basics (11/3/2017) Gaarkhan: "The Brawler" (11/4/2017) [Rampage, Unstoppable, Brutal Cleave, Wookiee Fortitude]  
     
    Additional Resources:
     
  10. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from thestag in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Subversive Tactics   The factor that contributed most to the demise of the Republic was not, in fact, the war, but rampant self-interest. Endemic to the political process our ancestors engineered, the insidious pursuit of self-enrichment grew only more pervasive through the long centuries, and in the end left the body politic feckless and corrupt.   The reason our Emperor was able to negotiate the dark waters that characterized the terminal years of the Republic and remain at the helm through a catastrophic war that spanned the galaxy is that he has never been interested in status or self-glorification. On the contrary, he has been tireless in his devotion to unify the galaxy and assure the well-being of its myriad populations.   This bold vision of the future requires not only the service of those of immaculate reputation and consummate skill in the just exercise of power, but also the service of a vast military dedicated to upholding the laws necessary to ensure galactic harmony. It may appear to some that the enactment of universal laws and the widespread deployment of a heavily armed military are steps toward galactic domination, but these actions are taken merely to protect us from those who would invade, enslave, exploit, or foment political dissent, and to punish accordingly any who engage in such acts.   Look on our new military not as trespassers or interlopers, but as gatekeepers, here to shore up the Emperor's vision of a pacified and prosperous galaxy.   ~ Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin  
      Memorandum #2693: Subversive Tactics   The loss of the data repository on Scariff, while a minor blow to Imperial infrastructure, has highlighted the lengths that armed rebels will go to threaten the peace and security of the galaxy. After analyzing their unorthodox tactics, I believe the greatest challenge to Imperial power in the near future will arise not from organized resistance but small bands of sleeper cells, who will attempt to hit other high-priority targets through covert means. To repel these attacks successfully, our command personnel, from core commanders to field officers, must be trained to recognize and respond to these threats quickly and decisively. By working covertly to subvert their organization and cooperation, we can defeat their efforts before any meaningful threats ever materialize.   Piling on Strain (and Damage): Surgical Strike (1xp), Exploit Weakness (2xp), Heavy Pressure (2xp), and Weary Target (3xp)   The foundation of these tactics is to use brute force to slow down hostiles, frustrating their aims long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Like the Jedi mystics of old, the rebels like to "exert" themselves, spending precious energy to move faster, hit harder, and be more heroic than should be biologically possible. So the first step to slowing them down is to sap them of that precious energy by making exacting strikes of our own.           The initial opportunity is at the moment of attack, with a "Surgical Strike" (1xp). This flexible ability allows imperial forces who engage a hostile in combat to inflict an additional damage and strain on their target, regardless of whether not that engagement ended in success or failure. Although this ability can only be used once per round, it should be used once every round.   If the hostile figure has proven particularly troublesome, heavy units may engage that figure with "Heavy Pressure" (2xp). Although wounding rebels should remain a top priority, it is acceptable to skimp on damage dealt if the outcome will be to deprive the target of his ability to perform heroic actions. This is particularly true if the figure has been quiet for some time, and seems to be gearing up to return to the fray.   If possible, our forces should concentrate these efforts on a single figure, until that figure becomes completely fatigued. In the event that the primary target has not been completely fatigued by the end of the round, it may be appropriate to single that figure out as a "Weary Target" (3xp), in a final attempt to wear him (or her) down. If the target is almost fatigued, it may also suffer additional damage from this action. This would be an ideal outcome.   As hostile forces become more familiar with these tactics, it is reasonable to anticipate that their own tactics and strategies may evolve. Imperial forces who spot these traitors catching their breath are authorized to "Exploit [any] Weakness" (2xp) they observe, and to shoot-on-sight if able or regroup with their unit for a more concentrated push. As with our surgical strikes and heavy pressure, we must make a point to exploit weaknesses every round.        As a word of caution, while these tactics are extremely effective at curbing the effectiveness of a single hero, the fact that they can only be resolved once per round may prove too slow for aggressive terror cells. While some mixture of these tactics could supplement a more aggressive response, a complete implementation of this strategy is likely to frustrate field commanders unless supported by resilient field units who are prepared to dig in for the long-haul against rebel cells, while sustaining heavy fire. Standard trooper units are unlikely to provide the resistance needed to systematically wear down rebel units, particularly if those units have significant combat experience.   Unnatural Resilience: Prey Upon Doubt (0 xp) and Oppression (4xp)     "Prey Upon Doubt" (0xp) not only helps with our forces' resilience, but it also toys with the enemy's mind by forcing another decision-point upon them. Additional protection against surge damage may seem a small price for a hero to pay to preserve some of his precious energy, but it can be devastating depending on the weapon that hero is using. A hero with a weapon that doesn't rely on surge energy for damage is not a great candidate, as additional surge protection does little to reduce the damage our forces are likely to take:     But such weapons are relatively rare. Our forces are far more likely to face enemies with weapons that rely on surges, in some cases heavily. Adding extra surge protection to a Black die makes our forces far more difficult to wound reliably, and can dramatically reduce the likelihood that they will suffer harmful effects. Here's data collected from a case study involving a captured BD-1 Vibro Ax, which a terrorist had modified with a specialized melee focusing beam and a hilt aimed at improving the weapon's balance:     Without the benefit of added surge protection, this weapon is highly dangerous to its primary target, dealing enough damage to kill an armored elite Stormtrooper and a reasonably good chance to deal Cleave damage into another target up to 2 spaces from the assailant. But adding that single surge protection virtually eliminates the chance that our trooper will be killed by a single blow, and makes it impossible for the assailant to strike both his primary and secondary target.   We've seen similar results in tests captured with ancient Jedi relics. A common lightsaber variant suffered a significant loss in damage effectiveness against our surge-reinforced armor, which became impossible to pierce. We anticipate that the single-strike fatality rate for our elite Stormtroopers will fall from around 70% to just 15%, just by making this adjustment:     And while this new anti-surge plating has proven most effective against weapons that rely on surge energy, there are definite benefits even against weapons that need only a single surge to function. We recently performed tests with a modified Electrostaff rumored to be among the most powerful weapons available to the rebellion. Although the weapon still proves devastating to its primary target (and it still poses a danger to nearby units), the odds of taking significant damage decreased noticeably with the addition of our anti-surge plating.     All-in-all, the addition of just a single anti-surge element has an impact on the damage of weapons that aren't surge-independent. And in some cases, the reduction in average damage dealt can be as much as two damage, which for our units on the front lines could mean the difference between life and death.     Lastly, while our technicians have only been able to apply this technology to a single target each round, and while the initial prototype can unfortunately be worked-around by hostiles who are willing to exert themselves to overcome it, those willing to invest the necessary time and resources can take advantage of "Oppression" (4xp), a global solution that offers this same degree of protection to entire squads during multiple attacks, as long as the attacker has suffered at least 2 strain.     Working in tandem with other efforts to exhaust the rebels, this increase in defensive armoring should go a long way to blunt the impact of even the most advanced weaponry, and give our forces the staying power they need to oppress and cow the enemy forces.   Mortar and Flame: Executioner (3xp)     While many field commanders may be willing to dig in for the long haul, more aggressive commanders may wish to try their hand at "Executioner" (3xp). There are risks, of course. The amount of investment that goes into this tactic is not insignificant; the tactic is difficult, and thus can only be executed once per round; and it requires that the unit commander spend some of his precious threat, which may impede the flow of reinforcements moving forward.   The trade-off is the ability to finish-off fatigued hostiles with devastating efficiency. Field tests conducted with rank and file Stormtroopers, against both heavily- and lightly-armored fatigued targets, were extremely promising:     While a standard rank-and-file Stormtrooper poses only minimal threat to a rebel figure, that risk doubles when the hostile has suffered 1 strain, triples when the hostile has suffered 2 strain, and quadruples when the hostile has suffered 3 or more fatigue. This same generic trooper has a 50% chance or greater of dealing at least 5 damage past heavy-armor, and a nearly 65% chance of dealing that much damage past light armor.   Results with elite Stormtrooper units were even more devastating:     Against a target with even a single point of fatigue, our elite units were able to deal 3 or more damage past heavy armor more than 70% of the time, and had a 70% chance of dealing 5 or more damage past heavy armor against hostiles who had suffered 3 or more fatigue. With appropriate Squad Training, that number can climb to as high as 80%, with around a 50% chance of dealing 6 or more damage.       Persistent Firepower: Savage Weaponry (1xp) and No Quarter (4xp)   While most of the tactics described so far have been single-use attempts to mire the terrorists in fatigue, these last two upgrades offer powerful tools to persistently hamper these cells. In a miracle of modern scientific achievement, our researchers have developed an extremely inexpensive yet powerful upgrade that can be equipped to entire combat units:     This "Savage Weaponry" (1xp) serves two primary purposes. First, it drastically improves the firepower of our forces by equipping them with armor-piercing rounds. This contribution, while small on its face, drastically reduces the effectiveness of heavy armor, and renders light armor almost useless. Second, these armor-piercing rounds have a tendency to rip through enemy flesh, producing painful Bleed wounds that either have to be tended to immediately, or will fatigue (and eventually damage) the target. Since very few rebels seem equipped with skills to deal with these devastating Bleeds, most are forced to stop and rest, buying our forces valuable time to strengthen and consolidate their positions.   Testing with rank-and-file Stormtroopers illustrate just how effective this new weaponry can be. A traditional trooper, with traditional rounds, deals damage past heavy or light armor about 80% of the time, may deal 2 or more damage about half the time, and has difficulty dealing more than 2 damage. We can improve these performances slightly through Squad Training, but the threat still remains minor:     But the addition of savage weaponry improves the effectiveness of these rank-and-file soldiers tremendously. The odds of dealing three or more damage past heavy armor rises to around 60% (with around 15% chance for an additional Bleed), and 70% against light armor (but with a smaller Bleed chance).     Our elite troopers have around a 75% chance of dealing 3 or more damage to their target, and around a 40% chance of dealing 4 or more damage, also with an outside chance to inflict Bleed:     Imperial forces can further exploit fatigued heroes to bolster their own offensive firepower through "No Quarter" (4xp).      Like "Oppression" (4xp), "No Quarter" keys off rebels who have suffered 2 or more strain, and gives our own units an additional surge while attacking those rebels. This persistent, unit-wide effect also has a noticeable impact in the damage dealt by our rank and file troopers...     ...and our elite enforcers:     With appropriate planning and resource development, the effects of both "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" can also be stacked in a single unit, creating a powerful, versatile front-line enforcer who can devastate the advance of even the most determined rebels. A rank-and-file Stormtrooper, armed with these offensive upgrades, has a good chance of dealing at least 3 damage and a Bleed on any target he engages:     And a squad of three elite Stormtroopers bolstered by these upgrades can deal 3-4 damage and a Bleed on up to 3 different targets, or between 9-12 damage and a Bleed to a single heavily-armored target in a single activation:     And this just scratches the surface of the potential that can be attained by specialized combat units bolstered by this weaponry. Below are additional tests run with six of the most common units deployed by unit commanders throughout the corners of the galaxy, and how potent they are when they have access to these upgrades:              Core Campaign: Tier 3 Trandoshan Hunters - When adjacent to their primary target, the Pierce 1 from "Savage Weaponry" combines with a +1D bonus from their scatterguns (and a potential surge for Pierce 2) to decimate heavy armor (83% chance of 3D+ vs. 1 Black die). Combined with an additional strain when they declare an attack on a target within 3 spaces, and a 94% chance to trigger a Bleed (83% vs. a White die), and the Trandoshan is a relatively cheap, hearty unit that makes an excellent candidate for "Savage Weaponry," especially against inexperienced hostiles. If a garrison places elite Trandoshan Hunters at your disposal, they are particularly devastating with "Savage Weaponry" equipped. Twin Shadows: Tier 4 Elite Heavy Stormtroopers - Extremely resilient in their own right, these 8 health figures become extremely difficult to kill with the benefit of "Prey Upon Doubt" or "Oppression" (especially if they are being attacked from 4 or more spaces away). They have two excellent surge abilities (+2D and Blast 2), and even if they choose to prioritize the Blast 2 (as they have in our tests), they do excellent damage with "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" (50% chance of 4 or more damage past heavy or light armor), with a 90% chance of Blast 2 against a Black die and a nearly 75% chance of Blast 2 against a White. Return to Hoth: Tier 4 HK Assassin Droids - Significantly weaker than the Heavy Troopers, these assassins pack a punch especially against Black dice, where their surge for Pierce 1 combos with "Savage Weaponry" to rip through the target's defenses. With an 81% chance to inflict Bleed and a 40% chance to inflict Weaken (70% and 30%, respectively, against a White die, combined with a 60% chance of 4D+), these droids can significantly impair the progress of the enemy (Bleed), while making them more vulnerable to attacks and less likely to deal damage to imperial forces (Weaken), all at extremely long distances.              Bespin Gambit: Tier 3 Elite Wing Guards - About as durable as Elite Stormtroopers, but slightly more resilient (thanks to Recover 2), a single elite Wing Guard can deal 4 damage past heavy armor 60% of the time, with about the same odds of dealing Bleed (56%). And with the benefit of Squad Training, it's possible for them to fish for the particular result they want, especially with a free surge from "No Quarter." Also like the elite Stormtroopers, this unit is large enough that they can fight on several fronts at once, or can swarm together for a devastating strike to debilitate a single priority target. Jabba's Realm: Tier 4 Elite Weequay Pirates - "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" combine to give the devastating Weequay Pirates an 80% chance of dealing 4 or more damage past armor, and a 50% chance or better at Bleed. And that's before we factor in the reroll from "Raider" or an extra surge from being Hidden. Heart of the Empire: Tier 3 Elite Riot Trooper - Second only to the Elite Heavy Stormtroopers in total health, the Elite Riot Troopers offer tremendous flexibility for the Subversive Tactics commander. They are durable enough to be front-line fighters, and can become extremely difficult to kill if supported by "Oppress" (between their Black die, an extra Evade, and then a block power token in reserve from "Shield"). Offensively, they are extremely potent and flexible. Bolstered by "Savage Weaponry," the have three quality surge abilities to choose from (+2D, +1D, and Bleed) depending on the situation at hand, and that free surge from "No Quarter" (along with a reroll from "Professional") gives them a good chance at getting at least one of those to trigger. They also apply Weaken any time they deal at least 1 damage to their target (which is virtually guaranteed to happen every time, unless the target rolls a Dodge on the White die), making it more difficult for their target to press the attack and more susceptible to supporting fire from other imperial units. Lastly, the flexible "Crowd Control" offers another way for the astute commander to trade damage for strain, to ensure that strain-triggered upgrades like "Oppress" and "No Quarter" remain available to the empire throughout the round, or to set-up a huge killing blow from "Execute." Armed with these skills, resources, equipment, and tactics, our front-line commanders have ample tools at their disposal to deal with rebel incursions in lightly-defended systems. For more remote outposts, where the defenses consists largely of droids and mechanical defense systems, without the presence of core imperial soldiers, a more technologically-oriented approach may be necessary.       Inevitable Post-Posting Edits:  
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    Part the Twentieth: "Deadly two-dice beat sticks...," or part two of our analysis of Heart of the Empire's Focusing Beam. 
    Anniversary week continues with a return to our flagship series on campaign melee weapons. In our previous entry, we took our first foray into the melee weapons of "Heart of the Empire," with an analysis of how the Tier II Focusing Beam impacts the melee damage of all the Starter and itemized melee weapons that we've studied. The early returns were extremely promising, as the addition of the Focusing Beam resulted in a dramatic shake-up of our top-tier melee weapons, thanks in large part to a significant bump in our odds of dealing damage past White dice (thanks to either a "free" Pierce 1 or -1 Dodge).
    That said, our previous entry looked only at the addition of the Focusing Beam in isolation. And while that's all we have available for most melee weapons, there are two melee weapons that can pair the Focusing Beam with one other modification for even more offensive firepower. Since both have been largely overshadowed by newer items, today they're getting some special treatment. 
    Return to Bespin

    [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]
    I was initially very dismissive of the Vibrosword when we first looked at it ages ago. Part of that was probably recency bias, because the Gaffi Stick + Vibrogenerator was such a surprise (and for less). It also wasn't sustainable (except with the Vibrogenerator, but the Vibrosword + Vibrogenerator was worse than and more expensive than the Gaffi + Vibrogenerator, so again, hard to be excited about), and it took almost 900 credits to make something that looked at least semi-viable (which, at the time, seemed like a lot).
    A lot has changed since then. We now recognize that the Gaffi + Vibrogenerator is a huge outlier when it comes to cost.  We also know that most top-end Tier III weapons don't have sustainable damage anyway; because the Vibrogenerator ends up costing us 1-2 surges, we end up getting more damage output on three-dice weapons if we use exhaustible mods like the Focusing Beam, Balanced Hilt, or Shock Emitter. And we're now accustomed to spending 900-1200 credits on a good-to-very-good melee weapon, and 1200-1500 (or more) for a great melee weapon. Given all that's transpired, I think it's time to give the Tier I Vibrosword a fresh look.
    Even with it's "high" cost for a Tier I weapon, 350 credits still offers us a tremendously cheap path to a top-100 damage weapon. And it's not like we're getting a bum weapon either, for the price. While the Green-Blue dice pool is a bummer (although, as it turns out, it could be a whole lot worse... like Yellow-Green ), we still get (1) two mod slots, (2) an innate ability to surge for +2D, and (3) a "free" Pierce 1, provided we haven't taken strain equal to our endurance. Having just one of those things on a 350 credit weapon would be fabulous in and of itself, so the fact that we get all of them for 300 credits less than the Double-Vibrosword, 650 credits less than the Ancient Lightsaber, and 900 credits less than the Electrostaff is nothing short of miraculous.
    We also have multiple mod-options to pump up our damage while keeping our total buy-in costs below 1000 credits. We'll look at just two of the most promising today: the Vibrosword + Balanced Hilt + Focusing Beam (which costs a cool 900 credits and can be completely assembled as early as Tier II) and the Vibrosword + Focusing Beam + Vibrogenerator (which requires a Tier III component, but costs just 950 credits).
    On their own, neither the Balanced Hilt nor the Vibrogenerator make the Vibrosword particularly good. We have pretty good odds of dealing 2 or more damage past defense dice (which is something), but the weapons rank 180th and 169th, respectively, among all our melee+mod combos.
      But we've already seen that adding the Focusing Beam to just a one-mod weapon (in the 200s before it's modded) can bump that weapon up as many as 100 spaces. Stacking the Focusing Beam on top of either of these weapons achieves similar results. Let's start with the Balanced Hilt...           [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]
      Adding just the Pierce 1 from the Focusing Beam is good enough to propel our Vibrosword from 180th to 110th overall, and push our "80%" odds from 2D+ to 3D+ (which, conceptually, makes total sense). And adding the "smart" Focusing Beam, to either Pierce 1 or Dodge against the White die, improves our odds even further, from 110th to 72nd:     If 72nd highest damage was the best we could do with a Tier I weapon that costs 900 credits, we'd probably be very happy. For reference, that's better damage than the Tier II BD-1 with the High-Impact Guard and Shock Emitter which comes in at 99th (and costs a terrifying 1600 credits). We also have a 2-in-3 chance of dealing 4 or more damage (thanks in large part to that surge ability for +2D, which we only need 1 surge to trigger), the Balanced Hilt to (hopefully) get it to fire both times we attack in a typical activation, we have a surge for Bleed in our back pocket if we get lucky and roll more than 1 surge, and now we've eliminated the guess-work if we attack a White die (once per activation). Not too shabby for less than the naked Ryyk Blades, right?   And then consider this: we still haven't tapped the full potential of this Vibrosword. Sustainability issues aside (and they're there), we also have the option for a "free" Pierce 1, which we can then add on top of the "free" Pierce (or -1 Dodge, though we'd never do that unless we're facing a Black+White combo target) to improve our damage even more. Just how much more? Well...      Adding the Vibrosword's Pierce 1 to the Pierce 1 from the Focusing Blade gives us a top-80(ish) weapon (83rd overall) with a 2-in-3 chance of 4D+, and a 1-in-3 chance of 5D+. And pairing it with our "smart" Focusing Blade pushes what began as the 180th overall weapon into the top-50 (48th), with a 3-in-4 chance of 4D+ and a nearly 2-in-5 chance of 5D+. Again, for just 900 credits. For perspective, that's damage consistency (though not a damage ceiling) on-par with what we'd get from a Yellow-Green-Blue Ancient Lightsaber or Ryyk Blade, a Force Pike with the Shock Emitter, or a Red-Green-Green Electrostaff:               [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]
      The Vibrosword with the Vibrogenerator also picks up significant damage gains when we add the Focusing Beam. Just the Pierce 1 improves its damage ranking by more than 80 spots (from 169th to 84th). The -1 Dodge improves things slightly, from 84th to 75th, although the damage distribution is oddly affected. Our odds of 1-3D+ go up, our odds of 4D+ are level, and our odds of 5-6D+ actually went down by about 3-4 percentage points, which is larger than our margin of error. I'm not sure why that's the case...     The ship rightens once we add that extra Pierce 1 from the Vibrosword. Now armed with a Pierce 2 (against Black dice) and +2D, we have an 80% chance of dealing 4 or more damage (with the "smart" Focusing Beam), and nearly a 50% chance of five or more.       The fact that we can get top-40 damage out of a Tier I weapon (36th out of more than 250 total weapon mods) is impressive enough (although to be fair, we do have a Tier III mod equipped). And with a total cost of 950 credits, its cost compares very favorably to the weapons that immediately surround it in the rankings (all of which have exhaust-to-use parts and are niche melee weapons for either a strength- or insight- melee hero):       The Evolution of the Ax   Our only other (itemized) two-mod melee weapon is the BD-1 Vibro-Ax. While the naked Ax is kind of a mixed bag, and there are lots of ways to dump tons of credits into it and still come away with disappointingly low or inconsistent damage (like that 1600 credit High-Impact Guard + Shock Emitter variant that placed just 99th), the jewels have combined the BD-1's Red die with the Vibrogenerator and either the Extended Haft (for a consistently free Pierce 1 + 2D combo on every attack) or the Shock Emitter (for a consistent +2D and an exhaust to use +1D). Alternatively, the Balanced Hilt sacrifices some damage output, but also gives us a pretty good chance of getting that Cleave 2 to fire off (especially against a Black die) that pairs nicely with Reach.        [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]
      Pairing the Focusing Beam with the Balanced Hilt nets us very good damage. Once we factor in the ability to remove a Dodge, this weapon (which is available as early as Tier II and costs just 1150 credits) deals top-60 damage, with a good Cleave 2 chance and Reach for some very reasonably priced combat flexibility:     To put it in perspective, the damage output is slightly better than what we'd get from the naked Electrostaff, even though it uses only two dice. And while our odds of Cleave 2 aren't as good as we have on the Electrostaff (the Cleave 2 is "free," as long as the Electrostaff hits), we do have Reach available whenever we Cleave 2, which is more flexibility than we have in the naked Electrostaff (which has to choose between Reach and Cleave 2).     But the real magic happens when we pair the BD-1 and Focusing Beam with the Vibrogenerator.         [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]     Just adding the Vibrogenerator to a BD-1 makes that ax a top-100 weapon (87th), using the Focusing Beam to Pierce 1 pushes it into the top-15 (12th overall, with an 80% chance of dealing 4D+, and a nearly 2-in-5 chance of dealing 6D+), and once we factor in the -1 Dodge, it's a top-3 weapon:     It's crowded at the top, to be sure, but just look at how favorably the damage compares to our damage-dealing heavy hitters:     Yes its damage ceiling is lower (no chance at 8 or 9 damage), and yes its damage stats begin to fade once we get to 6D+. Yes, the Ancient LIghtsaber is probably "better" with the Focusing Beam on it, but only if we're wounded and only if we're an insight melee hero. And yes, we give up the chance for Cleave 2 with this set-up (because we can't roll more than 2 surges with just a Red-Green dice pool), which is an advantage for the Electrostaff. But still... for just 1200 credits, and with the added benefit of Reach (which only the Electrostaff could also gain, and only without Cleave 2), the BD-1 makes a solid top-tier weapon choice, at a solid price.   Which is very reassuring, because I wasn't sure the BD-1 still had a place once this beauty dropped...     For next time.   Inevitable post-posting edits:  
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    Entry 001: {Acquiring Target}   On day two of Anniversary Week, we're kicking off (by popular request) our second campaign-focused series on ranged campaign weapons!   When I started this thread about a year ago, I began with melee weapons for two reasons. First, I enjoyed playing melee characters more than ranged characters (something that hasn't changed with the addition of Davith and Shyla), so I had a natural interest in tackling those weapons first. The second (and ultimately more dispositive) reason was that melee damage introduced plenty of concepts (at its most basic level, damage and surges; eventually keywords and surge hierarchies  and natural damage and exhaust-to-use mods and "Convert" and who knows what else) without introducing (at least most of the time) the third dice component that ranged weapons rely upon: accuracy.   Well one year and lots of data experiments later, I think we're finally at a place where we can calculate accuracy without letting accuracy calculate us... or something like that.   Code 223   For most melee attacks, distance to target is a binary question: we're either close enough to hit the target (adjacent normally, or two spaces away with line-of-sight if we have Reach). This allowed us to create relatively straightforward "at least" damage charts (which we could spice up with as much data as we wanted), without having to measure how the distance to the target impacted all of the variables that we were trying to measure.   There are, of course, exceptions, where melee weapons function as ranged weapons. Here's perhaps the most common one:         If you're just skimming this and thought this was a post on Shu-Yen's Lightsaber, the joke's on you!  [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]   Now we haven't discussed Shu-Yen's Lightsaber yet in our melee weapon series (in part for this reason), but it has two quality surge abilities on it, and no way to get more than two surges with its native dice pool (Red-Blue rolls a maximum of 2 surges, and only rarely). If we perform a standard melee attack with this weapon against an adjacent target, then we don't care about any accuracy results we roll and thus are left free to shoot for the maximum damage possible both on our Red and Blue dice (and any rerolls of those dice that we have) and in how we spend our surges. And if we have the Balanced Hilt equipped, we should be reasonably confident that we should be able to get at least one of our preferred surges (+1D/Cleave 2 or Pierce 3) to fire at least once during our activation (especially if we are attacking a target with a Black die). But if we perform an attack against a target who is four or five spaces away, it's possible we may need to take surges away from those abilities in order to get additional accuracy (which could reduce our damage output), or may even miss the attack entirely if the target is particularly far away (or we get a particularly bad roll), which will almost certainly reduce our damage output.   To illustrate, let's begin with a relatively straight-forward ranged starter weapon (which, coincidentally, is almost never used): Gideon's Holdout Blaster!   [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]   Looking at the card, there's some good and bad. There's a mod slot (always essential), so there's room for some upward mobility regardless of how bad this weapon is to start with. It also has a solid surge ability for Pierce 2, which should do a number on Black dice (ala the Tier I Vibro Knife on the melee side). And with a Yellow die in the mix, we should get the Pierce 2 to proc fairly regularly. The downside is a toss-up between the lack of any ability to surge for damage (always bad) and the Yellow-Blue dice pool, which is pretty impotent when it comes to dealing damage. But at least that Blue die should contribute some accuracy to our attacks, which is way more than it contributes to melee weapons.   Now let's see how the Holdout Blaster performs in combat against an actual target (meaning, against a defense die). We'll start with a Black target (to take full advantage of that Pierce 2) who is 1 space away (adjacent) and not Hidden. In other words, we need line of sight (which we have, because we're adjacent) and 1 or more accuracy in order for our attack to not "miss." Plugging that data into our Monte Carlo simulator gives us the following results over 2000 trials:     And the results are . . . surprisingly, not bad. While the Holdout Blaster isn't a top-50 melee weapon, it does deal 1 or more damage past a Black defense die in 85% of our 2000 trials, which is a very respectable mark for a starter weapon with no mods on it (better than Diala's Plasteel Staff and Shyla's Yellow-Green Duelist's Blade, on-par with Verena's Fighting Knife and Davith's Heirloom Dagger, slightly behind Gaarkhan's Vibro-Ax and Shyla's Red-Green Duelist's Blade). From there it's not doing a ton of damage, but a 50-ish percent chance at dealing 2 damage past a defense die is decent.   If we choose a target one additional space away, the data doesn't change that much:     In this particular data-set, the damage actually goes up in all categories, but it's within our margin of error, so we can attribute it to slightly higher dice rolls (this is a Monte Carlo simulation, after all). The important thing is that we haven't suffered any noticeable damage drop-off yet, which makes sense because Gideon's Blue die has a minimum of "2" accuracy. But if we choose a target one additional space away, things start to become interesting...     So now we're shooting something three spaces away. While there's some loss in damage in the 2-4D+ bands, it's still within our margin for error, so it's not concerning us too much. The significant loss is in the 1D+ band (about 6% points from our "1A" results, and more than 8% points from the "hotter" "2A" results), both of which are larger than our 2% margin of error. The difference is that at three spaces away, our accuracy is no longer guaranteed, so there's a small (for now) pool of results where the attack misses for want of accuracy.      At four spaces away, we get our first significant drop. Our 1D+ odds have fallen from around 85% to under 60%, and our 2D+ odds have fallen from about 1-in-2 to 1-in-3.     At 5 spaces, we're in serious trouble, as our odds of 1 or more damage have plummeted to less than 50%. We lose any chance of dealing 4 damage when we move to six spaces away (because we need either the Blue "5" which only has 1 damage on it, or a Yellow "2" which has either a single-damage or a single-surge)...     ... and in order to reach our maximum range (7 spaces), we need both the Blue "5" (for 1 damage) and either the Yellow "2" with 1 surge (for 1D, Pierce 2) or the Yellow "2" with 1 damage (for 2 damage). The odds of that happening (and us dealing damage past a Black defense die) aren't great, as evidenced by our 4% chance of dealing any damage.     And to complete the chart, there's no way our attack can hit a target 8 spaces away, and our damage odds reflect that.      The moral of the story is this: while ranged attacks give us more flexibility in choosing targets, if we want to maximize our damage output we need to stick to targets who are at or within our weapon's minimum guaranteed accuracy. The further we stray from that minimum, the less reliable our damage becomes.   Recomputing   Now, of course, we could do a whole accuracy mock-up every time we evaluate a ranged weapon, but it's not particularly attractive. For one thing, that's 7 calculations for this starter weapon (as many as ten for a double-Blue die weapon, and conceivably more than that for three-dice weapons, Focused weapons, etc.). And that's just for naked weapons. It'd be another seven more for each mod combination (or combinations of mods, since there are fair number of ranged weapons with two mod slots)... and at some point, the raw number of calculations we'd need to perform becomes staggering... much, much more than the workload we had for melee weapons (which was enough on its own to keep up with).   Then there's the tedium. Unless we're using these charts to look up calculations mid-game (and really, that's not what they're here for... we have plenty of IA calculators that will do that for you much more quickly and accessibly), there's really no need to know what Gideon's odds are of dealing 3D+ to a target when he needs 5 accuracy to not miss, because once we have a general sense of how the Holdout Blaster performs (or even how accuracy performs), we know we'd never knowingly take a shot with the Holdout Blaster from five spaces away if we could possibly help it.    So for purposes of this series, we'll be cutting our "accuracy" calculations down into something that still helps us, but is far less tedious to compute (or review). My proposal is to divide our weapons' performance into three different categories: "Brawlers," "Assault weapons," and "Snipers." Brawlers: These ranged weapons have guaranteed minimum accuracy of 1 or 2. When measuring a "Brawler's" effectiveness, we'll measure it as attacking a target 1 space away (in an adjacent space). Every ranged weapon has a "Brawler" capacity because every ranged weapon should have guaranteed accuracy of at least "1," at least in normal circumstances (i.e., where the target is not Hidden). Weapons that use mods or xp cards that give bonuses while attacking adjacent figures (or figures up to 2 spaces away) would also qualify as "Brawlers." Assault: These ranged weapons  have guaranteed minimum accuracy of 3 or 4. These are solid, multipurpose weapons. They can Brawl reliably, and can snipe fairly well, too, although their damage output diminishes the further away the target is. Sniper: These weapons have a minimum of 5 or more accuracy, and suffer no "miss" penalty to their damage output unless they are attacking targets near the other end of the campaign map. Weapons that gain benefits from being five or more spaces away would fall into this category.   To illustrate this principle, here's how Gideon's Holdout Blaster fares as a "Brawler," "Assault," and "Sniper" weapon:     Unsurprisingly, the Holdout Blaster is at its best as a "Brawler" (attacking a target 1 space away). It  has a minimum of 2 guaranteed accuracy, thanks to its Blue die, and against adjusted defense dice (the average of 1 Black and 1 White defense die), in the second column from the left and marked in Red, the Holdout Blaster dealt 1 or more damage in approximately 75% of our 2000 trials. The odds against a Black die were quite a bit higher than the against the White (81% of 1D+ vs. 1 Black, versus just 68.65% vs. 1 White) for several reasons. For one, the White die has about a 17% chance of rolling a Dodge, so the maximum odds we can score against a White die (under normal circumstances) are just 83%, versus 100% (theoretically) against a Black die. For another, the Holdout Blaster's Pierce 2 removes two blocks up to 50% of the time against a Black die (which has two sides with 2 blocks, and 1 side with 3 blocks), while the White die has only three sides with blocks, and all of them have only a single block (which means at least part of that Pierce 2 is going to be wasted 100% of the time).   As an "Assault" weapon (attacking a target 3 spaces away), the Holdout Blaster loses about 10 percentage points in its 1D+ odds (dropping from around 75% to about 66%), although its odds of dealing 2D+, 3D+, and 4D+ remain largely unaffected, whether against adjusted defense dice, black defense dice, or white defense dice. Here, misses from a Dodge and rolls where we don't have enough damage (or Pierce) to overcome the target's blocks are combining with an increase "miss" chance from not rolling enough accuracy, and starting to push our damage results downwards.   The Holdout Blaster is not designed as a sniper weapon. Although it has a Blue die, its odds of dealing damage from 5 spaces away are exceedingly poor (around 1-in-4). If it had a surge ability for +accuracy instead of Pierce 2, this very well might change. But without any way to gain accuracy outside of its dice rolls, the Holdout Blaster has no reliable way to generate the high accuracy needed to snipe at targets from long range.   Now if only there was a way to improve accuracy on a weapon that can't surge for additional accuracy...   Cheat Code Activated   Our preliminary look at the Holdout Blaster have revealed a damage pattern when dealing with ranged weapons: the closer the attacker is to the target, the more reliable the damage from his weapon; the further he moves from the target (or the further away the target is from his weapon), the less reliable his damage output. At some point, the odds of an attack "missing" for want of accuracy become unbearably great, and the weapon's once-solid damage totals crumble into something completely unrecognizable.   So it stands to reason that we should be able to "improve" the reliability of our weapon's damage by doing something that actually doesn't "increase" our weapon's "damage" at all: by adding more accuracy to our weapon. With something like this:   [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]   On its face, the "Marksman Barrel" doesn't look like it improves damage at all. I've played through ten campaigns and have never seen this mod purchased. But maybe I wasn't paying enough attention to it.   In a technical sense, the Marksman's Barrel doesn't increase our damage. It's not giving us more damage symbols, or surges we can spend on damage, or triggering harmful conditions, or any of the traditional "damage" things we've been accustomed to with melee weapons.   But what it does do is extend our weapon's range: it essentially allows us to convert a weapon that excels as a "Brawler" into an "Assault" weapon, and an "Assault" weapon into a "Sniper" weapon; and for a ranged weapon, this improves the reliablity of our weapon's damage... in some cases, tremendously. Here's what happens to Gideon's Holdout Blaster when add the Marksman Barrel to it:     Our "Brawler" data is essentially the same. But instead of seeing a drop-off when we move to "Assault" range, we actually see a slight uptick in damage (again, this is the result of "hotter" dice in our Monte Carlo Simulation). And instead of a significant drop-off when we get to "Sniper" range, we instead have a much more measured one. The result? Our "at least damage" odds are essentially the same while brawling (75.05% to 75.05%), moderately improved while assaulting (65.65% to 77.18%), and significantly improved while sniping (24.73% to 66.53%). For a "non-damage" mod, that's a pretty sneaky increase in damage output.   What about for a weapon that isn't locked into being a "Brawler"? Well, we happen to have one of those lying around in the core set, too.   [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]   Mak's Longblaster has a Blue-Blue dice pool, which means this weapon can brawl or assault with equal ease (minimum of 4 accuracy). Damage is going to be a potential issue, but at least it has two damage-dealing surge abilities (+1D and Pierce 1), and a mod slot for upward mobility. Here's how the Longblaster fares at Brawler, Assault, and Sniper range:     Big-picture, we're still seeing the curse of accuracy play out. The Longblaster doesn't hit as hard once we move from its guaranteed "Assault" range (minimum accuracy of 4) into "Sniper" range (range 5) where sufficient accuracy is no longer assured. Despite not having surge-friendly dice or a powerful ability to surge for Pierce 2 , the Longblaster hits slightly harder than Gideon's Holdout Blaster in Brawler range (78% odds of 1D+), a good bit harder at "Assault" range (78% vs. 65% odds of 1D+), and significantly harder at Sniper range (almost 70% odds of 1D+, compared to odds of under 25% for the unmodified Holdout Blaster). And if we add the Marksman Barrel, we can push the Longblaster's odds of 1D+ while sniping to just under 80% as well:     Next we have Fenn's Infantry Rifle, which is clearly an "Assault" weapon with its Green-Blue dice pool (minimum of 3 accuracy). It's also the first of our starter weapons to have the ability to surge for more accuracy (+1 accuracy), and of course has that mod slot.   [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]   Both the Green die (instead of the Yellow) and the surge for +1 accuracy give the Infantry Rifle a significant advantage over the Holdout Blaster when it comes to moving from "assault" damage to "sniper" damage. While Gideon managed just a paltry 25% odds of 1D+, Fenn has a much more respectable 44%.     It's not shattering any record books, but it's more dependable. And, of course, pairing the Infantry Rifle's Green-Blue with the Marksman Barrel makes the Infantry Rifle a solid "sniper" weapon, with a guarantee of at least 5 accuracy (and almost 80% odds of dealing 1D+). For someone like Fenn, who can add Blast to his ranged attacks, going from a 44% chance at dealing 1 or more damage from five spaces away to an 80% chance of dealing 1 or more damage from five spaces away is nothing to sneeze at (unless you're sneezing shrapnel at the enemy).   Lastly, we have Jyn's Vintage Blaster. With its Green-Green dice pool, and a surge ability for +1 accuracy, this looks like it should be an easy "assault" weapon.   [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]   But just one look at its unmodified damage odds reveal that something has gone horribly wrong:       The Vintage Blaster is clearly a brawling weapon, with 80% odds of dealing 1D+, and nearly 60% odds of dealing 2D+ versus adjusted defense dice if our target is within 2 spaces. But if the target is three spaces away, those odds fall dramatically, to just 62% and 47%, respectively. And those "sniper" odds are absolutely abysmal! Gideon's Yellow-Blue dice pool, with no surge ability for accuracy, are significantly better than what Jyn can do. For a character who makes a living out of quick-drawing hostile figures, an inability to consistently hit figures more than 2 spaces away is a real bummer. Quick-drawing a Hidden foe 3 spaces away and dealing just one damage is an extremely difficult task.   So why the sudden drop off? Well, we only have one potential culprit (she's rolling double-Greens, after all), so let's take a look at their sides again:     It's easy to think that the Green die is an "accuracy die." And it is, at least in the sense that it (like the Blue die) is the only die that guarantees us at least 1 accuracy every time we roll it (and it can net us as much as "3" accuracy). The problem is that those results aren't evenly distributed. For each Green die, we have a 1-in-2 chance of getting just "1" accuracy, and just a 1-in-6 chance of getting "3." This poses a real problem once we're out of minimum accuracy range, even if we can theoretically surge for +1 accuracy. The Green dice, acting alone, just don't generate enough consistent accuracy to make Jyn a threat from more than 2 spaces away.   The Marksman Barrel solves this inconsistency, by pushing Jyn's Vintage Blaster solidly into the "assault" tier (with a minimum of 4 accuracy), and gives her enough consistent accuracy to pose a credible threat to hostile figures five spaces away (although not much more than that). The result is a damage chart that's far more consistent (and terrifying).     So much for our deep-dive into accuracy. In the upcoming weeks, we'll dig into some of the other mods for ranged weapons (and there are some good ones). And come back tomorrow as Anniversary Week continues!            [Photo Credit: FFG & cards.boardwars.eu]     Inevitable post-posting edits: Updated IA dice graphic and series banner ()
  13. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from Suhawk75 in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Our in-depth look at campaign heroes begins with Gaarkhan (Core Set). If you missed our general discussion of Gaarkhan's traits and abilities, you can find that here. This time, we'll take an in-depth look at the first of many possible Gaarkhan builds, which I've nicknamed...
    "The Brawler"

    The Big Picture. The game-plan of this build is beautifully simplistic: Gaarkhan “charges” every activation, bashing into as many hostile figures as possible and dealing as many of them as possible as much damage as possible. Since he’s (literally) charging head-first into the rat’s nest (ok, maybe not completely literally), he expects to get damaged a lot, and probably wounded (especially if your IP is more like a dungeon-master than another competitor, with stormtroopers who act realistically [“There’s a wookiee right on top of us!”] instead of making… rational gameplay decisions).
     
    Core Xp strategy: if we expect to be wounded, “Unstoppable” is a complete no-brainer. If the IP leaves Gaarkhan alone and healthy, he has the Endurance to trigger “Charge” with its insane five space range (perpetually without resting, if we run with a weapon designed to net us a couple extra surges each round for Recover). And if the IP targets us, we still have good endurance and speed while wounded, plus a static +2D bonus. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right? Since “Charge” is an essential part of our play strategy, “Rampage” is an obvious include, too (more damage). So is “Brutal Cleave” (What’s better than spending a single activation to rush 5 spaces, deal splash damage to a bunch of bucketheads, attack them, and have a second action left for a follow-up attack? How about a third attack?). That’s a core of three skills for 11 xp, which we should be able to get even if the Rebels tank the campaign.
    Xp perks: If we have xp left over, there are some additional skills we could consider. In most campaigns the Rebels can get to 12xp, and for 1 xp “Wookie Fortitude” gives us a cheap option to remove a Stun or Bleed if we want a full, unimpeded activation (to “Charge,” of course) or to recover some extra damage on the back-end. If we manage to land 13 xp, “Ferocity” might be attractive, especially if the IP does focus-fire Gaarkhan (or if we have another ally like Diala or Gideon who can Focus us). And if we somehow end up with a whopping 14xp (not likely, but it can happen), we could either grab both of these or lock-in the option to get +1D for a strain through “Vicious Strike.” Whether or not we have the +2D from “Unstoppable,” the option to add +1D on a dime may mean the difference between a target living or dying, applying or not applying a keyword, etc.
    Weapon choice: Speaking of keywords, to inflict maximum damage we probably want a weapon with Cleave, either natively or through the addition of the Weighted Head mod (once we get access to Tier II). Decent surge chance would be nice in the abstract (especially since we’re planning to spend 2 strain each activation to “Charge,” and eventually at least one more to “Brutal Cleave”), although it’s probably more important to make sure our dice pool will deal the 1D+ past defense dice that we need to trigger Cleave in the first place. We should probably consider the Balanced Hilt on weapons with a native Cleave ability (or with two mod slots) to help the Cleave fire more consistently, especially if our weapon is rolling one (or more) Red. And it would also be nice to have Reach or the ability to Pierce without spending surges, although those may end up being luxuries we can’t afford.
    Item choice: This will depend on just how much we spend on our weapon. But if we can find a relatively cheap weapon (1000-1200 credits), we could end up with 300-400 credits to spend on other accessories. If strain management is an issue (because our weapon doesn’t roll enough surges to consistently Recover, the IP is running a strain-focused imperial class deck, etc), we might look for items that either buff our Endurance or remove strain (either completely or allow us to shuffle it elsewhere). If not, items that buff our weapon’s damage--and especially our weapon’s surge procs--would be fantastic buys, especially if we have multiple surge abilities for Cleave (and especially if we also have Reach). Items that allow us to do additional unblockable damage to another target (or two) without depleting or spending an action (or to obtain items like that) could also be valuable in this build if they’re not too cost prohibitive.
    So with those broad brush strokes in place, time to dive into the nitty-gritty!
     
    Early Campaign (0-3xp, Tier I Gear, ~600 Credits)
     
    Mid-Campaign (4-8xp, Tier I & II Gear, ~1200 Credits)
     
     
    Late Campaign (9-12xp, Tier I, II, & III Gear, ~1600 Credits)
     
    Well, that's a wrap on our first Gaarkhan archetype, "the Brawler." Have you played Gaarkhan as an in-your-face, no-holds barred melee menace? Did you opt for Cleave, or did you go with some other combat goal? What weapons did you like (or discover you didn't)? If you've got something to share, join the conversation and build the communal knowledge! And if you've got a Gaarkhan build you'd like us to math, let us know!
     
    Other entries in this series:
     
    Gaarkhan: The Basics (11/3/2017) Gaarkhan: "The Brawler" (11/4/2017) [Rampage, Unstoppable, Brutal Cleave, Wookiee Fortitude]  
     
    Additional Resources:
     
     
  14. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from machfalcon in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Subversive Tactics   The factor that contributed most to the demise of the Republic was not, in fact, the war, but rampant self-interest. Endemic to the political process our ancestors engineered, the insidious pursuit of self-enrichment grew only more pervasive through the long centuries, and in the end left the body politic feckless and corrupt.   The reason our Emperor was able to negotiate the dark waters that characterized the terminal years of the Republic and remain at the helm through a catastrophic war that spanned the galaxy is that he has never been interested in status or self-glorification. On the contrary, he has been tireless in his devotion to unify the galaxy and assure the well-being of its myriad populations.   This bold vision of the future requires not only the service of those of immaculate reputation and consummate skill in the just exercise of power, but also the service of a vast military dedicated to upholding the laws necessary to ensure galactic harmony. It may appear to some that the enactment of universal laws and the widespread deployment of a heavily armed military are steps toward galactic domination, but these actions are taken merely to protect us from those who would invade, enslave, exploit, or foment political dissent, and to punish accordingly any who engage in such acts.   Look on our new military not as trespassers or interlopers, but as gatekeepers, here to shore up the Emperor's vision of a pacified and prosperous galaxy.   ~ Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin  
      Memorandum #2693: Subversive Tactics   The loss of the data repository on Scariff, while a minor blow to Imperial infrastructure, has highlighted the lengths that armed rebels will go to threaten the peace and security of the galaxy. After analyzing their unorthodox tactics, I believe the greatest challenge to Imperial power in the near future will arise not from organized resistance but small bands of sleeper cells, who will attempt to hit other high-priority targets through covert means. To repel these attacks successfully, our command personnel, from core commanders to field officers, must be trained to recognize and respond to these threats quickly and decisively. By working covertly to subvert their organization and cooperation, we can defeat their efforts before any meaningful threats ever materialize.   Piling on Strain (and Damage): Surgical Strike (1xp), Exploit Weakness (2xp), Heavy Pressure (2xp), and Weary Target (3xp)   The foundation of these tactics is to use brute force to slow down hostiles, frustrating their aims long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Like the Jedi mystics of old, the rebels like to "exert" themselves, spending precious energy to move faster, hit harder, and be more heroic than should be biologically possible. So the first step to slowing them down is to sap them of that precious energy by making exacting strikes of our own.           The initial opportunity is at the moment of attack, with a "Surgical Strike" (1xp). This flexible ability allows imperial forces who engage a hostile in combat to inflict an additional damage and strain on their target, regardless of whether not that engagement ended in success or failure. Although this ability can only be used once per round, it should be used once every round.   If the hostile figure has proven particularly troublesome, heavy units may engage that figure with "Heavy Pressure" (2xp). Although wounding rebels should remain a top priority, it is acceptable to skimp on damage dealt if the outcome will be to deprive the target of his ability to perform heroic actions. This is particularly true if the figure has been quiet for some time, and seems to be gearing up to return to the fray.   If possible, our forces should concentrate these efforts on a single figure, until that figure becomes completely fatigued. In the event that the primary target has not been completely fatigued by the end of the round, it may be appropriate to single that figure out as a "Weary Target" (3xp), in a final attempt to wear him (or her) down. If the target is almost fatigued, it may also suffer additional damage from this action. This would be an ideal outcome.   As hostile forces become more familiar with these tactics, it is reasonable to anticipate that their own tactics and strategies may evolve. Imperial forces who spot these traitors catching their breath are authorized to "Exploit [any] Weakness" (2xp) they observe, and to shoot-on-sight if able or regroup with their unit for a more concentrated push. As with our surgical strikes and heavy pressure, we must make a point to exploit weaknesses every round.        As a word of caution, while these tactics are extremely effective at curbing the effectiveness of a single hero, the fact that they can only be resolved once per round may prove too slow for aggressive terror cells. While some mixture of these tactics could supplement a more aggressive response, a complete implementation of this strategy is likely to frustrate field commanders unless supported by resilient field units who are prepared to dig in for the long-haul against rebel cells, while sustaining heavy fire. Standard trooper units are unlikely to provide the resistance needed to systematically wear down rebel units, particularly if those units have significant combat experience.   Unnatural Resilience: Prey Upon Doubt (0 xp) and Oppression (4xp)     "Prey Upon Doubt" (0xp) not only helps with our forces' resilience, but it also toys with the enemy's mind by forcing another decision-point upon them. Additional protection against surge damage may seem a small price for a hero to pay to preserve some of his precious energy, but it can be devastating depending on the weapon that hero is using. A hero with a weapon that doesn't rely on surge energy for damage is not a great candidate, as additional surge protection does little to reduce the damage our forces are likely to take:     But such weapons are relatively rare. Our forces are far more likely to face enemies with weapons that rely on surges, in some cases heavily. Adding extra surge protection to a Black die makes our forces far more difficult to wound reliably, and can dramatically reduce the likelihood that they will suffer harmful effects. Here's data collected from a case study involving a captured BD-1 Vibro Ax, which a terrorist had modified with a specialized melee focusing beam and a hilt aimed at improving the weapon's balance:     Without the benefit of added surge protection, this weapon is highly dangerous to its primary target, dealing enough damage to kill an armored elite Stormtrooper and a reasonably good chance to deal Cleave damage into another target up to 2 spaces from the assailant. But adding that single surge protection virtually eliminates the chance that our trooper will be killed by a single blow, and makes it impossible for the assailant to strike both his primary and secondary target.   We've seen similar results in tests captured with ancient Jedi relics. A common lightsaber variant suffered a significant loss in damage effectiveness against our surge-reinforced armor, which became impossible to pierce. We anticipate that the single-strike fatality rate for our elite Stormtroopers will fall from around 70% to just 15%, just by making this adjustment:     And while this new anti-surge plating has proven most effective against weapons that rely on surge energy, there are definite benefits even against weapons that need only a single surge to function. We recently performed tests with a modified Electrostaff rumored to be among the most powerful weapons available to the rebellion. Although the weapon still proves devastating to its primary target (and it still poses a danger to nearby units), the odds of taking significant damage decreased noticeably with the addition of our anti-surge plating.     All-in-all, the addition of just a single anti-surge element has an impact on the damage of weapons that aren't surge-independent. And in some cases, the reduction in average damage dealt can be as much as two damage, which for our units on the front lines could mean the difference between life and death.     Lastly, while our technicians have only been able to apply this technology to a single target each round, and while the initial prototype can unfortunately be worked-around by hostiles who are willing to exert themselves to overcome it, those willing to invest the necessary time and resources can take advantage of "Oppression" (4xp), a global solution that offers this same degree of protection to entire squads during multiple attacks, as long as the attacker has suffered at least 2 strain.     Working in tandem with other efforts to exhaust the rebels, this increase in defensive armoring should go a long way to blunt the impact of even the most advanced weaponry, and give our forces the staying power they need to oppress and cow the enemy forces.   Mortar and Flame: Executioner (3xp)     While many field commanders may be willing to dig in for the long haul, more aggressive commanders may wish to try their hand at "Executioner" (3xp). There are risks, of course. The amount of investment that goes into this tactic is not insignificant; the tactic is difficult, and thus can only be executed once per round; and it requires that the unit commander spend some of his precious threat, which may impede the flow of reinforcements moving forward.   The trade-off is the ability to finish-off fatigued hostiles with devastating efficiency. Field tests conducted with rank and file Stormtroopers, against both heavily- and lightly-armored fatigued targets, were extremely promising:     While a standard rank-and-file Stormtrooper poses only minimal threat to a rebel figure, that risk doubles when the hostile has suffered 1 strain, triples when the hostile has suffered 2 strain, and quadruples when the hostile has suffered 3 or more fatigue. This same generic trooper has a 50% chance or greater of dealing at least 5 damage past heavy-armor, and a nearly 65% chance of dealing that much damage past light armor.   Results with elite Stormtrooper units were even more devastating:     Against a target with even a single point of fatigue, our elite units were able to deal 3 or more damage past heavy armor more than 70% of the time, and had a 70% chance of dealing 5 or more damage past heavy armor against hostiles who had suffered 3 or more fatigue. With appropriate Squad Training, that number can climb to as high as 80%, with around a 50% chance of dealing 6 or more damage.       Persistent Firepower: Savage Weaponry (1xp) and No Quarter (4xp)   While most of the tactics described so far have been single-use attempts to mire the terrorists in fatigue, these last two upgrades offer powerful tools to persistently hamper these cells. In a miracle of modern scientific achievement, our researchers have developed an extremely inexpensive yet powerful upgrade that can be equipped to entire combat units:     This "Savage Weaponry" (1xp) serves two primary purposes. First, it drastically improves the firepower of our forces by equipping them with armor-piercing rounds. This contribution, while small on its face, drastically reduces the effectiveness of heavy armor, and renders light armor almost useless. Second, these armor-piercing rounds have a tendency to rip through enemy flesh, producing painful Bleed wounds that either have to be tended to immediately, or will fatigue (and eventually damage) the target. Since very few rebels seem equipped with skills to deal with these devastating Bleeds, most are forced to stop and rest, buying our forces valuable time to strengthen and consolidate their positions.   Testing with rank-and-file Stormtroopers illustrate just how effective this new weaponry can be. A traditional trooper, with traditional rounds, deals damage past heavy or light armor about 80% of the time, may deal 2 or more damage about half the time, and has difficulty dealing more than 2 damage. We can improve these performances slightly through Squad Training, but the threat still remains minor:     But the addition of savage weaponry improves the effectiveness of these rank-and-file soldiers tremendously. The odds of dealing three or more damage past heavy armor rises to around 60% (with around 15% chance for an additional Bleed), and 70% against light armor (but with a smaller Bleed chance).     Our elite troopers have around a 75% chance of dealing 3 or more damage to their target, and around a 40% chance of dealing 4 or more damage, also with an outside chance to inflict Bleed:     Imperial forces can further exploit fatigued heroes to bolster their own offensive firepower through "No Quarter" (4xp).      Like "Oppression" (4xp), "No Quarter" keys off rebels who have suffered 2 or more strain, and gives our own units an additional surge while attacking those rebels. This persistent, unit-wide effect also has a noticeable impact in the damage dealt by our rank and file troopers...     ...and our elite enforcers:     With appropriate planning and resource development, the effects of both "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" can also be stacked in a single unit, creating a powerful, versatile front-line enforcer who can devastate the advance of even the most determined rebels. A rank-and-file Stormtrooper, armed with these offensive upgrades, has a good chance of dealing at least 3 damage and a Bleed on any target he engages:     And a squad of three elite Stormtroopers bolstered by these upgrades can deal 3-4 damage and a Bleed on up to 3 different targets, or between 9-12 damage and a Bleed to a single heavily-armored target in a single activation:     And this just scratches the surface of the potential that can be attained by specialized combat units bolstered by this weaponry. Below are additional tests run with six of the most common units deployed by unit commanders throughout the corners of the galaxy, and how potent they are when they have access to these upgrades:              Core Campaign: Tier 3 Trandoshan Hunters - When adjacent to their primary target, the Pierce 1 from "Savage Weaponry" combines with a +1D bonus from their scatterguns (and a potential surge for Pierce 2) to decimate heavy armor (83% chance of 3D+ vs. 1 Black die). Combined with an additional strain when they declare an attack on a target within 3 spaces, and a 94% chance to trigger a Bleed (83% vs. a White die), and the Trandoshan is a relatively cheap, hearty unit that makes an excellent candidate for "Savage Weaponry," especially against inexperienced hostiles. If a garrison places elite Trandoshan Hunters at your disposal, they are particularly devastating with "Savage Weaponry" equipped. Twin Shadows: Tier 4 Elite Heavy Stormtroopers - Extremely resilient in their own right, these 8 health figures become extremely difficult to kill with the benefit of "Prey Upon Doubt" or "Oppression" (especially if they are being attacked from 4 or more spaces away). They have two excellent surge abilities (+2D and Blast 2), and even if they choose to prioritize the Blast 2 (as they have in our tests), they do excellent damage with "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" (50% chance of 4 or more damage past heavy or light armor), with a 90% chance of Blast 2 against a Black die and a nearly 75% chance of Blast 2 against a White. Return to Hoth: Tier 4 HK Assassin Droids - Significantly weaker than the Heavy Troopers, these assassins pack a punch especially against Black dice, where their surge for Pierce 1 combos with "Savage Weaponry" to rip through the target's defenses. With an 81% chance to inflict Bleed and a 40% chance to inflict Weaken (70% and 30%, respectively, against a White die, combined with a 60% chance of 4D+), these droids can significantly impair the progress of the enemy (Bleed), while making them more vulnerable to attacks and less likely to deal damage to imperial forces (Weaken), all at extremely long distances.              Bespin Gambit: Tier 3 Elite Wing Guards - About as durable as Elite Stormtroopers, but slightly more resilient (thanks to Recover 2), a single elite Wing Guard can deal 4 damage past heavy armor 60% of the time, with about the same odds of dealing Bleed (56%). And with the benefit of Squad Training, it's possible for them to fish for the particular result they want, especially with a free surge from "No Quarter." Also like the elite Stormtroopers, this unit is large enough that they can fight on several fronts at once, or can swarm together for a devastating strike to debilitate a single priority target. Jabba's Realm: Tier 4 Elite Weequay Pirates - "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" combine to give the devastating Weequay Pirates an 80% chance of dealing 4 or more damage past armor, and a 50% chance or better at Bleed. And that's before we factor in the reroll from "Raider" or an extra surge from being Hidden. Heart of the Empire: Tier 3 Elite Riot Trooper - Second only to the Elite Heavy Stormtroopers in total health, the Elite Riot Troopers offer tremendous flexibility for the Subversive Tactics commander. They are durable enough to be front-line fighters, and can become extremely difficult to kill if supported by "Oppress" (between their Black die, an extra Evade, and then a block power token in reserve from "Shield"). Offensively, they are extremely potent and flexible. Bolstered by "Savage Weaponry," the have three quality surge abilities to choose from (+2D, +1D, and Bleed) depending on the situation at hand, and that free surge from "No Quarter" (along with a reroll from "Professional") gives them a good chance at getting at least one of those to trigger. They also apply Weaken any time they deal at least 1 damage to their target (which is virtually guaranteed to happen every time, unless the target rolls a Dodge on the White die), making it more difficult for their target to press the attack and more susceptible to supporting fire from other imperial units. Lastly, the flexible "Crowd Control" offers another way for the astute commander to trade damage for strain, to ensure that strain-triggered upgrades like "Oppress" and "No Quarter" remain available to the empire throughout the round, or to set-up a huge killing blow from "Execute." Armed with these skills, resources, equipment, and tactics, our front-line commanders have ample tools at their disposal to deal with rebel incursions in lightly-defended systems. For more remote outposts, where the defenses consists largely of droids and mechanical defense systems, without the presence of core imperial soldiers, a more technologically-oriented approach may be necessary.       Inevitable Post-Posting Edits:  
  15. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from subtrendy2 in Supply card comparative value   
    That meant the most sense, and I figured that would be the way it would go, but glad there's an unofficial answer at least. Without a special action limitation on it, there's no reason it couldn't be chained two or three times in a single activation, which seems extremely powerful. 
  16. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from ManateeX in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Subversive Tactics   The factor that contributed most to the demise of the Republic was not, in fact, the war, but rampant self-interest. Endemic to the political process our ancestors engineered, the insidious pursuit of self-enrichment grew only more pervasive through the long centuries, and in the end left the body politic feckless and corrupt.   The reason our Emperor was able to negotiate the dark waters that characterized the terminal years of the Republic and remain at the helm through a catastrophic war that spanned the galaxy is that he has never been interested in status or self-glorification. On the contrary, he has been tireless in his devotion to unify the galaxy and assure the well-being of its myriad populations.   This bold vision of the future requires not only the service of those of immaculate reputation and consummate skill in the just exercise of power, but also the service of a vast military dedicated to upholding the laws necessary to ensure galactic harmony. It may appear to some that the enactment of universal laws and the widespread deployment of a heavily armed military are steps toward galactic domination, but these actions are taken merely to protect us from those who would invade, enslave, exploit, or foment political dissent, and to punish accordingly any who engage in such acts.   Look on our new military not as trespassers or interlopers, but as gatekeepers, here to shore up the Emperor's vision of a pacified and prosperous galaxy.   ~ Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin  
      Memorandum #2693: Subversive Tactics   The loss of the data repository on Scariff, while a minor blow to Imperial infrastructure, has highlighted the lengths that armed rebels will go to threaten the peace and security of the galaxy. After analyzing their unorthodox tactics, I believe the greatest challenge to Imperial power in the near future will arise not from organized resistance but small bands of sleeper cells, who will attempt to hit other high-priority targets through covert means. To repel these attacks successfully, our command personnel, from core commanders to field officers, must be trained to recognize and respond to these threats quickly and decisively. By working covertly to subvert their organization and cooperation, we can defeat their efforts before any meaningful threats ever materialize.   Piling on Strain (and Damage): Surgical Strike (1xp), Exploit Weakness (2xp), Heavy Pressure (2xp), and Weary Target (3xp)   The foundation of these tactics is to use brute force to slow down hostiles, frustrating their aims long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Like the Jedi mystics of old, the rebels like to "exert" themselves, spending precious energy to move faster, hit harder, and be more heroic than should be biologically possible. So the first step to slowing them down is to sap them of that precious energy by making exacting strikes of our own.           The initial opportunity is at the moment of attack, with a "Surgical Strike" (1xp). This flexible ability allows imperial forces who engage a hostile in combat to inflict an additional damage and strain on their target, regardless of whether not that engagement ended in success or failure. Although this ability can only be used once per round, it should be used once every round.   If the hostile figure has proven particularly troublesome, heavy units may engage that figure with "Heavy Pressure" (2xp). Although wounding rebels should remain a top priority, it is acceptable to skimp on damage dealt if the outcome will be to deprive the target of his ability to perform heroic actions. This is particularly true if the figure has been quiet for some time, and seems to be gearing up to return to the fray.   If possible, our forces should concentrate these efforts on a single figure, until that figure becomes completely fatigued. In the event that the primary target has not been completely fatigued by the end of the round, it may be appropriate to single that figure out as a "Weary Target" (3xp), in a final attempt to wear him (or her) down. If the target is almost fatigued, it may also suffer additional damage from this action. This would be an ideal outcome.   As hostile forces become more familiar with these tactics, it is reasonable to anticipate that their own tactics and strategies may evolve. Imperial forces who spot these traitors catching their breath are authorized to "Exploit [any] Weakness" (2xp) they observe, and to shoot-on-sight if able or regroup with their unit for a more concentrated push. As with our surgical strikes and heavy pressure, we must make a point to exploit weaknesses every round.        As a word of caution, while these tactics are extremely effective at curbing the effectiveness of a single hero, the fact that they can only be resolved once per round may prove too slow for aggressive terror cells. While some mixture of these tactics could supplement a more aggressive response, a complete implementation of this strategy is likely to frustrate field commanders unless supported by resilient field units who are prepared to dig in for the long-haul against rebel cells, while sustaining heavy fire. Standard trooper units are unlikely to provide the resistance needed to systematically wear down rebel units, particularly if those units have significant combat experience.   Unnatural Resilience: Prey Upon Doubt (0 xp) and Oppression (4xp)     "Prey Upon Doubt" (0xp) not only helps with our forces' resilience, but it also toys with the enemy's mind by forcing another decision-point upon them. Additional protection against surge damage may seem a small price for a hero to pay to preserve some of his precious energy, but it can be devastating depending on the weapon that hero is using. A hero with a weapon that doesn't rely on surge energy for damage is not a great candidate, as additional surge protection does little to reduce the damage our forces are likely to take:     But such weapons are relatively rare. Our forces are far more likely to face enemies with weapons that rely on surges, in some cases heavily. Adding extra surge protection to a Black die makes our forces far more difficult to wound reliably, and can dramatically reduce the likelihood that they will suffer harmful effects. Here's data collected from a case study involving a captured BD-1 Vibro Ax, which a terrorist had modified with a specialized melee focusing beam and a hilt aimed at improving the weapon's balance:     Without the benefit of added surge protection, this weapon is highly dangerous to its primary target, dealing enough damage to kill an armored elite Stormtrooper and a reasonably good chance to deal Cleave damage into another target up to 2 spaces from the assailant. But adding that single surge protection virtually eliminates the chance that our trooper will be killed by a single blow, and makes it impossible for the assailant to strike both his primary and secondary target.   We've seen similar results in tests captured with ancient Jedi relics. A common lightsaber variant suffered a significant loss in damage effectiveness against our surge-reinforced armor, which became impossible to pierce. We anticipate that the single-strike fatality rate for our elite Stormtroopers will fall from around 70% to just 15%, just by making this adjustment:     And while this new anti-surge plating has proven most effective against weapons that rely on surge energy, there are definite benefits even against weapons that need only a single surge to function. We recently performed tests with a modified Electrostaff rumored to be among the most powerful weapons available to the rebellion. Although the weapon still proves devastating to its primary target (and it still poses a danger to nearby units), the odds of taking significant damage decreased noticeably with the addition of our anti-surge plating.     All-in-all, the addition of just a single anti-surge element has an impact on the damage of weapons that aren't surge-independent. And in some cases, the reduction in average damage dealt can be as much as two damage, which for our units on the front lines could mean the difference between life and death.     Lastly, while our technicians have only been able to apply this technology to a single target each round, and while the initial prototype can unfortunately be worked-around by hostiles who are willing to exert themselves to overcome it, those willing to invest the necessary time and resources can take advantage of "Oppression" (4xp), a global solution that offers this same degree of protection to entire squads during multiple attacks, as long as the attacker has suffered at least 2 strain.     Working in tandem with other efforts to exhaust the rebels, this increase in defensive armoring should go a long way to blunt the impact of even the most advanced weaponry, and give our forces the staying power they need to oppress and cow the enemy forces.   Mortar and Flame: Executioner (3xp)     While many field commanders may be willing to dig in for the long haul, more aggressive commanders may wish to try their hand at "Executioner" (3xp). There are risks, of course. The amount of investment that goes into this tactic is not insignificant; the tactic is difficult, and thus can only be executed once per round; and it requires that the unit commander spend some of his precious threat, which may impede the flow of reinforcements moving forward.   The trade-off is the ability to finish-off fatigued hostiles with devastating efficiency. Field tests conducted with rank and file Stormtroopers, against both heavily- and lightly-armored fatigued targets, were extremely promising:     While a standard rank-and-file Stormtrooper poses only minimal threat to a rebel figure, that risk doubles when the hostile has suffered 1 strain, triples when the hostile has suffered 2 strain, and quadruples when the hostile has suffered 3 or more fatigue. This same generic trooper has a 50% chance or greater of dealing at least 5 damage past heavy-armor, and a nearly 65% chance of dealing that much damage past light armor.   Results with elite Stormtrooper units were even more devastating:     Against a target with even a single point of fatigue, our elite units were able to deal 3 or more damage past heavy armor more than 70% of the time, and had a 70% chance of dealing 5 or more damage past heavy armor against hostiles who had suffered 3 or more fatigue. With appropriate Squad Training, that number can climb to as high as 80%, with around a 50% chance of dealing 6 or more damage.       Persistent Firepower: Savage Weaponry (1xp) and No Quarter (4xp)   While most of the tactics described so far have been single-use attempts to mire the terrorists in fatigue, these last two upgrades offer powerful tools to persistently hamper these cells. In a miracle of modern scientific achievement, our researchers have developed an extremely inexpensive yet powerful upgrade that can be equipped to entire combat units:     This "Savage Weaponry" (1xp) serves two primary purposes. First, it drastically improves the firepower of our forces by equipping them with armor-piercing rounds. This contribution, while small on its face, drastically reduces the effectiveness of heavy armor, and renders light armor almost useless. Second, these armor-piercing rounds have a tendency to rip through enemy flesh, producing painful Bleed wounds that either have to be tended to immediately, or will fatigue (and eventually damage) the target. Since very few rebels seem equipped with skills to deal with these devastating Bleeds, most are forced to stop and rest, buying our forces valuable time to strengthen and consolidate their positions.   Testing with rank-and-file Stormtroopers illustrate just how effective this new weaponry can be. A traditional trooper, with traditional rounds, deals damage past heavy or light armor about 80% of the time, may deal 2 or more damage about half the time, and has difficulty dealing more than 2 damage. We can improve these performances slightly through Squad Training, but the threat still remains minor:     But the addition of savage weaponry improves the effectiveness of these rank-and-file soldiers tremendously. The odds of dealing three or more damage past heavy armor rises to around 60% (with around 15% chance for an additional Bleed), and 70% against light armor (but with a smaller Bleed chance).     Our elite troopers have around a 75% chance of dealing 3 or more damage to their target, and around a 40% chance of dealing 4 or more damage, also with an outside chance to inflict Bleed:     Imperial forces can further exploit fatigued heroes to bolster their own offensive firepower through "No Quarter" (4xp).      Like "Oppression" (4xp), "No Quarter" keys off rebels who have suffered 2 or more strain, and gives our own units an additional surge while attacking those rebels. This persistent, unit-wide effect also has a noticeable impact in the damage dealt by our rank and file troopers...     ...and our elite enforcers:     With appropriate planning and resource development, the effects of both "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" can also be stacked in a single unit, creating a powerful, versatile front-line enforcer who can devastate the advance of even the most determined rebels. A rank-and-file Stormtrooper, armed with these offensive upgrades, has a good chance of dealing at least 3 damage and a Bleed on any target he engages:     And a squad of three elite Stormtroopers bolstered by these upgrades can deal 3-4 damage and a Bleed on up to 3 different targets, or between 9-12 damage and a Bleed to a single heavily-armored target in a single activation:     And this just scratches the surface of the potential that can be attained by specialized combat units bolstered by this weaponry. Below are additional tests run with six of the most common units deployed by unit commanders throughout the corners of the galaxy, and how potent they are when they have access to these upgrades:              Core Campaign: Tier 3 Trandoshan Hunters - When adjacent to their primary target, the Pierce 1 from "Savage Weaponry" combines with a +1D bonus from their scatterguns (and a potential surge for Pierce 2) to decimate heavy armor (83% chance of 3D+ vs. 1 Black die). Combined with an additional strain when they declare an attack on a target within 3 spaces, and a 94% chance to trigger a Bleed (83% vs. a White die), and the Trandoshan is a relatively cheap, hearty unit that makes an excellent candidate for "Savage Weaponry," especially against inexperienced hostiles. If a garrison places elite Trandoshan Hunters at your disposal, they are particularly devastating with "Savage Weaponry" equipped. Twin Shadows: Tier 4 Elite Heavy Stormtroopers - Extremely resilient in their own right, these 8 health figures become extremely difficult to kill with the benefit of "Prey Upon Doubt" or "Oppression" (especially if they are being attacked from 4 or more spaces away). They have two excellent surge abilities (+2D and Blast 2), and even if they choose to prioritize the Blast 2 (as they have in our tests), they do excellent damage with "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" (50% chance of 4 or more damage past heavy or light armor), with a 90% chance of Blast 2 against a Black die and a nearly 75% chance of Blast 2 against a White. Return to Hoth: Tier 4 HK Assassin Droids - Significantly weaker than the Heavy Troopers, these assassins pack a punch especially against Black dice, where their surge for Pierce 1 combos with "Savage Weaponry" to rip through the target's defenses. With an 81% chance to inflict Bleed and a 40% chance to inflict Weaken (70% and 30%, respectively, against a White die, combined with a 60% chance of 4D+), these droids can significantly impair the progress of the enemy (Bleed), while making them more vulnerable to attacks and less likely to deal damage to imperial forces (Weaken), all at extremely long distances.              Bespin Gambit: Tier 3 Elite Wing Guards - About as durable as Elite Stormtroopers, but slightly more resilient (thanks to Recover 2), a single elite Wing Guard can deal 4 damage past heavy armor 60% of the time, with about the same odds of dealing Bleed (56%). And with the benefit of Squad Training, it's possible for them to fish for the particular result they want, especially with a free surge from "No Quarter." Also like the elite Stormtroopers, this unit is large enough that they can fight on several fronts at once, or can swarm together for a devastating strike to debilitate a single priority target. Jabba's Realm: Tier 4 Elite Weequay Pirates - "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" combine to give the devastating Weequay Pirates an 80% chance of dealing 4 or more damage past armor, and a 50% chance or better at Bleed. And that's before we factor in the reroll from "Raider" or an extra surge from being Hidden. Heart of the Empire: Tier 3 Elite Riot Trooper - Second only to the Elite Heavy Stormtroopers in total health, the Elite Riot Troopers offer tremendous flexibility for the Subversive Tactics commander. They are durable enough to be front-line fighters, and can become extremely difficult to kill if supported by "Oppress" (between their Black die, an extra Evade, and then a block power token in reserve from "Shield"). Offensively, they are extremely potent and flexible. Bolstered by "Savage Weaponry," the have three quality surge abilities to choose from (+2D, +1D, and Bleed) depending on the situation at hand, and that free surge from "No Quarter" (along with a reroll from "Professional") gives them a good chance at getting at least one of those to trigger. They also apply Weaken any time they deal at least 1 damage to their target (which is virtually guaranteed to happen every time, unless the target rolls a Dodge on the White die), making it more difficult for their target to press the attack and more susceptible to supporting fire from other imperial units. Lastly, the flexible "Crowd Control" offers another way for the astute commander to trade damage for strain, to ensure that strain-triggered upgrades like "Oppress" and "No Quarter" remain available to the empire throughout the round, or to set-up a huge killing blow from "Execute." Armed with these skills, resources, equipment, and tactics, our front-line commanders have ample tools at their disposal to deal with rebel incursions in lightly-defended systems. For more remote outposts, where the defenses consists largely of droids and mechanical defense systems, without the presence of core imperial soldiers, a more technologically-oriented approach may be necessary.       Inevitable Post-Posting Edits:  
  17. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from Methantilus in Supply card comparative value   
    That meant the most sense, and I figured that would be the way it would go, but glad there's an unofficial answer at least. Without a special action limitation on it, there's no reason it couldn't be chained two or three times in a single activation, which seems extremely powerful. 
  18. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from Stompburger in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Subversive Tactics   The factor that contributed most to the demise of the Republic was not, in fact, the war, but rampant self-interest. Endemic to the political process our ancestors engineered, the insidious pursuit of self-enrichment grew only more pervasive through the long centuries, and in the end left the body politic feckless and corrupt.   The reason our Emperor was able to negotiate the dark waters that characterized the terminal years of the Republic and remain at the helm through a catastrophic war that spanned the galaxy is that he has never been interested in status or self-glorification. On the contrary, he has been tireless in his devotion to unify the galaxy and assure the well-being of its myriad populations.   This bold vision of the future requires not only the service of those of immaculate reputation and consummate skill in the just exercise of power, but also the service of a vast military dedicated to upholding the laws necessary to ensure galactic harmony. It may appear to some that the enactment of universal laws and the widespread deployment of a heavily armed military are steps toward galactic domination, but these actions are taken merely to protect us from those who would invade, enslave, exploit, or foment political dissent, and to punish accordingly any who engage in such acts.   Look on our new military not as trespassers or interlopers, but as gatekeepers, here to shore up the Emperor's vision of a pacified and prosperous galaxy.   ~ Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin  
      Memorandum #2693: Subversive Tactics   The loss of the data repository on Scariff, while a minor blow to Imperial infrastructure, has highlighted the lengths that armed rebels will go to threaten the peace and security of the galaxy. After analyzing their unorthodox tactics, I believe the greatest challenge to Imperial power in the near future will arise not from organized resistance but small bands of sleeper cells, who will attempt to hit other high-priority targets through covert means. To repel these attacks successfully, our command personnel, from core commanders to field officers, must be trained to recognize and respond to these threats quickly and decisively. By working covertly to subvert their organization and cooperation, we can defeat their efforts before any meaningful threats ever materialize.   Piling on Strain (and Damage): Surgical Strike (1xp), Exploit Weakness (2xp), Heavy Pressure (2xp), and Weary Target (3xp)   The foundation of these tactics is to use brute force to slow down hostiles, frustrating their aims long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Like the Jedi mystics of old, the rebels like to "exert" themselves, spending precious energy to move faster, hit harder, and be more heroic than should be biologically possible. So the first step to slowing them down is to sap them of that precious energy by making exacting strikes of our own.           The initial opportunity is at the moment of attack, with a "Surgical Strike" (1xp). This flexible ability allows imperial forces who engage a hostile in combat to inflict an additional damage and strain on their target, regardless of whether not that engagement ended in success or failure. Although this ability can only be used once per round, it should be used once every round.   If the hostile figure has proven particularly troublesome, heavy units may engage that figure with "Heavy Pressure" (2xp). Although wounding rebels should remain a top priority, it is acceptable to skimp on damage dealt if the outcome will be to deprive the target of his ability to perform heroic actions. This is particularly true if the figure has been quiet for some time, and seems to be gearing up to return to the fray.   If possible, our forces should concentrate these efforts on a single figure, until that figure becomes completely fatigued. In the event that the primary target has not been completely fatigued by the end of the round, it may be appropriate to single that figure out as a "Weary Target" (3xp), in a final attempt to wear him (or her) down. If the target is almost fatigued, it may also suffer additional damage from this action. This would be an ideal outcome.   As hostile forces become more familiar with these tactics, it is reasonable to anticipate that their own tactics and strategies may evolve. Imperial forces who spot these traitors catching their breath are authorized to "Exploit [any] Weakness" (2xp) they observe, and to shoot-on-sight if able or regroup with their unit for a more concentrated push. As with our surgical strikes and heavy pressure, we must make a point to exploit weaknesses every round.        As a word of caution, while these tactics are extremely effective at curbing the effectiveness of a single hero, the fact that they can only be resolved once per round may prove too slow for aggressive terror cells. While some mixture of these tactics could supplement a more aggressive response, a complete implementation of this strategy is likely to frustrate field commanders unless supported by resilient field units who are prepared to dig in for the long-haul against rebel cells, while sustaining heavy fire. Standard trooper units are unlikely to provide the resistance needed to systematically wear down rebel units, particularly if those units have significant combat experience.   Unnatural Resilience: Prey Upon Doubt (0 xp) and Oppression (4xp)     "Prey Upon Doubt" (0xp) not only helps with our forces' resilience, but it also toys with the enemy's mind by forcing another decision-point upon them. Additional protection against surge damage may seem a small price for a hero to pay to preserve some of his precious energy, but it can be devastating depending on the weapon that hero is using. A hero with a weapon that doesn't rely on surge energy for damage is not a great candidate, as additional surge protection does little to reduce the damage our forces are likely to take:     But such weapons are relatively rare. Our forces are far more likely to face enemies with weapons that rely on surges, in some cases heavily. Adding extra surge protection to a Black die makes our forces far more difficult to wound reliably, and can dramatically reduce the likelihood that they will suffer harmful effects. Here's data collected from a case study involving a captured BD-1 Vibro Ax, which a terrorist had modified with a specialized melee focusing beam and a hilt aimed at improving the weapon's balance:     Without the benefit of added surge protection, this weapon is highly dangerous to its primary target, dealing enough damage to kill an armored elite Stormtrooper and a reasonably good chance to deal Cleave damage into another target up to 2 spaces from the assailant. But adding that single surge protection virtually eliminates the chance that our trooper will be killed by a single blow, and makes it impossible for the assailant to strike both his primary and secondary target.   We've seen similar results in tests captured with ancient Jedi relics. A common lightsaber variant suffered a significant loss in damage effectiveness against our surge-reinforced armor, which became impossible to pierce. We anticipate that the single-strike fatality rate for our elite Stormtroopers will fall from around 70% to just 15%, just by making this adjustment:     And while this new anti-surge plating has proven most effective against weapons that rely on surge energy, there are definite benefits even against weapons that need only a single surge to function. We recently performed tests with a modified Electrostaff rumored to be among the most powerful weapons available to the rebellion. Although the weapon still proves devastating to its primary target (and it still poses a danger to nearby units), the odds of taking significant damage decreased noticeably with the addition of our anti-surge plating.     All-in-all, the addition of just a single anti-surge element has an impact on the damage of weapons that aren't surge-independent. And in some cases, the reduction in average damage dealt can be as much as two damage, which for our units on the front lines could mean the difference between life and death.     Lastly, while our technicians have only been able to apply this technology to a single target each round, and while the initial prototype can unfortunately be worked-around by hostiles who are willing to exert themselves to overcome it, those willing to invest the necessary time and resources can take advantage of "Oppression" (4xp), a global solution that offers this same degree of protection to entire squads during multiple attacks, as long as the attacker has suffered at least 2 strain.     Working in tandem with other efforts to exhaust the rebels, this increase in defensive armoring should go a long way to blunt the impact of even the most advanced weaponry, and give our forces the staying power they need to oppress and cow the enemy forces.   Mortar and Flame: Executioner (3xp)     While many field commanders may be willing to dig in for the long haul, more aggressive commanders may wish to try their hand at "Executioner" (3xp). There are risks, of course. The amount of investment that goes into this tactic is not insignificant; the tactic is difficult, and thus can only be executed once per round; and it requires that the unit commander spend some of his precious threat, which may impede the flow of reinforcements moving forward.   The trade-off is the ability to finish-off fatigued hostiles with devastating efficiency. Field tests conducted with rank and file Stormtroopers, against both heavily- and lightly-armored fatigued targets, were extremely promising:     While a standard rank-and-file Stormtrooper poses only minimal threat to a rebel figure, that risk doubles when the hostile has suffered 1 strain, triples when the hostile has suffered 2 strain, and quadruples when the hostile has suffered 3 or more fatigue. This same generic trooper has a 50% chance or greater of dealing at least 5 damage past heavy-armor, and a nearly 65% chance of dealing that much damage past light armor.   Results with elite Stormtrooper units were even more devastating:     Against a target with even a single point of fatigue, our elite units were able to deal 3 or more damage past heavy armor more than 70% of the time, and had a 70% chance of dealing 5 or more damage past heavy armor against hostiles who had suffered 3 or more fatigue. With appropriate Squad Training, that number can climb to as high as 80%, with around a 50% chance of dealing 6 or more damage.       Persistent Firepower: Savage Weaponry (1xp) and No Quarter (4xp)   While most of the tactics described so far have been single-use attempts to mire the terrorists in fatigue, these last two upgrades offer powerful tools to persistently hamper these cells. In a miracle of modern scientific achievement, our researchers have developed an extremely inexpensive yet powerful upgrade that can be equipped to entire combat units:     This "Savage Weaponry" (1xp) serves two primary purposes. First, it drastically improves the firepower of our forces by equipping them with armor-piercing rounds. This contribution, while small on its face, drastically reduces the effectiveness of heavy armor, and renders light armor almost useless. Second, these armor-piercing rounds have a tendency to rip through enemy flesh, producing painful Bleed wounds that either have to be tended to immediately, or will fatigue (and eventually damage) the target. Since very few rebels seem equipped with skills to deal with these devastating Bleeds, most are forced to stop and rest, buying our forces valuable time to strengthen and consolidate their positions.   Testing with rank-and-file Stormtroopers illustrate just how effective this new weaponry can be. A traditional trooper, with traditional rounds, deals damage past heavy or light armor about 80% of the time, may deal 2 or more damage about half the time, and has difficulty dealing more than 2 damage. We can improve these performances slightly through Squad Training, but the threat still remains minor:     But the addition of savage weaponry improves the effectiveness of these rank-and-file soldiers tremendously. The odds of dealing three or more damage past heavy armor rises to around 60% (with around 15% chance for an additional Bleed), and 70% against light armor (but with a smaller Bleed chance).     Our elite troopers have around a 75% chance of dealing 3 or more damage to their target, and around a 40% chance of dealing 4 or more damage, also with an outside chance to inflict Bleed:     Imperial forces can further exploit fatigued heroes to bolster their own offensive firepower through "No Quarter" (4xp).      Like "Oppression" (4xp), "No Quarter" keys off rebels who have suffered 2 or more strain, and gives our own units an additional surge while attacking those rebels. This persistent, unit-wide effect also has a noticeable impact in the damage dealt by our rank and file troopers...     ...and our elite enforcers:     With appropriate planning and resource development, the effects of both "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" can also be stacked in a single unit, creating a powerful, versatile front-line enforcer who can devastate the advance of even the most determined rebels. A rank-and-file Stormtrooper, armed with these offensive upgrades, has a good chance of dealing at least 3 damage and a Bleed on any target he engages:     And a squad of three elite Stormtroopers bolstered by these upgrades can deal 3-4 damage and a Bleed on up to 3 different targets, or between 9-12 damage and a Bleed to a single heavily-armored target in a single activation:     And this just scratches the surface of the potential that can be attained by specialized combat units bolstered by this weaponry. Below are additional tests run with six of the most common units deployed by unit commanders throughout the corners of the galaxy, and how potent they are when they have access to these upgrades:              Core Campaign: Tier 3 Trandoshan Hunters - When adjacent to their primary target, the Pierce 1 from "Savage Weaponry" combines with a +1D bonus from their scatterguns (and a potential surge for Pierce 2) to decimate heavy armor (83% chance of 3D+ vs. 1 Black die). Combined with an additional strain when they declare an attack on a target within 3 spaces, and a 94% chance to trigger a Bleed (83% vs. a White die), and the Trandoshan is a relatively cheap, hearty unit that makes an excellent candidate for "Savage Weaponry," especially against inexperienced hostiles. If a garrison places elite Trandoshan Hunters at your disposal, they are particularly devastating with "Savage Weaponry" equipped. Twin Shadows: Tier 4 Elite Heavy Stormtroopers - Extremely resilient in their own right, these 8 health figures become extremely difficult to kill with the benefit of "Prey Upon Doubt" or "Oppression" (especially if they are being attacked from 4 or more spaces away). They have two excellent surge abilities (+2D and Blast 2), and even if they choose to prioritize the Blast 2 (as they have in our tests), they do excellent damage with "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" (50% chance of 4 or more damage past heavy or light armor), with a 90% chance of Blast 2 against a Black die and a nearly 75% chance of Blast 2 against a White. Return to Hoth: Tier 4 HK Assassin Droids - Significantly weaker than the Heavy Troopers, these assassins pack a punch especially against Black dice, where their surge for Pierce 1 combos with "Savage Weaponry" to rip through the target's defenses. With an 81% chance to inflict Bleed and a 40% chance to inflict Weaken (70% and 30%, respectively, against a White die, combined with a 60% chance of 4D+), these droids can significantly impair the progress of the enemy (Bleed), while making them more vulnerable to attacks and less likely to deal damage to imperial forces (Weaken), all at extremely long distances.              Bespin Gambit: Tier 3 Elite Wing Guards - About as durable as Elite Stormtroopers, but slightly more resilient (thanks to Recover 2), a single elite Wing Guard can deal 4 damage past heavy armor 60% of the time, with about the same odds of dealing Bleed (56%). And with the benefit of Squad Training, it's possible for them to fish for the particular result they want, especially with a free surge from "No Quarter." Also like the elite Stormtroopers, this unit is large enough that they can fight on several fronts at once, or can swarm together for a devastating strike to debilitate a single priority target. Jabba's Realm: Tier 4 Elite Weequay Pirates - "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" combine to give the devastating Weequay Pirates an 80% chance of dealing 4 or more damage past armor, and a 50% chance or better at Bleed. And that's before we factor in the reroll from "Raider" or an extra surge from being Hidden. Heart of the Empire: Tier 3 Elite Riot Trooper - Second only to the Elite Heavy Stormtroopers in total health, the Elite Riot Troopers offer tremendous flexibility for the Subversive Tactics commander. They are durable enough to be front-line fighters, and can become extremely difficult to kill if supported by "Oppress" (between their Black die, an extra Evade, and then a block power token in reserve from "Shield"). Offensively, they are extremely potent and flexible. Bolstered by "Savage Weaponry," the have three quality surge abilities to choose from (+2D, +1D, and Bleed) depending on the situation at hand, and that free surge from "No Quarter" (along with a reroll from "Professional") gives them a good chance at getting at least one of those to trigger. They also apply Weaken any time they deal at least 1 damage to their target (which is virtually guaranteed to happen every time, unless the target rolls a Dodge on the White die), making it more difficult for their target to press the attack and more susceptible to supporting fire from other imperial units. Lastly, the flexible "Crowd Control" offers another way for the astute commander to trade damage for strain, to ensure that strain-triggered upgrades like "Oppress" and "No Quarter" remain available to the empire throughout the round, or to set-up a huge killing blow from "Execute." Armed with these skills, resources, equipment, and tactics, our front-line commanders have ample tools at their disposal to deal with rebel incursions in lightly-defended systems. For more remote outposts, where the defenses consists largely of droids and mechanical defense systems, without the presence of core imperial soldiers, a more technologically-oriented approach may be necessary.       Inevitable Post-Posting Edits:  
  19. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from Uninvited Guest in Supply card comparative value   
    Agreed on the Stimulants. Being able to move strain around is a big deal. Along the same lines, for a fragile hero (or a hero that likes to be wounded, like an "Unstoppable" Gaarkhan), the painkillers are pretty sweet. I know no one wants to be wounded, but someone almost always is, and keeping your base speed and endurance can be a lifesaver especially if the mission is tight. I never complain about drawing a Bacta Infusion or Adrenal Stim either, since clearing 3 strain and either removing a condition or becoming Focused is almost always useful for someone on the team, and they don't require a rest before they can be used.
    If the "Flash Bomb" from Jabba's Realm doesn't have to be discarded after use, spending 2 strain for a repeatable non-action Blast 1 and Weaken (that could conceivably be used more than once per activation if strain isn't capped out) seems extremely good, too. But that's a house rule question at this point.
     
     
     
  20. Like
    Rythbryt reacted to Stompburger in Supply card comparative value   
    I think that was answered in the "Unofficial Answers to Rules Questions" thread. They said that because it has the Consumable trait, it's meant to be discarded after use.
  21. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from a1bert in The Galaxy's Fate in my Hand: An IA Probability Compendium   
    Subversive Tactics   The factor that contributed most to the demise of the Republic was not, in fact, the war, but rampant self-interest. Endemic to the political process our ancestors engineered, the insidious pursuit of self-enrichment grew only more pervasive through the long centuries, and in the end left the body politic feckless and corrupt.   The reason our Emperor was able to negotiate the dark waters that characterized the terminal years of the Republic and remain at the helm through a catastrophic war that spanned the galaxy is that he has never been interested in status or self-glorification. On the contrary, he has been tireless in his devotion to unify the galaxy and assure the well-being of its myriad populations.   This bold vision of the future requires not only the service of those of immaculate reputation and consummate skill in the just exercise of power, but also the service of a vast military dedicated to upholding the laws necessary to ensure galactic harmony. It may appear to some that the enactment of universal laws and the widespread deployment of a heavily armed military are steps toward galactic domination, but these actions are taken merely to protect us from those who would invade, enslave, exploit, or foment political dissent, and to punish accordingly any who engage in such acts.   Look on our new military not as trespassers or interlopers, but as gatekeepers, here to shore up the Emperor's vision of a pacified and prosperous galaxy.   ~ Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin  
      Memorandum #2693: Subversive Tactics   The loss of the data repository on Scariff, while a minor blow to Imperial infrastructure, has highlighted the lengths that armed rebels will go to threaten the peace and security of the galaxy. After analyzing their unorthodox tactics, I believe the greatest challenge to Imperial power in the near future will arise not from organized resistance but small bands of sleeper cells, who will attempt to hit other high-priority targets through covert means. To repel these attacks successfully, our command personnel, from core commanders to field officers, must be trained to recognize and respond to these threats quickly and decisively. By working covertly to subvert their organization and cooperation, we can defeat their efforts before any meaningful threats ever materialize.   Piling on Strain (and Damage): Surgical Strike (1xp), Exploit Weakness (2xp), Heavy Pressure (2xp), and Weary Target (3xp)   The foundation of these tactics is to use brute force to slow down hostiles, frustrating their aims long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Like the Jedi mystics of old, the rebels like to "exert" themselves, spending precious energy to move faster, hit harder, and be more heroic than should be biologically possible. So the first step to slowing them down is to sap them of that precious energy by making exacting strikes of our own.           The initial opportunity is at the moment of attack, with a "Surgical Strike" (1xp). This flexible ability allows imperial forces who engage a hostile in combat to inflict an additional damage and strain on their target, regardless of whether not that engagement ended in success or failure. Although this ability can only be used once per round, it should be used once every round.   If the hostile figure has proven particularly troublesome, heavy units may engage that figure with "Heavy Pressure" (2xp). Although wounding rebels should remain a top priority, it is acceptable to skimp on damage dealt if the outcome will be to deprive the target of his ability to perform heroic actions. This is particularly true if the figure has been quiet for some time, and seems to be gearing up to return to the fray.   If possible, our forces should concentrate these efforts on a single figure, until that figure becomes completely fatigued. In the event that the primary target has not been completely fatigued by the end of the round, it may be appropriate to single that figure out as a "Weary Target" (3xp), in a final attempt to wear him (or her) down. If the target is almost fatigued, it may also suffer additional damage from this action. This would be an ideal outcome.   As hostile forces become more familiar with these tactics, it is reasonable to anticipate that their own tactics and strategies may evolve. Imperial forces who spot these traitors catching their breath are authorized to "Exploit [any] Weakness" (2xp) they observe, and to shoot-on-sight if able or regroup with their unit for a more concentrated push. As with our surgical strikes and heavy pressure, we must make a point to exploit weaknesses every round.        As a word of caution, while these tactics are extremely effective at curbing the effectiveness of a single hero, the fact that they can only be resolved once per round may prove too slow for aggressive terror cells. While some mixture of these tactics could supplement a more aggressive response, a complete implementation of this strategy is likely to frustrate field commanders unless supported by resilient field units who are prepared to dig in for the long-haul against rebel cells, while sustaining heavy fire. Standard trooper units are unlikely to provide the resistance needed to systematically wear down rebel units, particularly if those units have significant combat experience.   Unnatural Resilience: Prey Upon Doubt (0 xp) and Oppression (4xp)     "Prey Upon Doubt" (0xp) not only helps with our forces' resilience, but it also toys with the enemy's mind by forcing another decision-point upon them. Additional protection against surge damage may seem a small price for a hero to pay to preserve some of his precious energy, but it can be devastating depending on the weapon that hero is using. A hero with a weapon that doesn't rely on surge energy for damage is not a great candidate, as additional surge protection does little to reduce the damage our forces are likely to take:     But such weapons are relatively rare. Our forces are far more likely to face enemies with weapons that rely on surges, in some cases heavily. Adding extra surge protection to a Black die makes our forces far more difficult to wound reliably, and can dramatically reduce the likelihood that they will suffer harmful effects. Here's data collected from a case study involving a captured BD-1 Vibro Ax, which a terrorist had modified with a specialized melee focusing beam and a hilt aimed at improving the weapon's balance:     Without the benefit of added surge protection, this weapon is highly dangerous to its primary target, dealing enough damage to kill an armored elite Stormtrooper and a reasonably good chance to deal Cleave damage into another target up to 2 spaces from the assailant. But adding that single surge protection virtually eliminates the chance that our trooper will be killed by a single blow, and makes it impossible for the assailant to strike both his primary and secondary target.   We've seen similar results in tests captured with ancient Jedi relics. A common lightsaber variant suffered a significant loss in damage effectiveness against our surge-reinforced armor, which became impossible to pierce. We anticipate that the single-strike fatality rate for our elite Stormtroopers will fall from around 70% to just 15%, just by making this adjustment:     And while this new anti-surge plating has proven most effective against weapons that rely on surge energy, there are definite benefits even against weapons that need only a single surge to function. We recently performed tests with a modified Electrostaff rumored to be among the most powerful weapons available to the rebellion. Although the weapon still proves devastating to its primary target (and it still poses a danger to nearby units), the odds of taking significant damage decreased noticeably with the addition of our anti-surge plating.     All-in-all, the addition of just a single anti-surge element has an impact on the damage of weapons that aren't surge-independent. And in some cases, the reduction in average damage dealt can be as much as two damage, which for our units on the front lines could mean the difference between life and death.     Lastly, while our technicians have only been able to apply this technology to a single target each round, and while the initial prototype can unfortunately be worked-around by hostiles who are willing to exert themselves to overcome it, those willing to invest the necessary time and resources can take advantage of "Oppression" (4xp), a global solution that offers this same degree of protection to entire squads during multiple attacks, as long as the attacker has suffered at least 2 strain.     Working in tandem with other efforts to exhaust the rebels, this increase in defensive armoring should go a long way to blunt the impact of even the most advanced weaponry, and give our forces the staying power they need to oppress and cow the enemy forces.   Mortar and Flame: Executioner (3xp)     While many field commanders may be willing to dig in for the long haul, more aggressive commanders may wish to try their hand at "Executioner" (3xp). There are risks, of course. The amount of investment that goes into this tactic is not insignificant; the tactic is difficult, and thus can only be executed once per round; and it requires that the unit commander spend some of his precious threat, which may impede the flow of reinforcements moving forward.   The trade-off is the ability to finish-off fatigued hostiles with devastating efficiency. Field tests conducted with rank and file Stormtroopers, against both heavily- and lightly-armored fatigued targets, were extremely promising:     While a standard rank-and-file Stormtrooper poses only minimal threat to a rebel figure, that risk doubles when the hostile has suffered 1 strain, triples when the hostile has suffered 2 strain, and quadruples when the hostile has suffered 3 or more fatigue. This same generic trooper has a 50% chance or greater of dealing at least 5 damage past heavy-armor, and a nearly 65% chance of dealing that much damage past light armor.   Results with elite Stormtrooper units were even more devastating:     Against a target with even a single point of fatigue, our elite units were able to deal 3 or more damage past heavy armor more than 70% of the time, and had a 70% chance of dealing 5 or more damage past heavy armor against hostiles who had suffered 3 or more fatigue. With appropriate Squad Training, that number can climb to as high as 80%, with around a 50% chance of dealing 6 or more damage.       Persistent Firepower: Savage Weaponry (1xp) and No Quarter (4xp)   While most of the tactics described so far have been single-use attempts to mire the terrorists in fatigue, these last two upgrades offer powerful tools to persistently hamper these cells. In a miracle of modern scientific achievement, our researchers have developed an extremely inexpensive yet powerful upgrade that can be equipped to entire combat units:     This "Savage Weaponry" (1xp) serves two primary purposes. First, it drastically improves the firepower of our forces by equipping them with armor-piercing rounds. This contribution, while small on its face, drastically reduces the effectiveness of heavy armor, and renders light armor almost useless. Second, these armor-piercing rounds have a tendency to rip through enemy flesh, producing painful Bleed wounds that either have to be tended to immediately, or will fatigue (and eventually damage) the target. Since very few rebels seem equipped with skills to deal with these devastating Bleeds, most are forced to stop and rest, buying our forces valuable time to strengthen and consolidate their positions.   Testing with rank-and-file Stormtroopers illustrate just how effective this new weaponry can be. A traditional trooper, with traditional rounds, deals damage past heavy or light armor about 80% of the time, may deal 2 or more damage about half the time, and has difficulty dealing more than 2 damage. We can improve these performances slightly through Squad Training, but the threat still remains minor:     But the addition of savage weaponry improves the effectiveness of these rank-and-file soldiers tremendously. The odds of dealing three or more damage past heavy armor rises to around 60% (with around 15% chance for an additional Bleed), and 70% against light armor (but with a smaller Bleed chance).     Our elite troopers have around a 75% chance of dealing 3 or more damage to their target, and around a 40% chance of dealing 4 or more damage, also with an outside chance to inflict Bleed:     Imperial forces can further exploit fatigued heroes to bolster their own offensive firepower through "No Quarter" (4xp).      Like "Oppression" (4xp), "No Quarter" keys off rebels who have suffered 2 or more strain, and gives our own units an additional surge while attacking those rebels. This persistent, unit-wide effect also has a noticeable impact in the damage dealt by our rank and file troopers...     ...and our elite enforcers:     With appropriate planning and resource development, the effects of both "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" can also be stacked in a single unit, creating a powerful, versatile front-line enforcer who can devastate the advance of even the most determined rebels. A rank-and-file Stormtrooper, armed with these offensive upgrades, has a good chance of dealing at least 3 damage and a Bleed on any target he engages:     And a squad of three elite Stormtroopers bolstered by these upgrades can deal 3-4 damage and a Bleed on up to 3 different targets, or between 9-12 damage and a Bleed to a single heavily-armored target in a single activation:     And this just scratches the surface of the potential that can be attained by specialized combat units bolstered by this weaponry. Below are additional tests run with six of the most common units deployed by unit commanders throughout the corners of the galaxy, and how potent they are when they have access to these upgrades:              Core Campaign: Tier 3 Trandoshan Hunters - When adjacent to their primary target, the Pierce 1 from "Savage Weaponry" combines with a +1D bonus from their scatterguns (and a potential surge for Pierce 2) to decimate heavy armor (83% chance of 3D+ vs. 1 Black die). Combined with an additional strain when they declare an attack on a target within 3 spaces, and a 94% chance to trigger a Bleed (83% vs. a White die), and the Trandoshan is a relatively cheap, hearty unit that makes an excellent candidate for "Savage Weaponry," especially against inexperienced hostiles. If a garrison places elite Trandoshan Hunters at your disposal, they are particularly devastating with "Savage Weaponry" equipped. Twin Shadows: Tier 4 Elite Heavy Stormtroopers - Extremely resilient in their own right, these 8 health figures become extremely difficult to kill with the benefit of "Prey Upon Doubt" or "Oppression" (especially if they are being attacked from 4 or more spaces away). They have two excellent surge abilities (+2D and Blast 2), and even if they choose to prioritize the Blast 2 (as they have in our tests), they do excellent damage with "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" (50% chance of 4 or more damage past heavy or light armor), with a 90% chance of Blast 2 against a Black die and a nearly 75% chance of Blast 2 against a White. Return to Hoth: Tier 4 HK Assassin Droids - Significantly weaker than the Heavy Troopers, these assassins pack a punch especially against Black dice, where their surge for Pierce 1 combos with "Savage Weaponry" to rip through the target's defenses. With an 81% chance to inflict Bleed and a 40% chance to inflict Weaken (70% and 30%, respectively, against a White die, combined with a 60% chance of 4D+), these droids can significantly impair the progress of the enemy (Bleed), while making them more vulnerable to attacks and less likely to deal damage to imperial forces (Weaken), all at extremely long distances.              Bespin Gambit: Tier 3 Elite Wing Guards - About as durable as Elite Stormtroopers, but slightly more resilient (thanks to Recover 2), a single elite Wing Guard can deal 4 damage past heavy armor 60% of the time, with about the same odds of dealing Bleed (56%). And with the benefit of Squad Training, it's possible for them to fish for the particular result they want, especially with a free surge from "No Quarter." Also like the elite Stormtroopers, this unit is large enough that they can fight on several fronts at once, or can swarm together for a devastating strike to debilitate a single priority target. Jabba's Realm: Tier 4 Elite Weequay Pirates - "Savage Weaponry" and "No Quarter" combine to give the devastating Weequay Pirates an 80% chance of dealing 4 or more damage past armor, and a 50% chance or better at Bleed. And that's before we factor in the reroll from "Raider" or an extra surge from being Hidden. Heart of the Empire: Tier 3 Elite Riot Trooper - Second only to the Elite Heavy Stormtroopers in total health, the Elite Riot Troopers offer tremendous flexibility for the Subversive Tactics commander. They are durable enough to be front-line fighters, and can become extremely difficult to kill if supported by "Oppress" (between their Black die, an extra Evade, and then a block power token in reserve from "Shield"). Offensively, they are extremely potent and flexible. Bolstered by "Savage Weaponry," the have three quality surge abilities to choose from (+2D, +1D, and Bleed) depending on the situation at hand, and that free surge from "No Quarter" (along with a reroll from "Professional") gives them a good chance at getting at least one of those to trigger. They also apply Weaken any time they deal at least 1 damage to their target (which is virtually guaranteed to happen every time, unless the target rolls a Dodge on the White die), making it more difficult for their target to press the attack and more susceptible to supporting fire from other imperial units. Lastly, the flexible "Crowd Control" offers another way for the astute commander to trade damage for strain, to ensure that strain-triggered upgrades like "Oppress" and "No Quarter" remain available to the empire throughout the round, or to set-up a huge killing blow from "Execute." Armed with these skills, resources, equipment, and tactics, our front-line commanders have ample tools at their disposal to deal with rebel incursions in lightly-defended systems. For more remote outposts, where the defenses consists largely of droids and mechanical defense systems, without the presence of core imperial soldiers, a more technologically-oriented approach may be necessary.       Inevitable Post-Posting Edits:  
  22. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from machfalcon in Ugh Riot Troopers And Sentry Droids   
    TS is my brother's go-to IP deck, and he's killing us with it right now.
    Cloaking Device on an elite Stormie is bad enough; Cloaking Device on Elite Riots with "Shield" make them brutally resilient, and they can hit like a truck with "Adaptive Weapons" and "Experimental Arms" (for Red-Red + a surge for +2D, at the cost of just 1 damage). "Technical Support" Sentry Droids are the evolution of the healbot: faster, more resilient, and a constant pain in the butt if you try to ignore them.
    I know TS isn't supposed to age well into the late campaign, but dang...
  23. Like
    Rythbryt got a reaction from Methantilus in Supply card comparative value   
    Agreed on the Stimulants. Being able to move strain around is a big deal. Along the same lines, for a fragile hero (or a hero that likes to be wounded, like an "Unstoppable" Gaarkhan), the painkillers are pretty sweet. I know no one wants to be wounded, but someone almost always is, and keeping your base speed and endurance can be a lifesaver especially if the mission is tight. I never complain about drawing a Bacta Infusion or Adrenal Stim either, since clearing 3 strain and either removing a condition or becoming Focused is almost always useful for someone on the team, and they don't require a rest before they can be used.
    If the "Flash Bomb" from Jabba's Realm doesn't have to be discarded after use, spending 2 strain for a repeatable non-action Blast 1 and Weaken (that could conceivably be used more than once per activation if strain isn't capped out) seems extremely good, too. But that's a house rule question at this point.
     
     
     
  24. Like
    Rythbryt reacted to ryanjamal in Weekly Skirmish Strategy Week 2: Rebel Faction List Building   
    Thanks to  @TheUnsullied for starting this project, and thanks to him for asking me to tackle a topic for this week!
     
    A topic that I always enjoy is how to approach list building, so I thought I would share my considerations when building a list for the Rebel faction—the best of the three factions.
     
    (“Yeah right,” scoffs the Scum player, whose list half-consists of Rebels J )
     
    So, where to start?
     
    First, let’s examine the embarrassment of riches which are the support options for Rebels:
     
    Support: The Essentials
     
    Gideon and C3PO
       
     
    Nothing more needs to be said about these two, except that they’re amazing.  The power of focus and the padding out of your activation count with these lower cost figures makes them almost indispensable.  I have considered going without C3PO in a list that focused on mobility before, but any list that wants to compete should bring him along.  His strength has only increased with the new wave, with Han soon to be featured in a ton of lists, and the obvious pairing of his cunning trait and C3PO’s free evade.  And then there’s this:
     
     
    Hera

    Hera is so versatile and boosts pretty much every list, and she becomes essential to any list that focuses on ranged attacks.  She pairs well with Han, Rangers, Drokkatta... pretty much everybody.  She allows you to take risky shots and potentially gives you the added damage/surge you needed to finish off a figure when you didn’t quite roll enough damage on your own.  And her attack isn’t too shabby, with a decent seven health to boot.
     
    Support: The Extremely Good
    Alliance Smuggler
     
     
    The Smuggler’s value has decreased now that the current maps feature fewer objectives that require an interact action and fewer doors, but he’s still very useful.  He’s good as a terminal sitter and objective grabber, and despite his low health, his -2 accuracy from Slippery is helpful in keeping him alive.  At the very least he can be used as a meat shield on Nal Hutta as you advance down the open sight lines of death.
     
    Rebel High Command

     
    As the command cards become more and more powerful, this Upgrade becomes more and more worth its two points, especially in lists that are searching for Son of Skywalker or those Hunter cards.  More and more it’s getting hard to fit these two points in, but they are always worth it if you can.
     
    Support: I Also Really Like Chopper

     
    He isn’t always worth his three points, but man he’s fun.  He causes your opponent to rethink how valuable that card draw is from the terminal, which can make a huge difference, and he can help your figures get in and out of position with his Ram ability, sometimes catching your opponent by surprise.  His attack is not bad and his health is fine.  He’s such a jerk, and it’s awesome. 
     
    All told, that’s five to thirteen points of support, and it’s always tempting to take more from this list, as they’re all great additions.
     
    Another option is R2D2, but I don’t typically find he’s worth his points.  However, you can’t overestimate the power of card draw these days, and, well, it's Artoo :-).

     
    So where do you go from there?
     
    The Anchors: Squads
     
    The other two factions have common, go-to squads that can populate most any list (the ubiquitous eWeequays for Scum and eJets for Imperial, though both factions have other options).  This is the main weakness of the Rebel faction—they lack the two-figure squad in the six to eight point range that can compete along the new power curve set by Jabba’s Realm.  Some players have made Echo Base Troopers work, others work with eSabs, but the eRangers are far and away the best squad in Rebels.
     
     
     
     A three-figure activation, with access to the powerful Hunter and Trooper cards, rerolls and built-in pierce—what’s not to like?  The answer is the cost.  At twelve points, the eRangers eat up a lot of your list. 
     
    The Anchors: Uniques
     
    However, more than the other two factions, the Rebels are overloaded with powerful, high-costing uniques that can serve as lynchpins to your lists. 
     
    The first is as central to Star Wars as you can get:

    Jedi Luke’s Heroic ability, allowing for two attacks per turn, in conjunction with the most powerful command card in the game, Son of Skywalker, makes Luke a formidable opponent, and extremely annoying to opponents.  His white die (and the luck-faction of when you draw SoS) make him swingier than some people prefer, but he is always a strong anchor.
     
    Before HotE came out, you typically saw two main lists that made use of all of the above figures: the Jedi Luke plus eRangers and the double eRangers lists. 
     
    Here was my list, which was pretty standard:
    Jedi Luke 12
    eRangers 12
    Hera 4
    Gideon 3
    C3PO 2
    Chopper 3
    rAlliance Smuggler 2
    Rebel High Command 2
     
    Due to the high command card draw, along with the potency of Jedi Luke’s potential thrice-in-a-row attacks with Son of Skywalker (or five if you luck out with initiative and go at the end of the round and the beginning of the next), paired with the efficient Rangers—this list is still competitive.
     
    However, in the wake of HotE, we’ll see a lot of several of the new figures (or new upgrades), namely Han, Drokkatta, and Ahsoka (and maybe a few Chewies).

     
    All of these are fantastic additions to the faction.  New Han is one of my new favorite characters.  He’s tricky to play, especially against Hunters, because he can drop so quickly, but man is he fun.  You have to really weigh when you want to move him out and when you can afford exposing him.  But you want to be able to get that extra shot off at the end of the round, so there’s a fine balance to strike.  Hopefully if you have his command card in hand and know that you can steal initiative, or if you have Negation or Comm Disruption and know initiative can’t be stolen, you can activate him back to back, at the end of the round and the start of the next one.  He can change games with three back-to-back-to-back attacks. 
     
    Ahsoka has the amazing special ability, move wherever you want and then kill something.  She might not always take out a figure, but she holds up to a few attacks and isn’t easy to ignore.  Also, her command card makes it so your opponent has to be wary of attacking her with figures with low health, potentially diverting some attacks from her.  Plus, her ability to get involved even round one is particularly powerful for a melee figure.  She functions sort of like a Luke-lite, with the bonus of being able to get out of dodge in a hurry when needed.
     
    Drokkatta is the most intriguing of the new figures.  Her(?) ability to deal out unmitigated, AoE damage with Demolish and her Shrapnel surge ability helps to finish off characters (or junk droids—and the people said Amen!).  She’s got decent range and can attack farther away with more confidence with Hera in tow, and her attack, health pool, and defense are all strong.  Mostly, I like Drokkatta because she causes your opponent to rethink his positioning and tactics.  And cuz demolition experts are cool.
     
    I like Newbacca (thanks to whomever among you I stole that name from!), but at eleven points he’s hard to include.  Starting with his card creates some interesting strategies where you can throw another unit into the fray more to press the issue, but I haven’t tested Newbacca out enough to have a solid opinion.
     
    As to Ko-tun, I’m not quite sold on him yet.  The main problem is that I don’t think he pulls enough weight for seven points, and I’m more interested in these other characters.  Eventually I’ll play him just to play him, but for now he’ll take a backseat. 
     
    List Building
     
    To construct a new list, you can easily follow the mold of the Luke/eRangers list by swapping out a few figures for some added firepower.  @brettpkelly suggested his new list (in his awesome review of the Rebel faction, which you should definitely check out), Han’s New Wookiee, along these lines:
    Han 10
    Drokkatta 9
    eRangers 12
    Hera 4
    Gideon 3
    C3PO 2
     
    Not only is this a powerful list, it’s a fun one.  Both Han and Drokkatta are exciting to play (Drokkatta especially is a blast, buh doom ching.  I’ll see myself out…).  They both force the issue and cause your opponent to make tough choices, and so pairing them really strengthens this list.
     
    But really you can just swap out most of these figures in and out and still have a competitive list (though Jedi Luke and Han serve as the strongest anchors right now, in my opinion).
     
    However, I’m feeling, like probably many of us, a bit of Hunter fatigue.  I still want to be competitive, but I’d like to try to win without relying on those Rangers, which is hard.  The Hunter cards are obviously the best in the game right now, and so abandoning them makes it feel like you’re playing from behind.
     
    So, how can you compete against Hunters? 
     
    The first answer comes by focusing on the two second-best traits: Spy and Smuggler.  If the Hunters win from their awesome command card advantage, then try to even the playing field with those Spy cards.  And On the Lam is up there with the most powerful cards in the game, negating an attack (assuming you can get out of LoS), and with Vader and Ahsoka becoming prevalent, Slippery Target might also help you to evade an attack (as DT showed me in a recent Vassal game). 
     
    Here’s my list for Rebels:
    Han 10
    Ahsoka 8
    eSabs with Targeting Computer
    Hera 4
    Gideon 3
    C3PO 2
    Alliance Smuggler 2
    Rebel High Command 2
    Balance of the Force 1
     
    A problem with this list is that it only has two spies (one of which is the underpowered Sabs), and so one solution to that would be to drop the Alliance Smuggler, RHC, and Targeting Computer/Balance of the Force to add Jarrod (who, after I had firmly settled in to dismiss him, has surprised me in games), but I prefer to have that extra command card draw.
     
    Will this still stand up to the Hunter onslaught?  Will it be able to handle the force-choking, double-black-rolling freight train that is Vader?  I don’t know, but I think it has potential.  I’ve played it a few times now and am excited to see how it stacks up. 
     
    However, I don’t always play to hone my Regionals or Worlds list.  Sometimes, I just want to throw some figures on the table and have at it.  And when I’m in that mood, I’m probably going for a Heroic Effort list, which requires all the complexity of throwing units one after another into your list until you hit forty points.
     
    Here’s one:
    Han 10
    Drokkatta 9
    Ahsoka 8
    Hera 4
    Gideon
    Chopper
    C3PO
    Balance of the Force
     
    And for when I’m feeling particularly thematic, here’s another:
    Jedi Luke 12
    Ahsoka 8
    Obiwan 7
    Diala 7
    Davith 6
     
     
    ***
     
    Please let me know your thoughts on my approach to list building, as well as whether you think Rebels can compete with those lesser factions or if a Hunter-less list has potential. 
     
    Happy gaming!
     
    -ryanjamal
     
    (Special thanks to the Boardwars database—all of the images were stolen from there!)
  25. Like
    Rythbryt reacted to Methantilus in Supply card comparative value   
    Now that we have a couple methods to choose a supply card from a group (Stockpile, Supply Chest)... has anyone put any thought into which cards are potentially more valuable than others? I don't think we could go as far as building some kind of tier list, there are far too many situational variables. But are there any items you would consider to always warrant heavy consideration?
     
    The first card that come to mind for me would be Artificial Stimulants; I feel that this card is nearly always useful during any mission.
     
    Edit: Mods; if there is any issue with linking the card images, let me know and I'll remove them.
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