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Drazek Ironwing

Why is Darth Vader rubbish?

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I finally got to play with Darth Vader in my campaign and I am sorely disappointed with his performance :(

4 movement makes him too slow. His defense is quite nice but that is all he has going for him.

Force choke is okay but as a damage skill is pretty useless.

It was far too easy for the rebels to kite darth vader around the map. Never letting him get close enough to them and just knocking him down piece by piece. I think I lost darth vader after 3 turns of him doing practically nothing.

Did I mention that stun completely ruins him and makes it not worth even using him at all?

In his current form. Darth Vader is just a really expensive paper weight at 18 threat I expected him to actually make an impact.. I had more success with a single group of royal guards (standard) for 8 threat.. why? Because 5 move and reach actually makes them useful!

Darth Vader needs 5 move or reach or both.. without these he's just a really useless brick wall.

*sigh*

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Darth Vader is by far the most powerful unit in the game with some of the highest damage potential, but his weakness is his mobility. He is very powerful, but he needs support to fully realize his potential. He needs, at minimum, one or two Imperial Officers to get him into position to use Brutality and Force choke on his own activation.  If you can screen his advance with Stormtroopers and Royal Guards, all the better.

He is certainly not always the best choice to deploy in a campaign because of his weaknesses, but if you -are- able to get him onto the field, he can easily wound a hero in one or two attacks. It's not unreasonable to expect 6-8 damage every attack, which is nothing to scoff at. (Not to mention he can attack AND force choke in the same activation).

Vader's biggest advantage is a tactical one. When he is on the field, he forces the heroes to change their plan. They cannot ignore Vader. They must either kite around him, or waste time taking him out. Both outcomes are very favorable to the Imperial Player, especially if the round has a time limit.

 

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I always pictured it as the officers skittering around him in terror but still managing to get a useful word in edgewise;

 

"The rebels are over here, my lord."

 

"Right this way, Lord Vader."

Yes, when I played him in the skirmish regional tournament, I usually worded it this way: "My Officer will suggest that Lord Vader moves in this direction...."

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"You're doing it wrong"

 

Just because you have Vader doesn't mean you need to use Vader... and especially not for every single map.

 

How to use Vader:

Defensivley, no officers

* Do not use him on maps where Imps need to be mobile.

* Force choke every opportunity you get.  It doesn't require accuracy so you can do it from super far away and it gives heroes strain which is a major pain for timed missions.

* Sit him next to an objective - or hide him around the corner to an objective - and wait for Rebels to come to you.  Other than Gaarkhan, it's not hard to wound a hero in one turn with a choke / brutality and a little help from a friend or two.  Once a hero is wounded, their speed drops and they're either no longer useful (running away from Vader) or they're easy pickins.

 

Offensively, with officers

* Recklessly throw Vader into the mix, expect to lose him.  He has great defense and will usually make the heroes scatter unless they focus him down.  Either way, you're stopping the heroes from setting up and dictating the pace.  As an Imperial player, this is key.

* Force choking for strain is never a bad thing.  Unblockable damage and taking away hero tricks by sapping strain is big.

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I was under the impression that Force Choke was an attack and Imperial figures could only attack once, regardless of whether it was a regular attack or special action that did it.

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I was under the impression that Force Choke was an attack and Imperial figures could only attack once, regardless of whether it was a regular attack or special action that did it.

That is not the case. In fact I even think Force Choke is amongst the special abilities listed as examples in the section of the RRG that explains how skills that don't involve an actual attack are not an attack even if they otherwise deal damage.

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I was under the impression that Force Choke was an attack and Imperial figures could only attack once, regardless of whether it was a regular attack or special action that did it.

 

Force Choke isn't an attack.

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I was under the impression that Force Choke was an attack and Imperial figures could only attack once, regardless of whether it was a regular attack or special action that did it.

 

Force Choke isn't an attack.

 

 

Yup.  If it doesn't have the word "attack" in it, it is NOT an attack, even if it deals damage.

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Darth Vader is rubbish because when they designed him they hadn't really worked out how the game balanced.

While I do hear where you're coming from, I wouldn't say he's rubbish.  Yes, he was designed according to the old pattern for Uniques, which made him less effective than 18pts of something else (ie, 2x eStormtroopers).

 

But I remember when the game first came out, that a squad called Vader's Fist (Vader, RG, Stormtrooper, Officer x4) was very hard to beat.  It was only a bit later, when people discovered the dominance of 4x4 and Rebel Blast, that Vader's dominance started to fade.  I actually won my 2015 NJ Regional with him, and only 1 of my games was even close.  I also finished 10th overall at GenCon with the same squad, in a field of 60+ competitors.  So I wouldn't say he's rubbish.  

 

My 9 year old son actually went 2-2 with him at a Regional this year.  Vader is actually decently strong in a trooper-heavy meta, since it's very hard for non-Focused troopers to get damage past his double-Blacks and his +1 Block from Sentinel...meanwhile he's usually dropping 2 enemy figures per turn.  The main difficulty now is that he really depended on the big movement help from the Officers, who have been nerfed.  

 

If we were to cost him more accurately for the game today, I'd probably put him at 14 or 15 or so.  But as he is, I'll take the new Inquisitor over him every time: half the cost, strong multi-target damage output, and lots more mobility.  He won't survive focused fire as long as Vader would, but he also costs half as much so it's a good trade.

Edited by thereisnotry

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The problem with vader and most of the early uniques is a very common mistake in game design. Overvaluing single, powerful attacks. It's very common for novice, and even experienced, game designers to think that an attack that does twice as much damage (on average) is twice as good and so should be costed twice as much, but that is rarely the case because if that attack is targeting something with really low health then most of the damage is going to be wasted. That's why in a lot of games, especially early in their life, spamming inexpensive swarm units is so powerful.

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