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Mangipan

[CCL] Dead or Alive (Scum Z-95 Aces pack)

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The second piece I've been working on for the CCL is a Z-95 Aces pack. While the Kihraxz and StarViper get a lot of love for Aces treatments, I think the humble Z-95 is long overdue for some options and excitement in the Scum faction. This is one of the most customized ships in the galaxy, and we barely see anything beyond the occasional Binayre Pirate blocker. With that in mind, I've introduced some options to use them in three different ways - a legitimate Scum swarm, a one-off Support ship and a budget mini-Ace.

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An important option for the Scum Swarm is a cheap EPT carrier. While we've recently received the option of a 15 point Tansarii Point Veteran with the Light Scyk title, which slightly throws off the drama of this card it is still a different option with the Illicit and Missile slots for some customizability, and a little extra bulk to offset the lost agility. I have toyed with a 14 point PS4 version, but I think the alpha strike potential is a little too worrying, and a 4-5 point tax across the squad should be enough to solve that problem.

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The first unique pilot I've designed is everyone's favourite dead Rodian, Greedo. In essence, he's a dirt cheap blocker who can also completely tank an ace pilot's skill for a turn if he gets the block off. Vectored thrusters are probably stapled to his card, and you'll probably want an Intelligence Agent somewhere in the list, but for 13 points this ability is a steal and offers massive control potential.

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Eelo Begraas is a thrill-seeking and violent Bothan mercenary. Piloting the customized Z-95, "Dicer", Eelo's appearance generally caused a panicked scramble to hyperspace rather than any rational response. Here we see him as a pilot who can unreliably reuse all manner of one-shot upgrades. A lucky player could be firing any number of missiles at his opponent, or drop a whole slew of Illicit tricks, and as he slowly sheds upgrades Eelo can slowly transition into a blocking/harassment role.

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While we've seen a version of her as the Emperor's Hand, Mara Jade later served as Talon Karrde's second in command in the Car'das Smugglers, piloting her own customized Z-95 (Unfortunately, it was never named and while it was cool and had an inbuilt ion cannon, "Mara Jade's Z-95" doesn't have the style I'm looking for in a title.) One solution to the low-threat of 2-dice attacks is to simply throw a lot of them and Mara helps with that. Using consistent dice mods like Glitterstim or Predator, she can really force pressure onto her target and against a clumsy enemy like a Decimator will rapidly start taking a toll. At PS8, Mara offers an extremely cheap ship with some viable offense for Scum. She's no Inquisitor, but even with a few upgrades will struggle to reach 25 points.

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A serious attempt at helping 2-dice ships, Precision Blasters can't finish the job for you but can at least make sure that you're wearing down your opponent as the game goes on, rather than having every attack bounce off their absurdly stacked defensive modifiers.

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Another upgrade to help deal with high-skill aces, these missiles can let a swarm work in coordination to push through damage onto a tough target. By stripping away tokens with a single ship, you can let the rest of your squad roll against raw dice and force some lucky shots through (Especially with the aid of offensive upgrades on your other ships like Crack Shot or Homing Missiles.)

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While we see these droids being deployed via a missile in Revenge of the Sith, this represents them being released in a cloud from the ship in question. While they might find it hard to damage a shielded ship, the slightest crack will let them start tearing their target apart from the inside out. Ideally, this upgrade will help cheap Scum ships play a support role, blocking enemy aces and then leaving them even more vulnerable to fire from the rest of your squad.

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Although the pack is focusing on the Z-95, I'm also trying to help the struggle of 2-dice ships everywhere. This is sort of a reverse-Swarm Leader. Instead of using your crappy mooks to buff up your own attack, you're giving up your EPT slot to buff up theirs. An important thing here is that I do want to give support for the Light Scyk, and given that it has literally no upgrade slots available to tinker with that means providing it with buffs via other ships in the list.

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The first of our titles is non-unique, but limited to Scum and Villainy. Jabba the Hutt's personal escort are the Star Jewel Guard, and together they offer a reason to fly a swarm of Scum Z-95s. Effectively a reverse Lone Wolf, the Star Jewel Guard title rewards you for flying with your buddies rather than being a loner. While it's a more powerful effect than Howlrunner, it's on a squishier ship and you've got to be paying for each ship you'd like to include the title on.

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As well as the Star Jewel Guard title, we see two unique titles. Dire Hound was a Z-95 customized with unique fission engines, that became the stuff of legend in the Corellian system, sought after by numerous groups including Kath Scarlett's Binaryre Pirates. As a title, Dire Hound helps enable an individual Z-95 Ace. Either Eelo Begraas or N'Dru Suhlak will be happy with a half-price engine upgrade that comes with free evades. Is this underpriced as an upgrade compared to Engine Upgrade? Yes, hilarously so. Is this a fair cost for this upgrade, considering it's going on a Z-95? Also yes. An important note here is that the Dire Hound isn't locked to the Scum faction, so it becomes an option for Airen Cracken too.

Dicer-Front-Face.jpg

Eelo's personal starfighter, Dicer, developed enough of a reputation that many who crossed him would turn and flee to hyperspace rather than risk opposing the ship. This is a strong control piece, particularly with Mara Jade, though it relies on putting a very squishy Z-95 in harm's way and dealing no damage with it in order to gain advantage. Again, this isn't locked to the Scum faction, but this is more suited to Lieutenant Blount, letting him fire off a volley of Ion Missiles or whatever he might be packing, cancel all results to pass out a stress and then automatically hit with his missiles to provide an automatic double hit of crippling effects.

Overall, I tried to introduce a number of different options for flying Z-95s in a Scum fleet without varying wildly from the general template laid out by existing pilots and upgrades. I've always liked seeing unique ships like the Moldy Crow or Black One show up as title cards, and the Z-95 is used by so many different groups that it's only appropriate that it would be the first non-epic ship to have two different unique titles.

This is currently a fairly rough draft of what I'm putting together, and I'd be very keen for any feedback you all might have on it.

Edit: On a side-note: Dicer is described as being painted jet-black, to blend in with the stars. It is painfully apparent that I couldn't find any artwork to match this description. If anyone has a picture of a black Z-95 that they were able to point me toward, I would probably high five you or something.

Edited by Mangipan

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I love this idea. The only other thing I would want in this set is some pilots for the rebel faction. Mostly because they also needed some more pilots.  The largest problem for this might be the fact the ship can now be one shotted when some one gets a six dice attack off. And yes I realize rebel expansion are separate but would still be a nice way to sale it and maybe get FFG to pickup the expansion

 

Edited by Shinwakin

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As you may know, I've been doing some theory crafting on making 2 dice primaries go a bit further. So here's something that might fit into this expansion:

P1EY3Tt.png?1

Image found here: https://www.pinterest.com/captapple81/projects-to-try/

Notes (Version 1.0): I wanted something that would give 2 dice primaries a bit more of a kick, be spammable, and cost zero points. This was designed primarily to give Z-95s and non-heavy Scyks a bit of a kick. This is significantly harder now that the Light Scyk has literally zero slots it is allowed to put things into.

The way this is worded, you would be able to put Targeting Practice onto a VI + FCS Xizor, and surround him with 5 black sun soldiers. Thematic as heck, yo.

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7 hours ago, Mangipan said:

 

Precision-Blasters-Front-Face.jpg

A serious attempt at helping 2-dice ships, Precision Blasters can't finish the job for you but can at least make sure that you're wearing down your opponent as the game goes on, rather than having every attack bounce off their absurdly stacked defensive modifiers.

I kept looking at this card- which I do conceptually like quite a bit- and something just felt off to me. I finally figured out what it was. Lets say I'm attacking a Lothal Rebel at range 2, and I've got a target lock and a focus token. I roll 2 blanks.  I can elect not to spend those tokens, confident that I'm going to be getting something of value for the mere act of firing. I think I would tie the benefit of the card to the defender canceling hits or crits. That way an attacker gets a reward for doing everything "right", even if the defender is successful. 

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3 hours ago, Punning Pundit said:

I kept looking at this card- which I do conceptually like quite a bit- and something just felt off to me. I finally figured out what it was. Lets say I'm attacking a Lothal Rebel at range 2, and I've got a target lock and a focus token. I roll 2 blanks.  I can elect not to spend those tokens, confident that I'm going to be getting something of value for the mere act of firing. I think I would tie the benefit of the card to the defender canceling hits or crits. That way an attacker gets a reward for doing everything "right", even if the defender is successful. 

We do already have a precedent for rewarding failure in Gunner effects, which are thematically bizarre but mechanically sound.

I do get what you mean though. I'll have a tinker with it and see what works. I recall Imperial Kath Scarlett having similar wording.

3 hours ago, Punning Pundit said:

As you may know, I've been doing some theory crafting on making 2 dice primaries go a bit further. So here's something that might fit into this expansion:

P1EY3Tt.png?1

Image found here: https://www.pinterest.com/captapple81/projects-to-try/

Notes (Version 1.0): I wanted something that would give 2 dice primaries a bit more of a kick, be spammable, and cost zero points. This was designed primarily to give Z-95s and non-heavy Scyks a bit of a kick. This is significantly harder now that the Light Scyk has literally zero slots it is allowed to put things into.

The way this is worded, you would be able to put Targeting Practice onto a VI + FCS Xizor, and surround him with 5 black sun soldiers. Thematic as heck, yo.

The no-modifications clause on Light Scyks is actively such a pain! I'm not even sure what they were trying to prevent by including it, as there don't seem to be any worrying modifications to attach in the first place. But it very annoyingly precludes them from taking my Precision Blasters or any other fix via that slot (Or any upgrade card on the ship itself, as you've noted.)

I'm leery of seeing 0-point upgrades with such utility in a slot like Illicit, because it inherently makes the other upgrades less desireable. Yes, there's an opportunity cost in the way that you build your list but it's jarring.

I do like the idea of improving 2-dice attacks via an upgrade on a 'Squad leader' type ship. It's a similar effect to what we've seen on Howlrunner before and while she's not quite efficient enough to compete in this meta, there's a reason TIE swarms have had such historic success compared to other similar ships.

I'm always concerned about unnecessary complication on cards. While your effect is sound it took me a couple of reads through to actually wrap my head around it. I've got a long shift ahead of me, so I'll bounce this around in the back of my head for a few hours and see what comes out.

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1 hour ago, Mangipan said:

We do already have a precedent for rewarding failure in Gunner effects, which are thematically bizarre but mechanically sound.

I do get what you mean though. I'll have a tinker with it and see what works. I recall Imperial Kath Scarlett having similar wording.

 

I think it's the damage part that feels the most unfair for me. Gunner works on a miss, and gives you a whole new attack. If Gunner just dealt a damage, it would be worth more than 5 points, I think!

Kath Scarlett points to a solution: maybe make it a control effect. Either an ion token or a stress token. I want to say a tractor token, but those are _very_ powerful against 2 agility ships, and I don't want to push them fully out!

Quote

The no-modifications clause on Light Scyks is actively such a pain! I'm not even sure what they were trying to prevent by including it, as there don't seem to be any worrying modifications to attach in the first place. But it very annoyingly precludes them from taking my Precision Blasters or any other fix via that slot (Or any upgrade card on the ship itself, as you've noted.)

I'm leery of seeing 0-point upgrades with such utility in a slot like Illicit, because it inherently makes the other upgrades less desireable. Yes, there's an opportunity cost in the way that you build your list but it's jarring.

I do like the idea of improving 2-dice attacks via an upgrade on a 'Squad leader' type ship. It's a similar effect to what we've seen on Howlrunner before and while she's not quite efficient enough to compete in this meta, there's a reason TIE swarms have had such historic success compared to other similar ships.

I'm always concerned about unnecessary complication on cards. While your effect is sound it took me a couple of reads through to actually wrap my head around it. I've got a long shift ahead of me, so I'll bounce this around in the back of my head for a few hours and see what comes out.

I totally hear that about the zero point upgrade, and it's feedback I've gotten basically every time. I'll even say you're not wrong. :)

What I really want to do is limit this card to 3 or 4 in a list. I don't think that can happen given our current keyword list. 

Maybe adding a point to the cost would be justified. 

As far as complications go... Yeah. It's got a lot of bits and pieces. I wanted to give the attacker a bonus while still respecting the decisions made by the defender. If you can find a clean way of doing that- in a way that feels scummy- I'm eager to see your thoughts.

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A title card for N'Dru's z woudl be a great idea - in Legends it was modified such that it had a crew compartment, and his job was Bounty Hunt Saboteur.  He'd get there first, persuade the target they were a target, and rescue them, for a fee.  I can't obviously find a name for it.

I'm thinking:

*N'Dru's Ship's Name

Title, Modification (yes, occupying both non-slot slots)

Your upgrade bar gains the [crew] icon.  You may equip one additional upgrade which costs 0 points.

Probably has to cost at least two points.

N'Dru is already potent, giving him crew makes him a crazy threat for a very low cost.  But would make for a very interesting set of options for J Random Z-Pilot.

I like the idea of shooting twice as a solution to 2-die ships, by the by.  That pilot ability is a nice one.

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9 hours ago, Marinealver said:

But where is the firemaw nose art of Ndru?

I actually really wanted to include it! The idea of adding a Crew slot to a Z is a compelling and interesting one, but there's a problem with it.

26 minutes ago, thespaceinvader said:

*N'Dru's Ship's Name

As far as I can tell, his ship doesn't have a name. Which makes it hard to introduce it as a title. Perhaps an 'Expanded Cockpit' modification could be a solution, but that's not a tenth as fun.

The Nashtah Pup had similar modifications, but it would be weird to introduce that as a title which the Nashtah Pup Pilot wouldn't get.

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Nashtah Pup Pilot should retain the pilot ability, EPT, and a single crew of the player's choice anyway.

Then it might conceivably be worth taking.

(I suspect if they designed the Tooth now, they'd probably have done the Pup/Tooth in basically the same way as the Ghost/Phantom, just allowing the Z to duplicate any unique Pilot or EPT cards on the Hound, and not to deploy until it's destroyed, or something like that)

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7 hours ago, Punning Pundit said:

I think it's the damage part that feels the most unfair for me. Gunner works on a miss, and gives you a whole new attack. If Gunner just dealt a damage, it would be worth more than 5 points, I think!

Kath Scarlett points to a solution: maybe make it a control effect. Either an ion token or a stress token. I want to say a tractor token, but those are _very_ powerful against 2 agility ships, and I don't want to push them fully out!

I totally hear that about the zero point upgrade, and it's feedback I've gotten basically every time. I'll even say you're not wrong. :)

What I really want to do is limit this card to 3 or 4 in a list. I don't think that can happen given our current keyword list.

Maybe adding a point to the cost would be justified.

As far as complications go... Yeah. It's got a lot of bits and pieces. I wanted to give the attacker a bonus while still respecting the decisions made by the defender. If you can find a clean way of doing that- in a way that feels scummy- I'm eager to see your thoughts.

Well, the point is to make 2 dice attacks capable of causing damage in an ultra defensive meta, so being able to force through some limited amount of damage is actually of importance to the idea. It might be that it needs to be tuned down even from this new version, but I think you'll find this more palatable.

Precision-Blasters-Front-Face.jpg

This is the best I could manage as far as a card  that would mostly help low agility  ships in a squadron-type setup. I'm not totally in love with it, but it's a step toward where I want to be.

Wing-Leader-Front-Face.jpg

Edit: Wing Leader is unique.

Edited by Mangipan

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20 hours ago, Mangipan said:

 

Precision-Blasters-Front-Face.jpg

A serious attempt at helping 2-dice ships, Precision Blasters can't finish the job for you but can at least make sure that you're wearing down your opponent as the game goes on, rather than having every attack bounce off their absurdly stacked defensive modifiers.

 

Almost all of these seem great. Precision blasters seems to cheap at 1 point. In most a lot of cases I'd prefer it to a 3 die primary. At minimum I think it should require a successful attack to take the shield rather than being able to do so with double blank, this way it at least has a shot of removing the attackers tokens. Maybe something along the lines of being able to cancel 2 hits/crits at the compare results step to remove a shield. I'd feel much less cheated (for lack of a better word) by it in that scenario. 

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1 minute ago, benskywalker said:

Almost all of these seem great. Precision blasters seems to cheap at 1 point. In most a lot of cases I'd prefer it to a 3 die primary. At minimum I think it should require a successful attack to take the shield rather than being able to do so with double blank, this way it at least has a shot of removing the attackers tokens. Maybe something along the lines of being able to cancel 2 hits/crits at the compare results step to remove a shield. I'd feel much less cheated (for lack of a better word) by it in that scenario.

I've actually just uploaded an updated version of the Precision Blasters. It might still be too strong (Like you've noted, there's the option to require it to cancel 2 hits/crits (Or even just a single crit?) to trigger), but it is definitely in a better place than my original draft.

Precision-Blasters-Front-Face.jpg

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8 hours ago, Mangipan said:

I've actually just uploaded an updated version of the Precision Blasters. It might still be too strong (Like you've noted, there's the option to require it to cancel 2 hits/crits (Or even just a single crit?) to trigger), but it is definitely in a better place than my original draft.

Precision-Blasters-Front-Face.jpg

That's looking very similar to something I came up with a week or so back. I've created the actual card and stolen your name (because I like it better). My idea was for TIE Only, but it really doesn't need to be:

YOQPnnI.png?1

 

And now I run to work. I look forward to your feedback. :)

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On 28/01/2017 at 10:20 AM, Punning Pundit said:

That's looking very similar to something I came up with a week or so back. I've created the actual card and stolen your name (because I like it better). My idea was for TIE Only, but it really doesn't need to be:

YOQPnnI.png?1

 

And now I run to work. I look forward to your feedback. :)

While 'Except "Fel's Wrath".' is the funniest thing I've read in a long time, I think that is a throughly dead horse. Just let the poor guy drink in peace.

Honestly, I'm not convinced the effect needs to be tied to the number of hits and crits you score. With a primary value of 2 you're never going to roll two sets of two, and if you only roll one hit its not breaking the game to reduce their agility.

If we're talking TIE Only, arc doesn't come into play so.

It's probably not going to hurt anyone either if the rebel tie can take it - they're going to want captured tie anyway.

In general I like it, it's just way too wordy for what it does.

"TIE only. Modification.

When making a primary weapon attack, reduce the defender's agility value by 1 (to a minimum of 2)

You may not equip this card if your primary weapon value is "3" or greater. 

You may equip 1 additional modification card that costs 1 or fewer squad points."

In 9/10 cases it's the same card, but it's more concise and easier to parse.

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So I've hit a snag in that I really want to jam in a Condition card for this latest design, but I can't find a good template for them. Strange Eons can't do it and apparently I'm not web-savvy enough to find another solution. Is it just photoshop or bust?

Anyway, I've been wanting to include the original owner of the Dire Hound, Evgenia in the expansion. I figure if her ship's in, she should be too. It's why Eelo is in (Though I'm reshuffling a bit! Boushh is getting dropped, much as I love to shoehorn him into expansions - Eelo is getting hBoussh's card, and then Mara Jade is going to take over as the PS8 double-tap pilot because if you're going to be a rad PS8 ship you ought be a rad character.)

Anyway, I really wanted to include a pilot that encouraged swarm flying, because you have Greedo who's a cool blocker, Eelo who is sort of a one-off tech piece that can do weird stuff depending on how you outfit him and Mara Jade who is a hopefully competent ace (If "Attack twice every turn" doesn't make an Attack 2 ship good, nothing will). So to balance them all out I wanted some sort of swarm leader. I played with a few abilities, but they were all just dice mods that overlapped a bit with Wing Leader and Precision Blasters and weren't particularly interesting. So I said to myself "What's the furthest logical extreme you can take the idea of a Swarm leader?" and the reply was "A pilot that gives you more ships for free."

vKfZGZ7.jpg

The "Reinforcements" condition would read.

  • After you are destroyed, you play place a Binayre Pirate touching your edge of the play area. It cannot attack this round.

But I have legitimately no idea how to cost such a thing. If you're activating the ability you're probably losing, because it's only your initial squad that counts for scoring. But free ships are free ships and a free ship for a Z-95 is a way better trade than a free ship for a YV-666. There's an inherent tax in a Z-95 with no EPT who you're taking just to let your other Z-95s be useful if they die, but if you're taking a bunch of Z-95s anyway you're probably happy to make the trade.

I'm mostly spitballing ideas here, but it felt interesting enough to share the idea.

 

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