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Shyla Varad Hero Guide

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Strengths:

  • Strong Stats & Growth
  • Battlefield Manipulation
  • Free Mobility

Weaknesses:

  • Attribute Dice Manipulation
  • Lack of Focus Condition
  • Linear XP Build Choices

Shyla has one of the best base abilities in the game, combining aspects of Diala's Force Throw and Gaarkhan's Charge into one ability for just one strain. She can simultaneously extend the reach of her influence on the battlefield and reduce the influence of the Imperial player's strategic placement of figures. She also has a great starting weapon that can convert up to 2 surges into extra damage and rewards you when you attack without using the whip (once)by upgrading a yellow die to a red. 

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These are Shyla's core bread and butter abilites, and I think the optimal Shyla build will contain all three of these. With these three abilities, Shyla can choose to effortlessly float between enemies delivering multiple strikes, or she can fly across the battlefield at a speed that rivals Davith Elso and still take out multiple figures with a single attack.  

Responsiveness should be a priority, it's an excellent ability that's close to being on par with Fenn's Tactical Movement. Combined with strain movement it allows you to move 3 spaces without taking an action, effectively increases her speed to 6, and on turns where you don't need to move anywhere you get to recover a strain. Deadly Grace in combination with Responsiveness gives her 3 free movement points without spending an action or lets her more often use Responsiveness to recover strain. With a single Move action she can cover 8 spaces when combined with Responsiveness. It simultaneously increases her Endurance capacity to strain move and use her whip and later abilities while also boosting her defenses. Full Sweep brings her damage output up to another level, allowing her to kill any 3HP figure within reach for free when she attacks, and combined with Cleave 2 from a weapon can effortlessly kill even elite figures with 5 HP like probe droids and elite stormtroopers. 

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I recommend spending her remaining XP on either Swords Dance, Proximity Strike or Remote Detonator depending on your equipment and how much you have left to spend at the end of the campaign. Swords Dance is a great way to add damage onto a single target and get multiple triggers from attack abilities like Cleave and Recover, but it's a skill you shouldn't prioritize early because it really needs a very strong weapon to be effective and overcome the removal of an attack die. A tier 3 weapon with 3 attack dice is ideal, although a Vibrosword with a Balanced Hilt can simulate a third die with the Pierce 1 and +2 surge ability. Remote Detonator can be used to finish off an almost dead figure without wasting an action and works well with the spread damage dealt by Full Sweep, but that 1/6 chance of doing nothing is a pretty big liability, and it doesn't benefit from any attack triggers like Cleave, so I would only grab this if Shyla wasn't able to get any really good weapons to use with Swords Dance. Proximity Strike is nice general buff to the consistency of her attacks, especially against white dice, one that is quite likely to result in an extra 1-2 damage and can be great for getting a much needed surge result.

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Suggested Equipment: Shyla has a great starting weapon that can serve her well through tier 1 and even up to tier 3. I would say her most important tier 1 pick up is Balanced Hilt. Extended Haft is made redundant by both Mandalorian Whip and Mandalorian Heritage and is not needed. Vibrosword is a strong cheap early weapon that can be boosted over time with Balanced Hilt and either Hi-Impact Guard or Energized Hilt so that you don't have to wait for a tier 3 weapon.  If you need Shyla to be your dedicated crowd control character, Double-Vibrosword is a decent weapon that is a bit lacking in the single target damage department, although its quake ability can be chained off of Swords Dance for a ton of residual damage, but the strain cost can add up quickly. If you don't think you're going to be able to assemble the Voltron Vibrosword, it's a good idea to start saving credits in tier 2 for a 3-dice tier 3 weapon to use with Swords Dance. The Electrostaff is the strongest one available, great dice, automatic Cleave 2 or Reach and a good surge ability. Ryyk Blades are good too, the Cleave 2 and the credits discount are the main draw, but blue-blue-green is the weakest of the tier 3 melee weapons, although it does get slightly stronger when Shyla is wounded. The Force Pike is okay if you can obtain Mandalorian Heritage, but not having Cleave 2 isn't great.  Having a three dice weapon makes Swords Dance a very powerful ability. If you can't get Mandalorian Heritage you'll probably want to give her some kind of armor as she'll likely be spending most of her time smack in the middle of hostile forces. Combat Coat has nice synergy with Deadly Grace in that it can turn that free evade into a block if needed.

Conclusion: 
With her free movement points and attacks and great stats that only continue to get better as she grows, Shyla is just an incredibly efficient and consistent hero that can manipulate the battlefield to shape the needs of the heroes and make it easier to accomplish their objectives. She doesn't really have any glaring weaknesses or limitations. She doesn't have a way to get focused or improve her ability to pass attribute tests, although all of her attributes are more than adequate for basic attribute tests as they stand. The only other limitation I'd say would be that her XP cards only really allow her to play a linear offensive role in a team due to her support cards being extremely weak or non-existent, and most IA heroes have at least 2 distinct builds they can focus on in their XP cards, but her class deck's focus could be considered one of her strengths. I'd say right now that she is without a doubt one of the strongest heroes that FFG has released for the game. 

Please discuss Shyla, your thoughts on the character and abilities and your experiences with her in campaign. I've played through a single Jabba's Realm campaign with her and was able to buy all of her abilities except Full Sweep, Smoke Bomb and All-Out Attack, and I was also able to get her side mission card. The only 2 equipment I have for her is Electrostaff and Balanced Hilt and she is an absolute beast, move 8 spaces and make 1.5 attacks or move 3 spaces and make 2.5 attacks, all with some combination of Reach, Cleave 2 and Recover 2.  

Edit: Made some changes with the early input received from Deadwolf and machfalcon, thanks for your help guys!

Edited by Tvboy

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Interesting conclusions, thanks for the write-up!

Having not played her yet, it seems that Full Sweep would be pretty strong in that you can remove a 3 health figure or combined with a cleave weapon or attachment, possibly a higher health figure.  Unmitigated damage is always great to have access to.  If you can get an item or use extended half, cleave with reach doesn't seem too situational to me but, like I said, I haven't tried her yet so would be curious to hear your thoughts.

Also, regarding items - I wonder if Combat Coat would be superior to Laminate Armor given the automatic evade she can acquire with Deadly Grace.

Edited by machfalcon

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Full Sweep is a strong ability for the reasons both you said and that I covered when I talked about it. The reason I said it's situational is that there aren't always going to be 3HP figures that are both on the board and close enough for you to eat with it. It's not that the ability is bad, but I've found that Swords Dance usually results in an extra Cleave 2 trigger and Deadly Grace is so strong and ubiquitously useful. But like you said, if combined with Reach and Cleave 2 it can be very strong and applicable in more situations, so maybe that's a build for her that I hadn't considered. Full Sweep is one of the three abilities I didn't get to play with, maybe I'll try her again and focus on that and Remote Detonator with the Vibro-Ax or Double Vibro-Sword and forgo Swords Dance. Maybe Deadly Grace -> Full Sweep -> Responsiveness -> Remote Detonator as the build order?

Great point about Combat Coat, in my campaign I made the mistake of getting Swords Dance before Deadly Grace so the combo never came up for me. 

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To me Shyla's typical 12 xp Build looks like this:

Responsiveness-Deadly Grace-Full Sweep-(Sword's Dance or Proximity Strike & All out attack)

I used Full Sweep in my campaign, I actually got it early, and I would not skip it ( tho when you get it is up to you). It is really good on its own, with electrostaff, it can take out a 5 hp enemy. And honestly, Shyla doesn't have a good alternative way to spend those 4 points. As you said, Swords Dance is great, but only if you get a 3 dice weapon (electrostaff).

 

Vibrosword with balanced hilt and high-impact guard with the pierce 1 produces near tier 3 levels of damage and Shyla is the best user since she has strain to spare. The only ability she would typically get that uses strain is swords dance, in which you probably have a tier 3 weapon. Vibrosword is a fantastic weapon on her that you would ditch only for electrostaff.

Overall, a pretty great character and a good write-up.

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I really like your build Deadwolf, I'm starting to see the light on prioritizing Full Sweep over Swords Dance. I got pretty enamored with  Swords Dance after I got the electrostaff, but I realize now that Full Sweep puts out similar levels of damage for 1 more XP and requires less strain and less investment into tier 3. I'll update the article.

So if you couldn't get a tier 3 weapon for swords Dance, would you take Proximity Strike and AOA over Remote Detonator? Seems like the Detonator would work well with Full Sweep.

Edited by Tvboy

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3 hours ago, Deadwolf said:

Vibrosword with balanced hilt and high-impact guard with the pierce 1 produces near tier 3 levels of damage and Shyla is the best user since she has strain to spare. The only ability she would typically get that uses strain is swords dance, in which you probably have a tier 3 weapon. Vibrosword is a fantastic weapon on her that you would ditch only for electrostaff.

The downside of Vibrosword (350) with balanced hilt (300) and high-impact guard (500) is that it costs more than most of the T3 weapons.  I guess you would keep the balanced hilt at least and the upside is you can incrementally purchase that combo (although energized hilt is a better mod for the Electrostaff).  It does feel like a pretty big investment into one character though.

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2 hours ago, Tvboy said:

I really like your build Deadwolf, I'm starting to see the light on prioritizing Full Sweep over Swords Dance. I got pretty enamored with  Swords Dance after I got the electrostaff, but I realize now that Full Sweep puts out similar levels of damage for 1 more XP and requires less strain and less investment into tier 3. I'll update the article.

So if you couldn't get a tier 3 weapon for swords Dance, would you take Proximity Strike and AOA over Remote Detonator? Seems like the Detonator would work well with Full Sweep.

I don't love remote detonator myself, too random for me but I guess it is a viable option. Proximity Strike is actually a really good skill, I got it super early and while I probably wouldn't do that again, it is a very effective skill. And I don't think all-out attack is as bad as you say either - it isn't spectatular, but isn't terrible. Handy for when you roll 0 surge or 2+ surges. It makes balanced hilt decent on it.

53 minutes ago, machfalcon said:

The downside of Vibrosword (350) with balanced hilt (300) and high-impact guard (500) is that it costs more than most of the T3 weapons.  I guess you would keep the balanced hilt at least and the upside is you can incrementally purchase that combo (although energized hilt is a better mod for the Electrostaff).  It does feel like a pretty big investment into one character though.

High-Impact Guard is what is really driving up that price, but it has a strong defensive component as well. I do agree that the main downside with this combo is neither of those 2 mods are great on the Electrostaff.

A cheaper option is Balanced Hilt+energized hilt. It is slightly less damage, loses the defense but is still effective and as you said, Energized hilt is much better on the Electrostaff (This is what I did in my campaign, due to not being able to afford the high impact guard).

I think any time you are loading up 2 mods onto a character you are investing heavily into that character, but Shyla is strong and it is worth it.

Edited by Deadwolf

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9 hours ago, machfalcon said:

The downside of Vibrosword (350) with balanced hilt (300) and high-impact guard (500) is that it costs more than most of the T3 weapons.  I guess you would keep the balanced hilt at least and the upside is you can incrementally purchase that combo (although energized hilt is a better mod for the Electrostaff).  It does feel like a pretty big investment into one character though.

Regarding Electrostaff and mods, one thing to consider is whether you pick up Swords Dance.  Red Green with a surge from Balanced Hilt will outperform Red Red for the two dice attack.  Of course, you are likely to exhaust Energized Hilt for your first attack with the Electrostaff.  Also worth noting, if you get Mandalorian Heritage, the extra surge from Balanced Hilt for +2 damage will do more damage than Energized Hilt.  Balanced hilt has a bit more flexibility in that it is "while attacking" vs "when you declare an attack" which allows you to use it when you need it or save it when you don't.

Conclusion: as is the case with most things, the mods are situational.

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You are unlikely to get Mandalorian Heritage and you can't use her starting weapon's ability to add a red die if you use her whip, so you will pretty much never use her whip until you've gotten a better weapon.

Extended Haft is very much one of your best choices, coupled with her high free movement you're likely to get 2 attacks per round and it doesn't exhaust.

Vibrosword is a waste of credits for her as it's a downgrade unless you spend strain, you'll never not be better off spending the credits somewhere else.

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Shyla has been a huge asset for us, her mobility is +++, the whip has been utilized to move enemies from adjacent objectives, her strain recovery has been big against subversive tactics, and we just narrowly got her Mandalorian Heritage. She is a beast now. A top teir hero for sure, and very fun to play.

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I did a bunch of playing around on the calculator for my campaign weapon guide regarding the Vibrosword.

It is true that the Shyla's starting weapon with the red die is better than the Vibrosword with the same # of mods. However, Shyla does not use much strain for her abilities and her free movement means she doesn't have to strain move as much, so she often has strain to spare meaning she can get a lot of mileage out of the Pierce 1. The Vibrosword is also a damage upgrade over the Green/Yellow version of her starter, which means you can use her ability without penalty. And finally, Vibrosword with 2 mods (especially with the Pierce 1) gives her a lot of power in the mid game that will be strong up until Tier 3.

Now, a path like Starter -> Balanced Hilt -> BD-1 -> Energized Hilt -> Electrostaff is probably better overall (250 more credits) but I definitely disagree that Vibrosword is a waste of credits.

Edited by Deadwolf

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A just barely upgrade that requires you spending a strain every attack is very much not a worthwhile use of 350 credits, it is practically throwing the credits away.  There is NO WAY you can't find a bigger upgrade somewhere else, like an E-11 or Tactical Display for someone, or a Bacta Pump, Extended Haft, or save up for Combat Coat or Portable Medkit or a tier II item.

Edited by Union

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On 12/3/2017 at 1:04 PM, Olas-81 said:

Any reason why you didn’t consider the Vibroaxe? Getting Reach and the Cleave 2 for a tier 2 weapon seemed pretty awesome to me...

At the time the Reach seemed less useful when you could whip targets to be adjacent to you and Double Vibrosword had the same stats but the ability to deal even more pseudo Cleave damage than the Axe without needing to roll surges which worked well with All-Out Attack and Swords Dance. However the Double Vibroswords can get quite strain heavy for sure, and the Reach on the Axe is still useful having a more flexible Cleave and not always having to use the Whip ability. 

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Shyla's Core 9xp skills and strong starting weapon makes her Soooooooooo good. Along with her tankyness from Deadly grace, she is the best new character since the core box. I'd probably put her at #1-2, her mobility and whip allow her to dismantle most IP attempts at playing toward the objective

I would take Sword Dance if I could since every Rebel team will look to outfit her with Electrostaff. Otherwise Proximity Strike and even All out attack aren't bad. Before Electrostaff, you could stick with just Balanced Hilt & Starting weapon. Or get something cheap like Gaffi Stick/Vibroknife. T2 has a lot of options now too with Poleaxe, Double Vibrosword (really strong with whip and she doesn't use much strain on other stuff) and the class Vibroaxe. Energy hilt is also good on her starting weapon or T1

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I found Sword Dance great also on 2 dice weapons. If you get All-Out Attack and Vibrogenerator you can basically roll one red (assuming your weapon has a red die) and add up to 3 damages basically for free.

Edited by Golan Trevize

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