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Markmanship

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Evening all...

   New player trying to come up to speed on the current meta.  I have seen no mention of markmanship in the discussions about offensive upgrades (Predator, Lone Wolf, Tactician, etc.).  Why is that? I get that it is an action and expensive, but no mention at all? 

Please advise. 

r/-A.

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Basically, it comes down to these factors: 1. It's expensive for what it does. 2. It uses up the valuable Elite Pilot Talent slot that has many good options. 3. It uses an action in a way that can only be used for attacks during the same turn. 4. If you don't roll any eyeballs on your attack, you've used your action for nothing.

Compare Marksmanship to focus: Marksmanship adds a crit, and if the pilot can do multiple attacks, Marksmanship can potentially all of them. A focus token can only help one attack (though most pilots only have one attack), but it can also help on defense.

Compared to a target lock, the Marksmanship is a use-it-or-lose-it ability, while the target lock persists, and is used to trigger most munitions.

Compared to Predator or Lone Wolf, well, those don't require actions, so they'll trigger anyway, and allow you to use your action to either further enhance your offense or defense (focus or target lock), or allows you to better position yourself for offense or defense (barrel roll, boost, SLAM, cloak). Predator costs the same while Lone Wolf is cheaper, so they both provide more bang for your points buck.

Tactician is a crew upgrade, not an EPT, so you could have both, if you wanted, so long as the ship has both slots,  but Tactician is still more valuable because it's both cheaper and doesn't require an action.

The funny thing is, the one ship that might work well with Marksmanship is one that can't take it: the Ghost with a docked Phantom could use Marksmanship to boost multiple attacks, and since it has a 0 agility, it doesn't need to worry about sacrificing the defensive aspects of a focus token. Too bad it doesn't have an EPT slot!

 

Edited by Freeptop

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we have recently acquired an almost explicitly FAR better in every way EPT:ph34r:

 

EX1uY7w_-_Imgur.jpg

 

 

crits are nice and all, but they're completely random and there are more than a fair share of cards that might as well be facedown damage in the deck

 

most important thing in this game is building to mitigating randomness, and expertise allowing you to use your action for something else is perfectly in line with this goal

Edited by ficklegreendice

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It's one of the worst upgrades in the game because in most circumstances you're paying 3 points for a bad Focus token.  Compared to Focus you're gaining the ability to have a crit not a hit (which is not especially valuable) but losing the ability to spend your focus on your green dice if you need to.  The trade off is pretty close and it's definitely not worth 3pts.

 
Probably my next blog is going to be on exactly this, because I think chasing Critical Hits is one of the classic rookie mistakes.

There are some circumstances where Marksmanship is acceptable, most notably if you're attacking multiple times in a turn, but outside of a few niche applications it's garbage.

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Marksmanship isn't very good for its price. The best case scenario for its use is on something like Maarek Stele with the TIE/D title. He gets multiple attacks in a round and his ability gets extra mileage from crits. 

If Hotshot Pilot gets really popular, you may see Marksmanship pop up every once in awhile on lower PS ships with low agility that are only really taking the focus action offensively anyways. Unless you can do something special with that crit result, Expertise is almost always going to be worth the extra point though as it frees up your action.

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Chasing Critical Hits

One of the themes I see reappear more often than any other in 'casual' lists is how much people are prepared to contort their squads and flying style just to try and turn a 'hit' into a 'crit'.

This is almost always a trap.

Don't get me wrong, crits are great.  Landing a killer critical hit on your opponent can sometimes be enough to win you a game, no doubts.  But crits aren't so much better than normal hits to make it worth spending half a dozen points of your list trying to force them to happen.  

People do it though.  A lot.
 
Ten Nunb, Etahn A'baht, Rexler Brath, Mangler Cannon, Marksmanship, Boba Fett, Saboteur, Lt Colzet... it's not an exhaustive list but these are the sorts of pilots and upgrades that seem to regularly sucker new players in and which experienced pilots largely know to avoid.  The problem is twofold - firstly that it's surprisingly easy to overestimate the importance of a 'crit' result on your dice, and secondly that the effort required to force a critical hit result makes you overall a lot less effective.
  • Any time you get a hit and they dodge your attack, the effort & points spent on getting that crit was lost.
  • Any time you successfully hit with a crit but it just removes a shield, the effort & points spent on getting that crit was lost.
  • Any time you actually assign a face-up damage card with a critical hit but it isn't one that really has an impact, the effort & points spent on getting that crit was lost.  This includes a Critical Hit that is part of dealing lethal damage as the ship was dead anyway!
This last one is quite subjective but I must have lost count of the number of times I've handed out critical hits that didn't change anything.  It could be the classic Major Hull Breach that means all future damage cards will be face up but they've only got one hull left so will die to any damage anyway.  It could be a Damaged Cockpit reducing a ship to Pilot Skill 0 that was already moving first (or, worse yet, actually gets BETTER when it moves first - I've won games due to receiving this crit).  It could be a Shaken Pilot when they weren't planning on doing a straight maneuver next turn anyway.

When you hand out a Critical Hit you're thinking of the dream of Blinded Pilot or Direct Hit, or Damaged Sensor Array but there are plenty of crits in there that will have minimal impact of the game.  Just the other day I handed Countess Ryad two critical hits that had almost no impact at all - a Loose Stabiliser that turned the white moves on her dial to red, and a Damaged Engine that turned her hard turns to red.  This all sounded fantastic and that I'd really limited the moves that she could do without being stressed, but in fact all that had happened was that her 3 turn was now red.  She still had green K-turns and she still had green banks thanks to her Twin Ion Engine MkII modification.

Even a Direct Hit could be meaningless.  If a Direct Hit leaves the opponent with 1 hull left and your next attack deals 2 damage then the Direct Hit has just been overkill as you were going to destroy them anyway had it not been there.
 
Once you understand that Critical Hits are only good IF they don't get dodged and IF they didn't have shields and IF you get a critical hit that really matters... they start to lose at least some of their shine.  Critical Hits can be gamechanging and they can be awesome, but they're rarely worth spending points on playing a card or upgrade specifically to force them happen.  
 
If you think of some of the most commonly played competitive pilots & upgrades that deal out Critical Hits, like Rear Admiral Chiraneau, Advanced Targeting Computer or Proton Torpedoes, then in most cases they would still be getting played if all they did was create a normal hit instead of a critical hit. What matters most is that they're generating an extra damage - that's what the points are spent on.  Any bonus they get from it being a critical hit rather than a normal hit, should it get through green dice and shields, is usually just gravy.

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I think Stay on the Leader has the best answer so far.  There are many other ways to get crits that are far less costly.  
At one point Ten Numb with Fire Control System, Marksmenship and an Ion cannon was a great way to counter Phantoms and Interceptors.  Other than that I have not found much of a use for marksmenship.

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The best use I got out of it was with an Experimental Interface/Marksmanship/R2-D2 Corran.

Stay on the Leader makes a good point regarding crits, but if you, for any reason, embrace variance, then you might appreciate the occasional bullseye you can score with the faceup damage deck. Some enemies are particularly vulnerable to them; those with little agility and lots of hull. This way of playing offers a certain style but not a lot of guaranteed efficiency.

As an aside, I'm in favour of making players choose the deck that their opponents will use, rather than the deck that they themselves will use. This will make inflicting crits more attractive, which I see as a good thing.

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1 minute ago, AngryAlbatross said:

I think Stay on the Leader has the best answer so far.  There are many other ways to get crits that are far less costly.  
At one point Ten Numb with Fire Control System, Marksmenship and an Ion cannon was a great way to counter Phantoms and Interceptors.  Other than that I have not found much of a use for marksmenship.

That reminds me of the other thing that hurt Marksmanship's viability: Calculation. 

That already expensive points piñata of a B-Wing gets a bit cheaper while still having virtually the same effectiveness if you take Calculation instead of Marksmanship. 

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4 minutes ago, Ynot said:

Experimental Interface/Marksmanship/C3p0/R2D2/Alliance Overhaul Norra is pretty decent.  Pair her with Rainbow Dash and you have a decent build.

 

Am I missing an interaction here?

The idea is to take a TL - experimental interface marksmanship so that you can turn your focus into a crit on your attack?

Isn't this basically doing the same as push the limit (except you're guaranteed a crit instead of a hit) - seems to be quite expensive for 6 points compared to 3. And it won't work on defence and it takes up the mod slot so she can't take vectored thrusters for repositioning. Unless I've missed something, wouldn't this fall well into the remit of Stay on Targets chasing the crit post?

The only place I could have seen this card having much in the way of a use is for ships that have potentially multiple attacks- and even then the action requirement hurts it. With expertise out now I'm really struggling to see a use for it full stop.

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28 minutes ago, Stay On The Leader said:

Ten Numb,

I agree EXCEPT for this one.  Ten is good because that crit you're chasing is unblockable, not because it's a crit.

He's not good only because he's too expensive/fragile when you get him to the point of reliably dealing one ubnblockable damage per round, even if that's only via equipping a Mangler Cannon.

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24 minutes ago, Ynot said:

Experimental Interface/Marksmanship/C3p0/R2D2/Alliance Overhaul Norra is pretty decent.  Pair her with Rainbow Dash and you have a decent build.

 

Pretty terrible, actually

Ptl gives about the exact same output at,HALF PRICE 

 

 

Also allows defensive use of ability which marks does not 

 

So it is actually superior at half price 

 

 

oh right,

 

AND it leaves your modification slot open for EU or VTs

 

 

Edited by ficklegreendice

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Marksmanship does get you around the Damaged Sensor Array critical hit, but you're not going to take an upgrade to get around a single critical hit card.

If they ever make ships that don't have a native Focus action, Marksmanship would definitely come into the mix.  But if they haven't done so by now, I don't see it happening ever.

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3 minutes ago, DailyRich said:

Marksmanship does get you around the Damaged Sensor Array critical hit, but you're not going to take an upgrade to get around a single critical hit card.

If they ever make ships that don't have a native Focus action, Marksmanship would definitely come into the mix.  But if they haven't done so by now, I don't see it happening ever.

Don't you think you just pay the extra point and take expertise?

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5 minutes ago, DailyRich said:

Marksmanship does get you around the Damaged Sensor Array critical hit, but you're not going to take an upgrade to get around a single critical hit card.

This is only true for the old damage deck - the new damage deck changes the wording from "You cannot perform the actions listed in your action bar."  to "You cannot perform any actions except actions listed on Damage cards."

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6 minutes ago, DailyRich said:

Marksmanship does get you around the Damaged Sensor Array critical hit, but you're not going to take an upgrade to get around a single critical hit card.

If they ever make ships that don't have a native Focus action, Marksmanship would definitely come into the mix.  But if they haven't done so by now, I don't see it happening ever.

The Damaged Sensor Array crit from the original damage deck. The TFA damage deck's version of Damaged Sensor Array prevents using actions from upgrade cards as well.

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4 minutes ago, AlexW said:

Don't you think you just pay the extra point and take expertise?

If you get stressed before your attack comes up, Expertise doesn't work.  Marksmanship gets locked in when you take your action, regardless if you later become stressed.

Again though, not really a thing as long as the Focus action exists.

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In defense of Marksmanship, whenever there's multiple attacks coming from a ship it can use it, but Expertise pretty much takes its place if you can spare one extrA point, because it doesn't burn an action.  You lose the crit, but that doesn't matter that much unless your name is Maarek Stele.  Horton with BTL and TLT was my favorite Marksman, but again expertise allows Mr. Really needs a native EPT to fully modify his 3 range 2-3 shots each round but also allows him to focus for defense or even B-roll/boost with the appropriate mod, for a super fat 38-40 pt Y-wing!

 

of course Youngster can take it and allow a bunch of TIE/SF generics to modify their front and back shots with one action.  Omega specialists could even PTL after marksman too.  Probably the 'best' use.  And you can almost squeeze Wampa in there...he could benefit from marksmanship in a non-Palpy list.

Edited by GrimmyV

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