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brettpkelly

Hutt Mercenaries Review

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Just finished the Jabba's Realm campaign last night with as the imperial player using the Hutt Mercenaries class deck.  The rebels were using Fenn, Shyla, Vinto, and MHD.  For my Agenda deck I was using "Persistence", "Guild Hunters", "For the Right Price", "Nefarious Dealings", "Agents of the Empire", and one other I can't remember off the top of my head.  Here are my impressions. 

Overview

Hutt Mercenaries is extremely strong and if you're going for pure competitiveness, by all means give it a try.  If you're playing for fun though, I still think Technological Superiority or Military Might are the way to go.  (I haven't tried Nemesis but that seems really fun too.)  The problem with Hutt Mercenaries from a "fun" perspective is that it is incredibly swingy.  You basically get one really powerful attack per round.  If you don't kill your target they can rest and/or use medical cards (thanks MHD) to heal to full.  There are a lot of rounds when the rebels would kill all my stuff without me even being able to trigger any of the class deck cards because the heroes with bounty tokens were tucked safely behind some corner.  From the rebel point of view, you could get one shot by pretty much anything.  I had a Junk droid do 7 damage in one attack.  With 2 Junk droid attacks and one attack from the Ugnaught, I killed the hero in one activation.    If that doesn't sound like the least fun thing in the game then I don't know what is. 

Class deck build

Most Wanted is obviously a great card giving you an extra 2-3 damage to dish out once per round, but in my opinion Guild Hunters should be your first choice as far as the 4 XP cards.  Having all your Merc figures deploy as hidden is just amazing, and adding a surge for +1 dmg +2 accuracy, and a surge pierce 2 for every single one of your units means you're getting an extra 1-2 damage not just once per round, but with every attack.  The extra accuracy came in handy so many times, mostly because the best units to pair with Hutt Mercenaries desperately need the accuracy, but I'll get to that later.  Having the Rancor deploy with a bonus surge was godly.  This was my build:

Wanted: Dead -> Vendetta (1 XP) -> Guild Hunters (4XP) -> Most Wanted (4XP) -> Nowhere to Hide (3XP) -> Scouted (1 XP)

In retrospect I would have skipped Vendetta to get both 4XP cards faster.  Nowhere to Hide was probably the most clutch card in the deck making it extremely hard for the Rebels to hide the heroes with bounty tokens, but you need Most Wanted first to get all of the value out of it.  Vendetta did OK for me for 1 XP, but definitely not as essential as the other 3.  (EDIT: I misread Scouted to let you reroll rebel defense dice) Scouted doesn't add any damage so it doesn't synergize, but I had 1 XP left so that is what I got. 


Nowhere to Run was too situational, only dealing extra damage if you were attacking someone with 3 strain, especially against Fenn and Shyla who recover strain like crazy.  Cheap shot doesn't add damage so no synergy with the rest of the deck.  Savage Motivation seems really good, but not as good as some of the other cards available.  I would have gotten that instead of Scouted if I had the extra XP.

Matchups

MHD is really good against Hutt Mercenaries.  With Miracle Worker he can save that last hero with the bounty token to ensure there are 3 relatively safe heroes.  Also rummaging through the item deck for medical cards every turn ensured that each hero was going to be at full health when they were taking my big shot.  I'm sure Gideon would have been a great support as well, I consider him the best support in the game, but against this class deck MHD is better.

Fenn also was a good matchup to Hutt Mercenaries.  By the end of the game he had 15 health and he had an exhaust ability that let him recover 3 strain after he took a damage if he passed a strength test.  This usually made him recover 2 health and a strain and often fully negated my attacks.  He was extremely hard to kill, especially if he didn't have a bounty token.  The rebel players had no problem moving him right into the middle of the action and letting me waste attacks against him.  Tactical Movement is still one of the best abilities in the game, giving anyone you want 2 free movement points.  Fenn is top tier against any class deck.

Shyla is the most mobile hero in the game.  By the end she was getting 3 free movement points every activation.  She also had an ability that let her attack twice with one action, losing one dice out of the attack pool for the second attack.  She was also the cleave master, getting cleave 2 with the weapon she had equipped plus cleave 3 with her 4 XP ability.  Watching her cleave down a Rancor or an important objective was extremely frustrating.  With her 3 free movement points and 2 strain for movement, plus mandalorian whip, she could move 5 spaces, pull a small figure 3 spaces, attack 3 times, each with cleave 2 and one with an extra cleave 3, (that is a total of 9 cleave for those keeping track) all in one activation.  Plus she recovers a strain at the end of the activation and often recovered strain in her attacks.  She's pretty similar to Fenn and she seems like a top tier hero.

Vinto was the weak link.  He got his reward card from his side mission which lets him add surges or evades depending on how many hostile figures were within 3 spaces.  His problem was that he needed to be close to enemies to deal damage, but his damage output wasn't nearly as good as Shyla's and he was the most fragile hero in the group.  I ended up just killing his hero completely about half way through the last mission which really set the rebels back.

I think Onar would excel vs Hutt Mercenaries.  He's basically unkillable in one shot with his 20 health, and the fact that he doesn't have a defense die doesn't matter at all since everyone can pierce 2 anyway.  He has several Xp cards that give him more health and blocks and evades and his rest lets him recover and extra 2 health.  If he was the only hero to have a bounty token I could see the imperial player getting very frustrated. 

Mak seems like another really good hero to counter Hutt Mercenaries.  With "Covert", "Disengage", "Decoy", and even "Jeswandi Training" you can make yourself virtually unkillable.  If you hide Mak in the back as the only hero with a bounty token, you completely negate the Hutt Mercenaries Class deck.  Maybe now you can see why the deck is not fun to play though, it leads to some really annoying strategies.

Agenda Decks

High Value Target from the For the Right Price deck is the best Agenda card in the game.  Get it as soon as possible.  You will always be wounding at least one hero a mission, so this will get you extra threat every time. 

Final Blast from Nefarious Dealings is another must have.  Any cards that give you extra attacks are great, plus it's a "deplete card" so you can use it every mission.  This should be your second priority after High Value Target.

Imperial Informants from Agents of the Empire is a good card to have at the end of the game for an easy 6 extra threat when the rebels least expect it, and it only costs 1 Influence.

Call your shot from Guild Hunters is really good for avoiding that dodge on the white die.

Shoot First from Guild Hunters and Snap Fire from Persistence are really good cards for this deck.  Anything that gets you more opportunities to attack. 

I didn't get a chance to deploy any of the side mission agenda cards, but I'm sure some would have been useful.   

Strategy

Once you have the cards you need, any figure can be deadly.  Your best friends are regular Hired Guns.  These guys are always going to get at least 1 attack off per round and with "Nowhere to Hide", it's very easy to get to figures that are hiding in the back.  Spawn these guys as close to the figures with the bounty tokens as you can and don't worry about them dying.  They really need the "surge for 1 dmg and 2 range" from Guild Hunters because they roll green yellow with no bonus accuracy.

Regular pirates, regular HK's, Rancor, and elite Nexus were my other favorite units.  They all benefit greatly from being hidden.  The pirates and HK's can sit way back and attack, luring the rebels into compromising positions and staying alive for multiple rounds (a rarity for the Hutt Mercenaries deck).  The Nexu can strike from very far away, ensure it gets to attack at least once.  The Rancor is a tank, but watch out for Shyla's cleave.  Both can do 1 shot kills against most heroes.

Try to make sure you get at least 1 big attack off per round, if you can ensure a wound make sure you do all you can to get it, but also play defensively with your sniper units so you have some stuff left in later rounds.  Don't worry about leaving just 1 hero with a bounty token at the end of a mission by the end of the game, because you'll have ways of getting to them.

Edited by brettpkelly

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Did you misread scouted? I thought it lets you reroll your defense (Imperial figure) when a bounty tokened hero attacks

Nice write up, I agree the class seems overall strong

Edited by frotes

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2 minutes ago, frotes said:

Did you misread scouted? I thought it lets you reroll your defense (Imperial figure) when a bounty tokened hero attacks

You're right I did.  That makes it a lot worse, and I definitely wouldnt' have gotten it if I read it right.  Luckily it didn't make much of a difference in my campaign.

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33 minutes ago, Stompburger said:

So, what were you allowing the Junk Droid to use that brought it up to 7 damage? Companions can't use abilities on class cards.

Crap, I played that wrong.  But it wouldn't have mattered because I could have added the damage to the Ugnaught's attack instead of the Junk Droids.  But good to know for the future!

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Good topic! Thanks for the review

Since the strong ability for "pierce 2", could 3 white dices heroes + Onar be a problem for IP?

Vendetta can be a good ability to have in second story mission.

with only "Wanted: Dead" as ability, IP could be too weak against good players in second story mission. What do you think?

 

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20 hours ago, Eyfrosyne said:

Good topic! Thanks for the review

Since the strong ability for "pierce 2", could 3 white dices heroes + Onar be a problem for IP?

Vendetta can be a good ability to have in second story mission.

with only "Wanted: Dead" as ability, IP could be too weak against good players in second story mission. What do you think?

 

If the heroes went with 3 white dice and Onar, I probably would recommend skipping Guild Hunters and going straight for Most Wanted.  I don't recommend going all white dice though because HK's and Weequay Pirates can reroll your dodge results.  The best list to counter Hutt Mercenaries in my mind would be Mak, Onar, MHD and Fenn (granted I haven't actually tried Onar, just theorizing).  Technically the heroes pick first and then the Imperial player selects his class deck after though.

Edited by brettpkelly

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First i'd like to say thank you for this thread as it's been the most useful source of information for me currently

Next week is my first time being the imperial player  (I've only played a hero in Bespin and a few in Hoth) and I'll be beginning Jabba's Realm with Hutt mercenaries (most likely). Not sure who the players will choose yet but I heard thoughts like Onar, Murne and Shyla as the group has been working there way through the heroes each campaign and they haven't used these yet.  As the game belong to a friend I won't actually see the missions until the day.

The question I had was the other part of scouted. Most of your suggestions for open groups seem to be mercs but the card suggests some missions don't allow them (as you can take the card to get them). So what imperial open groups would you suggest if the mercs can't be taken.    

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2 hours ago, patdragon2 said:

The question I had was the other part of scouted. Most of your suggestions for open groups seem to be mercs but the card suggests some missions don't allow them (as you can take the card to get them). So what imperial open groups would you suggest if the mercs can't be taken.    

Hard to say what open groups to bring without context.  It depends on a number of factors such as Mission Objective, Threat Level, Mission Events, and Rebel Heroes/Builds.  Early in the campaign, you'll likely get value out of cheaper deployment groups such as Regular Probe Droids, Regular Imperial Officers, Stormtroopers, Jet Troopers, etc.  Later in the campaign, there is a lot more flexibility but I like most of the Elite Troopers (Stormtroopers, Snowtroopers, Jet Troopers, etc), Royal Guards if you need to protect someone, Dewback Rider, Elite Probe Droid, etc.  Outside of the Merc bonuses, there aren't really any cards that benefit one deployment type over another so picking your normal threat efficient deployments is probably your best bet.

With that said, there are very few missions that I can think of that have figure restrictions so I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about it until you are faced with such a mission.

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Like machfalcon said it's difficult to provide specifics, but as a general rule of thumb I almost never bring in a unit whose cost is more than double the threat level.  By the time you save up more than two turns worth the rebels will have already gained too much of an advantage for it to be worth it.

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17 hours ago, ManateeX said:

Like machfalcon said it's difficult to provide specifics, but as a general rule of thumb I almost never bring in a unit whose cost is more than double the threat level.  By the time you save up more than two turns worth the rebels will have already gained too much of an advantage for it to be worth it.

yes. The only exceptions that could be taken into account are: (a) missions that give you double threat at beginning, (b) when you are almost sure that rebels will bring an ally with them.

then, you can consider including unit with, for example, cost equal to triple threat

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My first couple of games with Hutt Mercenaries I was really disillusioned because the starting card isn't great IMO. As soon as I saved up for the 4 XP cards... wow, the whole situation changed completely. There's so much extra damage to add to a single attack that I'm very nearly able to wound a Hero with my first attack every turn, and remaining attacks are usually enough to do it. Since most missions give me the win when all four Heroes are wounded (plus they all get given their Bounty Tokens back), it's like the time limit for every mission has been changed to 4 turns instead of (usually) 6 or 7. The Heroes haven't a hope.

While on the one hand it's nice to win for once, I never really minded losing most of the time with other classes, as long as everyone was having a great time. I'm really not sure the Hero players are enjoying getting one-shotted one after another every game - and it's not the fact they're losing that's the problem, it's the fact there's practically nothing they can do to stop it.

We'll finish this campaign (looking likely to be my first campaign win if the results so far are anything to go by), then I won't use this class again. It's too good.

Edited by Bitterman

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6 hours ago, Bitterman said:

My first couple of games with Hutt Mercenaries I was really disillusioned because the starting card isn't great IMO. As soon as I saved up for the 4 XP cards... wow, the whole situation changed completely. There's so much extra damage to add to a single attack that I'm very nearly able to wound a Hero with my first attack every turn, and remaining attacks are usually enough to do it. Since most missions give me the win when all four Heroes are wounded (plus they all get given their Bounty Tokens back), it's like the time limit for every mission has been changed to 4 turns instead of (usually) 6 or 7. The Heroes haven't a hope.

While on the one hand it's nice to win for once, I never really minded losing most of the time with other classes, as long as everyone was having a great time. I'm really not sure the Hero players are enjoying getting one-shotted one after another every game - and it's not the fact they're losing that's the problem, it's the fact there's practically nothing they can do to stop it.

We'll finish this campaign (looking likely to be my first campaign win if the results so far are anything to go by), then I won't use this class again. It's too good.

What heroes were you up against? 

I'm about to start this campaign this week with Vinto, Shyla, Onar, and Murne and expect my Imperial figures to be pushed about a lot with all the whipping, shoving and blasting that's going on with the heroes base abilities. It should give the party some very good tactical positioning. 

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On 5/7/2017 at 4:02 PM, patdragon2 said:

What heroes were you up against? 

I'm about to start this campaign this week with Vinto, Shyla, Onar, and Murne and expect my Imperial figures to be pushed about a lot with all the whipping, shoving and blasting that's going on with the heroes base abilities. It should give the party some very good tactical positioning. 

I'm up against Vinto, Gaarkhan, Onar, and Murne, so pretty similar.

Onar can take a bit of hurting due to how much health he has (albeit no defence), and I have to be careful when I wound Gaarkhan because he's arguably better wounded than healthy. And, when the heroes get into their stride, they're still capable of winning missions (via push shenanigans, especially with Onar's Reward, or other means). The problem they face is that it doesn't much matter who they push around... as long as I have someone left, I can dish out so much damage with the Hutt Mercenaries class cards that someone's probably getting wounded.

If the Hutt Mercenaries bonuses were limited - for example, if only one card could be used during each attack - it'd feel much fairer I think. It's the fact that (assuming the target has a Bounty token) three or four cards can stack to all add extra damage, that really leaves the heroes with no defence against it.

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I'm facing the Hutt Mercenaries deck now, and they've picked up both 4XP cards, so we're getting to that "one-shot a hero with the first attack every round" stage. Any ideas how to deal with this? Our heroes are Shyla, Davith, Murne, and Fenn. It sounds like Fenn should get Adrenaline Rush (and maybe Take Cover), and Shyla should get Deadly Grace, but I don't see how those are going to end up making a difference. Do you really just need to go super defensive? Even if you avoid getting wounded by a few points of damage, how can you remove threat enough if a hero is spending both actions resting every round?

Maybe the key is to just make 1 hero super defensive - maybe in our case, Fenn with Laminate Armor (or Environmental Recovery Gear), Take Cover, Rebel Elite, Adrenaline Rush, and Superior Positioning if he can get it. Then just try to keep him from getting wounded after everyone else does?

I'm really wondering about the balance of this class though. It just seems very difficult to play around all of the damage-stacking abilities.

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36 minutes ago, Stompburger said:

I'm facing the Hutt Mercenaries deck now, and they've picked up both 4XP cards, so we're getting to that "one-shot a hero with the first attack every round" stage. Any ideas how to deal with this?

  Kill them faster.  It's really the best defense by a very long margin.  Leaving a figure on the board means you're going to have more figures on the board every single round which amounts to a huge amount of damage you're going to take.

  If burst damage is a problem, then start by killing a figure in each enemy deployment so there is no full strength card to hit you all at once.

  Shyla is already super defensive with her free evade and Fenn is really strain light against Nowhere to Hide so you're already set up well.  Davith can be a bit of an issue, you'll have to be careful with his picks.  Murn will allow you to use up the enemy's hidden condition.

  With Murn you have a good choice of allies.  C3-P0 is a good ally to pick as he'll give your peeps evade on the entrance and with Murn he's free.  Herra will allow you to be a bit more aggressive with your deployment to get things dead before they can activate.  Jedi Luke is a beast and since he isn't a hero he's immune to most of Hutt Mercenaries.

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On 4/10/2017 at 2:06 PM, brettpkelly said:

Crap, I played that wrong.  But it wouldn't have mattered because I could have added the damage to the Ugnaught's attack instead of the Junk Droids.  But good to know for the future!

Actually you probably played it fine

Most of the Hutt Merc class cards add symbols/dice to the attack and the companion does not directly use them. There is a distinction between a figure using a card and the Imperial Player using a card. The only thing the Junk Droid couldn't use are the surge abilities granted by Guild Hunters (because those would get added to the Junk droid's abilities, aka Junk droid using the card)

On 6/28/2017 at 6:54 AM, Stompburger said:

I'm facing the Hutt Mercenaries deck now, and they've picked up both 4XP cards, so we're getting to that "one-shot a hero with the first attack every round" stage. Any ideas how to deal with this? Our heroes are Shyla, Davith, Murne, and Fenn. It sounds like Fenn should get Adrenaline Rush (and maybe Take Cover), and Shyla should get Deadly Grace, but I don't see how those are going to end up making a difference. Do you really just need to go super defensive? Even if you avoid getting wounded by a few points of damage, how can you remove threat enough if a hero is spending both actions resting every round?

Maybe the key is to just make 1 hero super defensive - maybe in our case, Fenn with Laminate Armor (or Environmental Recovery Gear), Take Cover, Rebel Elite, Adrenaline Rush, and Superior Positioning if he can get it. Then just try to keep him from getting wounded after everyone else does?

I'm really wondering about the balance of this class though. It just seems very difficult to play around all of the damage-stacking abilities.


One very defensive hero seems like a good plan. Also just killing IP faster since this class offers no defensive abilities. MHD is really good against it because of the off turn healing and also getting pain killers.

If you can cut down the number of figures activating at any one point, all the class cards add about 4-5 damage, which is equal to 1 good rest. Just have to be careful about protecting Heroes that have activated already in a round and not push up too fast. That or just trade damage, wounded heroes only lose 1 speed/endurance for the most part. As long as you don't lose, you are fine

Edited by frotes

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