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SirCormac

Is Vader Overcosted/Does he need help?

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This is an honest question I am posing to the community. My friend and I have played about half-a-dozen games. He plays Imperials and I play Rebels. We have found Vader to be, well, lacking. Also, when I do theory crafting, Vader does not seem to really justify his 200 points. Let's break it down in comparison to Luke (who I think is awesome)

1. Courage (Vader - Infinite, Luke - 3)

This may seem like an easy win for Vader, and my guess is the Devs thought this infinite courage was worth the price jump to Vader, but I have two problems with this. 1. 3 courage is really high, and it's rare to even see Luke lose 1 action, let alone panic. BUT, there is a HUGE upside to suppression tokens: Cover. If Luke gets caught in the open (he should have a dodge), after the first attack (where he spends his dodge), he now gets 1 level of cover, something Vader never gets. In other words, Infinite courage is not a pure plus, it is a double-edged sword. I feel this is a push.

2. Health (Vader-8, Luke -6)

This may seem like a pure victory for Vader, and again, I am sure the devs are making you pay for the extra health. However, because Vader never gets suppressed, and thus never gets that bonus cover, he NEEDS the extra health to make up the distance with Luke. As weird as it sounds, I feel this one is a push.

3. Weapon (Vader - Melee 6 Reds Impact 3, Pierce 3, no surge, no ranged, Luke - Melee 6 blacks Impact 2, Pierce 2, surge to crit, Ranged 2 reds Range 1-2, Pierce 2)

At first glance, it may seem that Vader wins here with Red dice, again, something I think the Vader player is paying for, but it's not as good as it first seems. First, black dice with surge to crit are almost as good as red dice without surge. Yes, the Red dice are strictly better, but Vader has no native Ranged attack, but Luke does. I feel that Luke goes down to Black but gains a native Ranged attack, which is a fair trade to make. The Impact is a wash because with Luke surging to Crit, it's basically the same. The one true advantage Vader has here is Pierce 3 rather than two. For that extra pierce, I'd be willing to pay maybe 10 points (but then you need to pay 10 more points to get a ranged attack). I would almost call this a push, but let's say Vader needs to pay 10 just to be safe.

4. Abilities

Both have Deflect and Immune: Pierce, so that's a wash. What about the other two? Vader has Master of the Force 1 and Relentless, while Luke has Charge and Jump 1. Jump 1 is amazing, and combined with Charge and 2 movement speed, is really synergistic with Luke allowing him to pinball around the battlefield with ease. Master of the Force 1 seems awesome at first, as it freely refreshes your force cards, but if Luke is in the thick of things, he can easily refresh his cards with a recover action, and then Jump into melee and charge, essentially the same thing. The other problem is that Master of the Force suffers from NEEDING another upgrade to work, meaning it should be costed less than what Luke gets, as Luke can be 'naked' and still benefit from his abilities, while Vader cannot. Relentless is, on paper, clearly better than Charge, but considering Vader's movement (next area for discussion) I think this is a wash again.

5. Movement

Here we go, the Achilles' heel of Vader. Movement speed 1. This singlehandedly boot-straps Vader. I'm guessing the Devs were scared of Relentless being on a platform that could move 2 each move, and then hit with 6 reds, so they gave him move 1. This clearly is inferior to Luke, without question, and should give Vader a point reduction, minimally. I think 10-20 is fair, to say the least.

Conclusion: So what we get is a weird situation: If Vader was 160 (same cost as Luke), would he be OP? Would he be as good as Luke? I think he would be a fair alternative version of Luke. What do you guys think?

 

Because of all of this, I have created a 'fix' card for Vader, and wanted to see what your thoughts are:

JkM7Yaf.png

Anyways, thanks for the help! Any suggestions for how to use Vader effectively, or your feelings on his cost are greatly appreciated! These are just my ponderings over the last few months.

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I agree Vader sends to be missing something. Not a lot, but enough to be noticeable.

Another thing to consider are command cards. Vader loses one health with the one spot, and the two spot (I find) is very rarely useful.

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1 hour ago, SirCormac said:

but if Luke is in the thick of things, he can easily refresh his cards with a recover action, and then Jump into melee and charge, essentially the same thing.

No it isn't the same thing. Refresh is costing an action. Lets say both are equipped with reflexes. Luke refreshes and attacks then uses reflexes to gain dodge, that is basically the same as just taking attack then dodge. Vader can reflexes every turn, and still has two action to aim attack, or dodge attack. Both these options make him much better than Luke in a fight, and that isn't even considering his extra health, courage, and better dice.

1 hour ago, SirCormac said:

Here we go, the Achilles' heel of Vader. Movement speed 1. This singlehandedly boot-straps Vader.

Have you used snow troopers? They are only speed 1, but the move + move is actually the same as a speed 3 move. Vader can follow up his speed 3 move with a saber throw that is doing 3 red + pierce 3. That will murder anything other than luke, because of pierce immunity. If you also combine him with force push you can move into range 1, push (really pull) them closer to you, move again into combat and slaughter any trooper squad or non-jedi hero.

You can't just stick vader down, send him toward the enemy and expect him to wreck face. This is a game about positioning, send him around LOS blocking terrain, give him some snows to back him up, and use those force powers that you get to refresh. You are also paying for the command cards. Master of Evil alone can be enough to absolutely ruin an opponent's plans if they haven't prepared for it, and new ways to motivate them is super handy in so many situations: get your snows with flamer into range, refresh those pesky exhausting weapons, or just make a made dash for objectives in the last turn.

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I’ll admit I was anti Vader initially but I’d encourage you to bear with him. The usual combo of reflexes, saber throw plus something makes him pretty flexible and resilient in a way that isn’t so obvious immediately. The rest really is timing and placement.., Luke is more forgiving in this respect and far more flexible but what I’ve learnt across a bunch of games now is that Vader’s value is directly tied to objectives. Consider for example. 

 

Vader in long March breakthrough... not super useful... he is basically a kill platform and that’s it 

contrast with 

Vader in corner deployment, key positions as blue player - this time Vader has to walk about an inch to be a scoring unit and my enemy is forced to come to me because I picked terrain objectives just outside my own deployment zone. Vader’s use just went waaay up. 

If it’s just you and a friend playing then sure, do what you need to do keep it fun, maybe even just give up on Vader for a while and use veers. Alternatively try and engage more with the bat reps being produced and see how others are doing it and what’s working for them, or get down to a shop and play some other players, easily the best way to get some ideas. When someone new thrashes you with Vader you’ll see for yourself how good he can be. 

Definatley a steep learning curve unit though, I’m glad I persisted. 

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You also have to be careful about comparing a unit directly to its unit's mirror (in this case Vader and Luke) without looking at how they interact with the rest of the factions units.

Vader definitely exemplifies the imperial playstyle; slow, durable, hard hitting.  While Luke is faster, but more fragile. 

Edited by Orkimedes

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Some of you are missing my point, I think. It's not that Vader can't do work, its that, over the course of tournaments and many games, he cannot, consistently, recoup his costs, in comparison to other units in the faction. We see this born out already, as most competitive Imperial list just take Veers. Is not that Vader is useless, it's that you are probably better off taking other units instead, which will help you more. I think Vader would be better costed at 180, which is my point.

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The Master of Evil card cost me a game today.  Luke fumbled 3 attack rounds and died, though the airspeeder finished Vader off but it was too late- my entire flank was running away from the objectives.

Master of Evil suppresses every trooper in the game before you even look at other units firing.  You can try to evade it but if there is a concentration of objectives Vader will get there and cause havoc: it's not a case of how fast he moves, it's a case of where he stands.  If he gets to an objective and uses Master of Evil, Force Reflexes and dodges not much is moving him for a turn.  The last two alone make him a hard nut to crack.

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2 hours ago, SirCormac said:

2. Health (Vader-8, Luke -6)

This may seem like a pure victory for Vader, and again, I am sure the devs are making you pay for the extra health. However, because Vader never gets suppressed, and thus never gets that bonus cover, he NEEDS the extra health to make up the distance with Luke. As weird as it sounds, I feel this one is a push.

Are you playing with enough terrain (25% of the board)? Because even with Luke you won't be moving either characters out in the open. So even Vader will get cover somewhere. 

If multiple attacks are involved Vader is still coming at you with a lot more HP then Luke is even with cover. To top it off Luke is at risk of losing an action after multiple attacks.

2 hours ago, SirCormac said:

3. Weapon (Vader - Melee 6 Reds Impact 3, Pierce 3, no surge, no ranged, Luke - Melee 6 blacks Impact 2, Pierce 2, surge to crit, Ranged 2 reds Range 1-2, Pierce 2)

At first glance, it may seem that Vader wins here with Red dice, again, something I think the Vader player is paying for, but it's not as good as it first seems. First, black dice with surge to crit are almost as good as red dice without surge. Yes, the Red dice are strictly better, but Vader has no native Ranged attack, but Luke does. I feel that Luke goes down to Black but gains a native Ranged attack, which is a fair trade to make. The Impact is a wash because with Luke surging to Crit, it's basically the same. The one true advantage Vader has here is Pierce 3 rather than two. For that extra pierce, I'd be willing to pay maybe 10 points (but then you need to pay 10 more points to get a ranged attack). I would almost call this a push, but let's say Vader needs to pay 10 just to be safe.

6 Red dice average damage is 4.5, 

6 Black dice average damage is 3.75 (including Luke's Surge)

Vader's average damage to vehicles = 3.75 (Impact + Crits) [melee]

Luke's Average to Vehicles = 3.5 (Impact + Crits + Surges) [melee]

Also Charge does not work for the native Range Attack, so essentially you've paid for an ability you can only use in one situation. Whereas Vader's Relentless works for both range and melee.

Additionally if you do pay for Sabre throw on Vader, it definitely trumps Luke's ranged attack and oddly for Luke, its inefficient for him to get Sabre Throw due to not having relentless and only gaining impact 2.

3 hours ago, SirCormac said:

4. Abilities

Both have Deflect and Immune: Pierce, so that's a wash. What about the other two? Vader has Master of the Force 1 and Relentless, while Luke has Charge and Jump 1. Jump 1 is amazing, and combined with Charge and 2 movement speed, is really synergistic with Luke allowing him to pinball around the battlefield with ease. Master of the Force 1 seems awesome at first, as it freely refreshes your force cards, but if Luke is in the thick of things, he can easily refresh his cards with a recover action, and then Jump into melee and charge, essentially the same thing. The other problem is that Master of the Force suffers from NEEDING another upgrade to work, meaning it should be costed less than what Luke gets, as Luke can be 'naked' and still benefit from his abilities, while Vader cannot. Relentless is, on paper, clearly better than Charge, but considering Vader's movement (next area for discussion) I think this is a wash again.

Master of The Force 1 opens so much more for Vader than it does for Luke. The argument of Luke refreshing then jumping in is the same thing is incorrect. Lets assume both Vader and Luke have Force Reflexes

Luke Activates -> Recovers -> Force Reflexes -> Spd 2 -> Charge

Vader Activates -> MOTF 1 -> Force Reflexes -> Spd 1 -> Spd 1 (Spd 1 + Spd 1 = Spd 3) -> Relentless

We can see here that Vader has a better net result. Additionally, Vader would be getting a free dodge, all the time, with no opportunity cost. Whereas Luke needs to decided on either spd 2 twice or Recover.

The argument of naked Luke vs naked Vader is better is a fallacy. All FFG games are about the upgrades for specific units. They are the things can multiply the value of the base unit thrice fold. So when you have an ability that makes upgrades more accessible it's going to have to come with a cost.

3 hours ago, SirCormac said:

5. Movement

Here we go, the Achilles' heel of Vader. Movement speed 1. This singlehandedly boot-straps Vader. I'm guessing the Devs were scared of Relentless being on a platform that could move 2 each move, and then hit with 6 reds, so they gave him move 1. This clearly is inferior to Luke, without question, and should give Vader a point reduction, minimally. I think 10-20 is fair, to say the least.

Two Spd 1 movements is the same as a Spd 3 move. He also gets a free attack action and essentially a free force action too with MOTF.

 

1 hour ago, SirCormac said:

Some of you are missing my point, I think. It's not that Vader can't do work, its that, over the course of tournaments and many games, he cannot, consistently, recoup his costs, in comparison to other units in the faction. We see this born out already, as most competitive Imperial list just take Veers. Is not that Vader is useless, it's that you are probably better off taking other units instead, which will help you more. I think Vader would be better costed at 180, which is my point.

i think you missed the victory conditions in the game. To win a game you need to score objectives, which is more about how you capitalise your advantages and manage your weaknesses. It's not entirely about recouping point costs like some other FFG games. You could even apply that logic to Luke, you'd need to wipe 3-4 trooper units with Luke alone to recoup his cost which doesnt happen in 6 turns most of the time. 

You can apply that also to the ATST and T47, in a game they won't be claiming 195 points by themselves.

I do agree with you that it feels like Vader is too heavily costed, i think this is more because it is early days and players need to work out how to use him properly (such as using Master of Evil instead of Implacable in a 1 on 1 with Luke Skywalker, and taking dodge instead of aim if you are using Implacable or have first strike). And if you are playing round 1 of Operation Gathering Forces, have Vader seems like a massive handicap list building wise!

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4 hours ago, SirCormac said:

Some of you are missing my point, I think. It's not that Vader can't do work, its that, over the course of tournaments and many games, he cannot, consistently, recoup his costs, in comparison to other units in the faction. We see this born out already, as most competitive Imperial list just take Veers. Is not that Vader is useless, it's that you are probably better off taking other units instead, which will help you more. I think Vader would be better costed at 180, which is my point.

I'd be very careful pointing at tournament results for a game which is still essentially a newborn... Literally no significant comps have occurred anywhere and I gravely doubt the data you're referring to will be usable for at least a year... Even then the trends people point towards tend to be Americancentric. 

It would be just as easy for me to point at the tournament I went to last weekend and say vader is OP because the top 2 players both had him... only one person had veers and he was down the bottom. 

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6 hours ago, Katarn said:

Master of Evil suppresses every trooper in the game before you even look at other units firing. 

I've rarely managed to hit more than 1 unit with master of evil surpression because nothing wants to be near Vader in the first place. I don't think it would have been too overpowered to let MoE pop after Vader's activation, not at the start. 

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1 hour ago, Rauhughes said:

I've rarely managed to hit more than 1 unit with master of evil surpression because nothing wants to be near Vader in the first place. I don't think it would have been too overpowered to let MoE pop after Vader's activation, not at the start. 

There you go! If nothing want's to be near Vader, you still win. If something is, you win more ;)

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I was nervous until I actually got game time in. I’ve always managed to get my value out of Vader. He may not be the fastest, and that may eat into his actions, but saber throw with pierce 3 is reliably good enough. Plus, with reflexes stapled to him he receives a free dodge token every turn.

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There is a lot of talk for what is only two factors that decide Vader's effectiveness: Terrain and Upgrades.

Playing the starter game with naked Vader? He stinks! 200 points? Useless! Who would run this heap?! He gets halfway across the exclusively barricaded board and explodes! Broken!

Staple on Force Reflexes and Saber Throw on a board with the proper amount of terrain? He's killing meeeee! He can't get Focus fired because he moves between cover and throws his Saber and when I finally do get an angle to shoot him he Deflects damage back and takes none! Broken!

Vader is fine.

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I'm not sure if he's overcosted, but he's definitely got some problems with his mechanics.  Not gaining cover from suppression is definitely the big one and he'd definitely be more worth it if he was Courage 4 instead of -.

His other big problem is just his Command cards.  The self damage on Implacable mixed with the limit to one action is too many drawbacks on an admittedly pretty powerful ability.  I think removing the self damage would be an important change.  New ways to motivate them generally isn't a terrific value either, even though its cool and thematic.  I'm not sure what I'd do differently here, but I generally find myself happier when I just use it as a more limited Assault.  Master of Evil is awkward and mostly turns into a dodge token rather than doing what its supposed to do.  I actually think this would be fine if he got Suppression cover, as the bulk of its issue is just that Vader isn't survivable enough to wade into the middle of the enemy army and play a 3 PIP card in most instances.

It's worth stressing he's NOT terrible.  I'm not sure he's even what I would call overcosted.  He just isn't durable enough to play aggressively enough to not have to cower in the back most of the game hiding from Luke.  In that position, Veers just contributes substantially more for SUBSTANTIALLY less (more than 2 units of DLTs/Flamethrowers).  There's just really no reason to play him over Veers if he can't be played aggressively.

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The only time I've gotten Master of Evil to work was when Vader walked up behind a building the turn before and hit three units on the other side, safely out of line of sight.

That was pretty amazing though.

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Master of Evil is by far a game changer if you can get it to fire - an entire rebel flank can collapse if used correctly. It’s as dangerous as son of Skywalker, but the opponent should be able to predict when it’s going to fire because of the set up of the armies.

I love Vader as it fits my style of play but I can appreciate it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Vader’s best use is an area denial piece, generally speaking, where he goes, the rebel army melts away.

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I'm sure FFG just wants to make sure it actually takes off before investing in app development.  I'd certainly prefer to see an app for it though.  Maybe Vader could just get a command card upgrade slot.

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22 hours ago, SirCormac said:

1. Courage (Vader - Infinite, Luke - 3)

This may seem like an easy win for Vader, and my guess is the Devs thought this infinite courage was worth the price jump to Vader, but I have two problems with this. 1. 3 courage is really high, and it's rare to even see Luke lose 1 action, let alone panic. BUT, there is a HUGE upside to suppression tokens: Cover. If Luke gets caught in the open (he should have a dodge), after the first attack (where he spends his dodge), he now gets 1 level of cover, something Vader never gets. In other words, Infinite courage is not a pure plus, it is a double-edged sword. I feel this is a push.

2. Health (Vader-8, Luke -6)

This may seem like a pure victory for Vader, and again, I am sure the devs are making you pay for the extra health. However, because Vader never gets suppressed, and thus never gets that bonus cover, he NEEDS the extra health to make up the distance with Luke. As weird as it sounds, I feel this one is a push.

3. Weapon (Vader - Melee 6 Reds Impact 3, Pierce 3, no surge, no ranged, Luke - Melee 6 blacks Impact 2, Pierce 2, surge to crit, Ranged 2 reds Range 1-2, Pierce 2)

At first glance, it may seem that Vader wins here with Red dice, again, something I think the Vader player is paying for, but it's not as good as it first seems. First, black dice with surge to crit are almost as good as red dice without surge. Yes, the Red dice are strictly better, but Vader has no native Ranged attack, but Luke does. I feel that Luke goes down to Black but gains a native Ranged attack, which is a fair trade to make. The Impact is a wash because with Luke surging to Crit, it's basically the same. The one true advantage Vader has here is Pierce 3 rather than two. For that extra pierce, I'd be willing to pay maybe 10 points (but then you need to pay 10 more points to get a ranged attack). I would almost call this a push, but let's say Vader needs to pay 10 just to be safe.

4. Abilities

Both have Deflect and Immune: Pierce, so that's a wash. What about the other two? Vader has Master of the Force 1 and Relentless, while Luke has Charge and Jump 1. Jump 1 is amazing, and combined with Charge and 2 movement speed, is really synergistic with Luke allowing him to pinball around the battlefield with ease. Master of the Force 1 seems awesome at first, as it freely refreshes your force cards, but if Luke is in the thick of things, he can easily refresh his cards with a recover action, and then Jump into melee and charge, essentially the same thing. The other problem is that Master of the Force suffers from NEEDING another upgrade to work, meaning it should be costed less than what Luke gets, as Luke can be 'naked' and still benefit from his abilities, while Vader cannot. Relentless is, on paper, clearly better than Charge, but considering Vader's movement (next area for discussion) I think this is a wash again.

5. Movement

Here we go, the Achilles' heel of Vader. Movement speed 1. This singlehandedly boot-straps Vader. I'm guessing the Devs were scared of Relentless being on a platform that could move 2 each move, and then hit with 6 reds, so they gave him move 1. This clearly is inferior to Luke, without question, and should give Vader a point reduction, minimally. I think 10-20 is fair, to say the least.

Amazing. Every word of what you just said? Was wrong.

Okay, I jest a bit just to use the quote. But seriously, I think you're not appreciating some factors in your considerations:

1. Your opponent isn't trying hard enough to suppress Luke, then. Lob a mortar at him and follow up with a DLT and you're probably there. It's worth doing if suppressing him is going to separate him from the bulk of his troopers. Vader literally cannot lose actions to suppression, because he doesn't even take the token. He is truly relentless. Master of Evil the turn you expect your opponent to set up for his Son of Skywalker and you can shut that set-up down quick, too.

2. Play with some tables with proper amounts of terrain -- you should be able to pick up cover just fine from the stuff around you. Relying on suppression for cover is a fool's errand. Once you do that, you've got 33% more health to sustain concentrated fire. Concentrated fire that, unlike the concentrated fire directed at Luke, can't even suppress you. Most won't even try, meaning you get to your destination at full health.

3. The Impact is NOT "basically the same" -- Luke surges to crit, which means he gets a crit against vehicles on 25% of each die's faces. Rolling six dice, that's 1.5 crits expected per attack. Vader has Impact 3, and dice so good you can often get all three hits if it's a Saber Thrown attack, and it's rare NOT to get all three if it's melee. He will slice and dice at least 3 crits against Armored targets all day long. That's literally twice as good.

4. I've never seen a player take Ready actions with Luke and feel *good* about it. Vader doesn't have to to maintain a low level of Force expenditure each turn. This is important, especially if you're comparing the two straight up -- you should really be comparing Luke to Vader+Throw so they both have a ranged attack. It's a bigger points differential, but when combined with things like Master of the Force and Relentless, you'll see he pretty handily wins categories he was losing without it, so it's well worth the points.

5. He gets to Saber Throw on Relentless. His per-turn threat range is like 2 inches lower than Luke's. It's honestly pretty trivial. He just gets where he's going more slowly, so he's a "thrust up the middle with his troops" kind of guy rather than a flanking back-line harasser the way Luke is. Considering there's only one objective that's NOT scored at the end of the game, this isn't really the problem people make it out to be. Vader can make it into scoring position even on Long March/Breakthrough, because he just doesn't slow down for anything and you can't stop him. He draws a straight line across the battlefield, and either brutally murders or terrifies everything that approaches him while he does it.

 

Finally, I'll add a 6th. Master of Evil wins games. Its threat forces Luke to stay near his troops and face you head-on, which means he's not murdering your back lines and objective-holders. OR, if you can pour firepower into him and kill him, you get the luxury of just blowing as much as half an army off their objectives at your leisure with one Command Card. It's truly frightening. Heck, with Master of Evil and focused split fire from your own units, you can probably panic 2 or 3 units for a turn even WITH Luke's 3-courage panic bubble in operation.

Meanwhile, it doesn't matter how much firepower they pour into Stormtroopers near Vader. His infinite courage instills perfect obedience into them. They won't break from suppressive fire, and their armor is shrugging off most of the damage you send their way, too, especially if they can dig in a bit. Vader really turns Stormtroopers into a very hard rock.

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8 minutes ago, kaffis said:

Amazing. Every word of what you just said? Was wrong.

Okay, I jest a bit just to use the quote. But seriously, I think you're not appreciating some factors in your considerations:

1. Your opponent isn't trying hard enough to suppress Luke, then. Lob a mortar at him and follow up with a DLT and you're probably there. It's worth doing if suppressing him is going to separate him from the bulk of his troopers. Vader literally cannot lose actions to suppression, because he doesn't even take the token. He is truly relentless. Master of Evil the turn you expect your opponent to set up for his Son of Skywalker and you can shut that set-up down quick, too.\

This is not accurate, On average, you need 4.5 suppression to reliably keep Luke from having an action.  If you only get 3, on average, he shrugs 1 and still has a full turn and even you land 4, clearing 2 out of 4 isn't super unlikely (coin flip).  5 does it very reliably, but that's a lot of attention to suppress one model.  I should also mention the mortar is minimum range 4, how important is it to try and suppress Luke at that distance?  and the likely damage output of this and a DLT assuming Luke has not cover or dodge tokens is 1 and even then the AT-ST only has about a 75% chance of working for 2 hits.  Not to put even more dampeners, but even to get these 3 tokens, you're spending 2 activations, either of which Luke can interrupt and take his turn.  Then the second activation doesn't suppress him next turn because he auto clears 1 at the end of the turn.  I'm not saying Luke is unsupressable, but it should be never be as easy as you're making it sound.

2. Play with some tables with proper amounts of terrain -- you should be able to pick up cover just fine from the stuff around you. Relying on suppression for cover is a fool's errand. Once you do that, you've got 33% more health to sustain concentrated fire. Concentrated fire that, unlike the concentrated fire directed at Luke, can't even suppress you. Most won't even try, meaning you get to your destination at full health.

To be fair, if Luke has a dodge token, most people won't try for him either and he has 3 ways to get one without even activating (2 command cards and Leia)

3. The Impact is NOT "basically the same" -- Luke surges to crit, which means he gets a crit against vehicles on 25% of each die's faces. Rolling six dice, that's 1.5 crits expected per attack. Vader has Impact 3, and dice so good you can often get all three hits if it's a Saber Thrown attack, and it's rare NOT to get all three if it's melee. He will slice and dice at least 3 crits against Armored targets all day long. That's literally twice as good.

Luke has Impact 2 and should naturally score 1.5 crits for 3.5 average crits v Armor targets.  Vader only scores .75 nat crits which only puts him .25 above Luke.  I guess Vader has Pierce 3, but even against Pierce 2 the vehicle basically has to Yahtzee it's defense rolls and since everything with Armor is at best rolling white dice with surges makes it about 1 in 9 chance that you'll see a difference between Pierce 2 and 3.  In short, they're about the same against Armor.  Vader does Luke against troopers and specifically things like Stormtroopers that have better odds of passing all or most saves.

4. I've never seen a player take Ready actions with Luke and feel *good* about it. Vader doesn't have to to maintain a low level of Force expenditure each turn. This is important, especially if you're comparing the two straight up -- you should really be comparing Luke to Vader+Throw so they both have a ranged attack. It's a bigger points differential, but when combined with things like Master of the Force and Relentless, you'll see he pretty handily wins categories he was losing without it, so it's well worth the points.

Meh, Ready actions are trash and Force reflexes is good, but Luke does have more command cards that give him Dodge tokens and Leia, so Vader isn't miles ahead at least on key turns.

5. He gets to Saber Throw on Relentless. His per-turn threat range is like 2 inches lower than Luke's. It's honestly pretty trivial. He just gets where he's going more slowly, so he's a "thrust up the middle with his troops" kind of guy rather than a flanking back-line harasser the way Luke is. Considering there's only one objective that's NOT scored at the end of the game, this isn't really the problem people make it out to be. Vader can make it into scoring position even on Long March/Breakthrough, because he just doesn't slow down for anything and you can't stop him. He draws a straight line across the battlefield, and either brutally murders or terrifies everything that approaches him while he does it.

 

Finally, I'll add a 6th. Master of Evil wins games. Its threat forces Luke to stay near his troops and face you head-on, which means he's not murdering your back lines and objective-holders. OR, if you can pour firepower into him and kill him, you get the luxury of just blowing as much as half an army off their objectives at your leisure with one Command Card. It's truly frightening. Heck, with Master of Evil and focused split fire from your own units, you can probably panic 2 or 3 units for a turn even WITH Luke's 3-courage panic bubble in operation.

You have a much higher opinion on this card than I do.  I've had maybe 2 games where my opponent got a really good setup and my opponent's won neither of them.  I've also seen exactly 1 game where Luke got suppressed by this card.  and even then he was still close enough to charge.  Also, there is no way you are panicking units in Luke's bubble.  Seriously, you need an average of 9 suppression to panic things near Luke.  Leia or Veers is a better option where you only need an average of 6, but both of those have Inspire, so if they hold their activation until after you master of Evil, they can dramatically reduce or eliminate the likelihood of Panic.  I've done this twice with Leia very easily.  It also has the problem that Return of the Jedi casually clearing 1 means if both Vader and Luke played their 3's on the same turn, Luke gets to auto clear 1 making it that much less likely you'll suppress him. 

Meanwhile, it doesn't matter how much firepower they pour into Stormtroopers near Vader. His infinite courage instills perfect obedience into them. They won't break from suppressive fire, and their armor is shrugging off most of the damage you send their way, too, especially if they can dig in a bit. Vader really turns Stormtroopers into a very hard rock.

 

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To me it feels like they double dipped when determining cost for Vader. I mean you pay 40 more points than Luke and then you pay additional for every good thing he does. 

 Master of the Force is a great ability but you have to pay at least 10 more points or it's worthless, usually 15.

Relentless is the exact same as charge unless you pay 10 more points. 

For all practical purposes Vader is a 235 point character.

The OP has already pointed out much of this but I have few things to add:

His attack is better but you pay for it in speed. 

Infinite courage is good but you lose out on suppression cover.

Indomitable in theory is more versatile than Son of Skywalker but you pay for it in health and uncertainty of the game state when he gets to activate again. 

New Ways to Motivate them is more versatile than other command cards that improve action economy of troops but you pay for it in trooper health. Effectively increasing the cost of using Vader to his fullness other 22 points minimum. (This makes 

It seems like with Vader everything is a trade off. I wouldn't mind if you weren't already paying so much just to bring him to the table.

 

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