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So, the Zion's Finest slack channel has had a fair amount of discouragement and gloom about the prominence of Spectre Cell victories at recent regionals. It's raising the question: should something be done? I wanted to post some longer-form thoughts on it:

1) It seems likely that Spectre Cell is an "S-Tier" list. That is, its fundamental capacities are pitched higher than at least several "A-Tier" lists.
   1a)  Is this true?
    1a.i   On the one hand, Spectre Cell has very strong statlines. People have advanced the theory that this is to make up for the lack of keyword synergy (the best synergies are Force User, which doesn't have a huge powerhouse CC suite, and Smuggler, which has a balanced offensive/defensive/utility suite, though one smuggler figure is Hera). There is only one hunter (the definitive trait keyword of the previous meta), and no spies or troopers.
   1a.ii   Spectre Cell has access to loads of pierce attacks, which allow it to overpierce Zillo (one of the cornerstones of Imperial defenses) and often more or less ignore defending black-die results.
   1aiii.  The Spectre-Cell off-action attack allows multiple figures to activate at once, mitigating the lack of an eQuay or eRanger style multi-hit, and beginning to approach the value of a Vader Parting-Blow combo, although the SC figures can't approach his top-result of 10p3 without significant command card help.
   1aiv.  New command card tricks. The SC upgrade also allows strong work out of the Strength in Numbers card, and the Jedi melee attacks are sufficient to warrant using pummel as an offensive technique, especially when the figures have good health pools or defensive tricks (OtL access) to survive a counterstrike. Ezra's Brash resonates well with Heart of Freedom, Force Rush, and Fleet Footed to allow for significant movement before a pummel.
 
On the other hand, Spectre Cell has consistent, known weaknesses:
  1b.i.   It has trouble with range: a doubt/tough luck re-roll can often make a Zeb, Hera, or Sabine shot miss, and the CC deck clutters up pretty quickly.
  1b.ii.  The Spectres gain significant values from staying close together, which makes them susceptible to anti-box tactics such as Drokatta shots, Vader combos, or Grenadier. This also hampers their ability to pressure multiple objectives unless they're willing to forego key tools like Hera's buff, Kanan's re-roll, or setting Ezra's die.
   1b.iii.  The Spectre draw speed is steady and doesn't have a lot of tools for speeding up: spending Hera actions on Planning or Black Market Prices hurts the efficiency of the list's box approach. SC also has no easy means of attacking your own cards, unlike Thrawn, strain effects, or spies. You're likely to remain in control of your own bag of tricks against a SC list.
   1b.iv.  SC has trouble with activation economy: we now have a mini-Queen list that Vader can readily equal or out-activate. Spectre Cell can't readily rely on having last activation, making it easy for Han Solo or Darth Vader to capitalize on an End of Round attack. The best soft-pass figure in the list is Hera, who still wants to see a lot of the board develop before she takes her position; Chopper, Ezra, Kanan, Sabine, and Zeb all have reasons for wanting to go late in the first round, and they obviously can't all do it. Compare to Vader at 7-acts or Han/Rangers, who get significantly better value out of last activation, and have an easy time securing it for multiple rounds against SC.
   1b.v.  The SC tap is in-round, in-activation. Strength in Numbers dramatically raises the scale of this threat, but by and large, Han and Vader's EoR attacks, IG's Blaze of Glory, or a solid eRanger CtV (I recently got hit hard by a Wildfire CtV with impressive results) offer stronger timing pressure through the first two rounds, and if SC gets sufficiently bloodied on their approach, their spike is massively blunted. In addition, the in-round SC tap can be blunted by tools such as Set for Stun, positioning, or clearing the potential next-act SC-attacker. It's a strong tool, but also a known quantity. Stunning Zeb or Kanan is particularly powerful, as they cannot be cleared by Motivation (having equal figure cost).
  1b.vi.  SC damage has a high low-end, but a low high-end. There are several tools that help them spike a bit, but they can't spike as high as Onar or Vader. Han with focus can consistently match their damage output, and represents a 10-point "bank" against SC. Their build renders some spiking tools redundant: Element of Surprise does a lot more for Han Solo than it does for Ezra, because Ezra's damage is built around his pierce. Han may get to 9 or 10 easily on a focused Element shot; Ezra is probably still at 7.

At the end of all that, I'm happy to call SC an S-Tier list ... but let's be clear that it's strength lies in being strong at everything, without becoming VERY STRONG at things without work: two in-activation Vader attacks cap around 10p3 each (12p3 with Deathblow on one); add Parting Blow, Force Surge, Dark Energy, and a Force Choke to that activation, and you can conceivably deal something like 22p6 damage, 5 unmitigated damage, and 2 strain. Spectre Cell can't do that, even with SiN and a SC tap.

2) Is the list "too powerful?"
  We've got to define the term "too" to answer this question. The list is clearly "powerful."
  I'd offer that "too" powerful would mean that it can't be defeated by other meta lists, played at a similarly competitive level. It may be "more" powerful than other meta lists. It may even relegate them to A-tier rather than S-tier. But I'm not sure that makes it "too" powerful.
  2a.  Spectre is winning a lot of Regional events -- something like 13 of them so far. Some of these are more complicated stories when you interrogate them (e.g., it's not surprising that a SC list won a tourney with 6/8 players running SC, or the Omaha final was decided 44-39 by a Sabine high-roll vs a Han blank white die).
  2b.  Spectre Cell players are experiencing both wins and losses at Regional events. This isn't just people who casually pick the list up: people who have played it since Store Champs are losing games, and they're losing games to everything from Scum VP manipulation to Han Rangers to Scum Hunters to 6- and 7-act Vader builds. It isn't uncommon for SC players to have a 3-1 or 2-2 record going into the cut.  Luck can play a factor: a Sabine or Ezra dodge is huge ... but so is a Han dodge, or a Hondo dodge. In larger regionals with broader metas, such as Kansas and Utah, Spectre Cell hasn't been represented in the finals, despite being run by players who have previously won tournaments in at least one of those events. Essentially, you can beat Spectre Cell if you have a plan to beat Spectre Cell ... which seems true of every meta list.
  2c.  Spectre Cell has a complicated relationship with objectives and points. The can control an area of a map by bunching at it, and punish anything but a really powerful effort to dislodge them. But they're weaker against high-activation counts on maps like Rogue AI or Mos Eisley Concealed Treasures. Lothal will have an impact on their range, forcing them to either split or advance across a map, allowing for more on-approach risk. A scum VP list can race them to 40 or to time. A defensive box can work towards selective exchanges. A Vader/Thrawn/spy list can hunt for a few key cards and hold back Vader for a decisive moment (and SC has trouble playing around Dying Lunge). SC doesn't currently have an "auto-win" map; they're strong on all, but not broken anywhere like Ugnaughts on Raining Freight.

Are they "too powerful?"  In chess, computers win about 5% more often with the white pieces than the black pieces. It's an advantage, but not an insuperable one, and players work a variety of strategies to equalize that advantage. Spectre Cell feels the same way: you know what it is and what it's strengths are coming in, so it's a part of what we're playing against.

3) Should the list be nerfed?

3a:  What has its impact been?  The only unit that it really seems to have left behind is the eJet troopers. I think I've seen lists beating SC with every other serious unit from last year's meta (including eQuays, though you have to be even more careful with them now). Losing one unit's efficiency as we advance a whole box and add a new point to the previous triangle of prospective matchups (possibly two, depending on how uniquely we think Scum VP plays vs Scum hunters) seems like an appropriate development of the game.  We still see Han, eRangers, Drok, RCP, R2, smugglers, and the occasional Chewie and Jyn (and MHD in Utah). We still see IG, Jabba, Greedo, Onar, eQuays, and eJawas, though plenty of people are happily adding Hondo as well. We still see Vader, Palp, eRiots, rOfficers, and the occasional AT-DP, with plenty of use for the new units when Empire is run.

3b:  Nerfing is a pretty serious step, and tough to reverse. SC can already be beaten by a Merc list running only cards and deployments from Jabba's Realm and the Droid Wave, two boxes back. Empire lists are finding ways to replace 2xeJets with Thrawn, Death Troopers, and powerful new upgrades. Rebels can beat SC with Han/Rangers, a JR list with HOTE Han fix. Is SC slightly stronger than those lists? Sure, though they each have ways in which they're stronger than SC. But nerfing SC now to be at or below the previous meta seems unnecessary, especially if the game is going to advance: a nerf now may mean SC isn't equipped to deal with whatever comes next.

4) The "Can be beaten" vs "Too powerful" question

So, "Can be beaten" isn't a full argument that something isn't "too powerful." If it takes perfect performance and more than a usual share of luck to win, the case is probably made for "too powerful."

4a.  People say you have to play perfectly AGAINST SC, but they don't talk as much about the need for perfect play AS Spectre Cell. The list is tanky, sure. But leaving Kanan or Zeb where they can be shot is a good way to lose a figure to focus fire before it can activate again. SC has to make an approach that adds enough pressure for round two without giving away damage because of the melee-distance attacks from Kanan/Ezra/Zeb or Grenade-distance-relevance for Sabine. Keeping four figures all safe is hard to the point of impossible. Splitting them up often allows opponents to capitalize on a weak point in the position. So I don't think it takes "perfect" performance to beat Spectre Cell ... I DO think it takes "EQUAL" performance, and possibly "BETTER" performance. But that's a lot of competitive gaming: the situation naturally benefits one side or the other, so you need to maximize your capacities, minimize theirs, and capitalize on errors. The space may be tighter against Spectre Cell, but I don't think the equation is fundamentally different.

4b.  Does it take more than usual luck to beat it? SC has ways of mitigating bad luck: innate damage/block helps every roll ... though the early critique of the spoiled figures before the SC upgrade was that they weren't up to the power curve (without it), so perhaps they're on the front edge of the curve, rather than behind it. Ezra can get an offensive re-roll or a dangerous set die ... but that takes telegraphing and specific activation timing -- they can accelerate it once or twice per game with the right position and command cards, but that's similar to what other lists can already accomplish with Blaze, CtV, SoS, New Orders, or a Palp or Jabba ordered attack.

Figures can get a defensive re-roll by Kanan, but that requires staying in a bunched position that may not threaten enough of the board and is around one of your slowest moving, easiest to remove figures. And the high health pools are somewhat forgiving, but they are finite and we've spent two years in a meta full of tools for taking out large amounts of health quickly. Plus, each removed Spectre drops their capacities significantly, from activations to SC tap options to figures taking advantage of synergies.  A dodge feels especially strong on SC, but many lists have means of removing dice or dodges, and there are some old tools (Deadly Precision, Lock-On, Ko-Tun's token effect) that have been under-utilized against dodges and may be worth their costs now.

5) The "Is it bad for the game?" Question

5a.  The case has been made that SC is a forgiving, low-cost way for new players to enter. We've heard stories of skilled people who have played other competitive games picking up a buddy's SC list and getting a few wins in a tournament, despite being novices in IA nuance.

5b.  Others report that people get bored playing against SC over and over and leave to go play other games. That said, I've heard that about hunter lists, Vader lists, and Han lists in the past year, so I'm not sure that should count against SC specifically.

5c.  I think claims that SC is breaking the game need to be put in context: We've had a slow release schedule and rough communication and OP support. If those other factors were there, I don't think SC would be named as the problem child for IA as often; people wouldn't mind it having its moment on the top of the heap if we felt like more content that would help us redraw the lines of power and influence were coming up soon.

 

 

Concluding Thoughts?

I think SC's issues are similar to issues in the past. They aren't as dominant or as bad for OP as 4x4 or Ugnaughts seem to have been; they seem to be a standard the way Hunters have been for several years, and I think the player community should appreciate that at least there's a new bar, even if it's a more challenging one. SC is having a day in the sun the way Unshakeable Vader did last year, even if it seems longer and brighter. Some of the SC anxiety feels like transferred concern about other issues with the game's development (release schedule). At the end of the day, I don't mind that it's in the game.

And I might bring it to Worlds if people keep asking me to be their practice partner on Vassal to test their lists against it ...

 

 

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First of all, great write up and thanks for starting the conversation.  I agree with most of your points but I'd challenge this one:

I disagree that beating SC simply requires equal performance.  SC has the tools to survive first turn misplacement in a way that other lists simply don't.  At the Atlanta regional saturday, my three loses to SC started out like this:

  • Game 1: First turn I kill Zeb, get 7 damage on kanan using Han w/ weapon, Leia, and EOR Han shot.  Lose after Leia and MHD die at the top of round 2 to SiN and Ezra OTL's Drok's oneshot
  • Game 2: Ezra brashes in the start of round 2, and dies after dealing 4 to Leia (who promptly healed).  Lose on time when Han can't push 5 through on Zeb with his EOR shot for the win
  • Game 3: Push 7 damage onto Sabine round 1 after she is mis-positioned.  Lose after a key Sabine dodge to stay alive and Drok being 1 short of a kill on Ezra

Against any other list, these kinds of openings would be back breaking, but SC is able to weather them better than any other list.

The other thing you didn't mention is SC's affect on list building.  Right now, if I want to bring a list that has the highest chance of winning, that's SC.  As soon as I choose that archetype, my options are veeerrrry limited for list building.  I have to decide a 1 point upgrade card, and a few CC options.  Now compare to Han/Rangers, IG pirates, Scum Points, or Vader who have multiple build options.  Even Han/Rangers, the most restrictive of the other archetypes due to the high points cost of Han+Rangers+RCP+, has three flavors.

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The biggest problem I have with SC is how much it has warped the meta around it and reduced which options are viable. Queen tier figures and hunters are the only ones that get to play in the SC meta, if a figure doesn't fall into those categories or support role, they've been pushed out. The best example are the jet troopers and riot troopers, they were two solid foundations for imperial lists that could be customized into several variants depending on what unique figure or figures you wanted to include with them. Now you only ever see VPT with Death Troopers relegated to a support figure. 

I would like to see the SC upgrade changed by removing the stat buffs but leaving the part that makes it fun which is the bonus attack and movement, and maybe giving zeb a +1 damage and kanan a +1 block each respectively to make them playable outside of that list. 

Edited by Tvboy

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I agree that it is to powerful as is, the problem is individually the figures are fairly under whelming (Hera excluded). Sabine might be the main exception seeing a lot of play, but that is also partly due to Rebel Graffiti (which needs a nerf as well).

So you need to fix the group without making it under powered or unplayable. SC is a lot of fun to play, and leave it up the slack group to find the most OP combinations (Pummel/SiN/SC), but as of right now it is destroying the meta. I think a map rotation to Lothal will hurt SC, so that should happen before worlds which is a good thing.

But we can't depend on map rotations to even the playing field. 

Edited by FrogTrigger

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First, as others have said, great write-up. It feels fair, balanced and clearly explains your point of view

I think Rebel Graffiti needs mentioning. An early draw compensates a lot for the most obvious weakness of SC, namely that with so few figures they struggle to contest certain/multiple objectives, and scoreboard pressure can start to influence play. The condition for triggering (no adjacent hostiles at end of activation) is probably harder not to fulfil, than to meet. While there are many other CCs that benefit hugely from an early draw, few of them require so little skill to realise their full benefit. If Rebel Graffiti required an action to use it would not feel quite so cheap.

The forgiving nature of Rebel Graffiti is an exageration of how forgiving the list as a whole is to play. It is quite easy to over extend Jedi Luke, IG, Han, or even Vadar. eQuays and eRangers need  positioning to minimise taking return fire (trust me, I am a natural at failing miserably to do this). While Spectres can be over extended and left vulnerable, particularly Ezra, the mini-activation is a built in counter. One that is available every turn, and has no reliance on the luck of card draw or dice rolls.

All that said, I lean toward nerfing not being necessary. Forgiving certainly does not mean unbeatable, or even prove that SC are above the power curve (though they are certainly top end). Given the proliferation of box sets and character packs, having a top end list that is accessable to new players is no bad thing.

Edited by Alastairk

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All you see these days is SC. It doesn't even matter whether it's "too good" or not. It's perceived to be the best, so everyone who wants to play competitively uses it. To make things even worse, it's appealing even to those who don't care about winning but just liked the cartoon, so they play it too. As a result, everyone plays it, and everyone has to play against it, all the time, relentlessly, without relief. (I acknowledge the exaggerations here, but they are minor; SC formed more than half the entrants in three of the last four tournaments I've been to, and reports from elsewhere show that experience is not uncommon).

So with everyone playing SC, surely the dominant lists, the ones winning every tournament, must be the SC-counter lists, right? If you know you're going to play against SC three games out of five, just take something designed to beat SC and you'll win the tournament, won't you? So we won't see SC winning anything, surely? Well, that's not happening for some reason. 🙄 Wonder why.

It's a cookie-cutter netlist with almost no variation, that even a beginner can get good use out of and a moderate or skilled player becomes very, very difficult to beat. (Not impossible, but so what?). It's also easily obtainable, with little or no need to spend money on obscure expansions just to get one card. As a direct result, IA skirmish has not seen this little variety in the meta since 4x4. Recall that 4x4 was (rightly) nerfed hard, for the benefit of the game as a whole.

But I expect nothing to be done. FFG are clearly finished with this game, app excepted. The skirmish mode never took off like it could have for a variety of well-known reasons I won't rehash here, so the unrelenting inane boredom induced by playing against SC over and over again can't actually make the situation much worse. A bit worse, to be sure - I'm bored of it, so I've not been to a tournament in months and won't until something changes - but IA skirmish wasn't exactly taking the world by storm anyway, so FFG won't care. It's not even as though SC is stopping people from buying the newer releases because... there aren't any.

SC has killed IA skirmish tournaments as an interesting activity IMO. Careful (even well-reasoned) assessment of exactly how good it is, won't change the fundamental problem; which is that it's deadly, ditchwater dull for IA to be reduced to Spectre Cell - The Game (Mirror Match Edition).

Edited by Bitterman

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On 1/25/2019 at 1:58 PM, GottaBadFeelingAboutThis said:

2a.  Spectre is winning a lot of Regional events -- something like 13 of them so far. Some of these are more complicated stories when you interrogate them (e.g., it's not surprising that a SC list won a tourney with 6/8 players running SC, or the Omaha final was decided 44-39 by a Sabine high-roll vs a Han blank white die).

I generally accept this argument when you're talking about anecdotes, but we're talking about a pretty good sized set of data. 

The other thing is that "well we should try to just figure it out" ignores that really good players have in fact been trying to figure it out for quite some time.  The end result is I've seen several prominent players simply give up and just pick up SC.

Any sort of notion that SC may not necessarily be a major problem for the game is nothing short of delusional at this point.

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6 hours ago, miguelj said:

I generally accept this argument when you're talking about anecdotes, but we're talking about a pretty good sized set of data.

It really isn't that much data, though, right? Here's the data set from OP events that Kenny Brown from Zion's Finest has put together: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Nk10Q5n8Xjr2byvP-7mD5IGdDyVQVqk_BSGuTiz58fM/edit?usp=sharing

Spectre Cell won 19 out of the 30 Regionals on record, sure, so that's 63%, which is a sobering number. But 30 is a small sample size in the first place, and it gets more complex:

Three of those victories had fewer than 8 players, so "victory" means they were at the top of SoS at the end of Swiss rounds, and likely means they're simply 3-0 in that tournament.
One of the 8+ tourneys had 6 people playing Spectre Cell ... this is its own problem, but puts an asterisk next to the 63%.
At the largest US Regionals (Utah and Kansas), non-SC lists won ... and in fact no SC list was in the final. This shows that the list can struggle against a broad, diverse meta.

When questions of Player Skill arise:
DT won a Regionals using an 8-act scum list.
The list that knocked out DT (running a Scum list) in the Seattle Regional was a Rebel Box list, not SC.
In Ontario, Peter Burean knocked out Brian Vandergalien (a former nationals winner) running SC, and Peter was using a Rebel Han/Drok/Sabine list with Heavy Fire, of all things.
Spectre won a large tournament in Paris ... but was being piloted by Greg Monson, the runner-up from Worlds 2018.
... but John Scott, a SC pilot and winner of multiple regionals, including Omaha this year (with SC), didn't make the finals at the Kansas Regional with SC, which included many of the same players.

Some of the tourneys have really particularized storylines (you get extreme results from small sample sizes more often, no matter WHAT you study). E.g., the Omaha Regional had 3 Spectre Cell players out of 10 lists: 30% of the field. None of those lists finished the Swiss above 2-2, including John Scott. That is, the only SC list to advance to the Top-4 cut did so on Strength of Schedule. John then played on advantageous maps twice, drawing Mos Eisley A for the Top-4, and then (because of a misunderstanding) re-drawing Mos Eisley A in the final (which ended in a very close 43-39 after his Spectre Sabine dodged a critical shot), rather than proceding to the 6th map, which would have been Uscru Droids (vs Han Rangers: less of an advantageous matchup). Now, the list is good, and John is a good player (and for every bone-headed mistake he made out of fatigue in the final, I gave him one back ! XD), but that is hardly the story of an unstoppable juggernaut plowing through a field of paper doll opponents.

So SC is beatable even when being run by very skilled players, and the data set we have on it is very small ... AND it includes a ton of SC losses in the Swiss rounds; there are just enough of them right now that its success becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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As for

6 hours ago, miguelj said:

  The end result is I've seen several prominent players simply give up and just pick up SC. 

As for the above:

The only way to combat this is to have prominent players stop worrying that the sky is falling! An IG-88 or a Han/Rangers list can still get off 3-5 unanswered shots with hunter cards pretty easily: I think it's telling that you can run a list with only cards from Jabba's Realm (and either IG or Han's fix card) and toe up evenly with Spectre Cell on most maps. I think Han/Rangers even has an advantage on Mos Eisley B, Tarkin A, and at least Uscru A, with probably even at least on Tarkin B and Uscru B.

Any 7-act Han or Vader list is going to exert tons of round-one pressure on Spectre Cell because of their EoR possibility. SC can hit three times in an activation (Pummel or Zeb + SC), sure ... but they have to do it in round, and it takes up a big chunk of their firepower for the round. Careful ranged lists (Han/Rangers) or Combo lists that can bide their time (IG, Vader, JKL) can still hang against that triple-tap threat. Even a misplayed and exposed Vader has very good tools to stay up through those three attacks with Zillo and defensive card support, and the ability to combine him with the PB combo, Dying Lunge, or Emperor attacks offers pretty significant counterplay: if Vader lives through SC's big damage hit, he can probably remove their remaining hitter (or two), and if he swings 4 times in a game, he's going to account for a lot of the 62 health in a Spectre Cell list (50 of which are the attacking figures), and Thrawn is a great cleaner, while the Emperor is VERY good at applying precise damage amounts to surviving figures, with Tempt, Lightning, and cards like Dark Energy, Single Purpose, and Force Surge.

Need even more control over what Spectre does? Run spies, and/or consider dropping your offense just a bit for cards like Comms Disrupt or the new under-utilized tools in Signal Jammer and Hostile Negotiations. Spectre Cell has good statlines, but card support really helps them explode ... and some of those cards are in the 0-1 point range (Rebel Graffiti, Force Push, Strength in Numbers, Pummel) that a single spy and Comms Disrupt does game-changing work against.

All of which is to say, the player base has been self-fulfilling the self-fulfilling prophecy that SC is the only thing we can do. We can do all sorts of things!

And again: Spectre Cell wouldn't be such a specter on the meta for us if we had a better release schedule and knew the meta would continue to adapt and change. I really think that SC is the identified-patient in the system of issues around Imperial Assault Organized Play right now.

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I think SC is a bit too strong in the hands of a great player. And Rebel Graffiti is very much broken.

But I really enjoy playing SC, so I'm hoping that it gets tweaked just a bit to keep it top tier without it being so immune to being punished when it is played badly.

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3 hours ago, GottaBadFeelingAboutThis said:

And again: Spectre Cell wouldn't be such a specter on the meta for us if we had a better release schedule and knew the meta would continue to adapt and change.

I think all but the most naive of us have a pretty clear idea what the upcoming release schedule is. To whit: nothing, probably.

And none of what you've said invalidates the biggest complaint about SC: there's too much of it. "It's not unbeatable", yeah, we know, people have been saying that since it first appeared. So what? If I go to another tournament (full disclosure: I won't bother, until the SC problem is solved, but hypothetically speaking), and at that tournament more than half the participants are bringing SC... again; what use is it to me to know that some guy in some other country once beat some other guy who was playing SC in a different tournament? I'm still going to be going "oh good, an opponent with SC, this will be a new and refreshing experience, oh wait - no it won't... oh look, Rebel Graffiti, isn't this fun! No. No it isn't."

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A more positive way to look at this that I choose to adopt is that they will errata SC as soon as the sales of Tyrants of Lothal has decreased enough. In my book, the box from a skirmish perspective is a good purchase for one and only one reason and that is the Spectre cell card. Everything else is borderline and does not motivate a $30 box.

So I hope for a single line errata that takes away the extra attack. It is an easy enough fix and regardless of weather the IA product line is continued or not FFG can just do it to collect some bonus goodwill points. "Yes we lissen" sort of action. 

But I feel that the game will be awesome:er again after the release of the Dagoba Hunt expansion pack that brings Yoda, Zuccus, 4Lom, Boba fix and Scum Han, Lando and Chewie into the game. And perhaps Qui-gon:s ghost?

 

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I feel like the extra attack is one of the things that makes SC so interesting to play with/against, so I wouldn't get rid of it personally.  I mean yeah I agree it's not great for the game that this list is everywhere, but this isn't Ugnaughts we're talking about - in isolation, I find games against Spectre are actually really fun.

My favourite fix that I've seen so far is I think one that @cnemmick proposed: make the extra attack cost a strain on the figure doing it (usually they'll pitch a card, but if you see OtL go or something it's still useful) and change the "+1 block" to "at the start of each round gain 2 block power tokens to distribute".  It doesn't change things TOO too much, but it opens up a bit of a defensive hole that lets some units that aren't Vader/Hunters make meaningful attacks.

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If you really want to get depressed, do the attack calculations on Vader vs Spectre cell Ezra.

 

Spoiler: SC Ezra will do significantly more damage to Vader than Vader will do to SC Ezra per attack.  That seems like nonsense to me.

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On 1/31/2019 at 3:18 AM, Ram said:

But I feel that the game will be awesome:er again after the release of the Dagoba Hunt expansion pack that brings Yoda, Zuccus, 4Lom, Boba fix and Scum Han, Lando and Chewie into the game. And perhaps Qui-gon:s ghost?

I heard ewoks and endor with biker scouts, threepio god version, and a boba fett fix that allows him to fly out of the sarlacc pit of this game. 

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On 2/1/2019 at 1:52 PM, NeverBetTheFett said:

... and a boba fett fix that allows him to fly out of the sarlacc pit of this game. 

That almost reads like a doom-and-gloom commentary on the always precarious state of our little Skirmish game in this corner of the gaming galaxy.

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The Vader vs Ezra attack thing is so weird, but before rerolls or turning a die they both average just above 5 damage when attacking one another, which is crazy (Vader has 52% chance to hit Ezra for 5, Ezra has 51% to hit Vader for 5). Of course Vader's reroll and Ezra's getting to fix a die really change that math, but it is pretty insane that Ezra's attack is close to the same as the strongest figure in the game, and with Brash he has the movement to set up pummel- something much harder for Vader to pull off. 

I'll be honest guys- the meta for IA has grown stale for me, the only two/three "counters" (I put that in quotes because statistically Spectre has still been winning the most of the time by far) to Spectre are Hunters or Vader and maybe the Box with Han Drokkata. That's it. I enjoy solving a puzzle, and Spectre can be beat, but man everything has to go almost perfect for you to win, whereas Spectre can lose 1-2 figures early and still come back many times to win. Attacking Ezra is one of the most frustrating experiences in this game- with Kanan nearby he has access to every defensive bonus a figure can have in this game- He can play On the Lam, he can dodge, he can reroll, he has static blocks (2 of them!!) he can recover damage later, and at the start of round he gains movement points to either put him in safety or position him to attack.  With no product for the future to speak of, I'm not confident about where the meta is right now that the game can survive an extended absence of some sort of new Skirmish content release (the overall decreased turnout at tournaments this Regional season sadly supports this idea). This is still my favorite game of all time, but the design of the Spectre Cell card (and especially Rebel Graffiti you gotta be kidding me about that card) don't give me any sort of confidence about the design of this game for the future. We really need an FAQ or a new expansion, we need so many figures recosted (it's super depressing how much content in this game is unusable at the competitive level). Right now I don't want to even play on Vassal anymore because I'm pretty sure I'll end up usually facing either Spectre Cell, Vader/Palp/Thrawn, Han/Rangers, or some sort of IG list (very few folks even run the VP manipulation list that I adore). It just gets old after awhile.

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On 1/25/2019 at 1:58 PM, GottaBadFeelingAboutThis said:

I think SC's issues are similar to issues in the past. They aren't as dominant or as bad for OP as 4x4 or Ugnaughts seem to have been; they seem to be a standard the way Hunters have been for several years, and I think the player community should appreciate that at least there's a new bar, even if it's a more challenging one.

That does make me wonder of how well an unnerfed 4x4 would have done against Spectre Cell?

Edited by Dantk

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12 hours ago, Dantk said:

That does make me wonder of how well an unnerfed 4x4 would have done against Spectre Cell?

They’d be relying a lot on that stun. They’d have no defence most of the time (even with that block) against the big hitters.

It would also depend on how we’re scoring points, if we go back to the old ways (you need to kill groups), points denial could be a big thing for them. 

Still there’d be a lot of them compared to SC, but unfocused they average 1 damage against Ezra (3 focussed) and 2 damage against a black dice figure (4 is just of average when focussed). And once they manage to kill something they still have the rest of the list to kil.

I doubt they’d do it, but with a bit of dice luck I could see them winning. 

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Yeah, on an objective-heavy list I could see 4x4 doing alright - they have so many figures, so much speed, and can throw out stuns to slow down the cell.  On a map like Tarkin AI I'd say they'd win more than they'd lose.

In a straight fight, though, like on Uscru droids or the new Lothal maps, I just don't see them being able to get enough damage through to kill enough spectres.

 

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18 minutes ago, Ram said:

Speaking of nerfs/erratas, I for one do not feel that the Rebel sabs are quite as overposered as they were once considered to be... :D:D:D 

 

 

You’d have a pretty decent heavy weapon team with them and drok now :)

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