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Pa Weasley

A different perspective on stealth device - maybe it isn't entirely awful?

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Posted (edited)

Loosing a ship sucks.  I know, that's a heck of an obvious statement but stick with me here.  It's a unfortunate reality of X-Wing that we just have to accept.  Oh we can try to prolong the inevitable with clever maneuvering and what not but eventually the time will come to roll those fickle green dice and hope for the best.  Three main defensive modifications currently exist to keep our beloved plastic ships on the table for as long as possible; shield upgrade, hull upgrade, and stealth device.  The accepted wisdom is to rank them in that same order with stealth a very, very, very distant third.  So much so that when I ran this one of the guys in my group reacted as if it was an affront to all that's good and holy.  I had a similar view for some time as well until I decided to look at stealth device differently.

 

The gold standard of defensive mods is shield upgrade.  I don't think that's a very controversial statement.  So why should stealth device cost the same?  It adds an extra evade die but only until the first attack strikes true.  In the worst case, it's a single use upgrade.  Why oh why would I pay for the same amount for a upgrade that stops working after the first hit?  From certain point of view the same is true of shield upgrade.  SU allows a ship to take one additional hit/crit.  That can make or break a game but it's still a one time event.  Stealth grants the possibility to just flat out avoid that same hit or crit in the first place. If that extra die prevents just one hit from occurring it's essentially preformed the same function as shield upgrade and can potentially do so turn after turn.  But don't take my word for it, let's make use of numbers thanks to the great folks behind X-Wing Probability Calculator.

 

Take a fairly common scenario.  A ship with a three dice attack versus a 1 die defense, we'll even give both of them a focus token.  There's an 89%  chance  the defender takes at least one hit.  Behold the why behind a common complaint about the ARCs is how quickly they crumple.  I take that same ARC an install a stealth device, and the chance of taking a hit drops to 70%.  Still not amazing but it's an improvement and that improvement could carry on to the next time it has to defend.  Also, if we look at the chances of taking two or more hits, that ARC goes from a 58% chance to to 32%.  Even if the ARC is hit, possible damage is reduced.  Now I'll be the first to admit that the numbers I've tossed out there are hardly breath taking but I didn't want to make it appear like I was painting a overly rosy picture.  But I will point out that an X-Wing in the above scenario goes from a 30% chance of not taking any damage to a better than 50% chance with stealth device.  Not shabby.  I invite you to to play around with the numbers on the calculator for whatever combination you like to get a quick idea. 

 

So you have to ask yourself, if you're going to spend 4, 6, or 8 points to keep your wee friends around just a bit longer would you rather spend it on single, guaranteed extra HP or the chance at one or more complete neutralized hits/crits?  By no means am I saying stealth device is the new must take mod, but I don't think it's much maligned reputation is entirely deserved.  

Edited by Pa Weasley

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8 hours ago, pickirk01 said:

I keep wanting to try a Stealth Luke.  Haven't done it yet.

Indeed. The best value for money comes with a highly modifiable but relatively low number of dice - someone with the ability to stack force/evade or focus/evade and potentially rerolls of defence dice; TIE/ph are a good case in point, as is a fifth brother/elusive TIE/sk.

 

9 hours ago, Pa Weasley said:

There's an 89%  chance  the defender takes at least one hit.  Behold the why behind a common complaint about the ARCs is how quickly they crumple.  I take that same ARC an install a stealth device, and the chance of taking a hit drops to 70%.  Still not amazing but it's an improvement and that improvement could carry on to the next time it has to defend.  Also, if we look at the chances of taking two or more hits, that ARC goes from a 58% chance to to 32%.  Even if the ARC is hit, possible damage is reduced.

Agreed. But the situation here is that if you took a shield upgrade, you need to take 2 hits in that first attack to be as badly off as if you took 1 hit with a stealth device.

So it's 70% (chance of 1 hit with a stealth device) versus 58% (chance of 2 hits without a stealth device). 

8 hours ago, svelok said:

The fundamental design of Stealth Device means that if it's actually working against multiple attacks, the other player is probably not having fun.

To get your money's worth relative to a shield upgrade, you essentially have to cancel a hit with an evade rolled on the extra die, before you lose your charge. 

If you're focused, that will, on average, require one-and-a-bit rolls of the dice, plus or minus any attacks which didn't do enough hits to need it in the first place. 

Hence, I don't think it's 'bad' but it's best suited to ships which can reliably expect to evade at least one attack entirely. 

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The biggest issues with SD nowadays are twofold. One is the lower reliability of green dice - meaning SD popping without doing anything is a lot more common. The other is SD being vulnerable to non attack damage which means it can be turned off without ever targeting the ship against certain lists.

For sure if you get lucky it's better than a shield. But that is a HUGE if in 2e.

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There's a place for Stealth Device.  A small place, but a place.

One of it's strengths is affecting target priority.  If an opponent's ship has Stealth Device you need to prioritise hitting it early when you've got all your ships and can't let it untouched into mid/endgame.  If they had a Shield Upgrade instead it wouldn't be an impact on priorities.

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Posted (edited)

More defense dice and not wanting to be hit means you will more likely find yourself modding your defense dice with a focus token. So yes, Stealth Device can prevent 1+ damage and be better than a Shield Upgrade, but probably at a 'hidden' price.

The choice here seems to me to be between Stealth Device - trying not to get hit but with potentially weaker attacks, or Shield Upgrade - where you may take more damage but likely do more damage with your focussed attacks.

(If you have innate token stacking or rerolls etc. then the argument tends towards Stealth Device as the better option I expect, although there is the half-point threshold to consider with Shield/Hull upgrade too.)

Edited by Rossetti1828

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31 minutes ago, Rossetti1828 said:

More defense dice and not wanting to be hit means you will more likely find yourself modding your defense dice with a focus token. So yes, Stealth Device can prevent 1+ damage and be better than a Shield Upgrade, but probably at a 'hidden' price.

The choice here seems to me to be between Stealth Device - trying not to get hit but with potentially weaker attacks, or Shield Upgrade - where you may take more damage but likely do more damage with your focussed attacks.

(If you have innate token stacking or rerolls etc. then the argument tends towards Stealth Device as the better option I expect, although there is the half-point threshold to consider with Shield/Hull upgrade too.)

To expand on this, there is also the fact that the mod slot often wants afterburners.  So you trade off an extra defense die for when you get shot at vs possibly not getting shot at at all if you can dodge some arcs.

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Posted (edited)

What about putting it on the Delta 7... I know it's crazy expensive combined with the Delta 7B title but Jedis got lots of dice modifications...

I'm looking at the crazy Obi+Ani list, that has shield upgrade...

Edited by Ryuneke

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2 hours ago, Ryuneke said:

What about putting it on the Delta 7... I know it's crazy expensive combined with the Delta 7B title but Jedis got lots of dice modifications...

I'm looking at the crazy Obi+Ani list, that has shield upgrade...

Most of the time, you have the luxury of picking and choosing when to engage with the double Aethersprite, Anakin and Obi-Wan list. In my two testing matches with the list so far, you basically just run and hide in the rocks a lot before you start to move in for damage with the ship that they aren't chasing. Most of the time, I'm rolling 3 or 4 green dice anyways (if I'm getting shot at at all), so I don't see why bumping that up to 4 or 5 would be worse. 

Word of warning though. You will make people tilt so **** hard with this set-up. 

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Stealth Device is probably going to be very desirable to the Republic once Wave 4 comes. That Decoyed condition you can assign from the Naboo Handmaidens could allow a Delta-7 to do some crazy damage denial if it happens to also have a stealth device. We have another thread discussing some nice high res images of the Wave 4 spreads, if anyone's curious about where this info is coming from. 

 

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The problem with stealth is that extra die is not always worth an extra shield, the pricing point equivalent. Even worse, if that bad result comes first, then the device goes away before it earns its points. So clearly, stealth is going to do work reliably only on something that has a decent number of defensive mods. I've used stealth device on Whisper multiple times (mostly  in Whisper + RAC), and it's very good. However, when you are working with 3 or more ships, stealth is probably the worse choice of upgrades you could select, as you are trying to crank out the efficiency of your list.

I lament the loss of the silencer's mod slot. Blackout with gas clouds is already very good. Throwing stealth on top of it would allow straight up jousting any list and laughing at it so long as you get those obstruction bonuses.

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Posted (edited)

Stealth device has a higher ceiling, no doubt... But it also has a lower floor. And that unreliability is part of what makes people shy away from it.

 

For a better idea of what stealth device is doing for you make one of your green dice distinguishable (without compromising it's fairness) and designate that as your stealth device dice.

Every time you defend,  see if that particular dice saves you a damage (always remembering to discount it in instances where you "over evade" an attack (roll more evades than neccesary to cancel all hit results).

Statistics say that in instances where you are hit by an attack it will have saved you 3/8 of a damage (5/8 with focus, about 3/5 with reroll, close to 3/4 with both).

In instances where the attack misses you will statistically saved slightly less than the above (over evasion: see about two paragraphs up.)

So if you're getting hit by the first attack you're probably not making points back on it. If you're getting hit by the second attack you're probably making points back on it, but not necessarily. It's not until you have successfully evaded two attacks that I would comfortably say you've gotten your points out of it.

But don't forget this is also discounting the loss of offensive power you may experience (the desire to save your mods for defense is real), and the occasions where you take damage without being shot and just straight up lose the device.

 

I would say not worth it unless you have 2+ agility and natural dice mods. And even then a hitpoint upgrade is probably better if it moves the damage threshold.

Edited by namdoolb
Fixed typos

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Posted (edited)

Has anybody tried this? I don‘t play CIS.

Count Dooku (61)    
    Heightened Perception (3)    
    Proton Torpedoes (12)    
    Stealth Device (4)    
    Scimitar (4)    
    
Ship total: 84  Half Points: 42  Threshold: 5    
    
  It‘s 4 dice to defend, you attack at I7 and cloak again. Seems to be a solid place for a stealth device.

Edited by KaLeu

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On 4/16/2019 at 5:16 PM, Pa Weasley said:

So you have to ask yourself, if you're going to spend 4, 6, or 8 points to keep your wee friends around just a bit longer would you rather spend it on single, guaranteed extra HP or the chance at one or more complete neutralized hits/crits?  By no means am I saying stealth device is the new must take mod, but I don't think it's much maligned reputation is entirely deserved.  

Afterburners.

Not trying to be a smartass, but my only issue with Stealth Device on my wee friends is the opportunity cost of not taking ABs. The action efficiency is too attractive for me, they can be used for some clutch maneuvers when stressed and they can be used to avoid arcs saving HPs as well. 

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