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Reavern

Should Mon Mothma's Commander ability be updated for Extreme Range?

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During my latest match of Armada, my opponent made an interesting point about Mon Mothma's Commander ability and how it relates to the Onager's ability to fire at Extreme Range.

FFG updated the rules in Wave 8 so that an Evade token can cancel 2 dice at extreme range instead of 1, and it stacks with the MC30 Foresight ship title's ability, so its Evades can cancel 3 dice. Mon Mothma's ability kinda shifts the Evade token's ability down by 1 range, so that at medium range it can cancel 1 die, and at close it forces the opponent to reroll one die.

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Obviously, Mon Mothma's ability doesn't refer to her effect on long range shots because extreme range wasn't a thing when the CR90 ship expansion was released in Wave 1.

I don't recall FFG mentioning that Mon Mothma's ability changed in Wave 8 when extreme range was introduced; or that they considered updating Mon Mothma's ability.

I was wondering if anyone else thinks that FFG should update/Errata Mon Mothma's Commander ability so that it cancels 2 dice at long range -- and perhaps 3 dice at extreme range.

I think that it would make Mon Mothma incredibly effective when facing an Onager, and cause a resurgence in her popularity as a Rebel Commander. 😎

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I think she is fine where she’s at.  While never the most popular commander (she’s my personal favorite), I don’t necessarily want to see underperforming commanders errata’d to make them more viable in the current meta.  There would just be too many to fix.

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10 hours ago, Admiral Calkins said:

I think she is fine where she’s at.  While never the most popular commander (she’s my personal favorite), I don’t necessarily want to see underperforming commanders errata’d to make them more viable in the current meta.  There would just be too many to fix.

In Wave 8, Raddus was errata'd because of the Starhawk, so I don't see why Mon Mothma couldn't be updated because of the Onager and extreme range attacks.

9 hours ago, cynanbloodbane said:

Forsight with Mom Mothma is already **** near immortal! I honestly don't think she needs it. 

Accuracy's still works against Evades.

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, Reavern said:

In Wave 8, Raddus was errata'd because of the Starhawk, so I don't see why Mon Mothma couldn't be updated because of the Onager and extreme range attacks.

You asked and, as a player that loves to use Mon Mothma, that was my honest answer.

Yes, Raddus was errata'd because dropping a ship out of hyperspace with three amazing arcs that can slow you to Speed 0 was likely both OP and a Negative Play Experience.  I think that was the right call, but I don't think Mon Mothma needs an errata to make her interactions with extreme or long range different than what they currently are.

Again, I'm good with her as she currently exists.  If you want to start a thread about how underperforming Commander's could be errata'd to in order to make them more viable (Konstantine with two medium or large ships or one huge ship, Tagge's ability in Rounds 3 and 4 or 4 and 5, something with Cracken, etc.), even though I'm not particularly for it, I think that would make for a pretty interesting discussion. 

Edited by Admiral Calkins
Removed the first part of the first sentence. Didn't want it to be take as me being abrasive.

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2 minutes ago, Admiral Calkins said:

That didn't really address anything that I said; you asked and, as a player that loves to use Mon Mothma, that was my honest answer.

Yes, Raddus was errata'd because dropping a ship out of hyperspace with three amazing arcs that can slow you to Speed 0 was likely both OP and a Negative Play Experience.  I think that was the right call, but I don't think Mon Mothma needs an errata to make her interactions with extreme or long range different than what they currently are.

Again, I'm good with her as she currently exists.  If you want to start a thread about how underperforming Commander's could be errata'd to in order to make them more viable (Konstantine with two medium or large ships or one huge ship, Tagge's ability in Rounds 3 and 4 or 4 and 5, something with Cracken, etc.), even though I'm not particularly for it, I think that would make for a pretty interesting discussion. 

Well, all good ideas have to start somewhere. 😁

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I’d have to try it out. I’m assuming the suggestion is that Mothma would make Evades cancel two dice at long range?

 

Im not opposed to the idea. I can’t say for sure without trying it to see if is too good or not

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12 hours ago, Church14 said:

I’d have to try it out. I’m assuming the suggestion is that Mothma would make Evades cancel two dice at long range?

 

Im not opposed to the idea. I can’t say for sure without trying it to see if is too good or not

Considering the biggest pool at long range without modifications is 5 dice, that's cutting enemy firepower in half.

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On 5/31/2020 at 12:00 AM, Reavern said:

latest?cb=20150130221518

Obviously, Mon Mothma's ability doesn't refer to her effect on long range shots because extreme range wasn't a thing when the CR90 ship expansion was released in Wave 1.

I was wondering if anyone else thinks that FFG should update/Errata Mon Mothma's Commander ability so that it cancels 2 dice at long range -- and perhaps 3 dice at extreme range.

Most commanders have a downside, or at least situation where their ability doesn't do anything.
Cracken does nothing if you're going speed 2 or 1.
Thrawn's dials only work for three rounds in the game.
Vader requires you to spend a defense token to boost your offense.
Ackbar does nothing for your front and rear arcs.
Garm only works on two rounds.
Tagge only works on two rounds.
Sloane

But you see my point. If Mon Mothma did something extra for long and extreme range, she'd be boosting every range possible as long as you can use your evade. As she is now, she makes evades more useful than they already are, which means you can be more comfortable in medium range with your TRC90As and close range with MC30s. If she boosted long and extreme (or even just long) I think you'd see her with nothing but TRC90As.

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On 6/1/2020 at 3:08 AM, Reavern said:

Accuracy's still works against Evades.

This idea is pretty well overpowered. It would cripple a large majority of ships' ability to skirmish at long range, meanwhile the main benefactor the CR90 has the tools to ensure it remains at long range.

Regarding your counter argument that Accuracy results work against evades... given we are talking about long range here, you will need 2 red dice Accuracy results from your limited pool of up to 5 red dice. Not only is that unlikely, but doesn't leave many dice left over for actual damage.

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On 6/2/2020 at 7:17 AM, Bertie Wooster said:

Most commanders have a downside, or at least situation where their ability doesn't do anything.
Cracken does nothing if you're going speed 2 or 1.
Thrawn's dials only work for three rounds in the game.
Vader requires you to spend a defense token to boost your offense.
Ackbar does nothing for your front and rear arcs.
Garm only works on two rounds.
Tagge only works on two rounds.
Sloane

But you see my point. If Mon Mothma did something extra for long and extreme range, she'd be boosting every range possible as long as you can use your evade. As she is now, she makes evades more useful than they already are, which means you can be more comfortable in medium range with your TRC90As and close range with MC30s. If she boosted long and extreme (or even just long) I think you'd see her with nothing but TRC90As.

I disagree that "most" Commanders have a downside, or their ability is situational. Last time I checked, there were 24 Commanders; 11 Rebel and 13 Imperial.

The following Commanders have un-restricted abilities with no downsides:

  1. Admiral Konstantine
  2. Admiral Motti
  3. Admiral Piett
  4. Admiral Sloane
  5. Emperor Palpatine
  6. Grand Admiral Thrawn
  7. Grand Moff Tarkin
  8. Admiral Raddus
  9. Commander Sato
  10. General Dodonna
  11. General Madine
  12. General Rieekan
  13. Kyrsta Agate
  14. Leia Organa
  15. Mon Mothma

15 of 24. That's one shy of 2/3rds. Therefore, there is a minority of Commanders whose abilities have downsides or are situational. Hence why I disagreed.

My point about revising Mon Mothma's ability is simply a matter of logical consistency. Mon Mothma decreased the range requirements of Evade by one level, so Evade forced a reroll at Close range and cancelled a die at Medium range. Extreme range didn't exist back in Wave 1, when Mon Mothma was introduced, so the rule that Evade cancelled two dice at Extreme range didn't exist at the time. Therefore, there was no basis that Mon Mothma's ability should cancel 2 dice at Long range.

However, that changed in Wave 8.

Extreme range wasn't the only thing that changed in Wave 8. FFG revised Raddus' ability so it excluded Command 4 ships, because dropping a Starhawk on the enemy was deemed OP'd. And FFG specifically mentioned in an example that the MC30's Foresight title could be combined at Extreme Range so that Evade cancelled a total of 3 dice -- although I vaguely recall that they mistakenly claimed it was 4 dice total.

FFG has already revised certain Commanders and defense tokens because of Wave 8, so the precedence has been established. So it's merely a matter of logical consistency.

On 6/5/2020 at 10:23 PM, Divad said:

This idea is pretty well overpowered. It would cripple a large majority of ships' ability to skirmish at long range, meanwhile the main benefactor the CR90 has the tools to ensure it remains at long range.

Regarding your counter argument that Accuracy results work against evades... given we are talking about long range here, you will need 2 red dice Accuracy results from your limited pool of up to 5 red dice. Not only is that unlikely, but doesn't leave many dice left over for actual damage.

Yes, I acknowledge that revising Mon Mothma's ability for Long Range could be OP'd, but it could be balanced by adjusting Mon Mothma's points cost accordingly. After all, if her ability were to be modified, meaning an Errata'd card was created by FFG, surely they could modify the card's point cost along with the description text.

It would actually be thematic if Mon Mothma's points cost was increased from 30 because she was the political leader of the Rebel Alliance. If Mon Mothma's ability was revised for Long Range, the case could be made that she should cost equal to Ackbar at 38 points. IMO the best and simplest solution would be to swap Mon Mothma and Leia's points costs, because many players consider Leia to be over-priced at 38 points given her ability. (FFG seemed to over-value command tokens in the early days of Armada.) Whereas if Leia cost 30 points (or less), that would be justified for her ability.

I'm aware of the odds of rolling a Red Accuracy, but with 5 or more Red dice (factoring in CF, Spinal Armament, Enhanced Armament, Romodi, etc.), rerolls (using CF tokens, LTT, Vader, Veteran Gunners, etc.), Varnillian's ability to swap dice, and the possibility of using Blue dice at long range (with Disposable Capacitors or Opening Salvo), the odds of rolling two Red Accuracy faces are not bad.

Even if Mon Mothma did cancel 2 dice at Long range, many ships could still inflict damage to a ship with Evades.

Furthermore, just because the first attack against CR90/MC30 failed because of Evade and MM, doesn't mean subsequent attacks would fail too.

Scenario:

An Arquitens attacks a CR90 (boosted by MM) at long range; regardless if the Arq rolled a Red Accuracy or not, the CR90 would spend one of its two Evade tokens to cancel 2 dice.

Another enemy ship attacks the same CR90, rolls a Red accuracy, and blocks the green Evade. The Rebel player must decide between discarding the exhausted Evade to cancel 2 dice, or take the damage. If the player discards the Evade, the CR90 is down to 1 Evade, making it more vulnerable for the remainder of the match.

(End of scenario.)

There are innumerable extenuating circumstances that Armada players have to deal with. It's not like using the "revised Mon Mothma" and a MOS build would guarantee victory. The best players aren't the ones with unbeatable builds; they're the ones who are best at adapting. Players would simply adapt to the new META, like they've always done.

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Posted (edited)

I'm not saying it's a bad idea to update old upgrades to account for new mechanics. In fact I appreciate the discussion as Mon Mothma is underutilized.

3 hours ago, Reavern said:

The following Commanders have un-restricted abilities with no downsides

This wasn't my point, but I agree with the person originally making it. And I disagree with your list. Konstantine has a restriction so heavy with payoff so situational he isn't viable, Piett needs a token and is exhaustible, Sato is one of the most restrictive commanders out there needing both significant fighter investment (though unlike Sloane he does not synergise with those fighters) and needs a fighter at range 1, Madine needs Nav dials or tokens and Leia deny's the use of any token you are holding onto.

 

I do believe this particular change is bad. It shoehorns Mon Mothma into a bad design state where she hard counters lists or ships that fight at long range, both Rebel and Empire lists. But if you adjust her points, then she becomes even worse again the lists she currently struggles against because she flat out costs more without any improvements against these lists. Hard counter/hard countered lists are bad game design, no one wants to face a 80% chance of win or loss just based on which list they are facing. The ONLY ships I'd consider with enough long rage firepower to put meaningful damage out is Ackbar HO-MC80 and AFII, MC-80 BC, Starhawk or ISDII with Spinals, Cymoon with whatever, SSD, and Vic II with D-Caps (for 1 turn only). But all those ships will do only 0-2 damage max out of their non-primary arc, as would ALL ships not on that list. Imagine on top of this a list with Shields to Maximum meaning your tiny damage is mitigated further.

 

Not really anything thematic with points costs. Palpatine isn't 50 points after all. Intel officers are 7 points and Ashoka is 2 points, Officer Vader is 1 point!... The ability is thematic and the points are simply balance.

 

Your odds of rolling a red accuracy are poorly though out. It uses underutilized/expensive/situational upgrades. And each has a trade off. Varnillian means you don't take gunnery teams/alternative on your stacked red dice ship. And she can only guarantee one red dice accuracy. C.F and going slow with Quad Battery Turrets mean you won't turn as fast and the CR90 can more easily get into the side arc were you suddenly find your 3 dice tops are trash. Plus even with all that (except guaranteed upgrades like Varnillian), your odds of an accuracy are still far worse then you make out and certainly not reliable. 6 red dice being rolled have like a 55% chance of rolling at least 1 accuracy (Math: 1- (7/8 ^6)).

It also means you aren't locking down the Redirect token, which can spread literally all the damage to the shields, biding time for the CR90 to escape the front arc, which is now almost inevitable.

Finally in your scenario you are using a 54+ point Arquitens plus another ship probably a 100pt VSD 2 or 120+ pt ISD, to get a single round of damage to a 51pt CR90 that realistically is just going to strip it's shields.

 

As I said, I like the idea of improving old commanders that have fallen by the way side. An advantage Mon Mothma has from a design perspective over others is that she synergises with Evade. Any new upgrade that improves Evade, improves Mon Mothma. For example you could make a defensive retrofit like "Emergency Thrusters" that allow you to spend a Nav token while defending to perform an evade action. Or a Officer like Han Solo that lets you spend a second/multiple evade token/s to affect additional dice. Perhaps Solo could instead give a ship an evade token but not allow evade tokens to be refreshed (representing his unorthodox bag of tricks, but somewhat reckless and limited). Useful for everyone, but Mon Mothma does it better.

Edited by Divad
Typo

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2 hours ago, Divad said:

I'm not saying it's a bad idea to update old upgrades to account for new mechanics. In fact I appreciate the discussion as Mon Mothma is underutilized.

This wasn't my point, but I agree with the person originally making it. And I disagree with your list. Konstantine has a restriction so heavy with payoff so situational he isn't viable, Piett needs a token and is exhaustible, Sato is one of the most restrictive commanders out there needing both significant fighter investment (though unlike Sloane he does not synergise with those fighters) and needs a fighter at range 1, Madine needs Nav dials or tokens and Leia deny's the use of any token you are holding onto.

I disagree with your interpretation of "restrictions". The cards describe how and when the Commander's ability works, thereby establishing the rules. Rules are different than restrictions IMO. All games have rules in order to define the parameters of the competition and determine who wins and loses. If games had no rules, basically all games would be the same and they'd go on indefinitely. Whereas restrictions, by their very nature, are more restrictive than rules.

Konstantine just needs 2 or more medium or large ships at distance 1-5. The Empire has plenty of medium and large ships, it's not difficult to fit 2 medium/large ships in a 400-point build, and distance 5 is the equivalent of long range. Just because Konstantine's ability isn't unlimited range and requires more than one ship to work doesn't make it restrictive. Konstantine's ability is only situational if you spread out your ships, but why would you do that when using Konstantine? That would be like bringing an Intel squadron but not placing it near your other squadrons. It just doesn't make sense.

Piett needs a token because that's how his ability works. Otherwise how would he work? Without a token to convert into a command dial, I suppose Piett would be able to choose any Command except the revealed Dial, which would make him better than Thrawn. Admittedly though, I forgot Piett had to be exhausted, because I've only ever used him on the SSD and never used his ability on another ship. So yes, Piett does have a restriction.

Sato's ability isn't any more restrictive than Sloane IMO: They both require a squadron to be at range 1 of an enemy ship to use the Commander's ability.

Madine ability is tied to Nav commands, just like Mon Mothma's ability is tied to Evade tokens. I don't consider either of those restrictions. Madine's ability abides by how the Nav Dial and token already work, and boosts them so they're more effective. That's exactly how Mon Mothma's ability works.

I suppose Leia's ability does have a restriction by preventing other tokens from being used, but it is optional to use Leia's ability or spend another token(s) instead. Leia doesn't generate a token; she just provides the equivalent effect of a token on top of the spent Dial. I know there are situations when players choose to bank a token instead of spending the revealed Dial, but I rarely do that using Leia because of how her ability works.

So I'll only concede that Piett and Leia have restrictions on their abilities. I maintain the others simply abide by their defined rules.

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3 hours ago, Reavern said:

I disagree with your interpretation of "restrictions"

That is fair enough. It sounds like we are using different definitions after all.

I consider an ability restrictive if it has a significant downside. I'm including indirect downsides, such as ease of counter play, or poor reliability to consistently activate.

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9 hours ago, Divad said:

That is fair enough. It sounds like we are using different definitions after all.

I consider an ability restrictive if it has a significant downside. I'm including indirect downsides, such as ease of counter play, or poor reliability to consistently activate.

This was the very clear original definition:

"Most commanders have a downside, or at least situation where their ability doesn't do anything."

Good communication is clear and concise after all. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/12/2020 at 4:56 AM, Divad said:

That is fair enough. It sounds like we are using different definitions after all.

I consider an ability restrictive if it has a significant downside. I'm including indirect downsides, such as ease of counter play, or poor reliability to consistently activate.

The way I think of a restriction (or downside) is if you’re describing the ability in layman’s terms and need to use “but”.

For example:

Darth Vader allows you to reroll any dice in the attack pool, but you have to spend a defense token to do it.

Ackbar allows you to add 2 Red dice to a ship’s attack pool, but the ship can only attack from its side arcs that round.

Whereas other card descriptions are simply defining the parameters of their abilities.

For example:

Spinal Armament adds a Red die to the ship’s front and rear arcs. It would be unnecessary to add “but not the side arcs” when describing Spinal Armament’s ability.

Sloane allows squadron attacks to use a rolled Accuracy to spend one of the defender’s defense tokens, and reroll Crits. I wouldn’t add “but not Hits or Crits” or “but not ship attacks” to the description, because it already specified Squadron and Accuracy. Furthermore, there are innumerable Upgrade cards that use Crit faces to trigger their ability; I wouldn’t classify their Crit requirement as a “restriction”, therefore Sloane’s Accuracy requirement isn’t a restriction either.

For Admiral Konstantine, his ability uses 2 or more medium or large ships within range 5 of the enemy ship. I wouldn’t describe Konstantine’s ability as “You can adjust an enemy ship’s speed, but only if at least 2 medium or large ships are within range 1-5 of it.” That has a very pessimistic tone.

I believe the logic is that Konstantine uses naval tactics, as opposed to tractor beams or grav-well projectors, to corral smaller Rebel ships, compelling them to adjust their speed. This aligns with the Empire’s propensity for using large, intimidating ships, outnumbering the Rebels (as depicted in the films and series’, not Armada battles), and using blockade formations and entrapment maneuvers (to varying degrees of success). It’s understandable that a small Imperial ship wouldn’t have that effect, which is why they’re excluded from Konstatine’s ability. That’s why I don’t classify it as a “restriction” or downside. It’s simply the way his ability works, and it makes sense in context.

Edited by Reavern
Examples

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darth-vader-commander.png

It doesn't look like it's necessary the "but" for Vader.

I really think you both are talking about the same, just changing the perspective when you jump from one commande to another. Maybe you should agree on the perspective first.

I suggest you the following:

Each upgrade allows you to do something you normally can't do. Some things upgrades allow are under "natural" restrictions (already covered by the RRG). For example: MM only working during the spend defense token step. That wouldn't be a downside, it's just how evade tokens works. As long as she work with them she is limited by them.

On addition to this, some things upgrades allow you to do comes with new restrictions (not covered by the RRG) that tells you how it really works. I would not distinguish between boundaries and cost as at the end both things serve the same purpose: you cannot do as you want. Actually, it doesn't matter if you have to actively spend a token or if you just should sit between two medium ships, both things are requirements that if you don't fulfill somehow, the effect won't take place.

Why could be the need of spending a defense token a restriction to Vader's effect, and the need to have two medium ships at distance 1-5 of the enemy don't be the same for Konstantin's.

 

That said, I'm not sure why is said that allowing MM to cancel two dice at long range comes with no restriction, or to be more precise: what is the restriction that current MM has that "desired" MM hasn't? MM replaces evade effect for medium and short range, that's all. If the restriction is "she replace the effect for all ranges but long and extreme" you could say the proposed one "replaces the effect for all range but extreme range", so the restriction changes but there's still one.

However, the change is a bad idea, no doubt, at least IMO. Long range have small pools unless expensive investments and even with those investments, the outcome of the attack would be ridiculous. 7 dice would hope to deal 3 damage just before it's reduced/redirected. Yes, accuracies exist but they're not as many at that range. And the best reason of all, for me, it makes she a bad design. Right now MM tells you to play long range mode. She forgives you to step into medium or short but nothing else. Actually to get the best from her you should work at medium range so you end up with a challenge for the player: "Play good, I'll shine". If you fail you end up on short range where you get destroyed (she helps with that though) or at long range where she does nothing. If she cancel two dice at long range there's nothing left to the player to play with, "all I have to do is stay at long range and throw red dice".

That's actually the beauty of the good designed commanders and maybe is what @Bertie Wooster wanted to address with the restriction thing. Of course a good design doesn't make always a good commander but I rather prefer to have crappy commanders than no-brainer ones.

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On 6/2/2020 at 7:17 AM, Bertie Wooster said:

Most commanders have a downside, or at least situation where their ability doesn't do anything.
Cracken does nothing if you're going speed 2 or 1.
Thrawn's dials only work for three rounds in the game.
Vader requires you to spend a defense token to boost your offense.
Ackbar does nothing for your front and rear arcs.
Garm only works on two rounds.
Tagge only works on two rounds.
Sloane

I'll clarify this: I'm assuming the best case scenario, in which your opponent doesn't use Slicer Tools/Raid and you don't get a nasty crit that prevents you from using your commander's ability. Even if you build your list to be optimized to your commander's abilities (all Sloane's squadrons are non-rogue, all Mon Mothma's ships have evades, etc.), if you're playing a full six rounds, most commanders have either 1) A downside (A drawback that's explicitly printed on the card -- Darth Vader, Ackbar) or at least 2) A situation where their ability doesn't do anything (Tagge, Thrawn, Garm). We were talking about Mon Mothma originally, and the fact that she currently doesn't benefit your ships in every situation (long range, extreme range).

I'll finish the list:

  1. Admiral Konstantine--Situational: You almost certainly will not use his ability every status phase, due to the need to have two friendly medium-large ships in range.
  2. Admiral Motti--Not situational, no downside.
  3. Admiral Piett--Downside: Exhaust.
  4. Admiral Sloane--Not situational, no downside.
  5. Emperor Palpatine--Situational: You can only use his ability during the spend defense tokens step (doesn't combine with Boarding Troopers, doesn't affect TRC, etc)
  6. Grand Admiral Thrawn--Situational: Does nothing for three rounds in the game.
  7. Grand Moff Tarkin--Not situational, no downside.
  8. Admiral Raddus--Downside: The "Raddused" ship cannot attack first, and can't be deployed on squads.
  9. Commander Sato--Situational: Does nothing if squads are not at distance 1 of the enemy ship you're attacking.
  10. General Dodonna--Not situational, no downside.
  11. General Madine--Not situational, no downside.
  12. General Rieekan--Situational: Does nothing more than once per round. (You can't Rieekan Wedge AND Yavaris in the same round)
  13. Krysta Agate--Downside: Only affects her flagship.
  14. Leia Organa--Downside: Can't resolve more than one type of command while using her ability.
  15. Mon Mothma--Situational: Does nothing at long/extreme range.
  16. Ozzel--Not situational, no downside.
  17. Cracken--Situational: does nothing if you're going speed 2 or 1.
  18. Vader--Downside: requires you to spend a defense token to boost your offense.
  19. Ackbar--Downside: If you use front and rear arcs, can't use Ackbar.
  20. Garm--Situational: only works on two rounds.
  21. Tagge--Situational: only works on two rounds.
  22. Romodi--Situational: Does nothing if there's no obstruction.
  23. Screed--Downside: Must spend a die to use his ability.
  24. Moff Jerjerrod--Downside: Must take damage to use his ability.

By my definition (and I can understand if some would disagree) that makes 18/24  that have a downside, or at least have an ability that cannot be used by all ships (or squads, in Rieekan's case) in every situation, every round. Ozzel and Madine can use their ability all the time if they're always navigating, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're better commanders than Moff Jerjerrod or Rieekan. As @ovinomanc3r pointed out, the downsides are for game design reasons.

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