Monday, April 3, 2017

Know Your Enemy/Commander's Corner: Mon Mothma

So I'm working on catching up with Eric and the fact that he's through wave 2 and midway through wave 3.  The downside of having a real job, you know? I'm working on it though, doing what I can.  This week's goal is finishing the Commanders through Wave 2 (So, Mothma and Ackbar) and I'm going to try to hit another ship (the MC30 sock fulla quarters) this week too.  Next week is the HMC80, the flotillas, and hopefully Cracken.  Anyways, if we're starting out with Mothma, let's get to it.
Many Bothans died to bring us this picture with Walex Blissex in it (over Madine's shoulder).  This will be our last Dead Bothans joke.
Throwin up the card!
Let's start this out, like we always do.  It ain't failed us yet!
There is an alternate art version.  It technically has art, yes.  This looks more like her.
So her Evade tokens affect one range closer.  If you can stay at Medium Range, you get to both throw your Blue dice at your opponent's ship AND act like you're at Long range.  Remove that Blue crit that would be dealing some faceup damage to your ship! Prevent SW7s from hurting you fully when you remove one of the dice!  Or get rid of that Red Double hit you don't want to be taking!

It's not as good at close range, but it DOES mean you can reroll that Black Crit you don't want to feel.  APTs or ACMs may not affect you as much, or at the very least you can force a reroll on the Hit+Crit.  She's not Demolisher insurance, but she IS somewhat Screed Insurance.  By which I mean: if he gives up a die to get the crit because he's triggering, she can force him to reroll or remove it, depending on range.  If he rolls 2 Hit+Crits and then gives up his 2 other blank dice to turn one to a 3rd Hit+Crit, well, the best I can say is that sometimes Insurance doesn't cover EVERYTHING.  But you can force a reroll on one of them, which helps.

Why should you play her?
Do you want to use that Evade token at all ranges? Do you want to potentially have better insurance against Crits? Do you want to build a snowman?
This is a bad joke, I should just Let It Go.
She doesn't always work (sometimes you reroll into what you just had), but the INSURANCE is nice.  There's always the chance that you're going to roll away whatever Crit your opponent throws out there and escape the damage they wanted to do to you.  She takes away the problem of Evade tokens, which is that they normally aren't as good as you get closer.  To guarantee that any dice your opponent rolls isn't removed fully, he's going to HAVE to get into close range.  With VSDs, that's not a necessarily viable thing your opponent can do... unless you're TRYING to get in close!

Were you looking for me?
She's also super great at negating bomber swarms.  When Major Rhymer and his friends throw dice at you, you can reroll the most damaging Hit+Crits, activate your ships, and leave.  Or activate your squadrons and go attack them.... She doesn't eliminate needing to care about squadrons, but she does provide a way around those Hit+Crits on black dice.  Sometimes removing a Crit from the pool may be the difference between your CR90 surviving and exploding.

A word on rerolling dice at all ranges, which, while not applicable to Mothma, is applicable to everyone playing the game.  How do I know which dice to reroll, assuming I have the token available?  A vague primer:

Red Dice: reroll 2 damage sides.  Every other side is better for you, assuming that you're not playing against Precision Strike as an Objective (and they get the crit, or that the crit is something that badly affects your ship.  Looking at YOU, Comms Noise!).  But you have a 3/8 chance of a blank/unspendable accuracy, and a 2/8 chance of reducing it down to 1 damage, so 5/8 better.  There's also a 2/8 chance of getting the crit, but there's not many upgrades that actually affect Red Crits, XX9s excluded.  (There's also the potential that one less damage doesn't actually end up going into your ship, for that matter!)  So with an 8/52 chance of pulling a structural damage card, it's good odds that you're in a better spot (damage wise).  I wouldn't necessarily reroll the single hits, but again, 3/8 chance of getting a blank/unspent accuracy.
Upgrades I swear exist, volume 1
Blue dice: If it's there? The accuracies are there, but with only 2/8 chance of getting them, you're going to end up in a spot where you reroll a Blue Hit and get... another Hit or Crit.  The reroll can produce an accuracy 2/8 of the time, but 6/8 of the time it's not going to reduce a damage.  Rerolling Crits is good, though, as it's 6/8 chance of NOT getting a crit.  This is more applicable for anyone taking Overload Pulse, NK7s, or Ion Cannon Batteries.  If getting that Blue Crit is going to wreck some part of you that don't want affected, THAT'S worth rerolling.

Black Dice: Reroll the Hit+Crits, don't Reroll the Hits.  The hits are most likely going to reroll into other hits (or worse, the Hit+Crit! Nothing better than rerolling into MORE damage!).  There's 2 Hit+Crit sides on the dice and 4 Hits.  So rerolling a hit gives you a 6/8 chance of getting equal or worse damage.  Rerolling a Hit+Crit gives you a 6/8 chance of BETTER results (especially with all those previously linked Ordinance Upgrades!)
We could have had it all, you're gonna wish you had never met me

Common ships used with her
Realistically, she uses every ship with an Evade token and doesn't really want those without them.  You CAN field an MC80 with her, but when you don't get the benefit from them, there's very little reason to field them with her.  You CAN field them, they're your plastic spaceships.  I just think you can get a stronger benefit with something else.  The other benefit of the ships with Evade tokens is that they're usually more maneuverable than those without.  You can relatively easily get into spaces where you're obstructed, eliminating one dice coming at you and then Evading another away.

Special synergies with the ones she typically uses:
TRCR90s are great, as are CR90Bs with SW7s.  She's not as good with B's as they are under Rieekan, but throwing Blue dice at ships and evading as if you're at Red range, that's pretty nice.  Keep in mind, though, that Medium Range is the shortest range of them all.  Staying IN medium range is not necessarily the easiest plan.  With CR90As and TRCs, you may not be HAPPY with 2 individual Hits showing on your 2 Red Dice, but always remember you may need those Evades to prevent damage to your ship.  I'm not saying "Don't use TRCs," I'm just saying that your Evades are much stronger now (as you can use them closer), so don't overspend to get a little more damage if you can use it to stay alive.  The game IS 6 turns and you're more maneuverable than most other ships, take your time.

Assault Frigates:
A great place to locate Mon Mothma, as you can run away from danger when things start looking too hairy to survive.  With ECMs on it, you can very easily keep using that Evade closer than expected.  A great ship and a great way to push your squadrons where they need to be in order to capitalize on your damage pushing.

It has an Evade token, and you can help your other ships do what they do well.  I haven't tried it yet myself, but it seems like it would be good.  Keep in mind that you can't fit ECMs on it, so any Accuracy on your Evade token keeps it locked down.  This is a support ship that CAN help, but if you're in Medium range of an ISD with it, you likely aren't living super long, Evade token or not.  Be careful pushing yourself too far into the fire, but it can REALLY support your ships/squadrons with the Fleet Command upgrades.  Entrapment Formation! can set up some devastating attacks with your ships on the next turn, or even allow you to shoot and run away outside of an affectable range (or put you back in Medium range with your ships, which is just as good with Mothma as Long!)

Their problem of being less survivable at Medium Range (where Blue dice show up!) is improved slightly with a better Evade token.  Keep in mind that your flotilla still can get wrecked at Medium Range against a ship that can generate accuracies and deal enough damage with their other dice to blow you up.... but realistically, that's a Large ship with Red and Blue dice firing a MASSIVE attack into your 18 point flotilla... or an MC30 rolling into it on the side.  Using it in that regard, as an ablative damage for your bigger ship, is a tactic.  If they move in front of an ISD, it's very likely going to die.  BUT! A) Their ISD may not roll an accuracy (it CAN happen, dice are fickle), and B) they're going to HAVE to throw a shot out the front at it (assuming 1 more ramming damage won't kill it) in order to ensure that their ISD CAN move.  We'll get to flotilla strategy more when we hit the flotilla article.... and countering them in their own article, soon enough.

I love MC30s with Mon Mothma.  Both titles are great with her, and some of them get ludicrous.  For 8 points, the Foresight Title is pretty much Mothma's best friend.  Eliminating 2 dice at Medium range just crazy reduces the damage your MC30 takes.
Add Major Derlin in for maximum effect!
MC30s survive with their Evades and Redirects, and using those Evades closer is significantly more helpful at keeping them alive.

Hammerheads: I haven't used them with her yet, but considering how much these survive based on their tokens and staying in long range, I know they'd appreciate being in "long" range while definitely able to catch anything moving into short range with them.  Again, I haven't used them with her (I have plans to test them with her soon enough, but check out the linked Hammerhead article for more).

The key to ALL these ships is that with the Assault Frigate excepted, these are all Small bases and don't have significant Hit Points.  You're going to need to combine their attacks on Large ships in order to kill them.  Also with regards to THAT plan, you only have Brace tokens on the Assault Frigate and the Pelta.  Significant shots from front arcs of ships can lead to dead ships of your own, no matter how close you are with your Evade tokens.  You can remove a Dice at Medium Range with Mon Mothma.  You should still stay away from the front arc of an ISD-II.
Your CR90 if you stay there
Anything she doesn't like?
MC80s and Liberties.  They have no Evade tokens, you're not getting the best use out of her with them.  There's better ships you can use or better Commanders if you want to run an MC80.

I also don't OFTEN see her using Nebulon B's.  Nothing against them with her, they work well enough and get to use the Evade token closer.  But the Nebulon lives at long range and doesn't want to be in Medium.  Medium lets someone usually Navigate into a side shot against the Nebulon, and then it's taking damage in its 1 shield side.  The 1 Evade token isn't usually enough to keep it alive with repeated shots there.  I'm not saying don't use them with her, but if you want Yavaris or Salvation, I'll point you towards other Commanders first.

How do I fight her?
What's that? John's going to the Hamilton jokes well? Well, obviously.
Take the bullets out your gun! Wait, no, definitely don't do that.
Yup, to quote Lin-Manuel, "We'll fight up close, seize the moment and stay in it."  Get in close, where her Evade just forces a reroll.  She can remove a dice at Medium or Long, yeah, but Short just forces a reroll.  It ALSO lets you concentrate your attacks and put a BUNCH of dice into her ships.  Overloading her defense tokens is definitely a way to get rid of her Evade tokens.  Either she spends them and removes them or takes the damage.  You may not get your crits off as often, but they still can potentially trigger.

The other helpful thing is Accuracy generation/Intel Officers.  Not being able to remove dice with a locked-down Evade sure is a good way to counter her ability.  If you can even force one accuracy, even on a double Evade ship, you can target an already spent (Red) Evade to remove it forever.  Or, if you generate one Accuracy, you can Intel Officer a fresh one to ensure that they start disappearing.  Mothma's ships without Evade tokens are ships in a LOT of trouble, as they don't have much health to save them.

Final Thoughts
Mothma is a very good Commander who counters a lot of your opponent's abilities, no matter what Commander they're using. If you're trying to get a Crit to trigger and you only roll one of them, she can force (at the very least) a reroll (if not removing it entirely!), all by spending an Evade token.  With one little squiggle, she can get out of a lot of trouble.  Fear her with several of them.
Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle, YEAH!