Sunday, December 13, 2020

Imperial squadron review: YV-666, or "garbage trucks from outer space"

Time for a shorter review of another Imperial wave 2 Rogue squadron: the YV-666, or as it's known around these parts: "the dump truck."

It'll take out the trash! When it gets there... some day. Maybe.
Some genius thought "why not make a ship that looks like a boomerang glued to the underside of a cargo barge?"

The YV-666 is a confounding squadron. It has some astoundingly good upsides and some cripplingly bad downsides. Let's cover those separately:

Pros:
  • 7 hull for 15 points is pretty great, especially for the Empire. This is not a squadron that can be casually swatted down.
  • 2 blue and 2 black anti-squadron is pretty potent - as good as a TIE Defender on a 1 point cheaper Rogue chassis. You'll do on average 2.5 damage to enemy squadrons, which is pretty good when you're sticking around a while due to 7 hull.
  • Grit allows you to not get tied down messing with full-health sacrificial mooks and you can even do the occasional trick of moving away from a single Escort to attack squadrons your opponent would rather you didn't.
Cons:
  • Speed 2 is extraordinarily slow, especially for a squadron that wants to be acting as a fighter.
  • Heavy doesn't help there either, as the squadrons you want to chase after aren't under any obligation to stick around engaged with you if they'd rather go elsewhere.
  •  One blue dice anti-ship is very bad on an expensive 15-point squadron. You're just as bad against ships as an 8-point TIE Fighter, although more durable at least. Still, a 50% chance of 1 damage is poor.
In short, I can't really recommend YV-666s (that's two of the Imperial generic Rogue squadrons so far, so the Aggressor now has company). Were you to run them anyways, I'd recommend using them as part of your fighter coverage in a slower fleet with Advanced Transponder Network to make Heavy less of a problem (say with VSDs and/or Interdictors) where the goal is to keep flying CAP on your slower beefier ships with some assistance from non-Heavy fighters like TIE Fighters to keep enemies pinned in place for them. Ruthless Strategists would be ideal for assisting with flak as the YVs have plenty of hull to spare and anything that can bring down enemy squadrons faster makes the YVs less likely to get stranded chasing after low-HP squadrons that they'll never catch. Any tech that can speed up squadrons (like Fighter Coordination Team or Squall) can help them with their speed problem, but those upgrades are usually better used making already-good squadrons great rather than turning mediocre squadrons okay.

"HOW DARE YOU CUT ME OFF, I'LL FEAST ON YOUR EYES!"

Bossk is a substantial upgrade on the YV-666 for +8 points, a 53% increase, making him one of the most expensive squadrons in the game. For those points, Bossk gains:
  • 2 anti-squadron blue dice converted to black dice (for 4 black dice total), which improves his average damage from 2.5 to 3 but means you'll never roll an accuracy result (unless using that special ability).
  • +1 black dice against ships (but no Bomber keyword), bringing his average damage against ships up from 0.5 to 1.25.
  • +1 speed, going from 2 to 3. This is a pretty substantial speed upgrade given how short the distance 2 segment is on the range ruler.
  • Gains one brace defense token. With only one defense token it should be noted that against squadrons with numerous blue dice, Bossk won't often get much use from his brace. When you can leverage it against other squadrons, though, it can extend his 7-hull lifespan pretty considerably.
  • Loses Heavy, allowing him to actually tie down engaged enemy squadrons, unlike generic YV-666s.
  • Bossk's unique ability. It should be noted that Bossk can set the blue die to an accuracy when attacking either ships or squadrons, although it's generally most useful at augmenting Bossk's potent anti-squadron attacks used against ace squadrons, particularly scatter aces, who will be left only able to brace Bossk's 3 average damage down to 2 when their scatter is locked down. Bossk also loves picking on one-defense-token aces (such as his own evil clone, IG-88, or Hera, etc.) or those who have spent down to only one remaining token, as he can guarantee the lock-down, trashing them just like a generic squadron.
As I noted in the TIE Advanced article, Bossk has a lot of synergy with Zertik Strom. Zertik can run interference for Bossk early on when there are likely to be more robust threats to his life, but he can also ping Bossk just once with his ability to turn on Bossk's "pleasure from pain" guaranteed accuracy. Once Bossk gets his guaranteed accuracy, he's an absolute wrecking ball to other aces and at minimum does a great job of trashing generic squadrons if he can't get his claws on any aces. Once Zertik is disposed of, by that point Bossk is often still sitting pretty healthy and the ability for surviving enemy fighters to chisel through his 6 hull and one brace token is suspect, which leaves opponents in an unpleasant position of needing to choose between "ignore Bossk and watch him keep trashing my squadrons" or "devote far too much effort putting down an angry guy in a rubber lizard costume."

You can also trigger Bossk's ability through Ruthless Strategists should you have them in your fleet, but I find the Zertik combination is much easier and has more synergy.

Like a Bossk!

Don't forget to take advantage of Bossk's Grit to jump away from engagement with only a single squadron (either before or after attacking - it's fun to destroy one squadron so there's only one left engaging you and then use Grit to move away) to go after more choice targets and/or heal on the space station if it's nearby (just don't go back up to 7 unless there's a good reason).

In short, I recommend Bossk. He hits like a ton of bricks and he's very low-maintenance. He's good at going after ace squadrons but will happily munch any fighters left near him and he's not bad against ships either (although expensive). On a final note, Bossk is good Mauler Mithel insurance. If you keep Bossk towards the front of your squadron group, Mauler will hop in, deal everyone (including Bossk) 1 damage, and then Bossk will Rogue activate in the Squadron Phase and go after Mauler with a guaranteed accuracy. That's not great if you're Mauler Mithel, usually leaving him one hull from death which another squadron should be able to do for you.

Rally round tha tokens, pocket full of shells.

For +7 points (a 47% increase, yikes) over a YV-666, Moralo Eval Green Goblin Tom Morello gains:
  • +1 speed.
  • A brace token.
  • Another blue die against ships
  • A potentially insane special ability.
That's quite a lot, and his ability is nuts. Basically, so long as you've got objective tokens within distance 1-2 and a few Lambda Shuttles that don't mind moving them around, you get to add Tom Morello's "Rage Against the Machine" move+attack to whatever else the Lambdas are doing. Given Tom has respectable damage output against squadrons and ships, it can add up. Plus Tom has Grit, so he can't be locked down by a single fighter.

All that said, the issue I've had with Tom is if you really want to break his ability, you need to build a good chunk of your fleet around it. You need a trio of Strategic-friendly objectives, a bid for second player, multiple Lambda shuttles, and probably an Escort squadron or two. It's a lot of points put into making a single 7-hull one-brace-token ace get to Rage Against the Machine a lot. And if/when Tom Morello is finally killed (and given you're second player, first player will have a chance at the top of each round to do just that before Tom gets a say about it), you've got a lot invested into a support apparatus for one model that doesn't exist any more. If you get outbid and your opponent gives you first player without a Strategic objective on their end to choose from, you're also in for a heap of trouble when Tom doesn't have the energy to get off the couch.

My own personal preference is to field 2-3 Lambdas, Tom, and then whatever else I was interested in plus the moderate bid for second and the Strategic objectives. It doesn't get Tom to go quite as nuts but it's less investment in the Rage Against the Machine high-risk high-reward basket and still does just fine.

1 comment:

  1. I have a list with Bossk, Zertik, Jendon, Fel, and 4 TIE Advanced that I'm going to try this week. If I play it right I feel like it should hold up well against almost any Squadron list. I'm not using a dedicated carrier so that could be a problem if I don't preprogram my squadron commands correctly on my ships. Then any surviving squads other than Jendon and Fel have Black dice I can throw at ships.

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