Thursday, December 31, 2020

Imperial squadron review: Mandalorian Gauntlet Fighter

As I come back around to start wrapping up the new Imperial things introduced in wave 7, let's talk about the Mandalorian Gauntlet Fighter.

It looks cool, anyways.
More like Mandalorian Gaunt"let's not spend points on this," am I right?
The Gauntlet Fighter is one weird squadron:
  • Speed 4 and Rogue are a good combination, allowing it a large range of targets and the ability to hop over some squadrons hoping to run interference for their ships.
  • 7 hull is also pretty dang durable for a squadron, being beat out only by real heavyweights like the VCX-100 or Decimator.
  • 2 blue and 1 red dice anti-squadron is really bad for 20 points. It does an average of 1.5 damage to other squadrons but the red die is very swingy, only doing damage 3/8 of the time. You can pretty reliably count on doing 1 damage with the Gauntlet Fighter, but more than that is iffy.
  • 2 blue dice against ships plus Assault is clearly where the meat of this squadron's offensive power is coming from. It does an average of 1 damage against ships assuming you don't use Assault, but Assault is primarily what you're bringing the Gauntlet for. You have a 75% chance on any given attack to generate the 1+ hits you need to use Assault on 2 blue dice.
    • As a reminder, Assault works like this:
Assault triggers only when attacking ships, and it requires you to spend a die with a hit icon, meaning it will be removed from the pool and won't do damage. When it works, you assign the defending ship a raid token of your choice, which prohibits the ship in question from resolving a command of the same type.
To cut to the chase:the Mandalorian Gauntlet Fighter is really bad. The problem is it's a considerable number of points for a squadron that's mediocre to poor in most regards except it has Assault. Assault can be circumstantially useful but it's not too difficult to work around. You need to be able to apply raid tokens pretty consistently (after getting through a sacrificial command token) for the command debuffs to be more than an annoyance in most cases and your Gauntlet Fighter can get tied up by enemy squadrons fairly easily and be unable to free itself, thus relying on other squadrons to free it. At that point, if you're investing that heavily into getting the Gauntlet Fighter's trick to work and delivering it to enemy ships, you're probably much better off just using dedicated bombers to give enemy ships the best debuff: death. Of course, the Gauntlet Fighter is much better against no-squadron and some low-squadron fleets (just like all anti-ship Rogues), but you have no way of being certain of that matchup.

I also want to underline that using Assault frequently results in the Gauntlet Fighter dealing no damage at all to an enemy ship - as I noted earlier, 75% of the time you should be able to trigger Assault (25% of the time you'll roll no hits at all), but only 25% of the time will you roll two hits, so most of the time (50%) you'll need to sacrifice your single hit to trigger Assault, resulting in no actual damage. That's a fairly big give-up for a 20 point squadron to inflict command annoyance.

There's also the fact that the Gauntlet Fighter is outclassed by its ace version (we're covering him shortly) and the Slicer Tools Gozanti. At 30 points, the Slicer Tools Gozanti is a 10 point "upgrade" on a Mandalorian Gauntlet squadron that provides an activation, doesn't care too much about enemy fighter squadrons, and has a command debuff effect that (if in range) works immediately (rather than 75% of the time) and isn't countered by command tokens, doesn't consume any of your squadron points cap, and can do other things only ships do (command squads, get in the way, flak, etc.).

So... I can't say I recommend using the Mandalorian Gauntlet. If you really want to field one, you're better off with Gar Saxon, and its effect is so niche that running more than one in a standard game is prohibitively expensive and can substantially eat into your squadron points for what you get.

If he looks kind of cartoonish, it's because he's a cartoon.
Gar Saxon might just win the pretty competitive award for "best ace upgrade to the base squadron for a ridiculously low cost increase." For a mere 3 points more than a Gauntlet, he gets:
  • A single brace token, which is easy to lock down but can help a high-hull squadron survive a few more attacks over the course of a game.
  • An ability that pings enemy Intel or Relay squads when they activate at distance 1 of him for one damage.
    • Side note: this triggers on activation and is not an attack, so defense tokens don't reduce the damage but you might need to wait a little while for the damage to happen.
      • The damage triggers upon activation and activation is mandatory, so it's possible for an Intel or Relay squadron at 1 hull remaining to activate and wind up immediately dead.
      • Note this also doesn't require engagement, just distance 1, so keeping Gar hiding in an obstacle can be really obnoxious.
  • 2 blue anti-ship upgraded to blue+black anti-ship.
    • This improves Gar's chances of generating 1+ hits for Assault from 75% to 87.5%, and his chances of producing two hits from 25% to 37.5%, halving his chances of complete failure and improving his chances of "Assault and also a damage" by 50%.
Although I still find his anti-squadron capabilities poor for the cost, the anti-Intel and -Relay special ability can certainly have its uses (especially if Gar has Intel of his own or obstruction so he's not stuck there). The big benefits to Gar are his brace token and his superior anti-ship attack, which helps trigger Assault more consistently. Basically, if you're bringing a Mandalorian Gauntlet along, you're doing it for Assault, and Gar is just all-around better at that than the generic version, plus he has some other benefits. For 3 points, it's an easy decision.

Despite the glowing praise for how much better he is than a regular Mandalorian Gauntlet squadron, Gar Saxon still isn't great; he's just much better than one of the worst squadrons in the game. He has competition from a Slicer Tools Gozanti in much the same way a generic Mandalorian Gauntlet does and he takes up one of your precious ace squadron slots for an overpriced source of raid tokens. My advice is leave him in the box next to the regular Gauntlets and hope FFG lowers their points costs eventually.


  1. Personally, I think in larger point games these would prove more useful, especially with TIE advanced and bombers with them.

    1. Rogues in general are better as you get to bigger games and may not want to keep investing in regular squadrons and squadron commands, but I'm not really sold on Gauntlets in particular getting better than other Rogues. Firesprays and Decimators generally feel like better generic Rogues for games like that in my opinion.