Thursday, August 15, 2019

Imperial Rogues & Villains aces from Rebellion in the Rim

Churning on along and it's time for the new Imperial aces for Rogues and Villains squadrons introduced in Rebellion in the Rim. They've been added to their squadrons' base articles. On a side note, I've rearranged the order of squadrons in the squadrons index to be alphabetical so they're easier to find (previously they were in order of release).

Friend to all! But mostly the Empire. Hondo's gotta stack that paper, yo.
For +6 points (a 33% increase) over a normal Firespray, Hondo gains:
  • 1 more blue die on his anti-squad attacks.
  • 2 brace tokens.
  • Grit.
  • His special ability.
  • The inability to take Hondo as an officer as well as the inability to bring Boba Fett - Hondo can't be in two places at once and neither can Slave I.
Let's talk a bit about his special ability. It's actually pretty flexible and has some caveats:
  • This ability only works during Hondo's activation. You can't sneak in an extra use through Jendon, for example.
  • This ability works on any squadron, including your own. You probably don't want to toggle your own squadrons, but you might want to use Hondo's ability to move them.
  • Speaking of that ability, going after already-activated squadrons lets you pick them up and drop them at distance 1 of Hondo like a quasi-Strategic effect for squadrons. This kind of repositioning has a lot of uses on both friends and foes. Save your buddies that are getting ganged up on or push enemy squads out of position, whatever makes you happy.
    • It should be noted that neither of Hondo's "instead of attacking" ability uses are actually attacks, so Counter and Escort and the like don't do anything to stop him.
In short, Hondo's a pretty good. He's got that standard Armada "ace upgrades to squadrons are probably stupid undercosted" thing going on plus a neat ability. Worst case if you hit no-squads, he's a Firespray with two brace tokens. Not bad.

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 dice 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. Throw in some Intel and now you're cooking with gas and you've got the core of an Imperial Strategic fleet.

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, a source of Intel, 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, a source of Intel, 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.

"Who taught an assassin droid how to do the Death Blossom?"
For the same +5 points as the other IG-88, IG-88B gains:
  • +2 speed (which is nuts, by the way).
  • Scatter defense token.
  • Swaps out 2 black blue dice anti-squad for 2 black dice
  • Death Blossom special attack.
  • A slightly different name for both the pilot and ship compared to the original IG-88, so you can run them together if you want.
Let's talk about the Death Blossom:
  • You can only do the Death Blossom attack at the start of the Squadron Phase and only if IG-88B hasn't activated yet.
    • This does not count as a squadron activation (against your 2 in the Squadron Phase before passing it back to your opponent), it's simply a special attack that happens and then activates your squadron.
  • Because the attack is obstructed by default, it's probably best to park IG-88B in an obstacle if you can because additional obstruction doesn't make a difference.
  • The Death Blossom is fairly telegraphed given IG-88B has no means of moving prior to doing the attack (some exceptions with effects like Fighter Coordination Team and Squall but those need to be set up just right), making it difficult to pull off.
    • You can always drop him off at the end of a ship maneuver using Rapid Launch Bays and a Flight Commander for a fairly well-positioned Death Blossom but you run the risk of getting him killed early or accidentally overlapping and distributing the squadrons, etc. Just be careful.
    • Once he's activated, you can always use Firespray Hondo to push him into a squad ball for next turn. Be careful about getting him killed by doing this, though.
    • It generally helps if he's got an Escort or two to hide behind.
  • Generally I'd recommend giving up a blue die from obstruction against generics and brace aces and dropping the black die against scatter aces.
So all that said, the Death Blossom isn't that easy to pull off but bears mentioning because if you can do it, it's pretty sweet. Keep Woldar nearby for that extra oomph. That said, though, IG-88B is worth considering because he's effectively a Counter 1 Rogue TIE Defender with one less hull, a scatter token, and Death Blossom for +5 points. That's not bad at all.

Immortal Rastafarian Muppet Cyborg Bounty Hunter Evil Frisbee Pilot, at your service.
For +5 points (42% more) over a Jumpmaster, Tel gains:
  • Grit.
  • Rogue.
  • A brace and scatter token.
  • Gains one blue die against squads at the cost of Swarm.
  • Loses Intel entirely.
  • Sometimes he's an Escort when he's not feeling tired.
  • The mixed blessing of immortality.
Let's talk about Tel's two special rules:
  • Fairweather Escort:
    • So long as he's got a green defense token, Tel is an Escort.
      • This is checked for prior to each individual attack, squadrons attacking twice with Yavaris may find he's an Escort on their first attack but politely gets out of their way on the second.
    • This can make his defense token spending, especially with his immortality special rule, rather tricky. You don't want to make him too tired to be a meat shield too quickly but you also don't want to be caught vulnerable and get Tel's head chopped off so his Highlander powers don't kick in. 
  • Immortality:
    • Destroyed squadrons don't go below 0 hull, so if this kicks in when he's destroyed, it will restore him to 3 hull points. Otherwise, he'll go back up to maximum.
    • This only happens if you discard a defense token while defending. For most purposes, that means spending an exhausted defense token (although Intel Officer flak can trigger this too if your opponent is trying to help you out for some reason).
      • If you spend a readied (green) defense token but get destroyed, Tel is out of luck.
      • If you can't spend defense tokens due to accuracy results and get destroyed, Tel is out of luck.
      • If you are destroyed by damage not due to an attack (like from Mauler Mithel or Soontir Fel or taking a Wide-Area Barrage crit), Tel is out of luck.
      • Note that there's nothing stopping you from spending defense tokens that do nothing. If Tel is at 1 hull and gets attacked for 1 damage, you can spend an exhausted brace token which doesn't change the damage total at all to trigger his Phoenix Protocol and return him to life. If Tel is at 1 hull and gets flakked but no hit icons come up, you can still spend and discard his exhausted scatter to restore him to 4 hull. Keep an eye out for opportunities to do things like this if your opponent gives them to you.
    • If you're desperate to ensure Tel is safe and sound, there's nothing stopping you from spending both a brace and scatter against an earlier attack (even though the brace will do nothing) so you'll have two exhausted defense tokens to spend against future attacks, making accuracy shut-downs less likely.
Tel is good as a cheap fast scatter kind-of-Escort and he's good as an annoying-to-kill squadron but he's not generally good at both of those things at once. Good use of Tel requires sacrificing one role to do better at the other, and if you play him just right, maybe being able to do both over the course of the game. It's important to note that Tel himself is slightly worse than a TIE Fighter against squads and ships (he has 3 blue dice but lacks Swarm against squadrons and is equivalent at a higher price point against ships), so it's up to you to position him somewhere that forces your opponent to have to deal with him. Otherwise, he's pretty comfortably ignored, especially when he's made Heavy due to Intel. All that said, he's a fun ace squadron for a very cheap price and when used well can be very effective, just don't think he can do everything all at once.


  1. Hi.
    Are you sure you cant have Hondo and Bobba? Slave-1 ship name doesnt have the "unique dot", only Hondo and Bobba.

    1. I'm certain. There's a blurb about it in the RitR rulebook.

  2. Thank you for all the articles!

    1. You're welcome! I've still got an SSD and SSD commander articles to do, plus tons of upkeep of older articles, so I'm not done quite yet. That said, the pace will be slowing down.