Friday, December 4, 2020

Separatist squadron review: Hyena-class Droid Bombers

Separatist squads sure are good at shooting other squads, but where's the anti-ship boom? Here. Here's the anti-ship boom.

There's a Star Wars bad guy bomber thing where they bring their bombs to battles in baby bjorns.

Look at those sweet grav tanks you'll never play with unless you also buy Legion, now available wherever Star Wars minis are sold.

Hyena-class Droid Bombers are similar to other Separatist squadrons (and the original Imperial squadrons they're roughly based on) in that they're specialists. Hyenas want to bomb ships and... that's it. It's got speed 4 working in its favor but at a low 4 hull for 11 points, Hyenas don't much like receiving attention from the enemy. With 2 blue anti-squad dice it's also not going to put up much of a fight if it gets stuck in a dogfight either. A single red Bomber die makes it as good as an X-Wing against ships, which is to say: not terrible but not great either. That changes when you issue it a squadron command, which triggers AI Battery and doubles its offensive power against ships, bringing it up to 2 red Bomber dice for an average of 1.5 damage, better than a single black die bomber.

You'll want to bring some tools along to help your Hyenas do their job:

  • Given red dice are fickle in general, it's nearly-essential to bring a Bomber Command Center along, as you'll want the reroll to keep those dice consistent. With a BCC reroll, your two red Bomber dice go from 1.5 average damage and a 14% chance of doing nothing (all blanks and/or accuracies) to 1.96 average damage and a 5% chance of doing nothing. Much better.
  • Hyenas really don't like getting stuck in a dogfight but Separatists lack Escort to keep them safe. Your best bet is including DFS-311 to hand out Grit through Intel. You'll still need capable fighters to destroy enemies engaged with your Hyenas, but it's much easier leaving a furball at "one or fewer enemies engaging you" than it is "none at all."
    • I'm gonna reiterate that you need some anti-squad muscle because those Hyenas are not going to get out by themselves when enemy fighters come calling.
Like every AI squad, Hyenas are hungry for regular helpings of squadron commands and there's a stark difference in their performance when they get commanded versus when they don't. Otherwise, they're a very cost-effective bomber provided they've got adequate support, but they really need to be carefully shepherded to enemy ships or else their fragility does them in prematurely.


Baktoid Prototypes sure are... a Hyena bomber ace all right. The special rule is likely to come into play under fairly niche circumstances, such as:

  • You're attacking a flotilla.
  • You're attacking a ship and really don't want it to redirect (you've got two damage or a crit on your other die).
  • Only one of your red dice has damage on it anyways, so you might as well.

Not exactly high praise, I'm afraid. That said, Baktoid Prototypes are still a great Hyena Bomber squadron because they're +5 points for a brace and scatter token, substantially increasing the Bomber's lifespan through that alone. The special rule isn't great, but 5 points for great defense tokens and a special rule that sometimes comes in handy is still pretty good.

404 error: the dodge you requested not found.

DBS-404 is another good Hyena Bomber ace if only because of its defense tokens. I feel as though I can't emphasize enough how much more durable otherwise-squishy 4 hull is when you add a brace and scatter token to it. That's not to say its special rule is bad; it's just circumstantial, similar to the Baktoid Prototypes. Let's talk about the special rule:

  • "If you are touching the defender" is regrettably imprecise language that's likely going to result in some arguments. The intention seems to be if you are in base to base contact. Figuring out whether that's actually possible when you're trying to land in cramped quarters may be difficult.
  • The special rule happens during the Resolve Attack Effects step, meaning you can use other effects that happen during that window first. Specifically, I'm thinking of using Bomber Command Center to reroll a blank red die before deciding if you want to take damage to add another.
  • The special rule can add an attack die against squadrons or ships.
  • Reminder that suffering damage outside of an attack against you does not allow for defense token spending to avoid it. So you can't scatter the damage you deal to yourself.

The self-damage 404 error ability should be considered very carefully. As I keep mentioning, 4 hull is a bit flimsy, especially for bombers. You should really need that extra die if you're going to help your opponent kill your bomber ace. That doesn't mean such circumstances won't present themselves, but you definitely should consider this ability carefully before triggering it. You can, of course, be a bit more aggressive with it if you can manage to keep DBS-404 happily flying about bombing enemy ships near the space station while it keeps healing.

In short, I'd probably recommend going for the Baktoid Prototypes first but if you find yourself wanting more Hyena Bombers with defense tokens, DBS-404 is still a decent choice. Just be careful with that special ability.

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