Monday, June 7, 2021

Recusant Separatist Officers Added to the Separatist Officers article

Three newcomers to the Separatist Officers article, just in time for the Recusant article coming... hopefully soon. Also, I changed the upgrades index a bit: now the faction-specific upgrade articles are grouped together. So if you want to look at Rebel officers and Rebel-specific upgrades, they're under the "Rebels" header instead of one in the "officers" group and one in the "faction-specific upgrades" group.

"Yeah, just bring me an extra from Willow. Or maybe Dark Crystal? Look, just some Jim Henson-lookin' dude in a costume, okay?"

Passel Argente seems complex, but actually he's not: you put a command token on his card after you reveal your command dial so you can keep track of which commands his ship has revealed so far that game. Once you've caught all four command token Pokemon, you get an extra command dial of your choice from that point forward, right after you reveal your command dial. It should be noted that this is only for the commands revealed on his ship, not from resolving commands or receiving command tokens or revealing command dials on a commander like Trench. Just his ship. That's it.

Let's get straight to it: Pastel Anime should be completely powered up by round 4, giving you free command dials for the latter half of the game. That means that Personal Agamemnon's ship should be planning to slot in a command for each different command type on rounds 1-4, which will then trigger his effect on round 4. This can create a bit of a logjam for some ships if you aren't careful - ideally you want Puzzle Assessor's ship to actually get value from each of the four different commands it will be revealing, whether as a dial immediately or as a token eventually (if you choose to keep it as a token instead of using it as a dial). You also want to get maximum value from the free dials you get later. This usually means Pasta Argentina is best on large ships, preferably with some kind of command token backup (usually from a fleet support upgrade on a Hardcell) to help smooth out the early rounds.

Like most effects that give "free" command dials, Pizzazz Anansi is usually (but not always) best off giving free squadron dials for maximum impact. The trouble is ensuring that his ship, which is presumably set up to command squadrons, is actually contributing earlier in the game while still setting up the catch-4 game to get those free squadron dials rounds 4-6 (assuming you need squadrons all those turns, but you get the idea). It's probably best to set this up with a squadron dial on round 3, and the other three commands interspersed on rounds 1,2, and 4 (don't forget, you get a free squad dial round 4 once you've assembled Voltron). You'll need to take your time getting to the fight to ensure you're not regretting a non-squadron dial on round 2, though.

The last thing I'll say about Passive Arguer is you need to be extremely careful against effects that change your command dials, like Slicer Tools. Those types of effects can upend your entire plan and cause a huge amount of trouble as they can stop Pickle Arugula from triggering for the entire game when used at the right moment. If you were counting on him from round 4 on and suddenly he just... doesn't, you spent points to inconvenience yourself and quite possibly lose the game.

"What in the San Hill does this card even do?"

San Hill comes loaded with a bit more rules discussion than usual for a card you're unlikely to actually use:

  • He starts with the 2 squadron tokens that you spend to power his effect. It doesn't matter that they're squadron tokens, as they don't interact with squadron commands in any way and there's no way to recharge them. It's just thematic because his effect has some bearing on squadrons and Armada doesn't have a generic "power token" for these kinds of things.
  • He triggers at the start of the Squadron Phase. Even if you're player two, you need to make your decision on San Hill before your opponent starts activating squadrons during the Squadron Phase.
  • When you activate squadrons during the Squadron Phase, for each token you discarded, you may activate one additional squadron at close-long range of San Hill's ship. In most cases, this will allow you to activate a total of 3 (1 token discarded) or 4 (2 tokens discarded) squadrons.
    • The "regular" 2 squadrons you activate can be at any range of San Hill. The bonus activated squadrons have to be at close-long of him.
    • The activated squadrons are still Squadron Phase consolation prize activations of either moving or shooting. They don't otherwise do anything special or get any other benefit, like triggering AI.
    • If you replace your normal Squadron Phase activation using Hyperwave Signal Boost, resolve the HSB activated squadrons as usual (i.e. they benefit from AI) and then move on to the San Hill activated squadrons, who activate using his rules (i.e. they do not benefit from AI). In this way you can hypothetically activate up to 6 squadrons in a single Squadron Phase "turn" (4 from a ship with HSB, 2 from San Hill after that).

San Hill is designed along similar lines to Hyperwave Signal Boost: he's there to help you in the Squadron Phase when you can't activate a big pile of generic droid fighters in the Ship Phase through regular ol' squadron commands. His problem, unlike Hyperwave Signal Boost, is he doesn't trigger AI. So it's just as bad as waiting until the Squadron Phase like usual, only you get more of them up front (in best-case scenarios before they might otherwise be destroyed). If Squadron-Phase activating more squadrons than usual at a time might make a difference all on its own, he's worth considering. In most gameplay cases, most of the serious work happens in the Ship Phase and the Squadron Phase leftovers are a small consolation prize where not many will need to be activated anyways. Because they're not relying on AI, Belbullab-22 Starfighters are your best Squadron Phase activations but they're not really designed to be spammed where you'd have piles of them to activate with San Hill regardless.

If and when Separatists get Rogue squadrons, San Hill could become much better. At the moment, he's basically binder fodder. If you're making a fleet that wants piles of generics but doesn't want to command most of them, use Hyperwave Signal Boost instead.

Me trying to read a text-heavy meme a friend just sent me on my cell phone.

Shu Mai is the opposite of San Hill: a pretty good card that doesn't require a ton of rules discussion. Just remember to choose the two round numbers after fleets are deployed, those two round tokens can't be consecutive, and when it's time to go out for dumplings, you get to reroll up to any 3 dice you like while attacking a ship, which includes salvo attacks (she doesn't help against squadrons). Oh also, I don't know why she's named after Chinese dumplings. They're delicious, but it's a weird name.

Obviously you'll want Shu Mai on a ship rolling a lot of dice. At least 3, probably more, and especially those with more red and/or black dice, as they enjoy the rerolls the most. Red dice in particular are easiest to reliably get use from due to the long range, but she's happy with anything, basically. She'll also want to be on ships making multiple attacks if possible, which isn't a big ask for Separatists, who are double-arcing: the faction. This makes her a large ship officer for the most part (although the odd Munificent doesn't mind a little help if you've got the spare points). Under usual circumstances, I'd recommend rounds 3 and 5 for her, but if you're speedy and aggressive, 2 and 4 can work just fine too. It'll depend on how well you can read the board and estimate when big fights will happen.

There's not much else to say about her, really: she's great on an aggressive large ship. Just try to get the timing right and have a blast.

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