My article starts with his two distinctive flavours. He comes in as a pilot for both the Imperial faction and Scum. I'm only going to sink my teeth into the Imperial version for now as I can't find anything I like to be his wingman in a Scum list currently. To summarise the Scum version however it is leaps and bounds ahead of the Imperial version for two solid reasons. The pilot ability just fits so much better and secondly the addition of an illicit slot upgrade provides some real flavour with the likes of inertial dampeners being a favourite. Now before that puts a shadow on the rest of the article lets move on!
At pilot skill 8 he's certainly one of the higher natural pilots in the Imperial fleet only outclassed by Vader and Fel. This high pilot skill directly relates to his pilot ability. Its a very under-rated and often overlooked ability simply because the Scum version overshadows it however it does have and deserve merit. Moving in the latter part of the Activation phase allows you to have a better grasp of the enemy plan and also some good predictions in terms of the upcoming combat phase.
I find that Boba Fett's ability increases in value as more rounds tick by. Early game it seldom applies purely because in one way or another both forces are approaching one another and there isn't any need for re-directions.
In a traditional dogfight two opponents joust, turn and repeat. What I sincerely love about the Firespray is its ability to joust, ignore the need for a K-turn and continue to harass the enemy or simply switch targets thank to its rear arc. A normal ship in X-wing's arc covers 25% of its base so when that effect is doubled it positions the Firespray uniquely in between the normal forward arc ships and just behind 360 degree arc ships in terms of shooting arcs.
It takes practice and patience to fly the Firespray well however once again thanks to Boba Fett's ability this can mean the difference between having nothing to assault and with a turn of the dial you've got multiple targets all looking the wrong way. Obviously this is an extreme example and demonstrates the potential in a perfect world but also its not unheard of.
At a combined weight of 10 hit points in the form of 6 hull and 4 shields I don't believe the Firespray is as 'tanky' and hard as most people believe. With an agility value of 2 (highest in the Imperial fleet for large ships and second to the Aggressor in game) it will sometimes surprise you and evade a few hits but don't count on it. Like anything in this game if you keep throwing red dice at something it will go away eventually and this is no different and we all know green dice are the true enemy.
Boba Fett's actions including focus, target lock and evade allowing some utility in different stages of the game and again this boils down to what elite pilot talent you've chosen but also a major consideration as always is what in his wing person or people.
One example includes the initial joust scenario against ships with 2 red dice or less, either evade to preserve shields or target lock and have confidence on a 3rd green dice for the range 3 bonus.
Elite Pilot Talents
Apply Predator and there is really no need for a target lock unless you're carrying missiles/torpedoes or Colonel Vessery is helping out.
Veteran Instincts seems to be a very valuable elite pilot talent boosting Boba Fett to a formidable pilot skill 10 making him that much more dangerous with his even later manoeuvres but I really feel this hurts the ship in regards to damage output.
I've been using this exclusively for several games now and although having the power to move last and generally line up a superior position with a combination of pilot ability as well as an engine upgrade I always get a pang of regret when my attacks account for little or nothing.
Now this isn't an attempt to get onto the topic of dice averages, however I am starting to prefer the power of variance over pilot skill and I think the Firespray is a cut and dry case of why this is so.
Outmanoeuvre I mention because it works from both the forward and rear arc however I do re-collect seeing a mathematical equation proving something along the lines that Predator is better on a 3 attack dice ship than outmanoeuvre.
Ruthlessness gets a mention simply because it's one of my favourite cards and seems to capture the Imperial disregard to casualties perfectly but also because I think from a theme point of view suits the bounty hunter as well. I could see this being a great card when combined with a secondary weapon that won't do much damage such as a tractor beam or ion cannon just to get a bit of splash damage.
Perhaps the second most important upgrade for the Firespray is the crew member card and just like the above mentioned elite pilot talents plays a direct path to what role Boba Fett will take on the battlefield.
Mara Jade on the other hand is for the up close and personal encounters dishing out multiple stress tokens to non stressed ships within range 1. I've never used it as I'm not confident enough of getting into range 1 every single time against enemy ships but it could certainly prove to be powerful in the right hands and would be great for taking on jousting vessels preventing them from K-turning and following due to being stressed.
Weapons Engineer I can see being an asset if you're running a heavy ordnance build ensuring you've got multiple targets to launch at but can also serve well if you've paired with Colonel Vessery in a TIE Defender to feed off your target locks.
Ysanne Isard I tried a few times to use her to mitigate some damage but it was unsuccessful but this shouldn't immediately discount the card and it's certainly worth some more play testing. Having a free evade token onto Boba Fett increases his survivability a little but my argument is it's never a sure thing as it might help you survive one round or it could help you win the game so it's a tricky one. It's also a problem if the ship is stressed then it prevents the free action from taking place and also remember it only kicks in once the Firespray takes a damage card so in this instance it will have 5 hull points remaining.
At first I was a big fan of Agent Kallus however after a few games I soon concluded that I'd probably rather Lone Wolf backed up with Recon Specialist purely because it effects every ship and the entire length of the game. I've always found as well that I'm normally outnumbered when flying Boba Fett so to stack the odds heavily in my favour against a single ship when for a few extra points I can get the above combination it just seems so much more worthwhile.
As I've written this article it seems the value of Recon Specialist increases. As mentioned earlier when combined with Lone Wolf you can be sure you're giving yourself a better opportunity at turning a blank dice from attacking and defending into either a hit or evade or better yet a focus result which can then be changed. In a perfect world you'd focus every turn and never be bumped and would easily re-roll your way to victory.
Navigator or 'Fettigator' as it is commonly known really takes Boba Fett's already cool pilot ability and turns it up a notch. At first glance is can get a little confusing however if you clarify the terminology then it becomes a simple issue and has an FAQ about it. The owning player decides in what order to activate abilities such as this so for example you could reveal a 3 bank manoeuvre (left or right it doesn't matter) decide against it and either decide to turn it to the opposite direction (using Fett's ability) and then use Navigator to turn the 3 speed bank into a 1-2 bank instead. It's even handy to use if a bunch of ships anticipate your movements and fly into blocking positions and can be used to increase/decrease speeds for straight manoeuvres as well. With manoeuvres winning games of X-wing I'm surprised not to see this more but I think it comes down to the age old problem with Boba Fett and that is he get's expensive very quickly and his returns often don't match the investment.
I also think if the Firespray isn't using one of the actions listed on it's action bar then it's putting itself at a disadvantage from an offense based point of view but of course the other side of the coin has Boba Fett using engine upgrade to boost out of arc but still get shots on target which could be argued has far more value which I understand.
Guidance Chips are an interesting consideration if taking ordnance on Boba Fett. This suddenly brings some interesting combinations to light turning a blank to a critical hit. If you roll anything like me and combine it with Lone Wolf and meet the parameters you can re-roll a blank, take a recon specialist to change any of the focus results to hits and just in case (like me..) you ever double you're dice rolling ability ensure you're launching a concussion missile to switch another blank result out to a hit. Of course this is a heavily loaded ship and it becomes even more of a target the more points you invest into it and of course we as players expect the if not more of a return from our hard earned squad points but at least it's another option available and it's a zero point upgrade.
I'll mention Long Range Scanners even though it's not out as yet but I can see it paired with Weapons Engineer for a first round opening action. Once again Vessery deserves a mention here and I think with the cards disadvantage that perhaps Fett is well equipped to get beyond range 3 to lock onto more targets should the need arise and of course it's another zero point upgrade.
Ion Cannon is a simple control tool that has its uses but I think perhaps it can be put onto a cheaper platform (such as a Defender) or you can use an Ion Bomb for the same effect.
Proton bombs and seismic charges when combined with Boba's high pilot skill work extremely well and can deal a critical in the former version or just knock off a shield allowing your rear arc fire to hopefully finish the job.
Proximity mines I mention because I love them but also because when it comes time for enemy ships to start pursuing Boba Fett you've got an obstacle to drop into their path that they don't want to hit. Pick somewhere already lined with asteroids for example and gives you a few turns of breathing space to pick another angle of attack.
When I field Boba Fett I often find the squad list turns into a two ship list and with the spare points I will pour into some missiles of some description. I've used Concussion and Homing missiles all to good effect and I think it purely comes down to what points you have left. They're great for the alpha strike but after that become less valuable simply because there isn't a great urgency to K-turn with a Firespray unless you are armed with missiles/cannons/torpedoes.
I actually think that the Scum Boba Fett is geared heavily towards being in the thick of combat to make full use of the pilot ability. In contrast the Imperial Boba fett versions only bonus at range 1 is the extra combat dice. For this reason I actually consider Imperial Fett to be superior sitting at range 3 trying to use the pilot ability to keep him at this range band for the maximum duration of the game. This allows you to hold onto that third evade dice and when combined with some combos (Lone Wolf + Recon Specialist) makes for a cheap (for an Imp Boba Fett build....) Firespray which should be capable of hanging around and frustrating your opponent.
The Firespray is certainly a ship that requires some talent to fly and with Boba's pilot ability perhaps a good sense of reading the battlefield really helps out. Please try him out in your lists, give him a try and please comment with your progress as I would love to hear what other gamers are pairing him with.
Thanks for reading.