Duncan Howard - 2016 X-Wing Top 4
Of course, the real skill with the shuttle is knowing when to commit. It can be used to joust with the opponent and attempt to utilise its 3 red dice for at least two turns of fire before having to attempt the slow turn around to re-engage. By that point, however, it's probably already dead, or the opponent's pilots are sitting on its slow tail eating away. Alternatively, it can be deployed to ensure the enemy has to give chase, allowing a few turns of cat and mouse hoping the 'aces' will inflict some much-needed damage. All the while placing target locks on anything Vessery will be going after.
Sensor Jammer, of course, is a welcome addition to the shuttle. By turning one of the attacker's hits to a focus, it really forces them to spend it in order to dish out the heavy damage. The great thing about this card as well: it isn't a 'once per round' effect, but rather 'when defending'. Combined with Palpatine's dice modification skill, it can be rather tanky. But let's be honest, you really want to be using it for critical hits.
Juke is a wonderful elite pilot talent for Omega Leader. Increasing his dice variance by tinkering with the opponent's green dice results always hurts. With Comm Relay, you can be sure that the very first turn action will indeed be an evade. From there on, its primary goal is to get a target lock onto something dangerous for the glorious TIE Defender wingman to hunt down.
Now add Palpatine into the mix and even more devastation follows.
Whilst Omega Leader and the shuttle are spreading target locks around, Vessery directly benefits, increasing his accuracy and ensuring consistent damage. From a defensive point of view, 3 green dice and an evade token, further with Palpatine's dark glances, you can be assured the dear Colonel means business regardless if he's attacking or defending.
Finally, the Twin Ion Engine Mk.II is a fantastic tool to shed any stress tokens, but it also opens up the Defender dial a little more. Before the Imperial Veterans expansion, you'd be hesitant to perform a red 1-turn or 2-turn for example; but with the engine, these problems are all but gone, allowing the next manoeuvre to be a stress-shedding one. The great thing about Vessery is that he can still inflict serious amounts of damage and modify dice even when he does carry a stress token.
So there you have it, the third Top 4 list I've reviewed and all with very different mechanics. So far, each faction has been represented. 'Palp Aces' seems to not only be extremely popular, but steadfast as well. If anything, it continues to evolve while Fantasy Flight drops expansion after expansion.
How would you combat this squad? Sink everything into removing the shuttle? Corner an Ace and hope for the best? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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