My first post covered general gripes about the post-FAQ meta. Now I want to elaborate on a specific phenomenon I observed at PAX that could define Regionals season: easy stress control—i.e. that which comes at little cost to the player employing it.

In the old days (I’m told), one had to invest 26 points in a “stresshog” Y-Wing that couldn’t turn around, take actions, or shoot out of arc. And it was worth it just to maybe stop Soontir’s token stack.

Now an already strong Auzituck Gunship can take Tactician for just two more points in a crew slot that might otherwise be left vacant. Granted, there’s a reason the Wookiees take Tactician—in a world in which everyone is stressed, the 2-turn becomes the best move. But those Auzituck lists are not hunting their own Soontir. They’re wantonly stressing out opponents because it’s easy for them. The weird furry freaks…I think they enjoy it. 

Asajj is the same deal: Her pilot ability and its interaction with Latts Razzi crew has made her the top of the post-Nym scum roster. The fact that she stresses out ships is almost incidental. She’s just there for the free evade. But that doesn’t mean she’s not still hell against pilots and upgrades that dread the little red triangle.

So now we’ve got a meta in which several of the best lists feature stress control not as a reaction to another top dog but as their weapon of choice.

More bad news: Wave 12/13 will only make it worse. The Rebel faction gets R3-A2 and Tactician on a ship with a rear arc for 19 points total, plus a big-base turret that can hurl thermal detonators a foot up the board. The new scum ship features a title that stresses. And “XG-1 Assault Configuration” may actually have people running Flechette Cannon.

All that being said, here are some upgrade cards I’m giving a second look these days when list-building:

  • Dengar
  • Ezra Bridger
  • Glitterstim
  • Gyroscopic Targeting
  • Kyle Katarn
  • Linked Battery (coming soon!)
  • Lone Wolf
  • Predator
  • Rey [Insert last name in one month]

Most of these upgrades are pretty obvious—I hope I don’t have to sell you on Dengar—so I’m not going to go down the list and explain them. But they’re starting to win out over otherwise better cards in my head. For instance, take this popular list:

Dengar — JumpMaster 5000 33
Expertise 4
K4 Security Droid 3
Scavenger Crane 2
Countermeasures 3
Punishing One 12
Ship Total: 57
Asajj Ventress — Lancer-class Pursuit Craft 37
Push the Limit 3
Latts Razzi 2
Rigged Cargo Chute 1
Ship Total: 43

Against three Tactician wookiees, wouldn’t I be better suited with something like this?

Dengar — JumpMaster 5000 33
Lone Wolf 2
K4 Security Droid 3
Scavenger Crane 2
Countermeasures 3
Punishing One 12
Ship Total: 55
Asajj Ventress — Lancer-class Pursuit Craft 37
Predator 3
Latts Razzi 2
Rigged Cargo Chute 1
Gyroscopic Targeting 2
Ship Total: 45

Or, even crazier…

Dengar — JumpMaster 5000 33
Predator 3
4-LOM 1
Ion Dischargers 2
Countermeasures 3
Punishing One 12
Ship Total: 54
Asajj Ventress — Lancer-class Pursuit Craft 37
Predator 3
Latts Razzi 2
Glitterstim 2
Gyroscopic Targeting 2
Ship Total: 46

Generally, I’m not a fan of building my list with someone else’s in mind. But having an elite pilot talent that gives me re-rolls even when I can’t take an action really takes some of the stre—uh, tension out of game.

Another option, of course, is to fight fire with fire. Asajj and the Auzitucks, ironically, depend on their actions. Time for Chopper-pilot Ghost with the Phantom II docked? That’ll have to wait for my next post, when I discuss the ship I’m most looking forward to in Wave 12! (Actually, it’s the bomber.)

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