Wednesday, 30 November 2016

"The Girl I've Heard So Much About" - Introducing 'Super Miranda'

I had my introduction for this article scuppered by a rare black hole in the lore of the Star Wars Universe, which can usually be relied upon to supply any number of inane facts about even the most obscure of bit part characters.  For instance: did you know that "Hobbie" Klivian was a classmate of Wedge Antilles in the Imperial Academy?  That the elite Z-95 pilot N'Dru Suhlak was trained by Porkins and Wes Janson?  That Soontir Fel married Wedge's sister then joined the Alliance, then rejoined the Empire, then created his own Empire... yadda yadda yadda.

There might be the fate of an entire galaxy at stake in the Star Wars universe, but you'd never know from the way that virtually every character we meet is either related to, or a friend of, everybody else - you wouldn't need Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon to get from Carnor Jax to Breylann Stramm!
Just to prove this to myself I did the trail... it turns out you only need five degrees of separation.  Carnor Jax served as a Royal Guard to Emperor Palpatine, who was the Sith master of Anakin Skywalker, who was the father of Princess Leia Organa, who was stationed at Echo Base on Hoth with Adon Fox, who led Blade Squadron with Breylan Stramm as his #2.  Easy!

So anyway, somewhere in this interwoven web of relationships with everyone getting all up in each other's business there turns out to be a complete black hole of information about Miranda Doni.  All that the all-knowing font of wisdom Wookiepedia seems to have on Miranda is a description of the art from her X-Wing pilot card - she flies a K-Wing, at some point she flew that K-Wing over a forest, and she destroyed a TIE Fighter that was following her. That's your lot!

Which is a shame, not just because it forced me to ad-lib this opening to my blog about not having an opening to my blog, but because she's probably the single most important pilot in the Rebellion right now.

Help Us, Miranda Doni, You're Our Only Hope

Miranda Doni has been a stalwart choice for Rebel pilots ever since Wave 7 debuted the K-Wing but at the recent World Championships she emerged in a new and more powerful form, heavily loaded with ordnance.  No longer content to just sit on the sidelines and chip away with her Twin Laser Turret, the Miranda Doni that Kevin Leintz flew to the final of the World Championships was ready to take centre stage and carry the whole galaxy on her shoulders.

Teaming up for some 'girl power' with Sabine Wren this is Miranda costing a hefty 52 points and loaded for war, and it's the version that took Kevin to success at Worlds and also, coincidentally, ended my run in the Top 16 of a Regionals Championship last weekend.  I can't lay claim to this great bit of analysis, but a commentor on Reddit asked the question why Dash Rendar isn't being played very much at the moment and a fellow Redditor, Maert, suggested that it's because Miranda is competing for the same space in Rebel player's lists and that she's better at it.  I think that's pretty much right.

So has 'Super Dash' been usurped by 'Super Miranda'?

Although Dash Rendar's movement abilities are extremely powerful his attack patterns are actually quite predictable and one-dimensional.  He's always going to look to stay at long range, try and get behind you, hide behind rocks, run from a fight.  Although this makes him a formidable foe it's also his undoing against better pilots, and because his build is so specific once you learn how to beat Dash you're going to be able to do it time and time again.

Miranda Doni, on the other hand, threatens in so many different ways that she presents a much more difficult problem to unpick.  Yes, she can stay at range and pick away with her Twin Laser Turret, much the way Dash does. and yes she can duck and run for cover with her Advanced SLAM action much the way Dash can barrel roll and boost through asteroids.  But that's far from the only trick up Miranda's sleeve, as she can launch devastating four & five dice Homing Missile attacks at anyone caught in her front arc, or drop her Ion Bombs and Connor Nets in dozens of potential locations each turn thanks to the Advanced SLAM upgrade.

The example shows how flexible Miranda's bombing runs are.  Here she drops her Connor Net in front of Soontir Fel after performing a SLAM, but she could just have easily dropped an Ion bomb behind her initial start point, or a Connor Net behind her after that first maneuver had been completed.
Connor Nets and Ion Bombs help Miranda to control her enemies as well as damage them, with Ion tokens making their next moves predictable.  This is part of the reason why she's been played so successfully with Corran Horn as her wingman, setting up ionised targets for Corran to sweep in pummel with his 'double tap' ability.  They're also a huge reason why Miranda Doni has become popular here and now, at this moment of TIE Defender resurgence thanks to their /x7 title, because Miranda loves to hunt Defender pilots down.  Not only do the bombs provide a way of ensuring you deal damage to the TIE Defender through all their defences, but an ionised TIE Defender drifts forwards helplessly instead of K-turning with abandon and supported by Evade tokens.  The anti-Defender loadout doesn't stop there, either, with Homing Missiles removing the Defender's ability to use that Evade token and are especially dangerous when Miranda Doni is firing them as she can spend a shield token to hurl an extra dice in her attack.

So, unlike Dash Rendar, Miranda is as much (or more) of a threat when you engage her head-on as she is when she's ducking and diving with her turret at the edge of range 3, and though her Twin Laser Turret has a 'dead zone' at range one like Dash's Heavy Laser Cannon does it's covered by Miranda's primary turret weapon.  And whichever way she chooses to fight you she can either thread her way through your forces dropping bombs as she goes, or leave them in her wake as you try to chase her down.

Oh, and did I mention she regenerates her shields to outlast Dash Rendar into the endgame?  Yeah, she does that too.

The Girl You Love To Hate

This 'Super Miranda', if you want to coin that phrase, is a formidable opponent - one that summarily despatched me from the Regional Championships - but she's an opponent I find hard to hate.

Look at the things that make her great and it's a checklist of game mechanics that were underutilised and people were crying out to use.  Not just Missiles & Torpedoes outside of Contracted Scouts, but Bombs... BOMBS, for crying out loud!  And not just any bombs, but ION bombs - Miranda is actively using Ion tokens to control the board and defeat opponents!

Ion Bombs came second at Worlds.  How bonkers is that?!?

Looking back even a short period of time and this whole scenario seemed utterly implausible.  Miranda and her fellow regenerating Rebels were driven out of the metagame by Contracted Scouts but since they've left and TIE Defenders have surged into the metagame it took somebody like Miranda Doni and the spacious bomb bays of her K-Wing to rise to the challenge of punching through the Empire's new high-tech terrors.
"We're the heavy hitters. When you need a command bridge leveled or a convoy of tanks wiped out, the K-wings get the call." - Miranda Doni
While I've come to loathe playing against 'Super Dash' I can't really complain about 'Super Miranda'.  Something about Dash always felt a bit cheap, as he leaned on the crutch of Push The Limit and that extra power of the geometry of repositioning with a large base ship.  It always felt like you were fighting an uphill battle against his abuse of game mechanics, and as he steadfastly refused to stand up and fight the games against Dash were always hard work as you tried to corral him into a corner.  Win or lose I've rarely (ever?) enjoyed a game against Dash and he's probably the one pilot I hate to see across the table more than any other.

Miranda, by contrast, with her huge range of potential attack vectors, makes for a much more interesting opponent.  She has so many options at her disposal that 'Super Miranda' is something of a pilot's pilot, I feel, really rewarding skillful flying and demanding superb tactical awareness to use her to her fullest. 

Flying against Miranda Doni is also hugely skill-testing - every turn you're facing Miranda you have to plan around the many places she could go, the many areas of the board that she could drop her bombs.  By the time you've managed to work all that out you've then got to try and worry about actually getting shots on her, and did you forget that if you stumble in front of her she'll pummel you with missiles?  Did you plan far enough ahead to avoid your ship flying off the table when it got ionised?  (plot twist: I didn't and it cost me the game)

Han?  Rey?  Dash?  Luke?  Poe?   They may have the glory, the medals and the fame but in dark times for the Rebellion it's Miranda Doni who is guiding the way.  And while she continues to provide such interesting and skillful encounters then long may she reign!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Upgrade Spotlight - Hotshot Co-Pilot

I can't speak for anybody else, but so far I'm finding Heroes of the Resistance a major disappointment.  I was so excited for this pack and what it brought to the table for the Rebels, but the reality seems to be that it is falling short.  I think pretty much every group around the world will have put a version of Rey onto the table to test, but the feedback I'm getting is that she's generally not working out.  Alongside Rey we've got a very poor Chewbacca and an unusual new Han Solo that I think it will take a while for people to really work out.  In the T-70 corner there are some amazing pilot cards, but the rise of TIE Defenders in tournaments mean that even the new T-70 pilots are still a little outclassed in a dogfight.

So where a couple of months ago I thought we would be looking at A New Hope for the Rebllion in all-new Rey/Poe tournament winning squad, instead the Rebellion has turned out to be a variation on the old hope - Corran/Miranda.

Away from all the frantic testing around the new Rebel pilot cards in Heroes of the Resistance, though, something that I had initially ignored has caught my eye: I'm learning to really appreciate the Hotshot Co-Pilot.

What Hotshot Co-Pilot does is it forces your opponent to spend his Focus token against you at the first opportunity.  If you have a high Pilot Skill this means that you're likely to be firing first and thus removing his Focus in defense.  

It's a slightly confusing card, rules-wise, with players finding an array of niche cases of "but what if I do X do you have to spend a Focus then?" but in 99% of circumstances and situations the use if quite clear - when they come to their dice modification step they have to spend a Focus.  It doesn't matter if they've got any eyeball results on their dice on not, it doesn't even matter if they HAVE dice or not, the dice modification step gives an opportunity to spend Focus to turn all eyeball results into hits/evades so they have to spend it.  

The immediate advantages of this are not so clear, and certainly didn't seem worth 4pts to me, so I wasn't really looking at Hotshot Co-Pilot very closely.

EDIT: I missed this first time around, so you may have too - Hotshot Co-Pilot only triggers when you are attacking with a PRIMARY weapon.  So it's no good on TLT K-Wings or the like.

Hotshot Co-Pilot Wins The Day

The list that first made me pay attention to Hotshot Co-Pilot was the one played by Doug Howe to win the Regional in Omaha a couple of weeks ago, which featured a new spin on the classic pairing of Decimator and TIE Phantom.
  • Rear Admiral Chiraneau (Decimator) - Gunner, Hotshot Co-Pilot, Engine Upgrade, Veteran Instincts
  • Echo (TIE Phantom) - Agent Kallus, Fire-Control System, Advanced Cloaking Device, Veteran Instincts

Instead of the usual Chiraneau/Whisper we saw the less fashionable Echo behind the controls of the TIE Phantom, but most interesting to me was the use of Hotshot Co-Pilot in one of the Decimator's precious crew slots, in particular it seemed to be replacing the stalwart Decimator crew Rebel Captive.  I get the relationship between Gunner and Hotshot Co-Pilot: you fire once to burn their Focus token hoping that they'll avoid the damage, then fire again once the Focus token is gone and push for maximum damage against their depleted defences.  It's a good way of pushing more damage through but for a combined 9pts it felt far too expensive.  Replacing the defensive crew of Rebel Captive with Hotshot Co-Pilot to deal more damage seemed very reckless.

Then I had the 'mind blown' moment.  Hotshot Co-Pilot isn't just helping you push more damage through with Gunner, it's also damage prevention that effectively cancels 25% of incoming damage by ensuring people firing at you don't have a Focus token to spend on their attack!  In fact, when I ran the numbers, it turned out that removing a focus from your opponent before they attack is roughly as good as using C-3P0 crew to ensure you get an Evade result, and even better at range 1!

This cast Hotshot Co-Pilot in a different light - it's virtually a dual-threat upgrade that both helped you push damage through with Gunner but also contributed to your defense.  

The second 'epiphany' moment came when I realised that Gunner gave you the option to fire at a second target and remove Focus from that as well!  The twin upgrades of Gunner & Hotshot Co-Pilot combine to provide either extra damage (by hitting the same target twice) or maximise defenses (by stripping Focus from two different opponents), as the situation demands.  What was more, you didn't have to save that defensive bonus for shot coming into the Decimator, you could use Hotshot Co-Pilot almost like a shield to protect other ships in your list!  To use the above squad in the example if Echo found himself in a bad spot then Chiraneau could provide suppressing fire onto two ships that would be about to unload on the Phantom, helping to keep him alive. 

Compared to the C-3PO that players are happy to pay 3pts for on the Millenium Falcon the defensive benefit of Hotshot Co-Pilot could be significantly more, and it can be thrown out to cover your other ships!

Hotshot Han

This list I'm trying out brings me back full circle to where I started the blog, because after Rey has proven a disappointment I wanted to give the new 'old' Han Solo pilot ability a run out (partially inspired by the success of Jack Mooney's Han/Jake list at the World Championships).  

I think this Han Solo pilot ability is potentially extremely powerful, but I also think that it will take players some time to really figure it out.  Every time you bring Han Solo to the table your opponent has to worry about where you're going to set up, and will likely to have to change away from their usual plan.  Getting 'turn 0' wrong by deploying your ships or asteroids in the wrong place can be almost impossible to correct once the game is underway, and Han Solo gives your opponent the opportunity to screw up their deployment whether you ultimately decided to deploy Han right across the table or not!  I wanted to experiment with that, but also give Hotshot Co-Pilot a runout at the same time.
  • Han Solo (HotR) - Lone Wolf, Hotshot Co-Pilot, Luke Skywalker, Millenium Falcon (Evade), Engine Upgrade (64)
  • Poe Dameron (Core) - Adaptability, R5-P9, Autothrusters (36)

Trying to field the fattest possible Han Solo meant scraping the barrel to fit Poe Dameron in as cheaply as I could but it just about worked.  The reason I went for Poe as a partner is twofold:
  1. If Han is going to deploy across the table he will need backup that can get to him quickly - with a 4 straight and a Boost action Poe fits the bill for this.
  2. It was a good test of Hotshot Co-Pilot's 'shielding' effect.  Poe Dameron can be a lethal endgame threat with his regeneration, but these days he tends to get brutally focused down before he ever gets there.  With Han both disrupting my opponent's setup and able to steal Focus from anybody planning to fire at Poe, he could be just the trick to help Poe get to the end of the game.

It's going to take a bunch of games to learn the various kinks in the new Han Solo, but the first couple of games we've played definitely proved the defensive value of Hotshot Co-Pilot, although it also showed that the dual nature of the upgrade would take some getting used to.  It's very tempting to get locked into stripping Focus from two ships every turn but that doesn't tend to deal very much damage, so there's going to be a balance that needs to be struck and it seems like Han really needs to work closely with Poe to focus down the same targets.

B is for Bossk
  • IG-88B (Aggressor) - Lone Wolf, Fire Control System, Mangler Cannon, Glitterstim, IG-2000, Autothrusters (48)
  • Bossk (YV-666) - Veteran Instincts, Mangler Cannon, IG-88D, Dengar, Hotshot Co-Pilot, Engine Upgrade (52)

This Scum list follows a similar template but takes advantage of the unique ability of IG-88D crew to bring a 'gunner' effect onto Bossk's YV-666 for just a single point!  Sitting up at PS9 Bossk functions as overwatch artillery for the list, with Hotshot Co-Pilot functioning to help push critical hits through with his Mangler Cannon, reduce incoming damage from one or more targets, or shield his Aggressor partner if the opponent chooses to chase them instead.

This list is entirely untested but shows how Hotshot Co-Pilot can fit into some creative lists.  After some games I'll get a feel for which ship my opponents are targeting first, I assume it will be Bossk but if players feel they have better chance against the Aggressor then I can make it tougher to kill be replacing Fire Control System and Glitterstim with a Sensor Jammer.  Turning hits down to eyeballs with Sensor Jammer can be very profitable if Hotshot Copilot is already stripping focus from them!

EDIT: just as I'd missed that Hotshot Co-Pilot only works with Primary weapons, so I'd not realised that my IGG-88/Bossk plan is a little compromised by this.  It's not 'dead',it just means Bossk won't be able to strip Focus from two different targets as his cannon shot won't trigger Hotshot Co-Pilot.  That's not so bad, and seeing as I've paid a bargain 1pt for my 'Gunner' I'll take a bit of loss in power!


There's various loadouts to choose from, so the two Mangler Cannons could be a Tractor Beam on Bossk and a Heavy Laser Cannon on IG-88B, for instance.  That would maximise your damage when used in concert, but doesn't play particularly to Bossk's pilot ability the way Mangler Cannon does.

The Weaknesses

So throughout this blog I've talked about the strength of Hotshot Co-Pilot, particularly on defense, but let's recognise that it's not always going to work like that.  Any time your opponent takes a Target Lock action instead of a Focus then it does nothing.  Any time they've got multiple Focus tokens, or can regenerate them with something like Overlocked R4, it does nothing.  In a field stocked with Attani Mindlink, Manaroo and Dengaroo lists the value of Hotshot Co-Pilot is a lot less certain.

I'm not putting my Gold Standard 'this is a great upgrade' seal of approval onto Hotshot Co-Pilot just yet, but I'm going to continue exploring just how much it can contribute to both defense and offense in a single slot, particularly in conjunction with Gunner abilities.  For an upgrade that I'd originally discounted I'm very interested to see how it actually performs.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? - Mindlink Revisited

A couple of blogs ago I wrote about Attani Mindlink seemed to be gaining some followers and was possibly on the brink of becoming 'the next big thing'.  Since then we've seen a proliferation of different squads around the world, all taking advantage of the incredible action economy that Attani Mindlink provides.

A month down the line I'd like to highlight some of the recent developments in Mindlinks as players around the world explore different routes to victory, because what's becoming clear is that Attani Mindlink really is taking off in a big way...

Control Mindlink or "HWKlink"
(Andrew Pattison - UK Nationals, Jesper Hills - World Championships, Winner - Regional Hamburg)

Let's start here, with what is basically the list that I discussed last time around.  This has cropped up in various similar configurations around the world but has perhaps been most notably played by players from the 186th Squadron podcast, including former UK Champ Jesper Hills who took this list to the World Championships.
  • Manaroo (37) - Attani Mindlink, K4 Security Droid, Plasma Torpedo, Unhinged Astromech, Guidance Chips, Feedback Array
  • Fenn Rau (32) - Attani Mindlink, Concorde Dawn Protector, Autothrusters
  • Palob Godalhi (27) - Attani Mindlink, Autoblaster Turret, Cloaking Device, Stygium Particle Accelerator

The basic points cost for Manaroo and Palob are so low that you've got a lot of leeway for upgrades and the specifics of how you field the list, especially in Palob's turret options (everything from Autoblaster Turret to Twin Laser Turret is viable) and the crew slots on both Manaroo and the HWK.  At Worlds Jesper Hills opted for Autoblaster Turret and a big initiative bid (which is important in mirror matches to time whose Manaroo/Palob effects happen last), and neither really worked out for him.

A slightly different version of the archetype is this one, which won a Regional Championship in Hamburg a couple of weekends ago:
  • Fenn Rau (32) - Attani Mindlink, Autothrusters, Concord Dawn Protector
  • Palob (31) - Attani Mindlink, Twin Laser Turret, Cloaking Device, Stygium Particle Generator
  • Manaroo (36)- Attani Mindlink, Plasma Torpedoes, Extra Munitions, R4 Agromech, 4-LOM, Guidance Chips

Same ships, different upgrades.  I call all these variations 'control Mindlink' because only Fenn Rau is really dedicated to dealing damage while Manaroo and Palob are more interested in controlling the action economy both players have available to modify their dice, and where their ships can go on the board to be safe from Palob's token-stripping shenanigans.

(Ben Lee - World Championships Top 8)

If the 'HWKlink' list is primarily about control then the polar opposite of that is 'Fangaroo', which brings huge offensive output against anything foolish enough to drop into range one of Fenn Rau and Old Teroch.  The 'Fangaroo' squad was one of the first lists to appear when Wave 9 was spoiled and was extensively tested online by players using Vassal, before ultimately being discarded.  Those players were usually testing with Fearlessness or Push The Limit as their EPT slots, but Ben Lee of the 186th squadron saw the Mindlinks that the rest of his group were using and grabbed them with both hands.  Ultimately those Mindlinks carried him into the Top-8 of Worlds!

  • Fenn Rau (32) - Attani Mindlink, Autothrusters, Concord Dawn Protector
  • Old Teroch (30) - Attani Mindlink, Autothrusters, Concord Dawn Protector
  • Manaroo (34) - Attani Mindlink, K4 Security Droid, Unhinged Astromech, Feedback Array

This is the scum equivalent of the 'Palp Aces' lists of the past with Manaroo scooting around providing Focus & Target Locks to her buddies, much as the Lambda Shuttle did for the Imperials with Palpatine aboard, while Teroch and Fenn focus fire to eliminate targets. Nobody wants to find themselves at Range 1 of these buddies and even a TIE Defender is likely to explode in a single turn of fire after Old Teroch has stripped their tokens and Fenn Rau has opened up with five fully modified attack dice!

Big Tank Mindlink
(Garret Jost - World Championships 6-2 record)

The list that Garret Jost played to a 6-2 record at Worlds  (missing out on Top-16 on MOV) was different again, as Garret sank over half his points into the tractor-beaming Shadowcaster of Ketsu Onyo.  With that much in one place he then had to find two budget ships to carry his Mindlinks - a Protectorate Fighter and a Scyk with a cannon - to create a list that was dedicated to pushing out damage.
  • Ketsu Onyo (51) - Veteran Instincts, Engine Upgrade, Dengar, Glitterstim, Shadow Caster
  • Tansarri Point Vet (24) - Attani Mindlink, Heavy Scyk, Mangler Cannon
  • Concord Dawn Ace (25) - Attani Mindlink, Concord Dawn Protector
This list is one of the rare 'hybrid' Attani Mindlink lists where not every ship is sharing the Mindlink, as Ketsu herself has Veteran Instincts.  As such it's a good example of much removing a Mindlink from your list can hurt the synergies - it's not removing 1/3rd of the power Attani Mindlink (1 of 3 Focus Tokens) it's actually removing 1/2 of the power (1 of 2 extra Focus tokens on top of the one you'd get from a Focus action anyway).  That's one of the weaknesses of any Attani Mindlink list - once they start losing ships on the table, the benefits of the Mindlinks starts to decline quite rapidly.

Ketsu is a tough centrepiece for Garret's list, and anything that she hits will get tractored thanks to either her ability or the title, and then the flimsy fighters can sweep in and smash it up.  Garrett obviously had a great reason to play Ketsu at PS9 with Veteran Instincts, but I would be very tempted to switch that for a third Attani Mindlink and let the synergies flow.  At PS7 with focus from Mindlink and rerolls from Dengar then Ketsu Onyo could rely on her offense being reliable at all times, leaving her action free to Evade every turn.  

(Maciej Paracszcak Top-8 Regional Poland, Winner Regional Leiden)

'Paratanni', named after its originator Maciej Paracszcak, is a squad that first came to my attention when it began being discussed in the comments under my last Attani Mindlink article, and since then I've seen it pop up in a few places.  Maciej himself played it to Top 8 in his Regional, it won the Regional in Leiden (Holland), and the venerable Majorjuggler (of Listjuggler fame) has picked it up as a strong contender for his next squad.
  • Asajj Ventress (40) - Attani Mindlink, Latts Razzi
  • Fenn Rau (32) - Attani Mindlink, Concord Dawn Protector, Autothrusters
  • Manaroo (28) - Attani Mindlink

What Paratanni does, more than anything else, is demonstrate that all you really need is Attani Mindlink to build a strong list.  Where Garret Jost spent 51pts on his Ketsu Onyo at Worlds this list brings Asajj Ventress in at just 40pts with very little loss in power.  This means that, compared to the sacrifices that Garret had to make in his list, Maciej can bring in the full Fenn Rau from Ben Lee's 'Fangaroo' as a partner, and Manaroo with just Attani Mindlink is one of the most efficient ways to spend those sorts of points.  

With just 8pts spent on upgrades (3 of which are Attani Mindlink!) Maciej has managed to squeeze an awful lot of ship into his list, without really sacrificing on action economy or hitting power too badly.

Despite only costing 40pts Asajj Ventress can prove incredibly tough and tanky.  It's entirely possible that she will roll up into combat with two Focus tokens (donated by Mindlink & Manaroo), an Evade token from her own action, and a stress token on a nearby ship that she can spend for another evade thanks to Latts Razzi.  Asajj may only have two green dice but can easily shrug off some huge attacks.  She makes a hard target to kill, but if you ignore her then she will happily crawl over the back of you handing out stress tokens, making it harder to chase Fenn or Manaroo.

(uh... me!)

Bobatanni is the brainchild of yours truly, although in truth it's been heavily influenced by discussing Paratanni extensively with Maciej.  My list began with the synergy between Boba Fett getting free rerolls from his ability and free Focus tokens from Attani Mindlink, making his dice very reliable.  I originally built something with /x7 TIE Defenders in mind, using Boba Fett and N'Dru Suhlak with Homing Missiles, backed by Manaroo... a structure probably very similar to Garret Jost's list with a 50pt centrepiece requiring some compromises in his support team.

When I saw Paratanni I realised I could scrape a lot of the extra toys off Boba Fett to upgrade N'Dru Suhlak to Fenn Rau, and 'Bobatanni' was born. 
  • Boba Fett (41) - Attani Mindlink, 4-LOM, Slave I
  • Fenn Rau (31) - Attani Mindlink, Autothrusters
  • Manaroo (28) - Attani Mindlink 

The final change I made was to remove Concord Dawn Protector title from Fenn Rau to add 4-LOM to Boba Fett.  When I sat down to compare Boba Fett to Asajj Ventress I came to the conclusion that Asajj was almost certainly better, in a direct 40pts vs 40pts comparison - Bobatanni was nice because I got to use Boba Fett again, but ultimately Asajj was just better, with her movable arc and stress-dealing.  But, if I could leverage the Firespray's empty crew slot to add more damage output then there would be a reason to use Boba Fett.

This table shows what you buy with Boba Fett over Asajj - more damage output thanks to 4-LOM, especially at Range 1 with Boba Fett's rerolls.  Is it enough to make Bobatanni better than Paratanni?  Well in our minds here in my playgroup all we can come up with is "it's probably a playstyle thing".  Boba is admittedly harder to leverage in a game as you can't move his arc, but when he does get 'guns-on' he's capable of doing a lot more than Asajj, especially against targets laden with tokens, and his rerolls certainly help him survive in a dog-eat-dog world.  And, before you ask, we don't feel we lose much by taking the title off Fenn Rau - certainly less than we gain by adding firepower to Boba Fett with 4-LOM.

(Runner Up - Omaha Regional)

I thought that the above lists more or less covered most of the options available with Attani Mindlink (controlling, aggressive, tanky) but then I saw the results of the Omaha Regional and the frankly disgusting list that came 2nd there.  

Look out, he's a hugger!
  • Contracted Scout (33) - Attanni Mindlink, Intelligence Agent, R4 Agromech, Feedback Array, Anti-Pursuit Lasers
  • Contracted Scout (34) - Attanni Mindlink, Intelligence Agent, R5-P8, Feedback Array, Anti-Pursuit Lasers
  • Contracted Scout (33) - Attanni Mindlink, Plasma Torpedoes, Intelligence Agent, R4 Agromech, Black Market Slicer Tools, Guidance Chips

Triple Jumpmasters are back, with two of them featuring disgusting close range bumping technology like Anti-Pursuit Lasers, Intelligence Agent and Feedback Array. 

This list is like a Boa Constrictor and once it gets close and lands a bump it can just strangle the life out of your ships.  Tight-turning big bases and barrel rolls to ensure they bump again (knowing where you're going with Intelligence Agent) and the list just gradually squeezes tighter and tighter with little turret shots supporting the damage from Anti-Pursuit Lasers and Feedback Array.  It's not even really clear how many ships would ever be able to escape once the Jumpmasters have closed range and made those first bumps.

I've not played with or against this list yet, and frankly I'm pretty sure I don't WANT to play against it, but it's another demonstration of just how versatile Attani Mindlink is.   

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Mindlinks

You can see the evolution of the ideas through these lists, from the controlling HWKlink to the aggressive Fangaroos who share the Manaroo/K4 combo, onto the tanky Ketsu Onyo of Garret Jost to the stripped down basics of Paratanni/Bobatanni, before finally coming around full circle to a heavy controlling list with the Bumplink that did well in Omaha.  All these lists are very different but they're all finding success, and the connecting factor across them all is Attani Mindlink, which for just 3 points in your squad provides some incredible action economy, particularly when combined with somebody like Manaroo or Palob. 

If you've got any other new & exciting uses for Mindlink I'd love to hear about them, and together we can build a bright new Attani future for the Scum & Villainy faction!