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!


  1. This is my version. Won a local tournament easily with this.

    Manaroo — JumpMaster 5000 27
    Attanni Mindlink 1
    "Gonk" 2
    Unhinged Astromech 1
    Feedback Array 2
    Engine Upgrade 4
    Ship Total: 37

    Kavil — Y-Wing 24
    Attanni Mindlink 1
    Autoblaster Turret 2
    Unhinged Astromech 1
    Vectored Thrusters 2
    Ship Total: 30

    Fenn Rau — Protectorate Starfighter 28
    Attanni Mindlink 1
    Autothrusters 2
    Concord Dawn Protector 1
    Ship Total: 32

  2. Did you put Long Range Scanners on your Boba Fett?

    1. It was tested, but because Boba wants to be R1 there were too many occasions he wanted to take a TL action and had to take an evade he didn't need. You do have to leave Slave I on him, though, because... Boba!

    2. As Spraggle says we've tested it. It's a marginal call but ultimately we felt there's enough times that Boba just sits in the right place and you really want to put the hurt on with TL/Focus and be sure of doing damage, even against somebody at range 1 where you'd already have 1 rerolled dice. Just TL and be sure.

  3. Last weekend Mindlinked 3x G1A+Kaato won Regionals in USA, and Parattanni made Top1 (Poland) Top2(USA) and Top4 (USA - MajorJuggler), Fangaroo made Top4 (USA). So yea, Mindlink is a Big thing :)

  4. Hi all, I've been tinkering with minklink lists for a while now, and David, I really like your Bobatanni list - but I'm wondering, is Manaroo essential? For the same points you can take Palob Godalhi with a TLT and still have 1 point for a bid or a 1pt crew.

    My thinking is that Manaroo is certainly tougher, and her big butt is great for bumping (no chortling lads), but Palob's ability is straight up awesome, and offensively he contributes much more with a TLT than Manaroo's little PWT.

    My guess is that it comes down to Manaroo's ability to pass on a TL to Fenn Rau, so my question is, does this come up much in your games?