With Covert Missions arriving on January 17th, I’ve decided to take a look at some of the uncommon cards from the set in a new series of articles I’m calling Well That’s Uncommon. The purpose of the series will be to highlight some of these cards as they relate to the “kitchen table” meta, and not full-on competitive play. So let’s dive in!
Piloting is going to be a big mechanic featured in Covert Missions (CM), and this December article from FFG introduced us to yet another diceless character, the Imperial Pilot:
I’ve been a fan of using vehicles since I got into the game during the Legacies block. Of course, back then, vehicles weren’t really viable compared to rampant upgrade usage. I was undeterred, though, and loved using Rose Tico to try and get Resistance Bombers, Modified HWK-290s, and Crait Speeders to work. Vehicles then suddenly became very viable during the mod-heavy Across The Galaxy meta, only to become almost unplayable with the release of Desperate Measures in Spark of Hope.
Hope springs eternal with CM and piloting, though, and I’m excited to hopefully pull one of these diceless, six-point/seven-health villain pilots. Imperial Pilot joins Battle Droid as the cheapest red villain character. Although the Pilot lacks a die, he comes with 1 additional point of health and a power action, which is what I’m really excited about. Once he’s activated and is piloting a red vehicle, his PA allows you to focus said vehicle’s die to any side.
You’re going to be playing vehicles, obviously, but you’re also going to need them to be red to take advantage of the Pilot’s power action. Moreover, you’re going to want a red vehicle to hit the table in Round 1 to take immediate advantage of this character. Here then are a few janky ideas I have for building around Imperial Pilot. All of these also feature the use of Armored Reinforcement. Remember, these aren’t meant to be competitive, but I think they’ll be fun around the kitchen table.
eWat Tambor/”Mauler” Mithel/Imperial Pilot/Armored Reinforcement
This one leans all-in on red supports. Wat’s errata’d text now only allows him to use his PA on red supports, which will suit this deck just fine. In go your four TIE Fighters, probably some Tech Teams, and whatever else you may want, but the star and target of a Round 1 Armored Reinforcement play is Black Two.
While you can’t combine Wat’s PA with cracking Armored Reinforcement, getting Black Two on the table will allow you to activate it with Imperial Pilot (via piloting). Then, on a subsequent action, you can use Pilot’s PA to focus to whatever damage side you can afford, knowing that it is increased by one with Mauler on the field.
In subsequent rounds, you can then use Wat’s PA to play another vehicle (like a TIE) and immediately roll that die in. If you can resolve it, you will get the vehicle’s natural activation to get it back into the pool. While piloting does provide action cheating upon activation, it’s important to note that you can declare any piloting character to be piloting any of your vehicles that are already activated. So if you already have multiple vehicle dice in your pool, you can choose whichever one needs to be focused and assign your Pilot to that vehicle upon its activation.
Imperial Pilot/FOST/Clawdite Shapeshifter/Sentinel Messenger/Armored Reinforcement
Awwww yeah, now we’re cooking. This deck also uses Armored Reinforcement to fetch an all-important red vehicle in Round 1. What might that be, you ask? Feast your eyes on this:
So the plan is to get this on the table in Round 1 and use Imperial Pilot’s PA to focus to the first die side and deal 4 range damage! Assuming it and your Pilot survive into subsequent rounds, you can also focus to disrupt or shields to help control your opponent.
The character lineup is odd, for sure, but I needed to hit 27 character points to allow for the essential 3-cost plot. Sentinel Messenger is there to give you access to Forsaken and Hidden Motive, but he also gives you that “sixth card” with his ability and a really nice die on top. Clawdite Shapeshifter gives you flexibility; he can be anything you need him to be each round — trooper, droid, pilot, etc — so you can successfully play cards with a certain spot requirement. Being neutral, he also gives extra value to Theed Palace, should that be the Battlefield. First Order Stormtrooper rounds out the gang, and he’ll do FOSTy things, like taking one for the team when needed.
It’ll be a slow deck, for sure, and it likely won’t ever win, but boy will it be fun to see your opponent’s face when you AR for Imperial Troop Transport.
Honorable Mention, Wheel Bike Edition
I also really wanted to design a character team that would allow Imperial Pilot to be piloting yet another strange red vehicle, General Grievous’ Wheel Bike.
It’s a legendary card (a cheap one!), but really only works well with Grievous on the team. You could run the beefy General Grievous from Way of the Force, but a team of eGrievous2/Imperial Pilot/Armored Reinforcement would only be 20 health. Yikes! Plus, that Grievous is also a legendary, so not much of a “kitchen table” choice.
You could run the newest Grievous at elite, Sentinel Messenger (at a discount), and Imperial Pilot with AR, but you’d still be leaving two character points on the table. That just doesn’t seem efficient.
The Wheel Bike dilemma aside, I’m excited for this new red villain character. TIE Fighters are an iconic part of the Star Wars visual narrative, and I desperately want to be able to win some Destiny games with a deck that features these easily-destroyed but pesky villain ships. Here’s hoping Imperial Pilot from Covert Missions is up for the challenge!