The full Covert Missions set has finally been revealed by FFG! Although we’re still not sure when we’ll actually see it on shelves, you can at least peruse all 160 cards that make up the set. As I browsed the uncommons, this peculiar red event peaked my interest:
It’s relatively expensive (costing 2) and is super situational, as you’ll need both Sneak Attack and a red vehicle in your hand for it to have value. On top of that, the vehicle you play using it won’t be staying around past this turn. So this isn’t comparable to cards like Delve, which can help you play an expensive support at a discount while building your board state. Nor is it like Armored Reinforcement, which allows you to search your deck and discard pile for a specific vehicle and then play it at a discount.
Sneak Attack does, however, come with something those examples do not: Ambush. As its name suggests, you’ll be able to drop a vehicle from your hand and gain a surprise action on your opponent. So let’s start taking a look at some options.
It’s a Double Ambush!
Sneak Attack comes with its own ambush, which would allow you to play and — should you choose — also activate your vehicle. If that vehicle then has Ambush on its own card, however, you could play, activate, and resolve that vehicle’s die before your opponent could react. Here are the three red vehicles who come with their own Ambush:
Using this on anything costing 2 or less really doesn’t make sense, so that’s an early strike against the TIE Fighter. It’s damage sides are also the weakest of the three, so let’s set it aside. Fang Fighter from the Rivals draft kit has two very nice damage sides that are free to resolve and are not modifiers. Granted, rolling into one of the other fours sides will likely have you spending your last action elsewhere. Not surprisingly, the clear winner from this list is the forthcoming Ghost from Covert Missions:
No blanks, three damage sides, and an ability to get more dice suddenly into the pool after playing Sneak Attack makes the Ghost a prime target for our event. Imagine, for example, you have the new Sabine Wren on your team. You play Sneak Attack and play the Ghost for free from your hand, gaining one action from Sneak Attack and another action from Ghost. The Ghost’s “enter play” ability allows you to activate a Spectre. You activate Sabine, and she also activates the Ghost via her piloting mechanic. You now have up to three new dice in the pool, and you still have two more actions to spend this turn!
Legendary for a Reason
Ghost looks to be a very impressive red hero vehicle. It’s also a legendary card, meaning the odds of cracking one in a pack naturally are pretty low. Since I don’t care to buy expensive cards individually, I may never see one in my collection. There’s another red legendary vehicle, however, that I do have, and it also provides some action cheating:
Although it lacks the Ambush keyword, you can activate the Hailfire Droid Tank right after it’s played. Moreover, you deal an indirect damage to your opponent upon the Hailfire hitting the table. So, in a perfect world, you pay 2 resources for Sneak Attack and play the 4-cost Hailfire for free. This pings your opponent for one indirect, and the Hailfire immediately activates. It (hopefully) rolls damage, and you can then spend your Ambush action from Sneak Attack to resolve its die, all before your opponent’s next turn. It’s that easy!
Except, of course, it’s not. A poor roll can derail the play/activate/resolve damage chain. So while I love the idea of action-cheating in a big threat that I can immediately resolve, let’s take a look at some other, slower targets for a Sneak Attack play.
The only other 4-cost (or higher) red vehicles in Standard apart from the Hailfire are the Defoliator Tank and the LAAT Gunship. Sneak Attack-ing either in provides you with a 2-resource savings in getting them on the table for a round. Both dice also offer big resolvable sides in addition to their specials. Moreover, each of these will give you additional value in a particular deck-build (droids for Defoliator and troopers for LAAT). Despite LAAT being a legendary card, neither one of these is too expensive to acquire.
If you want to step down and look at 3-cost options beyond Fang Fighter and the new Ghost, have a look at ARC-170 Starfighter and even General Grievous’ Wheel Bike as viable targets. Obviously, you’d want to make sure you can spot Grievous for that last one to be able to ready the Wheel Bike and hopefully get two resolutions before it returns to your hand.
It’s Not Going to Fly Itself
I’d be remiss not to look at how Sneak Attack could benefit from the new piloting mechanic. If you have a piloting character on your team, you’re guaranteed to be able to activate that character and the vehicle you just brought in by using the ambush action on the event. Many of the new pilots from Covert Missions have abilities that can further enhance a Sneak Attack play. Here are some of the interesting Pilot/Vehicle pairings that I think would be fun to run Sneak Attack with.
Torra Doza and LAAT Gunship
Torra Doza‘s ability allows you to try and hit that Sneak Attack/activate/resolve chain without even using an Ambush vehicle. Play Sneak Attack, drop the LAAT, and use the ambush action to activate Torra. She, in turn, would pilot the LAAT, activating that as well. Then, with her “after begins piloting” ability, you have a chance to resolve the LAAT die in the same turn. Brilliant! Pair a trooper as part of your team with Torra and you’re all set.
Luke Skywalker and Hailfire Droid Tank
You remember when this happened in the movies, don’t you? No? Well, give it a go anyways. Remember, the Hailfire will ping for 1 indirect damage to your opponent after it hits the table. Then, following your Sneak Attack to get it out, activate Luke and have him pilot the Hailfire. If your opponent doesn’t mitigate the vehicle die, you’ll be able to resolve it next turn while increasing its value by one. Imagine playing a Sneak Attack that sets up a total of 5 indirect damage being shoved into your opponent’s face. It could happen!
Imperial Pilot and Defoliator Tank
File this under “Taking One for the Team”. The focus of our very first Well That’s Uncommon – Imperial Pilot – makes a triumphant return to the series. The plan is to throw him into a Grievous/Droids deck and use Sneak Attack to get a Defoliator Tank down for cheap. Then have the Pilot pilot the tank. He can then use his Power Action to focus the Tank to its special and shred the opposition with damage. Of course, your little kamikaze pilot will take the hit, too, not being a droid himself. Still, the possibility of dealing upwards to 6 or 9 damage for only two resources is pretty great!
Never Tell Me The Odds
Obviously, so many things have to go right for any of these dream scenarios to fire off properly. You certainly shouldn’t build an entire strategy around one or two cards in a 30-card deck, but wouldn’t it be fun if the stars aligned just once for game-winning Sneak Attack? One can dream…
Play some jank! Roll Some dice! Have some fun!