Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Tactica: Dead Eye

NAME: Dead Eye
SUBFACTION: unaligned heroes at EL 12+
FUNCTION: team-builder in larger games.

BRIEF: Dead Eye is one part beat-stick, one part galvanizing leader and one part forward observer; he is tough and durable and great fun to play. The Supreme Quarterback, both literally and metaphorically. Of course he is all about the big games, only appearing at EL 12+. Because of that he brings some limits despite the fact that he will be opening up a special Team Power.

POWERS: Dead Eye has only a couple of skills; both are useful in their own right, lending themselves to Dead Eye moving to engage his foes more directly and being at the centre of the action – like any good quarterback. His actions on the other hand, are where he excels. Due to the multiple modes for Dead Eye Pass and Field Tactics, Dead Eye has 7 choices of exclusive actions (but these are limited to only 1 of the Dead Eye Passes and 1 Field Tactics being used in a given round, of course). Certain of Dead Eye’s actions (Cyberfist, Field Tactics: Coach, Target) really work best and most efficiently when used early in the round, either in his first activation, or better yet if he is the first of your models activated.

In the right circumstances Cyberfist* is truly devastating. At AP 2 the cost-investment is always better paid up-front to maximize use of Dead Eye’s 3 Strikes available per round. Against fairly clustered foes (i.e. within Dead Eye’s Charge range), Dead Eye could theoretically Charge 3 different targets in the same round, circumstances permitting. In that case play the odds – a basic Cyberfist Charge Strike against a target eligible for the Power-Up is going to yield a result of between 10 and 17, with the mean result of 13-14 (13.5). Certain L1’s can be vulnerable to being taken out in a single blow, especially if already weakened. Look for synergies, and with luck Dead Eye could seriously dent or take down 3 models in a single round. To make maximum and most efficient use of Cyberfist look to make 2 Strikes minimum in the round.

Dead Eye Pass has 2 modes. Low Pass is great, and is arguably most useful against models lacking the ability to Get Up* without it counting against limits of Movement Actions/AP Pool. Use it to keep an enemy in place for Dead Eye or his allies to close on them. High Pass will be used less often by virtue of handing on a Burdening objective.

Field Tactics offers 3 great choices. Like Cyberfist, timing is key. Sprint* moves need to place friendly models in useful positions without compromising them or leaving them vulnerable. Pointless moves mean Sprint arguably can be a waste of AP; use judiciously. Coach* requires the models benefitting to be reasonably close to Dead Eye, however at AP 1 it is a dirt-cheap option, especially as it lasts through the round. Consider using it early in the round to maximize benefits – models passing within 7” of Dead Eye can then use the movement boost accordingly (especially for Charges). Turtle* offers a useful protection buff to models that can get into base to base – the downside being that suddenly the enemy has a nice cluster of targets for Blasts, Rays and Self-Blasts; basically the cons could outweigh the pro of gaining Invincible 1. I tend to favor Sprint the most, probably followed by Coach.

Target* is a nice and simple ability. Use to concentrate on and take down a durable foe. Use early in the round to maximize benefit for the greatest number of allied models. Consider combining with Low Pass or Strike depending on the circumstances. If considering the better of Cyberfist or Target against the model to be taken down, then think whether you want a team effort (saving Dead Eye’s AP allowance for other activations) or whether the big guy can do the job alone. Consider Power-Up synergies for friendly models benefitting from attacking the model affected by Target.

Finally don’t forget Dead Eye’s Final Game Resource. If used right (and it has a great range of 14”), it can really inconvenience your opponent, for example: dropping a Burden (maybe an objective); moving a model away from a position where it can utilize Blend; moving a model away from cover; moving a model into potential LOS of a team-mate of Dead Eye.

Local Patriot isn’t too limiting (at present), yet will offer considerable benefit when the Ulthar are finally unleashed.

My City really helps his team by extending the deployment zone. Perhaps more importantly Heroic Call is a brilliant freebie. While the Adrenaline Boost is nice for the team-wide healing, Battlefield Control can really play on Dead Eye’s other abilities. Consider using Battlefield Control to maneuver Dead Eye into an attack position (Move* and Strike) and move 2 other models, then following up Dead Eye’s activation with that of another attacking model. That model can either Move* again and attack (assuming sufficient Movement Actions available), or attack then Move* to get away from threats (basically a hit and run attack). There should be lots of options that work well, especially those where in an ideal world you would like to combine 2 actions but also need to Move* first to get the option to do so. For example when out of Charge* range of a suitable target, but only by an amount less than 4” (the first ‘free’ Move*). Alternatively use Battlefield Control with Low Pass (perhaps combined with Target) to make an enemy prone and more vulnerable to a follow-up attack by one of Dead Eye’s friends: if charging the friendly model will be at +2 (plus any other bonuses they can manage) and the target at -2 (for being prone) which is effectively a net +4 bonus; Power-Up to add to the result and a devastating attack can result, especially if the action used has any extra effect beyond simple damage (think how this could work with Harrier’s Rake ability to probably/possibly wipe out the AP allowance of the target; or with Stoner Hawk’s Rumble ability to Knock Down multiple models).

Vigilantes - they are not exclusive to Dead Eye, but really come into their own alongside him; so if using Dead Eye, then don't leave home without them is my advice. With him they add to your AP Pool and spread your Activation options, while being amongst the most formidable of Minions out there - all good.

WEAKNESSES: Dead Eye has few, if any, major weaknesses. However, even though two of the defensive Traits are his Trumps, he is comparatively weaker against most ENERGY attacks due to his AGILITY not being trumped. That said, Dead Eye has decent Damage points and his AGILITY is still good. Unlike some other Level 3’s he doesn’t come with a suite of Personal Resources equal to his level, and he has only a couple of skills: thus as a character he is tough, but as a Level 3 option he has his limitations in terms of breadth of capability when compared to other L3’s. Finally, his Heroes Team Power is limited by the Supremes that qualify: all Supremes have to have no Allegiance/Subfaction otherwise none benefit from this ability. As more models become available (like the forthcoming Jade Hawk & Skyline), the restriction actually lessens.

SYNERGIES: as a level 3, and by virtue of most of his actions, Dead Eye is all about team-building. L3’s shape the way a team is formed to benefit from the extra buffs that accompany their L3 Team Power. The current options are 3 of – (L1’s) Kitty Cheshire (due to Freelancer), Vector, Acorn, Harrier, Gentleman (using Greed); and 3 of – (L2’s) Father Oak, Stoner Hawk, Solar, Ace of Wraiths, Trail. Also don’t overlook the major boost Vigilantes gain and give: they add 4 AP for a full card (at the cost of losing the Minion cost-break on Strike and Move*; as well as needing to activate as Supremes), and are low-power L1 Supremes without counting against your Supreme limit for Team Selection. Their pros far outweigh the only real cons in my view.
In regard to team selection, then specific further synergies between team members is very much worth considering (e.g. if taking Acorn and/or Father Oak, then they do work better in tandem). Field Tactics: Sprint* can be useful for characters who you want to Move* but when you wish to reserve their AP allowance, perhaps if it is limited (Vector) or you wish to keep AP’s aside for Power Ups; similarly Coach* sets up a zone of movement buff. Field Tactics: Coach can work well to boost more free-moving characters such as Harrier, Vector and Solar. All Field Tactics are about buffs to the team, as is Target*. The buffs are pretty universal so work well with pretty much most character selections. And as noted Low Pass can set up Stoner Hawk’s Rumble buff.

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