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Release Review: Cloud Cover (Pod 255)

Farsight: This is a solid objective. Two resources goes well into a deck that can be pretty light on resources depending on how you build it, and the health boosting effect is extremely strong. Two health fighters will be boosted out of the one-hit kill range of many mains like Luke and Han, and three health fighters will now have the health of a small capital ship. Really, the fighter deck’s biggest problem at this point is that they have so many good objective effects they want on the battlefield, which is a decent problem to have.

AussieJedi: Its great to see another navy objective that is geared towards fighters, and one with two resources on their objective. I really mean that when you need to ramp up the deployment, this will help make that happen. I really think that the objective’s ability is the key here to adding to a viable navy fighters deck. To be able to get an additional health on fighters when they are piloted is awesome, couple that with Closed Formation (you get a shield on a fighter when it enters play) and you go from a two health fighter to a 4 health one and that is pretty amazing.

Dav Flamerock: On the one hand, 2-resource objectives are generically good due to the flexibility they give you in deployment. On the other hand… this is the third so-called “5-2 objective” we’ve seen now for the dark side that ALSO has powerful game text. Why is the dark side constantly getting overpowered objectives? This is getting almost frustrating. That said, here’s an objective that’s going to make your 181st TIE Interceptors even harder to kill, and make your pilots more valuable as they’re harder to get rid of. This combined with The Empire’s Elite is going to make units like Baron Fel unstoppable. And all this on a 2-resource objective.

Farsight: Here’s a enticing start for the pod. In the same way that a global health boost is powerful for a swarm, so is a damage boost. Putting her on the board with the objective makes your average 181st TIE Interceptor into a tank with damage that can’t be ignored, and that’s before you add more pilots like Baron Fel. The main knocks against this card are the sad single force pip and the two cost for the pilot ability. Fortunately, most of the other pilot pods come with the reducer resource enhancements so this shouldn’t be too bad.

AussieJedi: Its really interesting to see pilots being showcased at the first two slots, in a set that is all about fighters. A two drop with two health and one black blast is just ok here, but she gives a great ability to every other fighter unit in my control; nice! What I am not terribly impressed is that the pilot deployment is the same as her regular cost. One force pip doesn’t do anything for me either, but then are Navy fighters wanting to gain the Force?

Dav Flamerock: A big part of evaluating pilots is how good they are as units. In this case I’m not thrilled with Howlrunner, but she’s acceptable as a 2-cost chud that can get two damage when unopposed. Obviously she’s most valuable as a pilot, when she gives guns to all your ships. This is probably just incredible; pair her up with Baron Fel on a pair of chud ships like 181st TIE Interceptors and you have a pair of elite, edge 1,  units that are contributing 4 to the Force (and maybe have 4 health each). That’s absurd for a combination of chuds. I think the TIE Swarm that came out from Superior Numbers just got a really strong addition in this squad leader.

Farsight: This is an extremely unique effect, and an interesting place to see it. Anything that removes focus after conflict deserves a close look, even if it’s only on defense. TIE swarm decks are mostly associated with offense, but here’s a pilot who is completely blank there. That could make him rather useful, though, since he can be your lone defender while everyone else goes all in on attacking. Now, is a deck like Navy fighters going to have enough cards in hand to win three edge defensive battles after having to win several offensive ones as well? Pretty unlikely, but if this guy can defend one objective and threaten to defend another you’ve probably gotten your money’s worth. Note that since he only removes one focus token he won’t be defending and holding the Force at the same time. I like him for the new angles that he opens up for the TIE deck, giving it more versatility instead of being as focused on offense.

AussieJedi: So here we have the next unit in the set and he gives us two unit damage, should you (rarely) play him as a unit, but what I really appreciate here is that his pilot deployment only costs one. The ability is very good and that is if you survive the engagement when defending, you can take off a token, which I like a lot.

Dav Flamerock: Just like the last pilot, it’s worth asking: how is this guy as a unit? Answer: excellent. I think a blank unit with  is always going to be good on the dark side. But if you put him on a ship… I think he might be worse. The effect he has is good, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure if it’s worth spending a whole card for. Now certainly if you got it back via Stay on Target then it’s basically free value, but even with +1 or +2 damage capacity from the objective, allowing a Fighter to defend multiple times doesn’t seem all that impressive to me. If it worked on the Chimaera, maybe. But on a Fighter?

Farsight: You can’t ignore any unit with targeted strike, especially once there’s a decent board of fighters out to absorb any damage it might take. Having Howlrunner elsewhere on the board while this ship wears a Black Squadron Pilot is probably living the dream for this card, but also extremely achievable. At that point only tactics icons can stop you from shredding the LS player’s board, and a well played Seeds of Decay or I Have You Now can take care of that. The three pips are almost wasted here since the card wants to be attacking all the time, but does make it easier to run the pod as a 2x since the extra will make for decent edge fodder. Another solid card and continues this pod’s theme of giving versatile options to the fighter deck that could previously be a little one note.

AussieJedi: Now we get to the mains. This fighter when piloted is a beast. It really brings a lot of theme to this set and that is good… right?? It’s is very lacking on icons, as we see only one black gun and black blast, but it does have targeted strike and also three Force icons, which is really nice when you need to get the Force back (or keep it).

Dav Flamerock: Two cost! Three Force! That’s something you don’t see every day… or maybe even ever. And on a TIE Fighter, no less! Obviously this little ship doesn’t want to be a Force Hound, though, since it’s not elite. Instead it has targeted strike, and while that’s not terribly effective on a unit with only , this comes in the same pod as Howlrunner. Obviously the two were meant to go together, since a piloted Obsidian Leader requires your opponent to kill all your other ships first, and Howlrunner is critical for enhancing this unit (along with your entire team). Baron Fel is also an excellent option for Obsidian Leader, since he often wins all your edge battles for you (and makes this thing elite. Force Hound it is!)

Farsight: Like the Obsidian Leader, this guy plays well with both Howlrunner and Black Squadron Pilot. It probably makes the best home for Night Beast, other than the TIE Phantom (which also brings the Enhanced Laser Cannon, another friend of this card). Realistically, you just want to add one more unit damage as four black icons is enough to kill almost any LS unit short of protect and shield shenanigans. My biggest problem is with the price. Three is a lot to pay in a deck where most of the units cost two, and unlike a pilot cost this one won’t be reduced by a Flight Academy. If you can get the deck’s resource situation worked out this could be a solid defender, otherwise this ship might find itself in the edge battle.

AussieJedi: This fighter is actually great on paper. It seems that the best main is placed second last in the set. Three cost and three health is beautiful and when Howlrunner is giving away pistols, then this card is a force to be reckoned with.

Dav Flamerock: I’m always excited by anything that says “double.” Because then I have dreams of this going from having  to having  when piloted by Howlrunner. Sensing a pattern? Howlrunner is good on everything! When it’s not piloted, this ship is actually pretty terrible, so I hope you either have the two-card combo in your hand or you’ve got a Stay on Target coming right up. This is probably the only weak point of the objective set, and if it’s the one I have to keep edging then I don’t think I’d mind.

Farsight: It’s not the game’s best fate card, but if it has a home anywhere it’s in this pod. Combined with Empire’s Elite (and possibly Black Squadron Formation) you can now run a whole bunch of these. Put together, they’ll make sure your critical pilots can always be on the battlefield no matter how many times your opponent kills their ships.

AussieJedi: If there was any other fate card other than maybe a Target of Opportunity, then this set would be almost unplayable, but we have a way to get a pilot onto the fighters. Its free for you, but just don’t get Twisted away. The standard two Force icons here as with any fate card , and they are definitely welcomed.

Dav Flamerock: Remember Heroes of the Rebellion with Wes Jansen and Jek Porkins? They have a funky event instead of Stay on Target as their sixth card. But this is what they should have always had: a heavy-pilot focused objective set needs the fate card that makes the pilot deck function. Stay on Target is exactly what this set needs, and I’m glad to see it here. Now if only I could magically get one into the Rebel version of this objective set…

Final Grades

Farsight Rating:
My two biggest gripes with this pod are not about what’s in it, but what it doesn’t have: a resource enhancement, or the Black Squadron keyword. Having just one of those would have really kicked this pod (and the TIE deck) up a notch. Lacking those, we’re left with the Navy version of Heroes of the Rebellion, which is a perfectly decent pod. Having 10 edge pips makes it possible to run two copies even with the four unique units. The obvious pairing here is with Empire’s Elite to make a bunch of super fighters, but where you go from there is the real question. Do you add Superior Numbers and the TIE Phantoms? That could leave you seriously low on resources. Do you go for the Black Squadron pods, even though you’re taking out part of their synergy to make room for this new pod? I hope it finds a home somewhere, because these are some neat effects to spice up the fighters deck which has always been one of my favorite theme decks in the game.
Overall Grade: B

AussieJedi Rating:
I really don’t like this set. There isn’t a single extra resource to play, but the spread of force Icons of 10, means it does its fair share of edge battles. This looks like another support set for the affiliation, and the question is that, is it a 1x
Overall Grade: C-

Dav’s Set Statistics:
Edge Rating: Above Average (1 Good, 1 Bad)
Important Unit Cost: 2
Resource? No
Shields? No
Blast Icons:  on Howlrunner,  on Obsidian Leader, edge-blast-damage-16x15 on Obsidian 2
Tactics Icons: None
Overall Grade: B-

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