Did I get hit too hard over the head the other day or did I have a genuine moment of insight? After all every time I run auto thrusters I don’t always feel I get the value from them then when I don’t I weep silently inside wishing I had put them on.
Whilst sitting having my now cold bacon sandwich for breakfast with a loop warm tea, (thanks kids), I was reading some stuff about vectored thrusters on T-70 X-Wings and why no-one will take it over integrated astromech and auto thrusters.
This got me thinking about the better articles I have planned to write and then this quick win popped into my head as such. I’ve been thinking about lists at the moment and tinkering with my Imperial Tie defender lists and options and had a 70 point section I was happy with needing something to fill the last 30 points.
I was thinking about running:
Countess Ryad and a glaive squadron both with X7 title and Predator, 70 points.
For 30 points I could:
2 X black squadron with crack shot
Wampa and Backstabber
Go to town on either Zeta or Omega leader
Or take the Inquisitor.
Ah but wait, that’s 31 points and I am not willing to compromise on the other 70 points.
The Inquisitor, Tie Advanced prototype: Push the limit, title, Auto thrusters 31 points
So like the local rag, (free newspaper that gets stuck through your door containing nothing of interest other than how the local sports teams are doing badly), I put it in the recycling and moved on from the Inquisitor. After a while I had a Eureka moment by finding a solution. I felt that although the other options were good, maybe an ace would be a good compliment. What if I dropped auto thrusters for something else?
The problem with auto thrusters
Auto thrusters is a great card and fairly priced at 2 points for the upgrade. At times it feels like mandatory to take on any ship with a boost action but is it really worth it all of the time? After all it only triggers when you are out of arc, (auxiliary arcs like the Firespray count as in arc), or beyond range two. The current Faq amendments also mean if you have any section of your base in a ship’s primary arc which is not beyond range two auto thrusters does not kick in.
The so called Chihuahua swarm, (5 x green squadron A wings with charadan refit, test pilot title, adaptability, crack shot and auto thrusters) in my mind does not need the auto thrusters. Sure it gives them added survivability at range three or if facing turreted foes but the A wings themselves want to be shooting at ranges one and two due to their attack value of two.
If I were to run the Chihuahua swarm I would drop the auto thrusters and field this:
The Jake Russell Swarm:
Jake Farrell, A-wing, charadan refit, test pilot title, push the limit, outmanoeuvre.
3 x green squadron A wings with charadan refit, test pilot title, adaptability, crack shot
1 X Prototype pilot A wing with charadan refit
Feel free to outfit Jake Farrell however you want as there is 28 points plus 1 but I’ve always liked this build on him. If the list came in at 98 points I would stick auto thrusters on him but I feel this Jake Russell Swarm caters to my tastes better than the basic Chihuahua swarm. The one point bid is also handy against the Chihuahau mirror match as such and Tie swarms.
If for the most part you are jousting, engaging in the opponent’s primary arc or not facing a turreted ship then auto thrusters for the most part are not going to be doing much for you. As you do not know who you are going to be facing like speed dating, then like a spray can of mace it’s a good investment but not something that will be reliably triggered all the time.
Looking at T-70 X wings there is a weigh up between integrated astro mech and auto thrusters and soon, (one hopes), vectored thrusters. I would be inclined to go down the vectored thruster route as having both the barrel roll and boost option is really useful. You can stick BB8 in but I would rather spend the points on vectored thrusters to be able to barrel roll after any manoeuvre and free up the astro mech spot for something else. You only have two defense dice and whilst the PS 10 Poe build with R2D2 and Auto thrusters is effective would a PS8 or PS9 Poe with push the limit, R2 astromech and vectored thrusters be more effective?
I feel the question you have to ask yourself is how much are auto thrusters going to do for you versus the additional benefits of running a different modification?
It is tricky as this brings in all sorts of dice variances and our own perception bias when anaylising the on table effects. It is like comparing the hull upgrade to the stealth device for high agility ship. It is hard to accurately account for the amount of damage a stealth device keeps at bay due to its nature and is likely to be more effective against some lists than others.
Would you consider a stealth device plus glitterstim on an IG2000 instead of the old reliable auto thrusters? At range one or two a tokened up stealth device would be better than auto thrusters. Carnor Jax is often fielded with the same Push the limit, stealth device and auto thrusters as Soontir Fel. Seeing as Jax’s ability triggers at range one I found that a shield and or Hull upgrade got more mileage out of him as you are prone to a lucky unmodified shot or getting blocked the following turn.
Back to the Inquisitor.
One of the problems I found with the Inquisitor was that although he is ideal for sitting at range three and plugging away it is hard to stay there. Often you can end up at actual range one which can mean sticking proton rockets on him is worth considering. Despite having green hard one turns it can be a bit of a drawback not having 2 or 3 speed turns which are green. You can end up having to debate about whether to use both boost and barrel roll to reposition and get distance versus using just one and gaining some tokens.
I reasoned that maybe the Twin Ion Engines might be a better option on him than auto thrusters, especially if you chuck some proton rockets on too. The added flexibility of movement and fitting in at the desired 30 points for my list works in theory. Of course having a green two and three bank option got me thinking about how much easier it would be to launch proton rockets, so the untouchable 70 points then gets edited to fit the Proton rockets in.
So are Auto Thrusters Overrated?
I feel they are slightly overrated in terms of auto thrusters being a must have if you have a boost action. We read, listen and watch experts, (both expert and apparent, conclude what you like about this site), routinely state what is good and auto include. It is always worth taking a pinch of salt with it. Just because a ship has a boost action in it’s action bar does not mean taking auto thrusters is an auto include. Granted there are not many great modifications but I would pause to give thought about are those two points better spent elsewhere in terms of the whole list rather than feeling that the ship must come with them just because it can have them.