Heroic is an interesting Talent card for the Resistance. In this article I have a look at the maths as well as the surrounding choices and ask the question should you take it if flying with Poe and his boys, girls and other creatures.
“Heroic: A bad card for Bad Players,” was the original title I was considering. Catchy and attention-grabbing in the way that my how to beat Dengaroo article “Dengaroo Won’t win Worlds 2016” was. But then I’m a sucker for Transformers so the 2nd option won.
There has been two great pieces about Heroic of late, the Kevin Leintz interview on Mynock Squadron and “Investing in Bad Dice?” on Such an X-wing Hipster Blog. Kevin feels it is bad whereas Phil likes the ability and has been flying it a lot on his triple T-70 aces list. Another point of reference would be the Flight academy episode No.2 by Mynock Squadron about dice, which should be a listen for any player, not just new players.
To kill a T-70
On the theory that you have five 3 Dice attacks with a single mod such as a focus token vs a two green dice defense with a single focus, you should be able to drop a T-70 in one go.
|Attack||1 (Defensive focus)||2||3||4||5||Total|
|Average Damage Taken||1.074||1.531||1.531||1.531||1.531||7.198|
This calculation is slightly flawed and utilizing Gates of Storm calculator the average amount of damage taken is infact 7.336, still five shots. Importantly its worth bearing in mind that there is a bell curve and that the damage is likely to fluctuate between 6 to 8 damage taken.
As most squads don’t field five three dice attacks, it’s a reasonable rule of thumb to believe that over two rounds of focused fire, with a defensive focus in play, three 3 dice attacks each round will seal the deal against two green dice.
Below is a table showing the odds on Heroic triggering. I lifted it from Phil’s blog, an old table but the numbers do check out.
What is more useful, is to consider how often Heroic triggers into a positive result rather than just triggering willy-nilly, which was Mr Leintz’s argument on Mynock Squadron.
|Chance of a positive result||Percentage||Number of shots|
|2 Green with Focus||11.9||1 in 8|
|2 Green No Focus||8.53||1 in 12|
When you bear in mind it will take somewhere between four to six three dice attack shots to down the T-70 those figures look disappointing. It’s like playing Russian Roulette with an eight chamber gun, or twelve if not focused.
Currently for 1 point, heroic is still good value as something to just chuck on. Trickshot, despite going up to 2 points is still a great option, considering its relatively easy for it to trigger once per game without overly trying. The rest of the talent choices for a T-70 are not that appealing unless we draw our eyes onto Elusive, another defensive modification. What is the difference, after all, Elusive triggers just once, before you need to do a red manoeuvre to recharge?
A list of numbers: the kind of thing that gets me really excited!
Below is a table of three dice attacks versus two green agility. In each table, utilizing the excellent Gate of Storms dice calculator it shows the damage taken in one round of focused firing. So the bigger the number the less effective it is.
Each attack is counted as having a single offensive focus. The top row shows the effect if a defensive focus is present, the bottom one no defensive focus. The third column shows the effect of a non-defensive Talent.
|5 Attacks||Damage taken Heroic||Damage taken Elusive||Damage Taken
|4 Attacks||Damage taken Heroic||Damage taken Elusive||Damage Taken
|3 Attacks||Damage taken Heroic||Damage taken Elusive||Damage Taken
|2 Attacks||Damage taken Heroic||Damage taken Elusive||Damage Taken
|1 Attack||Damage taken Heroic||Damage taken Elusive||Damage Taken
The difference between Heroic and Elusive is not that much. Heroic is marginally ahead when taking four or more shots whereas Elusive is better when taking three or less.
Squad of Legend
What about a current meta Squad? The Squad of Legend is still very much alive with Soontir, Redline with Proton Torpedoes and Juke Whisper. How much damage would they churn out if they cornered a T-70 rolling two green dice?
|SoL||Damage taken Heroic||Damage taken Elusive||Damage Taken
In this case, Elusive is marginally ahead.
Attacks over two rounds
The problem of any kind of head simulation is that even the above doesn’t take into account arcs and board position. So what happens if, presuming we all stay at this mythical range two for another round and Elusive wont be recharged?
|3 Attacks x 2||Damage taken Heroic||Damage taken Elusive|
Heroic wins. What about the Squad of Legend over two rounds?
|SoL x 2||Heroic||Elusive|
Heroic sort of wins or really, makes no difference in the grand scheme of things.
If we go back to our Russian roulette comparison, the advantage Elusive gives is that you can choose when that bullet is shot. With heroic you are constantly spinning the chambers and that chambers get more numerous without a focus token.
As players we often over egg the amount of times dice are actually rolled in a game and confuse average with expected results. The reality is that just because you have made one roll, it does not remove that empty chamber from the gun and mean that the next time you roll you are more likely to trigger heroic.
The last tournament I was at, my Howl runner got a console Fire before her engagement. She had one hull left. I roll the die and avoid getting a hit, a five in eight chance. The next round I decided to not clear it and take the focus action due to incoming shots and rolled again and did not burn.
I had paused as I quibbled should I clear the console, after all I’m more likely to get a hit this time. But im not really, I’m just throwing a die with a five in eight chance of not rolling a hit. I have not exhausted any kind of fictional hits to misses’ pool, it’s just a five in eight chance. If you look at it as a linked event then the odds are less probable of not rolling a single hit on two dice, but it’s not a linked event.
Over a huge sample of results of rolling two dice together they will bear out a semblance of the average expected result but in a game the amount of dice rolled and re-rolled wont bear strictly to an average, more so, one side of the average.
Correcting the Average
Modifications are a way of ‘correcting’ below expected rolls. The issue with Heroic is that by its very nature it leaves the player with no control over when it may or may not trigger. Although there is little difference between heroic and elusive over one round of shooting the control element in a game where the expected average is not something to gamble on due to the amount of sample dice throws you actually make, Elusive is a safer bet over heroic as you have direct control.
And then still re-roll it into a blank…
Triple T-70 Aces
Poe Dameron: Heroic, R4
Nein Numb: Heroic, Pattern Analyser, Black one title
Ello Asty: Heroic
In reality, when looking at talent slot upgrades and the plethora of other choices heroic is good value for its cost and what else you can shoehorn into the squad. The talent slot in 2.0 X-wing is not the go-to slot of 1.0.
When looking at the above squad both Poe and Ello are unlikely to be pulling any red manoeuvres, (all of which are K-turns or Talon Rolls). Nien or the other hand will be and for him, Elusive would make much more sense.
With Nein, you should be unlikely to take multiple attacks and should be able to recharge Elusive many times during a game. Also in this build, Nein is more likely to be the end game ship and Elusive is much stronger in a one on one scenario than Heroic. You can argue the point that Elusive would be better than heroic on Poe and Ello just down to the fact that you have control as to when it triggers and shouldn’t really be flying into the teeth of more than three guns.
Elusive is dependable in terms of opting when to roll and in that initial engagement during a game will be when Elusive is there to protect you against spike damage.
Trick Shot and BB8 Poe
If you can leverage rolling a third green die, this in all situations is significantly better than Heroic or Elusive in terms of expected average. If you are out to leverage trick shot with BB8 as an additional tool, you are again gaining control on your modifications.
In isolation, like a MacDonald’s latte, heroic is not great. I order and consume a latte from Macdonalds because as an option in the swathe of other drinks and coffees, it complements the bacon roll or egg McMuffin meal as the optimal choice. If on the other hand, I fancy a latte on its own, I will not be calling into Ronald MacDonald’s finest dining for subpar steamed milk with an espresso shot.
As something to put on, heroic may save your egg McMuffin but the timing of when it will help is more likely to be less than useful. A lot of the perception of how good it is for a player will be based upon their susceptibility to confirmation bias. Heroic is better than nothing, but it is not something to depend upon. Heroic is worth averagely half a hull point per game over not taking anything. Mix that into six games and it could be super useful once, or just trigger and save damage when it is not necessary for a game where you are hands down winning.
I would suggest considering comparing the damage taken with no talent to the damage taken with Elusive to consider whether Heroic or Elusive is better over a sample size of a tournament. If Heroic does not trigger into a positive result, which is only 1 in 8 with a focus or 1 in 12 without, you are taking damage from the far right column in some games.
Then there is the comparison of what it feels like to roll two blanks then re-roll them into two evades. It’s not very likely, but if feels good in a crutch situation, but how often will that happen in a crutch situation? Is it just bad positional play banking on a bad chance of getting out of jail free?
Heroic is an interesting game mechanic and worth slotting on if you have nothing better, but I would argue that elusive, trickshot, and a hull or shield upgrade should all be considered if you have the points as they are more dependable.
It gives you control whereas Heroic does not. It depends how much as a player you value having a direct choice in trying to manipulate the dice over cheap cost and random.