X-Wing: Expose is Bad…Right?

Tie_fighters

The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Yes, but… How can you make Expose work in X-Wing?

Hey BoLS readers and X-Wing Aces. In a previous list article I mentioned Expose as an option you could run in the list if you wanted to play around with it. I brought it up for a few reasons, one was completeness – it is an option and you could (theoretically) get up to 5 dice on the attack. But also because players skip over it every time and no one is having any constructive conversations around the card.

Expose

Yes, I know “mathematically it’s better to run a re-roll card like Predator or use your action for a TL, Focus or Evade” – I get it. But if you are only taking into account “math” and “statistics” then you’re missing the point of a thought experiment. And also Han Solo doesn’t care, so why should anyone else care about the “odds” – this is Star Wars! You don’t blow-up the Death Star by sticking with the ODDS – It’s go big or go home!

deathstar-exploding-ftCool guys don’t look at explosions. They just cause them and walk away. (and yes, I know that’s actually Lando in the Falcon Flying away from the Death Star Explosion.)

Strangely enough I’m not the only person who wanted to make Expose work. I viewed it as a highly situational card that you probably don’t want to use, but if you could get the ideal shot, then yes – it would be totally rad to roll 5 dice and burn your target from the table. (An ideal shot being range one with your ship behind the target with no possible way you’d get shot back for this or the next round and with a target lock for fun.) Apparently I was thinking too small for some folks. That’s when I came across this post from Raven19528. I liked it so much I’m presenting this unedited:

Okay, I set out on a mission a short while ago to make Expose an EPT that would be worthwhile in a list. Here are the drawbacks that make this EPT a no-go as far as the community (as far as I can tell) is concerned:

– It’s overcosted. 4 points ties it with the most expensive EPT in the game right now.
– It costs an action. Actions are precious in this game, and taking one to increase your attack power means you can’t use your action to modify your dice via focus or target lock, which most times will have the exact same or better result as getting an extra attack die.
– You decrease your evasion. The saying goes, “Never trust green dice,” but you shouldn’t be trying to take away the ones you have because of it.

In general, the multiple costs of the card make it very hard to justify using it. As a comparison, Predator costs a point less, doesn’t cost an action, doesn’t cost evasion, and allows you to reroll a die every attack, which often has the exact same or better result as an extra die would.

That’s a lot to try to compensate for. So here’s my first shot at it:

“Youngster” — TIE Fighter 15
Expose 4
Ship Total: 19

“Howlrunner” — TIE Fighter 18
Ship Total: 18

Scimitar Squadron Pilot — TIE Bomber 16
Fleet Officer 3
Systems Officer 2
TIE Shuttle 0
Ship Total: 21

Black Squadron Pilot — TIE Fighter 14
Adaptability 0
Ship Total: 14

Black Squadron Pilot — TIE Fighter 14
Adaptability 0
Ship Total: 14

Black Squadron Pilot — TIE Fighter 14
Adaptability 0
Ship Total: 14

So this list does a few things to mitigate the multiple costs. First, the point cost is mitigated by using Youngster to give the upgrade to 4 other TIEs. Ends up being a less than 1 point upgrade if you average it out. Second, since you are spending the action to use it, I added the TIE Shuttle with a Fleet Officer and Systems Officer. The Systems Officer and Shuttle are coming out in the Imp Vets pack, but with these two crew members in the squad, you can hand out some focus tokens and target locks to the team, along with Howlrunner helping to maximize the benefit of that extra die. The biggest thing with this is in flying it, you need to be okay with not using Expose on everyone every turn. Use the Shuttle to block when possible and remember when he’s in formation, Howlrunner rerolls apply to him as well. I used as high PS as I could afford on the TIEs to hopefully mitigate the very real possibility on an Expose turn that they blow up before they even get a shot off.

Does anyone else have ideas of making Expose work? I know it’s one of those EPTs that just always gets passed over for those that are just better upgrades, but I want to see if maybe it could come back into some viability, and not be relegated to the beacon that identifies new players.

tie-bomber-horz

Let’s unpack this a little bit:

I really appreciate Raven19528 laying out why Expose is loathed so much – I feel the same way “we get it, it’s sub-optimal. That’s the challenge.” It’s over-costed, costs you an action, and it leaves you with your agility pants down. So how can you over come that deficit and make it work? Well, lets up the efficiency curve on this bad boy and see what happens!

youngster

Youngster is a great choice. The pilot ability lets you drop that 4 point barrier and up the efficiency across the board. You only have to pay those 4 points and now every friendly TIE fighter gets access to Expose (again, doesn’t mean they have to use it – they just get access to it). “But you could just take Marksmanship and it’s better mathematically” – yes, again you’re missing the point of this experiment.

Howlrunner XWing and Armada

Howlrunner in a TIE Swarm? I’ve never seen such maneuvers! Okay – this isn’t exactly rocket science here but the re-roll is a nice boost across the board. And those re-rolls are coming in handy when all your ships are rolling extra dice!

scimitar-squadron-pilot swx52-tie-shuttle fleet-officer Systems-officer

Okay, this Raven-fellow is a genius. This is an awesome utility build using 2 other cards you just don’t see anywhere in the meta. Not only are you making use of a card that “the internet-at-large” says is junk, you’ve managed to pull out 2 other cards from obscurity and make them all work in one list! Well done Raven, well done.

The rest of the lists are just Black Squadron Pilots with Adaptability – all solid choices. Another comment in the same thread also mentioned using TIE/fo ships as well for some added durability – not a bad call! The extra shield would be pretty helpful as all these ships will be super fragile when they choose to Expose.

Is this list the next tournament winning list? No. Probably not. Heck, Raven even said that later in the same thread:

I’m not trying to create something that becomes a championship list (though that would be pretty cool)

That’s not the point. The point of this, the entire reason list building against the grain is so fun is because of the challenge of making it work (at least on paper) and then taking it out for a spin. Hey, you might even enjoy playing the game for fun once in a while. I thought part of the reason people played these types of tabletop games was for enjoyment. That’s why I play – not every game needs to be “my best list” or “my tournament practice list” – sometimes you just want to cobble together something that everyone tells you won’t work and then you end up flying off into the sunset.

So thanks again to Raven19528 for accepting the challenge and sharing this list.

Atwood_in_Model_B

 

Don’t listen to the Haters. If I did we’d still be swimming across the Ocean.

~Orville Wright*

*not a real quote from Orville Wright

 

  • gruebot

    I like using Expose on Decimators. No negative effects really.

    • GrogDaTyrant

      Except the loss of an action for dice modification. The work-arounds for that are to switch out the ubiquitous Engine Upgrade for an Experimental Interface, but then you’re committing yourself to green maneuvers *almost every round makes it easy to predict where the Decimator is going to be. Systems Officer might be able to help with that.

    • Solidus

      I am the “Decimator Guy” at my store. I like to use it quite a bit.

      I run Expose on it most of the time, and I love it.

    • Spacefrisian

      Its awesome on the rear admiral, and for lolz you could throw in Darth Vader as Crew, it eats through small ships if used correctly.

      A certain Lambda shuttle with fleet officer and his ability to hand out target locks solves the tiny problem of not taking actions.

  • Admiral Raptor

    Great article!

  • MikeHollstrom

    I wanna try Zuckus with Expose and K4. He could even add his ability and roll one more dice on top of that. But he would be at 0 agility while doing so.

    • ChahDresh

      In this case you’re still better with a Focus token. Yes, even when you’re already packing a Target Lock from the K4. The more dice you throw naturally, the better mods are and the worse Expose gets.

  • MikeyP

    Here’s some ways to make it work alright (and just alright), but in every case you probably want to be out of arc of most ships that can fire on you.

    1) Vessery with Tie/D and a tractor beam: If you can get a TL on the second shot with expose, you could be rolling 5 dice with TL on a ship that has had its agility also reduced. That would do some damage, but its probably on par with having a focus and TL and only 4 shots, soo…

    2) Tycho with title, experimental interface, rage and expose. This sounds like fun to me. Effective TL and focus on 4 dice at range 1 can do some damage, but an A-wing with only 2 agility will go down like a Z.

    3) Omega Ace plus supporting ships to get her a focus and TL: Maybe use the tie-bomber, fleet officer and systems officer combo… It would be fun to turn 4 dice at range 1 into all crits, yeah?

    4) Keyan Farlander with experimental interface and expose: Get a TL, do expose and get a stress, spend your stress like a focus token while having 5 dice at range 1? Sign me up! Who cares that much if a B goes from 1 to 0 agility, right?

    • adamharry

      Hey thanks for the suggestions – This is the type of stuff I’d like to see more of. We all know Expose is highly situational, but that’s kind of the point!

    • ChahDresh

      1) In this case… you’re still better off with a Focus token, even when you’ve already got your free TL. One of the counter-intuitive downsides to Expose is that the more dice you throw, the worse it gets relative to taking another dice mod.
      2) That Tycho… is 32 points for a ship that won’t be dodging arcs, has four HP protected by two agi, and has nice but hardly overwhelming firepower…
      3) Even with the cheapest possible combo, that’s 45 points in those two ships with no real defense (and the Scimitar is an offensive non-entity). Plus some fancy flying would be required to get the Scimitar in range of the enemy to get the TL while remaining in range 1 of Omega Ace. Ick.
      4) Ding ding ding! WE HAVE A WINNER!
      If you’re desperate to run Expose, this is what I’d advocate. Keyan’s able to get double mods on his own, maximizing Expose’s utility. More importantly, he’s a Rebel pilot, meaning he has access to the way to mitigate Expose’s downsides in cost and defense: Biggs. Biggs protects your combo without compromising it when he dies and his shooting can’t be ignored.
      If you really want to be saucy, toss in Jan Ors. Now you’ve got a five-dice double-modded primary (so six double-modded at range 1). The list would look something like this:
      Keyan: Experimental Interface, Expose, 36
      Jan: TLT, Rec Spec, Moldy Crow (optional)
      Biggs: R4-D6, Integrated Astromech

  • Noah Hallett

    It’s also better on ships that can get free TLs through Crew or Systems slots. Zuckuss with Outlaw Tech, FCS and Expose (or K4 and Adv. Sensors) is murder, without any other ships needing to add to the hijinx. See also, Manaroo the action-battery.
    Still, Outmaneuver or Opportunist fit in similarly with fewer tradeoffs 😉

    • MikeyP

      Manaroo, I think, is the key for some nasty expose lists for scum. How about Talonbane Cobra paired with Manaroo with security droid. That could give you Talonbane with SIX dice, plus TL and focus, at range 1. Of course that will likely hang poor Mr. Cobra out to dry… Better make that shot count.

  • crimzzen

    I’ve had marginal success with it on Dengar.

    AFAIK it works both on your primary shot and your attack back shot meaning you’ve got the potential to lay out 10 dice at rng1 or 8 dice at range 2+. On a turreted ship you can also mitigate the agi loss a bit by arc dodging. Further, it pairs well with k4, unhinged astro and Experimental Interface which let you still retain action economy and the ability to easily clear stress.

    While expensive, I’ve enjoyed:
    Dengar
    Expose
    K4
    Unhinged
    EI
    Punishing one

    • ChahDresh

      I ran into a player running a very similar Dengar, but with Marksmanship. Very nasty.