Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Horton Salm - The Grey Knight

                Apparently, womp rats are pretty hard to hit. At least, that is the truth that I found when practicing a list of Rookies with Proton Torpedoes. We have known for awhile that ordnance is not cost effective. However, that doesn't mean it has no place in the game. This post will be the first of several on what I have found to make ordnance fun as well as worth the points.
                Horton Salm appears in the 6th episode of Star Wars as Grey Leader in the battle of Endor (where he doesn't have that ridiculous mustache as seen in the comics, haha). Grey 1 and several other fighters followed General Calrissian into the heart of darkness to destroy the second Death Star. But when threatened by pursuing Ties, Horton broke off and followed Jake Farrell to draw enemy fire. Sorry boys, you'll get the glory for the next large explosion, promise.
                Right out of the box, Horton was the first Y-wing pilot I played. Being able to reroll blanks freed up his action for focus making him an efficient long range dog-fighter. He only has 2 attack dice but he sure knows how to make them count every time. It wasn't till after I was thinking of the ordnance problem that it occurred to me to use him. But wow, how he fit the bill.
                After running a probability simulator, I found that the average result rolling 4 attack dice is 2 hits/crits, 1 focus, and 1 blank. Using protons torpedoes turns one 1 focus into a critical - probably "smart bomb" tech - bringing the total average hits to 3. But when you are flying a Rookie pilot, a 3 hit torpedo is not enough to consistently break the agility of Tie Fighters, even without the added range 3 defense die. In contrast, Horton's reroll ability makes up for any blank rolls, which effectively gives you a target lock after you already spent it. His only weakness is focus results, but again, this is mitigated by the proton torpedoes themselves. And with two torpedo slots on a Y-wing there is good potential for some heavy damage.
                But so what? Horton can successfully get 4 hits on a consistent basis at range 3. So can my Blue Squad B-Wing with a heavy laser cannon, plus it has more shields and it costs less. If those were the only factors, then yes, I would take the B-wing every time. But the added points of Horton give you something the HLC can't: criticals. Unless you are very unlucky, torpedoes will always have a critical hit. Couple this with Horton's high probability of getting 4 hits and we have a exceptional chance for the critical to push through and give early, nasty damage to unshielded targets. And after the alpha strike, honestly, both he and a B-wing would be high priority targets and get focused on. A range 1 Horton or HLC are quite useless to us, so why not get those early critical when you can?
                If that's not enough to sell you, there's the bonus of Wave 7 coming out. With it will be the chance for the Extra Munitions card. This upgrade fills a torpedo slot, so it won't be aiding our hapless Rookie X-wings but it is perfect for the Y-wing. You save 2 points putting double PT on Horton and then you can take those saving and get yourself a free autoblater turret to give him an advantage in the mid-game. I love coupon squad shopping!
                To summarize, Horton Salm does a magnificent job at overcoming most of the risk of using ordnance. He is a bit more expensive then some heavy-hitter ships but he is well worth the points for what he can do. This build works well with my play style and I have a lot of fun flying him. I hope that you will too.

B-wing w/ Blue Squadron Pilot & HLC...29 points

Y-wing w/ Horton & 2 Proton Torpedoes...33 points

Y-wing w/ Horton, Proton Torpedo, Extra Munitions, & Auto-Turret...33 points

Bargain coupon squad shopping...Priceless.


I call Horton the Grey Knight because I was testing out a build that ran him with as a Green Squad A-wing with Draw Their Fire. I called it the Knight Squad because it reminded me of a Knight and his trusty Squire. But I soon found that A-wings do not excel at soaking damage or at keeping pace with Y-wings. So I dropped the squire and kept the Knight.

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