Monday, December 7, 2015

Guri - More Than Meets The Eye

                I am not against good looking female characters in stories. Beauty is a part of life. But what I am not a fan of is sexy female characters that are solely contrived to appeal to the sex drive of male geeks. (Yes, Kerrigan and Cortana, I am talking to you.) So if you are reading this article in hopes of me talking about how hot Guri is, I am sorry to disappoint.
                Similar to the shock one feels to learn that Samus Aran is a girl, it is quite mind-bending to learn that Guri is actually an android. She was the product of the best minds in both cloning and robotics. And her creation was commissioned and paid for by Prince Xizor. The leader of the Black Sun wanted a figurehead to run the Syndicate while he quietly watched from the shadows and a bodyguard whose loyalty was completely unquestionable. However, the physical attractiveness of Guri hints at another motive. It is this author's opinion that Xizor, the lonely and single Dark Prince, actually had a Pygmalion complex. After all, in a society where Gods or Technology can create the perfect woman, why would you go out dating?
                As part of her bodyguard protocol, Guri was an expert assassin. She killed many of the Prince's enemies and rivals and even gave Luke Skywalker a run for his money. FFG did an amazing job translating this over into the X-wing Miniatures world. Since her primary function is assassination rather than piloting, she only has a PS of 5. But she can fulfill her role of bodyguard by equipping the Bodyguard EPT included in the Star Viper expansion. Moreover, whether in person or separated by the vacuum of space, she is still in her element. By getting close to a target she wishes to take down, Guri is in the zone and as such is always focused. Let's take a look at each of these points in detail and see how Guri can benefit your Scum fleet.

Anyone else dig that eyebrow raise? lol
                Guri with the Bodyguard talent can be powerful but you have to use it right. First off she needs to be protecting a high priority target. I know that that is a no-brainer but you really need to take that into consideration. She needs to be escorting an ally that your opponent REALLY wants to kill. Make the desired target so juicy that it hurts your opponent to not shoot at it. And on the flip side, make is so juicy that it hurts as well to have to eat through an extra agility. For example Serissu with an HLC and Stealth Device is a Fat Scyk that deserves to be blown up. But why would you shoot at Serissu when she is turtled up and Guri is sitting there quite vulnerable?
                That is the second point. You need to make sure you don't leave your bodyguard defenseless. Guri needs some sort of backup plan in case the enemy shoots her instead of her escortee. She is a waste of points if she dies during the alpha strike. If she is escorting Serissu then she can receive a free defense reroll from the Bothan. Or perhaps you fly aggressively so that Guri is at range 1 of the enemy while your Scum Ace is behind her at the safer distance of Range 2. That way Guri receives her free focus token and both ships can absorb a lot of damage.
                What I am getting at is this: the Bodyguard isn't about sacrificing one ship to keep another one safe. (That is what an 18 point Leatin is for.) The Bodyguard EPT is about creating a synergetic combo that gives exceptional strength when the two ships are together at Range 1. Since Scum ships are inherently stronger by themselves in X-wing Miniatures, you are going to have to work a little harder to find a combo that work.

Pilot Skill
                Taking a step away from Bodyguard, Guri can fill quite a few other roles. At PS5 she is very good at hunting generic pilots as well as low PS Swarms. In the game of boosts and barrel rolls you will find that she will excel at outmaneuvering anyone below her. Stay On Target was an EPT designed to punish generic squads and so we get a very strong combo when we attach it to Guri. She can chose a new maneuver to stay in Range 1 of the ships she is hunting and then doesn't care about the stress she receives because she still gets her free focus from her ability.
                Another thing to consider is Veteran Instincts. I don't like to use this EPT much because I don't want it to become a crutch for flying skill. But on Guri it feels like a must since PS 7 gives her much more power on the board. If you aren't taking any other EPT on her then I would greatly recommend this one. However, even at 7 she is still vulnerable to enemy aces. If you want to chase these ships, you either need to read your opponent very well or take an Intelligence Agent in your squad. I did the latter and saw great success with it. Guri paired with the IA allowed me to effectively hunt and kill a PS 9 Dash Outrider.

                I've already made a few remarks about using Guri's pilot ability for free focus but I want to delve a little more into it. The first thing to note is the wording on the card. It specifically states that she gets a focus token rather than getting a free focus action. This is important because it doesn't limit her actions. During the Utah Cup Prelims I was able to still get the focus even after Guri received a Damaged Sensor array. It also means that she can turtle up with a focus action as well as a free ability focus, thus allowing her to have one for both offense or defense.
                The second thing that is amazing about Guri's focus ability is the fact that she has both the barrel roll and the boost. There are three kinds of players in X-wing: those who always rely on dice modifying actions, those who always take movement actions, and those who know which is strongest in each situation. Of course the last one is best but I am not that good of a plyaer yet. I am so reluctant to boost or roll because it leaves my ships action-less on dice. While usually a safe choice, sometimes positioning comes back to bite me. But I love to fly Guri's Viper because she can boost or roll and can still get a focus if I make good maneuvers. This is a powerful combo and is the main reason, in my opinion, why an Advanced Proton Torpedo is included in the Star Viper expansion. Guri can take a target lock out at Range 3 then boost into Range 1 with a free focus for a potent APT shot.
                Finally, it is worth mentioning that Guri is a great blocker. If she hunts higher PS Aces then she can boost or roll into blocking positions with less risk. If she does get the block then great! Perhaps consider giving her Intimidation, just like with Arvel Crynyd. But if you mis-guess your opponent's move then there is a good chance you will still be in Range 1 and can use the free focus.

Autothrusters & Other Combos
                I could talk about Guri with Sensor Jammers or even the Hot Shot Blaster. Given the number of EPTs, Systems, and Illicits in the game, there are many great combinations out there for her. Find one that fits the needs of your Scum squad and see how it does.
                But before I end this article I want to talk about Autothrusters. While the AT upgrade is great on any Interceptor-type ship, it is extra special on Guri. The modification allows Guri to have even more strength in hunting ships, especially turrets. If you fly right and can hound an enemy turret for several turns then you don't need to worry about defense. Here's why. Three evade dice give an average roll of Evade, Focus, Miss. Then you turn the miss to a hit with ATs and the focus to a hit with your free token. That is an average of 3 evades when facing a turret at Range 1. Mind you, the dice can still fail you but that is going to be less often than not. It is a combo worth trying out.

                The bottom line is this: Guri's Viper wants to fly in fast and close and punish the enemy for getting there. The ship is a blast to fly, so try it out and have fun! Thanks for reading and, of course, comments are encouraged. PGP out.

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