Thursday, October 13, 2005

Web of Webhead - All the (Wookiee) Rage

web of webhead Episode II: All the (Wookiee) Rage

Howdy, and welcome back to web of webhead. Last time we looked in depth at the Droid Army Faction. With Series 2 out, we will cover the Wookiee Faction in much the same way we covered Droids last time, with the added bonus of looking at the Series 2 figures as well.

So let's talk 'Tix. Wookiees hold a special place in my heart, probably because I myself am both tall and hairy. Just like last time, I'll briefly review the Wookiee Faction figures, discuss the synergy in the Special Powers, present a standard squad list, discuss some in-game tactics, and touch on briefly what we should expect from future Attacktix sets when it comes to Wookiees,

Figure Overviews

Leading off the Series 1 Wookiees are the grunts of the Wookiee army, the Wookiee Scouts. Unlike many low level Troopers, Wookiee Scouts clock in at 20 points instead of 10. This price increase means that it is much harder to "swarm" with Wookiees, but unlike the Droid Army, these Wookiees can support a variety of teams with their Special Power to give a free move and attack to any Warrior... paving the way for some of the most powerful fighters in the game to get extra actions. In the final analysis, Wookiee Scouts are on a par with Super Battle Droids, sharing the same speed of 6 and activating their Special Powers at the same frequency, about a quarter of the time.

The Wookiee Commando (#9) is a step up from the Wookiee Scout in both points (30), and Launcher strength (large missile). As a Warrior, the Wookiee Commando also stands to benefit from the Wookiee Scout’s Special Power. The Wookiee Commando's own Special Power is to Rally back any Wookiee, a powerful effect that will fire off about a third of the time. For this reason, the Wookiee Commando lends itself more to a predominantly Wookiee force more so than the Scout. While we are talking Wookiee Commandos, let's cover the other one, #33. This Wookiee Commando is available in the Starter and has the same sculpt as the Wookiee faction version, but is a member of the Republic instead. However, still a Warrior, he can still take advantage of the Wookiee Scout special, and Wookiee Commando #33 has a Special of his own, an Attackback for any leader (see Tarfful below) that fires off more than two thirds of the time. In other words, the Republic version of the Wookiee Commando can both thematically and mechanically work well with a Wookiee Faction squad.

Sneaking in to a few short scenes in Episode III, but making his presence felt in Attacktix we find the world's most popular Wookiee, the walking carpet, Chewbacca. For 20 points you get the “Backhand of Doom” Striker attack, an average speed of 10, the somewhat rare class of Specialist, and a fantastic Special Power that fires off exactly half the time. Chewbacca's Special really makes the fig, giving two free moves and attacks to your Wookiees...almost a free turn. This is much like General Grievous in the Droid Army, except Chewbacca costs 10 points less. Another similarity that Chewbacca shares with Grievous is the special all Silver Tournament Prize version. As an added bonus, the Silver Chewbacca has a bumped up speed of 12, allowing him to keep pace with all but the fastest strikers. Finally, it's probably worth mentioning that as a Specialist Wookiee, Chewbacca can be Rally'ed back by either the Wookiee Commando or Ki-Adi-Mundi.

The Leader (with a capital "L") of the Wookiees is Tarfful. This 30-point monster might have the most powerful Striker attack in the game. It's been reported that he can single handedly throw the Republic Gunship off the playing field from mid-table. That, my friends, is power. Tarfful could probably take out some of those guys that dress up like Stormtroopers at your local 'Con. At 12 speed, he's outraced by only the fastest Strikers, and his Special Power lets him bounce back into play almost a third of the time, as long as you have another Wookiee Faction figure still in play. This, coupled with the Rally effect of the Wookiee Commando, can make Tarfful one of the hardest figures to beat down and have him stay down.

Series 2 brings us two and a half new Wookiees, starting with the new Wookiee Captain. The Wookiee Captain is similar to the Wookiee Commando, 30 points, a large missile Launcher attack, and a Special Power that goes off about a third of the time. However, that Special Power brings something new and powerful to the Wookiee faction, a Recruit power that works for any Wookiee. Recruit and Rally are in many ways flips sides of the same Special Power coin. In my mind, Recruit is probably a more powerful tool, as it is not dependent on you already having defeated characters available to Rally back into play. Of course, there is nothing stopping you now from using both powers on your Wookiee team.

We also get the new Wookiee Warrior, who shares his Star Wars Class and Attacktix Class with his name, just like the Captain does. Another figure similar to the Wookiee Commando in regards to speed and Launcher strength, this Wookiee comes in one of the two new starters, and has a special power geared towards working with Jedi, allowing him to Recover as long as a Jedi is in play. Not much help for an all Wookiee squad, but a great thematic tie-in if you are running Yoda in your “Battle for Kashyyyk” squad.

The “half” Wookiee I mentioned earlier is the new Chewbacca. The Series 2 Chewie is the Original Trilogy version, and hence has the Rebel Class. However, as a Warrior this time around, he can still play off of the Wookiee Scout in a pinch. The new Chewie looks to be custom made for “theme teams”, as his Recover power fires off half the time, and is dependent on having Han Solo in play. (Han for his part gives and Attackback to Chewbacca.) The new Chewie is also remarkable for being a Launcher this time around, as opposed to being a Striker before, basically the opposite of Grievous.

Special Power Synergy

With the exception of the Scout and the Warrior, the Wookiees are all about Wookiee Power. Tarfful and Chewbacca both are obviously intended to be played with multiple other Wookiee figures. The Scout on the other hand is more of an equal opportunity supporter, if you’re a Warrior, he’s your man, er, Wookiee. As for the Wookiee Warrior, he’s meant to be teamed up with Jedi (which is good, since he comes in the starter with them). These key differences make the Wookiee faction much different from the Droid Army, which is basically self contained in its Special Powers. Unfortunately, this makes the Wookiee Scout not quite as strong a support piece for a pure Wookiee squad, as his special will only help the Wookiee Commandos. The Wookiee Warrior also adds little to an all Wookiee squad, especially considering the strengths of the like costed Commando and Captain.

Aside from that, it’s worth repeating how powerful it is to have a Rally effect and a Recover effect for Tarfful, making him very hard to keep down. Chewbacca’s effect is powerful, but doesn’t feel as powerful as Grievous’, at least at the 100-point level, due to the lack of 10 point Wookiees. In larger games, Chewbacca (and the Wookiees as a whole) can really shine.

Building a Wookiee Squad

Just like before, now that we've covered the figures and the strength of their
interactions, it's time to design a squad that highlights those points. I’m more than a little happy to have both the Rally and Recruit powers available to build around. At the outset, I think it’s important to note that we are a little limited to either 20 or 30-point figures when building a Wookiee only squad. This forces us into a few default configurations, either five twenty point figures, three twenties and a thirty (leaving ten points over), two twenties and two thirties, or three thirties (again leaving ten points over). Certainly if we weren’t concerned with staying Wookiee only, we could fill in with 10 point troopers, but since the goal here is to focus solely on the Wookiee faction, I think we need to build towards the “two and two” model.

I think a safe selection for any Wookiee Squad is Tarfful. Another would be Chewbacca. Both of these figures are massively powerful Strikers with great Specials. So there is half of the team. Now, looking ahead, I know I want to have some Rally/Recover tricks available, which means I’m looking at both the Wookiee Commando and Wookiee Captain. They both won’t fit in the main squad, but if I put the Captain in the main force, the Commando can anchor my reserves. A Scout can round out both the main squad and the reserves to an even 100 and 50 points respectively.

Here's the squad in list form:

"Battle of Kashyyyk", Wookiee Squad, 100 pts.

  • 1 x Tarfful (30 pts.)
  • 1 x Chewbacca (20 pts.)
    1 x Wookiee Captain (30 pts.)
    1 x Wookiee Scout (20 pts.)

Reserves, 50 pts.

  • 1 x Wookiee Commando [#9] (30 pts.)
  • 1 x Wookiee Scout (20 pts.)

Wookiee Tactics

With this squad, you really want to lead the attack with your strikers, Chewbacca and Tarfful. If Tarfful falls there is a good chance he’ll bounce right back, and if Chewbacca falls, you get what amounts to about a free turn. Follow up with the Captain. In a perfect world, when the Captain falls, he brings in the Commando, and if he falls, he can bring back the Captain again, who could then bring in the Scout, maximizing your Reserves strategy. This won’t always happen of course, but creating the possibility that it could happen opens up a solid foundation to work from.

The future of the Wookiee Faction

As we’ve seen, Series 2 has not exactly swelled the ranks of the Wookiee faction the way it did for the Droid Army. Some have speculated that Series 2 may mark the end of the Wookiee faction in Attacktix. I tend to think otherwise. If you look at the 3 ¾” toys, if you wade through all of the clones, you’ll see a lot of Wookiees. I think Wookiees are here to stay. They might not get more than one new member a set, they might go some sets without altogether, but I think we’ll see more of our furry friends. And quite honestly, if we don’t, we’ve got a pretty good selection already. Two of the best strikers in the game, backed by a full package of support Special Powers including the powerful Rally and Recruit abilities, I think the Wookiees are in good shape to hold their own in the game.

Well, that's all for today. I hope you enjoyed this review of the Wookiee Faction. Next time I’ll be talking about a concept I call “ordering attacks”, see you then. webhead out.

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