The StarTrek.com preview for the Reman Warbird Scimitar is up, and it’s officially the meanest Romulan ship to ever touch the table for Star Trek: Attack Wing as far as its’ stats are concerned, but the upgrades generally cost too much to be worth including. Quick and dirty version: Buy it, but only buy one.
The Scimitar’s total Shields and Hull are only matched in faction by the Avatar of Tomed (and as half Borg, does that really count?), the evade matches any Romulan ship other than the nimble R.I.S. Vo, and it’s the only ship in the faction to boast six attack dice before any upgrades, even if you count the bonus dice available to the I.R.W. Valdore and the I.R.W. Khazara. The ship’s special ability is nothing new, but it essentially saves you a Tech slot and four points by having a slightly better version of the Advanced Cloaking Device upgrade built in. For organized play under the new suggested tournament format, However, at 38 points, the Scimitar doesn’t leave you much room for upgrades when trying to fit underneath that 50 point cap for organized play under the new suggested tournament format, and it’s even worse when looking at the upgrades included, which are generally all rather expensive.
Of the three unique captains included in this pack, only Shinzon and Viceroy have had their text disclosed. Shinzon is impressive, but really should have just been costed at 10 points to begin with. His special ability costs 4 ship points, and allows you to secretly select up to 4 Romulan Elite Pilot Talents instead of purchasing one normally, then reveal one and discard the other three whenever you wish to use one. For those without the points to spare or that don’t care for the Romulan Talents… well… he’s a Skill 9 Romulan captain for 6SP.
Viceroy serves as a poor fleet’s Bioship Alpha Pilot, allowing you two opportunities to take a sneak peek at a single nearby ship’s maneuver before selecting your own. Situationally useful if you know you’ll be facing an opponent who is tricky with their movements. The third Captain, Hiren, will also be an Admiral, with some form of an “attack boosting” action available. Truthfully, as a Romulan player, the only “attack boosting” action that I want added is a Battlestations action.
A couple of the upgrades included with the Scimitar are potentially devastating to dreadnought builds (you know, the ones that we’re generally not allowed to use in competitive play anymore).
Reman Boarding Party is a 4 point Crew upgrade that is discarded to disable ALL upgrades on a ship at range 1-2; but you have to be uncloaked, disable any shields you have active, and target a ship that is uncloaked and has no active shields. My problem with these kinds of upgrades is that if you’ve managed to get the opponent’s shields down already, you’re well over halfway to killing them (For those of you about to get tachnical on me, critical hits make up the difference if there are more Hull points than Shields). Unless you’re running into a rare hull-tanking ship (Enhanced Hull Plating from the Enterprise NX-01, or multiple Borg Ablative Hull Armor upgrades that aren’t usable in the new format), what do you really need to disable at that point that will make you say “I’m glad I dropped all my defenses for the turn and spent 4 points and an action on that instead of something else”?
Also of major theoretical threat to dreadnought builds, especially of the Federation variety that lean on their captain and crew (like my default Enterprise-E build), Thalaron Weapon is the ultimate anti-personnel weapon. A 10 point / 1 shot upgrade, this weapon fires with 10 attack dice, and every point of damage takes out a Crew upgrade or the ship’s Captain, with up to 5 leftover damage being applied normally. On a quick glance, this looks like a perfect counter to Weyoun/Varel combos, or similar attack canceling builds, but it doesn’t work; this attack can be canceled in exactly the same fashion as any other. Add in the restriction that it can only be equipped on Reman Warbird ships, and you’re now guaranteed never to see this card in competitive play (if there was any doubt after seeing its’ cost and one-shot nature).
Slightly more likely to be used, but still solidly in the non-competitive category, there’s yet another flavor of Photon Torpedoes, the card that won’t stop being printed. When fired by the Scimitar (or the generic Reman Warbird), you get an increase of 1 attack die over using your Primary Weapon, which is rarely worth spending the target lock required to fire them. Unlike both sets of torpedoes included with the I.R.W. Valdore, no die conversions or rerolls are built in. For 6 points, I’ll pass on this one. This evaluation does admittedly hinge on the assumption that the ship will not have a rear firing arc like all other Romulan ships, because having a 7-die attack out of the rear arc available would be a major upgrade.
Now if you’re looking to deal some damage, let’s take a look at one of the Elite Talent cards available in this pack: Attack Pattern Shinzon Theta (that’s a mouthful). It’s a 5 point talent that is discarded at use, and may not ever actually be useful, but hold on to your captain’s chair if it does get used, because the Enterprise (or whatever other ship is being hit) will be looking like a heavy metal concert with all the head banging going on. What effect could be worthy of that description, you ask? This talent, when discarded, deals 1 additional damage to a ship’s shields (and only to the shields) for every uncanceled [Crit] result. So it might never be used (if you never roll [Crit] results while shields are up), or it might help get you through the opponent’s shields a little quicker, or it might make those Critical Hits that were going to be wasted on shields slip through and start carving up their hull! I don’t know that I could realistically justify 5 points for the card, but if I decide to bring Shinzon as my captain, you had better believe that this would be one of the cards he would have in his bag of tricks!
The other two Elite Talent cards in this set also fit the toolbox approach to using Shinzon. Full Stop does exactly what it says, your ship doesn’t move that turn. The important thing is that you decide whether or not to use it when you reveal your movement dial, thus letting you see where other ships may have already moved in the turn, and pick between your selected maneuver or using the Full Stop. Target Weapons Systems lets you cherry-pick the results of a critical hit, either reducing the opponent’s Primary Weapon value with a Weapons Failure, or removing a deadly Secondary Weapon like Dorsal Phaser Array or Transphasic Torpedoes with a Munitions Failure. Both are very useful in the right situation, but I rarely believe in bringing upgrades that you aren’t guaranteed to get use out of; Shinzon offers a way to make it work without feeling like you’re wasting a lot of points.
Last but not least, we’ve got a couple defensive items available in Secondary Shields and Improved Cloaking Device. Secondary Shields is essentially an upgrade to your Reman Warbird’s stats. You get three replacement shield tokens, added at a rate of one per turn, for a cost of six points (the same cost as adding three shields to a ship by the Attack Wing costing formula of [Total Stats]x2). Improved Cloaking Device keeps you from getting stuck without your cloak, as you can still take a cloak action even without shields or with an Auxiliary Power Token. That ability is a powerful counter to cards like Borg Missile, that might prevent you from cloaking with tokens or by just blasting your shields, but by increasing the cost to 10 points for anything other than the Reman Warbird, it’s tough to envision it seeing use.
All in all, there’s some interesting cards here, but I don’t see many outside of the Reman Warbird Scimitar itself and Shinzon being used. I’d love to hear about it if you’ve got something in mind for the other cards in this pack. And don’t forget to check out all of my other Attack Wing articles including previews of Chang’s Bird of Prey and the I.S.S. Defiant while you’re here!
– The Tabletop General