After reading the first article, you might have thought, “That was a total load of rubbish! None of those numbers are applicable to a real game! I’ll never get those five minutes back!” You would be correct! [Well, maybe not a total load of rubbish.]
As I pointed out, the theorycrafting was pretty deep. The attempt was to give a max possible value to the powers. However, in reality, neither Choke nor Reflexes will be used every turn. There are several reasons for this, no target for Choke, Vader activating last so Reflexes would be wasted, etc. Another reason, probably the main reason, is that Vader only has Master of the Force 1.
This means that Vader can only untap one Force upgrade per turn. If you have played any Vader (or Luke) you already know that the best Force upgrade in the game is Force Push. I will not go into the specifics of this card, needless to say, it is very powerful and will probably be used each turn.
I also noted, at the end of the article, that there were probably better targets for Choke (other than heavy weapons). With Medics and Supplies carriers at the top of that list.
Lucky for me, soon after writing the first article my teammate, Nerfley, gave an excellent example of the power of a well placed Choke and why it is so much better than Reflexes. Unfortunately for Nerfley, this was Choke he missed… Let’s dig in!
I’ll open with a screen capture of a game between Nerfley and JamesBrett from the current Yavin Base Team League season. I will not go into all the details of the game as they are not relevant to the topic at hand. I will focus on a single turn in which Vader could have used either Choke or Reflexes. Actually, Nerfley didn’t take Reflexes, but let’s look at what could have happened if he did and if he would have chosen to use Reflexes instead of Choke.
In the first screen cap Nerfley has just Force Pushed the white based Rebel Trooper unit (with Z6 upgrade) into the place you see. Vader is about to make his move to the red “X”. I need to mention here that, if Nerfley would have moved / cohered the Rebel Troopers in a different way he could have moved ~0.25 in more toward the brown based unit with the Medic (arrow pointing to it).
The second screen cap is of the same move, just to show that if Nerfley had just moved up a hair he could have Choked this Medic. However, Nerfley chose not to use Choke, attack and kill 4 in the White unit and MotF untap Push.
We will now look at three possibilities of this move. First, the thing that actually happened, Nerfley didn’t use Choke. Second, if Nerfley would have used Choke. Third, what if Nerfley had taken Reflexes and used it?
First, Reality. What chain of events happened because he did not use Choke?
Here is a little more pertinent information about the game. JamesBrett had two Medics (one pictured and another at the very bottom left in the second screen shot). Earlier, Nerfley wounded one of JamesBrett’s Tauntaun units. This unit had taken 3 wounds on one of the models (one more wound to defeat the model), the Leader model was uninjured. In this turn, Nerfley would kill the wounded Tauntaun, JamesBrett would Treat the Tauntuan (i.e. bring it back from the dead) with a Medic. Nerfley would kill the Tautaun again, and a second time JamesBrett would Treat the Tautuan.
Since both models were alive when the unit activated, the Tauntauns were able to throw 3 additional dice with their attack and have RAM 2 instead of RAM 1. In this turn, they did attack, making it into melee with a Stormtrooper unit, and delivering 6 hits. The Storms made average saves, 3 of 6, and lost 3 models.
On the next turn, the same unit of Tauntans activated first, they made it into base contact with Vader, RAMing the Dark Lord of the Sith for 6 hits. Vader, like the Storms, saved perfectly average, 3 of 6, and took 3 wounds.
By the next turn Nerfly killed of one of the Tauntaun models, and it could not make it into melee, so it rolled only 2 hits on their ranged attack into a unit of Storms, and again, the Storms saved 50%, 1 of 2. Nerfley would later finish the Tauntaun unit off on this turn.
I have only focused on one of JamesBrett’s units, the Tauntauns (with one model 1 wound from death) for a reason. If Nerfley would have Choked the Medic, the Tauntaun unit could not have had a second model available to use in two attacks with RAM and one ranged attack.
What was the total damage of this model (the model that could have been killed if Nerfley Choked the Medic)?
5 total hits into Stormtooper units and 3 total hits into Vader. These three attacks resulted in 2.5 wounds to Storms and 1.5 wounds to Vader.
Remember that Dodge can only cancel 1 hit, so to cancel a total of 3 hits to Vader he would need to use Reflexes 3 times (over the course of three turns).
Second, Choke. What if Nerfley had inched up and Choked the Medic?
JamesBrett would have had two choices with his first Medic activation. He could Treat the Choked Medic, or Treat the Tauntaun. The correct play would be to Treat the Medic, then have the (revived) Medic Treat the Tauntaun unit (after Nerfley killed the Tauntaun noted above). If JamesBrett chose to simply Treat the Tauntaun, it would have still died later in the turn and would not have contributed to the three attacks noted and the Choked Medic would be permanently dead. Either way, Nerfley kills the Tauntuan twice, and with only one Medic it can only be Treated once.
To be more clear, Choking the Medic would have saved 3 hits on the Storms, then 3 hits on Vader, then 2 hits on another unit of Storms. That single Choke could have saved a total of 4 Wounds (not Hits!) from Nerfley’s army, including 1.5 Wounds on Vader himself!
Again, to save 1.5 Wounds on Vader would require three uses of Force Reflexes. This is because each Dodge only negates one Hit, not Wound. Negating a Wound (100% of the time) requires 2 Dodges.
Third, Reflexes. What if Vader had Reflexes and used it instead?
Over the course of the turn Vader would take shots from three units.
First, a unit of Tauntauns shot Vader for 3 hits.
Second, Leia shot Vader for 2 Crits.
Third, a Z6 unit also shot Vader for 2 Crits.
The Dodge would have probably been used on the first attack, reducing the hits from 3 to 2.
This would improve Vader’s save from 50% to 67% and “turned on” Deflect. Let’s compare the two attacks, one with no Dodge and one with Dodge.
The attack with no dodge pushes 3 Hits to Vader with a 50% save, netting 1.5 Wounds. With the Dodge Vader takes 2 hits with a 67% save, netting 0.67 Wounds. An improvement of 0.83 Wounds.
Another way to look at this, since Wounds are not taken in increments, is to look at the odds of taking 0,1, or 2 Wounds.
Here you see that Vader, with Dodge, has an 89% chance to take 1 or fewer Wounds, compared to only 50% chanced to take 1 or fewer Wounds without the Dodge. Let’s give the Reflex Vader the better outcome and say that Reflexes would have saved 1 Wound.
If Vader would have, instead, saved the Dodge for later, it would have been almost worthless as the Crit results cannot be Dodged. Vader could have improved his save from 50% to 66%. Not great.
Realistically, Reflexes would have saved, at best, 1 Wound and done little to no real damage to JamesBrett’s army. Also, Reflexes would have done nothing to save the 2.5 Wounds inflicted to the Storms.
Compare that to 1.5 Wounds to Vader saved from Choke and Choke is already the winner. The extra 2.5 Wounds saved from Storms is icing on the cake.
I repeatedly mentioned that you need 3 Dodges to ignore 3 Hits (i.e. the 3 hits received from the Tauntaun that could have been killed). This would require 3 uses of Reflexes. However, like in most games, The non-Force Push power is not used as often. In this game Nerfley used Force Push each turn, and Push was selected to be untapped each turn. It would have not been possible for Nerfley to use Reflexes the required 3 times. Regardless, a single use of Choke did more work than 3 uses of Reflexes.
Thanks for reading! If you think I have missed something let me know on Discord.