Make Dengar Great Again!

I know, I know, why would anyone want to make Jumpmasters great again. I have as much reason as anyone to never want to see them again, having lost a Nationals final to Dengaroo. But hey, I like a challenge, and the 2.0 Jumpmaster certainly is one hell of a challenge.

I think there is something to be found with Jumpmasters, particularly Dengar, in Extended. This blog will focus on Dengar, not to say I don’t think the other ships can’t be good too. The generic Contracted Scout is super cheap, and Manaroo still has ability that could break the game in the right combo.

Unlike my previous blog, I have actually played a couple of games with Dengar in second edition, so maybe I know a little about what I’m talking about. The biggest problem with him is forgetting the old dial…
Not the new dial itself, but forgetting the old one.

Oh, how the “mighty” have fallen

The Jumpmaster 5000 had easily the biggest maneuver dial downgrade from 1st to 2nd edition, and while it was absolutely deserved, it is now VERY, VERY, TERRIBLE. It turns right worse than a Lambda-class Shuttle for goodness sake. (Clarification: due to it’s lack of any blue right banks)

Combine that with the new turret mechanics (which are amazing for the game) and only having a single turret arc that you cannot move without taking stress, the Jumpmaster 5000 is fundamentally a new different ship. Forgot the past, drop the ‘again’ and let’s simply make Dengar great!

Building Dengar

For the build approach, his points cost leans to a small piece of a larger whole, not necessarily the main component of the squad. As of writing, Dengar starts at a mere 58 points! And even though he is going to want a few upgrades, it’s easy to keep him dirt cheap and substantially less than half of a 200 point squad, leaving room for other and potentially bigger threats.

Looking at his pilot ability (After you defend, if the attacker is in your front arc, you may spend 1 charge to perform a bonus attack against the attacker.) you see to use this Dengar wants to joust (but only a little) and keep his turret arc forward. This synergizes with the Punishing One title (While you perform a primary attack, if the defender is in your front arc, roll 1 additional attack die. Remove Crew slot. Add Astromech slot.), which is great, because muh theeeme! It’s pretty cheap at 8 points, and that 3rd attack die really gives Dengar some teeth, so I feel it’s almost an auto include. And you almost never want to rotate the turret arc, the cost of the stress is very high, as is the cost of future stress rotating it back, and the weak 2-die turret attack gained make it not worthwhile in almost all circumstances.

The Jumpmaster’s unique quirk its asymmetry, and I feel the designers have done an excellent job giving the ship the feel of asymmetric movement, and you really have to plan out your likely flight pattern turns in advance. (Why it should have asymmetric movement is another discussion….) With that said, there are still some options for improving its maneuverability.

  • L3-37 (crew; reverse side: If you are not shielded, decrease the difficulty of your bank maneuvers.) If it weren’t for the aforementioned Punishing One title, L3-37 would be a great include. Being able to clear stress whilst banking right would open up a lot of movement possibilities. Have to pick the title over this. Nope
  • Contraband Cybernetics (illicit: Before you activate, you may spend 1 charge. If you do, until the end of the round, you can perform actions and execute red maneuvers, even while stressed.) Now this one I can get behind, a one-trick pony that let’s you ignore the downsides of the dial AND keep actions going. Potentially pricey at 5 points, but worth considering. Maybe
  • Electronic Baffle (modification: During the End Phase, you may suffer 1 damage to remove 1 red token.) This opens up the option to perform repeat red maneuvers, over and over again (actually only 9 times), or red maneuver then white maneuver with an action. The cost of damage is pretty high with only 9 HP, and the timing of stress removal isn’t ideal for action economy. Nope
  • Expert Handling (talent: adds white barrel roll) This one doesn’t really do it for me either, don’t think you want to be barrel rolling very much, limited forward/back movement and he wants his dice mod actions. Worth testing and having a few games with though. Maybe

As hinted above, Dengar wants his actions. For getting the most out of Dengar, he will want to use his ability and double tap a number of times. However, with only a single regular action (Focus or Lock), he will have a single dice mod to spread between 2 attacks, and hit like a wet noodle. How can we make him hit harder?

  • Punishing One title is a good place to start, basically an auto include on Dengar. This closes off some probably good options in the Crew slot, but the 3rd attack die is too important to not take.
  • Actions. Dengar has the regular Focus and Lock actions available. He can take one with his Perform Action step, and cheat out the other via perhaps an Escape Craft (your friendly neighborhood coordinate caddy). But that’s still only 2 dice mods to use across 2 attacks, which isn’t the greatest consistency.
  • The Talent and Astromech slots open up some extra options for offensive consistency. The Talent slot has Lone Wolf and Predator which offer situational rerolls, so if you can fly to suit, should be very effective. R3 Astromech can help set up future turns, by banking a Lock on a future target and R5-P8 (previously dubbed the Painbot) looks pretty decent for turning a couple of average attacks into strong attacks.
  • Contraband Cybernetics again is a good option for maintaining an action whilst S-looping, K-turning, or simply turning right! Action = good. Could even include Jabba the Hutt elsewhere in the squad to get a few more charges to play with.
  • Proton Torpedoes, very questionable I think. While they have made a significant splash in the second edition meta, I don’t think Dengar is the right platform. These torpedoes are most effective with double mods, and as Dengar struggles for multiple dice mods in general, you won’t get the bang for your buck.

Some cards that look good at first, but don’t work at all are Fearless and Outmaneuver (and maybe more I missed). These cards require a front arc attack, and that is not the same as a turret arc pointing forward attack. Sad. Outmaneuver can work with a Torpedo if you really want it.

Sample build

Dengar Jumpmaster 5000
Predator + Contraband Cybernetics + Punishing One + R5-P8

Comes in at a mere 77 points, about a 3rd of the squad’s 200 points. Heaps of space left over for a couple more nasty threats, or one more ‘big’ ship and some support ships. Equipped with solid cheap options for more consistent attacks.

(This loadout is by no means the definitive best, very much open to taste, personal preference and lots of actual testing.)

A different possible role for Dengar could be as a pure I6 torpedo carrier; maximize one attack and not care about the pilot ability and bonus attack. He’s cheap enough so maybe?, heard worse ideas.

Another crazy idea would be to try recreate the dreaded Dengaroo for second edition.

Dengar Jumpmaster 5000
Lone Wolf + Proton Torpedoes + Contraband Cybernetics + Shield Upgrade + Punishing One + R5-P8
Manaroo Jumpmaster 5000
Trick Shot + Perceptive Copilot + Proton Torpedoes + Feedback Array + Shield Upgrade

Hmmm…. that looks really trash. Failed. Oh well. Not going to lose any sleep over that one.

For non-Dengar Jumpmasters, a Contracted Scout with Feedback Array costs only 50 points, and for veteran players who already own several Jumpmasters is a cheaper (in terms of money) substitute for a Freighter Captain with Feedback Array. The Freighter Captain is probably better in almost every way, but the budget friendly option is nice to have. You can fit 4 of them in a list in any combination, and I’m sure that’s something most players would dread playing against.

On the topic of first edition ‘favourite’ ships, Captain Nym in the Scurrg doesn’t look too shabby in second edition either. I’ll save that for another day. Triggered enough people for one article….

Hint at probable upcoming blog in the feature image. Shamelessly found on Google from Star Wars Volume 2 comic.  Please don’t sue me Disney.

I don’t live in America, so don’t how a Trump line will go down. #YOLO

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