Count Dooku – Smug Separatist

Warning: Maths Ahead

He does look quite smug, sitting there with whatever scifi beverage that is, feeling good about himself

What can Dooku do for you!

The recently spoiled Count Dooku crew card is certainly very interesting. At first glance he appears to be some unholy combination of 1st edition Emperor Palpatine and C-3PO (both meta warping, broken cards in their heyday), but with even more applications, including messing with your opponent’s dice!

Yes, I’m using 1st edition cards as comparisons. Most people know them. It’s a new card to 2nd edition. Get over it.

Of course when evaluating a card, the points cost is a major factor in whether the card is worth taking or not. Heroic is a good example of this, at 3 points (or even 2 points) it would be hot garbage and never get played*, but at 1 point it has been hailed by some as “the best card in the game” among other overly positive things.
Dooku‘s ability does have more than enough depth, nuance and applications to be worth some pre-points analysis.

*You can quote me on that if you really want to.

Attacking and Defending

The first and most obvious application is for attack and defense rolls, both for friendly and enemy ships. He can help friendlies roll crits or evades, or make enemies roll blanks.

Table 1: Percentage chance of Count Dooku changing a die result

The first thing to stick out is, unlike most dice mods, Count Dooku’s usefulness decreases with more dice being rolled. Not that it does comparatively less, (like Predator or a Calculate token that can only modify a single die) with Dooku, the more dice rolled, the lower the chances of him doing anything at all are.

This is due to the interesting caveat of “If the roll does not contain the named result…” That is if you roll any of the named (desired) results, Count Dooku changes nothing. Yes, rolling the desired results is what you want, but naming ‘evade’, then rolling evade, blank, blank feels bad.

Naming results with Dooku is about knowing your die sides.

  • Attack die: 1 crit, 3 hits, 2 focus, 2 blank
  • Defense die: 3 evade, 2 focus, 3 blank

On offense, affecting a friendly ship, the numbers look alright thanks to the existence of the crit result. You can roll as many hits as you like and still be able to change one die to a crit. On 3 dice there is a 67% chance of Dooku being able to change a result to a crit, but each of those failures you have already rolled a crit, including all permutations of crit, hit, hit, or crit, hit, focus, or (the 1 in 512) crit, crit, crit. A comparison would be 1st edition Guidance Chips Chimps Porgs but worse.

For better efficiency, you can combine the Dooku mod with a Focus token, and for the ‘average’ type roll of hit, focus, blank, you can spend the Focus and turn the blank to a crit. Don’t think it’s as good as TL + Focus, but actually working out the math of the number of hits a Dooku modded shot is more work than I can be bothered doing. Combining Dooku with other mods, leads to next big point….

Why would you name focus?

On defense dice, the odds of rolling a focus are less than rolling an evade. So using Dooku on 2 or more defense dice with a focus mod available to spend, it is better to name focus, (and change a blank to a focus to an evade), as on average before Dooku you will roll more evades (and blanks) than focuses.

It also doesn’t matter what your focus mod is, can be Focus, Calculate or Force token, as by naming the focus result, you will only have one focus showing.

For 1 defense die, it’s like 1st edition C-3PO, name evade and guarantee the 1 evade result. Fat Sith Infiltrators here we come.

The numbers for defense aren’t really that great, with only 3 possible die results, all having a decent chance of being rolled on the initial roll.

Also included in Table 1 (now halfway back up the page) are the percentages when used on an enemy ship’s dice roll. Again, I have included the results for naming focus, as a focus is as dead as a blank result when the ship in question does not have a focus mod. Maybe not too shabby, as high as 42.2% chance of changing something on 3 dice. But there’s another important caveat on the card, “the ship must change 1 die to that result.“, i.e. the ship’s controller (the opponent) gets to choose which die to change. And if they don’t have a focus mod, they can change blank to focus, or focus to blank with no consequences.

Table 2: Percentage chance of Count Dooku doing anything meaningful on enemy attack and defense

So Dooku is more effective against enemy ships when they have a focus mod, compared to when they have no focus mod. Neat.

It makes sense though, when they don’t have a focus, for Dooku to trigger meaningfully, the enemy ship has to roll all hits/crits or all evades (“natty out” as some might say). And betting your force charge on your opponent rolling well above average feels like a bad trade-off.

As a general statement (only Sith deal in absolutes), I think you’d be better off using Dooku to mod your own dice rather than your opponents in most situations.

At what cost?

Using Dooku’s ability is a gamble. You’re betting your force charge on the possibility of changing a die to a better result.

The cost of a force charge to do anything is worth thinking twice about. Having the force charge simply as a focus mod on attack or defense is pretty strong in itself.

Although Dooku does work on ships at range 0-2, he would likely often want to be used on his own dice. And then you’re trading up from a definite focus mod to a chance at changing any result to a crit/evade. When combined with another focus mod (such as a focus token), giving up the force token mod is less significant.

The maths behind how likely you are to roll a focus result and get to change it with a force token is much simpler. And it is the same for both attack and defense dice, as both have 2 focus sides.

Table 3: Percentage chance of rolling 1 or more focus result

So if you’re modding Dooku’s own dice, with no other modifiers, it’s easy to see which is better for the number of dice, naming a result with Dooku or saving the force charge to modify a result. On attack, name crit on 1-3 dice, save force for focus mod on 4+ dice. On defense, name evade on 1 dice (C-3PO style), save force for focus mod on 2+ defense dice. But these numbers only apply on Dooku’s own dice, with no other modifiers. There would be similar numbers including having reroll modifiers, but that’s far more work than I want to do. When using him on other friendly ships, you don’t have the option to spend the force to convert a focus, so name away.

As you can hopefully tell by now, there is a lot of maths behind using Dooku as a dice mod, with seemingly infinite things having an impact. I’d go as far as to say Dooku is the most complicated dice mod so far in 2nd edition. (Heroic is probably second)

Obstacles

But Dooku has more uses than simply in the modify dice step. Any time a ship at range 0-2 rolls attack or defense dice, you can activate Dooku. And my personal favorite application so far is with Obstacles.

Smug expression for .. ah.. being able to read the rules and cards

I saw some claims in various corners of the internet that Dooku could not be used for this. These claims are simply plain wrong.

The rules of overlapping obstacles clearly state numerous times “…rolls one attack die.” [Rules Reference v1.0.2 pg 13] and Dooku says “Before a ship at range 0-2 rolls attack or defense dice…“.
Get REKT internet

You can use Dooku on friendly ships to turn the 50% chance of damage on asteroids and the 12.5% chance of crit on debris fields both to 0%. But you generally want to be avoiding obstacles, because damage is bad and actions are good, so this shouldn’t be a priority use for Dooku.

What is more interesting and nasty is using Dooku on enemy ships and obstacles. You can name crit and force critical damage every time an enemy ship hits an obstacle. Debris fields just got a whole lot scarier. Debris of death. Now this is something you could definitely use to your advantage. Take 3 big debris fields and they are a lot worse for your opponent than they are for you. If Separatists have a way to take Rigged Cargo Chutes they would be gold, and ion or tractor mechanics to force enemy ships onto the debris would also be great. Until everything for the faction comes out, we don’t really know how to best exploit this.

Other Applications & Thoughts

There are more, less useful/relevant applications. You can use Dooku on:

  • Proximity Mines
  • Damage cards, such as Console Fire or Wounded Pilot
  • Keeping your shiney new Dank DRK-1 Probe Droid alive
  • Probably many other cards that didn’t immediately come to mind

And these applications apply for both friendly and enemy ships. Dooku can be used to guarantee a result (and often damage) on almost any dice roll!

The only exception I can think of at this time is rolling for initiative. Just no, you can’t do that. Don’t even ask.

The question of where you equip him in your squad is also a thing. So far it appears the only crew carrier in the first wave of Separatists is the Sith Infiltrator. So the only choice feels like force user (Darth Maul) or non-force user.
Maul is be an interesting option, he can equip Hate and recover force in the middle of the round to be able to activate Dooku multiple times per round. But the caveat for Dooku, that all force charges must be active, would cause limitations and difficult resource management trying to balance using the force in different ways (you’re hardly bringing a 4 Force charges to only use 1 of them).

Conclusion

Honestly, I was really excited for Count Dooku when he was spoiled. But after breaking him down I’m less convinced. Will have to see how many points he costs before a final judgement can be made, but I sense he will be a bit overcosted. The ability looks really good, and force crew are never cheap due to the force charge (which is really solid by itself) but running the numbers, he only looks worthwhile in specific situations. He is a cross between 1st edition C-3PO and Guidance Chips who also brings debris clouds of death, but he is no 1st edition Emperor Palpatine.

-Nathan

Nearly 2000 words about a single card. Wow. Feels a bit overkill for a single card.

Also wow. Have now published more entries than I have drafts/ideas going.

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