How Good is Cad Bane?

Cad Bane is a bad, bad man.

But how good is his crew card?
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SABINE WREN IS BETTER?
One of the first criticisms I’ve heard about Cad Bane from fellow players is that Cad Bane is just Sabine Wren for the S&V faction, except that Cad Bane doesn’t help bomb damage output as much as Sabine Wren. This is a 100% true observation. Sabine’s effect is +1 damage dealt, with the ability to place that extra 1 damage on a ship near the one that hit your bomb. Cad Bane’s effect is smaller; whether you are using him to enhance a Proximity Mine, one roll from a Cluster Mine trio, or Bomblet damage.

However, I think Cad Bane is not worse than Sabine Wren. This is because he augments more capable bombers. Emon is more dangerous now that before, and Emon was already quite good. The Jumpmaster 5000 now has several killer bombing builds. Here are a few sample builds to try, to get the idea:

-100-
56 Emon w/ Dengar, Engine, HLC, Slave-1, Extra M, Cluster Mine
44 Sol Sixxa w/ Lone Wolf, Cad Bane, TLT, Proximity Mine, Bomblet Generator

-100-
53 Scout w/ Unhinged Astro, Ad Rush, Cad Bane, Exp Int, P One, Extra M, Prox Mine, Crane
47 Nym w/ AdvS, Genius, VI, Engine, TLT, Havoc, Bomblet Generator

-98-
36 Scout w/ R4-E1, Mindlink, Cad Bane, Extra M, Prox Mine, Crane
32 Fenn w/ Mindlink, Autothrusters, CDP
30 Teroch w/ Mindlink, Autothrusters, CDP

-100-
34 Thug w/ R4-E1, TLT, Engine, Bomb Loadout, Extra M, Prox Mine

30 K Pirate w/ AdvS, Genius, Havoc, Bomblet Generator
36 Scout w/ Ad Rush, Cad Bane, Exp Interface, Extra M, Prox Mine

Rebels do have a few capable bomber ships, to make strong use of Sabine — namely the K-wing, and their version of Nym. All of the other Rebel bombers are mainly gunships, and not particularly capable as bombers. S&V has much better bombers, positionally speaking. The number of highly capable bombers is also much higher. This makes Cad Bane easier to use in lists. Even though his damage output increase is slightly lower than Sabine Wren, I would say he might be better than Sabine and is at least as strong of a card for his faction. Having used both crew quite a bit now, I personally like him more.
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WHEN TO USE CAD BANE
Three bombs have their damage output buffed by Cad Bane:
— Proximity Mine
— Cluster Mine
— Bomblet Generator

My advice based on the math is as follows for all three of these bombs:
-1- Do not use Cad Bane to reroll only 1 result; save him for the next bomb roll.
-2- Trying to get lethal damage on a hurt ship is the only strong reason to break rule 1.
-3- Trying to damage a priority target is an acceptable reason to break rule 1.
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THE PROXIMITY MINE
I want to single out this bomb option, where I feel Cad Bane is stronger than Sabine.

Cad Bane damage output: 2.25 damage on average
0 — 2%
1 — 14% (1+, 98%)
2 — 42% (2+, 84%)
3 — 42%  (3+, 42%)
4 — 0%

Sabine damage output: 2.5 damage on average
0 — 0%
1 — 12.5%
2 — 37.5% (2+, 87.5%)
3 — 37.5% (3+, 50%)
4 — 12.5%

Sabine does do +0.25 damage on average, with a lower failure rate to deal any amount of needed damage. However, Proximity Mine can land critical damage. Cad Bane lets you reroll 0-3 dice, increasing your chances to land a crit. This is much more valuable as a game-winning effect than Sabine’s marginally higher damage output. (I could also point to this effect with Bomblet Generator, but Sabine’s ability to stack extra damage on a priority target with that bomb is significant to her compatibility with that bomb.)

The Proximity Mine has an advantage over the Cluster Mine, in how easy it is to land on an enemy ship. The token is large, and has reach away from your ship. It’s damage is comparable (though inferior unless you crit) to 2 Cluster Mine tokens and superior to 1 Cluster Mine token, making it more ideal to catch small base ships like Fenn Rau with damage. Aces like Fenn often position themselves to minimize how many Cluster Mine tokens you can land.
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SHIPS THAT CAN BECOME (BETTER) BOMBERS
Cad Bane grants a bomb slot to the ship he is placed on, turning some S&V ships into bombers and making other weak bombers much stronger. Here is the list of ships/pilots where you might use Cad Bane to make a bomber, and what I personally think of Cad Bane there:

JUMPMASTER
Cards like R4-E1, Adrenaline Rush, Extra Muntitiona, Scavenger Crane, and Experimental Interface make the Jumpmaster an ideal bomber. It is able to deliver bombs to any number of locations on the board, on any turn. You cannot safely approach this ship or even circle around it without being bombed. The high durability of this ship is good for surviving as you drop bombs, and the large base is strong for blocking the ship you bombed so that you are dealing damage without taking any. I think this ship will be the most popular Cad Bane carrier by far.

FIRESPRAY
Do not add Cad Bane here. You can, but the only strong bomber is Emon. Emon needs Dengar crew to function well, since Firesprays are expensive — you’ll also want your gun to be doing work, and it won’t if you add Cad Bane here. Firespray doesn’t need the extra bomb slot, since either title lets you carry multiple bombs already.

MIST HUNTER, HWK-290, LANCER, and HOUND’S TOOTH
Do not add Cad Bane here. With no torpedo slot, bombs are weak. Scavenger Crane is not strong enough by itself. There are no strong bomber pilots here anyway, for any of these ships.

QUADJUMPER
This ship already has a bomb slot, and has a bomber pilot (Zuvio). Since the gun on this ship is awful and the ship cost is low, using the crew slot for Cad Bane is fine… except you are running Cad Bane on a fragile ship, so I don’t recommend it unless this is your only bomber in the list. Personally because of cost concerns, I see only one build that I would run:

24 Gunrunner w/ Cad Bane, Pattern Analyzer, Cloaking Device, Bomblet Generator

This looks like a useful ship to attack large formations, since many S&V pilots (like Asajj) can fall apart when facing a large number of enemy guns all swarming in together. Gunrunner serves as a rush-blocker, nuisance blocker (thanks to PA and the interesting dial), and bombing threat. Being able to stay cloaked or shift positions severely via decloak can help the ship stay on the board longer. And the cost is not terrible for all that you get. I see an interesting play where I might decloak, do a Sloop, Barrel Roll to block, then threaten both another block and a bomb drop vs that ship next turn. I could see adding the Tractor Array to this build if you have the points to spare.

SCURRG
The Havoc title is strong, allowing this ship to run Bomblet Generator + Genius. But Cad Bane makes sense on the Scurrg as well, if you want to run Cluster/Proximity Mines. The Scurgg has access to Extra Munitions and with Cad Bane has 3 bomb slots available, allowing for a multitude of builds. I will not discourage anyone from looking for a good build here, but I will say that I was not able to find one where I liked Cad Bane aboard the Scurgg. It is difficult to use all 3 bomb slots in a practical way, and like with Emon this ship really wants to run Dengar crew since it has a strong gun.
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What bomber builds have you been trying? What do you think of Cad Bane?

  1. Thanks for the write up! I bought a Scurrg the Thursday it came out and tried it out immediately. I fielded Sol Sixxa with Cad Bane, HLC and a Bomblet Generator and a couple support Scyks (Serissu and a Tansari Point Vet with Bodyguard as escorts). I won the game but it wasn’t due to bombs at all, just fancy flyin’. The turn dial on the Scurrg is rather nice.

    Unfortunately, this didn’t tell me what Cad Bane could really do. I’ve built a list with Bane on Emon, but after reading your post I’m second guessing it. I haven’t played with bombs much, but this is an exciting time for them, so I’m looking forward to experimenting.

    On a side note, I feel the Bomblet Generator could make the TIE Punisher a bit more popular, especially Deathrain, with his Barrel Roll hijinks. Any ideas for the Punisher? Or is it still destined to be the Imperial wallflower?

    1. Definitely you want HLC + Dengar + Engine on Emon, though if you are looking to build him for less dropping the HLC is not the worst idea. Firesprays get a Range 2-3 front-arc shot about 1 in every 2-3 times they shoot, sometimes more than that. They survive reasonably, so the 7pt investment in the HLC isn’t wasted points as long as you don’t just let the Firespray die. I have tried Emon built many ways and always come back to HLC + Dengar + Engine as the cards that work for him. Emon does want Cad Bane in his list though, on a support ship.

      Bombs are as much a positional weapon as an actual source of offense. Your opponent must fly to avoid being obliterated by your bombs, so many games against bombing lists turn into dogfights with bombers chasing ships around that don’t want to be bombed. It doesn’t surprise me that Cad Bane wasn’t needed in your test game.

      -100-
      60 Oicunn w/ Predator, Gunner, Vader, Mara Jade, Engine
      40 Redline w/ FCS, G Chips, Extra M, Cluster Missile, Homing Missile

      This is my Redline list from last year. It won a tournament in Sweden and took 2nd place in another (in a game that it should have won; dice failed several times during endgame). I can’t recall what the 3pts for Mara Jade were; they can be switched out to address the meta, with Rebel Captive or a Thermal Detonator (on Redline) being the main useful options. Switching to Inspiring Recruit + Dauntless and trading in Predator for Daredevil is a new option also for the list, allowing Oicunn to ram enemy ships twice per turn. I have contemplated switching out Vader, now that Soontir Fel and Carnor Jax are all but out of the meta. Oicunn’s role in the list to to kill anything PS 8+ that Redline might struggle to attack, which in the current meta mainly means Intensity Poe.

      I have been flying this version of Deathrain, mostly with success:

      36 Deathrain w/ AdvS, L Frame, Unguided Rockets, Bomblet Generator

      The ship draws enemy fire because of the bomblet threat, but is slippery enough to avoid being caught in heavy fire. It makes a decent chase ship, though you can’t expect to land damage on the turn you catch up to a fleeing target. It’s a good blocker vs aces. The weakness is mainly vs fast moving turrets, which can avoid the bomb drop and also force you to boost around to get them in arc — that fight really calls on good support for Deathrain, to help catch those ships and kill them off.

      TIE Punisher is hard to fly well, since it is not specialized to a single task but is instead changing functions turn by turn during the game. Different builds for it change what the ship will be doing on any given turn, and if built poorly or flown poorly it looks like garbage. But actually it’s my favorite Imperial ship. The most recent build I tried for generics was this:

      78 (x3) Cutlass w/ Baffle, L Frame, Unguided Rockets
      22 Countdown w/ L Frame, AA

      TIE Punisher is absurdly tanky for cost with Lightweight Frame attached, and Unguided Rockets supplies the now missing offense since you can’t run other payload as well without Guidance Chips or Long Range Scanners. Baffle is a card I found useful to keep guns that were being ignored in play, instead of having a weak gun whenever I k-turned the ship. Advanced Sensors would be similarly valuable (for +2 cost), but in one game I k-turned a Cutlass twice in a row via Baffle. I felt overall, the Baffle was better here.

      I’m a big fan of this build also, for generics:

      33 Cutlass w/ AccC, G Chips, Extra M, Cluster Missile, Thermal D

      I use it mostly in lists with lots of jousting power, such as 3 TIE Punisher lists or along with swarms. It can hammer a blocked target or be the blocker when needed. Lists that flee the joust are ideal, making it easy to launch both missiles before the ship dies. Accuracy Corrector makes the Boost action much stronger. I’d advise Thermal Detonators or Ion Bombs over Bomblet Generator here, if you want bombs. You won’t need 3 bomb drops, so control is probably better. Definite you can drop the bomb to save points here, if your list needs the points elsewhere. A Cluster Mine instead also makes sense. You have Boost to rush-block, then can drop 2-3 mines on the enemy next turn.

      The main criticism I have heard about the TIE Punisher is that the TIE Bomber is 5pts cheaper as a payload platform, while not being all that much easier to kill (one less shot to kill for most enemy lists). TIE Bomber lacks a system slot and Boost, which I would say are the keys to using a TIE Punisher well. Use Boost to position, to block, to defend your ship, and to set up good bomb drops. System cards are all very strong, and can either augment offense or defense as needed. The TIE Bomber is nothing close to the TIE Punisher in capability. You do pay a lot for a non-ace ship, but you aren’t wasting the points which is what a lot of players mistakenly think.

      I would advise newer players to play the T-70 and get a sense of how to stay alive with that ship, before betting on the TIE Punisher. Both can be priority kills for the opponent, both use Boost to stay alive, and the dials are not all that dissimilar (except for T-70’s Talon Roll). Just grab 4 generics, toss R2 Astromech + Integrated Astromech on all four ships, and practice trying to keep all four ships alive until you win a game. T-70 is a bit easier to use, and makes a nice stepping stone.

  2. I played 2-3 games with Deathrain with the bomblet generator.

    Truly, with my eternal BB-8 (free BR on bomb drop), playing with the punisher is really funny, and the enemy will not know where you will land your bomb since you can drop it from the front also, and he won’t know where your ship will be. I managed to keep a BB-8 Poe in my arc for many turns, just by BRolling like he haven’t expected to.