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Ask the Dragon
This week’s email is Rytackle22:
i know i need to wait my turn (lol). you probably have these emails piling up but heres one that can wait. i saw when you did one of my last emails that you were going to do a more detailed article on San Hill. I would love to see that. From what ive read, he is very important but i'm still not too sure about some of his strategy. like when the best time is to kill him off for example. looking forward to the article but i will be patient as i've had quite a few questions answered for me already. take care
You asked for it, you have it - The big San Hill article! San Hill is one of the strongest squads today, but it is also one of the hardest to effectively run as you have to be thinking several turns ahead and even a couple initiatives ahead so you get your placements correct. This is why people have a hard time seeing how good he is and why it took until Black & Blue came to power for San to see solid play.
San Hill limits you to only a single activation per phase instead of the usual two. This seems like a real drawback, as your opponent will get to use more characters than you faster. This is both the drawback and the advantage. There are two advantages to playing San hill. It means that you will NOT be out activated if you build correctly, and secondly, it allows you to use a lot more major beatsticks than you normally would be able to use.
Normally, you can only run a couple expensive, heavy hitters in a squad, depending on format, before you start to give up on activations. Sure you have three powerful characters, but after you have them all activated, your opponent can tee off on your guys with all of their guns, and possibly taking out one of your beats. By using San you can run several beatsticks and you can counter the activations by filling in with a bunch of Ugs or other filler.
San Hill’s activation restriction can help you because you can tap a few ugnaughts or other fodder, while your opponent will be activating out. You then have the opportunity to unload with every major beatstick you have. If you do enough damage it puts your opponent in a major hole. The trick here is that if you leave all of your major beat sticks out in the open and vulnerable to your opponent, the activation count will work against you. Your opponent will work on taking out characters before you can use them.
It’s when you get in this hole you have to know how to play a San squad. By running San out and gaining gambit (center points in DCI), your opponent will have to decide if it is worth taking away your gambit control or keep the activations the way it is. You can also put San in a place where he is just in the way of what your opponent wants to do. Hiding your shooters in a room and then putting San in the mouth can really mess up your opponent’s strategy. Your opponent then has to decide if it’s worth it to take San out, or if they should go the long way around him, possibly delaying an attack for the next round and thus preserving the +1 activation advantage.
If your opponent decides to leave San alive and you still want him dead, then you need to make sure you are packing your own pieces that can take him out. Flamethrowers, lightning, and missiles all come in handy if you move San up to an enemy and then let loose.
San Hill squads are many times won before the game even starts. How you build your San squad can be as important as how you play it. Droids are generally not a good choice for San. I am not saying they won’t work, but if you are trying to use bodyguards and repair, it can often times cripple you to not be able to move bodyguards around or double repair in a single phase. With Droids, getting rid of San will be very important.
In non-droid squads you want power hitters, but as I said, if you leave them out in the open after the first round of battle, it will be your opponent’s turn to tee off on you, and you will not be able to keep up. Mobile attack can be one of your biggest allies in a San squad. It lets you attack anytime you choose, and your pieces will stay safe. The Boba’s, Lando, Quarren assassins are all good choices. Another helpful piece (very under rated in my opinion) is the ASP-7. You can move a shooter out, attack and then use the ASP to move your shooter back out of sight. This is great for pieces like the new Aurra and Jango.
Running a Sith, like Maul and/or Dooku/Sidious, is do-able, but will be much harder than running shooters. You will have to make sure you do plenty of damage on the way in or your opponent will kill him before you can get enough use out of him. An advantage to Big Sid is that he is packing the force lightning 30, so you can kill San pretty easily by basing San late in your turn and then frying the enemy he is by. This will allow you to unload with two power hitters if you win the next init.
No matter your build, a very key figure to all San Hill builds, regardless of squad points, is Lobot. I really need to do an independent article on this guy, but Lobot is very key to San squads. He can allow you to run another heavy hitter and use his reinforcements to get your activations. You can bring in another big shooter like Lando, DS if you haven’t already, or you can bring in some tech to counter the map/squad of your opponent. This is where a med droid, swoops, ASPs, or bodyguards can come in real handy. Many games I have played, the reinforcements have been responsible for my win. They are KEY!
The key to San is patience. Yes your first blow has to be a knock out or you can be in a world of hurt, but by overplaying your hand, you can lose a game you should have won. San is very much a chess-style piece. If you have any further questions let me know, and I will try to clarify further. Next article I will cover how to beat a San squad. If anyone has any questions or topics you would like me to cover, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will get to ALL emails, so if you have sent something be patient.
May the Force Be With You.
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