Third One's the Charm
The Truth About Accuracy
Accuracy X (Add +X to each of this unit's attack dice.)
When I read the words "add +1 to each attack die" for the first time I had to read them again to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. On second examination, their meaning hadn't changed. All I could think was, "This is the most broken ability ever!" It wasn't much of a stretch of the imagination: the unit's chance of hitting went from 50% to over 66% with the same number of dice. What I didn't take into account was how Accuracy compares to other abilities that improve a unit's damage-dealing capabilities. When I did, I suddenly felt as if I may have been too quick to judge this exciting new ability.
Here's a ridiculously detailed analysis of the average damage dealt by units of varying power with a few of the different abilities available to Star Wars TCG units.
Accuracy vs. Power Boosts
"Power boosts" are abilities that increase a unit's power, such as Surge of Power (Attack of the Clones). For 1 Force, Surge of Power gives a unit +2 power. One way of looking at Surge of Power is as a potential extra point of damage. That's because a unit with no special abilities that increase damage (such as Accuracy or Critical Hit) will, on average, deal an additional point of damage each time it attacks with the help of this +2 power bonus. For Accuracy 1 to outperform a +2 power bonus, the unit's power needs to be 7 or more. Units with a 6 power deal the same amount of average damage whether you give them a +2 power boost or Accuracy 1. Units with less than 6 power benefit more from a +2 power boost than they do from Accuracy 1.
When dealing in averages, this makes it clear that straight power boosts are better than Accuracy for smaller units, while the opposite is true for larger ones. One other advantage of power boosts over Accuracy is the potential to deal more damage. For example, a power 6 unit with Accuracy 1 will do an average of 4 damage, but can do up to 6 damage on a lucky roll. A power 8 unit without Accuracy also deals an average of 4 damage, but has the potential to do up to 8 damage on a lucky roll. If you’re the gambling sort, you may want to stick with power boosts over Accuracy when given the chance.
Accuracy vs. Critical Hit
When you compare Accuracy 1 and Critical Hit 1, you find that they provide the same average damage when the unit in question has a power of 1 to 6. Units with power 7 or more begin to benefit slightly more if they have Accuracy 1 than if they had Critical Hit 1. The higher the unit's power, the more it benefits from Accuracy than it would from Critical Hit. The same is true of Accuracy 2 and Critical Hit 2, respectively.
These two abilities may yield the same average damage for low-powered units, but as with power boosts, Critical Hit gives a unit a higher potential damage total than the same unit would instead have with Accuracy. A power 6 unit with either Accuracy 1 or Critical Hit 1 will do an average of 4 damage. The Accuracy unit can potentially do up to 6 damage, while the Critical Hit unit can do up to 7 damage.
Although Accuracy lacks a high damage-dealing potential when compared to Critical Hit, there is one distinct difference between these two powerful abilities: Accuracy 1 turns every result of 3 you roll into a hit, while Critical Hit 1 only increases your total damage by 1 no matter how many times you roll a 6. The difference is more striking when you consider Accuracy 2 turns every result of 2 and 3 you roll into a hit (you miss only on a 1) and Critical Hit 2 still only deals 2 additional damage no matter how many times you roll a 6. Still, if you find yourself rolling more sixes than threes, Critical Hit may be more for you than Accuracy.
It depends on what you expect from your units. If you want massive damage no matter how lucky you need to be to get it, then power boosts and Critical Hit are the methods best suited to you. If you are willing to trade higher damage totals for a better chance to deal damage, then Accuracy is right on target. The more Accuracy your units get, the more certain you can be of how much damage they'll do. While Accuracy 2 allows your unit to hit on any result other than a 1, Accuracy 3 turns every point of power the unit has into a point of damage. The only time you'll even need to roll is if it also has Critical Hit.
While Accuracy seems to have ended up being not nearly as powerful as I once feared it might be, there are some circumstances in which this new ability stands out. High-powered units will, on average, benefit from having Accuracy more than any other damage-dealing ability such as a power boost or Critical Hit. If you are more concerned with knowing how much damage you're likely to do than you are with the potential to do as much damage as possible, Accuracy is the way to go. On a related note, it's useful to know that Stun combines well with Accuracy, since you only need to deal 1 damage to trigger the Stun ability.
Han Solo (A)
The most popular card that just happens to have Accuracy is, of course, the Battle of Yavin preview card Han Solo (A). He's a neutral Character instead of a Light Side Character, unexpectedly setting the stage for another bidding war for a contested unit. Like Anakin and Vader, Han is certainly worth fighting over, since he also gives the victor an extra card draw at the beginning of each turn.
The cheapest and most effective Accuracy strategy is also the riskiest, because when both players utilize it the effects combine. Tusken Sharpshooter gives all Tuskens (yours and your opponent's) Accuracy 1 for a mere 3 Build Points. It's not unique, so there can be up to eight in play, even though no more than three are necessary. While Tuskens aren't very fast, they're cheap. They're also resilient, with Female Tusken Raider (Sith Rising) and Tusken Camp (SR) providing healing for all of your Tuskens. To help keep your Sharpshooters alive long enough to get healed, use the Massif's (SR) 60 speed and Stun 2 to take a bite out of the fastest enemy Characters.
Of all the units with Accuracy, Stormtroopers are the only ones that truly have enough power to easily make it an effective ability, and they are priced accordingly. The key to having Stormtroopers with Accuracy is the Stormtrooper Squad Leader. This unit is costly (7 Build Points), but gives five other Character and five Ground units (none of which are unique) Accuracy 1. Not being unique itself, you can have up to four Stormtrooper Squad Leaders in play. Stormtrooper TK-119's Intercept ability will come in handy for keeping his commanders alive. The cloners Taun We (AotC) and Lama Su (AotC) make Stormtroopers cheaper and faster, and Benefits of Training is like having an additional Squad Leader for one turn.
Both Light Side and Dark Side players will find many new uses for Starfighters with this set. Not only are there many useful Starfighter Pilots, Synchronized Assault gives all Starfighters Accuracy 1 until the end of the turn. Although the new Rebel and Imperial Starfighters come equipped with lots of bells and whistles, they have a mere 1 or 2 health. Jedi Starfighters (3R3 and Obi-Wan's from AotC, Scout from SR), Droid Starfighter Wing and Squadron (AotC), and Naboo Starfighter Squadron (AotC) are still the sturdiest Starfighters around, and combine best with both Starfighter Pilots and Synchronized Assault.
Light Side Accuracy
While the Light Side lacks the strong, unified front line of Accuracy-laden Stormtroopers, they do have far more versatility when it comes to this ability. General Dodonna (A), Leia's Kiss, Han's Courage, and Strategy Session all have the ability to give virtually any Light Side unit Accuracy 1. The downside is that only Princess Leia (B), Incom T-16 Skyhopper, and Luke's X-wing (A) have Accuracy, forcing the Light Side to rely on the afore-mentioned battle and mission cards.
Dark Side Accuracy
In addition to Stormtroopers, the Dark Side has very little in the way of Accuracy. Vader's TIE Fighter (B) is the only non-Stormtrooper Dark Side unit with this ability. The other Dark Side card is Tractor Beam, which is very useful for beating up on retreated space units.