Let's just appreciate for a second what we at YOUR Destiny (amongst other things) said about mod upgrades in our initial set review of Across the Galaxy:
Well ... I guess we now are sure and know exactly how powerful mods have turned out to be and it is not only due to the inherent power level of the mods themselves, but also the exploitation of several other mechanism, when added together has created a new threat that we must all take seriously!
I'll happily admit to the fact that I was waaaaay off in my original assessment and nothing is indicating that FAT Vehicle decks are slowing down anytime soon ...
"Tutoring" refers to a game mechanic where you are allowed to search your deck for a specific card or a card of a specific type, the term is derived from the original Magic the Gathering card "Demonic Tutor", giving you both a card advantage and negating some of the uncertainty involved in any game of Star Wars Destiny.
I have previously described Armored Reinforcement as the ultimate Tutor card, because it doesn't only offer you the possibility of searching for a card, it's also ALWAYS available. You don't need to draw it from your deck like Start Your Engines or Lightsaber Pull, which functionally is an additional copy (third or fourth) of either a Podracer or a Blue Weapon upgrade, and although powerful indeed, it is nowhere near the power level of Armored Reinforcement.
Armored Reinforcement on top of the tutor effect also potentially offers you a card advantage provided you don't already start with the wanted vehicle support in hand, in which case it becomes a "free" discard to reroll (if needed), essentially offering you a 6th card in hand AND finally reducing the cost of the vehicle when you play it by one resource. Both of these effects normally requires the addition of a plot, Stolen Intel and Profitable Connection, to your deck.
Gaining all of these advantages simultaneously for just 3 resources is pretty outrageous!
The Rebel Engineer offers an ability similar to this and an incredibly strong search engine in a deck focusing on finding an playing mod upgrades on a vehicle. For instance, being able to look at the top 4 cards in a deck which has 6 mod upgrades and has already been thinned down by an Armored Reinforcement gives you 71% chance of finding a mod upgrade. If you have a second Rebel Engineer, and you didn't find a mod upgrade with the first Engineer, drawing another 4 cards gives you a 79% chance of finding at least one mod upgrade. If you have two Rebel Engineers and you use the ability of both in 2 consecutive rounds as well as drawing 5 new cards every round, you'll have seen 27 of your 30 cards! There are literally no surprises left!
3. POWER LEVEL:
Mod Upgrades are inherently powerful and we definitely got that wrong in our original review of the set. Comparing the mod upgrades directly, 1:1, with any other upgrade in the game makes most other upgrades look pretty mundane.
Even an incredibly strong upgrade like Poe Dameron's Blaster is weak compared to a Triple Laser Turret. Try and put the DH-17 Blaster Pistol, universally recognised as one of the upgrades with the best return on investment next to a Dorsal Turret, and the mod upgrade still draws the longer straw.
Upgrades and mod upgrades were never meant to be measured on a 1:1 scale though, because the upgrades can ALWAYS be played on a character (various play restrictions aside), whereas the mod upgrade requires a vehicle in play, which then means that the initial cost is (considered to be) significantly higher. In reality though, both of these conditions are influenced heavily by tutor and search cards while also being influenced by cards offering reduction in cost on either vehicle or mod upgrades, whether courtesy of Armored Reinforcement, Lando Calrissian's Power Action or the Firespray-31 Power Action.
In other words, it looks like the evaluation balance between mod upgrades and upgrades, although not entirely 1:1, is much more even than first considered, which then pushes the value of the mod upgrades.
4. VEHICLES VS. CHARACTERS:
Looking at the power level of characters compared to vehicles could then be where the balance is restored! But try and see a direct comparison between arguably the strongest character dice, Darth Vader - Terror to Behold, in the game and the strongest vehicle dice, Millenium Falcon (good arguments could be made for the Shadow Caster being stronger):
The Millenium Falcon die is naturally stronger, even if it only comes with one, because you don't start with it in play meaning that you do not gain the die advantage from the beginning, whereas Darth Vader's dice are effective immediately! And they are pretty mean!
BUT ... The faster you manage to get the Millenium Falcon in play the stronger the vehicle die becomes comparatively to character dice. If you could start with a vehicle in play immediately its power level would be significantly higher than that of any character.
On top of that, and maybe one of the most important things right now, is that characters are "easy to kill", while getting rid of a vehicle is deceptively hard. And the more powerful the vehicle is, the harder it becomes, and comparatively to characters, to destroy it! You can destroy an X-Wing with as little as 1 character die, whereas a Millenium Falcon requires much more effort.Cards that can reliably destroy powerful (expensive) supports are few and far between! In order to truly combat the threat that appears to be decked out or FAT vehicles they need to be more plentiful. Vandalizing a Millenium Falcon is not going to happen!
5. PROTECTING YOUR INVESTMENT:
But in a world where you can lose your highly prized asset and all of the investment put into your FAT vehicle, the Shield Generator comes in handy to protect it. It will be difficult to fend off vehicle decks if more protection cards make an appearance in the game. That impact will definitely be felt!
6. RESETTING VEHICLES:
Although the latest Holocron update from FFG severely stifled the power of "resetting vehicles" and all but killed off decks gravitating around an OTK engine, there are still cards around that can ready vehicles, and although not as degenerate as before, they still remain absurdly powerful!
Cards that allow you to ready your vehicle and taking advantage of the powerful dice of both the support and the attached mod upgrades can be absolutely devastating. A single Shadow Caster with an R2 Astromech, a Triple Laser Turret and an Arc Caster attached can deal a whopping 9 Ranged damage and 3 Indirect damage in a single turn. Imagine that happening twice! Sure, it requires loads of resources, but there a plenty of options in the game to solve that problem!
7. SHADOW CASTER FAT VEHICLE:
Deck list created by Dustin Wilson claiming the North Carolina Regionals! He did a nice write-up on swdestinydb of deck and we'll have a deck analysis up soon as well!
8. FALCON FAT VEHICLE:
Lightning fast eHan/eBiggs FAT Falcon deck piloted to top8 at the Czech Nationals 2018. Read our full deck analysis here.
9. FIRESPRAY-31 FAT VEHICLE:
An eBeckett/eCiena FAT Firespray-31 deck took down the New Hampshire Regional. This is NOT the winning deck list, but chances are that it's not far off from this one: