Welcome to the Dice and Cardboard Briefing Room, pilot! In this series I'll write about a pilot or upgrade that I've been experimenting with or enjoying.
The subject of this week's article is a fixture of Scum and Villainy. It's Gamut Key! Gamut has always been a popular choice in Scum lists but is a particularly efficient choice at time of writing, costing 3 Squad Points with 8 Loadout Value which is less LV than his pricier contemporaries but still enough to get some work done.
Who is Gamut Key?
Gamut Key belongs in that rare company of characters who almost all X-Wing players know well but who would be relatively unknown to all but the most well-versed Star Wars fans. Like the other HWK-290 pilots in the Fugitives and Collaborators Squadron Pack, Gamut is a character from the 12-issue Kanan [Jarrus] Marvel comic series.
Gamut Key lived on the planet Kaller during the Clone Wars and was present when Republic forces led by Jedi Master Depa Billaba and Padawan Caleb Dume defeated the Separatists on the planet. He was skeptical that life under Republic occupation would be any different from serving the Separatists.
After Order 66 and Depa Billaba's death on Kaller, Gamut assisted in the initial capture of her Padawan after he spent some time in hiding, though Dume later escaped. In the meantime, Gamut was named the Imperial provincial governor of the planet. Kanan Jarrus later encountered Gamut when he traveled to Kaller with the crew of the Ghost and Gamut was tipped off about the Jedi on the run by fellow X-Wing HWK-290 pilot Tapusk. Gamut, tired of being manipulated by Tapusk and of bowing to the Empire, suspected that he recognized Kanan and extended an offer to assist the Phoenix Cell in the future. Kanan later made good on that offer, flying with Gamut in a shiny new black and green HWK-290 to complete a mission.
Gamut in X-Wing
Gamut Key has an INCREDIBLE pilot ability! Thematically, I like to think that it represents his proclivity to offer assistance to others but always ensure that he and fellow Kallerans will benefit. Every other turn you can spend his 2 charges (one recovers each round) to choose himself or a ship in his turret arc. That ship then holds any round tokens that it has (remember round tokens are usually removed in the End Phase) into the next round. Used correctly this can be very powerful! There are just a few things to keep in mind:
- You can only do it every other round. Plan accordingly!
- This happens in the End Phase, so if you want to keep a token for the next round you cannot spend it in a prior phase.
- You can target enemy ships! Sure, Focus, Evade, Calculate, and Reinforce are round tokens that can help a friendly ship, but Jam, Tractor, and Disarm are also round tokens! If an enemy ship picks one of those up you can make them hang on to it next round. This is especially useful against those Republic squads that have to take a Disarm to recharge Seventh Fleet Gunner or Rebel ships using R2-D2 to recover shields by taking a Disarm.
The most common use of Gamut Key's ability is to allow a friendly ship to hold on to a Focus, Evade, or Reinforce token in the turn before the initial engagement. This allows that ship to take a second action to roll into the fight with stacked tokens and/or double dice modifications. Don't be afraid to get creative, though! I mentioned above that there are ways to use Gamut to mess with your opponent's plans by locking down a high-value ship or upgrade. Gamut is also helpful in Scramble the Transmissions or Salvage Mission; a friendly ship can carry a Focus or Evade token over into the next round so that they can safely perform a scenario action.
Can't fit Gamut Key in the HWK into your squad? Well if he's still 3 points like he is at time of writing I would recommend that you just find a way, but luckily he also comes as a Crew upgrade! Gamut Key crew has the same ability as the pilot but with the range limitation changed from the turret arc to range 0-1. So you gain 360-degree coverage but lose a bit of reach. Still pretty good.
The Build: Fickle Friend
Currently the "standard" build for Gamut Key in the HWK-290 maximizes the support ability of the HWK. Since Gamut currently can't take the Moldy Crow title his HWK-290 is a bit more vulnerable and so will generally want to hang back behind your combat pieces.
Many players seem to prefer to fill Gamut's crew slot with Protectorate Gleb. This allows you to use your action to Coordinate, pass that stress off to one of the many Scum ships that can utilize it to their benefit (maybe anyone supported by Savage Oppress crew?), and then use Gamut's ability to support another ship. If you have the spare points available just take your choice of talent (I like Elusive) or a bomb or mine if possible.
Another spicy take on Gamut Key is to add Fenn Rau crew in support of an ST-70 like The Mandalorian or Rogue Class Starfighter like Cad Bane. After Gamut helps that pilot carry some tokens into the next round for a double modded or reinforced shot, Fenn will let them shed any stress they picked up at the start of engagement. In the case of the ST-70 this can be valuable because the ship has a hard time dealing with stress and for the Cad maybe you needed to use that linked red action but need to ditch the stress so you can use Zuckuss crew and then pass that second stress to the defender. Fun!
Basically: bring Gamut, slap your favorite crew upgrade on, fill out the rest of the slots with either a mine or your favorite upgrade, thenm go have some fun.
Gamut crew can be fun to use and fits on just about any Scum ship with a crew slot but, in my opinion, Scum has many better crew options and Gamut really shines in the HWK. Additionally, the Scum large base ships that would carry Gamut Key prefer to fly a bit more independently and don't really want their teammates crowding in close.
How do you use Gamut Key in your lists?