Care and handling of an Insectoid Creature
By Len Fowler (A.K.A. RedneckJedi)
With the advent of the Empire Strikes Back (ESB) expansion for the Star Wars Trading Card Game (SW:TCG), I've seen a lot of the Kouhun being played. If you thought he was popular when Jedi Guardians (JG) was released, he became even more valuable in the subsequent set. The Kouhun is arguably one of the best assets delivered to the Dark Side in this expansion. This little 2 build guy, for the cost of discard, does 5 damage to a target Character in the Character arena instead of its puny 1 die roll attack. In "death" he is capable of damaging even the most defensive Jedi... unless they expend a lot of Force to prevent the damage, or simply remove the pesky little critter via a quick attack.
"No problem," you say. You take him out, and he acted as a "free intercept" for one of the other Dark Side opponent's Characters. You think to yourself, "It's only a matter of time." Then ESB came out, and boy did the Kouhun's stock rise even more. Not only was he "attracting enemy fire," but now, with the Emperor's Prize Battle card, 3 or more damage done to a Kouhun brings him right back for a measly 1 Force! A fast, powerful Character has wasted its attack on the Kouhun, and it can now do its dirty work and still allow other Characters in the service of the Dark Side do their best.
More than one Dark Side opponent has given me a funny look when it comes to my current methodology for handling the Kouhun. "Aren't you going to attack the Kouhun???" "Nah." I have even suggested ways, post-game, for the Dark Side player to properly get the most out of this small but dangerous unit.
Handling Tips for the Light Side Player
Obviously, the best way to ensure you won't see Emperor's Prize is through the use of specific discard cards like Slumming on Coruscant, or by cancelling your opponent's Battle cards altogether for a turn with Surprise Attack, or using the increasingly popular Battle card Change in Destiny to cancel a Battle card's effect. Labria (A) will at least allow you to see what your opponent has in hand, but his presence is very rare (if not, non-existent) in the current metagame.
Homing Missile is a decent proposition for taking out a Kouhun. Sure, it will discard the unit, but the Dark Side may still return it with Emperor's Prize. The advantage here is that you haven't wasted an attack by one of your Characters to take it out and risk it coming back with the Emperor's Prize just played. Also, you ensured your Dark Side opponent has one less Emperor's Prize if they do play it. Another great, all-purpose Mission the Light Side can use is Disturbance in the Force to keep the Kouhun at bay, since its ability is an activated ability.
Overkill units are making a comeback in Space and Character. Since we're just talking about the Kouhun, I always make sure to pack a couple of Mace Windu (D), since his Overkill is great for not only taking out a Kouhun or two with 1 or 2 damage, and transferring the rest of the damage elsewhere. Another boon is that the "spillover" damage can also be assigned to, say, Darth Vader (K), because this kind of damage isn't affected by Armor. If it's Mace Windu (D) alone against a Kouhun, you can attack it, then apply the "spillover" damage back to Mace and he can evade it!
If your opponent's Character arena has only 1 or more Kouhun units and they can afford to lose the arena, you can be fairly certain your opponent plans to play Emperor's Prize or a speed boost effect.
Another major concern a Light Side player must consider with the Kouhun is the use of Imperial Misdirection combined with Rebel Surrender. Eventually, Darth Vader (K), Tyranus, Sidious, etc., will start taking damage. If the Dark Side player drops a Kouhun for "support", and you decide to attack it to not have to deal with its damage, you risk your opponent using Imperial Misdirection to move damage from another Character unit onto it and discard it before you roll attack dice. Wizards has ruled that in this scenario, an attack takes place, but no attack dice can be rolled against a non-existent unit. It works similar to having your unit's power reduced to "0", thus making your attacking unit susceptible to Rebel Surrender's effect.
Using the above, here are my situational tips for handling the Kouhun:
- If you're up against a lone Kouhun, with no other units in the same arena, and you have damage prevention in whole or in part, you have three options:
- Attack it, and let your opponent burn an Emperor's Prize, or;
- Don't attack it, and let your opponent decide to either use its ability, or hold onto it another turn, or;
- With an Overkill unit, attack it, and then apply the "spillover" damage to another Character in your own Character arena.
- If you're up against two or more Kouhuns, and you really need to hold in Character, then hopefully you have an Overkill unit. Otherwise, you definitely need to take out one of the Kouhuns, and risk the Emperor's Prize play.
- Kouhuns as support units
- As previously mentioned, a unit attacking with Overkill is great against the Kouhun and another unit.
- Most of the time, the Dark Side player is trying to conserve Force, especially for Darth Vader (K) or Tyranus. I highly suggest attacking the primary Character, then prevent as much damage as possible from the Kouhun's ability. This way, the Kouhun can't be returned with Emperor's Prize, since it merely discards itself with no damage. You also avoid the potential Imperial Misdirection/Rebel Surrender combo.
- Mace Windu (A) is also a great Kouhun killer, provided he has the Force to handle the situation. Dark Side players have a habit of wanting to attack with their faster Characters, leaving the Kouhun out for the intercept. Should they attack Mace Windu (A), I highly recommend first Deflecting damage to the Kouhun. The maximum of 2 damage Deflected isn't enough to satisfy the Emperor's Prize condition, and you just ensured you won't be seeing that Kouhun again.
So, don't let a Kouhun or two scare you away from the Character arena. They're mean, but temporary. With proper handling, you can help guarantee you won't see them more than four times in a game.
25 March 2004