A while back I wrote an article concerning the ability Cunning which really boosts the white die to become significantly stronger than the black die. Today I want to jump into another ability that I really enjoy making use of. That key word is Slam. Slam is one of the strongest key words in the game, and I believe what makes this ability so much stronger than many other abilities in the game is the ability to move a hostile unit 1 space. There are no abilities outside of campaign other than Slam that allows a player to push a hostile unit. This provides a distinct tactical advantage during combat.
One of the great things about the Slam ability is that it is uninterrupted damage. Not only do you get the push 1 space however you also get to give a red die worth of damage to a unit. That means 5/6 times that unit will receive at least 2 damage, and 1/3 times they will receive 3 damage. Never will they not receive damage since the red die has damage on every side. If you are up against a unit like Vader or the RGC and they are nearly dead, slam is more reliable than leaving it up to the roll of die where their defensive rolls could easily keep you from the win. There is never anything wrong with uninterrupted damage especially if the defender rolls a white die.
Most obviously Melee units hate the slam ability. Slam is built to destroy melee units. Chewbacca specifically can handle melee units with significant ease. His surge ability to stun works wonderfully with slam, slamming first to gather distance, and then attacking in order to stun. This is such a counter to Vader that Chewbacca alone can, if used correctly, render Vader useless beyond his Force Choke. With slam you know that hostile units will want to get close, which allows slam to boost your damage output.
Many Skirmish missions rely on having “control” of locations and/or pieces on the board. Control is an incredibly important aspect to the game and positioning your units correctly to keep proper control is key to gaining objective VPs or advantages. The Slam ability throws a wrench into this plan. A character with Slam is easily able to wrest control of locations by using slam to disrupt enemy positioning. This could be the difference in several points, and could very easily have a huge impact on the game. “Get to the Ship” is a mission that has the potential to gain a significant amount of VPs from controlling the center. Chewbacca has no problem gaining control of an extra token by slamming an enemy unit away.
Lastly I want to discuss general synergies. Ways slam can be useful that aren’t as readily thought about. The Rebel Trooper for example benefits from attacking a unit while it has yet to move on its activation. Often as the opponent it is wise to be just out of reach. That may be one space out of reliable accuracy, or just one space away from being in line of sight. A good player will know how to position is units in order to force you to not have your strongest shot. Slam counters this. Slam allows you to change your opponents position which can often be exactly what you need for your other units to gain an advantage. This can be easily countered however often taking the unit even further from the ideal position and therefore hopefully is also a disadvantage. One of the best examples of making use of Slam to gain a greater advantage was when I had Chewbacca and a Saboteur up against the RGC. After a brutal attack on Chewbacca the RGC moved just barely out of line of sight. With Maximum Firepower in hand, I decided to move Chewie up and Slam the RGC back into sight, which resulted in near death from Maximum Firepower and Slam combined. It was only the next attack I was able to make on the RGC that finished him off.
Slam is currently one of the strongest and handy abilities in the game. Few abilities give you both a high damage and high control element. Force Choke for instance is all about damage, and not many abilities outside of surges or command cards actively mess with hostile units. Slam however can damage just as well as Force Choke and give a real strong control element that any player going up against Chewbacca must be wary of. One thing I hope to see in this game is a few (though not too many) more units with Slam. Thematically a pair of generic Wookies with Slam would be really fun.