In a little over a month, we’ll see the release of the newest bounty hunter to work for the Empire, Bossk. And with the recent kick-off of Invader League Season 3, double bounty hunter lists are basically everywhere (I’m expecting a lot of double bounty mirror matches at competitive events this summer).
But what if you’ve never played a bounty hunter before? How does their unique Bounty keyword actually work?
Luckily, FFG has taken great care to make sure we know exactly what to do.
Placing a Bounty
After setup (read: after all units are deployed and the round counter has been set), you can place one victory token on an enemy commander or operative only for each friendly unit with the Bounty keyword.
And now that Bossk is in the mix, there may be two victory tokens floating around; there’s no limit at present to how many can be placed on one enemy unit, but as we’ll see shortly you should spread them out to maximize your potential.
Don’t forget: bounties can be used as a mental game, too! An enemy commander with a bounty might be more hesitant to be in the middle of the action if it means giving you an extra point.
Pick your targets wisely. Leia’s probably already going to be hanging back, but throw that token on Han or Chewie? Maybe they’ll think twice about rushing headlong into the fray.
Claiming a Bounty
Once an enemy unit with the bounty-created victory token is defeated by a unit with the Bounty keyword, that victory token physically moves to the unit with Bounty that defeated it. If the enemy unit with the victory token is defeated by one of your units without the Bounty keyword (or if the enemy unit panics off the board, say), then the victory token leaves play and is no longer up for grabs.
Per the Rules Reference:
After a unit with the bounty keyword defeats a unit with a victory token (typically by performing an attack against that unit which causes it to be defeated), the victory token moves to the unit with bounty. The token is placed on the battlefield near the unit leader, and remains with the unit as it moves around the battlefield.
But, that doesn’t mean the victory token is yours to keep. The unit that claimed the bounty has to stay alive until the end of the game to earn the victory token:
At the end of the game, if a player controls a unit that has the bounty keyword and a victory token from defeating another unit, and that unit has not been defeated itself, that player gains 1 victory token. A player gains 1 victory token in this way for each unit they control that meets these requirements.
So take care, bounty hunter! You’ve got to come back alive to earn the extra point for your side.
A Bit of Strategy
Victory Points, obviously, determine who the is the victor. So how do you maximize your bounty hunter’s value?
We briefly mentioned above that target selection is crucial. If the enemy has multiple commanders or operatives to choose from, think carefully about whether it’s better to tag the unit who will already be up in your face or to further pressure the one who will be hanging back. There’s not an always-true answer here, the right token placement can be huge during turn zero.
Second, which objectives will find bounties most useful? While Intercept the Transmissions scores often end up in the high single digits, meaning your one victory token doesn’t matter much…
…objectives like Sabotage the Moisture Vaporators or Key Positions can easily end 1-1 or 2-1, meaning that your bounty-created victory token has a massive impact on the outcome.
Plan accordingly when creating your battle card deck and when setting up the game’s parameters!
Special Cases, by the Book
What if one Bounty unit has earned two victory tokens at the end of the game?
Per the wording above from the Rules Reference…
A player gains 1 victory token in this way for each unit they control that meets these requirements.
…a unit with two victory tokens would still only gain ONE victory token. So be sure to spread the love a bit, if at all possible. Don’t let Bossk steal Boba’s glory (or vice versa).
What if my bounty hunter kills an enemy bounty hunter that has already claimed a token?
Good news, it’s yours now! Per the Rules Reference:
If a unit with the bounty keyword defeats any unit with a victory token, that victory token moves to the unit that caused the other unit to be defeated. This includes other units with the bounty keyword that have a victory token due to defeating a unit.
Those mirror match-ups just got a little more interesting, didn’t they?
Further, this wording allows Bossk to claim the token that a friendly Boba put on a unit, even if Bossk put his token on another unit.
A corollary: say you’re running Boba Fett and the enemy bounty hunter puts their VP token on him. If he stays alive, can he claim that VP? No, because per the wording of the rules, the token must come “from defeating another unit.”
Can I use Guardian X to circumvent the bounty?
If a bounty hunter places a victory token on a Commander or Operative with Guardian X (say Veers with Esteemed Leader, or Chewbacca) and that unit dies while Guardian-ing away hits from another unit that is being attacked by the bounty hunter, the bounty is still successfully claimed.
Can Emergency Stims prevent the bounty from being claimed?
No! This was also clarified in the last big Rules Reference update:
If a unit with the bounty keyword performs an attack against a unit with a victory token, and that unit uses the Emergency Stims upgrade card, when the unit suffers the wounds on Emergency Stims at the end of that unit’s next activation, if the unit is then defeated, the victory token moves to the unit with bounty, if able.
Update: Thanks to Rico Zaid for reminding me to clarify – if the unit goes on Emergency Stims in Turn 6 and isn’t killed outright, the bounty is not claimed as the unit has not yet died.
And with that, you know just about everything you need to know to be a successful bounty hunter. Best of luck, Commanders!