Some of the text on condition, damage, ship, and upgrade cards describe abilities. These abilities consist of a timing and an effect.
- Unless a card ability uses the word “may” or has the “Action:” or “Attack:” headers, the ability is mandatory and must be resolved.
- A ship cannot spend or remove tokens that belong to another ship unless an effect explicitly states otherwise. Similarly, a ship cannot spend, modify, or remove die results that belong to another ship unless an effect explicitly states otherwise.
- If multiple abilities resolve at the same time, the players use the ability queue to determine the order in which the abilities resolve.
- A destroyed ship’s abilities remain active until that ship is removed unless the ability specifies a different timing for the effect to end, such as “until the end of the Engagement Phase.” Such effects remain active until the end of the specified time.
Pilot and Ship Abilities
Some ship cards have abilities in addition to or instead of flavor text. All limited ships have unique, personalized pilot abilities instead of flavor text. Some ships have ship abilities on their ship cards listed below their pilot ability or flavor text. Ships of the same ship type all have the same ship ability, with rare exceptions (e.g. Autopilot Drone).
- Darth Vader's pilot ability lets him spend force to take additional actions.
- Vader's ship, the TIE Advanced x1, has the ship ability Advanced Targeting Computer, which grants a bonus against enemies he has locked.
Some abilities are substitutive in nature—they replace how an effect would normally resolve. These abilities use the words “would” and “instead.”
- Replacement effects are not added to the end of the ability queue as they are resolved at the timing of the effect they are replacing.
- When a replacement effect resolves, the replaced effect is treated as having not occurred.
- For example, Jyn Erso’s ability says “If a friendly ship at range 0–3 would gain a focus token, it may gain 1 evade token instead.” If this ability is used, an effect that triggers after a ship gains a focus token cannot trigger.
- If there are multiple replacement effects that could substitute for the same effect, only one effect can be substituted for the original effect.
- For example, a ship is about to gain a focus token and has both the ability “Before you would gain a focus token, gain an evade token instead” and the ability “Before you would gain a focus token, gain a calculate token instead.” Only one of those abilities could be resolved.
A ship can pay a cost for an effect only if the effect can be resolved.
- For example, GNK "Gonk" Droid’s ability says “Action: Spend 1 Energy to recover 1 shield.” The ship cannot spend the charge if it has no inactive shields.
The word “may” is used to mean “has the option to.” For example, an ability that says “At the start of the Engagement Phase, you may perform a action,” means that the ship has the option to perform the action, but can also decline.
The word “can” is used to mean “has the capacity to.” For example, an ability that says “While you boost or barrel roll, you can move through and overlap obstacles” means when a ship with this ability boosts or barrel rolls, it ignores the rules that prevents them from overlapping or moving through obstacles. The ship always applies this effect as the effect is not optional but instead an expanded capability.
If a card ability uses the word “cannot,” that effect is absolute and cannot be overridden by other effects.
The word “must” is used to mean “is required to.” Although all effects that are not “may” effects are mandatory, the inclusion of “must” is used to reiterate a mandatory effect that could provide a drawback to the ship with the effect.
If an effect refers to results separated by slashes, it means any combination of those results. For example, if an ability refers to “2 hit/critical hit results” this would include two hit results, two critical hit results, or one hit result and one critical hit result.
Once Per Opportunity
Many abilities are restricted to occur “once per opportunity,” which means they can be resolved only one time during the specified timing window. For example, if an ability occurs “At the start of the Engagement Phase,” this ability can only be resolved once at the start of each Engagement Phase. As another example, if a ship has the ability “While you perform an attack, you may reroll 1 attack die,” it may resolve that ability once during each of its attacks.