Mak is an interesting hero in Imperial Assault. He’s a slippery rogue that’s a semi-sniper (compared to Loku, who is a true sniper) and in the late game he can be a real heavy hitter. As a caveat, Mak is not my favorite hero, but I think all the hero’s in Imperial Assault can be effective if played right, and Mak has some interesting abilities that work well together.
Playing as Mak
Mak has several strong abilities that work together well, and is more dimensional than someone like Gaarkhan. I don’t really think there’s one best upgrade path for him or anything, which is nice because you can customize Mak to play how you want without fearing that you’re missing out on anything. There are a few abilities that synergize really well together, like Disengage and Expertise: Disengage is immensely helpful against melee characters like Royal Guards, where as soon as they move in close enough to strike, Mak uses Disengage to move away, potentially towards a crate or terminal that he can interact with during his activation to use Expertise. These abilities that grant Mak extra movement and actions for interacting are really helpful. He can also use some of his abilities to make him a heavy hitting sniper in the end game, and use some abilities to trigger other ones. For example, Mak could hide behind a friendly figure, exhaust Target Acquired to trigger Ambush, then use Ambush to trigger Execute, which removes all white dice from the defenders attack pool, the attack gains pierce 2 and +2 accuracy. I like to build up Mak as a slippery, hard to hit target early in the game, and run around and interact with things and just irritate the empire, and towards the end of a campaign you’ll have a tier 3 weapon and No Escape, which is very useful at taking out villains, such as Vader or an AT-ST.
Mak’s starting weapon that rolls 2 blues is pretty weak, so you’ll want to get something new pretty soon. The E-11 is the best of the Tier-1 weapons available, and you would potentially want to get the Marksmanship Barrel with it to increase Mak’s accuracy to make use of ambush and covert. Past that, there’s not much that particularly sticks out as being good with Mak in Tier 1/2, just gauge it with your group on who needs what. Mak can use his abilities and the E-11 to be an effective disengaging rogue for a while. Once you get to Tier 3, Mak really want’s the DXR. He’s so good with it, just so good. It’s especially powerful with his abilities; the only downside is that is has a static accuracy of 6, but there’s not very often in a campaign that you’ll be farther away than that, and if you are you can exhaust Target acquired for 2 more accuracy. Mak can also focus himself with Jeswandi training for an extra die that can more reliably trigger the surges than 2 red dice, and being able to attack twice with it and still be focused using No Escape is huge. Mak becomes really powerful with this in the late game, and the DXR-6 and Mak’s abilities caused the rebels to win our last campaign.
1 XP: Supply Network: Exhaust this card during your activation to test ‘eye’. If you pass, reveal the top card of the Supply deck and place it on the top or bottom of the deck. / Action: deplete this card to draw 1 card from the Supply deck.
Supply network is nice to have, I mean it gives you a free item from the crate once a mission. But that’s really all it is, a nice bonus but not really something you want to spend xp on. It doesn’t really make Mak a better hero like some of his other abilities do, so I would Pass on it until you have some left over xp at the end.
1 XP: Disengage: 1 strain: Exhaust this card when a hostile figure enters a space within 3 spaces of you to gain 3 movement points.
Disengage makes Mak really fun to play as, and really frustrating for the Imperial player. Any time a figure moves in to attack, Mak activates disengage and runs away. It makes him almost impossible to hit with melee units because they can’t get close enough, and due to his Covert ability, units 4 or more spaces away don’t have line of sight. So as soon as a hostile has line of sight, Mak can get out of dodge. And it’s not only great for keeping him alive, it’s also useful just for gaining extra movement outside an activation to move towards objectives. Buy.
2 XP: Target Acquired: 1 strain: exhaust this card before you declare an attack. During this attack, figures do not block your line of sight. Apply +2 Accuracy to the attack results.
This is really useful if you want to take the route of making Mak more of a long range sniper, allowing him to see through figures and gain more accuracy. I don’t think it’s that crucial for him to have, but it’s another one that’s nice towards the late game. Pass.
2 XP: Jeswandi Training: Apply +2 Health to your hero. / Exhaust this card after a hostile figure within 3 spaces resolves an attack. You become Focused.
Jeswandi Training is great. Due to Covert, Mak can only be attacked within 3 spaces, so any time he is attacked he will become focused, which is a huge boost on offense. Add the +2 health and this card is a shoe in. Buy.
3 XP: Expertise: 1 strain: exhaust this card during your activation after you interact. Perform 1 additional action during this activation.
Expertise is incredibly useful; giving Mak a 3rd action after interacting is huge in action economy. It really helps in missions where you need to interact to win, and even if you don’t, you don’t have to feel like opening a crate would be wasting an action anymore. I suggest Buying this one, but at this point it really comes down to how you would prefer to play Mak. If you just want to focus on making him a heavy hitter then you might want to skip this.
3 XP: Execute: After you resolve an attack, if the target figure was defeated, recover 1 strain. / 1 strain: exhaust this card when you use “Ambush.” Remove all white dice from the target’s defense pool.
This seems like a great card since you can remove all white dice from the target’s pool, but the only issue is that almost none of the Imperial or Scum units roll white on defense, that’s the Rebel’s shtick. The only hostile units that will roll white are Royal Guard Champion, Imperial Officer, and the Nexu. You won’t really need to remove the dice from the officer, and the RGC doesn’t appear that much, so unless the Imperial player has been throwing Nexu’s at you left and right all campaign, I say to Pass on this one. However, the abiltity to recover strain after you defeat a hostile figure helps Mak manage his strain so he is still able to perform his abilities. If you find in your campaign that Mak often has too much strain to perform his abilities, this might be worth picking up.
4 XP: No Escape: 2 strain: exhaust this card after you resolve an attack. If the target figure was not defeated, you become Focused. Then, perform 1 additional attack targeting the same figure.
No Escape is an incredibly powerful card. The ability to have an extra focused attack on a powerful figure is great, and has been the solution for my group with dealing with many villains in the campaign. with the right gun, this turns Mak into a glass cannon like no other. Buy.
4 XP: Decoy: Deplete this card when an attack targeting you is declared. The attack misses. After the attack resolves, you may interrupt to place your figure in any empty space within 3 spaces. Then, you become Focused and may perform an attack.
Decoy isn’t bad, and it’s pretty cool thematically, but since you deplete it you can only use it once per mission, and you have to wait to be attacked to trigger it. You’re better off just going with No Escape, which also gives you a focused attack, plus an extra attack. Pass.
So here’s what my ideal upgrade path would look like for Mak:
Disengage > Jeswandi Training > Expertise > No Escape
But that’s just a very simple baseline. If you want Mak to focus more on running around, interacting, getting crates and what not, maybe go for Supply network early instead to get extra crates and extra credits at the end. Or maybe you want to just focus on his offense and Ambush abilities, then getting execute instead of Expertise would be fine. I hope I’ve been able to outline some strengths and weaknesses of Mak’s abilities, and given you some ideas on how to play him.
Mak is a Bothan sniper with a ponytail, which may or may not be reason enough for you to want to play him. I think he has some fun interesting dimensions that add to the game; his ability to interact and disengage is great for objectives and earlier missions, and his 4XP ability make him a late game powerhouse. I don’t think he’s necessarily the best at offense, action economy, or support, but he has a nice mix of each of those that make him a solid balanced hero.