Category: Review

X-Wing: VT-49 Decimator

Wave 5 is going to give Imperials access to their first 360 degree turret in the form of the VT-49 Decimator, so lets take a look at exactly what this brick is going to bring to the table.

The Decimator is a bit of a first on a few fronts, its the Imp’s first turreted ship, it has an Agility of 0 (more on this later) but also it has its routes in the Star Wars Galaxies MMORP, every other ship, even the stuff from Wave 4 was routed in the EU in some form of story, but the VT-49 was introduced to Galaxies purely to give the Imperials an evil Falcon to fly.

It is fitting then that FFG have taken the opportunity to do a similar thing for X-Wing but whilst it would be easy to thing of the Deci as an Imp Falcon there is a lot more to it than that.

OK, so the Falcon comparison starts off well with the 3 Attack dice Turret primary weapon but for X-Wing thats where the similarities end.
0 Evade dice with 12 Hull and 4 Shields give the Decimator a different feel, its a lumbering giant that you can hit but can you kill it?

The dial for the Decimator is also an interesting one;

No Red manÅ“uvres whilst maintaing all of the 2’s and 3’s makes it an interesting ship to fly but if you do get it stressed it becomes a little trickier as the green is very limiting with none on the 1 manoeuvres.

In my mind the combination of Stats and Dial make it an extremely offensive focuses ship and with only Focus or Target Lock available as actions that does nothing to really change my mind.

Upgrade wise though things really do get interesting.
Having no less than 3 Crew Slots, a Bomb and Torpedo Slot and access to Modifications and a Title on even the PS 3 Patrol Leader make the Decimator an extremely versatile ship build wise but at 40 points for PS 3 it is also a weighty investment as it will no doubt end up costing a good percentage of your points.

The Named Pilots add even more spice to the mix with all 3 of them adding access to an Elite Pilot Talent and  some interesting pilot abilities.

Caption Oicunn was probably the most spoken about when the news dropped about the Deci with his PS 4 and 42 points cost getting you the ability to Ram other ships and deal damage to them.  He is a natural fit for the Decimator Dauntless Title allowing him to perform a Free Action after overlapping an opponent in exchange for a stress token.
Mara Jade also fits in really well with his play style of getting stuck in, up close and personal.
Another option you can throw on him is the Tactical Jammer Upgrade to force enemies who shoot threw him to count their shots as obstructed.

That comes in at 48 points but can be a very powerful tool if you can support him correctly with your remaining 52 points.

Something like 3 Black Squadron Pilots with Predator could be a nice support element with a good damage output and keeping the PS4 theme going.

I would use Oicunn to run in to the enemy early and then try to push through their squad with brute force  and then giving the opponent the difficult choice of chasing the damaged decimator, which should be hard to do initially due to the stress induced by Mara Jade or leaving a damage ship to live in to the late game, therefor wasting the fire they initially put in to it.

Commander Kenkirk on the other hand walks the  line of trying to be defensive on a 0 Agility Ship.
Coming in at PS 6 for 44 points his Pilot Ability lets you gain 1 Evade Dice once you have 0 Shields and have suffered at least 1 point of Damage.
I have to admit that I am not really convinced on this one and do need a lot more playtesting as I think he forces you in to spending too many points on the Decimator leaving you short for standard play but could be a big hit in a 60 minute format.

For Kenkirk I am thinking somthing along the lines of the following to see just how much aggro he can take if used correctly;

With a bit of creative flying I think that this list could emulate some of the Fat Han lists out there but I just don’t think it will have the staying power as you can quite easily be down to 8 or 9 Hull points before Ysanne kicks , worst case is that you go in to a Combat Phase with 0 Shields and 12 Hull as then you miss out on the evade and can take another volly before Kenkirk activates.

The last Named Decimator pilot is Rear Admiral Chiraneau who brings his attack focused Pilot Ability to the table allowing you to turn an eyeball in to a Crit when attacking at range band 1 or 2.
Having that in built focus and 0 Evade dice for me he is crying out for an Engine Upgrade to give him a useful action to take which should make him a much more versatile ship to fly.

I have been toying with this PS10 based list;

The plan with this list it to alternate which ship you present as a target to your opponent and to take advantage of your High PS and versatility in movement that Boba and the Engine Upgrade allow to try to out fly your opponent.

Builds for the Patrol Leader I have found a little harder as I have been tempted to run one with just Vader but I struggle to justify the extra 19 points over an Omicron.  Although, if you can actually fly a Lambda well, this could be fun;

This list is about as subtle as a brick to the face but if you can pull it of it will kill things but one mistake and its GG as the Hull points are as forgiving as you may think.

I dont know about you guys but I am really excited to get this ship on to the table properly and try out some new things with the Imperials as I think it opens up some doors that have not been available to them in the past.  Whilst some people may lament the addition of more turrets to the game, I honestly think FFG have done an amazing job with the Decimator as all of the pilots seem to open up completely different possibilities and I am looking forward to seeing where it takes us!

Scum and Villainy, Most Wanted Z-95’s

A look at the upcoming Most Wanted expansion for the 3rd X-Wing Faction, Scum and Villainy.

Hi Folks,

After some much needed time away from X-Wing after competing in the Canadian Nationals event I am back in the saddle and rearing to go.

First on my hit list was to start talking about the announcement of a third faction for X-Wing, Scum and Villainy.

Whilst I am more than happy with the game the way it is now I cant help but be excited about the announcement of a third faction and there is enough information around now for me to form some opinions on how I think they will fit in to the game and what I am looking forward to.

The first thing I wanted to look at was the Most Wanted expansion as it is a new take on the way things work being an expansion that not only features cross faction ships but also comes with dials and cards for stuff not even in the box.  This new marketing approach and what it could mean for future releases is a topic for another day however as I really want to look at the toys you get in there and what they can do.

As you can see, its got a lot of stuff in there and first to the table is going to be the Z-95 Headhunter.

No just to clarify before I get too deep, the Scum Z’s have the same dial as the Rebel Z’s other than the fancy colour for scum.  The official ruling is that for any cross faction ships the paint job can be whatever but the dial, pilot card and pilot insert must be matched to the faction you are playing.

The Stats for the Z-95 is the same 2’s down the board that Rebel players are used to but there are some interesting differences non the less.

Despite sharing the same points cost as their Rebel counterparts the Binayre Pirate and Black Sun Soldier come in at one less pilot skill than the Bandit and Tala respectively.
With the stats, dials and action bars being the same what is this reactive points hike getting you?

Access to the all new Scum and Villainy exclusive Illicit Upgrade Slot.  Personally I am not a fan of paying points to grant me the ability to pay more points for something  but I have faith that FFG has the balance in mind when they made the decision but with only a limited knowledge of the upcoming illicit upgrades its hard to be sure just yet how worth while it will be.

Some of the Illicit Upgrades do sound fun though.

I can see some value in a few Binayre Pirates with Dead Man’s Switches whilst I think I would rather have Feedback Array on something a little beefier but arch dodging with Black Sun Soldiers and letting rip with the Array or Hot Shot could be fun too.

The named pilots is where the Scums play style really starts to show itself though.
Kaa’to Leeachos stealing your own tokens to beef himself up and has access to an Elite Pilot Talent so he can get access to the one turn Target Lock/ Focused attack to make Missiles a consideration.  With Veteran Instincts and Homing Missiles he comes in at a respectable 21 points but should provide a good bit of Alph damage to a squad.  I actually like the idea of playing him in a counter intuitive way for Scum and Villainy though and running him with Wingman along side something like a Push the Limit/Rec Spec Boba Fett as both ships could then be quite offensive with With Kaa’to taking Target Lock as an action whilst Boba takes Target Lock and Pushes the Limit for the Double Focus, then once the combat phase starts Kaa’to clears Boba’s stress and steals a Focus Token for his troubles.

N’dru Suhlak on the other hand is very much the loaner,having a built in Lone Wolf but for Attack only again having access to the EPT and coming in at PS 7 I can see value in sticking Predator on him, hugging the Flanks early and just re-rolling all day long on your attacks.
For a change I am not as much of a fan of paying for Veteran Instincts on this guy as though the PS 9 would be nice he is no Whisper with a 4 dice attack so unless you are going to pay for some Missiles as well it feels a bit wasted.

One build I am looking forward to trying out once Scum Hits is my Chaff with Chaff list;
Chaff and Chaff

Pilots
Mandelorian Mercenary (43)
Firespray-31 (35), Recon Specialist (3), Lone Wolf (2), Counter-Measures (3)
Binayre Pirate (14)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Dead Man’s Switch (2)
Binayre Pirate (14)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Dead Man’s Switch (2)
Binayre Pirate (14)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Dead Man’s Switch (2)
Binayre Pirate (14)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Dead Man’s Switch (2)
Squad Cost 99

The not so subtle plan is to Bum Rush people with the Binayre’s whilst the Merc does his thing, your opponent then has the choice of taking the longer ranged shots at the relatively tanky Merc leaving the Headhunters to output damage of deal with the Z’s while they are up close meaning that they will be Self Destructing in his face for extra splash damage.

Should be fun to fly and a bit of a headache to play against!

Thanks for reading guys and I should be getting more of Scum and Villainy written up this week so check back soon!

X-Wing: Rebel Aces B-Wings and HWK’s

We have looked at the upgrade to the A-Wing with the impending release of Rebel Aces now lets look at whats happening with the B-Wing.

Already considered a very solid ship what have FFG done with the B-Wing?

We will start by looking at the two new Pilots.

First up we have Nera Dantels.  Nera is a bit of a lose cannon who I was surprised to see in a B-Wing but she did have a brief stint flying with Dagger Squadron rather than flying her freighter Starduster.

The 2 points more than a standard Dagger gets you an extra point of Pilot Skill bumping you to Pilot Skill 5 and access to an Elite Pilot Talent which justifies her points cost even without taking in to account her Pilot Ability.

Having a 360 degree arch for Torpedos makes her an interesting addition to the squad but unfortunately I her lower Pilot Skill makes it a little less useful.

There are a few ways that I would field her, either running her as a Stress Generator with two lots of Flechette Torpedoes, Deadeye and Munitions Failsafe.  This allows you fly her as a normal B-Wing and when appropriate just launch a Flechette at who ever needs stress adding to them.  She lacks a little damage for a 32 Point investment but adds a lot of utility.

Another way to go is to have her as more of a clean up crew with Advanced Proton Torpedoes where
you fly her with the rest of your squad and plan on the launching the torps just after the initial pass, this does require a bit more set up and racks up the points even more but thats what happens when you take APT…

The second B-Wing pilot in Rebel Aces is Keyan Farlander

Farlander is another option for the people who are looking at an all Jedi squad.  He is a member of Blue Squadron and flew with them when they still flew Y-Wings and was involved with the protection of the facility where Admiral Ackbar developed the B-Wing project.

His 29 points make shim the second most expensive B-Wing and his Pilot Skill of 7 is quite respectable.  The real value in this case does come from his Pilot Ability of allowing you to spend Stress tokens in attack to modify eyeballs to hits.  I like that this fits with his background of struggling with the Dark Side in his earlier years as the offensive eyeball manipulation while stressed is fairly evil.

Build wise it is easy to just throw Push the Limits on to him for the stress generation but remember he is not Fel in an Interceptor so getting what is essentially a double focus is not always the most useful option due to him only rolling one Evade dice.  (if you have the Jan crew card in there somewhere changing that focus to an Evade is quite good though…)  In my opinion his ability opens up the dial on the B-Wing rather than making him a PTL monkey,  I think that just having him with Veteran Instincts and a Fire Control System gives you a very maneuverable platform at PS9 and is still an offensive power house for only 32 points where as if you spend that 32 points on just Push the Limit than you still want to add more to him which I think will negatively impact the overall squad.

In addition to the new pilots we do get a new Modification for the B-Wing, the B-Wing/E2.

You also get two new Crew Cards in Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors.  I do think that the E2 mod opens up the B-Wing to become more of a Support ship in a similar vain to the Imperial Shuttle but with a better offensive capability due to its more versatile dial.

I do think that putting it on to one of the Named Pilots racks up the points extremely quickly but maybe on to a Blue or Dagger.  For Example, putting the new Jan card on to a Blue Squadron pilot comes in at 25 points which is 7 points more than putting her on to a Rebel Operative but you are gaining 2 Attack Dice, 3 Hitpoints (- 1 Hull but + 4 Shields) and a better Dial for the los of 1 evade dice. A more realistic comparison would be with an Ion Turret so you are only 2 points more but have a more offensive oriented build.

Touching on Kyle and Jan, they quite obviously have excellent synergy on each others HWK-290 but I think the optimal build would be Jan as the pilot and Kyle as the Passenger with a Blaster Turret.
I do think that there is more of a place for Jan in most squads as being able to add an extra Evade Token to a Fat Han for example can push it into silly levels.

Something like this could be viable;

=============
Han and HWK’s
=============

Han Solo (56)
YT-1300 (46), Push the Limit (3), C-3PO (3), Recon Specialist (3), Millennium Falcon (1)

Rebel Operative (22)
HWK-290 (16), Blaster Turret (4), Jan Ors (2)

Rebel Operative (20)
HWK-290 (16), Blaster Turret (4)
98 points

This would be all about pushing Han in to stupid levels of tanking being able to ignore a minimum of 3 hits a turn makes you want to ignore Han and focus on the HWK with Jan onboard but that is exactly what a Han list want you to do, ignore the YT-1300 while it chips away at your ability to deal with it.
Some food for thought on possible builds and more choices from the that Rebel Aces brings to the table.  What are you looking at for new ways to fly your B-wings? If you want to add anything feel free to comment!

X-Wing: Rebel Aces A-Wing

So, Han and Tyco walk in to a Bar…
It was Admiral Ackbar and they said sorry…

Bad Jokes aside its time to delve in to Rebel Aces and look at what the changes to the A-Wing will mean and how it will fit in with the evolving post Wave 4 Meta.

Well the announcement for Rebel Aces is hardly new news but I have avoided writing about it up until now as I wanted to give Wave 4 time to settle down and hope that FFG would show us a little more.

Luckily for me they obliged and we now have a good idea of the contend of the pack and obviously I will be looking at just the A-Wing in this post.

General opinion is that the A-Wing has the same problems as the TIE Advanced in that, even with its awesome dial, it just does not bring the punch to the table that justifies its points cost without loading it up with missiles.  The Munition Failsafe from the Z-95 does help with the option to load up with a Missile as it lets you keep the card if you miss but for those who didn’t want to take missiles at all the 17 point PS1 Blocking Prototype Pilot was just a bit steep for most tastes.

The first step for FFG has been to address this issue with the Chandaan Refit Missile Card.

This is A-Wing only and takes up your Missile Slot for -2 points.  (I am looking forward to the FAQ for if this is affected by the Munitions Failure Critical Hit as someone is bound to argue it.  Auto win for your opponent being over points…)

This lets you have the PS1 A-Wing for 15 points which is a lot more manageable to fit in to a list and makes an excellent blocker.
I really like the option it opens up as if you are not planning on using a missile than why not save points.

The Chardaan A-Wing should compete well with the Z-95 as the filler of choice in Rebel lists as it is more survivable due to its extra evade dice and has a much better dial.

Another nice option that will affect my thoughts on A-Wings is the Prototype Veteran Title Card for the A-Wing.

So any A-Wing other than the Prototype Pilot (makes sense doesn’t it…) can be a Prototype Veteran gaining an Elite Pilot Talent on their upgrade bar.  If you already have access to an EPT than you can take two as long as they are not the same.
All of this for the basement price of 0 Squad cost!

Some of the stuff I have been thinking about with this card are things like;
Push The Limit and Wingman on multiple A-Wings that will be Focus/Evading every round and clearing each others stress at the start of every combat phase.
Daredevil and Expert Handling on Tyco so you can Boost the Hard 1 and Barrel Roll for a stupidly fun ship to fly.

There are lost and lots of combinations that this card opens up and I like the idea of just going all out in one aspect but don’t let the 0 points cost fool you, the cost of a 2nd EPT will add up really quickly and untimely it is still on an A-Wing.

Before I look at the Two new A-Wing Pilots there is one last Card that I really want to talk about.

Proton Rockets are a new Missile that joins the Ion Pulse from Wave 3 as a 3 point Missile and at first glance it seems a bit dismissible.  2 Base attack at Range Band 1 that needs a Focus Token to fire.  The important part is the body of the text that lets you add your agility to the attack up to a maximum of 3 additional dice so suddenly the A-Wing has a 5 Dice range one attack that only need you to have a focus token to fire.

Given the Speed and Agility of the A-Wing it as not that hard to acquire a Target Lock on a target before you get in to Range Band 1 of it so you can set up a 5 Dice Target Lock and Focused attack with ease from a ship that can cost as little as 20 Points.

Five Prototype Pilots all with Proton Rockets is quite an intimidating prospect providing you can keep them all alive long enough to fire you 25 Dice volley!

Aces adds in 2 new Pilots, Gemmer Sojan and Jake Farrel, both of whom add some nice Pilot Abilities to the A-Wing.

Gammer is the cheaper option at 22 points and comes in at Pilot Skill 5 and is crying out to get in to you opponents face and take advantage of the extra Agility it gives him.
I would be tempted to run him with Chardaan Refit, Prototype Veteran, Push the Limit for a 23 point ship that can get in close and stay there for a good amount of time. (Green Dice dependant…)

Jake Farrel on the other hand lends himself to outflying your opponent.  Coming in at 24 points for Pilot Skill 7 I like the idea of running him as a Wingman for Tyco with Push the Limit as Jake can Focus and still Boost to keep pace with Tyco.  Not too bad for 49 Points if you Stick Chandaar Refit on both but probably wants some more punch to the list so I would lean towards the rest of the squad being Tanky with a Bit of Punch.  Maybe a Chewbacca with Falcon Title, C-3PO and Predator would work with that paring as if you are like me and find flying a Falcon Fairly boring, zoning around with two super manoeuvrable A-Wings could make it bearable.

Time to look at some other fun lists you can make with the A-Wings after Rebel Aces comes out.

===================
Tyco Can Be A Blast
===================
Pilots

Tycho Celchu (32)
A-Wing (26), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Proton Rockets (3), Veteran Instincts (1), Swarm Tactics (2)

Green Squadron Pilot (24)
A-Wing (19), Proton Rockets (3), Swarm Tactics (2)

Green Squadron Pilot (24)
A-Wing (19), Proton Rockets (3), Swarm Tactics (2)

Prototype Pilot (20)
A-Wing (17), Proton Rockets (3)

100 points

This was a list I have been considering to counter the swing in the Meta toward high Pilot and Fat Falcons that use 3PO to have some extra sustain.

This list can get in to range 1 quickly, fire off 4 5 Dice Attacks that should be Target Locked and Focused and hopefully overwhelm the Falcons Evade + C-3PO combo.  As I can’t be bothered with the Math 4 Hits from a target locked focussed attack is not unreasonable of which 2 will be cancelled by 3PO and Evade Token.  That should let 2 hits through from the first Ship and then even if he rolls the natural evade for every attack you should put 9 more damage on to him.  So 11 Damage in one turn is not unreasonable and 1 shooting the falcon is a possibility   All of this firing at Pilot Skill 10 to fire before Han (unless he has Veteran Instincts) of course if you then have 4 A-Wings to dog fight the rest of his list with which may or may not work but it should be fun to fly 😉

Thanks for reading and as always feel free to comment if you have any questions or disagree with anything.