Three or Four of a Kind?

My local gaming venues for X-Wing Miniatures have been covered up the past couple of weeks with lists featuring ships and upgrades from the Rebel Aces expansion.  Posts on our local Facebook group have progressed from “Rebel Aces are now in stock, come get your copy whenever” to “Who still has some left?” within a week.

The debut of Aces Wild, featured in last week’s post, went well for me. Jake and the Bandit got a lot of attention early, which let Keyan Farlander get in close with his B-Wing and unleash chaos. With only three ships, the Z-95 Headhunter was just too squishy, though, and he never did get to fire his Proton Rocket, or survive the first round of shooting for that matter. Changing that back to an Assault Missile whenever I run that list again.

I think that all of the B-Wing named pilots are awesome, and properly kitted out they are true glass cannons. Unfortunately, with 100 point lists, it’s very hard to team them up with something functional and threatening enough to draw fire off of them. I’m sure I’ll revisit them later, but for now I think I’ll be sticking to my cheaper generics.

As far as the A-Wings are concerned, though, I really liked how Jake functioned though, and I’ve heard wonders about Gemmer Sojan and his extra defense die from other players. As a result, I pondered over lunch today what I would put into a list that featured one of them or the other. Then the following thought popped into my head, an adage from my Warhammer days: If one is good, thirty is better (I played Orks, a true horde army). So I decided to do the unheard of, an A-Wing only list. A bit of pontificating later, and I had not one, but three separate lists (again, if one is good…).

The Three A-migos

Gemmer Sojan (22)
Proton Rockets (3)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)

Jake Farrell (24)
Proton Rockets (3)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)
Outmaneuver (3)

Tycho Celchu (26)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)
Outmaneuver (3)

These three Aces are loaded to the gills, using every available upgrade slot. Combining the A-Wing’s friendly dial with 3-5 evade dice and the two actions from Push The Limit, the entire squad can take both a Focus and an Evade action every turn and laugh off most incoming fire, waiting for opportune moments to pick off enemy ships. I don’t think the A-migos will manage to wipe the table for big wins, but they’ll be a fun build.

At the same time, I wondered what a list might look like if I tried to run a swarm of A-Wings. With only an evade die separating them from Z-95’s, running them bare doesn’t seem worthwhile. Five Prototype Pilots carrying Proton Rockets might be worth a laugh, but PS1, no special abilities, and only posing a threat at Range 1 doesn’t really tempt me all that much, and I don’t care to buy that many A-Wings. Green Squadron, however, seems to be a sweet spot of frugal price, higher Pilot Skill than Academy Pilots in their TIE Fighter swarms, and a built-in Elite Talent slot before we add the Test Pilot title. So Green Squadron it is.

Four of a Kind, v0.1

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)
Wingman (2)

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)
Wingman (2)

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)
Wingman (2)

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)
Wingman (2)

Another list that could be entertaining, but I’m not loving it yet. There’s enough ships in here to make it possible to box in a TIE Phantom, and they’re agile enough to do it, but if it gets loose that Phantom will tear these ships apart with impunity because of their lower Pilot Skill values. Meanwhile, you’re really leaning on your dice here, with only 16 hit points in a fleet that only fields eight attack dice with particular no bonuses.

Wingman isn’t my favorite Elite Talent by any means, but it fits for points and gives some extra flexibility to not have to pair green maneuvers with Push The Limit, and not be caught stressed for ion attacks. Maybe something else will appear in an upcoming expansion pack that will fit in its’ place, such as Lone Wolf (from the YT-2400 expansion), but since it’s unique, more options are still needed. Perhaps keeping one Wingman, trading one for Outmaneuver, and one for Veteran Instincts to fix the budget? Stay on Target (also from the YT-2400) may end up being a winner here, as the A-Wing has every move in the game (short of the unreleased Segnor’s Loop) available at a speed of 3, and anything except the K-Turn is also available at speed 2, but with only one copy included with each YT-2400, this would become an expensive A-Wing squadron.

In the meanwhile, if I get around to buying a 4th A-Wing I’ll probably tweak things slightly, and run something more like this:

Four of a Kind, v0.2

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)
Wingman (2)

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)
Predator (3)

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Push The Limit (3)
Predator (3)

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Stealth Device (3)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Outmaneuver (3)
Predator (3)

We’ve traded a little bit of  flexibility here for a big boost in offense with Predator and Outmaneuver, and you’re no longer needing to take Target Locks on the three with Predator (you’re only rolling 2-3 dice anyway), so you’re able to play defensively and still have effective offense when the activation phase goes your way.

I believe that I’ll be fielding the 3 A-migos this week in casual games, but what do you think? Are any of these lists feasible, or have I lost my mind? How are you using the new upgrades and pilots available in Rebel Aces?

— The Tabletop General