Tag Archives: Keyan Farlander

Armada wave 1 review – Rebels

Having gotten my fill of X-Wing lately, this week’s game night at my FLGS was filled with Star Wars: Armada. I dove in head first with the Wave 1 releases a couple weeks back, but only had time to try out the rebel ships before going on a vacation, and then I was purely focused on preparing for the X-Wing regionals until this week. But by gosh I own it all…

wpid-img_20150512_165944265.jpg
This wasn’t shipped, my FLGS owner took one look at my order and gave me a box to put it all in.

On release day, I picked up two copies of the Gladiator Class Star DestroyerAssault Frigate Mk IIImperial Fighter Squadrons, and Rebel Fighter Squadrons, as well as one expansion copy each of the Victory Class Star DestroyerNebulon B Frigate,  and CR90 Corellian Corvette. The new capital ships were, of course, the big focus for me, as those would have the greatest impact on the game (or so I thought). And expecting the Rebels to have gotten the biggest boost of the two factions, I went for the Assault  Frigates first, immediately challenging someone to a game using two of them. I absolutely loved how different they felt in comparison to the existing options for the Rebels.

wpid-img_20150512_170240649.jpg
“The Flying Football” is one of the cleaner nicknames I’ve heard for this one.

There are two distinctively different directions you can go with the Assault Frigate Mk II. It can be a tank, or a great fighter support ship.

Set up in a combat role, it is the first rebel ship able to truly trade blows with the Imperial Fleet. With 12 total shields, a brace, a redirect, and an evade token available to it, the Assault Frigate can take a lot of punishment and keep on fighting. With an engineering value of 4 (so recovering two shields at a time) and access to the Advanced Projectors to really boost your redirects, it takes a lot of concentrated firepower to bring one of these down. Meanwhile, the Enhanced Armament upgrade can increase the “B” variant to a respectable total of 4 red dice on side shots. Throw in the Paragon title, and you get an extra black die (from any range) if you manage to shoot the same ship twice in a round. Dare your opponents to pick your Advanced Gunnery objective!

Assault-frigate-B                Advanced-projectors

Advanced-gunnery   Paragon

On the other hand, you can outfit the Frigate as a full-blown carrier. The “B” variant has a squadron value of 3, and that can be increased with Expanded Hangar Bays. Then toss the Gallant Haven title on your ship, and suddenly it’s nearly impossible to kill your nearby fighters. Bring out a few A-Wings with their nifty “Counter” ability (more on how broken that can be in the upcoming Imperial article), and you’ll end up doing just as much damage on defense than your opponent’s fighters do on offense! Toss in a couple bombers, like Y-Wings or B-Wings, and that’s suddenly an area that the enemy wants to avoid at all costs.

AWings     Gallant-haven

Next, let’s take a quick look at the expansion versions of the rebel ships from the starter kit.

The CR90 Corellian Corvette offers a couple of neat little tricks to enhance your fleet. If your Corvette is going to be serving as a command ship, then perhaps you should invest in the Tantive IV, carrying Raymus Antilles. Raymus lets you double up on actions on your own ship (Change speed by two within a single turn, or activate an extra squadron, etc), but the Tantive IV title lets that token go to another ship. If that ship happens to have a Defense Liaison or a Weapons Liaison, you can then spend that token to make a surprise adjustment to your command stack!

Tantive-iv        Raymus-antilles

Normally, your Evade defense tokens, which all Rebel ships have, are useless at close range, but Mon Mothma lets your entire fleet use them at least to some extent at any range, so you don’t have to fear getting up close to enemy ships (as much).

Mon-mothma

And if you’re looking to hug close to some obstacles, Jaina’s Light would come in handy. In addition to giving you much more freedom to maneuver without worrying about the occasional asteroid, I see this title as great insurance against the potential hazards in the Dangerous Territory objective.

Jainas-light      Dangerous-territory-objective

One last card that stands out to me in the CR90 pack is Leading Shots. This is the first card I’ve seen in Armada that blatantly makes less sense on the ship it comes with than on another ship. In particular, Imperial players are going to want these for their Victory Class Star Destroyers, especially on builds using the Victory II or Dominator title. Completely miss your attack? Throw away one of your blue dice and reroll as much of it as you want. With a Corvette throwing 3 dice, you’re rerolling up to two – no big gain. But you take a VSD I with Dominator and Expanded Launchers, and that front attack is as much as 3 red, 2  blue, and 5 black before any other modifications like a Concentrate Fire command.  There’s 8 dice that could potentially come up blank in there, having the option to throw away a blue die and reroll all of those misses makes for a brutal shot!

Leading-shots      Dominator

Expanded-Launchers      Victory-I

The Nebulon B Frigate doesn’t bring quite as much to the table as the Corvette. There are two new title cards, Salvation and Yavaris, and this expansion is the only source for XI7 Turbolaser upgrade cards.

I’m not entirely sold on Salvation. For seven points, your expected damage output (before any modifications) goes up from an average of 2.25 to 3, a 33% increase. But it only takes effect when firing in the forward arc, and depending on which variant you take, it’s a 12-13% increase in the cost of the ship. On a point for point basis, I think you’d be better off investing in more ships. This line of thinking about efficiency is a slippery slope, and it’s this kind of thinking that led us to the horror that is BBBBZ in X-Wing Miniatures.

But let’s go back to our carrier loadout from earlier with the Gallant Haven – What would make those squadrons even tougher to deal with? What if they could attack twice in one turn? Well, with the Yavaris in your fleet, they can! On an Escort variant that can activate two squadrons, three with Expanded Hangar Bays, that’s five points well spent.

Salvation      Yavaris

The XI7 Turbolasers don’t jump out at me as a “must have” card, but there could certainly be some utility to be found in them. This add-on limits how much damage can be moved by a redirect token, which makes it much easier to wear down a specific hull zone and punch a hole through the enemy’s shields. With Victory Star Destroyers only having access to two Redirect tokens and a Brace, you can spend a single accuracy result to block that brace and know that no more than one point of damage in your attack will do anything other than damage the targeted hull zone of that VSD.

XI7-turbolasers

One more expansion to go today, let’s take a look at the Rebel Fighter Squadrons expansion. Containing two squadrons each of X-wings, A-wings, Y-Wings, and B-Wings, this is a pack that 99% of players are going to want two of right now. Perhaps a third pack would come in handy for some extreme concepts when the game expands to 400 points, but as much as I like to go crazy with hypothetical builds, I’ve not put anything together yet that calls for more than four squadrons of any one particular set of Rebel fighters.

Starting with the basics, we’ve seen X-Wings already in the core set, and I showed you A-Wings earlier – They’re fast, do decent damage, and their “Counter” ability means they won’t be your enemy’s favorite targets to shoot.

B-Wings and Y-Wings are the heavy hitters for the Rebels. The issue is getting them there. Y-Wings are lumbering beasts, plodding along at speed 3, with only two anti-fighter dice. But they’re also the cheapest squadron available to the Rebels, have the most health, and deal more damage to capital ships than all-purpose X-Wing squadrons. B-Wings are even slower, and are the most expensive basic squadron in the game; but they’ll also tear any capital ship that does come into range to shreds, dealing an average of 1.75 damage per attack. The best use I’ve seen so far for B-Wings is to hold a position where you know the enemy is coming to, warding off a charging Gladiator Class Star Destroyer approaching your flanks, or hovering around a Contested Outpost objective. In both cases, though, with the B-Wing and Y-Wing squadrons, having a capital ship nearby to grant squadron commands is almost required to get them shots when it counts.

BWing-squadron      YWing-squadron

In addition to the generic cards, there’s also four unique pilots available for rebel squadrons in this pack: Keyan Farlander, Tycho Celchu, Dutch Vander, and Wedge Antilles. For a 5-7 point premium over the generic squadron, each comes with defense tokens and an extra ability.

Keyan… well, I’m a little undecided about him, mostly because part of his ability is so conditional. But compared to a regular B-Wing’s 1.75 damage, his heavier dice make for an average of 2 damage per attack against capital ships, or 2.5 per attack if their shields are already down, and could potentially deal as much as four damage in that attack. This would pair well with the XI7 Turbolasers and both Nebulon B Frigates from earlier: Salvation can punch a hole with the Turbolasers for a best case of three damage on the target hull zone’s shields (accuracy blocks the brace, and 1 point gets redirected) on one activation, and then Keyan gets activated by Yavaris on the next to blast away for a best case of eight damage. It’s highly unlikely to roll that well, and difficult to set up, but for those of you keeping score at home, that’s a kill* on a Victory Star Destroyer that was previously at full health.

*Yes, I understand that the VSD would have defense tokens left for Keyan’s attacks, but our hypothetical Yavaris hasn’t fired yet, it has only activated one fighter squadron, and I assumed that the Salvation didn’t concentrate fire for extra damage. He’s dead, Jim.

Keyan-Farlander

Tycho Celchu is easily my favorite pilot of the bunch. He’s the kind of pilot that I’d have a Red Bull with, because he’s too wired to have a beer. As fast or faster as any Imperial ship around, Tycho can go where he’s needed, when he’s needed. Tied up by Soontir Fel? Nope, let me go harass those TIE Bombers over there. Oh, those bombers actually dealt some damage to me? Nope, Scatter to cancel the attack, have a counter attack for your trouble. He’s not a hammer that will break the enemy force, but Tycho is a scalpel that will give a lot of Imperial admirals nightmares when used properly to disrupt a battle plan. There’s nothing complicated about him mechanically, it’s just all about where you should move him and when.

Tycho-Celchu

Last, but not least, there’s a tag team in the named pilots for the X-Wing and Y-Wing. The Dutch Sandwich, the Wedge Salad… whatever you want to call it, it’s simple, and it’s nasty. If Dutch Vander hits a squadron, it loses its’ activation for the turn. If it’s already activated, then Dutch does an extra damage. Then Wedge follows up and gets a whopping six attack dice against any squadron that has already marked as activated for the turn. It takes a lot of luck for a squadron to survive a hit from both of those together, even a named pilot with defense tokens is in for a bad day.

Dutch-Vander      Wedge-Antilles

Have you picked up your copies yet of all the Wave 1 ships? If not, I highly recommend that you go to your FLGS and get them right away, ours is having trouble keeping them in stock from the high demand. If you can’t get them there, then (and only then) feel free to order copies of them using the links above. :)

Here’s the scary thing… even with all these new toys for the Rebels, I still like the Imperials more. I’ll show you why next time.

– The Tabletop General

 

 

Galactic Comics & Games X-Wing Championship

By now, readers of the site should know that when it comes to Star Wars games, I’m a huge fan of TIE Interceptors. I’m really looking forward to find the best way to use them in Star Wars: Armada (releasing this week!!!), even though they won’t appear until the Imperial Fighter Squadron expansion arrives with the rest of wave 1 in a couple weeks. I’ve posted a few recent articles (here, and here) about how I’ve been using the Interceptors in X-Wing Miniatures, and this weekend I put all that practice to the test, by taking that same list to the X-Wing Store Championship at Galactic Comics & Games.

While it wasn’t exactly a five minute trip to get there, I have a friend who plays at Galactic regularly, and he had made a special trip to come attend another Store Championship event which I had run. I wanted to return the favor. It would be close to my last chance to compete at a Store Championship event before the season wrapped up for the year, and I’ve been using these events as a way of proving to myself how much my skills and understanding of the game had evolved over the previous year. So, several hours of driving way earlier than I’m comfortable with on a Saturday morning, I arrived, registered for the event, and mentally buckled my seatbelt, something told me I was in for a ride. I didn’t expect a cakewalk by any means, but I didn’t see a lot of squads out on tables that I wanted to fight:

  • One Lambda Shuttle I can outmaneuver, but four would be a pain.
  • Tag team of a YT-2400 and a YT-1300, never fun, and I didn’t trust my Autothrusters THAT much.
  • Two TIE Phantoms and a TIE Fighter, depends on the player but I’d rather not see it across the table.
  • Four B-Wings… not the worst thing in the world, but there’s a lot of HP in there, and they’re the only thing to have beaten my list thus far (technically 3 + Luke).
  • Obligatory Paul Heaver Special (YT-1300, 3 Z-95‘s), I just get so bored with fighting that at every single event.

Out of time for scouting, it was time to get on the table. Round one started with exactly 16 players, which meant 4 rounds of Swiss play and then a cut to top 4. This got a little complicated as 5 players making a similar drive to mine arrived half an hour after the round started. This was the first major event hosted by this Tournament Organizer, so he consulted myself and a couple other TO’s present. Given that other players from the same area arrived on time, none of the players were pre-registered despite the clearly outlined requirements to do so on the event announcements, and that they did not contact the store when they realized they would be late, but that they had several friends in the event and had driven so far, they were allowed to join, but with full losses in the first round, and the event was not expanded, making for a steep uphill battle for them to reach the top 4 in what was now a 21 person event.

My List
image

Soontir, Carnor, and a Royal Guard Pilot, all decked out with Royal Guard TIE, Push The Limit, Autothrusters, and Stealth Device. One point initiative bid, which has been worth it’s weight in gold (and more, considering that a “point” is noncorporeal and weightless.)

Round One

Opponent:

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing)
B-Wing/E2 Modification – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Tactician – 2 (TIE Phantom)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing)
B-Wing/E2 Modification – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Tactician – 2 (TIE Phantom)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing)
B-Wing/E2 Modification – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Tactician – 2 (TIE Phantom)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing)
B-Wing/E2 Modification – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Tactician – 2 (TIE Phantom)

 

Oh. That’s what I missed about the B-Wings in scouting. Tacticians. A big meaty stress mechanic inserted into a matchup that I didn’t like too much already. Considering that my Interceptors live and die by their actions, that much stress (and thus action denial) applied to one Interceptor at a time means that Interceptor dies, and quickly. And thanks to Tactician, every shot my opponent fired at range 2 would add an additional Stress Token to his target. So I had to play this carefully, and I did exactly that.

It certainly helped accelerate things that my opponent miscalculated an early maneuver and collided with two crucial K-Turns, but I don’t know that it would have helped matters all that much for him, as I was pushing my Interceptors HARD, giving up shots to escape firing arcs, Barrel Rolling back out to range 3, Boosting into range 1, K-turning at just the right time, and skirting asteroids by micrometers… I was in the zone early. One Interceptor got caught in his sights, and losing two hull, but it served as a decoy for the rest of the game, and I walked away with a full win, having taken exactly one extra stress from the four Tacticians combined.

1-0, 200 MoV

Round Two

Opponent:

Binayre Pirate – 12 (Most Wanted)

Syndicate Thug – 18 (Most Wanted)
Ion Cannon Turret – 5 (Y-Wing HWK-290)
Unhinged Astromech – 1 (Most Wanted)
BTL-A4 Y-Wing – 0 (Most Wanted)

Syndicate Thug – 18 (Most Wanted)
Ion Cannon Turret – 5 (Y-Wing HWK-290)
Unhinged Astromech – 1 (Most Wanted)
BTL-A4 Y-Wing – 0 (Most Wanted)

Kavil – 24 (Most Wanted)
Ion Cannon Turret – 5 (Y-Wing HWK-290)
Unhinged Astromech – 1 (Most Wanted)
Bomb Loadout – 0 (Most Wanted)
Proton Bombs – 5 (VT-49 Decimator / TIE Bomber)
Veteran Instincts – 1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
Engine Upgrade – 4 (Millennium Falcon)

This was an interesting list, and my opponent flew it well. I’d had trouble in practice keeping the BTL-A4 Y-Wings pointed into the fight, but he did a great job of alternating K-turns and green 3’s with them, and kept pouring shot after shot at anything he could keep in arc. He snuck a damage or two home on the initial engagement, and a couple of ion shots landed home.  As a result, my Interceptors ended up in really bad positions, but he wasn’t able to capitalize on it due to some untimely critical hits from his own Proton Bombs. Realizing the danger he posed, I poured fire at Kavil, and managed to put a “Blinded Pilot” critical hit on him. I then played keep-away for a turn or two with him, feeling safe because I didn’t have to worry if I guessed wrong once as to where he would move. Eventually, I was able to regroup and pounce on Kavil with all three ships, leaving him unable to boost away.

From there I was forced to play very carefully against his remaining Y-Wings to avoid arcs, but the rest of his list slowly crumbled as I picked away at it. He was inches away from scoring some major points, but the score doesn’t reflect it, as all my Interceptors limped home with heavy damage but alive, 100-0. Intrigued with the fight he put up here, and curious to see what I could do with the same setup, I tried that same list out in a local event the next day. I’ll just say that certain people have a knack for certain ships, and Y-Wings are not my forte.

2-0, 400 MoV

Round Three

Opponent:

Whisper – 32 (TIE Phantom)
Fire-Control System – 2 (TIE PhantomB-Wing)
Veteran Instincts -1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
Advanced Cloaking Device – 4 (TIE Phantom)
Gunner – 5 (Slave 1)

Echo – 30 (TIE Phantom)
Fire-Control System – 2 (TIE PhantomB-Wing)
Veteran Instincts -1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
Advanced Cloaking Device – 4 (TIE Phantom)
Recon Specialist – 3 (HWK-290 / TIE Phantom)

Dark Curse – 16 (Starter set)

Ugh. This was going to be UGLY, and a bad matchup for me. At 99 points, to his 100, I have the choice on initiative. With tied pilot skills across the board, I faced a hard choice: Let the Phantoms run rampant in the maneuver phase by taking initiative, or give it to my opponent, thus letting them have their cloaking and extra defense dice but take the opportunity to dodge firing arcs by moving last. I chose to give up initiative, and I still don’t know if it was the right choice, or if there even was a right choice to be made. My opponent outguessed me on maneuvers very consistently, and my dice (which had admittedly been rolling hot so far) went cold. I managed to take the shields off of both Phantoms, but couldn’t punch through. I made some big mistakes with my maneuver choices, including attempting a K-turn while stressed (Pro tip: If you stack tokens on top of each other for any reason, put the stress on top.) So after a hail-mary of an attempt to snag a couple points by killing Echo (and falling one hit short), I walked away with a quick 0-100 loss, and hoped I wouldn’t face this again in the first round of the playoffs.

2-1, 400 MoV

I’m a little shaken by the total loss in that match, but I feel like a solid win still gets me into the top 4 cut, especially considering a standings update has me in 5th or 6th place, meaning I’m ahead of several other players with a  2-1 standing, and two players ahead of me will be knocked down in the ranks by their matches.

Round Four

Opponent:

Bandit Squadron – 12 (Z-95)

Bandit Squadron – 12 (Z-95)

Bandit Squadron – 12 (Z-95)

Han Solo – 46 (Millennium Falcon)
Luke Skywalker – 7 (Millennium Falcon)
C-3PO – 3 (CR-90 Blockade Runner)
Predator – 3 (TIE Defender)
Millennium Falcon – 1 (Millennium Falcon)
Engine Upgrade – 4 (Millennium Falcon)

Okay, so it’s not a cookie-cutter copy of Paul Heaver’s “Fat Han” list, but it’s pretty close. Taking Luke in place of R2-D2 takes away a lot of the ship’s resiliency, but you aren’t really missing out on much by downgrading the Bandits except perhaps against Rebel swarms, which I didn’t spot many of at this event. It’s similar enough to the original that I don’t want to see it yet again.

Tensions were high here, as there had been a misunderstanding about the tournament structure after the 5 late-comers were added in. My opponent was the front-runner of the group who had came in late, and would likely make it into the playoffs with a full win and poor showings by the losing players at tables 1 & 2, and his companion at the next table down was in a similar situation and had a shot as well, but it was a must-win situation for them, despite the fact that both had beaten everyone they had played. This had just been clarified to the whole room, so my opponent was frustrated but determined. I, on the other hand, had no intention of letting one big turret end my day.

Han was still surprisingly tough to bring down, even without R2-D2, but I focused all of my fire there, ignoring the Z’s. The last thing I wanted to do was end up in a late game duel with 1 Interceptor trying to bypass both C-3PO and an evade token. I took damage early on all of my ships, which made them more vulnerable without their Stealth Devices, but I was able to score a few key critical hits on Han, including a “Damaged Engine” (all hard turns are red) and an “Injured Pilot” (Ignore Han’s pilot ability and Elite Pilot Talent), which hampered the Falcon’s mobility and considerably reduced its’ damage output.

The stakes were high, as we both knew this was essentially the first round of our playoffs, the loser’s day was done. Adding to that tension from earlier was that my opponent was forced to do things that he didn’t come prepared for – he didn’t bring Target Lock tokens because he never takes that action with this list, and I had none to loan in my tournament kit since I can’t take the action, but Carnor Jax shuts down Focus & Evade actions, and the Injured Pilot critical hit caused him to need Target Locks for damage output. And in the name of keeping the play surface free of clutter, my opponent insisted on keeping any tokens for a ship with its’ ship card, which caused a great deal of confusion from time to time. In fact, that proved to be his demise, as Han took a hard turn to face a nearby board edge (normally a white maneuver, but now red thanks to the Damaged Engine crit), which left him stressed and unable to take a subsequent hard turn to remain on the field. My damaged Interceptors then engaged the Headhunters, but with all of the token confusion and dancing around the Falcon, too much time had elapsed in the match, and I was unable to kill more than one of them before time was called.

3-1, 576 MoV, 3rd place after Swiss.

Not done yet.

Semi-Finals

Opponent:

Bandit Squadron – 12 (Z-95)

Bandit Squadron – 12 (Z-95)

Keyan Farlander – 29 (Rebel Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)
B-Wing/E2 Modification – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Jan Ors – 2 (Rebel Aces)
Fire-Control System – 2 (TIE PhantomB-Wing)
Mangler Cannon – 4 (IG-2000 / M3-A)

Ten Numb – 31 (B-Wing)
Ion Cannon – 3 (B-Wing / Slave 1 / TIE Defender)
Calculation – 1 (Starviper)

I really didn’t want to see the TIE Phantoms again, but this looked pretty nasty too. Ten Numb’s loadout here is a bit of a gimmick against most lists, but deadly against mine: Ten Numb’s pilot ability is that one of his Critical Hit results cannot be canceled. Calculation lets you spend a Focus Token to turn one of your Focus results to a Critical Hit. After I did the math, it looks like when he shoots his Ion Cannon with a Focus Token available, he has a slightly better than 75% chance to cause an unstoppable point of damage and an Ion token. Next to meaningless against a Decimator, or a swarm of TIE Fighters, but against my list that is already hurt badly by Ion tokens and only has 9 hull points in the list, Ten Numb had to GO!

With that in mind, I went back to my number one rule for a tough matchup: Pick out the one thing that can hurt you more than anything else, go punch it in the face until dead, and re-evaluate the game from there. He approached slowly, using an opening that had his ships nested up in the corner of the field, weaving between each other with each move. I’m still not sure what effect it was supposed to have, but it was “a modified version of Paul Heaver’s opening moves”, so of course, it has to be good, right? I swarmed in with my Interceptors, “approaching faster than [he] had hoped [I] would”, and went full speed after Ten Numb. In the process I lost a couple hull points and my Stealth Devices on Carnor Jax and Soontir Fel, but Ten Numb was cleared within three turns of shooting, and the clustered formation of our ships left my opponent unable to capitalize on the situation enough to finish off either of those ships.

At this point, Keyan and two Z’s remain. Soontir is pointed out of the fight and stressed, Carnor is in the middle of the field with enemy ships on either side of him, and the Royal Guard Pilot is on the opposite side of the fight from Soontir, and pointed away.

Everybody that has used or played someone using them heavily knows that TIE Interceptors with Push the Limit have just a few moves that you’ll see over and over again: Hard turns, speed 2 when stressed, speed 1 or 3 potentially when unstressed for some magical reason. Having little reason to suspect anything else would be coming, my opponent set his dials for the turn to focus all his fire on my wounded and stressed elite pilots that would surely be turning in with a green 2-hard to go head to head with his remaining B-Wing. But I had dialed up a plan that I’ve always known was a possibility, but never really put into practice: The scatter drill.

The Royal Guard Pilot and Carnor had high speed green maneuvers set in opposite directions away from Keyan Farlander, with Carnor looking to escape the inevitable trap. Keyan might have sensed that something was wrong when the Royal Guard didn’t try to engage, but he was committed to finishing Carnor, and gave himself Stress for a quality shot. Carnor gunned it away from the B-Wing, but ended up with two Z-95’s in his way. Barrel Rolling to one side got him out of one arc, and I intended to shoot the gap between the Z-95 and an asteroid with a followup boost, but I had misjudged the final position on the Barrel Roll and he didn’t fit, so he took a Focus instead, ready to shoot his way out. Soontir Fel came screaming around that same asteroid with a Boost and Barrel Roll of his own, getting a Focus token for his trouble, and the two Interceptors vaporized the Headhunter, finding themselves outside the other’s arc and outside Farlander’s range.

Not fully comprehending the danger, my opponent had his remaining ships follow Fel and Jax, keeping Keyan stressed and unable to turn to face the Royal Guard Pilot, who had now turned around and was rapidly approaching from behind, plinking away at shields with shot after shot. By the time the danger set in, it was too late to do anything about it, as I refused to engage the B-Wing with my other two ships until I was certain to score a kill safely, and the B-Wing couldn’t turn to face the Royal Guard Pilot without spending a turn to clear his stress first. Facing my full squad with one remaining Headhunter in single elimination play, my opponent surrendered to inevitability, and I was on to the finals for the first time.

Finals

Chewbacca – 42 (Millennium Falcon)
Predator – 3 (TIE Defender)
C-3PO – 3 (CR-90 Blockade Runner)
Gunner – 5 (Slave 1)
Millennium Falcon – 1 (Millennium Falcon)

Leebo – 34 (YT-2400)
Determination – 1 (TIE Fighter / Starter set)
Mangler Cannon – 4 (IG-2000 / M3-A)
Dash Rendar – 2 (YT-2400)
Outrider – 5 (YT-2400)

This is where I started doing a mental happy dance. The Phantoms from earlier had run into a hard counter, two beefy turrets, and had been knocked out of the event. And now I sat at the top table waiting for those two turrets with a hard counter of my own, Autothrusters. There’s no such thing as a sure win, especially at the final table, but for the first time all day I was happy about what I was flying against, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With that being said, these two would take lots of damage to take out, and against two large turreted ships, I had a feeling that there would be some turns where I simply got outguessed and ended up taking two unopposed shots, or ended up bumping into the enemy ships.

Again, seeing C-3PO on the Falcon, I knew I wanted to take it down first while he could only mitigate a small portion of my firepower. At one point, however, I saw an opportunity to let Chewie fly out of the fight for a few moments, and I did exactly that, switching targets to Leebo, and the damage stacked up on the Outrider FAR faster than I would have expected it to. I was soon surprised to have three damaged ships remaining to face down a shield-less but otherwise healthy Falcon. And then it was two ships. And then it was one…

I had put several points of damage onto Chewbacca, but he had cleared Soontir and the Royal Guard pilot, the second time all day that I had actually sustained losses. Carnor Jax remained, wounded but alive with one hull point remaining, and Chewbacca had four hull points. With C-3PO onboard, I knew I couldn’t finish the Falcon in one shot, so I had to find a way to survive more than one return shot (thanks to Gunner). Missing my Stealth Device sorely at this point, Jax rocketed away from Chewie, Boosting and Barrel Rolling out of firing range and resetting to turn & engage the next turn.

The Falcon gave chase, taking a huge 4 forward with the large base… and landed directly on an asteroid, taking a damage in the process. Jax suddenly had an opening, turned back in towards Chewbacca, Boosted in to range 1, used Push the Limit for a Focus, and pulled the trigger, bringing down the Falcon. Victory was mine.

wpid-img_20150321_185159170.jpg
Not pictured: Carnor & Soontir playing rock-paper-scissors over who has to fly the CR-90 home.

– The Tabletop General

 

X-Wing Wave 5 First Impressions

Those who attended GenCon had an opportunity for a head start, but yesterday marked the retail release of the Wave 5 expansions for Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the two new ships. Yesterday was also our weekly X-Wing night at my home store, so I was lucky enough to immediately be able to put them both to work.

Let’s start with the VT-49 Decimator. It’s a large ship… both in game terms and as a physical model. As in “everybody else that bought one was trying to figure out how to make it fit in their carrying cases” large. Fortunately, I had no such problems – I had already purchased one of these cases to put my large ships in (like the Millennium FalconLambda Shuttle, Slave 1, and the odd one out, my Borg Tactical Cube).  It’s a very cool looking model, as you can see in the photos from my test match further down this page.

Storage and looks aside, I needed to see it in action to really be satisfied. I had previously put together a sample build for the Decimator, but I don’t think that one will be anywhere near competitive, especially not when put up against the current meta. Unsurprisingly, my opponent also wanted to get his new ship onto the field, so we had a VT-49 mirror match going on.

Hammer & Sickle

Rear Admiral Chiraneau (46)
Push the Limit (3)
Ysanne Isard (4)
Mara Jade (3)
Rebel Captive (3)
Dauntless (2)
Engine Upgrade (4)

Soontir Fel (27)
Royal Guard TIE (0)
Push the Limit (3)
Stealth Device (3)
Targeting Computer (2)

wpid-img_20141125_202418433.jpg

 

 

Opponent’s list

98 points

Academy Pilot (12)

Academy Pilot (12)

Academy Pilot (12)

Academy Pilot (12)

Rear Admiral Chiraneau (46)
Ruthlessness (3)
Tactical Jammer (1)

ruthlessness                           tactical-jammer

 

 

I’m not exactly sure what the initiative bid was for, or if he had really thought this whole thing through, but his plan was to run the swarm of 4 Academy pilots right behind his VT-49. Throw in the Tactical Jammer, and those TIEs become hard to kill. The problem is, the VT-49 would be moving after the TIEs, and nothing in the list is putting out lots of reliable damage. That, and he didn’t practice the maneuver to begin with.

I helped him out with his tactical flaw though, by both not letting him use the plan, and showing him how to get into that formation next time in case he finds a way to make it work.

wpid-img_20141125_202413558.jpg
He thought he would have plenty of time to get his TIEs into position behind his Decimator…

 

 

wpid-img_20141125_203040319.jpg
… but boost + large bases = FAST! Our VT-49’s traded off couple of shields on the first turn!
wpid-img_20141125_203903896.jpg
Turn 3 – 2 TIE Fighters down, and I’m perfectly happy to be throwing 6 defense dice with Soontir  Fel (3 base + Range 3 + Stealth Device + Asteroid) while working on the other two Fighters.
wpid-img_20141125_204727936.jpg
Turn 5: The Fighters lived, but I’m able to start pouring damage on to his Decimator. Interceptor at Range 1 w/Target Lock & Focus vs 0 Agility, those 12 points of hull fell off in big chunks.

Seeing the writing on the wall, my opponent flew off the field on turn 7 with a crippled Decimator and a beat up TIE Fighter. Not the toughest fight that I could have been in, but the list showed promise.

I would heavily consider taking out Push the Limit in favor of Predator. I was using Push the Limit for a Boost and a Target Lock anyway, so why not get the benefit without the stress, and keep the dial more open on subsequent turns? This would also help reduce the weakness to stress mechanics here, because Soontir Fel has enough weakness already. Determination wouldn’t be a bad fit either, as it would almost be guaranteed to buy you an extra hull point or two by discarding those pilot crits.

push-the-limit                           predator                                              Determination

I loved the engine upgrade on the Decimator, it really helped make sure I had exactly the shot that I wanted with it each turn, and it worked well in combination with Mara Jade, I got up close and personal with his TIE Fighters on turn 2, and stressed them all, forcing them to choose between taking actions or not having any chance at a shot in turn 3.

mara-jade                           engine-upgrade

Rebel Captive, on the other hand, didn’t do much in this game. Since its’ stress applies before Mara Jade’s ability, and Mara Jade won’t give a second token, it was a largely dead slot. On the other hand, anyone running a TIE Phantom or Interceptors with Push the Limit will cringe a little bit when they see Rebel Captive on a turreted ship. If you decide that you like this build, but that Rebel Captive isn’t for you, Navigator would be a great replacement for the extra flexibility, or perhaps Moff Jerjod to get a 1 point initiative bid and to negate a few critical hits on that big beefy hull.

rebel-captive                           navigator                                            moff-jerjerrod

 

 

Final verdict: The VT-49 definitely gives the Imperial Navy a new way to approach the game. Until now it’s been either A) Swarm the opponent with lots of fragile ships, or B) Dodge the opponent’s shots with a handful of fragile ships. We’ve skipped option C and gone straight to D) Decimator. It’s durability is just plain silly with 16 total hit points, it’s the first Imperial ship with a turret weapon, it’s the first ship in the game to have 3 crew slots, and to top it all off the VT-49 has ZERO red maneuvers on its’ dial. I’m almost crazy enough to buy a second one.

VT-49-Decimator-maneuver-dial
VT-49 Maneuver Dial
YT-2400-Outrider-maneuver-dial
YT-2400 Maneuver Dial

 

 

 

 

 

But as cool as the Decimator is, it’s fighting a losing battle, because the YT-2400 Outrider is far and away the superior ship of the two, and suits my recent play style perfectly.

Margin of victory is great and all, and a huge part of tournament scoring, but it’s a tie-breaker; winning counts first. So I’m willing to take a chance on nobody at all will have shots in the combat phase to ensure that when we ARE in range, I’m at an advantage. I accomplish this generally by bringing less models than my opponent, with more powerful shots, and then evening up the numbers by using the maneuver phase to deny my opponent as many shots as possible.

That approach is perfect for the YT-2400. With a built in Barrel Roll action, tons of maneuver options, and the ability to ignore obstacles while moving and taking actions with the iconic pilot Dash Rendar, the YT-2400 can dance around the field. Then if you replace its’ standard turret weapon with the Outrider title and a Heavy Laser Cannon, you might as well be Muhammad Ali – “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”!

I played using the YT-2400 twice last night, and only made a slight tweak between games to the other ship in my list (yes, another two ship list).  I was extremely happy with how the list performed in both games, but I had the advantage of moving last with Dash in both games. Playing against someone with pilot skill 8+ will be much more of a challenge, and will often involve talking to myself to make sure I remember the strategy. Repeat after me: “A bad shot is worse than no shot”.

Lucky 7’s

Dash Rendar (36)
Push the Limit (3)
Outrider (5)
Heavy Laser Cannon (7)
Lando Calrissian (3) – Heavily suggest swapping for Navigator (3).
Engine Upgrade (4)

Keyan Farlander (29)
Advanced Sensors (3) – Was Fire Control System (2) in first game.
Ion Cannon (3)
Push the Limit (3)
B-Wing/E2 (1)
C-3PO (3)

wpid-img_20141125_183517336.jpg

 

wpid-img_20141125_183513101.jpg

 

A large based ship with a turret, an Engine Upgrade, and Push The Limit. Looks familiar, right? But in this case, we’ve also got a Barrel Roll action to add in, not to mention the ability to ignore those pesky asteroids while we’re getting into position for a shot. Lando is here pretty much for theme, as a competitive card I really don’t like him, but he could be clutch at times; roll the dice with him, and if you don’t like the results, Push the Limit for a Boost/Barrel Roll into “no shot” range. The big deal is that you try to make sure you’re firing at Range 3 and taking as few return shots as possible. Heavy Laser Cannon rolls 4 attack dice and ignores range bonuses, while you’re hopefully rolling 3 evade dice against one or maybe two primary weapon shots in return if your opponent’s maneuvers even leave them with a shot. Repeat after me again: “A bad shot is worse than no shot” – and I define a bad shot as one where you’re not dishing out more damage than you’ll take in return.

Keyan tags along as a separate one-pilot wrecking crew with a few tricks of his own. Try to maintain Range 3 or Range 1, Range 2 is your dead-zone. At Range 1 dodge firing arcs, take the Barrel Roll and Push The Limit for a Target Lock, spend the stress to convert your attack dice. At Range 3, PTL for a Focus and a Target Lock. If you have Advanced Sensors and know you’ll get a shot to spend the stress, go ahead and Barrel Roll behind an asteroid instead of taking the Target Lock. Any time you have at least 2 defense dice, call 1 evade with C-3PO. It’s fairly likely that you’ll either get it right or roll the evade anyway, and you can still use that focus on defense too. And on those long shots, especially through cover or against high agility ships, switch to the Ion Cannon for utility, since you only need to squeak one hit through and you’re negating the range bonus, you can set yourself up for a clean and pretty shot the next turn.

First Opponent

Dash Rendar (36)
Outrider (5)
Heavy Laser Cannon (7)

Bandit Squadron Pilot (12)

Keyan Farlander (29)

11 points of other upgrades split between Dash and Keyan, none of which really stand out to me as having played an active role in how the game played out.

wpid-img_20141125_183455431.jpg
Initial approach: The smaller ships are letting the YT-2400’s have their moment.
wpid-img_20141125_184327805.jpg
My Dash (top left at this point) considers switching targets now after denying his B-Wing a shot and leaving his YT-2400 with no good shot.
wpid-img_20141125_185006454.jpg
My B-Wing (bottom left) slipped into the “Doughnut of Safety” against his Dash, getting a great shot without fear of return fire since the HLC can’t fire at range 1.

This game was a bit painful at times as we tried to figure out how to maneuver the YT-2400’s, and my opponent’s dice were not being nice to him. He passed the point of caring about losing, and just wanted to end it so that he could move on and play against someone else (we tend to be matched up every week).

A glaring weakness of the “Super Dash” archetype using a HLC as a turret appeared in this game: Higher PS pilots, especially those with extra movement abilities, can and will get inside your minimum range. Not getting to attack because of long range is infinitely better than not getting to attack because of short range; that’s why it’s so important to be willing to give up on a shot with this kind of build if you don’t know where the opponent will move.

Second Opponent

Captain Jonus (22)
Shield Upgrade (4)

Delta Squadron Pilot (30)
Heavy Laser Cannon(7)

Delta Squadron Pilot (30)
Heavy Laser Cannon (7)

wpid-img_20141125_192215549.jpg
Initial setup. Asteroids in the way? Who cares!? I’m Dash Rendar!!!
wpid-img_20141125_192545255.jpg
Turn One: Awww, your Heavy Laser Cannons only point forward? That’s too bad!
wpid-img_20141125_192958861.jpg
Turn Two: A couple of well placed barrel rolls, and we end up with two unopposed shots.
wpid-img_20141125_193422321.jpg
Starting turn 4’s maneuvers with a K-Turn for the bottom Defender. Notice that on turn 2, Dash barely at all other than turning in place. He took a speed 1 banking turn to clear stress and get himself pointed towards the fight, and then took a Barrel Roll for positioning purposes.
wpid-img_20141125_200049477.jpg
Turn 12-ish…: Taking the slow and steady approach. I gave up several shots for the purposes of positioning, and got Keyan pointed the wrong way while stressed at one point. As a result, it took a few turns to beat down on these last two ships, but they both went down after this turn’s maneuvers and shots, and I missed my chance to take a final photo.

Not a lot of tactical analysis to be done here, other than a bit of reinforcement to the fact that low pilot skill will struggle to contain Dash Rendar’s shenanigans.

I’m looking forward to putting Dash up against some more competitive builds, because I certainly enjoy using him and think he’ll do well for skilled players. The VT-49 isn’t a bad ship by any means, but the YT-2400 is definitely my favorite of the two, and I feel that it will be the more likely of the pair to appear in successful competitive builds.

What are your thoughts on the new ships? How are you using them? Did I miss something awesome? Have you found a reliable use for the other pilots? Drop me a line and let me know, I’d love to discuss it with you.

– The Tabletop General

 

Competitive vs. Fair

Just about everyone has played “Rock, Paper, Scissors” (RPS) before, right? If nothing else, it’s a great way to decide with your buddy which one of you is going to have to step away from the gaming table to go order a pizza (or which one of you will be paying for it). The rules of the game are simple: players both simultaneously reveal and compare hand signals for rock (defeats scissors),  scissors (defeats paper), or paper (defeats rock). Believe it or not, there are some groups that play RPS competitively, a bit far-fetched for me, but rock on for having the competitive spirit.

Now I’m going take a bit of a trip down memory lane… Back in primary school, I remember quite clearly playing RPS as a daily ritual at the lunch table, and it never got old. Why? Because we didn’t stick to Rock, Paper, or Scissors as our options. We had hand signals for a Tree, which Scissors couldn’t cut and would crack a Rock in half if it fell on it. We had a Chainsaw (that one was a complicated hand sign). that could cut down that tree, and worked pretty well on most other things.  We had Dynamite, that would blow up almost anything it faced (a decidedly overpowered ability), but would have its’ fuse cut by Scissors. We had Fire, which would burn a Tree or Paper, and make Dynamite blow up (which we determined made Fire win). Half the fun was figuring out how to contort your hand into something that looked like your weapon of choice, and then debating about how it interacted with whatever your opponent came up with for their selection.

Apparently, adding more hand signs is a real thing, causing such combinations as “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock”. This change recreates a conundrum from my childhood games. Spock loses to Paper, but defeats Rock and Scissors, so the first player to introduce Spock has a 2:3 win chance, as opposed to the 1:3 chance from games with 3 choices. Adding in the Lizard makes things fair again, and levels the playing field. But what if you couldn’t select the Lizard or Spock, only your opponent could? Believe it or not, it’s pretty common to run across those sorts of situations. In particular, “Free-to-play” video games tend to do this a lot; players with free accounts playing against one another is a balanced fight, and it’s (usually) a technical possibility for a free player to win against a player who is paying money in to the game, but the paying player usually has major advantages in abilities, equipment, or power level.

Today we’re seeing this effect in tabletop miniature gaming. Games such as Warhammer: 40,000 make it a straight-up cash grab, as the player who can buy up the newest army released and paint it up and get it on the table quickly tend to have an advantage over all other armies until the next release, at which point the newer release tends to once again have an advantage. This is known as “power creep”, or “codex creep” specifically in reference to Warhammer.

But that’s not the only place that I’m seeing it. Star Trek: Attack Wing has created a permanent disparity between highly competitive players (or those with the money for eBay), and the more casual crew with their Organized Play prize ships and blind booster ships. These ships are generally (but not always) alternate versions of other ships that have already been released at retail or will be available in the future, but the ship abilities and included upgrade cards are different from the retail version and aren’t available anywhere else.

This adds prestige to competing in and winning events, but some of these abilities are really powerful. For example, the P.W.B. Aj’Rmr, available only to winners of OP #3 of the Dominion War, is the same model and base stats as the I.R.W. Khazara out of the starter set for Attack Wing, but has drastically better action economy towards the end of the game, essentially getting a free target lock out of each attack once the ship has taken some damage. The Aj’Rmr also includes some great upgrades like Romulan Pilot, a 2 point Crew Upgrade that can be discarded for a free Scan token and a free green maneuver on top of your normal actions for the turn. I would LOVE to have the Aj’Rmr in my Attack Wing collection, but I wasn’t playing at the time this was available, and won’t be buying one off of EBay.

While neat and occasionally powerful, none of the ships with limited availability really break the game or significantly alter how it is played. Do I think it’s fair? Not at all. But it’s an accepted and semi-agreed upon part of the rules for Attack Wing. I also don’t think Attack Wing is successful because of a strong ruleset or balanced competitive play. I’ve come to expect and accept this slight imbalance from Wizkids with Attack Wing.

Fantasy Flight Games, on the other hand, is a group that I have come expect much better meta-game management from, and they’ve created a no-win situation for players and tournament organizers. This year at the GenCon gaming convention, Fantasy Flight Games sold convention attendees the next two months of releases for Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, and it’s been a headache for me as a TO.

The Rebel Aces expansion wasn’t such a huge deal, as it was releasing to the public soon and the ships themselves are alternate paint schemes of existing ships, so they could be used fairly without introducing the new cards in the expansion. The upgrade cards and new pilots would cause a competitive imbalance between players who did and did not have access to them: A-Wings got a huge boost to their ordnance upgrade slot out of the Proton Rocket and Chardaan Refit cards. Jake Farrell moves like no other A-Wing pilot. The B-Wing-E/2 title gave B-Wings access to upgrades that had previously been closed to them. Keyan Farlander’s unique ability turns the B-Wing into a stress-eating machine gun. This expansion made significant changes to how these ships worked, and some of the upgrades, like those Proton Rockets, could be shared with other ships as well.

The bigger deal was the VT-49 Decimator and the YT-2400 Outrider, which wouldn’t release to the public for two months after their limited sale at GenCon. As of the writing of this article, they still haven’t been released, and won’t until after the next X-Wing tournament to be held at my home venue, the grand prize for which will be a copy of either ship upon its’ release. And for the third event in a row, I’m having to defend my position that players who purchased these ships at GenCon shouldn’t be able to use them.

At first, the argument was based upon a loophole in the tournament rules for X-Wing which states that all expansions would be considered tournament legal at events held in the U.S. once the ships were available for sale, and players argued that their sale at GenCon should qualify these conditions. I stuck to my guns on this one, because not everyone could have traveled to Indianapolis to buy them. This argument was upheld by the fact that these ships were not allowed in the 2014 World Finals tournament for X-Wing earlier this month.

Now, I’ve been reminded by a player that we’re trying to encourage more competitive play in our area, and these ships will be a part of the next major round of tournaments, the 2015 Store Championship series kicking off in January. “Shouldn’t we get as much practice against these as possible?”, goes the argument of the day. Sorry, but I don’t buy that one either. This is a competitive event, which should have a level and fair playing field. I’ve played in over a dozen casual X-Wing gaming sessions since GenCon, and I’ve yet to see either of the release wave 5 ships on the table. Anyone looking to use them in tournament play against people who haven’t had an opportunity to see these ships in action, let alone be able to buy their own copies, is looking for an unfair advantage in that event, and it saddens me that this is argument is made while flying the banner of being more “competitive”.

We’ve got 2-5 months in front of us before the 2015 X-Wing Store Championships, depending on the scheduling of the individual venues. There is plenty of time to figure out how to use and fight against these two ships.

If you’re worried about something upsetting the tournament scene, look at the Scum and Villainy faction’s upcoming release first, which will bring entirely new play styles to the game, and will release even closer to the start of the Store Championship tournaments. One more event and roughly one week’s further delay until the retail release of the VT-49 and the YT-2400 isn’t going to make any significant difference. My answer to these players wanting to use these ships early in tournament play is “no”, it will always be “no”, and I doubt that I would find myself playing in competitive events where the answer was “yes”.

I want to match wits with my opponents, not show off how much I can afford to spend time and money to gain an advantage. I want to compete and I want to win, but not as bad as I want a fair fight. I want to prove myself against my opponent, and I’m proving my wits, not my wallet.

Discuss.

– The Tabletop General

Aces Wild

With the Rebel Aces expansion for X-Wing Miniatures appearing in stores this week, I want to hit the ground running with the upgrades and pilots included within this pack. As you might have inferred from some of my previous post, Jake Farrell is going to be my primary A-Wing pilot for me thanks to his action economy boost, chaining movement actions off of focus actions/tokens. I also really like Keyan Farlander’s action economy, turning a stress token (normally a bad thing) into an offensive Focus token (a very good thing). Over lunch today, I looked at how I wanted to kit the two of them out and putting them both into a list to show off the new shiny toys.

Once the “turn & burn” phase of the battle begins, B-Wings are solid for me, especially with mid/high pilot skill and Advanced Sensors. I haven’t run any this way in quite some time though, as I’ve been using B-Wings as multiple generic pilots carrying Fire Control Systems in this slot exclusively for their action economy boost for the past few months. But with only one B-Wing and a heavily equipped one at that, it becomes an obvious target for the opponent, and I need to find a way to protect this huge point sink.

With that being said, I had a really hard time trying to figure out how to equip a B-Wing with the options included in Rebel Aces. The new B-Wing/E2 modification is extremely tempting in order to bring a Crew upgrade onboard, but there’s nothing that jumps out at me as a must-have. I can’t see Navigator working well with the B-Wing’s dial, R2-D2 only works well with crew if you have a lot of hull points. Nien Nunb would be a little helpful, but I can’t see needing to do 4 – straight maneuvers with a B-Wing that often. C-3PO isn’t very helpful, as the B-Wing will be taking concentrated fire when it is shot at. All in all, I just don’t see many desirable crew options to put on a B-Wing right now, and a dogfighting B-Wing isn’t complete without the utility option of adding Enhanced Engines as your Modification and having the Boost action available for your Advanced Sensors. Advanced Sensors for a Barrel Roll or a Boost before my K-Turn that I will use to feed stress to Keyan Farlander? Yes please!

The problem is, with Jake and Keyan both armed to the teeth, I don’t have the points to spare to bring Biggs as my 3rd ship, an obvious choice for an escort. In fact, there wasn’t points for an X-Wing at all. With only 16 points to spare in my current configuration, I was trying to figure out a way to slip in a cheap Z-95 Headhunter with an Ion Pulse Missile and the Deadeye upgrade for a first turn disruption shot. That turned out to be too expensive, only Lt. Blount (17 points plus upgrades) and Airen Cracken (18 points plus upgrades) have elite talent slots.

I stared at Jake’s A-Wing loadout for a moment, giving serious consideration to dropping his shiny new Proton Rocket (from Rebel Aces) for the Chardaan Refit (yet another Rebel Aces card), a net gain of 5 points, so I could afford Lt. Blount and a missile for him. But I really wanted to keep the new Proton Rocket, and a second read of the text revealed a really good reason to keep it.

Proton Rockets – Attack (Focus): Discard this card to perform this attack. You may roll additional attack dice equal to your agility value, to a maximum of 3 additional dice.

The Proton Rockets not only have a built in Deadeye option (no target lock required), but you don’t have to spend your Focus token to fire it either, which means you can potentially roll up to 5 dice, and spend a Target Lock and a Focus on the shot too, for an average of 3.75 hits! Keeping this in mind, I went to the other extreme, and put Proton Rockets on the Headhunter for now (pretty close to equivalent to Concussion Missiles for a Headhunter, trading a long range shot for the option of firing without a Target Lock if I get lucky and catch a key target like Howlrunner or Whisper bumping during movement and stuck adrift without their defensive buffs).

Here’s the final list I’ve come up with for the day:

Aces Wild

Keyan Farlander – 29
Push The Limit – 3
Advanced Proton Torpedoes – 6
Ion Cannon – 3
Advanced Sensors – 3
Engine Upgrade – 4

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

Bandit Squadron Pilot – 12
Proton Rockets – 3
Munitions Failsafe – 1

With essentially two and a half ships, it doesn’t look all that competitive at first. Really, it’s just an excuse to use lots of things from Rebel Aces in one list. But something tells me that it could be surprisingly good, provided that I can convince my opponent to break formation and dogfight with me. I’ll try it out this evening against anyone that cares to play against it at my local venue. Results to follow.

– The Tabletop General