Sorry for the long delay, but we’re back! With the quick pace of releases, point changes, and hyperspace ship choices expanding, the meta has been in a constant state of flux. While I’ve been in love with the state of X-wing currently, things have moved too rapidly to put my thoughts down on paper. I’ve also invited a guest writer to help add content. So here with his first piece is Matthew Blaisdell. He’s a fixture in the Atlanta scene for Armada, Legion, X-wing, and I’m sure even more games that I can’t keep track of. You recognize may him from his well thought out forums posts under the handle ‘mastershake.’ He’s also performed superbly in the last 2 Atlanta regionals, placing within the top 4 and top 16, earning dice and glory both times.
“It is a poor craftsman that blames his tools” – The quote sounds profound, but in reality, it’s usually uttered by someone felling trees with a chainsaw to mock you for not being as fast with a spoon. If you’re going to say this, be prepared to show me your mad spoon skills or be ready for me to feed you this spoon. – The truth is, understanding the right tool and where and how to apply it is as much a part if the formula as anything else, but list building is too often treated as a secondary skull when it goes hand in hand with the ability to execute correctly. – In my opinion, list building in general and net listing specifically are looked down upon a little too much by the gaming community. Net listing has a place, when utilized correctly. If you have a new player, or a player who doesn’t feel like they’re progressing, it can be quite difficult for that player to construct an effective list on their own because it’s very likely the way that person is valuing game elements, and possibly entire aspects of the game, is fundamentally flawed. By extension, if they try to “git gud” with this flawed concept, they’ll end up taking away a lot of erroneous lessons (this is why you’ll see random threads complaining about “thing X is OP!” When that element clearly isn’t). – This is where net listing can have a place. Take something that you know can work if played correctly and get iterations in. Basically, use the scientific method and remove the potential variable of list-building to focus on gameplay. The best way to do this in X-Wing is to take a meta list, fly up to right before both sides start shooting, then pause the game. Ask questions like: Who has better shots, who has better dice modification, who has a better options for maneuvering next turn and try to guess who’s going to win. Then walk everything back, were there better maneuvers you could have plotted, could you have done better obstacle placement, could you have deployed better, did you rush to the fight or approach it too slowly. Then just keep doing it. If you’re only playing up to contact, these game can be really short and insightful ways to learn lessons. Generally speaking, in 2.0 right now, the person with better dice will win and what I specifically mean by that is, the person that can keep the most dice and most modifications on target the longest. If you consistently outplay your opponent in this aspect of the game, dice variance shouldn’t dramatically alter the outcome most of the time. Yeah, you’ll have those moments where someone hard rolls their way out of a bad spot, but if you look at the average over a game/tournament, those are in the minority. Setting up a good initial engagement can give you a solid early lead and allow you to play more conservatively for the rest of the match. – List building is a different skill, but requires a base of knowledge simply to analyze what is and isn’t doing what the player wants. My advice to refine list building is to first figure out what you want the list to do, then start with a prototype and don’t be too attached to any pilots/upgrades/etc in this prototype because everything here is subject to change. I would also say to do small and incremental changes. Again, going back to scientific method, if you radically change every variable every time, analyzing correctly what is/isn’t working is significantly harder. While my Resistance XXAA list mostly just swapped around some pilots upgrades, my Separatists list is almost unrecognizable from the first version, but both lists went through incremental changes, one list just needed a more substantial adjustment than the other. – Then, we all know “that guy” the one that constantly net-lists and faction swaps and loses regardless of what they actually put on the table. This person isn’t really looking to learn the game, they just want minimum effort quick fixes to put that W in the column. The problem is that this individual rarely understands what they’re playing or why it might be good. If it’s powerful enough, it will win them a few, but it will never go the distance for them in the same it would if they actually took the time to understand both the gameplay and list building elements that make it effective, so they’ll just move on to the next list hoping this time it will be different (spoiler: it won’t).
Last time I discussed list building using the new Wave 14 upgrades to the T-65 X-wing. This past weekend I put one of those ideas to the test at a local Store Championship. I took a variation of my 5 ship rebel list, or 5SR.
Ezra Sheathipede w/ R3-A2, Operations Specialist, and Crack Shot
Cavern Angels Zealot w/ Draw Their Fire and Chopper Astromech
Cavern Angels Zealot w/ Selflessness and Flight Assist Astromech
Cavern Angels Zealot w/ Crack Shot and Flight Assist Astromech
I’ve really enjoyed flying it in practice as handling this many ships and dials is a fun challenge to me. It’s a puzzle for opponents in terms of proper target priority. The combination of Rex’s suppression, Selflessness, and DTF really spread the damage around, making it difficult to burn down any single target. Chopper is super fun to use now that X-wings have so many free upgrades he can discard for shields. Also the list some impressive offense as Ops Spec crew plus Ezra’s coordinate meant my X-wings often fire with doubled modded Target Locked and focused attacks. I like how the list matches up against other meta staple too. Well, except for heavy bombing lists, I like its match-ups. We had 19 players, which meant 4 swiss rounds and a top 4 cut. Surely I could just dodge any bombers throughout the day, right?
Young Jordan flying Hera Ghost w/ autoblaster, accuracy corrector, Intel Agent, Nien Numb plux Jake w/ Push the Limit
Jordan decided to joust me on the board edge with Hera, hoping to cause a bump with my front row and to autoblaster Rex off the table. I used the rule of 11 to avoid the bump and set up range 1 shots. Jake tried to flank, but not very wide. Rex survived due to a use of Selflessness to draw off 2 damage on the second attack. My whole formation opened up at range 1 and left the Ghost with only 3 hull. The rest was mop up from this point, as Ezra double stressed the PTL Jake. Win 200-0
Corey flying Rear Adminarl Chiraneau w/ Krennic, Vader, Intel Agent, Seismic Torpedo, Engine Upgrade, VI plus Ryad w/ Lonewolf, x7 title, and hull upgrade
Corey had already won a Store Championship and was proudly using his alt art Krennic, but Decimators do not like lists with 4+ ships. Corey set up Ryad to straight joust my whole list and put RAC in the opposite corner. While Ryad is an 8 health monster in this set up, going 1 vs my whole list was what I wanted to see. Both my Crack Shots were used in the opening round to do 2 damage and my formation was set up to block all of Ryad’s K-turn options. Ryad dealt no damage, and RAC fired uselessly at Range 3. After opening well, I played like a moron the next two turns. I moved my X-wings out of order and failed to autoblock myself which left room for Ryad to 5 K-turn behind me. My other X-wings Tallon Rolled and would have had beautiful Range 1 shots on a tokenless, Lone Wolf deactivated Ryad. Luckily, I also had decent shots at RAC and took those instead and did 6 total damage, including his use of Vader to put a crit onto Rex. Draw Their Fire and Rex’s green token stack kept him safe otherwise. My mistake the next turn was a 1 hard turn for Rex in the wrong direction. It was a total mental lapse in setting my dial. If I had gone the way I thought I was going, I would have had a green token stack and blocked Ryad. Yet again I had the block set up and whiffed it. The field was a total scrum at this point and I lost Rex, but made him use Vader to do it at least. RAC took 4 total damage, leaving him with 6 remaining. The next turn my X-wings turned around on RAC as he tried to break back out of the furball and he tried to burn down my Draw Their Fire X-Wing. I Chopper’d twice to help him survive and killed RAC. After that, there were a few turns of pinning down Ryad and chipping away at her. I luckily recovered from my poor early play. Corey is an excellent player, but the Decimator just wasn’t survivable enough to take advantage of my early mistakes. Win 100-14.
J.T. playing Control Bots.
J.T. and I had actually played a few weeks ago at a small kit event. He had control bots then and I had a similar FSR list. Control bots do not like R3-A2. It severely limits their advanced sensors and Push the Limit usages. Another key is the turn Zero asteroid strategy. The Control Bots love asteroids and having a dense field to take advantage of their Ion Cannons and Tractor Beams. I like to build a very tight grouping of obstacles to clutter up one part of the board. This should leave a large part of the field open. This open area is where you want to engage the Bots. J.T. flew much better this match and did a good job of drawing me into the asteroid field, but the 5SR just has too many guns on the table to avoid. The opening combat left IG-88B double stressed and on one hull. A Range 1 rear arc shot from Ezra actually killed him the next turn. He did manage to tractor beam the Crack Shot X-wing onto a rock twice for a damage each time and then got a Range 1 double modified attack to finish the job on him. Thanks to the tractor beams, that X-wing was out of the defensive bubbles of Selflessness and DTF. But the rest of my formation was in a good chase position to keep him stressed and whittle the final Bot down. Win 100-21
Patrick playing Nym and Sol Sixxa
I drew a bombing list, but at least it was in the final swiss round, and I didn’t need a win to make the cut. This list type scares me do death when I’m flying a jousting, formation based list. I hate bombs, especially Trajectory Simulator launched bombs. I was pretty sure my Margin of Victory was good enough to make the cut with a loss. There was a very good chance we’d meet again in the cut, I resigned myself to taking the loss and learning his play style as much as possible for the probable re-match. However Patrick made two errors this game which had large implications on the outcome. He decided not to straight joust my list. The bomb, missile, and harpoon splash damage would have left my list in tatters. Yet he set up in the middle and came at me at an angle, making the bomb launch impossible. The second error was he got greedy and decided to split his missile fire. A cardinal rule of X-wing is to concentrate your fire. Patrick fired his missiles at two different ships, hoping to create Harpoon condition triggers with the TLTs and bombs later for maximum area damage. Instead, thanks to some solid green dice from X-wings, I only lost a few shields. In return fire, I left Sol Sixxa mangled. The next turn saw Sol blocked, unable to drop bombs, and dead. Nym did use Genius to drop a Bomblette to hit the two already damaged X-wings, but they limped on. At this point in the match, my attitude shifted 180 degrees. At the start, I was more than happy to float forward and be blasted apart by the bombers, not being too tricky in my approaches. However, his mismanagement of the opening engagement left me with a real chance to table him. A total victory could push Patrick’s MOV low enough to miss the cut. Bombs are that scary to me that I decided to try and put them out of the tournament then and there. I turned on my ‘try hard’ mode and went for the throat. My wounded X-wings closed their S-foils and bugged out, trying to preserve their points. Chopper went to work, discarding free upgrades left and right. I reorganized my forces while Ezra stressed Nym and tied him up for a few turns. In the final turn, I misjudged and barrel rolled a limping X-wing instead of performing a boost action. This left him in range of a bomblette and I of course rolled 2 hits and it died. Nym expired as well, but he had managed to score a very valuable 21 points. Win 100-21
Patrick would make the cut in 4th place, thanks to those 21 points he scored. Luckily, I finished 2nd in swiss(odd pair-down results left us with 2 undefeated players after swiss) and at least we wouldn’t be facing each other in back to back matches. Patrick is a great dude and wonderful opponent. We did discuss the game and what went wrong from and the lessons he learned. He pointed his mistakes out himself, so I hope I’m to being too critical in analyzing his play. We both moved on to the elimination rounds.
Top 4 Cut
Rey w/ Expertise, Kannan, Finn, Engine Upgrade. Norra w/ Predator, Saw, and R2-D2
Richard is a brand new player and has only been playing a few weeks, but he built a brilliant list. For a beginner, this list is a great place to start. It’s only got two dials to manage, its not action dependent for dice modification, and it throws a ton of red dice. Rey is always a dangerous creature, thanks to the sheer amount of damage she can put out. My damage spreading techniques held my list together while I tangled with Rey a few turns, waiting to set a kill box for Norra when she moved close enough. Many players would have tried to chase Rey after I had removed her shields, but I knew if Norra made it to the endgame, she’d be unkillable with R2-D2. I was biding my time to spring a trap on Norra. She melted to my concentrated fire and my whole list was still alive, if barely. The next few turns saw Rey continue to blast chunks out of me. Each of my ships were now severely damaged, setting up a scary situation where Rey could easily PS kill one each turn. Rey shot down 2 ships this way but had simply taken too much damage along the way to survive. Richard played superbly and was the first opponent of the day to destroy a 2nd ship, but I was victorious and into the final.
Would I meet Patrick again, with him having the advantage of lessons learned? Sadly for him, he was defeated by another rebel list. Instead I would face similar rebel formation list flown by a veritable world class player, Charles H. Charles made the Top 16 cut at this year’s World Championships and was flying the exact same list. He was eliminated at worlds by a bombing Nym list and used his lessons learned to defeat Patrick’s Nym in their top 4 match.
Charles H’s FSR List
Ezra w/ Snap Shot, R3-A2, Ops Spec
Low w/ DTF, Rey, Tactician
Jess Pava w/ M9-G8, Primed Thrusters
I had actually had a few pre-Worlds practice matches with Charles and had flown this list myself. I used it to win that kit event in which it had beaten J.T.’s Control Bots, so I knew what the list could do. However, while I was capable with this list, Charles is a master of it. He was well practiced with it and it was an impressive thing to watch.
I was hoping I’d have the advantage with a 5th ship and make use of the extra offense I had. In the opening engagement, Pava was the only target I could concentrate fire on. I had my X-wings all Target Locked and focused, thanks to my own Ops Spec, but it didn’t matter. I’ve played games with Pava where she used her rerolls to maximum effect and refused to take damage, especially with Low nearby to protect her. I’ve also seen her roll fist fulls of blanks and take massive damage spikes even though you’ve protected her with proper formation and a stack of focus tokens from Ops Spec. In this match, the first outcome happened. Pava refused to take damage; her green dice didn’t have blanks. Charles positioned her correctly to take maximum advantage of his list’s defensive abilities and it paid off big. After two rounds of close range fire, Pava only lost her shields and then was able to slip out of my cross-hairs. He then correctly targeted my Selflessness T-65 first, who did the exact opposite of Pava, and that X-wing crumpled like paper. I had lost my offensive edge far too early, as Charles’ list was the one slinging pure red hate my way.
I was behind, but still in the fight until I incorrectly judged a X-wing’s move trying to avoid his Ezra’s Snap Shot. I banked hoping for a block, where I should’ve gone straight. The move left me out of total position, Snap Shotted, double stressed, and eventually dead. It was the only Snap Shot he got off the whole game and it was costly. I battled on, eventually taking down Ezra as a small consolation prize. Considering that he had only lost his Rex once through all of swiss, I took that small victory. We nearly used the full 2 hour final time limit as the game mercifully ended with about 5 minutes left.
My biggest mistake was misjudging and getting my X-wing Snap Shotted and killed, but Charles outplayed me and beat me with his greater experience with his list. He taught me lessons to take forward to my next tournament. So while I was defeated, I left that match a better player, which is all you can really ask for.
Final result- 2nd place and very satisfied after a full day of great games with even better opponents.
My last few posts have all been focused on X-Wing Second Edition and I had plans to write about the 2.0 rebels next. However the announcement of the release date of wave 14, June 21, has me excited one last time for 1.0. There is one last Store Championship season left for 1.0, so I know most people will want to send it off with a bang. So let’s explore the fun new list building options brought to us in Saw’s Renegades.
I know many players are excited for the Tie Reaper as a new Palpatine carrier, but I’m going to focus on the updates to the T-65 X-Wing in Saw’s Renegades. The new upgrade for the torpedo slot, the Renegade Refit, brings a 2 point cost reduction to the T-65. Much of the hype about this card is that you can now fit 5 T-65s into one list. Yet even this simple generic spam has two options.
The first option is the Rookie Pilot with a one point astromech, most likely Flight Assist Astromech, and Integrated Astromech. Along with the new s-foils, this list gives you 5 ships with the options to both boost and barrel roll in the same activation stress free.
The second option uses the new Cavern Angels Zealot generic pilot. The lowest PS ever to have an EPT slot, the immediate reaction is to throw Crackshot on them en masse. However, the EPT slot comes with a point increase for the pilot. In order to fit 5 of the Zealots together, you have to leave out the astromech and free health of the integrated astromech. So this option has slightly lower pilot skill and health, but trades that for increased offense with crackshot. 5 ships with 3 attack dice and crackshot is a ton of firepower if you can wrangle that many ships on target.
Both of these options would require buying multiple sets of Saw’s Renegades, so what are some other options to utilize the contents of one single ace pack? From the preview article it seems that the pack will have enough upgrade cards to utilized 3 refitted and s-foil’d T-65s. So let’s build around this assumption.
So first up, we will stick to a generic swarm list.
Rookie Pilot T-65 x3
Bandit Sqd Z-95 all with Thread Traders x3
I consider it dirt simple, but puts a bunch of ships on the table at your disposal. It is just 3 rookie T-65s and 3 Z-95s with Thread Tracers. The Zs can provide some blocking and action efficiency with their Thread Tracers. The X-wings bring the offensive firepower and health. If you’ve never flown 6 ships together before, this would be a fun list to try it out with. The biggest threat to this list would Trajectory Simulator and launched bombs. However, the list is not required to fly in tight formation and should hopefully have the red dice to take down an H-6 bomber quickly enough. Luckily, these types of threats will be greatly diminished in 2.0 and the lessons learned from flying these many ships together will carry over.
I love the rebel list archetype FSR, or four ship rebels. The list revolves around defensive abilities and tight formation flying. Some find this style boring and plodding, but I thoroughly enjoy the mental puzzle solving it takes to keep the ships in formation to best employ all of their thematic and synergistic abilities. Since the T-65 is now cheaper, what if we turned this list into a 5 ship list.
Cavern Angels Zealot w/ Selflessness and Flight Assist Astromech
Cavern Angels Zealot w/ Draw Their Fire and Chopper Astromech
Rookie Pilot w/ Flight Assist Astromech
Ezra in the Sheathipede w/ R3-A2, Gunner, and Adaptability
Thislist a bit of everything. Selflessness, Draw Their Fire, Captain Rex, and shield regen with Chopper bring the defensive abilities. Stress Ezra is absolute beast of a control piece. I prefer the Gunner version, but you can easily switch that out for the Snap Shot variant. Offensively, its still 5 ships and can throw 13 red dice down range. That will eventually wear down any target.
But that’s enough of the generics, lets build a list with a proper T-65 ace in it.
Wes Janson w/ Veteran Instincts and R3-A2
Lowhhrick w/ Lightning Reflexes, Rey, and Tactician
Fenn Rau w/ Adaptability and Hotshot Co-polot
Continuing with the proper FSR theme, Wes Janson is now cheap enough to drop into the list. Usually Jess Pava takes this spot and is the lone offensive threat of the list. Wes instead provides a high PS threat, his wonderful token striping ability, and still does have a primary weapon value of 3. Combined with stress control, Fenn Rau’s ability, and Hotshot Co-pilot, your opponents should never have use of their actions or tokens. It may not do too much damage, but the list is designed to hopefully not take much either. The idea here is to stay in formation and outlast your opponent. It’s a very grinding, yet effective style.
As you can see, I enjoy putting lots of ships on the table and the jousting play style. But which of these variants is the best? Perhaps I should run these against each other and see if the pure numbers of a 6 ship list can overwhelm the defensive capabilities of the FSR variants. Yet the real important question is which of the lists is the most fun to play? As competitive as I can be, the swan song of 1.0 should be all about fun. I think the 5 ship FSR variant is what I’m most excited to try out for this final Store Championship season, but even if all these lists are terrible, seeing this many T-65s on the table is going to be a blast.
Last time we covered my one true love, the Tie Fighter. This week, we’ll discuss another one of my favorite ships, the mighty Fang Fighter. We’ll cover what’s new with the Fang Fighter in X-Wing Second Edition and explore a few options on how to load out your Fangs and list build with them.
The Tie Fighter and Fang Fighter have a few similarities. Both will be available immediately to new players in Wave 1 of 2.0. Both have efficient generic pilots that excel at jousting and blocking. Both have nimble dials and barrel rolls. However, the Fang adds powerful aces to its build options. Fenn Rau and Old Teroch won me a ton of games in 1.0 and they’ve both made the transition into 2.0. The Fang also comes with a pair of mid tier pilots, Joy Rekkoff and Kad Solus, that have very interesting pilot abilities. But let’s take a look at the basic chassis and the changes made to it in 2.0
The dial and stat line stayed the exact same. Being one of the newer ships, the Fang didn’t need any updates there. The ship’s 1.0 title, Concord Dawn Protector, is now the baked in ship ability. However, it has received a bit of a tweak and no longer requires the two ships to be facing each other. Also, it only seems to work in the main arc of ships and not mobile arcs and it no longer adds an evade result, but changes one die rolled to an evade. The ship does come with two excellent linked action options. Both linked actions involve repositioning, either barrel or boost, linked to a focus. These linked action options plus the reworked Concordia Face Off ship ability have added some real punch to the low Initiative generic pilots. So how do you build all of these 2.0 Fang pilots to maximize on their capabilities?
First up, the generic pilot, the Zealous Recruit. Honestly, I think these babies are perfect as they are. With the baked in title and linked action options, they have all the tools a generic needs. Fangs love being at range 1 and being able to ensure getting there with a boost linked to a focus is brilliant. Boosting and Barreling rolling into blocking positions at a low initiative, all while still getting a focus, will be key to maximizing their value too. In 1.0, you could fit 5 of these puppies in a list, but that was without the title or any extras. With the added ship ability and linked actions, I’m hypothesizing we’ll only be able to fit 4 Fangs together in 2.0. I’d also hazard a guess that three of the named pilots teamed together might be a super fun and competitive wave 1 list. Let’s look at the named Fang pilots next.
Joy Rekkoff is a brand new pilot first showcased by the devs themselves in the demo games played at the world championships.Joy has an ordnance based ability and I think there’s two ways to approach her. The first approach would be to fly and load her out like any other Fang with the cheapest torpedo possible and an EPT suited for range 1 combat. We still have no idea on point costs of course, but taking whichever one ends up the cheapest just to trigger her ability. Joy’s reduction of green dice plus an EPT like crackshot, which should be way easier to trigger in the bullseye arc at range 1, could effectively cancel out an X-wing’s two green dice. That seems like some nice offense to me.
The alternative build for Joy would be to load her out like a long range sniper and actually fire her equipped torpedoes.. With Proton Torpedoes and Outmaneuver. Have her hang out range 3 and lob torpedoes to punishing effect. This option spends both torpedo charges in one attack, but dropping 4 damage, including a crit, might be worth it. Joy is still a Fang, and she can still dive in for Range 1 attack runs after her long range burst is spent.
This next pilot build is the one I’m most excited to try. Kad Solus keeps his 1.0 ability, but was always outshone by Old Teroch and Fenn Rau. However, the limited formats for wave 1, Kad will be a more attractive option. Elusive on Kad seems super fun. Dial in 5 straights to close in on your enemies, use your Concordia Face Off and Elusive to mitigate damage, then tallon roll back into the fight. The red maneuver not only grants 2 focus tokens with Kad’s ability, but also recharges the Elusive EPT. Kad could end up being a zooming monster, darting in and out of formations and turning around at will.
Old Teroch is the next named Fang pilot and is a legitimate ace at initiative 5. His ability is mostly unchanged from 1.0, where he was especially useful in hunting down token stacking ships like x7 defenders. With the overall reduction of action efficiency in 2.0, Old Teroch may not be as useful. He only shown brightest in specific metas, but his high initiative and powerful ship chassis may make him useful enough. Like a traditional Fang, Old Teroch thrives in range 1. I’d suggest using him with Fearless and really double down on that play style.
Lastly we come to Fenn Rau, Skull Squadron Leader and true ace. I’d argue that Fenn’s ability is one of the best in both 1.0 and 2.0. With offensive and defensive abilities facing a more evened approach in 2.0, Fenn still keeps his ability to chuck 5 attack dice at range 1. He is a true offensive threat that can blast himself out of a lot of hairy situations. I think any EPT will work for Fenn. His prominent days in 1.0 came during the rise of the list known as Paratanni. This list relied on Attani Mindlink to provide focus for the whole squad. This usually left Fenn free to boost or barrel as needed as he always had a focus provided from a linked teammate. Multiple aspects of this list were nerfed into oblivion in 1.0 and we’ve yet to see signs of Attani Mindlink for 2.0. However, the Fang’s linked actions provide Fenn with the two things he ever needed, one focus token and a reposition action. I predict that Fenn Rau will be a true danger to T-65’s and Tie Fighters alike in 2.0.
I can’t wait to get point costs and the app so we can truly dig into how many of these beautiful starfighters that we can squeeze into a list. The Firespray, the other wave 1 scum ship, is also an intriguing list building puzzle piece. What will come out on top for the early scum meta? 3 Fang aces? 2 Fangs and a Firespray? Kath Scarlett plus generic fangs? Just Boba and Fenn Rau? A two ship list sounds crazy to me, but these all sound like a blast to try out.
Since the announcement of X-wing 2.0, I’ve been dreaming of flying a TIE swarm once again. However, some players have expressed concerned that the classic TIE Fighter remains the same. The same hull value, same dial, same attack and defense. Compared to the largely reworked T-65 X-wing, Tie Advanced, or Y-wing, the TIE Fighter may appear to be left behind. I’m here to calm such worries. Fear not, the TIE Fighter will be screaming into 2.0, just as deadly as ever.
The 1.0 TIE swarm was often referred to as the Great White Shark. The perfectly evolved hunter, it remains unchanged throughout the ages. Clearly the game developers felt the same way when translating the TIE into 2.0. As the cheapest ship available, statistically it was shown to be the best ship on a point per point basis. Brutally efficient from the start, they were deemed to not need any update. Yet, we do get new pilots, upgrades, and perhaps even more exciting, more viable support ships. So let’s take a look at the new toys TIE swarm players will get to play with soon.
Initially I was super excited to try out Howlrunner, Iden, and as many other Tie Fighters as 200 points could hold. This itself provides a few options. I could run all of the unique TIE aces for a 5 ship list, or try and and fit as many Black Squadron TIEs with crack shot for 6 ships, or downgrade to Academy Pilots and shoot for a full 7 ship swarm. While these options sound all super fun, I am even more eager to try out a TIE swarm list using Admiral Sloane. Sloane provides Howlrunner’s offensive bonus yet with a much more extended range. The Tie swarm may no longer be required to stay in tight formations to maintain their offensive edge. Combined with the added stress mechanics, Sloane has me very intrigued.
Along with some of the other recently revealed Imperial crew upgrade options, the updated Lambda Shuttle is also super intriguing. The dial remains the same, slow and plodding, yet the shuttle gains a 2 dice rear arc, and a massively upgraded action bar. Who needs to turn around in a fight when you’ve got a rear arc and can now either coordinate or jam to support your squad? Ciena Ree, Darth Vader, Minister Tua, or the Grand Inquisitor all seem like fun options to ride shotgun with Sloane on board a Lambda.
This will require a bit of guesstimation to list build, since we don’t have points costs, but let’s give it a try.
Omicron Group Pilot -21, Director Krennic 5, General Hux 5,=31 points
“Howlrunner” — TIE Fighter=18 points
Academy Pilot — TIE Fighter-12 x4= 48 points
List total=97 points
So imagine Iden in Howlrunner’s place, and replace the very expensive 1.0 crew for their 2.0 equivalents and you still have a few points left to spare. If this list is as effective as I hope it could be, the pricing could be much higher. Perhaps the TIE Reaper will be better suited as the support ship, as its 1.0 points are roughly equivalent. Could this be a new archetype of Imperial list building, the Sloane support ship + swarm? I’m super excited to explore this new style of Imperial list in which tight formation flying isn’t the key like the swarms of old. Instead of massed block of TIEs crashing into your formation of X-wings like a fist, we could see an actual swarm of TIEs, hitting you from every direction. Could this finally be the next step in TIE fighter evolution? I may be getting ahead of myself without knowing the point costs or seeing it work on the table, but I’m still excited. 2.0 is really bringing the excitement of list building back in force. Will it work? Maybe not, but I’ll have a hell of a time figuring it out. -Cheers and Happy Hunting
Last time we discussed picking which faction to fly for X-Wing The Miniatures Game, Second Edition. Once you’ve made your pick, now it’s time to spend some credits. This guide’s goal is to get you flying in the least expensive way possible, although we’ll cover a few more comprehensive and expensive options too.
Rebels- The ‘One of Each” Approach
Let’s start with what I think will be the simplest and cheapest faction, the Rebels. To start, every single player will need a new core set, msrp $39.95. It comes with the essentials, the damage deck, asteroid and debris tokens, and maneuver templates. These core components will be used in every single game, regardless of faction. The core set also comes with 2 Tie Fighters and 1 T-65 X-wing and unique pilots and upgrades for them. To continue our “One of each” process, you’ll need to grab the solo blisters for the Y-wing and the X-wing, msrp 19.95 each. Now you have 3 models ready to deploy and can easily put viable squads together, much like the one seen in this demo game here. You’ll have access to the heroes of Yavin, with Luke, Wedge, and Dutch ‘Gold Leader” Vander.
But wait a sec, you’ve got 2 extra Tie fighters lying around? Unless you plan on playing the as the Empire too, trading these away is a great option. The core swap is a classic of Fantasy Flight Games product lines. Most recently with Legion, I found a friend who was playing the opposite faction and swapped the appropriate units. It shouldn’t be too hard to find someone at your local game store to trade your 2 extra Ties for their extra X-wing.
So to recap, we now have 3 X-Wings, 1 Y-wing, and everything else you’ll need to jump in and start playing 200 point standard games. The price- $78.95
The Galactic Empire-The ‘Double Core’ Maneuver
A long standing practice to starting many FFG games is to buy two core sets. This strategy is a bit more costly, but Imperials require larger numbers of ships to field full squadrons. Thanks to how cheap the generic Tie Fighters are, you’ll need to be prepared to spend a few more credits. The single ship blisters cost 19.95, yet the core set has 3 total ships in it and costs 39.95. You are effectively getting the value of a whole ship for free in each core set and provides the best value for amassing your swarm of Ties. With double cores, you’ll have 2 T-65 X-wings to trade to the rebels, along with all of the extra core game components. You won’t need the extra damage deck or maneuver templates, however the extra set of dice will be useful. Hold onto those. After you’re cores, you will still want to purchase one Tie Fighter blister. This solo blisters will have unique pilots from the core set and you’ll want access to them, like Iden Versio possibly? That just leaves the Tie Advanced, famously flown by Darth Vader, and your Imperial forces are now complete for wave 1. While pricier than the Rebels, who can start with 4 ships, you’ll have access to 9 Ties and Darth Vader to start. The price-$119.80
Scum and Villainy-The ‘Concordia Credit’ Faceoff
The scum faction is a little trickier because none of their ships come in the core set. Out of the many complaints about the update to 2.0, this is one of the most valid ones. Scum should have their own core set to get cheaper ships and all of the core components, yet sadly they do not have such an option. However, we’ve got a few work arounds. Since many players will go the Double Core route, there will be extra core components out there on the secondary market. Your local game store, facebook swap group, or eBay are all excellent options to hunt down and find dice, maneuver templates, and a damage deck for a nominal price. After that you’ll need a minimum of 2 Mandalorian Protectorate Fighters, $19.95 each, and a Firespray, 29.95. Now the firespray costs more because it is a medium base fighter, a new designation of size in X-wing 2.0. However, it gives you access to Boba Fett and will allow you to put together all Mandalorian Squads for wave 1. Scum may not be as iconic or versatile as the Rebels or Imperials at launch of X-Wing 2.0, but as a fellow Mando, they sure look like a ton of fun to me. The Price $69.85 + (market value of core components estimated at $10)=79.85
There are a few caveats to all of these approaches however. First, the Tie Reaper and Saw’s Renegade expansions are launching before the release of X-Wing 2.0. These two packs will contain both components to play them in either 1.0 or 2.0. It is not clear yet if these ships or pilots will be legal for wave 1 of 2.0 tournament play. If you’d like the options to add a U-wing or Tie Reaper to your young fleets, they’ll cost $39.95 and $29.95 respectively. Sadly scum does not have a counterpart with these two boxes, at least yet. I wouldn’t put it past FFG to sneakily release content from the Solo film. Many have speculated that we will sooner or later see a scum version of the brand new Millennium Falcon. They have done this with content for both Episodes VII and VIII, but we will just have to wait and see.
Wave 14, the last for 1.0
Second, the core set does not come with enough dice. With only 3 attack and defense dice each, you can easily find yourself in situations needing 4 or 5 instead. This is one bonus to the Double Core approach, you’ll get all of the dice you should ever need. You can buy separate dice packs or find them on the secondary market. Veteran players will have plenty to spare, having already bought multiple versions of the 1.0 core. You can always reroll dice if you are short. Also, you can ask to use your opponent’s dice. This is an accepted practice in the X-Wing community and is even allowed in the tournament rules. Third party dice are not allowed in tournament play, as special dice have been prizes for regional and world championships (they are simply differently colored, the sides are all the same). Top placing players take great pride in winning dice with marbled, sparkly, or translucent colors, but don’t be shy in asking to share if you are short some dice for a full attack roll.
Extra Dice Retail Pack
My collection of prize dice
Lastly, these are just the introductory costs of playing X-wing. FFG’s business and distribution model will always be dangling shinny new product for us to greedily consume. Especially with the influx of new Lucasfilm movies, shows, and other source materials, there will be a ton of new X-wing products to come after where 1.0 left off. Budget well young padawan, your purchasing has just begun.
Alternative-The ‘The Conversion’ Stratagem
There is one other to option to starting your X-wing collection, 1.0 conversion. While this method would have a much higher initial cost, you can save money in the long run. For existing players, FFG is releasing conversions kits for each faction. These will come with all of the updated cards, dials, cardboard pieces, and tokens needed to convert 1.0 models to 2.0. These kits will roughly convert around 40 models, yet returning players will still need their very own new core set for the damage deck and maneuver templates. The kits will cost $49.95, but come with a tremendous value per ship converted. A 1.0 small blister ship cost $14.95, a full 5 dollars cheaper than the 2.0 version. Thanks to the amount of ships covered in a conversion kit, the cost of purchasing the soon to be obsolete 1.0 ships plus the cost of the 2.0 conversion kit is still less than buying all new 2.0 blisters. Reddit user Xenomech actually did a brilliant job breaking down the contents, comparison, and costs of this strategy for the Rebel faction.
You could save further credits by buying a second hand collection and converting it. Many players are choosing not to convert, or are only converting certain factions, and have large collections of models to unload. You can find real deals from players who are getting out of the game. It’s a shame to lose players, but we can turn it into our gain. Personally, this is how I started playing a second faction. I started as a Rebel player, but managed to get a hold of an Imperial player’s collection for a super affordable cost and I’ve never looked back.
Although, nothing can beat the joy of opening up brand new minis. Buying a second hand collection won’t be for everyone. Not everyone will want to invest that much money on the initial cost of the game. Each new release day feels like a holiday. September 13th is going to feel like Christmas, or even better yet, Life Day.
I hope this guide was helpful and you now have the knowledge to spend your credits wisely.
You’ve taken your first steps into a larger world. After the announcement of 2nd edition,you’ve decided to finally try out X-Wing The Miniatures Game. Second Edition, or 2.0, has been announced for release on September 13th and your timing could not be better. Now is a great time to get in on the ground floor of a fast paced skirmish game with a welcoming community, beautifully prepainted models, a vibrant competitive scene, and a slick ruleset. Or are you a lost sheep, someone who saw all of the flaws and imbalances of 1.0 and walked away at some point in the past? Now might be the time to consider coming back to the fold. It may seem like an exciting, yet daunting task. Where do you start? Will you still be behind the long time players who have year’s worth of large collections? Will you feel lost without having played all of 1.0? Fret not, the simple answer to this is ‘No’, but Dialed In is here to delve into the subject and provide a comprehensive introductory guide to X-Wing 2.0. In the following articles we’ll go over which faction you should pick, how best to purchase your fleet to achieve maximum value, the exciting changes to the core mechanics, and how to start playing.
Part 1: Choosing Your Faction
The decision is made; you’re in. The first question is which of the 5 factions will you choose to play? If you have the available budget, you could easily pick more than one. However, this article will focus on choosing which single faction best fits your play style and expectations. The 5 factions include The Rebellion, Galactic Empire, Scum and Villainy, and from the sequel movies, First Order and Resistance. Upon release, only the Rebels, Imperials, and Scum and Villainy will be available, but we’ll still cover the First Order and Resistance at the end.
The game is balanced with the intense hope to make all of the factions viable. The meta will surely cycle some up and down, but nothing stays down for too long. X-wing 2.0 will have a web based app for erratas and points balancing that can be adjusted as needed. This isn’t like other table top games that will require you to buy a new codex down the line. So if your goal is to go compete in big tournaments, your faction choice shouldn’t hold you back. If you are getting into the game as a more casual gamer, this really isn’t a concern at all. The game scales really well from playing with your kids on your kitchen table to the high stakes games held at the World Championships at FFG’s headquarters.
Your choice may come down to which ships you think are the coolest and prettiest. This is not arbitrary, the game comes with amazing and detailed sculpts. Many of the minis have articulated parts too. The T-65 X-wing’s S-foils open and close, the Mandalorian Protectorate’s wings pivot, and the Lambda shuttle’s wings fold up for landing. You may have a favorite childhood memory of a classic toy or video game where you played as your favorite ship(mine personally was the PC game, Tie fighter. The Assault Gunboat was my jam). Half, if not more, of this enjoyment of this game is pushing your favorite ships around the mat. Picking your faction this way is a perfectly viable choice.
Play style might be your deciding factor as well. Faction identity is a real thing for X-wing. Rebels are team oriented and heroic, Imperials are grim and uniform, while scum feel like total rogues and mercenaries. Each faction specializes in different styles of gameplay and have a unique feel to them.
So let’s examine first with those scrappy terrorists, the Rebels. Do you love the original trilogy pilots like Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, or Han Solo? Are more obscure pilots, like Jek “I can hold it’ Porkins, your thing? Or perhaps you’re a fan of the animated Rebels series and want to play games with the newer heroes like Kannan Jarrus or Sabine Wren? Then the Rebel Alliance is the faction for you. Strategically, rebels specialize in teamwork and sacrifice. Their ships tend to be a bit more shielded than the rest, as every astromech, pilot and fighter are precious resources to the desperate Rebellion.
Imperials are the exact opposite. Tie/Lns and their pilots are faceless goons to be thrown at their enemies. However, combined with the endless ranks of generic pilots, Imperials also have elite ace pilots to lead their ranks. Darth Vader, Marek Steele, and the Baron Soontir Fel viciously dart around engagements, while employing swarms of cheap Tie fighters to tie up enemy formations. Few shields are employed by the Empire. A common phrase among cockshure Tie pilots says it all, “No shields, all guts.” While rebels rely on the strength of their chassis and team oriented abilities to survive, Imperials have two different and distinct approaches to combat. They can either outnumber enemies into submission with swarms of cheap Ties, or they can rely on the cunning and speed of their elite pilots to outmaneuver and destroy the opposition.
Scum and Villainy is the wild card faction. A cobbled collection of smugglers, criminals, mandalorians, and bounty hunters make up these ragtag fleets. Armed with dirty tricks and the faction specific ‘illicit upgrade’ slot, these pilots all fly in unique and different ways. Uniformity and teamwork are not the goals in these squadrons. Scum players have the joy of building lists with disparate criminals and their ships to work towards a common goal. If you hate playing fair and you love Boba Fett, Fenn Rau, or any of the other famous bounty hunters, this is the faction for you.
The First Order and the Resistance have been announced to launch in wave 2, which will approximately(I’m guessing here based on previous release schedules) be available in the Spring of 2019. So if you had your heart set on having Kylo Ren or Poe Dameron(best pilot in the Resistance) zoom around your star map, you’ll sadly need to wait a while longer. However, if putting Rey or Hux on the table is your true Star Wars miniatures fantasy, here’s how these factions break down stylistically and thematically. These two factions work much like their original trilogy counterparts, but upgraded. Resistance ships have been improved, they fly the T-70 X-Wing, the successor of the titular t-65 model. The same can be said of the First Order’s craft. Their generic Ties have shields and targeting computers. Their Aces are even beefier; Kylo is a monster combination of Vader’s power with Soontir Fel’s agility. However, these improvements come with a cost in squad building. These factions are not built for swarms or large formations, but rather small wings of elite strike craft. These factions will be arriving with the FFG trademark ‘soon’ tagline, so they are a poor choice if you’re looking to jump directly into the game.
Personally, the choice was far too difficult for myself. If you put a blaster to my head, I would choose the Imperials. My favorite squads involved large swarms of tie fighters. Managing that many maneuvers is the perfect combination of thematic and challenging gameplay. I’m am lucky enough to try and play all three factions in Wave 1. They all look so much fun. Which faction speaks to your inner starfighter ace?
Next article we will discuss how best to purchase your fleets for maximum firepower, but until then,