Pete here once again with another shot of X-Wing goodness for you. It's a great time to be involved in the game, with the recent release of the wave three ships (more on those to come!) and the upcoming releases of the 'Imperial Aces' expansion and the capital class ships. If you've missed the previous articles in this series you can find them here:
Introduction and gameplay overview
X-Wing & TIE Fighter
Y-Wing & TIE Advanced
In this post, we'll be looking at the first two ships from wave two: the Rebel's A-Wing starfighter and the Imperial TIE Interceptor.
A-Wings offer two primary attack dice, three agility dice and have two hull points and two shields as standard. All A-Wing pilots can choose between the focus, target lock, evade and turbo actions as well as having the option for a missile upgrade (even at the lowest pilot skill level), meaning there is a wide range of options available for a variety of battlefield situations.
Our graphic demonstrates the A-Wing's greater speed range and also shows the added distance available if you take the turbo action. This means that you can make an additional forward or banked move at speed one, after your main movement has been completed. This has often been a crucial move in order to navigate asteroid fields and evade enemy firing arcs, to protect it's fragile two hull points.
The A-Wing pilots on offer are:
- Prototype Pilot - Skill 1, 1x missile upgrade - 17pts
- Green Squadron Pilot - Skill 3, 1x missile and 1x pilot upgrade - 19pts
- *Arvel Crynyd - Skill 6, 1x missile upgrade, You may declare an enemy ship inside your firing arc that you are touching as the target of your attack - 23pts
- *Tycho Celchu - Skill 8, 1x missile and 1x pilot upgrade, You may perform actions even while you have stress tokens - 26pts
With an average base cost of 21pts, you can build a decent squadron with upgrades, for your 100 squad points and hold your own. I've seen a number of players fielding A-Wings singularly with so-so results, just because that's what they had in their collection. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that and as long as you have an enjoyable game, that's great. But, to get the best out of these ships, I'd recommend taking them in a unit of at least three ships, and if you can shoehorn an extra one in for good measure, all the better.
A-Wings are noted as playing particularly pivotal roles in the Battle of Endor, by crippling Star Destroyers and their ability across the board to take the missile upgrade, along with their agility is the reason for their success. A-Wings are able to utilise the target lock/focus combo we have previously discussed in these posts and can close with the enemy at a greater speed to add that extra primary attack die at range one.
The A-Wing expansion pack includes the upgrade card 'Push the Limit' and this is growing increasingly popular in our games. This card is a pilot upgrade costing 3pts and allows you to perform two actions in exchange for taking a stress token and has been used on a number of occasions to devastating effect. Pilot Tycho Celchu may perform actions even whilst the ship has stress tokens and Arvel Crynyd can target ships he is touching, so is in a great position to risk extra boost actions to get in close to the target.
But it's not only the Rebels who benefit from Push the Limit...
The imperial TIE Interceptor built by Sienar Fleet Systems has long been my favourite ship from the Star Wars Universe, even before the release of this great game. The model offers three primary attack dice, three agility dice and three hull points. The one thing it doesn't have (despite apparently having all the best bits of it's predecessors...) is a shielding system, which can leave it open. However, your enemy needs to close with you in order to bring the pain and that can be quite a challenge.
In my opinion, the TIE Interceptor has the best range of movement in the game, bar none. It can k-turn at speed three and five, use the barrel roll manuever of the standard and advanced-model TIE Fighters as well as being able to use the turbo action that the A-Wing uses.
Quite simply, these things can be anywhere fast. In a recent game, they navigated across an asteroid-strewn 4'x4' gameplay area in four turns to engage the enemy that was making speed one and two moves. What happened when they got there is another story for another time, but they remain my go-to ships of choice. I have a success rate of approximately 75% with the Interceptors, which is impressive, given my somewhat kamikaze playing style and unnerving ability to draw the fearsome 'direct hit' (counts as two hits) critical damage cards. Every single game. Guaranteed.
Stepping up to the plate for the empire, we have:
- Alpha Squadron Pilot - Skill 1 - 18pts
- Avenger Squadron Pilot - Skill 3 - 20pts
- Saber Squadron Pilot - Skill 4, 1x pilot upgrade slot - 21pts
- *Fel's Wrath - Skill 5, when the number of damage cards assigned to the ship squals or exceeds the hull value, the ship is not destroyed until the end of the combat phase - 23pts
- *Turr Phennir - Skill 7, 1x pilot upgrade slot, after you perform an attack, you may perform a free boost or barel roll action - 25pts
- *Soontir Fel - Skill 9, 1x pilot upgrade slot, when the ship receives a stress token, you may assign one focus token to the ship - 27pts
The Interceptors have an average base cost of 22pts and fill the gap between the swarm and elite list types.
I've already said that I love these ships and the narrative of Soontir Fel's Saber Squadron with their blood stripe markings on the sides of their ships got me hooked. My squad list normally comprises of:
- Soontir Fel with Push the Limit - 30pts
- 3x Saber Squadron Pilots with Veteran Instincts (+2 pilot skill) - 22pts each
This list has worked pretty nicely for me, including winning all 1-on-1 games in the last tournament I played it in. However, in practice, the Veteran Instincts upgrade wasn't such a great use of points as, in most Rebel lists I've faced, the opposition tend to be of a higher pilot skill than Saber Squadron, even after the +2 buff.
The maths fans out there will, I'm sure, point out that I may as well put all the points into five Avenger Squadron pilots and still move first and shoot last. But, I'm a fan of Saber Squadron and was really pleased to open one of the wave three ships and find this...
Adrenalin Rush! This is a single-use card, but it can be discarded to allow you to perform red move as if it were a white one, ignoring any stress tokens that the ship may already have assigned. Veteran Instincts are no more and the three squadron pilots are now upgraded with Adrenalin Rush.
This list is survivable enough to allow me to fly en-masse or to split into two flanks and take the enemy down hammer and anvil style. Soontir Fel's ability triggers every time you use Push the Limit and can normally move last, shoot first and take three actions (including one focus!) so is great at making some last minute manuevers to get the perfect shots away.
Sadly, Saber Squadron isn't without it's losses and the most brutal came at the hands of this twin YT-1300 Freighter list, fielded by Dan over at Hobby Before I Die...
Next time, we'll be taking a more in-depth look at the YT-1300 freighters and the last of the wave two ships; the Firespray-31.
Remember, the Gambit Games UK X-Wing Tournament is happening on Sunday 27th October in Portslade and there are still some places available. For more information, contact Gary at Kids Dreams or see the Gambit Games UK Facebook Page.
Pete of Team Gambit.