Pete here once again with another X-Wing minis read for you. In this post, I'll be looking at the Y-Wing and TIE Advanced starfighters from the wave one releases. Just in case you missed them, you can find my intro article and the X-Wing & TIE Fighter post by clicking on the links.
I'd love to get your feedback on these posts and you can leave your comments at the end of the article or on the Gambit Games UK Facebook page.
The Y-Wing, for me, was a relatively recent discovery, thanks in part to a lack of supply of the wave one minis for some time. Initially, the movement dial put me off taking the ship seriously, and it languished in the bottom of the case for a while. On the face of it, four moves that can put stress tokens on the ship seemed a little excessive and for me, didn't fit the fluff printed on a couple of the pilot cards. However, with the recent publication of the wave three ship movement dials, the Y-Wing's movement set isn't so bad after all...
When you look at the Y-Wing's movement on the diagram, you actually realize it can keep pace with the X-Wing. The flavour text on the cards talks about the BTL-A4 Y-Wings being the rebellions primary starfighter until the introduction of the T65 X-Wing and that it remained a staple of the fleet long after it was due to be decommissioned. Where am I going with this? Well, for me, the Y-Wing fulfils a squad support role in the game, rather than being a ship that I would want to take a full compliment of.
The pilots on offer are:
- Gold Squadron Pilot - Skill 2 - 18pts
- Gray Squadron Pilot - Skill 4 - 20pts
- *Dutch Vander - Skill 6, After acquiring a target lock, an allied ship within range bands one to two may immediately acquire a target lock - 23pts
- *Horton Salm - Skill 8, When attacking at range two to three you may reroll any of your blank results - 25pts
All Y-Wing pilots can take the focus or target lock actions and all have 1x Astromech, 2x Torpedo and 1x Turret upgrade slots.
Stats-wise, the Y-Wing offers 2x primary attack dice, a pokey 1x agility die, 5x hull points and 3x shields.
So how do you make the Y-Wing an ass-kicker?
The Ion Turret upgrade. This is a secondary weapon system, granting 3x red attack dice. Although only effective at ranges one to two, it can shoot in a 360 degree arc. If the attack hits the target, the opponent ship suffers one damage and receives one ion token. Any remaining hit results are then cancelled, but whatever, it's done it's job!
A ship with an ion token (two ion tokens for a large ship...) may only make a straight forward manuever at speed one on it's next turn, (although it can take actions and attack as normal...). This does mean that you know exactly where the target ship is going to be, so you can slam it with everything you have! As I mentioned earlier, the Y-Wing fits into a support role really nicely and I have used my Y-Wing effectively with X-Wings in formation on each side, ready to fill a TIE Fighter with holes once the ion turret slams it's brakes on.
I used this tactic in a recent game against a twin Firespray-31 (yep, really!) list. The Y-Wing sat towards the back of the squadron, flanked by two X-Wings. Over two turns, the Y-Wing successfully attacked Krassis Trelix with the ion turret and put two ion tokens on the ship. The third (front) X-Wing subsequently swung in from off to the right hand side of the formation and sat out to act as a roadblock.
In the game, if one ship would finish it's movement with the base overlapping another ship's base, it must instead finish it's move as far along the template as possible, touching the enemy base. It cannot take an action or shoot at the ship it's in base contact with. As the X-Wing was piloted by a rookie, I was able to move in ahead of the bounty hunter and prevent his already reduced movement from going any further. Although I was unable to attack with the ship in contact with the Firespray, everything else unloaded (from beneath the mountain of target lock tokens!) and the bounty hunter was removed from play.
The one thing we need to consider in amongst all this is the points cost. The average base cost of the ship is 21 points. But, you don't really want to leave home (Yavin IV/Hoth/Coruscant etc) without the turret and that will set you back another five points. My pilot of choice is Dutch Vander because of his ability to grab a target lock and allow an ally to immediately grab one too. In my last post where we looked at the X-Wing list, I discussed the tactics around target locks and focusing and Dutch fits into this arrangement pretty nicely. I usually kit him out with R5-K6 too, which allows him to roll one green die once he's spent his target lock and re-acquire it on a successful evade die roll. This then triggers his ability and an ally can also grab a lock too, which is nice. With X-Wing pilot Garven Dreis ability to pass focus tokens to allies instead of discard them, you can build a formidable TIE-shredding combo.
So where does the TIE Advanced fit into the picture? Well, kinda the same place as the Y-Wing to start with. A lack of phase one stock meant my TIE Advanced turned up to the party fashionably late.
In Sienar Engineering ship design chronology, the Advanced model followed on from the popular TIE Fighter, offering shielding, a hyperdrive, better weapon systems and a radio-cassette player as standard. A number of it's better qualities were then evolved into the next model, the TIE Interceptor. But more on that in a later post.
In game terms, the Advanced version can keep pace with the standard TIE, albeit with the sacrifice of a tight turn at speed one in exchange for a banked turn instead. Where the Advanced excels is in it's durability as it offers two shields at the start of the game, whilst retaining the three hull points, two primary weapon dice and three agility dice of its predecessor. It also retains the focus, barrel roll and evade actions but adds in the ability to target lock as well.
The pilots on offer are:
- Tempest Squadron Pilot - Skill 2, 1x Missile upgrade slot - 21pts
- Storm Squadron Pilot - Skill 4, 1x Missile upgrade slot - 23pts
- *Maarek Stele - Skill 7, 1x Missile and 1x Pilot upgrade slot, When your attack deals a faceup damage card to the defender, instead draw three cards choose one to deal and discard the others - 27pts
- *Darth Vader (cheer!) - Skill 9, 1x Missile and 1x Pilot upgrade slot, during the perform actions phase, you may perform two actions - 29pts
The TIE Advanced has an average base cost of 25pts and matches up really well with our benchmark X-Wing. In a straight-out fight, the imperials might just edge it. The difference in red and green dice values balances out, but the TIE is more agile and has the barrel roll and evade actions that the rebel ship does not.
Of the two ships we're looking at, the TIE offers me more options on how to use it in my games. Whilst you could go along the cinematic route and have Vader flying at the head of a wing of TIE Fighters, you could also comfortably field a squadron of 4x Advanced fighters from Tempest Squadron, all kitted out with cluster missiles and have them hold their own against a unit of rebel ships.
The Cluster Missile upgrade card is a single-use secondary fit weapons system that requires a target lock to be spent to use. You have to close to within range band two, but you get to roll the attack twice (for a total of six red dice!), which, if used in conjunction with a focus token can be devastating.
Maarek Stele and Darth Vader have some of my favourite abilities; being able to select the critical damage you deal to an opponent is an absolute blinder. There are some hideous damage cards in the deck, including counting as two damage instead of one.
Vader's option to perform two actions, makes me want to take that even further. Pilot upgrade options such as Push The Limit (take an additional action and a stress token) and Expert Handling (take a free barrel roll and remove one enemy target lock) are top contenders.
Alternative upgrade approaches include Expose which allows you to add one attack die in exchange for sacrificing one defense die. You can offset the minus one defense by using Vader's other action to take an evade token. Another option is Swarm Tactics where an ally in range one can shoot at the same skill level as Vader... there are a lot of possibilities.
The other serious consideration for Darth Vader is taking a missile upgrade. The ability to be able to take a target lock (required to use a missile system) and a focus action in the same turn means that you can use this attack when you need it, if you find yourself in a favorable position and not have to secure the lock ahead of time on a ship that ends up giving you the slip.
The missile options available are:
- Cluster Missiles - range one-two, three attack dice, perform the attack twice - 4pts
- Concussion Missiles - range two-three, four attack dice, change one blank result to a hit - 4pts
- Assault Missiles - range two-three, four attack dice, if the attack hits, each other ship in range one of the defender suffers one damage - 5pts
- Homing Missiles - range two to three, four attack dice, the defender cannot spend evade tokens during the attack - 5pts
If you're going to go along the route of taking an Advanced as squad leader for a TIE unit, why not take Vader armed to the teeth?
Well, that pretty much brings us to the end of this article. Next up, we'll move onto the wave two ships and have a look at the TIE Interceptor and A-Wing starfighter.
So, until next time!