By now, you've probably eyed up the new wave three ships and may have even had a chance to read Dan's article on this very page about the black sheep of the X-Wing family, the HWK-290. You can also read a review by Gary over on the Kids Dreams page here.
We'll be getting round to our own overview of the HWK-290 a little later in this series, but for now, it's the first two 'big ships' in the X-Wing range: the YT-1300 freighter and the Firespray-31.
"What?" I hear (some of) you cry! Well, you'll recognize the most famous ships of those types as the Millennium Falcon and Slave I, respectively. However, in the interest of providing players with more playing options, these ships are packaged under the manufacturers model names.
So what do they bring to the game?
The first really noticeable difference over the regular ships is the size of the base and this in itself brings a lot of new considerations to players. I've had a few close calls flying smaller craft near table edges, but generally manage to avoid 'bugging out' by some skin-of-the-teeth barrel rolling or boosting away. If you venture away from the safety of the middle of the table with one of these, beware! I was caught off guard in my first few missions with the larger ships as I hadn't appreciated exactly how much further they travel using the same movement set as the smaller starfighters.
And I don't mind admitting that some of my wins have come at the expense of my opponents making the same misjudgments. But not too many!!
So how do these big boys shape up?
Arguably the most recognizable and loved ship in the Star Wars universe is the Millennium Falcon and the YT-1300 freighter's popularity in the X-Wing game is on a par with it's silver screen counterpart. In game terms, it's offers up three primary attack dice, one agility die, eight hull points and five shields as standard. And remember, you can only start stripping those away if you can land scoring shots (more on that coming up...)
<<CRAZY GRAPHIC WARNING>> so, this is undoubtedly the most complex diagram you'll see all week...
OK, so it all gets lost in the blur, but for consistency, I thought I'd throw it in there anyways....
The YT's movement dial offers a solid range of options and makes it quick enough to keep pace with X-Wings if you opt to use it in a squadron, or can more than hold its own as a standalone ship. The only red moves on the dial are the k-turns, which it can execute at either speed three or four.
But that's not all it has to offer. The real ace in the hole is it's 360 degree arc of fire with it's primary weapon. And that, my friends, makes the YT such a nightmare prospect to play against. Regardless of the pilot flying the ship and even the player skill, lining up against the YT-1300 immediately makes you the underdog.
The available pilot options at your disposal are:
- Outer Rim Smuggler - Skill 1, 2x crew upgrade slots - 27pts (yes folks, that means you can potentially take three of these with upgrades for your 100pts....)
- *Chewbacca - Skill 5, 2x crew, 1x missile and 1x pilot upgrade slots, When you are dealt a faceup damage card, immediately flip it facedown without resolving its ability - 42pts
- *Lando Calrissian - Skill 7, 2x crew, 1x missile and 1x pilot upgrade slots, After you execute a green manuever, chose one other friendly ship at range one. That ship may perform one free action shown in its action bar - 44pts
- *Han Solo - Skill 9, 2x crew, 1x missile and 1x pilot upgrade slots, When attacking you may reroll all of your dice. If you chose to do so, you must reroll as many of your dice as possible - 46pts
As if these ships weren't tough enough, three of the four available pilots bring some really powerful abilities to the table and all four can take focus and target lock actions. If you're the opponent, you may as well just cut your losses and concede the game. The YT-1300 is the real deal.
For the ultimate YT list, I'm going to lean to my bud Dan from Hobby Before I Die. If one YT wasn't enough to shake you up, imagine the prospect of facing up to TWO of them, flying in formation, side-by-side and piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca...
Coming in at a combined 53pts, Han's core ability to re-roll his attack dice if the first roll stinks is augmented by the Gunner's ability to subsequently re-roll if none of these attacks hit home. Which in turn can be re-rolled by Han... Clearly, the odds are stacked in Han's favor and along with the fact that he'll usually be shooting first with his pilot skill of 9 with a 360 degree firing arc, will mean most targets are in for a rough ride.
And whilst the first part of this combo isn't unique, as we'll see next with Chewbacca, this list is primarily all about flying the two ships in close formation at all times, specifically within range band 1. This ensures the Swarm Tactics ability confers Han's pilot skill of 9 to Chewbacca and helps to maintain that punishing fire superiority...
Coming in at 46pts, Chewbacca's core ability of never feeling the effects of a critical hit is partnered with Draw Their Fire. Ensuring that as long as the lads stay within that crucial range band 1, Chewbacca can soak up the crits Han may receive... Assuming the enemy has already successfully chewed through the Falcon's five shields...
The Weapons Engineer upgrade enables Chewbacca to maintain two target locks for every one target lock spent. Granted, at 3pts, Marksmanship would probably provide a more potent attacking capability but would also mean sacrificing Draw Their Fire in that all important elite pilot skills slot. What Weapons Engineer does do is enable Chewbacca to keep up the target lock re-roll pressure by 'dominoing' this effect across multiple targets and thus into subsequent game phases. And with large swarm / large number of attack dice enemy formations potentially being the counter to this list, this ability will certainly help to ensure enemy ships begin to be as wary of Chewbacca's sustained attacking capability as they will be of Han's deadly accurate fire...
Squaring up to the YT is the go-to ship choice of bounty hunters galaxywide, the Firespray-31. Initially conceived by Kuat Systems Engineering as a prisoner transport and patrol ship, the Firespray has garnered a fearsome reputation.
In the Star Wars universe, six Firespray-31s were manufactured and all stationed on the asteroid prison Oovo IV. While on the hunt for a Dark Jedi, Jango Fett got tangled up in a struggle with another bounty hunter who used a Firespray class ship to destroy Jango's own vessel Jaster's Legacy. After fighting through a prison riot, Jango stole a Firespray of his own, with the help of Zam Wesell and turned it's guns on the hangar, destroying the remaining Firesprays to prevent being pursued. It was not until Kuat Systems Engineering reintroduced the Firespray line several decades later that other examples of the class would again be seen.
Many years later, after Boba Fett's escape from the Sarlacc, he recaptured Slave I from the rebels and refitted it, favouring it over it's somewhat temporary replacement, Slave II.
Offering a move set comparable to the YT, the Firespray is certainly no slouch on the battlefield. It offers three primary attack dice and, as it's a little nippier than the YT, two agility, six hull and four shield dice.
Whilst it doesn't have the 360 degree arc of fire, it does have front and rear arcs, so has 50% of the angles covered. All four pilots can take the focus and target lock actions but, in addition, they can also utilise the evade action, giving the player one guaranteed evade result in combat.
The pilots on offer for the Firespray are:
- Bounty Hunter - Skill 3, 1x missile, 1x crew, 1x bomb & 1x cannon upgrade slot, 33pts
- *Krassis Trelix - Skill 5, 1x missile, 1x crew, 1x bomb & 1x cannon upgrade slot, When attacking with a secondary weapon, you may reroll one attack die - 36pts
- *Kath Scarlet - Skill 7, 1x missile, 1x crew, 1x bomb, 1x cannon and 1x pilot upgrade slot, When attacking, the defender receives one stress token if they cancel at least one critical hit result - 38pts
- *Boba Fett - Skill 9, 1x missile, 1x crew, 1x bomb, 1x cannon and 1x pilot upgrade slot, When you reveal a bank manuever, you may rotate your dial to the other bank manuever of the same speed - 39pts
True to the film counterparts, the Firesprays in the game have some nasty surprises at their disposal in the form of bombs. Included with the Firespray are Seismic Charges and Proximity Mines and the new wave three TIE Bomber expansion brings a further option of Proton Bombs. The player opts to deploy a bomb either when their manuever dial is revealed (Seismic Charge and Proton Bomb) or as an action (Proximity Mine) and is placed behind the Firespray using the speed one straight move template to position the bomb marker.
- Seismic charges detonate at the end of the activation phase and each ship in range band one of the token suffers one damage card.
- Similarly, Proton Bombs also detonate at the end of the activation phase, but deal one faceup damage card to each ship at range one instead.
- Proximity mines are a little different in that they are deployed as an action, rather than before the ship has moved, so allow a little extra time to consider deployment, depending on the relative pilots skills involved. Unlike the other two bomb types, the proximity mine marker stays on the table until a ship moves through or overlaps the token. That ship then rolls three red dice and suffers all hit and critical hit results rolled.
Krassis Trelix offers the ability to reroll one attack die when using a secondary weapon system. This means that he is a good fit for taking a cannon upgrade and teaming him with the Gunner crew upgrade. The Ion and Heavy Laser Cannon come with the Firespray in the box and the new B-Wing also offers up the Autoblaster upgrade.
We previously covered off the Ion Cannon in the Y-Wing post and it certainly has it's benefits. However, from experience, the Ion Cannon seems to be a better fit on a dedicated fighter.
The Heavy Laser Cannon puts out four dice at range two-to-three, but will only inflict normal hits. It's a reasonable trade off, particularly against lighter, less well armoured ships. With Krassis' reroll ability coming into play here you have a decent chance of scoring hits on the target.
The Autoblaster only hits at range one, but any normal hits that land cannot be cancelled by defense dice. Critical hits can be cancelled before regular hits, but the defender will have to rely on shields and evade tokens to soak up the punishment.
For a little extra poke, take the Gunner crew upgrade. This allows you to make an attack with your primary weapon if the secondary weapon fails to hit the target.
Kath Scarlet can really lay the hurt on you in battle as a defending player receives one stress token if they cancel at least one critical hit dealt by Kath in that round of combat. Any of the missile options are a viable upgrade for Scarlet, but the Cluster Missiles upgrade allows you to perform the attack twice, giving the most opportunities for rolling those critical hits.
Another option if to take the Slave I title upgrade (0pts) for Kath's ship and this adds the torpedo upgrade option to the ship. When attacking with Proton Torpedoes, you may change one focus result on the attack dice to a critical hit, which triggers Scarlet's ability to deny the opponent the opportunity to cancel at least one.
If the online forums are anything to go by, Boba Fett's popularity has increased even further, with the release of the wave three ships. The Imperial Shuttle comes packaged with a new upgrade card called 'Navigator' and has lead to a combo known on the tubes as 'Fettigator'.
Boba's core ability allows his player to effectively change their mind when his movement dial is flipped to reveal a bank manuever. The pilot can opt to change Fett's movement to the banked turn in the opposite direction, but at the same speed. Navigator then lets you change the speed of that move to any other with the same bearing. This effectively gives the player the option of changing a banked turn to one of five alternatives. Fett's pilot skill can be increased by two by taking the Veteran Instincts pilot upgrade to ensure you have the movement advantage over the opposition and the often-crucial first turn of shooting.
So, there you have it.
Next up we'll be looking at the first ships from wave three. Remember, the Gambit Games UK X-Wing Tournament is just a couple of weeks away, so get in touch to book your ticket if you've not already done so.
Until next time!