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X-Wing Miniatures

X-Wing Miniatures

Star Wars X-Wing – 3 Months, 3 Tournaments, & Parsecs of Fun

It has been three months and three tournaments since the release of X-Wing 2nd Edition. It is a perfect time to recap and share how things have been shaping up along with showcase some of lists being flown in our area.

Episode IV – A New Hope

The McPherson store’s release tournament was just a couple of days after the street date in September. It was extended format and all 12 players showed up to play with their new toys.

I had originally planned to fly Luke, Norra (Y-Wing), and Thane, but at the last minute I talked myself into using the new Lando’s Falcon. It is such a beautiful model, I had to get it on the board. I went with Supernatural Luke & Rebel Lando (using the Scum model). Luke is probably the best ship/pilot in the game. The flexibility to boost or barrel roll before you do anything is hard to beat. It is just his cost that makes him hard to pair with. Both ships being at Initiative 5 / i5 (hard not to say Pilot Skill), it allowed my favorite trick – pilot order flexibility!

Round 1 vs Ben’s “Mean Machines”

Ben brought a cool list of 3 TIE Advance X1s with Fire Control System and the revamped Lambda Shuttle with the new pilot Colonel Jendon. So round one, all his X1x could take a target lock, setting them up so they would have full modifications during the initial engagement. It didn’t end pretty as I lost Luke being way too aggressive and Lando just couldn’t take on Ben’s entire squad himself. The constant rain of crits into a large base with lots of hull is just horrible to experience.

Round 2 vs John’s Defender/Lambda/TIE

John decided also to bring the new & improved Lamda shuttle plus a beefy Defender, and a TIE (striker?). I found Luke liked more cautious approach better. And like all my games, I left Lando’s turrets to the sides and plinked from the edge. The rocks where my friend despite the new Collision Detector on the shuttle that allowed it to fly thru rocks. The Defender are stronger, but struggle just the same in rocks.

Round 3 vs Richard’s Triple i5 Imperial Aces

All i5s– Whisper, Duchess, and Rexler Brath. I got lucky with roll for the Initiative, so both my ships moved after his which was a big advantage with Luke. At one critical point, Luke used the true power of the Force by threading the needle between all 3 of Imperials to avoid a trap Richard had expertly set. Unfortunately time got the better of us and I just managed to squeeze out a win on points. Hopefully next time we get to finish it.

Round 4 vs Bryan’s XXBB-Wing Rebels

Lastly I faced what I think is the best Rebels’ architype right now– a 4 ship list. In this case, Bryan brought 2 B-Wings and 2 X-Wings all at Initiative 3 (i5). I over estimated how much HP I had to chew threw and my i5s couldn’t kill a ship fast enough to cut down the incoming shots.

I believe I could have won this except for an untimely crit that turned the game (often the case with the new damage deck). Panicked Pilot’s double stress ended Lando’s actions for 2 rounds which killed him. I also forgot about the new ½ rules for all ships & lost with a ½ pts Luke vs a single full Red Squadron Veteran.

I felt 2-2 was pretty good for a new version of the game and an untested list. I learned lots of information which I would carry forward. But I really enjoyed the way the force worked on Luke, flipping the S-Foils open & closed, and testing out the new barrel roll.

Episode V – Scum Strikes Back

Next up was the opening tournament for the Manhattan store in October with the new 2nd Edition format that limits list building to just the current Wave I ships, pilots & upgrades. This meant the Rebel Falcon was out but that was OK as I was dying to try the revamped Firespray.

In 1st edition, I tried to make this ship work, in particular Boba Fett. But his cost and ability was always one step behind. In 2nd edition, it moved to the smaller medium base, improved its dial (white hard 1 is amazing), and added a native white boost. For this tournament, I settled on Boba & two Fang Fighters at full 200 pts including my new favorite bomb – seismics!

Round 1 vs The Bye

We had 9 players so someone had to sit out. While I was bummed, I ran around taking some pictures and chatted with others since it isn’t something I always get to do a lot enough of.

Round 2 vs Mike’s Triple Rebel Aces

Right out of the gate I faced a fellow 1st Edition veteran, Mike from Lawrence whom I’ve enjoyed playing against in other area tournaments. He bought a list I had looked at: Luke, Norra (Y-Wing), Supernatural Luke, and Wedge – with Proton Torps. To my chagrin, I found Boba really doesn’t like Wedge with torpedoes. I lost Boba but in the end the 2 Fangs finished Norra for a win.

Round 3 vs Jason’s Double 6 Aces

Next up was another fellow Manhattan 1st Edition veteran & store champion. Jason brought Scum Han (with docked Lando in the Escape Pod) and Fearless Fenn. Two i6 aces meant Boba was playing from behind, allowing Jason to see where I moved plus could kill my ships before I even shot. I lost a Fang in round one of engagement but followed up with trading Fenn for a Seismic Bomb. Boba managed eventually finish it for a win.

Round 4 vs Ryan’s XXXY-Wings

Last game was against one of our new and rising players in Manhattan, Ryan. He brought another version of the Rebels’ best archetype (4 ships). His list included Dutch with Proton Bombs and 3 X-Wings with R3 astromech. Ultimately I eked out a 3 pt. win in a nail bitter as this time the ½ pts worked in my favor.

Overall, I LOVED playing flying the Firespray, it is a dream to fly now. It has more slots and title combos than any other ship in the game, making it extremely very versatile. I look forward to flying more of this more in the Extended format.

Episode 6 – Return of the Swarm

The November tournament was back to the McPherson store for the Battle of Yavin, a limited format with just ships & pilots that appeared in A New Hope (so no Scum). It was the excuse to try something completely new & different – a TIE Swarm!

I have avoided swarms because # of ships and how hard I heard it was. I figured I’d give it a shot with a 6 TIE Swarm using the new Inferno Squadron pilots since this format had no Trajectory Simulator or Boba Fett to worry about. Plus this allowed me to use all 6 of my colored dials & bases for a rainbow of flavors!

Round 1 vs Virgil’s Swarm + Shuttle

Out of the gate – another TIE Swarm type list flown by Virgil, the 2018 Manhattan Store Champion! The major differences were his list had 4 TIEs plus a Lamda Shuttle & my Inferno pilots had higher Initiatives. We jousted & it was a bump fest. I killed everything but the Shuttle before time was called.

Round 2 vs Alpha Strike Rebels

Russ, whom I’ve faced many times including in a store championship finals in 2017, brought three Rebel in Luke, Dutch, and Wedge – all with Proton Torpedoes. Wedge sank a fully modified torpedo into Howlrunner & should have killed her – but Iden soaked it up & said “nope”. When time was called, I lost one TIE with only Dutch left for the Rebels.

Round 3 vs Ryan’s XYYY-Wings

Ryan brought another version of 4 ship Rebels using Gavin & four Y-Wings – with Proton Bombs! This was a scary match up as TIE Swarm at some point needs to K-Turn behind the opposition. After baiting out a set of bombs and K-Turning off angle, I won – losing just one TIE and killing all but one of the Y-Wings.

I feel the TIE Swarm is pretty strong in 2nd Edition. It does remain one of the hardest, yet most rewarding list I’ve flown. It relies patience, dials, planning ahead, & execution – even rock placement is key. The Inferno pilots have some of the best synergy in the game & I hope we see more of that across all factions.

Onto the Next Trilogy…

After these first trilogy of tournaments, I flew three different types of lists, including one I would have never tried in 1st Edition. Just as exciting, I faced a wide variety of lists & players. I certainly feel 2nd Edition has opened up a wider range of list building and formats along with cleaner game play. I look forward to more experimenting and trying other ships & pilots as we head into December when First Order and Resistance will join the battle!

X-Wing Miniatures

What I’ve Learned as a Rookie Space Pirate

I’ve had many hobbies over the years.  I’ve been a comic book collector, video game nerd, toy collector, dungeon master, etc.  A few years ago, I decided to get into painting miniatures.  It was mostly a way to express my artistic side when I was temporarily not being paid to do so.  It also led me into me into the world of miniatures wargaming.  I’ve been regularly playing Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing Miniatures Game for a little over six months now.  I’m still very much a novice, but here are a few things I’ve learned about diving into the wargaming hobby.

 

#1 – Find a community first.

X-Wing was not my first miniature wargaming choice.  My first choice was Warmachine by Privateer Press.  The miniatures are detailed and I had a great time assembling and painting them.  I poured over the rule book for weeks.  I bought carrying cases for all my minis and accessories.  .  .

And, I’ve never played it, not even once.

Warmachine had a bit of community in my area, a few years ago.  However, they all moved on to other games.  After that mistake, I took the time to learn what was being played in my area.  I found that at my local gaming store, The Village Geek, had a great community of X-Wing players that met every Thursday and even held tournaments regularly.  So first things first, It doesn’t matter how amazing a game is if you don’t have anyone to play it with.

 

#2 – How much is this going to cost me?

The starter sets that most wargames have are basically demos.  You can have fun learning the rules and playing a short scenario, but it’s not the complete game.  With X-Wing, the starter set is forty dollars.  You get an X-Wing and a couple Tie Fighters.  It’s a fun game with just that.  However, to get the full experience, you need to buy a few more ships.  So, it ends up being closer to eighty to a hundred dollars to have a complete squad of fighters.  It’s different with every wargame though.  X-Wing is one of the least expensive to get into.  I’ve seen some where you’re looking at least three hundred to get started.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Cobb

#3 – How much is it actually going to cost me?

If you’re anything like most nerds, and I am as well, you’re going to spend a whole lot more.  Part of the fun of miniature wargaming is the customization options when fielding your forces.  X-Wing has dozens of ships and each of those ships has at least four different pilot options.  Not to mention the pile of upgrade cards to add missiles, turrets, special crew members, and all kinds of other fun stuff to add on your spaceships.  You’ll want to try them all and they all cost money.   You don’t have to buy everything though.  Every wargame has factions and they all play differently.  In X-Wing, it’s Rebels, Empire, and (my faction) Scum and Villainy.  They’re even adding more over the next year!  After you get the initial starter set, take some time and research the different factions before you go all in.  I dipped my toe into each of the different factions before I jumped into my faction all the way.

 

#4 – Learn what the meta is. Meta is the “game under the game” or rather “what’s good.”  With all the available options, there is a constant discussion of what options are the best.  In X-Wing, it is the combinations of pilots and upgrades that are going to give you an edge in your matches.  In a perfect world, it wouldn’t matter what you picked.  As long as you where skilled and lucky enough, you’d win.  That’s not how it works though.  Companies strive to obtain a perfect balance.  But there’s always going to be those combinations that pulls ahead of the pack.  It’s worth your time to pay attention to this.  Even if you’re not going to use it yourself, you’re going to see it often. However, it’s also important to remember when to ignore it because you need to . . .

 

#5 – Find your favorite.

Eventually, with all your testing you’re going to find a combination that just works for you.  It might not be the best according to the meta.  But, it will be your favorite.  You’ll bring it to games more often and because of that, you’ll get better with it.  The current world champion of X-Wing didn’t win with a squad of ships that the meta said he should be playing.  He brought his two favorite ships that he had been playing with for years and was incredibly good at playing with.  Find what fun to play and you’ll get good with it.

#6 – You are going to lose, a lot.

If a game has a regular groups of players, that game has probably been around for several years.  There is a good chance that some of the players in your group have been playing for a long time.  Maybe even since the game was first released.  They have much more practice than you and your going to get your butt kicked by them.  In the case of X-Wing, if I have a fifty percent win ratio of the night, I’m doing well.   I’ve never had more fun losing a game.

Don’t get frustrated.  Pay attention to what you’re doing in the game.  Wargaming is all about making decisions and correctly guessing what decisions your opponent is going to make.  When you lose, take a few minutes to discuss the game with your opponent, especially if they are a veteran of the game.  Figure out when you made that error that gave them an advantage.  If you don’t try to learn from your mistakes, you are going to keep making them.

 

#7 – Fly Casual.

This is one of my favorite terms from X-Wing.  Fly Casual means not taking the game too seriously.  I’ve played other games where people took the game far too seriously and it causes a lot of unnecessary tension and hurt feelings.  Sure, you all need to follow the rules as strictly as you can so it’s fair, especially if you’re at a tournament.  You can be nice about it though.  If someone forgets to do something or accidentally bumps into a mini, it’s not a big deal.  In the end, remember that you’re a grownup playing with little plastic toys.  That’s objectively pretty silly, and it’s supposed to be fun.  If you’re not having fun, then what is the point.

 

In closing, you should know what you’re getting into.  A little research goes a long way.  It is not a cheap hobby and it takes a commitment of your time to get good at.  It is worth it though.  Every week,  I look forward to Thursday night.   That’s the night I get to hang out with some awesome people that have become my friends over that last few months and play a game that I hope to be playing for many years.

 

Shameless plug – If you want to see some of my art, please visit my Deviantart page.

https://www.deviantart.com/pancor12

X-Wing Miniatures

How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Dials (again)

So it ends…

I just got done playing my last game of X-Wing 1.0 flying a B-Wing, T-65 X-Wing & ARC-170. While it may sounds like a bad thing, I’m going to discuss why we should be celebrating like Ewoks after the 2nd Death Star popped like a red balloon.

A Star Wars Nerds’ Dream…

Whether you are huge lifelong Star Wars fan like myself, came of age to prequels (I’m sorry), or are just now jumping on the Disney run bandwagon now, some of the most memorable things are the spaceships & space battles in that galaxy far far away.

That was THE reason why 3 years ago this month, I picked up X-Wing Miniatures Game 1.0 by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG). It had all the ships and big character names I knew & love, plus even the some of the ones from the old Legends period.Luke, Vader, Han, Chewie, Boba Fett, Millennium Falcon, TIE Fighters, Y-Wings, and of course X-Wings – all ready to go out of box with beautifully painted & sculpted models to start reenacting the famous dog fights scenes and to make new ones.

But the best part was how easy the game was to pick up:

  1. Select your ships/pilots,
  2. Throw down some asteroids to fly round,
  3. Set your maneuvers on a dial,
  4. Try to out pilot your opponent by catching them in your forward gun arcs, then
  5. Finally roll some dice to blow them out of the sky!

You really couldn’t ask for a more elegant game to collect & play if you were Star Wars fan.

What Makes X-Wing Great…

Now as fun and as popular as X-Wing 1.0 has been over that last 5+ years, it had some growing pains that has moved away from what made the X-Wing originally so great:

  1. Maneuvering your ships via dials – feeling like your piloting decisions matter.
  2. Lining up arcs for a kill or dogging all the enemy’s guns to slip away, and
  3. Simple game mechanics that are clean & easy to follow without a 40+ page FAQ/errata.

That is why I’m super excited to see FFG releasing X-Wing 2nd Edition being released Sept 13th, 2018. The designers took all the things they learned from 1st edition and have improved upon it all.

Return of the Dials

One of the more fun and more interesting aspects about X-Wing are the ship’s maneuvering dials. Deciding where your ship will go vs. where the enemy ships will be is what makes X-Wing so interesting to play. X-Wing 2.0 has re-done almost all the ship dials in the game.

The result is that all the ships have a more unique flying profile e.g. the lightweight TIE Interceptors fast & agile while B-Wings are slower with shorter & have harder maneuvers.

This dial changes will also allow many of the original ships to catch up on some of new maneuvers that came along later in X-Wing 1.0 like like sloops, reverse, and talon rolls. In addition, FFG changed the green maneuvers to blue which helps those with color blindness.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Arc

One of major changes in 2nd Edition is the removal of 360 degree turret. Instead of flying on an easy mode, pilots now have to think about where their guns are pointed at all times if they want to get a shot.

This again increases the importance of piloting & those dials in order to keep your gun arcs on target.

This small but important change helps keep the game more interesting and allows for more variety of ships on the board which we haven’t seen a lot at the end of 1st edition. A lot of us seasoned veterans are going to be flying like rookies as we have to unlearn what they have learned.

Simpler this Game Will Be

One of the key things about learning X-Wing is it has always been easy to grasp the basic principles of the game.

But at the end of 1st Edition, it wasn’t uncommon to have 8 upgrade cards on one ship. That was 8 different things each round to remember while playing over the course of a game. It made for some not-so-fun long conversations of how things interact and really dragged games out.

In 2nd edition, we get back to the simple roots with fewer upgrades and more reliance on inherent ship abilities.

What Will You Fly?

With the release of X-Wing 2nd edition, all the game mechanic changes it is now even easier to get into the game. You can focus easily on a single faction – Rebels, Imperials, or Scum with Resistance, First Order, Republic, & Separatist to come.

In X-wing 2nd Edition, there is no chasing cards in packs you don’t want. You don’t have to buy all the packages just to be able to field a viable squad. Simply buy a core set, pick your favorite faction ships, then you are good to go!

Good? Bad? My Ship has a Heavy Laser Cannon

On Sept. 13th, X-Wing 2nd Edition will be released and whether you are returning veteran or a rookie, we will all be on equal footing as we re-learn and experience the game again for first time.

Many of us will find out how bad we are at this game and will have to learn how things again – which is half the fun. So come on by on Tuesday Night in McPherson or Thursday Night in Manhattan, ask for a demo game, or check out some games & join the fun. May the Force be with you & hope to see you at the table!

X-Wing Miniatures

3 Ways to Have Fun with X-Wing (And Be Different While Doing It)

In this crazy current meta of bombs and Harpoon missiles, it can be difficult to find super competitive lists that don’t include one of those two things. Thankfully for most of us X-Wing pilots, the game of X-Wing isn’t just about being competitive but also about finding more fringe squads.

 

Dead Man’s Switch Z-95 Swarms


My current list-building obsession. You can take four of these pilot skill 1 guys, all with Dead Man’s Switch for only 56 points. With your remaining 44 points, the sky’s the limit. This is what I’ve flown twice now, and while I’ll admit it’s not super competitive, I think with some changes to the list it has potential.

Binayre Pirate — Z-95 Headhunter 12
Dead Man’s Switch 2
Ship Total: 14
Binayre Pirate — Z-95 Headhunter 12
Dead Man’s Switch 2
Ship Total: 14
Binayre Pirate — Z-95 Headhunter 12
Dead Man’s Switch 2
Ship Total: 14
Binayre Pirate — Z-95 Headhunter 12
Dead Man’s Switch 2
Ship Total: 14
Inaldra — M3-A Interceptor 15
Draw Their Fire 1
“Light Scyk” Interceptor -2
Ship Total: 14
Captain Jostero — Kihraxz Fighter 24
Crack Shot 1
Harpoon Missiles 4
Cloaking Device 2
Pulsed Ray Shield 2
Guidance Chips 0
Stygium Particle Accelerator 2
Vaksai 0
Ship Total: 30

After playing it a couple times now with decent results, I’m going to need to modify this list. Currently I’m working on swapping out Captain Jostero & Inaldra for something else as Jostero has a tough time firing off her Harpoon Missile at only pilot skill 4. I chose Jostero because her ability seems to be tailor made for Dead Man’s Switch, and when it works it’s absolutely hilarious, but it can be difficult to pull off. There’s definitely some to be had with Dead Man’s Switch Z-95’s, though, when you watch your opponent either avoid shooting a Z-95 that’s at range 1, or take damage if they destroy it. Also, even if you screw up your flying and do damage to your own ships as they die you can still have fun laughing at your own demise!

 

Fly “Bad” Ships

There’s a decent amount of balance in X-Wing right now. The meta is better than it’s been for a while even with all the bombs and missiles wrecking faces, but part of the fun of X-Wing is the crazy amount of experimentation you can have with ships and pilots that most competitive players will tell you are straight up bad. Truth is, they’re right. There are some pretty bad ships & pilots out there out there, like the U-WingArvel Crynyd, Imperial Boba Fett, or pretty much any Quadjumper pilot like Unkar Plutt. However, whether you’re playing against a newer player and want to try something crazy, or you’re just tired of playing competitive meta squadrons, trying some of the “bad” pilots and finding the good in them can make you a better player. It’s easy for people like myself who have been playing X-Wing for 4+ years now to only want to play what’s good.

This Imperial Kath Scarlet/Kylo Ren build is pretty off the wall and has multiple ways of dealing stress to your opponent (click on the pic to see the list)

 

Control/Token Removal

This is probably the most competitive option in this article. Stress is the most obvious candidate here, as there are plenty of hyper effective ways of dealing it out and it can reduce the ability of your opponent taking actions to drop bombs or take target locks for munitions like Harpoon Missiles.

TIE/D Defenders with the recently released Jamming Beam or Tractor Beam is pretty fun as well and may actually be competitive. However, what I’ve really had my sights set on for a while are ways to dish out Ion Tokens. It seems to me like this is an area where the developers have been super careful not to put a lot of power into. If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have one of your ships repeatedly ionized, you know how un-fun it can really be. If the developers ever make giving Ion tokens  super powerful strategy, I think that is when X-Wing may have some serious problems. With the recent release of Ion Dischargers and upgrades like Pulsed Ray Shield and EMP Device, upgrades and pilots like 4-LOM  and (oh God I can’t believe I’m going to say this) Dace Bonearm might even be slightly playable, in a really fun, silly, or trollish sort of way. The next time a play a newer player I really want to try a list like this . Just don’t bring Dace Bonearm to a tournament based on my advice, expecting to do well at all. You’ll probably go home in tears.

 

There you have it! X-Wing is an extremely fun game, but it’s important to remember to not get too competitive for too long; that’s an easy way to burn out and lose sight of the exciting experimentation you can have. So get out there and fly new ships!

 

 

 

 

X-Wing Miniatures

Why I Love Epic X-Wing

I love epic x-wing games. The balance of slamming the hammer of your jousting ships into the face of your opponent’s fleet while deftly slicing through it with your flanking ships is more pronounced when playing with more than the standard 100 point 2-5 ship squadrons. Also 20+ ships on the table at once looks almost excessively imposing.

Everyone in the community I play in has gravitated towards using Fantasy Flight Games’ Team Epic rules of 400 points per team (normally 200 points per player, 2 players per team) but with only one player per team. When games scale that large, the efficiencies of some ships like original TIE Fighters and B-Wings can overpower others to a point of imbalance. To counteract this, we all include at least one Huge ship in our lists to enjoy the sense of epic space battles while also maintaining a good game balance.

Building to 400 points requires a slightly different focus than a 100 point squad. Ships that rely on dodging firing arcs to stay alive have a harder time doing so when there are 10-15 enemy ships on the board, all hunting for targets to shoot. In a 100 point game, one ship taking an extra action or gaining an extra token can increase your overall action economy 33% (based on 3 ships with 1 standard action each). The same ship in a 400 point game might only impact your action economy by 8% (based on 12 ships with 1 standard action each).

With so many attacks, each individual ship has a higher chance of being taken out before it has a chance to have an impact in the game. High cost pilots like Dengar or Soontir Fel who have abilities that can provide a powerful boon over the course of the game, might end up being negative point sinks if they go down quickly in a hail of focused fire.

Two approaches to building an Epic list are to outfit the Huge ship(s) in the list first and bringing smaller ships to support the Huge ship or maximizing the fleet of small ships and squeezing the Huge ship in with just enough upgrades to support the rest of the fleet. When I started building my current favorite Epic list, I took the first strategy. If I was going to spend 100 plus points on a single ship, I wanted to get the most out of it. Here’s my current favorite Epic list, titled The Black Hand:

Raider-class Corvette 100

Cluster Missiles (Fore) 4

Weapons Engineer (Aft) 3

Tactician (Aft) 2

Proton Torpedoes  (Aft) 4

Quad Laser Cannons  (Aft) 6

Ordnance Tubes 5

Ship Total 124

With the Raider, I’ve tried to maximize its attack efficiency as much as possible by taking Weapons Engineer and Ordnance Tubes. This allows me to use target locks as resources to supplement the energy used on the Quad Laser Cannons and firing the primary weapon twice per round with a round of Cluster Missiles and Proton Torpedoes. If there are enough targets in range, this buildout will let the Raider shoot five times in one round, rolling a total of 21 attack dice. The rule for Huge ships activating last allows the Weapons Engineer to give me two target locks on the ride targets for that rounds ordnance shots.

The one slot that has flexed the most on this buildout is the Tactician. I’ve also used the IG-RM Thug Droids Team and a Breach Specialist to increase the critical damage output while also giving the ship the ability to protect itself from incoming critical damage. I prefer the Tactician however because of the amount of stress it can deliver each turn, hampering my opponents’ maneuverability and ability to take actions.

Captain Jonus — TIE Bomber 22

Draw Their Fire 1

TIE Shuttle 0

Ship Total 23

Captain Jonus’ inclusion in this list is as an extension of the Raider. His pilot ability allows the Raider to modify three of its five attacks each round and Draw Their Fire can protect the Raider from critical damage that is typically much more hazardous on Huge ships. The TIE Shuttle title is included for flavor, as Jonus is typically flown close behind the Raider and not often in the fight.

Captain Oicunn — VT-49 Decimator 42

Determination 1

Ship Total 43

Captain Oicunn is a bull in a china store early in the game: charging into the opponent’s fleet and disrupting the formation while denying actions and causing early damage for other ships in my squad to capitalize on. If he survives into the end game, the 16 hit points and 3 attack dice turret can be hard for the remnants of an opposing fleet to deal with.

Gozanti-class Cruiser — Gozanti-class Cruiser 40

Targeting Coordinator 4

Fleet Officer 3

Dual Laser Turret 5

Docking Clamps 0

Ship Total 52

The Gozanti’s job is to protect the other ships in the fleet and die first. It will charge in right behind the Decimator and try to run over any opposing ships unfortunate enough to get caught in its path. Once it’s pushed past the initial joust, it will launch the two docked TIE Interceptors so they can flank behind the opponents main forces. Once it’s served that purpose, it usually dies quickly to the focused fire it draws.

Gamma Squadron Pilot — TIE Bomber 18

Unguided Rockets 2

Ship Total 20 x3

The three TIE Bombers are the small base damage dealers in the fleet. Costing the same as five PS1 TIE Fighters (one of the most point efficient ships in the game) The three TIE Bombers with Unguided Rockets have 3 more Hull Points than TIE Fighters in the same slot would, but they sacrifice two attack opportunities and one attack die. I find the survivability of the TIE Bombers outweighs the loss of potential damage output.

A shot of Ben’s Imperial list and hey, he’s flying TIE Interceptors, too!

Saber Squadron Pilot — TIE Interceptor 21

Trick Shot 0

Ship Total 21 x2

I love TIE Interceptors, they’re my favorite ship in the game. In this list they bring up the rear of the squad, ready to chase down any ships fleeing the slower/less maneuverable TIE Bombers. Trick Shot lets them offset the defenders bonus when they shoot through the Huge ships on the field.

Soontir Fel — TIE Interceptor 27

Push the Limit 3

Ship Total 30

Soontir Fel starts docked on the Gozanti. The strategy is to launch him from the carrier behind the main fight so he doesn’t die too quickly. If he survives into the late game, his high PS and pilot ability make him a huge threat. He is nine more points than the Saber Squadron Interceptor, but the Pilot Skill advantage and action economy makes it worth it.

 

Turr Phennir — TIE Interceptor 25

Veteran Instincts 1

Ship Total 26

My personal favorite pilot. He starts docked on the Gozanti with Soontir Fel. While his pilot ability is not great in a game with so many firing arcs to dodge, I find his high Pilot Skill worth the additional two points as a wingman for Soontir Fel. That, and what’s the point of playing X-Wing if you can’t have fun with your favorite pilots?

I’ve flown this list about a dozen times in the last year and I’ve had a lot of fun with it. I’m happy with how well it performs and have won more than I’ve lost.

I’m currently working on a new Scum & Villainy list with the C-Roc and three Aggressors that I’m excited to try soon!

X-Wing Miniatures

Getting Started in X-Wing (For Under $200)

As more and more people are experiencing the joy that is Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures, people constantly ask us, “what ships should I buy first?” Fortunately, there are multiple competitive X-Wing Squads you can build for under $200 MSRP that are at least competitively playable in the current environment and, as I suspect, most of these squads will stay viable for quite some time. This is not a comprehensive article, however. There are many different great purchasing paths to success in X-Wing, and these are just a few. Also, most of these purchasing options will not include every card that makes your list super competitive, but they are a great start and, with enough practice they can all pretty good. I would highly recommend that you first get into X-Wing, however, you either do some research yourself with articles such as this, podcasts, or simply take advice from friends. Anyways, on to the suggestions!

Quad Sienar Specialist

First up we have probably the most competitive option in the game for $100 or less. Four of these little guys with Twin Laser Turret and the obligatory Lightweight Frame is only $60 MSRP, and as a a few players have proven in rather large tournaments, this can be a very effective list. Yes, it’s going to have some bad matchups compared to something like certain Rebel lists out there; a good alpha strike list could theoretically wipe a Sienar off the board before it even shoots, but not super likely. You’re not getting a lot of variety or list-building options here, but with a lot of practice, this is one of the most competitive options in this article. Total cost (including a Core Set) is only $100 MSRP, and that’s insane for the amount of enjoyable reps you could get out of these puppies, and that’s not even assuming you play with the TIE Fighters in the Core Set.

Core Set – $40

x4 TIE Aggressor – $60

Triple Defenders

Between Imperial Veterans, and two additional TIE Defender expansion packs, you could easily do two TIE/x7’s and one TIE/D Defender. Not saying this is the most competitive list, especially right now in the current metagame, but I do think it’s worth mentioning. For $130 w/ the Core Set there is some serious value here, especially considering you have two other TIE F/O‘s in the Core Set and the TIE Bomber in Imperial Veterans you can play around with.

Core Set – $40

Imperial Veterans – $30

x2 TIE Defender expansion – $30

TIE Bomber expansion – $15

Scum Aces

This is arguably one of the least competitive options on the list. However, there are multiple options at this point for a squad with three Scum aces. Picking up the following items, and you’re still at only $105 MSRP. This gives you tons of options to fly Scum right out of the gate and, with enough reps, there are a bunch of Tier 2 options (just competitive enough). That $105 price for all these gives you plenty or room to pick up some other packs, such as an A-Wing or Imperial Aces expansion pack for a copy of Push the Limit. My personal favorite option of these is Fenn Rau, Guri, and Talonbane Cobra or other cheaper K-Fighter pilot. The new Kimogilia adds some fun options as well. There are some great options here for someone looking to start with Scum.

Core Set – $40

Mist Hunter expansion – $20

Protectorate Starfighter– $15

Guns for Hire – $30

Ketsu/Bossk, IG-88/Asajj

If you want to run large-base Scum ships, here’s a great entry package for you. After the Core Set, pick up the YV-666, then the Shadow Caster, and IG-2000 packs. That gives you a couple decent options and that’s only $130 MSRP! You even get a couple really great upgrade cards out of those three ship pack, including Veteran Instincts and Feedback Array!

Core Set – $40

Hound’s Tooth – $30

IG-2000 – $30

Shadow Caster – $30

Rebel Junkyard

I’m a big fan of this archetype. The concept is simple: you take a bunch of janky, seemingly bad ships and throw them together and somehow you get a beautiful mess of a squad that can really ruin someone’s day. Start with the original trilogy Core Set, and that is important b/c you need Biggs Darklighter (yes, even after the recent nerf I think he is still very playable). Rebel TIE Fighter is a great for Captain Rex, the ARC-170, and the Wookie Azituck Gunship for Lowhhrick, the new Phantom II for action shenanigans (run Tactician on the Phantom II that you got from the Azituck while you’re at it). Since we’ve hardly spent any money, get an E-Wing for Corran Horn, because he pairs really well with Biggs and Ahsoka Tano. There are more great directions you can go with this, such as an U-Wing for the great crew upgrades, or the Heroes of the Resistance (primarily for Jess Pava) but the below ships are a great start for around $100. This is Rebel combo at its finest.

Core Set – $40

Azituck Gunship – $15

ARC-170 – $20

Sabine’s TIE Fighter – $15

E-Wing – $15

Phantom II – $15

Death Rey, Bombers, and the Eventual Scum Player

One of my main recommendations for a first time player looking to go Rebels is a Core Set and the Heroes of the Resistance pack (again, original Core Set for Biggs) From there you have lots of options, but I personally like the K-Wing expansion pack, the HWK-290, and the Scurrg H-6 Bomber. Yes, Rebel Captain Nym is just that good, and he pairs really well with Miranda Doni. At that point you might as well go all in on bombing and include the Ghost pack for Sabine Wren crew, bringing this to a total of $185 MSRP. Really though, this may be one of the best entries to the game of X-Wing in terms of the sheer number of competitive lists you will have at your disposal, and with the Scurrg and HWK-290, you have two Scum ships as well for when you decide to make that leap across factions (you still need to buy the Most Wanted pack for the HWK–290 cards/bases, but it’s a good pack by itself). Heck, if you want to go full on bombing, a reasonable purchase might be to pick up the new Resistance Bomber pack for Trajectory Simulator– it’s pretty amazing on Captain Nym.

Core Set – $40

Heroes of the Resistance – $40 OR Resistance Bomber – $40

HWK-290 – $15

Scurrg H-6 Bomber – $20

K-Wing – $20

VCX-100 – $50

 

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope you will take these suggestions to heart, or at least ask a friend who plays X-Wing, “what ship packs did you pick up first? Do you recommend going that route?” I firmly believe you can have tons of fun buying just about anything in X-Wing, but certain products like the above suggestions can be more fun and set you up for success. Happy flying, and may the Force be with you!

-Jed

X-Wing Miniatures

Getting Started with Guns for Hire

Hey pilots! Since Guns for Hire just came out for the X-Wing Miniatures game, I thought I’d share some ideas I have. These are not full squads, just single ship builds. This is going to be a two-part article starting with one of my favorite terrible-but-no- longer-terrible ships: the Kihraxz Fighter!

Cartel Marauder

 

Look, I’m not saying this is a great ship build. But imagine 4 of these guys zipping around the board and, if you fly them right, I feel like there could actually be a higher ceiling than you might think. With a barrel roll and potential shield regen, there’s some fun to be had here and there’s just something about this build that takes me back to the roots of what makes X-Wing fun. Other options could be removing the Hull Upgrade for an Ion Discharger and a Hull Upgrade which, now that I think about it, might be the better option, since you’re saving two points instead of one.

Just assume all of these builds have the Vaksai title.

Black Sun Ace

You can’t ever really go wrong with an efficient munitions platform- especially one that can get it’s munitions back and doesn’t need a lock on its intended target. There’s a bonus to Deadeye that a lot of newer players don’t think about: by not having to target lock, you’re not broadcasting who you’re going to shoot at. Why Concussion Missile and not Cruise? It’s pretty reliable, but honestly insert your missile of choice and it’s a recipe for success. Throw on Vectored Thrusters and Pulsed Ray Shield for only a point each depending on available points and preference but either way you have a pretty efficient ship. My only reservation with this build is that with the recent erratas and the coming meta changes (Aces becoming a bit more viable again) it’s yet to be seen how effective it’ll be.

Viktor Hel

Viktor will really have to prove himself in the coming months, but he has one Hel of an ability for his cost. A pseudo Rebel Captive, he can reliably deal out one stress on the first round of combat and fairly likely in future rounds as well. I think this is one where fitting him into a list is going to be a little tricky. However, he’s fairly well-costed. The above build is 33 points and seems to be worth it on paper. You just might want to run something really threatening next to him, such as a Dengar or Fenn Rau.

And there you have it! Those are three K-Fighter builds to get you started! I’d talk about my bae, Talonbane Cobra not honestly I think she’s a little more straight forward building out and she’s going to be pretty good no matter how you do it, whether that’s with Engine/Autothrusters, Pulse Ray Shields/Ion Discharger or my personal favorite, Cloaking Device/Stygium Particle Accelerator. They great thing is that you don’t have to choose just 2 modifications! So go out there and make the Black Sun proud!

Magic the Gathering, Pokémon TCG, Star Wars Imperial Assault, X-Wing Miniatures

To Netdeck, or not to Netdeck?

Netdecking is the act of finding a deck, list, or army, usually from an online source, and copying it. Typically the player is copying a relatively competitive deck.
In the world of customizable games, the term “Netdeck” gets thrown around like prejudicial slur. I’ll even admit that I have been guilty of that in the past, but I realized something recently that has completely changed the way I think about the issue.

Justin Phua’s Dengar/Tel Trevura list won the Fantasy Flight Games’ X-Wing World Championship this Spring of 2017. Will we see this list at every Store Championship?

 

 

 

I recently played in a Magic Tournament at The Village Geek and got crushed horribly. I’ll also admit that when I play games I can often be a get a little frustrated when I lose. It’s something that I have tried to work on over the years, because I want my opponent to have a positive play experience and enjoy their win. I wouldn’t say I am a horrible loser, but I want my opponent to thoroughly enjoy their victory, because if I win I would want my opponent to let me relish in it as well. I’m not saying I want to be able to brag, but there’s definitely something special that happens when two people are completely sportsmanlike; be it is the epitome of what makes games great from a social perspective. In this recent Magic Tournament I got absolutely destroyed and for some reason, I had a blast. So then I realized the reason I wasn’t butt hurt or frustrated: I wasn’t playing my own deck. It wasn’t even a deck that I researched and slightly modified. This is an extreme example for sure because I also didn’t even expect to win, but at at very basic level, I think an extremely valid reason to Netdeck is that it levels the play experience on an emotional level.

Aetherworks Marvel was everywhere in Standard…until it was recently banned.

When you play a list that you didn’t create from the ground up, taking hours upon hours to design and tweak, your highs will likely not be so high. It’s less rewarding to win with a deck/list what already has notoriety, yes, but your lows are also not so low, and not so frustrating. If you lose too much you just scrap it and find another without worrying about spending tons of time.

There are other reasons people Netdeck. Obviously many people want to win, true, but I think for some people it comes down to the amount of time it can take to create a list from scratch and practice with it. Why spend hours of time when someone has already cracked the code?

X-Wing Miniatures

Scum Attanni Aces list Review

Right now Attanni Mindlink is one of the best cards in the game of X-Wing Miniatures.

I’m happy to announce my new love affair in the game of Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures. After the recent FAQ/Errata (AKA “Nerfageddon”) which basically brought the four most powerful cards in X-Wing back to reason, I began thinking how I could design a list that utilized Attanni Mindlink in a way that took Manaroo out of the equation. Personally, I haven’t really been enjoying small base ships lately. They’re clumsy and too easy to block and often I don’t feel like the provide the value for their point cost that many small base ships do. So while I’m on a short hiatus from playing them and, at the same time mulling over Attanni lists, I think to myself, “why not include two of the most underplayed ships in the game?” So yes, I decided to bring a Starviper and a Kihraxz Fighter? Truth be told, I’ve been playing Talonbane Cobra for quite some time. I won a local tournament of 14 people with a Dengar/Talonbane/Binayre Pilot list some time back, and while I still enjoy that list, I’m looking to change it up a bit. So here it is:

 

Let’s talk about the downsides of this list. First and foremost, the disadvantage to this is a couple of the pilots’ dials. Obviously I’m talking about Talonbane and Guri. Old Terroch’s dial is about as good as it gets. The other two aren’t completely horrible, but the lack of a 3-hard turn can really blow sometimes. That combined with few green maneuvers can really be this list’s downfall. Guri’s ability makes her less than ideal dial completely tolerable when combined with Attanni Mindlink (more on that in a minute), although I can’t say the same for Talonbane. So why am I playing Talonbane instead of someone like Fenn Rau? Well to be honest, at the moment I only own one protectorate Starfighter and can’t give up Old Terroch’s ability. Also, though, I just have this weird love affair with Talonbane. She certainly isn’t the best, but she’s just good enough that when you play against someone who has no clue what she can do you can

Only a couple other ability in the Scum faction works with Attanni Mindlink as well as Guri’s.

really catch them with her pants down. This Talonbane build is very underrated in my opinion for only 33 points and is a quality of ship that I wish the Rebels had better options for at the save level. She can go down pretty quick but if you ignore her she will tear you a new one. Honestly as soon as I buy a second Protectorate Fighter you better believe I’m trying this list with Fenn instead of Talonbane. I’m already looking for a Jabba list to run Talonbane in so that her cloaking device will have to break twice (future post).

Both Guri and Talonbane Cobra have enough offensive punch to make this list quite effective. Talonbane can really come back to haunt you in the endgame if you don’t take care of her early, which can be quite difficult if you effectively utilize her cloaking device. People are often mistaken with the illicit Cloaking Device; in no way does it serve the same purpose as the Imperial version used by Whisper. Essentially, the Cloaking Device on Talonbane serves as a pre-movement barrel roll, which allows her to control range bands and get a free evade action (the equivalent to a shield upgrade for the same total cost). If you think Talonbane is unplayable I challenge you to try this build. It can be extremely effective in the right situation. Obviously, Old Terroch is just flat out annoying. Typically, my opponents haven’t tried to take him out first but honestly I don’t mind if they do. Now on to Guri. I’m starting to think that Scum abilities like hers were made just for her. She is absolutely devastating to low pilot skill ships and can be quite the annoyance for higher ones as well. Even better, of the eight or so casual games I’ve played with this list, she ends up doing the most damage. A range one shot from Guri with target lock and focus is pretty powerful, and she might even still have another focus left after she shoots! Her ability to allow all three ships to take a different action other than focus, then still give everyone a focus at the top of combat, combined with Fire-Control System is just amazing. Even more ridiculous though, though, is that all three of your ships could be blocked and they will all still get a focus token as long as Guri’s range one ability triggers.

Guri boosts to dodge a firing arc and still gets everyone a focus!

Above all, the best part of any Attanni Mindlink list is the versatility it provides. I don’t usually opt to play the most powerful things in a game. Instead I tend to play cards and upgrades that are generally considered tier 1.5 or even tier two and have little sympathy for people that only play what they think the most obviously powerful archetypes, then complain when one of their most loved cards gets nerfed. Can’t say the same for Attanni Mindlink, though, it could be next on the chopping block.

X-Wing Miniatures

X-Wing Nerfageddon: How Will the Dust Settle?

Vader might have an easier time against Defenders in the meta to come

The X-Wing world was utterly rocked a couple weeks ago when Fantasy Flight Games announced a new FAQ for our beloved Star Wars Miniatures game. In this new FAQ, they made errata on four highly competitive upgrade cards: Manaroo, Zuckuss (crew), the TIE /x7  (Defender title) and his eminence himself, the Emperor Palpatine. You can see the announcement for the FAQ here:

https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2017/3/6/bringing-balance-to-the-force/

Since this is a controversial topic, I’m going to tread lightly on these eggshells. Just kidding! I’m going to blast my opinion all over this post. Complete disclaimer, though, as a mostly mostly Rebel and Scum player I am currently taking a bubble bath in Imperial tears. Here we go!

Of these four changed upgrades, I’m going to say that the TIE /x7 title was the one that needed fixing the most. I’ve been saying from day one that FFG previewed this card that the free evade token for a negative two points was too much. Yes, the TIE Defender needed some help but something with it just didn’t sit well with me. Playing around 20 games against an /x7 Defender and a couple with one myself only reinforced my initial reaction. The TIE /x7 title in it’s original form was an example of power creep gone too far. Yes there is going to be power creep in X-Wing- it’s inevitable. However, the title went much too far. Stress didn’t do enough, nor did blocking. Honestly, I would have been okay with the title being changed to only allow for a few evade token if unstressed or if the Defender did not overlap another ship, but FFG gave it both stipulations and I couldn’t be happier.

This local Triple 8’s Imperial list takes a hit…but not much

Next all talk about I’ll talk about the second least surprising change: Zuckuss crew. Personally, I think he could have been a point more and not too overpowered, but now he’s on a beautiful sweet spot. You can no longer use Zuckuss crew if you’re already stressed. His ability is still incredibly useful, but it has a downside, no matter what ship you’re running it on. Ships like Dengar from the now dead Dengaroo simply don’t care about stress and let’s face it, there’s always going to be ships that don’t care about stress, regardless of whether you murder Dengaroo by cutting his knees out from under him (more on that later). Zuckuss is still useful and totally worth one point. How about a Tandoshan Slaver with Zuckuss and an Inspiring Recruit, for example? You can still reroll two evades and get rid of them in one turn. I don’t think many people are complaining about this one.

And now for the severed, bloody lower legs of Dengaroo I was just talking about. I think we can say with about 95% certainty Dengaroo is deader than dead. The whole strategy that made Dengaroo successful is that you could fly Manaroo around the board, boosting and rolling around and meanwhile, Dengar was almost untouchable. Now with the range one limitation, you will might have a couple range 3 shots on Manaroo. We might still see people try this list, but it won’t be winning worlds any time soon. The real question here is whether the recent and infamous Paratani will survive. I’ve never actually played against it, but my initial thoughts are that while it is definitely hurt by the change, is not enough to come even close to killing it. It’s all going to come down to what kind of engagement the Paratani player gets. Let’s say Manaroo is range one of a ship or two- she’s going to get a range one, three die shot on something, possibly with a focus. Meanwhile, Fenn is hopefully at range three with Autothrusters throwing three red dice himself and Asajj really doesn’t care where she’s at as long as she’s doing her thing and stressing someone. Manaroo takes a few damage and bugs out. The next round, she uses her ability to pass an extra focus token to Fenn or Asajj, making either of them more difficult to damage, and as long as Fenn’s Concord Dawn Protectorate title triggers he is an absolute beast. Yes, all these things have to happen but good players will make them happen. In terms of raw power level per point cost, it’s absurd that the amazing pre-erratta Manaroo costed only two points more compared to the already slightly undercosted Contacted Scout. Yes, range 1-2 probably would have kept her more competitively viable, but I think range one results in the most balance.

Finally, on to the most shocking change of all. Honestly, I did not see this one coming. From a Rebel perspective, I’ve hated Palpatine from day one. When he came out, Rebels just had few options to defectively deal with the unlimited power of what Palpatine could do to protect an Imperial Ace like Soontir Fel. I distinctively remember have my six ship Rebel list focusing all of its shots (which included a Twin Laser Turret​ double shot from my BTL-A4 Y-Wing) doing ZERO damage to a Soontir Fel at range three. Yes it’s super thematic that Soontir is dodging all those shots, but the reality is that this isn’t much fun unless you’re the one playing Soontir. Also, if you’re playing Soontir well, those ships shouldn’t have arc on you anyway! The fact that you could joust against that many ships and take no damage is absurd. However, as time went by and with the release of content like Feedback Array, the VCX-100 as a cheap platform for the Autoblaster Turret, Zuckuss crew, and my personal favorite R5-P8, Palpatine became less and less intimidating. So the question remains: was the Palpatine change too much? His ability now states that you have to declare, before you roll for a friendly ship, what result you will be changing a die to. Honestly, I was a little surprised they changed Palpatine over a year after he came out. Personally I think the /x7 change would have been enough to keep the meta diverse, but you won’t hear me complaining either.

 

So where do I think the meta game is going to end up? I hate to say this, but honestly I think we’ll be somewhere between Wave 4 (very distinct, divided archetypes) and Wave VII (TLT-heavy).  Twin Laser Turrets have the potential to do really well, but more than ever we have very strong jousters that, if flown well and estimate flight paths and ranges correctly, can completely dominate TLT heavy lists. Oh, and remember that thing called a TIE Swarm? Yeah it’ll probably be back. It won’t dominate and many people won’t try it, because only the really good players will know what to do with it, but it is definitely back. They simply couldn’t handle Defender-heavy lists before because blocking a Defender was just not effective enough, and once your Crack Shots ran out you had a really hard time killing a Defender flown by an experienced pilot. A-Wings with Crack Shot and Snap Shot? I hope so, but for now I think the staples will be strong: Regen, TLT’s, and yes, Imperial Aces. The Inquisitor, Whisper, maybe even Soontir Fel and Darth Vader will be back for quite some time. The verdict is still out as to whether Paratani will be dominant, but Attanni Mindlink is not leaving anytime soon. Personally, I’m excited to continue flying my Attanni Aces Build that I have had some success with recently, but I will show that off in a post soon.

Happy flying!

Jed