X-Wing: To Kill An Aggressor

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The IG-2000 is incredibly strong. Thankfully, though, nothing is indestructible – let’s kill us a robot!

The fears of many a player have been confirmed as the results start trickling in…

Beware of IG-88

At a small, local tournament celebrating the launch of the new faction a week ago, two of the nine players brought lists with two IG-2000’s to the table and sailed to the top of the leaderboard. Both of these lists, notably, featured IG-88C, who has turned out to be the most annoying of the bunch due to his insane action economy and maneuverability options. Putting Advanced Sensors on them, paired with the new Segnor’s Loop maneuver, was a punishing combination that really made its lack of a turret weapon almost irrelevant. Both of them looked something like this:

  • IG-88C
    • Advanced Sensors, Mangler Cannon, Autothrusters, IG-2000 Title
  • IG-88B
    • Advanced Sensors, Mangler Cannon, Autothrusters, IG-2000 Title

With the remaining 10 points flavored to preference. One of them ran Outmaneuvers on them, another had Hot Shot Blasters, and so on. I’ve heard that some people prefer dropping IG-88B and the Cannon in order to fit a third, smaller ship in – like a Binyare Pirate with one Ion Pulse Missile, which I can only assume was included to stop a “Melee Decimator” from potentially ruining his day with a lucky turn. Either way, they all feature IG-88C with Autothrusters (which seem to be an auto-include on any ship meeting the prerequisites – proof of how ubiquitous turrets are these days?), granting them some great survivability just off of being arc dodgers (boosted by the Autothrusters) and the free Evade token.

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Man, I hate this thing. I want six.

Hunting the Bounty Hunter

I don’t believe that the IG is indestructible, though. For a large ship, it’s surprisingly fragile – with 4 hull points and 4 shields, it’s slightly less durable than a B-Wing (due to its extra shield at the expense of a point of Hull), and relies mostly on its autothrusters and free Evade token off of IG-88C’s ability to stay alive, thanks to its 3 defense dice. Another notable weakness is that they themselves do not have turrets, making them – in theory – weak to quick arc dodgers such as the TIE Interceptor or my personal favorite ship, the A-Wing. They also have a fairly low PS for named characters, at 6 each, meaning that your more elite pilots have a chance to damage them before they harm you – and possibly, with Stay On Target or an Advanced Sensor Boost on some other ships, outmove them once their own movement has finished resolving.

Because of their reliance on keeping distant from the foe, attacks that aren’t manipulated by range are useful. The thing that made one player of them actually worry for a bit was when a friend of mine unloaded some proton torpedoes at him – unaltered by range, and with 4 dice – more than their unaltered evade pool – potentially causing a lot of damage. Taking off 2 of IG-88C’s shields in that attack was a quarter of that ship’s health, and since killing one IG will remove its ability from the other IG’s on the table, prioritizing your target is another point you need to take into account. Now, let’s look at some quickly built lists off of these theories and how they interact with the ship in practice.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the greatest player on a competitive level, but hopefully it’ll still give some ideas on how to deal with these monstrosities.

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Not the stealthiest of snubfighters, is it?

  • List 01 – Arc Dodgers. Based around the traditional PTL Soontir Fel (this time with Autothrusters just to mitigate Range 3 shots, which is still worth it) and now including Carnor Jax in an attempt to limit how much value the IGs could get from 88-C’s ability. Finally, the always-horrifying Echo, with Veteran Instincts to make sure he can outmaneuver the IG’s.
    •  Soontir Fel with: Royal Guard TIE, Push the Limit, Autothrusters and Stealth Device
    • Carnor Jax with:  Autothrusters
    • “Echo” with: Veteran Instincts, Stygium Particle Accelerator, Advanced Sensors
      • End Result: While the IG’s had difficulty pinning down Soontir Fel, a few flying mistakes by myself later meant that it ended poorly for the Empire – although before the end IG-88B was shot down, even if it was to lure Fel into the arc of 88C’s cannons.
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Man, I wish this thing was playable. Then again, it’d break the game over its knee…

  • List 02 – Missile Boat! Based on the best missions from Tie Fighter and X-Wing: Alliance, the ship itself might not be flyable (for good reason) but its inspiration could live on! The R7 Astromechs, combined with Dutch’s ability, gives the list a bit of extra survivability.
    • Dutch Vander with: BTL-A4 Y-Wing, R7 Astromech, 2x Proton Torpedoes, Ion Cannon Turret, Munitions Failsafe
    • 2x Red Squadron Pilot with: R7 Astromech, Proton Torpedoes, Munitions Failsafe
      • End Result: Surprisingly good! I ended up losing due to some bad rolls, but an early torpedo barrage on IG88-C ripping off its shields and one of its hull points forced him to play more conservationally, and if I’d predicted the Segnor’s Loop a turn earlier it’s likely that the game would have gone in my favor.
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The Andrastra, also known as “The Firespray with a better paint scheme than Slave-1”

  • List 03 – Bomberman, Ho! This is more of a funny gimmick list that seeks to blast the IG’s to hell and back through surprisingly placed bombs thanks to Emon’s ability, so it may not perform as well as others. Remember, Proton Bombs bypass shields! This also tries out a theory I had about Palob Godalhi – if IG88-C generates evade tokens, maybe having Palob steal them could be effective? Rounding out the list were two Binayre Pirates with Ion Pulse Missiles, the only reliable way to lock down the IG’s for a turn (12-point Z-95s with IPM’s are some of my favorite ‘filler’ ships in Scum and Rebels, it’s just so efficient for the points).
    •  Emon Azzameen with: Andrasta, Proton Bombs x2, Seismic Charge x1
    • Palob Godalhi with Autoblaster Turret
    • x2 Binayre Pirate with Ion Pulse Missiles
      • End Result: Worse than failure. The Z-95s flew into my own proton bombs, while Palob couldn’t get close enough to leach the free evade tokens in the first place. I’m willing to put the blame for this one on me flying like an idiot.

So, for the most part – my own stupid mistakes aside – the lists performed surprisingly admirably, considering they were put together quickly and I only had one game with each of them. With this in mind, I think IG-88, while powerful, isn’t quite as game breaking as people claim him to be and you just need to plan for his appearance accordingly. Remember their limiting pilot skill (and Veteran Instincts will take up their EPT slot, so there’s that at least) and the fact that they have no way to gain turrets, as well as the fact that if they are running IG-88C their action phase should always be fairly predictable (they’re almost guaranteed to Boost for the Evade token) and you should be fine. Give it a month or so, and we’ll see if any better counters have come up from the more experienced players than me.

What are your experiences playing with or against IG-88? Do you have your own counter to them, or do you see a way any of the three suggested solutions could be refined? Comment below!

  • Big Fat Fred

    I played two IGs in our store tourney at Titan Games’ Lichfield Branch. It was tough. I took 3 Bandits and Fat Han. I kept them busy with the bandits whilst Han flew round them whittling away. I lost all three bandits (obviously) but managed to pop one IG. After that it was a matter of arc dodging with Han until time ran out and I got a win with a 13 pt difference. I am not sure Han had the legs to last much longer. I think, had I taken my usual list XXBB things would have been easier, as with BYYY, especially with BTL-A4 Ys. There is no doubt though, 2 IGs is a force to be reckoned with.

    • Cameron Chapman

      Fat Han is a pretty good counter too, but not everyone likes flying him (or has access to C-3PO). What IG build did you run across, 88-C and 88-B?

      • Big Fat Fred

        No, it was B and D. They were difficult to pin down and it was entirely too easy for two of them to keep Han in their sights. The loop is a lovely manoeuvre. I am very impressed at how FF are continually updating the rules but don’t seem to have broken them yet. Although BTL-A4 comes close.

        • Cameron Chapman

          I love BTL-A4, and to be honest if it was on something that flew better than two bricks tied to a spritzer bottle it probably would be broken.
          That’s really interesting, I don’t think I’ve seen that combination (although IG88-D’s sharp Segnor’s Loop is a nightmare). Looks like IG88-A is the only one not seeing that much play

          • Houghten

            I regret that I have but one upvote to give to “two bricks tied to a spritzer bottle.”

            I love me Y-Wings, but calling them “Dancer Squadron” was just irony, pure and simple.

          • Erik Setzer

            Out of nostalgia, I downloaded the third volume of the X-Wing: Rogue Squadron omnibus last night, and was re-reading In the Empire’s Service (the first four issues in that volume), and Y-Wings just get wrecked so hard in that series. Yeah, the 181st took out a couple members of Rogue Squadron (well, killed two pilots, who were both new, and shot down two, who survived, one of them Wes), but the way they shredded through Y-Wings was horrible, especially when Fel talks about how the Y-Wing is well-loved “by those of us who make our living in the service of the Empire.”

          • Cameron Chapman

            The comics had a pretty damn high death rate to begin with, putting Y-Wings in it just made it worse.
            They’re treated a little better in the novels, but not by much. I think Horton Salm is the only one who flies a Y-Wing that doesn’t die.

          • Erik Setzer

            I was just flipping through Solo Command and came across a passage talking about starfighters lost to that point battling Iron Fist, and Rogue Squadron considered two pilots losing their ships to be “heavy losses” and then it mentions casually that the “slower-moving” Y-Wings were taking a beating. They never could catch a break. Heck, I think *one* survived in A New Hope, to two X-Wings (granted, those X-Wings were piloted by Luke “Last of the Jedi” Skywalker and Wedge “Best Freaking Rebel Pilot EVER” Antilles).

          • Houghten

            At the time, Wedge wasn’t “best pilot ever;” he was just a bit character who was lucky enough to have been non-fatally hit by Vader. Surviving the subsequent two films somehow elevated him in the eyes of the EU writers…

  • Spacefrisian

    You be suprised how easy something gets to beat if you are able to remove tokens from them, guess what HWK the scum can bring.

    And swarming them with cheap kamikaze headhunters also works (binaery pirate with deadman switch)

  • Houghten

    I’m not so sure the Missile Boat would break the game; warheads generally are an expensive strategy, taking massive payloads of them even more so. Maybe if it had some kind of title that reduced the cost of any equipped Missiles and Torpedoes, or was just undercosted to start with…

    I’d like to see the card for the SLAM though. Something like,
    Modification
    Missile Boat Only
    When you perform a Boost action you may do so using the 2-straight or 3-straight template. If you do so, you may not perform primary weapon attacks.

    • Cameron Chapman

      A friend and I were kicking around the idea of a 2-cost title for it that stops you from discarding the warhead after you fire it, which would certainly make it a hell of a lot scarier and more accurately reperesent the 80-odd missiles the thing can carry in the games

  • IGs are very tough. We’ve seen a bunch in our local tourney’s since the release as well. That always tells me something might be over powered. Unfortunately with Xwing there is no way to take something back once it’s out of the bag. If I had to point my finger at the issue it would be the boost. Without that boost(and the ability to use auto thrusters) they’re not nearly as frightening.

  • Jimbo

    Fat Han is hardly a counter to IGs when they run a turret countering card…

    He has 3 attack dice and will either deal 0 or 1 damage a turn against any competent IG player. Autothruster + 3 Evade + Likely evade token + decent HP isn’t good for Han.

    Cameron’s lists may have been fun and he had some correct ideas, but they are unfortunately ill-suited to take on dual-IGs.

    Countering IG lists is fairly straightforward
    • High PS Arc-dodgers (With PS 6/8 you want Soontir, Whisper, Echo, Tycho, Corran, etc.)
    • Swarms (even though ATT 2 doesn’t have a lot of teeth vs. AGI 3, your ability to clog the board, block, and close in for many R1 shots should be more than enough here.)
    • High Firepower (HLC and R1 shots on ATT3 platforms will punch through IGs defenses easily. If they whiff a dice roll, they’ll drop very fast.)

    Even though Autothruster is good vs. turrets, SuperDash (Outrider + HLC + Engine + Kyle + PTL) still has game here. He combines High PS dodging with high firepower and can therefore come out on top.