The U-Wing makes for a fantastic Blocker – but that doesn’t mean it can’t do some serious damage…
The Rebel U-Wing has hit the scene and it’s a really interesting ship to fly. It has a solid dial for a large ship – nothing crazy but having a “0 Speed” stop and a 4 straight means it can cause some headaches when it comes to guessing what it’s going to do. That ambiguity, I think, helps this ship to be a premier blocker in the game. On top of that the U-Wing, when loaded out correctly, is quite deadly in that role.
I didn’t create this load-out, but I’ve been messing around with it lately with some success. It’s a case where the more you fly it, the better you get at it: Practice makes perfect.
I want to start with Heff Tobber. I started calling him “Hoss Tobber” because that’s what he is when you use him right. Blocking is an art form and when you can force your opponent into bad spots with a large ship like the U-Wing you can really make them pay. His ability is really great for this role. Most of the time you’re going to want to use that bonus action to Target Lock…but we’ll get to that.
So how do you ensure you get the block? Well that takes a lot of practice and skill. You’ve got to know your ships which is why I don’t recommend this for new players. However, if you’re a veteran and you want to try your hand at blocking Heff is the man. But he works much better with some friends:
Cassian Andor’s ability is weird. We already knew that. Basically you pick an enemy ship at range 1-2. Next, guess aloud what that ships bearing and speed will be. Then you get to look at the dial. If you’re right, you may now rotate your dial to another maneuver. But, even if you’re wrong, you’ll still get to look at the dial! This is fantastic for trying to block ships. Keep in mind, the U-Wing is a LARGE based and it’s footprint makes it a natural for getting in the way. A ship that is touching it would have to move at minimum speed 3 to clear it completely because the base is 2×2. That’s a lot of space to cover and it can help you makes some smart moves!
Zeb is a fighter. Ideally, you’ll be able to face-block a ship with the U-Wing and be able to shoot it during your combat phase. This is why on your turn you’ll probably be moving first so you’ll want to opt for a focus token. Once you make contact, you’ll trigger Heff’s pilot ability giving you a free action. Choose Target Lock and open up with a point-blank 4 dice primary attack with a focus and TL ready to go! Oh and don’t forget, because your opponent bumped YOU, they probably won’t have an action either.
There are two other upgrades I really like with this ship:
I feel like this one is pretty self explanatory – they bump you and then you can roll a dice to see if they take damage. Coupled with your shooting them later on, that’s a potential 5 damage from your U-Wing in one round…not to shabby.
Enhanced Scopes I’m not a huge fan of – but it will ensure you’re moving before your opponent. That’s kind of the point with a blocker – even if he’s already on the lower PS spectrum.
With the Pivot Wing card, you’re looking at a ship that will run you 30 points – that leaves PLENTY of points left over for a couple ships. Here’s the rub – you’re U-Wing is a sacrificial target here. If it makes it to the end of the game, you should be shocked. So you want to take some wing-men that can really dish out the damage in that all important “bump” turn. You know where the enemy ship will be, now you just need to light them up!
Now, I’m not going to insult your intelligence here – you can figure out a wing-man or two that would complement a solid blocker. But if you’re looking for some suggestions:
- Corran Horn for the double tap option
- Norra Wexley/Finn can really lay down some firepower with a pretty consistent 5-6 die primary attack – Add Shara Bey for enhanced effect
- Poe Dameron is agile enough to get into a great supporting position and unload
- A couple B-Wings w/cannon upgrades can cause some damage to a stationary target and are tough to boot
- Jess Pava wouldn’t mind getting in there too
- Wedge is great for blasting away at a sitting duck
But really, take your pick – there are lots of ships that will be able to “spike” a target when the U-Wing “sets” them up for it. If you play your ships right, you might even be able to fly on to the next one…
If you are interested in flying a Blocker I would also recommend this read from FFG. It’s written by World Champ Paul Heaver and it’s some great advice on blocking and why you’d want to do it. Just be sure when you’re setting up “the Block” that the trade you’re about to make is in your favor. It’s not worth blocking a 12 point TIE when the counter attack is going to cost you the U-Wing.
If you find yourself in that situation just remember: The U-Wing is still a solid attacker even without all the bells and whistles. Take your shots from range and move in when your happy with the trade. Don’t force the block if it’s going to leave you in a worse position. Fly smart – and may the force be with you!
Have you attempted to fly a tough blocker? What did you learn from it and would you try it again?