X-Wing: RIP JumpMaster 5000

When X-Wing fans were asking to “fix” the JumpMaster 5000, I don’t think they meant for it to be neutered.

If any ship out there needs an ice pack for all the lumps it’s taken recently it’s The JumpMaster 5000. In case you missed the FAQ news that’s been rocking through the X-Wing Community, two of the biggest nerfs to ever hit the table are taking effect next Monday, November 6th, 2017!

The first nerf is Biggs’ ability. It’s no longer Automatic, the owning player can only use it Once per game. That’s a pretty big deal – we could debate about the meta impact of removing player agency and choice vs a point increase or some other type of errata, but what’s done is done. I know a lot of folks feel like Biggs was the only T-65 worth flying – and I can’t argue with that. With his nerf the torch-bearer of the humble T-65 X-Wing has been gutted. However, I think the U-Boat nerf is probably a bigger deal because it nails an entire class of ships vs 1 pilot.

via Fantasy Flight Games

Errata is not undertaken lightly, even more so when it comes to Ship cards. However, the JumpMaster 5000 has remained at the top of competitive X-Wing tournaments for more than a year. Its ability to launch ordnance and its potent dial—made even more flexible by the numerous and powerful salvaged astromechs it can equip—have made it a very difficult ship to contend with.

With this errata, all JumpMaster 5000 ships ( Contracted Scout , Dengar , Manaroo , and Tel Travura ) lose both torpedo upgrade icons and the Salvaged Astromech upgrade icon.

FFG has removed 3 upgrade slots from this card – two torpedo slots and the Salvaged Astromech slot. That goes for ALL versions of this ship and not just the Contracted Scout. That STINGS. I don’t even fly the JumpMaster and I’m feeling the pain for them because this one cuts pretty deep. And it’s not the first time the U-boat got hit with the Nerf Bat.

The Deadeye Nerf

Around the same time last year, FFG set it’s sights on fixing the JM5K’s dominance of the Tournament Meta. They decided to go after a card that seemed to target the ship indirectly: Deadeye.

via Fantasy Flight Games (October 17, 2016)

Finally, over the course of recent tournaments, we noticed that the metagame has been radically shifted by a particular combo. Although there are many moving parts that had to come together to make this happen, the JumpMaster 5000™ loaded out with Deadeye, torpedoes, Guidance Chips, and a dice-modifying astromech (such as Overclocked Astromech or R4 Agromech) or crew member (such as Recon Specialist) is a force to be reckoned with. While not unbeatable, as tournament results have shown, this particular list has displaced many of the most competitive Rebel lists by creating an often insurmountable alpha strike during the first round of engagement. This has pushed a lot of viable lists to the margins of the tournament scene, to the detriment of overall tournament diversity.

A crucial card in this combo is Deadeye, because it allows the JumpMaster 5000 to circumvent the usual difficulties of acquiring a target lock. After much consideration, we decided the simplest and best option was to restrict Deadeye to “Small ship only.” Because the JumpMaster 5000 is currently the only truly effective large ship ordnance carrier, this added stipulation doesn’t have much effect outside of this particularly effective combo.

FFG put the hit out on the JumpMaster…

Twice now, Fantasy Flight Games has gone after this ship specifically. Was it warranted? Personally, I have no skin in this game (as in I didn’t fly it so I won’t be missing it). However, I know that it was a popular list for a relatively long time in the life of the game. Perhaps FFG felt like the ship was stunting the growth of the Scum Faction’s meta. When you have an obvious “go-to” ship like the JumpMaster why bother taking a Firespray, Shadow Caster, or Hound’s Tooth?

Did it go a little too far? Maybe. Removing BOTH torpedo slots and the Salvaged Astromech seems almost too harsh. But as ChahDresh pointed out on Monday, it’s really just math. He calculated that the approriate price of the JumpMaster should have been 28 points – by knocking out 3 upgrade slots, that brings it closer to it’s actual cost of 25 points (assuming a 1 point per upgrade slot ratio). I don’t disagree with his assessment either.

Is There A Silver Lining?

Well if you listen to the game designers, they still feel the JumpMaster 5000 is a “powerful ship” because it still has the following going for it:

  • Strong Dial (only white Sengor’s Loop in the game)
  • Primary Weapon Turret
  • Two Agility (it’s a Large Ship after-all)
  • Nine Health (4 Shields, 5 Hull)

Personally, I think the double torpedo nerf was probably enough. Leaving the Salvaged Astromech probably would have been okay. It would have meant the math was off and it would have been slightly more efficient than other options. But a choosing a ship should have some type of advantage over others, right?

Then again, that could have been a preventative measure so that they (the designers) could introduce new Salvaged Astromechs into the game without fear of making the JM5K a problem (again). Or the same could be said about the Torpedo slots. Who knows!? The only thing I can say for certain is that the JumpMaster 5000 won’t be as big a player as it once was – and I think that was the ultimate driver behind this decision from Fantasy Flight Games.

 

What do you think about the JumpMaster Nerf? Was it warranted? Did it go too far? What about increasing the points? What other solutions would you offer for the ship?

  • Garr Davies

    It was always a ridiculously strong ship for its points cost as a result of it’s dial/stats/upgrade slots (compare them with the YT 2400).
    That being said, I think the removal of the astromech slot was a step to far. Oh well life goes on.

  • disqus_yyglaTdo9o

    Good.

    Easy-mode flying for idiots.

  • Lexikon

    This is the main reason I’ve put X-wing way on my back burner. I can’t stand hard errata’s to card text. It was probably a mistake to release the JumpMaster the way it was, but when it was done it was done. I would have preferred to see a solution brought about through a new ship or upgrade to counter it or a new interpretation of the card’s printed text (really hard to do here) than to see the card changed.

    I hate not being able to rely on the text of a card in games that use them. For some reason it just bugs me a lot more than errata’s to games with unit statistics in book form.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah. Sadly there’s no easy solution for this. Maybe one day digital paper or devices will be cheap and last long enough to substitute. The problem is players want a game to be fixed, and sometimes changing a specific unit has to happen.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        I feel like FFG has too much errata. This game would be so much better if they had an app like Warmachine and Hordes.

        Then again, that would basically remove a huge part of their business model (selling you ships you don’t want for cards you do want).

        • ZeeLobby

          Eh. You can get most of those cards on eBay cheaply enough, but yeah, that is their model. Maybe they’ll be the first to finally bridge that gap between digital and paper, each card/book having a one time use code which provides a digital copy free of charge?

          I dunno. I feel like there’s gotta be a solution. I really like physical cards, but I want the game to evolve to a better place. Hmm

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            You can find cards online because people are buying the ship blisters and selling the cards and ships individually for a profit. 🙂

            I guess a scratch off could work but you would run the risk of losers buying a bigger box, opening it up, getting the codex, sealing the item and returning it.

          • ZeeLobby

            Agreed. Still cheaper buying the card on eBay than buying the ship. Like you said it’s part of their product. I personally don’t support such systems, but it’s up to the buyer to decide I guess.

            I think scratch offs would be fine. I mean it’d be the equivalent to opening and x-wing package in store to steal a card, and you can do that now. Codes tend to work when bought from eBay. Selling items falsely will most likely see your eBay and PayPal accounts banned. It’ll still least hurt your rating to the point where you’ve profited a couple bucks and that’s all. The biggest risk would be if someone found a generator to steal codes before they’re scratched, but there’s ways around that too.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Very true.

            I would actually really like that system.

            Email FFG and make it happen, Zee 😛

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. You know I will. I’m sure it’s been brought up already, but it doesn’t hurt to push. Id love to see that system in Legion, which I will probably play.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Yes. We need it in legion!

          • ZeeLobby

            If one of the larger companies just did it, and it worked, I’m sure others would follow suit.

  • Dennis J. Pechavar

    Give back the mech with the title card as the cost of the title would justify that. Heck up the cost of the ship instead of removing things would have made me happy.

    • Russell Lehman

      I agree, if they had just added 4 squad points to each pilot, or maybe 4 squad points and taken 1 torpedo. Our local meta moved away from the Triple jump a while ago. I’ve seen 4 TIE Bombers ran with same, or great effect.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    I feel like just upping the cost of the ship would have gone a long way to rectifying this problem.

  • Liam Lofty Loftus

    X-wing needs a V2 release, it’s over bloated now and we’re at a part that rules interpretation and pre release faq requests seem to be the norm (like the interactions, or not between tlt and harpoon) and the flow chart not being clear on what goes where and the ambiguity of wording on cards, as backburned the game for me

  • Oh boo-hoo, Scum lost one of their many OP options.

  • M.Smith

    This is a direct result of poor play testing prior to release.

    X-Wing definitely needs a clean-up and a Version 2 release. Or even go the Battletech route and break it out in Era’s. We’re getting a lot more turnout at our FLGS running OT only scenarios/tournaments than we are full meta. To the point where the store owner has adjusted his order quantities for new releases down.

  • Spacefrisian

    So now maybe releas a pack of cards with updates? Its annoying going back and forth.

  • >”I don’t think they meant for it to be neutered.”

    Oh yes, yes we did. Good riddance to bad design.