X-Wing: Why Players REALLY Buy Certain Ships

Today we talk about the cards that really drive X-wing’s purchases.

In a previous article I discussed the power of Meta-Wing as a research tool. With it, you can uncover how people are having success with various lists, ships, and upgrades.

Ah, upgrades. While I try my best not to buy a ship unless I plan to fly that ship, I’ve certainly felt the siren song of upgrade cards. It is certainly the case that most Starviper and Misthunter purchases were motivated by cardboard rather than plastic, and there are surely a huge number of Imperial Raiders and Rebel Transports in people’s collections that have never seen a tabletop.

So let’s play a little game. There are 61 releases for this game: two core sets, 48 ship packs, 5 epic ships, 5 aces packs, and the Most Wanted oddity. Let’s go through each of them using Meta-Wing’s numbers to determine the star of each release. Let’s find out which cards are the true stars of these expansions, based on how people have been playing the last year.

A Few Rules:

  • No duplication. Push the Limit, for example, would headline every release it comes in—but where’s the fun in that?
  • No ship-only titles. Such cards can be seen as an inherent part of their ship, so they don’t count for this exercise.
  • Limit one per release. This disproportionately hurts some releases. The Millennium Falcon has the holy trinity of Veteran Instincts, Engine Upgrade, and Gunner; having to choose only one of those is a bummer for the Falcon, especially when some other expansions are a wasteland. If we don’t have this rule, though, we’d have to establish some arbitrary threshold for inclusion that would complicate things. Also, the injustices of this rule are balanced by the “no duplicates” rule. A little author’s discretion will help matters here.

Here we go!

Core Set: R2-D2… the best-in-slot droid triumphs again.
X-Wing: Proton Torpedoes… a paucity of options is the true winner.
Y-Wing: R2 Astromech… not a great pack, honestly.
TIE Fighter: Determination… seems legit. Better than Swarm Tactics, anyway.
TIE Advanced: Concussion Missiles… did you know there was a time when Rebel players were upset the Imperials were hogging all the missiles? I swear it happened.

YT-1300: Draw Their Fire… with the importance of crits over the last year, this surprise upset swoops in! Besides, many of the formerly-unique cards of this expansion have been reprinted, but not this one.
A-Wing: Push the Limit… game-defining card defines the game.
Slave 1: Veteran Instincts… PS races come and go, but you’re never wrong for having it available.
TIE Interceptor: Daredevil… when this is your best card, it sucks to be you.
B-Wing: Fire Control System… it never goes out of style.

HWK-290: Intelligence Agent… there were some pretty awful cards in this pack, but this one’s a keeper.
Lambda: Heavy Laser Cannon… more dakka! MORE!
TIE Bomber: Seismic Charges… Bombs and more bombs, I always say.
Rebel Transport: R4-D6… per the rules, this guy’s in thanks to his use on Biggs, but with Biggles gone, he might be too. Count on R3-A2 to scoop this title soon.
E-Wing: Advanced Sensors… in two waves we basically fulfilled the Systems slot’s destiny.

Z-95: Decoy… good golly Miss Molly, we’re in gimmick territory!
TIE Phantom: Tactician… Ironically, the Rebels have been the ones to make this card really shine.
Defender: Predator… rarely a wrong choice. When in doubt, Predator.
Rebel Aces: Jan Ors… given a real run for his money by her partner Kyle Katarn.
Imperial Aces: Hull Upgrade… the winner by technicality over the true number one, those extra copies of Push the Limit (no repeats!)

Tantive IV: C-3PO… hooray for this being a tournament prize, because having this useful card being the only decent one in an epic expansion is a harsh fate.
YT-2400: Lone Wolf… a favorite of two-ship lists for years (and years to come, no doubt).
Decimator: Ysanne Isard… this ship is far more known for the stuff you put on it than the stuff that comes with it.
Most Wanted: K4 Security Droid… a little author’s discretion here, given the Jumpmaster nerf that crashed R4 Agromech. As always, Scum-only crew options are gangbusters.
Starviper: Autothrusters… the poster boy for this exercise.

IG-2000: Accuracy Corrector… Oddly, one of the least-used cards on the Aggressor itself.
Scyk Interceptor: Stealth Device… you know, one of those upgrades you’d probably never actually give a Scyk.
TFA Core: BB-8… droids again! Rebel scum…
T-70: Integrated Astromech… saving the X-Wing, take one!
TIE/fo: Juke… nearly even with Comms Relay. Gee, I wonder why? *cough* Omega Leader *cough*

Khiraxz: Crack Shot… the swarm ship’s salvation sold a lot of unwanted Scum small ships
YV-666: Glitterstim… drugs are bad, except when they’re good, apparently.
K-Wing: Twin Laser Turret… a game-changing card if ever there was one.
TIE Punisher: Extra Munitions… typically, the best card in the Punisher box is one that boosts other cards, just like you buy the Punisher for stuff you use on other ships.
Imperial Raider: Palpatine… His Darkside-ness abides.

Ghost: Sabine Wren… the enabler for an entire archetype is no mere upgrade card, she is Queen Sabine. Bow, knaves.
TAP: Guidance Chips… bringing ordnance back to the tabletop in style.
Jumpmaster: Attanni Mindlink… even in nerfed form this card is gangbusters.
Misthunter: 4-LOM… though Adaptability might make a comeback, this sneaky guy has long been a special something to accompany Scum’s big ships. Combo with Ion Discharger for great justice.
Heroes of the Resistance: Rey… she does the job.

Imperial Veterans: Long Range Scanners… in an expansion dominated by reprints and titles, this diamond in the rough has shone through.
ARC: Recon Specialist… for such a solid, strong ship, it has shockingly bad card support.
TIE/sf: Collision Detector… not a great pack, but a zero-cost upgrade in an odd slot? Sounds good to me.
Protectorate: Fearlessness… out of a massive two options!
Lancer: Latts Razi… although she very nearly tripped the “no integral parts of a ship” rule, given how tightly she’s glued to Assajj.
Captured TIE: none. The only one is VI, but that’s prohibited by our rules. The other cards fell flatter than one of Jar-Jar’s jokes. Okay, EMP Device, if you insist.

U-Wing: Expertise… Especially beloved by ships that can make more than one attack. Like not-the-U-Wing.
Upsilon: Kylo Ren… in Soviet Russia, Dark Side shows you!
TIE Striker: Lightweight Frame… the TIE/sf is grateful for the Striker’s existence, yes indeed.
Quadjumper: Scavenger Crane… making one-use-only cards multi-use is hilarious.
Auzituck: Selflessness… even though it usually appears on the Auzituck, it doesn’t *have* to.

TIE Aggressor: Intensity… not actually true, but Lightweight Frame and TLT are already taken.
Scurrg: Bomblet Generator… what a vicious little beast this is.
Guns for Hire: Harpoon Missiles… as you might have been able to tell from all the articles about them.

~How does this match your purchasing patterns?

  • marlowc

    I only play amongst friends, so I never buy a model that I don’t like, and plan to fly.
    Just print off the cards you want – don’t let them shamelessly exploit you!

    • Sythica

      Also just play with friends, and don’t even print off the cards. It’s just a game, and I can’t be bothered enough to try to win with the internet’s help. I do just fine without it.

      • marlowc

        The cards are a good part of the game don’t you think? There’s a lot of fun in trying out different combos, not from a win at all costs mentality, but just for a laugh.

        • marxlives

          You are right and that is some good advice for new people and maybe even some veterans. Buy the ships you want and print out the cards for the rest. Where can a player go to print off cards? Or do you just make copies with your friends?

          • zeno666
          • marlowc

            Yes, just download the image file, print onto thin card, and sleeve as per normal. Takes a bit of practice to get the size right, and a toner printer is better than a basic inkjet, but the cards look fine.

  • Borja Saiz Bustamante

    Why Players REALLY Buy Certain Ships??

    Because it’s a “Pay-for-win” tabletop game.

    Please next question a bit more tricky….

    • zeno666

      It wasn’t a question…

  • Agent OfBolas

    Why buy cards, instead of getting online builder with access to printable list? Easy and ellegant solution.

    It’s the way we play in our club, skill should prevail over buying factor.

  • Chaos_United_8

    I’m so over X-Wing. I got the ships I grew up with, not for the cards but for the nostalgia. I have zero interest in the new ships. I guess I can do that because I don’t play the competitively.

  • I buy the ships I’d like to own because I like their look and background (TIE-Defender <3) and maybe sometimes use them in a friendly game, not because they're good and certainly not because of cards.

  • Severius_Tolluck

    Meh, I am a Collector, I bought them all for as long as I was interested to have all the ships, especially the ones I deemed the coolest.