X-Wing: StarViper Preview
FFG were kind enough to reveal more info on the StarViper expansion due to land in Wave 6 with the rest of Scum and Villainy. Here are my thoughts!
It’s my pleasure to write about the StarViper expansion for Scum and Villainy today. I have to say it really is an absolute pleasure, as FFG have finally taken the lid off of one of the new ships.
Letting us see 3 Pilots, lots of upgrades and above all else (in my opinion) the Dial!
Now any of you who have followed my writing or have listened to me wax lyrical on X-Wing in the past know how much importance I put on a ships dial and how even in this meta of Turrets and things to push at turrets how I still believe that piloting your ship well will put you on top more often than not.
And let me say we have a doozy of a dial to talk about but more on that later!
The StarViper itself is a really nice ship that has its roots (caught it this time thecactusman17) in the Shadows of the Empire as the ship designed and flown by Prince Xixor of the Black Sun.
Its transition into the X-Wing Miniatures Game has produced what is, in my opinion one of the best looking miniatures in the game.
The base level ship is the Pilot Skill 1 Black Sun Enforcer who clocks in at 25 points and when you look at the stat line its easy to see why.
3 Attack, 3 Agility, 4 Hull and 1 Shield make this a ship not to be trifled with.
There are lots of comparisons to make but probably the easiest to look at is the TIE Defender. It matches the Defenders Pilot Skill, Attacks and Agility whilst having 1 more Hull and 2 less Shields.
It also costs 5 less points than the Delta Squadron Pilot whilst having a Boost Action already in its quite busy action bar.
Whilst my thoughts on the Generic Defenders being a point or two low in the Pilot Skill department for their cost is well known (It don’t like to say that they are overcosted as I think the level they sit at is fine but would have liked a bump in PS) the StarViper does not suffer from this issue in any way.
Infact I will say it now that you will see lists with 4 Black Sun Enforcers, I honestly think the ship is that good. It has all the actions you need to arch dodge and backs it up with punch of an X-Wing and the Agility of a TIE Fighter.
The Upgrade Bar may be sparse but you are sat at 100 points for 4 anyway so who cares…
OK, so lets take a look at that upgrade bar.
Only having the Torpedo and Modification Slot available (Title card aside which we will get to, and you really want to stick around for that part…) means that if you did want to bump it up to the next level of Pilots (guessing at a 27 points cost here) to get PS3 you would have a little wiggle room to stick some toys on it.
If you take your lead from the pack Hull Upgrade is not a bad shout as it gives you a similar level of hit points to the Defender but is more hull centric.
The pack also introduces the Autothrusters as a Modification and the Ion Torpedoes as (unsurprisingly) a Torpedo Upgrade.
Autothrusters are the upgrade that FFG said would be of interest to the lovers of the TIE Interceptor and whilst I think they do add a lot to the Interceptor I think that its just going to improve the ones you already see rather than bring any new builds to the fore (OK, someone will try 5 Alphas with them but I have not been able to make it work too many times, as I roll too many Eyeballs on Defence meaning that I have to spend the Focus Token there leaving em short on Offense)
Sticking to the StarViper however and it is definitely better value as mounting them on a more rugged platform will get you more value out of them as they work each time you are defending as long as you meet the conditions of either being beyond range 2 or out of arc (turreted ships still have arcs) so a bigger base pool of hit points means more blanks converted to evades.
The Ion Torpedoes are another really interesting choice, being the first Ion based weapon that does not cancel its damage down to 1 Face Down and it deals Ion Splash to everything within range 1 of the Target Ship. It could be a potent tool but at 5 points and requiring the Spending of the Target Lock it will sit with most other ordnance as a situational upgrade.
A look at the dial reveals the true value of the ship.
The dial is packed with the stuff we like to see on a competitive ship, its got the full range of 1’s with the straight and banks being green, the full range of 2’s with a straight again being green, OK so the 3 is missing the turns but it has a green straight and than some other funky red thing that we have not seen before. Oh and there is a white 4 straight but who cares what the hell is that red…
Yes FFG spoke about it a while ago, the Segnor’s Loop is a thing now and they have shown us the full package of what it is bringing to the game.
FFG do a good job of demonstrating why its a good option in their article on the StarViper and whilst I have no shame I will share their pics here.
So where the Koiogran Turn can be harder to pull of for the lower Pilot Skill ship due to the potential for collisions (we have all done it…) the sheer versatility offered by the Segnor’s in the planning phase makes it a lot easier to pull off and more difficult to predict. To compare it to the Defender again its like the opposite of having that white 4K, they know you can do something tricky but its a lot harder to play around.
This dial alone makes me excited to get the ship on the table, in the same way that playing with the Defender with an Engine Upgrade is just fun, this ship is going to have that same feel.
The two named pilots that come with the set only add to the anticipation to start using this thing!
Guri and Prince Xizor have some really nice interactions that make them a natural fit together but that is not to say you should not consider them alone.
Guri lends herself (itself, she is a droid after all) to an aggressive play style, assigning a focus token to her ship when at range 1 of an enemy but when this is used in conjunction with the Bodyguard EPT that comes in the pack than a whole new level of synergy comes in to play that we are not used to seeing from Scum.
The interaction of getting a free token to then spend on Bodyguard makes for an aggressive bit of formation flying and as good as guarantees the ship that she is guarding is not going to be the target while she is still around, especially if that ship is Xizor and you stuck those Autothrusters on him…
Who in there right mind is going to shoot at an Agility 4 ship who, as long as he focused as his action can mitigate a minimum of 2 Damage even if you completely whiff your dice rolls. Clocking in at a most impressive squad cost of 65 points for just that combo does make it some what pricy and if you fail to get the value out of Xizor than you are going to be struggling to keep up in the damage race.
Leaving Guri at home on the other hand lets you use Xizors Ability for other means.
What about running a fully tooled up Xizor with Predator, Virago, Sensor Jammer, Autothrusters and a Dead Mans Switch and then 4 Binayre Pirate’s with Dead Mans Switches. Run them all in and see what if you can drag some stuff down with you, its not going to be pretty but is sure would be funny…
I have not yet had a chance to talk about the Illicit Upgrade and the new Sensor Upgrade that comes with the StarViper.
What, wait the Viper doesn’t even have those slots I hear you say…
Prince Xizor’s prototype StarViper was named the Virago and slapping that title card on to either him or Guri really ups the anti on what the ship could do.
OK, so you are paying a point for the option of paying more points which usually I am no a fan of but when you think that FFG value the Illicit Upgrade Slot at roughly 1 point on the Z-95 getting access to the far more versatile (currently anyway) Sensor Slot in the same package makes it well worth it.
Now before I go off on my excitement train I will talk about Inertial Dampeners and Accuracy Corrector. Dampeners is an easy one at 1 point its an extremely useful upgrade which I would not hesitate to add in to a list if I had points left over. It has the advantage of happening after you reveal your dial so on a high PS ship you can wait out your opponents maneuvers and than if you were going to crash in to what you wanted to shoot, you just stall. Sure you take a stress but you would have been losing your action anyway and at least you get to shoot at the little so and so who was trying to block their way to safety. Another, potentially overlooked advantage is that the actual maneuver you will complete is White and so you can pull this whilst already stressed unlike the Lambda.
Accuracy Corrector is a little harder, and without going deep in to the maths I will just say that 3 points for an offensive insurance policy is a little high for the ships that can take it but I still like it and am looking at lists I can include it in. (3 Space Cow’s with Accuracy Corrector, Engine Upgrade Autoblasters is currently leading the way…)
The general feeling of the players I have spoken with is that as there are no 2 attack ships that can take a sensor upgrade, its not worth it. My counter is that it frees you up to use your ships actions for flying and not have to worry about maximizing your chance of hitting. You pay 3 points to change your variance from 0-3 hits to 2-3 hits and that is without the need to focus or target lock.
Anyway, back to the StarViper and the Virago in particular.
So everbody loves Echo right and its because if the range of options she brings to the table when you are looking to out fly your opponent.
Lets have a look at the Virago equipped with Advanced Sensors and the dial locked in to a Signor’s Loop to the Right… (and yes I know its an A-Wing in the diagram, FFG didn’t do the work for me on this one…)
With the built in Boost and Barrel Roll, Advanced Sensors makes the final position of just that one maneuver really quite impressive and I didn’t even bother to include barrel rolling anything other than all the way back left and right!
The Virago really can dance with the best of them and if you stick it on Guri instead of Prince Xizor you get a free Focus Token just for starting the Combat Phase at Range 1 to an enemy meaning you can pull this crazy level of manoeuvrability and still attack with a Focus Token buffing your shots.
I am thinking of running the following Black Sun themed list;
This list is designed to really get in your opponent’s face and mess with them, while they have to worry about Guri’s impressive damage output and manoeuvrability you are free to have your initial pass with the Z-95’s and then just Feedback Array stuff if you can’t be bothered lining up an actual shot.
Whilst this list will definitely give up points if you play it correctly and focus on the biggest threats early you should be able to win and keep your MOV down enough to creep up the tables.
Thanks for reading and lets hope we get more info on the rest of Scum and Villainy soon and that they are just as exciting as this one was! If you would like to read more of my stuff check out The Dice Hate Me – Kris
Who are you going to field out of the two named pilots or does that tag team excite you more?
Does the Signor’s Loop add anything else to your thoughts and will you be buying 4 StarVipers to try out the Enforcer Ballet? Leave a Comment and Let me Know!