X-Wing Tactics: Cold as Steel – A Review of the Aggressor
This week we will take a look at the future of the game of X-Wing with the fast approaching release of Scum and Villainy, and one scary looking ship in the Aggressor.
Greetings all, Ed here from NOVA Squadron Radio!
Cold, methodical, and murderously insane, IG-88 was one of my all time favorite villains from the Star Wars universe. But what does he bring to the table and just how scary is this ship in the current meta?
Cold, Metal, and Evil
In FFG’s most recent spoiler of wave 6 and the Scum and Villainy expansions, found HERE by the way, they revealed the awesomeness that will be IG-88 in the impressive Aggressor! So what is so good about this ship and what sort of builds will we see moving forward? First, let’s take a look at some of the basics and move on to the more interesting aspects of this ship.
|The Many Faces of Evil|
By the Numbers, eh, Letters
For the first time in any release to date, we have no generic pilots for the Aggressor of any kind. Only pilots named IG-88 and all have the same point cost of 36 points each. Now if you have just an ounce of EU Star Wars knowledge you’ll know that this is because there are four IG-88 droids and they all operate together. Also, that the Aggressor was designed for IG-88 to pilot, so there are no crew slots as there is no atmosphere on this ship! He is a droid after all, so no one else really could pilot this ship anyway.
So with no low level pilots to look at, all we have are just raw stats across four pilots with separate abilities. There are a couple of numbers that jump right off of the card for me, the first being those three evade dice! That’s ludicrous for a ship that big and means this ship will be as hard to hit as an Interceptor coupled with its native boost action. This ship really has the potential to be one of the hardest ships in the game to kill, but we will get to that in a little bit. It also has the ability to be one of the better arc dodgers as well thanks to that Boost Action. Sure, it only has a grand total of eight hull/shields, the lowest total of any large-based ship so far. But what it lacks in hull and shields it makes up for with those evade dice, native Evade and Boost actions, and upgrade slots.
What’s that you say? You’re not quite convinced yet? You want more reasons to believe this ship will be a pain to shoot down? Sure, let’s dive into some of the craziness that is the Aggressor! With the ship already having a native Boost action, that Modification slot is wide open, not needing to be filled by the usually auto-take of Engine Upgrade. So what do you fill that slot with then? How does Autothrusters sound to you? To add on to all of those green dice, and Evade actions, this ship can then flip a Blank to an Evade, making sure that those 8 hull/shields will take a good, LONG time to get through.
The ship also come with the all important Systems slot, opening up the doors to add things like Fire Control Systems or Sensor Jammers. However I think this ship will befit mostly from Advanced Sensors. Imagine trying to get a ship in firing arc that can use Advanced Sensors to Boost and then pull off the new Segnor’s Loop (S-Loop). That really makes it quite hard to determine where this ship will be each and every turn.
The three red dice on this ship are pretty standard for a large-based ship and Iggy will dish out quite a bit of firepower for several turns with them. Granted, this is not another large-based turreted ship, and thank the stars for that! Who wanted another one of those anyway? The Aggressor does, however, come equipped two, not one, but TWO cannon slots. Meaning Iggy has the versatility to bring more guns then anyone to deal with whatever threat he comes up against. Need an Ion Cannon on one turn and a Heavy Laser Cannon the next? Sure, take both and be secure that Iggy will take care of any problem you might have. Heck, with IG-88B’s ability you could shot with your HLC and if you happen to miss, follow up that attack with and Ion Cannon attack. There is just a wide variety of options and combinations here.
The ‘coup de grace’ for me with this ship is the non-Unique Title card ‘IG-2000’, which is an auto-take as far as I am concerned in any two Aggressor builds. Which I believe, right out of the gate, will be all the rage at the onset of the Wave 6 Meta. So be prepared! It allows the IG-88s in your squad to share pilot their abilities, making for some more pretty interesting and deadly combinations. One of the no-brainers here for me is IG-88C and IG-88D, where C allows you to take a free Evade Action after you take a Boost action. So, when equipped with Advanced Sensors, lets say, you could perform a Boost action, get your free Evade token, and then take either a 3 Bank or Turn S-Loop thanks to IG-88D’s ability. Both IG-88s would have the ability to essentially take two actions before that highly unpredictable red maneuvers. What? Really? That is just insane! It is just phenomenal, and almost reminds me of how crazy Echo is with her decloack lanes. Please see below the crazy positions this ship can pull off and then try to imagine trying to counter this. It is not as easy as you would think.
|A Deadly butterfly, with lasers!|
But wait, there’s more!
Take a look at that dial! It comes stocked with a full suite of 1s and 2s, and a metric ton of green maneuvers to easily blow off any stress. Where can you go wrong with this ship?
Ok, so what’s the Catch?
So while I have been gushing for some time now about how great this ship is going to be (did I mention how IG-88 was a favorite of mine) it does have some down sides as well. First, let’s go back to that dial for just a moment. Notice anything strange about it, save for the new S-Loops? That’s right; most of its maneuvers are in the 1-2 bands. Its 3s, while green, have no turns, and there is no 4 or 5 straights on the dial. Meaning this ship can be out run and ultimately, out maneuvered by a speed ship. Also, it only has the 4 K-Turn to fall back on if the S-Loop is not possible to pull off, say in high traffic areas of the board like the center where the rocks are, for example. Take it from someone who flies Echo a lot, that bank maneuver can be tricky to pull off with a few ships around and can be blocked just like decloak lanes can. So while an excellent close-quarters fighter, this ship could see some issues in the end game where it is simply out run and out maneuvered by other ships.
Also, as I mentioned before, it is not a turreted ship. Meaning it does only have a front firing arc. At a lowly PS 6, many of the good ships, turreted or not, will move after it and be able to react to all of Iggy’s crazy movement. That would include ships like Han, Dash, and both Phantom pilots Echo and Whisper. Meaning they all can still arc doge IG-88 and shoot before him. Which, in the event of the Phantoms they both will be cloaked by the time Iggy shoots.
So being a front arc firing, PS 6 ship with a not so fast dial are the key drawbacks to this ship and can be exploited by a good pilot. So you need to be aware of your weaknesses before you are to overcome them.
The Toolbox Build
Let’s take a look at list and see what we can do with this new ship.
So, while I am not sure this will be the trend, I myself really like the idea of dressing my IG-88s the same so that I have the same great options with both ships. However I can see the benefits of dressing them completely differently as well. For example if your one IG-88 builds has a serious flaw and your opponent has a counter to it, both ships are pretty much dead. So, to each their own I suppose, now on to my build for this ship.
I really feel like the Aggressor brings a LOT more drawers to its tool box than any other ship, maybe a few too many to be honest. So why not fill those drawers with a lot of great toys to play with? I like the idea of the triple action ship in this game, as they hold a special place of great power. Pilots like Soontir, Dash, Vader, these ships really are amazing on the battlefield and do some crazy things. So why not have two of them and double the power of your build?
IG-88C’s ability to give away a free Evade action is begging to have Push the Limit added to it to give it the third action. Advanced Sensors adds a lot of pre-dial options to help overcome Iggy’s mid-tier Pilot Skill and IG-88D’s ability choose to the bank or the turn for their S-Loop really helps to add in some confusion for where these pilots can be in a single turn. Autothrusters is just absurd to add to this ship, really making it quite the challenge to kill, what with its free Evade token and all.
So that is a good base to start with for these ships. The last 10-12 points are completely up to you on how you spend them. I could see someone tossing a Binayre Pirate in there just as a filler ship and to use it for blocking. However I am not in that camp myself, as I could see that ship as free points to give away in a MoV tournament. So I decided to take advantage of the Cannon slot and fill it with the super awesome Mangler Cannon! Also, with the Illicit slot available, I decided to toss in Inertial Dampeners to give this ship just another option to stall for a turn and really throw your opponent off.
Overall this build comes in at 98 points. I guess you could spend the final two points on a Seismic Charge on one of them, I supposed. However, I really want to have initiative with my low Pilot Skill and only two ships so I to stop there. Each of these ships is designed for the triple actions a turn (Boost, Evade, Focus/Target Lock) with a great dial to help blow off that auto-stress it will take almost every turn. Autothrusters with a free Evade token is nothing to sneeze at and will make for a fairly difficult ship to hurt. With the crazy S-Loop options it has available to it coupled with Advanced Sensors, it will make for a really maneuverable ship that will halp to overcome its lack of a turret. The Mangler Cannon helps to drop in much needed crits, as you really need to burn ships down fast with just a two ship build. Landing a steady stream of crits is pretty powerful and should not be overlooked.
I think this list will do well against the Fat VT-49 builds, Swarms, and most non-Dash/Han builds. I do see this build having issues with Dash and Han only because both of your ships move before they do and shoot after. This will give both Dash and Han the ability to arc Dodge Iggy. Now, that being said, with Autothrusters and Evade tokens IG-88 will still give them a lot of problems to bring down, so in the it will take some creative flying to keep Han and Dash in arc and return fire on them.
So what do you think? How would you run IG-88? What upgrades would you put on this ship and how to you see it doing in the wave 6 meta?
If you are a new player looking to get into the more tactical end of the X-Wing Miniatures Game, or an old pro looking to up your game, why not check out our podcast, NOVA Squadron Radio! Every two weeks we review what’s new in the world of X-Wing Miniatures. We break down those top lists from the big tournmament, interview X-Wing personalities from around the world, and review all of the new ships, cards, and combos that are all the rage in the meta today!