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Tabletop Spotlight: Shadow Caster

6 Minute Read
Sep 29 2016

swx56_previewThe Tabletop Spotlight is on the Shadow Caster Expansion for Star Wars: X-Wing!

Hello again BoLS Readers! The Shadow Caster is out now (along with the rest of Wave 9) and our friends at Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy brought one over to show-off what’s in the box!

Now, I’ve talked about this ship before once or twice.  Here at BoLS we even got an early copy of the ship from GenCon 2016 and an unboxing already. That said, this won’t be a typical Tabletop Spotlight just because I’ve already written my thoughts about the contents (which are the same high quality we’ve come to expect from FFG) and most of the cards. But now that this ship is in stores so you can go check it out for yourself! So I wanted to take a moment to re-examine this ship based on some of the new things we’ve learned since it was first spotted. Wave 10 is hot on the heels of this release, after all. AND we’ve still got the Heroes of the Resistance to look forward to as well…

Just for completeness here are the named pilots from the set:




Here’s the Title and probably a really important upgrade card to use as well:




I’m including these two cards because this makes the obvious build of this ship…well, obvious. The Shadow Caster is just a weird ship to fly. The Mobile Firing Arc takes some getting used to especially if you don’t take the Gyroscopic Targeting card because you have to spend an action to rotate it – you could just ignore it and leave it in the “primary” arc all game and take some other upgrades like Engine Upgrade (I’m a fan of this on Large Ships) or one of the other options. But really this ship is strange because it has a Tractor Beam without actually having the Tractor Beam:



Look, I’m not sure how players are planning on running this ship but it seems to me the ship designers had a very specific roll in mind with this ship: Slap Tractor Beam Tokens on things. I think this ship and it’s Tractor Beam tokens are a pretty mean counter to Imperial Aces. Why? Well, think about this in terms of what we know about Wave 10 coming hot on the heels of this ship:



Snap Shot is a new card coming and I think the Shadow Caster is a great ship to put it on. Why? Look closely at the title card again:

“After you Perform an Attack that hits, if the defender is inside your mobile firing arc and at Range 1-2, you may assign the defender 1 tractor beam token.”

It’s a lot easier to tag one of those Aces with Snap Shot during the movement phase because they haven’t had a chance to get any of their tokens up. Plus I don’t see a reason you couldn’t use the Shadow Caster’s Mobile Arc to determine the shot. And Snap Shot also doesn’t prevent you from attacking again during the actual combat phase. Fancy that.

On top of that, depending on your pilot you could REALLY do a number on an Ace or some other slippery ship. For Ketsu, you could apply that Tractor Beam Token during the movement phase, possibly another one at the start of the combat phase and possibly ANOTHER token when you target the ship again! Each one of those tractor beam tokens is also -1 to their Agility Score. It’s really hard to be dodgy when you have 3 less dice to roll…

But what about Ventress? Well forcing an Ace to start the combat phase with a Stress Token and a Tractor Beam token (again due to Snap Shot shenanigans) seems like the start to a rough turn. Plus you could tag them again for another Tractor Beam token if your attack hits during the Combat Phase, too. And if you happen to have Ketsu as your crew:


Be sure to cherish the look on your opponent’s face as they have to start the following turn with 2 less agility and a stress. Now if you have a way to slap them with some Ion Tokens for good measure, well…that just seems mean. So here’s a list designed to do just that:

The List: SHUT IT DOWN, NOW! 100 points.

Asajj Ventress – Lancer-Class Pursuit Craft – 46 points

  • Shadow Caster
  • Ketsu Onyo
  • Black Market Slicer Tools
  • Snap Shot
  • Gyroscopic Targeting

Black Sun Ace – Kihraxz Fighter – 27 points

  • Adaptability
  • Ion Pulse Missiles
  • Black Market Slicer Tools
  • Guidance Chips

Black Sun Ace – Kihraxz Fighter – 27 points

  • Adaptability
  • Ion Pulse Missiles
  • Black Market Slicer Tools
  • Guidance Chips


So why did I include the Black Sun Aces – well, I have a soft spot for the Kihraxz fighter for one. Secondly, they are natively Pilot Skill 5, meaning with Adaptability I can bump them both up to 6 which is the same as Asajj Ventress. That makes it super easy to fly these ships in tight quarters. On top of that, they have a Primary attack of 3, crits aren’t super important when you’re shooting Ion Pulse Missiles, but a free crit is still free hit. I tossed in Black Market Slicer Tools because once you’re out of missiles the whole Stress/Ion thing is probably done anyways. Why not have the potential to toss on some extra damage?

Also, I wanted a ship that shot missiles and not Ion Torpedoes because the Ion Torpedoes have a splash AoE – and sure, the Shadow Caster can take an Ion Token and nothing happens, but why risk it? I also figure a lot of folks are probably wondering why not just go with an Y-Wing with an Ion Turret? You could! But I felt like that was pretty obvious and I really like the Kihraxz fighter. You do you! (Also the Y-wing for scum doesn’t have a way to get 2 more pilot skill 6 pilots…that kind of puts a damper on that plan.)

So, realistically, I know this list is gimmicky. I mean, the entire point of this list was basically to force a ship to start a turn with a bunch of negative effects like Ion tokens, Stress tokens, and Tractor tokens. I think we’ve accomplished that goal. I hope that someone gives this debuff list a shot against some slippery Ace out there and has some good results – Snap Shot is KEY to pulling it off, if you ask me. Slapping them with a Tractor Beam token early can mess with their plans – and don’t forget YOU get to move them around as well! Because it triggers when THEY complete a maneuver, you can then toss them into an obstacle which could also cost them a key action!

Happy Hunting, X-Wing Aces!

Shadow Caster $39.95


The signature starship of the young and ambitious bounty hunter Ketsu Onyo, the Shadow Casterwas agile and powerful, but lightly shielded, trading heavy ray shielding for speed. Both the ship and its pilot make their way to X-Wing™ in the Shadow Caster Expansion Pack, along with three other pilots and twelve upgrades that afford you myriad options for outfitting your Shadow Caster with different crew and illicit upgrade combinations. Finally, the ship boasts a mobile firing arc, which offers some of the advantages of a turret, even while preserving a distinctive—and more point-efficient—play style.



Snap Shot + Tractor Beam Token = Bad Times for Imperial Aces.

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