X-Wing: Wave 11 Orphaned Upgrades Need a Home
Some upgrade cards are tailor-made for the ships in the same blister… but not all. Let’s find a good home for wave 11’s orphaned upgrades.
As usual, every card I reference can be found on Yet Another Squad Builder. If I lapse into jargon and use terms you don’t recognize, let me know in the comments below and I’ll fix my mistake.
I have a personal policy about not buying ships for their cardboard– I try not to buy ships just because of the upgrade cards inside. I will admit to bending the rules on occasion… *gives sheepish look at Heroes of the Resistance*. Sometimes FFG caters to this by packaging upgrades only people flying that ship would use. Sometimes FFG averts this by including super-desirable upgrades unavailable elsewhere.
The TIE Phantom pack did both of these things. Several of the upgrades in the pack– Advanced Cloaking Device, Stygium Particle Accelerator– were only useful for the Phantom itself. But the Phantom pack also included Tactician, cornerstone of the Panic Attack Rebel stress list and unique to the Phantom blister. This induced some Rebel players to shell out the bucks for Phantoms they’d never use.
Let’s take a look at Wave 11 through this prism. Sure, some of the upgrade cards will only ever be used along with the new ships. Breach Specialist is somewhat limited in its utility when only one small ship in the game can Reinforce. But the others? Let’s find them new and loving homes amongst the game’s existing ships.
New home: any ship flying next to Biggs
Biggs continues to be a mainstay of Rebel formation fleets, as he has been since the game’s release. One of the tricks Rebel players have long used to extend Biggs’ utility is to use Draw Their Fire to siphon damage away. It is somewhat dependent upon your opponent’s rolls, however, and it becomes a bad or dangerous idea once you’re out of shields. Selflessness gives another way to accomplish a similar goal– just as cheap, more predictably useful, but one-use-only. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes more favored for ships flying with Biggs… or if it’ll combo on other ships to replace Biggs’ function. (Probably not.)
We’ll skip the aforementioned Breach Specialist, and also Wookie Commandoes (no ship besides the Auzituck has both two crew slots and a desire to stay cheap) and move right on to…
Bomblet Generator and Cad Bane
New home: Emon Azzameen w/ Andrasta title
Emon has always been fun, but the poor cost efficiency of the Firespray has never done him any favors. Adding on to the awkwardness is the fact that his signature ship, the Andrasta, has been the inferior bomber to Slave I since wave 8. That’s because the torpedo slot on Slave I unlocks Extra Munitions, and the efficiency of EM has long trumped the flexibility of Andrasta.
With Bomblet Generator, that all changes. Emon with Andrasta can now put those little bomblets every which way, every turn, turn after turn, while banking on the Andrasta’s durability to help him grind through his enemies. Toss in Cad Bane for some extra damage output on the bombs, and…
*realizes that Slave I can take Bomblet Generator with Cad Bane onboard*
New home: TIE Punisher
It’s fair to say the Punisher has been… less than game-changing. However, it’s the only bomber (aside from the Scurrg with Havoc title) that also has a systems slot. That makes it the only other landing spot for Minefield Mapper. (I mean, you *could* put it on a B-Wing with Sabine, but….)
Happily, Minefield Mapper and the Punisher seem to work well. You can place down four different groups of bombs ahead of time and, unlike with the Havoc, it’s non-unique, so you could do it several times if you had a particular(ly insane) plan in mind.
New home: Y-Wing…?
I’ve seen some fun ideas for things like Drea Renthal with Synched Turret and R4-B11. Speaking broadly, however, I am somewhat skeptical of the Synced Turret. There are neat aspects to it, but I have to wonder how practically useful it might be. Most of the ships that could take it have limited maneuverability– that’s why they have turret slots in the first place– so keeping a target in arc is tricky. At the same time, if you’re not using that aspect of the Synced Turret, it’s the same as the cheaper Dorsal at range 1 and imposes the target lock requirement which can be inconvenient. The TLT beats it in firepower and threat, though the Synced is cheaper.
We’ll say the Y-Wing for now, but depending upon the Aggressor’s dial, it and the Scurrg might be the only ships that actually want to take this card. (Interesting thought: cheap Scurrgs with Synced Turrets and Long Range Scanners… and I’m totally straying from the theme of this article.)
New home: Khiraxz
Yes, we’re going there! The Khiraxz has the speed to deliver maximum impact with these things; if the enemy dives in close (the traditional counter to ordnance) then its primary attack will sting almost as hard. With the new Vaksai title, the missiles are cheap and Chips a no-downside add-in; with Deadeye or Mindlink you have flexibility in launching and/or superb accuracy, for a cheap 25 points. Cruise Missiles likely also go well on Z-95s (N’Dru!) if you want a ship that can do 3-turns.
New home: TIE Bomber
We could put the Punisher, sure, but there’s something intriguing about five Scimitar Squadron Pilots with Lightweight Frames and Unguided Rockets. (Related topic: I’m an idiot.)
New home: Poe Dameron
I’ve seen people talking up Jake Farrell with this card, for potential five-actions-a-turn shenanigans. It sounds exciting! It sounds fun! It sounds… doomed. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Jake, and he’s carried me to many an undeserved victory. The thing is that because he only functions as an arc dodger, he’s disproportionately dependent upon Veteran Instincts. The difference between “Jake Farrell: mobile and obnoxious pest” and “Jake Farrell: rapidly expanding ball of debris” is very thin, and depends (perhaps too much) on those two points of pilot skill. This is especially true with Quickdraw and Fenn putting so much upward pressure on PS these days. Moreover, if Jake wants to pull this trick consecutively, he has to not spend one of his tokens, and Jake wants to spend his tokens. But then, doesn’t everybody?
One guy doesn’t.
Poe depends so much on having a focus token that, in many cases, it seems to take boost right off his action bar. Unlike most ships that have been considered for Intensity, Poe actually keeps his token all round, so he can use it to recharge Intensity afterwards. The increased availability of boosting in turn encourages the use of the Black One title, making Poe even slipperier.
Poe is typically fielded with R5-P9, who competes with Intensity for end-of-round-focus-token-usage. You can still take R5-P9 on the understanding that you don’t have to recharge both cards every round, or you can fall back to R2-D2 (as in the Worlds 2015 winning list), or you can go even wilder and take BB-8. No matter how you do it, giving Poe his focus token while keeping his action options clearer is sweet.
Alright, so that’s it for this week’s article! Be sure to come back next week for…
Aren’t you forgetting something?
Don’t go there. Don’t make me do this!
Contracted Scout: Attani Mindlink, Cad Bane, Cluster Mines, Extra Munitions, R4-E1, 35 points.
~Great, it’s a bomber now. I hate you all.