X-Wing: Wave 14 Rampant Speculation!
The first Wave 14 preview has been dropped, and you know what that means: time for another edition of Rampant Speculation!
I did a decent job last time around in terms of making predictions based on FFG’s initial announcement, so let’s try that exercise again for the new teased releases.
On the Rebel side, we have a “sorry” wave, with new releases for the X-Wing and U-Wing. The tricky thing for the poor U-Wing is that we don’t see any “U-Wing Only” upgrade cards in the spread, and nothing visible screams “This was designed for the U-Wing!” The only truly new content for the U-Wing is new pilot cards.
Unfortunately, most of the problems with the U-Wing are a function of the chassis, not the pilots. Arc-bound large-base ships start off way behind the power curve; the U-Wing’s lack of turn-around options beyond the stall-spin have made it very clumsy to use in practice, without a strong stat line or cheapo price tag to compensate. The pilot abilities of the two new pilots would need to be exceptionally strong to overcome these limitations.
So most of the action is centered around the T-65. Right away there’s something interesting: there are *five* copies of the new Cavern Angels Zealot PS1 pilot card. We wouldn’t expect to see differences in the chassis for these chumps, so the big mystery is the points cost. Speculation: 19 points. FFG released the Kihraxz as the Scum equivalent of the X-Wing with a 20-point price tag for its bottom-tier generic. It didn’t appeal: the five-Marauder archetype was dead on arrival. FFG had to release Guns for Hire to try and give the Kihraxz some help, and swarming Kihraxzes still aren’t a thing.
At 19 points, a PS1 X-Wing would be able to equip a cheap astromech and Integrated Astromech and still fit five ships on the table—an option that, at first blush, seems considerably stronger than Quint Marauders. If the other upgrades for the X-Wing are 0 cost (and they might be), so much the better.
Speaking of upgrades: we can see right away we’ve got copies of Flight-Assist Astromech, Crack Shot, and the U-Wing’s Pivot Wing. Targeting Scrambler has already been spoiled, while Saw Gerrera is plainly visible. For the purposes of this article, that’s all boring. Let’s look at the obscured stuff.
Th—Corr–: Considering the upgrade icons in this set, this is most likely a Systems upgrade, likely “Thrust Corrector”—some kind of defensive tool. Based on the text we see, let’s take a stab at the wording (bold text is what’s visible, unbolded is speculation): “When defending, if you have 3 or fewer stress tokens, you may receive one stress token to cancel all of the attacker’s [??].”
I’m guessing that this is stress-related is easy, since FFG typically doesn’t count on players stacking more than three of any token other than stress. The big question is, what does this enable you to cancel? Most likely it would be blank and/or eyeball results, with the scope of what it cancels moderated by its points cost. In this way, it would serve as a sort of reverse-Lieutenant Kestal. Granted Lieutenant Kestal hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, but his ability, as I detailed once upon a time, was tricky to maximize under the best of circumstances.
Ren—R–: I’m thinking Renegade Refit, a la Chardaan Refit for the A-Wing. That said, this is pretty clearly a title even though we can’t see the word title, just given the spacing on the “T-65 X-Wing” text we can see. FFG center-justifies its text; the only reason for T-65 to be over that far is if “title” is appended to the end of the line. As for the effect: “You may equip an additional Modification upgrade card.” Given that Servomotor S-Foils, below, is a modification, and that the previous X-Wing fix (Integrated Astromech) is a modification, and that Vectored Thrusters and Guidance Chips haven’t gotten as much run on the T-65 as you might expect given their power just because the mod slot is so congested, this makes a lot of sense. It wouldn’t surprise me at all for this to be zero cost. I worry about that, though: if swarming X-Wings are supposed to be a thing and this is zero cost, why only three copies of that, fewer than the number of Servomotor S-Foils (or, for that matter, Cavern Angels Zealots)?
Servomotor S-Foils: We can see that this is a dual-sided upgrade, which makes sense given how S-foils are handled in-universe. A close look reveals boost icons, T-Roll icons, and part of the flip condition: “At the start of the [?] phase, flip this card.” Ah, but what phase would that be?!
Well, combat phase would make it too flexible: notice on the “closed” side, it says to reduce some value by ‘1’. This seems pretty obviously your attack. If the Servomotors’ tradeoff is firepower versus maneuverability, allowing players to flip at the start of Combat would eliminate the tradeoff. (Too, it would make Kullbee Sperado’s pilot ability redundant.) What about Activation? Hm, maybe… but that might still be a little too good for something I expect to be very cheap. My money’s on Planning (though very nearly the same things is accomplished by End Phase): it still gives you benefits, but forces you to commit ahead of time in a way the other player can understand and adapt to.
The effect text is a little harder to crack. It sure looks like the first line talks about your action bar, but in all other cases where we’ve seen that (like Engine Upgrade or Targeting Computer) it takes two lines to spell out, which doesn’t match here. On the other hand, it sure seems like the “Attack” position allows you to treat your 3-turns as 3-TRolls, which is pretty tasty. If this card is cheap or free, you might equip it just for that effect!
Magva Yarro (thanks Wookieepedia!): Let’s just call the text now: “After defending, you may acquire a target lock on the attacker.” Seems pretty obvious given that we can see the word defending and “acquire” has basically one application in this game.
This one’s a bit harder: most of the new cards are more thoroughly obscured! We can see reprints of Decoy and Systems Officer (though two copies is probably excessive); Director Krennic can be plainly seen and Death Troopers are spoiled in the article.
Advanced Ailerons: yeah, calling the name because there’s little else it could be and it shares the TIE Striker lineage. This will be a TIE Reaper-only title, again like the Striker, and it seems to share most of the Striker’s text. It looks the same all the way down to the “white bank” text. Oddly, though, the Striker’s text spills over to the next line, while the Reaper’s doesn’t… is there no 1 ahead option? And there’s the text above it which changes how you treat some maneuvers. Mysteries abound!
All of this makes it nigh-impossible to speculate on the dial. A red two-turn is a rare restriction, something seen in small ships only with the TIE Bomber and Punisher. That, and the overall profile of the Reaper, is a suggestive fact. And yet—even if that gives us an impression, that might still completely misinform us of how the Reaper flies. After all, if you look at the Striker dial, you completely misestimate how that sucker zips about.
The other new cards are Tactics Officer (Imperial-only crew), ISB something-or-other (Spy, maybe) which will also be Imperial-only crew, and Multi-[?] Camouflage. The latter, given the upgrade slots available to the Reaper, will inevitably be a modification (and we can see small-ship only text). It’ll have to be pretty swell to beat out what seems like the obvious choice, Lightweight Frame… at least for the Reaper itself.
Hey, it seems like there’s something missing…
You’re right! They only announced a Rebel pack and an Imperial pack this time around. Where’s the Scum?
Well, it’s time for my biggest speculation of all.
SCUM. MILLENNIUM. FALCON.
It’s the movie tie-in ship, and it’s a slam dunk. Wave 14 likely isn’t coming out for another few months; “Solo” comes out in May. Historically FFG has been tight-lipped (or under-informed) in the interest of spoiler avoidance. “Solo” is a side-story and, from its previews, doesn’t look associated with the Rebellion at all. Besides which, the Rebels already have two copies of the Falcon, whereas Scum has none. This is silly given that such a widely-used vessel would seem obviously to have come into the hands of various unsavory types. There were no names to associate with those unsavory types before, though. Now, there will be.
Scum has long been enamored with their Scum-only crew options. Who’s ready to get excited for Scum-only versions of Lando and Han? That’s what I thought.
~Scum Millennium Falcon. Bank on it.