Wednesday, 28 September 2016

X-Wing Miniatures Buying Guide - Part III: Scum & Villainy

===== UPDATED FOR FAQ 4.40 =====

Welcome back to the final part of my mini-series designed to help new players to X-Wing navigate their way through the maze of ships and upgrades released over the years that the game has existed.  I've already looked at the Rebels and the Imperials and now it's time to close the loop by looking at the final faction: Scum & Villainy.



New X-Wing players may not know the background of Scum & Villainy so here's a quick history lesson.  For the first two years there were only two factions in X-Wing: Rebels and Imperials, and then Wave 6 (Q3 2014) was dedicated entirely to adding pirates and bounty hunters in order to create 'Scum & Villainy' as a third faction.  As well as taking over the whole of Wave 6 with their ships Scum & Villainy players also co-opted some existing ships from the Rebels and Imperials with new Scum pilots introduced for the Y-Wing, HWK-290, Z-95 Headhunter and Boba Fett's Slave I.


It's taken a few extra waves of releases but the Scum faction has now more or less caught up to the Rebels & Imperials, and in fact they've arguably been the top dog for most of 2017.  Because they arrived late to the game my buying guide is slightly different for Scum than it is for Rebels or Imperials as I'm going to run through a few Rebel/Imperial expansion packs that have no Scum pilots but ships you can co-opt with pilots from Most Wanted.


IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION

Many ships/pilots/upgrades can be played with and had fun with and done well with that I'm not going to mention, just because if you don't set the bar quite high you wind up talking about almost everything and it stops being a guide, just a list of contents.  The bar for entry in my mentioning a pilot/upgrade is set pretty high, therefore.

If you want to explore a ship despite what I say, then please do!  If you think I've ignored a great card you love to play with then please continue to play with and enjoy that card!

Remember: a guide is not a set of strict commandment, it's exactly what it claims to be... purely a guide.


SUMMARY

  • GREAT - a fantastic pack, you should definitely have this in your collection
  • SOLID - you're going to get a good amount of playtime out of these ships
  • NICHE - do your homework before you buy, know why you want to buy it
  • AVOID - you can get this from a better place, or it's just plain a bad ship!


EXPANSION BREAKDOWN

Y-Wing
Scum & Villainy do have the best Y-Wing 'ace' in the game with Kavil but as you get both a Y-Wing model and his pilot card in Most Wanted that's not an incentive for buying the actual Y-Wing expansion.  Four Y-Wings with Twin Laser Turrets is a dreadfully dull list to fly but it certainly kills people - building that squad is pretty much the only time you'll ever want to buy a Y-Wing Expansion for your Scum fleet.

Also of Interest: Twin Laser Turret (K-Wing), Unhinged Astromech (Most Wanted)


Slave I
Although Boba Fett debuted in X-Wing under contract to the Imperials he's at his best when working alongside other Scum & Villainy pilots as the version of his pilot card in Most Wanted is much better than the one in the Slave I expansion.  The iconic Slave I probably sits just below being a genuinely great addition to your Scum fleet but it's a long, long way from a bad purchase once you've got Most Wanted, especially as it comes with some great upgrades (Veteran Instincts, Gunner).  The other scum pilots like Kath Scarlett are worth a dabble on the table as well.

Also of Interest: Boba Fett (Most Wanted), Recon Specialist (HWK-290, TIE Phantom, ARC-170), Engine Upgrade (Hound's Tooth, Millenium Falcon)


HWK-290
The unloved HWK-290 follows the trend of Most Wanted letting Scum & Villainy access stronger pilots for otherwise weak ships and in Palob Godalhi you get probably the one HWK pilot who has really threatened to push through into seriously good squads.  The HWK is still an utter dog of a ship but the Scum use it best and Palob's ability to steal an opponent's focus token has proven to have real use as an unexpected spoiler to some of the strongest tactics in the Wave 8 metagame.

Also of Interest: Twin Laser Turret (K-Wing), Attani Mindlink (Punishing One)


Z-95 Headhunter
I'm not personally a fan of the Z-95 and felt conflicted in giving the Rebel Z-95 Headhunter a fair write up as they do occasionally find a role as filler.  I've no such issues here, though, as if you want to play a Scum Z-95 you've no choice but to buy Most Wanted where you already get two Z-95 Headhunter models.  Even if you want to build a scum Z-95 swarm you'll need to buy more Most Wanted instead to get the scum pilot cards!

Also of Interest: None.



Most Wanted
Most Wanted was once the essential launching point for any Scum player but I no longer think that's true as many of the newer ships simply outclass what you can get from all but the very best bits of Most Wanted.  That said, there is enough of a selection of decent pilots (Boba Fett, Palob Godalhi, Kavil) and upgrades (Autoblaster Turret, K4 Security Droid) that you're likely to get around to buying Most Wanted eventually.  Quite when that happens will probably depend on whether you've already got Slave I and a HWK-290 lying around from your Rebel/Imperial fleets or if you'll need to tag them onto your purchase to really get the best from Most Wanted.

Also of Interest: Twin Laser Turret (K-Wing), Dorsal Turret (Ghost), Slave I (Slave I), HWK-290 (HWK-290)


M3-A Scyk
The Scyk has really benefitted from a couple of changes in 2017 - errata to the Heavy Scyk title and new pilots and title in the C-ROC Cruiser - thrusting it from a poor man's TIE Fighter to a pretty decent ship.  The best pilots for the Scyk all come in the pricey C-ROC epic ship expansion pack along with a Scyk model, but if you don't have all that money to spend there's still value to be had from the pilots in this expansion - I like Serissu probably a bit more than I should, for instance.

Key piece of information: the Heavy Scyk title in this expansion has received errata that gives you +1 Hull when you equip it.  The corrected version is in the C-ROC but if you've only bought this expansion don't forget that extra hull when you start taking fire!

Also of Interest: Light Scyk (C-ROC)


StarViper
For a long time the StarViper was the ship every scum player wanted to love but just couldn't. It has the stats to be great and it has the Boost and Barrel roll to be great but it just cost a bit too much to put onto the table.  All that has been fixed by the new Guns For Hire expansion pack, which brings a Starviper MkII title that knocks 3pts off the cost of the ship!  If you've got Guns For Hire it's still worth picking up the StarViper expansion anyway because Guri is probably the best StarViper pilot.

Anyway, none of that matters because you're probably going to buy one anyway for the Autothrusters that come with this pack.  It's why many veteran players describe this as an 'Autothrusters Expansion Pack' that comes with a free model of a Starviper.

Also of Interest: StarViper MkII (Guns For Hire), Fire Control System (B-Wing, TIE Phantom)


IG-2000
It's pretty fair to say that, Y-Wings aside, until the Punishing One expansion came along the IG-2000's were the only genuinely great ship that Scum & Villainy had available.  Running two IG-2000's is known as 'Brobots' because it's two robots who network and share their pilot abilities to make each other better.  Because of this unique ability you very rarely see just one of these ships on the table and they pretty much always hunt in pairs.  The IG-2000 is a very flexible platform and the specific upgrades you run on them can drastically change how they fly.

You can pretty much create an entire career out of just playing different variants of Brobots, but because they're so insular they rarely fit into other squads.  Buying the IGs, and the upgrades to use them properly, is more of a replacement for your Scum fleet than an addition to it!

Also of Interest: Veteran Instincts (Shadow Caster, Slave I, Millenium Falcon), Crack Shot (Kihraxz Fighter, Hound's Tooth, Imperial Veterans), Push The Limit (Imperial Aces, A-Wing), Fire Control System (B-Wing, TIE Phantom), Advanced Sensors (E-Wing, Lambda Shuttle), Heavy Laser Cannon (Slave I, YT-2400, Lambda Shuttle), Autothrusters (StarViper)


Hound's Tooth
Bossk's ride, the Hound's Tooth is a lumbering hulk of a ship but a big tough lumbering hulk that has done enough to prove it has a role on the table.  You can ignore the Z-95 Nashtah Pup that comes with the Hound's Tooth (it's a trap!) but the basic stats of the ship and it's three crew slots are enough to make it a threat on the table.  The ship's limited maneuver dial is it's weakness - anything that gets behind you will eat you up as there's no K-turn - but with potent new bounty hunter crew arriving in Wave 8 the Hound's Tooth has come back into fashion.  Not an essential purchase but a very useful one to have up your sleeve and you can fit the basic Trandoshan Slaver into your squad for very few points considering just how big the ship is.

Also of Interest: 4-LOM (Mist Hunter), Zuckuss (Mist Hunter), Dengar (Punishing One), K4 Security Droid (Most Wanted), Heavy Laser Cannon (Slave I, Lambda Shuttle, YT-2400)  


Kihraxz Fighter
The recent Guns For Hire expansion has transformed the Kihraxz Fighter from one of the worst ship in the game into one of the most interesting to play with.  In Star Wars lore the Kihraxz is a mongrel of the ship that is frequently heavily customised, and the new Vaksai title mimics that by allowing players to equip THREE modifications and providing a discount for every upgrade equipped.  I wouldn't pick up a Kihraxz Fighter without getting Guns For Hire first, but you won't go far wrong by immediately adding a second Kihraxz to your pirate fleet with this expansion.

Also of Interest: Vaksai (Guns For Hire), Deadeye (A-Wing, Inquisitor's TIE), Guidance Chips (Punishing One, Inquisitor's TIE)


Mist Hunter
Scum ships have a bit of a habit of retreading ground already trodden by Rebel & Imperial ships, and in most ways the G1-A Mist Hunter is the scum version of a B-Wing, with very similar stats and dials.  Just as B-Wings are at a low ebb the G1-A has had a relatively quiet introduction in Wave 8, though ace bounty hunter Zuckuss has occasionally proven his worth in strong squads.  Picking up at least one Mist Hunter expansion is a good call though, not just for Zuckuss as a pilot but because it comes with some strong upgrades only found in this pack: Adapatability and crew versions of 4-LOM and Zuckuss.

Also of Interest: Fire Control System (B-Wing, TIE Phantom), Veteran Instincts (Shadow Caster, Slave I, Millenium Falcon)


Punishing One
Before we get started there's two important things to know about the Punishing One expansion pack.  Firstly, the pilots and cards in here pretty much set the agenda for competitive X-Wing for 18 months after they were released.  Secondly, because they were so dominant they've received a series of changes and errata that mean the text on the pilots and cards in the box isn't necessarily the text you'll be playing with if you ever go anywhere near an X-Wing tournament!
Make sure you read the latest X-Wing FAQ for changes to all four Jumpmaster pilots upgrade bars, Manaroo's pilot ability and Attani Mindlink.
With that out of the way, this expansion is still one I would highly recommend despite all the changes and errata to make the cards in it less powerful.  The Jumpmaster is still a good ship, Attani Mindlink is still a good card well worth having in your Scum collection, and it still has some awesome upgrade cards like Dengar, Boba Fett, Guidance Chips, R5-P8, Rage, Overlocked R4...  The Punishing One is still a good expansion.  A great one, even.  All the errata and changes really mean is that I don't recommend getting TWO of this expansion right out of the gates, especially as there's no reason to have more than two copies of Attani Mindlink any more.

Also of Interest: Expertise (U-Wing), K4 Security Droid (Most Wanted, Hounds Tooth), Cad Bane (Scurrg), Rigged Cargo Chute (Shadow Caster)


Protectorate Starfighter
The Protectorate Starfighter is the TIE Interceptor's bad-tempered cousin, and in Fenn Rau it has one of the most genuinely dangerous ace pilots in the game.  The Protectorate Starfighter epitomises the 'glass cannon' style of play and that means it can be a little frustrating for new players to pick up because it's going to seem like it just keeps on dying too easily.  It makes the Protectorate a great ship to pick up once you're ready to start testing your piloting a bit more, and if you stick with it and take the knocks you'll soon be watching explosions on the opponent's side of the table instead of your own!

Also of Interest: Push The Limit (Imperial Aces, A-Wing), Autothrusters (StarViper)


Shadow Caster
The Shadow Caster's moveable turret arc makes it a unique ship to fly and both Ketsu Onyo and Asajj Ventress have proven to be both powerful and interesting pilots.  For a big ship the Shadow Caster can really dash about the table at high speed and run literal rings around the enemy, trapping them in your side firing arc.  The Shadow Caster ticks boxes as both a strong ship and a cool one to fly so I can heartily recommend it as one to pick up and add to your squad, either if you're planning on going down the route of flying a couple of big hitting bounty hunters, or want a centrepiece to hold together a couple of smaller wingmen.

Also of Interest: Push The Limit (A-Wing, Imperial Aces), K4 Security Droid (Most Wanted, Hound's Tooth), Glitterstim (Hound's Tooth, Kihraxz Fighter), Engine Upgrade (Hound's Tooth, Millenium Falcon)


Quadjumper
The little ship that could.  I can't really recommend the Quadjumper from a competitive point of view, but from the perspective of how fun they are to play I regret that I only have two thumbs up to give.  The Quadjumper brings a couple of unique tricks as it's the only ship in the game that can reverse AND the only ship in the game capable of pulling ships around the table with a Tractor Beam action!  Those two facts combine to mean SHENANIGANS A-GO-GO and for a relatively few points you can finish your squad off with one of these and give your opponents a proper headache about quite what the hell they're going to do.

As an added bonus the Quadjumper expansion comes with probably my favourite upgrade card in the entire game: A Score To Settle.  I bloody love this card, it's in like 3/4s of all the squads I ever make, and if I had a third thumb it would be joining the other two in the air as another reason to pick up this expansion.

Also of Interest: Intelligence Agent (Lambda Shuttle, HWK-290)



Scurrg H6-Bomber
Whether you're flying the elite Captain Nym or a lowly Karthakk Pirate the Scurrg Bomber is very attractively priced and you certainly get a lot of ship for your points.  A lot like a mini version of the rebel's VCX-100 the Scurrg is a really flexible platform that you can take in multiple directions, able to equip turrets, missiles, torpedoes or bombs on top of it's decent primary weapons and the Havoc title lets you swap a Crew slot for an Astromech and System slot.  Options are not lacking!  The ship almost immediately led to errata on the "Genius" astromech, which combined too effectively with Captain Nym and players are still working out the best ways to use the Scurrg without "Genius", but it seems a safe bet that your investment in a Scurrg will be money well spent.


Also of Interest: Twin Laser Turret (K-Wing, TIE Aggressor), Autoblaster Turret (Most Wanted), Veteran Instincts (Millenium Falcon, Slave I, Sabine's TIE), Advanced Sensors (Lambda Shuttle, E-Wing)


Guns For Hire
This is the first release for the Scum & Villainy faction that attempts to 'fix' older ship releases and bring them up to modern standards and try to get them onto the table a bit more, like the other factions have had with the likes of Imperial Veterans or Rebel Aces.  The benefactors in Guns For Hire are the Kihraxz Fighter and the StarViper and they've been given titles that offer discounts for loading these ships up that really make a difference to how good the ships are.  Guns For Hire is brand new in stores at time of writing so I don't want to try and predict just how good these ships are going to be, but in Vaksai and Starviper MkII, and in pilots like Thweek and Jostero, there's reasons to be hopeful.

Because so much of the Scum faction is based around large-based ships, Guns For Hire is a great purchase for those in search of a more 'normal' X-Wing experience in the Scum faction.

Also of Interest: Talonbane Cobra (Kihraxz), Guri (StarViper)




SCUM ROUTES

Scum squadbuilding is currently wide open so it's not really easy to recommend an acquisition route that won't mean you miss out on other cool stuff.  It's been a long time since Most Wanted was the near-compulsory starting point for a Scum squad because there's so much more good stuff going on than the old Y-Wings and Z-95s that the Scum used to rely on.


Probably the most important purchase, even now, is the Punishing One expansion.  Even after the errata a Jumpmaster is a solid ship, and the upgrades are fantastic - especially Attani Mindlink.  From there I think that, like with the Rebels, you've got a choice for whether to pursue small fighters in a three ship squad, or focus on the many big ships that are the strength of the Scum bounty hunters.


Three's A Crowd
If you're looking to add small Scum fighters to your squad then you should probably look to pick up the brand new Guns For Hire expansion.  In there you'll get a Kihraxz and a Starviper, with the essential new Title cards that transform both those ships from trash into treasure.  It wouldn't even be too much to then immediately go and pick up a second StarViper from its expansion pack - it's a forgiving ship, you'll get Guri as a pilot, and Autothrusters are a modification you'll get plenty of use out of.

Where next?  Well one of the benefits of the Scum faction is that there's not really any properly bad choices, but probably I'd be looking at either the Protectorate Starfighter, the Scurrg H-6 Bomber, or take a trip back for the old school Scum with Most Wanted.  The Protectorate Starfighter will test your piloting a bit where the Scurrg is much more robust, but it's probably fair to say the Scurrg benefits from you having a few more expansions and upgrades available to kit it out.  You could even manage to squeeze in one of the cheaper large ships, like a Shadow Caster or Trandoshan Slaver from the Hounds Tooth expansion!  



Double Trouble
One wrinkle in Scum & Villainy as a faction is that their large ships tend to be a lot better than their small ships.  Although there are a host of little pirate ships available it tend to be the ships belonging to iconic bounty hunters like Boba Fett or Bossk that are the strongest options and a lot of players have found good success by just putting two of these guys together in various combinations.  Dengar & Bossk, Bossk & Boba, Asajj Ventress & IG-88, Dengar & Boba... putting almost any two big Scum ships onto the table alongside each other can pose a threat to the opponent. 


If this is your chosen route then you should probably start with the Punishing One for Dengar as he's one of the best all-rounders of the big ships, and then Hound's Tooth makes a good addition not just because the ship itself is a threat but because in Engine Upgrade, K4 Security Droid, Outlaw Tech, Lone Wolf, and Glitterstim you get some great upgrade cards to load onto your big guns.

Once you've begun your big ships collection then adding the Shadow Caster or Slave I just gives you more options to switch around with, although adding Boba Fett to Scum requires you to buy both the Slave I expansion for his ship and Most Wanted for the scum pilot card.  At any point in this process it can be a good call to add a couple of strong crew options from the Mist Hunter expansion, and maximising your two ships might mean picking up either an A-Wing for Push The Limit or a Kihraxz Fighter for Predator, two staple Elite Pilot Talents that improve almost any ship.


10 comments:

  1. I think it's worth noting that Scum Z-95s have access to illict upgrades, which dramatically improve their ability to be relevant in the "go big or go home" meta we have. Rebel Z-95s are consigned to be filler or mediocre missile platforms. With the illicit, Scum Z-95s can threaten aces with unblockable damage via Feedback Array or the new Black Market Slicer Tools. Glitterstim allows them to operate as a more reliable alpha strike with ordnance (particularly N'Dru Sulak). I agree that Wave 8 was not kind to Z-95s, but I'm expecting BMST in particular to get Z-95s back out on the table to prey on Push The Limit powered aces and stress stacking ships like Dengaroo and 'Party Bus' YV-666s.

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    1. It's all fair comment!

      I just like Academy Pilots too much to ever bring myself to pay 12pts for the relative pile of garbage that is the Z-95!

      There are better reasons to use Binayre Pirates than Bandit Squadron Pilots but still... I'd almost always rather be playing almost anything else!

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  2. Big thanks to you for putting these three guides up, super useful info. Though my local scene is very casual I am exited to use some of what I have learned. Also I now know why there are no JumpMasters to be found at my store.

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  3. What's wrong about the Nashtah Pup?

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    2. I use Nashtha Pup often but I think it's the fact it's a 6 point cost for a Z-95. I personally like them but they're made of egg shells so fielding only or two doesn't do the trick

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  5. Are you planning on updating this guide like you did the Rebel and Imperial guides to reflect the latest nerfs?

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    1. Absolutely - life just keeps getting in the way!

      It's coming soon I hope :-)

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  6. I'm with Jorge, I'd love to see an update. I am new to the game, and was the lucky recipient of a pretty substantial S & V fleet. Now I'm in learn mode. I have to say that this was VERY helpful, and I'd love to know if anything has changed with the most recent releases.

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