Wednesday, 22 August 2018

A Wretched Hive - Reviewing the Scum & Villainy in Second Edition with PhilGC

So it seems like a lot of people liked my review of the Imperial Navy's options for 2nd Edition, so much so that they were eagerly asking when I'd be reviewing the Scum and Rebel options.  And that'd be great but I've spent most of my time thinking about Imperial ships and squads and I realised that I don't really have half a clue about the other two factions.
Fortunately, though, I knew a couple of men who did and they've very kindly agreed to help me (and by extension you) out and share their knowledge and insights into their specialist factions!
I might be back at the end of the blog to chip in a few thoughts of my own, but otherwise I'm going to waste little time in handing over the reins of my blog to none other than Gold Squadron Podcasts inaugural Best Blog award - the man behind the 'such an x-wing hipster' blog: Phil GC!


Hi, Phil GC here, on someone else’s blog!  Other people are contributing to my blogs and David asked me if I would like to contribute to his.  Following on from his excellent post about ships of the Empire in 2.0 he asked if I could take some time to look at the faction that I am most associated with, Scum and Villainy, so that was an easy yes. 

Towards the end of X-Wing 1.0 Scum had a bit of a rough ride, all the wave 14 toys went to improving the Empire and those pesky Rebels, but 2.0 is a whole new world.  So many changes, so much that might just suit Scum.  There are still plenty of unpleasant tricks to be pulled.  I’m pretty sure that as a faction Scum might have the most options for controlling our opponents, but we also have aces to die for, some great synergies, and a vast array of.  Summarising every pilot in the faction is a monumental task, so as David did I have broken it down by chassis.  Please bear in mind these are just my musing based on what I have seen of 2.0 so far, and the landscape changes daily at the moment.  Initial impressions is what we have here and in 3 months time I’m fairly sure that the whole thing will read incredibly differently.

I’ve included a build per chassis just as starting off point for each ship, they’re not extensive, their probably not optimal, but I hope they give an idea of something the ship can do in 2.0.  Some are quite janky while others slightly more streamlined, but as I haven’t had a chance to fly all these ships multiple times and try a load of things out yet they are mainly just hypothetical.  There are better pilots and list-sculptors out there than I who will have seen combinations that I just won’t and I look forward to seeing what they do with this faction.

So, anyway, enough of that.  Let’s talk about space ships.  

(please don’t shoot me if I don’t really like your favourite ship, I’m a blogger, I have opinions, they are most definitely not always correct)

Aggressor Assault Fighter  (or as we all call it, “the IG”)

First Edition saw this ship reach unbelievable highs with notable pilots like Jesper Hills and Simeon Dellapina winning some pretty prestigious events with it.  When it was first released it totally changed the game, it was such a diverse chassis that you could do so many things with it, initially it was all about damage, then towards the end of the game it became all about control.  Autothrusters, focus, evade every turn made it tanky as hell.  Advanced sensors made it unblockable.  IG-B and C gave it fierce action economy and consistent damage output, a brace of these were a match for most things, but they ate all your points.  There were so many must-have options that you were never getting another ship in there with them.

Second Edition see’s massive changes to the ship.  Firstly it’s been promoted to a Medium base size (so is less good at blocking), no Push the Limit for action economy, restrictions with Advanced Sensors equally changing the way it functions.  Essentially there is no “this is the best build” default on the ship as yet, which will have list builders very excited.  More importantly because of the changes to the upgrades it looks like having a third ship in the list could well be an option.  As the IG is less tanky that it was in 1st ed the choice of third ship is going to be hugely important, but a HWK with some simple toys on it to improve their efficiency could well be something we see on tables a lot.

Pros – Versatile with a lot of options
Cons – not nearly as tanky as it was in first edition

Build to look at: IG-88 A and B, Advanced Sensors, Ion Cannons and Tractor beams.

BTL-A4 Y-Wing

First Edition.  A few people played with Kavil but the standard Unhinged Astromech with Twin Laser Turret x4 was the default.  It’s a list tried by many but at its peak Seb Brady was probably the most elegant flier of what many consider to have been a blight on X-Wing.  It was a little dull… and unlike the rebels who could use Y-Wings as the dependable and frustrating Stress Hog, Scum had very little use for the ship outside of the standard build.  Something else was generally a better option unless you were flying them en-masse. 

Second Ed.  The addition of the Gunner slot and a load of other options make the Y-Wing look like it is going to be a very good Jack of All trades ship, possibly a default “I need a half decent filler ship” candidate.  The rebalancing of their shield to hull ratio means that crits will land sooner and they will feel that but at less than 40 points with a turret you can do a lot worse than a budget Y-Wing.  Drea Renthal looks like she could be a must-have for anyone looking at taking a tie swarm as she is kind of similar to Howlrunner in what she does, but we’ll address the notion of the Scum Swarm a bit later.

Pros- Diverse build options for a multitude of roles
Cons – still has one agility and a worse shield to hull ratio

Build to look at:  Kavil, R4 Astro, Han Solo Gunner, Trickshot, Ion Cannon Turret

Customised YT-1300 Light  Freighter – Erm, Scum Falcon.

Welcome to the new shiny, put-everything-on-it-and-its-really-good ship.  So cheap for a basic one, I mean you can run four of these things in a list.  

Sure you’ll probably lose a lot if you do but you can. 

The two dice primary has come in for a lot of criticism, as has the less health unless you take the Espace craft, but when you look at crew combinations with it and the fact that you can have Scum Han (personally I thought the Solo movie was excellent) putting out A LOT of red dice a turn if you build it right then you have potentially a very good ship.  Even fully loaded it’s likely to be cheaper than a Rebel Falcon.  The pack includes some fantastic crew options though, so that alone makes this ship worth buying.  Expect to see “Fat Han” builds teaming up with the likes of Fenn Rau to be about (basically the Scum Version of the old Jake Han lists like Jack Mooney saw great success at worlds with).  However, in the early stages of 2.0 many of us are expecting the TIE Swarm to be king, and those of us who remember them in their 1.0 heyday know exactly how fast a 1 agility ship will melt in front of Howlrunner and her co-horts.

Pros – Fast moving, multiple valid builds, cheap
Cons – 2 dice basic primary attack, 1 agility, points add up fast

Build to look at: Han Solo, 0-0-0, Latts Razzi, BT-1, Rigged Cargo Chute, Engine Upgrade, Trickshot, Lando’s Millenium Falcon

Escape Craft

Is this the thing that just makes the Scum Falcon better, or does it offer its own rewards? Well, yes and yes.  The additional shield afforded the falcon are really useful, the fact that it can spend them and then undock and do its own thing is brilliant, and that ability alone gives you huge tactical options.  And don’t forget it can co-ordinate, which is immeasurably useful and the cheapest co-ordinate in the game.

It allows for a lot of tactical options on the falcon, do you lose the shield on the Falcon first, allowing L3 to kick in, or do you use the shuttles shields up and throw it out there as a homing missile?  The choice is very much yours, just as the Falcon will be able to do a lot of things thanks to it’s options the Escape Craft further increases the versatility of the ship.

Pros – Cheapest Co-ordinate in the game, makes the Falcon better
Cons – None really, if you’re taking a 1300 surely you take one of these too?

Build to look at: L3-37

Fang Fighter

In 1.0 the Protectorate as it was then, enjoyed quite a large moment in the sun.  When Mindlink was a thing Old Fangaroo (Teroch, Fenn and Manaroo) and Parattanni (Ventress, Fenn and Manaroo) were massively successful lists.  Mishary Al-Farris took Parattanni to the very top of the game when he won the UK Open in 2017.  Fenn Rau was a monster with multiple focuses and a target lock, and until the arrival of Nym he was a stable in tournament winning lists everywhere, then much like Miranda killed Soontir Fel, Fenn suddenly vanished.  The Protectorate only really saw two ships being used -  Fenn for his obvious hitting power, and Old Teroch who was fantastic against the TIE Defenders and their token stacks.

In 2.0 we have a ship that can dogfight with the best of them.  The changes to the old Concord Dawn Protector Title so it works at range one regardless of arc make this ship scary for a lot of people, and it is one of the answers to the TIE Swarm, simply because it has a lot of red dice and auto mods on it’s green dice.  It could never take an evade anyway so the linked actions of boost/roll focus make a lot of sense.  Fenn and 3 basics, or Fenn, Old Teroch and Kad Solus with Fearless can both do a LOT of damage to a bunch of TIE fighters.  It doesn’t have access to a lot of extra toys, but Fearless is pretty much the only thing it needs.  Changed to action economy says that lock focus is going to be a lot harder to get so that Fearless mod is going to be very useful.  Expect to see them a lot.  

If 2.0 become the dogfighting extravaganza we hope it will then the protectorate is going to be a very useful tool in the Scum Arsenal

Pros – arguably the best Dogfighter in the scum faction potentially the best Dogfighter in the game
Cons – Not a huge amount of upgrade options

Build to look at: Fenn Rau, Fearless

Firespray-Class Patrol Craft

So, my specialist subject.  In 1.0 the firespray was a great jack of all trades, which ultimately made it very expensive to get it to do what you wanted it to do.  With perseverance it was an absolute game winner but far more fragile than it’s 10 health and 2 green dice implied.  Some people have some success with it, but it’s place in the game was sadly less prominent than many people would have liked.

But now, ooooh, the Firespray is going to be a great jack of all trades, and kitted up it is still going to be pretty expensive.  That said it looks better, partly cause everything else possibly looks slightly worse.  The three titles available to the ship are going to define your build options a lot.  Slave 1 to me seems not great.  If you trigger it’s main ability then you’ve probably put your dial down wrong anyway.  Andrasta on Emon is going to be monstrous, and he makes a strong case for being the best bomber in the game now.  Marauder though, this it THE title I expect to see people using the most.  Adding a gunner slot, a re-roll out of the back, here’s my stapler and here’s my Boba card, sold, done, sorted.  

Again the load out is going to be important.  Reinforce and the inbuilt boost are big yeses.  We’re going to see a lot of sprays about.  Boba played well should handle swarms and with enough points for an ace wingman or a couple of cheap Fangs to play with there are going to be some really good list options out there.  Pretty sure it will feature somewhat heavily in some blog somewhere.

Pros – huge versatility, but every man and their dog is likely to be flying Boba
Cons – losing the hard three actually really hurts when dealing with multiple ships

Build to look at: Boba Fett, Marauder, Perceptive Co-Pilot, Han Solo, Seismic Charges, Fearless

G-1A Starfighter

The Misthunter, Now with purpose! It’s not just a bad B-Wing for scum.  Sure it still looks like it can get burned down fast, but the pilots are better, the medium base is an improvement for it, and it gains a health.  Most importantly: It can Jam! In a world where tokens are going to be hard to come by Jam is a really powerful tool.

Personally I’m still yet to be convinced how good it is going to be, I’m not full of faith in B-Wing style ships but if you’re building a list based on stress, then Ventress in a Lancer and 4-Lom are probably not bad places to start.  Control is hard to come by (thankfully!) and ways of stacking multiple stress seem greatly reduced.  (Here’s a hint, put 0-0-0 in with Ventress and 4-Lom and your opponents aces are suddenly having a very bad day)

Pros – 9 health, cheap, big gun with good pilot abilities, will excel as part of a tricksy list
Cons – 1 Agility, not a stand alone ship

Build to look at: 4-Lom, 0-0-0, Advanced Sensors, Elusive, Mist Hunter

HWK-290 Light Freighter

So I’m confused.  There are 3 Light Freighters in the scum faction.  The 666 and the Falcon are two, the third is the HWK, surely it’s a “super light” freighter in comparison to those two.  But anyway, enough of that, on to the ship!

The prize for most improved scum ship goes to, drum roll please, the HWK-290! Infinitely better dial, an extra red dice, access to a seriously good title and the pilots are seriously good at messing with people.  In 1.0 Torkil and Palob were the stars, but since the changes to his ability, and the changes to Ion Dace might actually see some table time! You want to mess up a Falcon or Ghost with a load of Ion really fast, Dace is the man to do it! 

The other two have actually taken a bit of hit in terms of their effectiveness, but the rewards for good flying are there, again mentioning lack of tokens, Palob will set peoples teeth on edge when he just nicks their only mod, (which means that when Ventress stresses you then you don’t have the green token to stop her… just saying).

Pros: a cheap support ship that can now actually contribute to a fight
Cons: Pilot abilities are a bit harder to trigger

Build to look at: Palob Godalhi, Lando Calrissian, Moldy Crow

Jumpmaster 5000

Well, it’s back, and it is VERY different.  For a start the dial has changed dramatically, it really is only happy turning right now, and no white sloop.  To balance that though it is quite substantially cheaper.  Dengar with the title is now 72 points, that’s 36 in old money, 9 points cheaper.  The turret is much less efficient, it being red to move it, the big base barrel roll is stressful (which let’s be honest is for the best) but it’s still going to be a tasty ship BECAUSE it is so much cheaper.  Sure it’s not as good as the 1.0 variation but you can fit more around it, so is Dengar more of a team player? Ultimate yes, he will now fit well in a three ship build and he still carries the threat of the double tap.  Tel is still annoying, and Manaroo is still not as good as she was pre-nerf.  

I think that the Jumpmaster has had one of the biggest hits in the Scum Faction.  However you still have a cheap PS big ship with a big gun that flown right can shoot twice a turn.  Lets face it, it had it’s moment in the sun in 1.0, probably sharing the title of Most Crowned ship with Miranda.  With the unstoppable action economy of Dengar, K4 Security Droid and Expertise be missed? Obviously, by those who love the jumpmaster at any rate.  

Pros: It’s cheaper and plays better with other.
Cons: It’s turning circle just got really bad, will other ships in the faction do it’s job better?

Build to look at: Tel Trevura, R5 Astro, Deadman’s Swith, Hull Upgrade, Expert Handling, Punishing one

Khiraxz Fighter

I’ve always like the Khiraxz, but have never bought myself to be able to love it.  I’m not sure I can in 2.0 either.  It’s got a big gun, it can take three modifications, it’s got a blue 3 forward now and can barrel roll.  All of which it sorely needed, it used to feel like a “not so good” X-Wing, and it now feels like a “still not so good” X-Wing.  

Talonbane was a 9, he’s now a 5, so that’s worse, he is a cheap cannon, being one of only two pilots able to throw 5 attack dice without too much effort (the other obviously being Fenn Rau) but if your comparing the two as dogfighters only one ship wins that.  With less splash damage, the most popular pilot is going to be less effective.  Without Harpoons what will Captain Jostero do? Wait for someone to land on a bomb? Well that seems a somewhat inefficient way to play.

Pros: Erm, it’s cheaper
Cons: It’s still not as good as other things in the faction that do the same job (cough, Fangs, cough)

Build to look at: Graz, Contrabrand Cybernetics, Ion Missile, Afterburners, Outmaneuver

Lancer-Class Pursuit Craft

The birth place of the mobile firing arc! 2.0 owes this ship a lot.  In 1.0 it was successful as part of Paratanni and also in a Twin Lancer list.  In built control, a good range of actions and reliable guns saw the Lancer become very popular with the likes of Twiggy Williams and Tom Reed achieving some serious success with it.  But how does it fair in 2.0?

It’s guns aren’t as good, it’s shield to hull ratio isn’t as good, and at 84 points Ventress is the most expensive ship in the game.  However the Lancer has always been good for what it adds aside from the guns.  The tractor beam, the stress from Asajj, they made the list up as much as the guns, and I think the lancer is going to find a place in a lot of lists because of the control element it adds to the game.  It’s still super fast, Ventress can still take Latts, and you can still throw small base ships around with Ketsu at the start of combat.

Pros: A great centre piece ship in a scum list designed to control the enemy
Cons: those 2 dice attacks out of the sides and the back are significantly less scary

Build to look at: Asajj Ventress, Latts Razzi, Heightened Perception

M12-L Kimogila

It’s another B-Wing type ship, so you can guess my feeling for it based on earlier comments.  I’ve never been able to embrace the Kimo in 1.0, finding it unwieldy, but it’s been a part of the very successful scum alpha strike list, and very cost effective.

It bought us the bullseye concept and has kept it’s ability, which is one of the BEST baked in abilities in the game.  No mods of defence dice is not to be sniffed at.  Dalan is able to regen now, which is a big ability, and Torani can still put damage into multiple things.  One more health is not to be sniffed at either, and medium base makes it faster.  Point for point it’s a better munitions carrier than the Khiraxz as it can reload, but for me the love stops there.  A decent arc dodger will simply tear it apart.

Pros: Reload
Cons: It has to live long enough to reload

Build to look at: Dalan Oberos, Concussion Missiles, Shield Upgrade, Predator, Advanced Proton Torpedoes, R3 Astromech

M3-A Interceptor

So, 1.0, the M3-A, it did… erm….  I’m struggling here.  It never cut it as a swarm ship, it never really made it as a filler ship.  But it could have a place.  When we looked at the Y-Wing I mentioned that Drea might work in a swarm, if she does then it will be along with Serissu and a whole bunch of M3-As.  Without Howlrunner it won’t be as good at killing things, but with Serissu it will be better at not getting killed.  I still think the TIE Swarm beats it but it is an alternative for those not loyal to the Emperor.

Its dial is good, three hull and a shield with three agility is pretty good, lots of small attacks could be good too.  In the right hands it could be a very good ship, but it doesn’t capture the imagination the same way that a TIE swarm does.

Pros : Cheap, very cheap.  The one bank on the dial could give it positional advantages over other swarms.
Cons: Blank out once and you have a dead ship on your hands.  Probably best not to blank out.

Build to look at:  Cartel Spacer, Ion Cannon

Quadrijet Transfer Spacetug

The rebranding of the Quadjumper, which was definitely one of the quirkiest ships in 1.0 has given us something very interesting in 2.0.  It never really shone, clever players killed it first because tractor beams are annoying, and with no shields it did tend to just die.

In its most basic form it is laughably cheap! Try flying a few with Kath Scarlet and see how you opponent enjoys just taking damage.  Reducing agility is probably the most important bit of tractor beaming people, even more so than throwing them around, it just makes all your guns more important.  A great filler, a proper annoyance, or even as a swarm there is a lot that these things will be able to do.  Worth taking in numbers too, because lets be honest, who doesn’t find the idea of throwing a decimator around the table highly amusing?

Pros: Cheap and annoying
Cons: No shields mean that those crits really hurt when they land.

Build to look at:  Constable Zuvio, Ketsu Onyo, Seismic Charges, Contraband Cybernetics

Scurrg H-6 Bomber

Another ship so suffer because of its overwhelming success in recent months.  Nym, primarily in his rebel form, had been “a bit good” since he arrived.  The dial has been made slightly worse, the it can’t fire munitions, the Bomber is just a bomber now.  The barrel roll is red.  It’s hull to shield ratio is following the trend of being worse.  All things that have pulled it down somewhat in potency, but as you’d expect it’ll be cheaper.  

For scum players with a bomb fetish look no further than Nym and Emon in his Firespray.  Trajectory simulator is going to be good, even though bombs are not quite as ridiculous as they were a smart player will be able to use Nym to make people fly very cautiously and control large areas of the board.  Add in the option of an Ion Turret (now that the TLT has joyfully been retired from our lives) and you can add a chunk of control to your list.  But at one agility you can expect any scurrg to get burned down fast.  

Pros: Arguably the best bomber that Scum can field.
Cons: It’s even more fragile than it was in 1.0.

Build to look at: Sol Sixxa, Cad Bane, Seismic Charges, Proximity Mines, Ablative Plating, Ion Cannon Turret

Star Viper-Class Attack Platform

Loved by many, but flown by few the Star Viper scores epically in the rule of cool stakes, but never really shone in any truly successful lists.  The biggest problem with the Viper is that the pilot abilites aren’t all that good.  Thweek came along and gave you essentially “infinite” pilot skill, but Guri was always the real queen of the chassis.  The Star Viper has always been a one pilot ship and I can’t see that changing.  Dalan and Xizor just aren’t very good.

Guri jumping up from PS5 to I5 is huge, but don’t be fooled, she’s not an easy ship to fly.  Positional play with the Star Viper is unlike anything else you can pick up.  The banked rolls can give your opponents huge headaches, but you need to keep your options open to make the most of them.  A trapped Star Viper dies fast and hard.  There is no way that Guri could have been allowed to be I6, or any other Viper for that matter, they would be absolutely untouchable as arc dodgers.  Anyone flying Soontir, Fenn, Wedge, Poe or any of the other I6 aces is going to make your Star Viper their number one priority, because if Guri is allowed initiative supremacy she will kill things, a lot.

The addition of the Virago title is expensive, but I think it is totally worth the investment.

Pros: Guri is arguably the best pilot in the Scum faction
Cons: Star Vipers are arguable the most tricky ships to fly in the Scum faction.

Build to look at: Guri, Virago, Outmanoeuvre, Fire Control System, Afterburner  

YV-666 Light Freighter

The 666 fell away in popularity in the game.  It took damage fast and was too unwieldy to combat anything that moved after it with repositioning options.  But now it has a trick, and what a trick it is.  I think Bossk is going to retire from his place as “only real pilot” on the 666 because Moralo Eval is ludicrous! The ability to willingly fly off the table then chose to fly back on is nuts.  It totally removes all the weakness of the ship, you can essentially fly of any board edge and K-Turn, then come back ANYWHERE along the board edge.

The party bus crew options we were used to in 1.0 are not the same as what some clever soul will make them in the new world.  It’s big guns, it’s 180 degree front firing arc, it’s 12 health all mean that it could well be a surprisingly potent ship in 2.0.

Pros: Can control huge areas of the board.
Cons: Don’t let something get behind you!

Build to look at: Bossk, 0-0-0, Latts Razzi, GNK “Gonk” Droid, Contrabrand Cybernetics, Electronic Baffle, Fearless

Z-95-AF4 Headhunter

Another ship that didn’t see much love in 1.0, will it get more in 2.0? Possibly? It’s cheap, you can fit a lot of them in.  It’s only real change is a red barrel roll.  I find it slightly sad that it is red, it’s a small ship, surely it is slightly more agile than a scurrg or a jumpmaster, but hey, it’s cheap.  It has to be compared to other small ships, like Tie Fighters and M3-As which I don’t think it does favourably.  

Filler ship? Cheap blocker? Part of a swarm? Yeah.  But it’s never going to be a star in your list.  

Pros: Cheap and utterly disposable
Cons: Cheap and utterly disposable

Build to look at: Black Sun Soldier, Intimidation 

I want to thank David for letting me share my thoughts on his blog.  This is something that I have really enjoyed writing, but I have avoided getting too stuck into 2.0 while 1.0 has still been going.  I imagine I’d get bored if I had to talk about Imperial and Rebel ships! So thank you Mr Sutcliffe for letting me talk about the Scum without having the responsibility of having to talk about other less “me” things.  


Back to your regular host... 

See, there's no way you'd be getting all that good stuff if you'd asked me to write about Starvipers or Kihraxz's - I can't even spell them, let alone fly one!  Massive thanks for Phil to taking the effort to do all this for me, and in super-quick time too!  If you've never checked out Phil's blog before (which I'm sure you have - it was Blog Of The Year for christ's sake!) then you can find more of his love for the Scummy side of life here...

I'm not really going to add a lot extra to what Phil has said, but I do think there's one interesting thing that reading his review has really brought to my mind.  Two blogs ago I talked about my approach to 2nd Edition squadbuilding and my constant fight to avoid putting upgrades onto ships just because there was a slot, and yet all of Phil's builds to look out for were chock full of upgrades.

So Phil's idea for a Quadjumper was this:
  • Build to look at:  Constable Zuvio, Ketsu Onyo, Seismic Charges, Contraband Cybernetics (46pts)

Where mine would probably be more like this:
  • Build to look at:  Jakku Gunrunner (28pts & you're allowed 0-0-0 if he's not already used)

Time again I knee-jerk winced a little at the expensive loadouts Phil suggested, but on reflection I think there's more than just a right or wrong way of approaching this.  I think it's the Scum mindset to want tricks and angles to exploit and confuse the opponent, and just as much I think it's maybe in my Imperial nature to just want more basic efficiency - more cannon fodder and no-good Stormtroopers to throw at the enemy.  It's been really interesting to read another point of view and it's made me rethink and revisit some of the decisions I've made, which is always healthy to do.

So as Phil slam-dunked it all that's left for me to do is to repost the Scum squad costs compared to 1st Edition...

...and the results of the Community Poll that asked players which ships they thought were going to be best!

Next up I'll have another special guest to talk to us about the Rebel Fleet in 2nd Edition!

1 comment:

  1. Really liking these posts, and especially that you were able to compare and contrast both of your different methods of list building options.
    I'm a regular reader of both blogs, and find the level of analysis and variation to be greatly useful. I've seen options that I would not have otherwise seen and filtered some of it into my own list making.

    I find the poll results an interesting insight as to where people see each ship standing, and yet some of it contrasts significantly to what our local area thinks. Will be great to see how it all pans out!