Monday, 10 September 2018

Red Five Standing By - Reviewing the Rebel Fleet in Second Edition with Andrew Schmidt

So before all that interruption of my countdown with Ten Squads in Ten Days I had set out to review the Imperial faction's ships in Second Edition, and then successfully roped 2018 all-star blogger PhilGC to weigh in with his review of the Scum faction.  That left Rebels outstanding, but I knew I man I could call on to help - Andrew Schmidt. 
If Andrew's name rings a bell with you then it's maybe because he was one half of the infamous final game at the Adepticon System Open this year, with the infamous unwinnable Miranda vs Miranda face-off that went to final salvo.  As such Andrew came about as close as it's possible to get to being a System Open champion as you can get without actually bagging the trophy, and because I happened to know he was locked onto representing his beloved Rebel faction at the Coruscant Open he was an obvious person for me to call on for any Rebel expertise.  Unlike Phil and myself Andrew's actually taking it all a bit seriously right now as he prepares for Coruscant.
And, oh boy, did Andrew ever answer the call.  Both Phil and Andrew have made my Imperial review look like an outline sketch but if I said that Phil had knocked it out of the park then Andrew has knocked it out of the park then gone off to college to study Landscape Engineering, purchased the plot of land next to the park and built a whole new park then waited for the ball to come down and smashed it out of that park as well!
I'm going to let Andrew's exhaustive rundown of EVERY.  REBEL.  PILOT.  speak for itself and get out of the way, but if you're looking for the Imperial and Scum reviews you'll find them here... Over to Andrew!


Hey all! I’m Andrew Schmidt.  My local X-wing group all picked up Second Edition content at GenCon and ever since we’ve been feverishly experimenting with every Second Edition squad we can think of.  I’ve always primarily flown Rebels so that’s the faction I’ve been starting with in 2.0.  Putting the stuff on the table has been very helpful to me, much more than all the theorizing we’ve all been doing over the last few months.  I’ve had lots of thoughts and impressions bouncing around my head, so when David asked me to follow up his and PhilGC’s Empire and Scum Reviews, I figured I’d give it a shot.

When I started my X-wing journey in the summer of 2016 the Rebels were in a rough position and definitely the worst faction in the game at the time.  Since then, through multiple drastic meta changes, they’ve risen to the top spot.  Unfortunately a lot of the most egregious and broken combos of late First Edition came out of the Rebel faction, tarnishing their good name and it seems like so many people have forgotten what the Rebel Alliance even stands for: hope (Rebellions are built on it) and freedom from an oppressive and evil regime.  The latter ideal is very relevant to us all right now as well all throw off the shackles of the First Edition and step into the freedom of Second Edition.

Hope is also pertinent to the Rebel Faction in Second Edition.  Hope that their situation will improve, that is!  

It’s time to stop beating around the bush: Rebels are in a very difficult place in Second Edition.  So much of their stuff seems underwhelming and outclassed by what the Empire and Scum have to offer and other options seem like they’ve been costed a bit wrong.  There’s a few standouts here and there but as I list build and play I keep jealously looking at all the amazing stuff Empire and Scum has to offer.  Of course, most of these issues can be fixed very easily thanks to FFG’s ability to easily adjust point costs.  I’m looking forward to release day and hoping we see some point changes at that time.  But until then, everything’s just a pipe dream.

Before we get started, let me point out that everything here is my opinion based on what I’ve flown and what I’ve flown against over the last month.  It’s entirely possible that I’m wrong on a lot of things and I haven’t gotten anywhere close to trying every possible combination.  I doubt the Second Edition meta will necessarily look like the kind of stuff my local meta has been dreaming up, too. 


So what I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if stuff I say here turns out absolutely wrong.  If you disagree with me, I invite you to prove me wrong at the Crossroads Classic 3 down in Indianapolis.  My local X-wing group, Hangar 19, is hosting what we hope will be one of the first, big Second Edition tournaments.  It’ll be a 2-day event running from October 13th-14th, featuring a full-conversion kit tournament on Day 1 with a cut to Day 2, plus tons of side events on Day 2 including a Wave 1 tournament and Hunger Games! And I’m telling you, the Hunger Games portion of it is to die for.  We’ve got a local guy who runs it like a Game Master, with crazy and whacky things happening.  It’s all great fun.

Here’s a link to the Facebook Event with more information and a link to pre-register! Hope to see you there! 


And without further ado, here we go!

A/SF-01 B-wing

When the B-wing released in First Edition it immediately obsoleted the X-wing fighter.  For a similar point cost but more health and less agility the B-Wing was tankier and less reliant on green dice to stay alive in combat.  Plus, it had access to the brand-new Systems slot including powerful cards like Fire Control Systems and Advanced Sensors.  All these features cemented generic B-wings as a stable in rebel builds for much of the early game.  The uniques, however, were often considered much too expensive to field.

Jumping to 2.0 we see that the generic B-wings got a small points decrease while the unique B-wings got a massive points reduction.  Keyan Farlander’s old ability, now on Ten Numb, dropped from 29 points to the 1.0 equivalent of 25 points, while also getting a buff in the form of working on defense as well.  The chassis has also slightly changed: dropping a shield for a hull in line with the overall shield/hull ratio rebalance the entire game has gone through.  It also traded one of its two Torpedo slots for a second Cannon slot.

However, there are some downsides.  There’s no real standout Cannon for them take, let alone two! Heavy Laser Cannon is the obvious one: despite being bullseye-arc only and therefore inconsistent to pull off it’s very cheap and might be worth it if you have extra points.  The System Slot is also not the powerhouse it used to be.  Fire-Control Systems got nerfed but is slightly cheaper to compensate.  Advanced Sensors is more expensive and now keeps you from doing other actions during your activation.  While 1.0 B-wings wouldn’t have cared, 2.0 B-wings won’t be able to utilize their focus > barrel roll linked action in combination with Advanced Sensors.  Collision Detector is legit a great card though and might be a massive sleeper hit as I haven’t heard a lot of discussion about it.

The uniques are also in a shaky position.  1.0 Keyan was great because he could spend his stress even when he rolled 0 eyeball results.  However, rule changes in 2.0 suggest you won’t be able to do that with Ten Numb (based on that the Focus Token rules specifically mention that you can’t spend a focus if there are 0 focus results).  He now risks not rolling any eyeball results and leaving him stressed when you needed to do a red move next turn.  Newcomer Braylen Stramm, swapping over to his canon ship from the ARC-170, comes with a better version of Ibtisam’s old ability: he can reroll 2 dice when stressed on offense or defense.  However, he doesn’t strip his own stress like Numb, which means he’ll be limited to his poor greens on the next activation.   And both of these pilots suffer from the lack of self-stressing upgrade cards in the game.  They’re pretty much limited to Debris Gambit to do red evade actions.  While they can do red moves to activate their abilities, those red moves aren’t always the best options for every situation.

But the biggest blow to B-wings is that their main competition in list building, the X-wing, got buffed.  With an extra hull point the X-wings are now much closer to B-wings in terms of durability.  X-wings also got a dial upgrade while the B-wing’s mostly-red dial is almost unchanged.  The B-wing’s greatest weakness is still a problem: it struggles to get behind its opponent.  In a joust situation the 2 k-turn often would be blocked by your opponent’s previous position and while those brand new 1-speed Talon rolls can help they don’t move the ship very far backwards, risking that your opponent won’t move forward enough to be caught in your arc.

Overall, I think the B-wing is missing crucial upgrades to make it viable.  A better cannon upgrade (or a reason to take 2 cannons) or a card to self-stress the uniques.  It also feels like it could have been a prime contender for an interesting ship ability, maybe something that combo’d with Cannons.  Hell, it even missed out on the S-foil train.   Personally, every time I consider fielding a 2.0 B-wing I struggle to find a compelling reason to take it over an X-wing.  Funny how times have changed!

Pros: Cheaper than before, System Slot access

Cons: Potentially outclassed by X-wings, Uniques struggle to trigger their abilities every turn


At first glance, Second Edition ARC-170s look practically unchanged from their 1.0 counterparts until you notice the medium-sized elephant in the room – they’re rocking the brand new medium-sized base! They’ll fly completely differently now and it’ll of course take some time for players to get used to the new base size.  Once again, the ARC has 4 unique pilots and no generics.  So let’s jump in and discuss each one.

Norra Wexley has a brand new ability which gives her an extra evade result when an enemy ship is at Range 1.  I think this is easier to pull off with a medium base versus the small base she has when flying her Y-wing.  You probably want to take Expert Handling to make her red barrel roll white so that you can barrel roll into Range 1 easier and since she’s so tanky it might be a good target for Regen Astromechs.  However, the general nerf to Regen, plus the fact that you’re not going to be proccing her ability every turn, might not make it worth it.  Either way she could still be useful to draw your opponent’s fire away from other valuable targets as your opponent might decide to try killing her before she closes to Range 1.

Norra was one of my favorite first edition X-wing ships so I’m glad that her old ability made the transition over to 2.0, albeit as Shara Bey’s ability now.  However without Push the Limit there’s few consistent ways to get both TL and Focus.  The only on-ship options at the moment are the self-damaging Saw Gerrera crew (who saw a massive point increase from the 1.0 version) and the expensive Force crew and gunners.  More likely you’ll want a support ship passing Shara extra actions such as Dutch Vander, Kyle Katarn, Esege Tuketu, or Garven Dreis.  Personally, I hate the idea of a support ship that is absolutely necessary to the functionality of the main ship.  A good support ship augments the main ship’s ability to do their job, but the main ship should be able to stand alone once the support is gone.

Speaking of Garven, his pilot ability at first seems like a much better fit for the ARC-170 than the X-wing considering he can now take Perceptive Co-pilot for an extra focus.  Plus his ability works on defense now as well.  However, the rule changes to Focus Tokens now require you to have a focus result to spend a focus.  This makes his ability entirely dice dependent and unless the rules change or some card that combos with his ability releases I’d stay away from him.  There are better focus-generating support ships out there.

Ibtisam traded ships and pilot abilities with Braylen.  She now has a 50% chance of clearing stress after fully completing a maneuver.  However, I don’t think this ability is very exciting in Second Edition.  In 1.0, Braylen saw a lot of use as a stressbot with R3-A2 and Gunner and while his ability was a nice to have it was really more about him being the cheapest way to pull that combo off at the time.  That combo might be long gone but if a good Atromech + Crew + Gunner combo shows up in the future, Ibtisam will see use as the cheapest option for it.  Right now, though, there isn’t anything like that (at least that I’m aware of).

Most of the pilots seem to have gotten a slight point decrease as compared to their 1.0 counterparts, which is nice (Ibtisam being the exception).  The ARC has also lost the rear-arc eyeball-to-crit ability that the Title once gave them.  But the biggest frustration with 2.0 ARC-170s is the Gunner slot.  Currently there is exactly 1 gunner that works with them: Veteran Tail Gunner.  All of the other gunners that Rebels have access to are Turret-Arc only, except one which is Bombs only.  Why did this have to be the case?  Gunners like Hotshot Gunner didn’t have to be Turret-only and the other two factions get tons of not-Turret-specific gunners that the ARC-170s would be drooling over if they had the chance.  Veteran Turret Gunner is nice and cheap so you might as well take it but it will only trigger in very specific instances, just like the Special Forces double-tap in First Edition.  It would be nice to have any other options for this spot! The good news is that any future Gunner options could be a great fit for the ship…but for now one can only dream!

Pros: Medium base, Astromech + Crew + Gunner combo could potentially be good, minor point discount versus First Edition

Cons: Only 1 gunner that works with them at the moment, lost the rear-arc passive critical modification, Pilot abilities are difficult to pull off

Attack Shuttle

In first edition the Attack Shuttle’s claim to fame was riding along with the Ghost, allowing it extra TLT shots every round and it was a rare sight to see the Attack Shuttle flying around on its own.  Could Second Edition breathe new life into a ship so used to riding on the coattails of its big brother? The chassis is mostly the same, the only change being that it traded a shield for a hull, but the pilots are all a couple points cheaper with the exception of Ezra who pays the Force User tax.

Oh, Ezra, how the mighty have fallen.  This is the first time of three that we’ll cover him today so I might as well get this out of the way.  His ability has been super nerfed as you have to be stressed just to spend a Force token to double its effect.  Perhaps I’m just used to his first edition ability where it wasn’t tied to spending a force token so it would trigger on every defense.  I think you’re better off treating Ezra’s single force point as a cheap way to trigger whatever Force Upgrade you want in your list, except in that case you’d probably rather take him in the TIE fighter or Sheathipede.

The other pilots seem a bit more useful.  

Zeb is the cheapest 3 attack dice ship the Rebels have access to so he could be good filler in point-tight lists.  Hera is a lot better at Initiative 5 than she was at Pilot Skill 7 as it’s much more likely that she’ll be moving after her opponent.  Probably the best pilot is Sabine, who keeps her pre-move boost or barrel roll.  While she’s only Initiative 3 you can also do some cute stuff with Debris Gambit, which lets you turn the linked red evade into a white evade if you have an obstacle at Range 1.  While not that interesting the first time around, in this age of much limited action economy it stands out as an exception.

Pros: Cheapest 3 Dice Rebel Ship, Sabine’s repositioning

Cons: Nothing interesting that makes it stand out

Auzituck Gunship

A widely despised ship in First Edition this Wooden Wookiee Warship arrives in Second Edition under the heavy shadow of the reinforce nerf.  Now that Reinforce Tokens only reduces damage taken by 1 to a minimum of 1, instead of just adding an evade result, the Auzituck’s main selling point isn’t as powerful as it used to be.  Plus it no longer triggers if the attacker is straddling the middle line.  Both were completely necessary changes, I might add, as Reinforce proved much too powerful in First Edition, but it means the Auzituck isn’t nearly as tanky as it used to be, heighted by the fact that it lost a shield.  These guys aren’t going to be nearly as frustrating to kill as they were.

The ship did get a points decrease but not a large one.  The 2.0 Kashyyyk Defender (the only generic) is 23 pts in 1.0 currency, vs 24 pts in First Edition but the Kashyyyk Defender is Initiative 3 in Second Edition vs Pilot Skill 1 in First Edition.  A more fair comparison would be to First Edition’s PS 3 Wookiee Liberator, which came in at 26 points.  A bit more reasonable, but 3 points doesn’t seem like a reasonable reduction considering it lost a whole point of health and had its main selling point nerfed.  The Unique pilots also have similar-sized point reductions.  One might argue that the Auzituck was underprice in First Edition, which considering how powerful it was makes sense.  Time will tell if the ship points will need to be adjusted here.

Lowhhrick’s ability functions very differently than is used to.  He now must choose to spend his reinforce when the friendly ship becomes the defender instead of during the modify defense dice step.  The defender also gets an Evade token instead of just adding an evade result, which can be saved for a future defense if unused.  Plus Lowhhrick can now do this on himself, trading his own reinforce for an evade token.  Honestly, while this is strictly a nerf to his ability I like it a lot and it feels a lot more involved as you have to think ahead to determine if you’ll really need that extra evade or not.  It’s kind of like the First Edition Palpatine nerf in that it forces you to weigh the risks and make tough decisions.  You could spend it the first time your opponent attacks, so your ally has the evade token ready for whatever time they’ll need it, but then your opponent might swap targets to your defenseless Lowhhrick for the rest of their attacks!

You can also do a cool thing if there’s multiple ships attacking Lowhhrick from different angles.  Reinforce whatever side the first attack is come from then trade your reinforce for an evade once the attacks start coming from the opposite direction.  It’s pretty useful and can catch your opponent off guard.

Wullffwarro is still Wullfwarro.  Was never really a fan of this guy but I know other people are.  I just feel like his ability triggers so late: once it triggers, he’s only going to have a couple more turns to use it.  The nice thing in second edition is that they removed the “no shields” clause from his ability so he can combo with R2-D2 crew to regen shields while still rolling 4 attack dice.

One neat change is that the dial traded the red 5 straight for a stop.  This is pretty handy and can catch people who weren’t expecting it.  I even warned a few of my opponents pre-game and it still caught them off guard.

However, there’s one massive issue with the Auzituck I haven’t mentioned yet.  It’s a crew carrier…but there just aren’t that many good Rebel crew for it to carry.  In 1.0, the ship relied on crew like Wookiee Commandos and Rey to give it attack dice mods but both of those options are gone, leaving only Magva Yarro who is way more expensive than she used to be.  Other staples of Auzitucks like Tactician are gone and C-3P0 doesn’t combo anymore since he needs actions to activate.  Overall, I think the lack of good crew options is going to keep this ship from seeing too much table time.  I’m pretty sure lists like Quad and Triple Wookiees are dead (I can tell so many of you are going to miss them).  I honestly don’t think there’s much point in taking any Auzituck outside of Lowhhrick, just for the defensive options he gives.  However after a couple games in a row where my Lowhhrick dealt no damage I found myself thinking about how I could better spend those points.

Pros: Lowhhrick’s ability might be “worse”, but it’s more interesting

Cons: Possibly costed wrong, Reinforce Nerf, not enough good crew options

BTL-A4 Y-wing

Y-wings, the venerable workhorses of the Alliance, saw most of their board time in First Edition as stressbots and Twin Laser Turret carriers.  With both of those options gone can the Y-wing find its place in Second Edition?

Y-wings now sport the Gunner slot, access to Talents, red barrel rolls and reloads, and green 1 speed banks that, while a small change, make their dial so much better.  I feel like you’re going to want to take a turret on these guys no matter what kind of build you do because even if you’re equipping Torpedoes, you need something to follow up with once you’ve spent all your Torp charges.  Reloading isn’t super useful for Y-Wings as they can’t disengage super well so it’s better to count on a turret instead.  And that turret is probably going to be Ion Canon Turret, as Dorsal is pretty weak.

You can do the forward-arc primary + turret double-tap via Veteran Turret Gunner, but your primary is only 2 dice so that won’t scare most ships.  It’s still worth considering as rolling more dice is always good.

Looking at the pilots I don’t think Evaan Verlaine is very useful - you’re giving up your focus token to give another ship an extra defense die.  Unless that ship has a way to mod defense dice it’s unlikely that the extra die will do much for them.  Horton Salm can get double-modded dice thanks to his ability but relies on other ships being in the right position so I’m not sure if he’s quite worth it.  “Dutch” Vander is vastly improved thanks to the Target Lock ignoring range restrictions so you can rush him a bit ahead to grab locks for your allies and give them a better chance to get their munitions off.  Norra Wexley can be super tanky when her ability triggers but it’s not going to trigger every turn.  If you pick her you’re probably more interested in the extra Initiative and her ability is icing on the cake when it triggers.

Overall, I’d say there’s plenty of different ways to kit these guys out, from turrets to torps to bombs.  They can do a lot of different things well.  Looking forward to seeing much more interesting games with and against them versus the TLT spam we’re so used to.

Pros: Diverse ways to kit them out

Cons: A bit flimsier thanks to less shields and more hull

BTL-S8 K-wing

Oh, how the mighty have fallen and  I can hear millions of X-wing players cry out in relief!  

The terrible reign of Miranda has ended!  FFG didn’t just bring her in line with everything else they chopped her down into a shadow of her former self.  In fact, I’m not sure she’s even usable anymore.  I know there’s some people out there trying to get her to work, but I’m not convinced.

Yeah, I flew my fair share of Miranda in First Edition.  I know, I’m a bad person.  Yes, she was a problem.  When I wasn’t playing as her, I hated having to play against her.  I absolutely agreed that she needed to be taken care of and was very shocked when FFG never bothered to do anything about her in First Edition.  But just because she was a massive problem in First Edition doesn’t mean she has to be nerfed to oblivion and back in Second Edition.  Hell, I think keeping her unchanged except removing Twin Laser Turret would have been nerf enough.  The biggest issue was that TLT allowed her to regen while still doing consistent damage.  But now she can’t spend her shield to boost secondary weapons and she can’t regen past 1 shield.  If she does decide to regen she’s making a 1 die attack.  1 die attacks aren’t fun, just ask the HWK.  It’s probably better to not regen and at least try to do damage otherwise you’re just drawing out the game by making it harder for your opponent to kill you while being unable to do damage back.  It’s not like R2 Astromech and R2-D2 where you can fully disengage to regen as you still have to stay in the fight! And that’s the balancing-Miranda conundrum – let her regen while still letting her deal damage and she’s way too good.  Take away her ability to deal damage if she regens and what’s the point of regening if you’re going to still lose the damage race?

Anyway, I’m sure ya’ll are feeling very sorry for me that the broken, unfair, terrible, awful, mean Miranda got a well-deserved comeuppance so let’s move on before you grab the torches and pitchforks.  Overall, the K-wing itself just doesn’t seem that useful or efficient.  First Edition non K-wings were only noticeable for the slam bombing that was rightfully nerfed, and beside that they were pretty useless.  And here I feel they’re missing any kind of interesting feature that could make them useful.  Bombs aren’t as good now that they all drop before anyone moves, and K-wings can’t do interesting things with bombs like Scurrgs, Emon Azzameen, or TIE Bombers can do.  They can carry missiles or torps, but so can plenty of other, cheaper, more efficient ships.  Probably the most interesting thing you can do is point your double-arc turret to the left and right, and equip Barrage Rockets so you can have a massive 270-degree firing arc.  Yet for 46 points, it’s just a 3 dice or 2 dice attack with a focus for mods...  I feel like there are better bangs for your buck.

Esege Tuketu could be good in this token-stacking-less world yet he really wants Perceptive Co-pilot to make the most of his ability and that card is just so damn expensive.  At least he works on defense now.

Overall, I give the K-wing a big meh out of ten.  A lot of you are going to be very excited to not see these guys dominated the top tables anymore.  I’m not too sad to see them go either.

Pros: Barrage Rockets can give them a super wide area of cover

Cons: Lacking any killer or standout features, Miranda is next to worthless, Esege is on the edge of too expensive


Corran Horn survives the Legends character eradication in his trusty E-wing fighter, which has seen some upgrades.  With 1 more Hull, built-in Long Range Scanners, boost, and red hard ones on his dial, will Corran live up being to the on-again, off-again powerhouse that he was in first edition?  

Probably not. 

Corran’s bonus attack is now locked to the bullseye arc, which requires both skill and luck to position correctly for (luck because, with how small that bullseye is, sometimes it’s actually impossible to line it up on the target you want).  Plus, no double repositioning options make that even harder although against larger-base ships or at Range 1 it’s much easier to do, and that’s where Corran preferred to be for his double tap anyway.  He combos nicely with R2-D2 and R2 Astromech since double disarm tokens don’t hurt him, and Fire Control Systems lets that Target Lock you grabbed on Turn 1 mod both of your attacks.

So yeah, Corran will certainly be playable but much harder than he was before.  And that’s saying something, as he was definitely considered a high player skill pilot in First Edition.  Anyway, that’s it for the E-wing, on to the next ship!

Wait, they added more pilots to the E-wing in second edition.  Funny, since there weren’t any others in first edit…whoa, there were 3 other pilots for the E-wing in First Edition too?  No way!

So yeah, the other easily forgettable and overcosted E-wing pilots are back.  Will Second Edition allow them to actually see the play table?  Maybe.  With Experimental Scanners the generics are some of the better generic munitions carriers in 2.0 as they can ensure they get their Locks and can double mod their torps.  There was a rumor floating around that during playtesting 3 generic E-wings with Proton Torpedoes could fit in a list.  I can’t speak to the validity of that rumor but it’s obviously not the case now and probably for the best.  But you can fit 2 with 60 points to spare for another ship.  Both R3 and R4 Astromechs are good options: R3 lets you nab 2 locks on Round 1, making it both less clear who you’re preferred target is and also provides a backup in case your intended target gives you the slip.  And R3 gives you those sweet, sweet white hard 1s.  But most importantly, the venerable Rogue Squadron at long last gets represented in the game with the Initiative 4 Rogue Squadron Escort! How can you say no to that?

Also, Etahn has been replaced by Gavin Darklighter with the same ability.  Etahn was a trap.  Gavin is a trap.  Crit chasing is a trap.  If you want to fly Gavin, wait for 2.0 Epic where he’ll be much more worth it.  Nuff said.

And now for the controversy: the linked actions.  The E-wing has the worst possible linked actions imaginable : it can reposition into a red Target Lock.  First things first, this would be a less-than-ideal linked action on any ship simply because Target Locks are situational - most every other ship has Focus + Reposition in their linked actions, and Focuses are good for both offense and defense.  They’re useful in every situation.  Target Locks, on the other hand, don’t help you at all when you’re trying to run or when you need defensive mods.  However, the bigger issue is that these linked actions do not work well with Experimental Scanners.  You’ve likely already picked up a Target Lock before the first round of combat, so the linked action doesn’t help you.  If the linked action gave you a focus instead, you could have TL + Focus + Reposition for the first combat! Plus, the order of the linked action (reposition into Target Lock) means that if you boost into Range 1, you’ve shut off your ability to Target Lock thanks to Experimental Scanners.  It’s frustrating.  It didn’t have to be this way.  But at the end of the day, there’s nothing we can do about it except be mad.  It’s certainly holding the E-wing back from greater things.

 Pros: Great Ordinance carriers, Corran pairs with R2-D2, Built-in Long Range Scanners, potentially costed better than before

Cons: Bad linked actions, Corran Horn limited to bullseye makes him more difficult to trigger, potentially still too expensive

HWK-290 Light Freighter

I cannot begin to tell you how incredible to see HWKs on the board un-ironically.  Just as Phill GC crowned the HWK the most-improved Scum ship a couple weeks ago, I must admit that the HWK-290 is the most-improved Rebel Ship of Second Edition.

Speaking of Phil he pointed out how confusing it is that Scum now has 3 ships designated as “Light Freighters”.  That’s small fries compared to the 4 that Rebels have! The HWK-290, the VCX-100, the YT-1300, and the YT-2400 now carry that distinction.  Scum needs to do some work to catch up!

Anyway, it’s crazy how much of a comeback HWKs have achieved and it’s almost entirely thanks to Moldy Crow.  You get a 3 die front-arc primary in addition to your normal 2 die turret, and this combos great with the 3 unique pilots who all need friendly ships in-arc to trigger their abilities.  You essentially double your coverage and can point your turret arc toward your friends while keeping your forward arc facing the enemy.  But that’s not all: Moldy Crow gives you an option that few ships in Second Edition still have: token stacking.  You can arrive into battle with 3 focuses, or 2 focuses and a target lock.  It’s difficult for most other ships to get a fully modded 3 dice attack, but HWKs can pull it off in their sleep.  They also get great linked action options to rotate their arc while still getting the tokens they want.  However, the downside is that you probably won’t want to take more than 1 of these guys at a time, since they’re much weaker without the unique Moldy Crow title.

The dial is still meh but much, much better than before and the red stop is always a handy trick.  They’ve also got access to Jam and Boost, which are both red but the latter can be easily fixed with a 3 point Engine Upgrade (and it’s totally worth it most of the time).  They’ve got access to bombs, crew, and 2 mods, so there’s plenty of different ways to build these guys up.

All of the named pilots are pretty useful but the standout one is Kyle Katarn.  He’s the most versatile focus-generator in Rebels at the moment, being able to sling focuses out to Range 3 as long as the receiver is in-arc.  Plus, with Moldy Crow he can still do that on turns he doesn’t take a focus action.  It might be tempting to take Perceptive Co-pilot but considering it’s a hefty 10 points I’d recommend Jyn Erso instead.  She’s got the same range as Kyle’s own ability so she can always transform that focus you’re passing into an Evade instead.

Overall, the HWK is probably Rebel’s best support ship at the moment.  It doesn’t rely on crew like the Auzituck and U-wing, instead relying on great Pilot Abilities.  It also has the teeth to make a difference in a firefight.  The day of the HWK-290 has finally arrived.

Pros: Moldy Crow title, better dial, great pilot abilities, lots of great build options, Jam in a pinch

Cons: No k-turn on the dial, can be somewhat fragile, Moldy Crow Title limits taking multiples

RZ-1 A-Wing

Good news, A-wings finally have native Barrel Roll! Now my opponent doesn’t have to correct me every time I forget and try to barrel roll with them.  They’re also one of the only ships in the game that can double-reposition, using the confusingly-named Vectored Thrusters ship ability to perform a red boost after any other action.

Some random thoughts: Phoenix Squadron pilots could see some use as cheap missile carriers with more green dice and maneuverability compared to Z-95s.  The loss of the double EPT option for A-wings isn’t a huge blow considering Talents are no longer as mandatory as the used to be.

Arvel Crynyd got a nice points deduction and his ability got the hilarious addition of allowing him to boost into a bump.  The intimidation combo is obvious, just as it was in first edition, but it might be more worth it than it used to be.

Jake Farrell also saw a slight point reduction.  His ability has been swapped: instead of repositioning after receiving a focus, he gets a focus after repositioning, and he can even choose to pass that focus to close-range friendly ships.  However, it’s sad to see he’s only initiative 4 which will make it hard to pull off the arc-dodging potential he has.  Worst of all, though, he can’t give himself a focus action using the A-wing’s Vectored Thrusters ability, since the boost action from that is red.  While it is nice that he can still pass focuses to friends while doing this Jake isn’t the type of ship you normally want to keep Range 1 of his allies.  This all means he can’t token stack on himself.  His only option for triggering his ability (on himself) is Barrel Rolling or boosting as his main action.  It’s very limiting and might make him difficult to use effectively.

Let’s rewind back to Vectored Thrusters for a moment: the fact that it forces you to double-reposition in a specific order is more annoying than it sounds.  I’m not much of an ace flier (obviously, I play Rebels), but based on my own experience and other’s inputs I’d say it’s a 75-25 split that boosting into a barrel roll is more useful in more situations.  That’s certainly what I’ve encountered when I’ve put 2.0 Jake on the table.  There’s been many times where a boost -> barrel roll would have dodged an arc or two, but barrel roll -> boost was going to do nothing for me.  This limiting factor makes arc dodging much harder than it normally is on this kind of ship.

Honestly, the biggest thing the A-wing is missing is a higher Initiative pilot that can better take advantage of double repositioning.  Perhaps we’ll get one when the A-wing inevitably re-releases in a standalone blister.

Pros: Double Repositioning, cheap filler ship, Jake can pass focuses to friends

Cons: No High Initiative pilots, Jake’s ability doesn’t combo with Vectored Thrusters, Vectored Thrusters limits how you reposition

Sheathipede-Class Shuttle

I’ve got some good news for all you people who are sick of Rebel Fenn Rau - he’s 6 points more expensive (in 1.0 terms!).  It’s a big increase in price but his ultra-powerful pilot ability and high-Init coordinate certainly deserved it!  Is he still good? P robably, although he was best at shutting down those double-modified attacks that were everywhere in First Edition and are very rare in Second Edition.

The Sheathipede’s claim to fame is that it’s the cheapest Coordinator that the Rebels have.  As such, you’re likely going for bare-bones with AP-5 (who has a very nice ability that isn’t as good as first edition but still very helpful) or you’re going for high-Init with the expensive Fenn Rau.  Why pay the 2 points for Zeb if AP-5’s ability makes him much better at the job he’s designed to do?

This is the second time we’ve encountered Ezra pilot and it won’t be the last.  Like I said before his Pilot Ability is pretty atrocious but he makes up for it for being a cheap force user.  However, he’s still not the cheapest option.  If your only goal is to take something like Sense you might as well go all the way and cheapen him down to piloting the TIE Fighter.  However, if want to spend more points on him for some reason, the Sheathipede gives you more slots to fill.  Sense combos with Cassian Andor, so you can Sense and then guess the right move with Cassian to get to change your dial.  He’s the perfect blocker…except that he’s 54 points in the build.  Probably way too expensive to be useable.

Otherwise, I don’t have much to say about this ship.  It’s a cheap coordinate, what else do you need it to do? At the moment, there isn’t any crazy combo like Strezra out there for the ship to exploit, at least as far as I can see. 

Pros: Cheap Coordinate, does the job you want it to do very well

Cons: Fenn is quite understandably more expensive and probably less useful

T-65 X-Wing

Would you be surprised if I told you X-wings were my favorite ship?  Yeah, I know, me and everyone else too.  But I grew up dreaming of flying an X-wing like Luke Skywalker, playing games like Rogue Squadron endlessly on the Nintendo 64 and GameCube.  I wanted to be a Starfighter pilot more than a Jedi! Ironically, if I’d been really serious about that I could have pursued real-life equivalent in being an aircraft pilot.   Guess I’ll have to stick to flying plastic minis instead.

It’s been a crazy few months for X-wing lovers.  The long-underpowered namesake of the game got a decent buff in Wave 14 just a few months before Second Edition throws it all out the window.  I’m not complaining though, it was nice to have decent T-65s in First Edition for the last few months and luckily T-65s are better in Second Edition than the buffed version in First Edition.  They no longer need to waste their Torpedo slot on a negative-point card, which is great because Proton Torpedoes are actually great now.  They traded Integrated Astromech (freeing up their mod slot) for an extra hull, which while gets rid of the next ability to cancel a crit at will, also means you don’t have to take an Astromech if you don’t want to.  Plus, they have barrel roll innately instead of only getting it when their S-foils are open.  The S-foil switch triggers at Activation, allowing you to react better with higher Initiative Pilots.  Even having the blue 2-banks and Talon Rolls permanently on the dial instead of based on the S-foil position is super helpful.  I can’t remember how many times I need to 2-bank to clear stress but also barrel roll, but couldn’t since they were locked to different S-foil positions!

There are a lot of X-wing pilots so let’s go through them all real quick.  Edrio Two-Tubes is obviously meant to combo with his brother Benthic in the U-wing and he can get lots of action each turn, unfortunately, being at Initiative 2 means those actions might not be very useful.  Jek Porkins is the same as last editio, and the risk of taking a damage to clear a stress probably isn’t worth it.  Leevan Tenza thankfully works on both barrel rolls and boosts now, so she might be all right.  I already talked about Garven Dreis in the ARC-170 and he suffers just as much in the X-wing due to the Focus spending rule change.  Biggs Darklighter’s ability is pretty great, better than his original form in 1.0 just because it lets your opponent make the wrong choice instead of just forcing them to shoot Biggs.  Kullbee Sperado has the same ability which is most useful for letting you close your wings pre-move, boost after move, and then open your wings for a 3-die attack, but his ability is way less exciting than in 1.0 where S-foils were opened/closed at the beginning of activation instead of before you activate, letting you adapt more readily to lower PS enemies. 

Thane Kyrell looks really great on paper since crits are so devastating, but you can’t spend a blank meaning you’re spending a potential damage to flip a crit where one of the best outcomes is doing a damage to them.  Still, it’s really great against high-defense ships where you might not hit them, or in the case where you have a Target Lock but no focus and end up with a focus result.  Wedge is still Wedge, making high-agility ships cry, but now he’s even better since he removes a green die instead of reducing agility.  No more 0 agility enemies still getting their Range 3 or obstruction bonuses!

And then we have Luke Skywalker.  Luke Skywalker is very, very fun to fly.  Most of my time with Second Edition so far has been flying Luke.  Luke’s ability means he’s rarely starved for Force Tokens, unlike other Force pilots, which means he can really let loose and spend them as he needs them.  He’s like First Edition Poe except he doesn’t need to take a Focus action to trigger his ability.  Supernatural Reflexes makes him BB-8 Poe except he can close his wings to pre-move Boost without taking damage.  Since the S-foils trigger at the same time as Supernatural, you can close the wings to Supernatural boost, or if your wings are already closed, Supernatural boost before opening your wings for all 3 attack dice.  You can even stick regen on him.  The problem is that his price balloons up very quickly with Supernatural Reflexes and finding good partners for him can be difficult.  Also, despite having almost unlimited Force points for defense, sometimes he just dies on you without any way to deal with blank defense dice.  But he definitely feels like the versatile powerhouse that I’ve always dreamed that X-wings were.

However, I need to step back from this a bit.  I am absolutely biased here.  As much as I love X-wings and want them to be good I’m not sure if they actually are as good as I think they are.  So take everything I’m saying about them with a grain of salt.  It’s not fully clear to me how competitive these guys are.  The generics are way less efficient than swarmable ships like TIE Fighters or Barrage Rocket TIE Bombers, and lists made up of those ships are going to chew X-wings to shreds.  I guess we’ll just have to see how things shake out.

Pros: Definitely better than their First Edition versions, can carry Torps, Luke is super fun

Cons: Might not be strong enough to be competitive

TIE/ln Fighter

I knew a few Imperial players salty that the best TIE Fighters in First Edition were Rebel.  When they said that they meant Captain Rex because outside of Ahsoka, who briefly saw use as a high-PS action-passer and was quickly replaced with the much better Fenn Rau, only Captain Rex was actually any good.  In Second Edition Rex has been very toned down - not only has his price increased significantly, his Suppressive Fire condition has become much, much worse.  Instead of the condition holder needing to shoot Rex in order to discard the card anyone can shoot Rex to discard it.  Gone are the days of shooting your opponent’s most dangerous ship and laughing as their attack either becomes nerfed or they have to shoot Rex instead of whoever they’d rather kill.  Now, your opponent just has their weakest ship shoot Rex in order to give their most powerful one free reign to continue attacking Rex or attack a more valuable target.  To make use of Rex effectively you’re probably going to have to break him off from his normal in-formation position and run him as a flanker to make it less likely he’ll be in an opponent’s arc.

The Rebel TIE has lost the Sabine’s Masterpiece’s title so it can no longer equip crew or illicits.  It also lost the Captured TIE mod, so no more pretending you’re part of your opponent’s forces.  Without those unique options the Rebel TIE’s versatility is greatly reduced.  Now it’s just a TIE without the TIE’s most powerful asset: its swarmability.  Zeb and Sabine are nothing to write home about – they’re just TIE Fighters, after all.  Maybe worth it as cheap filler if you’re not hot on Z-95s.

Ezra replaced Ahsoka in the TIE Fighter and is much more interesting compared to his other variants as he’s the cheapest Force user in the game.  I’ve already gone in to how bad I think his ability is (moreso on the TIE that has absolutely no self-stressing options outside of k-turns).  But slap Sense on him and spy on your opponent’s dial at Range 0-3.  Pretty handy and will certainly draw your opponent’s fire.  He is a bit expensive for 38 points in that build, but it could be worth it.

Pros: Ezra is the cheapest Force User in the game

Cons: Captain Rex is worse than before, no access to crew or illicits

UT-60D U-Wing

I like the U-Wing, it looks like a cool ship.  Despite the fact that everyone was pretty sure it was bad before it came out in First Edition I told myself I’d give it a try.  I didn’t get around to it and it proved to be even worse than most people expected.  When Saw’s Renegades was announced I told myself this would be the perfect opportunity to finally pick the ship up and give it a go.  I still didn’t get around to it.  I eventually told myself I had to try the U-wing before I was finished with First Edition so I took it to the last Store Championship I went to.

When we heard about the U-Wing in Second Edition, and how it was on a Medium base, how its Pivot Wing title triggered at a better time, and how it could turn 90 degrees in addition to 180 degrees on a stop, I told myself that U-Wings would be one of the first things I tried.  And I actually followed through with that promise.  I flew a U-wing in the first full 100 point 2.0 game I played.  Sure, I failed its coordinate action and then it died in the first round of combat… but I used it.  And I haven’t gotten around to picking it up again so I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t have a lot of experience with these guys.

Their 90 degree turn looks super cool but I don’t know how practical it actually is yet.  It’ll be super good on a high-Init pilot who can decide to rotate depending on where your opponents have gone.  You also might want to take Advanced Sensors or Contraband Cybernetics (on one of the Saw’s Renegades pilots) to get actions while stopping.  Their Coordinate action is red so it’s definitely worth it to take Tactical Officer to make it white for a mere 2 points, but if you’re looking solely for a cheap coordinator ship the Sheathipede is probably a better option.

I think the U-wing suffers from a similar problem to the Auzituck: Rebel crew are kind of meh.  This guy is great at carrying crew but unless we get some better ones in the future there’s not many it wants to carry in to battle.

There’s a lot of pilots here.  Heff really wants to be a good blocker but wishes the U-wing kept its bigger base to truly fulfill that dream.  Benthic Two-Tubes was obviously meant to pair with his brother but can still work as a focus-generator for anyone else and really wants that Perceptive Co-pilot which is super expensive.  Cassian Andor is one of the few anti-stress cards in the game and could be good.  Bodhi Rook once again forces you to risk one of your ships being in range of your opponent too early and is kind of a bust.  Magva Yarro was better in first edition where double-dice mods were more plentiful - most ships will just take a focus to avoid her nerfing their re-rolls and she does nothing to a Howlrunner swarm.  Saw no longer gives rerolls to stressed allies, only damaged ones, so you’ll want to have low-shield value ships paired with him.

Pros: Medium base, rotate 90 degrees, better trigger for Pivot Wing

Cons: Not enough good crew options for it, other ships can still do most of what it does better

VCX-100 Light Freighter

Ah, the Ghost.  The ship that at first was built as cheaply as possible to add a cheap 4 die Primary Weapon to your list for around 40 points then transformed into a monster once FFG buffed the Ghost Title’s interaction with TLT.  Ever since then we’ve been cursed with tanky quad-TLT builds like Kanan/Biggs, Hera/Ahsoka, Kanan/Lowhrick, and Kanan/Fenn.

Luckily, the nightmare is over.  Everything that made the Ghost so powerful in late Second Edition is gone.  No TLT and the turret options (while cheap) are pretty pitiful.  No more turret double-tap.  No more Sensor Slot.  Kanan Pilot no longer works on himself.  No more rear-arc torpedoes (although that wasn’t as widely used).

It’s not all bad news.  Hera likes sitting at Initiative 5 much more than PS 7.  Chopper and Hera have access to Talents now.  It traded the Evade for Reinforce, which is both good and bad.  As I’ve already discussed Reinforce is certainly much less powerful than it used to be but it’s probably for the best.  It’s a great option when you have multiple ships shooting at you from the same direction.

Looking at the docking potential the ability to re-dock is pretty cool.  You can protect your MOV a bit by re-docking an almost dead Phantom if necessary.  The rear-arc is no longer 4 dice, instead either 2 or 3 depending on which version of the Phantom you take which makes it less desirable.  The Attack Shuttle’s combo ability got way worse, allowing you to perform a rear-arc attack after you perform a forward-arc primary or turret attack.  You can only double-tap the same ship if you’re turret is facing the rear or if they happen to be straddling a turret-activated side arc and the rear and  I feel like you’re not very likely to just happen to have ships in both your forward and rear arc at the same time.  The Sheathipede’s free Coordinate action got moved to before you activate instead of the end of activation phase.  While that’s worse than before, it’s still nice to get some rare action economy.  However, you’re paying so many points for that combo I think I’d prefer to just leave the Sheathipede undocked and re-dock it if necessary.  It’s important to note that these titles that allow these interactions are no longer free, either, and both Phantom titles are 2 points.

There is an interesting combo that allows the Ghost to potentially attack 3 times via Han Solo gunner.  As of the time of writing, Han Gunner’s Initiative 7 attack is not considered a Bonus Attack, nor does it replace your normal Initiative Engagement (compare him to Heightened Perception).  You can attack at Initiative 7 with an equipped turret then trigger the Attack Shuttle’s rear-arc Bonus Attack.  Then, you can attack either with your Front Arc or Rear Arc at your pilot’s normal Initiative.  If a ship is in your rear arc and your turret arc is pointed that way, you can attack the same ship 3 times.  I’ve heard this combo described as overpowered and broken, on the same level as First Edition’s quad-TLT Ghost.  It’s obviously not.  It costs 122 points minimum to pull off, and that’s with the bare minimum upgrades on the cheapest pilots.  You’ll probably at least want to upgrade Dorsal Turret to Ion Canon Turret for 2 more points.  The Ghost doesn’t have any good ways of getting extra dice mods without spending a lot of extra points so you’re rolling a lot of naked dice once you spend your token.  Plus, your opponent has to be positioned just right for it to even happen, instead of anywhere Range 2-3.  This combo isn’t good.

However, a huge kicker is the cost.  The generic Lothal Rebel costs the exact same he did in First Edition (35 in original money) yet the ship lost 2 shields.  I understand that health on low agility ships is a lot less valuable than higher agility ones but that’s still 2 less damage your opponent has to do to you and I do not think the addition of the massively nerfed Reinforce makes up for it.  Luckily, this is easily fixable on FFG’s part thanks to the digital points system, and if it proves to be a non-issue, that’s fine.

I’m just not sure what to do with this thing.  My instinct is to build it as cheap as possible to leverage that 4 die attack, just like its earliest incarnations in First Edition.  I’m not sure how to get any value out of those unique pilots, but I’m willing to be proven wrong.

Pros: 4 Dice Attack

Cons: Lost a lot of what made it powerful (too powerful) in First Edition

Modified YT-1300 Light Freighter

It’s hard to talk about the Millennium Falcon without talking about the new Second Edition turrets, it was the first PWT in the OG game, after all.  The Falcon is also the bow-tie turret arc ship I’ve had the most experience with so far.  The bow-tie ships feel very different from the Shadowcaster from First Edition or HWKs and Y-wings from Second Edition that all have a forward-facing arc plus a turret.  With those ships you can point your turret to the side and pretend you have a giant, 180 degree arc, super-wide to catch your opponent in lots of places.  Not so with bow-ties, where you have two 90 degree arcs pointed in the opposite directions.  You’re never planning on catching them in either arc, you’re usually planning on catching them in one arc or not at all.  Your area of coverage is way down.

And let me tell you, I’m pretty awful at flying these things.  Not the part about pointing your turrets in the right way but more about not needing to move your turret arcs in the first place.  Ideally, you want to fly these ships in a way so that you rarely have to take the Rotate action, keeping your opponent’s ships in the same arcs so that you can get more useful, dice mod actions.  This is going to take a lot of time for me to get used to.  Pretty much every planning phase I’m kicking myself because the move I really, really want to do would face an in-active arc at my opponent’s ships.  I think it’s just the way I’m used to playing turrets from First Edition.  It’s going to take a long time and a lot of practice to break these habits and adapt and I can’t count on just going anywhere I want every turn anymore.

Because of this I think Lando Calrissian is a much more forgiving pilot than Han Solo as Lando can give himself an extra action to rotate his arc.  It’s pretty handy in a pinch.  Lando himself is so, so much better now that he can choose to give his action to himself as needed and that the Range has increased from 1 to 3.  It’s a pretty great ability.  Obviously, Nien Nunb is pretty necessary to give you 4 extra blue moves to trigger his ability from.  You might also consider not putting Engine Upgrade on him, as since you’re doing blue moves most turns anyways stressing yourself on a boost isn’t as big of a deal.  The next time I pick up the Falcon, it’s definitely going to be Lando that I try.

Han was the pilot I’ve actually flown, mostly because I wanted to see how easy or difficult it was to keep his ability active.  In my games it wasn’t too difficult as it was fairly easy to space the rocks out in a way so that there wouldn’t be many places I wouldn’t be Range 1 of them, even with my opponent’s working against me.  I’ve honestly never been that big of a fan of First Edition Han’s ability - I always get way too greedy.  Oh, I’ll never hit this person with only 2 hits, let’s see if I can reroll and get 3 (spoiler alert, I don’t get 3).  His ability is much nicer now that he can use it not only on defense but any other dice roll as well.  He can also combo it with the Falcon Title’s reroll to get 2 rerolls, making it much more likely to get an evade.  He works nicely with R2-D2 crew and Novice Technician, as you can use his ability to reroll the dice to avoid their negative consequences.  However, these rerolls don’t make you immune to bad dice.  Too many times I rerolled hits into hits when flying over rocks or triggering R2-D2 crew.  But it still drastically reduces the likelihood those will ever trigger.

Also Chewbacca’s still here but only ignoring crits once a round.  He might struggle a bit only because he is Init 4 and there are plenty of pilots that can move after him and potentially dodge his turret arcs.  Not much else to say about him.

Just like with the VCX-100 the big kicker here is the price.  Han Solo is the same price as he was in First Edition and the generic (1.0’s Resistance Sympathizer vs 2.0’s Outer Rim Smuggler) has actually increased by a couple points.  The ship is practically the same as before barring the included red boost and the bow-tie arcs and you’d think that losing the ability to always shoot 360 degrees around you all of the time would have warranted some kind of point decrease but no, they’re going to cost the same as before.  To make it a more fair comparison, toss Engine Upgrade on both so that they both have a white boost.  The 2.0 ship is still roughly the same points compared to the First Edition ship yet the First Edition ship is way better.  Luckily, if this is actually a problem it can be fixed.  Thank goodness for digital point costs!

I think building these guys cheaper than before is going to be the key.  These ships are pretty damn expensive and Second Edition seems to be leaning towards more and more ships.  Fat 360 degree turrets are gone and these arc-based turret follow-ups just don’t have the consistency of always getting to shoot like they used to.  You can’t count on them the same way you could before.  Resist the urge to load them up and bring better second and third crafts.

Pros: Han and Lando both have strong pilot abilities

Cons: Bow-tie arc will take some getting used to, maybe too expensive

YT-2400 Light Freighter

Confession time: Dash Render was one of my favorite pilots in First Edition.  A lot of people hate Dash with an unending vengeance, which is something that I don’t quite understand.  Sure, he’s got a 4 die turret.  Sure, he “ignores the rules of the game”, as if every other pilot and card in the game doesn’t let you do things the rules of the game normally wouldn’t allow.  But to me he’s a nuanced and interesting pilot to fly and to fly against. 

Yeah, that’s right, I said I like flying against Dash.  Most of the time at least.  Maybe it’s because I fly so much Dash that I know how he flies by heart.  Sure, he hard counters a lot of things but he has massive weaknesses that you can exploit, namely the donut hole.  A Dash game is a constant struggle between the Dash player and their opponent, fighting to keep your opponents out of the donut hole.  Dash being PS 7 means that plenty of things move after him and if they get into the Donut Hole, Dash can’t shoot them back.  That dynamic makes him super interesting to me.  What moves do my opponent expect me to do and what can I do to make sure he can’t get me?  How can I prevent my opponent from slipping into my blind spot? Conversely, when playing against Dash, I’m always trying to block Dash and crowd my ships into Range 1.  It’s a big mind game.  It’s great.

Or maybe I’m just crazy.  In fact, it’s probably that.

Anyway, I’ll have you know that Second Edition Dash doesn’t interest me at all.  They’ve literally removed everything that interested me.  They turned his Donut Hole into a Jelly Donut, letting him shoot with 3 dice which is a lower-than-average attack for a range 1 but is still a threatening attack.  You still want to keep people out of that Range 1 band but it’s not as bad if they get in there.  It’s certainly a buff but not one I wanted.  Perhaps I’m a bit burned out on Dash but I’ve got no plans to fly him ever again.

I’ve heard a lot of complaints that Dash is still way too good in second edition.  Despite his Sensor Blindspot buff I don’t think he’s that great.  He doesn’t deny that Range 3 bonus anymore and you can’t build him as well as you used to.  Without PTL or Rey he can’t get the action economy he needs, his barrel roll is red and it’s an expensive 6 points to make it white.  Lone Wolf is only once a turn.  Plus, Dash himself is so dang expensive.  You have to load a few upgrades onto him to make him useful and at that point he’s taking up a huge chunk of your list.  You can build a much more expensive Dash than the First Edition Dash builds, piling all the best possible upgrades on him, and he’ll still be way worse than he ever was in First Edition.  It seems like so far that 2 ship lists are going to struggle in Second Edition so I think it’s going to be a struggle to throw together anything competitive with Dash in the list.  What else are you going to take? Are people really scared of a ship that’s 2/3rds+ of your list, has a single 4 die attack with only 1 mod, no defensive bonuses, limited repositioning, and isn’t a 360 degree turret?

In my opinion, Leebo is a much better option than Dash.  He gets much better action efficiency thanks to his pilot ability, and combos with C-3P0 crew.  If only he had a Talent slot for Expert Handling or Trick shot.

Also, to anyone who hates that Dash can straight up ignore obstacles, I present to you Second Edition Collision Detector.  Five points lets any pilot with a Sensor Slot to be literally better than First Edition Dash twice in one game.  Where’s the outrage over that?

Pros: Built-in 4 die turret, can shoot a weaker shot at Range 1 instead of no shot, Leebo has good action economy

Cons: Way too expensive, no action economy for Dash

Z-95-AF4 Headhunter

The cheap filler ships for the Rebels Z-95 Headhunters were often considered inferior to the Imperial’s equivalent, the TIE fighter.  TIEs had repositioning, TIEs were a bit more survivable thanks to more green dice, and TIEs worked better in a swarm thanks to Howlrunner.  Z-95s didn’t have any of these things.

Yet in Second Edition a couple of those problems are mitigated.  They’ve got barrel roll, which while a red action is better than nothing.  But they’ve also got cheap upgrades that can give them purpose in a list.  For 28 points you can take a Tala Squadron Pilot with Selfless, to split your opponent’s damage a bit and shield your more expensive ships from dangerous crits.  Homing Missiles for 3 points are an absolute steal, giving your cheap little ship some teeth.  You run the risk of not getting the lock if you bring them on low-Initiative pilots but you can limit your opponent’s moves if they want to dodge the shot.  You might be tempted to write these little guys off since your opponent can just choose to suffer 1 damage and be done with it but how much damage were you going to do anyway with your 2 dice attack anyway?  Plus, if they do that you keep your target lock for next round where you can either fire Homing missiles again or shoot a double-modded range 1 attack.  And some low-health high-defense ships can’t risk taking even 1 point of damage, and might opt to let you fire off that 4-dice Target Lock missile in the hopes they can dodge it, allowing you to do more damage or (more likely) strip some tokens.

Lieutenant Blount is the cheapest 3 dice attack in the game but needs an ally in the right spot to turn his ability on.  Airen Cracken’s mid-combat action passing is janky fun as it was in first edition, but the fact that the action is red sours it a bit.  Either of them might be worth it in the right list.

Overall, I think the Z-95 is certainly improved in 2.0 and definitely worth consideration as a cheap filler ship.  And they’re a point cheaper than the Scum version, although lacking the illicit slot.  Unfortunately, it still seems to be outclassed by its Imperial counterpart.

Pros: Cheap filler ships with some interesting combos, have Barrel roll now

Cons: Barrel Roll is red, outclassed by TIE Fighter

And that’s it! Every Rebel ship.  Thanks for sticking around to the end! I hope you got something out of all my ramblings in there.  And once again, you can put it all to practice at the Crossroads Classic! If you’re close enough to make it, we’d love to have you.  Anyway, a huge thank you to David for letting me write this up for his blog.  It’s been a good experience to go through all the thoughts I’ve had so far with Second Edition and distill them down to something consumable.  Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming!


  1. Hi, re the Ewing's linked action:
    You can put Composure on it, so you can boost or roll, then instead of a red Lock, you can get a focus without even getting the stress (if you fail a red action you do not take the stress). You can even do this every turn as you don't have to take a Lock, and you can chose to fail.
    Currently it seems like a broken combo, but as a Corran fan I'll happily take this rare good news.

    1. We're 95% sure this doesn't work as there's no option in the TL action to fail to choose an object.

    2. Ah I've heard otherwise, but as always I'm sure the fates (or just FFG) will conspire against me.
      To be honest it still works at R1 though, and that's its sweet spot.

    3. It doesn't work at R1 either, afaik, you just have to choose another object at the appropriate range. Golden Rule of x-wing in the rules ref is that the E-Wing overwrites the target lock rules and makes you choose something R2+ instead of R1-3.

    4. Well I'm hoping that doesn't turn out to be true (for purely selfish reasons lol), hopefully some better talents will come our way over then next few months.

    5. Here's how I read the Lock rules. While there isn't a "may" in the 2nd part, which requires you to make a choice among objects you've measured range to, there is an implied "may" in whether or not you want to measure to something. The rule says "measure range to any number of objects," rather than "to all objects." To me, the big question is whether someone is forced to measure to objects they have no intention of locking, whether the first part of the Lock rule defines a set of objects, or must all objects be considered. All objects can be considered, but must the?

      This is relevant to things outside Composure. Suppose Wedge is chasing a TIE Fighter and a TIE Interceptor. He had a Target Lock on the Interceptor from a previous round. After moving, Wedge thinks he might have the TIE Fighter in range, but the Interceptor has clearly boosted out of range. So Wedge decides to attempt to lock the TIE Fighter. It's just barely out of range. Is Wedge then forced to change his lock to an Asteroid that he has no intention of locking? Can Wedge limit the scope of his lock search to just the TIE Fighter?

      Even if they errata Composure away from E-Wings, I think it's important for fundamental fairness that a ship be allowed to limit the scope of ships they're attempting to lock. As I see it, the Lock rule allows a ship attempting a lock to measure to any number of ships, asteroids, and other objects they're interested in, but does not force someone to measure and consider for locking some object they have no interest in acquiring a lock on.

    6. If you choose a TL action you have to TL something.

  2. It is a dark time for the Rebellion.

    Although the Death Star has been destroyed, the release of X Wing 2nd Edition has left the Rebel forces out-manned and out-gunned, by both Imperial squads and marauding bands of villainous scum. Evading the dreaded Imperial star fleet is hard since so many of the rebel ships roll only 1 damn green die, and with no ships that can equip a trajectory simulator, the ones that can use bombs are far less effective than their counterparts

    The stalwart X-wings are better than they were, but they are costed so you can't even get 5 in a squad. Having to face 6 and 7 TIE fighter swarms, or even 7 freaking tug boats, their hopes of winning seem slim. FFG has also gotten rid of several of the best Rebel crew, moved ace pilots to other, new factions, and decimated the ranks of trusty astromechs pilots had at their disposal.

    The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding the young Skywalker, will always have Supernatural Reflexes and re-position like, five times every turn.

  3. Great write-up with many valid points. However, I think you grossly underestimate Braylen Stramm (and in some ways, all B-wings) as well as the actual *preferable* usefulness of the E-Wings reposition-into-Target Lock.
    First off, Braylen should never have any trouble getting his rerolls, as he can always just do a linked Focus-into-Barrel Roll, or pull any of his turnaround Red maneuvers. In half a dozen games with him, I can't remember a single time I wasn't able to stress him effectively. Also, B-wings' ability to pull a 1-Tallon is almost good enough to be a chassis ability - it's very powerful.
    Second, with E-Wings the linked Boost/Barrel Roll into Target Lock is exactly what enables the E-Wing to do exactly what it wants to do: Nuke your face with Proton Torpedoes. By allowed a Boost into a Target Lock, you're extending the range at which you can catch target locks, often allowing you to fire off your torpedoes on the first turn of the game if you should so wish. It also allows you to extend your distance to get out of range 1 in order to get back your target lock on turns you are flying away and setting up for the next engagement. On paper, it looks bad, but in practice, I've found it's actually an excellent linked action.

  4. What do the community ratings/responses for Rebels look like (similar to what you had posted in the Imperial and Scum reviews)?