Wednesday, 13 November 2019

X-Wing Buying Guide - Rebels

"Lock S-Foils in attack position"



The Rebels feature the heroes who have been front and centre in Star Wars ever since 1976.  This is the faction where you'll find Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and Lando Calrissian.  You'll also find characters like Jyn Erso and Saw Gerrera from Rogue One and the motley crew of the Ghost from the Rebels cartoon series including Hera Syndulla and Ezra Bridger.

As well as featuring prominently in lots of film & TV the Rebels also have a fair number of less famous ships and characters drawn from the old 'Extended Universe' of Star Wars - books, comics and games that pre-date when Disney bought the franchise from Lucasfilm.  This means you'll also find things like the Wookiees wooden Auzituck Gunship, the butt-ugly K-Wing bomber or the YT-2400 Outrider freighter.  If names like Kyle Katarn or Corran Horn mean something to you then, yes, they're in the game too! 

In terms of playstyle the rebel alliance tends to favour durable ships with strong firepower and heavy shielding, although often that comes at a price that means limited mobility.  They also have a lot of pilots with abilities that help out nearby friends, like Biggs Darklighter who can take a hit meant for a nearby friendly ship or Jake Farrel who can help his allies take extra focus actions.  This means Rebel ships often fly in close formation and simply try to batter through enemy fleets with the power of teamwork.  It's a style of play that's relatively easy to pick up and can be very forgiving of little mistakes meaning that 'Rebel Beef', as it's often known, is a proven archetype that has won many tournaments.

Probably the biggest and most obvious gear change that the Rebel Alliance has is to pick up a big freighter like the Millenium Falcon and build a squad around that instead.  When you take the Falcon your whole style of play changes as you're no longer trying to duel opponents head-on but run and hide from enemy fire while taking potshots back at pursuing ships with your quad laser turrets.  It definitely works and in 2019 the biggest X-Wing tournament ever held was won by Han Solo flying the Millenium Falcon, but it takes a lot more practice to get right.    


Rebels are a beginner-friendly faction and a simple squad like this can be really effective in teaching you to play.  There's not lots of upgrades to remember and worry about so you can just fly towards the enemy and start throwing red dice as hard as possible safe in the knowledge you're flying a couple of the best pilots in the game in Wedge and Luke!

All the ingredients are here for a pretty typical Rebel squad experience - tough ships in Luke and the B-Wing, some damage repair from your R5 Astromech and a bit of teamwork with Arvel Crynyd (the guy who smashed into the bridge of the Super Star Destroyer in Return of the Jedi) running interference up front. 

XXAB (200pts)
  • Luke Skywalker (T-65 X-Wing) - R5 Astromech, Servomotor S-foils
  • Wedge Antilles (T-65 X-Wing) - R2 Astromech, Servomotor S-Foils
  • Arvel Crynyd (RZ-1 A-Wing) - Intimidation
  • Blue Squadron Pilot (B-Wing) 

Purchases required: Core set, T-65 X-Wing Expansion, B-Wing Expansion, A-Wing Expansion (RRP $100)

I'm sure a lot of people want to get into X-Wing to fly the Millenium Falcon (I know I did!) but it can take a bit of a cash investment to get all the upgrades together to really get the most of the Falcon.  For fans of the Rebels cartoon series it's a lot easier to get up to speed, though.  With just the contents of the Core Set, the Ghost expansion and an A-Wing you can throw down a pretty mean squad that will be a completely different playstyle to the typical Rebel experience of small ships.  

Feel The Force (199pts)
  • Hera Syndulla (VCX-100) - Intimidation, Dorsal Turret, Kanan Jarrus, Zeb Orrelios, Hull Upgrade, "Ghost"
  • Jek Porkins (T-65 X-Wing) - Servomotor S-Foils
  • AP-5 (Sheathipede) - "Phantom" 
  • Arvel Crynyd (RZ-1 A-Wing)
Purchases Required: Core Set, "Ghost" Expansion, A-Wing Expansion ($110)

The challenge here isn't just managing four ships at once it's making best use of all the upgrades and abilities on the Ghost.  When to change your maneuver with Hera, when to use Kanan to clear stress instead of modify a dice, when to undock the Sheathipede.  With so many points invested in one ship you need to learn to protect that ship while also getting the damage out of it's big gun that makes it worth paying for!

DISCLAIMER: This advice is accurate at the time it's given.  Because X-Wing uses flexible point costs they could easily change and make a bad ship good or a good ship bad.  I can't predict that, I'm afraid, but this is the best advice we can give right now.

T-65 X-Wing (Core Set / Wave I)
Very easy to fly, Strong

Rogue One would have you believe that rebellions are built on hope.  That's a lie: rebellions are really built on T-65 X-Wings.  The iconic fighter that named the game is a hugely dependable all-rounder and in Wedge Antilles and Luke Skywalker has two of the best pilots in the game.  Luke's ability to regenerate Force whenever somebody shoots at him means he's a lot harder to kill then he looks, while Wedge's ability to reduce the defence dice that his targets get to roll make an absolute terror to face across the table.

You get Luke's X-Wing in the Core Set and you'll almost certainly want to pick a second one up in the expansion pack to get Wedge.  There's also some different pilots in the old Saw's Renegades expansion (see the U-Wing below) but they're not a patch on Luke or Wedge.
  • Core Set Only: Luke Skywalker, Jek Porkins
  • Expansion Only: Wedge Antilles, Thane Kyrell, Biggs Darklighter, Garven Dries
  • Saw's Renegades Only: Kullbee Sperado, Leevan Tenza, Edrio Two-Tubes, Cavern Angels Zealot
Also of Interest: Proton Torpedoes (Core Set, lots of other places)

BTL-A4 Y-Wing (Wave 1)
Easy to fly, Weak

The venerable Y-Wing briefly had it's moment in the sun when the points costs on Veteran Turret Gunner and Ion Cannon Turret were dropped in early 2019.  A few months of Y-Wing dominance were enough to persuade Fantasy Flight to put the cost back up and since then the old bird has returned to relative mediocrity.  The Y-Wing's not a bad ship at all but it's usually not as good as bringing a B-Wing instead... that may well change when new Turret options arrive in the game, though, so watch this space.

Also of Interest: None
B-Wing (Wave 4)
Average to fly, Average

The B-Wing has long been the gold standard for raw brawling firepower in X-Wing and it still fulfills that role in the Second Edition.  Compared to the T-65 X-Wing a B-Wing is slower and with less Agility but more Shields and it means you spend less time running and more time just throwing laser blasts at things until they die.  It's a solid and dependable addition to your squad, if hardly one that makes for exciting dogfighting.

Owners with deep pockets may want to check out the Auzituck Gunship as a competitor for the B-Wing, though that requires tracking down old ships and buying the Rebel Conversion Kit.

Also of Interest: Stabilised S-Foils (Hotshots & Aces expansion)

YT-1300 'Millenium Falcon' (Wave 4)
Difficult to fly, Average strength

Although the Millenium Falcon may be a really tempting ship to fans of the series you should be careful before heading that way.  It's a steeper learning curve to coax the Falcon through a long game than just throwing laser fire at opponents from X-Wings and B-Wings.  In the hands of a great player the Millenium Falcon can be a formidable opponent and in 2019 it won the biggest X-Wing tournament ever held, but when you're starting out it's much easier to leave the Falcon in the wrong place on the table and watch it take damage at an alarming rate.

Another good reason to avoid jumping onto the Falcon too early is that most of the upgrade cards that make it really good aren't actually in the Millenium Falcon expansion pack.  Frustratingly you'll need the Rebel Alliance conversion kit or Hotshots & Aces for valuable additions like Trick Shot, K2-SO or Kanan Jarrus.

But look... it's the Falcon and therefore the coolest ship in the game.  The model alone is reason enough to buy one if you ask me!

Also of Interest: Trick Shot (Rebel conversion kit, Saw's Renegades), Kanan Jarrus (Rebel conversion kit, Ghost), K2-SO (Hotshots & Aces), Leia Organa pilot (Hotshots & Aces)

VCX-100 'Ghost' (Wave 5)
Average to fly, Average strength

Sheathipede Shuttle (Wave 5)
Easy to fly, Average strength

The Ghost is the main ship from the Rebels cartoon series and in this expansion you also get the Sheathipede shuttle which can dock with the Ghost or operate as an independent ship in your squad.  

The VCX-100 itself is one of only two ships in the game with 0 Agility (the other being the Empire's Decimator) and that means it's often on a ticking clock to deal as much damage as possible before its inevitable demise.  Fortunately the Ghost is well equipped to pour out the pain and it's also one of the only ships in the game with 4 attack dice on it's primary weapon - a lot of enemy ships can't repel firepower of that magnitude!  Most players run the Ghost relatively cheap as a straight battering ram of damage output but in Hera and Kanan there's a couple of good named pilots that you can explore building a more complex ship with.

The Sheathipede is almost the opposite of the Ghost and usually tries to disappear into the background of your squad as a cheap little support ship.  The main advantage the Sheathipede has is it's the cheapest ship in the game with a white Coordinate action (Co-ordinate allows you to make nearby ships more powerful by taking more actions) and it often finds a role alongside more famous and flashy teammates.

Also of Interest: Saw Gerrera (Rebel conversion kit, Saw's Renegades), Ion Cannon Turret (Rebel conversion kit, Y-Wing), Veteran Turret Gunner (Rebel conversion kit, Y-Wing)

RZ-1 A-Wing (Wave 6 - COMING SOON)
Average to fly, Average strength

The little A-Wing is the Rebel Alliance's speedy scout craft and makes up in speed and agility what it lacks in punch.  The pilot you most often see in an A-Wing is Jake Farrel and with his pilot ability to pass nearby friends a Focus action he competes with the Sheathipede shuttle as a support ship as much as he operates as a fighter in his own right.  The main thing that counts against the A-Wing is that with only 2 red dice it can take some good flying to make it an offensive threat, and also that it's so fast that it can struggle to stay close to the slower ships that Rebel fleets depend on.

Even so it's a pretty good investment to make for any budding Rebel player.  Although A-Wings rarely cause fireworks they're the cheapest Rebel ship thats released in Second Edition and you'll often find yourself adding it as the last ship in a squad just because you can't afford anything more.

Also of Interest: Crack Shot (conversion kits)

U-Wing (the First Edition Saw's Renegades pack contains Second Edition cards)
Very Easy to fly, Strong

The U-Wing is the ship that Jyn and Cassian use for the second half of Rogue One, while in the miniatures game this hybrid fighter and transport is a very potent threat on the table.  It sits somewhere between a T-65 X-Wing and a B-Wing in terms of stats which makes it a tough customer in a fight, and it also brings a couple of unique selling points: a crew upgrade slot, and the ability to stop and pivot on the spot.  Unique movement abilities like the U-Wing's pivot wings are hugely valuable and it's meant the U-Wing has had a big role to play in a lot of Rebel squads.  You may even see players bringing four U-Wings as their whole squad!

Here's the rub, though.  The U-Wing has only been re-released for Second Edition as part of the Saw's Renegade's expansion pack, along with the partisan-schemed T-65 X-Wing.  That makes it a more expensive addition to your squad than it should really be as you're paying for two ships in the expansion.  You also only get half of the available U-Wing pilots and you'll need the Rebel conversion kit for the others.

Also of Interest: Leia Organa (Rebel conversion kit, Millenium Falcon)

As one of the original three factions there are a lot of Rebel ships but not all of them have been re-released in Second Edition yet.  To play these ships you'll need to find a First Edition miniature or expansion and purchase the Rebel Conversion Kit.
Very Easy to fly, Weak

The ARC-170 is really a ship that we associate with the Galactic Republic and I don't think it's an accident that the Rebel version of this ship seems to cost a few too many points.  The designers want you to be playing with the B-Wings and U-Wings that are more thematically Rebel instead of ARCs.  There's some good pilot abilities here and Shara Bey in particular can deal out a lot of hurt, but when you're looking at ARCs for your squad there's usually an X-Wing of B-Wing pilot you should be playing instead.

Attack Shuttle
Easy to fly, Weak

The Attack Shuttle is one of two ships that can dock with the VCX-100 Ghost (it was the original shuttle in the Rebels cartoon series until it was destroyed) and it's one of the cheapest ways to add 3 red dice to your squad.  Sabine has a really nice pilot ability which has some nice tricks you can do with it, but the reason you get those red dice at a discount is that the shuttle is easy to kill and outmaneuver.  It has a role to play in filling a gap in your squad when points are scarce but it's rarely going to be a star player.

Auzituck Gunship
Easy to fly, Average strength

Although originally the Auzituck was one of the ships that really suffered in the transition from First Edition it's benefitted from a few rounds of points reductions and is now a pretty competitive brawler.

In it's favour is that the Auzituck is one of the least fussy ships in the game with a wide 180 degree attack arc that enemy ships will find very hard to avoid.  Combine that with a decent chunk of hull and shields and you've got a ship that you can rely on to keep shooting and pushing damage until the opponent takes it off the table.  Going against the Auzituck is that it's sooooooooo boring you're liable to fall asleep at the wheel - the maneuver dial is boring, the actions are boring, the dependability of the firing arc and its stack of health are boring.  Even this review is boring.

Hard to fly, Average strength

The K-Wing bomber is one of a very few ships in the game with the SLAM ability.  SLAM is like a little mini lightspeed engine that allows it to blast across the table at high speed though at the expensive of being able to fire that turn.  Combined with its dependence on missiles and bombs to deal damage it makes the K-Wings very much unlike anything else in the game and that alone makes it a challenge to fly.  You're always faced with the same question: when do you run away and when do you stand and fight?  Run too often and you'll never kill anything as you aren't firing, but stand and fight too often and you'll lose ships - it's a real tightrope to walk.

Easy to fly, Average strength

The E-Wing originates from books and comics of the Extended Universe as 'the successor to the T-65 X-Wing' - a role that we now know is actually taken up by the T-70 X-Wing that the Resistance get to fly.  The E-Wing is so close to being a great ship, especially with Corran Horn at the controls, but it finds itself without a niche to really call its own - too expensive to be an efficient brawler but not quite acey enough to avoid the true ace pilots from still running rings round it.

Like the Auzituck the E-Wing has benefited from some whopping points cuts and is knocking of the door of being really good.  Unlike the Auzituck it's just a little bit too fussy and demanding even at its low cost.  To be fair that's pretty thematic as in the books and comics it was a fussy ship too and Luke wound up sending his E-Wing back and flying a trusty T-65 instead.  So would I.

Average to fly, Average strength

Any HWK-290 with the Moldy Crow title is good, period - the ability to stack a couple of Focus tokens on your ship is hugely useful and translates into either extra damage done (by also taking a Target Lock action) or being frustratingly difficult to kill as you can defend against multiple shots.  Kyle Katan and Jan Ors also come with some decent pilot abilities.

TIE/ln Fighter (Sabine's TIE)
Average to fly, Weak

In the Rebels cartoon series the heroes manage to steal a TIE Fighter and customise it, hence why it appears here on the Rebel side of the game.  Most of the pilots are pretty lacklustre but the July 2020 points changes really helped Sabine Wren out, who was probably the best pilot for these things anyway, so there's now at least one genuinely good reason to own Sabine's TIE1

YT-2400 'Outrider'
Hard to fly, Average strength

Dash Rendar was an utter terror throughout First Edition and the YT-2400 is really paying for that past life success, with the YT-2400 chassis being significantly changed in the transition to Second Edition.  The YT-2400 was one of the big beneficiaries of the July 2020 points reductions, although it has to be said the ship really needed the help as it was way too expensive before and may still not be quite good enough.

When you buy a YT-2400 you're investing in a really big cannon that tries to play keep-away with the enemy and blast them to pieces as they approach, much like the Millenium Falcon does.  It's a different way of playing the game than smashing front-facing fighter ships at each other and that alone is a decent selling point.  The Falcon probably still does it better than the Outrider, or at least more reliably, but the gap has closed up a lot since July.

Z-95 Headhunter
Easy to fly, Average strength

The Z-95 is a predecessor of the more famous T-65 X-Wing but this humble ship has long been a hallmark of efficient squadbuilding and it won two World Championships in First Edition.  There's rarely fireworks when a Z-95 hits the table but the real magic happens when you're tinkering with your squad and realise that if you drop this one upgrade you'll have enough spare points to buy a Z-95 and add a whole extra ship.  When that happens you're usually on the right track to winning a bunch more games.  And don't ignore the pilot abilities of either Airen Cracken or Lieutenant Blount, which can be real difference makers considering how cheap they are.

1 comment:

  1. R2-D2 is in the Millenium Falcon Expansion Pack. Still frustrating that Trick Shot and Kanan Jarrus are in seperate, more costly expansions.