Wednesday, 13 November 2019

X-Wing Buying Guide - Scum

"He's no good to me dead"


Scum and Villainy is a shaky alliance of bounty hunters, mercenaries and rogues who don't fit into any other faction. Fan-favourite Boba Fett is the poster boy for this faction, and he is joined by a host of other crooks whose names you may (or may not) know. The bounty hunters hired by Vader in Empire Strikes Back are all here, like Dengar and IG-88, as are mercenaries from the Rebels and Clone Wars animated series including getaway driver Moralo Eval, Mandalorian Protector Fenn Rau, and Black Sun Operative Ketsu Onyo.  The Scum faction even spans the whole of the three ages of Star Wars, with Unkar Plutt's Quadjumper from The Force Awakens also represented.

Just like the other original factions from the First Edition of X-Wing Scum features plenty of Extended Universe characters such as N'dru Suhlak, Talonbane Cobra, and the notorious Prince Xixor. Young Han Solo and his crew are also present and the Scum faction will likely only continue to grow as the world of Star Wars expands beyond the Skywalker Saga with The Mandalorian.

On the table, Scum are most known for dirty tricks and control abilities that give them the upper hand - but at a price. Allow rogue protocol droid 4-LOM on board your ship and he can stop your opponent spending a green token on defense, but afterwards you'll have to pay him by taking two ion tokens yourself. In terms of ships, the Scum faction has access to a wide variety of different options, from sturdy brawlers like the Kimogila to nimble aces in the Starviper.  Many of the Scum ships are similar to those found in other factions (particularly rebel) but come with a unique twist that sets them apart. The pilots flying them are generally independent operators who don't rely on their wingmen, but a good Scum commander will know how to take advantage of their abilities to create a cohesive strategy. One great example of this is the "Torkil Cartel", which relies on Seevor and Torkil to shut down an enemy ship before their wingmen annihilate it with laser fire.


Let's put our Sabacc cards face-up on the table right from the start: Scum and Villainy is a difficult faction for beginners to purchase their way into.  For whatever reason Fantasy Flight have cherry-picked many of the least interesting ships to be rereleased in Second Edition first, while most of the best Scum ships are still sitting on the shelf.  This makes it tough to build strong squads without buying second hand models and taking on the cash investment of buying the Scum Conversion Kit. Nevertheless, if you're keen to fly with outlaws and pirates these squads are all using Second Edition ships and are a good way to start...

Mandalorian Mining Corporation (200pts)
  • Old Teroch (Fang Fighter) - Fearless
  • Koshka Frost (Firespray-class Patrol Craft) - Perceptive Copilot, Seismic Charges, Marauder
  • Captain Seevor (Modified TIE/ln fighter)
  • Binayre Pirate (Z-95 AF4 Headhunter)

Purchases Required: Slave I Expansion, Fang Fighter Expansion, Z-95-AF4 Headhunter Expansion, Mining Guild TIE Expansion.

These ships might not look like much, but they a combination of firepower and token denial that lets them punch well above their weight class. Captain Seevor and Old Teroch can cripple any enemy with their token stripping abilities, leaving them vulnerable to the rest of the squad. Koshka is a flexible brawler who will punish your opponents for performing linked actions or red maneuvers. 

Rounding out the squad is a cheap and disposable Headhunter, who will frustrate your opponent by getting in their way and finishing off ships weakened by the rest of the squad.

Close Quarters Combat (186pts)
  • Boba Fett (Firespray-class Patrol Craft) - Shield Upgrade, Perceptive Copilot, Proximity Mines, Slave I, Lone Wolf
  • Fenn Rau (Fang Fighter) - Outmaneuver

Purchases required: Core Set, Fang Fighter Expansion, Slave I Expansion

This squad brings together two fearsome pilots who excel when the fight is up close and personal. Get in close to your enemy and you can tear chunks out of them while avoiding damage yourself, but if you get caught out at medium or long range you may find yourself in trouble.

When you fly two ships you have to be a little bit more conservative - losing one cuts your firepower in half so you can't be reckless - but only having great pilots means fewer weak points so it's not all downside.

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.
Firespray-class Patrol Craft (Wave 1) 
Very Easy to Fly, Strong

The Firespray is one of the better-known Scum craft, flown by Boba Fett as he pursues Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. With strong front and rear guns, a sturdy hull and shields, a nimble dial and a wide range of action choices, the Firespray is ready for any challenge. Unfortunately, this flexibility and power comes with a hefty points cost, and you'll rarely see more than one or two wingmen flying alongside a Firespray.  The Firespray is a good beginners ship, though, and one of the best initial purchases a Scum fan can make - it'll rarely give up without a fight even in a beginner's hands.

Also of interest: Maul (Scum Conversion Kit)

Fang Fighter (Wave 1) 
Hard to Fly, Average

The Fang Fighter is the Scum answer to the TIE interceptor, trading in double repositioning for more hull and the "Concord Dawn" ability, which makes Fangs very hard to kill at close range. With an excellent dial and linked actions the Fangs are brilliant knife fighters. Unfortunately, they are easy prey at range 2 and with no shields are particularly susceptible to crits.  As it's most dangerous ace Fenn Rau is the most commonly chosen Fang pilot, although Old Teroch also sees some use.

Also of interest: none

Customised YT-1300 Freighter (Wave 1) 
Hard to Fly, Weak

Escape Craft (Wave 1)
Easy to fly, Average

Sadly, Lando's Falcon is not very impressive on the table. Han hasn't upgraded the turrets to quad lasers yet and thus Lando's ship is stuck with a measly two attack dice and that really takes a massive chunk of how useful it actually is. While Han Solo pilot can theoretically roll absurd numbers of dice on obstructed attacks the Falcon's large base makes it very difficult to tuck in behind rocks. This expansion isn't a complete waste, though, as it features some excellent crew upgrades and a handy support ship - the Escape Craft.

You have to buy a whole Falcon to get it but the Escape Craft craft is the best support ship available to Scum. L337 can hand out actions to whoever needs them most, and she can shoot a bit too while she's at it. Many Scum squads feature a single escape craft feeding actions to another ship with bigger guns. Fans of jank and explosions can also bring the autopilot drone which is wired to go boom 3 turns into the game.

Also of interest: Hot Shot Gunner (Scum Conversion Kit), 4-LOM (Scum Conversion Kit), Trick Shot (Mining Guild TIE, Scum Conversion Kit)

Mining Guild TIE (Wave 2) 
Easy to fly, Strong

The Mining Guild have cut the front panels out of their TIE fighters for improved visibility. This makes them a little slower, but allows their pilots to fly over asteroids without penalty (although they still have to move off the rock if they want to shoot). In all other respects this ship is identical to the TIE fighter flown by the imperial forces - cheap, fragile and disposable. Instead of the formation-flying synergy of Imperial Howlrunner, the Scum TIE features captain Seevor's jamming ability. This creates a more scummy synergy, jamming tokens away to make an opening in the enemy's defenses.

Also of interest: none
Z-95 Headhunter (Wave 3) 
Easy to Fly, Average

The Z-95 headhunter is a durable, cheap ship. It may be a little bland, but adding a pirate or two is an excellent way to round out your ranks. The Binayre Pirate is best used for blocking, soaking up damage, and taking range 1 shots at the enemy. The named pilots are not particularly exciting, though: N'dru makes it hard for your squad to work together and Kaa'to sucks focus tokens away from more important ships.

Also of interest: Dead Man's Switch (Scum Conversion Kit)

Jumpmaster 5000 (Wave 5) 
Very Hard to fly, Weak

The Jumpmaster is quite possibly the worst ship in the game, crippled by red rotate actions and an awfully unwieldy dial.  The reason the ship is like this is because in First Edition it was so damn good that the Jumpmasters dominated the game for years after release - it took a big hit from the nerf bat in Second Edition just to give players a break!  What's survived the nerfing is just a mess, though, and one best avoided at all costs - it is very hard to avoid taking stress on a Jumpmaster, and once stressed, it will take several turns to leave the fight, destress and come back around. Strong pilot abilities are not enough to save this ship.  Avoid, avoid, avoid.

Also of interest: Proton Torpedoes (M3-A Interceptor Expansion), Electronic Baffle (B-Wing Expansion, Scum Conversion Kit)

M3-A "Scyk" Interceptor (Wave 5) 
Easy to Fly, Weak

With a flexible "hard point" ability, this Hutt fighter is able to bring any munition or cannon to the table. Unfortunately, strapping an expensive and dangerous weapon onto such a fragile chassis makes a Scyk an obvious target for enemy ships. Scyks without a hardpoint upgrade can feature interesting pilot abilities, but a Scum squad would probably do better to save points and bring a Z-95. Serissu's defensive ability is worth noting as powerful but difficult to leverage, as Scum squads often spread out rather than fly in formation.

Also of interest: Ion cannon (Scum Conversion Kit)

YV-666 'Hounds Tooth' (Wave 6 - COMING SOON) 
Medium to fly, Average

The reptilian Bossk's flying bus brings a fearsome bite with its forward weapons covering a full 180 degree field of fire. With plenty of room for crew and gunners plus a thick hull the YV-666 brings pain to anything in front of it, and a reinforce action makes the YV even harder to kill.  It's weakness is that once things behind the YV-666 they'll often stay there until you're destroyed so good YV pilots will be sure to fly slowly and cover the rear of their ship with board edges, asteroids, and friendly ships to prevent enemy fighters sneaking in behind it.

As a little bonus the Hounds Tooth comes with a custom Z-95 Headhunter, the Nastah Pup.  Much like Lando's Escape Craft the YV-666 can start the game with a cheap Z-95 docked onto the ship, with the YV's pilot escaping at the last minute.  It's a neat trick and one only the YV-666 can pull off!

Also of interest: Lando Calrissian (Lando's Falcon Expansion), Unkar Plutt (Scum Conversion Kit)

As one of the original three factions there are a lot of Scum 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 Scum Conversion Kit.
And for Scum players in particular - this is where all the good stuff is! 

Starviper-class Attack Platform
Hard to fly, Strong

The mechanical butterfly wings of the Starviper allow it to move like no other ship - barrel rolling with a curved template instead of a straight one means it can strafe across the table. Combined with boosts and red linked focus actions, this makes the starviper a nimble and powerful craft. Guri with advanced sensors is almost impossible to pin down, dancing about enemy ships and dodging out of harm's way. The non-unique pilots are also a force to be reckoned with, capable of blocking enemy aces and spreading a wide net of firing arcs. While vipers are challenging to fly, they are not particularly common and many opponents don't know how to approach them effectively.

G1-A Starfighter
Medium to fly, Average

Home of bounty hunters 4-LOM and Zuckuss, the G1-A starviper brings a beefy statline and an extremely red dial to the fight, earning it the nickname of "Scum B-Wing". The pilot abilities, red stop maneuver and the presence of a crew slot are the most exciting features of this ship. Of particular interest is 4-LOM pilot, who can hand out stress tokens, simultaneously controlling enemy movement and offsetting the extremely red dial of the G1-A. Scum squads will look to the G1-A as an up-close brawler which can take a beating but take the enemy down with them as often as not.

M12-L Kimogila 
Medium to fly, Average

This Hutt fighter is a beefy brawler similar to the G1-A but with a dial better suited to longer-range engagements. The Kimogila also has a nasty bullseye ability which prevents enemies spending green tokens on defense, but catching enemies in the bullseye of a medium base ship is quite a challenge so don't expect that to happen too often. Torani Kulda is a popular ace, but even the generic Kimogila is a threat when flown with R5-P8 for double modifying attacks.  The Kimogila's biggest weakness is turning around - you'll need to plan your approach carefully to ensure you've got a clear lane and space to throw your big k-turn if you want to keep your guns on target.

Scurrg H-6 Bomber
Easy to fly, Strong

The Scurrg rounds out the trio of beefy Scum ships, this time bringing bombs to the fight to supplement its offense. Pilots Nym and Sol excel at controlling the battlefield with explosives, setting them off with just the right timing or location to catch out an enemy ship. With ten hull and plenty of upgrade slots, the Scurrg is a versatile bomber that can handle itself well in a fight. Just be careful not to overload it with too many toys - it's very tempting to fill all those slots but there's diminishing returns at play!

Hard to fly, Average

You might not remember the Quadjumper from The Force Awakens, where it had a starring role as a brief explosion on Jakku. You'll have to fly your quadjumpers carefully to avoid them suffering the same fate, but if you can get them to range 1 of the enemy then you will be rewarded with their extremely rude tractor beam ability. The strongest quadjumper pilots are those with low pilot skill, as they can tractor an enemy ship before it moves. This means enemies must set dials carefully unless their new location causes them to fly into a rock, a mine, or the board edge. Even if you don't move a ship when you tractor them, you can reduce their agility to make them easy prey for the rest of your squad. While quads are slow, their tractors pose a unique threat, particularly from enemy aces, and you can expect them to draw a lot of attention.

Aggressor Assault Fighter
Hard to fly, Weak

Chosen ship of the deadly assassin droid IG-88, the IG-2000 Aggressorr is one of the few medium-base ships with 3 green dice. While it has an excellent dial and the boost action, it tends to fly so fast that it overshoots the enemy, and thus relies on red-sloops and self-blocking to keep arc on its target, making advanced sensors an obvious choice for this ship. Aggressors work best in pairs, using the IG-2000 ship title to share pilot abilities. Two Aggressors don't leave much space in the squad for anything else, though, and aggressors on their own have a hard time dealing out enough damage. If you are searching for a nimble, durable fighter of middling initiative, you would probably be better served with a Starviper.

BTL-A4 Y-Wing
Easy to fly, Average

With a sturdy hull but only two red dice, the Y-Wing relies on bombs, turrets and torpedoes to contribute to the fight. Before the points increase on Veteran Turret Gunner, pirate queen Drea Renthal terrorised X-Wing tables with an army of veteran turret gunner scurrg bombers, rolling and rerolling stacks of red dice. Now, Drea is a bit too epensive to be efficient, but the Y-Wing remains a decent and dependable option for Scum.

HWK-290 Light Freighter
Easy to fly, Strong

The Scum HWK-290 is a fantastic ship with exceptionally rude pilot abilities. Palob Godalhi can steal focus and evade tokens from enemy ships, while Torkil Mux forces an enemy pilot to shoot at initiative 0. Even though it's Scum, the ship still has access to the Moldy Crow title (the Moldy Crow originally belonged to Palob), granting it the ability to stack focus tokens and roll three red dice out the front. Neither of those abilities are to be sneezed at, and the only downside of the ship is that its pilots are a little too expenive without the turret equipped. Sadly, the ship title is only availble in the Rebel conversion kit, making this ship even more difficult to purchase for Scum.

Also of Interest: Moldy Crow (Rebel conversion kit)

Kihraxz Fighter
Easy to fly, Strong

What happens if you take an X-Wing, pull out the astromech, and cut off two of the wings?  Well, you lose the 1 straight, for starters. Kihraxz fighters have a slightly awkward dial, but they bring three red dice to the table on a cheap and durable chassis. While the named pilots have interesting abilities, the non-unique pilots are the most effective way to make use of this straightforward ship.

Lancer-class Pursuit Craft
Hard to fly, Average

One of the few Scum ships to actually appear on screen, the Lancer was flown by Ketsu Onyo in the Star Wars Rebels TV show. Just like in the show, she is a fierce combatant with plenty of firepower as well as tractor beams to capture enemy ships. Ketsu can often be seen flying alongside old Teroch and another initiative 5 ship (such as Kavil or Talonbane) making use of tractor beams and heavy firepower to kill enemy ships before they can shoot. The lancer is also home to the only force-using Scum pilot, Asajj Ventress (Dooku's apprentice in the Clone Wars show). While it has strong abilities, the Lancer is an extremely fast ships, and pilots will have to take care not to go too fast and overshoot the fight. While the ship does have a turret its front guns are much more powerful, and the tractor beam abilities require the turret to face the front.

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