Tuesday, 21 January 2020

X-Wing's Going Through Changes - Wave 6, Hyperspace & FFG

As we wait for what's left of Wave 6 to finally arrive in stores, following delay after cancellation after delay, it feels like we're coming to the end of a pretty tumultuous few months for X-Wing.  I don't know how many of you are avid FFG watchers but I've found it a very rocky but interesting period, and one that I think is worth going back over and wrapping up to see if we can make sense of it all.

Some of these products may be out in stores now.  Or all of them.  Or none of them.  Who knows for sure?

First of all, here's the timeline we're looking at, in which waves got announced, confirmed, cancelled, delayed, cancelled and delayed some more, and finally released, all set against the backdrop of big changes at FFG and in Organised Play structures...

  • 1st August 2019: Wave 6 is announced with 8 ships
  • 11th November 2019:  On their shiny new Discord channel, X-Wing Miniatures Game provides firm release dates for Wave 6, which will be staggered across Q4/Q1.
  • 12th November 2019: TIE Reapers and Saw's Renegades will not be released in Wave 6.
  • 22nd November 2019:  Wave 6 release will be further delayed from the dates announced on the 11th.  Imperial Raider will not be rereleased
  • 27th December 2019: Organised Play Roadmap published.  Hyperspace Format will be 'a curated list of pilots & upgrades' using only re-released ships.  Hyperspace will also be more important to the OP calendar than expected.
  • 7th January 2020: Layoffs & restructures at FFG.  X-Wing not primarily affected though we know of at least one redundancy in OP.
  • January 9th: New Hyperspace Format restrictions announced
  • January 9th: Wave VII announced, only 3 ships, all new, no reprints.
  • January 11th: Confirmation release structure going forward has changed, reprints are 'paused'
  • January 14th: Star Wars Destiny is confirmed dead
That's the overall timeline but I want to focus on a couple of moments that I think give us some extra insight into what may be going on behind the scenes.

1. Wave 6 Released Dates are announced.  Then cancelled.  Then cancelled some more

  • 11th November 2019:  On their shiny new Discord channel, X-Wing Miniatures Game provides firm release dates for Wave 6, which will be staggered across Q4/Q1.
  • 12th November 2019: TIE Reapers and Saw's Renegades will not be released in Wave 6.

There was just 24 hours between these two announcements.  On the 11th they had a confirmed date for the TIE Reaper and on the 12th they weren't releasing it at all.

It's obvious that around this time the release plans for Wave 6 changed.  It seems likely that those plans changed in an unexpected way (or FFG wouldn't announce release dates 24 hours earlier) and they changed decisively.  Going further, I think that the specific wording of the second announcement means a different part of FFG's business got involved in X-Wing release plans and overrode what the X-Wing team had planned.

In my day job I'm close enough to how these sorts of customer-facing statements get worded and sent out.  That means I'm possibly more sensitive to some details that some others wouldn't necessarily pick up on.  I find it very telling that the second announcement makes it clear that two different teams within FFG were involved in the change of direction.  

Normally you would word a release like this as 'we' and talk about the company as a unified whole, as in 'we have reviewed stock levels and decided not to release the TIE Reaper'.  You use 'we' because regardless of all the differences and discussions between internal stakeholders that may happen in bringing a product to market what you ultimately have to do is line up as a team behind the finished product and look like it was all smooth sailing. That's not what happened in this announcement, though.  What happened this time was the X-Wing team got out a big foam finger and pointed it at 'the business team' and said "they did it, not us". 

At the time I took the way those two announcements came out as an indicator that somebody new was driving the X-Wing bus and they didn't like where it was going.  To my mind there's a clean break on the 12th and X-Wing has headed in a new direction ever since.  Just 10 days later there would be a further similar announcement that the Imperial Raider would not be rereleased.  

At time of writing the TIE Defender, TIE Interceptor and Hounds Tooth in Wave 6, announced way back in August, are still set to be the last First Edition ships that will ever be rereleased.  Oh wait, no, sorry, rereleases are 'paused'.  Yeah, right.

2. FFG Restructures

  • 7th January 2020: Layoffs & restructures at FFG.  X-Wing was not primarily affected (though we know of at least one redundancy in OP).  

News of people losing jobs is serious business and not for funsies but happily in this case X-Wing wasn't hugely affected.  What's most interesting about this period is not the restructure itself but something that happened around it.  X-Wing was not directly affected by most of the changes (that we're aware of) but as this announcement rippled through the gaming community on Reddit somebody with contacts at FFG shared some information about X-Wing and other Star Wars IP games.  What that anonymous redditor had to say was:
  • X-Wing does not 'carry the water' the way it used to  
  • Look for a big Armada push because they need to replace what they've lost from X-Wing sales.
  • Destiny is dead, Imp Assault is dead
  • No more reprints of old ships: "Hopefully 2020s a good year, no reprints this year all new plastics"

A lot of what was shared then we now already know to be true.  Just two days after it was leaked on Reddit FFG confirmed that Wave 7 will have no reprinted ships, and then a few days afterwards it was then confirmed that the Destiny card game is cancelled.  Let's add to that the fact we already know that Armada is going to get a second wind with the addition of Clone Wars era ships in 2020.  It makes me inclined to believe this anonymous redditor has insights into FFG, and accept his assertion that X-Wing does not 'carry the water' the way it used to.

We've learned that X-Wing sales aren't very good and FFG are adapting their plans to adjust for this.  That's why the reprints of TIE Reaper and Saw's Renegades were cancelled from Wave 6.  That's why the future release structure has been changed to 'pause' any reprints of old ships - they need to halt the slide and get X-Wing sales back on track.


Now let's back up a little bit, because there's two more dates that I think are very important but they happened about 12 months earlier than that original timeline:

  • September 13th 2018: X-Wing Miniatures Game Second Edition is launched
  • October 2018: PAI Partners acquires Asmodee from Eurazeo

Rereleasing the X-Wing Second Edition when they did was a final payday for Eurazeo, who owned Asmodee at the time.  Just think of all those new core sets and all those hefty one-off bulk buys of conversion kits - all that stock went out to distributors and Eurazeo made sure they got paid for it just as they were putting on their coats and hats and getting ready to leave.

Kind of makes you realise why FFG timed the release when they did, and why the conversion kits were so damn generous.  I mean: a veteran player could buy into Second Edition with one lump sum and play for years without ever needing to buy a new ship!  Was it a problem that you were creating a whole group of players of your biggest game who weren't likely to buy anything?  Well it didn't bother Eurazeo, but then they weren't responsible for 2019's sales figures.

And what about those people who stuck staunchly to First Edition and wouldn't convert, you'd probably lose future sales to those guys too.  Well that wasn't Eurazeo's problem either.

And those promises made when the game was released?  That all the old ships would be reprinted, and there would be no new cards put into rereleased ships forcing you to buy them again?  That all sounded great, but they also weren't promises that Eurazeo had to follow through on, they would be PAI's problem.

And so here's what I think happened:

PAI take over in October but it takes time for new owners to really take charge of an entity as big and sprawling as Asmodee.  Change starts at the top and trickles down as management structures change so it doesn't all happen at once.  But while that change is happening from the top-down, the sales of X-Wing have been drying up at the bottom.  And it won't have been immediately obvious that it was happening - you've got Wave 2 going out with conversion kits for Resistance and First Order, then you've got Wave 3 coming with the one-time sales bonanza of adding Jedi and Separatists to the game and a bunch of idiots (ie. me!) who want to buy six Aethersprites and paint them all as different Jedi, or need 8 Vulture droids for their squad (ie. also me).  

I bet the HY1 sales actually looked pretty good for X-Wing.  Certainly it worked well enough that FFG immediately followed up with plans to give Legion and Armada a shot in the arm with Clone Wars content.  Maybe X-Wing sales were a bit off target because the nature of targets is that they're supposed to be tough to hit, but not by so much that with a bit of confidence and a can-do attitude it's nothing you couldn't make up by year end.  

But you can't release new factions with every wave so then Wave 4 comes and goes and you don't sell much.  And Wave 5 comes and goes and you don't sell much.

And then you're into October time and there's a Powerpoint presentation going up through the company that says the Q3 sales have been pretty weak.  And now you've got new people above you in the business who have properly got their feet under the desk and are asking awkward questions about why it's happening.  They want to see your future release plans to turn it all around and get you back on target and 'show payback to the shareholders and demonstrate they are right to continue investing in FFG', or a phrase very similar to that.

And your Wave 6 plans are already announced and it's more of the same because of the commitment to reprint ships even though nobody is buying the Z-95s, T-70s or TIE Fighters you already reprinted.  And Wave 7 is pretty much locked down in your pre-production phase and it's got a few new ships but several reprints too.  But you say that for Wave 8 we can definitely start doing something different, and Wave 8 is only about 9 months away from release.

And the new boss hasn't bought into FFG's glacial lead times yet, so he goes 'Nine months?  We're not waiting nine months, we need to turn this thing around ASAP', or a phrase very similar to that.

And I think that meeting happened somewhere around the 11th and 12th of November 2019.  I think it's why TIE Reapers etc got pulled, I think it's why Wave 7 is only three ships, and furthermore I think it's why Organised Play got such a shake-up too.

3. Organised Play
  • 27th December 2019: Organised Play Roadmap published.  Hyperspace Format will be 'a curated list of pilots & upgrades' using only re-released ships.  Hyperspace will also be more important to the OP calendar than expected.
  • January 9th: New Hyperspace Format restrictions announced

So lets say we believe what I suggested in 1. and 2., namely that X-Wing sales are weaker than FFG would like and this last two months has been about taking corrective action to improve sales.  Organised Play has a key role to play in making this happen.

Firstly, to be clear: Organised Play is marketing.  I've worked for a number of games companies on their Organised Play and in each company I've worked for that department and its operating budget has been laddered into the Marketing department on the company's organisational chart.  The virtuous circle runs something like this:

Organised Play = Engaged Players = Loyal Customers = More Sales

The problem that X-Wing has been facing is that this circle has been damaged by the outgoing owner's release plan for Second Edition.  The conversion kits that succeeded so well in convincing thousands of players to jump from First Edition to Second Edition in September 2018 have become a fantastic reason to not buy anything since September 2018 - hell, there hasn't been a single new ship for the three main factions since launch!  Many players bought into the two new factions simply out of something to do with their pocket money, but just as many have watched as new waves rolled in and out of stores with little more than a shrug of the shoulders.

And Organised Play wasn't helping.  The original planned Second Edition format became Hyperspace format, which became a wider Hyperspace format with First Edition ships in.  Then for the second half of 2019 Hyperspace format all but disappeared entirely from the schedule and people played Extended instead.  The virtuous circle wasn't working as intended and instead you've got an arm of your marketing department actively incentivising players not to buy anything and just stick First Edition ships on the table.  A World Championship Final that showcased zero new Second Edition product will have excited few.

Your virtuous circle isn't running the way you need it to.

Organised Play = Engaged Players =/= Loyal Customers =/= More Sales

So you've got to change that.  Organised Play is proven to drive sales: make something good in tournaments and people will buy it to keep pace (see: basically the entire history of X-Wing).  They might moan about it if you strongarm them a little too obviously (ie. the Autothrusters expansion with free StarViper, from First Edition), but they're going to buy it anyway.

You need to get people buying new ships so return to the original concept of Hyperspace and showcase only rereleased product.  The smaller the format, the fewer options players have to avoid buying the new things you want them to buy.  Remove the old choices players have been sat on for 18 months and make them try something new and buy ships they may not have, make generics good so people need to buy more than one of given ships (making Grand Inquisitor good sells one TIE Advanced v1 expansion, making Inquisitors good sells three of them).

That sounds quite a lot like exactly what we've seen happen with Hyperspace Format, and explains why it's now back on the menu as the main Organised Play format, at least for the immediate future.

And So What?

Well, ultimately, that's a great question.

I often think back to The Life of Pi when faced this kind of conundrum.  For those who've not read it/watched it (SPOILERS!) The Life of Pi is about an Indian boy's incredible journey across the ocean after his ship capsized and killed his family, leaving him to share a tiny wooden boat with a small menagerie of animals, including a large hungry Tiger.  Through a fantastical series of events the Tiger eats all the other animals on the boat before coming to a truce with the boy until the two finally find land and go their separate ways.  Or, alternatively: there were no animals and it was all a lovely metaphor for the fact that the boy killed and ate everybody on his life raft, and the Tiger represented his inner animal nature.  At the end of the day the facts are the same: a boat sank, a boy lived, the world turns.  What version of the story you would prefer to believe is up to you.

And so it is with X-Wing and these changes.  Wave 6 is about to be released missing many of the ships, Wave 7 won't have any rereleased ships, Hyperspace format has changed and is the immediate future for X-Wing.  What version of the story for why that has happened you would like to believe is up to you.

But personally I find this narrative quite convincing and it makes a lot of sense.  Going forwards I am resetting my expectations from what they were at the start of Second Edition.  I expect to see few or no reprints, I expect to see moves back towards being pushed into buying more product and newer product in various ways: power creep, upgrades on ships I otherwise wouldn't buy, rotating formats and points to make me buy things I didn't want.

Like at the end of The Life of Pi that's only one possible explanation for the events we can see.  

But it's one I choose to believe, and ultimately it's one I'm prepared to accept because it's selling plastic spaceships to guys like me that keeps the game alive and the new ships and tournaments coming.  

It's a price I think is worth paying.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Jumping to Hyperspace: The Bad Guys

Yesterday I looked at how the good guys could respond to all the restrictions that have suddenly landed on Hyperspace Format, and today I'm going to wrap up how 'the bad guys' are faring.  The Imperials and Separatist players in particular have lost some of their staple pilots, so what do future Hyperspace lists look like for those factions?


You know what the #1 Imperial archetype has been in Hyperspace format during Q4 2019?  Vader, Soontir, Duchess.

You know what the #2 Imperial archetype has been?  Vader and three TIEv1

How about #3?  Vader, Soontir, Grand Inquisitor

Let's keep going:
#4... RAC and Soontir
#5... RAC, Soontir and Duchess
#6... Inquisitor, Soontir and Duchess
#7... Howlrunner TIE Swarm
#8... RAC, Grand Inquisitor, Duchess

How excited do you think the Imperial players are to find that Soontir and Howlrunner are not in Hyperspace, or that Darth Vader can't take Afterburners, or that the whole TIE Advanced v1 is missing?  That's their top 8 squads that they can't make any more in Hyperspace.

Wait, I already used that Aliens reference for the Republic in my last blog.  Let's try again...

It's rough times for the Empire, who pretty much have to build from scratch without any of the pillars that have held the faction up for so long.  No Howlrunner?  It's literally the first time in the entire history of X-Wing (first or second editions) where the Empire didn't have access to Howlrunner!  Probably more than any other faction the Imperials have had their existing strategies completely gutted.

And yet, perhaps as much as any other faction, the Empire has enough strong pieces left over that they can start to rebuild and be confident there's a prize at the end of it.  The Empire still has Vader, it still has Duchess and Fifth Brother gunner, it still has the Decimator and unlike the Millenium Falcon it also has plenty of good crew for the Decimator too, including multiple Force wielders.

  • Rear Admiral Chiraneau (Decimator) - Seventh Sister, Dauntless, Proton Bombs
  • Duchess (TIE Striker) - Fifth Brother
  • Planetary Sentinel (TIE Striker)
  • Academy Pilot (TIE Fighter) 

A squad like that brings most of the Extended Chiraneau experience, most of the Extended Duchess experience and now has 5 more red dice alongside.  Usually Decimator lists are light on red dice whereas this is bringing 11 of them and that changes things.  If the opponent picks on your I1 escorts they're heading into a midgame against your two best ships, but if they focus on your big targets then they'll be eating a lot more incoming fire than they're used to while up against the ticking clock of killing a a Decimator.

While the classic TIE Swarm may not be advisable without Howlrunner you can still form a jousting block of high Initiative Imperial pilots that will hit potentially hit very hard.  This squad is heavily inspired by something that fellow blogger Charles Berkhold played against me back at the start of Second Edition, a whopping sledgehammer of red dice at a high Initiative...

  • Maarek Stele (TIE x1) - Fire Control System
  • Duchess (TIE Striker)
  • Mauler Mithel (TIE Fighter)
  • Scourge Skutu (TIE Fighter)
  • Major Vermeil (TIE Reaper)

But there's no doubting that the Empire is hurting.  Maybe it's thematic for the inclusion of Inferno Squadron pilots in Hyperspace but it feels like Imperial remnants struggling to hold together after their usual dominance has been shattered?  Operation Cinder has begun.

Fetch more Sith Lord for the fire, grandpa!


People have been sleeping on how good the First Order is for a while now.  It's not helped that the commonly played First Order squads weren't actually the best ones so there's a lot of people out there who really only ever saw the First Order represented by a Kylo/Quickdraw/Tavson squad that was struggling to scrap it's way through a field of better ace pilots.  With both Quickdraw and the Upsilon Shuttle missing from the new Hyperspace Format what is left for First Order?

Concerned by rumours he'd heard, Hux checked if FFG had cut him from Hyperspace Format.

Here's the truth: in the last three months on Metawing no First Order squad archetype has been played more often than Kylo/Quickdraw/Tavson.  No popular First Order squad has a worse record either.

While Quickdraw and Tavson were drawing the spotlight onto themselves a few canny players found a new way to build successful First Order squads, founded on the defensive efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the basic TIE/fo and TIE/sf fighters.  I've written before about how players had been ignoring the hidden strengths of these sorts of ships, and in the recent round of points changes they got cheaper again!

If you're looking for a starting place in First Order then you can do a lot worse than dropping in with Maciej Parasczak's TIE Swarm, which has actually dropped in price since coming second at the Polish Grand Championship so you can even find an upgrade or two if you like!
  • Avenger (TIE Silencer)
  • Zeta Squadron Survivor (TIE/sf)
  • Zeta Squadron Survivor (TIE/sf)
  • Epsilon Squadron Cadet (TIE/fo
  • Epsilon Squadron Cadet (TIE/fo)
  • Epsilon Squadron Cadet (TIE/fo) 
If that's a little bit too 'vanilla' for your tastes then after I saw Maciej's success I've been playing First Order for the last month or so before the points update and most of my squad made the cut into Hyperspace.  This squad used to have four Crack Shots in and it's a shame to lose them, but you can switch a couple of copies of Fanatical in easily enough. 

  • Avenger (TIE Silencer) - Fanatical
  • Backdraft (TIE/sf) - Fanatical, Special Forces Gunner
  • Scorch (TIE/fo)- Fanatical
  • TN-3465 (TIE/fo)
  • Lt Rivas (TIE/fo)

It's also true that with so many of the Initiative 6 pilots removed from the format, Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer is that much closer to the top of the pile.  If I had to play First Order in a tournament tomorrow I would run this

  • Kylo Ren (IE Silencer) - Proton Torpedoes
  • Scorch (TIE/fo)
  • TN-3465 (TIE/fo)
  • Epsilon Squadron Cadet (TIE/fo)
  • Epsilon Squadron Cadet (TIE/fo)

Missing from these squads so far is the First Order's new toy.  With the shiny new Vonreg's TIE Fighter due to arrive imminently everyone is looking forward to pairing up the hot new Initiative 6 ace with Kylo Ren.  I don't personally like Vonreg much - I think he's more like Lulo Lampar than Soontir Fel - but people are going to play him, at least initially. Maybe in something a bit like this...

  • Major Vonreg (TIE/ba) - Daredevil, Mag-Pulse Warheads
  • Kylo Ren (TIE Silencer) - Advanced optics
  • Epsilon Squadron Cadet (TIE/fo)
  • Epsilon Squadron Cadet (TIE/fo)

I don't know that I like this more than all the generic TIEs but with so few Initiative 6 pilots on Hyperspace there could well be a place for Vonreg to shine.  But what's clear is that the First Order is a faction on the rise and with everything so attractively priced you can put almost any combination of ships and pilots onto the table and be a tough opponent to face.


The Separatists had been a dominant force during Q4 2019, with 3 of the Top 10 squad archetypes on Metawing and 5 of the Top 20.  All five of those successful archetypes had a Bellabub-22 Starfighter and four of them had the Nantex Starfighter.  Bigger yet, out of 18 Separatist archetypes played in the whole of Q4 14 of them had a Nantex of Bellabub and their average percentile performance was WAY ahead of average.

PSA: this is why the Bellabub and Ensnare have both been taken out of Hyperspace Format.

So how far does the Separatist faction fall without it's crutches?  Well, honestly it's hard to tell as 96 out of 106 squads played in Q4 are not legal in Hyperspace so it's clear not many players were actually exploring design space outside of the Bellabub and Nantex anyway.  Why would you, they were great!  But in amongst those few squads that did get played are some good indications that the Separatists are going to shift tactics rather than just fall away.

The winning list from the Australian System Open converts almost directly into Hyperspace Format.  Lose a set of Grappling Struts to offset the 1pt increase the list has seen in Tractor Beam and you're good to go...
  • Count Dooku (Infiltrator) - Heightened Perception, General Grievous, Tractor Beam, K2-B4, Scimitar
  • Trade Federation Drone (Vulture) - Grappling Struts
  • Trade Federation Drone (Vulture) - Grappling Struts 
  • Trade Federation Drone (Vulture) - Grappling Struts 
  • Trade Federation Drone (Vulture) - Grappling Struts 
  • Trade Federation Drone (Vulture) - Grappling Struts   
  • Trade Federation Drone (Vulture)
Dooku notes that Delta 7B isn't in Hyperspace Format
The recent Brazilian Grand Championship was won by six Hyena Bombers with Proximity Mines.  There's no Proxy Mines in Hyperspace unfortunately, but Cluster Mines are arriving just in time to replace them and the Hyena got a price cut to make it all fit.  
  • Techno-Union Bomber (Hyena) - Cluster Mines
  • Techno-Union Bomber (Hyena) - Cluster Mines
  • Techno-Union Bomber (Hyena) - Cluster Mines
  • Techno-Union Bomber (Hyena) - Cluster Mines
  • Techno-Union Bomber (Hyena) - Cluster Mines
  • Techno-Union Bomber (Hyena) - Cluster Mines

What?  What?  It's Hyenas isn't it?  It's Disney isn't it?  Same same but different.
And this Brazilian result wasn't a coincidence by the way, when I ran my Generic Efficiency tables the Hyena popped out as the #2 ship in the game for cost-effective defense... and now it got a discount to 25pts!  I'm not surprised Hyenas got a big result and I think they're probably the most underrated ship going into the new Hyperspace Format.

Although Separatist players have had a lot of their options cut away I think the raw power of Vulture and Hyena droids is more than enough to see the faction through in Hyperspace.  My big question is how well they respond to a sudden increase in generic ship count... if 5x T-65 X-Wings is going to become a thing then can you still afford to run Trade Federation Drones at I1 or do you need to step up to the I3 Separatists?
  • DBS-32C (Hyena) - Kraken
  • Separatist Bomber (Hyena) - Plasma Torpedoes
  • Separatist Bomber (Hyena) - Proton Torpedoes
  • Separatist Drone (Hyena) - Grappling Struts
  • Separatist Drone (Hyena) - Grappling Struts
  • Separatist Drone (Hyena) - Grappling Struts

I can see a mixed squad of I3 Separatist Bombers and Drones like this being very strong.  You're moving after the T-65s, you're able to set Target Locks on aces with Coordinate from DBS, Kraken is sending you into the engagement with a stock of tokens ready to win that initial joust

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Jumping to Hyperspace: The Good Guys

Last week's points and format changes had some dramatic changes, none moreso than in what was legal for players to bring in Hyperspace Format.  Bringing the format back to its original intended function of being a very tight selection of rereleased Second Edition product.

Every faction got hit.  Everybody lost staples that had defined how they would build squads and fly on the table.  And you know what?  I think that was the point, and it's fine.  We've still got Extended format for playing everything we could ever want and now Hyperspace will be a genuine breath of fresh air whenever we pop in to visit: different ships, different pilots, different upgrades, different strategies.

Yes I had to throw away lists I wanted to play.  Yes my plans for Milton Keynes System Open went down the pan unexpectedly - everyone's did, pretty much.  But I'm fully engaged with trying to work out what happens next and what the new opportunities are that have emerged.

In this blog I'll look at 'The Good Guys': Rebels, Resistance and Republic and then pick up 'The Bad Guys' next time.  Rather than mope around worrying about what could have been, let's spend our time looking at what CAN be.  


Rebels weren't doing that well in Hyperspace format and in Q4 2019 their best performing archetype in Metawing was only the 28th best squad.  That was Jake/Wedge/Thane/Braylen and it was basically the best Hyperspace proxy for Dan Taylor's Extended list from the World Championship Final with Thane replacing a couple of Z-95s.  Aside from that squad the Rebels basically had two broad groups of squads - lists with the Falcon and some four-ship Rebel Beef that had passed its sell-by date.  Both those squad archetypes, which weren't exactly setting the world alight anyway, got hit pretty hard in the points change. 

Pour one out for Wedge Antilles the most dangerous Rebel pilot, and losing the U-Wing entirely doesn't just take away a solid brawling ship it also removes the best ship for carrying Leia Organa, and Cassian Andor who was the best support for Braylen Stramm.  In the other squadbuilding strand Rebels get to keep the Falcon but most of the upgrades that made it work have gone... no Force from Luke or Kanan, no regen from R2-D2, no Trick Shot or Lone Wolf in the talent slot so you can have a Falcon but it's not the endgame behemoth it once was.

These cuts really hurt a faction that was already suffering in Hyperspace.  What did Rebels get in return?  Is there a new hope?
  • Blue Squadron Escort (T-65 X-Wing) - Servomotor S-Foils
  • Blue Squadron Escort (T-65 X-Wing) - Servomotor S-Foils
  • Blue Squadron Escort (T-65 X-Wing) - Servomotor S-Foils
  • Blue Squadron Escort (T-65 X-Wing) - Servomotor S-Foils
  • Blue Squadron Escort (T-65 X-Wing) - Servomotor S-Foils

The basic T-65 X-Wings have crossed a 'break point' in cost and you can now field 5 of them.  In the dying days of First Edition we finally got to play 5 T-65 X-Wings in a squad and they were actually pretty amazing so a lot of people are really excited/scared. by this possibility.  A lot of people are going to try this... but I don't think it's good enough.  More precisely: I don't think it's good enough reliably enough.  The raw statlines of the T-65 X-Wing are impressive and they're in a top tier for efficient damage dealing, but if all your hopes are pinned to a load of single-modded dice with few frills then you're leaving yourself open to the whims of variance and getting too many blank dice.

Five T-65s is going to be a really solid B-tier list that will be played often enough to keep putting up occasional A-tier finishes.  Those A-tier finishes will then be used by the people playing it to argue that it's not a B-tier list, but that can't really be helped.  For the rest of us, the five T-65s are going to be an important gear check for our squads and we should all have it in mind as we're squadbuilding just to ensure we have answers to that matchup.

Maybe by making sure all your ships are at least Initiative 3 so you can kill a T-65 before it fires...
  • Luke Skywalker (T-65 X-Wing) - Servomotor S-Foils
  • Braylen Stramm (B-Wing)
  • Red Squadron Veteran (T-65 X-Wing) - Selfless, Servomotor S-Foils  
  • Red Squadron Veteran (T-65 X-Wing) - Servomotor S-Foils   
This sort of list is what's left of Rebel Beef and it's undeniably fallen a long way from when it was an enormous juicy sirloin - this is more like a tin of stewing steak.  But if everyone else is shopping at the discount supermarket too it might well be good enough, and if this meets the five T-65s it should have the higher Initiative and better dice mods to edge that battle.  

  • Blade Squadron Veteran (B-Wing) - Passive Sensors, Autoblasters, Stabilised S-Foils
  • Blade Squadron Veteran (B-Wing) - Passive Sensors, Autoblasters, Stabilised S-Foils 
  • Blade Squadron Veteran (B-Wing) - Passive Sensors, Autoblasters, Stabilised S-Foils 
  • Blade Squadron Veteran (B-Wing) - Passive Sensors, Autoblasters, Stabilised S-Foils

People will try and make four double-tapping B-Wings work with Stabilised S-Foils.  They won't do the maths first and won't find that against most ships double-tapping without dice mods is worse than single modding one primary attack.  

They will fail.
  • Lando Calrissian (YT-1300) - Nien Nunb, K2-SO, Millenium Falcon
  • Norra Wexley (Y-Wing) - Plasma Torpedoes, Ion Cannon Turret, Proton Bombs
  • Jek Porkins (T-65 X-Wing) - Servomotor S-Foils

FFG wants you to buy the Hotshots and Aces pack so Leia's pilot card comes with basically a free Force point attached.  Force points are really good.  I genuinely don't know if there's enough left to equip on a Falcon to make it worthwhile bringing one, but I feel like if there is enough then it will be either Leia pilot or Lando with K2-SO crew (for 3 actions per turn).  Either of those could come in cheap enough to be backed up by a couple of good solid damage dealers to do the heavy lifting.  I'm just not sure what the plan is for a Falcon that doesn't have R2-D2's regen in endgame.


The fortunes of the Resistance recently seem to have risen and fallen in line with those of it's most innocuous ship - the Transport Pod.  While Finn's pilot ability was providing incredible protection from enemy fire the Resistance jousting block was a fearsome force but as soon as an FAQ changed how Strain worked to rein Finn in the whole Resistance seemed to fall away dramatically.  I've personally been very surprised to see this happen because I still think that in the T-70 and RZ2 A-Wing the Resistance has some great ships and pilots, but the data from hundreds of tournaments would suggest I'm wrong.  Recently what's left in Resistance has been propped up by Rey and Vennie.

Neither Rey nor Vennie are in Hyperspace Format.

Rey and Finn react to the Hyperspace Format changes

And yet despite this I think there's a lot of good reasons to be optimistic for the Resistance.  As I said I was a little bemused by just how badly they were performing anyway and all the other good ships and pilots made the cut into Hyperspace.  Where the Rebels saw a lot of their best pilots taken away you've got pretty much everyone you could have wanted in the Resistance ranks and you can field pretty much exactly the same squads you could before all the changes.

And, importantly, Poe Dameron is now almost certainly the top I6 ace in Hyperspace.  Anakin is gone, Wedge is gone, Quickdraw is gone, Vader lost his Afterburners, Han lost all his tricks... in a much-depleted field of dangerous I6 pilots Poe Dameron looks a very attractive option.
  • Poe Dameron (T-70 X-Wing) - Heroic, R4 Astromech, Integrated S-Foils
  • Red Squadron Veteran (T-70 X-Wing) - Heroic, Integrated S-Foils
  • Red Squadron Veteran (T-70 X-Wing) - Heroic, Integrated S-Foils
  • Tallisin Lintra (RZ2 A-Wing) - Heroic
Poe has never looked better than right now...

And with a couple of brand new A-Wing pilots coming in Hotshots & Aces the '5As' archetype not only survives into Hyperspace but gets a real shot in the arm.
  • Tallisin Lintra (RZ2 A-Wing) - Heroic
  • Zizi Tlo (RZ2 A-Wing) - Heroic, Advanced Optics 
  • Greer Sonnel (RZ2 A-Wing) - Heroic, Advanced Optics 
  • Ronith Blario (RZ2 A-Wing) - Heroic, Advanced Optics 
  • Blue Squadron Recruit (RZ2 A-Wing) - Heroic, Advanced Optics 

T-70s and A-Wings will be ever-present in Resistance lists but the upcoming Fireball release looks costed attractively to be a Torrent-style filler in the list and could offer something new as well.  I don't think Resistance offer many surprises in Hyperspace as it's a known quantity, but it's a quantity that we already know is really solid!


There's no getting away from it, the Galactic Republic has not enjoyed the transition into Hyperspace format.

Previously the Jedi and their clone troopers were a dominant force in the Galaxy.  With a wide range of Jedi to call upon and the flexibility of taking either Calibrated Laser Targeting or Delta 7B configurations for their starfighters they were endlessly customisable, especially with access to both R2 and C1-10P astromechs.  Gold Squadron Torrents were an effective filler ship that enabled you to squadbuild with freedom, or indeed became huge threats when Sinker was around.

So it's a bit of a shame that virtually everything they were using has been axed out of Hyperspace.  Anakin Skywalker is gone, Mace Windu is gone, the entire Delta 7B configuration is gone and between that and a price hike the shield regeneration is gone.  Oh and C1-10P is gone.  And all the Torrent pilots.  And the cheapest ARC pilot.  And Sinker.

All is not lost.  There was enough strength in depth in the Republic faction that you can still build functioning squads, but I think the experience of squadbuilding for the Jedi is now incredibly constrictive.  Without 25pt Torrents or the 70pt Delta 7B Aethersprites the 'Tetris' of building varied Jedi lists has been broken and you're almost unavoidably forced into "I'm going to play 4 ships that all cost about 50pts".

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi - Calibrated Laser Targeting
  • Anakin Skywalker - Plasma Torpedoes, Passive Sensors
  • Luminara Unduli - Calibrated Laser Targeting
  • Squad Seven Veteran - Dedicated

As you can see, some of those 4 ship builds can look pretty potent.  You're still Jedi, the ARCs are still beefy, Broadside is still good, the N1 Starfighters are still fast and tough.  But from a world where the Jedi seemed to have endless successful variations I think it's going to be hard to make a Republic squad that doesn't look at least a little bit like that one, just because there's nothing expensive or cheap you can actually put in to break away from fielding four ships.

And that's my first thoughts for the good guys on the Light side of the Force.  Next up, the bad guys...