I’m writing these in reverse order, because this article came out today so if I write about it now I’ll still be on the cutting edge, and the preview about the Hound’s Tooth can come after, since that’s already old news. So, here’s the link to the FFG article: link
When wave 7 was first previewed, the immediate comparison with this ship was with the Rebel X-wing. That was even the official comparison. This article does continue in that vein, but makes a pretty darn good case that this ship is better than the X-wing, even though it seems to be trying to argue that they’re comparable. Their first point is in favour of the X-wing, since it has a better hull/shield divide of the 5 health (3/2 instead of 4/1). They’re right, of course, that this is better, but personally I’ve found the difference pretty small. Just today I played a game with my buddy James where he had an E-wing (2h/3s) and a HWK (4h/1s), and we didn’t notice a huge difference in their abilities to absorb damage, other than the obvious difference of the E-wing having more agility. We only landed one crit all game (a direct hit on his Eaden Vrill to end the game), and maybe if there had been more crits rolled we would have noticed it more, but it just didn’t seem like that big a deal. Where the divide becomes more obvious is when you have something like R2D2 or R5P9 that lets you regenerate a shield. Having more shields becomes much better then, because more of your health becomes recoverable. But still, the Kihraxz doesn’t have a droid slot, so so unless we get a new illicit upgrade that’s going to let it recover health, that particular advantage of the X-wing becomes moot.
The next difference they point out is in the upgrade bars. Astromech and torpedoes vs illicit and missiles. They do a great job of explaining how much better missiles are than torps (gee, thanks for rubbing salt in that one FFG), and while they concede that illicits are no astromechs, they still point out some really cool and interesting things you can do with that slot, like Glitterstim and Hot Shot, that you just can’t with the droids. Considering again how useless most of the droid lineup is, this definitely isn’t scoring any points toward parity, but continues to push the K fighter ahead. As a primarily Rebel player, I do get a little bitter over the illicit/astromech comparison. The illicit stuff is just so cool, and the droids should be, but they’re just not. And they’re expensive.
The dial is the next thing they discuss. The K loses the 1 straight and the 3 turns in favour of getting a 1 turn, and turning the 2 banks into greens. They also gain a 5 flip in addition to the 4 flip that was already there, but I think that’s less important. I know that the 1 turn and the 3 turn are an important pair, in that two ships flying side by side that want to make a 90 degree turn should do a 1 on the inside and a 3 on the outside in order to stay in formation. So neither the X nor the K have both, so that formation system doesn’t work so well, but I may think that the 1 turn is much more useful than the 3 turn. And having green maneuvers that aren’t straight in the 2 speed is a huge deal. If the X-wing wants to do that it needs to take another point into the R2 unit. Which leads us to the most important difference…
The point cost. The Cartel Marauder is the PS2 version, and clocks in at a mere 20 points. It’s only 1 point less than the basic X-wing, but that 1 point is the difference between being able to field 4 ships and 5 ships, so it’s a pretty big deal. As if X-wing pilots aren’t bitter enough already about the ship getting mothballed, here comes the other generic to compare to the 24 point, PS4 Red Squadron: a PS5, with an EPT slot, at TWENTY THREE POINTS. I’m kinda worked up about it. This pilot card really feels like a giant “screw you” to the X-wing. Unless it’s a preview of an upcoming X-wing fix, which is sorely needed. Grrr.