Wave 7 Preview – Kihraxz Fighter

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.

So these guys are getting their actual pictures so that I don’t have to retype their abilities. Poor Graz, he’s got a cool pilot ability, but he’s never going to see any action. The article describes him as an expert jouster, but no one is going to get excited about it. I mean, yeah, it’s cool, but the inferiority of green dice has been well established. It takes him up into E-wing territory in terms of survivability, but even 3 agility targets aren’t that hard to hit. On top of that, poor Graz doesn’t have an EPT slot. I thought we’d learned our lesson on this guys. Giving the PS3 A-wing an EPT and not the PS5 Arvel Crynyd was a bad time, so why would you think it’s a good idea here?? Moving on, Jokename GIJoeVillain has a great ability that will be a lot of fun, and he’s the first PS9 Scum Pilot, so I suspect he’s going to see lots of play. He is one point less than Wedge at the same PS, and the same as both Wes and Luke who are both PS8, so it lends some more credit to the idea that the K fighter has had all its point costs scaled back by 1. Again, single points can be pretty critical in a squad building game, so I think it’s a big deal, but maybe Talon isn’t going to be as good as Wedge, so the point value makes sense.
Anyway, I’m still really hoping for that X-wing fix.
This is the last thing I want to talk about from here, since it’s pretty cool. It basically turns any maneuver into a k-turn (or S-loop, I guess), once a game. It’s a lot like Adrenaline Rush that way, in that it’s a one-use card, and it is appropriately cheap. I’m not totally clear on the implication of the “after Check Pilot Stress” clause. I think it means that he clears stress before receiving the new one, or that he can still take his action, or something. I don’t want to go all rules lawyer on it tonight because I’m sure someone on the subreddit or at the store or something will be able to tell me really simply what it means. Anyway, I do think it’s a good upgrade and a welcome addition to the game.
The other comparison that I’ve seen made for this ship is with the StarViper. I haven’t had a whole lot of experience in the Scum meta, but judging by what I see online it does seem that the StarViper has fallen by the wayside. People bought it to get their hands on Autothrusters, and haven’t had a whole lot of use out of it since. Although this is a cheaper alternative mid-cost fighter, I’m a little concerned that it will suffer the same fate. Anyway, that remains to be seen.

Quickie Update

So the short update on me: we’ve been running the X-wing RPG at my FLGS, and we’ve had a good time. We started out by escaping their base, and having a star destroyer show up alongside the Imperials. I made one out of cardboard. It’s 3 feet long and just sits on the edge of the board. We had some rules for making it fire and stuff, but it didn’t have hull values or anything just to let the players know to not even bother, just RUN. The game was chaos though, because there were just SO MANY ships on the table. Each player was controlling 2 ships (scenario specific rule, usually its just the one), and there were 8 players, so in order to have enough Imperials on the table to motivate the Rebels to escape there had to be… well, a lot. I ended up cutting out a bunch of steps from the scenario and just cutting to the conclusion because it was taking like 45 minutes to do a round. We also attacked a Scum space station in order to establish a new base, and ran into a nasty surprise among the asteroids leading up to it. Finally, the players defended a shipment of reinforcement ships for their squadron hangar, and only barely managed to survive. They had a YT-1300, a 2400, and a transport that they were supposed to protect and only managed to save the Transport, but it worked out because they unlocked B-wings as a reinforcement ship. We missed our last game due to me having to work, and our next one is scheduled for Canada day (our national holiday, so the store will be closed), so we’re either going to get another night that week or just wait AGAIN to play, which would suck.

I’ve missed a couple of previews from FFG about the new Wave 7 that I’d like to write about, so those will be coming out in quick succession, and we played a 4 player game ten days ago that I’d like to do a recap of, so stay tuned!