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.
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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.

Imperial Raider Preview

FFG released some more info on the Imperial Raider this week. For anyone that doesn’t know, the Raider is the Imperial Huge ship that is upcoming, essentially created to be a counterpart to the Rebel Corvette. Here’s the LINK to their preview article, which I’ll be discussing just a second hold your horses I gotta finish reading there article before I write any of my own crap here!

So this whole article I’m going to be comparing to the Rebel Corvette because it’s a really natural comparison point, so be prepared. The Raider comes in at the same Pilot Skill as the Corvette, but costs 10 points more. The Raider has this funky shift going on, where on the Corvette it was really obvious that one section was your “powerhouse” and the other was your offense, but the Raider has that all mixed up. What do I mean? Well, let me tell you! The defensive actions are on the Fore, but so is the primary weapon. The aft is the section that generates the power, but is also the section that has the more offensive actions. At the same time, the upgrade slots are flipped, in that the aft has the large majority of the upgrade slots, compared to on the Corvette where they were mostly on the fore. The Raider’s aft is, like the Corvette’s, its weaker section, which makes that a much more enticing target.

Corvette and Raider both have the same slots for hardpoints, crew, teams, and cargo, just that the Raider has it a little more concentrated than the Corvette. Their hull values are the same, but the Raider has 1 more shield point on both the Fore and the Aft, which may be a big part of the increased point cost. The Raider also is able to hold 1 more energy than the Corvette. Their primary weapon values are the same, but the Corvette’s is a 360 arc. However, the Corvette wasn’t able to attack anything through its aft section anyway, and with the Raider’s weird firing arc on the Fore, the blind spot is going to be pretty reasonably small, so I don’t consider that a detriment.

The primary weapon is range 2-4 compared to the Corvette’s 3-5, and personally I think that’s a lot better. Bear in mind, I haven’t played with the Corvette since the Huge ship primary weapon rules got changed (opponents now receive a single bonus agility die for range 3-5, as opposed to the previous rule where they received 1 bonus agility die for every range band beyond range 2, so up to 3 extras). So I’m not sure that the Corvette’s primary is quite so useless at Range 5 as it used to be, but being able to shoot at enemies within range 2 with that primary is a very big deal. On the Corvette if they get that close, you’re spending energy to fire Quad lasers, and your free primary weapon is useless.

I’m also partial to the spend-to-fire-again ability (2 energy for a second attack), as opposed to the Corvette’s spend 1 energy to add 1 attack die ability. I know that the second attack gets another round of defense dice thrown, but it’s so many more red dice on the table and the uselessness of green dice in general is well documented, so I feel like having the 1 extra die compared to throwing 4 extra dice isn’t that worthwhile. I suppose it’s like using Cluster Missiles over Concussion Missiles. Well there’s a couple more variation points between those two, but I guess the comparison is close enough. I suppose it’s pretty situational which one is better, and neither is bad, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Raider’s ability comes in a whole lot more handy just purely based on how much longer it will get to fire at enemies because it reaches back to range 2.

In the article, they show us the maneuver dial showing a 2 bank generating 2 energy, which is the same as the Corvette, but then they explicitly state that a 4 straight also generates 2 energy. I’m hoping that’s a typo. The Corvette only generates 1 at that speed, so we could be looking at a ship that is a fair bit better at generating energy than the Corvette, which will make it a whole lot better. Bear in mind, the Corvette’s max generation is 3, with the 1 banks and the 2 straight. The Corvette follows a linear progression of energy generation to speed and bearing, so if the Raider is the same way it could be generating 4 energy on a 2 straight. Heck, if they give it a 1 straight it may even be generating 5 energy per turn. That’s nuts, so I’m hoping that’s not the case because this ship will be very quickly shown to be superior to the Corvette, and that’ll just mean the Rebels go back to massed fighter tactics in Epic games. That’s kind of the whole reason for releasing this ship, isn’t it? So that the Imperials and Rebels can have Huge ships and not just one side with a whole mob of fighters?

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As far as I can tell, this is the only new Hardpoint coming with the expansion. I see 2 Single Turbolasers and 2 Quad lasers, and it looks like 4 of these, so there’ll be plenty to spread around to your Corvette if you so desire. It’s great that we’re getting an Ion hardpoint. This weapon is 2 points cheaper than the Single Turbolaser and doesn’t give the enemy any agility bonuses, but also doesn’t have that built-in focus-light. The range is pulled in the same way the primary weapon is (2-4 compared to 3-5), and it costs the same to do the attack. 4 attack dice means you’re a lot more likely to get your hit through than a standard fighter-mounted ion cannon with only 3 dice. Also this one causes the opponent to suffer a critical damage, which is pretty freaking cool. It’s a capital ship ion cannon, of course that’s going to do very bad things to starfighters. Interestingly it is just a single Ion token, so you’re not going to be ioning a Falcon in one shot. But I seem to remember ion tokens reducing a Huge ship’s ability to generate energy, so that could be overpowered anyway. Regardless, good addition.

The last couple cards they talked about were these three fine gentlemen. Tarkin is cool because he isn’t an action. Just every round, deny a focus to one enemy or give one to one of your guys. He’s going to make firing ordnance a lot better of an experience, and for that matter make firing it a lot more difficult. There will be no shooting Proton Rockets with Tarkin around! Unless you have multiple ships ready to fire, then yeah of course. He’s super expensive at 6 points, but honestly I think he may be worth it. Needa is the captain of the Star Destroyer that Han latches the Falcon to right before they go to Bespin. I don’t quite see the connection between his character and his pilot ability, but whatever. He makes flying through obstacles significantly easier. It becomes a “maybe” thing, but it also for sure means that you’re not taking a crit, just a regular damage. So that’s a pretty big deal. Ozzel I don’t find particularly inspiring. I haven’t played all that many Epic games, but never have I ever found myself wishing I could sacrifice my shields to get a little more energy. Shields are the number one thing I want my energy for! I’d rather stay alive than fire any extra weapons! Maybe he could come in handy if you’re doing a Hail Mary where you want to fire off all your weapons in hopes of destroying his last ship before time runs out or something, but even still I don’t see Ozzel coming in handy more than once a battle, if ever.

Well those are all my thoughts on the Raider for now. I’m really excited for this ship to hit so we can have some great Epic matches. And of course for the TIE Advanced fixes, but mostly for the Epic matches.

Wave 7 Annoucement

Well it’s finally happened. I was wondering where Wave 7 was, because typically FFG has been a big jerk and announced the new wave RIGHT before the current wave hits stores, so I’m a little disappointed buying the new ships because I’m all excited for what’s next. They didn’t do that this time, so I’ve been able to savour the new Scum and Villainy, but here we are, finally got wave 7!

In case you hadn’t heard, this was announced at Star Wars Celebration over the weekend, it’s just that today we got an actual announcement article, not just some pictures. All the pictures I’m going to use are pulled straight off their announcement article. Here’s the LINK

So, the ships we got announced:

  • Hound’s Tooth Expansion Pack
  • Kihraxz Fighter Expansion Pack
  • K-wing Expansion Pack
  • TIE Punisher Expansion Pack

It looks like the first two are for the new Scum faction, which is great because getting more variability into a new faction is important. The K-wing is Rebel, and the TIE Punisher is Imperial. Be warned, I’m not much for squinting. I’ll spend some time talking about the visible combinations, but I’m not a big fan of trying to figure out all the little words on the cards.

On the Scummy side of things, let’s take a look at the Hound’s Tooth.

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There’s been lots of expectation for this ship, it seems. I’ve never particularly had a love affair with Bossk or the Trandoshans, so it’s a little whatever for me, but hey I love new toys. Let’s start with the stat lines. 3/1/6/6. My first comparison point that jumps to mind is the Shuttle (3/1/5/5). Cool, it’s a little beefier, and has what appears to be a hundred and eighty degree firing arc out the front. The shuttle’s big weakness is its giant blindspot and inability to quickly turn around. The YV-666, as this ship is officially called, has a smaller blind spot for its primary weapon, but the real difference to the shuttle will be its maneuver dial, and we don’t have anything to go off with that. The highest pilot for the Shuttle is 27 points, the PS8 Captain Kagi. We can see the PS7 Bossk comes in at a whopping 35 points, so this is definitely a different calibre of ship from the shuttle. Of course it has the Illicit slot, which seems to be standard on all Scum ships; it has a full 3 crew slots, whoa, right up with the Decimator. And then it looks like missile, cannon, and EPT. The Shuttle didn’t have an EPT on any of its ships, so that’s another interesting difference.

As far as squinting at cards goes: Bossk’s pilot ability looks like it reads “When you perform an attack that hits, before dealing damage you may cancel one of your (crit symbol) results to add 2 (hit) results.” Well that’s super cool, it’s a built-in, guaranteed Direct Hit. Great pilot ability. The Hound’s Tooth title card got discussed in the article, and wow is that ever cool. The ship has an escape pod, that is a Z-95. There’s already speculation on the subreddit about how that’s going to work in tournament play, and I have no answers until FFG releases more info, but I love the idea. The Pup’s card has a star over the pilot skill, so I’d assume that your pilot skill (and probably ability) stays the same when you “eject”.

I see a copy of Stay on Target, Engine Upgrade, and Lone Wolf, all cards I’ll be happy to have a spare of. Beyond that, there isn’t much else to say here.

Next up we have the Kihraxz Fighter. Holy smokes I had to check three times to make sure I’d spelled it correctly. My immediate thought on seeing this was “Oh, it’s an x-wing for Scum.” In fact the article comes right out and says that. I like the look of this ship. I think I actually like the look of this ship better than the E-wing.

Talonbane Cobra? That’s a comic book character if I’ve ever heard one. Anyway, I’m not going to make any more fun of the name, cuz the pilot ability looks cool. When attacking or defending, double the effect of your range combat bonuses. That’s super cool, because the way I see it, you get 2 extra red dice at range 1 and 2 extra red dice at range 3+ (remember the recent changes to epic rules), but the opponent doesn’t get either. That’s a lot of fun.

I’m real happy to see another copy of Predator there. I really like the look of that Glitterstim card. For anyone that doesn’t know, Glitterstim is basically the Star Wars version of… cocaine? They mine it out of the ground on Kessel, you stick it under your tongue, and… things get spicy? I don’t know. Anyway, this card is an Illicit upgrade, and looks like a one-off Push the Limit, which I think is pretty cool. Actually, it’s better than that. It doesn’t have any trigger condition other than a time, so you can do it even if you were action denied, or if you’re stressed. It’s basically a Focus token that you don’t spend, so you have it for your attack and for every defense roll, which is terrific. I love that card. Let’s jump over to the Rebels.

I’m a little skeptical of this ship. I don’t hate the look of it, which is a complaint I’m hearing a lot, but I do worry a bit about what it’s going to do to the meta. I mean, it looks like it’s a B-wing on crack, and the B-wings dominate the meta on the Rebel side. Well as a heavy hitter they do. The Z-95 is super popular, and the Warthog has given rise to more Y-wings, and of course the ever-popular Falcons and Outriders, but I still see a LOT of B-wings around. Still, on the K-wing the top pilot we see is PS8 and costs 29. Compare that to the top X-wing pilots, at PS9 and 29 points, and that suggests to me that the low end PS2 pilot is likely going to be around 22 points. You could field 4 of these. Anyway, as a primarily Rebel player I don’t mean to whine, it’s just that I don’t like seeing ships get “replaced”. I’d rather see a new ship fill a new role. My beloved X-wings sit on the shelf for many players because they can’t justify taking it without an elite pilot; they either take a B-wing or a pair of Headhunters, and I can’t fault them. So, I don’t want to play a game where a whole class of ship gets relegated to nothing because of a new release. FFG has been really good about releasing updates to underused ships to bring them back, like the Aces packs, and the TIE Advanced updates coming with the Raider, so I doubt that they’re going for that with this ship, but I see the possibility for it. Anyway, enough of my rant, let’s look at the ship.

It’s the first small ship with a turret for its primary weapon, and it’s just a 2, so it’s not game-breaking. It does have more health overall than either the Y-wing or the B-wing, which I believe makes it the most HP of any small ship (tied with the TIE Punisher, see below). Dang I said dang, look at that upgrade bar. Looks like a turret, 2 torpedoes, a missile, a crew, and two bombs. Shoot that’s a lot of slots. I’m kinda giddy thinking about it. Actually I just realized that I’m looking at the PS8 and there’s no EPT slot there. Huh. Interesting. I guess the ship could get pretty fierce if you added in a Predator or something.

There’s a pair of upgrade cards there that say “twin something Turbo”. I’m guessing it says Twin Linked Turbolasers, and that it’s a new turret upgrade. The ship has a turret slot and no other turret cards, so that’s kind of my logic there. A bunch of neato looking upgrades there that I can’t see what they do yet. But, we do see Advanced Slam.

Slam is the new action that comes standard on the K-wing, and boy has it got people talking. It’s currently only on the K-wing, but there’s speculation that some coming ships may have it, including the long-desired assault gunboat. Personally, I’m still waiting on the Skispray Blastboat, but that’s beside the point. Slam lets you use your action to basically take another movement. You have to do it on the same speed that your standard maneuver was, and it costs you your ability to attack for the turn as well, but holy smokes can you cover distance quickly doing that. The Advanced Slam modification allows you to take an action after performing the Slam action, and it doesn’t even cost you a stress, so for 2 points that’s pretty close to a no-brainer. My only question is, why would you want to take another action when your weapons are disabled and you only have 1 defense die anyway? My only thought is to take a target lock in preparation for next round. Because I don’t actually see that getting a ton of use, I don’t actually see this as a no-brainer, but that may change with some experience with the ship.

Last I wanna quickly talk about that pilot ability on the PS8. Miranda Bond? I can’t really read it. But the pilot ability seems to be “Once per round when attacking you may either spend 1 shield to roll 1 additional attack die, or 1 fewer attack dice to recover 1 shield.” Oh I love that. That’s just too cool. I can totally see that coming in super handy. I mean, you kind of end up throwing your attack if you go down to just 1 attack die, but being able to recover a shield is crazy helpful. I’m glad it’s on the attack though, because could you imagine if you could do the SLAM thing to jump across the map, and then be recovering shields while they catch up? You’d never go down! So it’s good that it sort of requires you to throw the attack.

I’ll be honest, I hate the look of this ship. People are saying it’s an established ship because of Galactic Battlegrounds, which I played a whole lot of back in Junior High, and honestly I thought it looked stupid there too. It’s a little bit like the TIE Defender: we need an upgrade, so let’s throw another solar panel on/we need an upgrade, let’s throw some more pods on! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come to like the TIE Defender, but its never had the aesthetic appeal of the TIE Interceptor.

I like the feeling of this stat-line. Actually it’s the K-wing stat-line, just with the hull and shield values a little mixed. Hey, does anyone remember I said a while ago that it seems that FFG believes that 1 agility die is worth 3 health? My theory holds true. What’s that, you want me to recap it instead of going hunting? Well, alright, since you asked so nicely. Basically, look at the basic TIE fighter. 3 agility, 3 hull. Then look at the TIE bomber. 2 agility, 6 hull. Now add the TIE Punisher: 1 agility, 9 health total. Even on the Rebel side this is true to a certain degree: X-wing/HWK, 2 agility, 5 health total. Y-wing/B-wing, 1 agility, 8 health total. To be honest, this rule seems to have more exceptions than rules, and takes no mind to the point costs of the ships, so it’s probably not a very good theory, but it is an interesting connection.

The Punisher comes with Boost, which is not something I was expecting to see on a bomber-type ship. It’s cool though. It adds another bomb slot to the TIE bomber list, as well as giving it the ever-popular Sensor upgrade slot. 27 points for the PS7 compared to 26 points for the Bomber PS7 means this ship is very competitive with the Bomber in terms of cost. As I said with the K-wing, I’m a little concerned we’ll see this ship basically phase out the TIE Bomber. It doesn’t stand to knock out the Defender or Squint or something, but even with the new X1 title I think we’ll be a little hard pressed to take an Advanced over this. It’s a little bit of the X-wing vs B-wing debate. So again, a little worried that we’ll see a narrowing of the field in terms of viable ships, but I do have faith that FFG is keeping an eye on that and doesn’t want to see this game go that way.

The last thing I want to talk about for this post is the supposed “Munitions Fix”. FFG seems to be making a big deal about the Extra Munitions card, but I don’t really see it. I mean yes it’s cool, don’t get me wrong. But really, paying 2 points and burning a torpedo slot to double up is a hefty price to pay. Look, it’s an absolute waste on the X-wing, E-wing, and Decimator (and the Slave I, remember the Title card gives you a torpedo slot), because these ships only have 1 torpedo slot. (Well, less so a waste on the Decimator and the Slave I, because you can also equip bombs where the upgrade will come in useful, but still. It would be wild if you could have both the Slave I title and the Andrasta title, and effectively be carrying 6 bombs. That’d be pretty wild. Obviously you can’t, and that’s fine, but I’m just saying) So this upgrade card does nothing to fix munitions for some of the ships, in particular a ship that has from the LAUNCH OF THE GAME been telling the designers that the munition slot on it doesn’t work. TIE Bombers, Punishers,and K-wings will all benefit from Extra Munitions, since they have a pair of Torpedo slots and host of other munitions slots that will all be doubled, but again you’re now sinking a LOT of points, and you spent 2 points on the Extra so there’s going to be a feeling of needing to carry more projectiles to make the cost/value ratio on this upgrade card more worthwhile. That’s part of where this won’t even do well on the Y-wing and B-wing: you’ve only got one more slot. So yeah, you can now equip a single Proton Torpedo and have it shoot twice. You’ve saved yourself 2 points over just taking them both. If you do the Bomb loadout on the Y and roll something simple like Seismic charges, you’re not actually ahead any points at all, except for the fact that you can’t double up on a bomb loadout with the Y. If you’re rolling Flechette Torps then you’re in exactly the same place for having taken the Extra Munitions over just another copy of the card. Except that maybe you’re a little more vulnerable to the Munitions Failure crit? This card could work on someone like Nera Dantels, who really does want to be using torpedoes and could roll something like double Advanced Torpedoes, saving herself 4 points, but that’s a pretty narrow application.

I feel like we need a blanket point cost reduction on all missiles and torpedoes (ok maybe not Flechette Torps, but pretty well the rest), not a card that’s going to guilt us into taking more of these point-sink weapons. Maybe it’ll work, but I’m not super hopeful about this particular fix. I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up seeing a card pack that just reworks all the missiles and torpedoes. I’d pay for that.

Scum and Villany Official Reveal

FFG finally put an official reveal article on their website (I was looking for one before I wrote the last article and it just wasn’t there), and we got a little more information on pilots and upgrades to look forward to. Here’s the link to the actual FFG article: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=4998

Holy smokes, that’s a lot of cards. No wonder this pack is priced in at $40. So many exciting goodies. This picture isn’t super high detail, and most of the cards are covered, so I’m not going to go all squinty trying to figure out what they say. I did try with that PS7 Headhunter card we can see, that says “When attack, if there are….” but that’s all I could make out. It does look like we’re getting a new upgrade type though. Those four upgrade cards on the bottom left seem to be of a different symbol, and the three beside them don’t have an upgrade symbol at all! Maybe that’s just an error that we’ll see corrected. Anyway, what I’m really pleased about with this is the number of pilot cards we’re getting. We’re getting doubles for the Y-wing, so that’ll right away allow conversion of currently-Rebel Y’s into pirates, and there’s four Firespray and HWK pilots there. Disappointed that we’re only getting doubles for the Headhunter, since there’s already two in the box it would make sense to give us more cards than that so we can use our current ones. The double letter target locks are kind of a neat idea, though really, don’t we all have way too many of those at this point anyway? I don’t even take them out of the packaging anymore.

So, I’m an idiot. The article actually tells you what that new upgrade symbol is: Salvaged Astromech upgrades (look a little picture!). It also gives us a look at the new Greedo passenger:

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Echunawankee, Solo? I have no idea if that’s supposed to be Greedo or Jabba. So we’re officially calling this third faction “Scum”. Greedo would be a great card on a flanker who isn’t getting shot back at, but being Scum-only we’ll have to wait and see what kind of flankers we end up with. I’m guessing the Scyk will be in that style, but who knows.

Wooo StarViper! I still think that paint job looks like crap. Oh well. A couple things worth noting: he’s got some crazy maneuver on his dial there, and one of the reference cards up top there says Segnor’s Loop or Seonor’s loop or something. I wish I could make out that Bodyguard upgrade! What’s neat about it is that it’s an EPT, not a crew slot. Interesting.

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Ah, Prince Xizor. Cuz if you’re going to have green skin, you may as well be a badass. He’s got one heck of an action bar, some really nice stats, and a reasonable PS, though for a ship that looks like it could play flankers very well, the PS could be a problem. His ability is fun though, sort of a Draw Their Fire in reverse. I call those “Bad Wingman” abilities, since they benefit you at someone else’s expense, as opposed to something like Draw Their Fire, which is kind of selfless and benefits someone else at your expense. Virago is a good title, it opens two slots, one of which is the covetted sensor upgrade, costs 1 point, and has a PS restriction. The CR90 gave me a bad taste for title cards that had a cost and only opened up slots, but this cost is low enough and opens two slots, so I think its reasonable. And just in case you were wondering why you’d want either of those slots on the StarViper….

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Hey look, a reference to the IG-88s’ ambush of Fett over Tatooine that I talked about last post!

Accuracy Corrector is neat. In fact this would be fantastic on a ship with a really low attack value, like a HWK. If I’m reading it right, it basically means that instead of taking what your dice roll, you can just have 2 hit results, automatically, and just take luck right out. The drawback is that you don’t get the chance for that third hit, or at range 1, a fourth hit, but hey taking out the luck element is worth something, right? It is a sensor upgrade, so only a few ships will be able to take it.

Intertial Dampeners is a cool card. It lets you do the shuttle’s red 0 maneuver, though technically you can do this one even if you’re already stressed. Could come in very very handy. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how common that “illicit” slot is (I’m guessing that’s what the credit symbol means).

Here we go, the one foretold by the prophecy of Intimidation.

It’s got 2 attack, 3 agility, 2 hull and 1 shield. So, it’s basically a TIE fighter. In fact, that most expensive one only costs 20, I wouldn’t be surprised if the PS2 version was right down in the 14 range. It’s got that extra TL action on its bar, but no weapon slots stock. However,

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Look at that, for 2 points you can open up one of 3 slots. I gotta say, I am in love with the idea of upgrade cards that let you choose an effect. That makes me so happy, it’s worth the 2 points to me. Normally I would say that 2 points to open up a slot is way too much, but that it lets you choose which one is just too cool. So, pick from the Cannon, Torpedo, or Missile slot. Ever wanted to stick a HLC on a TIE fighter? That’s cool. In fact, I bet that’s where the cost on this comes from. If the HLC is 7 and the upgrade is 2, as long as your fighter only costs 16 you could four of this guy out, all with HLC. Sounds nasty.

Looking back up, we do see a pair of new Cannon upgrades that should be fun. One, I’m guessing here, looks like Mangler Cannon, and the other is Flechette Cannon, I’d say. I look forward to those reveals.

That PS8 pilot has a nice ability, when a friendly ship at range 1 is defending it may reroll 1 defense die. It doesn’t have a limiter on it either, so every time you attack his buddy he’ll get that reroll. Nice. Can’t see enough to talk about any of the other pilots, so I guess we’ll just move along.

Now, in their announcement picture, the IG-2000 doesn’t actually look like its base is “large” sized, but that may just be a trick of the camera. My mistake, it’s called an “Aggressor”. I guess that’s the same way we all know the Firespray-31 as the Slave I. We do see a whole bunch of upgrade slots, right off the bat. Accuracy Correcter or whatever is back, as is the Mangler cannon and Inertial Dampners. We also have some bombs, which is always fun, and a whopping three more types of illicit upgrades. Stats-wise, he’s 3/3/4/4; less health than any other large ship out there, but more agility. I guess we’ll see how that pays off. The action bar is great, and WAIT A MINUTE IS THAT TWO CANNON SLOTS?? I can’t imagine why you would sink that many points into one ship, but whoa that opens some interesting possibilities. If one of those upgrade cards reduces the cost on cannons, the ability to decide if you want to Ion or HLC someone could be very very nice.

I gotta chuckle at the pilot options. It’s… exactly what I predicted, except that they skipped the generic altogether and just went with IG-88A-D. I’m really disappointed that I can’t even make out D’s ability, since…

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Mmm, hive-mind cards. So, put out multiple IG-88s, share their abilities. Exxxxxxcellent. It’s non-unique, so you can put it on every iteration if you want, too. Now, fortunately, Mr D is 36 points bare nekkid (eek!), so assuming that the other ones have the same price (since their PS is the same and they all presumably have abilities), that means you can really only put 2 of these guys out in a standard game. In an Epic game, however… ouch. Don’t let your opponent pull all four of these on you, I’m sure it won’t go well for you.

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So here’s that card from the StarViper portion that I wasn’t sure what it was actually called. I like curved K-turns. I went through the custom pilot card submissions for TheMetalBikini and one of them was a Defender pilot who could do this on the turn, rather than the bank as it is here.

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So to wrap things up, here’s the redo of Fett’s Vette. He’s got a much nastier ability than the Imperial version (maybe this one is allowed disintegrations?) that lets you reroll dice every time you attack and defend, and more of them can be rerolled the more “in the scrum” you are. He’s also tacked on the “illicit” slot, and he’s the same price as when you wanted to pull him out as the Imperials. I’m pretty thrilled to give Boba a do-obah (I’m not even going to erase that. It’s terrible and I love it), since his ability for the Imperials was so lackluster.

So, I’m pretty excited for this new addition to the game. Is it Christmas yet?

Scum and Villany

So, we got a very exciting announcement from FFG at Gencon yesterday: We are getting a third faction for X-wing, composed of pirates and bounty hunters. I gotta say, I am super disappointed that we didn’t get an Imperial Huge ship reveal. I have the CR90 and I love it and was really looking forward to slapping down an Imperial equivalent, but alas it was not to be. I’m hoping that maybe we’ll get it next year and that the energy isn’t just going into Armada. Maybe I’ll just have to pick up a second corvette at some point and paint it all Imperial-like. Dark grey with black trim points… mmm…

OK, back to the pirates. This is also being called Wave 6, and we’re expecting it around Christmas, or at least Q4 2014. So without further ado, what did we get? (Pictures from http://eltallerdeyila.blogspot.ca/2014/08/x-wing-primeras-imagenes-de-la-wave-6.html)

First off we have the IG-2000, the ship of IG-88. With pilot options IG-88B, IG-88C, IG-88D, and something generic *cue laughtrack*. There was a reasonably fun Star Wars novel called Tales of the Bounty Hunters where you found out that there were 4 IG-88s, that B is the one that became a bounty hunter and was killed by Boba Fett on Cloud City (you see his body/case/parts in the background when Chewie is picking up 3PO parts), and then C and D ambushed Fett in space when he got to Tatooine but he smoked both of them too. IG-88A loaded himself into the second Death Star to become the ultimate killing machine, and it would have worked if it wasn’t for those meddling kids. This pictures makes the same mistake I always do, where I think the “claws” must be pointing forward and the “tail prongs” must be pointed backwards, but no, the cockpit is at the front and the little engine opening, which you can see in this picture, is at the back. Anyway, I am very excited to see more unique Bounty Hunter ships in the game. They’re just so fun.
Ugh that model looks like crap.
Anyway, some of you will recognize this ship as the MandalMotors StarViper from the Forces of Corruption expansion to Empire at War, but the true fans know that the StarViper started out as Prince Xizor’s personal ship, the Virago in Shadows of the Empire. Just kidding about the true fans bit. They did put the Black Sun logo on there, which I appreciate. I can NOT get over how bad that model looks. Maybe it’s just the paint and it’ll look better when we actually get it. Anyway, it is starfighter-sized, and should be lots of fun.
And there it is, the Scyk fighter. M3-A Interceptor is what the little title in the display case says, but I’m going to keep calling it the “sick” fighter, just to differentiate it from the TIE Interceptor. So I guess we can all safely assume that if we see a ship on a card, we’re going to be getting it in the game. I think this has happened now with the Defender, the Outrider, and the Scyk, so it seems like a pretty safe bet. Anyway, this is another small ship, and seems to have been pretty ubiquitous (double word score!) in the underworld fleets, so again that will give us lots of variety.
Last but definitely not least, we’re getting a “Most Wanted” pack that will include two Z-95s and a Y-wing, all with alternate paint schemes (which, come on, we all love) and giving us cards to use those ships in the new Pirate faction, AND, it also comes with cards to let us use the Firespray and the HWK-290! This pack is going to be very important. That brings the number of useable ships for the new faction up to 7. Compare that to the Rebel and Imperial 9, and there’s a faction that’s going to almost instantly have just as much variety as the other two.
 
The thing I’m most excited for about this is now it feels like we’re going to be able to do a proper Galactic Conquest campaign. Having Pirates in there to screw with you but also to force you to take police actions is just such a big part of empire-building. I mean, that’s the big difference between games and reality, right? In a game, you build up your big army and you sweep the board, but in reality you have to set up government and actually police the areas you’ve just conquered, so your army gets slowed and your empire gets bogged down just trying to run itself, nevermind defeat your enemies. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but I’m really excited to try to put something like that together.
 
So, I’m still licking the wounds of my poor broken heart (what? too many mixed metaphors) about the non-announcement of an Imperial huge ship, but this is pretty exciting stuff.

Ruthlessness and Intimidation

Hey, look at me stealing the title from FFG. So yeah, they just couldn’t do it. Here we have another reveal from FFG. Like holy smokes, two in the same day. I almost wonder if this got posted by mistake. If so, we’re going to see this page get taken down very soon. Or they won’t bother. OR. BIG OR. Maybe we’re about to get these ships a whole lot sooner than we were told. Yeah, probably not.

Here’s the direct link: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=4981

So, we’re talking about the Decimator again. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. So excited. First big point of reveal, the dial!

Hey look, the ever-elusive (at least for the Imperials) 1 straight. Other than that, big surprise is that there is no red on this dial. I’m not surprised there’s no K-turn, but are you seriously telling me this ship does all the maneuvers just fine? That’s a pretty big deal. There’s going to be no concern about stress-related movement here. I mean, the greens are pretty limited, but they’re not bad. If anything I’d say the biggest surprise on this dial is that none of the 1 maneuvers are green.

We got pilots! Rear Admiral Chiraneau (PS 8) has been known for quite a while, and we found out about Captain Oicunn (PS 4) on Friday. Still no official showing on the generic one, but here we have the last named one:

Cool power. Kinda feels like the Lone Wolf card from the Outrider reveal in that it’s kind of a hero, coming back from the brink, sort of card. As soon as you take your first damage, you gain an agility. What’s HUGE about that, is then this guy becomes an 11 hull, 3 attack, 1 agility ship. That’s a Falcon, except that you’ve already absorbed 5 points of damage. So, compare this guy to Lando, who costs exactly the same. Lando has 1 higher PS. Commander Kendrick (I swear every time I look at this card that’s what I see) has an additional 3 total health but 1 less agility (a ratio I’ve noticed a surprising amount), except that once he’s taken 5 damage, he gains that agility back. Which, if we keep that ratio, means he’s gained the equivalent of 3 health? Probably not. We say that you get an evade every 3 rolls without a focus or a reroll (statistically speaking, it’s not far off), so assuming being attacked by 3 dice every time, you’re going to take probably 6 damage for every evade you get. That’s not going to catch up to 3 health, but it definitely puts you back into Falcon-competition territory.

We also got some new upgrade cards:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceheart! Man, I gotta get my hands on the X-wing books and reread those. I read the first four in reverse order, how weird is that? Seriously, I read them 4, 3, 2, 1. I still loved them though. Ok, enough about me. Isard is pretty expensive, coming in at 4 points. She won’t work well with PTL or the new Experimental Interface card, since you need to be stress-free to perform a free action and she triggers at the start of combat. She’ll definitely be amazing on the Decimator, but I think she could do very nicely on the Firespray. It has 6 hull, so by the time she’s ready to be used he’s still got 5 hull, unlike the shuttle that would already be down to at least 4 (and I mean really, with 1 defense die, how often do you see shuttles taking single points of damage?). Coupling Isard with the Firespray’s two evade dice makes that ship genuinely hard to hit.

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Hey, it’s that guy who likes to scratch his throat. I find his lack of faith disturbing. Shut it Tract. What a terrifically Imperial power this guy has. Sacrifice your crew to avoid damage. This’ll definitely go best on the shuttle or Decimator, where you can have multiple crew slots to make good use of this card. For two points though, he’s half the cost of Crew Chewbacca, and while he doesn’t let you regen the shield like Chewie, avoiding a crit period is pretty great.

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Splash damage! It’s like a little Assault missile. The *must* there tells me that it can be one of your ships, which can sure suck, but at least you get to choose, right? This is a pretty good EPT to slap on an anti-swarm list. I really like the ability to hit multiple ships at once, and it works every round! Kind of too bad it’s Imperial only, lots of Rebel players would like a weapon this good against a swarm. Just think though, if have three ships that land attacks, you can take out a TIE fighter, free of charge, no evades, no dice. This card isn’t unique either, so that’s actually a possibility.

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Before ANYTHING else happens, WHAT IS THAT SHIP? At first I thought the blue light was a laser blast, but now that I look at it I think it’s the engine trail because the cockpit seems to be facing the other way.  It’s cool looking though. Maybe at hint at something yet coming?

OK, actual card talk. This card is in the Decimator pack, so the first obvious application is on the Decimator. That brawler build I was talking about a couple days ago, with Captain Oicunn and the Dauntless title, would absolutely love this thing. Since it’s not large-ship specific, you know who else would? Arvel the A-wing pilot, once we get Rebel Aces and the A-wing Test Pilot card. Being able to reduce their agility and still attack them? Beautiful. He’s the only pilot that could use this card to benefit himself though, since you normally can’t attack a ship whose base you’re touching. It does make life a lot easier though. Oh man, stick this thing on a Black squadron pilot and ram him into whatever you want to kill so the rest of your squad can pound away! I guess a Green A-wing with Chardaan could do something similar, but he’d be more expensive. Only issue with the Black is the relatively high PS 4.

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Oh that’s so cool. What a fun little card. Notice that it says “enemy attacks”. So, plant your TIEs behind your Decimator (or your X-wings behind your Falcon), and fire away unobstructed, but if they want to shoot back at you there’s an extra green die on the table. Nice!

There’s quite a bit that I’m excited for in this expansion. I think I’m definitely going to be picking up two of these guys for Epic play.

YT-2400 Reveal

Wow, FFG is really flying with their reveals this week. Just on Friday we got some new info about the Decimator, now today we’ve got quite a bit of info on the new YT-2400, or as everyone knows it, the Outrider. Here’s the link to the FFG announcement page: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=4980

Now, I said before that I’m way more excited for the Decimator than I am for this ship. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty excited to get the Rebels their second large base, and it looks like the Outrider is going to bring us some very interesting combinations.

The first thing we get is a review of the new large-base barrel roll rules. If you missed it, a large base ship performing a barrel roll does it differently than a small ship now. Instead of placing the short side of the 1 straight template against the base, now you have to use the long side. This limits the forward/backward movement significantly (actually bringing it more on par in relation to how the small ships barrel roll), and also reduces the lateral movement, though shifting a large base like that still brings you a LOT of movement. With a 360 arc and 2 dodge dice, I’ll be curious to see just how much the barrel roll gets used on this new ship (which comes with the barrel stock in the action bar, by the way). Probably still lots. It’s a very popular action choice, and with good reason.

Next we get some pilot reveals. We already knew about Dash Rendar (pilot), who allows you to ignore obstacles during the Activation and Perform Action steps. So you can move right across/through asteroids, heck land on them if you want to, and still take your action. Note that you still can’t shoot though if you finish your movement on an obstacle. There is the Dash Rendar (crew) card that is kind of the reverse, letting you shoot while overlapping an obstacle and also preventing your shots from being obstructed (which is a pretty huge deal, I think).

Leebo is the next pilot we meet, with a PS 5 and an ability that is kind of the reverse of Maarek Steele (who? Oh right the Advanced named pilot that gets NO love). Being able to make sure you don’t take that nasty Direct Hit is sure nice, or avoid something really nasty like the lose-secondary-weapon card (can’t remember the actual text).

Like Dash, Leebo also comes in Crew variety. Straight from the linked page:

“As a crew member, “Leebo” allows his ship to perform a free boost action in exchange for suffering one ion token. This is the first “ion cost” introduced on an upgrade, but at just two squad points, crew “Leebo” is half the price of an Engine Upgrade and frees up the slot for another modification…”

I gotta say that’s pretty cool. This is also a large base ship, so you’re actually going to be able to take this boost option twice before the ions stack enough to cause you trouble. It does cost your action, but really, shouldn’t it?

Last and sort of least we get Eaden Vrill. Apparently this guy used to be Dash’s copilot. His PS is low, he doesn’t have an EPT, but really he’s got Opportunist built in. In fact it doesn’t cost you a stress like Opportunist does. I really like the addition of this ability, since we’re seeing so many effects that add stress to the game from both sides (and the new Debris Cloud obstacles), it makes a lot of sense that having stress should eventually trigger something especially nasty coming at you. With a turret primary, any time you see someone stressed, you’ll be able to hit them. Oh boy, pair this guy up with the  Outrider Title and the HLC, and you can be rolling 5 dice at range 3 against a stress opponent who doesn’t even get the extra evade die. NASTY.

Of course there is also a generic option, called “Wild Spa-” something. Probably Wild Space Pirate or Smuggler or Pilot or something. Doesn’t really matter, the point is he’s just a 1 PS drop from Eaden, but of course you’re also losing the pilot ability, so you’re probably looking around 29-30 points for the base ship. That means we could see squads of THREE of those, though the low primary attack makes me doubt it.

There were also some neat cards revealed here. The first is Lone Wolf, a unique (duh) EPT that lets you reroll one of your blank results on attack and defense IF there are no friendly ships at range 1 or 2.

There’s the picture for ya.

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Here’s a neat one. About to get hammered by Advanced Proton Torpedoes? Oops, there goes your Target Lock. Tired of FCS giving your opponent unlimited locks on you? Well, this round you don’t have to deal with it. The effect isn’t going to be useful all the time, but there are probably going to be instances where you’ll be glad you have it. It’s also got the R2-F2 +1 agility in there, but without costing you your action. What makes this card really great to me is that it activates at the start of the Combat phase. When I first read it, for some reason I thought it said at the start of the Activation phase, which is pretty underwhelming, but at the start of the Combat everyone has already triggered their actions. There’s no coming back for someone who loses their TL and now can’t fire those missiles.

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I know, I’m doing this post all out of order from how they talked about it. Experimental Interface is basically PTL in your Modification slot, and for the same point cost. Whereas PTL is limited to actions from your action bar, this one only lets you use from upgrade cards. Where I come from, the distinction on PTL usually gets missed. If Corran Horn has EU and PTL and he focuses for his first action and then boosts, nobody makes a fuss, but I guess if you also had Expert Handling or something it could make a big difference (I know you can’t put two EPTs on Horn. Fine, pretend I said Tycho or something. Happy?). I’ve been making very little use of the Modification slot lately (except on the Phantom of course), so seeing something like this that will free up the EPT slot is pretty exciting.

If FFG can keep from publishing anything else too exciting, I should get the theory series back up by Wednesday. I’m not going to be commenting on Armada, other than to say I’m excited and intrigued, but probably going to have to do it as a joint venture with friends due to the price tag on it.

Decimator cards reveal

So we had a reveal show up today:

decimator spoil1

I gotta tell you, I’m way more excited for the Decimator than for the Outrider. It’ll be fun, don’t get me wrong, but the concept of the Decimator is much more exciting to me, in the same way that I was much more excited for the Phantom than I was for the Defender.

I can’t find the source article where I had read a bunch of the revealed info on the Decimator and what came with it, so I’ll try to whip up a quick recap. The Decimator is the Empire’s first turret ship, with a 360 degree firing arc for its primary weapon. As you can see above, three attack, zero agility, twelve hull and four shields. We already have Rear Admiral Chiraneau, who lets you turn an eyeball into a crit at range 1-2, and now we have our second revealed pilot, Captain Oicunn. He has the ability we’ve all been waiting for: Ramming speed! You slam into a guy, he takes damage. Awesome. It’s like a mini-corvette! In fact, I think in a whole lot of ways this ship is designed to be a half-captial ship. Couple that ability with the new Dauntless title that lets you perform a free action after hitting (at the cost of a stress), and you have a ship that’s designed to be a brawler. Add in the new Mara Jade crew member (At the end of the Combat phase, each enemy ship at Range 1 that does not have a stress token receives 1 stress token), and you have a ship that wants so badly to be up close and personal that it’s not even funny. I’m so excited for this ship because I think it’s really going to give us some interesting variety on the Imperial side. If nothing else, we could see an Imperial variation on Han Shoots First, which would be awesome to see.

I’m most interested in this ship for Epic play. I do feel like this ship is kind of a half-capital ship, in a way that the Millenium Falcon just isn’t. Or at least, the Falcon hasn’t felt that way. Anyway, it’s got the 0 agility and tons of health you’d expect from a cap. In fact, throwing two of these on the table would cost pretty similar to the naked Corvette. I think these could be almost better though, since they would have the two turret attacks, and actually more health than the CR90. I guess the big difference is the CR can end up with 4 shots per round (discounting the double shot you can get with the quads), and can recover shields, and can reinforce a section. So that’s actually pretty different, but the point is that putting a pair or even three of these across from a Corvette could give you that Epic feeling we’re all after, with capital ships shooting and fighters darting and lasers and explosions and… I need to go lay down I’m getting all excited.

In terms of list building, let’s assume that this new pilot, Captain Oicunn, will cost about 42 points. Chiraneau is 46, and Captain O has 4 less PS, so let’s make that assumption. Going with 42, giving him the Dauntless title and sticking the Mara Jade crew member on brings you to 47. Since that’s a close-combat ship, maybe something like Krassis with HLC would be a good pair. That would bring you to 90 though, not enough to put a third ship out. If you took it down to an Omicron shuttle with HLC though, you’d only end up at 75 so you could still take two Academies or something. Alternatively, you could go with two Decimators, which would be pretty scary to fly against. I mean look at all that health! I’m really excited to get these on the board and see what kind of interesting combos can come up.