|Target Lock Acquired
A Preview of Two Highly Customizable X-Wing (TM) Starfighters
|X-Wing | Published 05 August 2013|
“Get set up for your attack run.”
–Red Leader, Star Wars: A New Hope
The squad building rules for X-Wing™ offer tremendous flexibility in your squad designs. Your squad isn’t just a combination of starships. It’s also the pilots and upgrades you choose to assemble. These interactions between ships, pilots, and upgrades mean that you can really steer a squad to your preferred style of play, even with a limited number of ships. In fact, two squads fielding the same starships may bear only a superficial resemblance to each other; even though they look alike, they may pursue wildly different strategies in the heat of battle.
Two upcoming starfighters will soon expand your customization options even further. The B-Wing and TIE Bomber Expansion Packs are set to enter the fast-paced space battles of X-Wing as the game’s most upgradeable and heavily customizable small ships.
It's All About Squad Specialization
Both the B-wing and TIE bomber can be outfitted with an astonishing array of upgrades, including punishing payloads of secondary weapons. The B-wing can carry one system upgrade, one cannon, and two torpedoes, and players can choose to upgrade their B-wings further with modifications and elite pilot talents. Similarly, the TIE bomber can carry as many as two torpedoes, two missiles, and one bomb or mine in addition to any modifications or elite pilot talents. All told, you could field either a B-wing or a TIE bomber that’s worth more than sixty of your squad points!
The massive upgrade bars of the B-wing (left) and TIE bomber (right)
But would you? It’s not likely. Utilizing these starfighters in your squad is a matter of balancing risk versus reward.
Lead developer James Kniffen explains why players won’t necessarily want to fill up all those upgrade slots:
“The TIE bomber and B-wing feature a staggering array of offensive upgrades, but savvy players will realize that these upgrade options favor customization over maximization. A TIE bomber may be able to equip two Proton Torpedoes and two Cluster Missiles, but will it be able to fire all four of those weapons during a single match? The real value is in the ship’s flexibility, allowing players to equip it with just the right assortment of missiles and torpedoes to fit any build. The same is true for the B-wing. The Advanced Proton Torpedo is a formidable upgrade, but every torpedo fired is another attack in which the ship’s cannon upgrade wasn't used. Players will want to consider carefully the risk and opportunity cost of stacking expensive secondary weapons on a single ship. They’re generally wiser to pick a limited number of upgrades that matches their play-style. Of course, some players will still be willing to risk everything on an overloaded missile boat, and with a little luck and a lot of skill, they just might pull it off.”
Reviewing the Options
If the B-wing and TIE bomber are all about the options they afford you, then what are those options?
The B-Wing Expansion Pack comes with four different pilot options and five upgrades.
Meanwhile, the expansion’s five upgrades offer any B-wing pilot a range of options in the thick of combat.
What about the TIE bomber?
Though it’s possible to outfit a single TIE bomber at more than sixty squad points, the TIE bomber is actually the cheapest Imperial starship capable of delivering missiles or bombs. Moreover, the TIE bomber is the only Imperial starship, other than Slave I, that is capable of firing torpedoes. Thus, whenever you want to add powerful armaments like Assault Missiles or Advanced Proton Torpedoes to your squad, the TIE bomber begs the question: am I paying for the ship or the weapons? Whenever you find yourself answering that you just want the weapons, you want to field a TIE bomber.
With a hull value of “6,” the TIE bomber is a fairly sturdy vessel, but it’s a cumbersome one, and even the most skillful pilots aren’t going to make these ships dance in the Activation phase.
The TIE Bomber Expansion Pack includes five upgrades. We’ve already seen the Advanced Proton Torpedoes and Assault Missiles, but the expansion’s bombs are worth noting.
To further highlight the amazing customizability of the B-wing and TIE bomber, we’re posting two sample 100-point squads that pair these fighters with the support of the other upcoming ships, the HWK-290 and Lambda-class Shuttle.
Our Rebel squad highlights the B-wing’s versatility by featuring two pilots who handle their ships in dramatically different fashions. Ten Numb is happy to keep his distance from enemy fighters, utilizing his Proton Torpedoes and Marksmanship to generate critical hits () that his opponent cannot cancel. Ibtisam, on the other hand, wants to fly into close range and eliminate the biggest threat with a single volley of Advanced Proton Torpedoes. Both pilots take advantage of their fighters’ advanced technology to acquire target locks after every attack with their Fire-Control Systems. Meanwhile, Kyle Katarn stays close enough to the lead fighter to supply focus tokens, which can be handy on either offense or defense.
While the Rebel squad is likely stronger against smaller squads with a few, heavily shielded ships, the Imperial squad is capable of unloading quick blasts of damage against enemy swarms. Both Major Rhymer’s Assault Missiles and Captain Jonus’s Seismic Charges can blast multiple ships at once. Meanwhile, Colonel Jendon minimizes the delay either pilot might face between one powerful shot with a secondary weapon and the next. His ST-321 Title upgrade allows him to acquire a target lock on any eligible ship in the play area, meaning you can lock onto enemy ships–and transfer those locks–even before both squads move within Range “3” of each other.
Acquire your target locks now. When the B-Wing and TIE Bomber Expansion Packs arrive for X-Wing, you’re bound to see more creative uses of secondary weapon upgrades than ever before!
Until then, keep your eyes open for more news and previews, including a preview in which reigning World Champion Doug Kinney explores the impact the new X-Wing Expansion Packs are likely to have on the game.
X-Wing is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE Fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, X-Wing recreates Star Wars’ exciting space battles. Select your crew, plan your maneuvers, and complete your mission!