|Prepare for the Rebel Assault
World Champion Paul Heaver on the Wave IV Rebel Starfighters
|X-Wing | Published 19 May 2014|
“You can either profit by this… or be destroyed! It’s your choice.”
In our earlier previews of the fourth wave of X-Wing™ expansions, we’ve explored what the new starships, pilots, and upgrades will soon add to the game’s fast-paced space battles. We’ve also received some insight into the future of Imperial squad building as former World Champion Doug Kinney led us through a closer look at the likely impact of the Imperials’ new starfighters.
Today, then, we consider the Rebellion’s new technology and the ways in which its new starfighters are likely to aid the cause of freedom throughout the galaxy. Leading our exploration of the Rebellion’s new options is reigning World Champion Paul Heaver.
World Champion Paul Heaver on the New Rebel Metagame
Fellow heroes of the Rebellion, get ready! It’s almost time to assault the Imperial research facility at Imdaar Alpha!
Those of us who wish to run Rebel lists at the Assault at Imdaar Alpha and other events already have a variety of good options. All of our ships have useful roles:
The Z-95 Headhunter
The Z-95 Headhunter is the foot soldier. It doesn’t do as much damage as the X-wing or B-wing. It doesn’t dodge as well as the A-wing. But it does fill out points efficiently. After you’ve decided what you want the rest of your squad to do, you can add a Headhunter or two to add some more attack dice.
A 360-degree view of the Z-95 Headhunter.
For example, a pair of Bandit Squadron Pilots, compared to a single Rookie Pilot or Blue Squadron Pilot, have a lot of advantages going for them. Their ships have the total health of the B-wing, but the defense dice of the X-wing. They have more attack dice than either, and take up more space for getting in your opponent’s way. The generic Z-95 Headhunters are great at filling out your front line and taking the hits for your named pilots. If your opponents ignore your Z-95s, then they can enter range “1” and do a lot of damage. Even if your opponents decide to attack your Z-95s, a pair of them will last longer than a single X-wing or B-wing, and draw fire from your important pilots that much longer.
The unique Headhunter pilots have their own roles to play, too. Lieutenant Blount guarantees your Assault Missiles will splash damage across every enemy ship at range “1” of their target, and Airen Cracken can serve as a cheap Squad Leader who helps to make your other unique pilots even more impressive.
The E-wing joins the X-wing and B-wing as another Rebel heavy hitter, but it opens and occupies the next tier up. It’s more expensive than both the X-wing and B-wing, but it offers you more options for actions, upgrades, and maneuvers. It also has a little longer life, thanks to the third agility die, though you still can’t let it be targeted by the entire opposing fleet, or all those points will be wasted.
A 360-degree view of the E-wing.
Think of it like a TIE interceptor: The E-wing serves your squad better as a flanker, or with some other added defense. Here, the Rebels get a great defensive piece in Biggs Darklighter. If you want to keep your E-wing in formation with the rest of your ships, he’s a necessary piece of the puzzle.
The E-wing’s unique pilots here pull their weight, as well, if you can find the points for them. Corran Horn, given Predator or Markmanship, presents you with a great hit-and-run strategy. Etahn A’baht, on the other hand, works wonders while supporting a swarm of Z-95s or A-wings. Unlike other enablers, he doesn’t need to be near the ships he is powering up; he just needs to catch the unfortunate target in his firing arc!
Send Your Squad to Battle!
The Z-95 Headhunter and E-wing are bound to inspire a good number of lists, but I want to begin by presenting a list that uses both ships so that Rebel players can think about how they may use it to assault the Imperial facility at Imdaar Alpha. It also shows off some of the strengths of both new ships.
Total Squad Points: 100
This list can be a little tricky to pilot, since each ship has a different pilot skill, and the lower pilot skill Biggs Darklighter is most effective when he remains behind the higher pilot skill Airen Cracken. Thus, you’ll need to make sure Airen is off to the side a bit, and you’ll want to keep the Blackmoon Squadron Pilot and Rookie Pilot in front of Biggs.
As a typical four-ship Rebel build, it can’t really outmaneuver your opponent on the approach. You just want to make sure all your guns are pointed on target, and you want to engage at a time when asteroids can limit your opponent’s options afterwards, but not yours.
On the way into combat, Airen will remove the Blackmoon’s stress as it uses the droid-granted skill. Then, when he fires, he’ll grant Biggs the opportunity acquire the target he can use for his shot later on. Biggs will focus and save his token for defense. Between the ships, you’ll only have eleven attack dice – a slight reduction in raw dice from the Rebel squads currently in vogue – but with two target locks and three offensive focuses, it should put a lot of damage into the opposing list. Stick with your standard actions as long as you can until Biggs dies.
Once Biggs finally falls, your opponent will have a problem. The Blackmoon is the next obvious target: It is the most expensive ship you have, and it deals the most damage with its three attack dice and Push the Limit. However, thanks to Airen, it never keeps the stress it gains from Push the Limit, and it always has an additional action with which it can evade. Even if both the E-wing and Z-95 perform Koiogran turns, the Blackmoon will get its stress cleared by Wingman, can then perform the action it's granted by Cracken in the combat phase, and can then perform a second action with Push the Limit. It will be hard to do five damage to a three agility ship with all those tokens! Still, if your opponent ignores the Blackmoon to go after the enabler, Airen, or your Rookie filler, then your E-wing is just going to pummel his ships, and it will be an even more impressive starfighter in the endgame.
Hopefully, this list will help us take Imdaar Alpha away from the Imperials, and we may also see some of the great things you can do with the new Wave IV ships. The Z-95 Headhunter will be an excellent and efficient addition to many lists, and the E-wing will join lists as a bruiser that has great defense during the mid– and late–game, assuming you use it as a flanker or pair it with Biggs. These ships open tons of new options for the Rebels: swarms of six or more ships, as well as elite three-fighter builds that can perform at the highest levels.
Will the E-wing and Z-95 Headhunter provide the Rebels a new means of overcoming the potent threat of the dreaded TIE swarm?
Now that both of our X-Wing World Champions have weighed in on the Wave IV starfighters, what impact do you think they’ll make on the game? Which will hit harder during the Assault on Imdaar Alpha preview event? If you qualified for one of the event’s final confrontations, what would your squad look like? Head to our community forums to share your thoughts and squad lists. Then keep your eyes peeled for more information about the Assault on Imdaar Alpha and the fourth wave of X-Wing starfighters!
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!