X-Wing: Weitere Preview zur Wave 6
Fantasy Flight Games zeigen eine weitere Preview zur kommenden Wave 6, diesmal unter anderem mit dem erfolgreichsten Kopfgeldjäger der Galaxis.
“Bounty hunters? We don’t need that scum.”
As it turns out, Admiral Piett was wrong about the bounty hunters.
The Empire did, in fact, need them, and it was Boba Fett, the most notorious of all bounty hunters, who ultimately located the Millennium Falcon and led Darth Vader to Cloud City, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia.
For argument’s sake, though, what might have happened had the Empire not recruited Boba Fett? There’s no shortage of work for talented bounty hunters in the Star Wars galaxy, and there’s no doubt that Boba Fett ranks among the deadliest and most talented of them all. If the Empire hadn’t offered Fett a reward for locating the Falcon, he may have taken different work with a Hutt or with the Black Sun crime syndicate.
This is one of the theoretical situations presented by the upcoming Most Wanted Expansion Pack for X-Wing™. With its twenty ship cards, Most Wanted allows you to jump start your own Scum and Villainy faction, partially by calling upon the services of Boba Fett, the galaxy’s most fearsome bounty hunter.
In our last preview of Most Wanted, we looked at how the expansion reinvents the Y-wing and Z-95 Headhunter for use within the Scum faction. Not only does the expansion come with one Y-wing miniature and two Z-95 Headhunter miniatures, all given Scum-themed paint schemes, it introduces four new unique pilots for them and a host of upgrades that completely explode pre-existing player expectations for these starfighters and provide them new personalities.
Today, we continue our exploration of the Most Wanted Expansion Pack and how its ship cards and upgrades allow you to repurpose several previously released ships as the foundation for your new Scum fleet.
Most Wanted and the Firespray-31
Originally released in the second wave of X-Wing starship expansions, the Firespray-31 has a long and storied history of service to the Empire, but we’ve still only seen a fraction of what the starship brings to the game.
In Most Wanted, we find the starship rejuvenated by its induction into the Scum faction, along with a couple of its unique pilots, who are given all-new abilities. We also find a couple of new pilots who help to reinforce the idea that the Firespray-31, like any starship, isn’t just a machine, it’s a nexus of tactical possibilities.
Without a doubt, Boba Fett is the most renowned and most feared of all the pilots in the Most Wanted Expansion Pack. He’s clever. He’s resourceful. His ship is loaded with potent weaponry. And whenever there’s a bounty worthy of his attention, he delivers.
Of course, much of Boba Fett’s success owes to the ways that he adapts to the task put before him. In the Scum faction, Fett is every bit as task-oriented as he is in the Star Wars saga:
“When attacking or defending, you may reroll 1 of your dice for each enemy ship at Range 1.”
Whereas the Imperial-aligned Boba Fett can adjust his maneuvers on the fly in order to better track his prey, the Scum faction Fett takes to the battlefield to defend his employers’ interests. They don’t care if he can avoid enemy firing arcs; they want him to eliminate enemy ships as fast as possible. So that’s what he’s going to do.
Rather than rely upon all the arc-dodging tricks the Imperial Fett might employ, the Scum faction version of Boba Fett is going to spend as much time as possible at Range 1 of his foes, where combat is deadliest and where his ability gives him a distinct advantage, simultaneously increasing the accuracy of his attacks and his chances of avoiding retaliatory strikes.
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that while the galaxy’s most notorious bounty hunter is bound to see all manner of upgrades, two bear particular attention. Since his Firespray-31 already features solid attack and defense, Outmaneuver is a natural complement to Fett’s pilot ability, allowing him to strip away his opponent’s defenses, and a Recon Specialist ensures that you’ll be able to make use of your results on both offense and defense.
Like Boba Fett, Kath Scarlet gains a new pilot ability as she joins the Scum faction, one geared less toward gaining tactical advantages during combat and more directly geared toward dealing damage.
“When attacking a ship inside your auxiliary firing arc, roll 1 additional attack die.”
As potent as it is, Kath Scarlet’s ability is likely more interesting because it promotes a different sort of flying.
Most pilots want to do two things as they fly: get out of their enemies’ firing arcs and catch their enemies within their own firing arcs. Ideally, they’ll manage to flank their targets, get behind them, and trail them at a short distance, anticipating their movements as best as possible. Even if you’re facing a squad with turret weapons, weapons with rear arcs, or “Hot Shot” Blasters, getting into position behind your foes still increases your odds that you’ll keep your foes in your sights in subsequent rounds.
Kath Scarlet, on the other hand, wants to overshoot her foes in an opening joust and then weave around the battlefield, performing a series of low-speed maneuvers and hard turns that her foes won’t likely expect. She may even adjust these maneuvers by outfitting her ship with an Engine Upgrade. In some situations, she may even perform a calculated Koiogran-turn that places her right in front of her opponent’s ship.
While this maneuver would be suicidal in most traditional circumstances, Kath Scarlet has a high enough pilot skill value that she’ll often fire before her foe, and her Scum employers may be willing to pay enough for her to bring an Outlaw Tech aboard her ship so that she can gain a focus token even as she loses the opportunity to perform an action.
Emon Azzameen, the third of the unique Firespray-31 pilots from Most Wanted, also reflects the Scum faction’s aggressive tendencies. His ability, partnered with that of the Title card for his signature vessel, the Andrasta, makes him arguably the game’s most impactful bomber.
Whenever Emon Azzameen drops a bomb, he can use the straight “3” template or either “3” turn template instead of the straight “1” template. Of course, as this is an optional ability, he can still use the straight “1” template if he so desires.
This means that his bombs threaten roughly three times as much space as those dropped by other pilots, and that makes it harder for his foes to fly in such a way as to remain safe from them, especially if their pilot skill values are lower than Emon Azzameen’s pilot skill of “6.” Against squads with lower pilot skill values, Emon Azzameen can drop his bombs with unparalleled precision, not just in locations that allow them to score one or two points of damage, but in locations that they may wreak havoc on entire squads.
A pair of X-wing pilots maneuver carefully in order to remain outside the standard blast radius of Emon Azzameen’s Seismic Charges.
Here, we see how Emon Azzameen’s ability allows him to defy your opponent’s expectations. The X-wing pilots who thought they were safe now suddenly find themselves within the blast radius of Emon Azzameen’s Seismic Charges. He can catch one of the X-wings by dropping his bomb along the straight “3” template, or he can catch both X-wings by using a “3” turn template.
Moreover, since Emon Azzameen’s Andrasta can equip as many as three different bombs, he doesn’t have to worry about whether or not his current chance to drop a bomb is the one, singular, best opportunity that he’ll have in the game. If Emon Azzameen sees the opportunity to bomb his opponents, he takes it. Then, if another, better opportunity comes along, he doesn’t have to regret his first bomb; he can just drop a second. As often as not, your opponent’s likely to run out of hull before a fully loaded Andrasta is going to run out of bombs.
The final Firespray-31 pilot from Most Wanted is the non-unique Mandalorian Mercenary, but if you were to suggest that a non-unique pilot without a unique pilot ability couldn’t help reinforce the faction’s distinctive, aggressive, self-centered approach to the starship, you would be wrong.
At thirty-five squad points the Mandalorian Mercenary costs two more than the Empire’s Bounty Hunter. For the additional two squad points, the Mandalorian Mercenary offers you two additional points of pilot skill, as well as the elite pilot talent and illicit upgrades. We’ve already seen a wide range of the different tricks that illicit upgrades can bring to the table, and the different advantages that elite pilot talents offer are as numerous as the talents themselves.
The trade-off, of course, is that you can’t fly three Firespray-31s in a Scum squad. Whereas dirty tricks are the province of the galaxy’s Scum and Villainy, it’s tremendously difficult to improve upon the Empire’s mechanical efficiencies.
The result is that since you’re forced to pay extra for even your most basic Scum Firespray-31, you’re more likely to bring the ship into your squad in order to take advantage of its elite pilots and their talents, or to take advantage of some devious combination of elite pilot talents and illicit upgrades. Scum pilots are less likely to fly a stock Firespray-31; they want to make sure they have multiple tricks on hand.
A Support Ship No Longer
In X-Wing, the HWK-290 has long played the role of “support ship,” incorporated into Rebel squads for its pilots’ abilities to pass focus tokens, boost other pilots’ pilot skills, and add dice to other ships’ attacks. Additionally, the ship’s limited maneuverability, weak primary attack, and ability to wield a turret weapon almost always dictate that it wields an Ion Cannon Turret, attacking to ionize enemy ships and set them up for kill shots made by X-wings, B-wings, or other more potent attackers.
Whenever you see a HWK-290 in a Rebel squad, you can safely bet that it will be flying within “Range 1–3” of its wingmates, because everything that the ship does, it does most effectively while flying within that range of the rest of its squad.
The ship’s role will soon change, though, with the release of the Most Wanted Expansion Pack.
In Scum fleets, the HWK-290 is no support ship. Its maneuver dial, hull, shields, agility value, and attack value may remain completely unchanged, but its personality receives a radical overhaul. As with most Scum pilots, the expansion’s three unique HWK-290 pilots are every bit as self-serving and self-interested as they are talented. They don’t boost their teammates; they disrupt their rivals. They prey upon them.
Moreover, the ship no longer needs to fly within Range 1–3 of its own squad; instead, the ship’s three unique pilots all feature unique abilities that trigger off of proximity to enemy forces. One wants to fly within Range 1–3 of his enemies, while the other two want to fly within Range 1–2 of theirs.
At twenty-three squad points, Dace Bonearm is the most expensive and, also, the most lethal of the Scum faction’s HWK-290 pilots:
“When an enemy ship at Range 1–3 receives at least 1 ion token, if you are not stressed, you may receive 1 stress token to cause that ship to suffer 1 damage.”
In many respects, Ion Cannon Turrets are among the best weapons in the game; they can fire in any direction, they attack with three dice, and when they ionize ships, they strip away their maneuverability. The one real downside of the Ion Cannon Turret, however, is that it can only deal a single point of damage – that is, unless you are Dace Bonearm.
So long as he remains unstressed within Range 1–3 of an enemy ship, Dace can help you pile on the damage whenever you ionize it. He does this after the Ion Cannon Turret’s text resolves to reduce its initial damage, and he does it without requiring any additional rolls.
Palob Godalhi is another Scum pilot your foes would be wise to avoid. Whenever he can get within Range 1–2 of an enemy ship, he can steal an evade or focus token from it at the beginning of the Combat phase.
This is an ability that is bound to have a massive impact. Most of the time, Palob Godalhi’s ability will serve him at least as well as Push the Limit would, allowing him to perform attacks modified by both target lock and focus tokens. After all, the focus action is the game’s most ubiquitous and, arguably, its most efficient. So if Palob Godalhi flies within Range 1–2 of a number of foes, there’s a very good chance, he can find a focus token on one of them, meaning that he need only perform the target lock action to end up with both tokens.
At the same time, the fact that Palob Godalhi can bolster his attacks by stripping a focus token from an enemy means that that enemy is denied a good portion of the defenses it had intended to use to survive Palob Godalhi’s attack in the first place.
However, as much as Palob Godalhi’s ability can create some really nasty swings in action efficiency, it is likely to make its greatest impact in another, entirely different fashion – by disrupting your opponent’s intended tactics. While you have Palob Godalhi threatening to steal focus and evade tokens from your opponent’s ships, you’re tempting your opponent to do one of two things (or a combination of both): Either your opponent will select maneuvers he hopes will get his ships outside of Range 1–2 from Palob Godalhi, or he’ll avoid performing focus and evade actions.
X-Wing is largely about advantageous positioning, so if your opponent starts selecting suboptimal maneuvers just to avoid Palob Godalhi, that’s a win, and it’s your job to capitalize upon it.
Meanwhile, there are only two types of defensive tokens. Evade tokens allow you to cancel one hit or critical hit result; focus tokens allow you to count all of your results as results, greatly increasing your chances of avoiding hits and surviving multiple attacks. If your opponent stops performing these actions simply to prevent Palob Godalhi from stealing his tokens, then once again, you’ve won a serious advantage.
The last of the unique HWK-290 pilots from Most Wanted is Torkhil Mux, and his ability offers yet another reason that the Scum faction is soon bound to shake up the X-Wing metagame.
As 2013 World Champion Paul Heaver notes in his most recent “Turn Zero” article, any points you spend in your squad build toward pilot skill are always implicitly part of a “bid” to fire first and perform your actions with greater knowledge of what your opponent intends to do in the round. Points spent toward pilot skill don’t directly increase the amount of damage your ship can deal, nor do they directly increase its defenses. Thus, the ideal pilot skill is one higher than your opponent’s, a point at which you maximize the impact of winning pilot skill but minimize the number of squad points it costs you to win the bid.
When we combine this knowledge with the fact that the game’s unique TIE phantom pilots have pushed winning pilot skill bids toward the extremes of “10” and “11,” we see that Torkhil Mux enters the game as a sort of wild card, throwing the whole bidding process into disarray. When you have Torkhil Mux on the table, all those squad points your opponent just invested into pilot skill are greatly devalued. At just twenty-four squad points, Torkhil Mux can wield an Ion Cannon Turret to ignore your opponent’s arc dodging, and then he can lower an opponent’s pilot skill value to “0” to ensure that pilot fires last… if at all.
Unleash Your Aggressive Instincts
Altogether, the unique pilots and upgrades that you’ll find in the Most Wanted Expansion Pack are bound to transform the Firespray-31 and HWK-290 into much more aggressive starships within the Scum faction than they are within the Empire and Rebellion. Moreover, when you combine them with the expansion’s other new pilots and upgrades, you get the single greatest infusion of new tactical options and possibilities since the Core Set. There’s no question that Most Wanted is going to help you launch your Scum fleet at full speed; the only question is what set of pilots and tactics you’ll choose to employ.
In the meantime, you can share your thoughts about these pilots and upgrades in our community forums, and you can keep an eye to our website for more X-Wing news and announcements. In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to look at the Scum faction, its ships, and its distinctive personality within your X-Wing battles, resuming our Wave VI previews with a look at the StarViper Expansion Pack!
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Der deutschen Vertrieb der Fantasy Flight Produkte liegt bei Heidelberger.
Link: Fantasy Flight Games