18 September 2014

Scum and Villainy Buy-In: Yes or No?

So as some of y'all know, I sometimes write articles for Bell of Lost Souls about X-Wing stuff. Sometimes it's content I've published on here, sometimes it's brand new stuff. This past Tuesday, I wanted to write an article about the Scum and Villainy faction and how it'd be for existing players to get into it versus new players. I made an assumption, and a couple paragraphs worth of statements, that there aren't really any folks out there who want to get into X-Wing but haven't yet.

Weeeeeelllllll, turns out I was wrong about that one. I'd kind of thought that with the S&V ships being fairly obscure, they probably wouldn't draw in anybody that wasn't already an X-Wing Miniatures player. What I hadn't considered is a whole group of folks out there who haven't been playing X-Wing from the beginning these past two years, but are now wanting to get in on the action and don't want to play Rebs or Imps because everyone else has a head start.

It never occurred to me is that S&V represents something of a clean slate because none of us have played with these ships before, and that's appealing to a new player who wants to do a little trailblazing of his or her own, dig?

Anyway, without further ado (thanks +Davyd Atwood!), here's my article from BoLS yesterday including my baseless and incorrect assumptions. I want to take this idea into more detail as we get more info about the ships and upgrades that make up S&V, and yeah, I need to update the "What Do I Buy" article again, but for now, enjoy the BoLS article and give me your thoughts on S&V in general if you're so inclined.

So by now I'm sure that all of y'all are aware that a third faction for X-Wing Miniatures was announced at GenCon a few weeks back, but is a whole other faction worth picking up if you're already playing Rebels? Imperials? Just getting into the game? Let's take a look and find out!

X-Wing Miniatures has long struck me as something of an oxymoron- one of the selling points for new players seems to be the relatively low entry cost associated with the game, but just about everyone I know or have ever talked to about the game owns more than enough ships to field just about every tournament list combination of both of the currently available factions. I mean for reals- I think I read one FFG Forums post from a guy who only wanted to play Imperial and was complaining about the fact that he was effectively forced to buy an X-Wing in the Core Set (which is required to play the game). Sure, you might gravitate more towards one faction than another, but it seems like everybody has plenty of ships to field both. 

When Scum and Villainy was announced as the third faction, I was immediately struck with something along the lines of indecision. Was/ is this going to be the first X-Wing Expansion that I actually stopped and thought about buying instead of just immediately cramming my Discover card number into MiniatureMarket.com? 

Truth is, I still kinda don't know. 

With the overwhelming amount of stuff already available for the Rebels and Imperials, I'm not 100% sure I need to buy into the third faction, so naturally that endorphin addict part of my brain kicked on and I started trying to justify the idea and this is basically what I came up with. 

If You're Already a Mainly Rebel Player
You've got it easier than Imperials. The "Most Wanted" box includes the S&V versions of two ships you likely already own (the Y-Wing and the Z-95 Headhunter) which you can mix in with your current to get a little more bang for your buck and also includes cards for that HWK-290 you've probably been neglecting since Wave 5 dropped. 

Is it worth it? The MSRP for the Most Wanted Expansion is $40 US which is about $5 cheaper than buying those three miniatures as Expansions. As is usually the case for stuff like this, it also includes a whole mess of pilots and upgrades as well as dials with the new S&V branding so nobody gets confused as to which faction you just set down on the table. 

It's worth noting that much like the way the game works with the current two factions, many of these upgrades, both your existing stuff as well as the new stuff in Most Wanted is interchangeable, but there are a few cards that are listed as "Scum Only", so even if you're not planning on starting a full-on S&V squadron, picking up Most Wanted might still be worth your while when coupled up with your existing Rebel stuff. 

If You're Already a Mainly Imperial Player
Things get a little murkier. For one, you're probably still going bananas over the TIE Phantom, though by the time S&V hits the streets (4th quarter this year which probably means sometime between Thanksgiving and Groundhog Day in FFG terms), maybe you'll be sick of being so doggone unpredictable and dangerous at Range 1. 

The only Imperial ship you already own that can do double duty like those three Rebel ships I mentioned above is your Firespray which has probably been collecting dust since a year ago or so. While a lot of what I said about the upgrades and stuff above still applies to your ships as well, it's obviously less so than the Rebs. That said, the S&V version of Boba Fett is a little more accessible and a lot more of a blunt instrument than the subtle but deadly Imperial version and it just might be enough to get you to break him out again. Of course, by the time S&V is released, Wave 6 will almost assuredly have dropped, so you may well be having the time of your life swatting Rebel ships aside with your shiny new VT-49 Decimator. 

Is it worth it? With there being so much less overlap and therefore new stuff for an existing Imperial player to use with his current collection, I kinda want to say "no." That said, S&V does present a whole new angle on things and might appeal to the more die-hard Gearheads in that they aren't Rebels. 

If You're New to X-Wing Miniatures
I wonder if there are that many people still on the fence about getting into X-Wing at this point that would suddenly be compelled to start up the Scum and Villainy faction as opposed to Imps and/ or Rebs. I mean, I suppose it's possible, but with Most Wanted playing to people who already own one or both of the existing factions, it's kinda hard for me to believe that. 

In any case, there are three ships that are completely unique to the faction, so while it may not be all that likely you've got a buddy who is a huge fan of IG-88 and refused to play X-Wing with you until he showed up, I suppose it is at least theoretically possible. 

As evidenced in the image above, the IG 2000 is a big-base, Attack 3, Defend 3, Hull 4, Shield 4 ship which already makes it pretty capable. Without knowing what the maneuver dial looks like, it's hard for me to completely get behind it, but at a glance, it seems pretty nasty. 

There's no reason to believe this ship won't be the most maneuverable big ship in the game. The backstory on the ship is that IG-88 has no need for puny human needs for life support and whatnot being a droid and all, so it's all runs and guns, apparently. It has Boost and Evade available to it stock along with the usual Target Lock and Focus and also possesses the Segnor's Loop maneuver which is basically a K-Turn on the end of a Bank turn rather than a straight. 

The MSRP on IG-2000 is $30 US, which is basically par for the course for a big ship. Is it worth it? For the S&V player, almost assuredly so, yeah. It can pack a veritable ton of upgrades and seems more than capable of bringing the pain like Chris Rock. 

While I never owned an N64, I remember all the ads and hype and fanfare associated with Shadows of the Empire, which is probably why FFG decided to bring Prince Xizor into X-Wing Miniatures. 

Stats-wise, the StarViper is a bit like an overgunned HWK-290, but without seeing the dial, who knows if that comparison holds water or not. It's certainly an interesting looking bugger, and while it's still early, it seems like this guy will be fairly maneuverable too with the Boost and Barrel Roll actions being stock and it coming with the Segnor's Loop card too.

The MSRP on the StarViper is a teensy bit more than a standard Starfighter-sized Expansion even though that's what kind of base on which she sits. It'll set you back 20 bones US. Is it worth it? Oh, I don't know, I don't think it's quite as much of a slam dunk as the IG-2000, but I'm sure the StarViper has some tricks up her sleeve we don't know quite yet too. If 3-ship lists do indeed become more viable in the near future, I could see somebody rolling it as a third ship along with an IG and a cheap Firespray or something.

Maybe really maneuverable is a hallmark of the S&V faction? I mean, Y-Wings and Headhunter's aside, of course. 

The last ship available to the faction is another Mandalorian ship, the M3-A Interceptor. 

This thing seems to be the TIE Fighter/ Z95 of the faction as it's fairly cheap (20 points for the PS8 version) and has pretty low-end stats. Thing about this guy is he's very customizable- as evidenced by the two point Heavy SCYK Title. 

Crazy, huh? You can more or less tailor this guy to be what you want with that card. Note too that he comes with what looks to be three different Cannon Secondary Weapon Systems in his box. Or you can go traditional and give him any existing Torpedoes or Missiles. 

The M3-A is likely to fulfill a lot of different needs for the S&V player, so if you're wondering if I think he's worth it, I'd have to say oh fo sho at this point. Maybe the best thing about the ship is that unlike the TIEs or Z's, you don't have to pick up a slew of these guys right off the bat to make them viable in your list. Sure, the 3 total hit points (Hull + Shields) doesn't exactly scream resiliency, but that's what Hull Upgrades or Stealth Devices are for, right? I mean, if you're into that sort of thing. Point is, I think you could probably roll as few as a pair of these guys along with a bunch of other junk fighters like the Y-Wing and Z's from Most Wanted, or you could tool them up a bit and roll them alongside an IG-2000. You can take this bad boy home for the standard Starfighter Expansion MSRP of $15 US. 

So there ya go. Did I talk you into playing around with some Scum and Villainy ships? I think I might have talked myself into at least one list's worth of them writing this. Seems like as a faction, they'll probably fall between Rebels and Imperials in a lot of respects- I just hope they play differently enough to justify in the long run. Is it just me or do the Most Wanted ships kinda not fit the theme of the other S&V ships? I mean, I get it- Most Wanted is basically to get existing players to buy in, I just wonder how they'll fly alongside these Mandalorian ships...

16 September 2014

Bikini Squadron Analysis by Tract, Part 4

Here's the final installment in Tract's Bikini Squadron Analysis articles. Enjoy and be sure to check out his site too! 

Today we’re going to talk about what may just be my favorite entry, a Rebel Interceptor. This is the last entry for this, which makes me sad, but it’ll also be good to get back to talking about the game for real, and not just imagining “what ifs”. First off we’re going to finish up the A-wings, which if you’ve been keeping score, is the second most popular ship from this list at six entries (X-wings topped at ten).

Look at this guy! Bad Wingman-ing it up alllll over the place! This is very similar to a couple abilities already in the game, like Captain Yorr or Wingman, except that instead of the upgrade being on the ship that’s receiving, it’s on the ship that’s giving the stress. This gives you a whole lot more options, since you can decide which ship gets the stress. However, this is an A-wing, and I’m never worried about stress anyway. I’d rather see this on another ship that would be more affected by stress.

Hey didn’t we just see this guy? Arvel is a popular template, apparently. Now, the text of this card is kinda garbled, but bear with me. Before you attack, you can make your firing-arc into a rear arc, for a reduction in range. That’s pretty cool. It has some interesting possibilities with ships that have when-outside-firing-arcs abilities, since you can change it. And there’s some issue with knowing exactly where the edge of it would be, so you’d probably have to print a new ship base to go with it, but this pilot is actually pretty cool. I’ve heard lots of people wonder why A-wings can’t shoot backwards, and although I don’t have any knowledge that suggests they should be able to, it’s definitely an interesting mechanic (being an A-Wing nerd from waaaay back, I do remember reading that bit about A-Wings being able to rotate their guns 180 degrees... somewhere- Clint). 

This card is the most fun I’ve seen in a while. It’s just so COOL. It’s a traitor card that limits your opponent’s knowledge of the traitor. It doesn’t punish your opponent in any way except that this ship starts in a really awkward position for him. Besides, the idea of flipping an Interceptor is just so Wraith Squadron, that what’s not to love? I know I said this is one of my favorite entries, but I actually have very little to say about it. I feel like it may be overcosted (unusual with custom cards), since by the time it shoots you have a Royal Guard that costs 5 points more that maybe, maybe, is in a better position. I think dropping it down to 25 would make a lot of sense.

This ability is pretty conservative. Instead of giving away a target lock, the friendly can just use yours for their attack. In the interest of balance, I’d pull the range limiter in. Being able to fire off ordinance with a focus and TL, from Range 3 away from this guy, would be pretty darn easy. Otherwise, he’s really putting the HWK into its support role.

I really like this ability. It lets you use your attack for defense, but really hinders your attack. I’d be curious at what point it takes place. I mean, if you’re attacking a guy and you roll 3 hits and he only has 1 hull, sure flipping two over to recover shields would be great, but if he hasn’t rolled yet that’s a huge gamble. If it’s after he’s rolled, that’s a pretty huge benefit for almost no downside, though it’s very situational. I’d say this is a great card that just needs to be a little more specific for it to be used.

This is obviously an anti-flanker card. I’d say that for this card to be remotely fair you’d have to give him a stress for it. The idea is that if they can shoot you and you can’t shoot them, you get to move so they can’t shoot you (hopefully). There was that X-wing that could do a barrel roll in response, but at least that one costs you a stress. Anyway, it’s fun trying to do little tricks like moving out of arcs, but this one needs a little more downside.

I think this could be cool. I feel like giving this ship a free 4-point upgrade for the cost of coming in 1 round late is a little too much. I mean, ok first round all my ships do a 1 straight. Now here comes Battlement with his free shield upgrade! I might say something like “for every round this pilot does not enter the fight, you may spend one extra point on an upgrade for it”. That’s not worded very well, but the idea is that if you want the shield upgrade, you have to wait 4 rounds to enter the fight. Now that I’m thinking about it I might make that more like 2 points every round, but cap it at 4 rounds or something so that it does have to come in at some point and can’t be fully loaded when your Z95 is down to its last HP or something. Anyway, the idea of hurting yourself now for greater benefits later is something I would totally go for (I thought this card was especially cool myself- it got even cooler when the author told me that he came up with the idea because he was stationed in Afghanistan when his pals back home started playing X-Wing before he made it back, hence the "Late to the Fight" deal).

Ah, the lovely Mara Jade, finally put on the RIGHT side of the fight (sorry, my Rebel is showing). I’m intrigued by this card, since it triggers on an opponent’s miss. It needs to be a little more specific though. Is it once per round or per game? I hope per round. I’m also going to assume that “misses” means that the attack scores no hits, the way the Gunner text reads. The card has had the Evade action added to the bar, which we can debate, but mostly I’m just looking at this pilot ability. It’s reminiscent of some of the cards we’ve seen, where you can avoid being attacked and somewhat like Turr Phennir in that he gets to move after an attack, except that Mara has to successfully dodge an attack in order to pull off her ability. Still, if only as a set-up for next round’s movement, it could come in pretty handy.

This ability is so close to overpowered and ridiculous that I almost didn’t talk about it. The ability to reverse a target lock is so weird and so doesn’t make sense, but I’m attracted to it. Not only that, the way this guy has worded the card you can do it to ANY target lock, between ANY two ships, ANYWHERE on the board. That means that as long as this guy is on the board, he’s screwing with your game plan. Now, this ability will be totally useless against a build like a TIE swarm that can’t ever Target Lock, or someone like me that usually takes Focus anyway, but it’s still really interesting. Just make sure that this ability is limited to one use per round.

Well that does it. Those were the entries from Bikini Squadron that I picked out as being the most likely to see some table time, or at least who could inspire some new content. Did you like taking a look at some custom content? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for hanging out with us here at the hippest pilot bar in the galaxy, and we’ll see you soon.

15 September 2014

Rebel Aces "Late Next Week"!

I think most of y'all likely already saw this (or saw it coming), but in case you hadn't heard, FFG said today that Rebel Aces will be coming to retailers "late next week" as of today, 15 September 2014.

Do you have your pre-order in?

H.O.T.H. X-Wing Charity Event

I got an email from a guy named Dave Curtis who wanted to let me know that there's a charity tournament coming up 4 October to benefit the University of Iowa's Children's Hospital. Thing is though, this isn't strictly some charity event- it's actually a pretty hardcore, pre-Worlds type of deal. Here's his email-

Here in the middle of the corn fields of Iowa we are planing a event for next month.
In collaboration with many many helpful faces, we're going to hold a charity tournament for the Extra Life foundation on October 4th, benefiting the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. It will be the last major tournament prior to the World Championships in November and we anticipate people coming from all over the region so the competition will be fierce. We hope for a 6 round swiss with a cut to the top 8, but rounds will be based off attendance. We would like a minimum of 40 people and hope to see around 80 competitors.

The idea for this came about with Sunny planing a small local charity event in Iowa City, IA for Extra Life. Doug Kinney(Hothie) was planing on doing a Midwest tournament for the players in the Midwest to gear up for one big game day before Worlds. So we had two birds and only one stone, and combined the two events!

The event will be held in North Liberty, IA just off of US 80 on 10/4/14. i will included the link for the Facebook page with all of the info H.O.T.H Facebook.

We were hoping you might be able to post something about this event on The Metal Bikini. if you would like anymore info please feel free to ask.

Dave Curtiss

Y'all know I'm an old softie when it comes to kiddos, but this thing is going to be an awesome tournament as well! I mean, how could I not promote it on here, right? 

So stop by their Facebooks and you'll find the link to PayPal in your registration fee and get some games in against some of the Midwest's best while doing something really awesome at the same time. They've got more information regarding tournament structure, start times, lists, prize support, hotel blocks, you name it. No excuse not to go if you're remotely around there, and tell 'em I said hi!


Bikini Squadron Analysis by Tract, Part 3

The next installment of Tract's analysis of your pilot cards! Be sure to stop by his X-Wing Miniatures blog too!

Today we’re going to hit our last two X-wing pilots. We’re going to see X’s, Y’s, YT’s and A’s (oh my!), so you should feel like there’s more ship variety in today’s post.

This is cool. It’s kind of a Kyle Katarn or Garven Dreis, but in reverse. You guarantee that you’re going to have a focus for defense, but someone else loses theirs. That’d be a Bad Wingman trait if I ever saw one. I’m not sure I’d ever use this pilot, but it’s a neat idea.

This is kind of Sensor Jammer-like, except way worse for the other guy. It’s probably slightly overpowered, but I thought it was interesting and potentially viable. The attacker would have to be allowed to reroll that die (by spending a TL or using Predator) for it to not be totally OP, but it would still be better than Sensor Jammer.

I almost included this guy as a double with my card from yesterday (uh, make that last week; stupid work!- Clint), Tract Gildart. He’s the one that lets you add 2 to a friendly’s attack in exchange for your attack for the round. This guy is different enough though that I thought I’d give him his own. This ability uses up your action, which is probably good cuz it’s pretty great. You pick a friendly ship for your action, then whoever that friendly attacks during the combat phase gets shot by you first. Now, I’d say that this ability has real limited potential, which is why I could actually see it being used. Range 1-2 isn’t bad, but it’s a Y-wing. Doing a primary weapon attack just isn’t that scary. Also, you won’t have a focus or a TL for that attack or your actual attack, since you used your action getting the second attack. Unless some good buddy passes you something, but yeah. Also, you have to hope that the friendly ship that you chose is going to have a target, or your action is wasted. AND, you have to be able to shoot the target. There are so many ways this could fail to work out for you that it’s almost not worth it, but it’s such a wild card that I couldn’t leave it out.

I don’t play with a lot of bombs on the table. In fact, I’ve never actually seen a proximity mine dropped. However, the idea that this ship gets better when it’s sticking close to the rocks is really cool. I wonder if it may end up being overpowered, but it’s such a unique ability and stands to make you play this ship very differently than you otherwise would play a Y-Wing.

All the effects! My major objection to this card is that its effects go on for the whole round and with new effects, which makes it difficult to keep track of. So you do a k-turn, and then you have attack 4. Which is monstrous, and because it says “your next attack”, it doesn’t even have to be immediately after the k-turn. You can wait a round, de-stress, and then fire 4 attack dice with a focus at some schlub. Two stress after that really hurts, but may be what it takes to balance something like this.

I’m doing these two together since they’re very related abilities. Basically, you get to do two attacks in a round if you have a secondary weapon. On the X-wing, this means you can fire your torps AND your main lasers in the same round. Of course, the big issue with this is that your TL will be spent firing the torps, and you probably only have 1 focus (if any) for both attacks. However, it does cause stress, and is a one-time-use (since you can only carry one set of torps). The Y-wing has some very particular requirements. Carrying a passenger is another point sink, though of course you can get some good use from them. The best secondary to go with this would be the ever-popular ion turret, and putting a recon specialist in as the passenger would give you a focus for both attacks. Now, doing all of that, going from the point cost on the card and not doing any analysis to see if it’s correct, puts the total cost for this ship at 28+3+5 = 36 points. That’s a super expensive ship, just to be able to fire your measly 2 attack weapon along with your ion turret. It gives you options, makes you pay for it, and introduces some interesting dynamics. I like both these cards.

This guy has changed the values on the hull of the YT-1300 and I’m not sure why or even if that was intended, but whatever. Basically this is a pilot ability that makes the R5-P9 ability available on the YT-1300. It’s kind of conservative, since it’s an effect we’ve already seen, but it’s exciting because it’s being applied to a ship we haven’t been able to see it applied to. I think this one stands to be especially abused because of the crew slots, meaning you can take Recon Specialist, use a focus to attack, and have another to recover a shield at the end of the round. The only way you’d spend it on defense would be if someone attacked you from Range 3 and you rolled two eyeballs. So, this card probably isn’t useable, but I’m a sucker for trying out transfer combos.

Like the card before, this is an effect we’ve already seen, moved to a new ship. Just in case you weren’t paying attention, this is the Luke Skywalker Pilot ability, put on an A-wing. This makes a lot of sense, but holy smokes as if A-wings weren’t hard enough to hit already. It would mean that you would be free to use your focus for offense, though.

Whoa. Gotta take a second here to think through what this means. So, Chromatic shoots at a TIE, and hits it. There is an X-wing, who is further than range 3 from Chromatic, but has that TIE in its firing arc (not necessarily in range though?). Then, the TIE also receives a stress token. Wowza, that’s one complex, highly specific effect. It’s neat though, kinda like Ethan Abat or whatever the heck his name is.

Well, umm, great minds think alike? They even have the same Pilot Skill level. That’s pretty funny. Anyway, the idea of negating the Range 1 bonus is pretty interesting, and seems like a reverse from the common Range 3 negation we see with secondary weapons. I think it makes sense on the A-wing, moreso than any other Rebel ship.

And there’s your ten! The next entry will finish us up and take us right through the Wave 4 pilots.