This post regarding Astromech Droids is part of a larger article regarding Wave 1 listbuilding- the rest of the posts n this series will be available in the coming weeks as I'm revealing a post or two per day on the various topics in that larger article. For more info, click the "Ship List Articles" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.
Card: R2 Astromech (1)
Card Text: You may treat all 1- and 2-speed maneuvers as green maneuvers.
Usage in game: Stress mitigation.
Quick Take: R2 Astromechs are either invaluable or kind of pointless depending largely on your playstyle. There's really not a lot to talk about here- if you invoke Stress on your ships a lot in your games of X-Wing Miniatures, primarily by performing the K-Turn, you're probably a huge fan of the R2 Astromech as it gives you more Stress removing green maneuvers than what's present on the standard ship dial.
If you don't, you're probably not.
As that's pretty much the whole story, let's instead focus on whether or not you should be using the K-Turn. We'll limit this particular discussion to Rebel ships as they're the only ones with access to Droids currently.
Ideally, a K-Turn should be a recovery type maneuver after a Range 1 attack that didn't kill somebody it was supposed to, who is now nearly dead (e.g. 1 or 2 hull points). However, it's not a bad move to inflict on yourself from time to time if performing it will take you out of an Imperial's line of fire.
To put it another way, you probably shouldn't be performing K-Turns for offensive reasons, only defensive ones.
If you're K-Turning just to get an Imperial in your sights and he's not close to being dead, you're unlikely to kill him because since you incur Stress at the time of the maneuver, you won't be able to perform an Action that round. You compromise yourself offensively by not being able to Focus or Target Lock and you compromise yourself defensively by not being able to Focus. Additionally, to rid yourself of the Stress, you have to pull a green maneuver for your next movement. As all ships in X-Wing Miniatures are limited in the amount of available green maneuvers to make this stress mechanic function, you're also compromising yourself in your next movement phase to get rid of that Stress token, assuming of course, that you actually want to be able to perform an Action next round.
Long story short, all of that heartache isn't worth it to score a single hit on a TIE most of the time. Target Lock him instead, fly away, then come back in a round or two for a second pass. Play patiently and you'll reap the benefits.
Now, that said, is it worth it to get Vader with one hull point left off the table sooner rather than later? Hell yeah. Again, don't misunderstand me here- there are times to pull K-Turns. Is it worth it to get yourself the heck away from the business end of a TIE Swarm? Oh fo' sho'. That's where your R2 Astromech comes into play.
R2 Astro won't help you with the losing of the Action and all that, but having all your 1 & 2 speed maneuvers be green for the purposes of Stress removal does put some options back into your hands as far as maneuvering in the subsequent movement phase.
So who do you put it on? Most named pilots would benefit far more from a named droid, but having an R2 Astromech on Wedge isn't a terrible idea if you've got plans for say R2-D2 and R2-F2 already as he can mitigate the no-Action Stress side effect with his card ability. Same with Luke and his defensive Focus-lite ability.
Note in a strange bit of canon-bending, the only way (currently) to obtain an R2 Astromech is through the purchase of the Y-Wing expansion blister. Now, your buddies may have different rules than what's the Tournament Standard, but if you want to play things 100% legit in your games, you have to have a copy of every card present on every ship. Bear that in mind before you make a list with 4 Rookie X-Wings doing K-Turns all over the place with R2 Astromechs as their backseat drivers.