This post regarding Named Pilots is part of a larger article regarding Wave 2 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 Text: You may perform actions even while you have stress tokens
Usage in game: When you need both high maneuverability and high Pilot Skill, maybe an alpha strike.
Breakdown: At a glance, folks who haven't flown A-Wings much may balk at Tycho Celchu. I mean, yeah, he's Pilot Skill 8, which is awesome, but he's flying an A-Wing and costs 26 points- same as He-Who-Bestows-A-Focus-Token, the ever-popular Garven Dreis.
So, is he worth it? Let's look at the differences.
First and most obvious, Dreis is in an X-Wing while Tycho's flying an A. Stats-wise, an X-Wing is the more capable ship, but A-Wings have a pretty ridiculous amount of movements available on their dial, and for folks who play this game rather than talk about points and stats in a vacuum, that's worth a lot if you know what to do with it.
The always courteous Fantasy Flight Games actually posted the A-Wing maneuver dial when they did their Wave 2 preview.
Look at all those green maneuvers and only 2 red maneuvers. A-Wings seem to be really good at getting rid of Stress Tokens, so how much is Tycho's card text really worth compared to a Green Squadron Pilot who costs 7 points less if A-Wings are so easy to fly when Stressed?
Well, first, you're getting an increase of Pilot Skill by 5 points- a not insignificant amount. Tycho's going to shoot before everyone but the best pilots where that Green Squadron A-Wing is going after not only the mid-level pilots, but even behind some of the lower tier guys.
Let's dig deeper though- there's gotta be some reason Tycho's got the card text he does, right?
Remember awhile back when I talked about Push The Limit? For 3 more points, Tycho basically becomes Vader in a more maneuverable ship with one less hull and Boost instead of Barrel Roll.
Funny how when you put it in those terms, 29 points for an A-Wing doesn't seem so expensive does it?
Ok, so that's what everybody puts on Tycho, but you gotta be different. Are there any other Elite Pilot Skills that are fun?
Well, as you see in the above pic, A-Wings have the hard 1 turn available as a white maneuver, so coupled up with Daredevil and Tycho's high PR and you've got a real, the hunter became the prey style table-turner on your hands.
Deadeye is effective too if you want a high PR alpha-strike type setup. Sure, it works well on any A-Wing because of Homing Missiles, but dig on this little gambit if your usual Imperial opponent always sets up at the forward edge of Range 1 and always move forward with a 5 straight-
As Tycho's in an A-Wing, he can also do a 5 straight. Two ships fairly close to being in line with each other across the table, both moving 5 straight end up being in Range 3 of each other after they both move from their initial deployment, but you (hopefully) will get to fire first because of Tycho's high PR.
The Ships both at the edge of Range 1 upon initial deployment
Both ships make 5 Straights and are now well within Range 3 of each other
Same deal, just more dramatic camera angle
Take Focus for your Action (or better yet, get one from a buddy like Dreis or Lando and declare Target Lock for your Action), then as the Combat Phase starts, fire your Homing Missiles at some really annoying pilot on the other side of the table at Pilot Skill 7 or less. An unsuspecting opponent may not have even declared a first-turn Action, or might have declared Evade as he probably wasn't planning on you pulling that. All the other Rebel ships top out at 4, which if my placement is right, leaves a ship just short of Range 3 even if the Imperial moves a straight 5.
Maybe you don't off the victim outright, but then again, maybe you do since he can't spend Evades against those Homing Missiles and you're denying him that bonus Defense die firing a Secondary Weapon. Four Attack dice against 3 Defense dice? Yeah, I'll take that trade off any day of the week, especially if we're bustin' on some ship that doesn't possess a Secondary Weapon System of it's own to shoot back if it survives.
Might not work after the first time you use it, but there again, having Tycho on your sidelines might be enough deterrent to delay those Imperial ships from roaring forward, which aside from the Firespray, tends to mess up their game plans to at least some degree. Might be worth it just for the threat factor, never mind the rest of the game that Tycho brings to your list.
All that said, A-Wings aren't for everybody. They're tougher to use effectively than X-Wings and definitely tougher to use than a YT-1300. They don't have the guns to reliably down enemy ships on their own and don't have the hull or shields to withstand the consequences of careless maneuvering.
Me personally, I've had the most luck using A-Wings as the trailer ships finishing off whatever an X-Wing didn't kill on it's first salvo. Tycho would be absolutely murderous following around Wedge in this manner, especially if they're packing Stealth Devices or Shield Upgrades, or supporting the somewhat less offense-oriented Luke Skywalker, X-Wing Pilot. It wouldn't be cheap, but look at it this way- you don't have to install Swarm Tactics on Wedge or Luke to get that plan to work pretty effectively and that either frees up a couple of points or their Elite Pilot Skill slot, how ever you want to look at it.