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: When attacking with a secondary weapon, you may reroll 1 attack die.
Usage in game: Long range fire support.
Breakdown: Prior to Wave 2 ships getting a lot of play, the Firespray wasn't getting much love. It's still that way now to a certain extent judging by some of the Regionals threads I've been reading which tells me a lot of X-Wing players aren't reading the internets.
First, a Firespray ain't a bad boat to start off with. Sure, a lot has been said about it not being as durable as a YT-1300, and of course, it isn't. That said, an X-Wing isn't as durable as a Y-Wing either, but you seldom hear people make a similar argument about those ships, now do you? Yes, yes, there's more to this debate, I'm just addressing the main knock regarding Firesprays it seems most folks bring up.
Look- I think I've said it on here before, but perhaps not. In any case, here's the deal- Firesprays are not as easy to use as a YT-1300. That's it. It's ok though- that's why Firesprays cost less than YT-1300s.
Generalities aside, just like Muhammad Ali they called him Krassis, and he's a fairly rough customer. I think a lot of folks dismiss not only the Firespray in general, but also the pilots available not named Kath Scarlet. If you're playing in a Regional fairly soon, you just might be able to use this to your advantage.
Trelix has a pretty straightforward card ability in that he can reroll 1 attack die when firing a secondary weapon. To review, a secondary weapon is any card that says, "Attack:" in it's header. For a Firespray, that's any of the Missiles, Proton Torpedoes, the Ion Cannon or the Heavy Laser Cannon, but not the Bombs. So there's the weapon systems that Trelix can use his reroll with. Bear in mind too that as all of those weapons are Secondary Weapons, at Range 3, they do not provide the target with an extra Defense die like Primary Weapons do.
All right, so what's smart to pack on Trelix? Well, it depends a bit on what kind of role you envision him playing and what other upgrades you're planning on investing in.
Personally, I think the best use for Trelix is just what I said on the "Usage in game" entry- long range fire support. Imperial lists in general lack punch at distance, so their builds often revolve around strategies that support the idea of them closing on the enemy. A list featuring Trelix has no such shortcomings with his card ability and access to the HLC or Ion Cannon.
I'm trying to stall this out, but I just sort of can't any longer- the HLC is pretty brutal on Trelix. I talked about him using it kind of a lot in the HLC article, and while I don't want to just completely re-hash everything I said there, I do want to convey the notion that him using an HLC is going to be painful for whoever he's firing at, even without him using an Action or upgrade. This isn't to say the Ion Cannon isn't good on him too, I just think that having a secondary weapon that isn't one-shot, that gets 4 attack dice at Range 3, paired up with Trelix re-roll 1 die at will ability is too good to pass up. And for the record, no you can't take both the HLC and the Ion on a single Firespray.
It's important that Trelix has that re-roll deal going for him because unfortunately for him, he can't take Elite Pilot Skills. That said, he can, of course take a single Crew Member to hang around with him. As he's not a Rebel, you've only got three choices for your backseat driver- Weapons Engineer, Gunner, or Mercenary Copilot. If Trelix inflicting crits is important to you (that question's not a set-up, by the way- you might be planning on another ship in your list earning some crits instead), then Mercenary Copilot is a must. Gunner works ok, but remember that Gunner fires the primary weapon if the initial attack misses, which won't allow Trelix' card ability to go of. If you are planning on having Trelix floating around at Range 3 most of the game, Gunner might not be the most beneficial crew member in that role. Weapons Engineer can be useful, but you are sort of cannibalizing a die re-roll from Trelix Card text by taking him. It ain't the end of the world, I'm just saying with the Attack dice weighted towards hitting by their design, it might not really be necessary if you're planning on using the HLC. Of course, if you're looking at taking Missiles, then yeah, I'd definitely take a closer look.
Floating around the backfield lobbing in HLC shots sounds well and good, but what do you do when after a couple of matches and your regular opponent decides to ignore the rest of your list and makes a bee line straight at Trelix? Why, drop a bomb of course. Either would work, but Seismic Charges might be a little easier to get a result with as it's Range 1 from the bomb token and it also doesn't require an Action to drop. Especially nice as again, Trelix can't take stuff like Push The Limit to get an extra Action if he needs it and he's probably out of range of anyone else in your list carrying Squad Leader or something.
As for Mods, I think you can really honestly make a case for any of the three. I'm not a huge fan of boosting large ships, but if you're out at Range 3, from what's hopefully the center of the conflict, being able to re-position yourself can not only be pretty handy, but likely to actually work, so Engine Upgrade could be pretty useful. Stealth Device is probably going to be around for a good little while, especially if you play against Rebels that are of the opinion that one-shot Missile weapons aren't worth their points. At Range 3, with a Stealth Device against a primary weapon, a Firespray has an Agility of 4 until it gets hit (base Agility of 2 + 1 for Range 3 + 1 for the Stealth Device). Yeah, for reals. And you can still take an Evade Action on top of that. Last but not least, Shield Upgrade adds 5th layer of shielding, which again, if you spend the first half of your match out on the fringe at Range 3 ought to be quite nice for your survivability.
Trelix main shortcoming is his inability to take Elite Pilot Skills and his relatively low Pilot Skill. As the post-Wave 2 tournament meta is shifting towards fewer, more upgraded, higher PS, named pilots, especially on the Rebel side, it's not entirely unlikely that all of your opponent's ships would get to move after Trelix and shoot before him. I think this largely gets mitigated by the fact that he's probably far away from the action, but you won't be able to keep him at Range 3 forever (well, probably anyway), and eventually it's possible he may end up with a Wedge or Tycho right on top of him. This is where you need to remember that rear firing arc the Firesprays have for their primary weapon and as well as a bomb if you paid for one. Stay cool, fire as you run away, get the rest of your ships turned around and keyed on this nearby threat, and try and get yourself back out to Range 3. It's not easy and it will take some practice games to get the Firespray's maneuvering options down, but for the cost of Han Solo and Crew Member Luke, you can deck out a pretty nasty Krassis Trelix that'll be tougher to hit (rule book sense) and hit back harder from range. Is he PS9 with a 360 turret that practically never misses? No, but don't disregard him if he's in an experienced player's hands either.