14 May 2013

Common Ships- Rebel Alliance A-Wing

This post regarding Common Ships is part of a series of articles that fall under listbuilding. I'll be discussing the "generic" or non-unique pilots and their ships and strategies. For the rest of the listbuilding articles, click the List Building Resources tab at the top or simply click here.

Rebel Alliance A-Wing (17/ 19)
Common Pilots: Prototype, Green Squadron
Attack: 2
Evade: 3
Hull: 2
Shields: 2
Stock Actions: Focus, Boost, Target Lock, Evade
Breakdown: I don't know how many of y'all have kids, or who knows, maybe there's a few of you youngsters that actually watched Thomas and Friends when you were younger. Anyway, there's one called "Pop Goes the Diesel" that is like my favorite Thomas episode. My kid loves that show, and while generally I can take it or leave it, that one cracks me up for several reasons. Mainly because Diesel is the friggin' best, and also because his theme song rules- I swear, if I ever get one of those speaker T-Shirts, I'd just walk around playing the Diesel theme anytime I walked into a room. It has kind of a Twin Peaks vibe to it, which is just brilliant to hear on a kid's show.

Specifically, the part in this particular episode that made me go off on today's tangent has to do with Montague, aka Duck. Duck's going on about something and he says, "I'm Great Western and-" the other engines cut him off saying (in unison), "-and don't we know it!" Because, you know, they've heard Duck blather on about how awesome Great Western is/ was/ whatever for ages I guess.

That's probably how y'all feel about me telling you I won an A-Wing during the Kessel Run as I bring it up any possible chance I get, but screw it- I'm Great Western and don't y'all know it. 

So as I've had a little extra time to run A-Wings (and don't we know it), here's my quick breakdown on them as I don't think I've ever actually said it on here (have mentioned it a bunch on forums though). A-Wings are great trailer ships. Remember my 4-Ship split deployment article? A couple of A-Wings would make great trailer ships for those X-Wings and if you want to save a couple of points, namely the difference between a common A-Wing and a common X-Wing, that's not a bad way to do it without majorly impacting your plans like cutting down to a 3-ship build or downgrading the common X-Wings to common Y-Wings without Ion Cannon Turrets.

The reason I advocate for A-Wings as trailers is because I had a lot of experiences where I was using an X-Wing's full shooting turn to finish off a TIE Fighter with a single hull point left. The manufacturing engineer and me says that's waste and those 3 Attack dice would be spent better elsewhere than finishing off a ship with only 1 hull point. Now, this is where I always mention your mileage may vary, but I think it's more a perception difference than maybe what you've experienced in-game.

In any case, I think throwing an A-Wing out there alone against most any other ship in this game probably isn't the smartest idea. It's not dumb, exactly, but an A-Wing plays differently compared to the rest of the Rebel ships, so you have to take that into account when you're trying to find a role for yours.

Of the two common A-Wings, the Prototype version is 17 points and arrives in your list as a Pilot Skill one ship, while the 19 point Green Squadron A-Wing ups the Pilot Skill to 3, adds an Elite Pilot Skill upgrade slot, while keeping the same stats as the Proto.

To date, the Green A-Wing is the only common Rebel ship with access to Elite Pilot Skills. So what works well on him?

Well, you can make your own Swarm Tactics relay network like those TIE Swarms, or you can use Deadeye to give some more options to your Missile launching capabilities (assuming of course you took some), or simply to completely avoid telegraphing your intended target to your opponent- something I feel is definitely worth mentioning on a couple of ships with Pilot Skills as low as Proto and Greenie. Push The Limit is always good on ships with a bunch of Actions available stock and a ton of green maneuvers, so just like with Celchu, it works fine here too. Daredevil is in play here too, of course, and this is maybe the best ship to stick it on if you've decided you're gonna be the guy who rolls out Daredevil at your Regionals. Elusiveness makes you even harder to hit, and again with so many green maneuvers available to an A-Wing, it's not a big deal to get rid of a Stress Token you might incur. 

Of course, A-Wings like all ships in X-Wing Miniatures can utilize Modifications. For me, I say Stealth Device when it comes to A-Wings for the same reasons I always say- further buff what you're already good at. Sure, a case could be made for a Shield Upgrade instead, but the SD is slightly cheaper and you end up with 4 Defend dice just like an Interceptor, along with all your available Actions which are also decidedly Interceptorish. It's not a bad move if you've got the points for it. 

Further options can be found in the Missle loadouts available to an A-Wing. As I've mentioned before, I've written articles covering all of the different Missiles in the Listbuilding Resources section. Personally, I like Missiles on my A-Wings as it does give them the ability to unleash some good damage on an enemy. Downside is A-Wings are only 4 hit points (2 Hull + 2 Shields), so if you're taking Missiles, be sure to get them off before you're downed. I know I've lost mine with full tubes before, and it's a crappy feeling. Almost as much as finding out the hard way you're using a ship that can be one-shotted- something a Rebel player sometimes overlooks. Well, I do, anyway. 

If A-Wings were a teensy bit cheaper, I think you could make a case for running a swarm of them, but as they stand, they're just a bit too pricey to really get in enough numbers that the average player could field an A-Wing Swarm and regularly win. Again- I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm saying it can't be done by the average player. Unlike TIE Swarms of course, which are actually pretty friendly to the beginner so long as he doesn't spend his entire match crashing them into each other. As such, I think you're better off using your A-Wings as trailers to finish off the wounded or to apply pressure by racing one down a sideline upon deployment and come in behind your enemy's lines. I think there are several ways to use A-Wings to reap successful results, but I'm pretty sure none of them involve flying them straight at the enemy. Use a little finesse, play them so that they're mainly out of firing arcs all together (rather than believe you can rely on their 3 Defense), and they'll be around longer than you think.

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