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.
Common Pilots: Rookie, Red Squadron
Stock Actions: Target Lock, Focus
Breakdown: You can debate me and say the TIE Fighter or the Falcon, but for me, when I think of Star Wars ships, I think of X-Wings. Probably because I spent hours and hours flying them in X-Wing and X-Wing Alliance, or maybe because it was like one of the first big toys I got as a kid. And when I say "big", I mean like important or anticipated. Of course, it actually was kinda big too. Or at least it was when I was 4 years old.
In any case, they named this game after the ships and I think that wins me the debate. :)
The X-Wing is the most accessible and easy to use ship in this game released so far. It's hearty, has a decent maneuver dial, good stats, and a decent array of options available to it via the Astromech droid socket. Some folks were surprised or disappointed that there wasn't a common X-Wing with access to Elite Pilot Skills, but honestly, it might have put them a little over the top. As it stands right now, even without the Elite Pilot Skills, the basic X-Wing is still a formidable craft in both the hands of a beginner or a seasoned veteran.
Again, it's up for debate to a certain extent, but X-Wings in one form or another make up the heavy-lifting backbone of just about any successful Rebel list. Not to take anything away from a Falcon + 2 Y-Wing list, or 5 A-Wings or whatever, but I see more lists featuring at least one X-Wing, and usually two or three, than any other ship type by far. Is it because everyone has at least one because it comes with the Core Set? Maybe. Could also be because it's just such a solid fighter ship.
The common X-Wing comes in two flavors- the Rookie Pilot version will set you back 21 points for the base model and unsurprisingly has a low Pilot Skill of 2. What? He's a Rookie, bro. The slightly more seasoned Red Squadron Pilot comes in at 23 points and boosts up the Pilot Skill to a pretty middle-of-the-road 4. Other than that, they're exactly alike in every other way.
Secondary Weapon options are currently limited to Proton Torpedoes or... uh, not. Normally, I'd say to click that link and read up on PTs if you're on the fence about taking them, but as I haven't updated a lot of those old Wave 1 articles to reflect changes in Wave 2 meta, let me say it here.
Proton Torpedoes don't suck (as much) anymore.
I know, I know, a lot of people still say they do, but hear me out. As I've said on here a bunch of times, one of the best ways to mitigate some of the advantages the big ships bring to the table is by sticking a couple of face-up damage cards on them. Proton Torpedoes make that much more likely to happen than just firing on the ship with your Primary. They also don't convey the extra defense die to the defender at Range 3 as they're not Primary Weapons, which is nice too. Whether or not you think that's worth 4 points is up to you; all I'm saying is don't immediately dismiss the option like most of us did in Wave 1.
Of course, when you have an Attack 3 Primary Weapon system, a pretty strong case can be made for whether or not you need to pay for something like PTs.
And that's maybe where the real strength of the X-Wing lies- it can meet or exceed expectations in many different roles. It can be your primary attack fighter because no single ship in this game is going to one-shot it. It can be a trailer to finish off already dinged ships (though again- I feel as though A-Wings fill this role nicely). They can provide long or short range fire support, and are maneuverable enough to allow you to stay in either of those ranges without forcing you to make red maneuvers along the way.
As for the Astromech Droids, each of them have their own entry as listbuilding articles, so you can read up on who does what there. As for the selection process, I feel it depends largely on who else is in your list (i.e. would Wedge benefit more from R2-D2 than Red Squadron Pilot or say, would Luke benefit more from R2-F2 than Rookie Pilot) and what role or function you envision for the ship. If you plan on having a Rookie play very offensive to try and force your opponent to deal with him instead of focusing on a more expensive named pilot, maybe give him R2 Astromech so he can K-Turn and recover easier or maybe R5-K6 so he can keep on banging away at his target with re-rolls. On the other hand, if you're looking to help them survive longer, consider R5 Astro, R5-D8, or either of the unique R2s.
That said, watch it with the Astromech Droids. It sound cool to kit out 4 rookies all with some Astromech droids, but in reality, I find most of the time I'm better off putting those points towards a named pilot than beefing up a Rookie or Red with a Droid. Your mileage may vary, of course. They do convey pretty tangible advantages to their Pilot, just don't go overboard- the X-Wing is pretty capable on it's own the way it is. If you're just looking to spend a couple of points to get to 100, by all means- throw a couple of cheap Droids in your sockets and go to town. Anything more than that though, I think you need to take a 2nd look at your list and ask why you're not adding a named pilot or two with those points because well, frankly, their card text is better than the Droid's card text. Most of the time, anyway.