20 August 2013

Wave 3 Preview- The B-Wing

Right on, so this article's been a long time coming. I covered the rest of the Wave 3 stuff prior to this, but today, finally, the oft-delayed B-Wing article from me goes up. Was it worth the wait? Hell, I don't know. Let's take a look and see what we've got here. 

First, the majority of the info from this article comes from the stuff revealed in the FFG article called, "Target Lock Acquired" where they talk about the B-Wing and the TIE Bomber. The info does not come from my totally hilarious April Fool's Day post from, uh, well, 1 April. 

Like most of the Rebel ships, the B-Wing comes in two named pilot versions and two common pilot versions. I always like to start off with the common dudes first just to get an idea of what I'm working with before muddying the waters with named pilots and their abilities, and since this is my bar, that's where we'll start. 

So Blue Squadron is the cheapest, lowest Pilot Skill version of the B-Wing and clocks in at 22 points or one point more expensive than the Rookie X-Wing. How do the two compare? 

First, the stats are relatively similar. Easy, I said relatively. The one Defend die is a bit rotten, but it has 3 more shields than the Rook to help make up for that. They have the same 3 Attack, so that's good, and they both also have 3 Hull. All in all, it's looking fairly even. Where I think the B-Wing kinda comes into its own is possessing the extra Barrel Roll Action in addition to the Focus and Target Lock that Rookie also gets. How often you make use of it is entirely dependent on you and your ability, but as any TIE Interceptor player will attest, having a Barrel Roll in your arsenal is never a bad thing. After all, who cares if you only have one Defense die if you can BR out of your opponent's firing arc anyway? 

Past that, you've got a double load of torpedoes, the funky raygun, and the new Wave 3-centric Advanced Systems upgrades all available to you. That's a lot of variations via upgrades for such a cheap ship. 

So what are the common B-Wings well suited for? I think folks who regularly switch their alliances between Empire and Rebels will probably have a ball with this ship because they're used to barrel rolling, whereas guys like me who predominantly play Rebels, might struggle a bit with it at first. Also folks who have messed around with Firespray lists as I think the most straightforward application of this ship is as a Firespray-lite- staying back behind some X-Wings, bombing in shots to finish fools off from long range. I could see tacking on a Heavy Laser Cannon or an Ion Cannon once in a while for the the lulz, but really, I think it runs fairly decent just as it is. Keep in mind, the most common backline Firesprays are built around Trelix with an HLC or Kath with either an HLC or an Ion Cannon. Your generic B-Wing isn't going to be nearly as effective, but it's also much cheaper, so as long as you're not leaning on it heavily for results, you can use it in much the same way, albeit to diminished effect. As usual, the PS2 version of the ship is 2 points cheaper than the PS4 version with no other differences between the two. 

Ten Numb is the most expensive B-Wing pilot slotting into your list for 31 points. Considering the other options available at that amount of points, he'd better bring something pretty special to the table, right? PS8 is solid but not earthshaking, and the Elite Pilot Skill icon is something you should expect at this kind of point cost. Ten Numb's main benefit is his card text ability- which states that when you attack, 1 of your <crit> results cannot be cancelled by defense dice. 

Ok, so as I've stated before, I think crits are an important way to reduce the effectiveness of big ships. That's not to say that they don't work on small ships, just that they work on big ships better. As the Imperials will be able to choose between the Firespray and the Lambda, both quite capable and dangerous options, having the ability to stick a crit that can't be cancelled is kind of a big deal. That said, sticking an uncancelable (yeah, not a real word, I know) crit on a TIE Interceptor could be pretty amazing too, so it's not like you should only use Ten against big ships. 

The question in my mind is how often does this card text actually work. You're paying 9 points over the cost of the Dagger version for 6 more Pilot Skill, the Elite Pilot Skill icon, and the card text. Is it worth it? 

Weeeeell, maybe. 

As you've likely noticed before, your red Attack die is an 8-sider. Of those 8 sides, one is a critical result. Since you get to throw three of them down every time you attack, you've got a decent shot at rolling a crit. Of course, increasing those odds by running Ten Numb with Marksmanship or with Proton Torpedoes, and you've got the potential to stick somebody with some nasty and (probably) lasting effects. That said, you're talking about more than a third of your point total in a 100 point match, and Rebel ships aren't exactly cheap to start with (translation: you're not going to field much anything else in a 4-ship list in the way of upgrades or named pilots). There again though, against anybody buy a low PS swarm, you're probably coming out ahead with that strategy. 

As formidable as Ten Numb is, it's Ibtisam I'm more likely to mispronounce. I mean, I'm more likely to use. 28 points, she's not exactly cheap, but like Ten Numb, she adds the Elite Pilot Skill icon as well as (in this case) 4 PS above the cheapest incarnation, and her card text for 6 more points. 

28 points is the same total as Luke, so naturally I want to compare them. Luke's at a higher PS (8), but Ibtisam has that intensely interesting card text ability. As you'll recall, via his card text, Luke can change an eyeball result rolled on defense to an Evade. Ibtisam's ability is kinda similar, but her ability can be used on attack or defense and so long as she has a Stress token, she can reroll 1 of her dice. 

Now, some folks have been interpreting this as if Miss I has more than one Stress Token, she can reroll more than one die. I'm not one of those people who thinks that's how this card works, but whatever. I guess we'll have to wait on the FAQ. Either way, at a glance, the ability seems pretty great right? 

Again- weeeeeeeell, kinda. 

Bear in mind that you've gotta have her Stressed for this to work. That means you pulled a red, you took Push The Limit (and paid those additional points), or you cancelled one of Kath's hits. It's not like it's too hard to get Stressed (especially with all those red maneuvers available), but you very well may have sacrificed your Perform Action step to get that Stress token. If you used Push the Limit, well, kudos to you- your'e like the B-Wing Vader or something. If you purposely pulled  a red maneuver to generate the Stress, you just traded in a Focus, Target Lock, or Barrel Roll for the ability to reroll a single die. Not a great return on investment. Still though, if you don't mind the idea of wrapping up a third of your points in a single PS6 ship, you're probably not all that worried about that. 

Me personally, I'm probably going to play several games with only my common B-Wing pilots to get the hang of maneuvering them. Past that though, while Ten Numb and Ibtisam both have some pretty unique card text abilities, I think a case could definitely be made for going common on the B-Wing and still getting some good results. 

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