07 March 2014

Preview: Transport X-Wing Pilots Revealed!

I think most folks that play X-Wing tend to have collector tendencies. What I mean by that is I think most people who play X-Wing tend to have more ships than what they need, and I think it's safe to say that a lot of y'all have at least one of every ship, Rebel and Imperial, that FFG has produced to this point (assuming of course you aren't one of those poor souls that missed out on getting some Interceptors because they sold out fast or whatever). 

That in mind, it's probably safe to assume you were going to buy the Rebel Transport anyway, but just in case you weren't or were still planted on the fence, FFG has gone and set up the four pilots for the escort X-Wing to push you over the edge into "Yup, buying it!" territory. 

Oh, did I forget to mention they revealed the four named pilots yesterday? 

Here we go...

Wow, so same price as Wedge or Vader, but at one less PS than both and without Wedge's crowd-pleaser card text or Vader's two Actions? Is Wes worth that price? Dig on that card text- remove a Focus, Evade, or blue TL token from your target. Ok, that's pretty awesome, dunno if it's 29 points awesome though. Then you get to the part where you see that it's after he performs an Attack. Doesn't have to hit, doesn't have to damage, just whoever he shoots at gets one of the above tokens plucked from them. Pretty sweet, huh? The coup de grace? He's PS8. You can pluck that token from darn near anybody. If you want to cut out the "darn near" from that previous sentence, just fly him with Veteran Instincts or alongside Mr. Roark and you can pull the tokens off anybody you can draw a legitimate bead on. Not bad for the guy mainly known for successfully tow-cabling an AT-AT. 

"Hobbie" Klivian is another solid mid-PS X-Wing pilot who just might manage to muscle in on the Dreis + Dutch BFFs forever relationship. Like Dreis and Dutch, Hobbie doesn't have an Elite Pilot Skill slot, but possesses the standard X-Wing upgrades of an Astromech slot and a Torpedo. A lot of us Rebel players messed around with the BFFs lists at some point or another, mainly during Wave 1, so the obvious synergy between Dreis and Dutch is fairly apparent- one gives away a Focus token, one gives away a Target Lock token. The fun thing about Hobbie is he sheds a Stress when he is given a Target Lock. Oh if only there were some way to give him Push The Limit, right? But dang, he doesn't have access to Elite Pilot Skills, just torps and an Astro-

For one point, one measly, stinkin' point, I can now give a X-Wing, Y-Wing, or possibly the upcoming E-Wings Elite Pilot Skills so long as they're PS is a 3 or higher? 

Holy. Mackerel. I'll fully admit I get a little heavy with hyperbole around here sometimes, but this little R2 unit really does have potential game-changer written all over him, right? It's not just me? 

So Hobbie with R2-D6 and PTL, then Dutch with R5-K6 throws him a TL for his trouble- Stress gone. 

Slightly different topic, but I can also finally roll The Reverend Horton Salm with the Elite Pilot Skill he was born to have- Expose.

Nah, just joking. I've always dreamed of rolling him with Marksmanship and two full tubes though. 

Seriously though, this card really can open up some interesting new possibilities with old X and Y standbys that maybe nobody uses anymore. Or at least allows you to use them in some new and compelling ways. 

I was messaging with Sean earlier about the revealed stuff, he noticed that you could stick R2-D6 in Dreis' backseat, turn around and give him Veteran Instincts, and suddenly him burning off that Focus token gets much more predictable in addition to him being able to keep up with other PS8 pilots like Luke or Jan. I keep thinking about stuff like Biggs with R2-D6 with Elusiveness. 

As if you needed more reasons to always pick Focus for your Action, right? 

Tarn Mison is a nice sleeper pilot- nothing particularly fancy, but a pretty interesting bit of card text for such a low PS pilot- enemy ships that declare Tarn as a target, regardless of whether or not they hit him, actually donate a free Target Lock to the Rebel cause. 

That's pretty nice, in and of itself, but it's even better when you couple that text up with his low PS. If you can put Mison into a situation where he more or less has to get fired upon (like say right out in the front of your formation), you're putting your opponent into a decision where he either ignores him and gets an X-Wing in the face for his troubles or he attacks him and spends a bunch of focus fire downing a 23 point, PS3 ship, best case. Worst case, he doesn't actually kill him and now he's staring down a Target Locked and probably Focused X-Wing. 

Ah, and finally we get to the man of the hour, Jek Porkins. Folks have been speculating on what his card might be like for quite a long time- including yours truly. I like this card, I liked my idea for his card text at the time, but this one is pretty good too and makes for another offensive-leaning X-Wing pilot. 

It kinda surprised me that Porkins has an Elite Pilot Skill, but after glancing at that linked thread, I guess he was a good pilot in the books, despite cratering into the Death Star. Additionally, he's PS7 and at a pretty respectable 26 points. 

First thing I notice reading his card text is if you blow the roll, you deal yourself a facedown Damage card. Kind of a strong downside being as how you've got a 3 in 8 chance of rolling a filled explosion when you make the roll. Second thing is the timing- you make that roll as soon as you receive the Stress Token whether it's because you K-Turned, cancelled shot by Kath, elected to pull a second Action via PTL, Elusiveness or whatever. 

That was when I noticed the last bit- the Stress comes off no matter what you roll. That little detail makes Porkins much easier to live with, if you ask me. It's also a "may", so you don't have to do it if you don't want to. Not to shabby for the fat guy, huh? 

So that's it for the pilots, but a couple more cards were revealed in the article that I didn't find a nice, organic way to fit in, so here they are- 

I won't lie, I like Flechette Torps mainly for the same reason I liked Ion Pulse Missiles so much- because they're cheap. I dream of the day I load up a double-shot of these guys in Horton Salm and just Stress the crap out of some poor guy on the other side of the table. 

For only 2 points, you get a 3 Attack out to Range 3. That's really not bad by itself, but then you get to that second paragraph and realize that even if you can't manage to hurt them with those 3 Attack dice, you will still Stress them regardless if their Hull is 4 or less after your Attack. 

So yeah, basically you're auto-Stressing anybody in your firing arc out to Range 3 that isn't a YT-1300, a Firespray, or a Shuttle. 

Wait a sec, or a TIE Bomber or a Y-Wing. Well now. Interesting selection criteria there, huh? 

Again, by itself, a Stress token isn't that big of a deal, but if you've got somebody else floating around with an Ion Cannon, Turret, or Ion Pulse Missiles? That's a pretty rough deal for not a lot of points. If nothing else, maybe you get somebody to pump their brakes or risk the consequences rather unexpectedly or at a particularly inopportune time. Still not a bad trade off for only a couple of points in my book. 

R3-A2 is a pretty interesting card too in that it's got a pretty easy to satisfy criteria that gets you a nearly automatic Stress on target of your choice. Again, not something that's going to immediately affect the target, but imagine if you've got a target out there that's already Stressed, if he's in your arc and in Range, you can deal him a second Stress, which unlike Ion Tokens, Stress Tokens aren't all removed when the Stressed ship pulls a green- only one is. So while you might not use this guy every single turn, when the opportunity presents itself, it's got a pretty good chance of making hay while the sun shines, if you catch my drift. 

The last revealed card is also in the Imperial Aces box too. A bit of a remix on Expose, Opportunist lets you roll an extra Attack die if your target doesn't have any Focus or Evade tokens. Obviously, this Elite Pilot Skill goes with Janson like chocolate goes with peanut butter, but there are more uses for it than just on him. With Porkin's ability to lose Stress, it's not a terrible idea on him either, or on a guy who doesn't mind being Stressed out like Tycho Celchu. 

That said, it is four points though, so ideally you want to get as much use out of it as possible. This card actually works better on lower PS guys I think, as their targets are perhaps less likely to still be in possession of their Focus or Evade tokens than if you were to stick this on Wedge, for example. 

If you're still not 100% sold on it, bear in mind that it doesn't cost an Action to trigger and is another one of those "may" cards that doesn't paint you into a corner by forcing you to use it against your will. 

After reading all that good stuff you're probably wondering about list possibilities, right? Well, lucky for you our old pal Geordan who maintains (Yet Another) X-Wing Squad Builder has already updated his site with all this great new stuff (as well as everything else that's been revealed up to this point), so put away your pen and paper, sigh contentedly, and head on over to Yet Another and get crackin' on some original new list ideas!

... right after you click one of my Miniature Market ads and pre-order your Rebel Transport of course. :) 

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