20 March 2014

Rebel Aces Preview

Oh my God you guys! Did you know another new expansion has been revealed?

I keed, I keed. Of course you know. A TON of y'all emailed/ Tweeted/ G+ed/ Hangouts Messaged me from what must have been nearly the moment this thing turned up as a mysterious image on some Facebook page, let alone once the official reveal info was posted on the FFG site. As to why I didn't run with this as yesterday's article, I had already committed to running the Painting Contest announcement and didn't want to steal my own thunder for that.

Wow. So another revealed expansion. We've got a lot of new toys coming down the pike, huh?

All right, so let's do this thing.

First, much like Imperial Aces, we've got a couple of currently available ships in currently unavailable paint schemes. In this box, as you can plainly see in the image above, we've got an A-Wing painted up like the ship in the Prototype Pilot card and a B-Wing painted with Dagger Squadron markings, which besides being a pretty striking color scheme (a Dagger Squadron in a striking paint scheme? +Punning Pundit, can I get a ruling on that?) is pretty smart if they did it on purpose as the Dagger is a pretty popular flavor of B-Wing these days.

The models are beautiful as always, so moving on, let's peek at the box contents.

Ok, usual assortment of tokens and whatnots, let's be honest here- there's two things are interested in: the pilots and the upgrades. 

Going from right to left on the cards, we've got a Proto A, a Greenie, a unique pilot at PS 5 (sorry, I'm not up on EU so much- can any of y'all make out the name from the text given?), and a PS 7 pilot named Jake Farrell who FFG has also revealed, which is just right neighborly of them if you ask me.

Now, you guys know how much I love to give pilots fun nicknames, I'm going to ignore the order of the A's and E's in Jake's last name and refer to him as Scotty which should be both obvious and hilarious to any of you who listen to North American sports talk radio. I will be doing a lot of shake it up and howcanibedamanwhenyoudaman once this thing drops- just giving you a heads up. 

Former SiriusXM sports personalities notwithstanding, looking at Scotty's card text- wow, holy mackerel. Perform a Focus and get a free Boost or Barrel Roll? Like the A-Wings didn't have enough moves and Actions available to start with, right? Uncle Futrelli's also a respectable PS 7 for only 24 points aaaaand, he sports an Elite Pilot Skill to boot! Nice! Christ, stick PTL on this guy and get even more Action options or if you're feelin' froggy and want a little more offensive output out of him, what about using that Boost or Barrel Roll TIE Interceptor style to take yourself out of your opponent's arcs and then kick on Opportunist or Expose? Lots of possibilities for this guy. I think he'll be leading an A-Wing revival when it's all said and done. 

Continuing on through the pilot cards, we see a Blue B-Wing, a Dagger, a currently unrevealed unique PS 5 pilot (again- if you EU experts can make out that name, share it with the rest of the class in the comments below) and in another awesome nod to the old X-Wing and TIE Fighter PC games, Keyan Farlander.

Like we needed more reasons to fly B-Wings with Advanced Sensors, right? Holy cow- this guy's card text is off the friggin' chain- remove a Stress Token to end up with what is effectively an offense-only Focus. That's wild, y'all. Of course, it comes at a price- 29 points to be exact, but I think you could make a pretty strong case for running this dude even without the Advanced Sensors and just using the card text as a pseudo-Focus to save a few points. Of course, if you don't mind paying points on ships with some real butt kickin' potential, what about sticking some Advanced Proton Torpedoes in Farlander's tubes? Huh? Huh? Not only that, Mr. Farlander's got access to Elite Pilot Skills as well. Wow. 

Moving down to run through the upgrade cards, we first see what appears to be a couple of copies of something called Proton Rockets which as you'd expect is some sort of Secondary Weapon and appears to be a Missile. 

Next in line we've got a card called Enhanced Scopes. 

So it's an Advanced Systems card as evidenced by the little radar dish icon in the lower left which means at the time of writing, this guy can only go on a B-Wing or a Shuttle. I had to laugh when I read this card because when Sean and I were hanging out the night before the Armored Gopher Store Championship a few weeks ago, we were talking shop (which we totally should have recorded and released as TMB Podcast #1- my bad, y'all) and I said something along the lines of, "You know what would be fun? A card that was like the opposite of Veteran Instincts that like lowered your PS value. Like a Rookie Instincts or something." That's more or less what this card does, but it one-ups my idea and only does it in the Activation Phase which allows you to have your Pilot Skill cake and eat it too. For only a point this thing's gonna make for some tough decisions for a lot of people who are already used to running their Shuttles and B-Wings with a particular Advanced System. 

Next we see another new card called... wait a second. Looks like in the spread it's called something like A-Wing Test something, but then there's this revealed card with the same exact artwork and it's called Prototype Veteran. 

Probably a last minute title change or something.

In any case, Prototype Veteran is an 0 cost, A-Wing only Title that allows an A-Wing to stock an Elite Pilot Skill icon. While you can't actually stick it on a Prototype A-Wing, you can stick it on a Greenie (or Tycho or Scotty) to give it another Elite Pilot Skill! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the only instance currently in X-Wing where you can actually give a ship two Elite Pilot Skills. The only limiter here is you can't pick the same Skill twice. 

Do you get the feeling they want us to start playing A-Wings more? If not, have yourself checked for lead poisoning. 

Also- you can give this to Arvel Crynyd so that he finally gets an Elite Pilot Skill which just makes my day. 

Moving on, we've got some crew cards for Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors which is pretty cool, but hey- isn't it strange that they included Crew Member cards with an Expansion that has ships that can't take Crew Members? Huh. Wonder what the next card is? 

Looks like a Mod as there's no icon in the lower left corner. The card art is a B-Wing with its cockpit canopy up, first line of text seems to indicate some kind of B-Wing only limiter, and looking at the card text, it adds some kind of icon, wait- is that? 

Ooooooh. Right on. So that's why they included some Crew Members with this thing. That card lets you stick a Crew Member in a B-Wing! My mind spins with potential here. C-3PO? Chewie, Crew Member? Saboteur? Hell, just a plain ol' Gunner firing off a HLC? So many interesting possibilities, y'all. 

Last face-up card is the Chardaan Refit. 

This card is funny because Sean came up with a pretty similar idea of trading in functionality to decrease points cost in that same conversation where I was going on about Rookie Instincts. 

So it counts as a Missile, has an A-Wing only limiter, and gives you back 2 points if you seal up those missile tubes. Not too shabby. 

Now, I know a lot of folks like to use A-Wings as alpha strikers because of their extreme maneuverability and missile loadouts, and with all of the missiles available and coming soon, this isn't an easy decision to make. However, if you've used your A-Wings as trailers for other ships to finish off wounded prey or if you plan on going nuts with Prototype Veteran, this card could well be worth its weight in gold. 

That last card is a face down missile card, but we've already got a pair of Chardaan Refits showing. Is that face down card really another missile we're just getting one copy of or just an oversight on FFG's part? Obviously it's too early to say right now. None of the other upgrade cards are duplicated from existing boxes in this Expansion, so it could be something brand new- we just don't know. 

Also included is a new Scenario that uses the included Escape Pod token base thing which accounts for the last bit of stuff in the box. 

Whew! So what do y'all think? There's a whole lot of unrevealed, but unavailable stuff right now floating around out there in the factories, huh? I saw somebody on BoLS say that X-Wing is like the polar opposite of 40k in that regard. Do you like knowing what's coming out like this or do you wish it was more of the 40k "Christmas Morning" model where you don't know until right before it's released? Oh, and speaking of release, Rebel Aces is said to be dropping Q3 this year, which could be around GenCon if you're feeling optimistic or around the time that Episode VII hits theaters if you're not. 

Last but not least, eternally on the ball +Geordan Rosario already has all of this revealed stuff integrated into (Yet Another) X-Wing Miniatures Squad Builder, so if you've got a few free minutes and want to play around with some list ideas, head on over! Thanks again Geordan- you're a credit to the community! 

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