Monday, 1 August 2016

"Is Biggs the only viable X-Wing now?" and other musings #1

So, after a recent run of amazing luck with the X-Wing game (note the sarcasm) I've decided to go back to basics and take a look at wave 1*, with the hope that looking to the past will aid me in deciphering the future.

This is also inspired by a video from SlingPaint on YouTube about list building.

So, having been a fan of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (because who isn't, honestly?) I figured I'd take a look at the classic T-65 X-Wing, see what builds I could make, what options I have with them, etc. etc.

I put this to a friend of mine who gave me a fairly straightforward answer, "Not worth it, Biggs is the only decent choice left."

And it made me think; "IS Biggs the only viable X-Wing now?" I would like to note, I am not including the T-70 in this, as the two are completely different beasts.

So, armed with the Core Set cards, the X-Wing cards and the Rebel Transport cards, I dove into the world of the T-65...

The one thing I noticed about the old girl; She hasn't aged well in this game. With only the higher end pilot boasting EPTs and only having the basic Focus & Target Lock actions, she's been in need of some love for a long time. The Rebel Transport expansion was (apparently) supposed to fix these issues by giving us more droid choices and better pilots.

And in some ways it did.

Wes Janson has become a solid choice for a lot of control lists, especially when paired with R3-A2; Deny the enemy a Focus/Evade/Target Lock token and apply stress at the same time. It then opens the door to using the Opportunist EPT on other pilots, and even more so on those pilots who love to have stress tokens!

It can also be viewed as a failing though.

There's nothing to make the ships cheaper like we saw with the Chardaan Refit missile upgrade, no Titles, and some of the droids are lacking in terms of usability*.
*N.B. the other droids in the set are R2-D6, R4-D6 and R5-P9. None of which I actually find lacking as individual entities, but when applied to the T-65 they don't add much.

This is the thing about Fantasy Flight Games and X Wing though; The game is, was, and was designed to be, very dynamic. You can see that from looking at the variety of ships people bring to the table**;
**Excluding the recent Triple Jumpmasters, Brobots and Green Squadron Crack Swarms and other single choice lists.
For the Worlds 2015 final we saw two Y-Wings and an A-Wing being played, both of which have been around since waves 1/2. Ordinarily in most games, to play something that old (in terms of released expansions) would be seen as madness. Both ships, however, benefitted from cards released further down the line, such as the BTL-A4 Y Wing title and the Chardaan Refit missile upgrade.

Fantasy Flight's upcoming wave, Wave 9, has fixes for ships that are still seeing a lot of play and will continue to grow in popularity (I mean, which Imperial player hasn't dreamed of having a TIE Phantom invulnerable to debris fields?)

I'm interested to try out cards such as the R3 Astromech and the Vectored Thrusters in my Rogue Squadron builds, personally.

For a man who got stagnated playing Warhammer 40,000 for 20 years of his life, this is a great time to be a game player!

So no, I don't think Biggs is the only viable X-Wing pilot (Yes, I actually got back to the original question!) But I think, that like all ships, people need to fly the T-65s to understand it.