Ordnance in X-Wing after the Deadeye FAQ

With Deadeye Scouts out of the picture as of the 4.2.2 FAQ which made Deadeye “Small ship only”, what are ordnance-heavy ships going to look like going forwards in X-Wing?

There are four key cards for making missiles and torpedoes work efficiently in the game at the moment.  I’ll quickly cover each of them in turn.

Deadeye

Previously the staple of the triple Contracted Scouts ordnance list, Deadeye allows low Pilot Skill ships use their ordnance effectively, and more generally allows you to pick your target at will as long as you’ve got a focus token.

The change to “Small ship only” has a big impact on the Contracted Scout, leaving them needing to acquire target locks at Pilot Skill 3 – challenging to set up in the opening exchange of fire against higher PS opponents as they may well be outside of Range 3 when you move – and unable to access the main other upgrade that might help with that.

There’s not a huge number of small ships with an Elite Pilot Talent slot that can carry more than a single missile or torpedo, returning this upgrade card to quite specialist use.

Extra Munitions

Ordnance is expensive, but Extra Munitions makes those points go a little further by giving you an extra use of each one you’ve got equipped.  Frankly, this makes missiles and torpedoes actually usable outside of rare edge cases (Proton Rockets on Agility 3 ships being that main exception).

However, you need a spare torpedo slot to equip this card, which notably limits the number of ships that can take it.  There’s a reason you don’t really see X-Wings shooting Proton Torpedoes around, despite their iconic status as the ship and weapon that destroyed the first Death Star…

Guidance Chips

Arriving in Wave 8, Guidance Chips were the second fix for missiles and torpedoes, and probably the card most responsible for their rise to prominence.  Guaranteed dice modification into a hit is a big deal, and a 0 points, there’s not reason for an ordnance carrying ship not to equip this unless there’s a really good alternative competing for the slot.  (Another reason why you don’t see X-Wings with torpedoes, as they really need to have Integrated Astromech equipped to make them a little more durable.)

Combined with additional dice modification from Proton Torpedoes, Concussion Missiles, or some of the tricks that the Contracted Scouts could pull off with various Salvaged Astromechs, this gave an almost unprecedented quality of attack, with some builds able to push themselves to to a 90%+ chance of getting four hits from four dice.  That’s a lot of punch that makes the points put into your ordnance genuinely worth while.

Long-Range Scanners

Finally we come to Long-Range Scanners, a somewhat overlooked piece of the ordnance puzzle (although this may just be to do with it being a comparatively recent release from Imperial Veterans).  Being able to set up target locks on the first turn of the game, well ahead of any likely exchange of fire, means that low PS ships can provide a genuine alpha-strike threat to high PS aces.  It also means you can take another action on the turn you’re likely to fire those munitions, probably giving you a focus token for modification.

However, it comes with a few downsides.  Like Guidance Chips, it’s a Modification, so you have to make a choice between the two, potentially dropping the quality of the attack as there’s no longer that absolute guarantee of a hit.  You can’t take target locks at Range 1-2 with this equipped, which can really hamper your ability to get a second ordnance shot away, or limited your offensive output in a close range fight in general.  And you need to have both the torpedo and missile slots on your upgrade bar to equip it, restricting it to just three (or with a title, four) ships in the game as things stand as of Wave 10.

 

For what I’m discussing below, I’m going to ignore anything that can’t take Extra Munitions for now, as that doesn’t leave it with much potential as a dedicated ordnance carrier.  For the most part I’ll be focusing on generic pilots rather than uniques, as if we’re looking at things that can fill a similar role to the Contracted Scouts you’ll want to be able to fly more than one of them at a time. With that in mind, there are a few builds that spring to mind.

 

Rebel Alliance

B-Wings (or more accurately, Nera Dantels…)

Nera Dantels — B-Wing 26
Deadeye 1
Extra Munitions 2
Proton Torpedoes 4
Guidance Chips 0
Ship Total: 33

The B-Wing in general isn’t the best ordnance platform, as it already has a good primary weapon, a System slot to give it a little more action efficiency in the form of the Fire Control System, and access to cannons if you want to upgrade its firepower further.  However, Nera Dantels packs a lot of punch as a torpedo boat. Guidance Chips and Proton Torpedoes give her solid dice modification on her shots, and with Deadeye she doesn’t have to worry about firing arcs (other than for denying Autothrusters). Notably, with her primary weapon value of 3 she’s got a good chance of getting at least two crits on her Proton Torpedo shots (one from Guidance Chips, one from the Proton Torpedo’s pseudo-Focus ability) which is potentially crippling to anything lacking shields…

At 33 points, she’s also not exactly breaking the bank points-wise, and you can pop a Fire Control System on her for a bit of extra dice modification if you’ve got a couple of points to spare. That said, she’s still 33 points for a PS 5 B-Wing – not exactly the toughest ship to take down before it gets its second torpedo away unless you’ve got a bigger threat on the board, or some Biggs support.  She’s a solid option if you want to create a bubble of board control what your opponent just won’t want to fly into, but don’t rely on her being your only serious damage dealer.

K-Wings

Warden Squadron Pilot — K-Wing 23
Extra Munitions 2
Homing Missiles 5
Long-Range Scanners 0
Ship Total: 30

If you’ve not got Deadeye, Long-Range Scanners (if you can taken them) aren’t a bad alternative on low PS ships – assuming you’ve got some way of making up for the lack of the dice modification guaranteed by Guidance Chips. Homing Missiles fit the bill nicely here, as you don’t need to spend your target lock to shoot them, leaving it available for modifying the attack. If you can set a target lock up early, you should be able to fire them with both a target lock and focus for modification, and thanks to the Homing Missiles, stop your opponent from spending any Evade token they might have. This makes it a strong choice against nimble but low health ships like the TIE Interceptor, or hard to hit ships like the TIE Defender with the TIE /x7 title.

The downside is that it can be tricky to get the second shot away. Long-Range Scanners stop you from acquiring target locks at Range 1-2, which combined with the K-Wing’s lack of a K-turn can make it tricky to have both a target lock and firing arc for a second pass. You may need to take a hit and run approach, using the SLAM action to speed away from the engagement and come in for a second shot. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from loading up a bomb or two on the K-Wing (which also benefits from Extra Munitions) to change its role after you’ve got that first missile away. Alternatively, adding a Twin Laser Turret gives you some out-of-arc long range firepower, although that’s another 6 points onto the cost of this build.

Like the B-Wing, the K-Wing isn’t the hardest ship to kill with only 1 Agility, although 9 health isn’t a trivial amount to need to chew through.

Galactic Empire

TIE Bomber

Swx52-gamma-squad-vetGamma Squadron Veteran — TIE Bomber 19
Deadeye 1
Extra Munitions 2
Proton Torpedoes 4
Guidance Chips 0
Ship Total: 26

There’s a number of different builds for the TIE Bomber, but the Deadeye Gamma Squadron Veteran is the closest thing to the old Contracted Scout build still in the game. It doesn’t have quite the same quality of dice (there’s no way of keeping your focus for dice modification), but the combination of Proton Torpedoes and Guidance Chips gives you a decent chance of a hard-hitting attack.

There are a few advantages over the Contracted Scout. You’re a small based ship, which makes it easier to fly in formation and avoid obstacles. Clocking in at 26 points, its also notably cheaper than the 32-33 point standard build for the Contracted Scout, letting you fit in a fourth (cheap) ship into the list. And at PS 5, you’re shooting before the vast majority of generic ships, giving you a decent chance at taking a ship off the board before it gets to shoot.

That said, there are some notable downsides as well. 6 hull is no where near as durable as the JumpMaster’s 5 hull and 4 shields. You’re very vulnerable to critical damage as a result of this, which means an early crit going through can be crippling. While the 5 K-turn of the Bomber is a really strong manoeuvre to have access to (it opens up a lot of space, handy when you’re dealing with Range 2-3 ordnance), it’s still a red manoeuvre which means no focus or target lock to get a torpedo away that turn.

You can potentially fit three of the Gamma Squadron Veterans outfitted as they are above in a list alongside Captain Jonus for some added quality of dice, which may have some potential as an alpha strike list, although it’s much more vulnerable to higher PS shooting than the triple Scout list.

TIE Punisher

Cutlass-squadron-pilot-1-Cutlass Squadron Pilot — TIE Punisher 21
Fire-Control System 2
Extra Munitions 2
Homing Missiles 5
Long-Range Scanners 0
Ship Total: 30

If this looks very similar to the K-Wing build above, there’s a reason for that… With no access to an EPT, Deadeye is out of the equation, meaning that Long-Range Scanners are the next best option. Combined with Homing Missiles, you can potentially get the same focused and target lock modified 4 dice shot that the K-Wing offers. If you can get that first shot away at Range 3, you can use the Fire Control System to set up a target lock for the second missile, and you’ve got a K-turn to potentially more easily get get arc for that second missile shot.

However, you’re also lacking some of the upsides of the K-Wing. No turret means you’re entirely reliant on getting arc to take any shots. Having Boost rather than SLAM is a mixed blessing – while you can re-position and still shoot, you don’t have the K-Wing’s ability to break off from the engagement and come back in for another run as easily. And the Long-Range Scanners are actually somewhat anti-synergistic
Redline-1-with the Fire Control System, as you can’t use it at Ranges 1-2. Even more so than the

K-Wing, I’d actually be quite tempted to drop the Fire Control System and put on a bomb or two to allow you to switch roles if you’re stuck up close and personal in a firefight.

I’d be remiss not to mention Redline here – his pilot ability gives any torpedo or missile a target lock for modification, meaning that Proton Torpedoes or Concussion Missiles can hit as hard (or harder) as Homing Missiles. Add in a Fire Control System, and he’s going to be a consistent threat. However, at PS 7 with no access to an EPT, he’s still going to struggle to get an early target lock on higher PS aces, and you really want to be using Guidance Chips rather than Long-Range Scanners so you’re not hampering his pilot ability.

Scum and Villainy

In a distinct reversal of fortunes, Scum are now probably in the weakest position when it comes to missile and torpedo boats. The Contracted Scout build really needed Deadeye to work effectively due to its low PS, and with no missile slot the JumpMaster can’t take Long-Range Scanners. This isn’t to rule it out completely, but it’s a significant shift in the ships’s role. Other than the JumpMaster, the only other real ordnance option Scum have is the Y-Wing, which as problems of its own…

JumpMaster 5000

Contracted-scout shipContracted Scout — JumpMaster 5000 25
Attanni Mindlink 1
Plasma Torpedoes 3
K4 Security Droid 3
Unhinged Astromech 1
Guidance Chips 0
Ship Total: 33

Pop three of these in a list, and you’ve got some strong action efficiency – assuming all of your ships do a green move, they’ll be able to have a target lock (thanks to the K4 Security Droid) and focus, and two of your ship will be able to barrel roll in addition (having gained their focus via the Mindlink). You’re still stuck with the problem of not being able to easily get your torpedoes away during the first turn, as your PS 3 will put you lower than most things you’re wanting to target, but you can do an initial pass with primary weapons, then circle round.

Of course, this doesn’t have any Extra Munitions, so the Plasma Torpedoes are more of a nice extra if you get the chance to shoot them, with your primary weapon probably doing the majority of the work.

Attanni-mindlinkAn alternative route would be to swap Attanni Mindlink for Adaptability, the Plasma Torpedoes for Proton Torpedoes, put Extra Munitions on two of them, and strip the torpedoes, astromech, crew and Guidance Chips off the third to be replaced with Anti-Pursuit Lasers, a Feedback Array, and Intelligence Agent (aka the classic “BumpMaster” build). You can them push the two torpedo carriers up to PS 4, and drop the third ship down to PS 2 to improve its chances to act as a blocker.  The full list for this can be found here.

Both of these builds have much less of an alpha strike than the classic triple Scout build, but probably have a notably stronger late game. If that’s enough to balance out the loss of that massive early game damage spike remains to be seen…

Y-Wings

Syndicate-thug-1-Syndicate Thug — Y-Wing 18
Autoblaster Turret 2
Extra Munitions 2
Proton Torpedoes 4
Guidance Chips 0
Ship Total: 26

With no access to Long-Range Scanners, the Y-Wing just has to rely on controlling the range of the opening exchange, and hope you can get a target lock while also avoiding the Range 1 blind spot for your torpedoes. With that in mind, the Autoblaster Turret acts as a decent deterrent to any short of a VCX-100 or Decimator thinking about getting close, and gives you some out of arc fire in a pinch. At 26 points, you’ve got a reasonably chap and tough ship with answers to a few problems.

However, it suffers all of the issues of the other low PS ordnance platforms and lacks some of their strengths. With no primary weapon turret, you’re only able to shoot out of arc at Range 1. You’ve got no re-positioning actions, and the Y-Wing’s dial is pretty stiff. Stress is a killer to you, as your only two green moves are the 1 and 2 forward, leaving you either Autoblaster-turret-1-hugely predicable or action-less. (Although you can solve some of that by putting an Unhinged Astromech on, but that adds another point to the cost.) And fundamentally you’re a PS 2 Agility 1 ship with only 3 shields. The Y-Wing’s 5 hull takes it up to a respectable 8 health, but leaves it somewhat vulnerable to critical damage.

Overall, it’s something to add in to a list to give a little more damage output than something to be fielded en mass.

Many of the above points also apply to the Rebel Y-Wing, although replacing the Unhinged Astromech with the R2 Astromech. Generally speaking, the Rebels have better ordnance options than the Y-Wing, although when you get to named pilots, both Dutch Vander and Horton Salm have some perks when dealing with ordnance.

 

So what does this all mean?

Good question.

  •  I think we’re going to see much less in the way of ordnance for the next couple of months while people figure out what they want to do with it.  It’s still a strong option, but requires a lot more planning now to get the full effect.
  • We’re going to see a resurgence of the types of lists that the strong alpha strike of the Contracted Scouts pushed out of the game – so Rebel regen, TLT Y-Wings, Rebel lists without Biggs, multiple B-Wings, and the like.
  • This may also help some new ships see more play – both the ARC-170 and TIE/sf will benefit from there being less high damage spikes around.
  • Eventually as a result of this, I’m expecting to see Gamma Squadron Veterans with Deadeye getting more play than they have before, as they offer many of the same abilities as the Contracted Scout to counter those types of list.  It’s not as strong a list, but does has some advantages of its own.
  • JumpMasters are going to continue to see play, but I suspect more in terms of Dengaroo, Mindlink lists, or as the BumpMaster to support other ships.  I’m certain people are going to be working hard to get the triple Scout build to work in some form or another, and I think the K4 Security Droid is going to be a key part of that.
  • Both Rebels and Scum desperately want a Y-Wing generic pilot with an EPT slot.  Deadeye on an ordnance Y-Wing would give both factions something akin to the Gamma Squadron Veteran.  Perhaps the Rebel Alliance will get something of that nature sooner rather than later, as Rogue One seems to be featuring both X and Y-Wings a decent amount…
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2 thoughts on “Ordnance in X-Wing after the Deadeye FAQ

  1. It’s not cheap but for some serious Scum Ordnance damage consider Fett with Fearlessness

    http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/586705/fearless-fett#view=full

    Fly straight down your opponents throat, and fire 2 cluster missiles with +1 Hit on each of them with one or more re-roll from Fett then fly out the wreckage on the other side. Options include adding a Glitterstim for more pain, dropping the engine upgrade for Guidance Chips (but the boost really helps).

    Or for a one shot suicide bomber (who I know breaks the extra munition rule) but is worth a mention is N’dru http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/586707/one-shot-ndru
    He tends to go down fast after firing, but a 5 dice homing missile shot on PS9 will ruin someones day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had a lot of fun using N’Dru, although I’ve gone the Lone Wolf/Cluster Missiles/Glitterstim route myself. It doesn’t always get its missile away, but when it does its devastating. 🙂

      Like

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