Wave 10 – The last few cards

With the first copies of the Wave 10 expansions making their way into the hands of X-Wing players in the US, we’ve now got pictures of the remaining cards from the Wave. There’s only one or two things remaining from each expansion, but some significant information none the less.

This is going to be a picture-free post unfortunately, but images of all of the Wave 10 cards can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/flycasualbatreps/posts/733338660175171

Sabine’s TIE Fighter

“Zeb” Orrelios

Coming in at PS 3 with the same ability as his Attack Shuttle version, at 13 points Zeb makes for decent Rebel filler. His pilot ability is a lot more useful on the TIE Fighter than the Attack Shuttle, dealing with one of its biggest weaknesses, namely the Direct Hit card. “When defending, you may cancel (crit) results before (hit) results.”

He’s going to be a very viable alternative to a cheap Z-95 even with no upgrades, and in a pinch you can throw the Sabine’s Masterpiece title and something like a Dead Man’s Switch or Black Market Slicer Tools on there to make it a bit more of a thorn in your opponent’s side. Keep him cheap and cheerful, and thanks to his 3 Agility, Evade action and ability to cancel crits first, potentially stick around being an irritation for far longer than your opponent expects.

Upsilon-class Shuttle

The Dial

upsilon
Image nabbed from the Facebook post linked at the top of this blog post.

This was always going to be the make or break thing about the Upsilon, and I’m pleased it’s come out as being essentially as good as we could have hoped given the price point of the ship. Having access to all of the turns is a big deal, even if the 1s and 3s are red, and having a white 2 turn puts it worlds ahead of the Lambda. There’s a red 0 stop as we’ve all predicted, and no K-turn/S-loop/T-roll also as predicted.

The only real downside is that the only green banks are speed 2, which covers a lot of ground on a large base that needs to keep things in its front arc, but that’s not too bad. Combined with the System and Tech slots, there’s a few tricks for dealing with stress (Electronic Baffles, Pattern Analyser) or keeping your action economy going while stressed (Fire Control System).

All told, it’s going to be a very different beast to the Lambda, and much more capable of meaningfully contributing to the fight. Expect to see it in much more of a support gunship role rather than the Palpmobile archetype.

Quadjumper

BoShek

The card Paul Heaver designed from his Worlds 2015 win, this has quite a lot of unusual elements. First of all, it’s a unique crew card that isn’t faction restricted, a first for the game. Secondly, it can force an opponent’s dial to be changed after it’s been set, another first and something that challenges the assumption that you can always rely on getting to do the move you want.

At 2 points, BoShek comes with the following ability. “When a ship you are touching activates, you may look at its chosen maneuver. If you do, its owner must rotate the dial to an adjacent maneuver. The ship can reveal and execute that maneuver even while stressed.”

It’s worth noting that this applies to friendly ships as well, so you can ram one of your own ships to force a dial change if you find yourself in a situation where that’s desireable. Given how this ability works, it wants to be on a low PS ship with a crew slot that doesn’t mind colliding with things. The Rebel TIE or U-Wing, TIE Shuttle Bomber, or the Quadjumper are the immediate fits for this, possibly alongside Autoblaster or Dorsal Turret HWKs.

I think it’s a card with a lot of potential, but one that will require a decent amount of skill to make the most of. In particular, it’s a good counter to TIE Defenders, pushing their 4 K-turn to a 4 or 5 forwards instead.

Sarco Plank

The remaining Quadjumper pilot comes in at PS 5, with an EPT and unusual pilot ability for 18 points. “When defending, instead of using your agility value, you may roll a number of defense dice equal to the speed of the maneuver you executed this round.”

My gut instinct is that Sarco’s ability isn’t going to see much just, with the Quadjumper’s dial being so focued around speed 1 and 2 moves. However, it does give him some insurance againt anything that might alter his agility, be it Outmaneuver, the Structural Damage crit, Tractor tokens, Wedge’s pilot ability, or Tail Gunner. There’s enough things in the game at this point that hit Agility that this may get more than just corner case use. And in a pinch you could even throw Expose on Sarco, although I’m not sure it’s worth the points investment…

Even ignoring his pilot ability, Sarco has use as a PS 5 Quadjumper with an EPT slot. PS 5 puts him at the same Pilot Skill as a lot of Scum generics with EPTs, and Palob or Kaa’to Leachasos. There’s some potential synergy there, even just as another cheap way of getting another Mindlink carrying ship into a list.

U-Wing

Bistan

Cool guys don’t look at explosions, as the illustration of Bistan aptly shows. The last of the Rogue One Rebel crew from the U-Wing, Bistan helps make things go BOOM. “When attacking at Range 1-2, you may change 1 of your (hit) results into a (crit) result.”

This isn’t a spectacular ability, but decent enough to see use. There’s always going to be times you want to push a crit onto someone, and Bistan helps with that. It’s also another way of enabling crits for Ten Numb via the B-Wing E/2 title. I’m not 100% that he’s worth 2 points for his ability, but he’s half the price of a Mangler cannon for most of the effect. Time will tell how much use that actually is.

Expertise

I’m calling this now as the card of the wave. Expertise, which really expensive for an EPT at 4 points, has one heck of an effect. “When attacking, if you are not stressed, you may change all of your (focus) results to (hit) results.”

Essentially, it’s a permanent offensive focus for every attack you make during a round, as long as you’re not stressed. That’s huge for anything that can attack multiple times per round, and pretty solid even for things that can’t as it’s a garuntee of having some modification on your attack even if you bump or otherwise lose your action. While you’re locked into a specific type of dice modification, unlike Push the Limit it doesn’t leave you stressed and so effectively close off a significant portion of any ship’s dial in the process.

I need to play around with some builds, but I think this is a card we’ll see a lot of going foward, and may even be enough to bring stress control back to the game in a serious way.

TIE Striker

Scarif Defender and Black Squadron Scout

Last of all we’ve got the two remaining pilots for the TIE Striker. Both are generics, with the Scarif Defender coming in at PS 3 and 18 points, and the Black Squadron Scout arriving at PS 4 and an EPT slot for 20 points.

The Scarif Defender seems fairly priced for what you get – stick Lightweight Frame on one, and you’ve got a decent 20 point ship overall. The same sadly cannot be said of the Black Squadron Scout. The two point jump to 20 points is a break from TIE tradition (see the TIE Bomber, Interceptor, Fighter, and /fo) for stepping up to the EPT variant, and specifically stops you from flying five Black Squadron Scouts with Crack Shot. Perhaps this proved massively powerful in playtesting or something, but it seems like a point overcosted to me.

As a brief aside, this is part of a general trend that’s been happening over the course of the last few years with generic ships not really being priced competitively with named unique pilots. (The stats from Worlds 2016 speak for themselves on this front, with barely any generic ships making it to the top 16, and none at all once you rule out the Lambda shuttle, x7 Defender, or TLT Y-Wing.) Fundamentally, generic pilots need to be cheap enough to be flown in numbers or at the very least be cheap enough to make upgrading to a named pilot something you need to think hard about.

So, something of a mixed bag on the TIE Striker front, and a factor that’s probably going to limit the maximum number of Strikers we see in a single squad. If you’ve ordered five of them, it might be time to consider trimming that order down by one or two ships…

Final Thoughts

There’s no massive surprises or upsets here, but there are a few stand-out items. Expertise is the first 4 point EPT we’ve seen that’s really worth the points, and is something I think we’re going to see a lot of once people get to grips with just how good it is. The Upsilon’s dial gives it a lot of potential, and makes that threatening 4 dice primary weapon really very usable.

The only real let-down is the pricing on the Black Squadron Scout TIE Striker, but given how good most of the other pilots I don’t think that’s going to stop the Striker from being a resular feature of Imperial lists going forward. And to be fair, the Black Squadron Scout with Predator, Lightweight Frame, and the title will be a hard-hitting, relatively hard to hit, and very mobile ship for 25 points.

Overall, Wave 10 brings some fresh ideas and very solid design to X-Wing, and I’m hyped for it to arrive at some point in January (as sadly it’s been delayed for UK release). I’m already planning out my first tournament lists…

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