[X-Wing] The C-ROC M-3As – Preview Thoughts

We’ve had quite a bit of X-Wing news happen while I was taking a bit of a break from the blog to do other things, so I’m playing catch up. Today we’ll take a look at the new M-3A pilots and upgrades coming in the C-ROC epic ship for Scum, as previewed in the Hit and Run article. (We’ll look at the C-ROC in more depth later on, as I’m very excited about Scum finally getting a huge ship to properly take part in Epic games.)

The Pilots

Sunny Bounder

A first for X-Wing, Sunny Bounder is a PS 1 unique pilot. Her ability is a unique one as well, letting you gamble on getting specific dice results to improve your chances.

Once per round, after you roll or reroll dice, if you have the same result on each of your dice, you may add 1 matching result.

So if you roll two hits on an attack, you can add a third. If you roll three focus icons when you’re defending, you get to add a fourth. It’s not an ability to rely on by any stretch of the imagination, but it can help Sunny punch above her weight. If you add in the Light Scyk title, she’s only 12 points, giving you a decent blocker with just a little bit more teeth than might be expected.

One point of note is that you can use Serissu’s reroll on defence to trigger Sunny’s ability. Not a huge thing, but a nice bit of synergy.

Inaldra

Coming in at PS 3 with an EPT slot, Inaldra’s willing to play with fire to put the odds in her favour.

When attacking or defending, you may spend 1 shield to reroll any number of your dice.

Frankly, I don’t see myself using her pilot ability much. The M-3A is just too fragile to be able to afford to burn its shield a lot of the time, even with the Pulsed Ray Shield being a thing. There are two circumstances where I’d be willing to use Inaldra’s ability – when I’ve blanked out on the green dice and she’d die without the reroll, and when I need to make sure an attack hits to take an enemy ship off the board. The second circumstance seems more likely, as still having a shield at the point you’d die without the reroll isn’t going to happen that much.

However, while her pilot ability might be a little underwhelming, she’s very competitively costed. 15 points for PS 3 and an EPT gives her a role in a lot of lists, and lets you add an Attanni Mindlinked ship into a list for just 14 points when combined with the Light Scyk Title. You’d need a good reason to want the PS 5 of a Tansarii Point Veteran to pay the extra two points for one.

Quinn Jast

My favourite (although probably not the best) of the new M-3A pilots, Quinn Jast finally makes using something other than a cannon on a Heavy Scyk a viable option.

At the start of the Combat phase, you may receive a weapons disabled token to flip one of your discarded (torpedo) or (missile) Upgrade cards faceup.

So, potentially unlimited ordnance from one ship. Realistically, this isn’t going to happen, but you can still have quite a punchy little ship. Quinn with Proton Rockets, Heavy Scyk, and Guidance Chips is an affordable 23 points for something that will leave your opponent desperate to avoid Range 1. Alternatively, you can add some Proton Torpedoes or Concussion Missiles for a point more, and bump the build up to 25 points with Deadeye to give some long range consistent damage.

As long as you don’t mind being out of the fight for a turn, you can take a turn to reload and come in for another pass. Even if Quinn never manages to reload, she should act as something of a distraction for your opponent – can they afford for her to live through her reloading turn, and come in for another run? You’re not missing out on much firepower by losing a 2 dice attack for a turn, and you can fly to minimise the damage you take and grab an evade token to make yourself as hard to hit as possible.

There’s a lot to like about Quinn, and I’m going to be putting her on the table as soon as the C-ROC is released.

Genesis Red

Finally we come to the real ace of the bunch, Genesis Red. PS 7 and an EPT gives him some meaningful options, and his pilot ability is pretty strong to boot.

After you acquire a target lock, assign focus and evade tokens to your ship until you have the same number of each token as the locked ship.

With both /x7 Defenders and Mindlink lists a prominent part of the game (even after the most recent FAQ), this allows you to hijack your opponent’s action economy and turn it to your own ends. Given the nature of Genesis’ ability, Pilot Skill is key, as he needs to be taking his action after at least some of your opponent’s ships have acted. As a result, I’m expecting to see Veteran Instincts more or less stapled to his pilot card, although he’s not a bad addition to a Mindlink list either.

If nothing else, Genesis Red with a Heavy Laser Cannon stands a good chance of getting fully modified four dice shots every time he fires. That’s nothing to be sniffed at, although it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s a minimum of 28 points you’re investing in a 3 hull, 1 shield ship to do that… Still, with the ability to reach PS 9, I’m fully expecting Genesis Red to become something of a go-to pocket ace for Scum, which is something they’ve not really had to date.

Upgrades

ARC Caster

The first of two “Rebel and Scum only” upgrade cards in the C-ROC pack, the ARC Caster is a short range cannon of indiscriminate firepower, coming in with a cheap 2 point price tag. It’s also the first Dual card secondary weapon we’ve seen in the game, although I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Attack 4, Range 1

Side A:
Attack: Attack 1 ship. If this attack hits, you mush choose 1 other ship at Range 1 of the defender to suffer 1 damage. Then flip this card.

Side B:
(Recharging) At the start of the Combat phase, you may receive a weapons disabled token to flip this card.

So, you get a relatively beefy attack at range 1, and get to splash damage onto another ship. Note, that other ship can be the one firing the ARC Caster if there’s nothing else at Range 1 of the defender, so be a bit careful about when you’re firing it…

While it doesn’t explicitly say it, this is more or less an M-3A only card. All of the other ships that can take this upgrade, with the exception of the YT-2400, have a 3 dice primary attack, giving them 4 dice at range 1 anyway. It’s a nice short range damage spike for a Heavy Scyk if you’re trying to build one on a budget, but the risk of dealing damage to yourself isn’t to be ignored given the M-3A’s fragile frame.

I love the idea behind this upgrade, and the recharge mechanic is a neat one I hope to see more of in future, but I can’t seen the ARC Caster getting any competitive play. The benefits are too small, and two points more gets you a Mangler Cannon with Range 1-3 firepower and no risk of damaging yourself. That said, a couple of these in a list would be deeply worrying for any list with Biggs or Manaroo in it…
Pulsed Ray Shield

The second of the “Rebel and Scum only” upgrades, the Pulsed Ray Shield opens up shield regeneration to a range of ships, but at a cost.

During the End phase, you may receive 1 ion token to recover 1 shield (up to your shield value). You equip this card only if your shield value is “1”.

Regen for 2 points is pretty strong, but the ion token is a high price to pay. Under a lot of circumstances, you’re not going to be getting a shot the round you’re ioned, and you’re flagging it far enough in advance for your opponent to fully capitalise on it.

However, it does give a bit of extra durability to a few ships that could use it. The HWK-290, Khiraxz, M-3A, and StarViper are the only eligible candiates for this as things stand. Of those, the StarViper will almost always prefer to take Autothrusters (same slot, same price, better effect in my opinion). However, it effectively adds a (very obvious) 1 straight to the dial of the Khiraxz and M-3A, and there’s a decent number of occasions when a HWK with a turret won’t mind just drifting forwards. It combines particularly well with a ship equipped with the ARC Caster or with Quinn Jast’s ability, as both of them will be taking a turn out from shooting.

I don’t think we’ll see too much of this in competitive play, but it adds some options to some ships that could use a bit of help, and may mess with your opponent’s targeting priorities if your ships start popping on shield again. I’m interested to give it some table time and see how it works out.

Final Thoughts

There’s some really nice stuff in here.  The new M-3A pilots give a real boost to the ship, and I’ve bought a third M-3A in preparation for getting a fourth with the C-ROC so I can throw down some Scyk aces.  Sunny, Quinn, and Genesis Red all seem like they have some competitive potential, and even Inaldra, for all that her ability feels lacking, is still a supremely cheap way of getting an extra EPT slot into a list.

I’m less certain about the ARC Caster and Pulsed Ray Shield, although I think the Ray Shield has some potential uses.  And I’m sure someone will find a trick or two to do with the ARC Caster en mass…

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[X-Wing] Wave 11 Announced!

After a sneaky preview at the GAMA Trade Show, we’ve got the official announcement for Wave 11 of X-Wing in the Independent Operations article.  We’ve got three new ships, only one of which I had predicted ahead of the Wave’s announcement.

The Ships

Auzituck Gunship

On the surface, this doesn’t look like anything new for the Rebels. The ARC and B-Wing both occupy a similar 1 Agility, 8-9 health bracket, with (effectively) a 3 dice primary weapon. However, the Gunship brings a couple of new things that significantly effect its role – a 180 degree forward firing arc thanks to its auxiliary arcs, and the Reinforce action.

The Reinforce action is a slightly modified version of the Epic action of the same name. Rather than being focused around the fore and aft sections of a huge ship, the small/large ship version is based on the attacker being inside or outside of your firing arc. Shots coming from within the reinforced section give you an added evade result, which combined with the auxiliary firing arcs gives the Auiztuck a big boost in durability. Being able to potentially negate a damage from every shot before you roll to defend helps those hull and shields go a lot further!

The Auzituck is light on upgrade slots, with just two Crew slots. There’s a wide range of Rebel crew who might be of use here (Rey for starters, so you can have both a focus and Reinforce token on a turn), but the Wookiee Commandos are an interesting option. While it’s not a fantastic effect, it’s 1 point to be able to Reinforce every turn and still have some offensive dice modification. Not too shabby for a 25 point package with a 180 degree firing arc.

Based on the auxiliary firing arcs, points cost, and strong statline, I’m assuming that the Auzituck is going to have a comparatively unforgiving dial. I’d question if it’s going to even have a K-turn/S-loop/T-roll on the dial, as otherwise it will be comparatively trivial to keep things in arc.

Scurrg H-6 Bomber

A beefy “large” small ship for Scum, the Scurrg has 3 Attack, 1 Agility, 5 Hull, and an impressive 5 Shields. It’s laden with upgrade slots as well, able to pack a Turret, Torpedo, Missile, Crew, and two Bombs. With the PS 1 generic coming in at 24 points, it’s looking like a competitively price ship.

Pilot-wise, there’s the PS 1 Karthakk Pirate, a PS 3 generic with an EPT, a PS 6 unique pilot, and two versions of Captain Nym at PS 8. Yes, two versions of Nym, one Scum and one Rebel, making this the first dual faction ship expansion we’ve seen. No clues on costs or pilot abilities for any of these as yet, but I’m excited that we’ve seen a start being made on the dual faction concept outside of Most Wanted.

It’s also worth discussing the Havoc title at this point. Nym’s signature ship, the Havoc title replaces the Crew slot with System and Salvaged Astromech slots, giving it even more options. (Although it’s worth noting that you can’t equip non-unique Salvaged Astromechs to the Havoc, to prevent any shenanigans with Unhinged Astromech and the 3 Tallon Roll that’s visible on the dial.)

With a Torpedo slot for Extra Munitions and two Bomb slots, Scum are finally getting the dedicated bomber they’ve been lacking. With no access to SLAM or Sabine, it won’t be able to do the massive area control and reliable damage the K-Wing is capable of, but the Bomblet Generator upgrade card (which I suspect will be a double Bomb upgrade, in keeping with the theme of some of the other upgrades we’ve seen from this wave) suggests the Scurrg may have some tricks of its own. And we don’t yet know what Cad Bane does as a crewmember, so there’s a possiblity he’ll help to boost Scum bombs and mines.

TIE Aggressor

A small base ship with 2 attack, 2 agility, 4 hull, and 1 shield statline and a turret and double missile upgrade slots, the Aggressor opens up some new options for the Imperials. The lack of any Imperial ship with a turret upgrade slot as felt like an oversight for a while, and the Aggressor comes with both a Twin Laser Turret and the new Synced Turret (more on that below).

The Aggressor gets two generics, the PS 2 Sienar Specialist for 17 points, and the Onyx Squadron (something) at PS 5. I’m hoping we’ll see an EPT slot on the Onyx Squadron. There’s also two named unique pilots, the PS 4 “Double Edge” and the PS 7 Lieutenant (something), although the card fan doesn’t give us any details about what their abilities.

So, 25 points gets a Sienar Specialist with a Twin Laser Turret and Lightened Frame – not bad at all for a TLT platform that’s got a native barrel roll action to help with range control and three defence dice against most attacks. I think the Syndicate Thug or Four HWKsmen builds will probably remain the stronger quad TLT lists in general, although this does at least give the Imperials a TLT option of their own. I suspect we’ll see this build as a cheap wingman to go alongside more expensive ships.

There’s a few new upgrades in the pack as well (two of which are covered below), including the intriguing looking “Intensity” EPT. This double-sided EPT is only shown on its “Exhausted” side in the card fan, but it’s nice to see the Dual Upgrade Card mechanic getting more use.

Upgrades

Synced Turret

A new entry to the Turret slot, the Synced Turret offers a Range 1-2 3 dice attack for 4 points, but has the Attack (Target Lock) header. However, it’s worth noting that you don’t need to spend the target lock to fire, so if you can stay on the same target for several turns in a row this becomes less of an issue. And as an added bonus, the Synced Turret lets you reroll a number of dice equal to your primary weapon value when attacking a target inside your primary firing arc.

This is clearly a replacement for the persistently underwhelming Blaster Turret, and may offer something to consider instead of the Twin Laser Turret. A BTL-A4 Y-Wing with this can chew through a low agility ship like a Decimator or Ghost pretty rapidly – doubly so when combined with the R4 Agromech, giving you dice modification on both shots and a target lock to persist into the next turn. As it’s got the Attack (Target Lock) header, it’s also a way to shoot around Bigg’s ability, if you’re so inclined.

This isn’t going to be a meta-defining upgrade, but it’s a solid middle-priced turret that does something new and rewards you for taking your shots in arc.

Unguided Rockets

Already the source of much confusion, the Unguided Rockets are a double Missile slot upgrade that gives a Range 1-3 3 dice attack with the Attack (Focus) header. There’s several important points to note about Unguided Rockets that make them an interesting prospect.

– The double Missile slot limits them to the TIE Aggressor, TIE Bomber, and TIE Punisher. (Having two Missile slots on a ship is rarer than I thought.)
– You don’t need to discard this card to use it.
– You don’t need to spend your focus token to attack, just have a focus.
– The only modification that can be made to the attack is spending a focus token for its standard effect.

This gives you something that’s effectively a 2 point cannon you can put on a small assortment of TIEs. As a secondary weapon, it also denies range modifiers, making it very effective at Range 3. The lack of modifiers other than focus stops target locks, Guidance Chips, Sensor Jammers, and a range of other effects from modifying the dice.

This transforms the offensive output of the Bomber and Punisher (and theoretically the Aggressor as well, but I think we’ll see that with a turret far more often) – it’s just 20 points for a Scimitar Squadron pilot with Unguided Rockets and Lightweight Frame, giving you something close to a 3/3/6/0 statline for less than the basic X-Wing. Alternatively, a Cutlass Squadron Punisher with Unguided Rockets, Lightweight Frame, and Advanced Sensors is 28 points for a 3/2/6/3 statline that can almost guarantee getting its focus action every turn. Not too shabby.

This is a really neat bit of design that gives a somewhat needed boost to both the TIE Bomber and Punisher. I’m not sure it’s enough to make the Punisher meaningfully competitive, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction…

Wookiee Commandos

While not strictly previewed in this article, the Wookiee Commandos are clearly visible in the Auzituck’s card fan. Costing 1 point and taking two Crew slots, they let you reroll your focus results when attacking.

So, this is the opposite extreme to how the double slot for Palpatine was used. Palpatine came with a hefty points cost, restrictive double slot, and a very powerful ability. The Wookie Commandos have a not particularly powerful ability, and are kept cheap by coming with a double Crew requirement. We’re basically only going to see these on the Auzituck, and mostly on the Kashyyyk Defender generic where they they give you a small modicum of offensive dice modification to go with your Reinforce token. Not much more to say really…

A Wave to make the B-Wing sad

I’m big fan of what we’ve seen of Wave 11 so far – some fun new ships, and a dip back into Legends territory – but one thought did cross my mind. Both the Auzituck and Scurrg feel like they’re in similar design space to the B-Wing (and to a lesser extent the G-1A), but do a lot more for only marginally more points.

The Auzituck crewed by some Wookie Commandos hits almost as hard as a FCS B-Wing while having a Reinforce token, one extra hit point overall, and a 180 arc, making it significantly more durable and harder to arc dodge. At 25 points for that package, it’s only 3 points more than a Blue Squadron B-Wing.

The PS 1 Scurrg has an impressively tough statline (5 hull, 5 shields), two hull more than a Blue Squadron B, and is only 2 points more at 24. It loses out on a point of PS, but the drop to PS 1 may even improve it as a bomber or blocker. We can see there’s a 3 Talon Roll on the dial, making it able to flip its facing around in a single turn.

It’s difficult to see how the B-Wing can compete with either the Auzituck or Scurrg as things stand. We’ve not seen the full dial for either ship, or a lot of the upgrades or pilot abilities they have, but the dial would have to be extremely limited to make up the difference.

This said, the B-Wing isn’t really a competitive ship as things stand. While the Wave 11 ships may run the risk of notably outclassing the B-Wing or G-1A, FFG shouldn’t be designing new ships shackled by the lowest points on the power curve. Rather, new ships should be able to fit comfortably alongside what’s currently getting play, and those older or otherwise lacking ships be given a helping hand to bring them up to speed.