Tuesday, 20 September 2016

X-Wing Miniatures Buying Guide - Part I:- Rebels

=== UPDATED APRIL 2017 ===

When you first dive into a new collectible game, especially one with as many years and expansions under it's belt as X-Wing has, it can be very daunting... not to mention expensive!


As such there's always a market for a good guide to how important each set is and which you should buy first.  I'm going to break my guide down by faction, and then for each faction give you an overview of the highlights in each pack before giving you a bit more of a flavour of whether it's going to be a good pick for you or not.  Sometimes it might be that you need the ship to play with, but sometimes it will just be a particular upgrade or pilot that you desperately need from the expansion.

As well as the best bits in the pack I'm going to signpost some of the most common upgrades for those ships that you might need to hunt down from other expansions, even from other factions!

Lastly I'm going to give a quick a rundown of how I think those packs really come again and a couple of potential 'routes' through building and expanding your collection.


IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION

Most of what I'm going to talk about is regarding rating ships by how popular they are in strong lists that have proven themselves popular in the X-Wing game, particularly those getting used frequently in competiive squads.  The bar for entry in my mentioning a pilot/upgrade is set pretty high, therefore.

Many ships/pilots/upgrades can be played with and had fun with and done well with that I'm not going to mention, just because if you don't set the bar quite high you wind up talking about almost everything and it stops being a guide, just a list of contents.  If you want to explore a ship despite what I say, then please do!  If you think I've ignored a great card you love to play with then please continue to play with and enjoy that card!

Remember: a guide is not a set of strict commandment, it's exactly what it claims to be... purely a guide.


REBEL SUMMARY





EXPANSIONS BREAKDOWN

X-Wing Expansion Pack
The iconic T-65 X-Wings might be the workhorse of the Rebel fleet in the films but in the X-Wing Miniatures Game they're showing their age - understandable as they're one of the first ships ever created.  Biggs Darklighter's pilot ability makes him one of the best in the game but you rarely see the other legendary X-Wing pilots played competitively.  Even if you're sticking to casual games and are dedicated to running X-Wings then this expansion pack has little to offer - your first X-Wing should come from the Core Set (with Biggs and R2-D2) and your second X-Wing should probably come from the Rebel Transport expansion (with Wes Janson and a host of good astromechs).

Also of interest: Integrated Astromech (T-70 & Heroes of the Resistance)




Y-Wing Expansion Pack
Much like the X-Wing the venerable Y-Wing is pretty limited, but the Twin Laser Turret upgrade (K-Wing expansion) gave the Y-Wing a second lease of life, either in the 'Stresshog' configuration with R3-A2 or just in a swarm of four Y-Wings.  If you go that route you'll probably want to stock up multiple Y-Wings but other than with Twin Laser Turret this classic ship struggles to find a role as the dial is very limited.

Also of interest: Twin Laser Turret (K-Wing), BTL-A4 Title (Most Wanted), R3-A2 (Rebel Transport)


Millenium Falcon 
The Falcon has been around since Wave 2 but still finds it's way into strong squads as a testament to it's enduring appeal.  It's a great expansion that comes with most of the cards you're going to want to use on it and and even with the Heroes of the Resistance expansion bringing the updated Force Awakens pilots like Rey there is a lot to be said for the original Millenium Falcon in the hands of Han Solo or Chewbacca.  The classic Falcon plays very differently to the new one and comes with enough excellent upgrades (particularly Engine Upgrade) that it's still a solid purchase even if you've already got Heroes of the Resistance.

Also of interest: Predator (Ghost), C-3PO (Tantive IV)



A-Wing 
The major problem with the A-Wing expansion is that all the best reasons to play A-Wings are in Rebel Aces along with another A-Wing model.  If you're only going to play one A-Wing then I'd recommend Rebel Aces but if you're looking for multiple then the right thing to do is alternate between Rebel Aces and the A-Wing expansion as you get 2x Chardaan Refit and 2x A-Wing Test Pilot in Rebel Aces.

Also of Interest: Jake Farrell (Rebel Aces), Chardaan Refit (Rebel Aces), A-Wing Test Pilot (Rebel Aces), Proton Rockets (Rebel Aces), Crack Shot (Kihraxz Fighter), Autothrusters (StarViper)

NOTE: The A-Wing expansion does have Push The Limit, though, which is arguably the best Elite Pilot Talent in the game and only otherwise available in Imperial Aces.


HWK-290
A slow and rarely-played support ship, the HWK-290 is the butt of a lot of jokes and only occasionally sees play, and the best pilot is probably Palob Godalhi for the Scum faction.  If you are playing casually it's a fun ship to add because it does things other ships can't but it hasn't found a competitive Rebel home.

Also of Interest: Twin Laser Turret (K-Wing), Palob Godalhi (Most Wanted)



B-Wing 
The B-Wing is a brawling hog of a ship that trades on it's relatively high Hull/Shields and tight turning circle in a dogfight.  It's at a low ebb at the moment but B-Wing swarms have been very strong in the past and could easily come back.  If you're already getting A-Wings then you'll pick up B-Wings in Rebel Aces, but the B-Wing expansion is one of only two places to find a Fire Control System, which is an excellent System upgrade.  

Also of interest: None


Rebel Transport
You remember that butt-ugly slug-shaped ship that briefly flew past an ionised Star Destroyer in Empire Strikes Back?  Now you too can own this Rebel icon!  Excited?  Although on paper the Rebel Transport should be a rubbish expansion it's almost a compulsory purchase for Rebel players trying to be competitive in tournaments because it comes with a suite of fantastic Astromechs that unlock a lot of the best builds for the best Rebel pilots.  R3-A2 (the 'stressbot' in several builds including Wes Janson), R5-P9 (the ideal partner for Poe Dameron) and R4-D6 (for Biggs Darklighter) make the Rebel Transport a 'luxury' purchase that you're going to get A LOT of use out of.

Also of interest: Integrated Astromech (T-70, Heroes of the Resistance), Poe Dameron (Heroes of the Resistance), Biggs Darklighter (Core Set)




Tantive IV 
The opposite of the Rebel Transport, the Tantive IV is an iconic Rebel ship that, unfortunately, has very little to offer if you're not playing Epic games.  Primarily this is the source of C-3PO, who is excellent crew for the Millenium Falcon, but since FFG made C-3PO available as a promo card for playing in tournaments it's been possible to track him down without having to blow a huge wad of cash on the Tantive.

Also of interest: Ebay, to get you a C-3PO without paying for this!



Z-95 Headhunter 
Once a common sighting on the table as a cheap annoyance the Z-95 has become a more rarified sight.  Wave 10 brought Sabine's TIE Fighter as a better cheap option for Rebel squads but having at least one Z-95 in your collection is probably a good call for those times when you've got 12 points dangling at the end of your squad, and the 'aces' like Airen Cracken do have moments when their pilot abilities can really help.

Also of interest: Guidance Chips (Punishing One, Inquisitor's TIE)


     

E-Wing
At the moment Corran Horn is the only reason play an E-Wing as they're potentially very good ships but far too expensive.  The expectation is that at some point there will be a 'Rebel Veterans' expansion that will give the E-Wing a boost but until then it's one to avoid unless you want to play Corran, who is an excellent Rebel ace.

Also of interest: R2-D2 (Core Set), Push The Limit (A-Wing, Imperial Aces), Fire Control System (B-Wing, TIE Phantom)


Rebel Aces
This 'patch' expansion was intended to help out the A-Wing and B-Wing.  The A-Wings really benefited from it but the B-Wings not so much.  It's pretty much essential for using A-Wings, especially as it contains the best A-Wing pilot in the game: Jake Farrell.  If you're not in it for A-Wings there's a couple of new crew for big ships, with Jan Ors maybe the one who gets played most often.

Also of interest: More A-Wings! (A-Wing), Autothrusters (StarViper)




YT-2400
A lot like the E-Wing the YT-2400 is a ship that basically only ever gets seen in one pretty specific configuration - 'Super Dash'.  Dash Rendar makes for one of the most powerful and annoying Rebel pilots in the game once you assemble all the necessary pieces from other expansions, but you pretty much never see anything else from the YT-2400.

Also of interest: Push The Limit (A-Wing, Imperial Aces), Kanan Jarrus (Ghost), Engine Upgrade (Millenium Falcon, Hound's Tooth)


K-Wing 
At time of writing (April 2017) K-Wings are almost certainly the strongest ship in the Rebel arsenal, so much so that if you can actually find a K-Wing expansion pack in a store you should snap it up as there seems to be a worldwide shortage!  2016 finally made ordnance like Bombs, Torpedoes and Missiles playable and the K-Wings took that and ran with it, to the extent that Miranda Doni is arguably the single best pilot in the game regardless of whether she's loaded up with turrets, torpedoes or bombs.  The cheaper Warden Squadron Pilot has also become a terror of the skies when loaded up with bombs or missiles, although flying a bomber is a very different way of playing X-Wing that's not everybody's cup of tea.

K-Wings: their time is now.

Also of Interest: Sabine Wren (Ghost), C-3PO (Tantive IV), Cluster Mines (Ghost, TIE Punisher, Imperial Veterans), Guidance Chips (Punishing One, TIE Advanced Prototype)

Note: The other big reason to buy the K-Wing is that they are the only way to get of the fantastic Twin Laser Turrets, and one of only two sources of Extra Munitions for your missile boats.



T-70 X-Wing
When it first landed the T-70 X-Wing made a real splash.  Poe Dameron and Red Ace proved two of the most durable pilots around thanks to their shield regenerating shenanigans, although they quickly disappeared when bigger torpedo and missile attacks which could overwhelm their defenses become more common.  No longer a competitive ship the T-70 remains a fantastic all-rounder that can do a bit of everything and is a great starter ship for new players to learn the game.  Much like the original X-Wing Expansion, though, the T-70 X-Wings you most want to play don't actually come in this pack and you'll probably want to pick up the Force Awakens Core Set (for Poe Dameron and BB-8) and Heroes of the Resistance (for a bunch of great pilots like Nien Nunb and Jess Pava). 
Also of Interest: Poe Dameron (Force Awakens Core Set, Heroes of the Resistance), Autothrusters (StarViper)


Ghost
The Ghost is a fantastic purchase for both competitive and casual play.  The basic Lothal Rebel is one of the most cost-effective ways to spend 40-ish points because you buy a lot of raw power for not a lot of points, and you see it paired frequently alongside either 'Super Dash' or the Millenium Falcon.  With interesting pilots like Hera Syndulla and Kanan Jarrus there's options for casual play as well, and that's even before we get to all the ways of using the Attack Shuttle as well.

Also of Interest: Fire Control System (B-Wing, TIE Phantom), Autoblaster Turret (Most Wanted), Recon Specialist (HWK-290, TIE Phantom, ARC-170)


===== COMING SOON =====


Heroes of the Resistance
Bringing us all the best bits of The Force Awakens movie to you game, the Heroes of the Resistance expansion is a great way to start expanding your Rebel fleet.  Although they didn't quite manage to transform the competitive metagame Rey & Finn make a great partnership in the new Millenium Falcon and there are several interesting new pilots for the T-70 X-Wing.  If you're being hardcore competitive then this pack falls just a tiny bit short of the mark, but if you're in the mood for a whole bunch of cool stuff to play with then this has to be one of the best value expansions in the game.

Rey, Finn, Nien Nunb, Snap Wexley, Jess Pava, Smuggling Compartment, Pattern Analyser, Snap Shot... there are A LOT of good reasons to buy this expansion.

Also of Interest: Kanan Jarrus (Ghost), Engine Upgrade (Millenium Falcon, Hound's Tooth)


ARC-170 

The ARC-170 sits somewhere between the X-Wing and the Y-Wing - tougher and slower than an X-Wing and with a rear gunner where the Y-Wing has its turret slot.  What really makes the ARC-170 worth playing is the combination of upgrade slots available (it's the only ship with an astromech slot AND a crew slot) and this has allowed it to find a niche as bit of a rugged brawler, especially when Norra Wexley is the pilot.  Filling out all those upgrade slots with the right bits and pieces means the ARC-170 works best when you've already got a few expansion packs under your belt, but even if it's not quite optimised a new player will usually find the ARC to be a solid pick.

Also of Interest: Push The Limit (A-Wing, Imperial Aces), R2-D2 (Core Set), R3-A2 (Rebel Transport), Gunner (Slave I, YT-2400)



Sabine's TIE Fighter
Whether or not you think it's controversial that the Rebels now get to use TIE Fighters (courtesy of a stolen TIE in the cartoon series Rebels), this expansion is VERY cool.  The upgrade potential that Sabine's Masterpiece and Captured TIE offer have led to some extremely creative uses, the pilot abilities are pretty interesting and the Rebels have been crying out for a decent ship that costs less than 20pts.  To be honest the best reason for not buying this expansion is that the idea of Rebels flying TIE Fighters makes you want to vomit into your hat... and even then you may have to suck it up because your list is 86pts and Captain Rex to finish it off is just that much better than a Z-95 Headhunter.  Oh, and it's the cheapest place to get Veteran Instincts.

Also of Interest: Sabine Wren (Ghost), Cluster Mines (Ghost, TIE Punisher, Imperial Veterans), Scavenging Crane (Quadjumper)


U-Wing
The U-Wing is just really really... average.  You can't argue with the stats you're buying for 23 points and the dial isn't bad, it's just that although there's nothing wrong with the U-Wing there's not really anything great about it either.  The pilot abilities are pretty poor, the party trick of a 0 speed K-turn has turned out to be a great way of getting shot in the back and the crew options are very uninspiring so there's not much that your other ships will want from this expansion either (apart from Expertise, a great Elite Pilot Talent).  If you've bought a U-Wing expansion then don't be sad - it's fine, it'll do a job on the table - but if you've not bought a U-Wing expansion already then I think this is an easy one to skip and there's better things to spend your money on.

Also of Interest: Fire Control System (B-Wing, TIE Phantom)




REBEL ROUTES

Assuming you're going to start with a Core Set... which Core Set is best?  Well until Heroes of the Resistance came along I might have pointed you in the direction of the original Core Set but I think that T-70 X-Wings are going to be so good that you'll probably want to have a couple and that means the Force Awakens Core Set is the place to start.

From there I think it's going to be hard to justify having anything other than Heroes of the Resistance as your second purchase.  It's a biggie but with both the Millenium Falcon and Black One in the pack it brings you a whole slew of iconic characters who are going to be both powerful on the table and amazing fun to play with.  I genuinely think FFG have done a great job in making Heroes of the Resistance the perfect first step into expanding your Rebel collection.


At that point you've probably already got the building blocks for some pretty good squads just by fielding the Millenium Falcon and a couple of T-70 X-Wings.  Your next choice is probably whether you want to continue improving your X-Wing strike force or expand to new ships.

If X-Wings are your thing then probably the next key purchase is actually the Rebel Transport - it will give you a classic T-65 X-Wing to fly and most of the best astromechs in the game to slot into your T-70s.  Rounding out your collection of small ships with Rebel Aces and an A-Wing expansion will leave you in a pretty nice place - you'll still have the Millenium Falcon, some great X-Wings, a pair of A-Wings that can be played either cheaply or specced up as aces, and a brawling B-Wing comes as a little extra in Rebel Aces for a change of pace if you need it.  If you can afford a little extra then your T-70s and A-Wings would appreciate it if you head over to the Scum side long enough to acquire some Autothrusters from the StarViper expansion.

However, if after buying Heroes of the Resistance you want to head in a different direction than X-Wings then you might prefer to add a second large ship in the shape of the Ghost, which is practically a flying fortress on it's own and could either replace the Millenium Falcon in your squad or sit alongside it.  It's always going to be a good move to add A-Wings by picking up Rebel Aces and an A-Wing expansion, but if you want something a bit different then a K-Wing and an ARC-170 would be a good start on building lists using turrets and rear firing arcs, which is a very different way of flying.  A good supplement to these ships would actually be to pick up a TIE Phantom - you might not be able to fly the Phantom in your Rebel squad but in Fire Control System and Tactician it has some good upgrades for your Ghost, K-Wing and ARC-170.



COMMON BUILDS

"Stresshog" Y-Wing
Gold Squadron Y-Wing (Y-Wing)
Twin Laser Turret (K-Wing), R3-A2 (Rebel Transport), BTL-A4 Y-Wing (Most Wanted)

Poe Dameron (Core Set)
Poe Dameron (Force Awakens Core Set)
Veteran Instincts (Millenium Falcon, Slave I, Shadow Caster), R5-P9 (Rebel Transport), Autothrusters (StarViper)

Corran Horn w/Veteran Instincts
Corran Horn (E-Wing)
Veteran Instincts (Millenium Falcon, Slave I, Shadow Caster), Fire Control System (B-Wing, TIE Phantom), R2-D2 (Core Set), Hull Upgrade (Imperial Aces, StarViper)

Corran Horn w/Advanced Sensors
Corran Horn (E-Wing)
Push The Limit (A-Wing, Imperial Aces), Advanced Sensors (E-Wing), R2-D2 (Core Set), Hull Upgrade (Imperial Aces, StarViper)

Fat Chewie/Fat Han
Chewbacca (Millenium Falcon) or Han Solo (Millenium Falcon)
Predator (TIE Defender, Kihraxz Fighter, Ghost), Luke Skywalker (Millenium Falcon), C-3PO (Rebel Transport), Millenium Falcon (Millenium Falcon), Engine Upgrade (Millenium Falcon)

"Super Dash"
Dash Rendar (YT-2400)
Push The Limit (A-Wing, Imperial Aces), Heavy Laser Cannon (YT-2400), Outrider (YT-2400), Kanan Jarrus (Ghost), Engine Upgrade (Millenium Falcon, Hound's Tooth)

Jake Farrell
Jake Farrell (Rebel Aces)
Push The Limit (A-Wing, Imperial Aces), Chardaan Refit (Rebel Aces), A-Wing Test Pilot (Rebel Aces), Proton Rockets (Rebel Aces), Veteran Instincts (Millenium Falcon, Slave I, Shadow Caster), Autothrusters (StarViper)

Lothal Rebel
Lothal Rebel (Ghost)
Hera Syndulla (Ghost), Autoblaster Turret (Most Wanted), Fire Control System (B-Wing, TIE Phantom)


Anyway, I hope you find this guide useful.  If you come across anything that you think is a glaring error or omission then please let me know so I can correct it. 

Up next I'll be looking at something closer to my own heart - the glorious might of the Imperial Fleet!

6 comments:

  1. Excellent post, for new and experienced players alike. Looking forward to the Imperial and Scum versions.

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  2. Great analysis here and kudos for keeping it focused and concise. I have tried writing one of these a few times and I ended up in the weeds and gave up.

    Rebels are probably the trickiest faction to get into right now for new players - there are only a few ships that can cope with the current meta and the relevant upgrades for them are often spread across a number of different expansions. It's hard to build strong Rebel squads, particularly with a limited collection. I think both cores, the Ghost, Heroes of the Resistance and then probably the Rebel Transport is the way to go if you're just starting out now.

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  3. Would you consider adding common builds like you did on the Imperial Guide?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good plan, give me five minutes and I'll edit them in...

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  4. Great guide for ship buying, the best I've seen online. Would love an update for Wave 10.

    ReplyDelete