A Preview of the Rebel Aces Expansion Pack for X-Wing (TM)
|X-Wing | Published 25 July 2014|
The Rebel Aces Expansion Pack for X-Wing™ offers a new look at two of the Rebellion’s most iconic starfighters. The expansion’s highlights are its A-wing and B-wing miniatures, both of which feature alternative paint schemes. However, as we saw in our preview of the expansion’s new A-wing ship cards and upgrades, Rebel Aces presents options for these ships that reach far beyond their repainted surfaces.
Today, we explore how the expansion’s new ship cards and upgrades expand the roles that the B-wing can play in your squads.
A 360-degree view of the Rebel Aces B-wing.
Freedom to Explore New Roles
As indicated by its prominence within the X-Wing tournament scene, the B-wing is one of the game’s strongest and most reliable starfighters. Paul Heaver claimed the title of 2013 X-Wing World Championship with a squad of two X-wings and two B-wings, and many other players have had success with similar builds throughout the 2014 Store Championship and Regional Championship seasons.
Nonetheless, such squads almost always use the B-wing in similar fashion. They fly a pair of non-unique ships in formation with the rest of their squads, often relying upon Biggs Darklighter to draw enemy fire as long as possible in order to minimize the impact of the B-wing’s main weakness, its low agility value of “1.”
Accordingly, the Rebel Aces Expansion Pack doesn’t markedly increase the B-wing’s power level. It doesn’t need a boost. Instead, Rebel Aces boosts the B-wing’s versatility. By introducing a potent pair of ace B-wing pilots and the B-Wing/E2 modification, which allows the B-wing to carry a crew member, the expansion frees the B-wing to perform other roles in your squads.
In short, Rebel Aces doesn’t increase the B-wing’s effectiveness within the squads in which it appears; it increases the number of squads within which the B-wing can be effective.
Both of these pilots possess potent abilities that can easily shape how you wage your battles, and with the recent release of Wave IV and the TIE phantom, there’s more call than ever to field ace pilots with high pilot skill values.
First revealed in the Rebel Aces announcement, Keyan Farlander has a pilot skill value of “7,” and he can spend a stress token in order to change all of his focus results to hits. This ability has already drawn plenty of attention from the X-Wing player base, and it goes a long way toward making Keyan Farlander a versatile B-wing pilot.
While Keyan Farlander encourages you to perform a wider range of actions, Nera Dantels encourages you to equip and fire torpedoes.
In fact, there is currently no stronger single shot in the game than that afforded by the Advanced Proton Torpedoes, and Nera Dantels comes with a special ability that makes it easier than ever to make good use of them at critical junctures:
“You can perform [torpedo] secondary weapon attacks against enemy ships outside your firing arc.”
Previously, to fire Advanced Proton Torpedoes, you had to pilot your ship within range “1” of your target, keep it within your firing arc, acquire a target lock on it, and survive long enough to fire. Against TIE swarms that would volley with fourteen attack dice from range “2” or “3,” it could be hard to keep your B-wing intact long enough to fire. Then, if you managed to survive the barrage long enough to fire at range “1,” you were only gaining one attack die over the B-wing’s primary weapon at the same range. Certainly, the quality of your dice would improve, but only if you had both a target lock and focus token.
By allowing you to fire torpedoes from outside of her primary arc, Nera Dantels alters the whole equation. Rather than flying at break-neck speed directly toward her target, she can fly past it, acquire her target lock, and launch her torpedoes. This makes it easier for you to select maneuvers that encourage her survival, and that makes it easier to live long enough to find a quality shot. In fact, since Nera Dantels can target important enemies even as she focuses on piloting out of their firing arcs, she may even be able to survive long enough to make good use of multiple torpedoes.
This is a theory that developer Alex Davy explores in a squad list he designed to take advantage of Nera Dantels and her unique pilot ability.
Biggs Darklighter (25)
Total Squad Points: 99
Not only does this squad pack a massive punch with its pair of Advanced Proton Torpedoes, it makes use of the B-Wing/E2 modification. For one point, this new upgrade allows you to add a crew member to your B-wing, which opens up a range of new possibilities. Here, the addition of the C-3PO crew upgrade guarantees Nera Dantels at least one evade result every combat phase, and it offers this lasting defensive measure at the same total squad point cost as a single Shield Upgrade.
Exploring the B-wing/E2
The introduction of the B-wing/E2 upgrade in Rebel Aces is also accompanied by the addition of a couple new crew upgrades, one of which Alex features in his squad list.
Naturally, these crew members complement each other. So long as they crew ships flying no further than range three apart, whenever Kyle Katarn grants his ship a focus token, Jan Ors can convert it to an evade token.
As Alex demonstrates, these crew members also function very well on each other’s HWK-290s. If Jan Ors flies with Kyle Katarn, then whenever he passes a focus token to another ship, she can convert it to an evade token. Alternatively, if Kyle Katarn serves as a crew member with Jan Ors, then whenever she clears the stress she takes to grant an ally an extra attack die, he can grant her a focus token.
Of course, if you equip your B-wing with the B-wing/E2 modification, you can use any of the different crew upgrades available to Rebel starfighters. There’s a wealth of options that reaches far beyond Jan Ors, Kyle Katarn, and C-3PO, and these options can lead to some exciting, new uses of your B-wings.
Make the Jump to Hyperspace
The B-wing/E2 modification allowed the Rebel Alliance to free its B-wing pilots to focus on flying and leave the gunnery to gunners. Accordingly, the B-wing/E2 featured a markedly improved kill rate over the standard B-wing. Similarly, the B-wing/E2 modification from Rebel Aces allows you the freedom to make use of your B-wings in all-new fashions.
Take advantage of the increased versatility the Rebel Aces Expansion Pack lends your A-wings and B-wings. Head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy today!
Next: We look at how the new mission from Rebel Aces allows you to test the limits of your new A-wing and B-wing.
X-Wing is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE Fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, X-Wing recreates Star Wars’ exciting space battles. Select your crew, plan your maneuvers, and complete your mission!