29 December 2014 | X-Wing

Intercept and Destroy

A Preview of the M3-A Interceptor Expansion Pack for X-Wing (TM)

Our last preview of the sixth wave of X-Wing expansions focused on the Virago, a StarViper-class attack platform and one of the rarest and most technologically advanced of all fighters in the Star Wars galaxy. While the Virago is a truly lethal vessel, it is also unique. Only one Virago exists, and even the base StarViper-class attack platform is too expensive for most organizations to field very many of them in their fleets.

Thus, as we continue to explore what the Scum and Villainy faction will soon bring to X-Wing and its explosive space battles, we turn our attention toward another starfighter with much lower production costs, the M3-A “Scyk” interceptor. Like the StarViper-class attack platform, the Scyk was produced by MandalMotors, but it was the product of a very different design philosophy.

A 360-degree view of the M3-A “Scyk” interceptor.

The Scyk is a lightly armored and lightly shielded interceptor that features tremendous customizability, and its low cost made it a favorite of the Hutt Cartel and Car’das smugglers, who purchased it in large quantities. Accordingly, the ship enters X-Wing as an agile, but lightly armored, starship with two attack, three agility, two hull, and one shield. Piloted by a Cartel Spacer, the cheapest of these Scyk interceptors costs you only fourteen squad points.

This is the sort of efficiency that makes the Scyk a good fighter to form the backbone of your Scum fleet, but the other reason so many of the galaxy’s Scum found the ship so attractive is that it can easily be upgraded to a “Heavy Scyk” Interceptor, meaning the ship can easily be outfitted to perform an astonishingly wide variety of roles.

The “Heavy Scyk” Interceptor

For two squad points, the “Heavy Scyk” Interceptor Title allows you to add one of three possible upgrade icons to your upgrade bar: missile, torpedo, or cannon.

While the Scyk’s speed and agility give it a good chance of getting in close to its target to deliver a payload of Cluster Missiles or fire an Advanced Proton Torpedo, it’s the heavy Scyk’s ability to wield a cannon that really maximizes its versatility and buys it a unique place in your Scum squadrons.

Imagine, for just twenty-three squad points, your heavy Scyk could wield the Heavy Laser Cannon from the Slave I™ Expansion Pack and serve as a menacing flanker, capable of battering foes with attacks of four dice from Range 2–3.

However, that’s just the beginning, especially since the M3-A Interceptor Expansion Pack comes with three different cannons, two of which are new to the game.

A heavy Scyk could equip an Ion Cannon for as few as nineteen squad points. This option increases the number of attack dice the ship rolls, from two to three. While the Ion Cannon can’t deal more than a single damage in one shot, it negates the defender’s bonus defense die at Range 3, and it adds an element of control to your ship and squad that very likely enhances the effectiveness of your remaining eighty-one squad points… especially if the rest of your squad includes ace HWK-290 pilot Dace Bonearm.

 

Alternatively, the “Mangler” Cannon is an excellent option for any squad built to concentrate its fire on a single target, blast through its shields, and remove it from the battle. While the “Mangler” Cannon doesn’t increase your odds of scoring damage, directly, it does significantly increase your odds of ensuring that the damage you deal goes further toward crippling your foe, either with a Direct Hit or another devastating effect like Weapon Malfunction.

 

Meanwhile, the Flechette Cannon offers an attack and effect comparable to that of the Ion Cannon, but it costs just two squad points and doesn’t deal an ion token to its target. Instead, any unstressed ship hit by a Flechette Cannon receives one stress token.

 

While the unmodified Scyk is a quick and efficient fighter capable of avoiding enemy fire long enough to make an impact in battle, the heavy Scyk’s ability to equip any of these cannons – or missiles, or a torpedo – ensures that you’ll be able to field your Scyk in whatever way best suits your squadron and strategy.

Better to Be Slippery Than Dead

While the heavy Scyk’s cannons, torpedoes, and missiles can greatly increase your Scum squadron’s firepower, the M3-A interceptor’s ace pilots can significantly bolster its defenses.

In our earlier previews, we’ve stressed how aggressive and selfish the Scum faction’s pilots are. We’ve looked at how some of them steal tokens from their rivals or deflect damage to their wingmates, and we’ve explored how many of their abilities work best when they fly out of formation.

However, as much as we’ve stressed how selfish these pilots are, we’ve also stressed how much they’re focused on self-preservation, and the M3-A interceptor’s aces stress this latter theme more than the others, as their unique pilot abilities do less to further boost the firepower their ship can gain through its upgrades and do more to ensure they can survive multiple rounds of combat in a fighter with no more combined hull and shielding than a TIE/ln.

For instance, elusive pilot Laetin A’shera gains one evade token each time he successfully evades an incoming attack. Accordingly, he excels in situations where your Scyks may be called upon to race toward a number of opposing ships flying in formation or in which he may have to whittle down the defenses of a ship like the Firespray-31 or YT-1300 that can call upon a Gunner to launch a secondary attack whenever its first attack fails to connect. Typically, these Gunner-enabled attacks catch ships after their defensive tokens have been stripped away, but that will never be the case for Laetin A’shera.

If you give him a Stealth Device, he may even prove so slippery that your opponent will simply focus his attacks elsewhere… even if Laetin A’shera is launching attacks of four dice each with his Heavy Laser Cannon.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that most Scum pilots look upon formation tactics with an attitude approaching disdain, Serissu encourages them. The most skilled of the Scyk pilots, Serissu spends most of her time training other pilots, so it’s only natural that she wants to help them survive, especially if it that increases her chances of survival, as well.

Since Serissu’s ability works for her allies, but not for herself, she benefits from making herself as small and slippery a target as possible. Give her a Stealth Device and flank her with wingmates that each present far more enticing targets; when you present your opponent with the choice of firing at a three-agility ship that can fire at you from Range 3 for four dice or a four-agility ship that only attacks for two dice, you ensure that there’s no satisfying outcome for your opponent’s attacks.

In X-Wing, you never want to overlook any means of forcing or luring your opponent into making suboptimal decisions in the heat of battle.

Whatever You Want It to Be

With its speed, agility, and heavily customizable firepower, the M3-A “Scyk” interceptor more than compensates for its minimal hull and shields. Moreover, there’s the fact that you can configure it to play very nearly any role within your squadron that you desire.

Remember, the Hutts were feared throughout the galaxy for a reason, and the starfighter that formed the spine of their fleet was a good part of that reason. The time is fast approaching when you’ll be able to field your own Scum fleet, and you’ll do well to follow the Hutts’ example and consider how the Scyk can play its part.

In the meantime, as you wait for the release of the M3-A Interceptor Expansion pack and the other X-Wing Wave VI expansions, join the other fans on our community forums and discuss how you plan to incorporate your Scyk into your Scum squadrons!

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