23 January 2015 | X-Wing

Behind the Scenes with the Galaxy's Scum and Villainy

X-Wing's Developers Take a Look at the Game's Third Faction

As Civil War rages throughout the galaxy and the battles of X-Wing continue to pit daring Rebels against disciplined Imperial pilots, a third faction waits for its time to strike. Led by such notorious figures as Boba Fett and Prince Xizor, the galaxy’s Scum and Villainy will soon bring new ships, new abilities, and new excitement to X-Wing players everywhere.

As we continue to look forward to the release of the first four Scum expansions, the game’s developers, Alex Davy and Frank Brooks, offer their take on the faction’s introduction, including why it’s a natural fit for X-Wing and what the faction offers the game. They conclude by offering a couple of sample lists that illustrate how differently the faction’s squadrons may look, even as they share a focus on the faction’s penchant for dirty tricks and illegal technology.

Developers Alex Davy and Frank Brooks on the Scum and Villainy Faction

Why create a third faction for the X-Wing miniatures game? 

Since the announcement of the Scum and Villainy faction at Gen Con Indy 2014, we’ve been asked that question numerous times by fans who are excited, trepidatious, or just plain curious. 

One of the most compelling reasons is thematic. The faction offers a fitting home to the Star Wars galaxy’s most notorious bounty hunters, pirates, and Black Sun agents. When we watched the movies as kids, the galaxy’s scum etched themselves into our imaginations through a handful of memorable scenes: amid the filthy opulence of Jabba’s palace, in a dark Mos Eisley cantina full of weird and nefarious aliens, and on the deck of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer, where six sinister bounty hunters met with the Dark Lord of the Sith, their rag-tag equipment and disdain for discipline contrasting sharply with the surrounding signs of the Empire’s military precision. These Scum generally do their best to remain outside the conflicts of the Galactic Civil War, except for when it’s profitable to become involved. Still, they form an integral part of the Star Wars universe, exerting profound influence over the lives of millions, including many of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest heroes.

In X-Wing, the Scum & Villainy faction gives players the opportunity to interact with these characters and the seedy fringes of a galaxy at war. The criminal underground even intersects directly with the protagonists of the Star Wars galaxy: Han was hunted throughout the original trilogy by a score of ruthless bounty hunters throughout, while in Shadows of the Empire, Luke, Leia, Lando, and Dash Rendar had to contend with machinations of the cruel and calculating Prince Xizor. As we see them, the Scum faction’s rogues, villains, bounty hunters, and criminals are a quintessential part of the Star Wars universe, and it’s thrilling to bring them into the game.

What does this mean for the X-Wing? New stuff! New ships, new characters, new scenarios, and new ways to play. With such a rich thematic vein to mine, inspiration came easily, and the result is a third faction with an entirely different feel.

Dirty Tricks and Illegal Technology

In X-Wing, the Rebel Alliance focuses on teamwork and defense, and it features a high ratio of shielded ships and synergistic pilot abilities. The Galactic Empire has no such concern for its pilots, which means its dogfighters run the gamut from cheap cannon fodder to elite, fragile offensive powerhouses whose pilots rely purely on their own abilities for survival. 

Meanwhile, the hotshot pilots of the Scum and Villainy faction represent a loose coalition of ruthless individuals whose motivations happen to temporarily align. Formation flying is rare, self-sacrifice unheard of, and pilots must pay nearly as much attention to their supposed allies as to their foes. Among the Scum, you can never be certain that some unstable mercenary won’t have packed his ship full of thermal detonators. Still, what they lack in military discipline and raw pilot skill they make up for with dirty tricks, highly illegal technology, unpredictable maneuvers, and some of the finest and wildest starships that money can buy.

These tricks, technological advances, and maneuvers lead directly to an increased diversity among the squads available to X-Wing players. This is important because asymmetrical competitive thrive on diversity. The more viable lists and strategies that exist, the more varied and exciting the gameplay.

Variety is something at which the Scum’s loose cannons are going to excel, and we have put together a couple of sample lists to illustrate the point.

Dual Aggressors

Alex’s list features one of his favorite Star Wars characters, the cold and merciless assassin droid, IG-88.

     Total Squad Points: 100

A two-ship list is a huge gamble, especially when you’re relying exclusively on a forward firing arc, but IG-88 can do things that other pilots can only dream about.

With their native boost actions, Advanced Sensors, and access to both a K-turn and the Segnor’s Loop maneuver, these Aggressors are masters of repositioning. Advanced Sensors allows them to perform a boost action before executing a maneuver, which means you can angle your K-turn or Segnor’s loop in jaw-dropping ways.

A 360-degree view of the agile Aggressor.

Thanks to IG-88C and the IG-2000 Title, both ships in the list get an evade token each time they boost, and Predator helps ensure the ship’s shot doesn’t go to waste. Proximity Mines are also made more flexible by Advanced Sensors, allowing them to be dropped either before or after the Aggressor performs a maneuver, making them an ideal tool for dealing with fragile, high pilot skill enemies like TIE phantoms and TIE interceptors. Against a swarm of enemy ships, which is easily this list’s toughest matchup, IG-88A’s ability to provide shield regeneration can help the droids weather the storm. Then, Inertial Dampeners add an extra dash of unpredictability to an already versatile list. 

This is one of my favorite ways to fly dual IG-88s, but the fantastic thing about this ship is how many different options it provides. With a dial chock full of green maneuvers, Push the Limit is an excellent choice, and Advanced Sensors can be swapped out for Accuracy Corrector, allowing IG-88 to focus and evade for defense, secure in the knowledge that he will roll at least two hits with his attack. Adrenaline Rush, Advanced Sensors, and IG-88D make for even crazier K-turn possibilities, and Expert Handling gives you access to a large ship with both boost an barrel roll!

Thugs and Pirates

Frank’s list features one HWK-290, two Z-95 Headhunters, and two Y-wings. Though all of these ships can also be flown by the Rebel Alliance, the list has a distinctive feel when flown in the Scum faction.

     Total Squad Points: 100

This list attempts to leverage as much as it can off of Torkil Mux’s ability. By reducing an enemy’s pilot skill to “0,” Torkil Mux allows for his entire squadron to attack the targeted ship before it can attack back. To that effect, this list gets away with paying the minimum price for pilot skill, thereby leaving room for several utility upgrades.

Bidding low on pilot skill leads to some other benefits, too. The Binayre Pirates, with their pilot skill values of “1,” can maneuver early and block enemy flight paths, pinning down ships for the Syndicate Thugs to target with their Autoblaster Turrets. Additionally, as the battlefield becomes more crowded and chaotic, the list’s liberal use of Dead Man’s Switches may force your opponent into some truly difficult play decisions.

A 360-degree view of the Scum-themed Z-95 Headhunter from the Most Wanted Expansion Pack.

Whereas a Rebel squad that features the same ships would most likely fly in formation, those tactics are unwise in this list as taking down one of the Z-95 Headhunters with Dead Man’s Switch could very easily injure the other. Accordingly, this list requires a bit of finesse to fly, especially since the Y-wings have to get very close in order to be their most effective. That’s why the Unhinged Astromechs allow for the Y-wings to move more unpredictably. Additionally, the list’s emphasis on Torkil Mux means that he has a rather large target on his head, so you need to be very careful with him. Try to fly erratically and use his boost from the Engine Upgrade to get out of arcs and at Range 1–2 of his prey.

Of course, these lists demonstrate just a couple of the many new squadrons the faction provides, and we hope you will enjoy experimenting with the galaxy’s Scum and Villainy as much as we have!


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