SLAM and Bomb
A Preview of the K-wing Expansion Pack for X-Wing™
There are three factions in X-Wing™: Imperial Navy, Rebel Alliance, and Scum and Villainy.
All three factions are represented in the game's seventh wave of expansion packs, although the galaxy's Scum and Villainy receive half of its ships. Accordingly, we focused on the Scum faction with our first two Wave VII previews, looking at what it gains from the Hound's Tooth Expansion Pack and the Kihraxz Fighter Expansion Pack. Nonetheless, while those two expansion packs may represent half of the ships introduced to the game in Wave VII, they represent only one-third of the wave's total impact. All three factions are impacted, and the new expansions for the Rebels and Imperials are arguably more likely to push the ever-evolving metagame in new directions.
The Imperial Navy's TIE punisher and the Rebellion's K-wing are both heavy bombers, able to carry tremendous arsenals of bombs, missiles, and torpedoes. They also give the game's ordnance a healthy boost, as both the TIE Punisher Expansion Pack and K-wing Expansion Pack come with the Extra Munitions upgrade, which makes it significantly easier and more efficient to plan your strategy around the well-timed use of explosives.
Still, both the TIE Punisher Expansion Pack and K-wing Expansion Pack offer much more to their respective factions than Extra Munitions, and today we turn our attention to the K-wing Expansion Pack, taking a closer look at its SLAM action, its new upgrades, and what it can add to your Rebel squadron.
The K-wing and Its SubLight Acceleration Motor
Koensayr Manufacturing’s K-wing boasted an advanced SubLight Acceleration Motor (SLAM) and an unprecedented eighteen hard points, granting it unrivaled speed and firepower.
In X-Wing, this Sublight Acceleration Motor is represented by the K-wing's SLAM action , which allows you to perform a second maneuver immediately after you complete your first. This new maneuver must use the same speed as your first maneuver, although you may change your bearing. Then, until the end of the round, your ship gains a Weapons Disabled token and cannot perform attacks.
Given how much of X-Wing is about successfully maneuvering to line up your shots and avoid enemy fire, this is an incredibly potent action, even if it means you have to give up your attack to use it.
- It allows you to maneuver out of unfavorable positioning with unparalleled speed.
- It gives you the ability race right past your enemy's squadron to fly into flanking position, no matter whether you start on the sides of the battlefield or gun straight at your foes, and when you SLAM, you may even be able to move into flanking position without ever coming into range of a forward firing arc.
- It allows your K-wings with low pilot skill values to block enemy ships that your other ships couldn't reach for at least one more turn, and it doesn't matter much if you cannot shoot at an enemy ship because you have a Weapons Disable token if you wouldn't be able to shoot at it anyway because your ship is base-to-base with it.
- It makes your opponent second-guess his maneuvers, even when you don't intend to SLAM.
- Perhaps most importantly for the K-wing, it gives you an all-new dimension as a bomber.
It's true that you can't perform attacks on a turn that you SLAM, but if you're equipped with the Advanced SLAM modification, you can take an action to drop your Proximity Mines. Also, since the K-wing features a crew upgrade slot, you could add a Navigator or Bombardier to gain even finer control over your bombs, making your K-wing the high-speed precision bomber in the game that it is in the Star Wars universe.
The Right Bombs for the Job
With its nine upgrades, including two new types of bombs, the K-wing Expansion Pack not only allows you to bomb bigger and harder, it allows you to bomb smarter. Increasingly, ordnance in X-Wing are becoming tools not just for adding extra damage, but for adding extra effects that might complement your overall squad design.
For example, your K-wing's Ion Bombs don't even do damage. Instead, these bombs detonate at the end of the activation phase and deal two ion tokens to all ships within Range "1." This is the sort of effect that can cripple a TIE swarm, leaving it vulnerable to your other ships. Imagine a trio of X-wings that race past the TIEs with Koiogran-turns on the round that the K-wing ionizes all of them, then get to take pot shots at close range after your opponent's entire squad performs its series of white speed "1" straight maneuvers.
The twenty-five squad points that you need to spend for a Warden Squadron Pilot with Ion Bombs are well worth the potential to set up turns like this, especially since they can even work against ships like IG-88's slippery IG-2000. Two ion tokens are enough to ionize any ship in Standard Play.
The Conner Net that comes in the K-wing Expansion Pack is another utilitarian piece of ordnance that can easily shape your squadron design. Like Proximity Mines , a Conner Net takes an action to deploy and then remains on the battlefield until a ship or its maneuver template overlaps it. Then, it cripples the ship it hits, dealing one damage and two ion tokens, plus stripping the ship of its ability to perform an action.
At four squad points, this ordnance may be too expensive to use against a small fighter, but it's a great tool to have in your toolbox while the X-Wing metagame is loaded with two-ship squads, just as Proton Bombs and the K-wing's new Plasma Torpedoes are great against shielded ships and Assault Missiles are great against swarms of TIEs or other similar fighters.
The fact is that the K-wing can carry any or all of these munitions, and it boasts enough resilience between its shields and hull to deploy all the new ordnance it squeezes into its massive carrying capacity. That means it's a ship perfectly suited to the Extra Munitions upgrade that comes with it, allowing you to take advantage of significant discounts on ordnance such as Proton Bombs and Conner Nets, and its ability to take full advantage of the game's wide and expanding array of ordnance makes it a ship that you can easily build into your squad to provide it maximum flexibility.
If you fit one K-wing into your squad and leave a few squad points for ordnance, you can practice your maneuvers and refine your strategy, knowing that your squad composition is going to remain more or less constant. Then, you can adapt to shifts in the metagame with limited trouble; just swap out one sort of ordnance for another.
Who Should Pilot Your K-wing?
Of course, if you plan to add a K-wing to your Rebel squad, you'll need someone to pilot it, but who?
The Warden Squadron Pilot costs you the fewest squad points, leaving plenty of room for ordnance. Moreover, at a pilot skill value of "2," your Warden Squadron Pilot will often go early enough in the activation phase to maneuver into the flight paths of onrushing enemy fighters, allowing him to discharge ordnance like the Proximity Mines or Conner Net and, also, to serve as a "blocker" that can break up enemy formations.
On the other hand, the expansion's ace pilots offer both higher pilot skill values and unique abilities. Their higher pilot skill values allow you to better adapt to your opponent's maneuvers in the heat of combat. This can mean the difference between hitting an enemy ship with your Seismic Charges or guessing at the ship's final position, only to watch it select a maneuver other than what you expected, then boost or barrel roll even further away from your bomb to get safely outside of its blast radius.
If you're planning to use your K-wing primarily to deliver ordnance, you might want to a closer look at Esege Tuketu and his unique pilot ability as it greatly mitigates the SLAM action's opportuity cost. Equipped with the Advanced SLAM modification, Esege Tuketu can drop a bomb as he reveals his dial, execute his maneuver, SLAM to execute another maneuver, and then use his action to focus. Since he can't attack, he doesn't need the focus token to modify his attack. Neither can he make very good use of it on defense since he has just one defense die. However, that focus token may make a world of difference for one of Esege Tuketu's wingmates. Perhaps Arvel Crynyd can make use of it after crashing into an enemy ship. Perhaps Garven Dreis can use it and pass it along after performing a Koiogran-turn. Either way, it's worth noting that Esege Tuketu doesn't need to transfer his token to anyone; you just decide to have a friendly ship within range make use of it when the need arises.
Miranda Doni, on the other hand, with her unique pilot ability can transform her K-wing into a formidable dogfighter.
"Once per round when attacking, you may either spend 1 shield to roll 1 additional attack die or roll 1 fewer attack die to recover 1 shield."
Although she still needs to compensate for the K-wing's limited maneuverability, Miranda Doni adds a tremendous measure of versatility to the ship's combat potential. For starters, her ability to spend a shield to boost her attack isn't limited to her primary weapon. She can also boost any secondary weapon she equips, missile, torpedo, or turret. If you really need to ionize an enemy ship, Miranda Doni can boost her Ion Cannon Turret to four dice. Conversely, if she finds herself in a prolonged slugfest with a low-agility enemy ship like the VT-49 Decimator, she could recover a shield each round by sacrificing a die from one of the two attacks she makes with her Twin Laser Turret , and since the Twin Laser Turret can't deal more than a single point of damage per shot, she wouldn't notice any reduction in her total damage output.
Alternatively, since the K-wing can carry a crew member, Miranda Doni could sacrifice a point of attack to recover a point of shield, hoping to trigger the effect of her Gunner to gain an additional primary weapon attack with her full compliment of attack dice. Or since her attack potential relies so heavily upon trading shields, she could equip the R2-D2 crew upgrade to ensure she never begins a round of combat without at least one shield.
Transforming the Battlefield, One Massive Explosion at a Time
While the K-wing excels as a bomber, it was also designed to function in a number of secondary roles. As X-Wing continues to grow and evolve, it's this sort of versatility, more than anything, that makes this heavy starfighter a force with which to be reckoned. Furthermore, since it can equip and deliver any of the game's ordnance, its utility will only continue to grow as the selection of available ordnance grows and more specialized weapons are added to the mix.
In the end, the K-wing almost begs experimentation. Its massive ugprade bar permits endless customization. Its unique aces present vastly different roles within your squad. Its SLAM action introduces an all-new dimension to your maneuvers. The possibilities are almost staggering; there are so many different ways to incorporate the K-wing into your Rebel squad.
What upgrades would you give your K-wing? How would you fly it? Head to our community forums to share your thoughts and squad builds!