Wave VII Rebels
X-Wing™ World Champion Paul Heaver on the K-wing's Impact
X-Wing™ Wave VII is on its way, and its arrival will soon herald the next big change in the metagame. Over the past weeks, we've explored what each of the different starship expansions add to the game. We've looked at their ships, pilots, and upgrades, as well as the different roles each individual ship is likely to play. We've looked at the big, tanky Hound's Tooth and addressed the ways that it adds cost-efficient muscle and resilience to the galaxy's Scum and Villainy, and we've also addressed some of the ways that the Kihraxz fighter and its Lightning Reflexes upgrade offer the faction's aces a versatile dogfighter to match their talents. Finally, we explored how the Rebellion's K-wing Expansion Pack and the Imperial Navy's TIE Punisher Expansion Pack are likely to spur an increase in the amount of ordnance you'll see on the X-Wing battlefield.
Today, we step back to look past the clustered mines that litter the battlefield and the hulking frame of the YV-666 freighter to get a view of the whole wave and its likely impact upon the larger X-Wing metagame. To get started, we turn to no less of an expert than two-time World Champion Paul Heaver, who shares his insight on the wave's likely impact upon the future of your Rebel squadrons.
Two-Time World Champion Paul Heaver on the Wave VII Rebel Metagame
Where is the metagame headed with the release of Wave VII?
Right now, builds with two elite ships are doing very well in competitive play, and they are still going to be seen, but the increased strength of the game's mines might start to push against some of the arc-dodgers in those lists. When Wave VII arrives, we'll have solid bombers for each faction, and ships like the K-wing, "Deathrain," and Emon Azzameen will be able to trap a good number of slippery ships in their Conner Nets , leaving them exposed for jousters that can blast them with their efficient attack dice.
Speaking of those jousters that want to meet their opponents head-on, Wave VII seems very good for them. The Kihraxz fighter gives the Scum faction a jouster with three attack dice, for when a Binayre Pirate doesn’t quite provide enough firepower. The Hound’s Tooth gives the Scum another burly ship with a big arc to catch arc-dodgers, and the Imperial Navy's TIE punisher seems to me like it wants to be the “second deadliest ship on the board." When your opponent wants to target Juno Eclipse or some other ace, your TIE punisher is then free to drive missiles or torpedoes into its foes.
Notably, none of the ships in this wave will be arc-dodging like a TIE phantom, a TIE interceptor, or even Han Solo with an Engine Upgrade , and I don't believe the upgrade cards will really be used in the common builds we see today. This means we're going to see a number of quickly developed new lists and new strategies!
Finally, the Rebels are only receiving one ship in Wave VII, but it’s going to make an impact on how you build your lists. The K-wing is well equipped to deal with many different situations. The key is going to be figuring out what upgrade slots you should fill, and which ones you can leave empty.
Outfitting Your K-wing for Battle
You shouldn’t try to fill all the upgrade slots on your K-wing. That would leave you with a ship that couldn’t possibly spend all of its ordnance before being destroyed. At the same time, the K-wing is made for its upgrades and is pretty lackluster without them; a two-die turret isn’t going to go far in a metagame where IG-88 , Soontir Fel , and high-health, large-base ships are dominant.
So which elements are good to focus on? Personally, I prefer either giving the ship a turret, skipping most or all of the ordnance slots, or going with mines and Extra Munitions . I’ve found that the K-wing, thanks to the SLAM action, makes a great bomber. Without any native ability to get both a focus and target lock, it has more difficulty using missiles and torpedoes. You can do it, but you’ll want to use other ships to give out the necessary actions, like "Dutch" Vander , Lando Calrissian , or Airen Cracken .
My first step when looking at the K-Wing was figuring out how it could fit in existing lists. I looked at my Worlds list, and thought about what would happen if I removed the Tala Squadron Pilots for a K-wing?
- Han Solo with Predator , C-3PO , R2-D2 , Engine Upgrade, and Millennium Falcon (61)
- Miranda Doni with Twin Laser Turret and Chewbacca (39)
Total Squad Points: 100
Miranda Doni adds another regenerating turret to the list. The list's raw damage output drops, but both ships are turrets and arc-dodgers, to refer back to my “three pillars” of X-Wing. With this kind of list, you’ll be spending most of your time dodging arcs, regenerating shields, and doing damage when you can. I wouldn’t want to play this in a sixty-minute match, but bringing it to an event with seventy-five-minute rounds should give you enough time to slowly attrition your opponents while keeping up your health.
Miranda Doni should almost always use Twin Laser Turret. With it, you can regenerate a shield, and you still get two attacks, one at two dice and one at three, with which you can try to sneak some damage in. Then, if you find yourself within Range "1," don’t be afraid to have Miranda Doni spend a shield to perform a four-die primary attack!
Using the SLAM
Next, I explored what kind of lists I could create with the K-wing to really make its new abilities shine. As mentioned above, I like what this ship does with mines and what those mines can bring to a squad of jousters.
- Warden Squadron Pilot with Extra Munitions, Conner Net, Proximity Mines , and Advanced SLAM (34)
- Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
- Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
- Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
Total Squad Points: 100
With this build, the B-wings are the anvil. They put out most of the damage in the list, and your opponent won't want to get slammed down in front of them. However, the Warden Squadron Pilot is busy setting things up so that the B-wings can’t be outmanuevered.
Thanks to Extra Munitions, you effectively carry four mines, and thanks to Advanced SLAM, you can drop any of them after doing a SLAM! This can catch people unaware, as they might think they have a pilot like Soontir Fel set up in a safe spot, only to have you move, SLAM, and then drop a Conner Net right in front of him. Then, once Soontir Fel loses his actions that turn, and has an ion token to mess up his next turn, the B-wings shouldn’t have any trouble lining him up.
If your opponent tries to disrupt your strategy by removing your Warden Squadron Pilot, he can just use SLAM and mines to discourage pursuit. If the goal is to eliminate your B-wings, your K-wing can apply its firepower and disrupt your opponent with all its mines… Just don’t hit your own mines!
Why It's Good to Fight for Freedom
Fellow Rebels, Wave VII is good for you.
Your strongest current builds will still be playable. Nothing in Wave VII directly counters the strength of Han Solo or Dash Rendar turrets, and your "Panic Attack" stress/control builds will find that the new ships are just as vulnerable to the stress you can pile on them. B-wings and Z-95 Headhunters are still efficient scrappers, and Corran Horn's double taps will continue to prove effective against these new ships. What the wave brings are new options. The K-wing adds a new tool to the box, just like the other factions are getting new tools. However, none of these new ships and upgrade options are going to render any of the existing ships obsolete. Instead, they only look to make the metagame more varied than ever.
If the Rebels are going to use their new K-wing to litter the battlefield with mines, you can bet the Imperials are going to retaliate. In our next preview, we'll look at the impact of Wave VII on the larger metagame, guided by 2012 World Champion Doug Kinney!