28 November 2016 | X-Wing

Valuable Intel

A Preview of the U-wing Expansion Pack for X-Wing™

"We've a mission for you. A major weapons test is imminent. We need to know how to destroy it."
     –Mon Mothma

Star Wars teaches us many things. It teaches us about the conflicts between good and evil, about choosing our destinies, and about the value of friendship. It also teaches us about the value of good military intelligence.

By now, Star Wars fans everywhere understand how powerful and deadly a weapon the Death Star was. Its superlaser destroyed the planet Alderaan in an instant. We also know that Grand Moff Tarkin and the Empire had planned to use the Death Star to destroy the Rebellion's secret base and crush the Rebellion. And we know that those plans were thwarted largely by Luke Skywalker when he blew up the Death Star by firing a proton torpedo into the station's thermal exhaust port.

What we might sometimes overlook, though, is the fact that Luke wouldn't have been able to take his shot if the Rebellion's analysts hadn't first identified the Death Star's vulnerability. And those analysts wouldn't have been able to identify that vulnerability if they hadn't been able to review the Death Star's schematics.

The theft of the Death Star's schematics had a monumental impact upon the shape of the Galactic Civil War, and Rogue One soon promises to regale us with the tale of those Rebel spies charged to steal them—Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Bodhi Rook, and their crew.

But even before the movie makes its way to the theaters, you'll have the chance to bring these heroes to your tabletop and fly them to battle aboard the new U-wing from the new X-Wing U-wing Expansion Pack!

Move the Team into Position

You will find no fewer than half a dozen unique Rebels represented among the ship cards and upgrades in the U-wing Expansion Pack. Like Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor,  these cards represent some of the Rebellion's most talented and daring spies and pilots, and most of them come with abilities that target ships within prescribed Range bands.

This is only natural when you consider that the Incom UT-60D, or U-wing, was designed as a sturdy troop transport and gunship, meant to get soldiers safely into dangerous positions and then provide them with air support. This is the role the ship provides in X-Wing, as well, with its two crew upgrade slots and its dual-sided Pivot Wing upgrade, which allows you to stop your U-wing in a dangerous position before turning it around and racing it into battle at full speed and with increased agility.

A 360-degree view of the U-wing. ( Click here for a larger version. )

While the U-wing may first catch your eye with its miniature's moveable wings, its dual-sided Pivot Wing Title, and its hefty stat line, there's a lot more to the ship.

  • First of all, you have the fact that the ship's stat line is variable. Presuming you consider the ship's non-unique, zero-cost Title an integral part of the ship, the U-wing is then the first ship to make its way to X-Wing with a variable stat line; it's one agility when its wings are in Landing position and two agility when its wings are in Attack position.
  • Then you have the ship's maneuver dial , which looks a lot like the Lambda-class shuttle's dial, but with a little extra speed and a lot less red. While the Pivot Wing Title adds to the ship's maneuverability in Landing mode, it's still a challenging dial, which makes it a bit more interesting that the U-wing is a large-base ship with only a forward firing arc and that comes with a couple of cards that suggest its use in "blocking" tactics.
  • Finally, you have the ship's system upgrade and torpedo slots, as well as a number of synergistic pilot abilities, all of which encourage more exploration of the Rebellion's combination-based squad designs.

Gather Actionable Intelligence

Several of the pilot and crew abilities from the U-wing Expansion Pack play on the themes of military espionage in ways that translate nicely to your games of X-Wing. These include the Cassian Andor crew ability, the ability for the Heff Tobber ship card, and the abilities for both the pilot and crew versions of Bodhi Rook.

Fans already noted how the Cassian Andor crew upgrade's ability allows your U-wing to block not just one, but both of an enemy ship's most likely flight paths. Play Cassian Andor aboard a ship with a low pilot skill value—or equipped with the Enhanced Scopes system upgrade—and you can set your dial to intercept the maneuver you expect your opponent's ship is most likely to execute.

Then at the end of the Planning phase, you can second guess yourself, naming the other maneuver you figured your opponent might take. If this second guess is right, Cassian Andor allows you to change his ship's maneuver, either to intercept the enemy ship or to fly into pursuit of it.

Because, as three-time World Champion Paul Heaver mentioned in his guide to "blocking," you want to block with a ship that features a low pilot skill value, Cassian Andor will likely show up with a good measure of frequency on the Blue Squadron Pathfinder and Heff Tobber. These pilots feature pilot skill values of "2" and "3," respectively—low enough to block most unique pilots, and even a good number of non-unique pilots.

Heff Tobber is a particularly interesting option as a blocker paired with Cassian Andor because his unique pilot ability rewards you with another of the sort of incremental advantages that you hope to gain by blocking in the first place. "After an enemy ship executes a maneuver that causes it to overlap your ship, you may perform a free action."

This means that if Heff Tobber is blocking effectively each round, he can perform his attacks with the modifications provided by both the focus and target lock abilities. Moreover, he could potentially gain even more actions if he were able to block more than one enemy ship and were carrying crew upgrades like Jyn Erso or Lando Calrissian,  who feature action-based abilities.

Alternatively, Heff Tobber and Cassian Andor could even line up fully modified shots against the ships they deny actions if they fly together with the "Zeb" Orrelios crew upgrade from the Ghost Expansion Pack. With Cassian Andor, "Zeb" Orrelious, Enhanced Scopes, Anti-Pursuit Lasers,  and the Pivot Wing Title, Heff Tobber's U-wing is both a high-powered blocker and an effective combatant.

Of course, Cassian Andor does more than enable blockers. When flying with pilots with higher pilot skill values, such as Rey,   Dash Rendar,  or Kanan Jarrus,  Cassian Andor can help you avoid your opponent's efforts to block your ship. Simultaneously, he can help you keep your enemy in arc, allowing you to to make use of Rey's special ability or the Ghost's massive four-die primary weapon.

Finally, both the pilot and crew versions of Bodhi Rook permit an extension of your target lock action. While you can normally acquire a target lock only on a ship within Range "1–3" of you, Bodhi Rook makes it possible to acquire a target lock within Range "1–3" of any friendly ship. As a crew upgrade, Bodhi Rook grants this ability only to his ship, but as a pilot, Bodhi Rook extends this ability to every ship in your squadron.

Accordingly, when you have Bodhi Rook flying his U-wing in battle, you could send in an A-wing to scout the battlefield before setting up a wave of missile fire from your Bandit Squadron Pilots.  Thanks to Bodhi Rook's ability, you could hold these relatively fragile Z-95 Headhunters back outside of Range "3" from the enemy on the round you grant them target locks and then send them forward to unleash their missiles with focus and Guidance Chips .

Another alternative would be to fly Bodhi Rook in the same squadron as the Rebel informant you position near your opponent's forces inside of her Captured TIE.  Since your opponent would need a minimum pilot skill value of "9" to fire upon Ahsoka Tano with Veteran Instincts and Captured TIE, you could send her ahead of the rest of your squadron. Working with Bodhi Rook, Ahsoka lets you grab target locks with Shara Bey and the rest of your squadron, and if she ever catches your opponent's pilot saddled with stress, she could use her Black Market Slicer Tools to inflict damage—all without firing a shot.

  • Ahsoka Tano with Veteran Instincts, Sabine’s Masterpiece,  Captured TIE, and Black Market Slicer Tools (21)
  • Bodhi Rook with Fire-Control System,   Baze Malbus,   Tactician,  and Pivot Wing (32)
  • Shara Bey with Veteran Instincts, M9-G8,   Weapons Engineer,  and Alliance Overhaul (35)
  • Bandit Squadron Pilot (12)

     Total Squad Points: 100

Inspire a Rebellion

How will you make use of the intel you gain with the pilots and crew members from the U-wing Expansion Pack? If you're with Jyn Erso and the expansions other Inspiring Recruits,  you'll use everything you've got to stand against the Empire's tyranny. You'll find a way to fight the odds. You'll inspire the Rebellion.

Head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy of the U-wing Expansion Pack today!

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