The Galaxy's Greatest
A Preview of the Heroes of the Resistance Expansion Pack for X-Wing™
"Red squad, blue squad—take my lead."
In our last preview, we already looked at how the expansion presents Rey and Finn, as well as updated versions of Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon. But the expansion doesn't just give us a new Millennium Falcon with its squared-off sensor array and its bright blue engine glow; it also gives us a new T-70 X-wing. And, of course, this isn't just any X-wing—this is the iconic black and orange T-70 X-wing flown by Poe Dameron during the attack on Starkiller Base.
Today, we take a closer look at this new X-wing, the Resistance ace who flew it, and the other pilots from the Red and Blue Squadrons under his command who also make their way to X-Wing in Heroes of the Resistance.
The Best in the Resistance
By the time of The Force Awakens, Poe Dameron had earned a reputation for himself as the best and most daring pilot in the Resistance. In X-Wing, then, where every pilot gets assigned a pilot skill value that determines when he or she will maneuver and attack, it seems only fitting that Poe's pilot skill value would be right near the top.
And it is. The version of Poe Dameron from The Force Awakens™ Core Set flies a generic T-70 X-wing at a pilot skill value of "8," which ties him with other such notable aces as Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett as one of the galaxy's best. However, it also leaves him a notch shy of the pilot skill value of "9" that separates the very top tier of elite pilots like Darth Vader and Han Solo from all the rest.
At a pilot skill value of "9," these pilots can react to nearly everything on the battlefield, maneuvering after other ships have revealed their courses, and firing before their targets can line up their own shots. Yes, it is possible in X-Wing to boost a ship's pilot skill value above "9," but there is no pilot in the game who currently boasts an innate pilot skill value of "10" or better.
That means that by establishing the new version of Poe Dameron in his custom X-wing at a pilot skill value of "9," the Heroes of the Resistance Expansion Pack also places him in that very top tier of elite pilots and guarantees that, unless your opponent is banking upgrades into pilot skill value, Poe will be able to maneuver and shoot after everyone other than Darth Vader, Soontir Fel, Han Solo, Wedge Antilles, and a handful of other supremely talented pilots.
More than that, if you leave enough of your squad points unspent, Poe can even gain the edge on these pilots, choosing either to maneuver after them and duck out of their firing arcs or to fire before them, potentially landing crippling critical effects before they can return fire.
All of this is, in some way, to point out that the new Poe Dameron from Heroes of the Resistance is worth the extra two squad points over the pilot skill value "8" version from The Force Awakens Core Set because he is freed to look at elite pilot talent upgrades that play to strengths other than his pilot skill value.
In the 2015 X-Wing World Championship Finals, both Paul Heaver and Nathan Eide were running Poe Dameron in their squadrons, and both ran him with Veteran Instincts to get him to a pilot skill value of "10," where he could more consistently position himself to line up shots on enemy aces. But if they could have run the Heroes of the Resistance Poe Dameron, is it possible they would have instead chosen to field him in his black-and-orange X-wing, equipped with BB-8 and Push the Limit ?
At the top of the pilot skill value food chain, Poe Dameron's investments in arc-dodging and action efficiency all yield more than they do at a pilot skill value of "8," where it may be safer to either boost his pilot skill value, focus on effects that can regenerate his shield, or both. And the beauty of the matter is that you don't have spend the extra points for the pilot skill value "9" version to fly Poe in his black X-wing. If you need those extra two squad points, you can still use Poe's black X-wing with his pilot skill value "8" ship card.
The Best of Blue Squadron
As Black One, Poe Dameron had command over both the Resistance's Red and Blue Squadrons, both of which are also represented in Heroes of the Resistance. While Red Squadron is represented only by the Red Squadron Veteran ship card, a reprint from The Force Awakens Core Set, Blue Squadron is represented by the Blue Squadron Novice ship card, as well as three unique aces, all making their X-Wing piloting debuts.
A veteran of the Galactic Civil War and the Battle of Endor, Nien Nunb helped Lando Calrissian blow up the second Death Star. He was among the first to join Leia Organa's Resistance after she founded the paramilitary organization to help defend the New Republic from the growing menance of the First Order. And he was among the seven X-wing pilots to survive the assault on Starkiller Base.
In X-Wing, Nien Nunb pilots his T-70 X-wing with a pilot skill value of "7" and a unique talent for keeping his calm. His unique pilot ability reads, "When you receive a stress token, if there is an enemy ship inside your firing arc at Range 1, you may discard that stress token."
Perhaps the most obvious way to make use of Nien Nunb's unique talent is to equip him with Push the Limit. Then, whenever he catches an enemy ship within arc at Range "1," he can perform two actions and shed his stress immediately after he takes it. This means he can potentially perform the focus and target lock actions every round—without ever limiting his dial to green maneuvers in order to shed stress. Even if the maneuver Nien Nunb selects doesn't allow him to catch an enemy within arc at Range "1," he might be able to use his X-wing's boost action to line up the shot and then Push the Limit, once again shedding his stress.
However, Nien Nunb's ability has potential far beyond Push the Limit. For instance, it makes him an outstanding pilot to equip the astromech R3-A2. And it also makes him an excellent candidate for the Stay on Target elite pilot talent. Potentially even both at the same time. After all, there is no restriction on the number of times Nien Nunb's ability may trigger; all you have to do is help him meet the conditions.
Temmin "Snap" Wexley was generally considered the Resistance's finest recon pilot, and it was his reconnaissance that helped the Resistance's leaders devise a plan to destroy Starkiller Base. Accordingly, "Snap" Wexley arrives to X-Wing with an ability that emphasizes his knack for getting into the right place at the right time:
"After you execute a 2-, 3-, or 4-speed maneuver, if you are not touching a ship, you may perform a free boost action."
Naturally, Wexley's ability lends itself toward maneuvering quickly into or out of firing range, and it also allows him to make some critical adjustments to his firing arc after executing the maneuver on his dial. For example, if a speed "3" left turn would leave him unable to fire at a First Order TIE, he might be able to execute a boost to the left to turn more sharply and line up his shot.
Or if he anticipates the TIE will end up someplace that neither his speed "2" left turn or speed "3" left turn will line up a shot, "Snap" Wexley might dial in a speed "2" right turn, planning to line up his shot by boosting right after completing his maneuver.
However, Wexley's talents allow for even more outrageous possibilities when you take the Resistance's new technology into account. When his X-wing is equipped with either Primed Thrusters or a Pattern Analyzer, he can startle his foes with some truly creative movement, boosting after performing Tallon Rolls, and lining up shots on pilots that may have felt they had comfortably slipped free of his attention.
Even more, if you pair Wexley with one of these new pieces of tech and the Vectored Thrusters modification from the ARC-170 Expansion Pack, this astonishing pilot can end an activation phase behind his original position, facing either slightly to the left or the right of it, and with enough lateral movement that he could either overlap his original position or end up more than four ship lengths away.
Finally, Heroes of the Resistance gives us Jess Pava, who flew under the call sign "Blue Three," accompanied Poe Dameron during the skirmish at Maz Kanata's castle, and—like Nien Nunb and "Snap" Wexley—was among the seven Resistance pilots to survive the assault on Starkiller Base.
Here, it's worth noting that while Poe may have fired the shots that destroyed the oscillator and ended Starkiller Base, he would never have had the chance were it not for the contributions of his wingmates. As one of those wingmates, Jess Pava was vital to the Resistance's success, and her unique pilot talent plays well into any squadron focused on group tactics.
Whenever she is attacking or defending, she may reroll one die for each other friendly ship at Range "1." This makes her a natural wingmate for other Range "1" pilots such as Biggs Darklighter, Garven Dreis, "Dutch" Vander, and Airen Cracken. It also makes her a truly consistent attacker whenever she can focus, as the ability to reroll two or more dice simply for flying in formation goes a long way toward negating the need for target locks.
In fact, Jess Pava's ability to reroll her attack dice without spending her target locks makes her an excellent candidate for a couple of the new upgrades from Heroes of the Resistance. While even Jess cannot modify any attack she makes with the Snap Shot elite pilot talent, the fact that her rerolls are built into her ability means she can afford to equip the R2-D6 astromech, gain an elite pilot talent slot, and gain the ability to make an extra attack, without worrying that she's sacrificing action efficiency in order to claim the two-die attack.
Additionally, because Jess doesn't need to acquire target locks to facilitate her own rerolls, she might consider equipping the new astromech droid, M9-G8, and acquiring a target lock on one of her wingmates in order to provide that wingmate with the reroll that she doesn't need for herself.
Start Your Attack Run
"All teams—I’m going in! Pull up and cover me!"
The pilots of Black One, Red Squadron, and Blue Squadron are back from their attack on Starkiller Base, and they will soon be launching into action on tables everywhere. Start discussing your Resistance squadron designs with other members of our community forums. Then head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy of the Heroes of the Resistance Expansion Pack today!
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