Monday, June 9, 2014

X-Wing Miniatures: E-Wing Preview

Assault at Imdaar Alpha was held this past weekend at Gamer's Armory in Cary, NC and I was lucky enough to walk away with one of the Wave 4 starfighters: the E-Wing. Basically a New Republic upgrade to the X-Wing, the E-Wing is an expensive ship to compliment the cheap Z-95.

This was me when I knew I was going to win a ship
The E-Wing, according to Wookieepedia, first appeared in the Dark Empire comics in the 90s. With the introduction of the E-Wing came the R7 series astromech, designed for the E-Wing and initially a requirement for operation.

The E-Wing
I mostly picked the E-Wing because I could use the Advanced Sensors card it comes with. But it will also be fun to play with a Rebel ship with 3 agility dice that can take some upgrades and has decent firepower. The Z-95 was my other option, and I really like Z-95s, but I can wait for Wave 4 to get one.

Advanced Sensors, a key to B-Wing strategy
The E-Wing comes with 4 pilots: Knave Squadron Pilot (PS1), Blackmoon Squadron Pilot (PS3),  Etahn A'Baht (PS5) and Corran Horn (PS8).

Knave Squadron Pilot is a pilot skill 1 card that comes from Dark Empire. It's a slightly more maneuverable Rookie Pilot (21 pts) that can take a System Upgrade, Torpedoes, and an Astromech. Let's take a look at the maneuver dial, and actions, next to an X-Wing:

From Flickr
For 6 points over a Rookie Pilot, you get 1 more agility, the ability to 3 straight green, 5 straight white, 3 k-turn, and barrel roll / evade. To me, the trade-off seems well worth it. The main trade-off you are making is the ability to take 4 Rookie Pilot vs only 3 Knave Squadron Pilots. It's obvious FFG wants the E-Wing to carry upgrades, or be a support ship (as we will see later) to lesser pilots. 

Blackmoon Squadron Pilot is from the New Jedi Order. It's just a 3 skill pilot, for 2 more points than Knave. The only benefit I'm seeing here for the 2 points is defense against the new Predator Elite Pilot talent, which may be everywhere after Wave 4 releases. 
Predator comes with the TIE Defender expansion
The first unique pilot for the E-Wing is Etahn A'Baht. He's a Dorean pilot from the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy. I know I read those novels sometime when I was a tween, but I can't remember anything about them. Click the link for some great 90s art of him.

So this is a pretty neat pilot. 32 points gets us 5 Pilot Skill, an Elite Pilot Talent, and a support ability. It's not nearly as useful as say, Howlrunner, but it's still one of the best we've seen from Rebel pilots. Unlike other Rebel support ships, it affects more than one friendly vessel. This could be a great help to busting up swarms. 

The last pilot that comes in the expansion is Corran Horn, from the X-Wing series of novels/comics. For 35 points we get 8 pilot skill, an Elite Pilot Talent, and a fairly dangerous pilot ability. A lot of times in X-Wing you will find yourself "jousting" back and forth, sending ships in and out of combat. His ability really takes advantage of that, allowing you to attack twice when you have the chance, then getting out of danger to line up for another pass. This can be devastating if you line up a great range 1 shot on something slow like the Falcon. 35 points is a lot, but we will have to see how the meta shakes out to see if it's too much.

I've already talked about Advanced Sensors, and everybody already knows how great it is. Flechette Torpedoes came with one of the huge ships. At only 2 points, they are an easier choice if you need to spend a few points to get near 100. Most times, though, I would just spend for Advanced Sensors or Fire Control System.

Outmaneuver is something I want to use on Corran Horn. Being able to really hammer a ship at range 1, especially with the capability to barrel roll out of arcs should be fun. More importantly: the YT-2400 is pictured. Hopefully a preview of wave 5!

The R7 astromechs were built for the E-Wing specifically. With the nice range of astromechs we've gotten lately from the huge ships and now E-Wing, I'm excited to try using them again. I've only used them a few times, in gimmick builds. B-Wings lack of astromech capability really kind of made astromechs less exciting for awhile. The R7 astromech gives us a new option: force an opponent to re-roll his dice if we locked him. Pair that with Fire Control System and your 3 agility dice on an E-Wing and you have a much more tanky ship.

R7-T1 was Luke's astromech when he piloted an E-Wing for a short time in the Black Fleet Crisis. He gives the E-Wing (and X-Wing or Y-Wing) the capability to boost and get a target lock out of one action, under the right circumstances. Pair this with a high skill pilot to move in close for the range 1 shot, or Advanced Sensors to get a boost before your move.
My E-Wing
Supposedly we should be getting Wave 4 near the end of June / early July. This is an exciting time for X-Wing TMG. The metagame will change a lot with the introduction of the Phantom and Defender, and I'm hoping the E-Wing will really take a nice place in my squads from here on out.

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