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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

++++INLOADING DATAFILE 077++++ In Defense of the A-Wing

So over the last few months I have gotten into x-wing and the local tournament scene is really starting to come into its own. This game is far more fun to play in a tournament currently than 40k is IMO, the rules are crisp and the game has a breakdown of about 50% player skill / 25% luck / 25% list building vs 40k's 65% list building / 20% luck / 25% player skill. Plus I can play an entire tournament in under 3 hours on a weeknight, which rocks.

Anyways this Thursday we have a tournament and here is the list I plan to bring. It is VERY unconventional as I am exclusively taking my favorite ship, the much maligned A-Wing.

The Internet doesn't really hate the A-Wing, instead it is the family disappointment. Everyone knows the middle aged uncle who just never measured up to their 'true potential', that is the A-Wing in most people's eye. The issue boils down to three flaws:
     • 1. The A-Wing is very fragile with only two shields and two hull.
     • 2. The A-Wing is undergunned with a firepower of two.
     • 3. The A-Wing costs 2-3 points more than it should.

When the A-Wing was introduced to the game FFG intended for maneuverability to be a very dominant factor in determining who wins, and they priced ships accordingly. As such the A-Wing is often almost as expensive as an X-Wing, and it is hard to 'swarm' them like tie fighters. And so the Internet says that while A-Wings don't 'suck' they are not 'competitive', especially in a meta dominated by big turret mounting ships. While all three of those points are very true they miss one crucial point.


It only falls flat when players try to use it as one. Used right a squadron of A-Wings is a surgical tool which can cut apart an enemy squadron in short order while frustrating your opponent's attempts to shoot you down. It is the single fastest small ship in the game, I mean look at this dial!

Seriously nothing comes close to this except the Interceptor.

This speed allows a skilled player to choose exactly where and when to engage their enemy, splitting their ships up a foot apart in three different directions only to link them back together the next turn on top of a single enemy ship.  Oddly this is actually a terrible dial for the sorts of tight turning dogfights that ships like the B-Wing excel at, the A-Wing's turns are too broad to reliably keep a target in its sights for two turns in a row.  Instead of a protracted fight, (Which you will always, ALWAYS lose with an A-Wing) you must perform hit and run attacks on your opponent, damaging them and then fleeing before they can kill you with their big scary guns.  This takes a lot of practice, but trust me it can and does work well.

Seriously, look at that motion blur!

So enough bloviating, here is the list and how I intend to make it work.

This list takes full advantage of the incredible pilot abilities most of the A-Wing pilots have. I say most as the Arvel Criid's is a lot harder to use, keeping a ship bumped can actually be tough if it has a higher pilot skill than you and because the A-Wing is so fast.  When I tried Arvel kept popping in front of the ship he was trying to keep bumped.

The basic plan is that I want to force my opponent to split his ships up so they become isolated, and my priority target is whatever his most expensive ship is. If they oblige me during setup and place their squadron separately I rush all three A-Wings towards the best target. If they clump together then I hug the edges of the board until they have to split up to engage me, then I rush in to kill the best target.

For each target I move to range 3 and target lock the chosen target, then I use the second action for each card to evade. Note this doesn't work as well with jake Farrell as while he can give a Gemmer Sojan a bonus action he can't give himself one, but it should be a big issue. Then on the next turn I maneuver all three ships into range one of the target ship, focusing AND evading with both Gemmer and Tycho and focusing and barrel roll/boosting with Jake. If any of the A-Wings aren't within range 1 of the target then I use boost/barrel roll instead of evade to get them there.

I then unload with 15 attack dice with target lock by using all three proton rockets. This usually is enough to one shot anything smaller than a Decimator/Falcon, and the high pilot skills will usually allow me to shoot first.

After this first pass all three hit the afterburners and 5 move+boost away from the fight, splitting up to present multiple threats again before coming back together and repeating on the next target ship. This way you minimize the number of turns you are inside of range 1-2 to the turns in which you are positioned to kill something, taking full advantage of your 4 defense dice the rest of the time.

The Plan in Essence  If they can't catch you they can't kill you.

So that's the theory of my list, I'll post later in the week about how things turned out and sum up the different match ups and games.

Ok back to work!

1 comment:

  1. Just a quick update, this list is 2-0 so far in test games, in the first I dropped two tie-in and a tie-phantom in round two with the rockets and in the second I killed two aggressors and a headhunter.