Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Wings: Jumping Off the Deck, Shove it into Overdrive

So you've been reading Rebel Squadron articles, wondering how you're supposed to beat Imperial TIEs with their speed 4 and their blue dice and everything? Just like a mediocre NFL Quarterback*, throw it deep with the A-Wing!

Start playing Kenny Loggins.  Highway to the Danger Zone is my recommendation, but if you want to cut Footloose...

The A wing is the fastest Rebel Squadron, and they're one of the potentially deadliest.  With 3 Blue dice base, and with Counter 2, they have the potential of putting 5 damage into a squadron in one turn, if that squadron attacks them.  Obviously, defense tokens and actual blue dice rolling need to be taken into account, but still: 5 potential damage.

A Wings exist (currently) to be Fighters.  Their black dice gets work done, as the first Worlds shows.  Assault Frigates and a slew of A wings can deal a significant amount of damage to enemy ships, but right now, you can get a better effect out of a Y-wing with Bomber for 1 less point.  Plus, with Bomber, BCC lets you reroll that black dice.  So why do you want to use the A wing then? Because speed 5 lets you get ANYWHERE.  Do you need a bomber cloud shut down? Throw A wings at the edges.  Do you need to jump Wedge before he can move in and hit you twice from Yavaris? A wings from downtown a la NBA Jam.  Do you need to hit something from across the map? The further on the edge, the hotter the intensity**.

If your goal is to use A wings on their own, they don't want to be just flung into the ball of squadrons/bombers that you're fighting.  They live on the edges, preventing the squadron ball from moving too far.  Ideally, you want 1-2 A Wings engaging one side of the bubble, and 1-2 on the other side.  Force the Intel squadron to choose who gets to escape.  With their speed 5, the A wings can jump to anywhere, just out of range of being shut down by 1 Intel squadron. (See here for thoughts on how to best use A-wings)  They can get the first attack on any squadron but Interceptors.  Knowing where range 4 will put regular TIEs means you can set yourself up next turn to fling your A-wings at them and get the jump.  You can hit the backside of an Intel blob, you can engage TIEs specifically so they cant get swarm without moving a few of them.

A-wings CAN be used solely on their own, but i hesitate to recommend it.  They only have 4 health, so they die fast, even with the Counter 2 being a deterrent to attacking them.  A-Wings pair well with X-wings and E-wings.  E-wings Snipe out squadrons you dont want engaging/swarming your A-wings (TIEs, for example), and X-wings can engage the remaining squadrons that would attack your A-wings.  With the A-wings, you're engaging enemies and preventing them from moving.  You don't hit as well as X-wings, but you're more of a lock-down than a guaranteed threat.  Move the A-wings in first to hit the enemy squads and lock them in place.  Then, move the X-wings in to both provide Escort and hit the squadrons better than your A-wings could.  Use a 1-2 punch to jump squadrons around and attack the ones you need dead.  You're not trying to win the squadron war with this group, you're trying to prevent significant damage from hitting your ships.  Locking down the enemy bomber blob for 2-3 turns is as good as winning the war.

If you're bringing A-wings, you almost want to bring some of the Aces.


Green Squadron gains Bomber at the cost of one Counter die.  It also gains the Unique Ability, which means for 1 more point, Rieekan loves it.  The bomber ability is nice, as BCC lets you reroll that black dice, but that's still a secondary ability IMO.  The fact of the matter is that it's still an A wing.  You CAN jump Green Squadron forward to hit the front of a ship.  But that doesnt really help you when you get overwhelmed by the enemy TIEs or X wings.  Bombers win by taking out ships.  Throwing one forward to inconvenience the enemy and make him spend one Defense token, while aggravating, doesn't do as much work as you would think.  Combined with Sato, I like Green Squadron.  With Rieekan, its a bargain basement Tycho.  But as a general A-wing replacement? Yes, ISH.  As an A wing, you want to take out and get the jump on enemy squadrons first.  Use it to do that, and THEN use the bomber ability.  If you can stay within 5 of a BCC, use the bomber ability.  Use the Bomber ability to finish off a wounded ship (you're speed 5, you can jump anything).  I just wouldnt trust Green Squadron to be my only source of anti-ship damage.  Don't take 3 A wings and Green Squadron and expect it to be a better A wing.  Its an A wing that does better at attacking ships.  I like it, just realize its role.

I was in ROTJ! I flew at Endor! Take that, everyone else but Wedge!

Tycho Celchu (that's right, I read Rogue Squadron!) is an A-wing that can't be contained.  (Also, since he's not a bomber, his attack doesn't need the Contain, since he can't, ahhhhh, forget it).  His special ability is that he can keep moving around the enemy bubble, constantly engaging and forcing the Intel ship to keep moving and re-engaging.  Tycho gets attacks, but his true power relies in moving and re-engaging enemy squadrons.  The strength of a Large Fighter Group is that you can keep hitting ships that wander in to their range.  Forcing the enemy to push squadrons along is problematic, as there's opportunity for mistakes there.  Even better, engaging different enemies after the Intel bubble has moved is even better, as you're shutting down a few bombers every turn, preventing them from shooting your ships.  Combine his ability with his scatter token (one of the few the Rebel Aces get) and he can get out of trouble relatively quickly, or get back in, as needed.

Where's my son, Dam(ero)n it?

Then there's Shara Bey.  Miss Murderousness, Poe Dameron's Mom, the newest A wing ace.  Her crits count during Counter.  And she's Counter 3.  She will engage and kill what you need to kill, and she'll do it with gusto.  I have used her repeatedly, and she is my go-to starting A-wing ace.  She wants to engage as many squadrons as possible, as her damage spikes on the Counter attack, not on the original.  If you can engage and lock down 2-3 squadrons, she's killing them on the counter attack when they hit her.  Yes, Intel is going to prevent her from doing her job.  But if you engage those other squadrons with more A wings..... they've got hard decisions to make there.  Enemy TIEs DIE so fast when they swing at her.  The key to realize though, is that if your enemy engages Shara with an X-wing or YT-1300, then it's just going to sit there, engaging her and preventing her from being as deadly as she COULD be.  Keep that in mind, and try to get her out of that situation so she can go get into way more trouble with your enemy's stronger squadrons.

A wings are the fastest thing the Alliance has, and they'll get to engaging you as fast as you need them to. Do you feel the need? THE NEED, FOR SPEED!***



*Rex Grossman comes to mind. Or Philip Rivers. Or Jay Cutler. Or.... never let your kids grow up to be Bears fans.

**Alright, last Kenny Loggins joke.

***Clearly I lied.  But I'm alright, don't nobody worry about me.