Wednesday, December 9, 2020

"Lock S-foils in Attack Position" - The Mighty X-Wing Fighter!

The X-Wing is the reason I started playing Armada.  Not X-wing.  I've never actually played a game, haha! I got into Armada to command masses of X-wings across the table, throwing bombs at ISDs and telling Imperial admirals to Kiss my Wookiee.  Yes, I read a lot of Star Wars novels growing up.  And the X-wing series was the best.  Every now and then I try to find time to go back and reread them.  It's just so iconically Star Wars to me.
I have like 3 different alt arts, but let's use the basic one

Speed 3, Health 5.  She may not look my much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.  Those 4 blue dice are great at killing TIE fighters (31.25% chance of one shotting a TIE in one roll!), especially when you bring Toryn Farr along with them.  X-wings jumping TIEs early has caused several people I know to stop bringing TIEs in our meta.  That's really more of a discussion on proper usage of those TIE fighters, which I'll let Eric handle....

The X-Wing is a fighter-bomber.  He kills TIEs, engages your opponent's important squadrons, and makes sure that anyone throwing dice is hitting your X-wings and not your bombers or support.  When they get done mopping up squadrons, they can go be decent bombers themselves, provided you brought along a Bomber Command Center.  With that BCC, the X-wing rolls on average 1.03 damage, and he's hitting 85.94% of the time (if I'm doing my math right....) It's a great generalist that's well worth the points it takes to put it on the table.  Usually, it gets jumped by faster fighters (TIEs, A-wings), but if you use Jan Ors or Biggs or Gallant Haven you can absorb some of those hits and punch back super well.  In a blob of squadrons, they're usually the guys shooting enemy TIEs and aces and trying to survive as long as possible, locking down enemies from moving.  They may not live for long, but they make the Empire pay for every point spent to kill them.

There's 4 different Aces (and one fancy squadron!), and they all emphasize different parts of the X-wing chassis. 
They'll never stop you because Biggs can NEVER DIE!
Biggs focuses on the Escort ability, allowing you to spread damage around to ALL other squadrons with Escort (like YT-1300s, too!), he can eat the damage coming in for one of your more important fighters and ensure that it takes enemy attacks a good time to chisel through.  If he has an X-wing friend being attacked by an Interceptor near him and Jan Ors, that Interceptor (with Flight Controllers and Howlrunner) could potentially roll 6 damage in one shot.  Jan uses one of her Braces to reduce that in half to 3, and then Biggs eats one.  So your X-wing went from taking 6 damage to taking 2.  Biggs, Jan, and a few friends are a great tarpit unit, just forcing your opponent to overly commit to attacking them when they'd really rather be elsewhere doing other things.  And even better, you're rolling 4 blue dice at each squadron you punch, cracking through their health pretty well! Weirdly, he's one of the few Rebel heroes who helps the basic squadrons out. That was always more of an Imperial ability before Biggs and Norra.

The only thing I'll add here is that per the FAQ, under Rieekan, Biggs can't pass damage to any zombie escorts (AKA if he, Wedge, or Luke dies, no shoving damage the others receive onto the dead guy.  And no wishing for more wishes, pal!)
I killed that, you know.

Wedge focuses on the X-wing attack ability, allowing you to throw 6 blue dice at any squadron that's already activated.  I've one shot TIE aces, Shara Bey, Y-wings, etc with this.  You need to roll well with him to deal with some of those crazier aces, but having 6 chances to roll 1 accuracy is a much better chance at cracking a scatter ace.  He pairs incredibly well with Dutch, Y-wing ace (and has since he came out!) in that Dutch can roll in and do one damage, making your opponent's squadron sleepy, then Wedge comes in and puts that guy to sleep PERMANENTLY.  For extra fun, add Yavaris!
How to make Admonition just start dumping tokens....
Luke's ability is astounding, if you can get it to go off.  I've killed MC30s and CR90s with Luke's ability (Dodonna choosing the Structural Damage crit helped, haha) that were barely touched before.  The ability to just put 1 or 2 right into a hull, ignoring all the shields is frightening for some ships, especially the small based ones.  Ships without braces are one bad attack roll against them from exploding right there, all from Luke's ability.  Before BCC, he was hard to put on the table, as he was just a target for the enemy.  Now that hits with your black dice are more likely to happen with the BCC inclusion, he's a great inclusion.  Don't chase the crits you CAN get with Luke, unless it's a matter of life and death (or losing the game, haha!) Accept the basic hit and realize its going RIGHT into the hull of the ship, which is where you wanted it.
Space Mom!

As mentioned, all the different X-wings emphasize different aspects of the X-wing chassis; Biggs and the tankiness, Luke and the anti-ship, and Wedge and the anti-squad.  Hera allows all the different X-wings to work together, allowing for all the Escort squadrons at distance 1 to reroll 1 die when they attack.  This is in addition to Toryn Farr for anti-squad or BCC for anti-ship.  In practice, Hera's significant cost over even a regular X-wing ace means that she may end up replacing a BCC in your lists.  Hera does NOT have Escort herself, but she helps all your friends who do like a real squadron leader.  Pair her with at least 3 generic X-wings and/or Biggs and Jan Ors to allow her to get the best benefit out of her ability.  For added fun with those X-wings, pair her with Biggs and Jan.  You're approaching your ace limit (and the squadron limit) but you've got a strong, tanky squad ball going for sure.

Should you use Hera and YT-1300s for counter and Adept? Eh.  It's FINE but if you're bringing them you want the tankiness of the YT-1300s more than the inherent dice they roll.  Toryn (and obvious Jan) nearby is fine and most likely all you need with them; leave Hera at home in that case.

Yub yub, Commander.
As for Rogue Squadron, I look at them as a cheaper YT-2400.  It's 4 blue dice, it has Rogue, and the Bomber ability ensures 5 of my 8 sides are doing some damage.  It's not as good as a YT-2400 for a few reasons (speed, red dice vs black dice anti-ship), but when I need a cheap squadron to run against enemies, I go to the realest Rogue (ability) squadron.... Rogue Squadron.  The bomber helps when it does, but outside of Rieekan, I'm usually taking them for another reason.

How to Use Them
I've run a mess of X-wings, everyone and their mom has run Jan Ors and 3 X-wings as a token screen, I've thought about following up some A-wings into a blob with some X-wings, they're great.  Provide some support to them and they can deal with problems well enough to keep you alive.  If you're running the full Red Squadron (Biggs, Wedge, and Luke together), keep them close.  Strike everything together, and ensure that you don't run over and separate your squadrons.  The aces live when they're close to Biggs and he can pass hits around.  Without THAT, you're back to a basic X-wing that needs squadron commands to get anywhere and fight anything, and Jan Ors to keep them alive.

Don't take 134 points of straight X-wings, even with Biggs, as they won't do enough ship damage to be worth the points you're investing in them.  Bring a few of them to handle the brunt of your opponent's squadrons.  When they've cleared out your opponent's squadrons, have them switch from acting as fighters to acting as bombers.  X-wings as a squadron group pair well with Y-wings/Scurrgs, or with B-wings that you're speeding up.  X-wings pair quite well with Norra, especially, allowing them to deal 2 damage from 3 of their sides with her ability.

X-wings are usually your primary fighter for tying up the enemy when you need your bombers to get anywhere.  Focus on the parts of the enemy squadrons you need taken out (Intel, damage multipliers like Norra or Mauler), and blue dice those into submission.  I love Brian Piccolo the X-wing, and I hope you do too.  They're the go-to squadron for the Rebels because they do so much more than their points make them appear capable of.


  1. Average damage with reroll on red dice are more like 1.03, but as an Imperial player I can attest to the fact that few other squadrons make me as envious of the rebels than the X-Wings.

  2. Should special mention go to Hera + Luke's synergy allowing you to fish for crits with a bomber command center in the same way that Y-wing Anakin+BCC does? It significantly increases his reliability at popping crits straight into the hull.

    1. Oh for sure, but you start hitting "give a mouse a cookie" status quickly here. If you bring Hera and Luke, you're going to want more X-wings to benefit Hera. And then you want Biggs and Jan to protect them (or Jan at the very least) and then you get to about 100 points of squads, haha!

  3. Oh hey, the Hera article needs to be updated to the hotfix making her ability less confusing.