Wednesday, December 9, 2020

B-Wings: Doom Turtles!

Completing the last of the original Rebellion squadrons, we'll round things off with B wings.

Now I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds.
B-wings are one of my favorite squadron to use, but they are not easy.  Rolling a respectable 3 blue dice against squadrons, they can fight their way out of most problems, especially with 5 health.  With a Toryn Farr boost, those blue dice get work done. But you're not taking them for the anti-squadron power.  You're taking them for that anti-ship armament.  You get the benefit of being a black dice bomber, and you get an extra blue dice thrown in.  With BCC, it's not uncommon to see rolls of 3 damage (crit enabled!) emanating from B-wings, wrecking shields and ships.  Norra Wexley added in says "4 total damage, 1 to a shield."  With Yavaris and a token, 3 B-wings can fire 3 blue and 6 black dice. ISDs don't want to move in too close to Yavaris and B-wings, because shields and defense tokens will just start to evaporate faster than expected.  One of the best moments of any Rebel player's life is taking Yavaris and using B-wings to KO a ship that thought it was going to live through the onslaught.

With all that upside, there clearly has to be a mitigating factor, right? In an attempt to downplay the damage B-wings do, FFG turned their speed down to 2.  This lulls opponents into a false sense of security, where they think they'll be immune from B-wing damage.  "Oh, I'll be fine," they say.  "They only move speed 2!" And in wave 1, they were RIGHT!
Baby B-wings on their way to help attack a Star Destroyer

If you didnt have your B-wings positioned well, they werent going to be doing a lot to damage the enemy ships.  If they sailed their ships into you, sure! But if you ever ran over your own B-wing squadron, you were in for a sad time, where they werent going to be affecting the game.  B-wings in Wave I made a nice mobile minefield, existing to hurt anything that came close.  If nothing came close, though, they didnt really make their points back.  But where we are now, in terms of the game? Oh, there's so many ways of getting your B-wings into the fray and unshielded arcs/Superior Position arcs.

Wave 4 gave us Fighter Coordination Teams, allowing us to drag along some friends a distance 1, so long as they weren't engaged.  Combine THAT with Flight Commander, and we could move the B-wings speed 1, and THEN move them their speed 2 and attack, all of this after we've already fired and moved our ship.  Thanks to the recent FAQ, you can't use Fighter Coordination Teams to move your B-wings into position and THEN attack with them under Yavaris, but any other ship can get the free move and then regular move and attack.  You can also get a regular move and attack under Yavaris, but it's usually better to have the special (extra dice) attack there, if you have the option.  You can also move the B-wings along turn 1 and maybe turn 2 like normal on Yavaris, getting them into position for some turn 3 MURDER!  Heck, you only need an open Support Team slot on another ship to drag along some B-wings in order to have Yavaris hit with them (those squadrons didn't move during Yavaris's activation, it was his helpful nearby friend!)

And then Wave 5 brought us the Pelta and All Fighters Follow Me!  Speed "4+a bit" B wings (move 1 with Fighter Coordination Team, move speed 2+1=speed 3 with AFFM! and Flight Commander) that can attack are now possible.  Put Expanded Hangar Bays on that Pelta, and you've got 4 Speed "4+a bit" B-wings able to move and attack ships.
Ride of the Valkyries plays...
Before we move on to the aces, I want to make clear that if you don't have a plan for speeding up your B-wings in some fashion, you should probably rethink your upgrades/plan.
Chelsea, Chelsea, I believe, that when you're dancing.....
For one more point than a regular B wing, you get better killing of squadrons.  A black dice has 2 more potential chances of rolling a hit than a blue dice, and with the Swarm reroll you've got a much better chance of rolling the sides you need.  If you can spare the point, it's super nice but isn't always necessary.
I was in a computer game!
Keyan Farlander, the Y Wing pilot who survived A New Hope, and the B-wing pilot in Return of the Jedi, along with the main character of the X-Wing computer game (lookit those state of the art 1993 graphics, kids!) is an upgunned B-wing.  For 20 points, you're paying for those 2 black dice that bomb ships.  If it's unshielded, it's a free reroll.  He's gonna get shot, so hard, just because of the simple fact that one squadron delivering a potential 4 damage (crit enabled! 6 under Yavaris!) in one swing is the first thing you target.  But with Escort and Intel, he can get there.  The dream is that an Adar Tallon'ed Pelta pushes him speed 4+ away and leaves him unactivated.  Then the Yavaris goes.... 10 points of damage later, you've got an enemy ship that's nearly dead.  Oh, to dream of such a day.

He doesn't play much differently than any other B wing.  Get him bombing, get him killing.  His damage is just that much better.
Because I have watched ROTJ too many times, I have had to CONSTANTLY remind myself he is not Tien Nunb.

Lastly, our friend and most often seen B-wing ace Ten Numb.  He's got the Dagger Squadron anti-squadron power, with a great ability.  If he spends a blue crit, every other enemy at distance 1 suffers a damage.  Even if they spend a scatter token to negate the damage done to them (looking at YOU, Howlrunner!) everyone right near them takes one (Ten's ability triggers BEFORE they can spend the Scatter!).  Blue crits aren't crazy reliable, but the 2 brace tokens to keep him alive as a B wing are mighty nice.  It's a way to end the squadron war faster, and get your B wings bombing ships, where they want to be.  With Toryn rerolls, he can start hurting opposing fighter blobs faster, and get you going.
Killing me softly with his song....WITH HIS SONG!
How to Use Them
If you're going to use B-wings in this day and age, you need to get them moving (see EVERYTHING listed above).  Without that speed boost, they spend (at BEST) turns 1 and 2 moving.  Turn 3 they MIGHT be able to start firing on things, but that's a very lucky if. And you have to hope they're near ships for the next several turns, too, else they're not chasing ANYTHING down.  And let's hope they don't get engaged by basic squadrons, if you didn't bring Intel! Nothing worse than a single TIE engaging all your B wings and not being able to move away.  For Intel, check out this.
Well, more than this.  But I'm just saying, in a straight up fight, the Ninja Turtles can beat the Power Rangers.
Bring along Escort and Intel to keep them unengaged and able to hit ships like they want.  They APPRECIATE Norra, but you don't necessarily need her.  They CAN contribute to blowing up other squadrons with their anti-squad dice, but again: you brought them to fire 2 dice into ships.  Pull them from fighting other squadrons if you can, because while dead TIE fighters are nice, dead ISDs are BETTER.

And that's the end of the basic Wave 1 squadrons.  However, while Eric is going towards ships, I'm planning on sticking things out with squadrons.  The Rogues and Villains stuff will be hitting up next for me, along with Commander's Corners and such.  Soon as I get a few more posts on squadrons, I'll be posting some stuff about how to build squadron units and then how to build squadron fleets.  The strength of the Rebellion is in her starfighters, and through them we shall achieve victory over Imperial might!


  1. I'm looking forward to squadron building articles. For me they have been some of the hardest to even start writing, so I'm hoping you do an excellent job so I can just point people your way and say "read this it does it so much better than I can".

    1. Hahaha, NO PRESSURE! I'm betting I'll get to them very soon. I NEED an Intel description first, so that's probably the very next article I'm writing. I want to hit those Commander's Corner articles, too, so soon?

      Thanks for believing in me to do a good job!

  2. Wonderful article, but as a new-ish player, can you explain why Flight Commander is such a powerful upgrade on a Yavaris?

    1. So it's all a combination of all 3 things. Yavaris lets you attack twice if you don't move, which is great if you're already engaged with squadrons or a ship you want to shoot. If you're NOT, though, it's not as good.

      But with the Fighter Coordination Teams, after your ship moves, you can move (on Yavaris) 2 unengaged squadrons distance 1, which can hopefully let you get them distance 1 of that ship you want to hit.

      And what Flight Commander does is lets you trigger your squadrons AFTER your regular attack and move. In general, this lets you put your regular ship damage in and take out some shields and force him to use a defense token or two to not take as much damage. He has squadrons to deal with coming up afterwards, so he might not spend tokens to save them for that. But with Yavaris in particular, Fighter Coordination Team (FCT) lets you move that squadron that wasnt engaged with a ship or squadron into engagement.... so then it can fire TWICE because of the Yavaris ability. But this only works because FCT happens AFTER you move. Flight Commander ALSO triggers after. So you get to move things in and then shoot them twice.

    2. Thanks - this is the clearest explanation I've seen!

  3. hanks to the recent FAQ, you can't use Fighter Coordination Teams to move your B-wings into position and then attack with them
    --> Just to clarify the FAQ should still let you attack just that you cannot Double tap em with Yavaris or did I misread that?

    1. i phrased it badly. Let me edit it, should be fixed within 10 minutes of this comment being posted.