Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Wave 5 Squadrons: VCX-100

Rather than move on to writing about the Pelta or Commander Sato, I decided to do WHAT I WANT, MOM, and start writing up some squadrons.  With Relay and Strategic being as important as they are, this is a much smarter plan on my part and not an effort for me to skirt having to write a giant blather about how I can't get Sato to work or all the different ways of using the Pelta (shifts eyes, pretends that last sentence wasn't the train wreck it actually was).  They'll happen, but I'll likely try to get them done a bit later on in the week and all.

Anyways, let's start by talking with the most important keywords from the new set, with the VCX!
If I couldn't own the Millenium Falcon..... the Ghost would be it.  So long as Chopper is there.
So we start out with two new keywords, both of which we'll discuss below, after the card (the fancy new FAQ card).
It is at this point, after pasting the picture, that I had to go back and look up how I did the PREVIOUS squadron articles
So our Rebel Relay of 1 isn't as strong as the Lambda Relay 2.  Disappointing, yes.  However, we have the following on the VCX-100 (VCX to its friends):
  • 8 health, 2 more than the Lambda
  • Same point cost of 15
  • Same Strategic as the Lambda
  • a "better" 3 blue against squadrons as compared to the Lambda's 2 black
  • Same speed 3, which is a Rebel standard usually.
So while the Lambda is more of a support role, the VCX can somewhat hold its own.  Couple that with the fact that a lot of the objectives with tokens need 2 sources of Strategic to get them to work well, and it's often you'll see 2 VCXs in a fleet with a designed goal and well-chosen objectives.  Can't stress that enough; I wouldn't necessarily throw in 2 VCXs with my objective suite of Advanced Gunnery, Contested Outpost, and Superior Positions, but maybe you have a reason!  With 3 blue dice each, they can get some decent work done and can hold up against several attacks on their own if needed.  They aren't INVULNERABLE, mind you, but 2 TIE fighters isn't necessarily something you need to worry about killing you in one go. 2 X-wings can, but they need to roll perfectly.  You don't often see 2 Lambdas in a fleet, because they're expensive (for Imps) and not really great at doing much more than Relay and Strategic (they fight like slightly better Y wings for the cost of 1.5 Y wings).  VCXs can contribute to the squadron fight as well, while they're collecting tokens for you.  As in all Rebel things, they're multi-role, which makes them pretty good for 15 points, especially when a YT-1300 costs only 2 points less and has 1 less hull.  As opposed to the Lambda, though, I wouldn't count on their Relay ability as anything more than a helpful addition to your arsenal.  You CAN build a blob of squadrons with 2 VCXs as you just Relay flotilla commands through those VCXs, but I don't really feel that's a great use of your resources personally.  I'll steal Eric's quote here, as I pretty much agree with it.
To that end, I find Relay is most consistently useful when it's a tool in your squadron-commanding arsenal that helps "even out" the instances in which a ship would normally have trouble making full use of a squadron command rather than as your primary means of commanding squadrons (which makes the Lambda a top priority kill, which makes your games very feast-or-famine).
The benefit of 8 health is much more useful there.  Eric is fond of saying that Imperials have better use of Relay, but Rebels have better use of Strategic. Because a lot of Rebel squadrons are speed 3, you can usually keep a bubble alive as needed to follow you around and beat up on enemy squadrons harassing you.  With the new FAQ and alteration of Relay, the VCX needs to be in commandable range to use Relay.  No more Relay from across the board, it's got to stay close.  Relaying a squadron through the VCX is slightly longer than using Boosted Comms, but it's up to you to determine if spending 15/30 points is better than 4 for Boosted Comms.  Your call.

The OTHER benefit to bringing two of them is that with your GR75s, you can push two VCXs a turn if you want, leapfrogging objective tokens for you across the table!
In this example, the red circle was where the objective token originally started, and the squadrons (after movement) have one HP lessened, just to show flight path.
That objective token sure looks (initially) out of reach of the GR75 that wants it! By having the first VCX move it to the yellow circle, the second VCX can grab it and move it AGAIN to be right near the GR75 that wanted it (and also more importantly: away from your opponent).  Depending on your objective (and when you can actually take the tokens, read the card), you may need to move the tokens with a different ship (that's not pictured here and is the one commanding the VCXs!) commanding the squadrons to move the token(s) to your Objective ship.  I refer you AGAIN to this article I wrote a while ago explaining things more clearly.

You can also attack an enemy squadron twice with 3 blue dice (with them leapfrogging, I mean), which isn't anything to sneeze at.  Furthermore, they're great fighting against Shara Bey or any A-wing Ace.  Oh, Shara has Counter 3 and all her crits count as hits? Great, I still have 5 health, take my attack.  Attack you again next turn? Sure why not, break that Scatter token anyway I can, find a way to hit her with a 3rd squadron this turn and force her into difficulty.
Space Mom is fully half the reason I watch Rebels.  Her superpower of "being actually competent" is AMAZING.
Hera Syndulla is the Ace version of a VCX, and she has NEITHER Strategic nor Relay.  Why the heck should you even take her then? Because she makes your squadrons AWESOME (guitar solos everywhere).  She lets you (as the card says) turn 2 of your squadrons Rogue for the turn.  So you can have a rogue Dutch, a rogue Luke or Wedge, a rogue Shara Bey, a rogue Nym, so many possibilities!  I've heard good things about using her with 2 E-wings, but my use of them is very minimal (It's a plan for soon..... I hope!) so I can't fully talk about that (works in theory though, right? Shoot and then get into Snipe range for something else?)
Yeah, you know she's worth it.
Her anti-squadron and anti-ship are just like Han Solo, or a Defender (if you want to go slumming over to the Imperial side.  We had that anti-squadron capability first, darn it!), and she will RIP basic squadrons apart (especially near Toryn Farr!).  It's fun!

When you build with her, keep in mind that you're not going to get many of your other potential benefits from pushing squadrons, which is both good and bad.  You don't get Flight Controllers, nor do you get All Fighters Follow Me!, but you also don't have to pay for ships that have those slots/abilities, as you've got Rogues.  You don't need to stay in command range of your ships that would be pushing squadrons.... but don't overextend yourself, either.

The OTHER thing I'll caution you with doing is that while it's super cool to make 2 of any squadron you want Rogue, they still have their same speed.  So those Rogue YT-1300s that guarantee Hera is gonna live forever? Still speed 2.  Unless you take a Pelta with All Fighters Follow Me! on it, which.... seems kinda a waste to bring Hera with.  You CAN, but I wouldn't.  Same with why I wouldn't use B-wings with her.  You CAN still get the benefit of Fighter Coordination Team, but that's 3 points that can probably be used better elsewhere.
"He put us in a list with 4 A-wings. Does he know what he's doing?"
You can also make a crazy huge murder squadron blob with Ketsu and Wedge and Luke and Hera and Rogue Squadron and and and AND.  That is also something you can do, and it's super fun (having done it....).  Just make sure to bring along a Bomber Command Center if you're investing signficantly in Bombers (even though she is NOT a Bomber).  I wouldn't necessarily pair her with (just) generic Y wings, as hers is an ability that's more useful early game for interceptors - A-wings, E-wings, X-wings (in that priority, too!).  I LOVE using her turn 1 with Shara Bey against an opponent who slightly overextended, and then further turns on other squadrons near you as needed.  I will also say that she was crucial to my success at GenCon 2019.
Look, it's the Ghost in Rogue One!

For a few more scattered thoughts on them, feel free to read THIS.

How to Use Them
The basic summary of the VCX is that you can substitute 2 of your other fighters in a LFC or MFC core and get a good squadron that will both contribute to the squadron game AND let you manipulate the objective tokens to your benefit in a way that causes difficulty for your opponent.  I'll keep referring you to the Strategic Article I wrote to get a sense of good objectives to pair with it and all.  But because it's rolling a non-bomber blue dice against ships, use it more like a fighter to attack your opponent's squadrons first (especially as your VCX can eat a LOT of counter attack damage!)  But their main use at this point remains related to Strategic, and that's what you should do with them as much as you can.

For actually using Hera, I've had good luck using her along with other Rogues (and some non-Rogue friends!) or using her to supplement your fighter commanding.  Don't JUST take 2 non-rogues with her, because then what if you want/need to command some squadrons with your flotilla this turn to stay alive? What if your opponent shoots those 2 X-wings out from under you, so you're only left with a bunch of Rogues?  Her ability is kinda wasted at that point then (if you build the blob that way).
When pressed, I need all of you to HONESTLY tell my fiance that I DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES have an outfit for her to wear that looks like Hera's. And it DOES NOT have headtails, either.  Remember to be HONEST, wink.
Thanks to the recent flotilla nerf (maximum 2 per fleet, kids!) Hera is essentially a third flotilla that is both commanding 2 squadrons and sending a third one (hers) in as well.  That's a solid plan, just make sure you have a use for it! The best versions I've seen with builds of Hera involve having some interceptors (Dutch and Wedge, for example) and some bombers (Gold, Scurrgs, etc) where Hera can make the best one (for the moment) Rogue at the end of turn, AFTER all those ships have moved and all.  If you need to activate one of them earlier, let Hera make the other one Rogue.  And if you have the points somehow, Hera loves Adar Tallon.  She also really loves Escorts so badly you guys don't even KNOW.  8 health and one brace token can die much faster than you'd believe.  Keep a friend nearby to keep her alive (X-wing or YT-1300!)


  1. If you listen carefully, right after Jan... sorry, JYN (I always mess them up ;) ) comes out of the rebel council, you may hear "General Syndulla" being called over the loudspeakers ;)

  2. I've had reasonable success with Hera Syndulla plus 2 x Z95 and 2 x E wings (alongside 2 x Lancer and Dash Render). She allowed the rest of the fleet to focus on navigating and shooting whilst either tying up opposition fighters or (or subsequently) bombing.
    (Balance of fleet was 1 x LMC80 plus Nebulons)