I love Rebels. At my core I will always be a Rebel player. The K-Wing, YT-1300, ARC-170. So nice. So fun. Ever list, besides my first, has been Rebels…
Until now. You see, Rebels have a problem. Most, but not all, of their ships are severely overcosted for what they do in the current-day reality of X-Wing. To put it another way, there is an absolute dearth of viable, quality Rebel options from 24 points up to about 36-38.
Imperials? No such problem. Killed out Inquisitor? ~30 points. Ryad, 36. Vessery, 36. Glaive, 34. Vader, 32. Omega Leader, 26. Palp Shuttle, 29. Soontir Fell, 33 (!!!). Eight options already and I’m just getting started. All viable. All threatening. And all for 36 points or fewer, meaning you can easily, without cost cutting, slam three into a list together and call it good.
Scum? They’re in the same sweet spot. Manaroo, 34. Fenn Rau, 32 (!!!), Old Terroch, 30. Unkar Plutt, 24. Party Bus, 34. UBoat in its infinite variations, 35. Just six in, but the list remains deep after that. And let’s be honest, the Jumpmaster could probably fill six slots all by itself with its infinite variability.
Rebels? My heart breaks for thee. Jake at 32, Tycho at 34, Ello at 36, and Miranda at 38. That’s it. Wedge? Clocks in at 39. Corran Horn? 48. Norra? 41. Rey? 59 (!!!). Those aren’t bad ships. They’re really good ships, but because of their cost force Rebels into a relatively narrow range of archetypes. There’s a reason that Rebel lists are either a) Two ship lists that look like Rey/Norra, Miranda/Corran, Dash/Miranda, Rey/Miranda, Kannan/Miranda (are you seeing a common theme here?) or three ships lists that involve 24 point Biggs and ______. I don’t know about other Rebel players, but I loathe the idea that any successful three ship list more or less has to involve Biggs. Imperials don’t have that problem, nor do Scum.
Caveat: This article was written before much playtesting could be done with the recently released Sabine’s TIE Fighter Expansion Pack. There may be more viable options that Rebels can use with Ahsoka and the like over the next few weeks/months.
I’ll just leave these images here for a quick summation of the above:
Which brings me full circle back to the first list I ever created, four months ago. On 10/22/2016, my brothers and I took a trip to Madness Games and Comics in Plano, TX. My youngest brother had been playing for months with his fiancee, while Marc and myself were about to embark on a journey that would take us from playing at home, a Thanksgiving Day family tournament (Marc won), Christmas Day games (I won), and the Dallas 2017 Regionals (Marc placed 18th). More on that in other blog entries. Suffice to say…
The first list I ever put together featured Asajj and two Y-Wings, though there was a significant departure from my list and the list that Heaver eventually ran at Worlds later that year: both my Y-Wings had BTL-A4 title which reads: “You cannot attack ships outside your firing arc. After you perform a primary weapon attack, you may immediately perform an attack with a (turret) secondary weapon. “Three” attacks in one turn, from a single ship? Hot diggity! And for a brief flickering moment in time, “Asajj Shotgun” dominated my local Smith household. And then I played Zach’s Palp Aces (Palpatine Shuttle + Soontir + Vader) list and realized what utterly slow pigs Y-Wings actually are. No arc? No fire. Yeah, good luck catching Soontir or Vader in arc after the initial engage. And thus my Shadowcaster and Y-Wings sat collecting dust on our shelves for many months.
Until gadwag and I discussed my current X-Wing woes. Rey/Norra, my favorite of favorite lists, could not compete against Marc’s OldFennAroo or Zach’s Modified Palp Aces. Play Marc? Loss. Play Zach? Loss. Rinse, repeat. It’s not a bad list, it eats many other lists for breakfast and comes back for seconds…but I could not beat those lists flown by quality players (which Marc and Zach are). Something had to change. I related to gadwag that my favorite archetype in MTG was Blue/White control. Boiled down to its core essence that deck says, “Forget everything you know about MTG normally. You are playing by my rules now. Creature with power greater than three? Sorry, it doesn’t untap normally. Oh, and play with your hand revealed. Aaaaand whenever you draw a card, I draw a card. Okay, let’s start!”
Gadwag suggested I give Unkar Plutt and Asajj a go. He’s an avid Shadowcaster player, and I think he tries to cram Asajj into basically every list. But his suggestion made sense: tractors are a form of control. They change the basic way that pilots of aces have to think about their maneuvers, they can’t trust that their 2 Turn Right is actually going to land them where they think it is, because they may be tractored one direction or another before (or after) that maneuver happens. “Forget everything you know about your maneuvers. You are playing by Unkar’s rules now” would be a pretty accurate correlation between the X-Wing list and my MTG playstyle.
Of course, Unkar and Asajj left another roughly twenty-six point hole in the list. Too little for Fenn, but he’d bring the missing damage component. Too few even for Manaroo, but cutting cost to include her probably would leave the list too low on damage. We ticked through several more options before the venerable Y-Wing entered the conversation. A Syndicate Thug with a TLT clocks in at just twenty-five points, leaving an extra one for a bid or flexible usage somewhere. Paired with R4 Argomech, it also filled the damage hole nicely. While not throwing out the three to five damage a turn that Rey or Norra are capable of, a consistent two damage every turn even against aces is nothing to laugh at. Below you’ll find the details of the list:
1/4 Portion (100)
Asajj Ventress: Push the Limit, Latts Razzi, Rigged Cargo Chute, Gyroscopic Targeting, Shadow Caster **
Unkar Plutt: Intelligence Agent, Seismic Charges, Pattern Analyzer, Cloaking Device, Spacetug Tractor Array **
Syndicate Thug: Twin Laser Turret, R4 Agromech **
Wrapping this up, I back to flying Scum for now. I hope that this is just for a season, and that FFG get on the ball of releasing some fix, any fix, that makes a huge swath of Rebel ships viable again. Putting X-Wing back in X-Wing seems like a great start. When that day comes, I’ll gladly set my Scum ships aside, wash the taint off of my hands, and get back to playing the heroes again.