The Cantina: ABUXY

The Cantina: ABUXY

X-Wing is cool. X-Wing is fun. Some of us just like getting together with our friends and a few beverages to play a round with house rules, others know no greater thrill than making the cut at a major tournament. It’s worth celebrating how many different ways we enjoy collecting and playing with our fully licensed plastic and cardboard. Welcome to the Dice and Cardboard Cantina, where we chat about what makes X-Wing fun and, well, just about everything else!

Well, I generally prefer not to get involved in theorycrafting for this game for a few reasons:

1) I'm not especially good at it.

2) People have some strong opinions about it (my last attempt started some sporty discussions online)

However...I've had a pretty tiring couple of weeks and am rereading the Alphabet Squadron novels at the same time that community leader Infinite Arenas is running an open beta test of their new homebrew card builder, so I'll be exercising some casual creativity in this week's just-for-fun article. This was written prior to the start of Ministravaganza so watch for a summary and thoughts on that next week.

SPOILER ALERT! This post may contain some spoilers for the Alphabet Squadron trilogy of novels!

Alphabet Squadron

So, since the novels take place after the Battle of Endor the protagonists technically fly for the New Republic but as it's before the Battle of Jakku we'll assign them to the Rebel Alliance. I designed Alphabet's abilities in many cases to use Stress mechanics, both as a callback to last week's Academy article and because their relationships are constantly tested by betrayals of trust and the ghosts of their past. I also tried to keep their abilities relatively reasonable so that they could all theoretically be costed at 4 points to be flown together. Maybe.

Lieutenant Yrica Quell

Since Yrica is hunting down her former Shadow Wing comrades she gains stress when an enemy is killed, but stress reminds her of her convictions and commitment to the New Republic and her new squadron and encourages her to carry on and survive. I don't love the ability being a reroll effect since that is a bit unusual for X-Wings but I didn't want it to be too powerful. I could have sworn I designed this one as an initiative 4 but I guess 5 works. Not sure what happened there.

Nath Tensent

Nath, the weathered old soldier and part-time crook of the squadron, supports his new family by keeping them centered and shouldering their burdens, always aware that he has troubles of his own.

Wyl Lark

Wyl, one of the preternaturally skilled 120 volunteers from Polyneus, is probably the best pilot in Alphabet Squadron and is constantly looking out to help his friends. I thought about making him initiative 6 but the Rebels already have enough of those and in the books Wyl lacks the confidence to rank up there with Wedge, Fenn, Hera, etc. Plus, if this squadron could be costed to all fly together I think two I5s in a 5-ship list is more than good enough.

Chass Na Chadic

Chass is always looking for an opportunity to do lethal harm to her enemies even when it causes her to make mistakes, though her raw energy lets her shake off damage and injuries that would otherwise be crippling. The ability also fits nicely into the Braylen and Ten pattern of B-Wing pilots benefiting from stress but isn't so powerful that she can't be a "budget" B-Wing option.


Kairos' silent dedication to the mission and her comrades is what eventually leads to her being gravely wounded after she overextends herself. She can protect her friends from harm but if she isn't careful she leaves herself in danger. I may not have worded it correctly but the check for active charges happens at the start of the End Phase, before any charge recovers.

T5 (Astromech)

Nath's C1-series astromech is always looking out for the squadron and knows just when to take over tasks from his war-weary pilot.

Caern Adan (Crew)

New Republic Intelligence Officer Caern Adan has a dark past and isn't easy to get along with, but he knows how to get the job done. Since nobody in Alphabet Squadron particularly likes Caern he adds to the overall stress level of the team.

204th Imperial Fighter Wing (Shadow Wing)

We don't get a ton of information about the individual pilots of Shadow Wing who are the main antagonists of the novels, so there's plenty of room to interpret here. I envision these pilots being released in a squadron pack with 1 TIE/ln in unique Shadow Wing paint (maybe battle scarred?) and two TIE/sa Bombers, bringing the model into Standard format. I know that in the books Kandende and Seedia flew flighters but we never got to meet any bomber pilots so they'll be getting bomber duty in this squadron pack.

Colonel Soran Keize

Soran excels in one-on-one combat and can match just about any other pilot with his unique tactics and sharp instincts. As our first true TIE/ln ace he is designed to be an endgame monster just like in the books when he swoops in to deal with individual members of Alphabet. I intentionally gave him a really powerful ability so he can shoot just about any other pilot then barrel roll (not an action, so can do it more than once) out of their arc. Of course, the trick works best if you can guarantee you aren't going to roll into another firing arc as the strain could get you killed.

Jothal Gablerone

Gablerone features relatively heavily in the first couple of books so his ability is kind of a reverse-Howlrunner, highlighting the precision of Shadow Wing's gunnery.

Nord Kandende

Kandende was spotted by Soran Keize attempting to offer his blood to the Emperor's Messenger in the passageways of the Aerie. His ability reflects his dedication to the Empire and his willingness to sacrifice, however the decreasing charge represents the doubts he harbors just below the surface and his need to prove his loyalty.  

Palal Seedia

Seedia had a lot of interesting character traits that I could have turned into abilities: she tends to inflict unnecessary casualties, she distrusts Soran Keize, she is skilled in hand to hand combat, she studied astronomy and has a keen understanding of space flight, etc. In the end I decided to copy what the game developers did with Viktor Hel in the Rogue-Class Starfighter and give Seedia a strong ability (though tempered a bit) from a Legends ship that may be unlikely to get a reprint. In this case it's Deathrain from the TIE Punisher, one of my old favorites.

Special Missions Bomber (Configuration)

Shadow Wing was notorious for their participation in Operation Cinder, in their case using special weapons dropped by the wing's TIE Bombers to feed massive storms on Nacronis. This configuration for the TIE/sa magnifies the effect of munitions when dropped en-masse but makes the carrying ship harder to handle, requiring the pilot to focus on delivering their special payload. I could see this maybe being broken with Thermal Detonators but if 2 are dropped the effect would only apply to the 1st since it will have been cleared by the time the 2nd detonates...I think. Plus, we all love a good reason to use Delayed Fuses, though maybe adding a mod slot requirement to this configuration would get rid of that combo if it is too powerful.

Colonel Shakara Nuress (Crew)

Colonel Nuress, or "Grandmother," takes pride in the strength and efficiency of her squadron. The TIEs of Shadow Wing will benefit from Shakara's command provided they fly together with precision.