Welcome to The Hangar, pilot! In this series we talk about starfighters, freighters, shuttles, racers, bombers, gunships, and everything else in between. This is the chance to look "under the hood," as it were, and explore what makes our favorite ships great.
The first round of posts in this section will be breakdowns by faction of the ships that make up your squads. When I was new to X-Wing I read the excellent buying guides and faction breakdowns from the likes of Rogue Outpost, Stay on the Leader, Confessions of a Midwest Scrub's post-points change essays, and others (many others) and since I know I could sit and read different individuals' takes on this topic all day I thought I'd offer mine!
We'll focus on what X-Wing players call the "chassis" or the attributes of the ship itself independent of pilot abilities and points costs, except where these are notably linked. More in-depth looks at individual chassis with their pilots will follow and be linked from these intro articles. Ships are presented in a loosely "ranked" list, though for the most part this is subjective and based largely on my personal experience and preferences. With a few exceptions I will stick to ships that can be bought in their faction with 2.0 components, so I'll get to all ships that will be legal in AMG's Standard format in due time. For more information on all ships I'd also recommend the X-Wing 2.0 Wiki.
Here it is, the final installment in our individual faction breakdowns! I saved Scum and Villainy for last because, first, there are so many ships to cover even without getting into Extended format! Second, I need to disclose that it's possibly my personal least favorite faction. Don't get me wrong, Scum ships are cool, the characters are iconic, and they can do some really interesting things. If bounty hunting is your chosen profession then by all means go for it, you can put together lots of nasty combos with this faction and I know that every time I see a Scum player set up across from me I know that at some point in the game I'll end up saying, "wait...you can do WHAT?!" The one warning I suppose I'd give to the new Scum player is that a lot of the disorientingly rude (but fun) things that Scum can do are dependent on its network of criminal crew, gunner, and illicit upgrades, many of which can only be acquired by purchasing pricey large-base ship expansions like the Customized YT-1300 and JumpMaster 5000 so you may find yourself making a bit of an investment to run some of the more popular Scum squads.
Firespray-Class Assault Craft
I've said it before and I'll say it again...Firesprays are good. Period. 3-die front and back arcs, a pretty fast and maneuverable dial, and a medium base that helps it really get around and take up space means that the Firespray is probably going to be a centerpiece of your squad. This thing is a threat in just about any situation. Watch out.
The MandalMotors Fang Fighter used by the Mandalorian Protectors is a speedy, nasty little fighter that can be really rewarding to fly when used properly. Note the Concordia Faceoff pilot ability: you'll generally want to use your speed and range control to zoom in and engage up close (this pairs well with the Talent Fearless), then use your hard turns, advanced maneuvers, and reposition actions with linked focus to stay close and dodge out of arcs. The Fang has only 4 hull and no shields so be careful not to get caught in multiple arcs or at range 2 where Concordia Faceoff can't help you.
YV-666 Light Freighter
The YV-666, or Bossk's Hound's Tooth, is first in a series of Scum large base ships that take a lickin' and keep on kickin'. The YV is not fast or nimble: in fact, it has the option to stop and stay in place in exchange for a stress and there are several Crew and Illicit slots available to make Scummy combos that mitigate that stress. What the YV-666 brings to the table is a terrifying 180-degree 3-die front arc and enough upgrade options to make that slow-moving 180 degrees in front of it essentially a no-fly zone. Be careful not to let an enemy ace get behind the YV, though, as it doesn't really have options to turn around and deal with the threat and 1 agility means that the plentiful hull and shields will melt away quickly. Pilots who are able to take the Hound's Tooth title, however, benefit from the ability to eject in the Nashtah Pup, a Z-95 Headhunter, for a second chance.
The JumpMaster, like the above YV-666, is a large base with plenty of upgrade slots and a decent amount of hull and shield. Compared to the YV, however, the JumpMaster, a ship designed to explore potential new hyperspace lanes, is faster and more agile at the cost of less powerful weapons. It has a 2-die single arc turret that can be supplemented by ordnance in the case of most pilots. The JumpMaster benefits from a much more flexible dial but, due to the design of the ship, is much better at turning left than right. I would try to break it down but I'd recommend just looking at the dial instead.
The Headhunter's value lies in exactly that...its value. Z-95s are generally pretty cheap, points-wise, and fit nicely into gaps in your list or, as mentioned above, as an escape craft for Bossk. The Z-95 doesn't have amazing stats or an amazing dial but it's a ship with guns that just about anyone can fly which is consistent with the role it plays in the Star Wars universe. A few Scum pilots and, notably, the Rebel Z-95 pilots have decent abilities that can make this ship a bit more useful but normally it will just be solid filler for your squad.
HWK-290 Light Freighter
I talked at some length about the HWK in our Rebel article and the Scum version is basically the same. It has a decent maneuver dial and action bar but surprisingly little hull and shield for a "freighter" as well as only a 2-die turret if you aren't able to equip the Moldy Crow title. The Scum pilots replace the Rebels' helpful and wholesome abilities with fun effects that hinder opponents, steal tokens, etc.
The Gauntlet is relatively new and I'll freely admit that I'm not 100% sure how to use it yet. Seems pretty good, though! Lots of offensive punch and a decent dial for a large base seems good, and the many upgrade slots boosted by the ability to add crew with Drop Seat Bay is neat. 9 health, 2 shields, and 2 agility will also let it stick around for a bit, especially with the use of Reinforce. Try and run some Gauntlet stats through the Gate of Storms dice calculator to see how many attacks it can shrug off. Watch this space, I suppose! The Scum version, in particular, has some pretty neat pilots with great abilities and the Mandalorian Super Commandos upgrade is really fun.
ST-70 Assault Ship
Another new ship that I haven't had the chance to try as much as I'd like: the ST-70, or Razor Crest, seems pretty promising! The ST-70 has a pretty potent front-arc attack, upgrade slots for Scummy customization, and the ability to take some punches. Its only obvious weakness is stress management, the lack of non-straight blue maneuver options means that once the Razor Crest's pilot gets stressed, if they want to clear it they'll be pretty predictable for a couple of turns unless you have options to mitigate the stress.
The M3-A, or Scyk, is a nimble little interceptor that can be upgraded to play a variety of roles. 3 hull and 1 shield is generally enough to be survivable with 3 agility provided you fly intelligently and stay out of too many firing arcs. The Scyk has a chassis ability that allows it to equip a heavy weapon to boost its offense as well. The dial and action bar are interesting, though...it likes to go fast but kind of only in a straight line. There are no 1-straight or speed 3 maneuvers but otherwise the dial is somewhat similar to a TIE Fighter's. It has a Barrel Roll action but, notably, no boost and no ability to double reposition, something that is normally a key feature of these small interceptor-style ships. The M3-A is a cool, customizable starfighter that is relatively simple to fly provided you are mindful of its limitations.
Modified TIE/ln Fighter
It's a TIE Fighter, yeah, but with a cool new ability. The Mining Guild cut out a portion of the solar arrays on their TIEs to improve visibility when flying in asteroid fields and in game this translates to the ability to fly straight through asteroids. Pretty cool! Otherwise, it's a standard TIE fighter aside from the 5-straight being red and the loss of the 4-Koiogran Turn.
Customized YT-1300 Light Freighter
The Scum YT-1300 is Lando's beautiful custom ship from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Lando's Millennium Falcon is mostly similar to the Rebel version except the blue bank maneuvers are now 1-speed instead of 2 and, most notably, Han hasn't upgraded the cannons yet so the bow-tie turret rolls 2 reds intead of 3. The Customized YT compensates by including in the expansion the detachable Escape Craft as a separate ship and some of the faction's most fun upgrades.
The Escape Craft docks neatly within the two front prongs of Lando's Falcon but can be taken out and flown as a ship on its own. Not too much to say about this one except that, in a faction full of big, expensive large base freighters, the Escape Craft is an efficient way to get a crew carrier with the ability to Coordinate in your list. Just be aware that this isn't a combat vessel so it can't win the fight on its own.
Yes, the Fugitives, Collaborators, and the Most Wanted of the galaxy also fly the ubiquitous BTL-A4 Y-Wing. Largely identical to the Rebel version, the Scum Y-Wing isn't much to write home about. It doesn't see too much play at the time of writing as other small bases deliver more for a similar points cost. Like in Star Wars canon, the Y-Wing is a perfectly usable fighter-bomber but there are usually better options out there if you're able to access them.
Shoutout to Launch Bay Next for the dial and stat diagrams!