The Hangar: The Rebel Alliance
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 upgrades, except where the two 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 upcoming Standard format in due time. For more information on all ships I'd also recommend the X-Wing 2.0 Wiki.
The T-65 X-Wing is the namesake of the game, and rightly so. It is a superbly if unremarkably well-rounded starfighter that can fill a number of roles in your squad based on the pilot and/or upgrades you choose. The X-Wing brings solid offense to the table but is fast and nimble enough to outfly similar ships (read: anything not specifically engineered to be fast and/or nimble). Perhaps the truest example in the game of a jack of all trades, master of none, the X-Wing will serve you well if you give it the proper support and learn when to press the attack and when to disengage to come back for another pass. Its two defense dice can betray it when facing multiple attacks in a round so a good X-Wing pilot knows not to get overconfident and to only pick a fight they can win.
When used effectively, playing against an A-Wing can feel like death by a thousand cuts. This ship brings a relatively weak two-die gun and less overall health than the more conventionally sturdy stable of Rebel ships to the table but compensates with the ability to barrel-roll and boost out of your firing arcs or, with the free (at time of writing) Vectored Cannons configuration, fly straight past you and spin its guns around to fire backwards. This is supplemented by helpful upgrade slots on most pilots to equip offense-boosting upgrades. A-Wings demand attention because they can buzz around and avoid enemy fire just long enough to zip in and deliver a brutal strike right when it's least expected. Another thing to note is that several A-Wing pilots like Jake Farrell and Hera Syndulla have thematically wholesome Rebel abilities that enable their wingmates, making them cost-effective force multipliers. When you fly an A-Wing you need to learn to recognize when it is a better idea to give up your shot to avoid enemy fire.
Modified YT-1300 Light Freighter
Oh, the Millennium Falcon... When I started playing I told myself, "I just love starfighters, I don't really want the Falcon." When someone in my local group convinced me to spend the money at my Friendly Local Game Store and try it I immediately saw how wrong I was. In general, the game designers did a great job of capturing what makes the Millenium Falcon iconic in the movies. For starters, the movement dial and action bar allow it to zoom and dance around in a way that is exhilarating and defies the size of its large base. The three-red turret gun can do massive damage with the right pilots and upgrades. There are many upgrade slots to bring along all your Rebel friends and, as Han said, "I made a few...special modifications m'self." Speaking of Han, he has one of the most fun pilot abilities in the game, but we'll discuss that another time. Do yourself a favor and give the Falcon a try. I mean it, take her...ya need all the help you can get, she's the fastest ship in the fleet.
I'll admit up front that the B-Wing is a better ship than I tend to give it credit for, just because I don't gravitate toward the required play style. It can take a licking and keep on kicking for a while and that's the role it will generally play for you. The four hull, four shields, and 3-die gun of a B-Wing or two in the front line of your engagement will make your opponent think twice about whether they should commit to their strategy or break off the attack and regroup. On top of the heavy-hitting card stats the B-Wing also can carry devastating munitions and has a free (at time of writing) configuration that allows two attacks per round. Yikes! That offensive firepower and health comes at a cost, though, and the B-Wing is relatively slow and not particularly maneuverable, though a 1 Tallon Roll is a neat trick. Because they hit hard and don't get around too well, a B-Wing's fate is often to just trade punches until it has traded its last, but it does so in a spectacular fashion.
The U-Wing of Rogue One fame can currently only be bought in 2.0 format as part of the Saw's Renegades pack and I would contend it is a worthy purchase even if it is occasionally overshadowed by other "support" ships. Remember that, printed stat-wise, this is basically a medium base X-wing with one more health and shield. Having a crew carrier that can pick fights on its own is pretty neat. Speaking of crew, the U-Wing has a full suite of upgrade slots and can be tailored to many roles from coordinator to jammer to up-close brawler to Princess Leia carrier. The available maneuvers on the dial are what make it decidedly less like an X-Wing, though the free (at time of writing) Pivot Wing configuration lets you stop and turn 90 or 180 degrees at the cost of one defense die, which comes in handy quite often. The U-Wing is a very cool ship that tends to get overshadowed by options that cost fewer points.
HWK-290 Light Freighter
Aside from looking WICKED cool, the HWK is a versatile tool to use in your list building. The 2.0 "black box" miniature for this ship can be purchased as part of the Fugitives and Collaborators squadron pack and the Rebel pilots and components are part of the Rebel Conversion Kit but this ship has become such a fixture of the Rebel faction lately that I feel it merits inclusion here. The HWK-290 has a rather pedestrian maneuver dial and not much hull or shields (less overall health than an X-Wing) but is unique in being a small-base ship that has a turret, can carry crew, and drops bombs. This is a very adaptable platform that comes to life with the helpful abilities of its pilots; canonically most HWK operators were spies or saboteurs and have powerful ways to give their wingmates an advantage when properly protected. The HWK's Title upgrade, "Moldy Crow" adds a 3-die front arc gun to the turret so that it can fight for itself in a pinch along with the outstanding ability to carry focus tokens to the next round. Just be careful because the 3 hull and 2 shields with 2 agility can melt away quickly when a HWK pilot's ability paints a big target on their forehead.
The Y-Wing wants to be helpful, it really does. Its canonical identity as a reliable but somewhat obsolete workhorse is unfortunately represented well in the game. While some Rebel cells flew Y-Wings because they were all that was available, in this game you generally have the option to take an X-Wing or a good A-Wing pilot instead and that seems to be the Y-Wing's downfall - it doesn't have a role that another ship can't fill. It has plenty of hull and shields, but when they roll a single green die they often take hits too quickly to matter. The Y-Wing has plenty of upgrade slots, but we have a potentially effective missile carrier in the A-Wing and torpedo carriers in the X-Wing and B-Wing. There is something to be said for the flexibility of the Y-Wing's available ordnance slots, though. It is able to equip a turret and has seen some use with Ion Cannon Turrets and bombs, but we're all just waiting for a new development that will make this classic ship relevant again outside of bombs and a few niche pilot abilities.
VCX-100 Light Freighter
Rebels was great, wasn't it? The VCX-100, or the Ghost, is a monster of a ship on the table and can deal crippling damage to an opponent who is foolish enough to face it head-on. With a 4-die front gun, a turret slot, and upgrade slots for any number of crew, modifications, talents, etc., as well as a host of neat pilot abilities, the Ghost will eat a lot of points in your list but will put in work. Also, in true Rebel light freighter fashion, the VCX-100 has a surprisingly good maneuver dial for its size, including a white 4-straight and a 4-Koiogran Turn that allow it to cover a lot of ground if necessary. The VCX's downfall is the fact that it comes to the table with 0 agility. That's right, 0. That means that it will land a couple of valuable haymakers but will inevitably die as the biggest, most expensive target on the board.
The Sheathipede, or Phantom II, is the little ship that piggybacks on the Ghost after their first docking attack shuttle is destroyed. Not a particularly effective combat platform on its own, the Sheathipede is another way for Rebels to add the Coordinate action and some helpful supporting crew to a list. A wide range of points costs and pilot abilities make this a flexible option when you can't take a HWK or U-Wing for one reason or another and it's unique in the the faction as a small base with both crew and astromech slots. Your Sheathipede can dock with a VCX-100 in game to grant it a Coordinate action before activating, but this ability doesn't see much use despite being thematically pretty neat.