The Cantina: What a Week!
Another busy week with a lot of work, some travel, and an attempt at tournament prep (details below) means I'll be posting some ramblings again instead of adding to a series as I had planned.
Atomic Mass Games Ministravaganza Roundup
Las weekend X-Wing's developers held their annual streaming festival with announcements, gameplay, and other content for their entire stable of miniatures games. I tried to catch as much as I could to recap for you here. Overall I'm very excited about the direction X-Wing is headed. AMG seems to have a considered long-term plan and will be introducing some exciting new products in the next year or so. There were a lot of reveals over the course of the weekend so I'll just be focusing on some of my favorites here.
Battle of Yavin Scenario Pack and other battles teased
AMG both teased content and played a run-through of the new Battle of Yavin Scenario Pack that should be the next X-Wing release. It won't contain any miniatures but will have pre-built pilot+loadout cards with setups that may not be possible using the standard listbuilding process and will be legal in Standard play as an alternative to the pilots we're used to. The T-65 X-Wing pilots in the trench run are particularly neat with a new chassis ability, Attack Speed, that allows a straight boost after a speed 3-4 straight maneuver. Also exciting are the spicy new Y-Wing options. There are some new TIE pilots, including Dark Curse as our first initiative 6 TIE/ln and new Interceptors with unique abilities and ship tweaks that are only possible on these pre-build cards. It was mentioned that the pre-built pilot cards will be Standard-legal but will exist alongside traditional listbuilding as alternatives to the normal cards.
The scenario seems pretty neat and well thought-out and when the devs played their demo game it looked like they had a great time. The pack comes with a physical marker that represents the infamous trench and some condition/environment(?) cards to introduce new ships as part of the narrative. It seems to be aimed at casual play and should be a nice alternative when you want to just commit a random act of Star Wars.
Cards were teased from what appears to be the next Scenario Pack, the Siege of Coruscant, and they also mentioned that other battles are being considered since there are so many to choose from! Among those mentioned were Endor, Starkiller Base, Jakku, and probably a few more that I forgot.
Hotshots and Aces 2 (!!!)
Look, I'll be the first one to say that I prefer pretty new plastic over card packs, but Hotshots and Aces and the recent Pride of Mandalore packs have given us a lot of new options in the game for a modest investment and they seem to be products that the developers can get in our hands relatively quickly. I'm pretty stoked to see what we get in a new Hotshots pack.
2nd Edition reprints of popular ships
We didn't get any images of real product but the developers confirmed that they are still committed to "Black Box" reprints to get more ships into Standard format! The ships that were mentioned on stream as coming soon were the YT-2400, the TIE/sa Bomber, and the Alpha Class Starwing. Nice!
Faction-specific starter packs
We didn't get many details on this but it was mentioned that faction starter packs are being developed. This is really exciting because the existing Core Set is in need of an update and, to be honest, isn't really the best way to get into the game if you're interested in factions other than Rebels and Empire. It sounds like these packs will come with 4 minis, an updated rules document, and the basic components needed to play. Sounds great!
More support for organized play
Now, I'm both a pretty casual player and relatively new to the scene so I don't remember what OP was like pre-COVID, but from what I'm hearing AMG seem to be taking the tournament scene pretty seriously and that has people excited. Worlds 2023 is scheduled for next year's Adepticon and AMG will be honoring previous invites. They also announced that Store Championship kits will return, with winners earning a Worlds invitation and Regional Championships will offer some sort of premium invite to the winner. Pretty cool!
I'll be playing in the Lone Star Open tomorrow and, thanks to a recent career change, move, and a great vacation, I have only had the chance to play 4 games of X-Wing in the last month. I tend to prefer to play for fun and don't get too competitive so, considering the circumstances, my expectations for my performance in this event are especially low. As always, my goal is to:
- Have fun
- Don't do anything embarrassing or make anyone upset
- Maybe win half of my games
Since I haven't had much time to practice I honestly have no idea what I want to bring to this event! I'll probably fall back on some old favorites that are relatively simple to execute and just not sweat it when I get outplayed by some of the really good competitive players who will be at this event. I wanted to play my new favorite faction (for now): First Order, but I'm missing a few cards from the Conversion Kit to make my lists legal and feel like some of the more unorthodox ships like the Whisper and /se Bomber require a bit more practice than I have been able to get lately. Here are a few things I'm considering.
Ye Olde 5-Ship Resistance
It feels like when I haven't been able to play much X-Wing I fall back on Resistance. Something about their abilities and the look of the minis is just comfortable for me. You may remember that I used a similar list in a tournament a few months ago and surprised myself with some decent performances but since points have changed that version doesn't really work anymore and I'm less familiar with the skills I need to pivot to a new combo.
I prefer to use Flyboy Poe but I had to downgrade to "boring" Poe to upgrade a ship to another X-Wing (I LOVE Nien) and avoid having to downgrade a 3-pointer to BB-8 in the pod. Jarek seems like a good value with the missiles but may be tricky to employ and, while it's great to have points available for bombs on the super fun boosting Y-Wings I've never really used bombs and am concerned I won't be able to employ them well either. I hesitate to use this as it's just a bit too much of a change from my ol' reliable. I tested a version with Flyboy Poe, Kazuda Xiono, and 3 Y-Wings but a very good player in my local area pointed out that it struggled to do enough damage early in the game. Overall, this list just isn't as much fun for me as previous iterations were.
Vader and Friends
Another classic updated for our new format. New Vader is a monster and I enjoy using Soontir, though he isn't as popular these days. As you can see by the name I have about a million variations of this. I tried a version with Vader and Rexler Brath in the Defender but that required changing Iden to a 2-pointer and that didn't feel worth it right now, especially since Iden is such a good value. The ability to force an opponent to waste that perfect Proton Torpedo shot is amazing. Grand Inquisitor in the TIE Advanced v1 could sub in for Soontir but I think the 6-6-4-4-4 is nice and simple and Soontir can do a bit more damage.
Speaking of damage, I think this list may struggle to punch hard enough if I don't manage to use the Jingoists effectively or lose Soontir early. I might look at splitting Soontir into Gideon Hask and Del Meeko to make it Vader+Inferno+Jingoists but I'm not sure if I have the skill to handle 5 TIEs right now. Overall, this list could be a total disaster or it could be a lot of fun. Or both.
Some Weird Rebel Thing (I like X-Wings)
I think/hope I've made it clear that I enjoy list building and prefer not to fly the same thing that others are flying. If I want to fly Rebel X-Wings the smart thing would be to do the Luke-Wedge-Dutch-Kullbee/Fenn thing that is popular right now. But I'm not going to do that. First because many lists at the tournament will have techniques to counter that and second because I don't want to.
5-5-4-4 is nice and simple (seeing a theme here?) and with Luke, a U-Wing with Coordinate, and K-2SO I have decent opportunities to pop off a few double modded Proton Torpedoes in a pinch. Wedge plus A-Wing Hera would be a nice substitute to make it 6-6-4-4 but I'm not convinced the A-Wing can hit hard enough and Wedge doesn't last as long as Luke without more cannon fodder around him. Plus there's the fun, sneaky little combo of Jyn and Juke for Luke once his ordnance is gone. I worry that I'll miss having an I6 in the list but I may just have to deal with it.
This one honestly may be fun for the "Top Gun" side event the second day where you bring set pilots but get 5 minutes at the start of each round to build loadouts. I'd have the chance to either use my defensive Luke or switch to the standard Torpedoes+Afterburners and the U-Wing can be super flexible, maybe even bringing those Clan Wren Commandos?
Well, as I sit here writing in the middle of the week I still have no idea what I'm going to do so at least it's guaranteed to be a wild time. I'll report back next week. Thanks for reading!