A-wings, and my experience with those little space kayaks of doom

Hey folks! My names Joe, and i must confess I’m a Rebel, and an A-Wing fanatic.

My love affair with this awesome little ship started when i first began playing. It was a dark time, full of mystery and X-Wing  was just getting its legs under it. If i remember, i came in about a month before wave 3. I started with the core of course, and quickly picked up another x-wing for more shooty fun. After a bit, i realized how cool this game felt to play and i needed more, so off i go to the local meeplemart and see what i can get. I grabbed a couple A-Wings because they looked cool. After i sat down and tried them out I was immediately blown away by how fast they were! (keep in mind i was a really REALLY new player) It seemed to have some trouble with the TIE, and couldn’t chunk through the Firespray fast enough… but wow! So speedy! Who cares that i couldn’t kill anything with it, with clever flying i couldn’t be killed! just slipping in and out of everyone/things fire arc and getting the odd pot shot. Money in the bank! It was immediately my favourite ship. So with a bit of practice, i headed out into the real world and hooked up with the X-Wing locals in my area of Southern Ontario.

So uh…. there was a bit of a learning process. I think i came to my first tourney with a few X-Wings and Tycho. Got completely pummeled with some of the most skilled piloting and list builds i had ever imagined, but they were good people! I was even more in love with the game. Not only was it an amazing play experience, but it had the most amazing community to back it up! I plugged away at it for a while longer, eventually getting a few tournaments under my belt. I even felt that I was a slightly better pilot than when i first started.

Then, came my first tournament at a new location: Mississauga’s X-Planet!  Having talked to a friend in the area who also played, we decided that we must attend together. The night before the tourney I was still trying to figure out a way to tweak my list. Then I had an idea… What if i just tried a dynamic list whose sole purpose was to unleash a couple of assault missiles as early as possible? So crazy that might just work right? Back to the drawing board! Ok. So at the time, Rebels had just started getting some focus sharing with Kyle Katarn. So he’s in. The B-wing was dominating everywhere, so… sure i’ll take one of them. Then the missile boats themselves, 2 prototypes with assault missiles.

The list looked like this:

Kyle Katarn
Kyle Katarn

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01aa

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1aaa

Kyle Katarn, mouldy crow, blaster turret, recon specialist
Blue Squadron, fire control system
Prototype Pilot, assault missile
Prototype Pilot, assault missile

Incredibly, i actually WON. Not even just a game or two! the WHOLE DARN THING!!! In my wildest dreams, I’d never even considered this a possibility! Wow!

Fast forward a while, and now my friend and I both are able to place well enough at any given tournament to not consider ourselves new players. We both have come to the conclusion that we want to try the competitive circuit, and with a few tournaments coming up it seemed like a great time to try!

So rolling with my sometimes competitive, always fun, and annoyingly frustrating list idea of A-Wings being good missile boats, i went to the drawing board again.

I really liked the ships, and even late game i noticed they were pulling their weight. (I’ll go into this later) They were tough to take down, and when flown aggressively into the thick of things often made their points back. So my two trusty prototypes were definitely making the cut, but the assault missile was waning, and i needed something harder hitting. Something to reliably take out a ship, or damage one to the point where the A-Wing could then take it out on its own… back then, concussion missiles seemed to fit that bill – awesome. Then came the firing dynamic. I really liked Kyle, but now I had managed to land a couple Y-Wings* and with Dutch I had a way to pass target locks. Garven would pass focus cheaper than Kyle. All I had to do was keep formation until the missiles were off. Also, at PS 3 I’d try to get a the pounce on the PS2 heavy meta that was dominant at the time. Here’s what i came up with:

Green + Concussion

Green + Concussion

x-wing-6-garven-dreis

y-wing-6-dutch-vander

Green Squadron, concussion missile (23)
Green Squadron, concussion missile (23)
Garven Dreis (26)
Dutch Vander, ion turret (28)

*(Y-Wings were nowhere to be found for months after the first batch sold out. Even today I’m sure you’ll notice a few ships are hard to find, but imagine there are only 4-6 ships to buy and you can’t find 1-2 of them, but everyone is using the cards from them. Super frustrating.)

Now i was thinking I’d do okay, but I decided to test myself at a local tourney to see if I was right. And, wow (I’m probably saying that too much) the list did amazing. It seemed like every time i loosed a missile I was getting a crit or two and 4 hits overall! This was fantastic, i couldn’t believe how well it was going! Now this was a long time ago at Hobby Kingdom so i can’t recall who flew what, and what lists i faced but they dynamic was solid. Earned me my second tournament win! I even managed to go toe to toe with some of the veteran pilots in our community and hold my own! All with some plucky little A-Wings that everyone kept telling me were garbage.

The meta has shifted a lot since then, and my only other notable tournament placing was for a Regional. I placed 4th overall using a 5 ship rebel swarm, 2 Prototypes, 2 Rookies, 1 Blue and it seemed to do okay. It mostly came down to lucky draws and good strength of schedule, but who cares! I was making A-Wings work, and it was so much fun to fly.

Hopefully I’ve conveyed how much i love this game, and how much I love these ships. I’m a rebel player (as I mentioned earlier), but that’s due to the fact I ONLY own rebel ships. This is because when getting into this hobby with a friend, we  divided up the ships by faction and went from there. There have been times I’ve looked longingly at some imperial ships, and thought… “why not? its just one purchase…” Thankfully I’ve held true, and not given in.  Still, my not having access to those faster, slipperier ships the imperials have in abundance might contribute to my love of the little space kayaks of doom.

In my time flying this little red or blue marvel, I’ve noted its strengths and weaknesses, which are widely talked about.

Pros: They’re cheap (+1), they’re defensive (+1), they’re the most maneuverable ship in the game (+2).

Cons: They only have 2 attack dice, and every rebel ship worth taking has 3 (-1,000,000)

Now most of the folks out there write off this ship. 9 games out of 10 its the last of my ships on the board. If its not holding a missile, its basically ignored. This has left it an interesting window in the battle. It can basically just flit around almost anywhere, and unless its a shot that can’t be ignored, or a ships only shot, its ignored completely. I mean who’s going to take a range 1 shot on an a-wing, when you have wedge/biggs at range 3?! This means, that you can be viciously aggressive with its placing. Let me tell you, there aren’t very many pilot skill 1 ships out there for rebels, and even less under 25 points. So with its dial (best in the game), it makes ONE FANTASTIC BLOCKER. This also puts it at range 1 of some other ships, and usually with a focus token. Even if your only plinking off one shield or hull point, this little bastard is making something pay in the long run – and it almost always earns back its points.

Enter Rebel Aces, MY DREAM COME TRUE. So now, my A-Wing options are more than doubled! I also have a barrel rolling A-Wing (WHAT?!!! YAY!!!!!), a discount when i don’t need missiles, new fancy missiles if i do, double elite talents for free, and new bad ass pilots with a cool new painted A-Wing!

SWX29-a-wing

So remember that prototype no one liked but made his points back all day long? Cheaper. Remember that Green Wing with PTL that seemed to be able to hold his own in almost every situation? Well, now he could get even more interesting with some solid builds for under 25 points! This is the golden age of A-Wings. The only ship in the game that can take 2 ept’s and, STILL the best dial in the game. Although, i think the YT-2400 is going to give it a run for the money in that department. However, A-wings are the only ship that can really make proton rockets shine!

secondary-missiles-proton-rockets

I’m not sure how much more FFG can improve this little ship. I’ve been hooked on A-Wings from the start, and now I’ll never let go.

While this has probably been largely uninformative, here are some of my favourite and most educating links concerning A-Wings.

A Guide To A-Wings (FFG Article)

Advanced Guide To A-Wings (FFG Article)

 

Oh and since you scrolled this far down, here’s a 100 pt  pure A-Wing list that drops 20 attack dice at PS 10.

May the force be with you!

1aaaaa

 

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tycho celchu, awing test pilot, veteran instincts, swarm tactics, proton rockets (32)

green squadron, swarm tactics, proton rockets (24)

green squadron, swarm tactics, proton rockets (24)

prototype pilot, proton rockets (20)

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2 thoughts on “A-wings, and my experience with those little space kayaks of doom”

  1. That brought back a lot of memories, how the meta has changed!

    In the next wave I can’t wait to try Tycho with a free barrel roll every round.

    Tycho, Push the Limit + Experimental Interface + Expert Handling (or Daredevil)

    Since he can take actions while stressed, Tycho can either barrel roll or do a one hard turn every round because of Experimental Interface. What a fun zippy ship that will be to fly.

    Go A-Wings!

    1. haha, yeah man the meta’s come so far so quickly. I’ll probably do a follow up article on just some base tactics and my favourite builds eventually. but those links i posted pretty much cover it

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