In X-Wing you have many different ships and pilots to choose from, each with unique abilities. Some of these pilots and ships are overlooked by the tournament goers and the Meta at large, getting little to no representation at the tournament level. I call these overlooked Pilots the “Forgotten Aces.” Last week I looked at Rexlar Brath in his TIE Defender. This week I look at a pilot from the movies, and the first rebel pilot I have chosen for Forgotten Aces: Horton Salm.
Horton is the highest most skilled pilot (PS 8) to fly in the Y-Wing, a ship widely used as support and back up for the rebels. The Y-Wing is sturdy with it’s 3 shields and 5 hull, taking a lot of hits despite it’s 1 agility dice. Horton has an ability that would be considered amazing on almost any ship. So why is he completely missing from the tournament tables?
The problem lies in the fact that the community at large thinks of the Y-Wing being only a support ship. The Y-Wing has a miserly 2 attack out of it’s front arc, which is not enough to make it a competent jouster for 18 points. It’s biggest selling point is the turret slot, and so it’s always carrying the Ion Cannon, allowing it to shoot out of arc, Ionizing ships.
Ion hits are a crippling counter against any manoeuvrable ship like the TIE Phantom or a TIE Interceptor; the Y-Wing’s ability to carry the Ion Cannon and stay alive has kept the lower cost Gold’s in the meta. Let’s also not forget about “Dutch” who helps squads by giving target locks out like candy.
Unlike Dutch, Horton’s ability is self serving and aggressive in nature. The ability to re-roll any of your blank results and secure hits at range 2-3 is good but something you most likely want to use on a damage dealing attack and not on an Ion Cannon. If you were to use the Ion Cannon with Horton’s re-rolls, your target could only be in the range 2 band, which is not always easy to set up. The key to flying this Ace is a perfect synergy of upgrades and support, here are two self contained examples of current possibilities.
This Horton is an aggravating beast. The first amazing thing about him is that he flies at an impressive Pilot Skill 10, making him able to shoot before any TIE Phantom or most ships in the game. He can wait until the opponent moves and then boost into range 2 if he missed it on his initial movement. Then, when at range 2, he can shoot his Ion cannon unmodified, and still get 2 free blank re-rolls to help him secure a successful Ion every time. This Horton is survivable, annoying and a great addition to any list that has the 36 points to spare.
Horton is a ship that loves to be chased. He favours the more aggressive Blaster Cannon, allowing him to attack with 3 dice at 360 degrees. He sports the ability to boost into range 2 with the use of Engine Upgrade as well as the ability to Push The Limit to focus, allowing him to shoot the Blaster Turret that round.
Now at range 2, he can shoot his cannon and still get free blank re-rolls to help him secure a successful shot. This Horton is a bit riskier with his stressing himself (Not something Y-Wings like) but is effective and is still a viable choice at 37 points. This build can also be saved from the Push The Limit stress if you include Garvin or Kyle into your build, but can be crippled if your opponent kills them before Horton.
The real boon to Horton Salm as a pilot is coming in Wave 6, because you can put him in the ship he was meant to fly, the BTL-A4 Y-Wing.
This title card, at the low cost of 0 pts allows you to fire two attacks in the same round from your firing arc. With BTL-A4 and a blaster turret on Horton, he can shoot a 2 dice attack as well as as 3 dice attack with free blank re-rolls on both shots, as long as his target is in range 2. This upgrade gives Horton the aggressive nature he needs to fully utilize his pilot ability and make him the Ace he was meant to be.
While already being an impressive but misunderstood pilot, Horton Salm will really come with a vengeance in Wave 6 and the release of the BTL-A4 upgrade. He’s aggressive, he’s annoying, and a great part of any unorthodox rebel squad. I hope to show everyone that he is not an Ace to forget about!