Good, Bad and Ugly Astromechs at the Start of Wave 5

After reading Theorist’s post on X-Wings I started to think of the Astomechs available to Rebels and their place at the start of wave 5.

The Good

 

astromech-r2-d2
R2-D2 – Thank goodness this great little droid is still relevant. What would a Star Wars game be without R2-D2?

Combined with a shield upgrade R2-D2 can really shine, although that is a very expensive combo. When installed alone. R2 gets his points back from a single green maneuver. Best thing about him is his ability is relatively passive – the pilot can still take actions, but is limited in his dial options.

In wave 1 and 2 it was thematic and possible to combine him with Luke + Draw Their Fire and have success. In our Wave 4 meta he was most often run on the E-Wing with Corran Horn.

E-wing_dialIf Corran Pushed the Limit, he needs to take a green maneuver to clear his stress. All the green maneuvers on the E-Wing dial make R2-D2 a good fit.

 

astromech-r3-a2

R3-A2 – This stress bot is fantastic. Being able to tag an enemy ship and stress it can be great. However, in an X-Wing it will be hard to stress a re-positional ship as a good opponent flying Soontir, a Phantom or a boosting Han will just arc dodge the stationary X-Wing. That being said, forcing stress onto an enemy is a form of board control and in some respects as good as an Ion shot. Double stressing an enemy ship can seriously cripple it.

x-wing-5-hobbie-klivian

A natural match for R3-A2 is Hobbie since their two abilities mesh. This does put Hobbie in the expensive  ship category, and since he shoots at a relatively low PS 5, there will be a target on his back.

I’ve tried running R3-A2 on the cheap, putting him in a naked Gold Y-Wing. It turned out it wasn’t worth the 20 points.

An effective way to run R3-A2 is to put him on a Rookie pilot for 23 points. The ship doesn’t cost that much, can clear stress with 1 speed maneuvers (which are some of the best in the game), but most importantly leaves lots of room in your list for other ships.

 

astromech-r7-astromech

R7 Astromech  – This astromech is great for closing out the late game.  In a 1 vs 1 battle, having an R7 on your side can be quite frustrating for your opponent. Personally, I would only ever run him with Tarn.

x-wing-3-tarn-misonFor 23 points Tarn is probably the best priced X-Wing out there. For 25 points he gets some protection from higher PS predators when paired with an R7 droid. Tarn should always be taking the focus action. When on defense he can get a free target lock on his attacker and force him to re-roll any dice while rolling his own dice with a focus – not so squishy anymore!

 

astromech-r7-t1

R7-T1 – The developers seem to be telling us that an extra action, with some hindrance, is worth 3 points.  R7-T1 is well priced and works best with higher PS ships. Notice that you don’t need to have an engine upgrade in order to boost. X-Wings suffer greatly in that they cannot re-position, but R7-T1 changes that.

When paired with a PS 8 or a PS 9 like Wedge, you will often be moving last and shooting first. Being able to boost into range 1 or possibly out of arc can be a lifesaver.

 

astromech-r2-astromech

 

R2 Astromech – He’s an economical purchase because of what you get for the single point. Making all 1 and 2 speed maneuvers green maneuvers can help with de-stressing X-Wings and especially Y-Wings with their limited dial. R2s are a viable option with Push the Limit on X-Wing heroes although in my experience X-Wings don’t need Push the Limit as often with the release of Predator.

Push_The_Limitelite-opportunist

Still, other cards like Opportunist can still be used relatively pain free.  Best thing about an R2 is that his ability is completely passive. The pilot can still take actions. If wave 5 proves to have a heavy stress meta, R2’s could see a comeback for people running X-Wings.

 

astromech-r2-f2

R2-F2 – This little guy seems to fit best with Biggs but can also work well with Luke’s quasi focus on defense. R2-F2 is definitely worth it on Biggs imho. If he gets you an extra evade just once then he’s earned his points back. Sure he costs an action, but his ability to add an evade die for all attacks that round is great if a lot of ships are forced to make range 3 shots on poor Biggs.

astromech-r5-p9

R5-P9 – This is the only other droid besides R2-D2 that can regenerate a shield. Essentially he costs you an action to do it. He is a very good fit with Luke. If Skywalker rolls well on offense and doesn’t spend the focus token, he will most likely not burn it on defense because of his built in focus ability, which will net him a shield. If Garven or Jan are around, this droid will work very well. However, the synergy will break down once those ships are dead.

 

The Bad

 

astromech-r2-d6

R2-D6 – When you first look at R2-D6, you think to yourself, “Wow, an Elite Pilot Talent is just what I need on so-and-so’s ship.” But then after looking deeper into what this droid offers, it doesn’t seem so great anymore.

When R2-D6 came out I was pretty excited. Now, I find that R2-D6, although a good idea, costs too much. Adding +1 for any Elite Talent is quite a lot.  In my opinion, X-Wings are slightly overpriced as it is. The last thing I want to do is pump more points into them.  The other thing about R2-D6 is that he takes up a droid slot.

Biggs could use Push the Limit but only with R2-F2 would that be worth it. Predator sounds great on a Y-Wing hero, but that’s 4 points extra. A Rogue Squadron with Wingman costs 26 points – I’d rather have Garven. Garven with Wingman now costs 29 points – I’d rather have Wedge. Any way you slice it, that +1 Elite Pilot Talent price increase coupled with the loss of a droid slot just makes this guy too expensive for me. Maybe if he added some green maneuvers to the dial or cost 0 points I’d run him.

 

astromech-r5-astromech

R5 Astromech – Like the R2 he also costs one point. Even though he comes with the X-Wing expansion, I would only ever use him on a Y-Wing. X-Wings go down fairly fast when they’re taking hull damage, while the Y-Wing can take 2 solid hull shots most of the time. Not taking ship crits can be important. The good thing about the R5’s ability is it’s passive, letting the pilot perform actions and move freely. I haven’t really used the R5 much but have taken it as an insurance policy to keep the Ion Cannon firing way back in wave 1.

In modern times, when I make lists, every point needs to be maximized and R5’s don’t do that for me. My thinking is this, if a Y-Wing is taking crits, it’s probably dead anyway. There is no point spending a point to let it maybe limp around for one extra round. That maybe is my problem with the R5. I don’t feel comfortable spending any points on a maybe. Maybe R5 triggers, and maybe he doesn’t, I’d rather take 1 less point and bid for initiative.

 

 

astromech-r5-d8

R5-D8 – On paper he sounds like a good droid and similar to R2-D2. If he discards at least 1 damage card then he’s earned his points back, right?

The problem is that he requires an action to use. R2-D2 is good because he has a relatively passive ability and X-Wings don’t mind going slow for the most part. Also, R2-D2 is guaranteeing you a shield back 100% of the time. R5-D8 will give you a hull back 62.5% of the time and the little bugger takes an action.

A ship with R2-D2 can still focus and help with offense/defense even if the opponent guessed your move. If you spend an action on R5-D8 you don’t get that boost to your ship’s rolls and can easily whiff on the repair roll too. Imagine that happens to you at a critical moment in a game, wouldn’t that just suck?

On X-Wings he doesn’t make much sense to me as when they start taking hull damage they’re pretty much dead anyway. He does make some sense on a Y-Wing, specifically Horton as he has a built in offensive re-roll.

At one point in time I would have thrown R5-D8 in “The Ugly” pile but the developers have given him some life with Porkins. I love the fact that Porkins’ ability synergises well with his droid buddy.

Porkin

With Experimental Interface and/or Push the Limit, Porkins can try to “hold it” and get extra actions. If he pulls off a free use of R5-D8, then it can be worth it.

I want to run a Super Porkins in a pick up game soon. Imagine this:

Porkins (35 points lol!)

Push the Limit, Experimental Interface, R5-D8

He can K-Turn, Target Lock + Focus + repair his hull all in 1 turn. Now that’s awesome haha!

Ultimately I think that 3 points is too much to pay for R5-D8 as he makes you spend an action and doesn’t guarantee a hull regeneration, but for casual play he’s still rather fun.

 

The Ugly

 

astromech-r5-k6

R5-K6 – It is agreed upon in the general community that this rust bucket is a waste of points, card and game design, especially when you compare him to Fire Control System.

Fire-control-system

You only have a 37.5% chance to re-acquire a target lock with R5-K6! In essence, you’re paying 2 points for a statistical fail. For the same 2 points, Fire Control System gives you a 100% chance to acquire a target lock after an attack. Very similar abilities, both cost 2 points, one is 37.5% the other 100%. This discrepancy is explained by the fact that R5-K6 was a wave 1 droid, back before the developers had a firm grasp of what should cost what. Perhaps the designers were afraid of Dutch abuse? We’ll never know.

Sadly, I don’t think he’s even worth 1 point as he stands now. I was curious to know what the BGG community thought, so I ran a poll asking if people would run him at 1 point. Results game back with 60% saying he’s not even worth 1 point. Ouch! Looks like he’s only fit for a Jawa Sand Crawler.

The odd thing about R5-K6 is that he has no synergy with his thematic partner Garven Dreis. Luke, to the contrary, has great synergy with R2-D2. Even Porkins kind of works with R5-D8.

Garven should always be taking focus as his action because of his pilot ability and never, ever be target locking. He therefore has no use for R5-K6! If R5-K6 acted exactly like a Fire Control System, or gave a target lock after spending a focus token, that would have been much better synergy for Garven. Red Leader could focus while his little R5 buddy fished target locks for him.

Unfortunately that ship has sailed and I think that R5-K6 will never see play.

astromech-r4-d6

EDIT: This  card only costs 1 point so disregard the rant below. For 1 point it isn’t so bad. Read Theorists comments on the card in the comments section at the end of the post. I think he summarizes R4-D6’s value rather well.

R4-D6 – Am I missing something with this droid? Was there a misprint with the point cost? I still can’t believe this card was even made.

First of all you need to have 3+ uncancelled hits, no crits in there mind you, just hits for him to trigger. If you have 2 hits against you? Too bad, eat them. If your opponent rolled hit, hit, crit, too bad, eat them too! How many times will this this droid trigger in a game? Those are some ridiculous hoops to jump through for a 3 point droid. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t like spending points on a maybe. Maybe I get 4 uncancelled hits from a phantom at range 1 and maybe I get hit, hit, crit, crit left uncancelled. Boom, dead ship, wasted 3 points.

Never mind that, you must take 2 damage at a minimum, and you will be stressed for every other cancelled hit. That by itself will nerf the ship running R4-D6. I might understand this card if it was “cancel hits and crits.” I might get this card if it cost 1 point. But 3 points?! Sure, a hull is worth 3, but are you telling me this is comparable to a hull upgrade?

Lets say you get the stars to align in order for this guy to trigger and cancel 2 hits, you now have 2 stress tokens. No red maneuvers for 2 turns and no actions until you clear. 3 points for that? R4-D6, I think a vacation to Jaba’s Palace is what the doctor ordered.

droid-torture

Those are my thoughts on droids. Of all of them I’m happiest with R2-D2 and R3-A2. I’m most disappointed in what R5-K6 could have been. However, hind sight is always 20/20 and FFG have done a great job with this game overall.

While some Astomechs are great, generally they fall short when compared to the systems slot on the B-Wing. X-Wings would love to have droid versions of fire control system or advanced sensors. That being said, I think most droids are well priced for what they bring to the table.

So why don’t we see that many droids in builds? The problem lies in pumping squishy X-Wings and expensive E-Wings with more points. Y-Wings with turrets and named Y-Wing pilots are already very pricey ships too. Putting droids on them doesn’t always make economical sense. More ships vs few pricey ships still generally makes for a better strategy in X-Wing, although we are seeing a slight shift to a high PS, fewer ship meta. Personally, I’d rather run two Z-95s than a Rookie with a droid any day. The good thing is, there are no broken combos with droids at the moment, so we can be grateful for that at least.

Maybe we’ll see reprinted cards with tweaked stats in the future (come back R5-K6…)? Would be nice but I doubt it. However, I’m pretty sure we’ll see more droids down the line. The possibilities with them are endless. They might even be the key to fix the slightly overpriced X-Wing. One can only hope FFG re-visits them sooner rather than later.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Good, Bad and Ugly Astromechs at the Start of Wave 5”

  1. R4-D6 does actually cost 1pt, not 3pts.

    He’s generally most useful as a cheap buy for Biggs (or a Gold Y-wing), to survive Range 3 HLC shots so that you don’t lose him on the very first volley. Another use can be at Range 1, where you are seeing ATT 4 rolls and some that have TL+F accuracy behind them. Lastly it’s a bit of a counter to Expose, Opportunist, and/or Jan Ors (pilot); all of which have at least some popularity right now. I’d put him in the “good” category just because of his cost, but maybe you could put him in the “bad” category because he’s so situational.

    R5-K6 would be worth 1pt to me as an afterthought card on Luke, Dutch, or maybe Hobbie in a 99pt list. At 2pts it has competition with some heavy hitter cards, including fellow droid R3-A2. But I would not label R5-K6 as the worst droid to field… I reserve that spot for the R5 Astromech, which I have fielded at least 100 times since I started playing and NEVER USED to any real advantage. It’s a true waste of 1pt in my opinion, until we see something much tougher than a Y-wing (maybe something like 3S 8H and AGI 2) that has enough lifespan and AGI where R5 could make a difference.

    Otherwise I think your list is spot on. R3-A2 (on ANYBODY), R2-D2 (on Corran Etahn or Luke), and R7 (on Tarn) are real all-stars. I have seen them win games for their squad. The R2 Astromech is actually not so far behind. It’s strong vs stress+ion lists, strong vs Phantoms and Interceptors, and a favorite of mine on an IonT+Engine Ywing when I can find 1pt.

    I’m not 100% sold on R7-T1 but it’s definitely a good droid more than a bad droid. Most of the time when I bring it, I end up wishing I’d bought Engine instead. A lot of that thought is just in the way I fly, more than the droid’s fault.

    Good article!

    1. Thanks for catching the R4-D6 point mistake Theorist. I’ve never run him and dismissed him right away. After looking at my physical copy of the card I gave myself a pretty good faceplam! I like your analysis of the droid as well.

      R5 Astromechs are a waste. I’ve never bothered running them since wave 1. Good on you for trying to see if they work. I don’t have the patience for them. If I ran them more and let them frustrate me, I probably would have put them in the ugly category.

      R5- K6 as 1 point throw away on Dutch and Hobby can definitely work, I agree, but that’s about the only place for him, even at 1 point. Mostly I’m sad he has no synergy with Garven.

      I’ve used R7-T1 on Wedge in an Epic Tournament. He’s not great, but not bad either. R7-T1 will not really allow an X-Wing to arc dodge but did allow Wedge to get into range 1 and murder a ship on occasion. At worst, he’s a free Boost when jousting.

        1. I’m not a big fan of Dutch unless it’s Epic, as he costs too much for me. However, playing him with R7-T1 would be interesting and require some skill.

        2. I also quite like R7-T1 with Experimental Interface on Hobbie – you gain a triple action ship that can end it’s turn without stress.

  2. With the Heavy Phantom play as well i can see R4 – D6 being useful on Biggs or even a Y-Wing, as a Gimmick. I agree with the analysis of these droids i think Tarn with R7 is an allstar. I really like running R3-A2 on an Ion Ywing, It works wonders if you can set it up properly. Ion Stressing any target can make them practically useless for a turn. Its by far my favourite counter to phantoms.

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