Zack’s X-Wing Corner – Rebel hopes and where we go from here…

Welcome to a new series where our Guest Author Zack Mathews talks about the X-Wing Miniatures Game, this time Zack talks about Rebels pre-points change and how the faction feels currently.

Hi rebel players! I like many people felt like rebels were in a pretty rough state going into the world championships, that seemed to be the consensus as they were also the least played faction at worlds. Even with two outliers in that small group, they were also the worst performing faction on average. 

Thanks to pattern analyzer for the information and graphic

  I sure felt like a fool seeing two rebel lists not only make the cut, but advance in it!  I’m hopeful that AMG won’t read too hard into this, and give the faction some love in the upcoming points update, even if they don’t there, His arrival is imminent. What I’d like to do here is breakdown what list did well and why, and identify a few pieces to try now, that might be good going forward

Pictured: him 

Between Endor, the starter sets, and points, there’s plenty to be hopeful for (get it) , but what do we do in the meantime?

Let’s start by looking at what definitely works right now, and see if we can extrapolate what might be good, even if it doesn’t get a buff going forward. First lists, then a few individual pieces to check out

Here’s Bartosz Han and friends, 

(sourced from roll better)

Let’s start with the important question, “Where did I put the cardboard for Tycho and Keo?  Keo is on the back of Second Sister, Tycho is on the back of Magna Tolvin. Next the classic “how can i change it” You probably shouldn’t, unless you change factions entirely. The a-wing chassis is probably the best thing in rebels right now thanks to its access to linked boost, the only thing I’d even consider is moving Dereks loadout to something like predator and crack shot, but all of these pilots are fairly independent and get better working with Han. Han is basically a big a wing himself, but he can do *some* tanking. Bartosz usually played Han with his arc pointed front and back. Han isn’t a “leave it in front of everything and laugh ” level of damage absorption, but unlike other aces, he’s not afraid to get shot. Remember, Chewbacca is evade into focus, so if you bump you can’t use the Chewbacca defense, which can be scary…

Small rocks give you room to roam with all your maneuverable ships. 

Next up is Mario 

This list really took me by surprise, with all the jam, especially Feroph in the meta, I did not expect an ordnance heavy list to have this much success.  I peeked in on a few of Mario’s games and rewatched his stream games. One big takeaway that makes this list sing, he usually has Ten Numb in a mostly flanking position, and Janson is only loosely in the area of Dutch. However both stay generally within range 3, the only ships sticking together here are Cracken and Dutch. The list is more self sufficient than other rebel lists for a few reasons, since it gets its locks in the combat phase, you have a much better idea of who you can put your torps into, Janson and Ten are useful on their own outside of this list. Keo is fantastic at objective play, and while I prefer proton rockets, this Keo will sometimes be ignored for long stretches letting concussion missiles multiple charges be of high value. Janson’s ability is useful, but you don’t have to worry about getting overly cute and setting up a Janson->Cracken->Ten->Dutch firing sequence, if Janson will have a torp shot and ten either doesn’t, or got a lock of his own, just let the torps fly and delete whatever your opponent gave you. I really don’t recommend tweaking this list, Corran horn is holding you back, Fenn Rau may require you to “lose” the road roll against i6s and the extra squad point for a ship that isn’t a real offensive threat can add up, but we’ll talk more about him later.

I have played almost exclusively rebels since worlds. I’ve started with these lists and tried other pieces that i want to draw attention to, as independently good, or worth playing with Endor Wedge. 

The first big takeaway is that Keo is amazing, the a wings speed and linked action combo are tremendous, being able to take proton rocket let’s Keo pack quite a punch, and their ability keeps their uptime high. At three points Keo is seldom worth the resources your opponent needs to kill them, but will nearly always score their points back. I really think for the time being, rebel lists should start with Keo.

If you want more cheap, efficient a wings, Arvel tops the list. He brings much of what keo brings, though you’ll need to be a little cagier than you do with Keo. Start with crackshot and add your choice of predator or elusive, I generally prefer crackshot to maximize the offensive output. Predator may feel better in your head than crackshot, but spike damage is still critical in x wing, crackshot pushes through damage that you normally have to play torpedoes for. Here’s a neat little anecdote. At a recent game night, i needed to score half points to win a chance engagement match. I got the range one dream with Arvel, three hits into a three agility ship, my opponent skillfully choose that moment to roll three evades, crackshot rendered his incredibly display of skill irrelevant and sealed my victory. You can go wrong rounding out an ace heavy squad with Arvel, plus it’s the 40th anniversary of return of the jedi, you’re practically obligated to play him.

Unfortunately the straight forward efficiency ends there, if we’re gonna play rebel swarms, we’re hoping for some efficiency in the starter set or battle of yavin, or aggressive price drops.

The reason I’m writing this and so excited though, is because of Endor Wedge, rebels have some okay filler and support but I feel like Wedge is one of the first real efficient centerpieces that rebels will have. Which brings us to the utility pieces I have been impressed by

Mario ran Wes Janson with proton torpedoes and r4 astromech, giving Wes some punch, and helps get around the downside of having closed s foils, as they only affect his primary attack. I’ve also played a few games with Wes as a combo piece, with snapshot, ion torpedoes and chopper. I’ve found I don’t get snapshot off as often as I’d like, so the dream of setting up defenseless attackers for Wedge to trigger his ability is a sometimes thing, but stripping your opponents tokens for the rest of your list and being able to threaten your opponent with jam and ion is very real.

A combo that people have caught immediately with Wedge is Fenn Rau from the Pride of Mandalore expansion. Bringing two I6s is already quite a threat, and being able to allow wedge to ignore the downside of locked S foils, setting up boost focus lock proton torps is outright gross. Fenn crew also opens up many opportunities with rebels large ships, a current favorite of mine is Chewbacca Falcon with Baze, Bistan, Fenn crew and you’ve got a point to play with left over. You can do similar with Kallus Ghost, I’m a little hesitant to look at the 8 point options as I worry that will lock in list building too much. Both the ghost and falcon with Fenn hold up well on their own, and will do even better when their setting up wedge. 

I think there may be merit to Fenn sheathipede as well, his combination of defense and utility is hard to bypass in a rebel list.

Sometimes you are a sleepy Fenn Rau and you just want to hang out in the back

A few sample hold me over lists i’ve been running below,The general idea is to try different ships out and be ready to put the puzzle pieces together when points or endor gappen. I accidentally included Endor Wedge as I really had no idea what else to do with five points, and I was more interested in the other pieces anyway. 

Another sample list, highlighting double tap Chewbacca

These are a few lists I’ve been enjoying to pass the time. I wouldn’t take the to a tournament, but they’re game night competitive.

Feel free to chime in with any rebel lists or pilots you’ve had success with on the DiceHate Discord, let us know if you like the article and want to see more.

Kris said if I mention the DiceHate Patreon I can include pictures of my cats, so here’s Miranda dreaming about you subscribing and also burning the empire down… [Ed. I didn’t but I think there would be riots in the streets if I removed cat pictures from the internet – Kris]