While X-Wings are a staple for any Rebel Alliance squadron, the B-Wing heavy starfighter from Wave 3 can pack a more substantial punch while being as durable as the Y-Wing – more so in fact as they have 5 shields and 3 hull as opposed to 3 shields and 5 hull opening up fewer chances for critical effects. Let’s take a look at this ship and unlock how it can be used to best effect.
The Booster Pack
The B-Wing booster has the ship itself (questionable mounting style notwithstanding), two generic pilots (at Pilot Skills 2 and 4), two named pilots, and its maneuver dial which looks like something out of “Sean of the Dead” (“You’ve got some red on you.”) It has 3 Attack, 1 Agility, 3 Hull, and an incredible 5 Shields. It also has a Systems Upgrade, a Cannon, and two Torpedoes as options. Both named pilots also have an Elite Pilot Skill upgrade. It has for standard actions Target Lock, Focus, and Barrel Roll (for the first time in a Rebel squadron). All in all, not bad, except that the point cost places the B-Wing 1 point above the standard X-Wing at the same Pilot Skill. On its own, you have a more durable, less agile X-wing with barrel roll. The only Systems Upgrade card that comes in the booster is Fire-Control Systems, a two point upgrade that allows you to acquire a target lock after an attack. If you have the Lambda-class Shuttle or Rebel Aces, your options expand for this slot. The Ion Cannon and Autoblaster are found in the booster, too, but I prefer the Heavy Laser Cannon from the Slave I or Lambda. This booster also gives you the deadly Advanced Proton Torpedo in addition to the Proton Torpedo. I would recommend picking up a Z-95 Headhunter for the Flachette Torpedo and the Munitions Failsafe modification.
Flying the B-Wing
On the board, the B-Wing can be flown as a straightforward bomber, much like a Y-Wing. Its lack of dial maneuverability can limit its operational capabilities beyond the initial alpha strike, but a 2 K-turn can help this immensely. As with any ship with a barrel roll, I recommend attacking at a 45 degree angle of approach, using the roll to clear firing arcs whenever possible and reducing the times when you roll a pathetic one defense die. It has few green maneuvers, but a 1 bank, 1 forward, 2 forward can still be useful. You will want to get used to clearing stress, especially with the named pilots, as I will cover soon.
There are many ways to put together your non-stock B-Wing. It can be a bomber, with 8 or 10 or even 12 points of torpedoes (and a Munitions Failsafe for one point) and the Fire-Control System to keep target locks on those big targets. With a Proton Torpedo and Advanced Proton Torpedo, this makes for a 37 point Pilot Skill 4 Dagger Squadron, or a 35 point Pilot Skill 2 Blue Squadron. That’s a lot of points for a generic ship, and when supported by Roark Garnet and a pair of Rookie X-Wings, you have a well supported heavy bomber that can strike as Pilot Skill 12.
You can also for a strike fighter by utilizing the Cannon upgrade. A Blue Squadron with an Ion Cannon comes in at 25 points. You could field four of them for a squadron with 32 hits and the ability to shut down those darty PTL enabled TIE Interceptor squadrons I taught your mates how to build in my last article. When Ionized, a ship cannot take a maneuver, he must move a 1 straight white. He won’t lose the stress he added the turn before trying to be slick.
Let’s get Rediculous
Or, you can do things that are really silly. My favorite right now is the following:
Ibtisam (Pilot Skill 6 – When attacking or defending, if you have at least one stress token, you may reroll 1 of your dice)
Heavy Laser Cannon (Range 2-3 Attack 4, Immediately after rolling your attack dice, you must change all your critical results to hit results.
Opportunist (When attacking, if the defender does not have any focus or evade tokens, you may receive 1 stress token to roll 1 additional attack die. You cannot use this ability if you have any stress tokens.)
At 39 points you have a long range killing machine. Let’s break down how this functions in play. Ibtisam first moves after most generic ships (and some named ones) to get into position and takes a focus action. At range 3 he fires the Heavy Laser Cannon (a secondary weapon) at some defenseless victim (one with no focus or evade tokens, probably due to some bumping or accident or because it chose to target lock). The target does not get its extra evasion die (that only applies to primary weapons) but Ibtisam chooses to take a stress token to have an extra die – that’s five big bad red dice. He rolls this with a sadistic glee and immediately turns all critical to regular hits (HLC special rule), then he can choose to reroll one of the dice. Interesting note, the attack role is now complete, so according to the latest errata, this new roll can land as a critical and stay that way as it falls outside the HLC special rule. Finally, he can spend the focus to change any ‘eyeball’ rolls to hits. I’m not good enough with statistics to tell you the percentage chance of scoring multiple hits this way, but I can tell you I rolled 20 of 20 hits in a row using this method. A five hit attack against even a TIE Interceptor is quite intimidating.
This guy will need to shed stress on the following turn, and a 1 straight or 1 bank will do the trick while staying back (what I call ‘throttling down’). He will need some support, though, as he starts shredding YT-1300s and Lambda shuttles with the upmost disdain. Also, how do you maximize the chance he will have a defenseless opponent to target?
Wes Janson, that’s how. 29 point, Pilot Skill 8 X-Wing with the ability to remove a focus or evade token from a unit he just attacked. So, he attacks, then if there are any focus or evade tokens left, he takes one of them when he leaves – like that uncle you have who steals toilet paper when he visits. (On a side note: seriously, Uncle Randy, what’s up with that?)
To round out this pile of murder we will add Wedge Antilles with Predator. Predator’s rule (When attacking, you may reroll 1 attack die. If the defender’s pilot skills is “2” or lower, you may instead reroll up to 2 attack dice) pairs with Wedge’s “When attacking, reduce the defender’s agility value by 1 (to a minimum of 0)” ability. This makes Wedge a lethal threat on his own, and a target in preference to Ibtisam.
The synergistic relationship between Wes Jansen and Ibtisam is nice but not essential, as Wedge will force his victims to use every trick in the book to avoid death by blaster. The deadliest threat, though, is the B-Wing – and any time you have something scarier than Wedge with Predator it is a pretty good list.
Wedge Antilles + Predator
Ibtisam + Heavy Laser Cannon + Opportunist
I hope you have seen new ways to equip your B-wings. They can be ordinance-laden torpedo platforms or strategic gunboats as you desire. If you paid attention to this article you will have learned the following:
- B-Wings have a barrel roll. Use it to avoid counter-attacks.
- B-Wings can carry a lot of torpedoes, and a Munitions Failsafe is a 1 point way to optimize the chance of using them.
- Ibtisam with Opportunist is a beast. With a Heavy Laser Cannon he is almost unfair.
- Uncle Randy steals toilet paper.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’ll see you on the battlefield, and, as always, Fly Casual.