The Persistence of Lethality in X-Wing

In many war games, damage dealt to a unit diminishes its capabilities.  Either through reducing the number of fingers that can pull triggers meaning fewer shots that can be fired, or some kind of effect occurs to reduce how well it moves, or how well it reacts to stressful situations.  The X-Wing Miniatures Game is a slightly different animal.  In this article we will discuss that difference, and how to get into the right mindset to fully appreciate what the term “Persistence of Lethality” means to your games.


As units in X-Wing take damage, unlike in many other games, their capabilities do not change (barring critical hit effects, which we will ignore for this moment).  So, when asked the question, “which is more deadly, a TIE fighter with no damage, or a TIE fighter with two damage” – the quick answer is “both”, by the end of this article, you’ll see how the best answer is “the one with nothing to lose”.

This is a key feature to remember, because in an organized play situation, unless that unit is completely destroyed or off the board, it has not given any points to the opposition.  There is no pro-rated value for damage, it is all or nothing.

Thus, the units persist with their ability to deal damage and make an impact on the game, so long as they still have any hull points remaining.

Nothing to Lose

When you have a ship that is down to one hull point remaining, you have two choices:

1. You can fly it a little more reckless.  For me, this chap becomes a blocker, even if he didn’t sign up for that.  If it is a lethal unit (such as a TIE Interceptor) then I will actually fly him through the opposing line, and attempt to move back from behind.  There is a chance that an unskilled or distracted opponent will ignore him, at least for awhile.
2. You can run away to save the points.  While you keep him away from the fight, you deny the points to your opponent while essentially taking your damaged unit out of the game.  I’m not a fan of this method, unless there are just a few points in contention.
3. You can feint as option 2 and see who follows, turning back to harass and attack from behind if no ships take the bait.  This happens to be my favorite, if I have a safe line to escape, anyway.

The Enemy Reacts

Depending on the path you take (and I won’t even acknowledge the “full run away” plan) whether to be aggressive or harassing, your opponent can react by either engaging or ignoring them.  If he engages, but uses more than one ship, your wounded craft is probably doomed.  One on one, you might be able to hang in there for another round or two.

If he makes the mistake and ignores him, take advantage.  Use him to block your opponent’s best ship, or set up a conga line block.  Use that ship to your best and make him pay for not finishing your ship.


I can attest that nothing short of blanking six defense dice is a frustrating as losing by a few points while your opponent has two or three ships with a collective hull point count of three.

When you are faced with opposing ships that are wounded but not out, don’t ignore them.  But, likewise, do not over commit.  If you can, line up fire arcs that have the option to destroy the annoying little flea.  You will capture the points, and more importantly, reduce the number of maneuver dials your opponent has at his disposal … and that’s always a good thing.



I hope this article gets you to think a little more about your ships in X-Wing, how to use them as they get damaged and how to mop up the opponent’s stragglers once they are low.  If I did my job well with this article you will have learned the following:

  • You neither give nor collect points for units that are almost dead..
  • When a pilot becomes comfortable with his impending doom, he becomes freed up to do amazingly dangerous things.
  • Don’t ignore damaged ships, finish them.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.  As always, Fly Casual.