Star Wars: X-Wing - TIE/fo and T-70 X-Wing Review
on Jan 14, 2016
The Force Awakens has fully arrived and with it the new X-Wing ship expansions of the featured TIE/FO and T-70. The capabilities of these fighters have already been seen with the previously released Force Awakens starter set, so these faction expansions aren't altogether shocking. Whatâs really offered is additional pilots and options, much like the original TIE and X-Wing expansions of the first wave.
The TIE/FO continues to be a more robust Imperial fighter that's still relatively cheap and zippy. My previous comparison to a Chardaan Refit A-Wing still holds and identifies its niche. One interesting aspect of this craft that didn't strike me upon my first few games was its ability to be a smidge more powerful offensively. The First Order model features the capability to lock onto its target, unlike the Empire's main vehicle. This won't increase maximum damage output but it will enforce more reliable combat results if you can acquire a second action to both Focus and Lock. This is most readily accomplished with Squad Leader.
The new FO pilots are interesting but nothing as impactful as Howlrunner in the old era. All of the uniques continue to have generic names due to a lack of defined characters in the film. The abilities are interesting though and I've had a blast fielding Zeta Leader who can throw an extra attack die if not stressed. Combined with his increased durability he can be quite powerful for the cost.
We also see a potent Elite Pilot Talent dubbed "Juke". This lets you force a defender re-roll of a miss result if you have an Evade token. I really like this balance of defensive action granting offensive reward and will squeeze it in if possible.
The T-70 expansion feels the stronger of the two as it gives us the exciting Ello Asty pilot, Cool Hand EPT, and a Targeting Astromech. Ello Asty at least has some recognition from the film as one of the alien X-Wing fighter jockeys. His ability to treat the Tallon Roll maneuver as white, which means they do not invoke stress, can be quite beneficial in the tight maneuvering spectrum of the early and mid-game. I find the Tallon Roll to be perhaps the strongest maneuver in the entire design as it consistently allows you to line up targets on attack runs and strike repeatedly. An X-Wing that exploits this new option and can still mount BB-8 is a no brainer.
The Cool Hand skill allows you a one-time benefit of gaining a Focus token instead of being stressed. This is somewhat strong for its one point cost and allows you the possibility of a very swingy turn where you execute a daring maneuver and come out the other side setup to roll your enemies. It pairs extremely well with the Targeting Astromech that lets you acquire a Target Lock after you execute a red maneuver. Executing a Tallon Roll and then blowing the living daylights out of an enemy TIE is delicious like one of those bread cubes on Jakku. Well, probably much more so.
The real selling point of these two ship packs is the ability to re-live the excellence of The Force Awakens. Coming out of that theater I wanted these shiny new toys and I wanted to blow them up. Now we can.
Additionally, this release feels stronger and more interesting than The Force Awakens core set because we have actual cinematic context at this point. When that new starter hit the market many of us didn't know much about the First Order or Poe Dameron, so fielding them felt like we were playing with some odd caricatures of existing characters and craft. These new ships lacked identity and came across as more Expanded Universe than the EU itself.
The only big disappointment here is that we're missing additional pilots that came alive during the film. This is really an oversight on the Resistance side of things as Jess Pava and Snap Wexley are obvious misses. It's not difficult to come to the conclusion that this is not a failure on Fantasy Flight's part, but rather on their inability to have full access to Force Awakens content prior to its release. X-Wing players are the ones who suffer as this release is not as grand or fulfilling as it otherwise could be.
Many times with releases such as these, you want the game to inform and expand your knowledge of the intellectual property. One of the most fascinating aspects of my time with the Decipher Star Wars CCG was getting background information on the citizens of Bespin or expanding my breadth of knowledge regarding obscure TIE models like the Vanguard. This sense of discovery and information feeds into your desire to experience play. That could have been the case here if Disney would have allowed it.
Still, I can't deny that these new ships and pilots are now more of an acknowledgement than a promise. In a post episode VII world you're either all aboard that retrofitted Falcon or you're not. For the most part these ships get the job done and will have you screaming in celebration like trooper FN-2187.