Coming off my (small) win on Saturday, I’ve decided that it is time to mix things up a little; other lists to fly, new ships to discover and new challenges to meet. Why? I’ve played relatively “safe” lists with Rebels since 2.0 dropped, using ships I had a lot of experience with in 1.0; namely X-Wings and Y-Wings, and I decided I needed to expand my horizons a little. Which brings me to the other Rebel ships I own: both YTs, B-Wings, A-Wings, a K-Wing, Z-95s, a HWK-290 and a pair of E-Wings. The larger ships bore me, I appreciate they have their value, but I just don’t enjoy using them. B-Wings are in a rough spot right now, I think, as the X-Wing does the same job but better. A-Wings appear to be better as low-Initiative blockers that don’t fit my preferred style of play, and the K-Wing gives me bad memories of NymRanda from 1.0
Which leaves the E-Wing.
In the lore, the E-Wing was meant to be everything the X-Wing was, but better: equally well-armed and armoured, but as fast as an A-Wing. In theory, this translates into X-Wing; it has similar firepower, but greater agility. It does (now) lack in Hull value, however, but the blue straights extend as far as four forwards so it’s considerably faster coming out of a Stress situation. That said, the cost is extortionate: an Initiative 2 Knave Escort is only 10pts cheaper than an Initiative 1 Defender of the Delta variety, and it lacks that built-in evade that arguably is why the Defender is so expensive. It also has one less shield. Still, it looks like it could be an effective fighter in the right hands! Dan, one of the local players at Warboar (home of TNX, which he is a member of) uses Corran in his Rebel list (from what I have seen) quite successfully, but I don’t believe he rates the other E-Wing pilots that highly (I should really talk to him more about that!)
One of my first builds on the X-Wing app was actually Corran and Gavin with a support ship (I think it was Jan Ors), but I wrote it off as “never going to work” and deleted it. The E-Wing has sat at the back of my mind since then, while I’ve played with Defenders, Interceptors, X-Wings and Y-Wings, until PhilGC (The X-Wing Hipster) posted a blog entry last week (and another this week) in which he too was looking for something different to fly and had picked the E-Wing as his ship of choice. You can find the articles here and here.
I quite liked Phil’s build, even if it wasn’t how I would build it, but he flew it to a reasonable degree of success on its first competitive outing, so I figured it was worth a go: did the list have legs, or did Phil’s piloting skill overcome the innate weaknesses of the platform? I took the very same list to Warboar this week, and this is what happened:
Game 1 (Martin) vs Boba, IG-88A, L3-37
The early turns were pretty painful on both sides: Boba escaped undamaged from the initial volleys thanks to poor dice on my part (not to mention bumping Corran into Gavin) and Boba re-rolls on Martin’s . The attention was instead focused on the “weak link” of L3-37, who died to successive volleys from Gavin.
The next couple of turns saw Corran isolated and hunted down by Boba, the Elusive re-roll proving to be little help when recently recharged and the ship stressed. Gavin managed to bring IG-88A down to one hull with a Proton Torpedo, before being chased across the board by both ships. IG-88A managed to kill himself on an Asteroid moments before Gavin was hunted down and killed by Boba, ending in a well-deserved loss. Martin flew very well (aside from that Asteroid at the end) and I flew the E-Wing as though it were an X-Wing, a mentality that I need to shake if this list is to work.
Game 2 (also Martin) – Drea, Torkil, 2x Jakku Gunrunner, 2x Binayre Pirate
This was apparently Martin’s first 2.0 Scum list, but he’d not actually had a chance to fly it yet. I was a little nervous about flying such a list, because Jumpmaster Tractors and Drea (I’d forgotten what Torkil did), but if I could keep moving, I figured I’d have a chance. Again, I picked a flank and zoomed up to meet my opponent, but rather than turning in to engage in the middle of the field, I continued up the right-hand side of the play area to attempt to get in behind Martin’s formation.
The Gunrunners needed to die before they could start locking me, and die they did. Both were blown out of space in successive turns, but this was where I realised my mistake: yes I’d gotten rid of those pesky Tractor Beams, but now everything was within range of Drea and Torkil, which meant Corran was engaging at Initiative 0 and my opponent was rerolling more dice than I was really comfortable with. Uncomfortable I should have been, as there are only so many shots an E-Wing can take before it dies, and Corran was pretty quickly (and brutally) gunned down.
With Corran dead, Gavin hurting, and Drea down to two hull, I called it there. Martin and I agreed that I’d made mistakes, namely flying the E-Wing as though it were an X-Wing, and that my dice weren’t co-operating (I think my Torpedoes did their job once all game). The initial engagement went well, I killed what needed killing, but my target priority was off. If I were to fly against this again, I think I’d go for Drea and Torkil first, and crucially remember to fly the E-Wing like a Defender: go forward, go fast. Don’t turn, engage when I decide, and keep moving.
Game 3 (vs Paul) – Wedge, Thane, Norra
This was going to hurt. I’ve flown against this list several times now, and though I’ve beaten it, it fills me with dread each time. Wedge is Wedge, Thane is Thane, and fire at Norra before she shoots back and you’re eating a fully-modded Torpedo if you dare to hit her. It’s not a pleasant prospect, especially for two small and nimble but not particularly rugged ships.
Thane or Wedge were going to be my priority targets, purely because Norra is cruel and Paul had handed me Initiative, so hitting her first would likely spell disaster for Corran. Zooming left along my board edge and then up the left flank, both E-Wings split the enemy formation, with Thane boosting out of arc to avoid eating multiple Range One shots; leaving Norra open to suffer the loss of her shields and a critical hit against her hull. Barrelling through the formation, the E-Wings disengage to try and isolate one of the X-Wings, preferably Wedge, which have scattered and are trying to encircle me. Wedge managed to avoid every arc for several turns, so the E-Wings turned their attention on Thane: two Torpedo shots strip his shields and drop him to half health (low rolling on that second Torpedo despite the lock), before Corran finishes him off next turn with his primaries.
Corran has been attracting the majority of the enemy fire so far but surviving as Wedge and Norra dive back into the fight. That changed when Wedge, with one Torpedo, dropped Corran to one Hull remaining, while Gavin fluffs a Torpedo shot back at the X-Wing and does no damage. Though Wedge and Norra are shieldless and Gavin still has two, this is looking a little rough; Wedge is a monster, and if I don’t kill him, it’s game over.
The next few turns hurt, with Gavin becoming target priority #1 for Paul, like Wedge is my priority. When the smoke cleared, Corran, Gavin AND Wedge were all down to a single Hull remaining, while Norra was still cruising having not been touched since the initial engagement. The four ships circled the Asteroid in contra-rotating formations, Gavin slotting into position and blowing Wedge out of space with four natural hits. It’s now two crippled E-Wings against a mostly-healthy ARC, which isn’t going to end well for me! Fortunately, my dice return to form and both ships are still alive when time is called.
Did I deserve that win? That’s a tough one. I think I flew quite well, not making the mistakes I’d made in the previous games (or at least not so much), but Paul was tired from a long day at work, his dice failed him at crucial moments (re-rolling three blanks into three blanks with a Torpedo being an example), and had the disadvantage of not knowing how this list flew while I was not disadvantaged in such a way: my work day is fairly short, and I’ve flown against his list several times in the past.
The list is a lot of fun to fly, and requires a fair amount of thought as to what you’re doing with it. Can it work? Yes, Phil proved that in his articles on the subject, and I didn’t suffer any horrific 0-200 defeats, but you need to have the right mindset. I’ve come from flying X-Wings which turn and K-Turn to get their shots and can engage on my terms or my opponent’s with a decent chance of success, while E-Wings need to disengage, turn, then re-engage on my terms: anything else invites disaster. The number of ships involved can also be both a blessing and a curse: it’s less to think about, but it’s also less shooting opportunities and allows your opponent to focus fire more effectively.
Will it win any big tournaments? In my hands, no. With someone else flying it? Maybe? I think it has a lot of potential but needs to be flown boldly but carefully (which a lot of players probably feel are mutually-exclusive). I’m probably going to give it a few more games against other players with different lists before I start tweaking it (I’m probably only going to substitute the R3s for R4s which make the dial ridiculous), and I’m unsure whether Elusive was working for me. After our games, Martin suggested swapping the Fire Control for Advanced Sensors; I run the risk of running out of points, but it might be worth a go just to see whether a focus/evade followed by a red manoeuvre to recharge Elusive might be more effective than a single offensive re-roll.
I’d like to thank PhilGC for being such a Hipster and running two E-Wings and inspiring me to try it. It might not be “good”, but it’s certainly fun!
As always, thanks to everyone for reading, and I hope everyone has a nice weekend!