As you might expect from the successor to the Galactic Empire, the First Order fields a variety of starfighters based on classic Imperial designs. Far from simply rehashing these older ships, though, First Order fighters feature a number of refinements that give them the edge in their fight against the loathsome Resistance.
So there’s a slight change of plan from the scheduled programming! I was going to talk about the Separatists but as they have three (!) new ships coming in the next few months I thought I’d hold off. At least until we have some spoiler articles on the ships anyways. So after a Reddit poll (thanks to everyone that voted) I’ll be giving my thoughts on the First Order.
Lets get to it!
When I think of the First Order as a faction in X-Wing my first thought is Kylo Ren. Ignore the clunky pilot ability and focus on everything else. He’s I5 (strong), has three attack and three evade (great) and he has two force charges. That equals a good time in my book.
To top it off all Silencers have the Autothrusters ship ability which is especially great at higher initiatives.
I also like the pilot ‘Rush’. When he is damaged he jumps from I2 to I6 which leaves your opponent with an interesting dilemma; to try and destroy him early to clear the possible end game threat or leave him until later when there are less ships on the table to deal with the newly christened I6. Decisions decisions! Rush does come in the Hotshots and Aces Pack so worth searching eBay/Facebook/local groups for the single card.
Apart from those two pilots the I2 Sienar-Jaemus Engineer at 48 points seems good value too. Compare it to an I2 Blue Squadron T-65 at 40 points and you can absolutely see where you’re spending those 8 points.
Before lockdown I hadn’t really played against the TIE/ba but I remember seeing it on other tables and thinking ‘I’m gonna hate flying against that thing’. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I played against it twice. I think you can guess if my initial feelings were correct or not!
Everyone makes a beeline for Vonreg and it’s easy to see why. Like Kylo he has three attack and three evade. But he’s I6 and is 21 (!) points cheaper. His pilot ability is situational and is secondary to all the other good stuff. The ba’s ship ability is great however as it gives you the option of additional actions without a stress which offers a greater degree of flexibility.
The drawbacks are that if you want to double reposition Vonreg has to barrel roll before boosting. Being the jinky ace he is he’s also not the easiest to pick up and play for beginners because you really don’t want to bump him. But sometimes you just have to get stuck in and Vonreg is top tier.
Much like the Empire’s Interceptor and it’s single mindedness on Soontir Fel, most players will go for Vonreg but I think ‘Holo’ could be an interesting choice too. At the start of the Engagement Phase, you must transfer 1 of your tokens to another friendly ship at range 0-2. This could be anything from a focus token or lock (really not ideal) to a deplete or even a stress token (noice).
Back in First Edition I loved the SF. Fond memories of me rocking up with Quickdraw and Backdraft with a Doom Shuttle (Lambda with Vader crew) and doing surprisingly well considering I only fly Rebel.
In Second Edition things seem to have changed somewhat. SFs are no longer used as the high initiative aces but mainly as more of a mini swarm with missiles! Investment wise there are probably better choices than QD and BD these days, but give them a try and make up your own mind.
Last year came the rise of the mighty Zeta Squadron Survivor, decked out with missiles and passive sensors. Built this way a flock of Zetas could joust and then on the way out of the engagement next round fire missiles backwards on the target. With them firing missiles the next round range bonus for defense is negated so you have to get your engagement against them just right. I’ve seen these guys tear ships apart so adding two to any list is generally a good shout.
TIE/fo Fighter – The humble TIE Fighter, now with shield and targeting computer upgrades baked in. At 25 points for the I1 they can be great blockers. Some of the higher initiative pilots have fun abilities too.
Quick aside, you can go to my shop where everything I talk about here is for sale. They are all affiliate links so you would be supporting me in what I’m trying to build here.
As I was writing this I built my squad using the ships I’ve suggested so thought I’d share it! Maybe it can give you new players a base to work from.
There you have it, First Order done. Next time I’ll be talking about the Resistance.