In this ‘built’ series of articles I will take a specific ship and build out every pilot. I will try to take into account the ship itself, any pilot abilities and the lists they would form a part of.
The articles I do in this series are picked by my Patrons! I put a poll up with a list of ships to choose from and I’ll run with whatever the winner is. This time the Z-95 won out.
With all that out of the way I quickly realised when starting this particular article that I had kinda painted myself into a corner when I added Zeds (yes I’m saying zed, I’m English!) to the Patreon poll. Who knew that a lot of the time Zeds don’t really take upgrades?!?!?!?! Well I do….but I only thought about that once the ship was picked! After that bombshell I had to figure out how I was going to do this.
After about five minutes cursing myself I figured that I should lean into giving full lists that include each of the different pilots, not necessarily trying to put together janky builds for each pilot. I also figured that as the Zed is cross-faction I will split it into two parts. This first part being Rebel and the second part covering the Scum pilots.
As always this is just my opinion, if you have other suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments below. I’ll go through the pilots in ascending initiative order.
If you’d like to read the other ‘built’ articles I’ve written you can find them here.
Bandit Squadron Pilot
I know that most people probably expected me to go ‘full swarm’ but that’s a bit….well boring and obvious isn’t it? To be fair this is still pretty close to it but adding a VCX in there adds a massive gun and likely shifts the focus of the opponent.
I think there are two possible ways of flying this list. The first would be flying “Chopper” directly behind the swarm. The Zeds do their job of blocking ships and lanes and the VCX sits behind them and lights up the blocked target. The second way would be to start the swarm on one side and the VCX on the other, giving the opponent a choice. Whatever they choose to focus on, the other should be able to have a good run unobstructed.
Lastly I should mention that at the time of writing this, “Chopper” and the Lothal Rebel are the same points so there is absolutely no reason not to take him. His ability is not something you want to go out of your way to use but could be handy in a clutch situation and you need to limit an enemy ship’s effectiveness.
Tala Squadron Pilot
Much like with the Bandits, I didn’t want to do a swarm with the Talas. Just before writing this article I came across an interesting build on a Discord channel and immediately asked if I could ‘borrow’ it.
‘Gundrek’ was looking to mimic lists that include Sloane, Howlrunner, Drea and now Malarus in the Xi Class; having a bunch of ‘scrub’ ships and removing two of them to add in a heavier ship with some clout. Below I’ll let him explain his thought process on how he got to this list that came second in a 32 person event!
Long story short, I was wondering if I could mimic those force multipliers while playing Rebels. Everyone knows about Sloane, Howlrunner or Drea Renthal, but no one suspects B-Wing’s “non-harming” double tap. So here I am with a B-Wing and a tractor beam. I need to mod my shots so in comes Ten Numb and Fire Control System. Jamming Beam is free so why not? Plus I had some uses for this strange canon a while back, facing RAC.
So what to fly alongside Ten? To leverage on the tractored ships, I need a bunch of ships which are less than I4. I love to play ankward ships, so i went back and forth between A-Wings and Z-95. Problem with generic As is that they cost a lot more than Zeds, and Ten would struggle to keep in formation with them.
I settled on the Z-95s right after reading on forums that Zeds MUST be the worst ship in game. Now do I go for Bandits or Talas? I quickly chose Talas for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to be able to initiative kill some of the local meta archetypes (Sloane swarms, for instance) or at least, go toe-to-toe with them (Tie Bomber spam is a thing round here). Secondly, choosing Bandits would have left me with an ankward undesired bid, as there wasn’t anything I could add to the Zeds (and didn’t wanted to add another bullseye on Ten).
As an afterthought, I could have taken Bandits and upgraded one of them to Blount + Expert Handling. I think I was too obsessed by initiative matching to see that at the time.
Regarding obstacle choices I went for big debris fields. With a Tractor Beam involved, many suggested me to take rocks to prevent return fire, but I went for debris for 2 reasons: First is that Ten doesn’t care (love) about debris. Free focus? Yummy. Second is that with that many ships around, and their already modest firepower, I can’t allow parking Zeds on rocks that would prevent them to fire. And so here we are, one loaded B-Wing and a flock of six of the ‘worst-ship-in-the-game’ Z-9 5s.
Thanks so much to Gundrek for sharing this, I really enjoyed his thought process explaining how he got to this list.
I feel that if you want an aggressive Rebel list than Blount is a good call. His ability means that if flown right he becomes a mini T-65 (for atack at least). Pair him with Jan Ors and that’s a possible 5 dice attack from a Z-95! Add Norra in the ARC-170 who wants to be at range one of the enemy, triggering Blount’s ability. Add in Thane who has another big gun and stick Swarm Tactics on so suddenly you have four I5 ships, all with big guns. Sounds pretty tasty to me!
Aside from Blount the points are split very evenly across the ships, difficult choices for the opponent I think. If you wanted Norra in a Y-Wing instead then you could fit her in with a Dorsal Turret and Veteran Turret Gunner for a nice double tap if you’re into that sort of thing. Either way, Blount likely isn’t at the top of the priority list and can do his thing.
When I think about Cracken I think two things. Initiative 5 and a talent slot. Swarm Tactics (I know I know) seems a great fit because it’s a cheap way to bump another ship up. Lets stick Blount in again so he can shoot earlier as again, he’s cheap and doesn’t take a lot of room up in the list. Cracken could also use his ability to give Blount a second action when engaging. The action would be a lock as, well, Zeds really don’t have many actions to choose from! Just be mindful that any action Cracken grants will be red so think a move ahead.
I’ve only used 72 points so far and I’ve got two ships firing at I5. So, where to go now?
A while back I used a list that included two Z-95s alongside two T-65s because it looked cool, simple as that. So I’m going back to that here and chucking in Luke and Wedge because they are the best T-65 pilots. They also keep the initiative very high. Recent experience tells me that I get great use out of a shield upgrade on Wedge; he’s here for a good time not a long time but more shields help. Luke is your endgame piece here.
That’s every Rebel Z-95 built. Let me know if you agree or not and share your builds in the comments. I know that these builds are not what you’d call ‘S’ tier builds or even ‘A’ or ‘B’ tier. But they’re not supposed to be. What they’re meant to do is to get players thinking outside of the box so hopefully they help with that.
If you’d like to get involved with choosing the articles I write you can find my Patreon here.
Next week I’ll be delving into the Scum Z-95!