Rookie Pilot

David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2017-06-03 06:49:20

Rookie Pilot (v1.0 W10)


There was a time when the Rookie Pilot littered X-Wing mats. Coming in at 21 points, it was the original lunch-bucket workhorse of Rebel squads. Sadly, it is now largely outmoded, but it never hurts to practice with the basics.

The X-Wing features a Torpedo slot, but it's best to keep the Rookie lean. Integrated Astromech is far too good to pass up, which leaves 2 cheap generic droids to select from. R2 Astromech is the typical go-to, for post K-turn turns, swooping through debris, and stress mitigation in general. R5 Astromech cleans up numerous Critical Hit cards, notably the otherwise irreparable Damaged Engine. If you anticipate a lack of stress control in your environment, I recommend R5 Astromech.

We need to comp this 22 point staple against the 22 point Blue Squadron Pilot + Collision Detector. The X-Wing has 2 Shield, 3 Hull, and the Integrated Astromech backed up by 2 Agility. The B-Wing sports 5 Shield and 3 Hull with 1 Agility. The X-Wing is more prone to defensive variance, but on average is slightly sturdier than its B-Wing counterpart. The dials are a push: the B-Wing has a 1-turn, but more reds, and its 2-K turn is unable to clear large base ships. However, the barrel roll action is tremendous, and Collision Detector lends it even more efficacy. Once you are skilled at barrel roll blocking, you will miss the Blue. If this is not a factor in your squad building, you should field the Rookie. If the squad is about spamming multiples, a mix of the two platforms is perfectly reasonable.

Imperial Methadone - Rank C

This Wave 3 squad originally consisted of 3 Blue Squadron Pilots and 2 Prototype Pilots. The name originated from TIE Swarm players who wanted to switch factions, but couldn't give up flying a large number of fighters. Five ships isn't a true swarm, but it was sufficient to help some players detox from Imperial swarm play. Imperial Methadone updates to look something like:

(22) Rookie Pilot: R2/R5 Astromech, Integrated Astromech
(22) Rookie Pilot: R2/R5 Astromech, Integrated Astromech
(26) Gold Squadron Pilot: R3-A2, Twin Laser Turret, BTL-A4 Y-Wing
(15) Prototype Pilot: Chardaan Refit
(15) Prototype Pilot: Chardaan Refit

The "Stresshog" Y-Wing can be swapped out for Biggs Darklighter, but the stress mechanic is tremendously useful, and the Prototypes are expendable. The A-Wings should be employed in hit-and-run blocking and skirmishing, the Stresshog for control, and the X-Wings (or B-Wings) as the primary punching power on blocked and stressed targets. This is by no means a top squad, but it provides a fun variety of vessels and can be instrumental in teaching fundamentals of positioning.

4XZ - Rank B

Quad B-Wings and a Z-95 was a staple in the meta from the Wave 4 release of the Zed through many environments. The Rookie now slots in seamlessly:

(22) Rookie Pilot: R2/R5 Astromech, Integrated Astromech
(22) Rookie Pilot: R2/R5 Astromech, Integrated Astromech
(22) Rookie Pilot: R2/R5 Astromech, Integrated Astromech
(22) Rookie Pilot: R2/R5 Astromech, Integrated Astromech
(12) Bandit Squadron Pilot

I'd lean toward swapping in 2 Blue Squadrons, employing them as close quarters knife-fighters and rolling blockers, setting up the Rookies for mid-range shots. Really, any combination can be made to work. This is not an "elite" squad, but it can succeed with steady elite play. As recently as the Cardiff Regional (March 4, 2017), Matthew Cook flew 4XZ (with R2 Astromechs) to 9th in Swiss against 131 other players.

If you're lamenting the lack of X-Wings on the table, go ahead and put them on the table... and Fly Better.

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