Biggs Darklighter

David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2017-06-05 01:54:30

Biggs Darklighter: 25 points, PS 5 (v2.0 W12)

Biggs was substantially nerfed by the October 25, 2017 FAQ 4.4.0. My original entry is appended below for archival purposes. (FFG might now be able to give us an "X-Wing fix" without Biggs breaking the game!)

"Once per game, at the start of the Combat phase, you may choose that until the end of the round, other friendly ships at Range 1 cannot be targeted by attacks if the attacker could target you instead."

For competition, Biggs no longer powers the classic 4 ship Rebel archetype to elite prominence, but you can still keep him peripherally playable by eking additional utility with Selflessness or Draw Their Fire (equipped via R2-D6).

The one squad where he still excels is with Miranda and Lowhhrick. Both Biggs and Lowhhrick are simply devoted to meat-shielding for Miranda (who is already a resilient ship). You ignore Biggs at your peril, as he can be activated to grant Miranda regen breathing room, and if you don't ignore him... well, it's as if he was never nerfed.

Ego - Rank S

(44) Miranda Doni: Harpoon Missiles, Twin Laser Turret, Bomblet Generator, Sabine Wren, Long-Range Scanners
(26) Biggs Darklighter: R4-D6, Integrated Astromech
(30) Lowhhrick: Draw Their Fire, Wookiee Commandos

David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2017-12-11 04:21:14

Pre-Nerf Biggs

Other friendly ships at Range 1 cannot be targeted by attacks if the attacker could target you instead.

Crying about Biggs

When I first cracked open my original Core Set and browsed through the cards, I couldn't believe my eyes. Biggs Darklighter is straight borken. (I had an analogous response to Howlrunner's area effect when I opened my first TIE Fighter pack, but at least Howlrunner doesn't work with everything.) You might be thinking that Dee's off his nut and completely overreacting. My counter is simply this:

Biggs Darklighter fundamentally alters the rules of engagement.

One of the essential principles of X-Wing is the importance of focus firing. Eliminating an enemy ship is of greater value than merely damaging numerous enemies. Skilled Biggs play completely disrupts this foundational tenet.

This is a massive design flaw. Biggs' effect is so unbalancing, that all Rebel releases since Day One have had to be designed around him. He is the Rebel singularity, exerting a swirling gravitational pull on the entire faction. It's not that he makes Rebel squads invincible, but rather hamstrings design in a terrible way. We don't get pilots and upgrades that we should be seeing (the "X-Wing fix" in particular), because they would be too powerful in conjunction with Biggs. Conversely, he artificially props up Rebel content, that by itself, should be too weak to compete.

Fighting Biggs

If you're looking for ways to specifically take Biggs squads down, he has received one FAQ nerf along the way: if you choose a weapon that cannot fire at Biggs, you no longer must fire at Biggs with a weapon that is able. In short, bring ordnance and torpedo/missile strike your desired target to oblivion. Just make sure that it dies, or Biggs might protect it to your demise. In all other cases, just burn that mustachioed bastard down ASAP.

Building Biggs

A common error with new players is to spend too many points on Biggs. In general, expensive upgrades like R2-D2 are insufficient to keep him alive, and when he does explode, you've given up squad points that could have been more useful elsewhere. In the vast majority of cases, R4-D6 and Integrated Astromech (both exceptionally efficient means of damage mitigation) are all you need. Any additional expenditure, and you're likely chasing a bad investment, or dallying in the realm of "funsies".

Flying Biggs

Obviously, you need to fly in tight formation in order to reap Biggs' benefit. There are a few alternative tactics with tanky vessels like Han Solo or Corran Horn, that can operate independently then swing back into the cradle of Biggs' protective bosom once they're in danger of exploding. Typically though, those sort of builds tend to skip Biggs in favor of expendable fodder or another resilient exception.

The 4 ship Rebel archetype is a classic. It can fly in 2x2 or pinwheel formation and remain tethered to Biggs at all times. Ideally, the opening engagement should take place at the tip of range 3, with Biggs beyond the fray. (The "Rule of 11" is instrumental in setting this up.)

Your opponent can only shoot at your front row. Next turn, those ships will be guarded by Biggs (ideally at range 3), forcing your opponent to split fire.

Once Biggs is heavily damaged, you should split him off. Your opponent must then choose between pursuing Biggs (presenting his rear to the rest of your ships) or engaging your primary force and permitting Biggs to escape to fight another day.

Swing out with a hard turn and target lock an enemy that Biggs might be able to strike down the line. K-turn back or keep swinging around until you set up that attack, or rotate back into formation in time to keep a friendly alive for another key turn.

Congratulations! You now have a "Biggs problem". Don't feel bad if you're unable to field Rebel squads without him. Many a great player have succumbed to Biggsoholism. Even Paul Heaver falls off the wagon and flies the Darklighter time and again.

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