I haven't seen this addressed anywhere. Is there a rule that says you have to physically have an upgrade card for a ship to take that upgrade? For example, I have a Falcon and a Slave I, so I have two Engine Upgrade cards. Can I equip four X-wings with engine upgrade cards, as long as I pay the point cost and meet the normal upgrade requirements?
It seems to me that limiting the upgrades to only the cards you physically have places an unrealistic limitation on the game. Why should the squad in the game be limited to the upgrades I can afford to buy in the real world? Any thoughts?
According to tournament rules you have to have the cards. Depending on the TO, you may still be able to play a list that has say four engine upgrades even if you only own 2, but it's something you would have to look into before you show up. If you go to a any major tournament my guess is you will need the cards to be able to play.
I don't personally like that you have to own multiples of a card to go to a tournament. It feels a little heavy handed in forcing people to buy extra ships just for cards. At this time though I don't see any way around this, unless FF changes it's stance on this.