“Bring my shuttle.”
–Darth Vader, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Not long ago, we announced the next four starship expansions for X-Wing™. We also promised that these new starships would allow players to pursue a wide range of new tactics and strategies built around their support functions and system upgrades. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the Lambda-class Shuttle Expansion Pack, the HWK-290 Expansion Pack, and some of the ways they can strengthen your squads.
When the X-Wing design team began working with the Lambda-class Shuttle, they knew they wanted to dedicate it to squad-based synergies and skillful piloting. Accordingly, each of the shuttle’s unique pilots comes with an ability that supports his wingmen:
- As long as he’s an eligible target, Captain Kagi draws target locks away from more vulnerable ships, like TIE interceptors.
- Colonel Jendon helps to establish quick, deadly volleys of missiles, allowing another pilot to spend a target lock and fire the same turn he uses his action to Focus.
- Captain Yorr can absorb the stress tokens other ships would take, freeing them up to take actions they might otherwise lose after executing stressful maneuvers like the Koiogran turn.
Additionally, the expansion pack’s twelve upgrades help each of these pilots serve their roles better, and they afford some other tricks as well. Some of these tricks are subtle, such as those permitted by the Intelligence Agent. Others, like those permitted by Darth Vader, are dark, ruthless, and brutal ways to finish off wounded foes.
Altogether, the Lambda-class Shuttle Expansion Pack’s various ship and upgrade cards introduce powerful support for nearly any Imperial squad, including the sample squad below, which uses Captain Yorr to hinder enemy movement and reduce the stress your other pilots suffer as they perform Koiogran turns and Push the Limit.
This squad’s tricks begin with the Intelligence Agent, who can reveal one enemy’s chosen maneuver at the beginning of each Activation phase. Captain Yorr’s Navigator then permits the Lambda-class shuttle the option to change its maneuver, adjusting its speed along its current bearing. With any luck, Captain Yorr will be able to plant himself directly in the path of an enemy starship, forcing it to overlap the shuttle. In that case, the shuttle can fire its Anti-Pursuit Lasers while the enemy ship loses the opportunities to select an action and to fire at the shuttle during the Combat phase.
Captain Yorr plans to execute a straight one-speed maneuver, but when his Intelligence Agent discovers the opposing X-wing’s maneuver, Captain Yorr calls on his Navigator to plot a new, three-speed maneuver along the same bearing to block the X-wing’s path.
Captain Yorr has the X-wing pinned, allowing “Mauler Mithel” and Soontir Fel to swoop into close range for the kill!
The design team’s search for a Rebel counterpart to the Lambda-class shuttle led to the development of the game’s first starship from outside the original Star Wars trilogy, the HWK-290. This freighter was made famous by Kyle Katarn’s Moldy Crow in the classic video game, Star Wars: Dark Forces, and the game’s developers originally expected it to enter X-Wing as a large-base ship. However, close review of the video game’s screenshots and conversations with Lucasfilm Ltd. proved those expectations wrong, and the pre-painted miniature from the HWK-290 Expansion Pack is accurately rendered at 1/270 scale.
Like the Lambda-class shuttle, the HWK-290 rewards players who can fly their squads in formation, as each of the expansion’s unique pilots focuses on supporting friendly ships within Range 1–3.
- Jan Ors can take a stress token to allow one of her squad mates to roll an additional attack die during his attack.
- Kyle Katarn can transfer his focus tokens to his allies.
- Sometimes, it’s just necessary to fire first, and Roark Garnet can help you do just that, boosting one friendly ship’s pilot skill to “12” at the beginning of the Combat phase.
Again, like the Lambda-class shuttle, the HWK-290 comes with six upgrades that enhance and expand upon the ship’s abilities, as well as those of its various pilots. Though the HWK-290’s primary weapon is the weakest in the game, with a value of only “1,” the ship can be outfitted with either an Ion Cannon Turret or the new Blaster Turret, both of which can fire at any target within a complete 360° arc so long as it’s within range. A Saboteur can turn faceup any facedown Damage card assigned to an enemy ship, potentially crippling it, and upgrades like the Recon Specialist and Moldy Crow go a long way toward making Kyle Katarn’s ability wonderfully action-efficient.
In fact, the HWK-290 can make an entire Rebel squad wonderfully action-efficient, as demonstrated in one fashion by the sample squad below.
This Rebel squad features two unique HWK-290 pilots, Jan Ors and Kyle Katarn, who can boost each other, just as they can boost Wedge Antilles. If they both support Wedge, the Rebel ace can use his Engine Upgrade and Push the Limit to maneuver into position for a Range 1 shot with a focus token, target lock, and five attack dice, even as his ability subtracts one from his enemy’s defense dice.
During battle with a Firespray-31, Kyle Katarn takes a focus action and gains two focus tokens with the help of his Recon Specialist. Wedge Antilles then flies into position, uses his Engine Upgrade to boost out of his opponent’s firing arc, and sets up his attack by acquiring a target lock.
Wedge has a clear shot at the Bounty Hunter at Range 1, so his wingmen decide to boost his attack. Jan Ors takes a stress token to give Wedge an additional attack die, and Kyle Katarn transfers one of his focus tokens to Wedge, setting him up for a lethal attack with five attack dice and fantastic odds of connecting!
Because they can shuffle the extra attack die and focus token to whichever wingman needs them most, Jan Ors and Kyle Katarn’s abilities will keep your opponent guessing. Will Kyle Katarn transfer his focus token to Wedge, to fuel the ace’s attack, or will he shuffle it to Jan Ors, to fuel her Blaster Turret? Will Jan Ors boost Wedge’s attack, to push for the kill, or will she increase the chances of Kyle Katarn hitting with his Ion Cannon Turret?
Skill, Strategy, and Support Ships
The squad-building rules for X-Wing allow players to pursue a wide range of strategies, even starting with just a few starships, and creative players have enjoyed finding and utilizing clever combinations of unique pilot abilities and upgrades to gain an extra edge in the game’s deadly dogfights. Some squads use pilots, like Biggs Darklighter and Chewbacca, to draw fire away from their squad mates. Some squads fly in close formation to launch devastating barrages of fire, taking full advantage of abilities like those of “Howlrunner,” Squad Leader, and Swarm Tactics. Other squads may rely heavily upon the brute strength of powerful starships like the Millennium Falcon and Slave I, loading them up with missiles, modifications, and a Gunner.
Soon, the addition of the Lambda-class shuttle and the HWK-290 will permit players to focus even more tightly upon the types of squads that suit them best. Do you want to boost one primary starship, giving it the power to tear through your enemy’s fleet? You can do that. Do you want to feed your swarm tactics a little bit of espionage and treachery? You can do that, too. If you want, you can even design squads that can adapt their tactics to counter those your opponent hopes to employ.
While players have found ways to use other pilots and other starships to support their squads’ aces, the Lambda-class shuttle and the HWK-290 are the first X-Wing starships designed from the ground-up as support ships, and each of their unique pilots and upgrades allow skillful players to enhance their squads’ key strategies.
Until these ships arrive, keep your eyes open for more previews and other X-Wing news, including a look at the system upgrades featured in the Lambda-class Shuttle and B-Wing expansion packs!