I find this topic very interesting. I think we could separate the discussion into competitive and casual with list building being an integral part of each. I personally think this forum often sets competitive and casual at odds with each other when they are two distinct ways of playing that are not in conflict with each other. Play HoTAC and have fun. However, for many players it is a lot of fun to improve your game and compete against others who are also trying to do their best. Tournaments offer a way to test your skills and list building against others.
I hear AllWingsStandingBy saying that the competitive list building is not as much fun these days and that is a fair comment as part of the fun at a tournament is bringing something that you have put together that has a fair chance against other builds. In chess, the build is always the same so it is the tactics and strategy of the game that one must improve at. If you think that only the meta lists have a fair chance of winning then I think there should be no hesitation to take one of those lists or a derivative of it and test your flying and tactics against others.
One thing that I think benefits other competitive games is a handicap system where a stronger player can challenge a weaker player to a game and there is a handicap system that allows the two to play a game of x wing with a somewhat equal chance of winning. I don’t know how this would work in x wing, whether it be a squad point reduction for the stronger player or a squad point increase for the weaker one or something else.