With the arrival of Wave Four, the X-Wing Community seems to have been reinvigorated. The four new ships (Z-95 Headhunter, E-Wing, TIE Defender, and TIE Phantom) have brought a variety of new options to the game and seem to have caused a shift in the competitive metagame as well. In this article we’ll be breaking down the two ships for the Rebellion in wave 4, the Z-95 Headhunter and the E-Wing.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Z-95 Headhunter is a bit of an EU darling for a lot of Star Wars fans. Having been around for a long time and piloted by nearly every possible character, it’s an old ship in that beloved long ago galaxy. Made by the same corporation who would design the famous X-Wing, the Z-95 is obviously it’s predecessor. On the tabletop, this is well represented. The aces are able to take an elite pilot talent and a missile, while the other two pilots are restricted to just a missile upgrade. The Z-95 has a two for every one of it’s stats. Which doesn’t lead to a very impressive ship. When you take a look at the dial, its movements are very similar to the X-Wing. The only real difference is the Z-95 has a 3 K-Turn whereas the X-Wing has a 4 K-Turn, as well as a few differences in the green maneuvers it can take. As far as actions go for the Z-95 like a lot of rebel ships, you can focus and target lock but nothing else.
The real strength of the Z-95 is simply the fact that it isn’t an expensive ship to take. The highest pilot point is only 19, which nets you Airen Cracken at a respectable pilot skill of 8. The lowest, is a Bandit Squadron Pilot who comes to you at a mere 12 points.
The ace pilots for the Z-95 have their own abilities and uses, however.. Lt. Blount always hits, meaning that with an assault missile you will always disrupt their formation and perhaps even more importantly even with an attack of 2 you can strip enemy ships of stealth devices. Airen Cracken’s ability is a bit more impressive. Every time he makes an attack, a friendly ship at range one is able to perform a free action.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he E-Wing, however, does not have the fictional pedigree that the Z-95 seems to carry. This ship did not appear in nearly as many sources, but is still quite impressive. E-Wings were designed to take what is best from the X-Wing and the nimble A-Wing and combine them both into one ship. Once again, Fantasy Flight has done a great job of pulling this off on the table. The E-Wing can take an impressive amount of upgrades, with it’s aces able to take an elite pilot talent, torpedo, sensor, and astromech upgrade. The amount of options and combinations available for this ship are seemingly limitless.
Stats-wise, it rocks a three in every stat but it’s hull, which is a two. While this isn’t the sturdiest ship we’ve seen, it’s a very agile ship which should help mitigate it’s low hull. It’s movement dial very much favors the one shared by the A-Wing, but the comparison isn’t as noticeable as the X-Wing and Z-95. The A-Wing remains the more nimble ship, but the E-Wing doesn’t suffer in maneuverability. Also like the A-Wing, the E-Wing’s action suite is quite impressive, boasting the ability to focus, target lock, evade, and barrel roll, this ship is the second rebel ship to be able to evade or barrel roll inherently.
All that glitters is not gold, though. Whereas the Z-95 is the cheapest ship the Rebellion has. Inversely, the E-Wing is the most expensive small Rebellion ship. With it’s highest ace, Corran Horn, coming in at 35 points and it’s cheapest pilot, Knave Squadron Pilot, coming in at 27 points, this isn’t a ship meant to be taken in duplicate in standard play. That said, the E-Wing more than makes up for it’s point cost with its combat capabilities.
Corran Horn’s ability is the fact that he gets to shoot twice, but if he takes the second shot he can make no shots the following round. This simply means you have to know when to shoot twice and when not to, for the E-Wing is dodgy enough to make a shot-free round one where it is still hard to pin down for your opponent. The other ace, Etahn A’baht, lets anyone shooting at enemies in range of him turn a hit into a crit, which is also quite devastating to have on your side.
Wave Four overall has been good to the Rebellion in X-Wing. The Z-95 has introduced a cheap filler ship for rebel players to take, as well as the possibility for an answer to the much dreaded TIE swarm in the shape of a missile-toting counter-swarm of Z-95s. The E-Wing has brought a new suite of potential with its astromech and system slots being in the same ship, as well as an impressive action suite. Neither of these new ships really step on the other’s toes, as they both fill very different roles with the E-Wing being a new powerhouse and the Z-95 simply being a cheap option for the galaxy’s downtrodden. This is perhaps the most exciting wave of X-Wing to come out yet and I know I personally look forward to getting more time in with these ships.