January 17, 2013
Recently announced Star Wars galaxy’s Scum and Villainy will soon join the fast-paced dogfights of X-Wing™ as the game’s third faction. Arriving in the game’s sixth wave of expansions, the Scum and Villainy faction brings to battle a mix of new starships and older starships repurposed for new use. Simultaneously, the faction’s fleet also introduces two new types of upgrades, the illicit upgrade and the Salvaged Astromech upgrade .
Along with the mix of ships available to it, as well as the unique talents of its pilots, the faction’s two new types of upgrades go a long way toward defining the distinct play style you’ll soon be associating with the galaxy’s most notorious Scum. In today’s preview, we’ll look at some of these new upgrades and the ways in which they help to reinforce the faction’s identity as the shadiest, most opportunistic, and most self-serving of all X-Wing factions.
It’s no big surprise that the Scum faction is the first to make use of the illicit upgrade. After all, as these upgrades represent the array of technologies that the Empire has chosen to outlaw, they belong to the galaxy’s black markets, and who runs those? The galaxy’s Scum and Villainy.
Of the seven different starships introduced to the Scum faction – or reengineered to suit its fleets – all but the Y-wing and M3-A “Scyk” interceptor gain access to the illicit upgrade, though the StarViper-class attack platform only gains access to the upgrade type through the use of the unique Virago Title card.
Combined with the fact that it is currently unique to the Scum, its ubiquity makes the illicit upgrade one of the faction’s most defining elements… along with the many dirty tricks it permits.
Like the “Hot Shot” Blaster, each illicit upgrade breaks the game’s standard rules with some form of novel, high-impact game effect. The ability to fire at ships outside of your firing arc is always a powerful game effect, but equipping a “Hot Shot” Blaster can also lead to some interesting mind games. Most likely played on a ship, like the Z-95 Headhunter, that costs far fewer squad points than any ship with a turret weapon, the “Hot Shot” Blaster is designed for just one use, but it still forces your opponent to accommodate its threat from the beginning of the game until the moment you fire it.
Moreover, the “Hot Shot” Blaster isn’t even the only illicit upgrade that allows you to damage a ship flying outside of your arc. Both the Feedback Array and Dead Man’s Switch allow you to land automatic damage against starships within Range “1,” although, admittedly, both do so at rather steep costs.
Although the Scum faction’s Y-wing can’t benefit from the illicit upgrade, it is by no means forgotten. The Most WantedExpansion Pack introduces no fewer than eight different upgrades for Scum Y-wings (many of which the Rebellion can also equip), and of those eight, five share the new Salvaged Astromech upgrade type.
Since this upgrade exists currently only among the Scum’s Y-wings, and replaces the standard Astromech upgrade featured by the Rebellion, it helps, once more, to define the faction. So what does it tell us? Among other things, it tells us that the Scum faction can be a bit less orderly and a bit more aggressive than their rivals,and it once again reinforces the idea that Scum pilots follow their own interests and their own flight paths.
That isn’t to say, however, that Scum pilots are any less capable than their opponents. They just have their own style, and self-preservation ranks right near the top. Accordingly, for just two squad points, the Salvaged Astromech serves as great insurance against some of the game’s most crippling critical hits, including the devastating Direct Hit. Of course, Direct Hit isn’t the only damage card with the Ship trait. In fact, there are no fewer than ten different damage cards with the Ship trait, and they can cause malfunctions in your secondary weapons, reduce the effectiveness of your primary weapons, limit your ship’s agility, or prevent you from performing actions listed in your ship’s action bar. Any one of those hits could severely hinder your fighter’s effectiveness in combat, and two squad points is a small price to pay for insurance.
Yet, though two squad points may be a rather small price to pay to grant your fighter limited immunity from an early crippling blow, you might still elect not to play with Salvaged Astromech simply because you feel other Salvaged Astromech upgrades may better suit your strategy.
A Collection of Self-Centered Individuals
If so many of the Scum faction’s pilot abilities and upgrades discourage flying in formation, how will its squadrons ever compete with the best squadrons that the Imperials and Rebels can bring to battle?
The answer is that Scum and Villainy players will have to learn how to make the most of all their dirty black market tricks and toys. The new illicit upgrades and Salvaged Astromech upgrades are likely to feature heavily in Scum squadrons, and we’ll get a better idea of how they’ll help the faction compete with the Imperials and Rebels as we continue our previews of Wave VI and explore more of what the StarViper Expansion Pack, M3-A Interceptor Expansion Pack, IG-2000 Expansion Pack, and Most Wanted Expansion Pack have to offer!
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