Star Wars X-Wing: Beating the Falcon

One of the very first lists I put together for X-Wing, back when we just had wave 1, was all about moving last and shooting first. The idea is really pretty simple and there are a number of benefits in a list that gets this advantage:

1. You get to see where your opponents ships are before you take your actions
2. On turns where you destroy a ship or cripple it, this happens before they can strike back
3. As an Imperial player, you can generally maneuver in such a way with actions like barrel roll or boost so that you end up being able to target the opponent without them being able to target you, or at the very least they can target you with less ships.
4. You can usually get them to use their focus tokens before they get to attack, meaning you stay around longer.

From wave 1, there is one ship in particular that fits this strategy like a glove: Darth Vader. Because he gets two actions, he can be both offensive and defensive in a single turn. Of course, if he positions well and you aren’t able to return fire, he can be doubly offensive! He forces you to use your focus before attacking and then is still sitting with an evade token himself. As a Vader enthusiast in general, this made me fall in love with this macro-level strategy in this game.

Then wave 2 released… One of my first experiments was with the Firespray. I kept Vader, added in Boba with Veteran Instincts (10 pilot skill mind you) and also added in Soontir. At 99 points, it often meant I was moving second and shooting first all game long. Before too long, the list turned into this:

Darth Vader
– Stealth Device
– Elusiveness
– Proton Torpedoes

Soontir Fel
– Stealth Device
– Elusiveness (I realize that Push the Limit is likely better)

Turr Phennir
– Stealth Device
– Veteran Instincts

This list ended up proving extremely powerful. At the store and online, most players couldn’t figure out a way to knock out my ships faster than I could knock out there ships. Then I learned the biggest lesson in this game since wave 2 released… the Millenium Falcon is a BEAST.

It’s not just the Falcon that is a problem though. What really hurts is when they have the Falcon + Gunner and they also have Wedge. This combo generally sees at least 1, if not 2 of my Stealth Devices dropping off extremely early in the game.

The reasons this list is a problem is that it counters, in a lot of ways, the advantages listed above:

1. The Falcon can often times have the same or higher pilot Skill. Not only that, the big ship can really get in your way and make maneuvering tough.
2. At the start of the game, you sort of are forced to decide to go all in after the Falcon or not. If you do, you don’t get this advantage at all. If you don’t, you have to deal with a full health Falcon at the end of the game, all the while it flies around the board and shoots you regardless of where you ship ends up. It’s tough to destroy their fire power with this list.
3. When before you could barrel roll where they couldn’t hit you, the Falcon totally destroys this advantage. You can’t barrel roll out of it’s firing arc while still being able to shoot them.
4. When you can usually get them to spend their focus before they attack, the Falcon genuinely just doesn’t care. He can take a damage or two without really caring, especially when his shields are up or when they are using Chewbacca.

Regardless of the list you like to use, what is your strategy when you’re going up against some sort of Falcon + X-Wing + 1 other ship? If you were running the 3 ship list I listed above, what would your strategy be?