Unless you were living under a rock, you may have noticed that FFG announced Wave 9 yesterday. Since I'm not a lazy-layabout like James, I've tried to eke every last bit of info from the article below, enjoy!
The Fang Fighter: First Impressions
After seeing the Wave 9 preview, I think the ship I am most interested in is the Protectorate Starfighter, also known as the Fang Fighter. There's little information available beyond the pictures, but it paints a very promising picture. Scum have always lacked the arc-dodging capabilities of the other factions; initially it was thought the StarViper or M3-A would offer alternatives, but each lacked the necessary green manoeuvres or a suitable pilot to leverage Push The Limit.
The Fang Fighter seems to be the solution; the stats are what you would expect from an arc-dodger: 3 agility, 3 attack and 4 hull with no shields, suggesting it will be comparable to a TIE Interceptor. Its action bar is pretty standard for an arc-dodger as well; boost, barrel roll, focus and even a targeting computer. The boost allows you to add Autothrusters, which again fits the arc-dodging mould. Not much of the dial is known, but the inclusion of the Talon Roll is nice, especially at 2 speed. In terms of Upgrades, only Modifications and Torpedoes seem to be present. With 6 possible pilots instead of the standard 4, it is likely we will see a non-unique, mid-PS with EPT.
However, there are a few items on the preview that suggests arc-dodging will not be the Fang Fighter’s primary aim. Fenn Rau’s ability, similar to Talonbane Cobra, adds 1 dice while attacking or defending at Range 1. This combines nicely with the title, Concord Dawn Protector, which allows you to add an evade while in arc of an enemy ship, encouraging you to get right into the jaws of the opponent.
This leads to an interesting path for the Fang. It looks like an arc-dodger, but equally offers benefits from flying aggressively, especially with Fenn Rau. A nasty 5 dice Range 1 shot from Fenn, combined with the title’s survivability, could make this ship a nasty little brawler and a good addition to the current Scum line-up.
The ARC Fighter: First Impressions
I was surprised by the inclusion of the ARC Fighter in Wave 9, as I had always assumed FFG would steer clear of prequel ships. The stats seem to suggest something along the lines of a Y-Wing or B-Wing, with 2 attack, 1 agility, 6 hull and 3 shields. I'm not entirely sure if there is room for another slow, low agility Rebel ship, but the article makes it clear there will be six green manoeuvres - probably the 1 and 2 speed straights and banks.
The two dice attack is pretty poor, but is improved by the auxiliary firing arc and the 'Alliance Overhaul' title. This can either add one dice to primary attacks, or turn a focus into a critical damage through the auxiliary arc. This makes the ship more offensive, as the title has a 0 point cost. In terms of Upgrades, the Vector Thruster seems to be a small-ship only modification adding the barrel roll action, and the Tail Gunner crew could work in conjunction with the auxiliary arc. This could be a nice boost for the Firespray and Hound’s Tooth.
Somewhat disappointingly, the action bar only features a focus and target lock. Upgrades should make up for this, with both Astromech and Crew slots allowing players to build some interesting combos – a first for the Rebels. Torpedoes round off the package. There also seems to be the option to add an evade somehow, as the token is featured in the spoiler picture.
Interestingly, the ARC has 4 unique pilots, and no generics. Two pilots have been leaked - Shara Bey and Norra Wexley. Shara acts like a reverse Colonel Vessery, sharing her target locks with a friendly ship at Range 1-2, which could work nicely with an ordnance boat. Norra, meanwhile, adds a focus result by spending a target lock – the synergy with Shara is clear.
While I'm not entirely sure there is a place for a ship like the ARC within the current Rebel roster, some of the Upgrades do look interesting.
Special Forces TIE: First Impressions
The Special Forces TIE is something a lot of people were expecting to come out, as it was the ship Poe and Finn used to escape to Jakku during the Force Awakens.
The stat line for the ship deviates from the standard TIE signature, as it only has 2 agility. However, with 3 hull and 3 shields, the SF TIE is comparable to the T-70 in terms of survivability. Like the TIE and FO Fighters, it only has attack value of 2, but the auxiliary arc and title make it comparable to the ARC in offence, but with a slight twist. One dice can be added from the primary arc, but alternatively can perform an additional attack from the auxiliary, meaning its best position is in the middle of an enemy formation.
The action bar features a barrel roll, target lock and focus - no evade action, reducing its survivability. A lack of Talon Roll/Segnors Loop rules cards indicate it will only feature the standard K-Turn.
The only leaked pilot is Quickdraw, who allows an additional attack after losing a shield, which could potentially allow an attack before a ship has moved. This could work nicely with FCS, which is now available through the Systems slot.
I think the inclusion of the double-tap will make the SF TIE a more common presence than the ARC, and since there aren't many other Imperial ships that can be classed as heavy dog-fighters, it will be a nice inclusion within the Imperial Roster.
Shadow Caster: First Impressions
The Shadow Caster could be perhaps the most interesting ship in Wave 9. While the others seem to share some mechanisms with the existing ships, the Shadow Caster has some true innovations, and will stand out as a unique addition to the Scum roster.
With 3 attack, 2 agility, 7 hull and 3 shields, the Shadow Caster is on a near par with the Jumpmaster, and will be relatively durable. What’s most interesting, however, is the mobile firing arc. Instead of a primary weapon turret, you can rotate the firing arc into any of the four quadrants as an action. This will likely be treated as an auxiliary arc, so while Tactician should work, Autothrusters will not.
As well as the mobile arc, the Shadow Caster offers evade, focus and target lock actions. There will be two Illicit slots; imagine using Glitterstim on two consecutive turns! There is also a Crew slot, which will broaden its building possibilities. The 3 point title is great, as it essentially allows a free Tractor on your opponent after a Range 1-2 attack. The article also suggests an Upgrade that allows the effects of the Tractor Beam to continue, which could be deadly.
The leaked pilots are Ketsu Onyo and Sabine Wren, one of the Ghost’s Crewmembers. Her ability adds a focus result if the enemy ship is at Range 1-2 and within the mobile arc. This could make the ship more survivable, as you can focus instead of evading due to the guarantee of at least one focus result. Ketsu allows you to assign a Tractor Beam token to enemy ships at Range 1 in both primary and mobile arcs; combined with the title, enemy ships will have to be very careful. One leaked Upgrade card allows you to place or move debris, which pairs nicely with the Tractor Beam.
Interestingly, the article reveals an Upgrade that allows you to share abilities with the IG-2000. On the surface, this seems awesome, but there aren’t many options readily available; combining with IG-B is pointless, as the Shadow Caster has no cannon slot, and an Engine Upgrade would be required to pair with IG-C. Hopefully this Upgrade can be used on other ships, which can make use of various IG abilities.
The Latts Razzi crew looks interesting, as she appears to have a stress-related ability. Perhaps her crew/pilot abilities will be similar to in the Hound’s Tooth, where she is also a pilot – spend a target lock to decrease enemy agility.
Overall, the Shadow Caster is very exciting and brings something new to the game. I believe this, along with the Fang, will add further diversity to the Meta for Scum players.