Today I’m going to post up my thoughts on the Fantasy Flight Games X-Wing FAQ v4.3.0, came out this week and goes fully tournament legal on 17/03/2017. This post might be pretty dull if you don’t actually play X-Wing, you have been warned.
First up, if you don’t have a copy of the latest FAQ you can get it here: https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/x-wing/
It’s in the FAQ section at the bottom of the page under the ‘Support’ heading.
Got that? Good.
We will start with answering a question, what is the FAQ and why should I care about it?
Lets start with the easy answer, what is the FAQ? Well, it’s more than just a FAQ for starters, it’s a rules errata document that contains answers to frequently asked questions, clarifications on rulings and timings of things and changes to card abilities that Fantasy Flight have decided need to be made. Quite often these will based on what they are seeing happen in the tournaments and are often aimed at mixing up the kinds of lists you see at tournaments and addressing any balance problems that new cards and unpredictable interactions bring up.
A good example of this is there is this card called Deadeye.
This card basically changes the mechanics of how a lot of missile and torpedo weapons work, it means that you can spend a focus token rather than having to acquire and spend a target lock. It’s a great card in some circumstances. The problem with it was that people were putting it on the JumpMaster 5000 with Dengar, who when partnered with Manaroo had plenty of Focus Tokens to use.
This was obivously broken so in the next FAQ Fantasy Flight updated the rules to say that this card gains the limitation “Small Ship Only”. Problem solved.
Now there is a whole other discussion about changing card text, it’s annoying as you have to either remember the new text or have the FAQ to hand. I wish that if Fantasy Flight were going to keep changing text that they would run some kind of scheme where you could trade in your old cards and replace them with ones with the new text on them.
That is what the FAQ is then, as to do you need to care about it? There are actually a couple of answers here.
First up, if you don’t play in tournament games or at games store events and really only play with your friends, then it doesn’t matter all that much. You can keep playing using the rules as printed with the text on the cards being exactly that; as long as you and your buddies are fine with it then it doesn’t matter at all.
However (and here’s the second answer) if you do play in tournaments or at public events then you can assume that as of 17th March 2017 these changes will be in force and you will be expected to know what they are and play accordingly.
With that out of the way, lets start looking at the changes that this FAQ has brought with it. What I’m going to do here is print the text from the FAQ alongside the card that it’s updating and then talk a little bit about the change. Rinse and Repeat as we move through the document.
The FAQ update to this changes it to:
Once per round, before a friendly ship rolls dice, you may name a die result. After rolling, you must change 1 of your dice results to the named result.
This is a massive change and it is one of the two changes in this FAQ that I think are way overkill. We’ve gone from any time you roll dice, after you have rolled you can (once per round) change a single die to any result you want and it may not be modified again to; once per round before rolling you can nominate a result and you must change one of your rolled dice to that result.
It’s not the actual change that I have a problem with here, the issue I have is that it still costs 8pts and 2 crew slots to equip, with this change to the text I think that Fantasy Flight have pretty much removed the Emperor from tournament play, he’s just not worth the price anymore.
I think I can see why they decided to change the card, after all the Emperor has been a staple of Imperial lists since his arrival in the Imperial Raider Epic Expansion and Fantasy Flight want to shake up the list building at higher levels. However I think it’s bullshit, if they were going to keep the cost unchanged then a range limit would have been fairer, just at the words “at range 1 – 3” to the original card after “a friendly ship”.
The FAQ Changes this to:
TIE DEFENDER ONLY. TITLE.
Your upgrade bar loses the Cannon and Missile upgrade icons.
After executing a 3-, 4-, or 5-speed maneuver, if you did not overlap an obstacle or ship, you may perform a free evade action.
I don’t actually have any issue with this. The TIE/x7 title was extremely powerful for a card the reduced the cost of a ship by 2. The biggest part of this change is the move from “Assign 1 evade token to your ship” to “you may perform a free evade action”, this means that if you are stressed for some reason then you cannot perform the action.
It needed to happen the TIE/x7 was everywhere and being able to just keep getting that evade token was pretty at odds with other abilities of a similar type. Interestingly though this does mean that if you had the ever popular Push the Limit equipped then because the evade is now a free action you can trigger Push the Limit from it. The reason this is relevant is because of the text:
“After executing a 3-, 4-, or 5-speed maneuver, if you did not overlap an obstacle or ship”
It doesn’t care if you run over a rock carrying out the move (which costs you your normal action), as long as you finish without being on a rock or overlapping a ship you get the free evade and can then push the limit to take a second action.
I predict that we start seeing stress control as a way of dealing with TIE/x7’s now.
The FAQ Changes this to:
When attacking, if you are not stressed, you may receive any number of stress tokens to choose an equal number of defense dice. The defender must reroll those dice.
Again, no problem here, this change has been needed for a while. I don’t think it means we’ll stop seeing Zuckuss as his ability is still very powerful but I do think that it makes lists that use him more vulnerable to stress control and stress attacks. It also means that you’re likely to start seeing Zuckuss appearing alongside Inspiring Recruit more.
The FAQ Changes this to:
At the start of the Combat phase, you may assign all focus, evade, and target lock tokens assigned to you to another friendly ship at Range 1.
This is the other change that I think it a bit bullshit. Manaroo is a support ship for the most part and while I absolutely agree that a range limit is correct for this ability, it forces the ship to actually engage rather than just hanging out risk free in the corner, I think that range should have been 1-2 not just range 1.
Look, for example, at Jan Ors in the HWK-290, her ability works at range 1-3 and she is 2 points cheaper (on a smaller ship though).
I don’t think that this kills Manaroo but I do think that it means some serious rethinking of the Manaroo lists will need to happen.
Other than these changes though the FAQ contains a lot of clarifications and specific examples, most of which are obvious but are there to make sure that people can’t take the piss. Of those changes, here are some of the ones I think need specific mention.
Update to “I’ll Show You the Dark Side”.
The update just clarifies then when the condition triggers then you have to use the crit on the card and that you explicitly cannot combine it with Maarek Stele’s pilot ability. Which is good, I always thought that it was a bullshit rules dodge and I’m glad it’s been explicitly ruled out.
Update to Countdown – TIE Striker Pilot
The update reads “Using Countdown’s ability will make the attack miss as there are no uncanceled hits or crits”. This change is problematic as well, as it is now specifically a miss it triggers Gunner and Luke Skywalker, which is problem as the striker only has 4 hull and a Gunner or Luke shot from a big enough ship could take it off the board in one it. It’s moved Countdown from being the tanky Striker pilot to being someone we are really unlikely to see played now.
The rest of the things in the FAQ are basically just clarifications of existing rules without updating them. But it’s worth a read if you play the game.