Saturday, 22 February 2014

Star Wars X-Wing - Character and Ship guide - Z-95 Headhunter

It has long been one of my top picks for X-Wing and it's finally here, the Z-95 Headhunter.  Many players will see little reason to take this ageing fighter when ships like the X-Wing and the newly arrived E-Wing are available, but I see some real potential in this fighter.  It's long been a staple of Star Wars and it's expanded universe, although more recently it was made canonical due to it's addition in the Clone wars cartoon series.  It's basically the forerunner to the X-Wing and looks just as good.

Personally I love this fighter simply because it allows me to create new scenarios focused on pirates, bandits, mercenaries, local defence forces and more, allowing you to create a mission that sees them engaging Rebel and Imperial pilots.  They also fit as a sort of underdog in Rebel missions where these fighters are going up against tougher opponents like the TIE Advanced or TIE Defender.

Faction: Rebel Alliance/Neutral
Name: Z-95 Headhunter
Statistics ÷
Primary Weapon Value: 2
Agility: 2
Hull: 2
Shields: 2
Seen as a triumph of it's time in terms of fighter design the Z-95 was a formidable fighter featuring laser cannons, missile tubes, shields and a hyperdrive unit all contained in a nimble frame that could perform well under combat stresses.  The fighter would play a pivotal role in the Clone wars and eventually help cement the power of the growing empire in it's early days before being dropped from Imperial use in favour of the mass produced TIE/in.

Despite this the fighter has wound up being used by numerous organisations such as Black Sun, local system defence forces, Hutt Cartels, Smuggling rings and more importantly the Rebel Alliance.  Although out classed by the more advanced X-Wing which it is the ancestor of, the Z-95 is still used by the Alliance as trainers and second line fighters should the need arise.  In the hands of a skilled pilot the Z-95 can still out perform a TIE pilot and is more durable.  Even though it is considered out of date much like the Y-Wing, the fighter can still out turn most fighters of the currently being used today, a true testament to it's superb design.

The Z-95 in X-Wing is a cheap fighter along similar lines to the Empires TIE Fighter.  Effectively this will give the Rebel players the option of swarming the board but it isn't an entirely useless fighter.  Equipped with missiles it has more tactical flexibility compared to the TIE and it's shields allow it to soak more damage before being downed.

All Z-95 Headhunters are capable of performing the (Focus) and (Target Lock) actions.

Expansion Content List:

Pilot Cards:

Bandit Squadron Pilot
Tala Squadron Pilot
Lieutenant Blount
Airen Cracken

Equipment Cards:

Munitions Failsafe
Ion Pulse Missiles
Assault Missles

Below is a list of Z-95 Headhunter pilots in ascending order of skill along with points cost and abilities.

Name: Bandit Squadron Pilot
Skill Value: 2
Pilot Ability: N/A
Upgrades: Missile
Squad Cost: 12

Name: Tala Squadron pilot
Skill Value: 4
Pilot Ability: N/A
Upgrades: Missile
Squad Cost: 13

Name: Lieutenant Blount
Skill Value: 6
Pilot Ability: When attacking, the defender is hit by your attack, even if he does not suffer any damage.
Upgrades: Missile, Pilot Upgrade
Squad Cost: 17

Name: Airen Cracken
Skill Value: 8
Pilot Ability: After you perform an attack.  You may choose another friendly ship at Range 1.  That ship may perform 1 free action.
Upgrades: Missile, Pilot upgrade
Squad Cost: 19

The Z-95 is basically the Rebel version of your average TIE.  Cheap, mass produced and easy to fly but featuring a few benefits over the Imperial TIE/in.  Having shields and missiles allows this relatively cheap fighter to cause serious damage and it's attack value is equal to that of a TIE.  With Bandit pilots only costing 12 each you can theoretically field 8 Z-95's with some points spare for modifications.  Lieutenant Blount can trigger damage effects even when no actual damage is caused to their target while Airen Cracken can support allies with free actions every turn.  Overall the Z-95 really opens the field for new tactics to develop for Rebel players who may have at one point felt restricted by the 100 point limit.

Pilot Upgrades ÷

Name: Wingman
Ability: At the start of the combat phase, remove 1 stress token from another friendly ship at Range 1.
Cost: 2

Name: Decoy
Ability: At the start of the combat phase, you may choose 1 friendly ship at Range 1-2.  Exchange your pilot skill with that ships's pilot skill until the end of the phase.
Cost: 2

Modifications ÷

Name: Munitions Failsafe
Ability: When attacking with a secondary weapon that instructs you to discard it to perform the attack, do not discard it unless the attack hits.
Cost: 1

Weapons ÷

Name: Ion Pulse Missiles
Damage: 3
Range: 2-3
Ability: Attack (Target Lock): Discard this card to perform this attack.  If this attack hits, the defender suffers 1 damage and receives 2 ion tokens.  The cancel all dice results.
Cost: 3

Name: Assault Missiles
Damage: 4
Range: 2-3
Ability: Attack (Target Lock): Spend your target lock and discard this card to perform this attack.  If this attack hits, each other ship at Range 1 of the defender suffers 1 damage.
Cost: 5   


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