When FFG release a new wave of ships for the X-Wing Miniatures Game, they often get known for what new things they bring to the game as a whole. I’m pretty sure that Wave 9 will be known as “The Era of the Firing Arc”, with two ships being the first small ships to have a rear firing arc, one aiming to actually be in your opponent’s firing arc, and one that features an all-new “mobile firing arc”.
The first ship I’ll be focusing on is the ARC-170 Starfighter, for the Rebel Alliance faction.
The ARC-170 is a movie-canon ship, it can be seen accompanying Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Battle of Coruscant at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith. As such, this marks the first real Clone Wars-Era ship to be released for X-Wing. (Yes, I know you can see the Falcon for a few seconds in Attack of the Clones, and that versions of Z-95 Headhunters and Y-Wings turn up in The Clone Wars series, but the versions of those in X-Wing are of the later, Galactic Civil War Versions. Stop nit-picking, I can’t hear you, this is a written article, I’m technically in the past, so now you’re just talking to your screen for no reason, you weirdo.) Originally used by the Clone Troopers that would transform into the Galactic Empire’s Stormtroopers, these ships have been “adapted” and pressed into service by the Rebellion. Whether or not this opens up the door for future Clone Wars releases like the Jedi Interceptors or even whole new factions like the Trade Federation is up for debate, but for now, it’s nice to look backwards at some older technology, instead of focusing on all he souped-up ships of The Force Awakens.
Physically, the model is beautiful; possibly even my favourite release to date. It’s pretty big, for a small-based ship, just narrower than the K-Wing, and about the same length. True to its age, the paintwork makes it look completely battered, with mismatched panels on the wings, scratch marks on the entire body and the Rebel Firebird hastily slapped on one side. The S-Foils are very reminiscent of the classic X-Wing, modelled fully open so that you can actually see straight through the ship. The general level of detail is wonderful, making it perfect for custom paint jobs and modifications.
So, that’s how it looks, but how does a ship older than the already outdated Y-Wing fly?
Really, really well.
The basic ship has a fair dial, a little more manoeuvrable than a Y-Wing, but not as fast or flashy as an X-Wing. Its basic stat line of 2 Attack and 1 Defence aren’t spectacular, but they get the job done, and are built to be modified, and it’s 6 Hull and 3 Shields should help it soak up the damage that it can’t evade. It also features a rear firing arc, meaning it can shoot anything that decides to chase it, albeit only with it’s primary weapon.
Interestingly, it has no generic pilots, meaning that whatever size of game you are playing, you can never run more than four of the ship. Whilst some may not like the idea of not having a cheap, generic version to use, I think that it keeps with the theme of the ship. There aren’t many of these relics left flying, and only a few people know how to use them. The Squad Point cost of these pilots are 25, 26, 28 and 29, putting it in at the mid-to-top level of fighter costs. In terms of upgrades, these are the first ship to be able to take both an Astromech Droid and a Crew Member, opening up some wicked combos, and allowing C-3PO and R2-D2 to fly together for only the second time in the game. Which is nice.
The four named pilots vary in quality, but there are two that are making the most noise in the community.
Shara Bey is Poe Dameron’s mother. Poe Dameron flies possibly the most advanced Starfighter in the galaxy, the T-70 X-Wing, but his mum pilots a chugging old mini-van of an ARC-170. If there were a Poe crew card in the game, the teen comedy would write itself. Miss Bey’s pilot ability basically lets friendly ships use her target lock as their own, freeing up the actions of other pilots and making her a tasty support piece. Dameron’s mum has got it going on.
The other well-received pilot is Norra Wexley (Snap Wexley’s mum, from Aftermath – Ed). If she has a target lock on an enemy ship, she can spend it to add one focus result to her roll. Whilst this may not sound too fantastic, it pairs up quite nicely with some of the upgrades available through this pack.
The main upgrade that will probably be given to every ARC-170 is “Alliance Overhaul”, a title card fit for only the ARC-170. Costing zero points, it allows any attacks from the front firing arc to roll an additional dice, and any attacks from the rear may change one focus result to a critical hit. Miss Wexley’s ability to generate focuses is suddenly more useful.
Other upgrades of note are “Tail Gunner”, which reduces the agility of the target when firing from the rear arc, “Vectored Thrusters”, which allows any small ship to take a barrel roll action, and the “R3 Astromech”, which enables you to cancel one focus result whilst attacking to give your ship an evade token. Again, very useful with Norra.
Another fun upgrade is the “Seismic Torpedo” which allows you do destroy and remove obstacles from the game, whilst possibly hurting anyone close to it. Changing the layout of the table is a big step for the game, and is sure to change the way people play.
All in all, the ARC-170 is a very strong release, and a wonderful addition to the sometimes under-appreciated Rebel faction. It adds lots of new aspects to the game, without overpowering anything that had come before, and that can only be a good thing.
Score: I’m Going To Buy Too Many Of These/10
Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint.