From the Poe Dameron comic series; art by Phil Noto.
A great jank list is like a Rube Goldberg machine. When it works, no one can believe its brilliant design. But it’s still just a mess of popsicle sticks and string, waiting for a light breeze to blow it over.
I want to fly this 43-point Poe, but I’m not sure with whom. I fear my favorite list so far—Poe with Weapons Engineer/M9-G8 Fenn and PS 7 Jake—is jank. That squad has been successful in casual play, but it feels flimsy. Too many synergies breed codependencies. If Fenn dies first (my preference), Jake’s pilot skill and two-attack die primary becomes a problem. If Jake dies first, Fenn seems vestigial, coordinating actions onto a ship doesn’t need them. And if Poe dies first, I’m doomed.
The existing Rebel roster just doesn’t lend itself to a great aces list, which is a shame, since the Sheathipede is the perfect cheap third ship in the archetype.
Before you start typing your angry response: There are good options. But every wingmate has a drawback that leaves me wondering, “Am I really going to field this guy at Regionals?” Jake has the aforementioned shortcomings. Wedge and Wes—even “modernized” with Expertise and Flight-Assist Astromech—are still T-65s. And the other T-70s just underscore how every single upgrade is necessary to the miracle that is Advanced Optics Poe.
Compare those guys to the other factions’ options in the high-20-to-low-30 point ranges: Omega Leader, Palpatine shuttle, the Inquisitor, Carnor Jax, a “bumpmaster,” Fenn Rau, Old Teroch, etc. Whatever you think of R3-A2 Nien Nunb, he doesn’t provide comparable value.
Where’s my 31-point Resistance ace that doesn’t need help on offense or defense? Tallie??
So I’m back at square one with Poe and a 57-point lump of clay. I could run a single ship that takes up all the points, like a defensive Fat Han with Rey and C3PO. Or I could take my own advice and run a coordinate Ghost and cede 40 points to my opponent. I don’t particularly like flying Dash or Rey, which seem like the best two options. I want more that two guns on the board.
Any three-ship list with Poe needs a lean third guy. I’m still looking at the Sheathipede, this time not necessarily for the coordinate action. That leads to an obvious build:
|Ezra Bridger (Sheathipede) — Sheathipede-class Shuttle||17|
|Ship Total: 26|
So now I’m left with those same pesky 31 points. Lowhhrick with Selflessness and Rey seems like a good option at that price to protect Poe and Ezra and—wait…no…. I’m making one of those lists, aren’t I?
Biggs is dead (sort of), but all roads still lead to formation flying. This is, after all, the faction’s specialty. The Rebels are designed to stick together. Don’t just take my word for it either. Check out the Rebel lists that have made the cut so far this regionals season:
- Jess/Lowhhrick/Miranda (Copenhagen)
- Poe/Dash (Copenhagen)
- Kanan/Lowhhrick (Copenhagen)
- Four wookiees (Austin)
- Dash/Corran (Austin)
- Jess/Lowhhrick/Poe (Austin)
- Rey/Lowhhrick (Austin)
- Miranda/Rey (Austin)
- Nym/Wedge/Cracken (Linkping)
- Dash/Miranda (Linkping)
- Miranda/Lowhhrick/Jess (Rochester)
- Lowhhrick/Ezra/Miranda (Rochester)
- Dash/Poe (Rochester)
- Lowhhrick/Miranda/Biggs (Fresno)
- Nym/Lothal Rebel (Fresno)
- Chopper/Lowhhrick (Fresno)
- Triple Wookiee (Fresno)
- Seven Z-95s (Fresno)
God bless Blair Bunke. But putting aside his harpoon swarm (for another post—I’m not dismissing it!), we have five three-ship formation lists, six ace/turret lists (including Nym/Lothal Rebel), three two-ship formation lists, two Wookiee spammers, and one high-PS alpha strike (a variant of three-ship formation flying).
Maybe, however, this trend has more to do with people opting for tried-and-true formulas for these big tournaments. I get that. But what riskier lists are they not using, if any?
As a newcomer to the faction, I checked out some classic Rebel lists on YouTube, and another archetype piqued my interest: ace/bomber. Corran/Nym and Corran/Miranda are certainly both in the Rebel Hall of Fame.
Watching Nathan Eide and Kevin Leintz fly those lists, I feel like I’m seeing someone play an entirely different game. (I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.) But I do at least begin to grasp, studying those replays, the power of board control. To that end, the interaction between Rebel Nym’s pilot ability and Trajectory Simulator seems like a great new tool.
Could Poe slot in for Corran, joining one of the Rebel factions’ famous bombers in a two-ship list? Sure. But such squads, whatever their ceilings, inarguably have much lower floors than, say, Jess/Lowhhrick/Poe. In a wide-open meta, I can’t shake the feeling that the top options for the Rebels are actually very limited.
[Mark Hamill voiceover begins] Amazing. Every word that you just blogged…is wrong.
The Rebellion is reborn today. [Cut to video of someone putting a shield back onto their Poe pilot card]
The meta is just forming. [Cut to video of me starring at a blank YAXWSB page]
And I will not be the last Jedi. [Cut to unboxing video of hypothetical T-65 fix pack]