The Problem with Poe

poe in x wing

Hi. Captain Jack’s Butt here to chat about our favourite T-70 X wing pilot, not red leader of the same name from the hit show Teletubbies. Sorry to disappoint all those hoping for that article.

Welcome to the first article on Zombie Squadron. For a quick point of reference I am not Captain Jack Sparrow’s butt, but Captain Jack Harkness’ butt from Dr Who and Torchwood. I hope to get up at least one article a week exploring the ins and outs of X Wing. So, back to the article, bon appetit.

Back in October I was toying with what to equip Poe with and what to fly him with. I came up with two Y wings with TLT and a Z 95. I tried a variety of things from Grey and Talas to Golden Bandits then I moved house, didn’t play for a month, put on the FFG Worlds live feed whilst decorating the new abode and watched Paul Heaver run a merry dance with Poe, two gold squadron Y wings and a bandit Z 95. Sad times, as I will become a net lister for running anything similar.

That being said, Poe is someone who has options and potential, either in a similar list or something different. And here are my thoughts from flying Poe so far.

Auto Thrusters

First and foremeost are they an auto take? They synergise really nicely with his pilot ability which is as long as he has a focus token he may change one eyeball to either a hit if attacking or evade if defending. In this age of TLT and other turrets it does make him good at limiting incoming damage although it will depend how you fly him in conjunction with the rest of your list and in certain match ups they won’t do much.

You probably should find the two points for them but depending on your list and play style you may well get away without it. If you go without auto thrusters integrated astro mech at 0 points is worth putting on. R2 D2 is not any good at regenerating shields if the ship gets blown up first.

teletubbie

Gold Leader starting attack run

Pilot Skill 8

A PS of 8 is one of the more frustrating pilot skill levels to consider when dishing out your elite pilot skill talent. It all comes down to how you want to deal with the high PS arc dodgers like Sontir Fel who clock in a PS 9. Veteran instincts can put you in at PS 10 but you may lose some utility.

Push the Limit and BB8

This was the first darling of the internet when the new core set dropped. It does give Poe a pre nerf phantom esque ability to reposition with the barrel roll plus an action from PTL such as a boost then clearing the stress with the resulting green move. This is followed by taking an action normally for an effective three action manoeuvre without taking any stress. Another bonus of this is that it allows you to dial in a K turn or Talon roll the following turn without it being painfully obvious such as if you had PTL and an R2.

What I feel limits this combo is the amount of green manoeuvres on the dial, as it has to be a green manoeuvre for BB8 to kick in, and PS 8. Great against swarms but may struggle against a competent Vader or Fel player. It also comes a cropper when you end up starting turns with stress and end up having to PTL in the normal action sequence. Its hard to break this circle especially as the game gets into the closing stages.

ttlDipsyWalkingAndSinging

How much Green?

Push the Limit and R2 Astromech

If you are going for a more joust like approach, this will give you more movement options with all your 2 speed moves becoming green. Integrated astromech would fit well here. My only reservation about this combination is that for 1 point more BB8 gives more options although R2 allows a hard 2 green followed by a 1 bank boost.

Predator

A more offensive Poe allowing you to get reliable damage output, especially when focused. The down side is that I often find that I want to boost with Poe and although this helps mitigate it you can’t help but think PTL might be better. Predator does help open up the really useful Talon roll to chuck out more damage.

Lone Wolf

I like Lone Wolf and have had some success with it in certain lists. Cheaper than predator and also helps defensively, especially when combined with auto thrusters but Poe is probably going to get stuck in the thick of it and then lose the utility of the EPT. I find lone wolf works best with two or three ship builds or on Echo as it’s easier to stay at arm’s length.

Veteran Instincts

PS 10 Poe, Paul Heaver won the World championship with it and it is definitely worth considering with the amount of arc dodging PS 9 out there. My only critique of going VI on Poe is in the case of coming up against another PS10 ship (or possibly PS11 Vadar or Han Solo), and there will probably be an influx of PS 10 Poes now,  can you deal with losing the initiative bid or roll off and then get lumbered with the initiative so that you move first?

R5-P9 or R2D2?

R5-P9 on first glance looks the better choice given Poe’s pilot ability but both droids have their benefits and draw backs. This also comes down to EPT choice as well. One of the things that I find when I fly Poe is that the Boost action is used a similar amount of time as to focusing, if not more. Not such a problem at the beginning of the game but when you want to regen shields you are looking at reducing your movement options by focusing instead of boosting. This is also combined with the drawback of having to keep the focus token which means if you roll double or triple eyeball you have to consider whether to spend it and forgo the shield regeneration.

R2D2 only kicks in on a green manoeuvre which given the limited amount of green means that you are likely to be boosting afterwards and rolling unmodified dice. The big plus is that the shield comes back before the combat phase whereas R5-P9 is in the end phase if you have a focus token. The flip side is that R5-P9 allows you to do a larger move like a hard 3 and focus whereas with R2D2 the most you can do is a 1 bank followed by a boost.

Tinky Winky storm trooper

“Tinky Winky, to the dark side he go.”

Conclusion

So what is the optimal loadout? The Worlds final suggests Vi on Poe is best, (as both competitors had a VI Poe), but in a mirror match or another PS10 pilot you could be moving first and losing the intended benefit. Could picking something else as an elite pilot trait be better in this case as if you face VI Poe you are already prepared to move first? I certainly felt Paul Heaver hand one hand on the trophy by just winning the choice of initiative. If running VI I would certainly consider plans on how to deal with moving first against either a mirror match or other PS 10 or PS11 opponents.

As always in X Wing a lot depends on how you like to fly. Personally, at the moment, I like predator and R5-P9 although I’m being swayed over to R2D2.

What’s your favourite build?

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