|'I've got my eye on you, Katarn...'|
Of the four ships released as part of X-Wing Wave 3, Kyle Katarn's ship of choice, the HWK-290, would appear to have been met with the least enthusiasm.
But like many things about this release, you need to look beyond what you currently know about the X-Wing game and open your mind to new opportunities. And if you do, you'll be rewarded with potentially devastating tactical options.
Today we're going to look at one particular HWK-290 build that plays to the strengths (and addresses the weaknesses!) of the ship and capitalises on Kyle Katarn's awesome focus giving card text ability...
|Kyle Katarn provides some serious focus to the boyz and girlz of Dagger Squadron...|
Looking at the dial, it's clear that most if not all Imperial ships will leave this thing looking like a bride after her hen night and the reality is, your gonna present a slow moving target. But hopefully, you'll also present less of a threat to the unwary general who'll be far too busy thinking about taking down your Wedge's and your Luke's... Mwahahaha!
|The dial of the bride...|
But as we'll see in a minute, the fact that the HWK-290 is a bit of a slow coach doesn't really matter, because we ain't going anywhere in a hurry... It's also got four green maneuvers for readily available stress removal and a couple of nice, firing arc dodging, right angle 2 turns. Anyways, enough of the dial, let's take a look at the build!
First up, we have Kyle Katarn and the ability that sits at the core of this build - 'At the start of the Combat phase, you may assign one of your focus tokens to another friendly ship at Range 1-3.'
At first glance, this may look a little run o' the mill. But as any good X-Wing pilot knows, the 'focused - target lock' is the key to smashing seven bells of out of your opponent and ensuring that when you pull the trigger, he's gonna have to try and dodge a whole bunch of hits and crits.
So, whilst your dedicated fighter aces such as Wedge Antilles and Ten Numb are using their valuable action to assign target locks, they are doing so safe in the knowledge that Kyle Katarn is gifting them a regular supply of tasty focus tokens. Cheers Kyle!
The 'Moldy Crow' named ship card is an obvious complimentary choice in this build, allowing Kyle to generate an initial reserve of focus tokens by not having to discard unused focus token during the End phase. Finally, to really start taking the sith, let's also take the 'Recon Specialist' - So that every time we perform a focus action, we assign 1 additional focus token to our ship... Let's take a look at what this all means:
The diagram above shows the beginning of the game at Set-Up phase, with the Rebel player positioning Kyle Katarn on his table edge as far away from the opposing enemy ships as possible. For the first three or four Planning and Activation phases, Katarn wants to be moving steadily forward using a straight one maneuver, selecting and subsequently banking two focus tokens each per game round. The range ruler gives you an idea of the sort of distance the ship will be moving...
By the time the enemy begins to close on his position, Katarn should have banked a minimum of between six and eight focus tokens, ready to either hand these off to his squad mates or utilise himself. Once the enemy is in range, the last action Kyle needs to perform before the shooting match kicks off, is a target lock. And thanks to 'Push The Limit', this is exactly what he's going to do!
Push The Limit may initially seem like an odd addition to this build, but it helps to ensure that it's not just Katarn's squad mates that get to have all the focused - target lock fun. And it's here that the HWK-290's much derided movement dial comes into it's eloquent own - providing a ready supply of four green maneuvers to shake off that stress token ;)
To round off the focus 'tapping' fun, the 360o 'Blaster Turret'* turns what was once a measly one red die primary weapon ship, into a snarling three red die crit machine. This thing may be slow, but it packs a nasty punch if you get too close...
*Note: Based on your playing style / opponent's choice of ships, you may want to consider swapping the Blaster Turret out for an Ion Cannon...
With the HWK-290 firing on all cylinders, the only thing left to address is the somewhat unreliable agility value of two. The 'Stealth Device' upgrade brings that up to a more respectable three and coupled with the availability of those focus tokens, provides better odds at negating hits and ensures the upgrade stays around a little longer...
|Kyle Katarn plays chicken with Colonel Jendon...|
Granted, at 37pts this build isn't cheap. But aside from being a great wing-man and no slouch in a fight, the HWK-290 'Focus Factory' highlights the fantastic new synergies that can be unlocked within the Wave 3 release. It's also great fun to play and leaves an amusing look on your opponents face...
Like all good builds in this game, it starts with a seed of a card text ability and ends up with you creating a monster!