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Remembering Ralph McQuarrie

If the name is unfamiliar to you, you’ll probably recognize the artwork.

Inside Jabba's Palace.

Inside Jabba’s Palace.

Today, March 3rd, 2015, marks three years since the passing of Ralph McQuarrie, illustrator and concept artist who worked on some of the most memorable films of our generation. Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Indiana Jones, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek IV… quite the resume for a guy who started out drawing teeth after serving in the Korean War.

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Be My Scoundrel – Exploring Scum and Villainy Lists

With the Scum and Villainy expansions for X-wing travelling across the land in the cargo holds of countless spice runners (a.k.a. UPS trucks), it’s hard not to come up with a bunch of new lists to try out for the newest kids on the block. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, so I’m just going to take it step by step. Fantasy Flight continues to make their champions into bona fide gamer celebrities, publishing great articles like this excellent one by repeat world champ Paul Heaver. In addition to some excellent strategy basics (describing the rock/paper/scissors nature of jousters vs. turrets vs. arc dodgers), Paul provides some interesting lists to try out for the Scum. Let’s take a quick look at the ship archetypes as he describes them:

Jousters are straight-forward, efficient little buggers that often blanket the battlefield in no-frills ships. A little underwhelming individually, they are ruthlessly effective in medium to large sized groups, even without upgrades.

Arc Dodgers are very dangerous, slippery little space ninjas really. Fast and highly manoeuvrable, they generally pack a large punch but can’t take a hit in return. Their best defense is usually to avoid being shot at all, and they do this by arc dodging — moving last and often spending their actions boosting or barrel rolling into prime locations. The ultimate goal is often to get into range band 1 of an opponent who isn’t able to shoot you back, but a lot of the time you settle for range band 3 against targets with lower agility than you. Your mid-strength attacks can still hurt them, but their attacks will hopefully fail to crack your higher agility, range bonuses and/or defensive tokens. Either situation benefits the arc dodger.

Turrets are rampant right now due to the strength of the Phantom, which is an arc dodger on steroids. It’s difficult to catch and often even harder to hit (with 2+2=4 agility while cloaked), and brings huge firepower to the game as well. With turret ships, you are generally throwing big attacks around in any direction, which negates at least some of the Phantom’s big strengths. Even in the hands of a brilliant player, swarmy jousting lists (and even many arc dodger squads) can’t keep up with the Phantom.

Nothing beats rock.

Nothing beats rock.

The relationship between the three archetypes is a lot like rock, paper, scissors. Turrets are rocks. They bring a ton of hit points and are fairly simple to use, even for beginners. Jousters are paper, blanketing the opposition in ships, covering a lot of territory, and inflicting death by a thousand paper cuts. Arc dodgers are scissors, cutting through paper by applying a lot of force onto single ships in the swarm, while dodging some, most or all of the return fire. And looping back around, turrets largely laugh at arc dodgers, as their points spend on manoeuvrability count for a lot less against a ship with 360 degree attacks.

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TIE Phantom Repaint

A rare weekend went by without any dice being rolled (probably could have made it out to the tournament at All Star but sleeping in so I could party until 4am later that night seemed like a good idea) but I did get some painting in, which was cool.

I'm sure there's a whispering eye joke in there somewhere.

I’m sure there’s a whispering eye joke in there somewhere.

Since the Phantom came out, I’ve really wanted to do a version where the ship is transitioning out of cloak with guns blazing, like in the card art. This turned out to be more difficult than I had expected! The flatter areas aren’t so bad, but the bumpy areas (like the surface texture on the panels) makes painting thin lines a bit of a nightmare.

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Even More X-wing Cards

It’s amazing how much work you can get done when you’re not celebrating a Superbowl victory. Next time you’ve got 2nd and goal from the 1 yard line, maybe keep it on the ground, mmkay?

Draw Their Fire

Added tons of new content to the X-wing Custom Cards page, including Weapons Engineer, Decimator Engine Upgrade, Kyle Katarn, Jan Ors, Nera Dantels, Garven Dreis, Dutch Vander, Horton Salm, Darth Vader, Wing Leader (house rule) and Draw Their Fire.

Same as before, I’m open to suggestions for more alternate artwork cards. What would you like to see next?

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More Custom X-wing Cards

Looking good, Ms. Howlrunner.

Looking good, Ms. Howlrunner.

I assume that most of you readers have seen the links on Facebook or Team Covenant, but I have added a static X-wing Custom Cards page to the site menu (top right of the page, or accessible by the Menu button on mobile). I’ve got a large number of cards uploaded so far, and will be doing up more.

I also added the new link to the Hobby Night in Canada site. You can find us at hobbynight.ca so bookmark us and check back for new episodes every second Saturday! You can also search us on iTunes and subscribe, that way you’ll never miss a show. Check back as we’ll be posting blog entries, event coverage and all kinds of good stuff to the site.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions and encouragement I’ve received so far, I’m still looking for ideas on what to do next so keep it coming! If you decide to print some for yourself, feel free to send me some pics of the cards in action. It’s pretty cool to see something you made getting use.