A few months ago I did a double part special looking at the different Astromechs that the Rebellion had access to. (Part 1 & Part 2) And in the same Poor Grey Pilot fashion I took a look at each droid, how they fit into the current meta, and how we could get some use out of the less popular ones. Today I am continuing that thread by taking a look at the Salvaged Astromechs. I put off this analysis for a while on the basis that Scum ships have too few ships that use Astromechs. However, with the BTL-A4 Warthog now in use, and the Punishing One announced, I feel there is adequate material to discuss.
To start off I just want to say that I am happy that FFG made Scum droids a separate category of upgrade. Not only does this give more unique identity to both the Rebel and Scum factions, it also fits more with the lore. During the time of the Galactic Civil War the Empire had placed a monopoly on astromechs. None were to be produced or shipped without the knowledge and approval of Imperial Authority. The main reason the Empire did this was because they knew that the Rebel Alliance's fleet was mainly filled with Y-wings and X-wings, starfighters that were reliant on droids.
We can see how both the Rebels and the Scum & Villainy of galaxy reacted to this economic embargo. The Alliance used its many connections and strong moral stance to open up several good supply lines, for example with smuggler Nera Dantels. Furthermore, Admiral Akbar and other Rebel leaders began pushing for mass production of the A-wing and Blade Wing prototypes the Alliance had, both of which were fighters that did not rely on astromechs. On the flip side, Scum factions fell back on what they did best: cunning and self-reliance. Instead of being dependent on mint astromech supply lines, they turned to restoring and remaking used droids. These salvaged astromechs work just fine for the grungy pirate fleets and add a new, fun flavor to the droid scene in X-wing Miniatures. Let's take a look at each one available so you can decide which droid your Scum pilot should take.
Haha, the first time I saw the art on this card I thought that Genius was sitting around while his master worked on the back of an X-wing. I couldn't figure out why a Scum pilot would have such a ship but after a second glance I realized that he is actually working on Genius's body. The poor droid's portrait for the game was taken while he was receiving maintenance! This actually gives an actuate picture of how he operates: the user needs to be a bit headless to charge in on crazy bombing runs.
However, not many people fancy this droid. That is because they only see him as a suicide bomber. But that doesn't make sense to me. If you aren't willing to make a few risks to gain the upper hand then you aren't a Scum pilot! Many players find it is viable to take Z-95's with Feedback Arrays. It is the same tactic. And honestly, Y-wings can do it better because they have more hull to work with. Take a Thug pilot with Proton Bombs and Genius and he can sacrifice one of his own hull points to give out a critical to each ship in a swarm or to a low-hull ace. This is very effective versus fragile enemies like TIE Fighters, E-wings, A-wings, and Sycks. But what most people haven't realized yet is that Wave 7 brought a non-lethal type of suicide bombing. The introduction of Ion Bombs is a unique ion mechanic because it deals no damage, only ion tokens. This means you can have a Genius Bomber that won't hurt itself. You can then take it to the next level by equipping an Autoblaster Turret and Extra Munitions. Your Y-wing is now a death trap for small base swarms. Fly your bomber at the formation, drop an Ion Bomb with Genius, ionize everyone, and attack with your Autoblaster. Then everyone takes the ionized move next turn and you are once more in Autoblaster range.
Another thing that many people haven't connected yet from Wave 7 is that Genius is a SLAM Bomber. A vast number of players wanted to use the K-wing's SLAM to drop bombs and weren't happy when the ability was removed from the game. If SLAM Bombing was really your heart's desire then you are in luck: Genius provides the same mechanic to Scum bombers and he is still legal. And you can do something that no K-wing ever could by putting Stay on Target on Kavil. Now we have a high PS ship with bombs that can turn on a dime to hunt low PS swarms. Then top off the combo by giving Kavil an Autoblaster Turret with 3 attack dice.
There are two more things I want to say about Genius. The first is one that everyone knows: try him with an engine upgrade. That way you have a Y-wing that can move, lay a bomb, and then boost away. For a few extra squad points your bomber no longer needs to be suicidal. It is a fun combo and I recommend trying it out! The last things I want to mention is that there is a gap in Scum meta right now. In my Advanced Bombing article I talked about how there is a unique ship for both Rebels and Imperials that is a dedicated Advanced Bomber. Scum players have the Andrasta but they don't have a single ship to fill the dedicated Advanced Bomber role. Maybe Nym's H-6 Scurrg Bomber? The ship has both astromech and bomb slots. And it already appeared in Armada so I feel there is a good chance we could see it in X-wing. Keep your fingers crossed!
The Unhinged Astromech is our first generic Scum droid and it can do some crazy things that it's Rebel counterpart can't. An Unhinged on a Y-wing or Warthog not only gives the ship some much-needed green moves, it turns the 3 speed hard turns from red to green. This really frees up the ship and gives it more speed and maneuverability. It is a bargain benefit for just 1 point but it doesn't end there. The Jumpmaster 5000 was introduced and FFG specifically announced that the ship would have an "asymmetrical dial". In an interview, Alex Davy revealed that the ship will have green turns to the left but white and red turns to the right. This was meant to create a unique mechanic for ship flying, but more importantly it was also meant as a detriment to the ship. It can come in at a cheaper squad cost, in my opinion, for having such a bad and predictable dial. But for just 1 point we can give the Jumpmaster an Unhinged Astromech and we have a good chance that the 3 turns will be changed from asymmetrical to symmetrical. This is just my speculation so I guess we'll have to see what happens.
While our Unhinged R5 Droid had his head played with to give a different movement mechanic, the salvaged R3 unit has nothing to do with making green moves. These droids were probably little more than empty shells when Outlaw Techs got their hands on them. After rigorous reprogramming, these Salvaged Astromechs were turned into spare power generators.
The Leebo crew gives you an Engine Upgrade for half the points but pays for the discount by giving yourself an ion token. It is the same for the Salvaged Astromech. He essentially gives you a shield upgrade for half the cost but pays for the discount by requiring that you apply the droid to a Ship-based Critical Hit. So you might get an extra hit point for half-off or you might not even use it as your ship is destroyed by normal hits. But honestly, while Leebo isn't the best investment, the Salvaged Astromech is. Both the Y-wing and the Jumpmaster have 5 hull and therefore have a very good chance of taking a ship-critical and using the droid. And if you give your ship a Hull Upgrade you not only get one more hit point, you increase the likelihood the SA will activate. That means you can get a 2/1/6/4 Y-wing or 2/2/6/5 Jumpmaster for only 5 more squad points. And since it is generic you can put it on multiple ships. A rather great bargain, if you ask me.
Industrial Automation was the company that invented the R-series Astromech. Seeing their business sharply decline with the embargo on Space Droids, they decided to open up a new market. They took their R4 Astromech Series and made a few modifications to it. These changes allowed the droid to house agricultural memory banks rather than aerospace banks and they named it the R4 Agromech. And they actually saw good success with it. However when Scum factions saw it on the market they found they had a golden opportunity. Not only did their technicians find it rather easy to reverse-engineer the memory change, they quickly found that they received no Imperial repercussion for buying the droids en-masse. They continued to call them "Agromechs" but now the name meant Aggression. Quite a clever and poetic move.
There are many applications of the Agromech and all of them are downright fun, especially since the droid is generic. Warthogs with a TLTs or Ion Turrets can now have more action economy to give modification on offense. And an Agromech Y-wing or Warthog can efficiently use a Blaster Turret. You spend the focus to fire the weapon and have a target lock to use for modification. You can also use the Agromech to give Fire Control Systems to your Y-wings. During the Alphas Strike you fire with your primary weapons and a focus token. While 2 attack dice won't do much you will get a free Target Lock. Then you can move into range 1-2 the next round for a powerful torpedo shot with both TL and Focus.
The Agromech will also find a good home on the Jumpmaster. You could take him for the free Target Locks but there is another application. Consider taking Dengar with the Punishing One title and an R4 Agromech. Specifically, the Agromech requires you to spend your focus on an Attack and Dengar's retributive strike ability is considered an Attack. That means the Bounty Hunter can use the Agromech to punish higher PS pilots. If Wedge or Vader shoot at Dengar inside his firing arc, he can attack back and use his focus token without thought. Then he receives a Target Lock and fires once more during normal combat order. The Scum fleet has very few pilots with PS 8 and 9 but it is doesn't matter because they have so many abilities to punish enemy Aces.
R4-B11 - 3 Points
The final droid in our arsenal is the B11 droid. This creepy little guy was the work of a rather sinister pirate. He acts as a reverse R7 droid. Instead of letting you spend your target lock on your defense, it lets you spend your target lock to mess with the enemy's defense. It is a powerful combo that lets you make the most of your actions. But more importantly it can help you break powerful enemies with high agility. The droid terrorizes ships like Interceptors and E-wings that rely so heavily on their evade dice. B11 paired with a turret turns a ship into an efficient hunter of arc-dodgers. So consider putting him on a Y-wing with a Twin Laser Turret and flying the ship on your squad's flank to prevent enemies from sneaking around behind. Experiment with him and see what kind of combos you can create.
So there you go, my Scum friends. Five different Salvaged Astromechs to choose from. And if you look at the preview of the Jumpmaster 5000 we find that there are two more droids on the way! Which will you pick for your squad needs? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and have fun flying those pirate strategies!