Scyks: Fast, cheap and fun to fly

Elmer, the owner of Argy’s space tavern, sat at the bar and looked glumly at a stack of receipts from MandalMotors. It was a slow night in the hulking space barge that sits just outside the Aturi Cluster. Usually Argy’s would be packed with drinkers. But Elmer’s regulars – the smugglers, Resistance and First Order pilots who fly missions in the area – had lately been going to the Steamline Tavern. The reason was simple: Elmer was losing the Tavern Wars. The Argy’s supplies weren’t getting through and Elmer was down to his last few kegs and emergency stash of Corellian Whiskey.

“This better turn things around,” Elmer muttered as he grasped the paper markers for six M3-A Scyk fighters. The aging barkeep had spent 330,000 credits buying the small, sleek fighters favored by smugglers and criminal syndicates across the galaxy. “Now I just need some pilots.”

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An X-Wing dogfight

Lew the Hutt watched as Bake Travnor, drink in hand, slowly climbed the steps to the Steamline Tavern’s office, from which the enormous green gastropod could oversee operations in his joint.

Bake entered Lew’s domain and stood in his boss’s presence, sipping his Corellian Whiskey on the rocks.

“It’s all set Travnor. The dogfight will be two days from now.”

The pilot nodded. Bake was the leader of Whiskey Squadron, hired by Lew to fight the Tavern Wars against pirates and mercenaries employed by Elmer, owner of Argy’s Space Tavern. Both the Steamline and Argy’s are housed in space barges located just outside the Aturi Cluster.

Lew had placed an enormous bet with Elmer – that one of his pilots could beat Elmer’s best in a space dogfight. Bake would represent the Steamline and he had chosen, much to Lew’s annoyance, to fly a T-65 X-Wing.

“You know Elmer’s guy will be flying something fancier and faster, right?”

“I’m most comfortable in the old snubfighter. Best to stick with what you know, Lew,” Bake answered as he finished the last of his drink.

Lew laughed as he assessed his employee – well into late middle age with grey hair and a close-cropped white beard. But something about Bake’s cocky blue-eyed stare always gave the Hutt confidence.

“Win this Travnor and I’ll give you more than enough credits to pay off your gambling debts,” the Hutt said.

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‘Bank right!’ Whiskey Squadron makes a run for it

Bake Travnor scanned the empty patch of space in front of him and looked at the sensors of his T-65 snubfighter. The screens showed no threats, but the leader of Whiskey Squadron didn’t trust them. He and his wingman, Glenn Sundowner, were flying old X-Wings and the electronics were as temperamental as a drunk Wampa.

“Whiskey Two, what do your sensors show?”

“Nothing, all clear,” Sundowner reported back.

The duo were returning to the Steamline Space Tavern after escorting a shuttle carrying the previous week’s band out of the dangerous space near the Aturi Cluster, the disputed area where the Tavern Wars raged. Whiskey Squadron flew for Lew the Hutt, the Steamline’s owner, and had to be wary of ships hired by Elmer, the  Argy’s Tavern boss and Lew’s rival.

Bake slowly rolled his head side to side, still hungover after finishing off the Steamline’s last bottle of Whyren’s Reserve Whiskey the night before with the band – a shoegaze rock trio from Scarif who easily matched the grizzled old pilot drink for drink.

“Aaah, incoming!” Sundowner shouted over the comm system. “I’m hit.”

Bake’s X-Wing shook violently as well as his rear shields took direct fire.  He spun his head around and saw several Tie Fighters closing fast.

“I knew these sensors were off,” he said to Sundowner. “Bank right and I’ll bank left. These are Argy’s ships and there are probably more. We’ll have to out fly and out run them. Good luck. Last one back to the Steamline buys the first round.”

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Captain Nym fights the Tavern Wars

The smugglers and rogues who frequent Argy’s space tavern just outsisde the Aturi Cluster are not an easily rattled bunch. Seeing as how disputes over who should pay for the next round often end in blaster fights the patrons, as a general rule, let slide many things that would frighten a herd of Bantha.

It was therefore notable that an uneasy pall remained over the joint as the dozens of regulars assessed what had just happened.

“Was that really him?” asked a nervous Gamorrean, clutching his pint so tightly his green fingers turned white.

“Yeah, that was Nym,” said his drinking partner, an older Wookie. “Elmer hired him on for the next few weeks to deliver his profits to the bank. The Tavern Wars are driving old Elmer crazy – and cutting into the geezer’s profits.”

Elmer watched Captain Nym, the legendary smuggler, exit his establishment and head to his spacraft, carrying credits from the last several nights of business at Argy’s.

“Drink up,” Elmer said, his bloodshot eyes bulging more maniacally than the regulars thought possible. “I need the money more than ever if you sorry lot want to still have this place open.”

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A Lambda-class Shuttle mission

Elmer, the elderly human who owns and operates Argy’s Space Tavern just outside the Aturi Cluster, squinted his bloodshot eyes as he examined the bottle of Corellian Whiskey. The strands of white hair on the top of his head swayed like skinny, sad flags as he repeatedly checked the number of credits in the register against what was left in the bottle.

“You’ve been over pouring again,” Elmer said to the Bimm bartender who worked the dayshift. The Bimm’s floppy ears drooped toward the ground. “This stash of whiskey has to last us at least another week.”

A group of smugglers nearby laughed.

“Elmer, you could have enough whiskey to fill two Death Stars, you’d still make sure we paid for every extra shot,” said Alffik, a Zabrak smuggler who had placed his blaster next to his pint of beer.

Elmer eyed the Zabrak with annoyance. The space tavern owner knew the rogue was right but didn’t care. In a week’s time another massive shipment of whiskey and beer was due to arrive aboard a Lambda-class Shuttle. That would keep his patrons happy – and his bottom line fat – for a while. Just so long as the spirits and suds made it to Agry’s – with the Tavern Wars raging there was always a risk they could be intercepted or destroyed by ships sent by Elmer’s rival Lew the Hutt, owner of the Steamline.

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X plus Y = a powerful combo

In Tavern Wars missions a combination of firepower and durability is key – the same is obviously true in standard 100-point skirmishes. Combining T-65 X-Wings with Y-Wings gives you a squadron with ships that have 3 attack dice and 2 evade (the Snubfighters) and sturdy vessels with a whopping 8 hit points and plenty of weapons upgrade options (the good old  Y-Wings). Slap Vectored Thrusters on both ship types and you’re really cooking with blaster gas.

Yet a quick look at the most popular Meta lists right now reveals there’s not a single one in the top 50 that combines T-65 X-Wings with Y-Wings. Give the Xs and Ys a chance.

Below is a good 50-point list – double it for 100-point play.

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Mission: A K-Wing whiskey run

Bake Travnor, the grey-bearded leader of Whiskey Squadron, reluctantly reached inside his jacket pocket and pulled out his glasses. As soon as he put them on several smugglers at the Steamline Space Tavern chuckled.

“Laugh all you want,” Bake said as he motioned for a fresh drink – whiskey on the rocks. “If I’m going to get Lew the Hutt’s Whyren’s Reserve delivered here I’ve got to learn to fly a K-Wing.”

When Travnor’s refill arrived he resumed studying the flight manual for the assault starfighter. In his many years as a Rebel and New Republic pilot the fifty-something Travnor had flown X-Wings, A-Wings and Y-Wings but had always avoided the bulky K-Wing.

Now Lew, the Steamline owner, had secured 10 cases of Whyren’s, the rare Correllian Whiskey. He’d also rented a K-Wing that he’d charged Travnor with flying to deliver his expensive stash. Unfortunately for Travnor Lew had spent so much on the whiskey and starfighter rental he had no money to pay for any other vessels. Travnor would have to pick up the booze and make it back on his own, knowing full well that Lew’s rival in the Tavern Wars, Elmer the Argy’s space tavern owner, would be sending ships to shoot him down.

“Oh well,” Bake said as he finished his drink. “For Whyren’s, it’s worth the risk.”

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An X-Wing mission inspired by Wraith Squadron

(Updated squad point totals for Second Edition)

A half dozen pilots clustered at the far end of the bar at the Steamline Space Tavern waiting to hear more from Bake Travnor, the leader of Whiskey Squadron. Bake caught the eyes of Dans, the two-headed Troig bartender, and motioned for another round for the crew. A glass of Correllian Whiskey, on the rocks, was placed on the wood bar before Bake. He scratched his beard, which was as grey as a T-65 Snubfighter, then took a sip.

“What’s the best shot you ever saw Bake?” asked Morto Lesky, a young smuggler recently recruited by Bake to work for Lew the Hutt during the Tavern Wars. Bake, who flew missions for 25 years for the Rebellion and New Republic, appreciated that his reputation preceded him with the youngsters but knew that part of the reverence was simply because he was old. He downed the rest of his drink.

“I didn’t see this, it happened before I joined Wraith Squadron,” Bake said as the pilots leaned closer.

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Mission: Whisky Squadron flies into an ambush

The smugglers and other assorted riffraff at Argy’s space tavern gripped their drinks nervously. Elmer, the elderly human owner of the joint on the edge of the Aturi Cluster, was smiling. The Argy’s regulars were used to many things – surly service, bands that didn’t play in tune, clouds of cigarette smoke so thick that sometimes the bar itself was veiled behind choking fog – but a happy Elmer was not something they were prepared for.

Finally a particularly bold Abyssin, who was the first mate on a transport that ferried bar food to Argy’s, spoke.

“Good news Elmer?” the green, one-eyed creature asked.

Elmer, who was rail thin and hunched over, opened his bloodshot eyes nearly as wide as an Ion Cannon.

“I’ve laid a trap for Whiskey Squadron,” Elmer explained, chuckling in a way that reminded the Abyssin of the sounds a malfunctioning hyperdrive makes. “I’ll get the best of Lew the Hutt in the Tavern Wars yet.”

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Tie Striker – another underrated ship

When you play a lot of mission scenarios you often end up using ships that don’t seem to get much attention in traditional, 100-point X-Wing tournaments.  For example, we’ve found that Y-Wings are terrific in Tavern Wars missions and feel they should get more action in competitive skirmish play.

Another vessel we really like is the Tie Striker. When you add the Adaptive Ailerons card (at a cost of zero) the Striker becomes very maneuverable and its dial allows it to turn around in a tight space (a 2 K Turn and a right and left Segnor’s Loop at 2). Yes, the Striker only has 4 hull points and no shields. But it gets 3 attack dice and its most expensive pilot, Duchess, has a pilot skill of 8 and costs only 23 points. But as of this writing a Tie Striker doesn’t show up in the top 50 best performing pilots in the latest meta. The Striker is a fun ship to fly and is a decent addition to any 100-point Imperial list.