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Hot or Not: First Order Edition

The Space Bone-Arm crew is back with another article highlighting the May 2023 points change! Thankfully, today’s article is a bit shorter than the last couple of ones. Chalk this up to the First Order (sometimes shortened to “FO”) receiving a fewer changes (many were minor “tweaks”) and ship chassis compared to the other factions.

Will all factions bow to the First Order?

As with all the “Hot or Not” articles, I like to start with brief recap about the format; I polled the Space Bone-Arm crew and asked them to judge a selection of pilots in a segment titled “Hot () or Not ()”, where we judge X-wing pilot (not people!) strength post May points changes. Members of the Bone-Arm crew were presented with a single pilot and their respective changes, asked to declare “Hot” or “Not”, and then given an opportunity to provide a short explanation for their vote. I then source a longer format “overall” opinion from a squadmate that has experience flying the selected faction in a competitive environment. As with all previous faction reviews, the majority of included pilots saw their loadout/squad values changed, but a couple of pilots remained at their previous values (points are relative, so it’s good to include some of the static pilots). We’ve previously covered the three original factions; the Galactic Empire, the Rebel Alliance, and Scum and Villainy. Now we’re tackling the first of the two Sequel factions, the First Order.

If you’re interested in a just a few of our opinions, feel free to scroll down or use the Table of Contents to find the pilots you care the most about! I hope it’s a relatively fun and simple read!

Let’s get into it!

Major Vonreg: TIE/ba Interceptor

Old: 6 points and 18 loadout.

New: 5 points and 14 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Talent, Tech, Missile, Modification, Modification

Steve: Not! I don’t think he’s got quite enough to stand out amongst the other five pointers. I feel like they made Daredevil five points to specifically stop him from being played.

Sean: Hot! A slightly tankier interceptor at i6 for five points seems quite strong, but I’m not thrilled about his ability.

Kevin: Hot! Low floor, but high ceiling. I like him more than Quickdraw if you want/need an i6 in your list. Five points also feels pretty decent despite losing out on extra toys.

Ted: Hot! An i6 with either double reposition or double dice modifications? How is it not hot at five points?

Jon: Hot! I can’t see a reason this one wouldn’t be hot. Five points for an i6 and the ship has a great chassis ability to begin with.

Final Verdict: Hot ! A near unanimous pick for “Hot”. Vonreg is back on the scene at five squad points. While he can no longer take all the sweet toys that he got during the initial 2.5 points update, he still has some space for nifty things like Daredevil and Deuterium Power Cells. He has some competition for the five point spot, but I expect to see this highly maneuverable ace on the table.

“Midnight”: TIE/fo Fighter

Old: 4 points and 15 loadout.

New: 3 points and 7 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Talent, Tech, Modification, Modification (Lost a Missile slot)

Steve: Hot! Three points for an i6 Swarm Tactics carrier. You can definitely cook with this! Whirlwind immediately stands out as a partner.

Sean: Hot! A three point i6 is great. Better yet that it is “Midnight”.

Kevin: Hot! “Midnight” is an annoying little sh*t. Lock an enemy and then pester them all game (or let opponents embark on a futile chase as he claims objectives).

Ted: Hot! Would probably cost four in any other faction. FO gets silly things.

Jon: Hot! Three points for an i6, can block mods, and gets a shield. Every Imperial TIE/ln is jealous.

Verdict: Hot ! “Midnight” is one of the factions newest three points and we’re all down with it. He doesn’t pack a ton of hard hitting offense with his 2-red dice primary (although Predator+Crack Shot sounds nice), but that ability means that he can slowly wear down opponents. The ability to take Swarm Tactics and cook up some shenanigans adds even more potential to this pick.

DT-798: TIE/fo Fighter

Old: 3 points and 8 loadout.

New: 3 points and 6 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Tech, Modification, Modification

Steve: Not! He’s down from being oppressive to just pretty good.

Sean: Hot! The loss of Pattern Analyzer/Advanced Optics + Fanatical stings, but the ability is still very strong.

Kevin: Hot! Still hot despite the loadout nerf. Just take Deuterium Power Cells now, which works well with his ability.

Ted: Hot! I mean, once again, I’d take this in a heartbeat in any other faction. Still very strong considering how few ships are below i4 these days.

Jon: Hot! Extra die TIE are all the rage.

Verdict: Hot ! DT-798 might have been taken down a slight peg, but he still feels pretty good at three points with room for a toy or two. I recommend trying out Deuterium Power Cells to grab a “free” shield or to convert that strain into a stress at a critical moment.

“Scorch”: TIE/fo Fighter

Old: 3 points and 8 loadout.

New: 3 points and 6 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Talent, Tech, Modification

Steve: Not! Same as DT-798. They’re not as strong as they used to be and everyone else got better.

Sean: Hot! Same reasoning as DT-798.

Kevin: Hot! I still like him. Probably worse than DT now, but still a decently cheap three dice gun with a solid statline.

Ted: Hot! Which of these FO ships is actually not hot?

Jon: Hot! Another extra die TIE? Seems good.

Verdict: Hot ! “Scorch” rocks a similar ability to DT-798 and was rated hot for similar reasons. While he can’t take the same toys as before, he can still rock some solid upgrades.

“Dread”: TIE/se Bomber

Old: 4 points and 12 loadout.

New: 3 points and 8 loadout.

Slots: Tech, Torpedo, Missile, Gunner, Payload, Payload, Modification

Steve: Hot! Three points for this platform is fun. Maybe not super good, but fun.

Sean: Not! He’s on the cusp of hot. Three points is a deal, but the low loadout is hurtful for Bombers.

Kevin: Hot! Give him a Proton Rocket or Missiles+Bomb and he feels like a decent little objective pest with tools.

Ted: Hot! Reminds me of three cost Y-wings, but since it’s FO, they get a bonus agility.

Jon: Hot! The entire thing feels scary and like a Bomber that got steroids. Sure the lower loadout sucks, it’s still intimidating to me.

Verdict: Hot ! The TIE/be’s saw very little play after the nerf to Electro-Chaff Missiles. Giving a couple of the pilots a squad point drop and a corresponding loadout hit feels like the right way to get them back on the table. Eight points of loadout still gives “Dread” plenty of options (check out Deuterium Power Cells + Bomblet Generator) while he nabs objectives and boosts around the board.

“Grudge”: TIE/se Bomber

Old: 4 points and 15 loadout.

New: Unchanged

Slots: Talent, Tech, Missile, Gunner, Payload, Payload, Modification

Steve: Not! If you stayed the same, you effectively got worse.

Sean: Hot! Four points is expensive, but his ability makes him arguably the most potent TIE/be in the faction.

Kevin: Not! I guess he fits the bill if you want an Electro-Chaff Missile carrier and/or more effective bomb carrier, but I’m not sure his ability is worth the four point slot in FO.

Ted: Not! Thankfully the reroll boy isn’t three points. Let’s not get too crazy, AMG.

Jon: Hot! Pretty sure every time you make the bomb re-roll happen, a little Anzellan says “what a dick”.

Verdict: Not ! The faction’s first “Not” of the article! Sounds like none of the Space Bone-Arm crew are particularly excited about an unchanged pilot that didn’t see much play before the changes. He’s still probably the best true bomber in the faction, but four points might be a bit much of a cost until he can take more toys.

“Scorch”: TIE/se Bomber

Old: 4 points and 10 loadout.

New: 3 points and 7 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Tech, Missile, Gunner, Payload, Payload, Modification, Modification

Steve: Not! Seven is not enough loadout and his ability isn’t good enough to stand on its own. I’d prefer “Dread” with a procket or the TIE/fo Scorch.

Sean: Not! The low LV hurts this bomber’s effectiveness, but I do like this ability more than “Dread’s”.

Kevin: Not! I don’t think being i4 is worth it over the i3 “Dread” with the loadout drop and you’re probably never taking both of them.

Ted: Not! Still pretty hot, but I kinda prefer the other “Scorch”.

Jon: Hot! All these bombers synergize so well with anything. It’s great. Let any other ship give a strain so that your big guns do more damage.

Verdict: Not ! Despite our overwhelming “Hot” votes for the other three point bomber, the crew came in much colder for “Scorch”. The single loadout point less doesn’t seem like much on the surface, but was enough to temper our feelings. The ability is good, but none of use were quite convinced that it propels him past his other three point brothers and sisters.

“Quickdraw”: TIE/sf Fighter

Old: 6 points and 25 loadout.

New: 5 points and 12 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Talent, Sensor, Tech, Gunner, Modification

Steve: Not! Five points feels good at first glance, but I don’t think she comes with enough loadout. I’d rather take Kylo in the TIE/wi or one of the five points TIE/vn Silencers.

Sean: Hot! For five points, she’s one of the strongest FO pilots out there. The loadout nerf is considerable though, especially now that you have to chose to take a Shield Upgrade or other tools.

Kevin: Not! I liked her more when she had room for a Shield Upgrade and additional toys. I’m sure she’ll see play, but the other five point ships look tastier to me. With offense trending up, I doubt you get more than 1-2 bonus shots off with her.

Ted: Not! I think “Quickdraw” is fine, but with so many other options, I probably pass right now.

Jon: Hot! I hate flying against “Quickdraw”, making her cheaper to fly is going to make it happen more often. Who cares about the loadout. It’s just punishing to shoot unless you have some good arc convergence and blow through the shields right away.

Verdict: Not ! A potentially surprising “Not” by the crew, especially since Steve won the Dragon Fall tournament in the Winter flying “Quickdraw”. While there is plenty of love her (i6, good ability, room for some toys), many of us just don’t think “Quickdraw” has enough juice in the current meta. That said, I think she’ll still be quite popular as TIE/sf’s feel nice and cozy to fly.

Lieutenant LeHuse: TIE/sf Fighter

Old: 5 points and 18 loadout.

New: 4 points and 7 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Sensor, Tech, Missile, Missile, Gunner, Modification

Steve: Hot! LeHuse is solid. I haven’t decided whether Pattern Analyzer+Proud Tradition or Barrage Rockets is better.

Sean: Hot! I’m not in love with his ability, but four points for a TIE/sf is great.

Kevin: Hot! Similar to the Rebel i5 X-wings. Can hit hard at a high initiative to trade for those points. The ability is sneaky good in the right squads.

Ted: Hot! Yeah, Lieutenant Lt L’excuse at four is probably more tempting than “Quickdraw” at five.

Jon: Not! Seems like a good fit at four points, but with rough loadout. Can’t fit much of anything on him.

Verdict: Hot ! Finally back to hot for First Order! Lieutenant LeHuse feels like a bit of a steal at four squad points. I think some voters forgot that Special Forces Gunner went down to zero points, which frees that seemingly low seven loadout points for other upgrades. I suspect that LeHuse will be one of the most popular four point ships in the faction.

“Blackout”: TIE/vn Silencer

Old: 6 points and 20 loadout.

New: 5 points and 12 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Tech, Tech, Torpedo, Missile, Configuration

Steve: Hot! Great chassis, great initiative, and great loadout.

Sean: Hot! Silencers are one of the strongest ships in the game. Triggering his ability takes some skill and positioning, but can be especially potent with Trick Shot.

Kevin: Hot! An i5 Silencer feels almost as hot as it gets! Ignore the ability, that chassis is fantastic.

Ted: Hot! Again, it’s kind of hard to actually judge only internally for FO. However, the Silencer is just crazy good. Five squad points for this? Sign me up.

Jon: Hot! I’d try a Trick Shot + Procket so quickly with this one.

Verdict: Hot ! A unanimous “Hot” by the crew! “Blackout” feels like a bargain at five points. The lack of an evade action is the only thing that holds this chassis back. A well flown, high initiative Silencer is terrifying to come across and I suspect that “Blackout” will hurt all of us eventually.

“Rush”: TIE/vn Silencer

Old: 5 points and 7 loadout.

New: 5 points and 11 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Talent, Tech, Missile, Configuration

Steve: Not! I prefer “Blackout” or Kylo.

Sean: Not! He’s not bad, but there are better TIE/vn Silencers for five points.

Kevin: Not! I think you’re just asking to get initiative killed when flying this guy. You’re probably flying around severely crippled if you survive into a damaged state, which makes his seemingly cool ability nearly meaningless.

Ted: Not! I wasn’t looking before…does eleven loadout change my mind? Probably not…

Jon: Not! Ooof, at half health you get a boost? Why not just take something reliably better from the get go?

Verdict: Not ! The five point spot in FO has some serious competition after the points update. He might be your third pick if you go triple Silencer, but that is one of the few lists you see him slot into.

Kylo Ren: TIE/vn Silencer

Old: 7 points and 16 loadout.

New: 7 points and 20 loadout.

Slots: Force, Talent, Tech, Torpedo, Missile, Configuration (Gained a Talent slot)

Steve: Hot! He’s very strong and is a super ace with that loadout and upgrade slots. Not sure he’s worth it at seven, but Kylo experts will probably get the value.

Sean: Hot! It’s Kylo.

Kevin: Hot! That’s a lot of loadout and the new Talent slot adds some sexy flavor.

Ted: Hot! Look, anyone that says Kylo isn’t Hot is just lying to themself. Do I think he’s better in the Silencer than the Whisper? Yes. But do I think he is two squad points better? Well that where you have me…probably not.

Jon: Hot! Why did he need to get more? He was already good!

Verdict: Hot ! We love Kylo in the Silencer! With those slots, Kylo can become a hard hitting “super Ace” that fears very little. Seven points is a steep price, but we believe that dedicated flyers can get value from him. Unfortunately, one of the main reasons not to take him comes up next…

Kylo Ren: TIE/wi Whisper Modified Interceptor

Old: 6 points and 18 loadout.

New: 5 points and 14 loadout.

Slots: Force, Force, Talent, Missile, Tech, Tech, Modification, Configuration

Steve: Hot! Pretty sure this is the best piece FO has to offer. All those linked actions, i5, and three Force…what a guy.

Sean: Hot! It’s Kylo with more Force for five points. Although I will admit that I’ve never flown or fought against him in the Whisper.

Kevin: Hot! The reason no one will fly Chad Kylo Silencer is because Kylo Whisper is now the best value pilot in the game.

Ted: Hot! Do I need to start ranting about Force users again? This just seems rude.

Jon: Hot! Good ship cost for i5 and three Force. That ability feels like it could really trash some large base ships.

Verdict: Hot ! Shocker, we also love Kylo in the Whisper! A ship that was already seeing a decent amount of play got a squad point discount with a minor loadout nerf. I was honestly a bit surprised by this move by AMG. I’d be willing to guess that he’ll become the factions second most popular pilot outside of Malarus in the TIE/fo.

“Wrath”: TIE/wi Whisper Modified Interceptor

Old: 5 points and 15 loadout.

New: Unchanged.

Slots: Talent, Talent, Cannon, Tech, Tech, Configuration

Steve: Not! Outshined by other five pointers.

Sean: Hot! (Tentative) Without much Whisper knowledge, I can’t say either way. But I do like double taps.

Kevin: Hot! You’re probably taking Kylo in the Whisper first, but double i5 Whispers for ten points feels damn good to me. Might be a case where squad compositions built around him benefited by new points.

Ted: Hot! I’ve always thought “Wrath” is hot as double taps are amazing. Maybe there is a conversation to be had about Kylo being better, but I think there is a place for “Wrath”.

Jon: Hot! This ship is scary even without the double tap ability. Definitely worth five squad points.

Verdict: Hot ! We’re not quite as onboard with “Wrath” as we are with Kylo in the Whisper, but this still feels like great value for five points. The First Order has plenty of solid four and three point ships to make a viable double i5 Whisper list. The question is probably “do you take two Whispers over one Whisper and Blackout/Vonreg?”.

“Whirlwind”: TIE/wi Whisper Modified Interceptor

Old: 4 points and 12 loadout.

New: Unchanged.

Slots: Talent, Talent, Missile, Tech, Tech, Configuration

Steve: Hot! He’s janky and rude once three point “Midnight” uses Swarm Tactics on him.

Sean: Hot! With all the jamming that Whispers can do, this ability could prove viable.

Kevin: Hot! He’s your guy if you want a jam bot in your four point slot. Even better with Swarm Tactics.

Ted: Not! I’ve never been a fan. Probably can work, but you kind of need a Swarm Tactics tether.

Jon: Not! Don’t you want to keep these things out of firing arcs? It blows up pretty quickly even with focus tokens.

Verdict: Hot ! The Space Bone-Arm crew was a bit more split about this one. In a vacuum, “Whirlwind” probably doesn’t seem that amazing. However, jam is a super powerful action and FO has a ton of high initiative ships with the loadout to take Swarm Tactics and make this ability shine.

*Just a note, you do not have to actually remove any jam tokens for “Whirlwind” to receive his bonus focus tokens.

Gideon Hask: Xi-Class Light Shuttle

Old: 4 points and 15 loadout.

New: Unchanged.

Slots: Talent, Talent, Tech, Tech, Crew, Crew, Modification

Steve: Not! Gideon is a great support piece, but with everything getting cheaper and more ships on the board, I don’t think he’ll contribute enough.

Sean: Hot! Turns TIEs into squishier X-wings? Why not?

Kevin: Not! These shuttles probably just instantly explode now with the increase in offensive firepower.

Ted: Not! Does anyone fly these anymore? Sorry Steve.

Jon: Not! Good support for TIEs shooting two red dice primaries, but if he’s getting shot it won’t help for long as they just die.

Verdict: Not ! The Xi-shuttle is a pretty nice support platform with room for some nifty crew. Unfortunately, space might be a bit tight in lists these days and plenty of relevant FO ships don’t need much support. Gideon is probably the shuttle you reach for if you want one, but we don’t think he’ll be super popular. Steve was our resident Xi guy, but even he isn’t excited about them at the moment.

Agent Tierny: Xi-Class Light Shuttle

Old: 5 points and 15 loadout.

New: Unchanged.

Slots: Talent, Talent, Tech, Crew, Crew, Modification, Modification

Steve: Not! Nah. Remember when she was going to destroy the meta?

Sean: Not! Seems quite expensive at five points. I’ve yet to seen her in play.

Kevin: Not! Five points is just too much nowadays.

Ted: Not! Go break some trust elsewhere nerd.

Jon: Hot! This is the counter for so many other ship abilities. The BoY TIE/lns don’t get their extra dice if they get this condition.

Verdict: Not ! Despite having a super powerful ability, Tierny has been too expensive (with not enough loadout) to justify table time. There is a world where she’d be great to counter a niche local meta, but I doubt she gets on the table more than a handful of times.

Lieutenant Galek: TIE/fo Fighter

Old: 3 points and 8 loadout.

New: 3 points and 7 loadout.

Slots: Talent, Tech, Tech, Cannon, Modification

Steve: Not! A three point, i5 Ion Cannon carrier is always good, but Malarus and other TIE/fos outshine him.

Sean: Hot! His ability could come in clutch for some situations.

Kevin: Not! He’s an i5, but his ability is mediocre and the Ion Cannon pick relegates him to being an odd support piece. Tractor Beam Galek probably still has a spot in six ship lists, but he’s not hot to me with “Midnight” and “Dread” now at three points.

Ted: Not! If you can remember, sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone remember to use his ability.

Jon: Not! I’m not a fan of abilities that require ships to die.

Verdict: Not ! A staple in the six-ship FO list that was prevalent last points cycle is now relegated to the “Not Hot” list. It’s not that we dislike Galek, he just has a lot of stiff competition in the three point slot after the most recent changes. That said, he’s probably still relevant in six ships lists or even five ship lists that feature seven point Kylo.

Honorable Mentions:

A couple of interesting omissions from the survey were:

Malarus TIE/fo (3/4 -> unchanged): Hot ! Several survey participants mentioned Malarus TIE/fo. Despite being unchanged, she’s probably still the faction’s best three point ship.

Holo (5/12 -> unchanged): Hot ! Holo took a bit of a hit now that Vonreg’s cost was lowered to compete with her own. That said, the TIE/ba platform is solid and her ability can be incredibly versatile when planned for correctly.

Non-Malarus/Midnight/Galek/Scorch/DT TIE/fo’s (all unchanged): Not ! A large number of TIE/fo pilots feel a bit irrelevant. Many of them have cool abilities, but they don’t have enough juice to propel them past the ones mentioned here.

Hot or Not: First Order Summary

Our First Order recap rounded off with 11 “Hot” and 7 “Not” pilots. Many of those “Not” pilots were ones that didn’t actually experience any changes, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that the Space Bone-Arm crew was cold on them. The First Order was right near the top of the faction rankings last points update (they won Worlds!) and didn’t receive any heavy handed nerfs, so it’s no surprise that they still look quite strong on paper. I’ve always found the First Order to be an incredibly fun faction to fly and, as Steve has said, the ships just “work” as they don’t rely on too many weird combinations or interactions. Slap nearly any combination of seemingly fun, strong ships into a list and you’ll end up with a competitive list that is enjoyable to fly.

While I brought a First Order list to a recent tournament, I don’t have extensive experience flying them competitively. As such , I turned to Steve for a faction recap. While the Empire is Steve’s first love, he’s often dabbled with competitive First Order lists (see our Dragon Fall and Worlds 2023 LCQ recap articles).

“Overall, I feel like the First Order is in a strong place with the new points. They were a bit ahead of the curve beforehand as some of their three point TIE/fo pilots were (arguably) too efficient. Those pilots have been scaled back a bit (aside from Malarus TIE/fo), while other things have gotten buffs to help keep squad building interesting.

While the First Order may not have the points diversity found within other factions (one 7, zero 6’s, and zero 2 point pilots), FO have some really great options within their existing points bands. This is especially true when it comes to five and three cost pilots. Their pilots also seem to have been less ravaged by the loadout cuts found in other factions. This, combined with FO’s abundance of available loadout slots, gives players the flexibility to build pilots out quite differently depending on their taste/playstyle. These factors lead to some relatively simple squad building in terms of pilot selection, which is then balanced by more nuanced decision making when filling out loadout slots. I have flown at least three versions of Kylo in the Whisper that all feel very strong, but do completely different things. I’ve found FO list building to be quite the departure from other factions with more limited /straight forward loadout builds and those factions with many meta standardized loadout pilots.

First Order ship base stat lines are good enough to be reliable, and their ship abilities are unique, powerful and fun. There is definitely a learning curve associated with some of their platforms, but the TIE/bas, Whispers, and Silencers can all be extremely deadly when flown well (and while not necessarily deadly, the 3 pt bombers can be incredibly annoying too). I believe First Order is one of the strongest positioned factions in the game right now. This faction can be incredibly rewarding to a player who takes the time to master their specialized platforms and develops loadouts tailored to their personal taste.”-Steve

Overall, the First Order faction feels like it is in a solid place. They’ve never been the most popular faction, but their success at Worlds, and a few tournaments prior, seems to have propelled them into the competitive 3rd place slot (in popularity at tournaments) behind Rebels and Empire. While nearly all of the First Order ships feel competitive, the faction does only have seven Standard chassis to choose from (tied with Resistance). They’re also one of three factions (Resistance and Scum being the other two) that do not currently have access to any Standard Loadout cards from Scenario Packs. Despite these gripes, First Order feels like a healthy and fun faction to fly in both competitive and casual settings!

Sequel faction scenario pack? Please AMG!
The sequel factions could use a few more ship chassis…maybe the TIE/dg?

I hope you enjoyed this version of “Hot or Not” for the First Order faction! I’ve begun sourcing votes and hot take opinions from the Space Bone-Crew for the Resistance changes and I have a special guest writing the faction summary (my fiancée mains Resistance and recently played in her very first tournament!). My goal is to mostly wrap this series up before Gen Con spoils us with tournament data!

I’m certain that many of you (including other Space Bone-Arm crew members) disagree with any of our “Hot” or “Not” designations! If so, leave a comment below! If you enjoyed this article, please check out our Rebel Alliance, Galactic Empire, and Scum and Villainy articles!

Posted on: July 24th, 2023

Written by: Kevin L.

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