X-wing Upgrade Guide- Elite Pilot Talent (2 Point)

X-wing is a game that has been around for a few years now. The number of ships, pilots and upgrades can become a little overwhelming for those that are new or infrequent players. So today we’re going to continue going through all the different upgrade types and giving some quick points on how best to use them. For each we’re going to give the following information:

  • Ranking– We’re going to rank each card within an upgrade slot. This is an imperfect ranking as the usefulness of any card is mostly determined by how and where you use it. But it’s an easy number to grasp and can serve as a starting point when trying to pick your upgrades.
  • Combos– What are the best pilots, ships or upgrades to pair with this card. When we look at upgrades that can only be equipped to with a limited number of ships, we may skip this section.
  • Notes- A few comments on the effectiveness and ways to get the most out of this upgrade.

Other Guides

Continuing our look at the Elite Pilot Talent Upgrade this week we dive into the two-point EPT’s. This group was actually one of the hardest to rank. One of the hallmarks of the two-point EPT’s seems to be their situational effectiveness. Far more than the other EPT’s these need to built around rather than being generally good. For example, Juke can be pretty amazing but you can’t throw it on everything like you could Crack Shot or Predator because if you can’t Evade, it’s useless.

Ranked List 

  1. Lonewolf
  2. Juke
  3. Intensity
  4. Snap Shot
  5. Expert Handling
  6. Stay on Target
  7. Wingman
  8. Decoy
  9. Swarm Tactics
  10. Intimidation
  11. Squad Leader
  12. Bodyguard
  13. Elusiveness

Bodyguard (Starviper Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

Scum only.

At the start of the Combat phase, you may spend a focus token to choose a friendly ship at Range 1 with higher pilot skill than you. Increase its agility value by 1 until the end of the round.

  • Ranking– 12
  • Combos
    • Recon Specialist (Crew)
      • Throw this EPT on a ship with a crew slot and the cost of the focus token doesn’t seem as bad.
    • Inaldra (M-3A Scyk Pilot)
      • As the cheapest EPT carrier and at a fairly low pilot skill, Inaldra could be a good escort for a more expensive heavy hitter. You don’t mind losing her and you aren’t devoting very many points to the escort.
  • Notes
    • This card really isn’t all that useful. Especially these days with so many cards discouraging you from clustering your ships.
    • Rebels would love it though. Bodyguard for someone whose escorting Biggs? Yes, please.

Decoy (Z-95 Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

At the start of the Combat phase, you may choose 1 friendly ship at Range 1-2. Exchange your pilot skill with that ship’s pilot skill until the end of the phase.

  • Ranking– 8
  • Combos
    • Green Squadron (A-Wing Pilot)
      • At only PS 3 and with a potential two EPT’s, Green Squadron can make good potential use out of Decoy. They can act as bait and set up for a sacrificial missile attack. Switch their EPT for a round so they can get the missile off before dying to what would have been a higher pilot skill opponent.
  • Notes
    • This would probably make a pretty cool pilot ability but as two point EPT it doesn’t really hold water. There are to many other far more useful things to do with two points. I could see this being zero points though.

Elusiveness (Millenium Falcon/TIE Interceptor Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

When defending, you may receive 1 stress token to choose 1 attack die. The attacker must reroll that die.

If you have at least 1 stress token, you cannot use this ability.

  • Ranking– 13
  • Combos
    • Ezra Bridger (Attack Shuttle/Sheathipede Pilot)
      • Ezra gets to turn focus into evades when he’s stressed. With Elusiveness he can force a reroll and then trigger his ability.
    • Soontir Fel (TIE Interceptor Pilot)
      • If for some reason you don’t want to run Soontir with PTL, Elusiveness actually isn’t terrible on him. If he gets shot he gets to reroll one of the hits and then gets a Focus token to use on his defense roll thanks to his ability.
  • Notes
    • This is a pretty terrible EPT. It’s to expensive for what it does. If it were cheaper, maybe worth it. If you turned a hit into a blank in exchange for that stress, might be worth it. But as is, unless the stress helps you in some otherway, it’s fairly bad.

Expert Handling (X-Wing/TIE Advanced/Imperial Assault Carrier Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

Action: Perform a free barrel roll action. If you do not have the Barrel Roll action icon, receive 1 stress token.

You may then remove 1 enemy target lock from your ship.

  • Ranking– 5
  • Combos
    • Aggressor (Scum ship)
      • It gives a stress but giving a barrel roll to these ships can be useful for repositioning.
    • Vectored Thrusters (Modification)
      • If your main purpose for using Expert Handling is to clear a target lock then avoiding the stress by giving yourself the barrel roll action could help.
    • Intensity (EPT)
      • Combine these on an A-wing and you can now barrel roll, gain a focus and clear a target lock.
    • High Pilot Skill
      • Obviously, you can only clear a target lock if someone has already target locked you. High PS ships can clear the lock after your opponent has taken their action.
    • Palob Godahli (HWK-290 Pilot)
      • On Palob this has the potential to force your opponent to waste actions. Either they focus, and he steals it, or they target lock and he shakes it off, or they target lock someone else and he doesn’t get shot.
  • Notes
    • Until Vectored Thrusters came out this was the only way to add the Barrel Roll action to ships that didn’t have it natively. It’s still the only way for a large base ship to gain the action.
    • The ability to clear a target lock is an underrated feature of this card. It can serve merely as a deterent if your opponent is a lower pilot skill.

Intensity (TIE Aggressor Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

Side A: After you perform a boost or barrel roll action, you may assign 1 focus or evade token to your ship. If you do, flip this card.

Side B: (Exhausted) At the end of the Combat phase, you may spend 1 focus or evade token to flip this card.

  • Ranking– 3
  • Combos
    • Poe Dameron (T-70 Pilot)
      • Poe never has to spend his Focus token to get use out of it which means he’s likely to still have the token at the end of the round to use to reset Intensity.
    • Jake Farrell (A-Wing Pilot)
      • Focus shenanigans with Jake is a lot of fun. Take a Focus action, get a free boost/barrel roll from Jake’s ability, get a Focus token from Intensity, get a free boost/barrel roll.
    • Snap Wexley (T-70 Pilot)/Sabine Wren (TIE Fighter/Attack Shuttle Pilot)/BB-8 (Astromech)
      • Snap, Sabine and BB-8 all get free boosts/barrel rolls from their abilities. Now they can add in free focus tokens and still have a regular action, all stress free.
    • Garven Dreiss(X-Wing Pilot)
      • With Garven as a wingman you can use Intensity to get your own focus and then he can pass his later to use for defense or flip Intensity.
  • Notes
    • Not as versatile as Push the Limits, Intensity nevertheless is a great way to increase action economy.

Intimidation (Auzituck/Decimator Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

While you are touching an enemy ship, reduce that ship’s agility value by 1.

  • Ranking– 10
  • Combos
    • Arvel Crynyd (A-Wing)
      • Now that Arvel can gain access to an EPT slot he actually could make use of this.
    • Captain Oicunn (Decimator Pilot)
      • Bump a ship, damage them for free, and then reduce their agility to everyone else.
    • Zeb (Crew)
      • Zeb allows you to shoot ships you are touching allowing you to take advantage of the defense reduction.
    • Contracted Scout (Jumpmaster 5000)
      • The big base makes it easier to get a bump and your turret allows you shoot someone else no matter what way you have to face to get the bump.
    • Green Squadron (A-Wing) + Adaptability (EPT)
      • The only way to put Intimidation on a ship with a pilot skill lower than 3.
  • Notes
    • It’s too bad the VCX has no EPT slot otherwise Chopper would love this.
    • Bumping works best when you are a lower pilot skill.

Juke (TIE/fo Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

Small ship only.

When attacking, if you have an evade token, you may change 1 of the defender’s Evade results into a Focus result.

  • Ranking– 2
  • Combos
    • Omega Leader (TIE/FO Pilot) + Comm Relay (Tech)
      • The gold standard for Juke use.
    • Snap Shot (EPT)
      • An A-Wing equipped with both of these can push through damage from Snap Shot since they are allowed to modify the defender’s dice via Juke and the defender won’t yet have a focus token.
    • Hot-Shot Co-Pilot (Crew)/Wes Jansen (X-Wing Pilot)/Palob Godalhi (HWK-290 Pilot)
      • All of these abilities strip focus tokens making you ships with Juke get more benefit.
    • Cluster Missile
      • If you have multiple attacks even if your opponent has a focus t0ken, they are unlikely to have two allowing you to push through at least one damage.
  • Notes
    • There are not a lot of ways for an attacker to modify the defender’s dice and this one is very nicely balanced. You need an Evade to use it, limiting what ships can even take it. Also requiring an Evade means a ship is likely not getting dice modification of their own.

Lone Wolf (Hound’s Tooth/YT-2400 Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

When attacking or defending, if there are no other friendly ships at Range 1-2, you may reroll 1 of your blank results.

  • Ranking– 1
  • Combos
    • Dash Rendar (YT-2400 Pilot)
      • Due to his cost, Dash often only flies in two ship squadrons, increasing the odds of being able to use Lone Wolf, and he also loves flying in the middle of asteroid fields, which further keeps his distance.
      • TIE/D (Title)/BTL-A4 (Title)/Special Ops Training (Title)/Twin Laser Turret/Cluster Missile
        • All of these cards grant multiple attacks. Lone Wolf will allow modifications on both attacks.
  • Notes
    • One of only a handful of ways to reroll defense dice which gives it a lot of utility.
    • Friendly ship range limitation is its only drawback but any ship could get use from it.

Snap Shot (Heroes of the Resistance/Upsilon Shuttle Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

After an enemy ship executes a maneuver, you may perform this attack against that ship. Attack (2, range 1): Attack 1 ship. You cannot modify your attack dice and cannot attack again this phase.

  • Ranking– 4
  • Combos
    • Juke (EPT)
      • An A-Wing equipped with both of these can push through damage from Snap Shot since they are allowed to modify the defender’s dice via Juke and the defender won’t yet have a focus token.
    • Major Rhymer (TIE Bomber)
      • Rhymer increases the range of Snap Shot out to range 2 which greatly increases the area it can trigger.
  • Notes

Squad Leader (TIE Advanced Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

Action: Choose 1 ship at Range 1-2 that has a lower pilot skill than you.

The chosen ship may immediately perform 1 free action.

  • Ranking– 11
  • Combos
    • Darth Vader (TIE Advanced Pilot)
      • With two native actions per turn this card is intended to allow the Sith Lord share one of them.
    • Experimental Interface (Modification)
      • With EI you don’t have to sacrifice taking an action yourself to give another ship a bonus action.
    • Ahsoka Tano (TIE Fighter Pilot)
      • Ahsoka spends her focus to allow allies to get free actions. With Squad Leader and EI she can pass out two actions a turn.
  • Notes
    • The limitation of only being able to pass out actions to ships with a lower PS (not even the same or lower) really hinders this card. With the advent of Coordinate into the regular game it really serves no purpose.

Stay on Target (YT-2400/Hound’s Tooth Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

When you reveal a maneuver, you may rotate your dial to another maneuver with the same speed.

Treat that maneuver as a red maneuver.

  • Ranking– 6
  • Combos
    • Keyan Farlander (B-Wing Pilot)/Ezra Bridger (Attack Shuttle Pilot)/Ibitisam (B-Wing Pilot)
      • All of these pilots gain a benefit from being stressed so frequently taking red maneuvers to gain the positional advantage is worth it.
    • Hera Syndulla (Crew)
      • With Hera you can take red maneuvers every round so can get full advantage of SOT.
    • Han Solo (YT-1300 Pilot) + Hera (Crew)
      • Combine the two of these with SOT and you have a PS 9 who can change his maneuver and has built in dice rerolls.
  • Notes

Swarm Tactics (TIE Advanced/TIE Fighter Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

At the start of the Combat phase, you may choose 1 friendly ship at Range 1.

Until the end of this phase, treat the chosen ship as if its pilot skill were equal to your pilot skill.

  • Ranking– 9
  • Combos
    • Swarm Tactics (EPT)
      • Swarm Tactics works very well with itself, allowing you to chain the PS boost across multiple ships.
    • Roark Garnet (HWK-290 Pilot)
      • If Swarm Tacts is on whichever pilot Roark bumps to PS 12 then you win the PS race during combat.
    • Tycho Celchu (A-Wing Pilot) + Veteran Instincts (EPT)
      • Beat the PS race, hand out Pilot Skill 10 to an ally.
    • Howlrunner (TIE Fighter Pilot) + Black Squadron (TIE Fighter Pilot)
      • The original way to chain PS 8 across a swarm.
  • Notes
    • The range limitation really harms this ability more than anything. Maintaining a tight formation is risky and gaining higher PS for some ships probably isn’t worth keeping your ace in close.

Wingman (Z-95 Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

At the start of the Combat phase, remove 1 stress token from another friendly ship at Range 1.

  • Ranking– 7
  • Combos
    • Inspiring Recruit (Crew)
      • If you’re going to use a ship to clear stress from their allies, might as well use them to clear multiple stress.
    • Zuckuss (Crew)/Maul (Crew)/Jan Ors (HWK-290 Pilot)/Countdown (TIE Striker Pilot)/Zeta Leader (TIE/FO Pilot)/Fenn Rau (Sheathipede Pilot)
      • All of these have abilities that trigger during combat an only work if they are not stressed.
  • Notes
    • Removing stress from an ally is not a bad concept but the range limitation and the cost end up being too high in most cases.


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Wayne Basta

Wayne Basta

Editor-in-Chief at d20 Radio
Wayne is the managing editor of d20 Radio's Gaming Blog. He also occasionally writes books.
Wayne Basta

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