X-Wing Upgrade Guide- Elite Pilot Talent (1 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

We’re coming to the end of our journey through the upgrades in X-wing. It’s been a long road getting from there to here*. So long that I really need to go back through the early ones and update them, seeing as we’ve had a few waves released since we started.   I saved Elite Pilot Talents for last because, after doing the slog through the very vast number of crew, I was not looking forward to trying to rate the vast number of EPT’s. There are 40 of them currently. Unlike crew, you can’t break them up by faction as there are only a small handful that have faction restrictions.

I debated a lot of different ways to divide the EPT’s. Combat-related and maneuver related. Disposal and permanent.  In the end I opted to break EPT’s up by point cost. Most times, when you’re deciding what EPT to equip, you either have a specific EPT you want or you have a number of points available to spend. It is really hard to compare a four point EPT to a zero point EPT.

Ranked List 

  1. Crackshot
  2. Veteran Instincts
  3. Attanni Mindlink
  4. Rage
  5. Wired
  6. Determination
  7. Deadeye
  8. Selflessness
  9. Lightning Reflexes
  10. Fearlessness
  11. Adrenaline Rush
  12. Coolhand
  13. Draw Their Fire
  14. Calculation

Adrenaline Rush (ARC-170/TIE Bomber Expansions)

Cost: 1 point

When you reveal a red maneuver, you may discard this card to treat that maneuver as a white maneuver until the end of the Activation phase.

  • Ranking– 11
  • Combos
    • B-Wings
      • B-wings have quite a lot of red maneuvers so have lots of options when they want to use this.
  • Notes
    • This upgrade has been outclassed by several other upgrades. Advanced Sensors and Pattern Analyzer are both great upgrades that let you get an action when you take a red maneuver. Electronic Baffles is an upgrade that does effectively the same thing as Adrenaline Rush. It costs you one damage but you can also use it as many times as you want.

Attani Mindlink (Punishing One Expansion)

Cost: 1 point

Scum Only

Each time you are assigned a focus or stress token, each other friendly ship with Attanni Mindlink must also be assigned the same type of token if it does not already have one.

  • Ranking– 3
  • Combos
    • Inaldra (M3-A Scyk)
      • The cheapest EPT carrier for Scum, Inaldra is a cheap way to get another ship on the board to help feed Focus tokens to the rest. With Light Scyk she’s only 14pts, allowing you to fit in several others.
    • Fenn Rau (Protectorate Pilot)
      • Fenn likes to get into range one to use his ability, which often means he needs to boost or barrel roll. He could take Push the Limits for 3 pts or be paired with someone else and take Attanni for only one point.
  • Notes
    • As of this writing, the leaked FAQ has not been officially released. If this upgrade is turned to just being useful on two ships it will drop dramatically in usefulness.
    • This isn’t ranked higher because it is Scum only, limiting its usefulness overall to only a third of all available ships.

Calculation (StarViper Expansion)

Cost: 1 point

When attacking, you may spend a focus token to change 1 of your Focus results to a Crit result.

  • Ranking– 14
  • Combos
    • Recon Specialist (Crew)
      • If you have two Focus tokens you can spend them both as needed to get hits and a crit from your focus results.
    • Ten Nunb (B-Wing Pilot)
      • Ten will always hit you if he has a crit. With Calculation he ensures he gets one.
    • Kylo Ren (Pilot or Crew)
      • With the ability to select a crit for your target to receive it’s useful to be able to trigger that crit when you want.
    • Harpoon Missile (Missile)
      • Harpoon secondary effect triggers after scoring a crit on the target.
    • Poe Dameron (T-70 Pilot)
      • Poe can use his ability to flip one focus to a hit and then Calculation to flip one to a crit.
  • Notes
    • Much like Weapons Guidance, Calculation suffers from spending points to do something slightly different, but often less useful, than your standard Focus effect. If Calculation’s effect was on top of a regular focus effect it would be more worthwhile. But chasing crits usually is not worth the points.

Cool Hand (T-70 Expansion)

Cost: 1 point

When you receive a stress token, you may discard this card to assign 1 focus or evade token to your ship.

  • Ranking– 12
  • Combos
    • Comm Relay (Tech)
      • For a ship without a native Evade action, you could use Comm Relay to give yourself an Evade to store for when you really need it.
    • Tomax Bren (TIE Bomber Pilot) + Fleet Officer (Crew)
      • Tomax in a TIE Shuttle carrying Fleet Officer will regularly stress himself. With Cool Hand he can pass out two Focus tokens and then take an Evade to help keep himself alive or take a Focus for himself.
  • Notes
    • For a one-time use ability it is not bad. Bonus token when you otherwise wouldn’t get one. Though it’s hard to compete with one guaranteed damage like you’d get from Crack Shot.

Crack Shot (Hound’s Tooth/Kihraxz/Imperial Aces Expansions)

Cost: 1 point

When attacking a ship inside your firing arc, at the start of the “Compare Results” step, you may discard this card to cancel 1 of the defender’s Evade results.

  • Ranking– 1
  • Combos
    • Black Squadron (TIE Fighter)
      • TIE’s have trouble getting damage through. However, a swarm of them all with Crack Shot can rack up some damage.
    • A-Wings (Any)
      • With the ability to take two EPT’s, A-wings get extra value out of Crack Shot because they can get the one time benefit and still have an EPT to use the rest of the game.
  • Notes
    • There are not a lot of combos to call out for Crack Shot because every ship can make good use of it.

Deadeye (A-Wing/Inquisitor’s TIE Expansions)

Cost: 1 point

Small ship only.

You may treat the Attack (target lock): header as Attack (focus):.

When an attack instructs you to spend a target lock, you may spend a focus token instead.

  • Ranking– 7
  • Combos
    • Low Pilot Skill Ordnance Carriers
      • The lower the pilot skill, the more value this EPT has. Low PS usually means moving first and being out of range to target lock on your turn.
    • Nera Dantels (B-Wing pilot)
      • With Nera’s ability to fire torpedoes out of arc, she can use Deadeye to fire her torpedo against the best target rather than just the one she has target locked.
    • Recon Specialist (Crew)
      • With two focus tokens, Deadeye can allow you to spend one to fire your ordnance and the other to modify it, potentially also preserving your target lock for modification.
  • Notes
    • Deadeye saw a brief surge of popularity when paired with Jumpmasters but was nerfed to be small ship only for that very reason.
    • It still has its uses, primarily by allowing you to not telegraph who you’re going to shoot like you do with a target lock.

Determination (Original Core/TIE Fighter Expansion)

Cost: 1 point

When you are dealt a faceup Damage card with the Pilot trait, discard it immediately without resolving its effect.

  • Ranking– 6
  • Combos
    • Anti-Kylo Ren
      • If you want to protect yourself against Kylo Ren, Determination effectively makes him useless.
    • Leebo (YT-2400 Pilot)
      • Leebo lets you pick from two different crit cards. This increases your odds of drawing a Pilot crit which you can discard.
    • Support Ship
      • If your ship’s primary purpose is to get shot or to buff others, Determination is a small way to give yourself a small chance of staying alive a bit longer.
  • Notes
    • Determination is a pretty balanced card. Most games it will do nothing but sometimes it will save your life multiple times.  That makes it not super useful but worth one point. It serves well as a filler card for some minor damage mitigation.

Draw Their Fire (Millenium Falcon Expansion)

Cost: 1 point

When a friendly ship at Range 1 is hit by an attack, you may suffer 1 of the uncanceled Crit results instead of the target ship.

  • Ranking– 13
  • Combos
    • Biggs Darklighter (X-Wing Pilot)
      • Putting Draw Their Fire on an escort for Biggs can potentially give Biggs an extra round of life. Bonus points if the ship equipped with it has R2-D2 or some other shield regenerating ability.
    • Lowhhrick (Auzituck Gunship Pilot)
      • Lowhhrick’s ability is about helping other ships stay alive. That’s usually Biggs but you could use him alone to help keep a higher priority ship alive longer or as a way of encouraging your opponent to not shoot your best ship.
    • Anti-Harpoon
      • If you like flying in formation you could use Draw Their Fire to keep Harpoon from triggering by pulling the damage onto a ship that does not have the condition.
  • Notes
    • Mostly useful as an aid to Biggs, Draw Their Fire could potentially be useful in a swarm of ships, all working to spread the damage out. But it only comes in the Millenium Falcon pack and you don’t need more than one of those.

Fearlessness (Protectorate Expansion)

Cost: 1 point

Scum Only

When attacking, if you are inside the defender’s firing arc at Range 1 and the defender is inside your firing arc, you may add 1 Hit result to your roll.

  • Ranking– 10
  • Combos
    • YV-666/Lancer/Firespray
      • With multiple firing arcs on top of large bases the area in which this EPT could trigger is significantly larger than any small ship.
    • Autoblaster (Turret or Cannon)
      • Autoblaster makes Hit results do guaranteed damage. A free bonus hit is a free bonus guaranteed damage.
  • Notes
    • The conditions to get this card to trigger can be tricky, as well as dangerous, to pull off. That said, for one point, it’s a fun one to bring if you like to live dangerously.

Lightning Reflexes (Kihraxz/Scurgg H-6 Expansions)

Cost: 1 point

Small Ship Only

After you execute a white or green maneuver on your dial, you may discard this card to rotate your ship 180°. Then receive 1 stress token after the “Check Pilot Stress” step.

  • Ranking– 9
  • Combos
    • Tomax Bren (TIE Bomber)
      • Tomax naturally goes with all discard EPT’s. But this one is particularly fun. Almost every maneuver becomes a potential turn around and can make the normally ponderous TIE Bomber into something hard to pin down.
    • Pulse Ray Shield (Modification) + Nien Nunb (Crew)
      • Give yourself an ion token, recover a shield and then next round perform a one speed K-turn.
  • Notes
    • This one is a lot of fun to play but sadly doesn’t end up being as competitive as you’d think.

Rage (Punishing One Expansion)

Cost: 1 point

Action: Assign 1 focus token to your ship and receive 2 stress tokens. Until the end of the round, when attacking, you may reroll up to 3 attack dice.

  • Ranking– 4
  • Combos
    • Inspiring Recruit (Crew)
      • With a recruit onboard those two stress tokens you get from Rage end up being no worse than a single stress token. This combo works effectively like Push the Limits for one point less if you only ever every Target Lock and Focus. Bonus points if you also have Kanan Jarrus (Crew) onboard or nearby.
    • Ezra Bridger (Attack Shuttle Pilot) + Twin Laser Turret (Turret)
      • Ezra’s pilot ability triggers when he’s stressed so when you Rage you gain rerolls on both TLT shots, have a focus to use on one and can change all focus to evades on defense. And he can do it every round if you also take Inspiring Recruit.
    • Nu-Chewbacca (YT-1300 Pilot)
      • Chewie gets a bonus attack whenever an ally dies. What’s more thematic than a Wookiee raging?
    • Keyan Farlander (B-Wing Pilot)
      • Keyan gets to clear a stress to use as a focus on his attacks. That would allow him to clear one during an attack and clear the second after taking a green. Or both at his attack with Inspiring Recruit.
    • Tycho Celchu (A-Wing Pilot)
      • Tycho don’t care about no stress.
  • Notes
    • Rage is a fun one. You need some combo cards to pull off effectively but there are a few options available.

Selflessness (Auzituck Gunship Expansion)

Cost: 1 point


Small Ship Only. Rebel Only.

When a friendly ship at Range 1 is hit by an attack, you may discard this card to suffer all uncanceled Hit results instead of the target ship.

  • Ranking– 8
  • Combos
    • Biggs Darklighter (X-Wing Pilot)
      • Much like Draw Their Fire, Selflessness on an escort for Biggs can potentially give Biggs an extra round of life.
    • Lowhhrick (Auzituck Gunship Pilot)
      • Lowhhrick’s ability is about helping other ships stay alive. That’s usually Biggs but you could use him alone to help keep a higher priority ship alive longer or as a way of encouraging your opponent to not shoot your best ship.
  • Notes
    • Very similar to Draw Their Fire, Selflessness is great for protecting Biggs. While Draw Their Fire usually only gets used on one ship due to it coming in an expensive pack, Selfless is unique keeping you from taking a swarm that just works to keep the rest of the group alive.

Veteran Instincts (Millenium Falcon/Slave One/Shadow Caster/Sabine’s TIE Expansions)

Cost: 1 point

Increase your pilot skill value by 2.

  • Ranking– 2
  • Combos
    • Whisper (TIE Phantom Pilot)
      • At only PS 7, Whisper doesn’t get the most out of Advanced Cloaking Device. At PS 9 she should be cloaked before most ships.
    • Ahoska Tano (TIE Fighter Pilot) + Captured TIE (Modification)
      • Ahoska is great for boosting the rest of your squadron. VI and Capture TIE keeps her from being shot at.
  • Notes
    • VI is a ubiquitous upgrade. It can help you keep your squadron all at the same pilot skill. It can be used to give your high PS pilots an edge. If you’re spending one point on an EPT, it’s usually for Crack Shot or VI.

Wired (TFA Core/Special Forces TIE Expansion)

Cost: 1 point

When attacking or defending, if you are stressed, you may reroll 1 or more of your Focus results.

  • Ranking– 5
  • Combos
    • Tycho Celchu (A-Wing Pilot)
      • Tycho likes to stay stressed. This gives him some rerolls on defense.
    • Ibtisam (B-Wing Pilot)
      • Ibtisam gets one reroll when stressed. With Wired, she can now reroll all her Focus results and a blank. Would be more useful if she had more than one defense die.
    • 4-LOM (G1-A Pilot)
      • 4-LOM likes being stressed if he can get to range one. The G1-A has plenty of red maneuvers. With Wired he gets some rerolls during the round before handing off his stress.
  • Notes
    • Wired’s main benefit is the rerolls gained on defense which is not a very common ability.
    • Considering its ranking, you don’t see it very often. Its function can be useful to almost every ship as  getting stressed normally denies you an action so gaining rerolls is a nice benefit.



*Cause I’ve got faith of the heart.

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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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