X-Wing Upgrade Guide – Generic Crew

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 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 continuing our alphabetical journey through the available upgrades. Technically Cargo would be next but we’re going to hold off on the Epic game upgrades for later. Instead we’re going to begin a multipart look at the Crew slot. Why multipart you ask? Because as of this writing there are 79 different crew cards. Even after taking out Epic-only crew we still have 66. To make our analysis both more manageable and meaningful we’re going to break them down by faction plus generic.  To start off we’ll look at all of the generic crew anybody can use.

Note: The suggested combos are not meant to be comprehensive. There are simply too many potential combos in the game.

Ranked List

  1. Inspiring Recruit
  2. Intelligence Agent
  3. Recon Specialist
  4. Gunner
  5. Tactician
  6. Hotshot Co-pilot
  7. Operations Specialist
  8. BoShek
  9. Tail Gunner
  10. Weapons Engineer
  11. Mercenary Co-pilot
  12. Navigator
  13. Bombardier
  14. Flight Instructor
  15. Saboteur

Bombardier (K-Wing Expansion)

Cost: 1 points

When dropping a bomb, you may use the 2 straight template instead of the 1 straight template.

  • Ranking– 13
  • Combos
    • Sabine (Crew)
      • Because anything having to do with bombs goes well with Sabine.
    • Emon Azzameen (Firespray Pilot)
      • Emon can already use the one straight, three straight and hard turn templates. Give him a two straight and he can place a bomb in whatever spot he needs it to go.
    • Constable Zuvio (Quadjumper Pilot)
      • This guys special ability lets him drop a bomb out of his front arc. So having range options for dropping it are nice.
  • Notes
    • This crew isn’t as useful as you would first think. Options on bomb placement are nice but if you have a crew there are usually more useful choices.

BoShek (Quadjumper Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

When a ship you are touching activates, you may look at its chosen maneuver. If you do, its owner must rotate the dial to an adjacent maneuver. The ship can reveal and execute that maneuver even while stressed.

  • Ranking– 8
  • Combos
    • Chopper (VCX-100 Pilot)/Hef Tobber (U-Wing Pilot)/Captain Oicunn (Decimator Pilot)
      • All of these pilots have abilities that trigger after bumping or being bumped so they’ll be trying to do it a lot.
    • Cassian Andor (Crew)/Intelligence Agent (Crew)
      • With Cassian and Intelligence Agent you can look at a ship’s dial. This would allow you to know whether you want to trigger BoShek. If your opponent set their dial anticipating having to change it, you can opt not to.
  • Notes
    • As of this writing this crew has not yet been released so we haven’t seen his effect on a game. But because it requires bumping, which can be difficult to force in the current meta of just a few ships he may not come up much.

Flight Instructor (Lambda Shuttle Expansion)

Cost: 4 points

When defending, you may reroll 1 of your Focus results. If the attacker’s pilot skill value is “2” or lower, you may reroll 1 of your blank results instead.

  • Ranking– 14
  • Combos
    • Lonewolf (EPT)
      • Lonewolf lets you reroll a blank. Throw Flight Instructor in as well and you can reroll two dice.
  • Notes
    • A reroll on defense is pretty rare so this should rate higher. But it’s just so expensive and restrictive. Lonewolf is much cheaper and while it has a range restriction, that’s not to hard to get around. If it worked like Predator and allowed 1 reroll of any result and 2 rerolls if the attacker was pilot skill 2 or less then it would be worth the points and maybe even a point more.

Gunner (Slave 1/YT-2400 Expansion)

Cost: 5 points

After you perform an attack that does not hit, you may immediately perform a primary weapon attack. You cannot perform another attack this round.

  • Ranking– 4
  • Combos
    • Hotshot Co-Pilot (Crew)
      • Stripping a focus with your first missed attack with HotCop and then getting another one is a great way to get damage through.
    • Fire Control System (System)
      • FCS is a great system to have with Gunner because it gives you a target lock to use on your second attack.
    • Tactician (Crew)
      • What’s better than giving your target a stress? Giving your target two stress!
  • Notes
    • I have no idea why this came in the YT-2400 pack. It allows a new attack with a primary weapon while included with a ship that is best used when it replaces its primary weapon with a secondary.
    • This is only not ranked number one because of cost. A chance to retry a missed shot is great but five points can be hard to squeeze into a list sometimes.

Hotshot Co-Pilot (Heroes of the Resistance Expansion)

Cost: 4 points

When attacking with a primary weapon, the defender must spend 1 focus token if able.

When defending, the attacker must spend 1 focus token if able.

  • Ranking– 6
  • Combos
    • Juke (EPT)/Sensor Jammer (System)
      • These upgrades combo best by being on ships other than the HotCop. By stripping a Focus from your opponent the HotCop ship makes the other friendly ships Juke or Sensor Jammer more effective.
    • Gunner (Crew)/Baze Malbus (Crew)
      • All of these upgrades give you the chance to shoot more than once. By forcing your opponent to spend their Focus on the first attack the second attack is more likely to get through (or in Baze’s case you strip two ships of tokens).
  • Notes
    • Similar to Gunner the biggest problem with this card is cost. It’s worth the cost but it’s hard to fit four points for a single upgrade sometimes.

Inspiring Recruit (U-Wing Expansion)

Cost: 1 points

Once per round, when a friendly ship at Range 1-2 removes a stress token, it may remove 1 additional stress token.

  • Ranking– 1
  • Combos
    • Cassian Andor (U-wing pilot)
      • Cassian removes stress from other friendly ships at range 1-2 and that’s the same range as recruit. This allows Cassian to clear two stress before a ship moves. This is great for Stresshogs.
    • Kanan Jarrus (Crew)
      • Kanan also has the same range restriction as Inspiring Recruit, but unlike Cassian works on the ship he’s on. This combo would allow a ship, friendly or the one the crew are on,  to clear double stress on any green or white maneuver.
    • Rage (EPT)
      • Rage is a good EPT with a big downside as it double stresses you. That usually means one round you are very accurate on your attack and the next round you get no action. But with Inspiring Recruit you can clear both of those stress at once.
  • Notes
    • This is a really good card in the right combinations. By itself it’s a good safety net against stresshogs or allowing you to K-turn through a debris field.

Intelligence Agent (HWK-290/Lambda Shuttle Expansions)

Cost: 1 points

At the start of the Activation phase, choose 1 enemy ship at Range 1-2. You may look at that ship’s chosen maneuver.

  • Ranking– 2
  • Combos
    • Cassian Andor (Crew)
      • These two cards don’t combo the way you want them to since you have your opportunity to change your maneuver from Cassian before you trigger Intel Agent. But having multiple flipped maneuver dials is always good.
    • TIE Phantom (all)/Cloaking Device (Illicit)
      • Intel Agent and decloaking trigger at the same stage so you can resolve them in any order. Knowing where a ship is going to go allows you to decloak, or not, in the best direction.
  • Notes
    • I personally rarely use this card but for only one point it can give you a lot of information. If you don’t have any ability to reposition your ships or drop bombs it’s probably not worth it but most lists have some of that in them.

Mercenary Co-Pilot (YT-2400/Slave-1 Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

When attacking at Range 3, you may change 1 of your Hit  results to a Crit  result.

  • Ranking– 11
  • Combos
    • Bistan (Crew)
      • With these two crew together you get a guaranteed crit (unless you whiff) at any range.
    • Bossk (YV-666 Pilot)
      • Bossk gets extra damage from crits so anything that helps him ensure his dice roll crits helps
    • Heavy Laser Cannon (Cannon)
      • HLC’s normally turn all crits to hits. With a Merc Co-pilot you can go ahead and turn one back into a crit. With four dice rolled you have a good chance of getting that crit through to the hull.
  • Notes
    • Crits are nice but there are a lot better ways to spend two points unless you can make good use of that crit.

Navigator (Lambda Shuttle Expansions)

Cost: 3 points

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

You cannot rotate to a red maneuver if you have any stress tokens.

  • Ranking– 12
  • Combos
    • Boba Fett (Firespray Imperial Pilot)
      • Known as the Fettigator this combo allows you to change direction and speed giving you lots of options for adapting your maneuver.
    • Stay on Target (EPT)
      • SoT lets you change your maneuver to any of the same speed while navigator is any speed of the same type. Combined you can change to almost any maneuver.
    • Intelligence Agent (Crew)
      • Knowing where your opponent is going to go before they move means this card is much more useful.
  • Notes
    • Changing your maneuver after you know where ships are going is nice. Though three points just for a speed change doesn’t feel worth it most of the time.

Operations Specialist (Upsilon Shuttle Expansions)

Cost: 3 points

After a friendly ship at Range 1-2 performs an attack that does not hit, you may assign 1 focus token to a friendly ship at Range 1-3 of the attacker.

  • Ranking– 7
  • Combos
    • Gunner (Crew) + Fire Control System (System)
      • It’s a ten point total combo but you would be able to miss on an attack and then get a focus and target lock on the second attack.
    • Jake Farrel (A-wing pilot)
      • Jake gets to boost or barrel roll after getting a focus. So giving him a focus in the middle of the combat phase can potentially get him out of someones arc before getting shot at or move into proton rocket range.
    • Jan Ors (Crew)
      • Jan can turn a focus into an evade so this combo would allow you to assign an evade during combat to a ship that is your enemies primary target.
    • Attanni Mindlink (EPT)
      • Every time your squad misses everyone gets to replenish their focus thanks to the shared EPT.
  • Notes
    • Again, as of this writing, an unreleased card. In the right lists it could be very useful, especially since it doesn’t have a restriction on how many times it can trigger, but in most lists you’re really building them around the idea of never missing so your goal would be to never use this card.

Recon Specialist (HWK-290/TIE Phantom Expansions)

Cost: 3 points

When you perform a focus action, assign 1 additional focus token to your ship.

  • Ranking– 3
  • Combos
    • Kanan Jarrus (VCX-100 Pilot)
      • Kanan spends focus tokens to reduce attack dice so the more he can have to spend the better.
    • Jan Ors (Crew)
      • Instead of getting two focus tokens you can gain a focus and an evade all for one action.
    • Moldy Crow (Title)
      • This title lets you keep your unused focus tokens. Combined with Recon Specialist you can accumulate a good pool early in the game.
    • TIE Phantoms (all)
      • Phantoms have lots of dice for attack and defense. There is a good chance they will have focus results to spend tokens on so having two is extra beneficial for them.
    • Deadeye (EPT)
      • Deadeye allows you to spend a focus token instead of a target lock to fire ordnance. With Recon Specialist you can still have one available to modify the attack dice.
  • Notes
    • This card is also a great counter to things like Hotshot Co-pilot, Wes Janson, Juke or Sensor Jammer all who make you burn through your tokens when you may not want to.
    • When taking a crew this is almost always the first one I consider. Getting two tokens for the price of one is great.

Saboteur (HWK-290 Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

Action: Choose 1 enemy ship at Range 1 and roll 1 attack die. On a or result, choose 1 random facedown Damage card assigned to that ship, flip it faceup, and resolve it.

  • Ranking– 15
  • Combos
    • Heff Tober (U-Wing pilot)/Thane Kyrell (ARC-170 pilot)
      • Both of these pilots get free actions under certain conditions and do not have a lot of actions in their action bar. It may be worth using saboteur when it’s free.
  • Notes
    • This is just a bad card. It costs an action, is limited to range 1 and has only a 50/50 chance of doing anything. Compare it to Black Market Slicer Tools which have the same 50/50 chance of doing anything at the expense of an action but is range 1-2 AND does damage through shields AND costs less points. Additionally, BMST also provides incentive for your opponent to not use some of their upgrades, such as Push the Limits, which give themselves stress, for fear of triggering its effect. Saboteur won’t scare anyone.

Tactician (TIE Phantom Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

After you perform an attack against a ship inside your firing arc at Range 2, that ship receives 1 stress token.

  • Ranking– 5
  • Combos
    • Firespray/ARC-170/VCX-100/Lancer/YV-666
      • Because this card is limited to range 2 in arc, putting it on a ship with more than one arc gives it more opportunity to trigger.
    • Ion Cannon (Cannon)
      • Giving a ship a stress and an ion token on the same attack and really put them in a bad position on the next round.
  • Notes
    • This is one of those cards that can be good on almost any ship with crew. Getting stressed is almost always detrimental to your target.

Tail Gunner (ARC-170 Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

When attacking from your rear-facing auxiliary firing arc, reduce the defender’s agility by 1 (to a minimum of “0”).

  • Ranking– 9
  • Combos
    • Kath Scarlett (Scum Firespray pilot)
      • Kath loves firing out of her rear arc because she gains an attack die. If she can reduce your agility too so much the better.
  • Notes
    • This is a pretty good card. It just can only go on two ships so there aren’t a lot of combo potentials.

Weapons Engineer (Lambda Shuttle/Millenium Falcon Expansion)

Cost: 3 points

You may maintain 2 target locks (only 1 per enemy ship).

When you acquire a target lock, you may lock onto 2 different ships.

  • Ranking– 10
  • Combos
    • Shara Bey (ARC-170 Pilot)
      • Shara allows allies to use her target locks so if she gets to make two that is two allies who benefit.
    • Baze Malbus (Crew)
      • Since Baze makes your second shot after a miss be against another target it would be beneficial to have two ships with target locks on them.
    • Long Range Scanners (Modification)
      • With LRS it can be hard to get a new target lock after the initial engagement. But if you can get two to start the game with you have some choices on where to send your munitions.
    • M9-G8 (Astromech)
      • M9 is great for either boosting allies or debuffing enemies. With weapons engineer he becomes twice as effective.
  • Notes
    • You would think this would rank similarly to recon specialist as it’s a similar effect. But two focus tokens are more useful than two target locks. There are usually better ways to spend three points. That said, it can be nice in the right setting and to preserve action economy.


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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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