X-Wing Upgrade Guide- Modifications

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. 
  • Notes- A few comments on the effectiveness and ways to get the most out of this upgrade.

Other Guides

Finally, we come to our last upgrade type; Modifications. Able to be equipped on all ships, Modifications cover a wide range of options.  Because of this wide range of uses we’re probably going to miss some good combos. There are just so many pilots these days.

We are going to ignore all of the modifications that can only be used on a single ship (Advanced Cloaking Device). These have pretty obvious uses and pretty limited combinations.

Ranked List 

  1. Autothrusters
  2. Engine Upgrade
  3. Vectored Thrusters
  4. Guidance Chips
  5. Lightweight Frame
  6. Smuggling Compartment
  7. Countermeasures
  8. Twin Ion Engine
  9. Pulsed Ray Shield
  10. Stealth Device
  11. Targeting Computer
  12. Long-range Scanners
  13. Experimental Interface
  14. Advanced SLAM
  15. Tactical Jammer
  16. Anti-Pursuit Lasers
  17. Ion Projector
  18. Munitions Failsafe
  19. Hull Upgrade
  20. Shield Upgrade
  21. Stygium Particle Accelerator

Advanced SLAM  (Alpha Class/K-Wing Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

After performing a SLAM action, if you did not overlap an obstacle or another ship, you may perform a free action on your action bar.

  • Ranking– 14
  • Combos
    • Gunboat (Any)
      • SLAM to escape and then Advanced SLAM to reload, clear both Weapons Disabled at once.
    • Recon Specialist (Crew) + Esege (K-Wing Pilot)
      • You can SLAM away with Esege and then get your double focus tokens to aid your nearby allies.
  • Notes
    • This upgrade used to be intended for bombing. In the original teaser article you could drop a maneuver bomb after the SLAM. That turned out to not be true. But you could still Advanced SLAM an action bomb. Then that got nerfed to only actions in your action bar.

Anti-Pursuit Lasers  (Lambda Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

After an enemy ship executes a maneuver that causes it to overlap your ship, roll 1 attack die. On a Hit or Crit result, the enemy ship suffers 1 damage.

  • Ranking– 16
  • Combos
    • Chopper (VCX Pilot)/Captain Oicunn (Decimator Pilot)
      • These pilots love to bump. APL just makes better. In Oicunn’s case, he can do damage if he runs into you or you run into him.
    • Bo Shek (Crew)
      • Bo Shek works against ships you’re touching. So make them run into you, do some damage with APL and then mess with their dial next round.
    • Intelligence Agent (Crew)/Cassian Andor (Crew)
      • These crew let you know your opponent’s maneuver ahead of time, helping you to force them to bump into you.
  • Notes
    • Two points for a potential damage if someone runs into you is maybe a little too pricey in most cases. It’s often the first thing to get dropped from a list to save points. But it is not bad for what it does.

Autothrusters (StarViper/TIE Silencer Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

When defending, if you are beyond Range 2 or outside the attacker’s firing arc, you may change 1 of your blank results to an Evade result. You can equip this card only if you have the Boost action icon.

  • Ranking– 1
  • Combos
    • Sensor Jammer (System)
      • Mess with your opponent’s dice and improve your defense dice.
    • Engine Upgrade (Modification)
      • Until the Vaksai title came along this was an impossible combination (well, technically a Royal Guard Interceptor could do it but they already had Boost). Now, for the original price of Engine Upgrade, Kihraxz can get both Boost and Autothrusters.
  • Notes
    • Can your ship take autothrusters? You should probably equip autothrusters. Well, it’s not as simple as that. One defense die ships, like TIE Punisher, wouldn’t get much benefit from it. T-70 X-Wings like it but often prefer to save points and take Integrated Astromech. But anything with three defense, dice it’s an auto-include.
    • It’s essential when facing off against turrets.

Countermeasures (Shadow Caster/YT-2400 Expansions)

Cost: 3 points

Large ship only.

At the start of the Combat phase, you may discard this card to increase your agility value by 1 until the end of the round. Then you may remove 1 enemy target lock from your ship.

  • Ranking– 7
  • Combos
    • Glitterstim (Illicit)
      • What’s better than an extra defense die? An extra defense die that can turn focus results into evades.
    • Scavenger Crane (Illicit)
      • With Scavenger Crane this one-time use item might see a few more uses.
    • Dengar (Jumpmaster Pilot)/Asajj (Lancer Pil0t)/Dash Rendar (YT-2400 Pilot)
      • Each of these pilots do very well and fly ships with two defense dice. Gaining a third from Countermeasures for a round is far more handy than anything with zero or one native dice (YT-1300)
  • Notes
    • Three points for a one time use upgrade seems like a lot. But for one essential round, it can save a ship’s life. Especially with that second feature, removing a target lock. Avoiding a missile can be quite handy.

Engine Upgrade (Millennium Falcon/Hound’s Tooth Expansions)

Cost: 4 points

Your action bar gains the Boost action icon.

  • Ranking– 2
  • Combos
    • Large Base (YT-1300/YT-2400/SF-17/Decimator/Lambda/Upsilon/YV-666/Jumpmaster/Firespray)
      • All of these ships gain a lot out of being able to boost. Large bases gain three base lengths of distance on a boost compared to a small ship’s two. This can take them from out of range to range 2.
    • Corran Horn (E-Wing)/Darth Vader (TIE Advanced)
      • These two pilots very commonly get paired with EU to great effect.
    • Mauler Mithal (TIE Fighter)
      • This guy gets a bonus attack die at range one. Boost helps him get there.
    • Captain Oicunn (Decimator Pilot) + Daredevil (EPT) + Dauntless (Title)
      • Daredevil damages you if you don’t have Boost. But it’s technically a maneuver so you can bump with it, triggering Oicunns free damage twice in a row.
  • Notes
    • If it weren’t so expensive this would be ranked even higher. As it is, it’s still usually well worth the price. Unlike Vectored Thrusters, you’ll not likely just have spare points lying around to just throw it on though.

Experimental Interface (YT-2400 Expansion)

Cost: 3 points

Once per round, after you perform an action, you may perform 1 free action from an equipped Upgrade card with the “Action:” header. Then receive 1 stress token.

  • Ranking– 13
  • Combos
    • Expose (EPT) + Decimator
      • Since the Decimator has zero agility, Expose has no downside (aside from wasting your action). With EI you can still get a regular action and make use of Expose.
    • Tycho Celchu (A-Wing Pilot) + Push the Limits (EPT) + Rage (EPT)
      • Tycho doesn’t care about stress so when they are combined he can take an action, push for a second and then rage for a focus and rerolls, netting an effective four actions.
    • Proximity Mine (Bomb)/Cluster Mine (Bomb)/Conner Net (Bomb)/Rigged Cargo Chute (Illicit)
      • One downside of Push the Limits is you can’t use it to boost/barrel roll and then drop a bomb because your second action has to be from your action bar. With EI, you can reposition and then drop your action bomb.
    • Debris Gambit (EPT)
      • If you want to dance near the rocks, taking Debris gambit and EI can make you tough to take down.
  • Notes
    • Experimental Interface sounds fairly balanced; it has almost the same effect as PTL, costs the same and has the same stress downside. Unfortuantely, because it only works on upgrades with an action effect it is effectively more expensive because you also have to pay for that other upgrade. And it takes up the valuable modification slot.

Guidance Chips (Inquisitor’s TIE/Punishing One Expansions)

Cost: 0 points

Once per round, when attacking with a Torpedo or Missile secondary weapon, you may change 1 die result to a Hit result (or a Crit result if your primary weapon value is “3” or higher).

  • Ranking– 4
  • Combos
    • Every Missile or Torpedo
      • Obviously.
  • Notes
    • Guidance Chips are the upgrade that brought ordnance back to the game. For zero points your missile is guaranteed to get at least one hit.

Hull Upgrade (Auzituck/Imperial Aces/StarViper Expansions)

Cost: 3 points

Increase your hull value by 1.

  • Ranking– 19
  • Combos
    • Tel Trevura (Jumpmaster)
      • When Tel “dies” and clears away his damage, he is dealt four damage cards. Normally that leaves him with one health. With hull upgrades that’s two, netting you two hull for the price of one.
    • A-Wing/E-Wing/Attack Shuttle/TIE Phantom/TIE Advanced Prototype/Z-95
      • All of these ships only have two hull. If you’re facing something that can land crits through shields the extra hull can pay off.
  • Notes
    • Hull upgrade sounds nice but more times than not you would have been better off with another upgrade for those points. Stealth Device is the same cost. It might not ever do anything but if it nets you two evades before popping it’s been twice as effective as Hull.

Ion Projector (Hound’s Tooth/Upsilon Shuttle Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

Large ship only.

After an enemy ship executes a maneuver that causes it to overlap your ship, roll 1 attack die. On a Hit or Crit result, the enemy ship receives 1 ion token.

  • Ranking– 17
  • Combos
    • Chopper (VCX Pilot)/Captain Oicunn (Decimator Pilot)
      • These pilots love to bump. Ion just makes it better. In Oicunn’s case, he can do damage if he runs into you and then ion so you do it again the next round. For Chopper, he can give the dread ion + stress combo that effectively shuts a ship down.
    • Intelligence Agent (Crew)/Cassian Andor (Crew)
      • These crew let you know your opponent’s maneuver ahead of time, helping you to force them to bump into you.
  • Notes
    • The same cost, same trigger and the same dice roll as APL. Do you want to ion your target or do some damage?

Lightweight Frame (TIE Aggressor/TIE Striker Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

TIE only.

When defending, after rolling defense dice, if there are more attack dice than defense dice, roll 1 additional defense die.

You cannot equip this card if your agility value is “3” or higher.

  • Ranking– 5
  • Combos
    • TIE Aggressor/TIE Bomber/TIE Phantom/TIE Striker/TIE sf
      • At two defense die these TIE’s are far more fragile than their nibbler cousins. LWF brings them almost on par. And they don’t even have the Boost action so you’re not having to choose between LWF and Autothrusters.
    • Quickdraw (TIE/sf Pilot)
      • Quickdraw really wants to mitigate his damage down to just one at a time. With extra dice he’s more likely to do that.
    • TIE Shuttle (Title)
      • If you load up a TIE Shuttle with good support crew you want it well protected.
  • Notes
    • This is a phenomenal upgrade to help deal with that two defense dice dead zone. One die ships generally have substantially more health. Three dice have decent odds on negating an attack. Two seems to do neither of those things well.

Long-Range Scanners (Imperial Veterans Expansions)

Cost: 0 points

You can acquire target locks on ships at Range 3 and beyond. You cannot acquire target locks on ships at Range 1-2. You can equip this card only if you have Torpedo and Missile in your upgrade bar.

  • Ranking– 12
  • Combos
    • Low Pilot Skill
      • This upgrade is useful for those low PS ships that have trouble getting a target lock for the first approach. Now they can get the TL early and have a focus when you finally end up in range.
    • Ships with SLAM
      • When a ship SLAMs away it often is out of the fight for a turn or two. With LRS it can get a TL while its coming back in to engage but still far away.
    • Weapons Engineer (Crew)
      • One downside to LRS is calling your intended target early. With a Weapons Engineer you get two choices.
  • Notes
    • LRS is a nice idea that unfortunately has a few drawbacks. Not being able to get TL at range 1-2 is a pretty big one but fair for a zero cost upgrade. The biggest is the opportunity cost. You can’t take Guidance Chips. And if you’re using LRS, you probably want to use ordinance. And if you’re using ordinance, you probably want to use Guidance Chips.

Munitions Failsafe (TIE Defender/Z-95 Expansions)

Cost: 1 points

When attacking with a secondary weapon that instructs you to discard it to perform the attack, do not discard it unless the attack hits.

  • Ranking– 18
  • Combos
    • Accuracy Corrector (System)
      • When combined with Accuracy Corrector, you can ensure that your weapon misses and you get to keep it. Why would you want to do that? In order to trigger a secondary effect of course. Such as the stress from Flechette Torpedo. Or give double stress from Tactician if you also have a Gunner. Or trigger Saturation Salvo.
    • Vaksai (Title)
      • On on a Vaksai Kihraxz this upgrade is free. When you’re going for cheap missile carrying Kihraxz its great o ensure your missile does hit.
  • Notes
    • The game’s first attempt to “fix” ordinance, but this upgrade never saw a lot of play. It didn’t seem bad to ensure your weapon did indeed hit. But it was quickly supplanted by Guidance Chips.

Pulsed Ray Shield (C-ROC/Guns for Hire Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

Rebel and Scum only.

During the End phase, you may receive 1 ion token to recover 1 shield (up to your shield value). You can equip this card only if your shield value is “1.”

  • Ranking– 9
  • Combos
    • Ion Dischargers (Illicit)
      • With this illicit you don’t have to suffer the ion effect.
    • Kihraxz/Scyk (Any)
      • These ships all lack a straight one maneuver. If you need to go one forward, might as well recover a shield in the process.
    • Feedback Pulse (Illicit)
      • With Feedback Pulse you deal yourself a damage and give yourself an ion token. With PRS, you can recover that damage and you’re already ioned so who cares if you get another one?
  • Notes
    • A nicely balanced shield regeneration upgrade for Scum.

Shield Upgrade (Imperial Aces/Millennium Falcon Expansions)

Cost: 4 points

Increase your shield value by 1.

  • Ranking– 20
  • Combos
    •  Red Ace (T-70 X-Wing)/Quickdraw (TIE/sf)
      • Red Ace and Quickdraw have abilities that trigger on shield loss. More shields equals more chances to trigger.
    • R2-D2 (Astromech)/R5-P9 (Astromech)/Miranda (K-wing Pilot)/Gonk Droid (Crew)/Chopper (Astromech)
      • Any of these can regenerate shields. The more shields they have, the more they can regenerate.
  • Notes
    • This is a trap card, meant to lure people into wasting points. There are so many more upgrades that provide far more value for this four points. Just look at R2-D2, crew or astromech, also four points, and regenerates a shield but has infinite uses. Or Chewbacca crew, also four points, who lets you block a damage card and then recover a shield, effectively being worth two shields. Stealth Device might do nothing but might block multiple damage and is only three points.

Stealth Device (Guns for Hire/M3-A Interceptor/Slave-1/U-Wing Expansions)

Cost: 3 points

Increase your agility value by 1. If you are hit by an attack, discard this card.

  • Ranking– 10
  • Combos
    •  Soontir Fel (TIE Interceptor)
      • Soontir can be hard to hit with his arc dodging and token stacking. He’ll get the most out of Stealth Device, likely getting multiple extra dice rolls from it.
    • Omega Leader (TIE/fo)
      • Omega Leader can lock down a ship from being able to modify their dice, making him hard to hit.
    • Cloaking Device (Illicit) + Cikatro Vizago (Crew)
      • If a Scum ship cloaks and triggers Vizago to discard the Cloaking Device they can gain a perma-cloak. If they also have a Stealth Device then they are rolling an extra three green dice on top of whatever they have natively.  Unless they have a good pilot ability, like Palob Godahli, they won’t be doing much though.
  • Notes
    • Stealth Device only really works on ships that start with three agility dice, otherwise you’re likely to lose it the first time someone attacks you.

Tactical Jammer (Shadow Caster/Decimator Expansions)

Cost: 1 points

Large ship only.

Your ship can obstruct enemy attacks.

  • Ranking– 15
  • Combos
    •  Chopper (VCX-100)/Captain Oicunn (Decimator)
      • Both pilots like to get up close and ram into enemies. That prevents the enemy from shooting them. With Tac Jammer, their shots on the rest of your squadron become obstructed.
    • Biggs Darklighter (X-Wing)
      • If you get between Biggs and your enemy, Biggs can get extra defense dice on the turn he triggers his ability.
  • Notes
    • It is surprisingly hard to make use of this ability.  It can be used to encourage your opponent to fire on your large ship first but you probably won’t get much benefit from it after the initial pass. Though, for only one point, it is not bad to throw on a ship that isn’t planning to use its mod slot.

Targeting Computer (Imperial Aces Expansion)

Cost: 2 points

Your action bar gains the Target Lock action icon.

  • Ranking– 11
  • Combos
    • Targeting Synchronizer (Tech)
      • Quadjumpers can’t target lock but they are the only (current) Scum ships that get Tech. So if you want to use Targeting Synchronizer you also need to take a Targeting Computer.
    • Sabine Wren (Attack Shuttle) + Push the Limits (EPT)
      • One of the few Rebel ships that lack TL, Sabine in an Attack Shuttle likes to take PTL for double actions. This allows her to get a great offensive shot off.
  • Notes
    • It is good to have an upgrade that adds Target Lock to ships that can’t use it but in truth, you’ll rarely want to take it rather than something else. If you have a system slot, like TIE Phantom, you’re better off with FCS. And there are other ways to get rerolls (Predator, Lonewolf). And there are other ways to get Target Locks even if you can’t take the action (XX-23 Threadtracer, Dutch Vander, Targeting Synchronizer, System Officer, etc).

Twin Ion Engines Mk II (TIE Punisher Expansion)

Cost: 1 points

TIE only.

You may treat all bank maneuvers as green maneuvers.

  • Ranking– 8
  • Combos
    • TIE Advanced/TIE Bomber/TIE Defender
      • All of these ships do not have great green maneuver options but a lot of bank maneuvers, getting maximum benefit out of the TIE Mk II.
    • Push the Limits (EPT)
      • More green maneuvers makes it easier to clear the stress from PTL.
    • System Officer (Crew)
      • More green maneuvers to take so you can pass out free target locks.
  • Notes
    • A nice cheap option for your TIEs that make them extra maneuverable.

Vectored Thrusters (ARC-170/Guns for Hire Expansions)

Cost: 2 points

Small Ship Only

Your action bar gains the Barrel Roll action icon.

  • Ranking– 3
  • Combos
    • X-Wing/Kihraxz
      • X-Wings and Kihraxz lack any ability to reposition and really need something.
    • Expert Handling (EPT)
      • If you want to clear target locks and avoid the stress, combining these can help.
  • Notes
    • A long-awaited upgrade that finally added barrel as an option for ships that lacked it. Unfortunately, it is small ships only but that is probably why it is two points instead of four like Engine Upgrade.
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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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