X Wing On a Budget!

Harrison Sharp returns to us with some list suggestions for anyone looking to get into X Wing without too big an initial payout. Those super-optimal lists can get awful pricey if you don’t already have most of the ships and card that you need, but are there any good lists to be had on a budget? Harri’s come up with a few!

(Stock Note: Unfortunately due to the popularity of X Wing and FFG’s reprinting schedule it’s nigh impossible for us to keep all the ships in stock all the time, so a few of the ships we link to here will be out of stock, no matter when we decide to post this article. So we’ve gone ahead and posted it anyway, otherwise it’d never see the light of day! Please do remember you can make use of the ‘notify me‘ button on any ships you want that are not in stock, and you’ll get an email from us as soon as we get more in.)



Welcome back, recruits! Today your friendly Recon Specialist has got some valuable intel for the aspiring pilots among you: namely, how to get a reasonable squad together as cheaply as possible! Our hobby is an expensive one; you can tell this just by watching someone’s face when you tell them you’re spending £14 on a little toy spaceship! That kind of unpleasant truth can be a deal breaker for some people looking to get into the hobby, but it doesn’t have to be.

I recently saw a post where someone was looking for some advice on getting a squad together with the three packs he had available and, after a few replies with suggestions of squads without cards he had available, I started to think about what I could make with just what he had. Last time I looked at pricing up some of the top meta lists at the moment, I came to the realisation that you’re looking at around £150 to get everything you need for them, which is a high barrier to entry into the game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not insurmountable, but dropping over £100 on a game you may not like is a pretty big ask. Today I’m going to look into getting some squads together on a budget that will get people into the game, as well as be able to give the new player a game against some of the more comprehensive squads out there.

The challenge for today is to make a respectable 100-point list that comes in at under £75, which is half the price of the big meta lists at the moment. As this blog is sponsored by Chaos Cards (funnily enough as it’s their blogspace!), I will be taking all of my prices from their website as well as putting down the RRP of the kits. This gives me a shot at saving some face if I mess up too badly! So without further ado, let’s get this thing started with everyone’s favourite good guys, the Rebellion / Resistance:

This squad only uses the Force Awakens Core Set and Heroes of the Resistance expansion. It hearkens back to the days of the Han Shoots First lists of Wave 2 and 3, bringing three tanky ships with just enough upgrades to let them do their job. Rey is the new hotness for the Rebels, and everyone loves the Falcon. Plus this list puts X Wings on the board, which is always a good place to start.

The idea of the list is simple: get Rey and the X Wings into a position to joust and go for it, using your Primed Thrusters and BB-8 on the first X Wing to get that free Barrel Roll whenever you reveal a green manoeuvre, and grabbing an extra hit for a point with R5-X3. I would have loved to use another 1-point droid here, but this is the only one that comes in the Force Awakens Core Set and it doesn’t make too much of an impact to the list to not have your trusty R2 Astromech. Rey is designed to always be able to make use of any result she rolls, whether that be getting in arc and gaining her two dice re-rolls on blank results and focusing, or using the new Millennium Falcon Title to Segnor’s Loop behind the enemy, then re-roll her blanks and Focus results with Wired, another cheap but effective combo from the two packs I’ve used for this squad. Finally I’ve put a Smuggling Compartment and Burnout SLAM onto Rey in case she really needs to get out of dodge. Now let’s look at the price rundown:


As you can see, I’ve just scraped in under budget for the RRP, making this list a complete success for my criteria. Making use of all of the ships I have from the two packs I have available for the faction has led to a pretty nice beginner’s list, giving you access to a lot of the basic actions, as well as a couple of neat little tricks and a large-based ship with a turret to get you used to flying big ships. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with this list.

Next up we’re going to take a look at the rightful and elected rulers of the galaxy, the Empire:

The Empire has a harder time of getting a list together cheaply, and not just because the Emperor card is in a ship that breaks my budget on its own. While the ships that come in the core set are designed to be run cheaply, there are two of them. Two Academy Pilots from the original core set are 24 points, the same as the T70 X Wing in the first list, and the TIE FOs from the Force Awakens Core Set clock in at 30 points for the pair. Where the Empire starts to fall apart is its lack of Elite Pilot Talents in most of its sets, usually only supplying one, and in the poor case of the TIE Phantom, none at all! Add into that the extra cost of the two good large-based ships in the faction and you really start to struggle to find ways to make a cheap list. My initial thoughts were to jump into a list that used Omega Leader, as he comes with everything you need to run him straight out of the box. The TIE FO expansion also comes with Zeta Leader, who works well with the copy of Wired that you get in the Force Awakens Core Set. This leaves me with just enough cash to buy one more small ship expansion and it needs to fill around 35 points of the list. This leaves me with one choice, the TIE Phantom. So let’s look at what I bought and how it affected my budget:


I’m going to be brutally honest here and say I’m not completely happy with this list. I would have given my kingdom for a copy of Veteran Instincts to put on Whisper, but that would have required changing the expansions I’ve bought, putting a whole new outlook on the list and pretty much changing it entirely, as well as bringing up a few other problems. This list does, however, have a fair bit going for it. First off, it’s got the great end game potential of Omega Leader, paired with two ships that can put a lot of damage downrange in Zeta Leader and Whisper, both of whom are Pilot Skill 7, which means they will be shooting before a lot of other ships. Finally you’ve got a cheap Pilot Skill 1 blocker with a great dial and access to the Barrel Roll action, making it an even better blocker, and the Evade action to keep it alive longer. This list ticks all the boxes for my challenge, coming in at under £65 RRP, which gives me £10 to play with, but unfortunately with no expansions that cost £10, I’ll just have to leave it at that … or go to eBay and buy a copy of Veteran Instincts!

I’m going to throw out an honourable mention here, as I think this list may actually be a lot better suited to teaching a new player how to play Imperials, but there are a few things that went wrong when looking into it:


Using the fact that Sabine’s TIE is still a TIE Fighter and comes with a copy of Veteran Instincts as well as a ship and dial you can use for the Empire, I decided to switch up the list. Replacing Omega Leader with Pure Sabacc gives you a pretty nice flanker who hits like a truck, especially when you have three TIE Fighters throwing Evade Tokens down for him to use with Swarm Leader. This is the kind of list that I love to fly myself, with a bit of a Swarm aspect as well as a couple of Aces to have fun zipping around the battlefield; but there are two big problems. First off is the matter of Sabine’s TIE. As this is a Rebel expansion, it doesn’t come with any of the base or ship cards for the Imperial faction. This means that you don’t have all the cards you need to run this list. You could, of course, bump one of your Academy Pilots up to an Obsidian Squadron Pilot, but this means you have to drop Swarm Leader from Pure Sabacc and replace it with the Lightweight Frame Modification instead. That has two problems in itself, whereby you defeat the initial idea of the list and also start to add differing Pilot Skills into your Swarm, which can make it a bit more difficult for a beginning player to fly. Alternatively you could drop the Fire Control System off of Whisper and run her very cheaply, but you may come to regret not being able to Target Lock with her. The final problem with this list is below:


£3.96 over budget for RRP, curses! Not quite a total success there, but with a couple of tweaks to the list, even if you‘re paying RRP you can get everything you need for this list at under £80.

Finally we come to Scum and Villainy, who are the hardest faction to get into as they have no core set ships. That’s a £37 lead weight around your neck. Even so, I will try my best to find something that will come close. If you use the usual Scum and Villainy tactic of “take two big ships” I think you will have the best chance of filling out 100 points as cheaply as possible:


With the new waves of ships, you usually will find almost everything you need to run a fairly decent ship right out of the box. In fact, the Jumpmaster is the key to this entire build, with over half of the upgrades from this build, and over half the upgrades from the Jumpmaster expansion, used here. Attani Mindlink is the new hotness right now, so using both the copies you get in the Jumpmaster is a no-brainer. Add to this the fact that both ships are at the same Pilot Skill of 7 and you’ve got a very adaptable list, where you can choose who moves or shoots first, and who benefits from the extra Focus token that Mindlink generates. Ketsu Onyo is very economical in her actions, meaning that she is the obvious choice to lace a Focus Token; but if she ever gets in danger, she can get Tel to drop her a Focus and use her Evade action to turtle up. Tel, on the other hand, can use the fact he is getting a free Focus Token to either Target Lock, making his attacks even more potent by re-rolling dice or firing his Plasma Torpedo; or regenerate shields with Gonk; all the time having the protection of R5-P8 who is affectionately known as “the Revenge Bot”.


All in all, this is a great list for a new player who likes interesting choices with their actions and who needs to take them. Have you got an Ace chasing Ketsu and need a turn to throw them off his trail? Move your Mobile Firing Arc to face backwards, get Tel to Focus to give you a fully augmented shot with your Dengar Crew re-rolls, and drop your Debris Field from your Rigged Cargo Chute. That’s a heck of a lot of interactions to play around with, which will be a lot of fun for a particular sort of wargamer. The main question is though, will it come in under budget?


Not even close when looking at RRP; and even Chaos Cards’ 15% price drop on the ships (and the massive 27% price drop on the core set!) can’t save me here, putting me still £7.39 over budget. Having over half your budget tied up in ships the faction can’t use means that if you’re going to try and get into the game on a budget, don’t look into the Scum and Villainy faction. However, if you look at this list without the core set, for example if you’re picking up Scum as a second faction, the ships and upgrades come in at only £65 RRP, which isn’t bad at all.

So that wraps up my look into X Wing on a budget. My personal favourite list has to be Boomtown, which reminds me a lot of the sort of lists that I personally enjoy flying. I think it’s got a fair amount of movement shenanigans, which always keep me entertained. As for the list I think would be most competitive, I would have to go with Big Ships Go Faster. It’s got a lot of tools that can be helpful and has the added bonus of being very tank and putting out a lot of damage. It also has a bit of control in the form of Ketsu’s Tractor Tokens and the Rigged Cargo Chute. I’m not discouraging the other two lists either, as FOtom is the cheapest list to put together, and Heroes in Blue is most likely the easiest to pick up and play with. All you have to do now is decide what you want from your initial purchases.

As for those grizzled veterans who are reading, what are your favourite lists to run on a shoestring budget? Can anybody out there find a Scum list which you can put together for under £75? Even if you are going by Chaos Cards prices, that’s still a pretty impressive feat if you can pull it off! I would love to see what you guys can come up with (my closest attempt is below), so please leave your list ideas in the comments section below. So with that in mind, good hunting and may the Force be with you!

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3 Comments on X Wing On a Budget!

  1. Hi Guys,

    I am getting into X-Wing and have just bought all of the parts for the BoomTown list above, i was wondering what are the extra parts that i need to get hold of to turn sabine’s tie into an academy pilot (ie the missing cards that are mentioned in the right up)?



    Simon Powell | March 12, 2017 at 5:11 pm () ()
    • Hi Simon,

      There are two bits that you will need for the list that don’t come in the packs, the base card and pilot card for an additional Academy Pilot. There are two different expansions you can buy to get the extra Academy Pilot pieces that you need, either the original core set, which will net you another two TIE Fighters, or the TIE Fighter expansion pack.

      I would recommend you get the TIE Fighter expansion as it will then give you access to all of the other pilots for the TIE Fighter. This includes “Howlrunner”, who is just an amazing force multiplier for a swarm or mini-swarm of 4-7 TIEs, as well as “Backstabber”, who is a great cheap flanker.

      I hope that helps 🙂

      Harrison Sharp | March 16, 2017 at 10:46 am () ()
  2. Hello

    Great post, I like the idea of putting together inexpensive lists. I think new people can be intimidated if they go online and try to but some META list.

    My wife and kids all play together at home and at our game shop, so I need to be able to field 3 lists at any time.

    Michael Dinich | January 13, 2018 at 4:03 am () ()