Sunday, March 12, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Your First 100-Point List

Building your first 100-point list as a newbie can be pretty intimidating. I've got some guidelines for building lists, but they might be too abstract for your first game. I've also made some tournament-worthy budget lists, but they can be too complicated for your first game. I haven't been able to find a simple list-building resource for complete beginners with limited collections.

This article hopefully fills that gap by giving you some simple guidelines for your first 100-point list. Basically, pick a combination of ships so you have enough offense, add some upgrade cards that won't make your list worse, and you'll be good to go for some casual games! These guidelines are intended to make it harder to completely mess up your first 100-point list. These aren't ironclad rules, and there are tournament-level lists that break some of these guidelines.

Here's a rough priority list for how to spend your points.
  1. Spend on ships so your squad fits one of the recommended categories. Upgrades which improve your ships' offense should also be prioritized first (e.g. turret upgrades).
  2. Spend points to upgrade to pilots with strong abilities.
  3. Spend points on upgrades which provide extra offensive or defensive actions.
  4. Spend points on extra ships.
  5. Spend points on pilot skill upgrades for pilots which already have PS 7 or higher.
  6. Spend points on other upgrades which can't hurt you (e.g. the survivability upgrades) or to increase your generic pilots' pilot skill.

I'll explain these in more detail below, but first, let's look at some examples. These examples use both Core Sets plus one expansion (in parenthesis). As you read further, pick one of these lists and see if you can explain how it fits my suggestions.

Beginner Rebels 1: Poe Biggs Miranda (K-Wing)
Beginner Rebels 2: Poe Biggs B A (Rebel Aces)
Beginner Rebels 3: T-70 Biggs Chewie (Millennium Falcon)

Beginner Imperials 1: TIE Aces Swarm (TIE/fo Fighter; use a TIE/fo from the Core Set for Omega Leader)
Beginner Imperials 2: Ryad Tomax Miniswarm (Imperial Veterans)
Beginner Imperials 3: Oicunn Miniswarm (VT-49 Decimator)


Start by picking your ships. There are good and bad ships with the same attack value, but for now, focus on bringing enough offense. Even fragile ships can be salvaged by a couple rounds of good flying, while it's extremely difficult to outfly your opponent over the course of many rounds to make up for a lack of offense.

Pick a squad of ships which fit one of these categories:
  1. Three ships with 3 attack dice.
  2. Two ships with 4 attack dice.
  3. Six ships with 2 attack dice.
  4. One ship with 3 attack dice and four ships with 2 attack dice.
  5. Two ships with 3 attack dice and three ships with 2 attack dice.
  6. One ship with 4 attack dice and three ships with 2 attack dice.
Note these are minimum numbers; you can always bring more ships. When you're new and have limited upgrades, bringing extra ships is often the better use of points.

If you really want to play with a certain ship and can't fit it in otherwise, it's acceptable to be 1 attack dice below the guidelines (e.g. two ships with 3 attack dice and one ship with 2 attack dice). Your offense will be weaker if you do this, so try to compensate by making your attacks more consistent through upgrades or abilities which give you extra actions (see below).

Some upgrades and abilities can affect the ship's effective attack value:
  • If a ship equips an upgrade that increases its attack by 1, it counts as having that higher attack dice value. For example, an ARC-170 which equips the Alliance Overhaul title counts as having 3 attack dice.
  • A ship with Gunner (or other effects which allow for two attacks in 1 round) counts as two ships with that ship's attack dice.
  • A ship with Twin Laser Turret counts as one ship with 3 attack dice.
  • A ship with an effect which reliably and repeatedly adds an extra die or hit (e.g. Zeta Leader, The Inquisitor, Norra Wexley) counts as having attack dice 1 higher than the printed value.
  • A ship with an effect which reliably and repeatedly negates an evade result (e.g. Omega Leader with Juke + Comm Relay, Tomax Bren with Crack Shot) counts as having attack dice 1 higher than the printed value.

Feel free to experiment with the pilots within your point budget. A good rule of thumb is you should only pay for more expensive pilots if it comes with a strong ability or Elite Pilot Talent upgrade slot you need. In general, the best abilities improve your ship's attack value, give you extra focus/evade/target lock actions, let you reroll dice or convert focus/blank results to hit/evade results, or deny actions from your opponent. Movement abilities can be fun, but those are more situational and are strongest on pilots with high pilot skill.


Once you get your ships, you can fill out leftover points with upgrades. You don't have to fill up all of your available upgrade slots, and most lists won't fill up every upgrade slot. Don't forget you can always spend leftover points on more ships!

As a beginner, your main goal here is to avoid upgrades which make your list worse. You should avoid upgrades which cost an action or replace your attack. That's not to say these upgrades are always bad, and I'll list some exceptions when I go into more detail below. However, many of these are worse than your default actions or primary attack. As a beginner, you may not be able to evaluate when they're better than your default action or attack, so I suggest you avoid them for now. The worst-case scenario is that you've spent points to make your list less effective.

Thankfully, most other upgrades won't hurt you. Even if they're not amazing, they can be fun to try out and will only help you if you have left-over points to spend. Upgrades like Wired, Weapons Guidance, and Cool Hand may be situational and/or weak, but they will never hurt your list as long as you don't go out of your way to activate them. Treat them as a small bonus when you need to take the triggering maneuver or action anyway, and they'll only help you. Even upgrades which are overpriced such as Hull Upgrade and Shield Upgrade are OK for your first lists since they will only help you.

Here's some specific types of upgrades I'd recommend to fill up your extra points, along with some upgrades I'd suggest avoiding.


If a ship has a turret slot and only 1 or 2 attack, you'll almost always want to equip a turret on it. The best turret by far is Twin Laser Turret. Dorsal Turret and Ion Cannon Turret are also OK.

Ships with stronger primary attacks like the Attack Shuttle or VCX-100 don't need to equip a turret, but a cheap turret like Autoblaster Turret or Dorsal Turret makes them more flexible at a low cost.

Extra actions

The first are upgrades that reliably give you extra actions for 2-4 points, specifically ones that let you get Focus + Target Lock (or other ways to reroll dice) or Focus + Evade (or other ways of negating 1 damage) every turn. These are usually amazing upgrades, and competitive lists often feature several of these. Here are some examples:
  1. Autothrusters
  2. Push the Limit (on ships with at least 5 green maneuvers, ideally with hard green turns)
  3. Fire-Control System
  4. Expertise
  5. Predator
  6. R2-D2 for Rebels
  7. M9-G8 for Rebels
  8. Rey (crew) for Rebels
  9. Attanni Mindlink for Scum
  10. Dengar (crew) for Scum
  11. K4 Security Droid for Scum
Extra repositioning actions or upgrades that double-up on an action (Recon Specialist) aren't as good as ones like above, but they can be useful if you have extra points to spend.

Extra pilot skill on pilots with 7+ pilot skill

Veteran Instincts is a reasonable-to-great options on ships with 7+ pilot skill. That puts them above most ships in the game, which makes them more reliable at arc-dodging, catching other arc-dodgers, and shooting first. Adaptability is also a good option. Since it's free, it's even reasonable on pilots with lower pilot skill.

Extra survivability is a decent last resort for evasive ships

These usually aren't that great. For example, the Push the Limit upgrade on the right ship gives you an extra Evade every turn it's used for 3 points. The Hull Upgrade modification only gives you one "Evade" for the whole game for 3 points. Still, these upgrades will only help your list if you have leftover points to spend. Examples include (in rough order of desirability in general; the first 3 are better than the rest):
Put them on your most evasive and most valuable ships first. A Hull Upgrade on a very evasive ship might let the ship survive an extra two attacks, but it may only cancel out half an attack on a 1-agility ship. Similarly, Stealth Device might last 3+ defense rolls on a ship with 3 agility and Focus or Evade for defense, but will usually break on the first defense roll for a ship with 1 agility.

Avoid secondary weapons besides turrets (Missiles, Torpedoes, Bombs, and Cannons)

For the most part, these require a combination of upgrades and/or pilots to be better than primary attacks or actions. I'd avoid most of these when you're just starting out. Some can actually make your ships worse if you try to use them. There are a few exceptions:
If you really want to take ordnance, you need the Extra Munitions upgrade. You'll also want the Guidance Chips modification or Long-Range Scanners modification for missiles and torpedoes, and Sabine Wren (crew) or bomb-improving pilot abilities for bombs. The best ordnance options are Homing Missiles, Plasma Torpedoes, Cluster Mines, Conner Net, Ion Bombs, and Seismic Charges.

Avoid upgrades which cost your action

The Focus action is extremely strong. Most upgrades which cost your action aren't better than Focus, much less also make up for their point cost. There are some exceptions:

Think about whether the ship can use the upgrade

When you put an upgrade on a ship, make sure you think about under what circumstances you'll use it! For some reason, I keep seeing the Wired upgrade on the original Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon. The only way to give Han stress to activate the Wired upgrade is to K-Turns. Since it has a turret, he probably won't need to K-Turn too often. Wired is a decent option on many ships, it just isn't a good idea for most turreted ships. Contrast that with Wired on Rey with the new Millennium Falcon title. Even though she has a turret, she has a powerful ability which requires getting opponents in her firing arc. She'll often be using K-Turns and the title ability and picking up stress (before you get Kanan Jarrus crew). She can get a lot of use out of the Wired upgrade.

These aren't awful uses of points since they generally won't hurt you, but there are probably better options. Even a mediocre survivability upgrade might be a better use of points than an upgrade you'll almost never use.

These guidelines will get you started with a decent list for your first few games. As you get more familiar with the game, you'll probably notice most of the strong tournament lists follow these guidelines, along with some other guidelines like these:
  • Expensive ships should be hard to kill through tankiness and/or maneuverability, unless they bring extremely high firepower with moderate survivability. "Expensive" starts around 35 points.
  • Ships with 3+ attack and 2+ agility usually need action economy to modify both their attack roll and their defense roll.
  • Action economy is pretty strong in general, along with ways of denying actions (e.g. stress).
  • Ships with a true 2 attack need to be cheap (as close to 12 points as possible) or have fantastic utility. If you're relying on them for your offense, they need Crack Shot or maybe Juke.
But you don't need to worry about these in casual games, and especially not for your first few 100-point games.

Now go build a list and play some games! Good luck!


  1. i think the link in the part "Cannon synergy (e.g. IG-88B" is broken. the link send us to stealth device

  2. Hey, by the way. Thanks a lot for the tips, you change my mind to see the strategies.