The StarViper is a small base ship expansion for the X-Wing Miniatures game and was released as part of the 6th wave of ships. It forms part of the Scum and Villainy faction. Within the fluff of the Star Wars Expanded Universe the StarViper was commissioned and partially designed by Prince Xizor, the head of the Black Sun Crime Syndicate, who retained all rights to it in order to ensure it remained unique and a highly modified version, the Virago, was used by him. It was a powerful but expensive ship that didn’t justify building or deploying in large numbers.
Despite it being unique at the time Xixor was alive, FFG have introduced it as a powerful small ship that was likely flown by high ranking members of the Black Sun Syndicate, along with Xizor’s personal bodyguards.
As normal for small ship expansions the set comes packaged in a blister pack that clearly displays the ship, front on this time, while keeping it secure during transit. The blister for the StarViper is much bigger than any of the previous small ship expansions, as evident when you compare it to the M3-A Interceptor-
The StarViper is a little more expensive than the rest of the small ship expansions, by around £3-£5 depending on who your dealer is, but you do get a little more in the pack than normal-
- StarViper Small Base Ship
- Small Ship Base and pegs
- StarViper Manoeuvre Dial
- 17 cards (split between Upgrade Cards, Rules Cards and Pilot Cards, more on the specifics soon)
- 18 Tokens (I’ll give you a breakdown in a little while)
The StarViper is probably the most unusual looking ship that has been released so far for the X-Wing game and I’m honestly not sure how much I like it yet. It’s large compared to other small base ships but it doesn’t look unwieldy because it’s so delicate. All of the other ships in wave 6, in fact all of the other Scum and Villainy ships aside from the Firespray, are very narrow, around 6mm thick, but the StarViper is tall, standing proudly upright on it’s base. It is very thin, looked at sideways as the bulk of the ship is made up from the sails that surround the cockpit.
The paint job is ok, it’s not excellent and it’s certainly not something befitting Prince Xizor. I would have preferred it if the ship was painted specifically as Virago, rather than a more generic Black Sun version. The sails each have panels painted black and there is a large Black Sun logo on the upper right sail. As it stands, when I get subsequent StarVipers i’ll probably look to repaint them and I’ve seen some good examples posted on social media already.
As normal you get 4 Pilots in the expansion, 2 Generic and 2 Elite Pilots as is standard. The StarViper isn’t a cheap ship, with even the lowest Generic Pilot weighing in at 25 points, but it comes with a fairly impressive stat line at 3/3/4/1. I find the 4 Hull and 1 Shield intriguing as it provided the same overall number of hit points as an E-Wing, but it’s actually a fair bit more fragile as it could die to a single lucky shot that pulls out a hit and 2 Direct Hit critical hit cards.
I like the art on the cards a lot, overall the Scum and Villainy Pilot cards seem to be more colourful than many of the earlier releases and this is no exception. Of the 4 here I personally think that the Prince Xizor card is the weakest looking of the bunch. In terms of Pilot abilities both of the Elite Pilots are intriguing and very representative of Scum and Villainy as a whole. I think Prince Xizor has some interesting potential, with his improved Wingman ability, especially if you run him with someone with the Bodyguard upgrade from this set.
The StarViper comes with around twice the number of Upgrade cards that the other small ship expansions do and many of them are extremely useful and not just to StarViper but to other Scum and Villainy ships and even to Rebel and Imperial forces. In this expansion you get-
- Inertial Dampeners (also found in the IG-2000 set)
- Virago (Unique to this set)
- Autothrusters x2 (Unique to this set)
- Hull Upgrade (also found in the Imperial Aces set)
Elite Pilot Skill-
- Bodyguard (Unique to this set)
- Calculation (Unique to this set)
- Ion Torpedoes (also found in the VT-49 Decimator set)
- Accuracy Corrector (also found in the IG-2000 set)
Every card in this set is hard to find elsewhere, most are unique to wave 6 ships and over half can only be found in the StarViper expansion. I’m a big fan of certainty, having being mistreated at the fickle hands of the Dice Gods far too many times, and Accuracy Corrector gives me that certainty so it’s an upgrade I like quite a lot. I go into a bit more detail on one of it’s more brutal uses in the IG-2000 Unboxing.
The big card in this set is, without a doubt, Autothrusters, which will be attached to just about every TIE Interceptor you’ll see from this point forwards as it boosts their survivability significantly. Autothrusters is a worthwhile upgrade on this ship, especially on Prince Xizor with a Bodyguard as he’ll be nigh on impossible to hit beyond range 2, or by turrets, rolling 5 defence dice (the same as a cloaked Phantom) and being able to change a blank to an evade.
In addition to the Pilot and Upgrade cards the set comes with 4 Rules Cards, Segnor’s Loop, Ion, Boost and Modifications and Titles. Along with the IG-2000 the StarViper is one of only 2 ships that is able to perform the difficult and dangerous Segnor’s Loop manoeuvre, owing to it’s advanced design and systems.
Within the expansion you get all of the tokens that you might reasonably need to use the ship in a list, in accordance with FFG standard practice. Personally I could stand for them to stop including ID and Target Lock tokens but I don’t se it happening. The tokens you get are-
- 2 x Small Ship Base tokens (double sided as Black Sun Enforcer/Guri and Black Sun Vigo/Prince Xizor)
- 2 x Focus Tokens
- 1 x Shield Token
- 7 x Ion Token
- 1 x Stress Token
- 2 x Target Lock Tokens (double sided as letter EE and FF)
- 3 x ID Tokens (3 x number 44)
The StarViper is an interesting ship, it’s highly agile and it’s dial boasts just a single red manoeuvre, which is the Segnor’s Loop. Interestingly the ship doesn’t have a single K-Turn, meaning that you either need to master using Segnor’s Loop or turn around the slow way. It’s not the fastest of ships and it can’t perform hard 3 turns with it’s dial being much more suited for very tight turns. It doesn’t have the massive range of options that a ship like the TIE Phantom has but it’s ability to adjust it’s movement with Boost and Barrel Roll actions, along with a dial designed for close quarter fighting means that the StarViper is still a competent Arc Dodger with more durability than most other ships in that group.
It’s a good set and I can see myself with 2 or 3 eventually, although I’m not sure how viable more than 1 in a list would be when matched against the Tournament heavy hitters. The Upgrade cards alone make this a very attractive expansion to people that aren’t particularly interested in Scum and Villainy and this is obviously a deliberate move by FFG in order to make sure that the ship sells to as large a portion of the player base as possible. I can’t really begrudge them that though, they are a business after all and even if I count every ship I own over Rebels and Scum I’ve still spent less on X-Wing than I have on just the Forgeworld part of my Tyranid army and i sure as hell get more use out of my X-Wing than I do out of them.