The Nova Region White List

This is a list of squads that have put up winning records in tournaments in the Nova region since the release of Wave 9. Of course, this excludes squads that people want to keep quiet before Worlds. No charts, no weighting, just a list of squads, no particular order. A couple may be missing just do to not getting squad sheets turned in. And if you want the exact lists, you’ll have to do a little digging on List Juggler, since I’m on my lunch break and have to get back to work soon (some lists are still being added, so chill out if you can’t find it).

Squads that have gone undefeated:

Old Fenn’aroo



Poe/Blue Ace/Braylen

Ion Kanan/Biggs

Stress ARC/Bomber K/Tarn


Other squads with winning records:

Corran/Poe/TLT Y-Wing




Vessery + 2 Omega Specialists

Oicunn/Omega Leader/Wampa

Red Ace/Nera/Warden

Guri/N’Dru/TLT Y-Wing/+1

Triple Defenders


Two Defenders + Omega Leader

Howl/Omega Leader/3x Black Crack




Fenn/2x Torp Scouts



Fenn/Bumpmaster/Party Bus


Poe/Red Ace/Stresshog


Asajj/N’Dru/Old T



And of course, what would a post about squads be without some jimmies getting rustled, here’s a list of code names, ordered more or less by their current standing in the meta.

Black List:

“Billy Evans Classic”




“Scum Salad”


“Rhymer Ball”

“GenCon Special”

“Operation Overlord”

“Rice Gambit”

“Howard Aces 2.0″

“Not Braylen/Biggs/Corran”


“Popcorn Ensues”

“Maul Kills Ezra”


“Many of the Special Edition and Blu-ray Edits are Actually Significant Improvements”

Nova Wave 9 and Worlds Prep Meta #2

We’re back with an expanded set of Wave 9/Worlds Prep meta data. Before going to the charts, a few quick things you should know (and be prepared to be told it’s on the syllabus if you ask a question that’s already been answered):

1. This is based on what actually has winning records in Nova region tournaments. It’s not an opinion of what should win. There’s also a formula behind it. That formula is explained here.

2. If you want to know the exact makeup of the squads that were listed, dig up the sheets on List Juggler. They’re all recent, and all from the Nova region. No, I will not type out each squad again in the comments.

3. Some squads have been given nicknames. These are squads being tested or practiced by folks headed to Worlds. In the previous meta post I said that they were all distinct from the other squads. I am no longer making that assertion. Some nicknamed squads may be the same as squads listed elsewhere.

4. No, I will not tell you what the nicknamed squads are. And no, the names are not clues; they’re just names. Except for the one you think is a clue, that one is definitely a clue.

5. Why your favorite squad isn’t in there is because (a) no one in the region was running it recently, (b) they were running it but not doing well, (c) it is in there and you just need to read more closely, (d) it’s in the Black Box.

6. The squads in the Worlds Prep Black Box will be disclosed during Flight B of Worlds.

7. Again, this is based on actual tournament results since the release of Wave 7. Not everyone headed to Worlds goes to any or all of these events. Not everyone at these events is headed to Worlds. Not all of the Worlds prep happens at tournaments, and not everyone headed to Worlds takes their top list to tournaments.

Okay, everyone ready? Good, here we go. The following was collected from 4 events at 3 stores since the release of Wave 9. There were 87 total participants playing in approximately 140 games.



Now I know some of you don’t see the point in having data when many of the squads (especially top squads) aren’t listed. So, Part II of this post will be a little bit of what you can still do with this data:

1. Throw a fit.

2. Get a sense of how diverse the meta is.

2a. This is actually useful for deciding what squad to take to Worlds, even without knowing exactly what will show up. Some squads have hard counters, while others are more even no matter what they’re facing — diversity really skews how those two types of squads can perform.

3. There’s still 18 squads that didn’t go into the Worlds Prep Black Box. In fact, the majority of the meta isn’t in the black box.

3a. Knowing the 18 squads not in the Black Box tells you a lot about what we think other people might be taking, and what we prep against.

4. You can see how the meta develops over time. A lot of stuff is still in flux, and many of us are still undecided on what to bring, or tweaking existing ideas.

5. The meta analyses have always taken a “looking out” rather than “looking in” approach. What that means is they’re not here to tell us what the best squads are, or what we should be flying. It’s here to tell us what we need to be prepared to face. If you just want to see what’s doing well and run it, that’s fine — these just aren’t the stats for you.

Heading into Worlds, what are the viable squads?

In light of the uproar over the last meta breakdown post, I thought I’d share with everyone a moderately comprehensive list of the squads that are “viable” these days. And by “viable” I mean something very specific: A skilled player who has put in the time and prep work to understand how the squad works and the dynamics of common matchups has a fair chance to go undefeated at a 3 or 4 round tournament in the Nova region. Basically, what’s “Nova viable.” Unlike the meta analysis, this isn’t what is actually winning, but what could reasonably win. This is based on playing a ton of games, watching a bunch, talking to other players, some historical data, and just a smidge of theory crafting. Some, but not all, of the black boxed squads may be mentioned here (that’s all I’ll say, so don’t ask).

Many of these squads will have an “I have a bad feeling about this” quality to them. You may think they’ll get stomped. I’ll just refer you back to the criteria: They won’t always win. They probably won’t win in the hands of a mediocre player. A few have some hard counters. They simply have the potential to go undefeated in a short-but-competitive event in the Nova region.

As for what’s viable at Worlds… eh, no one knows. The person holding the winning squad right now doesn’t even know it. The meta is diverse enough at this point that a lot will come down to matchups and the timing of those matchups (hit your tough game first round of swiss, not in the elimination rounds). It’s really hard to say squads have the staying power to win 8ish matches and then another 4-5 more. But, if a squad can go 3-0 or 4-0 at a smaller event, I think it’s hard to argue it’s not viable. Maybe an underdog, but it still has a shot.

If you want to know the exact loadouts on a squad… then you’re asking the wrong question. Almost all of these have several different good options. Open up a squad builder and season to taste.


Starting with the Rebels:

Kanan and Biggs. TLT and Autoblaster are the most popular options here, but I prefer Ion Turret, RecSpec and Jan Ors on Kanan with enough points for R2-D2 on Biggs. Season to taste.

Ghost + Bomber K. Kinda straight forward. K-Wing takes Connor Nets and sets up for the Ghost to drop the hammer. This one won Nova Open.

Double Ghost +1. Two ghosts with autoblaster and FCS, and some other ship. You’ve all seen the Y-Wing variant, but an A-Wing can go in there as well, or a support HWK.

Double Ghost. Two ghosts with autoblaster, FCS, extra munitions, guidance chips, and your choice of torpedo. Lots of points left for crew or pilot upgrades. Season to taste.

Miranda and Esege. Loaded with TLTs and a ton of bombs, the trick is to force your opponent to split up their fire so neither K drops until very late in the game.

Bomber K + 2 Bomber Ys. Not enough points for a turret on the K, but you can give the Ys TLTs and two bombs each. I like Cluster Mines here for the width of the bomb drop and Sabine damage. Bombers need to joust to be deadly with the bombs.

Biggs + 2 Rebels. Pretty basic formula here, pick your favorites. Jake, Corran, Wes, Wedge, Poe, Miranda, Keyan, or those newfangled ARC-170s. Just fly whatever you have fun with, it’s a strong template.

Han and Jake. It struggles against triple jumps or double jumps +1, but that squad has become less common here lately. Does about 50/50 against Dengaroo, and some very careful planning can tip the odds.

5 Rebels. If it’s stupid but it works, then it ain’t stupid. Season to taste.


And now the Imperial squads.

Palp Aces. Ol’ faithful squad, of course. Season to taste.

Palp Defenders.

Triple Aces.

Triple Defenders.

Two Defenders +Tomax. I like Cool Hand, Fleet Officer, and Rebel Captive for more survivability. I find Systems Officer a bit harder to get mileage out of.

Oicunn +1/2. Load him out and take a high point cost ace, or go a little leaner and take Wampa and Inquisitor/Omega Leader.

Deathrain + Mini Howl Crackswarm. Advanced Sensors, Experimental Interface, and two Connor Nets makes Deathrain brutal (though very expensive). The net sets up for the mini swarm to chew through a defenseless target.

TIE Swarm. Most popular version is Howl, 3x Black Crack, 3x Acadmy TIE, but you can season to taste.


And finally, the scum.

Triple Torpedo Boats. It’s not popular here, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t win tournaments.

Double Torp Boats +1. Zuckuss was the most popular add-on for a while, but now it’s the Party Bus. You can also run one of the new Fangs or a Bumpmaster.

Dengaroo. Season to taste.

Old Fenn’aroo. Fenn, Old Teroch, Manaroo. Go in very aggressive. Season to taste.

2 TLT Ys +1. Really simple scum formula: Take 2 Y-Wings, give them TLTs, and add the large base ship du jure.

3 TLT Ys +1. Same idea, but add on a cheapish small base ship. 28 points to play with if you don’t have any droids on the Ys. Heck, you could do this with rebels and Biggs.

4 TLT Ys. Triple torp boats knocked these guys out of the meta, but Dengaroo, Ventress, and Defenders could bring them back.

Bossk +1. Typically that +1 is Tel, but you can do Dengar or any of your favorite heavy hitting scum ship. Lots of ways to trick out Bossk — don’t overlook the Concussion Missile.

Nova Meta Preview: Wave 9 and Worlds

If you were looking for a detailed breakdown and analysis of Paul and Duncan’s squads for Worlds, you’ve come to the wrong place. With the World Championship fast approaching, the meta analysis will be sending the squads of our Worlds-bound players into a black box. Nova hive-mind conspiracy confirmed.

But really, it’s a compromise so y’all aren’t left entirely in the dark. You won’t get to see many of the squads, which have been given code names (indicated by the parenthesis), but you will get to see how much the local meta is or isn’t gravitating to one or two squads. So without further ado, here’s the breakdown of squad archetypes. Discussion to follow.

This is based on only 2 tournaments so far (since Wave 9 came out) with 56 total players and a little over 90 matches. As always, this is based on what’s winning, not just what shows up.


This is the only chart for now. I was going to add the Pilot Skill and Initiative Bid chart, but the data was a little too telling. That will come out later as the haystack gets bigger.

As far as the code named lists go, all I will say is that they are each different enough from the other things listed that they would be listed as their own archetype even without the code names.

So now what does all this tell us? I don’t know. But I do know what I will be telling you.

I routinely see on the various X-Wing forums complaints about how there’s only a couple viable squads, and each faction only really has 1-2 options. Palp Aces and Dengaroo are the only viable things out there, or something to that effect. That’s all bologna.

Between the release of Imperial Veterans and Nova Open, there were 55 different squad archetypes in the local meta that had winning tournament records. If you asked people what the most viable squads were, no one would have said Lothal and Warden, or Kanan with an Ion Turret and Biggs, or Miranda and Esege. Dengaroo was the only meta squad to make it into the top 4 at one of the biggest tournaments of the year (107 players — just a bit bigger than US Nationals if I recall correctly). They probably wouldn’t have named Mishary’s TIE swarm either, and it placed #1 in Swiss. I went to top 4 of US Nationals with a Bossk and Tel list that had never done better than 2-1 in the local scene. Last year, if you asked people to name the viable squads going into Worlds, you’d have heard about Fel/Vader/Palpatine, Brobots, Thugs and Drugs, Triple Aces, and 4 TLT Y-Wings. No one would have said Rebels, and you wouldn’t have guessed the whole thing would have been won by Poe, Stresshog, TLT Y, and a Bandit. It didn’t win tournaments before Worlds, and I don’t recall it winning any local events after. So if you asked the geniuses on the internet, the World championship squad wasn’t viable.

We’re just 2 events in to the new wave, and already there’s 15 different squad archetypes that are producing winning records and even a bit of variation among squads in the same type.

What’s viable now? A lot of stuff. But, only if you’re willing to put in the time to carefully craft a squad, understand how it works, and figure out the dynamics of various matchups. Odds are the next world championship squad hasn’t even made it to the mats yet. But, if by “viable” you mean “viable as a plug’n’play netdeck squad,” then I don’t know what to tell you. Except, maybe, go play Hearthstone instead.





It’s been a while, but we’re back with even more analysis. In a bit of a hurry this afternoon, so if you have any questions, it’s probably on the syllabus.

This latest data is based on 15 events from the last 2 months since Imperial Veterans was released. It draws from the wining squads in over 400 matches.

As always, this doesn’t necessarily reflect how many people are playing certain squads, just what’s showing up with checks in the W column. It also reflects what was actually played, not what theoretically will do well.

For squad archetypes, Oicunn/Inq/Wampa is separated from Palp Aces, despite having Palpatine. It is included in the Palp Aces chart later on though.Squads2-3

AddSquads2-3 PSBid2-3a

PalpAces2-3 TripAces2-3


Now that we’re another week in to the age of Imperial Veterans, we’re beginning to see a lot more variety in squads. The data below is based on 5 tournaments at 4 stores in the NoVa region. There were 86 participants and 132 matches. Two events were excluded from this data due to insufficient turnout.

As always, specific lists can be found on List Juggler by searching for tournaments in Maryland and Virginia. Click on the charts for a larger version. More information about the data can be found in the FAQ.

First up are the Squad Archetypes. Even after just 5 events, we already have 17 different squad archetypes with winning records. Imperial lists are still dominating, with aces clearly taking the lead, but quirky bomber squadrons (with both support shuttles and true bombers) are also making a big impact on the meta. Crackswarms are also getting a lot of play.



Next up, the real main event for the stat nerds, the PS+Bid data. Lots of action in the PS 9 range.



Now we’re going to get into something new. Some of you have been grumbling about the “Ace” designations. We took those complaints, through them right in the ol’ circular file, and came up with our own criticisms. The point of the Aces breakdown was to provide more granular data about Palp Aces and Triple Aces builds, since the Imperial Aces are so diverse and each ones require a little different strategy to handle.

So, we’ve just cut out the middle man, and now there’s going to be two charts, one showing Palp Ace builds and one showing Triple Ace builds. You can put that salt on your margaritas now, we don’t need it any more. The Howards build is the US National Champion list (OGP w/Jammer, Inq, Fel). Unless otherwise specified, the shuttle is an OGP without Sensor Jammer.

These charts show that while Imp Ace builds are more than a third of the meta, there’s still a ton of variety going on.




Moving on, the ol’ Control and Denial Wheel. While squads lacking C&D mechanics are still very popular, the Connor Net (which was absent in the last data set) has made a big impact. Makes sense with all the aces out there, along with its ability to criple x7 Defenders and general utility against almost all squads.


Again, very few squads offering their opponents any sort of forgiveness. And like the surge in Connor Nets, this makes sense given how popular Imperial Aces are. Data in this chart is weighted based on number of times upgrades appeared within a squad (so a squad with 4 Crackshots would count 4 times, not once).NoF2-2v2



Fear -> Anger -> Hate -> Suffering Analysis of the NoVa Meta Vol. 2 No. 1

With the arrival of Imperial Veterans, we are resetting the NoVa meta statistics. That means this first edition of Volume 2 of the FAHS analysis is based on a particularly small sample set. Data comes from 2 tournaments held at 2 stores, with a total of 38 participants and 63 matches. Expect more diversity and less domination by single players in future editions. As always, these charts reflect squads that are winning and not just squad appearances. For details about specific squad builds, see List Juggler.

The proprietary data blend has also been modified to give slightly greater weight to larger events (the real effect being that Curio Cavern tournaments will have a little bit less impact on the numbers).

And now, onto the data, starting with Squad Archetypes. (Click the image for a larger, easier to read version.)



The “Triple Aces” and “Palp Aces” categories has been expanded a bit to include squads with Colonel Vessery (who is not otherwise considered an ace). The “Ace” status for these analyses is based on a combination of pilot skill, arc dodging, agility, and dice modifications. Poe still doesn’t make the cut, but we do see a new ace on the scene in the Countess Ryad build with both Push the Limit and TIE/x7 title.



Moving on, we’ve got the Pilot Skill and Initiative Bid chart. With the arrival of Imperial Veterans, we should be seeing a lot more PS8 ships, as well as PS5 and 6. Note that this chart is only for the highest pilot skill ship in the squad and does not reflect all of its ships.



Next, the Control and Denial wheel got a big shakeup. Expect Tractor Beam to become even more dominant in the coming weeks, now appearing on both Zuckuss and TIE/Ds.



And finally, a brand new chart showing what we’re calling the “No Forgiveness” factor. This category is meant to reflect attacks that are particularly difficult to escape, and 4 guaranteed hit results doesn’t quite cut it. It includes damage that cannot be evaded (like Painbot, Feedback Array, and bombs), ships that can perform multiple attacks (but not including TLT except on a Ghost), and other particularly nasty tricks. (Results are weighted based on number of ships — rather than squads — with that upgrade.)




Curio Cavern Tuesday Night, Aaron vs Clayton

Time for another game from Curio Cavern, the world’s leading weekly X-Wing tournament. In this match we have Aaron’s Corran/Biggs/Ezra list which made the cut to top 16 at the Maryland Regionals against a U-boat list with a twist — Palob, and one of the boats is running Ion Torpedoes.

Aaron’s squad: Corran w/Draw Their Fire, FCS, R2D2, Hull Upgrade; Biggs w/R4-D6 Integrated Astro, Ezra w/Elusiveness, Chewbacca, Autoblaster

Clayton’s squad: Scout w/Deadeye, Ion Torps, Extra Munis, 4-Lom, Overclocked Astro, Guidance Chips; Scout w/Deadeye, Proton Torps, Extra Munis, R4 Aggro, Outlaw Tech; Palob w/Adapt, Illicit Cloak, TLT, Tactician


We’re back with a special edition of F->A->H->S, analyzing just the data from the Games and Stuff regional championship in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

As always, this isn’t an analysis of what you should play. This is a look at what you should plan to deal with — not merely what squads are being played, but the squads that are winning matches. More details can be found on List Juggler.

Despite it seeming like Palp Aces were on every table, there were actually 18 different squad archetypes among the 31 players with 4-2 or better records. And, while Palp Aces are certainly the most popular, there were quite a few varities. The “Palp Aces” category here includes the Howards Special (OGP+Sensor Jammer, Soontir, Inquisitor), Mynock Special (Yorr, Whisper, Omega), and Soontir+Carnor.



And just to give a better idea of how Palp Aces isn’t the only thing you need to worry about, more than 40% of all squads didn’t feature an ace. You certainly need to plan for it, but building just to counter Palp Aces will leave you exposed to a large part of the meta.AcesGS


And now for something quasi-new, we’re trying out a new format for the Pilot Skill chart. This should be a bit more useful for figuring out how many squads are going to be above or below you in the movement/shooting order.PSBidGS


Finally, a slight change to the Control and Denial chart, Biggs is now being included.C&DGS2



Welcome to the next installment of the NoVa meta analysis. This analysis is based on 255 games played at 10 tournaments in 6 stores over the past 4 weeks. Additional information can be found on the FAQ. Click the images below for a larger version. Detailed squad lists can be found by combing List Juggler.

The first chart shows the leading squad archetypes:

Squads061016This represents a significant shift from the previous edition. Before, only 25% of squads were in the “Others” category, while now more than a third are. You need to have a plan for Scouts+Zucks and Palp Aces, but winning tournaments also means beating a number of oddball squads and having a well-rounded build.

AddSquads061016Here you can see that those “Others” comprise 28 different squads. And remember, this isn’t just what’s flying. This is what’s winning.


The dawn of Omega and the Inquisitor has made PS8 the new PS9, which means PS9 is the new PS10, and PS10 is the new Kyle+Jake combo. We’ve also now got the first inclusion of a PS bid that’s very near and dear to me, PS9 at 96 points.

C&D061016Finally, Control and Denial mechanics remain rare, holding steady around 2/3rds of squads. But, rare as they are, it still means you’ll be facing them in 1 out of 3 games, so be prepared to see 1 in a 3-round regular event, and 2 in 6 rounds at a premier event. It’s no surprise that Tractor Beam is the most popular thing on this list, with Zuckuss and 2 Scouts dominating the meta.