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X-Wing – Z-95 Headhunter Unboxed

Z-95 Headhunter for X-WingThe Z-95 Headhunter, predecessor to the X-Wing in the Star Wars universe, was, I believe, a game-changer for the Rebels in the X-Wing Miniatures game.

The Z-95 offers Rebels a small, useful little ship for as little as 12 points – the same as an Academy Pilot TIE-Fighter – though it plays quite differently. It is a staple in many of my X-Wing lists for the Rebels, so it deserves a moment in the limelight.


Z-95 Headhunter – Inside the Box

The Z-95 Headhunter is a regular small expansion for the X-Wing miniatures game.

It includes the ship itself, a flying stance, the maneuver dial, tokens and cards. No new missions, unfortunately, but one cannot have everything.


Z-95 Headhunter – The Pilots

The Z-95 Headhunter Expansion contains four pilot cards, two named pilots, Lieutenant Blount and Airen Cracken, and two generic pilots.

Bandit Squadron Pilots
The generic pilots of the Z-95 Headhunter

The generic pilots of an X-Wing expansion usually are not that interesting. However, with Z-95 Headhunter, things are different. In X-Wing, even to this day, Rebel ships generally are more expensive than their Imperial counterparts.

The very modestly priced Bandit Squadron Pilot first allowed Rebel players to field “swarms” of starfighters, either on their own or in support of a bigger and/or more pricy ship. The Tala Squadron Pilot with a pilot skill of 4 is also a steal.

Z95NamedPilots
Lieutenant Blount & Airen Cracken

That said, the named pilots of the Z-95 Headhunter are also both interesting and useful. I have fielded both at different times.

  • Lieutenant Blount gives you a guaranties hit, even if the defender dodges, which works very well with missiles that provide specific effects after hitting (like the Ion Missile). In this day and age of slippery autothruster-arc dodgers, a single guaranteed hit (with effects) on … say … Soontir Fel, can easily decide a game.
  • Airen Cracken is the most expensive pilot for the Z-95, and still cheaper than a Rookie X-Wing. Extra actions are a powerful thing. Airen Cracken works well with Cluster Missiles, which allow him to perform two attacks in a round.

Z-95 Headhunter – The Upgrade Cards

The Z-95 Headhunter for X-Wing comes with five different upgrade cards.
Munitions

Three of these cards deal with missiles.

Though the Z-95 comes at roughly the price of a TIE-Fighter, it is a less manoeuvrable ship. And while it has shields, only 2 defensive dice to dodge also make it a fragile ship on the board. The Z-95‘s main advantage over the TIE-Fighter is its ability to load missiles. The expansion adds an interesting options to the arsenal.

  • The Ion Pulse Missile is obviously useful to ionize large ships, which require two tokens. As large ships become more nimble – as for example the YT-2400 and the Aggressor – these become more useful.
  • The Assault Missile is in many ways the opposite of the Ion Pulse Missile, hoping to find a swarm of ships instead of a single large one.
  • Munitions Failsafe is useful, but its best synergy is probably with Flechette Torpedos, which deals stress even if it misses, not the missiles included here.

Z-95 Elite Talents

There are also two elite pilot talents.

They are, truth be told, probably the least interesting part of this expansion. While both Decoy and Wingman look like they could interesting, they clearly pale besides some of the better elite talents already in the game.


Final Thoughts

Ok, I did not want to end on a sad note there with the elite pilot talents. The Z-95 Headhunter is a fantastic expansion for the X-Wing Miniatures game.

  • A beautiful little ship, easily fitting into most lists
  • Interesting named pilots
  • Cool ordnance with useful effects

I own multiple Z-95s and cannot recommend them highly enough.

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