Basic X-Wing Survival Tips
Tactical Operations Briefing 7
Jeff 'Kallysto' Young, Corsair 11
The topic of discussion for this lecture is 'Basic Heads-Up Tactics',
or, 'Words of Wisdom for New Pilots.' These notes will primarily
help those of you who are using X-wing; for those of you who have
X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, some or all of these may not apply.
Taking the Offensive
- The Best Defense is a Good Offense
A lot of missions require you to defend something from the Imperials
that doesn't move very fast. Very often the Imperial FRG or ISD
will show up about 10 klicks or better, and launch waves of fighters.
Your best bet to keeping your charge alive is actually to intercept
the fighters before they get to what you're defending. This is
especially the case when the fighters in question are Tie Bombers.
Speed is more important than firepower; using ELS settings of
0/50, 0/25 or 0/0 will give you more speed than your wingperson
might use in getting there. Stopping a fighter before they get
within range of your target gives you one less thing that's shooting
at what you're trying to defend.
- Ion Cannons: The Kinder, Gentler Blaster
Ion cannons, standard equipment on the Y-wings and B-wings, are
an excellent offensive weapon if you know how to use them. For
those of you that abhor killing, they're also the best way to
thwart the Imps without blowing them back to the Maker.
Two shots will generally disable any Tie class fighter; the best
clue to whether you've disabled it is if it stops maneuvering.
Shooting it up too far will cause it to explode before it registers
to your IFR as 'disabled.'
For capital ships, eight shots should suffice to disable most
capital ships, but only once its shields are down. Use
lasers and torps until its shields fall, then switch to ion cannons
and have at it.
A disabled ship cannot fire or maneuver. Once you've disabled
a ship, you can leave it alone and concentrate on other threats
at hand, leaving disabled ships for cleanup later.
- Friendly Fire... Isn't!
When flying with simulated wingpersons, you'll find that they
keep up a continuous barrage of fire as long as they have a target
in front of them. If you get between them and their target, they'll
keep shooting, resulting in a view of orange blaster bolts whizzing
past your viewscreen from behind, and your rear shields getting
You have three options:
- Get them to attack something else. Remember that Ctrl-A
causes your wingpeople to attack the currently selected target,
and Ctrl-C causes them to cover you.
- Get them to stop attacking. Ctrl-I causes your wingpeople
to ignore their target, but they'll chase after something
else instead. Ctrl-W makes them wait, but they'll just hang
around where they're at, and be sitting ducks.
- Go attack something else yourself. Wingpeople make good
distractions for fighters, even at Rookie level.
- 'Hull Dmg' is the Alliance Way of telling
the Imperials to Go Home
Many Imperial fighters (T/F, T/I, T/A, T/B) will bail out of a
fight and turn tail, heading home to hide behind their carrier.
You can tell if this is the case by holding the kill shot a moment
after delivering a shot that renders the Tie as 'hull damaged',
and staying on their six. If the Tie turns and makes a beeline
for the FRG or ISD, you can safely leave it and choose another
Moreover, if one Tie in a squadron exhibits this behavior, all
of them will. This is especially useful in missions where, if
you destroy all the members of a squadron, the carrier launches
a fresh squad. Having non-fighting but functional members of the
squadron hanging around prevents the launch of the relief wave.
A caveat to this strategy, however, is that on some missions,
the Tie will either dock, fly off the board, or be shot down by
friendly or incidental fire. Keep watching your info bar for the
launch of more Ties.
True, this strategem may deprive you of some of those valuable
TIE kills required for Rogue Squadron, but your primary goal is
not how many kills you rack, but more often, how many ships you
Defensive, or Self-Preservation
- The Easiest Shot on a Rebel Pilot Is a
Common sense, but worth saying aloud. Shots in X-wing travel linearly;
if provided with a target, enemy pilots and cap ships will fire
continuously, laying out tracking fire that zeroes in on your
last known position.
Your fighter is equipped with shields and defensive armor. However,
even the stalwart B-wing cannot withstand more than a small number
of consecutive shots without taking damage.
Thusly; it is in your best interests, when an enemy has a fire
lock on you, characterized by the sound of shots impacting your
shields and either the visible sight of more incoming directly
at you, or 'near misses' flying past your viewscreen from behind,
to take immediate evasive action. Prudent additional strategy
is to quickly rebalance your shields (S three times) and/or charge
your shields from your lasers (; multiple times).
- When you Hear Incoming Missile, you Listen....
Missiles are the most deadly weapon the Empire has to field against
you. They have the capacity to punch through the shields of an
A-wing and destroy it instantly, if your shields aren't at full
charge. They continue to track for a period of several seconds,
homing on your exhaust, and travel at a high rate of speed such
that flying at speeds of 180MGLT is not enough to outrun them.
Nor is flying slower than 60 MGLT and being evasive very successful.
A good pilot, when told 'Incoming Missile' generally immediately
goes into evasive maneuvers. Self-preservation is more key than
protecting your objective.
- If you Can't Read Your Instruments, It's
Time to Go Home
If enemy fire manages to pierce your shields, your armor is next.
Once the armor is damaged, the next thing to go is fighter components.
However, a good indication that things are not in good shape is
one or more of your instruments becoming destroyed. That indicates
there's a hole in your armor on one side, enough to where a shot
penetrating your shields may easily destroy you. While most of
the things that can be damaged (ELS meter, laser charge meter,
shield indicator) are harmless, it is still good practice to abort
Proximity Alerts (or, 'If Your Screen is Grey-white, You're Too
Close to the ISD')
- Don't Shoot a Disabled Ship With Your
Ships which are disabled by ion cannons are effectively dead in
space; they don't shoot or maneuver. It has been the mistake of
many a green pilot, including myself, to park up next to the disabled
ship, within .20 klicks, in order to rub in the free shots at
its reactor prior to destroying it. However, upon its destruction,
all ships go through a 'death spin', rolling over in place before
While the explosion does no harm, being hit by a rolling capital
ship will. I once made the mistake of sitting between the cargo
booms of a freighter I'd disabled in a Y-wing, and realizing far
too late that I was dead as the ship started rolling over on top
Your safest bet for disposing of a disabled ship is to shoot it
from a safe distance, at least .75 klicks out in the case of an
- That Ugly Crunching Sound May Be Your
While shields are rechargeable, armor is not. There is a distinctive
audio difference between the sounds of shields being ionized and
the sound of hull plating being vaporized. Learn the difference,
and take appropriate measures to save yourself if you are hearing
the latter noise.
- Kallysto's Axiom: Yield Right of Way to
All Space Objects Larger Than Debris
Your shields are not armor. Neither is the paint on your fighter.
A collision with another craft of any size from a mine up to an
ISD will directly damage your fighter; the smaller fightercraft
have decent chances of being destroyed in this fashion. Whenever
possible, maintain a distance of not less than .10 klicks, especially
if that object is something swift moving, like a fighter.
- Never Tailgate a GUN or Transport...
...they have the annoying habit of braking suddenly when you put
too many shots up their reactors.
In actuality, the GUN and Transport (TRN) craft are peskily annoying
to fight, because they're slow-moving, and once destroyed, send
debris off in a random direction at high velocity, instead of
A good amount of time it can be directly back at you. Following
too close can be lethal, as a destroyed ship still counts as solid
until it explodes.
Observations From The Tac Ops Platform
That is all. Good luck, and good hunting.
- Invincible ... Isn't.
Tour I pits you against the ISD Invincible. If you know how to
destroy an ISD, you are well advised to give it a try on any mission
where you complete your mission objectives easily and have a full
or near-full complement of torpedoes or missiles remaining.
The Tac Ops mission on Destroying Star Destroyers explains this
capital ship-destroying strategem far more eloquently than I can;
but what I'm saying is, that the ISD presented in this tour can
be fairly easily destroyed when alone, even for novice pilots.
- Don't Eject When You Can Hyper Out
Ejecting is like hitchiking. You never know who's going to pick
Sometimes, your ejection light may come on. It is in your best
interests to do one better, that being to repair your hyperdrive,
if damaged, and get the heck out of there. You should never voluntarily
eject unless trapped in a deadly crossfire, or stuck on a course
with flight control locked. (A trick; sometimes the 'H'yperspace
key will get you to change course even when your flight systems
- Clockwatchers Earn No Overtime Kills
Unlike Historical and Maze missions, real Tour Missions have no
real mission clock. A mission only ends when you hyper out; you
can take advantage of the fact that the flight continues even
after the clock reads 0:00 to clean up any leftover Ties or cap
ships sitting around.
This is especially important in missions where an objective must
be met, but you might not have triggered the rescue flight or
whatever in time; sometimes the ships leaving the area may take
longer than the time limit 'allowed' to complete the mission.
- ELS 0/0 May Be Fast, But You Still Can't
Pull a Move-through
Even at top speed, ramming another space object does nothing for
you; starcraft are delicate things, so do not even consider ramming
as an attack option.
- Don't Be The Red Dot Special
The Empire can throw far more starcraft into a battle theatre
than the Alliance can; you will often find yourself outnumbered.
Some missions contain a carrier craft that will launch multiple
waves of fighters based on whether you're hanging around; one
mission that comes to mind launches 6 T/Is and 10 T/Bs if you
shoot the ISD even once.
Essentially, if your screen is full of red dots, you might want
to consider bailing out, if they're mostly fightercraft.
Corollary Green dots are good. Red dots are bad. Lots of
yellow dots (torpedoes) are generally very bad.
- You Aren't Invincible Unless You Set Yourself
The simulator has a setting, 'You are Vulnerable', accessed when
you hit the Escape key. Clicking on that setting turns it to 'You
are Invincible' -- effectively, you cannot be destroyed, but you
cannot advance past that mission, either. What this is good for,
however, is scouting; some missions have you ID'ing a specific
shuttle or freighter or TRN among a flock of them. Once found,
the craft will always be in the same position in the IFF log.
You can then reset the Invinciblity setting, restart the mission,
and complete it knowing exactly what to gun for.
- Shields from the Twilight Zone
A little known trick that allows you to pour on the speed in a
mission is known as the Twilight Zone shields trick.
At the beginning of a mission, switch your shields to all back
or all front (S once or twice) and then set your ELS to 0/0. You'll
get full speed, and your front (or back) shields will drain, but
the other set of shields will remain fully charged. You can rebalance
this when you arrive at your destination, so as not to be completely