Last night I went to my local gaming club for the first time (nice bunch of people) and played my first ever competitive games of X-wing. Both games were a lot of fun, the first was a doubles match where I had Vadar (Cluster missiles, determination, munitions failsafe) and Soontir Fel (PTL, Shield) while my partner had a monstrously kitted out Phantom that would allow it to do all sorts of shenanigans. We faced off agains an X-wing, Z95 (Blount), E-wing, B-Wing and an X-wing (Biggs). After all the boasting about the lethality of the Phantom, it got ion cannoned and torn to pieces by turn 4, Vadar and the Interceptor danced about a bit and got a few things down to 1 or 2 hull points but couldn't make a killing blow.
The next game I ran a rebel list of Han Solo (MF), Lt.Blount (concussion missiles), basic Z95 and a basic A-Wing, I got first blood but he killed all 3 of my small ships in a single turn of ridiculous shooting leaving Han to deal with Vadar, Fel (both as above) Night Beast and Dark Curse. In the end it was down to Han vs. Fel and Han lost by 1 hull point. It was a close and exciting game that had gathered a few spectators by the end.
Whilst there was some confusion with some of the more vague rules (does Han re roll all the dice or just the misses?) we worked it out and are going to develop some house rules for the campaign that is starting soon.
Looking forward I've learnt a few things from the games...
First, Han can't do it all himself, without escorts to do additional damage he just can't put out enough shots per turn to face multiple opponents.
Second, Named pilots are a good investment but need to be kitted out to maximise their efficiency. Example: Soontir Fel generates a focus every time he gets stressed, so if you couple him with Push the Limit (extra action in exchange for a stress) you can generate a lot of tokens every turn. The stress on the interceptor isn't a problem as he has 7 green manoeuvres, several of which are small, sharp turns. Similarly, lt.Blount really needs missiles as he is guaranteed to hit, this makes the 4/5 points a worthwhile investment.
Third. Ion missiles are only useful against big ships that need 2 tokens to be immobilised, against regular ships you're better off with an ion turret.
I'm glad I got into this game, I think it's a great little system and the fact that it can be played in a short space of time is really useful (our first game took 40 minutes).
If you play X-wing let me know any lessons you've learned about combos and tricks in the comments below.