This is the first article in what, I hope, will become a recurring series. The idea will be to look at the state of the meta, what lists are being played and what lists perform well. I aim to go where the data takes me thereby minimizing speculations and predictions. It is also important to note that I will focus mostly on the broad field of players, rather than the absolutely top, as this article is meant more to answer the question “What lists should I have a plan for?” rather than “What should I pack to win”.
The data used is from the points update late January until March 19th. The emergency Upsilon-nerf happended during this period, but since Upsilon’s were in fact not meta-defining, I’ve decided to treat it as one big dataset. I mostly extract the data straight from the PBM web-interface, though I may do some specific analysis if required.
The data in this time period comes from quite a lot of large Hyperspace events, but only (at the time of writing) one large Extended tournament. This means that most of the data from Extended tournaments is from smaller events, and therefore the analysis will primarily focus on Hyperspace. I will try to get more Extended-specific data in next time – possibly even writing two separate articles. This is especially relevant for Empire & Scum. For now – unless otherwise noted – the representation and performance numbers are for all the data – but is heavily biased by the fact that 71% of the tournaments are Hyperspace events.
When listing percentages they refer to either faction representation (how many % of lists in that faction is this and this archetype or has that specific pilot) or average performance (100% meaning it placed first at all events it participated in, 50% being average)
I will start by covering the meta in general, looking at a few key indicators, and then go over each faction in order of popularity.
Bid: After topping in december of last year, the average bid has since been falling. This trend continues in March – and for the whole season the average bid is around 2.3p for both Hyperspace and Extended – with 75% of all lists having a bid of 6 points or less.
Squad Size: The number of ships pr list is slowly increasing and for the current season the average is 3.7 for Extended and 3.8 for Hyperspace. Almost 80% of all lists are 3 or 4 ships with 3 ships being slightly more popular.
Format: Since December, the number of Hyperspace tournaments have increased significantly, and it is now the most popular format. Just a month ago, Extended still had the upper hand (56%) – but in March so far Extended is just 29%.
Faction-splits: The graphs below show representation and performance over time of the different factions. This is data from both Hyperspace and Extended tournaments. When looking purely at Hyperspace, the tendencies are similar enough that I’ve only included the general graphs.
Rebels on top
Rebels is clearly the faction to beat at the moment – finishing 5 pp over number 2 (Resistance) in average performance, and 9pp over number 5 (First Order). Rebels is also the most popular faction with almost 1/3 of the lists flown being rebel (32%).
The Rebels faction is also noteworthy in that they, unlike Scum & Empire, have most of their strong ships legal in Hyperspace. In fact, 41% percent of Rebel lists in the extended tournaments are Hyperspace legal.
What happened to the Wave 1 stars?
Wave 1 was a dark time for the Rebels with only a few notable exceptions. The January point update nerfed some of the strongest pilots, like the HWK-290 pilots (Jan & Roark), who are then also gone from the meta now. With Roark’s exit, Dash followed closely behind. Sabine in the Attack Shuttle was another wave 1 rebel stable, but, like Dash, she is hardly played anymore. Wedge is still around – and is in 55% of all rebel squads now. Luke is down to 20% compared to 40% in Wave 1.
Dutch is the most popular Y-Wing, followed by the Gray Squadron Bomber and Norra Wexley. The generics generally have better performance, but in general the Y-Wing fares very well as a chassis.
For the YT-1300 both Han and Lando are seeing quite a lot of tabletime – about a fourth of rebel squads has one of them. Their performance is a very mixed bag, with the average trending very low. It seems that very good players can do well with them, but that the average player gets significantly below-average results.
All the X-Wing pilots perform well – with Biggs and Blue Squadron Escort being the best of the bunch. Wedge, Thane and Luke follows after them.
As the final Hyperspace-eligble ship, the U-Wing has seen a recent rise in popularity, The cheapest option, the Partisan Renegade is the most popular choice here and also the most effective. At 71% avg. performance, this is statistically the best performer in the Rebels faction in Hyperspace.
Outside Hyperspace, Rebels sees good results with the Warden Squadron K-Wings (78%) and with B-Wings (Generics around 80%, Braylen at 77%). The E-wing is also showing some life, especially with Corran Horn (2,2% of rebel lists, 61% performance). In the A-Wing Arvel Crynyd (3% of rebel, 49% performance) is seeing play, but without much success. If we look at the top end of the results, it seems that only really Braylen in the B-Wing and to some degree Cassian in the U-Wing shows up.
Lists & archetypes of note
Y-wing spam is, in many ways, the hallmark of Rebels at the moment. The main variants are the 5Y (70% performance), Quad Y – also known as “Dirty Y” (74% performance ), and 4Y + something (69% performance ).
4-ship rebel (64% performance ) is the most common archetype, accounting for a third of all rebel lists. The variants with at least two copies of “Selfless” performs better (78% performance)
Lists based on Proton Torpedoes is still very much a rebel speciality, and are still present in 25% of the lists, but these list generally perform below average for the faction (53% vs 60% performance )
Resistance at #2
Resistance is still gaining in popularity and now accounts for 22% of the meta. Performance-wise Resistance is very much “best of the rest”, though Empire comes closed when looking solely at Hyperspace data.
The StarFortress is really only making a meta-impact with Vennie – 11% of Resistance lists have him, but perform very averagely (51%).
The RZ-2 A-Wing, however, is very different. L’ulo is in 64% of all lists (59% performance) and Tallissan Lintra is in 39% (62% performance). All the other A-wings are also used in significant quantities, and especially Zari (8% representation, 75% performance) stands out.
In the T-70, Poe (44% of squads), Nien Numb (38%) and Ello Asty (26%) sees frequent play, but their performance is around average. That is not to say that they do not have great results, but that an average player can expect only an average result with them. Lt. Bastian (16% representation, 61% performance) stands out.
The Resistance YT-1300 is in a pretty bad spot. Rey sees some play (8%), but performs poorly (46%). Han performs worse, Chewie slightly better, but both are rarely seen on the table.
Lists & archetypes of note
Resistance enjoys a large selection of archetypes that are competitive at the moment.
4-ship is the most popular, accounting for about a third of the lists with a 61% performance. These lists almost always have L’ulo and frequently Tallie as well and either 2 or 3 T-70. The variant with Poe/Bastian/L’ulo/Tallie (67% performance) seems to see the best results, though the 3 T-70 variant (Jess/Bastian/Wexley/L’ulo) comes close. (66%)
Resistance Aces is defined as three ships with initiative 5 or higher, and is about 13% of Resistance lists. The most common of these are Poe/Nien/Ello (47% performance), but the more effective is Poe/Nien/L’ulo (59% performance)
5 A2 is the most succesful Resistance archetype based on average performance. It is about 9% of Resistance squads, and has an average performance of 74%. In it’s most popular configuration (the four named + a Blue Squadron Recruit) this performance is increased to 83%. This archetype might very well be the explanation for the high average performance of Zari noted above.
As a sidenote the 6 A2 archetype performs at 62%.
Empire clings to #3
Empire saw a lot of success in Wave 1, and has in many ways been brought back down to earth by several of the points changes in January.
In the last month, however, we have begun to see Empire rise again in average performance.
Only 26% of imperial lists played in Extended tournaments were Hyperspace legal at the same time.
What happened to the Wave 1 stars?
Redline was in almost 40% of Wave 1 lists, and is now reduced to merely 3%, and with a below average performance (48%).
Whisper is still seing play (11% representation) and still performs well (60%).
Soontir Fel is very much still the star of the Empire – 7% representation is quite high considering that he is not Hyperspace legal – and a performance average of 70% put him on top in the faction.
Rexler Brath also still sees the tables (6% representation)
The Quad Phantom list is still very much alive, and probably sees more play now than in Wave 1, but with very varied results. It won the Dutch System Open this weekend (not yet in the data) – and is frequently in the cut, but most of the quad phantom lists don’t make it that far.
The TIE-Bomber has all but disappeared from the Meta after the point changes.
Starting with the TIE Advanced x1 we have Darth Vader – 41% representation and 55% performance. Maaerk Steele is in 14% of squads, but has an average performance of only 44%.
TIE/ln is very much “where it’s at” for the empire in Hyperspace – Howlrunner is in 27% of all squads (57% performance), followed by Gideon Hask (26% of squads, 58% performance) and Iden Versio (23% of Squads, 60% performance).
The TIE Reaper has Vermeil in 18% of squads (53% performance) – the other Reaper pilots account for another 9% representation put together.
The TIE Striker has Duchess in 11% of lists (45% performance), Countdown in 9% (56% performance) and Pure Sabacc in 7% (40% performance). The generics are not seeing that much tabletime.
Unlike Rebels, there is a lot more to Empire than what is Hyperspace Legal. We have Sai in the Lambda in 5% of the squads with 60% performance, Rexler (Defender) in 6% with 56% performance, Soontir in 7% with 70%, Whisper in 11% with 60% and the Sigma Sqd. Ace in 6% with 57%.
Lists & archetypes of note
4-ship is the dominant archetype and covers 26% of the imperial meta. It averages 54% performance, but it’s most popular sub-type (Vader/Vermeil/Countdown/Gideon) reaches 66%
TIE Swarm in various configurations are quite popular. The Howl & Iden swarm (15% of Empire lists) has a 63% performance overall. The subtypes here all have Howlrunner & Iden Versio and either 5 academy pilots (52% performance), Del/Gideon/Wampa/Academy (57%) or Del/Gideon/Seyn/Academy (76%)
5-ship often sees play as well (13%) – with the most popular being Vader + Howl/Iden/Academy/Academy – 63% performance.
3-ship Empire (10% of lists) is very much an Extended-only affair, and a very varied. A noteable example is Vader/Soontir/Shuttle (82% performance – the Sai version performs slightly better than the Kagi version)
Quad Phantoms (4% of lists) is still hanging around with a decent performance (61%)
Scum tanks to #4
Like Empire, Scum had a golden age in Wave 1, and have been hit quite hard by the points update. Also like Empire, Scum has a lot of it’s stronger pieces outside the Hyperspace format, and only 27% of Scum lists played in Extended tournaments are Hyperspace legal.
What happened to the Wave 1 stars?
Scum in Wave 1 was dominated by Boba (41% representation), Palob (35%), Jakku Gunrunners (26%), Fenn Rau (26%), 4-LOM (20%) and Guri (17%). Of those, only Fenn Rau was not hit by the points update.
Boba is still seing quite a lot of play (31% representation ) and Fenn Rau has become the new stable (40% representation). Palob holds 6% of the Scum meta, which is not bad, and he is still clearly good (63% performance). 4-LOM is also very popular (8%) and effective (60%) considering he is not Hyperspace legal.
The Jakku gunrunners and Guri are almost gone from the meta, but when the Gunrunner sees the board it actually still does remarkably well (71% performance)
Starting with the Scum YT-1300 we have Han Solo at 17% representation and a below-average 47% performance. Lando is slightly worse (45% performance) and rarely played (3% representation)
The Escape Craft is represented with all four pilots, L3-37 being the most popular (12% representation, 54% performance), while Lando is the most effective (6% representation, 58% performance)
Fang Fighters have Fenn Rau in 40% of the lists (52% performance) and Old Teroch in 19% (55% performance). The two generic options perform at 52% and are in 3% and 6% of the lists (for the i4 and i1 respectively)
The Firesprays are represented by Boba (31% representation/53% performance) and Emon (6%/46%). Some generics also see play (8%/47%)
Finishing off the Hyperspace legal ships, the Mining Guild TIE is spearheaded by Seevor in 28% of the lists (52% performance), but we also see Ahhav (6% of lists) but without success (33% performance). The best overall performance is from the generic I1 Sentry – in 4% of the lists, showing a 60% performance.
Looking into Extended we see that Drea is in a very strong place (7% representation/65% performance), as is 4-LOM (8%/60%), Palob (6%/63%) and especially the Lok Revenant Scurrgs (7%/67%)
Asajj has seen some good results (72% performance), but is not that common (3% representation) – and only one of these were in a larger tournament (with Fenn and Manaroo along for the ride).
Lists & archetypes of note
When looking at the Scum data it is clear that there are few very typical archetypes.
4-ship Scum describes 27% of Scum lists, but inside that label is a lot of variety. Of the slightly more common ones are Drea & 3 Scurrgs (68% performance) and Drea, Generic Y & 2 Scurrgs (63% performance)
Boba+2 is the next major archetype accounting for 17% of the Scum meta. We have Boba with Fenn & L3-37 (63% performance), with Seevor & Fenn (59% performance) and Seevor and Old Teroch (65% performance). Best performing sub-type is Boba+Lando (Escape craft)+Old Teroch at 74% performance, but this is dipping into very small sample sizes.
A lot of other below-average-performance archetypes litter scum from here. Quad Fangs has a 56% performance, Boba & two fangs have 57%.
First Order brings up the rear – or do they?
When looking at the field broadly, First Order has always been the least played faction, and despite reaching 3rd place in January, and 4th in February, they have never performed well on average. This is especially true in Extended. Looking only in Hyperspace they had a brief period where they held 1st place in January before the points update, but from this high point (56% performance) they have since dropped and are now at 49%.
A note on the Upsilon nerf
As noted in the introduction the data I look is both pre- and post-Upsilon-nerf. When Dormitz and Hyperspace Tracking Data was changed I looked at the data I had, and there were actually very few Trip Upsilon lists, and a tendency for their average performance to drop was already evident.
Starting with the TIE/FO Scorch is the most popular pilot, 25% of First Order lists have him and he performs at a respectable 55%. Next on the list is Midnight (16%/55%), Muse (13%/53%) and Null (12%/49%).
Longshot (8%/41%) seems to be attractive, but rarely effective.
On a careful note – TN-3465 only has about a 1% representation but with good results (77%)
In the TIE/sf we have the faction-defining Quickdraw. No other faction has a pilot with such a high representation in the faction (L’ulo comes close though). Quickdraw is in 66% of all First Order lists, and performs at 53%. Backdraft is in 17% and has a 44% performance.
Omega Sqd. Expert is at 8%/54% and Zeta Sqd. Survivor is at 11%/43%. Note here that the Omega Sqd is much more likely to have the Special Forces Gunner equipped than the Zeta. (59% vs 34%)
The TIE Silencer is split between Kylo Ren (25%/51%) and Blackout (23%/53%) with a few First Order Testpilots (7%/58%) as well as Recoil (6%/47%) also seen.
Finally, the Upsilon is most commonly Tavson who is in 27% of all First Order lists, performing at 65%. Starkiller Base Pilot is 15%/55% and Dormitz is 7%/55%. (though these two might be sligtly overrated due to the pre-nerf data)
Petty Officer Thanisson is in 7% of lists and performs at 65%.
Lists & archetypes of note
4-ship First Order is, like it’s Scum counterpart, a very varied archetype. In general the archetype (31% of First Order lists) performs slightly above average (53%). The most frequent version is Quickdraw/Tavson/Scorch/Muse (64% performance)
3-ship First Order (24% representation, 57% performance) is also quite varied. The most popular variant is Blackout/Quickdraw/Tavson (69% performance), but there are also variants with two Upsilons and an ace (Kylo or Quickdraw, the Kylo version being better at 84% performance)
Kylo+2 (% representation, %performance) is typically a “fat” Kylo with Quickdraw and a third ship. Most popular is the “null” version (45% performance), but it can also be Midnight (50% performance) or Scorch (68% performance)
A quite different variant featuring Kylo with Tavson & Scorch have only two listed results – but performs at 92% on average.
I hope you found this post useful. If you have comments, suggestions or questions, please leave them in the comments below. (Be civil people!)
You can dive into the data yourself on Pink Brain Matter