Airspeeders are Rebel heavy air support. Using their incredible speed and heavy weapons they can reach key targets easily and hit the enemy where they aren't expecting it. The T-47 is the Rebels first Heavy unit option and is a center piece and key element for armies that include one.
Base Unit Summary: (80 pt x2 unit comparison)
Damage Output - Ranged: Below Average: 3.75
Damage Consistancy - Ranged: AbyAverage: Impact 3
Damage Output - Melee: N/A
Damage Consistancy - Melee: N/A
Damage Resistance: Above Average: 33.4% + Armor + Cover 1 (83% against non-impact weapons)
Wounds : Below Average: 7 wounds
Threshold: Average: 71%
Range: Average: 1-3
Speed: Above Average: 3 + Compulsory Move
Role: Flanker, Tank
The Airspeeder is your fast flanker but can also be your anti-armor piece when needed. The best use is to hit the sides and back of your opponents forces taking out their support, weaker units, and key targets.
Base Unit Analysis:
The T-47 Airspeeder is incredibly fast and mobile; using its compulsory move it can make up to 3 moves a turn covering a distance of almost range 5 in movement. If it moves twice and shoots it can cover a range of 6.25. The Airspeeder also has one of the strongest guns in the game, however its damage output is still less than efficient for the amount of points you spend on it. It does however have Impact 3 allowing it to deal a considerable amount of damage to vehicles, something Rebels generally need help with. The equivalent points worth of Rebel Troopers would have 12 health and put out an expected 8 damage, so the Airspeeder is really counting on its speed, mobility, and damage resistance to make up its difference in efficiency.
Unique Upgrade Analysis:
AX-108 Ground Buzzer: the Ground Buzzer adds 2 damage for 20 points to the airspeeders expected damage output which goes a long way to fixing the damage output and efficiency of the unit, however it is fixed rear meaning it can never be used against the primary target and also requires the airspeeder to be surrounded by troops to use - a situation the T-47 does not want to be in. Because of the positioning requirements and how seldom you can safely use this weapon it is situationally not recommended.
Mo/Dk Power Harpoon: The Power Harpoon only adds 0.75 damage to the T-47 for 8 points, it also has a fixed rear arc meaning it cant be combined against the main target. It does however have Impact 1 and allows you to pivot an enemy vehicle you damage with it adding some control element. However the applicable uses are so limited and the positioning requirements are so strict that this weapon is not recommended.
The T-47 has a hardpoint upgrade slot as well as a comms and a pilot slot. Currently none of the hardpoint upgrades are recommended. The only available pilot at the moment is Wedge, who for a free action and exhausting gives you the full pivot keyword, however you still have to spend a pivot move action to take advantage of that full pivot keyword, which can be useful for 5 points but not essential. The one upgrade that you will want on your airspeeder at this point is a comms upgrade, because the airspeeders tend to get far off to the flanks of your forces and out of command range. If you are running a T-47 with Wedge then an HQ uplink would be a good idea, however if you are running multiple airspeeders or don't have Wedge then a long range comms is probably a better choice.
Wave 2 Update:
With the addition of wave 2 expansions the Air Speedernow have access to several new and useful upgrade options such as HQ Uplink.
Airspeeders can be a complicated unit to play. Its multiple below average stats are expecting you to be able to take advantage of its incredible speed and positioning to overcome, and when you do it becomes an effective unit, however it takes preplanning and lots of practice to maneuver it properly. The Airspeeder also has some impressive damage resistance, however its low health means that if an opponent does manage to get damage through then the Airspeeder dies rather quickly, because of this it is important to maneuver the T-47 so that it isn't in a position to be attacked by more than one unit at a time.
Often the biggest mistake people make with the T-47 is rushing it towards the enemy to start taking shots early - however doing this gets your Airspeeder too far away from your main forces and allows your opponent to focus their attacks on it (which it will not survive). Instead the Airspeeder is best used being held in reserve at the back of your forces, either making a long sweep towards the enemy or doing circles in your back line until it’s time to engage. Generally the best time to engage is turn 2 or 3, on the first turn the opponent will not be preoccupied with your other forces and can focus on killing your Airspeeder, any later and it might not have enough time to do the work it needs to do to make up its points cost. The best way to engage is to sweep around one of the sides so that the enemy will have less units that can retaliate against it. Generally Airspeeders prefer to target units that have already been worn down by your main forces ensuring they are more likely to finish the unit off and not take retaliatory fire. Whenever possible use the T-47s speed and maneuverability to deny the targets a cover bonus. The Airspeeder also has Impact 3 on its main weapon so it can do a moderate amount of damage to armored units and in general is happy to target either troops or vehicles as long as it is fairly certain it wont take shots back in retaliation.
Unlike other inefficient units in SW:L the Airspeeder has no upgrades, tactics, or ways of playing to bring it up to a more or less efficient unit again. However if you playi it defensively rather than offensively it can become a much more useful piece. Because you cannot make the damage output of the Airspeeder efficient, it is better to double down on its already impressive defenses. In general you will want to be attacking every turn, and moving every turn with the compulsory move, your other action should then be used either to move back out of range after shooting or to take a dodge action - aiming with the airspeeder is rarely an efficient choice as it raises the expected damage output from 3.75 to 4.25. If you play the Airspeeder defensively, although it will never do as much damage as the two troop units it costs equivalent to, it can stay around on the battle field a lot longer and will consistently put out as much damage as one troop unit. Following this playstyle the Airspeeder becomes more of long game attrition piece - although it starts off with low damage output, it doesnt decrease over the course of the game and becomes more valuable later in the game if you can keep it alive.
The most important thing to remember when playing the Airspeeder though is to not make it a prime target - if it is in range and there is nothing else to shoot then the Airspeeder will die.
When playing against a T-47 it is a good idea to keep your forces more tightly packed than you might normally. If your units are spread out then the Airspeeder will be able to pick them off one at a time with little chance of retaliation, however if you keep your units close together often your other units will be able to eliminate the Airspeeder after it comes in to strike their target. It is also important to plan ahead and predict the Airspeeder's movements - because they have a fixed arc and compulsory move this is easier to do than with most units - also because their compulsory move has to be the first thing they do and they have to move the full distance, you can often set a unit or two on stand by who will then get a chance to attack the T-47 after it has moved into range but before it gets a chance to dodge or attack. If you have weapons with the Ion keyword the T-47 is an excellent target, taking one of its actions away will prevent it from retreating or gaining its defensive bonus and allow you to focus fire on it until it is gone.