Where to begin with the Y-Wing?
At my local club I don't see the Y-Wing as often as a lot of the other ships in the Rebel fleet. Mainly as it is seen as slow, not as manoeuvrable as an A-Wing or even an X-Wing, and it's not as deadly as the X-Wing either, unless you kit it out with various cards. So why do I like it?
For one thing, it was strangely one of my favourite ships from the original Star Wars Trilogy as I think it reminded me of the cumbersome WW2 heavy bombers which I also liked. Planes such as the Lancaster for example (I know that's not a Lancaster in the picture). Secondly, in gaming terms it's a solid ship, that can be kitted out to be quite versatile. This versatility is increasing as new waves of ships become available with extra equipment and droids that you can swap between your collection.
So, stats wise, in attack it has a basic of 2 to attack - not very strong compared to an X-Wing, but on par with an A-Wing. It is also slow and in defence only has a 1 to evade with, compared with an X-Wings' 2 and an A-Wings' 3. For Hull points though it outstrips the other ships with a nice 5, meaning that combined with a shields value of a healthy 3, you have to hit this thing 8 times to kill it. Meaning that at the very least it's soaking up fire power that would be destroying your otherwise lighter ships.
Of course, the Y-Wing can shoot back. But with a rather limited movement dial it's always worth giving it a turret (in my opinion) giving it a 360 degree firing range, meaning that you do not even need to out-fly your attackers to shoot back. Now, the Ion turret deserves a special mention here. True, it's not a game-winning Death Star-like laser that will blow your opponents to pieces in a single turn, but it is very effective at disrupting their attacks and spoiling their plans. The Ion cannons rolls 3 attack dice making it more likely to score a hit than its regular lasers anyway. This is at ranges 1-2 in distance. If this attack hits at all, it causes only one damage.. However, an ion-effected ship cannot assign movement; it has to move 1 forwards. This may not sound like much, however, if you pick your targets wisely it can be effective. For example, in the games I have played I have managed to ion Tie fighters that have then been forced off the board by being unable to turn, meaning they have fled the battle field. You can force them to collide with their own ships ridding them of taking an action that turn. Force them towards Asteroids, or even into an awaiting ambush ships' firing arc that has a better chance of killing them! Or simply to lose a persistent pursuer. Yes, Tie Interceptors, I mean you!
The most basic Y-Wing pilot is a mere 18 points; not bad for a hardy ship. An Ion cannon is another 3 points making it worth its' weight in points in my honest opinion. Of course you can add torpedoes, etc... but once the dogfight starts proper it will be hard to get them off so it's best to use them early. As most craft can out-turn you, it will be hard to bring them into your firing arc, unless you Ion them and turn towards them.
As for R2 units, as it is not a very versatile ship, but has a lot of Hull points, I would opt for R5-D8 who allows you to roll 1 defence dice and, on an Evade or Focus result, you can discard one face-down damage card. This would mean that until every one of those hull points is gone you could potentially heal right up to 5 Hull points again. The Empire player will have to expend a lot of time shooting the Y-Wing to kill it. Also, this frees up R2-D2 to go into another ship where his ability to put shields back up helps keep these fragile ships in the fight.
Other Astromech that I have used is worth a mention (and I do not have the full set yet): R5-P9. He allows you, at the end of the combat phase, to spend unused focus tokens to recover shields. Not bad if you survive the combat phase. The R5 Astromech card allows you to flip a 'ship critical' card face down, ignoring the results at the end phase.
There are so many mods you could add such as; shield upgrades that all allow it to stay in the fight that bit longer. I suggest taking a Y-Wing. To be honest, once I have one of every ship I intend building a squadron of 3 of these. I can imagine them flying in formation like World War II bombers who did all they could to cover each other from the harassing enemy fighters.