This is for volt's Boring and Unnoticed Miniature Review Contest (MRC3). This is the Xi'an's first appearance in the fleets or Miniature Review sections!
Here's a little-known ship from Savage Shores that is overlooked for different reasons. The Xi'an has only her ship type keyword, with no other abilities. Her cargo space is mostly average, though her speed is good. Throw in her status as a common and a Pirate ship, and it's easy to overlook her.
I looked up the pronunciation of the ship's name and it sounds like "shee ahn" or "shee an". The first part of Shui Xian might be either "schway" or "shoo-ee".
I would recommend using the Xi'an as a gunship. Her cargo hold is a bit small for a gold role, though sending her out empty could work to get a couple coins due to her fast base move. In addition, her guns are good enough to dismast or damage most small gold runners.
Strategies and game play:
The Xi'an should normally be used as a support gunship. Her size and point cost are small enough to include another gunship in your standard 40 point fleet, if desired. The Xi'an can be used as an escort ship for your treasure runners, and/or as a harassing ship to attack enemy gold runners. Another ship could be used to mop up the remains of the Xi'an's attack, whether that means towing an enemy gold runner or boarding her to load gold.
Combos with other miniatures:
The most obvious combo is to put a simple captain aboard. I would highly recommend this, as the Xi'an's fragility makes it clear that you may not want to spend many points on her. Adding a helmsman would give the ship L+S+S speed, fast enough to catch most enemy gold runners. This would total 13 points. (If you want to combine those abilities into one cargo space and add one of the below combos for 3 or less points, Hammersmith would be perfect.)
A few other generic crew are solid options if you have more points to spend. An oarsman could protect any two crew you use, though it's less important with a small ship. A firepot specialist could work really well, using that 2S foremast cannon to set enemies aflame. A musketeer could increase the ship's damage potential by 50%.
The options for named crew are numerous, despite the Xi'an's small point cost. This is due to the immense numbers of fantastic crew the Pirate faction has.
Crimson Angel is the most offensive route you can take with the Xi'an. Effectively cheating the point costs of her abilities, for 16 points (with a captain) you could have up to 4 shots at 1S and 2L ranks. If you wanted the potential SAT for less points, the Pirates have numerous cheap options for that.
Since the Xi'an only has 2 cannons, she can't afford to miss often. Calico Cat provides some insurance while comboing excellently with a firepot specialist or equipment.
I wouldn't really recommend it, but if you really need guaranteed extra actions, Captain Blackheart or Havana Black could be paired with an explorer and oarsman.
Captain Jack Hawkins would work well with a helmsman in a suicide mission: L+S+S up to an enemy gunship, two shots, a ram, and then a boarding party and pinned effect.
Other fun ideas:
Especially in larger games, you could even leave the Xi'an parked at your home island with Calypso and a navigator. Leave Capitaine Chevalle face down until the right moment to surprise an opponent. Similarly, Tia Dalma fits perfectly with a captain for 16 total points. Captain Jack Sparrow is actually a solid option, as he gives the captain ability in addition to his other (OP) ability, in which the treasure is never loaded onto his ship in the first place. Geoffery Flores would work similar to a musketeer, but you need a 4 or higher to hit. If you did use Hammersmith, you'd have space for Amos to bring in a crew, giving you more flexibility.
In addition, the Xi'an could use any of the various equipment.
Obviously the crew options are still limited, and those are the ones that make more sense than some of the more gimmicky ones or the ones that are much better suited to larger ships.
Ways to counteract it:
Sink it! The Xi'an isn't a huge threat, and her masts could fall quickly. A canceller might come in handy assuming your opponent has a captain aboard, especially if that lets you avoid getting hit with fire.
There are plenty of 8 point Pirate ships, and some of them far outclass the Xi'an. The Royal James, Cutlass, and Freedom's Hand are the most direct competitors, and all 3 are clearly superior to the Xi'an. The Executioner is also a better ship most of the time. The Star of Siam and Bonnie Liz are two of the best gold runners in the game.
Even among the 5 other 2 masted Pirate junks, the Xi'an has stiff competition. The Hai Peng is the fastest ship in existence, as well as one of the most effective. The Sea Crane is able to play a hybrid role and has a great ability.
-Junk keyword doesn't help the ship
-Small cargo hold limits ship to a gunship role
-Overpriced compared to competition
Artwork and aesthetics:
I like the artwork - the fancy patterns on the deck and sails are reminiscent of some French ships, while the hull details fit the Savage Shores theme well. The flavor text is also rather interesting.
6/10. The Xi'an is a nice support gunship option, but is completely obliterated by her competition.