X-Wing Ships: The TIE Fighter

tiefighter2-fatheadGreetings Programs.

It’s that time of year where I feel the need to publish something to my blog once again.  This time we’re going to use the fact that this is my blog and my platform to talk about something I’m really interested in at the moment.  That thing being the X-Wing minis game.

You may remember that I have previously written a couple of posts about the X-Wing & what I like about it.  What I’ve decided I’m going to do here is talk about some of the things that are interesting me in the X-Wing game.

For those of you who haven’t played the game there are 3 factions you can pick from, Rebel, Imperial, Scum.  The first two should be obvious, the third covers the criminal syndicates, smugglers and bounty hunters that are drawn mostly from the expanded universe.

I play all three of the factions depending pretty much on how I feel at any given time.  My go to choice though is Imperial.

My plan here is to talk about some random stuff related to X-Wing, I’m thinking that for my first few entires I’ll talk about a specific ship and what I think it’s place in the game is, possibly also about my favourite build/use for that ship.  I’m going to go through the factions Imperial/Rebel/Scum and start with the classic small ships I think.

But first, some basics.

Every ship in the game has a stat line that goes:

Pilot: Most ships in the game come with a mix of unique and generic pilots, obviously you cannot fly more than one copy of a unique pilot in the same list.  Also, the unique pilots are often more expensive than the generic.

Pilot Skill: Rated 1-9 with higher being better, ships are moved in order from lowest pilot skill to highest, ships fire in order of highest to lowest.  So for example Han Solo in the Falcon has a pilot skill of 9 and generally moves last and shots first.  Pilot skill varies a lot.

Attack Value: The base number of red attack dice rolled by the ship.

Agility Value: The base number of green defense dice rolled by the ship.

Shields: How many shields does the ship have.

Hull: How many hits can the ship take before it is destroyed.

Pilot Ability: Printed on the card, unique pilots often have special abilities that give them an edge.

Action Bar: All ships can take one action a turn, the available actions are printed on the ship card, the basic actions are:

Focus: Assign your ship a Focus Token, you can then spend that during the combat phase to turn all focus results into either basic hits or evades (depending on if the roll you are making is attack or defense).

Barrel Roll: Perform a barrel roll, place the 1 distance marker to either the left or right of the ships base and then move the ship sideways so that the opposite side of the base is in contact with the other end of the template.

Evade: Assign your ship and Evade Token, you can spend this during the combat phase to add a single evade result to your defense roll.

Target Lock: Assign a target lock to an enemy ship in range, you can spend the Target Lock to either launch a Torpedo or Missile or to re-roll as many dice as you want in that attack.

Boost: As an action move your ship forward either a one distance straight or bank.

There are other actions but a lot of them are ship specific & I will cover them as and when they appear.

Cost: How many points does the base ship cost; again this varies with pilot.  Standard lists are built with 100pts.

It is also worth taking a second to talk about manoeuvres, all ships have a dial with their available manoeuvres on it, these are executed using standard templates (see below) and will be either Green (Easy, removes stress), White (Normal, no modifier) or Red (Hard, causes the pilot stress).

movementtemplates

Finally all ships can take a certain number of upgrades, not all ships can take all upgrades and a number of them are faction specific, however here is a list of the types of upgrade available:

Elite Pilot Talent
Astromech
Torpedo
Missile
Cannon
Turret
Bomb
Crew
Salvaged Astromech
System Upgrade
Title
Modification
Illict
Cargo
Hardpoint
Team
Tech

All ships can take a Modification and a Title (if one is available) but other than that the available upgrade slots are printed on the card.

Without further ado then, lets talk about…

The Imperial TIE Fighter

First up, please note that this is the basic set Imperial TIE, not the First Order TIE from the Force Awakens.  We’ll talk about the TIE f/o later.

You get two of these in the basic box and there is an expansion that lets you get another.  A couple of TIE Fighters are also included as an extra in the Epic ship expansion for the Gozanti.

The stat lines looks like this:

Attack: 2
Agility: 3
Shields: 0
Hull: 3

So we can see from this that the TIE Fighter is agile with average attack power but lacks toughness, with no shields and only 3 hull it is possible to blow up a TIE Fighter with a single good hit.

Actions wise, the TIE Fighter has:

Focus
Barrel Roll
Evade

The other thing a TIE Fighter has going for it is the dial.

tie_dial

The TIE Fighter is fast and manoeuvrable ship it can turn hard at all speeds, bank at speeds 2 & 3, travel straight at speeds 2 to 5 and has a K-Turn manoeuvre at speeds 3 & 4.  The K-Turn is a special manoeuvre that allows you to move your ship forward the indicated distance and then rotate the ship 180 degrees; this move is often used to position yourself behind an opponent.  See the movement templates above to see what kind of turns or banks this translates into.

The TIE Fighter is a very basic ship, it can take a modification upgrade and the higher skill pilots can take an elite pilot talent but beyond that it has few options for upgrades.  This is not automatically a bad thing as a temptation with a ship that has a lot of upgrade slots is to load it up with toys and then watch as it gets blown to pieces before you get to use much of it.

Now, traditionally the TIE Fighter is flown in a couple of ways, either large swarms of very low skill pilots or one or two aces with some support.  I have never been a fan of the swarm list but I understand the appeal for others and where it sits in the game so we will talk about that first.

The TIE Swarm

Traditionally the TIE Swarm is made up of as many basic Academy Pilots as you can.
02-academy-pilot

With a cost of 12pts you can field 8 Academy Pilots (with no upgrades) and still have 4 points left.

Now the advantage here is by flying in close formation you can use your overlapping fire arcs and put a lot of attack dice onto your target, flying in large numbers means that it can take a while for your enemy to actually kill all your ships.  Also from just the look of it a big block of TIE Fighters looks really cool.

There are however downsides, flying a close formation is difficult for a beginning player, also the TIE Fighter is inherrently quite fragile and with only 3 hull and no shields can be taken out in a single hit so bunching them all together makes quite a tempting target for bigger enemy ships to focus on.  Finally the lower pilot skills ships are missing both the on card special abilities and ability to take elite pilot talents of the higher skilled pilots.

My preference for flying TIE Fighters however is option two.

The TIE Squad

This build consists of a smaller number of TIE Fighters with higher pilot skills usually built around an Ace pilot or pilots.  This allows you to make use of both the on card ability and the fact that the higher skilled pilots can often take an elite pilot skills.

I would use something like Howlrunner & Mauler Mithel with a Black Squadron Pilots as wingmen.  Perhaps flying in two groups of 3.

That would cost 91 points, leaving 9 points to spend on upgrades for your ships.

The advantage here is that you can deploy two wings in the classic 3 TIE Fighter formation, you can come at your opponent from multiple directions and you can concentrate fire as needed.  Flying two wings is actually easier than flying 8 in one wing and you can use the special abilities of your ace pilots to tip the balance in your favour.

Additionally the two wings flying in looser formation allows you to really make use of the TIE Fighters excellent manoeuvre options to out fly your opponent and get them in a position where you can pour fire into them.

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