I am enjoying talking about various X-Wing ships, I hope you are enjoying reading about them. I am going to continue doing so. In this case I am going to go back to talking about Imperial Ships for a little while, this time we’re going to look at the VT-49 Decimator, this is the first large base ship I’m going to cover (it won’t be the last) and it’s quite the beast.
The introduction of large base ships happened way back in the early days of X-Wing with the Millennium Falcon & Slave-1, the Decimator didn’t come along until later but it made big impact and it still sees lots of play today. The reason for this is the sheer power and resilience of the ship. The Decimator is tough and dangerous with lots of options for upgrades and customisations.
For me, any time I’m building an Imperial list one of the first considerations is ‘Do I include a Decimator’. Why though, why is it so dangerous. First up, look at this thing.
It looks much more intimdating than almost anything else on the board. It towers over most other ships and it’s profile borrows elements from the TIE Fighters (the front window) while looking most like a huge armed blade.
Second, lets look at the basic statline.
Attack: 3 (Turret)
Upgrades: Torpedo, 3x Crew, Bomb, Title, Modification and the Elite Pilot Talent making an appearence on the higher pilot skill versions.
Actions wise it has Focus & Target Lock.
It’s worth noting here that the Decimators’ 3 Primary Weapon attack dice are turreted and can be fired in any direction, the front fire arc is used for the Torpedos and for certain Elite Pilot Talents. All this tells us that this ship means business, the 0 Agility means that in most situations it rolls zero dice (but this can be modified by range and in one case a crew option) but it has 16 total hits. In a game where a lot of fighters have 2-3 attack dice needing to 16 damage to kill something is hard.
Even the manoeuvre dial is pretty good.
While the number of Greens on the dial is pretty small you will also see no Reds. The Decimator does not have a K-Turn or any other fancy manoeuvres, however as it has a turreted primary weapon it doesn’t really need to be able to turn on a pin like the fighters do.
Cost wise the basic Patrol Leader costs 40 points without any upgrades. That is 40% of your total list budget on a single ship. It may be a lot but it is worth it. It does mean however that you need to carefully consider how you spend the rest of the points.
On to the Upgrades.
There is a title for the Decimator:
This title card is situational but it is useful. Being able to take an action after you hit something in exchange for a stress token is a pretty fair swap. But at two points it is a candidate for cutting early if you need the points.
Torpedo & Bombs, these are standard, you can equip ordnance to give some more punch, but to be honest unless you have a specific idea that uses these they are easy to skip.
Crew options. The Decimator can hold 3 crew in every version of it and it comes with some interesting crew options as well.
Of these crew cards. The Fleet Officer is a generally useful card that allows you hand out focus tokens to other ships at the cost of a stress token. The others all add specific situational abilities depending on how you are going to fly the Decimator. My personal favourite is adding Ysanne Isard as she increases the survivability of the ship quite a bit, especially if you combine her with the correct pilot.
Onto Modifications, if I have the points for it, one of my favourite things to put on a large base ship is the Engine Upgrade.
A large based ship with the boost action is surprisingly quick and fast at the turn.
Finally pilots and builds.
There are three named pilots for the Decimator and each has a pretty cool special ability that lends itself to a specific style of play.
Captain Oicunn is about the ramming, he works best when paired with the title card and few upgrades.
Commander Kenkirk is the most defensive pilot, combined with Ysanne Isard as a crew member his Decimator has the highest survival chance.
Finally, Rear Admiral Chiraneau is all about offense, his special ability lets you really hand out the hurt to your targets.
Peronally I like Commander Kenkirk as my go to Decimator pilot and I would do something like this:
Commander Kenkirk – (59pts Total)
VT-49 Decimator (44), Veteran Instincts (1), Ysanne Isard (4), Mara Jade (3), Fleet Officer (3), Engine Upgrade (4)
That’s nearly 60 points worth of badass though, plus after you knock off it’s shields and do at least one damage to it then it gains an agility point and an evade token at the start of the combat phase. The Fleet Officer lets you hand out focus tokens to other ships and Mara Jade lets you stress nearby enemy ships.
As for the remaining 40 points, do you remember how cheap TIE Fighters were?
So there it is, the Decimator. It’s a big, slow, powerful ship that if you’re going to use then you need to build your squad list around it rather than try and tack it on afterwards. But it can swing a match in your favour just by it sheer amount of hit points.