Friday, April 1, 2016
X-Wing: TIE Advanced
The TIE Advanced is the next Imperial ship that I'd like to cover. Overall, it's similar to the standard TIE Fighter, with 2 Firepower, 3 Agility, and 3 Hull. In addition, the TIE Advanced picks up 2 shields and the Target Lock action.
The TIE Advanced's maneuverability is very similar to the TIE Fighter's, though it only has 1 banks, rather than turns, as well as a single K-turn. Overall, it's slightly less maneuverable in exchange for being much tougher to kill.
For most of its history, the TIE Advanced was considered one of the worst (if not the worst) ships in X-Wing. It simply couldn't do enough damage to justify its cost. However, this was corrected with the TIE/x1 Title. This gives any TIE Advanced a system upgrade slot, as well as a 4 point discount on the system they choose. Alongside this came the Advanced Targeting Computer, which adds a crtitical hit to every shot with your primary weapon as long as you have a target lock on the defender. For the net cost of 1 point, you can take your ship from 2 attack dice to 3, where one dice is guaranteed to roll a crit. This brought the Advanced back into the game.
The base Advanced pilot is the Tempest Squadron Pilot, who come in a PS 2 for 21 points. Overall, he's pretty lackluster, but his PS 2 does mean that he'll be able to attack before many basic swarms. Since low PS pilots have a harder time acquiring target locks, Tempest Squadron Pilots don't get as much out of the Advanced Targeting Computer as other Advanced Pilots. The best system for them is probably the Accuracy Corrector, which guarantees you 2 hit results every time you attack. Since this is the best result that the Advanced can expect in most circumstances, this frees the pilot from taking any aggressive actions. This means that they can always either evade or barrel roll, allowing you to concentrate on positioning or become quite tanky.
For 2 extra points, you can get a PS 4 Storm Squadron Pilot. This makes him more likely to be able to use the Advanced Targeting Computer reliably, but doesn't have much to recommend him beyond that.
Lieutenant Colzet is a Storm Squadron pilot from the Star Wars Galaxies game. Despite his low PS, he can make good use of the Advanced Targeting Computer due to his pilot ability. This allows him to spend a target lock at the end of his turn to flip a damage card on the targeted ship face up. This means that he gets double use from a targeting lock if he had an Advanced Targeting Computer, adding a crit to his damage rolls as well as flipping up damage cards on his target. For his cost, he's a decent pilot, maximizing the damage done by your other ships.
Commander Alozen is the commander of Storm Squadron, again from Star Wars Galaxies. His ability allows him to acquire a target lock on an enemy ship at Range 1. This seems very handy when matched with an Advanced Targeting Computer, granting Alozen extra action economy. Unfortunately, its short range combined with Alozen's mid range PS means that his skill won't be much use against better pilots, who will simply dodge out of his range.
Zertik Strom was an Imperial Commander and pilot from the Star Wars comics. His pilot ability is quite useful for disrupting your opponent's plans, preventing enemy ships at Range 1 from adding a range combat bonus when attacking. If you're planning to run a squadron that will get in the enemy's face, Strom will keep you much safer from enemy fire.
Maarek Stele is a pilot that I'm quite attached to, as he was the main character in the TIE Fighter computer game. A Force sensitive pilot, he worked his way through the Imperial Navy, eventually becoming a member of the 181st Imperial Fighter Group under Baron Soontir Fel and one of the Emperor's Hands. His pilot ability synergizes extremely well with the Advanced Targeting Computer, as it allows him to draw 3 Damage cards every time he deals a critical hit and choose which one to apply to the enemy. This is great for doing extra damage with Direct Hits or weakening Aces with crippling damage results. I particularly like to give him the EPT Calculation, which is cheap and allows him to reliably deal a second critical hit to his target.
Juno Eclipse was personally chosen by Darth Vader to lead his Black Eight Squadron, and later was the personal pilot for Vader's apprentice, as detailed in The Force Unleashed video games. Eventually, she and Starkiller were instrumental in forming the Rebel Alliance, but we're concerned with her time as a loyal Imperial pilot. Juno's pilot ability allows her to increase or decrease the speed of her maneuver by 1 when she reveals it. Not only does this allow you to react to your opponent's moves, but it is the rare ability that actually affects the dial of her ship.
This fills out her 1 speed maneuvers, gives her 3 K-turn options, and doubles the number of green maneuvers she can take. Combine this with a strong PS 8, and Juno is an excellent pilot.
Finally, we come to the reason most people field a TIE Advanced at all, Darth Vader. With the highest native pilot skill in the game, Vader is a terror to other aces. His pilot ability is extremely simple but effective, allowing him to perform 2 actions every turn. Vader is so self-sufficient that you don't have to take an EPT to cover up a weakness, so you can really tailor him to a variety of roles. Veteran Instincts is commonly taken as it allows him to out PS all other aces in the game. However, Vader does really benefit from one modification, Engine Upgrade. With access to 2 actions each turn with no downside, Darth Vader really benefits from gaining Boost, and combine it with Barrel Roll to re-position in a similar fashion to a TIE Interceptor with Push the Limit. He also works well with Proton Rockets, as he has no trouble getting into Range 1 of the enemy and picking up a target lock to launch a devastating attack.