An X-Wing (TM) Squad Build Featuring the Imperial Aces Expansion
|X-Wing | Published 10 March 2014|
“Inform the commander that Lord Vader’s shuttle has arrived.”
–Return of the Jedi
The Imperial Aces Expansion Pack for X-Wing™ is due to arrive at retailers next week! That means you’ll soon be able to pick up your copy and head to battle with the expansion’s two stunning TIE interceptors and host of talented pilots that are bound to spur the development of new squad designs around the world!
Imperial Aces features two TIE interceptors with eye-catching, variant paint schemes. One comes with the signature blood stripe of the 181st Imperial Fighter Wing. The other features a red paint job that signifies it belongs to one of the Emperor’s Royal Guards. However, in addition to these variant TIE interceptors, Imperial Aces also introduces several new ship cards and upgrades that permit a wide variety of squads built around these nimble, lethal starfighters.
Today, we present an Imperial squad list that draws heavily upon one of the new pilots from Imperial Aces, as well as a number of the expansion’s upgrades, and we look at how they may fare in the thickest action of the game’s heated battles!
Setting the Stage
In an earlier preview of the expansion, developer James Kniffen explained how it was designed to highlight and enhance the TIE interceptor’s unique role in X-Wing. A fast, light, and agile starfighter that packs a significant punch with its laser cannons, the TIE interceptor rewards a high-risk, high-reward play style, and the new pilots and upgrades in Imperial Aces reinforce this.
Our sample squad plays directly to this high-risk strategy, making use of several key upgrades, including the new Title, Royal Guard TIE. Royal Guard TIE allows a TIE interceptor to equip two different modifications. Although the prevailing wisdom among competitive players is that it’s inherently risky to spend a significant portion of your squad points on upgrades, the Royal Guard TIE Title permits some truly potent combinations of upgrades. For example, you could pair a Stealth Device with a Targeting Computer to create a TIE interceptor that starts with four agility and the ability to acquire a target lock to enhance the lethality of its attacks.
Our squad makes use of this combination of upgrades on Soontir Fel, one of the game’s most talented pilots (available in the TIE Interceptor Expansion Pack). The gamble, here, is that he’ll survive long enough to be able to get the full value out of all his upgrades. Given that his high pilot skill means he’s one of the last pilots to move in every Activation phase, and given that he can push his TIE interceptor into barrel rolls or boost out of an opponent’s firing arc, it’s a gamble we’re willing to take.
Additionally, in his preview, James revealed how the expansion’s four unique pilots were designed to advance Saber squadron’s existing themes of superior maneuverability and masterful piloting, as well as to reflect the training Royal Guard members receive in order to become ruthless, self-reliant killers and opportunists. Accordingly, our sample squad includes a couple of tricks meant to highlight the lethal talents of one of the unique Royal Guards appearing in the expansion, Carnor Jax.
In this sample squad, we imagine a Soontir Fel recruited into service as one of the Emperor’s Royal Guards. He and Carnor Jax serve as escorts for a Lambda-class shuttle transporting none other than the Emperor’s loyal servant, Darth Vader.
This squad is designed to take advantage of its superior maneuverability in order to obliterate enemy ships with its potent attacks. Even the Lambda-class shuttle, which is normally one of the game’s least maneuverable ships, gains additional maneuverability and an element of surprise with its Navigator and an Engine Upgrade.
Early in the game, you’ll want to fly your shuttle into the path of oncoming starfighters in order to force as many collisions as possible. This is both to limit the number of actions your opponent can take and to set up shots for Soontir Fel and Carnor Jax.
Carnor Jax, especially, benefits from this tactic. When he can anticipate where enemy ships are likely to end their movement, he can fly after them for shots at Range “1,” where ability to shut down focus and evade tokens makes him one of the deadliest pilots in the game. The Opportunist upgrade only enhances his lethality, and because the TIE interceptor maneuver dial features no fewer than seven green maneuvers, Carnor Jax can quickly shake off the stress token his Opportunist upgrade will give him.
Meanwhile, when he’s equipped with both Push the Limit and Stealth Device, Soontir Fel is arguably the most elusive pilot in the game. Even though he appears in the TIE Interceptor Expansion Pack, rather than Imperial Aces, we can’t help but be excited to field him in a TIE Interceptor bearing the Saber squadron’s signature bloodstripe, and this squad highlights how much Soontir Fel can benefit from Royal Guard TIE and Targeting Computer. In fact, you’ll want to focus on maneuvering Soontir Fel into an early flank so that you can get as many shots as possible with both a focus token and target lock. And because Soontir Fel gains a focus token each time he takes a stress token, it won’t be hard for you to combine your focus tokens and target locks, even while you use Push the Limit to take other actions, like boost, barrel roll, or evade.
Then, you have the shuttle. Your Omicron Group Pilot has easily the lowest pilot skill of your squad, but his crew members are no slouches. Even if your opponent moves some ships before your shuttle, the shuttle’s Navigator can alter its speed after you reveal its maneuver, so you can get into the right position to block or attack the perfect target. Then, you have Darth Vader, and he’s no idle passenger. Whenever the shuttle fires, he can force it to suffer two damage in order to deal an additional point of critical damage to the shuttle’s target, and because the shuttle is likely to fire late in the Combat phase, you should have a good idea whether or not that point of damage is likely to finish off your target.
Finally, this squad weighs in at ninety-nine points, one point below the maximum one-hundred, and that unspent squad point may be just the thing that allows you to gain initiative and shoot first with Soontir Fel and Carnor Jax… After all, as your shuttle escorts, they stand to prove that the best defense is a good offense.
How Will You Use Your Imperial Aces?
You’ve had a chance to read the advice that 2012 World Champion Doug Kinney offers to new players looking to pursue their space battles beyond the X-Wing Core Set. Now, as you look to expand your X-Wing collection, Imperial Aces presents you with another excellent option, and it forms the base of this squad.
How will you experiment with the all-new TIE interceptor tactics permitted by Imperial Aces? Which ace Imperial pilots will you recruit for your X-Wing squads? How will you upgrade their ships? How will they fly? Make your plans to pick up your copy next week, and share your most creative ideas on our community forums while you wait!
X-Wing is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE Fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, X-Wing recreates Star Wars’ exciting space battles. Select your crew, plan your maneuvers, and complete your mission!