10 August 2015 | X-Wing

The Will of the Empire

A Preview of the Imperial Raider Expansion Pack for X-Wing™

"The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line."
     –Grand Moff Tarkin

The Imperial Raider Expansion Pack for X-Wing is now less than a week away!

That means Imperial players everywhere will soon be able to field this new huge ship in their Epic Play battles, and you can launch into those battles with the missions from the expansion's Raider-focused campaign, The Will of the Empire.

In our earlier previews, we looked more closely at the Raider-class corvette, the ways that the expansion enhances the TIE Advanced, and the fantastic possibilities that look to enter the game with the Emperor Palpatine crew upgrade. Today, we look at how The Will of the Empire binds these elements together, even as it allows you to put your Raider through its paces in an escalating, objective-driven series of Epic missions.

Focus on the Mission

A hologram of the crew chief flickers to life on the deck of an Imperial Raider-class corvette. As his apparition renders, he snaps a salute.
     “Captain, we have unloaded the shipment of TIE Advanced from Tempest Squadron. They are fully fueled and ready for your inspection.”

     –from Mission R1: Test Flight

The Will of the Empire campaign follows the captain of a Raider-class corvette charged with testing the prototype TIE Advanced in the wild, lawless sectors of the Outer Rim. It consists of five different missions, but you won't play through all of them in a single campaign. As the Raider's crew seeks to recover from an early Rebel ambush, the results of one mission influence the next, and the situation becomes increasingly desperate for either the Rebels or Imperials.

Additionally, all the expansion's missions offer a nice change of pace from the game's standard conflicts. Each introduces its own unique objectives and set of rules. Simultaneously, you need to record all the casualties you suffer in a match, so you can't afford to recklessly deploy your best pilots or shuttle Emperor Palpatine about the table without a proper escort. The resulting experience is one that moves away from the game's standard dogfights to approximate the flow of an ongoing war, one in which your forces are deployed to engage the enemy for a few critical skirmishes.

For example, in Mission R1: Test Flight, even while the Imperial player seeks to destroy all the Rebellion's ships, the Rebel player merely needs to fly a single Rebel ship back to base after destroying one of the scenario's prototype TIE Advanced; recovering information about the Empire's new starfighter is revealed to be more important than risking Rebel lives in a protracted firefight.

Of course, the Empire can also profit from a victory in the first mission, as special rules for keeping track of your ships' kills set up additional deployment possibilities in the second misison.

Mission R1: "Keeping Score: When a Rebel ship is destroyed by an attack, mark on the Campaign Progress which ship destroyed that Rebel ship. If either the Raider or the Tempest Squadron Pilots destroy 2 or more Rebel ships, they will receive a bonus during the next mission."

Mission R2: "Depending on the outcome of the previous mission, the Imperial player may choose one of the following upgrades to equip at no squad point cost: If the Raider destroyed two or more ships, then the Raider may equip an additional Ion Cannon Battery upgrade card to its aft section. If the Tempest Squadron Pilots destroyed two or more ships, each TIE Advanced fielded may equip the TIE/x1 Title card and any 1  Upgrade card."

Naturally, while the missions feature different deployment restrictions, each of them requires that the Imperial player field a Raider-class corvette, and most also require a TIE Advanced. Accordingly, the campaign is a good way to get a handle on the options provided by the new TIE Advanced pilots, its new upgrades, and the Raider, and one of the most important decisions you'll make as the Imperial player at the beginning of the campaign is which of the three Raider Title upgrades you'll select. Each offers a different tactical advantage.

Assailer

With a primary weapon that can target foes up to Range "4," boasts an attack value of "4," and can fire as many as two times each round, the Raider hits harder and earlier than any other ship in the game. The Assailer Title helps you capitalize on this early advantage by minimizing the damage you take during long-range exchanges. Although the Raider doesn't have any agility, it gains a defense die against any attack made at Range "3" or greater and against any attack fired across an asteroid. Against such attacks, the Assailer nearly doubles your evade results, so long as you have assigned a reinforce token to the section of the Raider your opponent happens to be targeting. This buys you time to utilize the Raider's impressive armament to annihilate your foes!

Instigator

The Instigator Title, on the other hand, is all about the recover action. It reads, "After you perform a recover action, recover 1 additional shield." While the recover action normally requires you to spend all the energy tokens from the Raider's aft section to recover an equal or lesser number of shields, it becomes more economical with the addition of a Shield Technician . Because the Shield Technician allows you to choose the amount of energy you'd like to spend for your recover action, he makes it an action you can perform more frequently – and still have energy left to fire weapons, like your Ion Cannon Battery or your Quad Laser Cannons . This makes the Instigator a good Title choice if you think you want to fire at enemy ships early and often. In such circumstances, you'll need the energy tokens on your aft, but you'll also be happy for the chance to improve your recover actions. Since the Raider doesn't have any agility dice, your opponent's bound to start eating through your shields.

Impetuous

The Impetuous is the most aggressive of your Raider's possible Titles. There's no mistaking what it's all about. Each time your Raider performs an attack that destroys an enemy ship, the Impetuous can acquire a target lock. Accordingly, if you're flying the Impetuous into battle, you're probably operating under the assumption that the best defense is a good offense, and you'll likely want to load your Raider with as many weapons as possible, providing you with the best possible chances of ripping apart enemy craft. You may also want to load up with Tibanna Gas Supplies so that you can fire your primary weapon twice and then follow up those devastating shots with up to three Single Turbolasers or Quad Laser Cannons. After all, the Raider-class corvette was designed as an anti-fighter craft, and this is a Title that aptly reinforces that fact.

Epic Clashes

Whether you start off by flying your Raider through the missions of The Will of the Empire campaign or in the standalone mission, Pursuit, the Imperial Raider Expansion Pack offers you a wide range of scenarios that highlight the strengths of the Raider and your TIE Advanced. Moreover, they all culminate in the epic clash of your Raider-class corvette and its support against a Rebel squadron backed up by a CR90 Corellian corvette.

This is what so many of you have long awaited! As Rebel and Imperial huge ships collide, starfighters veer out of their path and lash laser fire against each other in fast-paced dogfights. The galaxy's greatest pilots rely upon all their talents and all their tricks, and the fates of millions hang in the balance.

Your X-Wing Epic battles are about to get a whole lot hotter… The Imperial Raider Expansion Pack arrives at retailers later this week!

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