2 September 2015 | Star Wars: Armada

Rule Through Fear

Preview the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack for Star Wars™: Armada

"We won’t last long against those Star Destroyers."
     –Admiral Ackbar

The best way to win a military confrontation is to cower your foe into submission before any shots are even fired. But it takes a weapon of incredible power to convince your enemies that it would prove utterly suicidal to act against you. You can find one such weapon in the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack for Star Wars™: Armada.

The pre-painted Imperial-class Star Destroyer enters the game as the largest, most resilient, hardest hitting ship to-date. Whether you field it in battle as an Imperial I-class Star Destroyer or an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer , your Imperial-class Star Destroyer features no fewer than eight attack dice from its forward arc, and four dice from both its left and right arcs.

Line up the right shot, and that's twelve dice that you can blast into a single ship in just one round—before you even look into adding upgrades.

Forcing Your Opponent's Hand

While the sort of firepower that your Star Destroyer can unleash against enemy ships may very easily discourage your opponents from going anywhere near your ship, they might not have a choice. The Imperial-class Star Destroyer is surprisingly quick, able to fly as fast as speed "3," and once it closes on an enemy ship, your Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams can trap it within range of your full attack.

The Imperial-class Star Destroyer

On the other hand, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer is also well-equipped to deal with any foes foolish enough to attack it directly. Featuring a hull value of eleven and shield values of four, three, and two on its front, side, and rear hull zones, respectively, the Imperial-class is more than capable of withstanding a few enemy volleys. Moreover, should any of those hits find their way to your Star Destroyer's hull, past its two redirect tokens, its brace token, and its shields, you can still exhaust your contain token to prevent your opponent from assigning you a faceup damage card per the standard critical effect.

Contain: A ship can spend this defense token to prevent the attacker from resolving the standard critical effect. The attacker can still resolve a non-standard critical effect, such as one granted by an upgrade card.

Then, if you've planned appropriately, you can reveal your repair command on the next turn to gain four engineering points, enough to repair one shield and move two more to your damaged hull zone from the zones your opponent might not be able to target.

In the end, your repaired Star Destroyer might be ready to withstand the same attack all over again, but it's highly unlikely that your opponent's ship can withstand two rounds of your Star Destroyer's concentrated fire. Instead, your opponent is likely to recognize the futility of a direct assault and make every effort to play around it, and you gain a key strategic advantage—the ability to limit your opponent's options before your fleets even come within firing range.

The Power of the Dark Side

Of course, your tactical options increase greatly with the different upgrades in the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack. In addition to the Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams, you'll find another seventeen upgrades, including offensive retrofits, defensive retrofits, turbolasers, ion cannons, three titles, seven officers, and a commander version of Darth Vader.

For thirty-six of your fleet points, Darth Vader is a truly aggressive commander who allows each of your ships to spend a defense token to reroll as many of its attack dice as you wish. Did you roll some blanks? Do you need another accuracy result to strip your opponent of any defensive options? Darth Vader's mastery of the Force allows him to bend the combat to your favor, taking advantage of the fact that you'll be able to see the results of your roll before you decide whether or not to use his reroll.

Meanwhile, even though you have to deny yourself a defense token in order to benefit from Vader's reroll, you benefit from a bit of redundancy in your Imperial-class Star Destroyer's defense tokens.

This is especially true early on when it's extremely unlikely your opponent will be able to punch through your shields to land a critical hit that you'd need to contain. Darth Vader's also good in a fleet with Imperial-class Star Destroyers because their larger dice pools are likely to yield results you'll be happy to modify.

For example, consider his ability compared to that of Admiral Screed . While Admiral Screed could sacrifice a die from your attack by an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer to guarantee the blue result you need to activate your Overload Pulse , he can't guarantee you any accuracy results. Thus, while you might have hoped your damage would punch through your opponent's ship's shields to batter against its hull, your opponent might halve it, then redirect the majority to other hull zones. Darth Vader, on the other hand, can't guarantee you the blue result, but he does let you reroll all four of your forward-facing blue dice, if you so desire.

The Best Defense Is a Strong Offense

While the Darth Vader command upgrade presents some important considerations about your defense tokens and their use in your strategy, it's not the only upgrade in the expansion in the set that plays to this theme. The Devastator title also explores the trade-in value of your defense tokens; for each defense token you discard, the Devastator title grants you an extra blue attack die while you're attacking from your front hull zone. Altogether, an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer equipped with the Devastator title could burn through its defense tokens early to fire as many as twelve dice from your front arc, eight of which would be blue. With a dice pool of that sort, you'd almost certainly be able to generate the accuracy you need to shut down your opponent's defense tokens, and Darth Vader could help you convert any extra accuracy results into hits or crits.

Captain Needa offers yet another use for your defense tokens. For two fleet points, he allows you to switch one of your defense tokens for an evade token. Do you plan to avoid allowing damage to go through your shields? Perhaps you can afford to trade away your contain token. Want a more balanced set of defensive options? You can trade out your second redirect for the evade. Either way, with Captain Needa aboard your ship, you can ignore some of the damage you might suffer at long range in order to close on your foes.

Develop Your Strategy

Naturally, since there's more to Armada than winning your exchanges of ship-to-ship fire, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack also allows you to customize your Star Destroyer to your overall strategy by drawing upon the support of a whole cast of lower-ranked officers, weapons teams, and titles, as well as other defensive and offensive upgrades:

  • Fleet admirals may appreciate the flexibility provided by a Support Officer , whom you can discard to reset your command dials in the case of an emergency.
  • Should you ever find yourself resigned to firing at starfighter squadrons instead of an enemy ship, you may appreciate the talents of a team of Ruthless Strategists . It may hurt you a little to damage your own fighters, but every attack you squander against starfighters instead of enemy ships endangers the lives of thousands of crew. Besides, acceptable losses have long been part of the Imperial doctrine.
  • Tired of rolling piles of damage, only to see your opponent halve the damage and then redirect it to adjacent hulls? If you're not running Vader to help you find accuracy, you might consider outfitting your ship with Heavy Turbolaser Turrets as an alternate means of forcing your opponent to take damage to the hull you've targeted.

Finally, each of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer's three unique titles offers an alternative approach to your battles for control of the galaxy:

  • We've already seen the Devastator, but it's worth noting that on an Imperial I-class Star Destroyer, the Devastator title can go a long way toward providing the accuracy results you need to get all of your damage on target, not halved or redirected by your opponent's defense tokens.

  • On the other hand, if you really want to get rid of your opponent's defensive options, you can run the Avenger with Admiral Screed and an Overload Pulse. Admiral Screed guarantees that you'll be able to trigger your Overload Pulse, and it, in turn, exhausts all of your opponent's defense tokens. The Avenger title, then, is the nail in the coffin; once your opponent's defense tokens are exhausted, the Avenger prevents your opponent from spending any of them. At a total of 149 fleet points, this is a flagship that's capable of making short work of any opponent.
  • However, if you're more concerned with your strategy's adaptability, the Relentless title allows you to shorten your command stack by one dial, thereby increasing your ship's responsiveness. Still, it doesn't actually reduce your command value, so you can still assign the ship as many as three command tokens, making it an excellent vessel to partner with the command of Grand Moff Tarkin . Together, the Relentless title and Grand Moff Tarkin allow you to plan your commands for maximum effect, with minimal delay.

Fear Will Keep the Local Systems in Line

With countless systems to govern, the Empire needs a sure way to keep its citizens in line, and that way is fear. With its awesome armament and aggressive, dagger-shaped design, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer is an integral part of the Empire's designs to rule through fear, and though, in Armada, it won't turn your opponents away from combat, its mere presence may very well lead them to alter their tactics simply to avoid the inevitable destruction that follows upon engagement. In fact, few things in Armada are as terrifying as the prospect of facing three Imperial-class Star Destroyers flying together in tight formation, flanked by their TIE squadrons.

Few things embody the overwhelming might of the Empire so fully as the Imperial-class Star Destroyer. Be sure to bring this massive starship to your Armada battles as soon as it's released. Head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy today!

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