TIE/ln Fighter

David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2017-08-25 05:00:56

TIE/ln Fighter (v1.0 W11)

Academy Pilot
Obsidian Squadron Pilot
Black Squadron Pilot
Named TIE Pilots

The "eyeball" is the original broken ship. The base cost was set at 12 squad points in order to cap the total potential count at 8 TIE Fighters (much as the X-Wing was set at 21 to cap it to 4). However, these are unbalanced numbers, as 2 TIE Fighters distinctly outclass a single X-Wing. Its maneuverability and barrel roll action more than make up for the lower offense at that price point. And once Howlrunner buffs that offense, the efficiency advantage becomes glaring. The weakness of the TIE Fighter is its reliance on green dice, and the vagaries of heavy defensive variance do give it a penchant to explode in a single shot.

Early waves of X-Wing were dominated by the TIE swarm (and to a lesser degree, ace plus mini-swarm) archetype. Anyone who mastered the squad could walk into even the highest level of competitive event with a substantial amount of confidence.

The first major threat to the archetype came in Wave 4, with the TIE Phantom's ability to consistently remove TIE Fighters in a single blow. Wave 6's IG-2000 Aggressor introduced yet another heavily armed predator that feasted on TIE Fighters. The might of the TIE swarm waned. Even in greater numbers, its 2 dice stings struggled to match the one-shot capability of 4 dice mega attacks.

However, Wave 7 turned its fortunes. Crack Shot revitalized the archetype by substantially boosting its offensive capabilities, and the new core set delivered tiny asteroids that provided additional maneuvering room. The TIE/fo Fighter also slotted in nicely with its predecessors.

The return to preeminence was short lived, as Wave 8 begat the horror of the JumpMaster 5000. Monstrosities like "Dengaroo" simply feasted on TIE Swarms, and even the most stalwart of Imperial swarm players (Mynock Squadron's own Dallas Parker) were forced to move on to the power of the new x7 TIE Defenders. With ComBombo-Wing running amok, TIE swarms have again been pushed to the periphery. Even with Crack Shot, power creep has rendered its offense insufficient to retain its place among the elite X-Wing squads. To add insult to injury, Wave 10 gave the arguably best TIE Fighter (Captain Rex) to the Rebels. [EDIT: "Guns for Hire" then delivered the nail in the coffin with Harpoon Missiles.]

The TIE swarm is difficult to fly. Commanding 6+ ships is time consuming and mentally taxing. You'll constantly be running up against time limits and Margin of Victory issues. Huge attacks are so common now, that you'll have to become accustomed to TIE Fighters popping with regularity. The TIE swarm's advantages used to make up for these liabilities, but it's no longer the fearsome killer it used to be.

If you're still interested, don't let this post dissuade you. The TIE swarm can be an extremely rewarding form of X-Winging. It may no longer be top shelf, but the TIE swarm is still solid enough to find victory in the hands of a superior player, and undertaking the journey to such mastery can be worth the effort.

TACTICAL ADDENDUM for beginners:

Focus and Evade actions are very similar defensively. A Focus token will yield an average of 1.875 evades. An Evade token gives it a minor bump to 2.125 evade results.

Obviously, Focus is more flexible, as it substantially increases offensive output (1.0 hits with naked dice, 1.38 with Howlrunner, 1.5 with Focus, 1.83 with Focus and Howlrunner). And at range 3 or if the attack is obstructed, Focus and Evade yield identical averages of 2.5 evades. With 5 or more green dice, the Focus token is distinctly superior.

However, green dice are fickle and frequently mock "averages". An Evade token basically acts like a shield and ensures damage mitigation even if you blank out. It raises the defensive floor by guaranteeing an evade, and even raises the ceiling if you happen to god roll. If you know you don't have a shot, or it's essential to survive, (and you aren't rolling umpteen green dice) take the Evade. In all other cases where offensive output is paramount, Focus up.

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