09 May 2013

Common Ships- Imperial TIE Advanced

This post regarding Common Ships is part of a series of articles that fall under listbuilding. I'll be discussing the "generic" or non-unique pilots and their ships and strategies. For the rest of the listbuilding articles, click the List Building Resources tab at the top or simply click here.

TIE Advanced (21/ 23)
Common Pilots: Tempest, Storm
Attack: 2
Evade: 3
Hull: 3
Shields: 2
Stock Actions: Barrel Roll, Target Lock, Focus, Evade
Breakdown: The TIE Advanced didn't get a ton of love in Wave 1. For the most part, if you weren't using it as Vader, you probably weren't using it. I find that line of thinking still fairly pervasive post-Wave 2, but is it justified?

Well, sorta.

The tough thing about the Advanced is it's basically a slightly heartier TIE Fighter with better staying power and a slightly crappier movement dial. It's unfortunate that there's no objective-based missions in X-Wing, because that's where I think a TIE Advanced would shine. They're fairly difficult to kill, but as they don't possess the offensive output of an Interceptor and Imperial players are used to having to work with not having shields, the Advanced gets left on the shelf many times.

Talking specifically about the common variants, you can get a Tempest for 21 points that clocks in at Pilot Skill 2 while the Storm will set you back 23 points and net you PS4. Sound familiar? It should- it's basically Rookie and Red Squadron all over again, just with the Attack and Agility values reversed.

There's no common Advanced with access to Elite Pilot Skills, so any tailoring is going to come from Missile loadouts and Modifications. I've written listbuilding articles about all of the Missiles if you need specifics, but for me, I think that for general use Concussion Missiles work well on any Advanced, but as I've pointed out before, Cluster Missiles are a solid choice against 1 Agility targets too. If you have a pretty good idea that your opponent is going to roll a Falcon, maybe consider the Evade-defeating properties of the Homing Missile, and while it's usually thought of as being an anti-Imperial weapon, there are so many Biggs + somebody lists out there, that I think Assault Missiles do at times have a place, even in an Imperial list.

In regard to Modifications, as usual, it depends largely on the role you have in mind for the ship in-game. I say on here in a few places that your Modification should ideally build upon what you've already got going for you. In general, that translates to Rebels taking the Shield Upgrade and the Imperials taking Stealth Device. Your mileage may vary, but I still think that's a decent rule of thumb. With the Advanced though, being as how it possesses both, it's a more difficult decision. For me, I usually take the Stealth Device, but then I use my common Advanced as more of a Missile Delivery system, so you may not find that as useful if you have another role in mind for your TIE Advanced. As always, if you live and die by your Boost Action, then consider Engine Upgrade, but be honest with yourself and if you're not great at utilizing it (this is the part where I raise my own hand, tentatively, looking around an imaginary classroom), don't waste your points. As with Elite Pilot Skills on the TIE Fighter, keep in mind that any points you spend here could also be spent upgrading one of these guys to a named version. Maybe that's significant, maybe it isn't- it depends on your playstyle and if your game or campaign has some sort of restriction on unique pilots.

Again, I think post-Wave 2, Critical infliction is much more important than it was in Wave 1. Missiles aren't quite the slam dunk the Torpedoes are when it comes to scoring crits, but rolling more dice while trying to do so is always a good idea, so if you've been having trouble downing YT-1300s or Firesprays, maybe give one of these common TIE Advanced a day in court with a load of Missiles and see how it goes.

UPDATE: In the comments, Misha Psuedonym brought up an excellent point I'd not considered regarding the TIE Advanced; namely that it possesses a Target Lock Action and is the only Imperial starfighter currently (yeah- I know, the Bomber will have it; that's why I said currently) that has that option. 

At a glance, this may not seem particularly noteworthy, but as the Advanced still only has an Attack 2 Primary, being able to Target Lock that shot really does make a difference in it's hit results. As a mainly Rebel player, I kind of take Target Locks for granted, but if you're a TIE Swarm disciple, it's unlikely you're used to having the option available to you, and of course, if you can manage to couple that TL up with a Focus token, both of those shots are virtually assured of hitting their target.