13 May 2013

Common Ships- Imperial TIE Interceptor

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.

Imperial TIE Interceptor (18/ 20/ 21)
Common Pilots: Alpha, Avenger, Saber
Attack: 3
Evade: 3
Hull: 3
Shields: 0
Stock Actions: Focus, Barrel Roll, Boost, Evade
Breakdown: The Interceptor was the ship a lot of Imperial players were waiting on during Wave 1. I talked a little bit about how the TIE Advanced is a bit in-between a standard TIE and an Interceptor and that I felt a lot of Imperial players didn't really see the point in the Advanced other than as a whip for Vader.

Whether or not you buy that- kind of a moot point, but you can't deny the Interceptor was perhaps the most eagerly anticipated ship of Wave 2 from anybody favoring the gear over the firebird. And with good reason- great maneuver dial, 3 Attack, 3 Defend, and four stock Actions standard. There's a lot to fall in love with.

Like the standard TIE, the Interceptor is available in three common flavors, the Alpha, Avenger, and Saber, at Pilot Skills 1, 3, and 4, respectively. Also like the standard TIE, the PS4 version has an available Elite Pilot Skill upgrade slot. 

Because of this available Elite Pilot Skill, there are good tailoring options available depending on the in-game role you have in mind for this very capable starfighter. As it has so many stock Actions and a forgiving movement dial in that there are 7 green maneuvers to choose from, I think one needs to look long and hard at Push The Limit on any Saber they don't already have bigger plans for, and maybe even ones they do. Other commonly selected Elite Pilot Skills would be stuff like Marksmanship or Elusiveness, and to a lesser extent, a few somewhat contextual or role-specific Skills like say Expose, Daredevil, or Swarm Tactics (to act as a relay for another pilot with a higher Pilot Skill and Swarm Tactics as well). This isn't to say the rest of the EPS are worthless, those are just the Skills I see referenced most when playing or reading people's Regionals and/ or Tournament lists online.

Past that, none of the Interceptors can stock any Crew or Secondary Weapon Systems, so you're really only looking at Modifications for further enhancement.

I see a lot of people online dramatically reversing their opinion of Stealth Device these days- it's gone from nearly OP pre-Wave 2 to decidedly underwhelming. I've talked about my rule of thumb for when to pick Shield Upgrade and when to pick Stealth Device and the reasons why, but to sum up in a TL;DR version, ships with shields (usually Rebels) should take Shield Upgrade, ships with good Defense (usually Imperial) should take Stealth Device. There's a bit more to it than that, but really it boils down to how well you maneuver. If you're comfortable with the idea of Barrel Rolling and Boosting your way out of your enemy's firing arcs and have the skill to do it, I'd strongly lean towards Stealth Device as it's more likely to help you get away clean from a maneuvering mistake or two. If that's not really your style and you find yourself spending your Actions on Focus or Evade with your Interceptors, I'd suggest you take Shield Upgrade instead. 

People call the Interceptor a glass cannon and they're not incorrect. I don't know about you, but when I was playing the most 40k, it was 4th edition and the Eldar were the dictionary definition of glass cannon. The Interceptor's very much the same way- it's got a great Attack value, but not a ton of hit points (Hull + Shield) to keep it on the table. You need to be effective at maneuvering to really get the points out of an Interceptor- especially moving type Actions like Boost and Barrel Roll. I know some people look at a Saber and cringe that it costs the same as a Rookie X-Wing because "the stats on the Rookie are so much better." Take full advantage of all those green maneuvers and the available K-Turn at two different values, then put those Attack dice to work once you've finally sprung your tarp. I mean, trap. You'll change your mind about them not being worth the points, I promise.

(BTW- sorry for unintentionally revealing a goatse on here. I thought the "No hotlinking" rickrolls went out in 2004. My bad y'all. Here's what I'd originally had in mind-

Irony of course being the site that was so offended I'd hotlinked their image apparently didn't even make it themselves according to the fog in the upper-left there.

In an attempt to atone for the heinous crime perpetrated earlier, here's another pic I found when doing a Google Image Search on "It's a tarp."


... aaaaaand parenthetical complete)

There is something of a learning curve to using Interceptors, but the good news is if you were solid at flying TIE Fighters, the transition to effective use of Interceptors is pretty quick and painless. If you're a Rebel player going to an Imperial Interceptor-centric list, you'll probably rack up a few L's before you get it together. It's a very different mindset flying most any Rebel list compared to an Interceptor list. Going back to 40k, it's the difference between playing a Space Marine list and an Eldar list. Sure- there are people who can play both of those armies, but they don't use the same in-game playstyle. It's not like going from Space Marines to Chaos Space Marines, you know what I mean? Where you can basically use the same tactics with different models. Don't let it frustrate you, just realize going into it that it'll probably happen and you'll have to work a little bit to get an Interceptor list going in the right direction on the table.

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