At the conclusion of the Clone Wars, and after the defeat of the Separatist Alliance, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine eliminated the Galactic Republic. He reformed it as the Galactic Empire and appointed himself its Emperor.
This Empire possessed a different character than its Republic predecessor, and as its vast military sought to establish order among the galaxy’s countless star systems, the Imperial Navy changed to reflect the Empire’s new character. The old Republic vessels were almost immediately repainted, and they were slowly retired in favor of new Imperial craft—imposing Star Destroyers and staggering quantities of TIEs.
Flying in the skies of occupied worlds, these TIEs served as reminders of the Empire’s power and ambition. They helped establish its cruel order. They represented the Empire and its tyrannical regime. And they are the ubiquitous reminders of the Empire’s far-reaching military might in X-Wing™.
From the Classic Core Set and Wave I through the releases of the TIE interceptor, TIE bomber, TIE phantom, TIE defender, TIE advanced prototype, and TIE Striker, the TIE fighter and its many variants have fought to preserve the Empire’s interests throughout the galaxy and around the globe.
Now, the upcoming release of the TIE Aggressor Expansion Pack looks to add new muscle and utility to this line of TIE variants, even as it hews closely to the aesthetics and mechanics that allow it to serve as an unmistakable symbol of Imperial power.
Performance and Versatility
During the development of the TIE aggressor, Sienar Fleet Systems valued performance and versatility over raw cost efficiency. Its unique weapons loadout and maneuverability were carefully balanced so that it would thrive in extended engagements, and it was flown primarily by elite pilots specifically trained to leverage the ship to full effect.
In X-Wing, the TIE aggressor’s weapons loadout consists of a primary weapon with an attack value of “2,” plus the ability to equip a turret and as many as two missiles—or the new Unguided Rockets upgrade. And these upgrade slots, considered alongside the ship’s relatively open maneuver dial, allow you to adapt the TIE aggressor to nearly any role in your squad.
- You could outfit a Sienar Specialist with a Twin Laser Turret and the Lightweight Frame modification to run it as a cheap flanker.
You could even build a squad with four of these Sienar Specialists and buzz around your opponents, stinging them with a series of shots fired from long range.
- Alternatively, you could fly a number of these Sienar Specialists equipped with Unguided Rockets, using them in your squad much like a set of extra durable TIE interceptors whose attack dice cannot be modified except if you spend a focus token for its standard effect.
This serves as a necessary restriction because of the upgrade’s potential interaction with Guidance Chips , and it means that “Howlrunner” can’t really boost your TIE aggressor wing. But it also means your opponent can’t force you to reroll your dice with M9-G8 or convert your hits to focus results with a Sensor Jammer .
- And if you’re looking to have your TIE aggressor do more than simply damage your opponent’s ships, you can add a measure of control by equipping an Ion Cannon Turret or Ion Pulse Missiles .
Even a single Sienar Specialist can add a lot of control to your list when equipped with an Ion Cannot Turret, Ion Pulse Missiles, and Guidance Chips, and it does so for just twenty-five squad points. Or if you’re concerned about your pilot skill value, you could drop the Ion Pulse Missiles and Guidance Chips and fly an Onyx Squadron Escort with an Ion Cannon Turret at a pilot skill value of “5” for just twenty-four squad points.
Press the Attack
Even among the limited number of elite pilots the Empire trained to fly the TIE aggressor, some stood head and shoulders above the rest. You’ll find two of these ace pilots in the TIE Aggressor Expansion Pack— Lieutenant Kestal and “Double Edge.”
At a pilot skill value of “7,” Lieutenant Kestal is the quickest shot among the expansion’s various pilots and the one best able to react to her enemies’ maneuvers. She’s also the most aggressive of them, capitalizing upon the accuracy of her Synced Turret with a unique pilot ability that allows her to spend a focus token to cancel all of an opponent’s blank and defense results.
Lieutenant Kestal is also an excellent candidate for elite pilot talents like Predator and Expertise , especially if she’s firing multiple modified shots from a Twin Laser Turret.
Here, it’s worth noting that Kestal’s ability to cancel all of her opponent’s blank and defense results works even if she’s firing outside her arc—making her an excellent counter to any enemy ships equipped with Autothrusters .
Alternatively, you could capitalize upon her above average pilot skill by sending her to battle with the elite pilot talent, Intensity . So equipped, Lieutenant Kestal doesn’t have to choose between focusing or performing her barrel roll to line up the shot she most desires. Instead, she can barrel roll and flip Intensity to gain her focus token, as well.
At a later point, Lieutenant Kestal can then spend a focus token to flip and refresh her Intensity. In this way, over the course of multiple rounds, she can get the most from her shots with her Synced Turret, and even if she ends up without a target in arc, she still gains utility from her combat tokens.
Where Lieutenant Kestal excels at pushing her advantages, the expansion’s other ace, “Double Edge,” is a relentless hunter whose unique pilot ability is roughly the equivalent of a built-in Gunner upgrade. Once per round, after he performs a secondary weapon attack that doesn’t hit, he can perform another attack with a different weapon.
This makes “Double Edge” another good candidate for the Predator or Expertise upgrades since both modify multiple attacks, but it also makes him an ideal pilot to wield the notoriously fickle Unguided Rockets. They don’t cost many of your squad points, they offer a good increase on the raw number of dice his ship can fire, and it doesn’t matter so much if he hits or misses with those rockets.
In fact, the truth is that there are multiple ways to take advantage of his misses. A nearby Operations Specialist might pass a focus token to another ship. Or if you gave “Double Edge” an Ion Cannon Turret, you could force an enemy pilot to spend his focus and evade tokens to avoid taking an ion token. That would then leave the target without tokens as you fire your XX-23 S-thread Tracers to give all your TIE bombers the target locks they need to line up their awe-inspiring barrage of Proton Torpedoes .
The Role Player
While the TIE aggressor can be outfitted to play many different roles, there is one role that it doesn’t play very well. It doesn’t quite fit into the standard TIE swarm. It doesn’t feature the raw efficiency that the TIE fighter offers when you weigh its attack and agility against its squad-point cost. You could likely find a great deal of success with four Sienar Specialists outfitted with Twin Laser Turrets, but even so, you wouldn’t fly them as a swarm; you would want to fly them out of formation.
The TIE aggressor just isn’t a swarm ship. It’s a role player. It begs to be assigned a unique duty within your squadron, whether as a flanker, an ace, or a control ship that balances the main thrust of your squad with an entirely different sort of threat. It begs exploration.
Source: Fantasy Flight Games