Squadrons provide an important supplement to the capital ships of Star Wars: Armada. As of Wave 1, the Imperial Navy has four basic squadrons and five character squadrons to choose from. Today, let’s take a look at what the standard TIE squadrons have to offer.
IN SHORT: Cheap, fast, and more specialized than Rebel squadrons, TIEs provide a versatile set of cannon fodder to throw at your opponents.
TIE FIGHTERS: At 8 points each, TIE Fighter Squadrons are incredibly affordable and can form effective screening forces with minimal investment. With speed 4, TIE Fighters can easily get the drop on the often slower enemy squadrons. They also pack impressive anti-squadron punch for their points.
3 blue dice allow them to tear through enemy squadrons rapidly, and the Swarm rule only makes this better. With nearby friendly squadrons engaging the enemy, they can reroll a single die. This potent anti-squadron ability can be further supplemented with Howlrunner and/or Flight Controllers for up to 5 blue dice (with a single reroll) per squadron.
And don’t discount TIE Fighters when it comes to engaging enemy ships. True, they only have a single blue die to attack with, but that’s 1 blue die … per 8 points! Attacks like that can add up quickly.
So what’s the downside?
Well, TIE Fighters may put out a ton of anti-squadron damage, but they go down fast. With only 3 hit points, they’re easily focused down during a single round of combat. It also doesn’t help that the Swarm rule and Howlrunner both encourages them to bunch up. Enemy ships with strong anti-squadron batteries should be rightly feared, as they will quickly whittle TIE clusters to dust.
Easy come, easy go.
TIE INTERCEPTORS: At 11 points, TIE Interceptors act like TIE Fighters on steroids. They boast a blistering top speed of 5 and come with anti-squadron armaments of 4 blue dice. Like TIE Fighters, they benefit greatly from Swarm, but also come with Counter.
Thanks to the Counter rule, TIE Interceptors get to fire 2 blue dice at enemy squadrons attacking them, and these counter attacks benefit from both Howlrunner’s ability and Swarm, giving them a potential Counter 3 with a single reroll. Ouch!
TIE Interceptors are a powerful, dedicated anti-squadron force, and their Counter ability can make them highly challenging for bombers like Y-Wings and TIE Bombers to handle. Like TIE Fighters, they also combine extremely well with Flight Controllers. But they are also incredibly frail. In fact, point for point, they are the frailest squadron type in the game as of Wave 1. Swarms of interceptors do not like taking fire from a capital ship’s arc, and it should also be noted that, by the very nature of them having Counter, opponents are more likely to engage TIE Interceptors with capital ships instead of squadrons, when possible.
TIE ADVANCED: Weighing in at a cost of 12 and coming with a hefty 5 hit points, TIE Advanced squadrons are a welcomed bit of durability in the TIE lineup. And a good thing too, because they also come with Escort, forcing opponents to target them first. This combination makes them superb wingmen for named squadrons like Howlrunner or Rhymer.
Their single black anti-ship die and 3 blue anti-squadron dice are respectable, as is their speed value of 4, but TIE Advanced Squadrons are quickly outclassed in damage output by other Imperial offerings. TIE Fighters and Interceptors will shred enemy squadrons, and TIE Bombers can quickly pack on the hurt against enemy ships.
In the end, they’re meat shields. Their best uses are defensive, not offensive, either protecting a critical named squadron or slugging it out with bombers trying to get to a capital ship.
TIE BOMBERS: Featuring a black anti-ship die and the Bomber rule (allowing them to inflict critical hits against enemy ships), the role of TIE Bombers Squadrons is clear. With a cost of only 9 points and speed 4, they’re cheap and surprisingly swift for bombers, a trait that can be exaggerated even more with the Corruptor title on a Victory-class Star Destroyer for even more speed. Throw Rhymer into the mix to allow TIE Bombers to attack at medium range instead of range 1, and suddenly these squadrons can strike targets at considerable distances.
On average, a single TIE Bomber will inflict 1 point of damage against an enemy ship per attack with a 25% chance of a critical effect. This is made even nastier because it’s difficult to use defense tokens against them. Brace can only trigger if the TIE Bombers get a double hit, Evade isn’t going to do anything at range 1 unless Mon Mothma is commanding the Rebel forces, and Redirect can only shift a point or two of damage at a time.
TIE Bombers are utterly devastating when they get into range of enemy capital ships. But there is, of course, a downside. They also come with the Heavy rule, which means they cannot engage enemy squadrons. TIE Bombers may come with a plenty of hit points to absorb attacks, but their effectiveness as a screening force is zero. Secondly, they have the weakest anti-squadron attack in the game: a single black die.
(Capital ships with a single blue die shouldn’t be counted as the weakest because they can strike multiple targets at once.)
LISTS FOR FUN: Want to give a squadron-heavy list a whirl? Try Grand Moff Tarkin’s Flying Circus.
Victory I-class Star Destroyer (73)
– Grand Moff Tarkin (38)
– Flight Controllers (6)
– Expanded Hangar Bay (5)
Victory I-class Star Destroyer (73)
– Corruptor Title (5)
– Admiral Chiraneau (10)
– Expanded Hangar Bay (5)
TIE Fighter Squadrons x 5 (40)
TIE Bomber Squadrons x 5 (45)
TOTAL: 300 points
Okay, it may be 300 points, but it’s easy enough to trim an upgrade or squadron (or even substitute out Tarkin) to price it for an effective initiative bid. The basic idea is that each Victory can activate up to 5 squadrons per round (base 3 + Expanded Hangar Bay + Squadron tokens from Tarkin). And by doing this, they maximize the use of their squadron friendly upgrades.
Flight Controllers can turn those 5 TIE Fighters into squadron mulching machines, spitting out a combined total of 20 blue dice (with up to 5 rerolls). And with the Corruptor title and Admiral Chiraneau, those TIE Bombers are going to be speed 5 normally and can easily escape at speed 3 if they get engaged.
SUMMARY: TIEs, ladies and gentlemen. Fast, hard-hitting, and dirt cheap. Just don’t get too attached to them, because they tend not to last long. 🙂
Check out the complete list of Star Wars: Armada articles here.