Sunday, 20 March 2016

The TIE Advanced Prototype (AKA The Inquisitor's TIE)

First Impressions
As this is my first new ship from a new wave (yes I was a late bloomer in X-wing) I do love this little guy, and not just because I’ve been following Rebels on TV!
The model itself is pretty damned awesome to look at, they’ve really captured the essence of the prototype from the series. The dial is also VERY good! All the 1-speed maneuvers are green, as is all but the 5-speed forward. The only red maneuver is the standard 4-koiogran turn synonymous with the Advanced. Fantasy Flight are also preparing everyone for their new plastic dial mounts by including a cardboard insert of the Adv. Prototype.
As a side note, Sienar Fleet Systems really took the advice of the Imperial Inquisitors on board when producing the production model, making it slower but still maintaining a high agility while adding more armour plating to the hull. All in all, this will fit in great with the rest of the Imperial fleet, while still adding a level of variety that the Advanced is still sadly lacking, even after the fixes brought in the Raider kit.

Pilots
The Inquisitor - Also known as ‘The Grand Inquisitor’ from Star Wars: Rebels, this guy has me the most excited. Pilot Skill 8, with one of the most devastating abilities I’ve ever seen in this game - All of The Inquisitor’s primary attacks count as being at Range 1.
Let that sink in.
Range 1.
That means even if you’re at Range 3, you’re at Range 1. You get an additional attack dice no matter where you are! This also means anything that requires you to be at Range 3, like Autothrusters, do not activate. No Autothrusters for those nasty little ships that will undoubtedly have them. It also means no extra evade dice for things like the Decimator and the VCX-100 that do not have one, except for at Range 3. This guy will definitely make hunting Aces and other nasties a lot easier!

Valen Rudor - Originally seen in Rebels as the first pilot of this amazing little ship, Valen Rudor is Pilot Skill 6 and very similar to Turr Phennir in the TIE Interceptor. Rudor’s ability activates on the defence, however, making him difficult to target with any 2-in-1 attacks like cluster missiles or twin laser turret, as he could easily boost out of range or roll out of arc. He would probably do really well paired up with Phennir as an annoyance to slower, more heavily armed ships.

Baron of the Empire - at 19 points with an Elite Pilot Talent and Pilot Skill 4, this guy will work really well with a 1 point EPT like Crack Shot, Calculation or the new Rage card, especially when used in a group of five.

Sienar Test Pilot - Much like the Baron, but with Pilot Skill 2 and no EPT for 16 points, This guy would also work in a swarm of five with Autothrusters for arc dodging and a free evade from the new upgrade…

New Upgrade Cards
TIE/v1 - While Sienar Fleet Systems had the design of the TIE Advanced (almost) perfect around the time the Rebel Alliance destroyed the first Death Star, when the Advanced Prototype was released in 15BBY, the title of choice was the TIE/v1.
This upgrade, which is only for the TIE Advanced Prototype, gives any of the four included pilots a free Evade action when they acquire a Target Lock. for 1 point This means that anyone Pilot Skill 4 or higher (Sorry Sienar Test Pilots) can have a fantastic action economy when using Push the Limit on their Advanced Prototype, as, combined with the Boost action, will allow Rudor or the generic Baron to get into Target Lock range, and a Barrel Roll will keep The Inquisitor out of Range 2, activating Autothrusters if targeted and still benefitting from his innate ability.

XX-23 S-thread Tracers - Sienar’s proprietary tracking technology, the XX-23 Tracers come in at 1 point and, if they hit, allow the user to pass out a free Target Lock to every friendly ship at Range 1-2. In TIE swarms, this has the potential to change the two-dice TIE Fighters and three-dice Interceptors into monsters against the right target. There is a chance it might be FAQ’ed to clarify whether or not the ship needs a Targeting Computer to claim the Target Lock, but time will tell.

Guidance Chips - a new upgrade in the modifications category, Guidance Chips is free and allows a blank result to be changed to a hit (in the case of ships with a Primary Attack Value of 2 or less) or a hit to a critical hit (for ship with a PAV of 3 or more) when using Missiles or Torpedoes. Because this is free, it is likely to feature heavily in new builds, as a way of making munitions more viable, potentially even changing the feel of the game by including more Missiles and Torpedoes in tournament lists.

I took a TIE Advanced Prototype to a Store Championship recently, as part of a 6-TIE mini-swarm.
My build was as follows:-
The Inquisitor (25) Autothrusters (2) TIE/v1 (1) and XX-23 S-thread Tracers (1) totalling 30 points, paired with:-
Howlrunner (18)
4x Obsidian Squadron Pilots (52)

I faced a variety of ships and playstyles, most of which I was able to mount a challenge against with the Inquisitor and TIE Fighters. In some games, the Tracers came into play against the larger ships with low agility values, such as the TIE Punisher and the Millennium Falcon. The build, however, does struggle against high-powered ships, as well as my own inability to roll dice successfully. 
The TIE Advanced Prototype is definitely going to be a ship to try out in many Imperial lists, as it is cheaper than it’s cousin, the TIE Advanced. It does still struggle with the problems the TIE Advanced has, however, and the biggest problem I found if its inability to perform a 3-koiogran turn, a maneuver which would’ve not only saved my Inquisitor in a game against a Ghost/Phantom combination, but would’ve also ensured the destruction of the Phantom, scoring me valuable points and possibly securing the win, but it’s brand-new, and further play will iron out any kinks with my flying, I hope.
I’d also recommend it to any Rebel players looking for Guidance Chips to pick it up, as it does still include the Deadeye EPT and another set of Homing Missiles, which would pair up really well with Guidance Chips. 

Overall a really good ship with some strengths, and a few weaknesses that experienced pilots will be able to counter.

I’d recommend picking one up from your Friendly Local Game Shop. I got mine from Vault 14 in Doncaster.

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