Monday, July 6, 2015

Commander's Guide - TIE Interceptor

Hello again everyone.  We last talked about the two HEAVY squadrons of the game, the Imperial TIE Bomber and the Rebel Y-Wing.  We're now going to move into the COUNTER squadrons from each side, starting today with the TIE Interceptor.

Counter is more effective when engaged with ships that have a poor anti-squadron attack.

TIE Interceptor

The generic Interceptor is the fastest squadron on the Imperial side, having a natural squadron Speed of 5, making it capable of greater distance than even a Corvette can do traveling at ship Speed 4.  The Interceptor also leads the Imperial side in anti-squadron capability, having a total anti-squadron dice of 4 Blue, or 2 average damage per attack.  

Also unique on the Imperial side to the TIE Interceptor is the COUNTER keyword, which is paired with a "2" - allowing it to roll a 2 Blue dice anti-squadron attack against any other squadron that attacks it.  As this is an attack, both Howlrunner's ability and SWARM, the other Interceptor keyword, affect the roll, making the Interceptor, assuming it is being attacked by an enemy squadron, one of the most cost efficient squadrons in the game.

Because COUNTER triggers on enemy squadron attacks, and the Interceptor only has 3 hull, it is most effective when it is engaged with enemies that have a poor anti-squadron attack, like Y-Wings or TIE Bombers - after all, a dead Interceptor does get one last COUNTER off, but doesn't get to attack again.  So while the Interceptor might not be any tougher than a TIE Fighter, and not as points efficient as the TIE Fighter, it makes up those points against an enemy that is determined to attack it, and must attack it repeatedly.

The Interceptor is not an anti-ship platform though, rolling the same 1 Blue against ships that the TIE Fighter does, with less Interceptors for the same number of points.

Soontir Fel

The Baron Fel doesn't add anything to the TIE Interceptor in terms of extra dice, or different colors of dice.  For 18 points, 7 more than the standard Interceptor, he does add a bit more survivability in a Brace token and a Scatter token.

What he does do, however, is give all other squadrons around him the statistical equivalent of COUNTER 2; that is he does 1 damage (the same average as an unmodified COUNTER 2) to any squadron that attacks anything that isn't him.  Oddly enough, this works out to less average damage for that attack compared to attacking him directly since by the very definition the other squadron is also engaged with the enemy, and he gets the SWARM reroll bonus, but a more steady stream of damage.  The damage also isn't an attack, so it will bypass Gallant Haven's damage reduction, much the same way Mauler Mithel's ability bypasses it.

There is an obvious synergy of flying him with TIE Advanced and their ESCORT ability (that I will cover shortly), but a slightly overlooked synergy is flying him with other TIE Interceptors - your opponent can either chose to attack the 3 Hull Interceptors with no defense tokens and suffer a SWARMed COUNTER 2 attack, plus a bonus damage from Soontir, or attack Soontir directly and deal with a SWARMed COUNTER 2 attack and his two defense tokens, keeping your 11 point investments alive longer.

Overall the Interceptor is a great all-around squadron for it's cost.  It has good anti-squadron fire for the price, only beaten out by the TIE Fighter, for dealing with enemy squadrons and achieving superiority.  It discourages enemy squadrons from attacking it with COUNTER 2, which also helps it lock down and eliminate enemy BOMBERs, which it can reach very quickly with its Speed 5.  It can also use that high speed to engage other enemy squadrons looking to do the same to its own BOMBER force.

Protecting a Gladiator from B-Wing Ambush

The one thing it cannot do effectively or efficiently is anti-ship attacks, but no Commander worthy of their command should be putting TIE Interceptors into their list with the intent of them destroying enemy ships - the squadron is a Space Superiority / Interceptor squadron, through and through.

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