Friday, November 13, 2015

Commander's Guide - Guest Article - Imperial Class Star Destroyer

I was going to write up a Commander's Guide for the Imperial Class Star Destroyer, but it doesn't seem fair to write an article for a ship I've never flown before.  Though I have had the honor of flying against it, at Sullust and beyond, because David Sciulli won it, and had been one of my local regular opponents.  He was nice enough to ask me to write his own article on the ISD.

So without further ado, here's David's take on the Imperial's newest centerpiece, the Imperial Class Star Destroyer.

It Has Arrived

You feel the hairs on the back of your neck begin to rise instinctively, as the familiar yet-still ominous brass refrain of the Imperial March begins to pound in your mind. This is the response that one has as they see the looming figure of the Imperial-Class Star Destroyer being deployed from across the table. Finally, after the release of the Core-Set and one additional wave of capital ships, the most iconic vessel in the Star Wars galaxy (aside from the Millennium Falcon) has arrived.

The centerpiece of your fleet, and most iconic ship in Star Wars.

“The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away."

While Wilhuff Tarkin was speaking in reference to the dissolution of the Imperial Senate, he may as well have been espousing the virtues of the Imperial-Class Star Destroyer. While it shares the same surname as its Clone-Wars era predecessor Victory-Class, the ISD is upgraded in nearly every way. While the Victories may be slightly more efficient in terms of points, nothing matching the raw combination of firepower, speed, and toughness of the ISD.

“We can’t repel firepower of that magnitude!”

Nothing, save for a heavily upgraded MC-80 with Ackbar at its helm, can touch the ISD for pure annihilation-potential. The ISD-I, clocking in at 110 points, is armed with 3 Red dice, 3 Black dice, and 2 Blue from its frontal batteries, offering a staggering combination of accuracy and firepower at close range. It hits almost as hard as the dreaded Gladiator from its sides as well, throwing 2 Blacks and 2 Reds. Even its rear arc is comparable to the best of the Rebel’s smaller ships, putting out 1 Red and 2 Blues.

The ISD-II is a beast of another color, truly. Four Reds and Blues from the front give it a terrifying ability to reach out and decimate even the hardiest of defenses, with an accurate barrage that can by-pass tokens with frightening regularity. It replaces the Black die from its sides with Blues as well, affording it the ability to inflict pain on ships that slither by its wide front arc.

Crush all opposition in front of you.

Staying Power

The first and only large ship thus far in the Imperial Navy, the ISD is built to stick around. Boasting four shields on its frontal arc, with three on each side and two in the rear, a concerted effort must be made to punch through. If a fleet manages that task, the real work begins- eleven hull points guard the pride of the Imperial Navy, and if Motti is in command, an additional three points make an already-daunting task seem that much more impossible.

Defensively, the ISD comes with a single brace, two redirects, and the new contain token, which can be used to negate the standard critical effect (sorry, Salvation). The redundant defense tokens are a prime opportunity for a Vader-lead fleet to shine, or offer Captain Needa a home, changing a token to an evade if presented with an abundance of red dice.


While the ships of the Rebellion have thus far been given the advantage of being able to out-pace those of the Empire, the ISD changes that. With the ability to race around the board at speed 3, only losing a click at 1 while doing so, the ISD is both scarily fast and maneuverable, much more so that its fish-faced rival, the MC-80. The top-end speed and large base ensures that the ISD can hunt down ships that may attempt to flee its grasp, and flee they shall.

Fully-Armed and Operational

Not one of the local cruisers, mind you.
Both versions of the ISD offer a wide range of upgrades. Each can take an officer, weapons team, offensive retrofit, ion cannon, and turbolasers, with the ISD-I carrying two offensive retrofits, while the II gains a defensive one instead. This can lead to an absurd amount of points being spent on the ship, and the combinations that will undoubtedly see the field should add equal parts variety and terror to the game. Leading shots is great on a Vader-less ISD-II, while Screed will have a field day with NK-7 Ion Cannons. If Needa is on-board, Reroute Circuits can wreak havoc at will.


The Avenger (5pts) is overwhelming when paired with a ship that attacks first with Overload Pulse, keeping the defender from spending exhausted defense tokens. The Relentless (3pts) allows admirals more reactionary commands, reducing the number of command dials from 3 to 2. Finally, the most expensive title is the Devastator, which sees the already terrifying frontal arc gain an additional blue die for each discarded defense token once per round. It’s an expensive title at 10 points, and one that doesn’t come into play as regularly as its Victory counterpart, but could prove invaluable as the ship takes a barrage of shots.

The Pride of the Imperial Navy

There is no conceivable role that the ISD cannot fill. Its robust array of possible upgrades allows it to be the jack-of-all trades, master of…well, all! While it may not be the best use of its considerable talents, the ISD can perform well as an anti-squadron vessel, with the ISD-I armed with a black and blue die, and the ISD-II with two blues. Equipping a wing commander, ruthless strategist, and quad laser turrets will see the ISD reliably putting out damage on its own as well as boosting your squadrons’ abilities to cope with enemy fighters. It is also a great carrier option as well, with a native squadron rating of 4 and the ability to house Admiral Chiraneau and boosted comms for additional flexibility. And as one would expect, it is the ideal flag ship for any fleet.


The Imperial-Class Star Destroyer was the reason I started playing Armada. The sheer size, majesty, and terrifying power the ship projects are the fabric from which young dreams are made of. Having the pleasure of commanding one of these vessels, I can safely attest to its glory. Wave 2 will be a beautiful thing, and the addition of the ISD makes the universe of Armada feel complete.


  1. My thoughts exactly, thanks for the great article!

  2. Killed the cheese wedge on its first outing in local space with Ackbar's 2 red dice, a MC80 and a AF2. Bloody scary lump of plastic though!

    Keep posting this stuff!

    1. You bump into the problem I keep running into. The Empire looks scary at first glance, but due to the hefty price tags, we have to often forgo the upgrades, or stick to our small ships to counter the rebel swarms.

      Those rebels can easily fit an MC-80, and then two assault frigates plus a butt ton of fighters, Ackbar, and Home One, which results in them have extremely potent and accurate broadside arcs.

      Combined with the ease of focus firing an Imperial bow section, without actually being in the Imperial bow sections fire arc, they can maximize their damage spread between multiple ships, without endangering them in the same way if they were faced with more reasonable defensive arcs.

      My ISD can not really get anything in front of it, because the rebels reasonable avoid it, but they figured out how to sit off my bow quarter, on either side of my ship, and pound into my bow with 5-7 die broadsides.

      I hate that the Empire, if it wants to win, is stuck to resorting to Gladiator spam.

    2. I am going to have to have Dave respond to this, as he has been having more than a small bit of sucess with multiple ISDs frustrating me (and others) in recent games.

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