With wave 7 and the September 4th release fast approaching, and wave 8 recently announced, the Raider dropping into stores is one of many things being talked about heavily by the X-wing community as of now, and yesterday at Black Knight I took a few of the new cards for a spin. My list was as follows:
Darth Vader with Tie Advanced X1 Title, advanced targeting computer, engine upgrade, predator
Juno Eclipse with Tie Advanced X1 Title, advanced targeting computer, engine upgrade, veteran instincts
Omnicron Group pilot with Emperor Palpatine
My thing was to turn Vader into a heavy damage dealer using predator since keeping a lock on an opponent would stop him from using it, while using Juno as an arc dodger by making her PS 10 with EU, and have the Palpatine Shuttle provide support.
My first opponent ran the following list:
Whisper with veteran instincts, advanced cloaking device, Mara Jade
Alpha Squadron pilot with auto thrusters X3
Another mobile squad, although this one had a much more clear centrepiece.
I hadn’t seen a Phantom on the table for a while, and it was only my second time facing one since the fix FFG made. My opponent won initiative choice, taking initiative, preferring to shoot first and take advantage of advanced cloaking device, but allowing the highly mobile Vader to move after the Phantom.
I started by having my shuttle far from the action to swoop in later while Juno and Vader flanked the Interceptors. Vader damaged Whisper, who was coming in from a distance, and then the two advanced were able to blow apart an Interceptor with help from Palpatine’s re-roll, but soon regretted my aggression, as due to a combination of my opponent having the foresight to know where he’d be, plus poor green dice, Vader got blown up in a single round of fire.
After that, Juno got behind the other two Interceptors, with Whisper right behind her, and the shuttle finally in the fray. My opponent was able to place Whisper perfectly, getting close enough for Mara to effect both my remaining ships, but luckily for me, botched the range 1 shot on Juno. Whisper was then forced to K-turn and took more damage, and couldn’t cloak as a result, allowing the shuttle to finish her off and Juno nabbed the second Interceptor. The game finished as Juno chased the final Interceptor around, taking full advantage of her ability, as whenever I turned, I was able to default to a 2-turn and then pick whether to change it to a 1 or 3, or keep it at 2. Engine upgrade helped me further close the gap, but having that 1-hard is a life saver. One Juno got behind the Interceptor, it was over quick, as every shot was boosted by the advanced targeting computer, and either already had a couple of extra hits, or was boosted by Palpatine.
My second opponent was also playing Empire, and had the following list:
Vader Identical to mine
Commander Kenkirk with Determination, Emperor Palpatine, Ysanne Isard, Seismic charges, engine upgrade.
All three of my ships were facing his Vader, as Kenkirk was in the background for support. Again, Vader was the target of my opponent’s assault, and in an heated exchanged lost an attack die, but responded by stripping shields, allowing the shuttle to land crit on his Vader making him PS 0. I was prepared to surround his Vader with all three of my ships after he turned around, but instead he did a 5-straight and boosted away, leaving ship ships in his dust.
With Kenkirk coming back toward me, I focused all three of my ships on him, stripping his shields and taking a bite out of his hull, with a damaged Vader hanging on for dear life taking in fire. Both of us sustained fire, as I took Kenkirk down further, but not before he took down my Vader, and forced my shuttle to have multiple stress.
His Vader then returned to the fight, as Kenkirk dropped a bomb on Juno, forcing me onto the defensive, where I stayed when my shuttle bumped Vader and landed on an asteroid, while taking fire from the Decimator. My only offence came from Juno tagging the decimator, which did deliver some direct hits, but also some pilot crits shrugged by determination. With Juno struggling to chase the Decimator while Vader was on her tail, I had a hard time deciding when to use Palpatine each turn, but this was made easier with Juno able to use her ability to arc dodge Vader. After she failed to get far enough away, using her ability to turn a 4-k into a 5-k, Vader had her lined up full of modifiers for a range 3 shot, but the shuttle was able to take a focus-locked range 1 shot on Vader to crit—direct hit!!! Vader down!!!
At this point, I was able to counter attack, having Juno chase down Kenkirk, forcing my opponent to use Palpatine for defence. He held on longer than expected due to Isard providing an extra evade per turn, but Juno and Palpatine again emerged victorious.
Both Juno and Palpatine proved to be amazing. Juno choosing moderate movement when she’s not sure gives you so many options, and EU and being PS 10 only adds to that, and advanced targeting computer gives her a respectable attack. Palpatine’s ability is insane, doing or preventing a damage each turn, as well as being able to flip over certain crits. With shield upgrade costing 4 points, you’d think that 8 points would be equivalent to 2 shields. Palpatine being 8 points is equivalent to 1 shield per turn, with you choosing whether its you keeping one or an opponent losing one. Over the course of the game, that’s several HP. I’m willing to let anyone not seeing that power pay the price for their lack of vision.
With wave 7 coming soon, there’s going to be a lot to experiment with, but I still want to fly a lot of the other pilots coming with the advanced, although both Juno and Palpatine have me tempted to go from a scum-lover to an Imperial.
May the force be with you, pilot.