Tag Archive for Imperial Aces

Clutch of Aces: Best Pilots in the Empire

I’ve talked so much about this squadron I think its about time I’ve shared it with you all.  Here they are; the Clutch of Aces;

“Leave them to me. I will deal with them myself.”

- Darth Vader


The TIE Interceptor is a vicious offensive ship.  Quick, agile and packing the punch that Imperial ships had been lacking before Wave II.  It remains an offensive go to for Imperials, though its higher cost than a standard TIE Fighter has prevented it from taking over, which is good for Rebels because its difficult to compete with such speed, maneuverability and agility.  Have no illusions, however.  The Interceptor, just as its predecessor, the TIE Fighter, is a fragile ship.  If you take one hit, you should be worried.  Most Rebel ships can shrug off a hit or two; TIE variants are in trouble when they take damage.  Despite this, they are still able to field with greater numbers and are hard to hit if flown right.  I’d hate to come against a swarm of Interceptors.  Here, we have two of the best Interceptor pilots in the Empire (until Imperial Aces comes out and Turr can be replaced with a more vicious pilot): the Baron, Soontir Fel and Turr Phennir.  And the TIE Advanced is a shielded heavy TIE with the ability to equip a missile.  It’s stats are comparable to the X-wing while still being more maneuverable, quicker and more agile.  It swaps weapon power for agility and here we have one of the best pilots in the galaxy; Darth Vader.  So let’s run down this list and examine these pilots and why they’re a dangerous combo.

“Glad to have you with us, Captain Phennir.”

- Soontir Fel


Turr Phennir was personally recruited into the elite 181st Imperial Fighter Group by the Baron himself, Soontir Fel.  He rose through the rank to become executive officer of the Group and prided himself on the killing of Rebel pilots (after all, he is an Ace).  Phennir is an elusive pilot (which makes me wonder why I have such bad luck with him) and with the Interceptors increased weaponry, he is a deadly predator.  We’ve already touched on the Interceptor’s ridiculous maneuverability and speed.  You can often get into firing range on the first move with these starfighters.  It should not be hard getting into good positions on most ships, particularly predominantly slower Rebel ships.  Turr is best at preying on lower Pilot Skills.  The reason being is that you can bring yourself into the enemy’s firing arc and stare them in the eye with your guns.  After Phennir takes his shot, he gets a free Boost or Barrel Roll.  This is great because you can choose risky positions, then skirt away.  And with Push the Limit on this ship, you can get even further away.  Often, my plan is to fly into the opponent’s face, head on.  I take my shot, then Barrel Roll, Push the Limit and Boost right pass them.  It’s really frustrating for the opposing player, who was hoping they get to exact revenge for the damage you just dealt them, then my ship just buzzes pass them without a second though.  Phennir should be used as a pest.  It’s a common strategy, and a smart strategy, to focus fire, eliminate ships one by one instead of spreading the firepower around; but with Phennir, use him as an opportunist.  This ability of his to keep moving after he’s taken a shot is very thematic of the films and highly useful strategy wise.  Those of us who remember (and still watch) the films remember those TIE swarms coming as the screen, laying down stray shots and whizzing on by, not giving a second thought to us at all.  That’s how Phennir should be used here.  Blow through the field, laying down fire and running away after you tag a target.  Make Turr an annoyance, forcing your opponent to decide whether to chase him or go after the heavier targets like Vader or Fel.  This will split their focus, possibly disrupt their focus fire strategy, and keep your fragile ships on the board.

“Another day, another chance to kill Rebels.”

- Turr Phennir


The Baron, Soontir Fel, grew up a Corellian farmer, eventual reviver of the 181st Imperial Fighter Wing, and went on to be bestowed the title of Baron by the Emperor himself.  Fel is an explicitly excellent pilot in anybody’s hands.  It is difficult to be bad when you have Soontir Fel at the helm.  First and foremost, there is rarely a situation where he will not receive an Action.  You receive a free Focus anytime you gain a Stress, giving you an incentive to perform red maneuvers.  And even if you don’t perform a red maneuver, Push the Limit allows you to tack on a stress anyway, allowing you to do three Actions (technically).  In any given situation, you will have a Focus at your disposal.  I said before that I have a high survivability rate with Soontir and that is because he has so many tokens on him.  He has three Agility, which is great by itself.  I wise choice to keep him alive is select a Dodge token as your first Action, guaranteeing you one cancelled hit.  Push the Limit for whatever you like, a Boost or Barrel Roll to get into better position or get out of someones arc, or even a Focus.  That extra action earns you another Focus.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how great that is. Let’s say you roll a dodge, a Focus and a blank on defense.  You have two dodge, thanks to that Dodge token, turn that Focus into another dodge, thanks to your spare Focus.  You’ve evaded the average attack despite a poor dice roll.  That’s just the survivability aspect.  You have a spare Focus for offense, you have your ridiculous mobility and the fact that you move last and attack first places you in prime position to dismantle the opposition.  The Baron is nearly untouchable and difficult to get away from.  I’ve pulled into Range 1 of heavy hitting Rebels like the YT-1300 or X-wings with full confidence that I’d survive because Soontir has so many skills on him that it would be really difficult to take him out.  I’ve run alternate builds where I’ve put Elusiveness and Stealth Device on him and it made him that much more difficult to kill.  Soontir Fel is going to be your leader in this group, and undoubtedly the prime target, despite not being the right hand of the Emperor as our next pilot is.

“Fel is the best Imperial pilot alive.”

- Tycho Celchu


An ace pilot since his childhood and dark lord of the Sith, Darth Vader is clearly one of the best pilots in the Empire and galaxy.  Vader’s dual actions makes him an incredible pilot.  I will mention this; I had push the limit on him before.  Three actions is ridiculous.  I will explain why I swapped it for Daredevil in a moment, but imagine that many actions from a single ship.  Just like Soontir Fel, Vader becomes a difficult target to hit and an offensive threat on the same hand.  However, I chose Daredevil to better suit his combat maneuverability.  Concussion Missiles are a sure hit with Darth Vader.  With two Actions, you can Target Lock and Focus in the same turn.  This is important because you cover all your bases on the Concussion Missiles.  You can get one of three results on that attack dice (I say three instead of four because we’re only concerned with hitting the target right now, the difference between a hit and a crit is unimportant right now); hit, focus or blank.  One of your blank results become a hit, so now we’re down to two outcome; hits and Focus.  You have a Focus token to spare.  You’re nearly guaranteed four hits with these missiles coming off of Vader.  Against most targets, this is lethal.  Against Rebels, you’re eliminating shields and possibly destroying smaller ships like A-wings and X-wings, if one of the two damages that get through the shields is a critical hit/direct hit.  And we’re talking your first shot, here.  You’re getting a charged up shot off at Range 3 before anyone else can shoot.  Now here is why I swapped Push the Limit for Daredevil; after a TIE Advanced gets off those Concussion Missiles, your firepower reduces significantly.  You want to be able to get off a significant amount of shots without having to sacrifice your own.  Daredevil allows you to perform some spectacular flying and positioning.  For example, you can bank for two pass or by someone, Barrel Roll or Focus and then take a hard one.  That virtually turned you around and gave you an action.  A lot of time I would do a two hard turn, Barrel Roll in and then hard one turn and that would give me a turn-around and place me into great range of a ship.  It’s something I would suggest trying because it makes for very unexpected maneuvers that your opponent cannot predict.  I really liked the Push the Limit on Vader, but the maneuverability that daredevil gives you makes you hard to keep up with and a lethal threat.  Again, you shoot before everyone else and with your superior ability to move about the board, you are rarely in a bad position.

“I have you now!”

- Darth Vader

I’ve had tremendous success with this list, despite my misfortunes with Turr Phennir.  This group mobility about the board makes it hard for Rebel and Imperials alike to keep up with you and bring their guns to bear down on you.  I’ve played several games where the opponent has not been able to shoot back at me for several turns.  This Clutch of Aces is as a great offensive list and has a high success rate for someone who has great piloting skills.  Its fun to dart around the board and see just how diverse of a position you could end up in with the abilities of all these pilots.  Try it out and see how it works for you!

The Weekend Project: Emperor’s Guard Tie Interceptor – Part 2/2

Welcome back!

Well, hopefully you caught the first half of this 2 part project – but if you didnt, you can catch it here: http://www.starwarsxwing.com/the-weekend-project-emperors-guard-tie-interceptor-part-12/

We’re going to be getting into the painting of my Emperor’s Guard Tie, but I quickly wanted to address FFG’s announcement of Imperial Aces. Rather than being disheartened after just having completed the project, I was excited by Monday’s announcement as it really allows me to play my newly converted ship as an actual Royal Guard Interceptor (lets call it RGI for short)!

This may be personal bias, but I do prefer my own representation – not to take away from FFG’s – but I’ve always liked my ships a little rougher around the edges, showing they’ve seen a little action. Not to mention I think the winglets – which FFG’s doesnt include – really make the model stand out and look superior to the normal tie, besides the fact that the winglets are canon and *should* be there anyways.

First things first, priming. NEVER SKIP THIS STEP. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a foundation, for both layering on top of and the long term life of the paint job. Army Painter has become my favorite company for primers, and I highly recommend them, as they apply evenly and smooth.


The next step is blocking in the red, for which I used Games Workshops’ ‘Blood Red’ (though they have redone their paint line since I bought this, and it may have a different name). Pretty simple, and don’t worry about being too careful yet as the red is easy enough to paint over. Next though is filling in the wing panels with black, which you do need a little more patience for. Precision definitely wins out over speed, as mistakes with the black are harder to cover up.


After we have the main colors, it’s time to start with the accents. I started with GW’s Codex Grey for the details.


Okay so, most of the work is done. Next up I used a black wash over the entire model to give it that grittier look I love. I use the wash liberally and make sure it gets into all the creases, giving the model depth without much work at all. And look how much of a difference it makes! and its soo easy!


Next up I use a little skull white and drybrush very lightly around some of the corners and ridges, giving it the look as though some of the paint is starting to wear/chip from all the action our fighter is seeing in space.

And after adding a little gloss to the windshield, here is the final product!




So, thats it. There really are special techniques or tricks used for this paint job, just sticking to the standard tools really gave it the look I was going for!

Now that we’re all done with the project I will mention that I am a commission painter for this and other miniature games. I’m always open to taking on new projects and would love to hear from you about anything you might be interested in getting done! Feel free to email me at nowhiringhenchmen@gmail.com with any questions you might have.

Also, please check out this and other Star Wars X-wing ships I’ve repainted on ebay here:

Pinder’s Custom X-Wing Paint Jobs
As a little thank you to those who read this blog, if you bid on or commission any ships I’ll be throwing in 4 fully painted RGI winglets with each item – as long as you mention this post. They are specifically made to be mounted on FFG’s red interceptor once the Imperial Aces are released, finishing off your RGI with ease!

Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed it!





Imperial Aces: Official Game Changers

Hey everybody! If you haven’t seen yet, which I am doubtful of, FFG is releasing another expansion.  First, I just want to say how happy I am that this game is constantly growing.  Wave III was a big deal with the coming of the B-wing and now this Wave III.5 is going to make a huge splash.  Not necessarily for the models.  I know the groups that I play in mostly mods and paint their own ships so Blood stripes on the 181st aces and Royal Guard Pilots are nothing new to me.  But the upgrades?  Wow…  I have an Imperial list I run I call the Clutch of Aces (that I’m sure I’ll talk about later), and these upgrades would make them even more vicious than before.

I’m going to jump right into this and take a look at two of the revealed named pilots.  By the way, pilot skill 6 on an unnamed pilot (Royal Guard Pilot)? Crazy!  Anyway, Kir Kanos, member of the elite Emperor’s Royal Guard:

“I’d like to propose a toast honoring a hero of the true Empire, someone whose devotion to the Emperor is legendary. Gentlemen, show your respect to the last surviving member of the Royal Guard — the living emblem of Palpatine’s rule, Kir Kanos.”

In a game where getting all your enemies ships is the core objective, adding another “automatic” hit result is huge.  Despite the lack of upgrades available in the bar, the upgrade possibilities on this ship are still ridiculous thanks to him being Skill 6.  I wanted to talk about the upgrade cards later, but I feel its important to mention them with Kanos.  Royal Guard Tie allows you to put two Modifications on your Interceptor at no cost (for this upgrade I mean).  So that allows for a Hull Upgrade, which is handy on these Interceptors.  It’s difficult to keep them alive when the staple of a lot of Rebel builds are fighters with 3 base attack.  One wrong move could put you in the arc of a heavy Rebel hitter and your Interceptor’s gone.  Hull Upgrades reduces this likelihood at least for a moment.  In addition, throw a Stealth Device on your Interceptor.  Very difficult not to dodge part of an attack with so many green die in your hand.  I’m already thinking forward to placing some of these of the Baron, Soontir Fel, who is already difficult to kill in a skilled pilots hand.  But let me not get ahead of myself.  So here you have an Interceptor who can take a bit more hits than usual and deal out some (almost) guaranteed damage.  After all, with base attack 3 on these fighters and an average of less than 2 (1.66, not to get statistical here) defense die against Rebels and a little over 2 (2.3) for Imperials, you’re looking at high odds of landing damage here.

On to Carnor Jax, a Royal Guard and aspiring Sith Lord.

“The galaxy has changed—it’s mine for the taking! I will rule the Empire…I will sit on Palpatine’s throne.”

―Carnor Jax

A very ambitious soldier, Sith apprentice to the Sith Lord successor to Lord Palpatine and clearly one heck of a pilot.  So great of a pilot, anyone flying too close to him couldn’t focus or perform evasive maneuvers.  That’s a serious reputation when the pilots around you start shaking in their ships.  Great ability, plus he’s able to equip an Elite Pilot skill.  It’s getting expensive, but for obvious reasons.  These are definitely seek and destroyers at this point and you’re going to have to pay for them to pack that punch you are desiring. Push the Limit is clearly worth the point investment for a focus and complementary action.  I’d suggest a hull upgrade again because being alive to shoot at something is helpful. And if you felt like sinking some real points into it to make it a vicious offensive threat, slapping a Targeting Computer on there wouldn’t be a waste of 2 points.  It would be real difficult for enemies not to take some solid hits when they can’t spend any tokens at close range combat with Jax and the combo of TL and focus working on your side.  Clearly, a big drawback is the fact that you have to get in Range I, meaning you’re really like to be taking some Range I return fire.  But the game is based on maneuvering, though, so clearly, pick good maneuvers while flying such a fragile ship.

So let’s check out these upgrades.  No need to go into the unnamed pilots, like the Royal Guard Pilots.  They’re Saber Squadron pilots with two more pilot skill for just a point more.  I can see RGPs easily phasing out SSPs, just for the pilot skill.  Then there appears to be three other pilots in the expansion, ranking PS 4, 7 and what looks to be an 8 but just as well could be an 8.  Either way, there looks to be a vicious wave on incoming Interceptors that is going to change the game plan for opponents.

Anyway, on to upgrades.  I’ve already glossed over Royal Guard Tie, allowing for two modifications on Tie Interceptors with pilot skill of 4 or higher, Hull Upgrades, adding one more point to your hull, and Targeting Computers, adding the target Lock icon to your action bar.  No need to sing the praises of the RGT Upgrade.  It speaks for itself.  My concern with any TIE variant outside of the Advanced and Bomber, is survivability.  With X- and B-wings base attacks at 3 and al the missile and torpedo combos on the other side, three hull for TIE and no shields, even the two hull and two shields of an A-wing, is a risk to field.  Hull Upgrades is a welcome sight.  Targeting Computer is also a nice for TIE/LN and TIE/IN.  There isn’t a Rebel ship without it, so no go for that side, but having an Interceptor with Target Lock capabilities is a nice boost to the offensive threat.

The only new Upgrade I didn’t mention was the Opportunist, which is virtually the Pilot Skill Expose, except you don’t have to take an action to use it and you don’t have to sacrifice defense for it.  To me, losing an agility dice was a big drawback, as I am a mainly Rebel player.  Losing an agility die meant dropping to one or even no defense die at times.  For both Rebel and Imperial players, this Pilot Skill somewhat alleviates that problem.  Attach this to your A-Wing or Interceptor, which is virtually made completely of green maneuvers, and the stress you take really isn’t a concern.  Add it to a B-wing (with a Heavy Laser Cannon, perhaps) and roll 5 die anytime you fire your weapons.  Loving it already.

I’m sure we’re all super excited for this coming expansion.  I’m really interested in seeing Opportunist in action, myself.  One shot killing things is a good feeling and I can see Opportunist increasing those odds, especially on someone like Jax or Wedge.  These are definitely game changers.

Thanks for the read!