I'm thinking over some considerations for Imperial lists. I think there's a sweet spot for the Empire at 7 ships, but I don't have enough TIEs to run it (nor do I care to spend another $30-$40 getting there.) So that leaves me thinking about running either 5 or 6 ships--and the difference between a 5-ship list and a 6-ship list is, to me, whether Vader is included. So the question is whether he's worth displacing two other TIEs.
One of his biggest advantages is that Focused Concussion Missiles in the first salvo make for a devastating first strike. Vader can prep and fire in a single round, without needing support from another pilot and without telegraphing the target to your opponent. He'll cripple Biggs or Wedge or a mirror Vader, strip focus and shields from a Y-wing, or destroy a Howlrunner or Mithel outright… and he can often do it before the target gets to shoot back.
His other main appeal is the double action. It means he can always afford to adopt both Evade and Focus/Marksmanship, or Barrel Roll and Focus. That makes him both consistently more powerful on offense and consistently harder to hit than the already-evasive base TIE.
But a Tempest Pilot and an Academy Pilot are almost the same cost (and an Imperial list can almost always find those extra one or two points). The pair have just as many actions, are about as durable, and can fire an extra 2-dice shot in every round. For those extra points, you get the same number of actions as Vader, plus an extra three hull points, plus an extra attack every round. The Tempest Pilot's missiles, if they're included, aren't going to be as powerful or as sudden as Vader's, but the difference is relatively small. The difference is even more stark when you consider the number of TIE/ln pairs that come in at or under Vader's base cost.
So I'd like to hear from some more experienced Imperial players: how much is Vader worth, compared to his cost? Is he a serious candidate for inclusion in a 6-ship list, or is it better to leave him off and spend the points elsewhere?