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Vineheart01

Imperial "Budget Ace" debate - Interceptor, Phantom, or Striker?

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Of all the imperial ships the Interceptor, Phantom, and Striker are the most similar to each other. They all have 3 attack, fairly open/easy dial, roughly the same price, and some dope abilities. But which one is better?

TIE Interceptor: Saber Squadron Ace (P4, 40pts)
Cm3k6Hu.png
3/3/3/0 Statline
Upgrades: 
Talent, 2x Mods
Actions: Focus, Evade, Roll, Boost
Ship Perk: Any action can be linked to a boost or roll.

TIE Phantom: Sigma Squadron Ace (P4, 46pts)
8LlQVpH.png
3/2/2/2 Statline
Upgrades: Talent, Mod, Sensor, Crew
Actions: Focus, Evade, Roll, Cloak
Ship Perk: Stygium, get an evade after decloak and spend evade to recloak at end of round.

TIE Striker: Black Squadron Ace (P3, 38pts)
tUU2PrV.png
3/2/4/0 Statline
Upgrades:
 Talent, Mod, Gunner, Device
Actions: Focus, Evade, Roll
Ship Perk: If not stressed, before you reveal dial, must do a 1fwd or 1bank maneuver.

--So what is different about these ships? The super obvious one is upgrades. The Interceptor might as well not have any upgrade slots since the Mod slot right now is utterly useless on a 3agi small base. All the upgrades he might want are 7+ pts on a frame that if caught will go poof quickly. I dont think im alone when i think the Interceptor with Predator is the only way you're going to see a loadout on them, even if youre using Soontir.
--The other is their shtick is completely different in terms of mobility. One boosts + rolls, one decloaks, and one "doesnt boost before it moves" - all of which are mobility based boons, but function completely different even though they tend to have the same end result: i dodged your arc and/or i got you in my arc still.

--Interceptor's main strength is its one of the few ships that can dodge a firing arc super easy with actions, since except for perhaps a few specific pilots only the Awing and Interceptor can natively boost + roll. But this imposes a problem, since this is the only real strength this thing has it must go second to actually benefit from it in majority of situations, especially against turrets who can just rotate their arc in response. Which means unless you are using Soontir, the Interceptors often wont be dodging very many attack arcs. At a whopping 14pts higher than the regular TIE fighter Black Squadron Ace, i dont see a point in using 2 interceptors vs 3 Academy TIES since right now number of ships > big bad ship most of the time and the Interceptor's main strength is negated at this init level most of the time.

--Phantom has two strengths really, in exchange for not attacking it can become 4agi which can be a major pain in the butt in 2.0 since evade token is a die mod now. Its one of the few ships that can evade the heavy hitting attacks, but it has to be cloaked so its not attacking, thus not a foolproof benefit. The other strength is the 2speed boost/roll lets it swing so wide or launch so far up the board it can be difficult to track down, even if it moves before you do. Unlike the interceptor, cloaking is designed with the intent of going before anybody so the init battle doesnt affect it one bit, unless your final position was super close to someone who can arcdodge of course. Swing wide, aim for R2, and this is much harder to do. The downside is its base cost is ~6pts more than the Interceptor, which can easily be the difference between having 2 bareboned ones or 1 with a little more upgrades.
--The phantom also kinda suffers from doing red moves as it will interrupt their Stygium chain - you can still cloak while stressed since their ability is not an action on that part, but next turn before you can move to clear the stress you decloak, which denies the free evade action to get the token.
--Additionally the Phantom basically automatically benefits from Juke, which is REALLY strong, while the other two have to eat an action/offensive mod to get juke off.

--Strikers are the weirder one since their strength isnt as obvious. Theyre the cheapest of the 3, but are also the least likely to dodge your arc since they dont swing super wide with decloak (or gain the agi if needed) and cant boost+roll to dodge arcs. What they CAN do though is they can, to a degree, change what they were planning to do on a whim and their sloops are really wide and weirdly angled. In 2.0 they gained a device slot, which is actually really amusing on these guys even if its just a seismic. Drop the bomb to deter people from escaping that way, aileron move bank into a 2sloop that way bank and you are now way to the side facing inward, and depending on rock placement not many could follow you even if they could predict it.
--Strikers easily take the most skill to use since their aileron move is MANDATORY so it can get you in a lot of trouble, and setting their dials as a result you have to mentally picture where they will be not where they are. Currently in the 2.0 rules there is a debate if the aileron move causes you to skip your action if it bumps/hits a rock, so theres also that problem. Hoping FFG faqs that quick like they did in 1.0
--Of all my time flying strikers in 1.0 and the few times ive had a chance to play them in 2.0, i can say these guys are probably the most inconsistent of the 3. Both because if they do their dodge maneuver theyre stressed, thus no action and you lose your aileron next round (except duchess) but also because that maneuver isnt always a good idea due to your opponent having easy paths to point at your potential final position anyway. But, theyre so dang cheap and the new addition of device potential kinda outweighs this imo.

So which one is better overall? To me, the Phantom is the clear winner but the cost could push you away from it, making the Striker a better pick in some situations. I dont see a reason to use a non-Soontir interceptor...ever...

edit: fixed the dials...derp

Edited by Vineheart01

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So...**** Interceptors

Fickle ain't touching that deathtrap 

Anyway, yeah juke Whisper is easily the best no contest. She's a blast to play and a welcome addition to any squad 

HOWEVER she's 56 points (juke), so no **** she's generally superior to the 42 point Duchess

So really, there only one real overall answer: there is no best, it's simply a question of howuch room you got in a list.

Also, por que nao Los dos?

 

New Squadron

(52) "Whisper"
(4) Juke
Points 56

(46) Sigma Squadron Ace
(4) Juke
Points 50

(46) Sigma Squadron Ace
(4) Juke
Points 50

(42) "Duchess"
Points 42

Total points: 198

Edited by ficklegreendice

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Soontir does have one advantage right now though, the most popular lists right now tend to be (from my observations) big blocky swarms or large based ships (Dash). Both can be caught in the bullseye arc fairly easily to get those focuses.

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I love them all. All three probably qualify as my favorite ships. They fly very differently, and if you are talking generics then the Interceptor is the weakest of the three.

But the title is budget ace, and all three can get one within spitting distance of 50 points. So the answer is take them all.

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1 hour ago, millertime059 said:

So the answer is take them all.

TIE/sk Striker - “Duchess” - 44
    •“Duchess” - Urbane Ace (42)
        Predator (2)

TIE/sa Bomber - Tomax Bren - 44
    •Tomax Bren - Brash Maverick (34)
        Crack Shot (1)
        Proton Torpedoes (9)

TIE/ph Phantom - “Whisper” - 56
    •“Whisper” - Soft-Spoken Slayer (52)
        Juke (4)

TIE/in Interceptor - Soontir Fel - 54
    •Soontir Fel - Ace of Legend (52)
        Predator (2)

Total: 198/200

View in the X-Wing Squad Builder

Feel free to switch out Tomax for whatever you want.

 

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4 hours ago, Vineheart01 said:

Of all the imperial ships the Interceptor, Phantom, and Striker are the most similar to each other. 

?.  In that they are all 3 dice arc dodgers maybe. I’d say they are actually really different from each other. You’re going to fly each one very differently. 

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9 minutes ago, baranidlo said:

I'm affraid the Interceptors are quite bad right now, including Soontir Fell. They were way too dependent on token stacks and Autothrusters to make them playable. 

On paper Interceptors seem really good in 2e.  No need for Autothrusters as they can arc dodge turrets now.  All of them have a built in repositioning PTL.  Token stacking not required - if you’re out of arc you don’t need a pile of tokens.  Interceptors seem to have the tools needed to make them playable.  Also small price reductions compared to 1e.  Have your experiences taught you otherwise?

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It's strange to me that modifications on Interceptors seem so terrible. The most common Interceptor builds pre-AT were Stealth Device and either Shield or Hull Upgrade. Those combos came in at 6 or 7 points in 1.0, and at 15-16 points in 2.0. So, effectively, we're talking an 0.5-1 point increase over the cost of those upgrades compared to first edition.

However, the cost of the chassis also came down relative to 1.0. Alpha Squadron Pilots are 34 points, compared to 18 points in 1.0. Soontir is down from 27 points naked to 52 points with PTL effectively baked in. For 69 points, you can have a Predator Fel running a 3/4/4/0 statline, which is roughly the same as he cost with SD and Autothrusters in first edition.

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3 minutes ago, Sasajak said:

On paper Interceptors seem really good in 2e.  No need for Autothrusters as they can arc dodge turrets now.  All of them have a built in repositioning PTL.  Token stacking not required - if you’re out of arc you don’t need a pile of tokens.  Interceptors seem to have the tools needed to make them playable.  Also small price reductions compared to 1e.  Have your experiences taught you otherwise?

I find it quite more difficult to dodge all the arcs in 2.0 with higher ship counts on the table.

And once your Interceptor gets in the arc, he can be threatened even by 2 attack dice Z-95.

So my experience is that the ships which were depending on Autothrusters (and tokens) in 1.0 are not really that great in 2.0 (= Interceptor, Tie Advanced V1).

The ships which were doing already fine without Autothrusters in 1.0 are the ones which do well in 2.0 as well (Phantoms, Defenders, Tie Adv X1).

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So Interceptors. Yes swarms are a weakness, but you need to approach them better. Soontir should not be facing many shots. He can get a focus token _even when blocked_. 

PS1 Interceptors are in a tough place. The extra die is nice, but they won’t be able to remove a ship before it shoots like Soontir could. But rather than say they’re bad, I’d rather contemplate what approach and number makes sense. They’re a good gun you can field in decent numbers. Howl swarms are a big threat.

Whatever you do, don’t joust with them.

Use your agility. Sure you can’t double reposition with perfect knowledge, and don’t sleep on Soontir being able to do that either, but you can come from different angles. Has it been so long that everyone has forgotten how to fly them? Get in there, make a mess, throw one in to block while flanking with he others. If you can reduce their numbers, without losing too much in return, it is winnable. It may not be easy, Interceptors never were, but they can do work.

And Soontir with Predator is _good_. Very good. If you fly him right. His biggest weakness is numbers, and he can usually avoid them. However the toghest matchup I faced was against two I1 Fangs, 2 I1 Zs with deadman, a space tug and a Y wing. 6 ships, most with some form of reposition, and my opponent used them well to make it hard for me to avoid. His space tug never had a shot, but changed the game by managing to edge into tractor range of a Soontir who was blocked by a Fang the turn before (but who had still not been shot because I’d managed to use the rock to arc dodge). He tractored Soontir onto the rock, who then moved through it again, and took a damage because I had Seismic charged during system phase.

My opponent used numbers well, and I lost in the end. But not because Soontir was bad, but because my opponent did something well, and so I took two range 2 shots from Z-95s and had no mods.

But those are the breaks. Other games I’ve rolled opponents and not taken shots on any ship 3,4, even 5 rounds in a row. Interceptors are the most agile shop in the game, use it or lose.

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3 hours ago, Dengar5 said:

Redline with proton torps is a budget ace as well. 53 points (56 with seismics, Duchess is good with seismics too, aces have bombs now)

Redline medium base boost can arc dodge even. Can confirm. I've done this on the table.

I like Redline with Advanced Sensors and Barrage Rockets FTW!! But at 58 it’s pushing the “Budget” threshold, although Redline with BR still is only 50 and still allows for the auto lock.

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3 hours ago, PhantomFO said:

It's strange to me that modifications on Interceptors seem so terrible. The most common Interceptor builds pre-AT were Stealth Device and either Shield or Hull Upgrade. Those combos came in at 6 or 7 points in 1.0, and at 15-16 points in 2.0. So, effectively, we're talking an 0.5-1 point increase over the cost of those upgrades compared to first edition.

However, the cost of the chassis also came down relative to 1.0. Alpha Squadron Pilots are 34 points, compared to 18 points in 1.0. Soontir is down from 27 points naked to 52 points with PTL effectively baked in. For 69 points, you can have a Predator Fel running a 3/4/4/0 statline, which is roughly the same as he cost with SD and Autothrusters in first edition.

Targeting computer was another one that was often used on interceptors in 1.0. Predator kind of fills that niche, at least. I feel like just leaving the mods off is better in the 2.0 meta. 4 hull is still fragile, especially when token stacks don't show up as easily as in 1.0. I'd rather have the expectation that Soontir will be destroyed by most lists, but hopefully he'll make it long enough to put pressure back while the rest of the list does work.

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If you're looking at massed generic interceptors or strikers, Admiral Sloane is an excellent call.

I don't know, I've been flying low-PS (now low-initiative) interceptors and strikers for quite some time, and they do work. Perhaps not the most reliable, but with so many ships you put your opponent in a tough spot trying to figure out where they're all going.

For me, the unpredictability that strikers bring was what kept me coming back to them. Also, the Adaptive Ailerons are like a puzzle, almost an X-wing version of Sudoku that needs to be solved each round, making them very engaging to fly. Even if AA overlapping shuts down the actions, in going to keep trying then for a little bit.

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6 hours ago, Parakitor said:

If you're looking at massed generic interceptors or strikers, Admiral Sloane is an excellent call.

I‘m curious about your opinion (and of @Magnus Grendel, as you two also have much experience with these miniswarms)

My thought is that 5 strikers were relatively decent in 1.0. Now everything got worse, but we can still play almost identical 5 strikers. No LWF but your choice of bombs, shield/hull or stealth device.

So how good will 5 strikers be in your opinion?

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5 hours ago, GreenDragoon said:

I‘m curious about your opinion (and of @Magnus Grendel, as you two also have much experience with these miniswarms)

My thought is that 5 strikers were relatively decent in 1.0. Now everything got worse, but we can still play almost identical 5 strikers. No LWF but your choice of bombs, shield/hull or stealth device.

So how good will 5 strikers be in your opinion?

My honest opinion: this squad can hang with the best of them. Now, I personally like 4 strikers + anchor, and I've been having a lot of success. Part of the reason for that had been that I've flown them a ton, so I've got a good opening and a handle on how these things can move. I think I still need to figure obstacle placement out.

Your comparison is spot on. For the 5 Planetary Sentinels I think I like shield better than bombs, just because you avoid self harm. But I'm very interested in trying out 5 Black Squadron Scouts with Predator because rerolls are so good. I'm also keen on exploring the 3 limited pilots + 2 generics. Having different initiative values makes maneuvering more tricky, but I think their abilities are relatively strong in Second Edition. Having a bunch of blockers is good, but being able to pounce on that blocked ship with a better initiative is strong.

Having said all that, I can't make a judgement call on whether strikers are better than interceptors or phantoms. The 3 agility on interceptors is often derided, but it's kept my ships alive longer than they should have just by luck. Well, luck and the fact that you're rolling more dice, especially at range 3. Their ability to turn on a dime is also great, and the choice to boost and/or barrell roll makes them superior blockers. I liked to include Intelligence Agent for that reason, but in Second Edition I'm not sure it's worth it because you can only peek at one ship's dial all game.i disagree with @Vineheart01 about choosing 3 TIE fighters over 2 interceptors because I value the 3 attack dice and post-maneuver repositioning. A lot. I admit I may have the wrong opinion here ^_^.

And I've never put a generic TIE phantom on the table, so that's going on my list of things to try. Maybe I'll put all 3 ships together and see what happens.

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On 9/22/2018 at 7:40 PM, Parakitor said:

If you're looking at massed generic interceptors or strikers, Admiral Sloane is an excellent call.

Totally agree.  People are terrified to kill an interceptor because it means that ship will be shut down with double stress, and give the rest of my squad rerolls.

By the time they take the shuttle carrying Sloane down, the interceptors are in clean up mode.

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