Saturday, September 24, 2016

X-Wing Miniatures Buyer's Guide & Purchase Order Part III: The Competitive Imperial

This is the third post in the X-Wing Miniatures Buyer's Guide series.

Part I: Initial purchases a Casual player should make.
Part II: Defining a competitive player, some things to consider, and initial purchases for a Rebel player.

Part III is all about Imperials, my faction of choice. Unlike the other factions, Empire players have three fairly competitive play styles to work with, depending on player preference and how much they want to spend:

  1. Swarm
    1. TIE Swarms have been around since the origin of X-Wing. They've recently come back into favor, thanks to the Crack Shot upgrade. It requires running 6-7 TIE Fighters, which can be found in the Original Core Set and the TIE Fighter Expansion.
    2. I won't be covering this option in this buyers guide, mostly because it's extremely limiting if you're trying to break into playing X-Wing. You'll have a bunch of ties and 1-2 Scum & Villainy ships, because they've got the most expansions with Crack Shot...
  2. Palp Aces
    1. If you've got close to $200 to throw at X-Wing and really want to play competitive Imperial, you can start out running some of the best lists in the game. Almost half of your budget, however, is going towards an expansion that is primarily for the Epic format of X-Wing, and therefore useless to the competitive X-Wing player, besides, mostly, a single upgrade card: Emperor Palpatine.
    2. At the end of this post, I'll list a quick list of pick ups you'll need to run Palp Aces as cheaply as possible, but it isn't my primary recommendation.
  3. Imperial Aces
    1. This style of list is different from above because it has you trading a Palp-toting-shuttle for another hard-hitting (or hard-to-hit) ace in your list. 
    2. This is what I'll style my purchase recommendations towards, as it should be the cheapest way to break into Imperial, a good way to learn the variety of ships offered, and leaves you in a good spot to add more via additional expansions in the future.

Imperial Entanglements

Original Core Set (Red Core Set) $29.99

The basic, original TIE Fighters are the cheapest ship in the game. As such, it's always good to have a couple, in case you need to splash them in a list to make them fit. This would also be your first purchase, if you were looking to st art a TIE swarm, as it comes with two TIE Fighters.

TIE/fo Fighter Expansion $11.29

This is one of the very few expansions that is 100% playable out of the box. Taking that a step further, it also includes one of the absolute best pilots in the game - Omega Leader. Omega Leader, paired with the Juke and Comm Relay upgrades, is an absolute nightmare when flown well. Juke is a nominally useful upgrade in general, and the other TIE/fo pilots aren't completely useless... But the Omega Leader build is extremely effective for its cheap cost, and is incredibly easy to splash in most Imperial lists.
Omega Leader in yet another Arbitrary list...

Similar to how I always use Dash when building Rebel lists, I very rarely fly without Omega Leader when under the Imperial Banner.

TIE Defender Expansion $11.29

Defenders are very present in the meta right now. They're a bit expensive, but, thanks to the recent "fixes" that were released via the Imperial Veterans expansion, they have a lot of options, no real weaknesses, and can be splashed into most any list. We'll be focusing on them for this buyers guide. The notable pilot in this pack is Colonel Vessery. The Predator upgrade is also amazing in many lists.
Defenders, the new shiny... And probably staying for a good long time.

Imperial Veterans Expansion $25.49

As mentioned above, this fixed Defenders. It also comes with a really fantastic re-paint on a Defender and TIE Bomber model. For now, the Bomber is just a bonus, you're grabbing this for the pilot Countess Ryad and the new TIE Defender titles (especially the TIE x/7 title).

Total: $78.06

This is a strong start for an Imperial player, and can be easily customized. I'd recommend trying something along these lines, which gives you some experience with both types of Defender titles, and brings my favorite Omega Leader along for the ride...

The Imperial Aces expansion gets you access to the amazing Push the Limit, which would be my next recommendation, but opens up to your preference, more or less, from there on out. I will say that Imperial players strongly benefit from owning 1-2 StarVipers. Yes, they're Scum & Villainy ships, but they are currently the only way to get the Autothrusters upgrade, which makes things like TIE Interceptors or the Inquisitor's TIE major threats. 

Emperor on Board

Alright, you want to jump in hard, spend a lot up front but having one of the most competitive lists in the game? I don't recommend this for newbies, but, if you reallllly want to, add the following two purchases to my above recommendations.

The base/pegs are perfect for your Lamda, too...

Imperial Raider Expansion  $74.99

You are buying this for one reason: Emperor Palpatine. He's the best upgrade in the game, even if it doesn't initially seem like it when you first read it. Just trust me. "Palp Aces" is a meta unto itself.

You DO get the bonus "fix" for the TIE Advanced ship, and an additional TIE Advanced itself, but they're no longer in the meta, unfortunately, and mostly because they can't take auto-thrusters. Still, you can either sell the upgrades and make some money back, or hang on to them for potential later use.

Oh, and you get a really badass paperweight, in the form of the Raider model, which is only usable in the Epic gameplay format... Which isn't currently something you'll be doing.

Lamda-class Shuttle Expansion  $22.49

While this is a fun ship in a couple ways, you're really buying it because it is the cheapest option that can take Emperor Palpatine (which takes up two crew slots). In 99% of "Palp Aces" lists, you'll see the cheapest pilot (Omicron Group Pilot) with the Emperor upgrade... And that's it. More than that, it spends most of the game staying OUT of combat, to preserve the Emperor, who is public enemy number one.

It comes with some decent upgrades, but, honestly, you're buying it to be a Palp-mobile.

With the above two purchases, you can add a variety of ships to make work. Using my previous recommendations, you can make something very close to my current tournament list, which I've done very well with.
My current tournament list.

Alternative Total: $175.54

Its over double my initial recommendations, but you'll get a lot of us out of them. I'd say that MOST Imperial lists start with Omicron Group Pilot w/ Emperor Palpatine, then build up from there. 


Thoughts, comments, questions? The Empire has a pretty large sandbox to play with, do you have any alternative thoughts on how someone should jump in?

Next up, I'll be writing about the Scum of the galaxy! Until then!

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