So, it finally happened, just over a year after it was first announced at GenCon 2014, the Imperial Raider went on general release. The Imperial Raider is an epic scale ship for the Imperial faction in the X-Wing Miniatures Game and is comparable to the Rebel Corvette. Also included in the set is an alternate paint scheme TIE Advanced. In terms of the setting, the Raider has no precedent, it was developed by Fantasy Flight Games, in conjunction with Lucas Arts, specifically for the game.
This expansion is a bit of a beast, it comes in a huge box and contains a significant amount of upgrade cards for both standard and epic scale play. The total contents of the set is as follows-
- 1 x Imperial Raider Epic Scale Ship
- 1 x TIE Advanced Ship
- 2 x Large Ship Bases (with epic ship pegs)
- 1 x Small Ship Base (with pegs)
- 20 x Imperial Raider Damage Deck Cards (Split 10 each for the fore and aft sections)
- 34 x Upgrade Cards (more on the specifics a little later)
- 6 x TIE Advanced Pilot Cards
- 2 x Imperial Raider Ship Cards
- 2 x Manoeuvre Dials (1 each for the Raider and TIE Advanced)
- 1 x Epic Range Ruler
- 1 x Epic Ship Movement Template
- 54 x Tokens (more on what these are soon)
- 3 x Debris Cloud Obstacle Tokens.
- 1 x Ion Rule Card
- 1 x Mission Booklet
- 1 x Rule Booklet
- 1 x Campaign Tracker sheet
As I said, the set is quite a beast…..
I guess it fitting to start with the Raider-
The Raider is a big ship, as is fitting for an Epic scale model, measuring 34.5cm x 14.5cm x 7cm and making it comparable in length to the Rebel Corvette.
The ship has the iconic Imperial wedge shape that is a mainstay of the Star Wars universe and it is panted in a the standard Imperial colours, being shades of grey. Unlike a great many Imperial ships, which look drab in this paint scheme (though justifiably so), the dark tones on the Raider simply make it look extremely menacing. The paint job on mine is ok, but not great, with a few sections not being particularly neat and paint spilling over onto adjacent parts. In addition, the engines look extremely poor, having been left a very uninspiring solid black colour and so these will likely need repainting in future to make them look a little more interesting.
The model itself feels well made solid, though it is surprisingly light. The fins are made of very thin and flexible plastic and I’m not how much I like that. On one hand, it means that they are much less likely to snap but, on the other, they do feel like the cheapest part of the model and I think that detracts from the whole model a little.
I have a couple of small criticisms with the overall build of the model. Firstly, one of turrets along the top of the ship has been attached slightly off-center, meaning that it theoretically wouldn’t close properly and while this is a small niggle it does detract from the overall look of the model. Secondly, it looks like the guide for the rear flight peg has been inserted slightly out-of-place meaning that the front base doesn’t sit straight without the ship token being attached. I’ve reached out to Fantasy Flight Games to see if they can provide some guidance on how to rectify these issues since I like to display my models and these flaws really stand out to me.
Also included in the set is a repainted TIE Advanced ship. As this is an imperial ship the repaint isn’t as dramatic as either the Scum Z95 and Y-Wing or even the X-Wing in the Rebel Transport set. For all intents and purposes it looks more or less identical to the original but when looking at them side by side you can see that the repaint is more blue and grey in colour than the original which is more of a light/white grey.
In this next picture the original is on the left and the repaint is on the right-
I won’t go into much detail about the look of the TIE Advanced in this article, that’ll be in the TIE Advanced specific unboxing. Needless to say, it looks very much like a standard TIE, with a central cockpit and wings with black central panes. The paint job on the TIE Advanced is ok but, again, not great and it could do with a little further dry brushing to properly bring out some of the finer details.
There are 6 Pilot Cards included in the set, all for the TIE Advanced and these are split as 2 Generic Pilots and 4 Elite ones. The Pilots included are as follows-
- Juno Eclipse
- Zertic Storm
- Commander Alozen
- Lieutenant Colzet
- Storm Squadron Pilot
- Tempest Squadron Pilot
The art on these cards isn’t all that great and lacks some of the more dynamic imagery of other sets, such as the Phantom or Aggressor. Prior to the release of the ship it was Juno that was often discussed as the pick of the Pilots in this set and her you can see why, with her Pilot ability allowing her to change the speed of any performed manoeuvre, after her dial has been released.
To my mind, combining Juno with the forthcoming Twin Ion Engine MKII upgrade (in the TIE Punisher set), along with Push the Limit and the TIE/x1 and the Advanced Targeting Computer makes for an interesting combination that lets her take 2 actions while having numerous manoeuvre options to rid herself of the stress. I can imagine this will make Juno a slippery beast.
However, for 5 points less than Juno you can take Lieutenant Colzet, whose pilot ability lets you spend a Target Lock on a ship to flip on of its face down damage cards face up. Combined withe the Advanced Targeting Computer this theoretically allows for two critical hits per turn, without rolling them and, more significantly, this ability doesn’t require range or arc to work and it bypasses other Pilot Abilities that negate critical hits, like Chewie’s. For this you are giving up an EPT but I think it’s a build worth exploring, especially combined with a fully tooled up Darth Vader and Maarek Stele.
The other two named pilots are interesting but I don’t see either seeing play as much as Juno or, at least for me, Colzet.
Additionally you also get an Ion Rule card.
Epic ships don’t come with Pilots in the same way as standard ships and so the Raider is just supplied with Fore and Aft section cards, both of which are double sided to show the standard and crippled stat lines of for the ship. As with the TIE Advanced Pilot cards, the art is nothing outstanding, with both sides of each card showing the same art, albeit with the crippled side showing significant damage.
I particularly like the fact that the Raider’s ship cards, placed side by side, combine to make a single combined ship card and image.
This set comes with a huge number of upgrade cards, 34 of them in fact, and a great many of the are unique to the Raider set. The breakdown as follows-
- Assailer (Unique to this set)
- Instigator (Unique to this set)
- Impetuous (Unique to this set)
- 4 x TIE/x1 (Unique to this set)
- 4 x Advanced Targeting Computer (Unique to this set)
- Cluster Missiles (Also available in the A-Wing and TIE Advanced sets)
- Proton Rockets (Also available in the Rebel Aces and YT-2400 Freighter sets)
- Captain Needa (Unique to this set)
- Grand Moff Tarkin (Unique to this set)
- Emperor Palpatine (Unique to this set)
- Admiral Ozzel (Unique to this set)
- 2 x Shield Technician (Unique to this set)
- Gunnery Team (Also available in the Tantive IV set)
- Engineering Team (Also available in the Tantive IV set)
- Sensor Team (Also available in the Tantive IV set)
- 2 x Single Turbolaser (Also available in the Tantive IV set)
- 4 x Ion Cannon Battery (Unique to this set)
- 2 x Quad Laser Cannons (Also available in the Tantive IV set)
- Tibanna Gas Supplies (Also Available in the Tantive IV and Rebel Transports sets)
- Engine Booster (Also Available in the Tantive IV and Rebel Transports sets)
- Backup Shield Generator (Also Available in the Tantive IV and Rebel Transports sets)
- Comms Booster (Also Available in the Tantive IV and Rebel Transports sets)
Of all the cards it is by far the two upgrades to the TIE Advanced, the TIE/x1 Title and the Advanced Targeting Computer that are the most hotly anticipated and the most useful. These cards, combined, represent the long-awaited ‘fix’ to make the TIE Advanced relevant again for a total combined cost of a single point. The TIE/x1 Title if free and gives the Advanced a System Slot and reduced the cost of a single system upgrade by 4 up 4 points (minimum of 1) while the ATC costs 5 points (reduced to 1 with the x1 Title) and adds a critical hit to any attack make with the ships primary weapon.
Prior to the release of the Raider the TIE Advanced was reported to be in approximately 0.1% of tournament lists, making it the least used ship in the game. having played against a list using the Title and ATC upgrades, I doubt that’ll be the case for much longer.
Of the other upgrades, a significant amount are specific to the Raider or Huge Ships, making them only relevant in Epic games. This includes a good number of the crew cards as well as the Hardpoint and Cargo upgrades. Notably Emperor Palpatine isn’t specific to Huge ships but is precedent setting requirement of 2 crew slots confines him to the Decimator and Lambda shuttle. The Emperor is also a staggering 8 points to field but his ability, to amend any single friendly ships die to any desired result shouldn’t be overlooked and could be game changing when used at the right time.
As I said at the start, you get a pretty massive pile of tokens with the set. As always FFG have made sure that you won’t need anything else outside of this set in order to use its contents. The tokens break down as follows-
- 2 x Raider Ship Base Tokens
- 4 x TIE Advanced Ship Base Tokens (double-sided as Juno Eclipse/Storm Squadron Pilot, Zertik Strom/Storm Squadron Pilot, Commander Alozen/Tempest Squadron Pilot and Lieutenant Colzet/Tempest Squadron Pilot.
- 1 x Raider Manoeuvre Dial
- 1 x TIE Advanced Manoeuvre Dial
- 12 x Shield Tokens
- 16 x energy Tokens
- 2 x Target Lock Tokens (both double sided as NN and MM)
- 1 x Stress Token
- 1 x Evade Token
- 1 x Focus Token
- 4 x Ion Token
- 1 x Reinforce Token
- 9 x Mission Tokens
- 3 x Debris Field Obstacle Tokens
On top of the pile of tokens and cards you get a rulebook, a mission book and a campaign progress sheet. The rules cover the specifics of the Raider’s firing arc, as well as how to move an epic ship and the special actions that an Epic ship can take. The mission booklet has a total of 5 missions that link to make a full campaign using the Imperial Raider as it’s basis. From a personal point of view I think support for proper, themed campaigns is something missions from the X-Wing game an something i really like about Epic.
So thats the Raider set. For many people this expansion won’t be more than a way to extend the use of the TIE Advanced and it is certainly achieves the goal of trying to fix that ship but the Raider shouldn’t be overlooked and nor should the fun to be hd from playing linked epic games.
Until next time, fly casual.