The TIE Advanced is a small based ship Expansion for the X-Wing miniatures game. It forms part of the Imperial Faction for the game and was released as part of Wave 1, which was the initial release along with the core set. Within the Star Wars Universe the TIE Advanced was a prototype ship, best known as Darth Vader’s TIE from the A New Hope. It never reached full production and many of it’s better features were incorporated into the TIE Interceptor. The TIE Advanced was preceded by the Prototype TIE Advanced that was flown by the Inquisitor in Star Wars Rebels and will form part of the later Wave 8 of releases.
As normal the ship comes packed in a blister and held in place by an moulded inner blister. The ship is positioned front on, which gives a really good view of the ship in general. As normal the cards and tokens are stored behind the picture inside the blister.
Inside this pack you get-
- 1 x TIE Advanced Ship
- 1 x Small Ship Base and pegs
- 1 x TIE Advanced Manoeuvre Dial
- 9 x Cards (split between Pilot and Upgrade cards more on the specifics soon)
- 18 x Tokens (more on the specifics soon)
I did a brief description of the TIE Advanced on the Raider Unboxing as the alternative paint scheme TIE Advanced comes in that set. The original TIE advanced is much lighter than the repaint with the general paint scheme being a white grey rather than the blue grey of the repaint.
The ship itself is nice looking and iconic. Since it appeared in A New Hope it’s a ship that movie fans will recognise. It’s fairly compact to look at, with the wings folded towards the cockpit at the top and bottom. Like so many of the TIE ships it’s design is basic, functional and militaristic but it works for the theme of the force a whole.
The paint job on my TIE Advanced is a little better than the repaint. Its still pretty basic but the inking and drybrushing has brought out a little more of the finer detail, which is nice.
The Pilots included in the set are split, as standard, with two generic and two Elite pilots, one of which is this ships most iconic Pilot and one of the most enduring villains in movie history, Darth Vader. The Pilots included are-
- Tempest Squadron Pilot
- Storm Squadron Pilot
- Maarek Stele
- Darth Vader
The art on the cards is ok with Vader and Stele standing out as the best of the bunch. Vader in particular is illustrated to show him flying down the Death Star Trench from the end of A New Hope and this is a nice touch that reflects the care put into the X-Wing game as a whole.
In terms of abilities both Vader and Stele are outstanding and on any other ship they’d likely be mainstays of the tournament scene. Unfortunately, at least pre Raider, these Pilots ended up in the TIE Advanced. Vader comes with an unprecedented 2 actions as standard, along with the much sought after PS of 9 and Stele has the ability to draw 3 critical hit cards and pick which one applies when causing critical damage, a surefire way of crippling a Large based ship if used right.
The Advanced is by no means a bad ship, it comes with 4 actions, Barrel Roll, Evade, Focus and Target Lock and a reasonable 2/3/2/3 Stat line but, for the points, you can do much better, at least before the Raider expansion improved upon its abilities somewhat significantly with the TIE/x1 Title and the Advanced Targeting Computer.
Prior to the Raider release the TIE Advanced was fielded in a fraction of tournament lists, less than 1% if reports are to be believed, but the new cards now make it a viable and credible threat. The main issue with the Advanced, as released in Wave 1, was it’s damage output compared to it’s cost, but the x1 title and ATC greatly improve this by adding an extra critical hit for the cost of a single point. In the case of Maarek Stele an additional critical hit can reap dividends and if you load him up with Marksmanship as well then he has the ability to cause significant damage.
The set comes with 5 upgrade cards, only one of which is unique to the set at this point. The upgrades are-
- Squad Leader (Unique to this set)
- Expert Handling (Also found in the X-Wing set)
- Swarm Tactics (Also found in the TIE Fighter set)
- Cluster Missiles (also found in the A-Wing and Imperial Raider sets)
- Concussion Missiles (Also found in the Millennium Falcon, A-Wing and Imperial Raider sets)
Of all the upgrades Squad Leader and Swarm Tactics are the most useful especially in Swarm based lists although Expert Handling can have it’s uses on the right ship. My current build for duel Aggressors has them both using Expert Handling to make them a little more manoeuvrable.
As always FFG give you the obligatory pile of tokens, to make sure that you have everything you need to use the set. This time around you get-
- 1 x TIE Advanced Manoeuvre Dial
- 2 x TIE Advanced (double sided as Darth Vader/Tempest Squadron Pilot and Maarek Stele/Storm Squadron Pilot)
- 4 x Target Lock Tokens (2 x S/T and 2 x U/V, double sided blue and red)
- 6 x ID Tokens (3 each of numbers 18 and 19)
- 2 x Shield Tokens
- 1 x Focus Token
- 1 x Evade Token
- 1 x Stress Token
So thats what you get in the TIE Advanced set. It’s hard to call it a must have addition to your force because it genuinely is petty much unusable without the upgrades that come in the Imperial Raider set, and for the casual player it’s a big ask that they spend £50+ (depending on how cheap you can get it online) for a few upgrade cards.
I like the TIE Advanced, I like the look of the ship, I like the pilots and their abilities but all of that stems from the fact that this is basically Darth Vader’s ship and not from the expansion itself. I like it because nostalgia kicks in and reminds me of being a child again and that’s the reason most people will pick up this expansion, not because it’s particularly good or that it contains must have upgrades.