3.5 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Roll call time!

Death? Check.

Famine? Check.

Pestilence? Check.

War? … War…??? Awww crap, somebody call an understudy.

 

Truth be told, four pilots worthy of being Horsemen of the Apocalypse don’t fit into your standard 100 point list for X-Wing Miniatures. But at the same time, I have a hard time bringing less than four ships to a dogfight without a really good reason, or giving up on a theme for that matter.

I can’t get enough of the TIE Interceptor, especially since they got so many neat tricks out of Imperial Aces. It’s probably my video game roots, I spent countless hours of my childhood sitting in front of my PC flying combat sorties in various Star Wars games, and a large portion of that time was spent at the controls of the nimble and vicious TIE Interceptor. Shields were for Rebels and Sith, missiles were the easy way out, and TIE Fighters just didn’t have enough punch for me. The “squint”, as the Star Wars: X-Wing novels soon had me calling it, was always my Imperial ship of choice.

I’ve toyed with the idea of bringing four Interceptors in a list (Royal Guard + Push The Limit), but passing up on all of the excellent unique pilot abilities is too much for me to handle. I like the loadouts available when running three named Interceptors, but the results weren’t pretty, because there weren’t enough hit points in the list. At the same time, properly equipping a pair of those named pilots (because who can choose just one of them?) doesn’t really leave enough points to fit two more generic versions.

My problem was solved when observing a match at a recent tournament for which I was officiating. An Imperial player was mounting an amazing comeback, because his Rebel opponent just couldn’t manage to hit that last TIE Fighter. Upon closer inspection, I realized why; this wasn’t a nameless Academy Pilot, it was Dark Curse, against which no rerolls or focus tokens are allowed, which made the ship very difficult to finish off. That impressive performance made me re-think the role of TIE Fighters, and go back to the drawing board with the Horsemen.

3.5 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Soontir Fel aka “Death” – 27
Royal Guard TIE – 0
Push The Limit – 3
Targeting Computer – 2
Stealth Device – 3

Carnor Jax aka “Famine” – 26
Royal Guard TIE – 0
Push The Limit – 3
Targeting Computer – 2
Stealth Device – 3

Dark Curse aka “Pestilence” – 16
Stealth Device – 3

Academy Pilot aka “War Junior” – 12

Death and Famine are both equipped with my favorite loadout for Interceptors with a high Pilot Skill. These two ships should take two actions with Push The Limit just about every turn, barring some form of Stress inducing mechanic from the opponent. Combining their native Boost and Barrel Roll actions allows them to dance around and out of firing arcs, or Focus and Evade to reinforce their four evade dice (thanks to Stealth Devices) if they can’t manage to escape. But perhaps more importantly, if you know your basic movement will keep you safe from harm for the turn, there’s the option of taking a Focus and a Target Lock for a deadly shot.

Soontir Fel, “Death” gets even nastier with his special ability, being able to take a Target Lock, then Boost in for a Range 1 shot, and receive a Focus Token for the shot in the process. Meanwhile, Carnor Jax, “Famine”, starves the opponent of Focus or Evade actions by dancing into close range with his special ability.

Then there’s the TIE Fighters, “Pestilence” and “War Jr.”, who perform drastically different roles from the Interceptors. The Academy Pilot provides an anchor to the list. It’s harmless, it’s cheap, but it’s also the easiest thing on my roster to kill. Deploying first at Pilot Skill 1, the Academy Pilot gives me the opportunity to lure the enemy into deploying where I can easily flank them with my other ships which all deploy at Pilot Skill 6 and higher. This ship then serves as bait, as a distraction, to block opposing ships’ movements, and if it manages to survive long enough to shoot, even better! (But as we all know, “War” is good for absolutely nothin’.)

Dark Curse / “Pestilence” can join in as an extra distraction, but he performs very well in a harassment role. At range 3, with a Stealth Device and a Focus Token, Dark Curse is extremely hard to hit, thus earning the title of a pest.

This list isn’t without its’ weaknesses, and in the tournament that I took this list to recently, I went face first into one of them – high PS X-Wings (Wes Jansen with Veteran Instincts and Wedge, to be precise). This build is made very vulnerable by the Pilot Skill boost from Veteran Instincts, especially on someone like Corran Horn in an E-Wing or Wedge Antilles in an X-Wing; a lot of the maneuverability of the Interceptors is negated if you don’t know what the opponent’s maneuver will be, and relying so much on Push The Limit means you can’t take your own Veteran Instincts to keep pace. Y-Wings or HWK-290’s with Ion Cannon Turrets can also make a bad day for the Interceptors, especially if there’s an extra Stress inducing ability in play as well. Marksmanship is immune to the special abilities of both Carnor Jax (Famine) and Dark Curse (Pestilence). Lt. Blount and his Z-95 Headhunter love to see this many Stealth Devices in a list, because he can strip them off even without dealing damage. And while I haven’t seen it done yet, I would think that a well flown TIE Fighter swarm can likely bring down the Interceptors through pure weight of fire.

But of those weaknesses can be mitigated, if not negated completely. For instance, as much as I think of turrets as a hard counter to the list, I’ve gone up against a list containing a Falcon and a pair of Y-Wings with Ion Cannon Turrets and not taken any hits at all. A big key is being willing to give up on taking shots sometimes, and playing defensively instead. Fly this list well, and before you know it you’ll be covering your ship up in kill markings like Soontir Fel (Death) himself.