We’ve reached the last of the Wave 12/13 previews, and we reach it in style in the intimidating form of the First Order’s TIE Silencer. Prominently featured in The Last Jedi trailers, FFG give us a look under the hood of this beast of a ship in the Space Superiority article.
The Silencer comes with a fairly beefy basic statline. 3 attack, 3 agility, 4 hull, and 2 shields gives it a well-rounded profile in pretty much every category. The action bar has the focus, target lock, boost, and barrel roll actions, giving it offensive teeth and strong re-positional ability – but no evade action hits it slightly on the defence front.
The upgrade bar has the System and Tech slots, which pair nicely together. Fire Control System and Pattern Analyser can give you consistent dice modification turn to turn even when you have to do a red move, while Advanced Sensors and Primed Thrusters gives you re-positional actions before or after you move, even while stressed. There’s a few neat combos to be had here. It’s been noted that there’s no missile slot, despite the apparent presence of a missile being shot from the TIE Silencer in The Last Jedi trailer, but that’s likely to be a result of FFG only getting early previews to work with – an inevitable part of working on a tie-in product before the release of the film.
Oh boy, the dial. With ten green moves including the speed 2 turns, speed 3 Talon Rolls, and a 4 K-turn, the Silencer’s dial makes it a hyper maneuverable ship and one that’s immensely compatible with Push the Limit. Add Advanced Sensors into that mix, and you’ve got a ship that can reliably do two actions a turn and end unstressed to leave it unpredictable for the following turn. Importantly, it’s also got the speed 3 banks and 3, 4 and 5 forwards as green as well, allowing it to very rapidly close range or disengage as needed.
This dial is stunningly good to be quite frank, with more native green moves than any other ship in the game and a variety of options to turn itself around. This is going to be a supremely mobile ship, and thanks to the high-speed green moves able to easily keep up with even speedy large base ships. Dash Rendar had better beware of the TIE Silencer slipping into the blind spot of the Outrider’s Heavy Laser Cannon…
The preview article has only shown us the two named pilots, but we’ve also seen the point costs and upgrade bars of the two generic thanks to a leaked French version of the expansion. This means I can talk about them here, but I don’t know for sure what they’re actually called…
Sienar-Jaemus (Unknown) – PS 4 Generic
Kicking us off is the PS 4 generic. This comes in at a very competitive 26 points, making it a very aggressively priced generic pilot. This is exactly what we should be seeing, and might well make this a viable option for Imperial lists. If nothing else, this pilot with Fire Control System and Autothrusters costs 30 points, putting it into a very similar bracket as a /x7 Delta Squadron Defender. Triple Silencer lists might even be a viable option, something I didn’t think likely when I first saw the hefty points cost on Kylo Ren. (Although while affordable in terms of points, there’s a hefty real money cost for three of these beasts!)
It certainly gets you quite a lot over the baseline generic TIE/SF. 3 points nets you an extra point of agility, the Silencer’s fantastic dial, and access to the boost action. Admittedly you do also trade a shield for a hull and don’t have the /SF’s rear arc, but that’s still very solid value to my mind. This isn’t to say this is going to replace the TIE/SF, but it’s a very worthy addition to the First Order fleet.
Oh, and compare this to the Knave Squadron E-Wing, which comes in at a point more expensive for one less hull, a significantly worse dial, a comparable upgrade bar, and no access to Autothrusters. I can’t help but hope that FFG have some plans for the poor E-Wing in the future…
First Order (Unknown) – PS 6 Generic
Stepping up with PS 6 and an EPT slot, the First Order (Unknown) also bumps up to 29 points. That’s a significant increase in cost, but I think the value of an EPT slot on the TIE Silencer can’t be understated. Even at a very middling PS 6, the dial makes Push the Limit hugely valuable, and I think they’ve probably quite wisely priced this pilot to stop you from running three of them with PtL and Autothrusters.
I suspect we’ll see less of this ship than the PS 4 generic, as it doesn’t represent quite the same value and is likely to be at a slightly awkward 34-36 point range once it’s been kitted out with a few upgrades. Still, the EPT slot gives it some real versatility, and it may prove useful as an elite generic fighter to compare with the Glaive Squadron Defender.
Test Pilot “Blackout”
Blackout is the first of the two named Silencer pilots, getting a boost to PS 7, an EPT slot, and a pilot ability for 31 points. The pilot ability turns a potential disadvantage on its head…
When attacking, if the attack is obstructed, the defender rolls 2 fewer defense dice (to a minimum of 0).
While this is pretty situational, it does have some real advantages when you can pull it off. Blackout turns a Range 3 obstructed shot effectively into a Range 2 unobstructed shot, and at closer ranges effectively actively diminishes the agility of his target. That’s a potent ability, and getting those obstructed shots is going to be relatively easy to do with the Silencer’s dial and re-positional actions. Advanced Sensors is going to be a very strong choice on Blackout, allowing you to move up right behind an obstacle one turn, then barrel roll clear of it the following turn.
It’s also worth noting that this is also effectively a defensive ability as well. Deliberately obstructing your shots doesn’t just drop your opponent’s number of green dice, it also gives you a strong chance that any shot your target ship takes back at you will be obstructed in turn. Combined with the Autothrusters that are going to be basically stapled to every Silencer, those 4-5 green dice can do a lot of work to keep you alive!
There’s a few ways to build Blackout. I think there’s going to be a pretty default build for most TIE Silencers (Push the Limit, Advanced Sensors, Autothrusters, plus title and tech to taste) that will work perfectly well on Blackout, but there are definitely going to be more budget options as well. Trick Shot is an obvious combination with his pilot ability, bumping him up to 4 red dice for a pretty lethal attack. Fire Control System means that losing your action from flying across an obstacle is less of an issue. Collision Detector lets you sweep through debris fields with barely a care, or reposition in very unpredictable ways. These more budget options are going to make Blackout the named pilot you see in triple Silencer builds – something I’m not yet fully convinced on the wisdom of…
I’m really interested to see how Blackout works out in play. His pilot ability is a little tricky to pull off reliably, but offers a pretty significant benefit – hopefully significant enough to see him getting used over the other named pilot on occasion…
Finally, we’ve got Kylo Ren in his soon to be signature ship. He’s sharpened up his piloting skills a lot from the Upsilon Shuttle, gaining PS 9. Like Blackout he’s got an EPT slot, and costs a hefty 35 points. That’s right, 4 points more than Blackout, but on a ship that can really make use of high PS! He’s also got a familiar pilot ability.
The first time you are hit by an attack each round, deal the “I’ll Show You the Dark Side” Condition card to the attacker.
Carried across from the Upsilon Shuttle, the “I’ll Show You the Dark Side” Condition allows you to pick a crit to hang over your attacker. That can be quite the disincentive to attack Kylo at all, but as he’s likely to be a dangerous part of your list your opponent probably can’t afford to ignore him! More generally, I think Kylo’s pilot ability is a nice extra rather than the main point of him as a pilot in the Silencer – his PS 9 is much more of a headline. With two re-positional actions available and the single most green dial in the game, Kylo badly wants to be taking Push the Limit and his natively high PS allows him to leverage as much advantage from it as possible.
The “default build” I’ve mentioned above is likely to be even more so for Kylo. Advanced Sensors makes him massively unpredictable, and combos well with Push the Limit to let you take two actions before you move, then reveal a green move to immediately clear your stress. Having an open dial every turn is a pretty major boon as well, just to keep your opponent on their toes. I think the First Order Vanguard title will be on Kylo 90% of the time, helping him get more consistent offence and defence (in a pinch), and the Tech slot allows you to add whatever extra bit of flavour you need to tilt the build in the direction you prefer.
But, all of that doesn’t come cheap on an already expensive pilot! Push the Limit, Advanced Sensors, Autothrusters, and First Order Vanguard takes Kylo up to a hefty 45 points, making him a valuable target for your opponent and limiting your options in terms of what you can pair with him. Kylo certainly won’t fit neatly into the “Rear Admiral Chiraneau plus an ace” archetype for example and many other Imperial aces fall in the 30-35 point range meaning you can’t put two of them in with him. Given his pilot ability, pairing him with other ships that can easily generate critical damage is strong synergy.
So, Kylo is almost certainly a pilot you need to build the rest of your list around, but I think he’s going to be worth it. With natively high PS, the fantastic Silencer statline, amazing dial, and a pilot ability that punishes your opponent for attacking the most valuable thing in your list, I suspect Kylo is going to be a staple in a lot of Imperial and First Order lists going forward!
There’s a few new cards in this pack, but also a handful of existing upgrades that were all in need of wider availability. You get two copies of Autothrusters and Primed Thrusters in this pack, alongside a copy of Sensor Jammer. Imperials will be particularly pleased by the first two, previously only available in the StarViper and Heroes of the Resistance packs respectively. There’s also two copies of the new Tech upgrade Advanced Optics, which I discussed in detail in the B/SF-17 preview.
Small ship only.
Action: Assign 1 evade token to your ship for each obstacle at Range 1, to a maximum of 2 evade tokens.
So this lets you add the Evade action to any small ship with an EPT slot, and potentially does more work than that. That said, it’s both 2 points and takes up the valuable EPT slot, so doesn’t have an immediately obvious home at first glance. It does have some synergy with Blackout’s ability, although I suspect he’s likely to want to use his action to improve his offence or reposition more often than not. The best place I can think of this being is on Youngster, alongside Juke Black Squadron Pilots and something with Swarm Leader.
It’s a decent option overall, but I suspect wouldn’t have been too cheap at 1 point. We’ll see how it pans out in play.
First Order Vanguard
TIE Silencer only.
When attacking, if the defender is the only ship in your firing arc at Range 1-3, you may reroll 1 attack die.
When defending, you may discard this card to reroll all of your defense dice.
Sadly, this title is unique, otherwise it would fit neatly into multiple Silencer builds. It’s basically a slightly more restrictive version of Predator that doesn’t take your EPT slot, combined with a one-time defensive buff. This could really save your bacon when the green dice decide to blank out! On that basis, it seems like a decent way of spending 2 points, particularly on the higher cost named pilots where protecting your investment is more of a priority.
One key point to note, it’s “only ship in your firing arc” not “only enemy ship”, so your allies can get in the way of your rerolls! Make sure you’re leading from the front or at least paying close attention to keeping your wingmen out of your arc if you can.
This is a reasonably costed upgrade on the Silencer that gives better returns the more points you’ve already put into the ship. As such, expect it to see regular use on Kylo Ren.
Small ship only.
When an enemy ship inside your firing arc at Range 1-2 becomes thee active ship during the Combat phase, you may spend your target lock on that ship to perform a free boost or barrel roll action if that action is on your action bar.
Last of all, we’ve got Threat Tracker, the new Tech upgrade in the Silencer pack. It seems supremely conditional at first glance, but allows you to potentially arc dodge during the combat phase. Turr Phennir, eat your heart out! Admittedly, it requires you to already have a target lock on the enemy ship, but combined with Fire Control System that’s pretty easy to do. I think both the Silencer and TIE/SF are going to find a place for this even with its hefty 3 point price tag, as not getting shot is the best defence of all. It also potentially lets you close into Range 1 of TLT ships or HLC Dash, and otherwise exploit Combat phase repositioning to maximum advantage.
The only downside is its 3 points that’s likely to be added to already quite expensive ships, so may not see much use for that reason, but I think it’s good enough to be seen even at competitive levels of play.
The TIE Silencer delivers on everything I’d hoped it would be. It’s the First Order’s answer to the TIE Interceptor, only massively bulked up and with a dial that Soontir Fel would kill for. It’s also the first time in a long while we’ve seen really competitively priced generics, and a recognition that high PS on the right platform can be worth a lot more than elsewhere. That’s all great news, and hopefully something we’ll see continued in the future.
That said, the new upgrades included in this pack are either a bit underwhelming or powerful but extremely specialised to make them only apply to a few other ships. Debris Gambit feels like a nice idea that doesn’t quite deliver, and Threat Tracker really needs ships to have boost, barrel roll, and access to a System and Tech slot to make the most of it. I may be underestimating the former and missing uses for the latter, but at first look I think there’s no real must haves on the upgrade front for anyone who doesn’t care that much about the Silencer itself. Plus it’s an expensive expansion, both in terms of real money and points, meaning you’re less likely to just impulse buy a second or third copy to round out your fleet.
As a huge fan of the First Order ships in X-Wing, the TIE Silencer is a welcome addition to the fleet, and provides the Imperial faction with a powerful and flexible new option. With Imperials already making a comeback, I think the TIE Silencer could be the ship to bring them back to prominence on the competitive scene, and I’m genuinely excited to see what the next few months of tournament play bring with the swathe of new options that Waves 12 and 13 bring to the table!