So the big question that often is posed on the FFG forums and Reddit is firstly if these 'fixes' in the forms of titles will bring the TIE Defenders into balance and secondly what impact on the meta will this have?
TIE Defenders are an awesome Imperial package and the only drawback is the rather expensive price tag. In the early days of X-wing the writers perhaps put a little too much value in the ability to perform a white 4K turn. Yes it is an awesome on of a kind manoeuvre but hardly game breaking which is obvious from not only tournament data but also looks from confused players whey they play against a Defender with thoughts ranging from 'What do they do again?' to 'Why on earth are you running that?'.
This title for me also highlights that the creators have identified an area that needs a fix simply because of the negative points cost involved. I guess they have 3 options, they can do nothing. They can add titles to increase the power of a ship (TIE/D) or alternatively the same principle with a negative cost which to me is simply admitting 'Yes we got that one wrong – sorry'. But that's ok, I forgive you FFG for fixing it now.
At -2 squad points the TIE/x7 title takes the cheapest pilot skill (Delta Squadron Pilot) to 28 points which when compared to the likes of T-65's and T-70's you start to feel there is still quite a gap to be filled. Rather than using this title on lowly pilots I can see this being very versatile on Rexler Brath.
Unfortunately he's sitting just shy of 40 points but check out the action economy. He moves with a 3/4/5 speed manoeuvre gaining an evade token, then a focus for the offence/defence and also to possibly use to trigger his pilot ability and then either a barrel roll into a better position or a target lock to ensure the focus token is kept through an attack. The addition of the engine means the stress token applied is very easy to get rid of next turn.
The TIE/x7 title essentially grants the Imperial navy a half decent jousting ability for the TIE Defender and with the evade token addition it will be interesting to see if this increases the overall survivability of the ship not so much from an individual ship point but from an overall squadron view. From another perspective to see if the enemy will target something else all together ignoring them or completely obliterating them with a fear normally reserved for Wampa for example.
Let's wait and see!
Heaps of options with the TIE Defenders have opened up but also for squadrons awaiting for the release. I'm looking forward to trying Deathrain with two tractor beam Defenders and pulling them into any mines they happen to miss. Having Boba Fett on the table supported by two TIE/x7 Defenders also looks very appealing to name a few.
I'm hopeful with the release of Imperial Veterans the Empire will finally have a ship capable of performing the solid jousting role its struggled to achieve with any other ship. Of course that's not what the Imperial forces are all about but still I think it's long overdue to have a ship like this in the fleet.
The hardest part as usual is now waiting for the content to be released. Please share any squadron ideas you have and what you're looking forward to the most.