Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Playing the Interdictor without Experimental Retrofits?

After my first game with the Wave 3 & 4 ships on Monday I was left really pleased with the play of the new Liberty and GR-75 ships that I used.  I felt like they will be pretty easy to integrate into our fleets and start to learn their tricks.  

I was also paying pretty close attention to the performance of the new Imperial ships as well.  I could start to see the potential of the Interdictor's new Experimental Retrofits in the game.  My opponent though had really focused on those and didn't really get the Interdictor in the best position to just be a ship.  While I think the early question for most people will be how to use the Interdictor to manipulate the game with the Retrofits, I think maybe a better question is how to get the most out of them when they aren't up to their experimental tricks.

So, let's look at how the Interdictor plays without any of it's crazy tech.

The easiest comparison for the Interdictor is to the VSD II.  It has similar size and it's in the same price ballpark.  Compared to the VSD II, with the Suppression Refit you get:
  • Another click of Yaw at Speed 2
  • One less shield, but one more Hull
  • One less squadron, but one more Engineering
  • Trades the Weapons Team for a Support Team
  • Loses the Turbolaser Upgrade in favor of the Experimental Retrofits
  • Loses 2 dice on the front arc, but adds 1 to each other arc.
  • Lower overall range
So, it honestly looks pretty even with the VSD II.  Essentially trading some range for an extra click of Yaw and 5 points.  Of course the VSD II isn't exactly considered the best ship in the game.

My hang up with the VSD has always been more about the slow turning than the slow speed.  It was the inability to turn sharply that hurt it more than the limit of speed 2.  That extra click, plus the support team, should make the Interdictor much easier to maneuver.  The limited range plus the slower speed may be more of an issue for the Interdictor.

With only 4 dice in its best arc, the Interdictor is really going to need to get to medium range and double arc its target for the best results.  Its single arc firepower just isn't very impressive relative to its cost.  What the Interdictor does have going for it is the most even damage distribution in the game.  It will pretty much hit just as hard no matter what direction it is firing.  The Rebel Assault Frigate MKIIa is the only other ship that comes close to that arrangement.  

Without a Turbolaser Upgrade or a Weapons Team, the only way to really improve the offensive potential of the Interdictor is that Ion Cannon upgrade.  Offensive Retrofits don't really do much for firepower and the only one that really looks like it fits is the Tractor Beams.  So, what can the Interdictor get out of its Ion Cannon slot:
  • Leading Shots doesn't make a ton of sense to me.  I'm a huge fan of the card, but only when there are a lot of Red dice that you might want to re-roll.
  • High Capacity Ion Turbines certainly add to the damage potential, but they are pretty expensive.
  • SW-7 Ion Batteries have some potential.  You would get a guaranteed 3 damage per shot minimum.
 What really stands out to me are the number of Blue dice that the Suppression Refit can throw when it fires out of 2 arcs.  Only the ISD II using Gunnery Teams out the front can beat it.  This may make the Interdictor Suppression Refit the best platform for the various Ion Cannons that offer Blue crit effects.
  • Ion Cannon Batteries seem like a winner.  5 points is a reasonable price.  You have a good shot at the crit effect and either get to remove a Command Token or add an extra damage.
  • MS-1 Ion Cannons are cheap, but don't increase your offensive potential and rely on your opponent bringing specific upgrades.
  • NK-7 Ion Cannons have a strong effect, but would only work once per turn and are rather expensive.
  • Overload Pulse can be game winning, but relies on using a specific activation order.      
Overall I think I like the Ion Cannon batteries the most even though I can see an argument for NK-7s or Overload Pulse.  I will definitely be trying out that upgrade with my Interdictors.

Beyond upgrading the Ion Cannons there isn't a lot you can do to improve the offensive output of the Interdictor.  I do think that Screed or Vader could be really helpful for crit fishing.  Vader in particular seem like a strong Admiral choice for the Interdictor to me.  It has plenty of defense tokens and can make good use fo the re-rolls.

The next issue with the Interdictor is getting targets into Medium range.  It has 2 ways to go about that.  One is Engine Techs.  With an Engine Techs upgrade is becomes fast and plenty mobile.  The other way is to just slow down your opponent.  Tractor Beams and G-8 Projectors will do the trick here.  Either solution should allow you to set up double arcs, which is what the Interdictor needs to be really combat effective.

The other unique trait for the Interdictor is having the highest Engineering value in the game.  With upgrades it can get boosted to some ridiculous levels.  That makes the Interdictor one of the tankiest ships in the game.  By using repeated Repair commands, you can keep it in the fight for quite awhile.  It lacks Defensive Retrofits which hurts, but I do think you can get a lot of mileage out of what it does offer.  It really gives the Imperials a great ship for using Projection Experts as well.

So, while I don't recommend taking the Interdictor without some kind of Experimental Retrofit.  (afterall, they look like a lot of fun)  I do think you should consider how to get the most out of them when you aren't using those upgrades. 


  1. I am (I was already but sure your article is making me even more convinced) to sport at the next tourney a combination of ISD + 2Dict + Gozantis.

    The basic idea would be having:
    - ISD as first tank-ship + long-range hitting platform ;
    - Dict1 as 2nd tank and blue-dice roller once the enemy is at close range ;
    - Dict2 as shield regenerator thanks to Prj experts + Gozanti.

    Still need to check how much room for squads would remain.. . .

    1. Let me know how it works if you try it out. I've been enjoying my Interdictor games so far.