I recently had the opportunity to climb in the cockpit of a TIE Punisher and take it for a whirl. Not literally, of course, but as a component of the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game, and I must say I was rather satisfied. I also completely neglected to take any pictures- silly me- so I’m going to grab some generic one to illustrate.
So, there it is, somewhat unassuming isn’t it? You can tell that it’s big, maybe- and it is. Except for it’s release-sibling, the K-Wing, it’s the biggest “small” ship released so far.
Now, I’ve had poor results with warhead-leaden ships in the past in X-Wing, but I almost entirely attribute that to a clash between my playstyle and style in which they are effective. I play Imperials exclusively, and prefer to play a largely swift and maneuverable style, offsetting the relatively fragility of my fighters with superior control of movement.
Anyone’s who’s played with a TIE Bomber will tell you that they don’t do that.
But when the spoilers for the TIE Punisher showed it to be capable of Boost, that got my attention. I was also intrigued by this:
Behold! I cannot speak highly enough about this card. I don’t usually use warheads of any kind- I’d rather have an upgrade that I can use over and over again than one I use once and it’s gone. This changes that, and combined with a Munitions Failsafe, it ensures that you get the bang for your buck that you deserve!
I’ll admit that I wasn’t thrilled with the Pilot Abilities presented in the TIE Punisher booster; I went with “Deathrain” sort of as the lesser of two evils. “Redline” didn’t appeal to me- he has the ability to maintain two target locks, though he is limited locking the same ship twice. But I’d never actually put bombs in a team before, and felt that “Deathrain” would give me the incentive to do so. I loaded “Deathrain” with the following:
Cluster Missiles (4), Extra Munitions (2), Plasma Torpedoes (3), Cluster Mines (4), Proton Bombs (5), Fire-Control System (2), Munitions Failsafe (1). I thought that made this guy a pretty intimidating salvo of death. Then I did the math and discovered that he clocked in at 47 points. There’s a little less than half my team in one ship. Ah well, this was a trial, right? May as well see what he can do with so much stuff.
The rest of my team was composed of two Alpha Squadron Pilot TIE Interceptors, and an Academy Pilot TIE Fighter. Doing the math again, I see that comes in at 99, and I’m sure I had an even hundred. Hmm. I must have made a math error during the game. Oh well.
My opponent fielded a team of Scum and Villany composed of a Headhunter, a Y-Wing, and a Firespray (I don’t remember any of the pilots, and was silly enough not to note them in any way, even though I was considering writing this review. Bad Chris).
I’m not going to give a turn-by-turn commentary of the match, but I will say that I was pleased. The Punisher proved an admirable weapon. True, it’s four shields vanished all in one go as the result of an point blank blaster shot from the Firespray and a poor Agility roll, but it’s 6 hull ensured that it stuck around long enough to unload most of its payload and deal significant damage. I found the cluster mines an interesting weapon, but they were never detonated.
The final round of the game saw the Punisher and the Academy Pilot my only surviving ships against the Firespray- all with only one hull remaining. Feeling a need to control my destiny, even at the expense of my resources, I detonated Proton Bombs, destroying everyone in one glorious ball of Imperial wrath.
I certainly plan to field the Punisher again someday, though I doubt it will become a go-to ship. And I certainly don’t think I’d ever play it without the Extra Munitions upgrade.
But, all-in-all a worthy ship to blast your foes to bits, and a bomber without peer amongst the Imperial fleet.
Glory to the Empire.