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X-Wing: Swarm Theory – Part 1

4 Minute Read
Jul 7 2014

TIE Swarms, it’s Old School and yet it still works. Today we talk tactics of exactly how to run this dreaded Squadron list.

TIE Swarm is such a generic term, it’s about time we got a bit more clarity on what constitutes a swarm and how/why they work.  This time I go large with some 8 TIE builds…

The reason I like to talk about the Swarm’s so much is because they have been around for longer than most other builds being that it primarily involves all Wave 1 ships.  This time I am going to be talking about the Swarmiest of Swarms the 8 TIE Swarm.

An 8 TIE Swarm facing off against a 6 TIE Swarm deployed in what I like to call the Brick Formation…

The 8 TIE swarm still has variant and is not a definitive build.  My personal preferred build is 4 Academy Pilots and 4 Obsidian Squadron Pilots as I fly them slightly differently to some other builds using them as two mini-swarms that converge for a volley or two and then move off again.

Another option is 7 Academy Pilots and one of the Named Pilots of 16 points or less. Dark Curse is a nice defensive option in this kind of list giving you a little extra resistance to damage but I would rather take one of the 15 point pilots and try to grab initiative as getting to place that first big asteroid somewhere can be quite powerful.  My 15 point Pilot of choice would be Winged Gundark as he give you a good offensive edge against fellow imperial list who are normally light on shields.

The premises of the 8 TIE swarm is all about quantity.


Not a lot in it does anything good – but there is a lot in it!

It works by overloading your opponent with targets and forcing them to spread the fire power they have across multiple ships.

Most opponents would be unwise to try an early head to head with this type of swarm.  The shear number of dice you will get to roll should ensure damage but you WILL lose some ships on your early pass.  The key is to ensure that you focus down the high threats while anything they shoot at is no more effective than any of your other ships.

As soon as one of your TIE’s is damaged break it off from your formation.  This forces the enemy to either focus on it for the kill or ignore it and have wasted the firepower they have put in to it.  If they do go after the damaged TIE you should be able to gain the upper hand with positioning and if he only sends one ship off to chase, this is even better as the chasing ship will be isolated and let the rest of your swarm overpower his remaining ships.

Once you have used brute force to whittle down your opponent to just a couple of ships you can scatter the swarm and try to dog fight a little more.  It is important to remember that you want to break off with damaged ships and try to keep the focus on a different ship every time.  It is also worth trying to use blocking to control their movement, cutting off paths to ensure that their ships can only be in a couple of positions.

Crashing becomes a whole new game with this type of list as well, there are times where you will want to sacrifice a lot of actions to ensure that you get the most shots on a target but equally you need to stay off the asteroids as every round a ship fails to fire is a huge advantage to your opponent as an individual TIE with its two attack dice is going to struggle to do any serious damage.


Death by a thousand cuts is a very good way to describe this swarm configuration in action.

There is also a good amount of intimidation in facing this type of list, and it is one of the most effective against a Falcon list if you can fly it well enough to get the full swarm shooting at least once or twice then even Chewbacca should go down…

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings and if you would like to see more please visit my Blog at The Dice Hate Me – Kris

There are a lot of variations on deployment with this many TIE’s and its well worth practicing a few opening plays to make sure you know where you can expect to be in Turns 2 or 3.  This is something we will look at next time on Swarm Theory but if you have any you want to share or questions you would like to ask then please comment below!

Author: Kris Sherriff
  • Hordes: Una the Falconer