Welcome to the Dice and Cardboard Briefing Room, pilot! In this series I'll write about a pilot or upgrade that I've been experimenting with or enjoying.
Any other TIE/rb Heavy fans out there? It's a weird-looking ship, to be sure, and questionably effective at times, but I love the way it stands out on the table and think it has a unique identity that can be leveraged to great success.
Today's briefing will cover Lyttan Dree, possibly the most effective pilot in the TIE/rb at time of writing. Like many pilots in X-Wing, Lyttan is not mentioned in any of the Star Wars films but has a fun canonical history in other media, most notable the Han Solo: Imperial Cadet and TIE Fighter comics.
Lyttan Dree and his brother Tamu attended the Imperial Academy at Carida and were classmates of Han Solo (yes, that Han Solo). Though they didn't necessarily approve of Han's antics they usually went along with him and helped him improve his academy scores when he struggled. Tamu left to become a medic but Lyttan became a fighter pilot, at this point still flying TIE/ln Fighters.
Lyttan and Han became part of Onyx squadron and, with his mention as Onyx Two in a deleted scene from Solo: A Star Wars Story, this is the only time we see Lyttan fly the TIE/rb. When the squadron was attacked by pirate Z-95s Han saved Lyttan from the pirates but was damaged and court-martialed for disobeying orders.
After leaving Onyx squadron, Lyttan Dree joined the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, the infamous Shadow Wing. He flew TIE Interceptors with Shadow Wing but was killed in action when he was shot down by a Rebel X-Wing in the Kudo System.
Dear AMG, when will we get our Shadow Wing box with a TIE Bomber reprint, initiative 6 Soran Keize TIE Fighter and Lyttan Dree Interceptor?
Lyttan in the Brute is a PRESENCE on the table. The ship has a good amount of hull compared to other TIEs to reflect its added armor plating but still no shields. This helps the fact that this big fighter only has one agility. The two-die turret armament can be swiveled either forward or backward and it has two cannon slots so that you can equip any number of armaments.
The TIE/rb also comes with two configurations, one of which is free with the other costing 1 loadout point at time of writing, and both are different versions of the droid brain that assists the human pilot of the Brute. The Maneuver Assist MGK-300 reduces the difficulty of speed 3 maneuvers, allowing Lyttan to zoom around the board more easily with that medium base, and adds a white Barrel Roll action linked to a red Calculate which can be pretty spicy to ensure you've gotten yourself into a target's side arc. The Target Assist MGK-300 synergizes nicely with the Brute's double cannon slot and particularly with Synced Laser Cannons. You can use your action to take a lock and then at the start of engagement gain up to two calculate tokens which can be used to double modify your shots or ensure that Synced Laser Cannons prevents the target's range 3 bonus.
Lyttan's ability encourages you to use your big, distracting TIE around on the enemy's flanks. Where Lyttan differs from the other named /rb pilot, Rampage, is that, while Rampage intimidates your enemy by charging into close range, Lyttan helps a friend modify their attack dice like he helped Han improve his scores at Carida. How nice! The ability is similar to Howlrunner's in the TIE/ln but it helps any friendly ship at a greater range, though with the added requirement that Lyttan has to be in the targets side arc. I wouldn't worry too much about chasing the ability as those arcs aren't too difficult to tag and you'll generally want to be attacking from more than one direction as an Imperial pilot. Don't forget that Lyttan's ability also works on himself!
It's probably pretty clear from the above discussion what my preferred build for Lyttan Dree is and it could be argued that this is the combo that the ship was designed for. I like to use Synced Laser Cannons as it ensures that Lyttan will always be throwing more red dice than the TIE Fighters he may be supporting. I'll then add the Target Assist droid for the synergy and free calculates. With two Loadout points remaining of the 10 total (at time of writing) and no Talent slot (Ion Limiter Override would be super fun), options become a bit more limited. I personally like to add Fire Control System to allow Lyttan to retain a lock and free up his action for the next turn, for example to Focus if there won't be any enemies at range 2-3 to trigger the MGK-300 or to Rotate->Calculate and still have a double mod firing backwards. Flavor to taste...Tactical Scrambler for two points (at time of writing) may be a fun option to make your opponent have to choose between a tough shot through Lyttan at your ace hiding behind him or burning down the Brute and sparing your other ship for a round or two.
There are some other more creative options out there but I've found this simple setup to be the one that works best for me. One spicy build is to equip Tractor Beam and/or Ion Cannon to toss a tractored or disabled enemy ship in front of a pack of hungry TIEs.
At 4 points at time of writing (Rampage is 5), Lyttan fits nicely into a number of Imperial squads. Some viable alternatives at 4 points are currently:
- Pure Sabacc, Vagabond (TIE/sk Striker)
- Commandant Goran, Nash Windrider, Vult Skerris (TIE/in Interceptor)
- Howlrunner, Iden Versio, Moff Gideon (TIE/ln Fighter)
Honestly, all are good options and I like to mix Lyttan in with a combo that usually also includes at least one of them. Goran is an especially good choice because he can toss Lyttan an evade token from time to time. Lyttan likes to work in squads with more ships so that more friendlies can take advantage of his ability, so 5+ ships would be best. He doesn't just enable lower-initiative ships, though, so a smaller ship count with some heavy hitters may still benefit. Many players like to equip Predator or Targeting Computer on Soontir Fel so that he can reroll dice in addition to the Focus that he gains from getting an enemy in his bullseye arc. If he's near Lyttan then Soontir can use Lyttan's ability for a reroll, freeing up his Loadout for other things like Outmaneuver or Juke.