Anatomy of a Tank – Tough Devastators



Hey all, I’m back! Been a very busy month, with tournaments, job hunting, game designing, and of course lots of X-Wing! Big thanks to PCGamerPirate for writing some posts while I was off, glad to have him on the team!

So let’s get down to business. It took a couple months, but i’m now seeing Decimators settle into a a position in the meta, and unsurprisingly they’ve become the go-to tank for Empire. But how to build a tanky Decimator? That’s what we’re here for today!


First off, you have to pick a pilot. For the tank build, there’s really only two pilots you want to look at: Chiraneau and Kenkirk.

Both ships carry a decent PS bid, giving them first shot against non-named ships, and Chiraneau loves to eat phantoms for breakfast, especially with Veteran Instincts. The major difference is choosing between offensive power (Chiraneau), or defensive staying power (Kenkirk). Both are excellent options and hold their own in their own right.


Without any upgrades, Decimators don’t have the kind of staying power they need to hang around in a fight. The biggest advantage of a Decimator is it’s three crew slots, so let’s look at those first. First off, the absolutely REQUIRED crew for the tank build:

Isard seems innocent at first, but she can make it take twice as long to kill a decimator, weeding out the worst of the damage and keeping you in the fight for quite a while longer. Unfortunately this doesn’t help as much with swarms, where one evade token will only marginally reduce the incoming firepower. Kenkirk is the best answer to this issue, getting that defense die will help thin out the rest of the swarm’s attacks.

After Isard, there’s a couple other strong cards for the tank build:

Rebel Captive is almost a must-have. The first ship to attack you is most likely to be your opponent’s biggest investment, and it can seriously cripple your opponent if they don’t clear that stress every turn. This gives you a huge advantage, either by forcing your opponent to use green maneuvers (deadly to some ships), or relieving them of their actions, massively reducing their firepower and defense ability. It also has the nice tag of being a hard counter to phantoms, effectively making your Decimator immune to them. I’ve also seen this be a great way to take down Fat Han….

Mara Jade is a powerful swarm counter, making TIE and Z-95 swarms scared to get too close. Slamming your Decimator into the middle of these swarms not only breaks up their formation, but then hands out STRESS FOR EVERYONE!

Finally, you want Engine Upgrade. Decimators can be incredibly fast ships, and boost on any large ship is one of the strongest movement abilities in the game. Engine Upgrade not only gets you where you need to be fast, but it helps you arc dodge and navigate asteroid fields.

Predator is an excellent Elite Pilot Talent to ensure consistent firepower (and works wonders with Chiraneau), and though it might be tempting to take Gunner, with Predator you’re not likely to use it ever (though if you do, you can use it to re-roll a hit if you rolled all blanks and one hit – forcing a miss means you’ll basically just be re-rolling with gunner).

Outside these cards, other upgrades on a Decimator are just gravy. Torpedoes aren’t all that great, but Flechette torpedoes combo great with Rebel Captive and Mara Jade, ensuring your opponent is stressed no matter the situation. Bombs can be okay on a Decimator, espcially with Mara Jade; After crashing head-on into a tie swarm, the ties are likely to try to use green maneuvers to clear stress, or go a full 4 or 5 to clear the Decimator safely and hope for some distance. If you hit them head-on, this puts them either A: bumping you and losing out on any action they would get anyways, or B: flying full-on into a trap. Finally, picking an alternate Elite Talent can work depending on your strategy, and if you’re strapped for points a Veteran Instincts is always a decent option.

What do you fly alongside a Tankimator? The best solution tends to be single-ship powerhouses, most commonly TIE Phantoms, TIE Defenders, or Firesprays. Phantoms hold a special place, since most players are loathe to bother targeting them (despite their fragility and reliance on luck), pushing attacks towards your Rebel Captive-armed Decimator, leaving your Phantom unharassed. On the other hand, if your opponent targets the Phantom (or any other single-ship powerhouse for that matter), your Decimator lasts longer, and in a timed tournament setting, it becomes incredibly difficult to chew through a Tankimator if you start partway through the game rather than at the beginning. Swarms of any kind aren’t likely to work, as they provide easy targets that will die quickly, and won’t be able to distract enough from your big scary tank.

Well that’s it for now! As a side note, our coverage of Armada has begun today with an article on Star Destroyers! If you’re interested in Star Wars Armada, the capital ship combat game coming soon from Fantasy Flight, Check it out here! Until next time, play more games!


Capital Ship is still a small, growing news and tactics source for X-Wing and related games, and we need more contributors! If you’re interested in getting in at the ground floor of something big and exciting, submit an article to us at the email address Become a contributor today!


One response to “Anatomy of a Tank – Tough Devastators

  1. I would add that Determination is a cheap upgrade that can save the decimator a lot of trouble. They tend to take a lot of crits and determination allows you to discard among the worst of them.


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