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Twilight Imperium: Units

A paradox in the unit system of TI3 is that everyone uses the same units, but that they behave
differently and have different importance depending on the race you are playing. These differences
are addressed in greater depth in the races section of this guide. In this chapter, we will have a
look at the general traits of the units.

Destroyer Destroyers are the smallest among the capital ships. They are commonly
underestimated because they only hit on 9. But they are very cheap, so you can produce them in
masses (provided you have the build limit). Plus, Hylar V Assault Laser increases their hit chance
by 50% and will be researched early in 90% of the games. Another big trait of the Destroyer is the
Anti-Fighter Barrage that makes the Destroyers a must if your enemies are building up to Fighter
swarms. These you will then destroy even before battle, thereby making the Destroyers count even
more! Smarter people than me have conducted some calculating of hit percentages and came out
with the Destroyer being the unit that brings the most bang for the buck, so its always a good idea
to have them around.

Cruiser The first ship that feels like a capital ship is the Cruiser. Like the Destroyer it is very fast
(range 2, which can reach 3 with use of Type IV Drive!), it hits on 7 without the common Hylar
Lasers and with Stasis Capsules it even can carry GF! For only two resources, you get yourself a
highly versatile vessel that in cases of games where the opponents are tight with their GF saves
you the effort of teching for XRD!

Carriers Carriers are the backbone of your fleet. You almost always need at least two of them (an
exception from the rule is when you use Cruisers for transport). You will want to fill them up with
Fighters as cannon fodder and you need them to carry sufficient GF for the invasion battles. Note
that Carriers are not very fast without XRD Transporters, which is almost always a problem (except
your production is so in the center of all events that they need not travel far), so tech them up
quickly. Theres another thing to consider: if you go in combat, you should make pure-Fighter and
pure-GF Carriers. This way, you can feed the Carriers to the enemy once their fighters are down
which is in most cases preferable to losing a unit that can actually do some harm, and you dont
lose your GF by doing so.

Dreadnoughts Unfortunately, this very coolly designed unit kind of sucks. It is very expensive, slow
and only has a 10% better hit chance than the not-even-half-as-expensive Cruiser. For the price of
a Dreadnought, you can purchase two Cruisers AND a Destroyer, which in space battles not only
gives you a serious edge regarding the punishment you can take but also hit far more often. Of
course, the Dreadnought is not without its merits. For one, it gives your fleet an additional hit to
sustain without a need to stack up the Fleet Supply. Second, it has the ability to bombard GF,
which helps invasions. And third, most people dont understand how crappy they are and are either
intimidated or dump their money in these ships instead of purchasing the good stuff they should.
Oh, and they look cool. Lately, they have gotten a bigger punch with the Duranium Armor Tech,
which makes them more worth the while. When you play with Shards of the Throne and
implement the new techs, Dreadnoughts are worth reconsideration.

Fighters Fighters are not built to kill in most cases, but to take all the hits while the real fleet takes
out the enemy. They can be upgraded twice, so they can hit at a 7 and then they are really
fearsome. Unfortunately, they easily and prematurely fall to the Anti-Fighter Barrage of Destroyers,
so try to keep them away from armies relying on Destroyers. Should you ever get the Graviton
Negator tech, you will transform every ground battle into a guaranteed win, and never forget that
every SD can support three Fighters. It is often not a bad idea to leave some Fighters behind so
the enemy cant easily raid your production systems.
Ground Forces GF are the only option if you want to take and hold planets. They hit on 8 and can
be upgraded to hit on a 7 (and even 6 in defense) which will give you a major edge over your
opponent. Since oftentimes roughly the same small number of GF will fight each other, luck plays a
major part, and the smaller your hit number is, the better your chances are. Generally you should
always try to outnumber your opponent in ground battles 2:1, because luck plays such a large part
on the one hand and on the other hand you want to be able to defend the planet afterwards.

Regarding ST, you should not overrate them. Yes, hit number 5 is nice and all, but they die so fast
that you cant rely on them, and because they always have to be accompanied by at least one
normal GF you face serious limitations in their use like not really being able to use them easily
with Stasis Capsules.

Flagships Mighty units with a big variety of capabilities between the races. We will explore them in
detail in the Races section. Suffice to say, some of them are good, others mediocre, some
outright bad.

Mechanized Units Mechanized Units (MU) are the strongest units for Invasion Combat you can
find. They are immune against nearly anything: PDS-Fire, Action Cards, techs, bombardments and
the like. They also have Sustain Damage and roll two dice with 6. Whenever you want to defend
a planet or expect to come into ground combat, you should have them with you. They really drive
up the stakes for any adversary involved and are well worth their price. A major disadvantage,
however, is that you cant take them with Dreadnoughts or Cruisers.

PDS The Planetary Defense Systems are important measures of stationary defense on planets
against attacks. They fire against space ships as well as against invading ground troops.
Unfortunately, the first drastically looses importance as the game progresses. Dont be fooled by
the opportunity to hit or to deflect hits that is provided by the Magen Defense Grid and the
Maneuvering Jets. You will very soon have fighter cover that can eat up the hits, so the techs are
seldom worth their salt for the PDS bonus alone. The important role of the PDS is not to fire at
space ships although they deter smallscale raids like the Mentak like to do but to fire at landing
Ground Forces. Players find it often difficult to bring enough GF to the site of invasion, and when
they have to carry a lot fighters as cannon fodder per example for the PDS that means less
room for GF. PDS even out the odds before ground combat since they kill GF before the fight
actually starts. Youll want to protect important planets by two PDS if possible to raise the effort the
enemy needs to bring on in order to conquer planets.

Space Docks Space Docks are relatively simple: they allow you to produce ships. Remember that
the build limit is cumulative if there are several SD in once system. Never forget that you are not
allowed to produce a SD on a newly conquered planet and that blocked SD are not allowed to
produce ships. This makes sieges a viable strategy. Simply block the airspace over a planet with a
SD and render it almost useless. If the enemy wants to take back control without actually fighting a
space battle, he needs to build PDS and fire at the blocking ships. So one Destroyer can effectively
block a system for a long time.

War Suns The War Suns are the mightiest unit around, but also the most expensive by far. It
requires extensive tech to use them, and you should always build the Fighters to protect the War
Suns from enemy attacks. This boosts the cost for a fully-stocked War Sun to effectively 15
resources and 7 build limit! Only go for them if you can afford it. In the race section we will see
which races are best able to use War Suns. But be careful, losing them is always a major blow.