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Weekly Skirmish Strategy Week 2: Rebel Faction List Building

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Thanks to  @TheUnsullied for starting this project, and thanks to him for asking me to tackle a topic for this week!

 

A topic that I always enjoy is how to approach list building, so I thought I would share my considerations when building a list for the Rebel faction—the best of the three factions.

 

(“Yeah right,” scoffs the Scum player, whose list half-consists of Rebels J )

 

So, where to start?

 

First, let’s examine the embarrassment of riches which are the support options for Rebels:

 

Support: The Essentials

 

  • Gideon and C3PO

   

 Gideon ArgusC-3PO

Nothing more needs to be said about these two, except that they’re amazing.  The power of focus and the padding out of your activation count with these lower cost figures makes them almost indispensable.  I have considered going without C3PO in a list that focused on mobility before, but any list that wants to compete should bring him along.  His strength has only increased with the new wave, with Han soon to be featured in a ton of lists, and the obvious pairing of his cunning trait and C3PO’s free evade.  And then there’s this:

 Armed Escort command card

 

  • Hera

Hera Syndulla

Hera is so versatile and boosts pretty much every list, and she becomes essential to any list that focuses on ranged attacks.  She pairs well with Han, Rangers, Drokkatta... pretty much everybody.  She allows you to take risky shots and potentially gives you the added damage/surge you needed to finish off a figure when you didn’t quite roll enough damage on your own.  And her attack isn’t too shabby, with a decent seven health to boot.

 

Support: The Extremely Good

  • Alliance Smuggler

 Alliance Smuggler

 

The Smuggler’s value has decreased now that the current maps feature fewer objectives that require an interact action and fewer doors, but he’s still very useful.  He’s good as a terminal sitter and objective grabber, and despite his low health, his -2 accuracy from Slippery is helpful in keeping him alive.  At the very least he can be used as a meat shield on Nal Hutta as you advance down the open sight lines of death.

 

  • Rebel High Command

Rebel High Command

 

As the command cards become more and more powerful, this Upgrade becomes more and more worth its two points, especially in lists that are searching for Son of Skywalker or those Hunter cards.  More and more it’s getting hard to fit these two points in, but they are always worth it if you can.

 

Support: I Also Really Like Chopper

C1-10P

 

He isn’t always worth his three points, but man he’s fun.  He causes your opponent to rethink how valuable that card draw is from the terminal, which can make a huge difference, and he can help your figures get in and out of position with his Ram ability, sometimes catching your opponent by surprise.  His attack is not bad and his health is fine.  He’s such a jerk, and it’s awesome. 

 

All told, that’s five to thirteen points of support, and it’s always tempting to take more from this list, as they’re all great additions.

 

Another option is R2D2, but I don’t typically find he’s worth his points.  However, you can’t overestimate the power of card draw these days, and, well, it's Artoo :-).

R2-D2 Skirmish

 

So where do you go from there?

 

The Anchors: Squads

 

The other two factions have common, go-to squads that can populate most any list (the ubiquitous eWeequays for Scum and eJets for Imperial, though both factions have other options).  This is the main weakness of the Rebel faction—they lack the two-figure squad in the six to eight point range that can compete along the new power curve set by Jabba’s Realm.  Some players have made Echo Base Troopers work, others work with eSabs, but the eRangers are far and away the best squad in Rebels.

 

 Elite Alliance Rangers

 

 A three-figure activation, with access to the powerful Hunter and Trooper cards, rerolls and built-in pierce—what’s not to like?  The answer is the cost.  At twelve points, the eRangers eat up a lot of your list. 

 

The Anchors: Uniques

 

However, more than the other two factions, the Rebels are overloaded with powerful, high-costing uniques that can serve as lynchpins to your lists. 

 

The first is as central to Star Wars as you can get:

Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight

Jedi Luke’s Heroic ability, allowing for two attacks per turn, in conjunction with the most powerful command card in the game, Son of Skywalker, makes Luke a formidable opponent, and extremely annoying to opponents.  His white die (and the luck-faction of when you draw SoS) make him swingier than some people prefer, but he is always a strong anchor.

 

Before HotE came out, you typically saw two main lists that made use of all of the above figures: the Jedi Luke plus eRangers and the double eRangers lists. 

 

Here was my list, which was pretty standard:

Jedi Luke 12

eRangers 12

Hera 4

Gideon 3

C3PO 2

Chopper 3

rAlliance Smuggler 2

Rebel High Command 2

 

Due to the high command card draw, along with the potency of Jedi Luke’s potential thrice-in-a-row attacks with Son of Skywalker (or five if you luck out with initiative and go at the end of the round and the beginning of the next), paired with the efficient Rangers—this list is still competitive.

 

However, in the wake of HotE, we’ll see a lot of several of the new figures (or new upgrades), namely Han, Drokkatta, and Ahsoka (and maybe a few Chewies).

Han SoloRogue SmugglerDrokkatta skirmishAhsoka TanoChewbaccaWookiee Avenger

 

All of these are fantastic additions to the faction.  New Han is one of my new favorite characters.  He’s tricky to play, especially against Hunters, because he can drop so quickly, but man is he fun.  You have to really weigh when you want to move him out and when you can afford exposing him.  But you want to be able to get that extra shot off at the end of the round, so there’s a fine balance to strike.  Hopefully if you have his command card in hand and know that you can steal initiative, or if you have Negation or Comm Disruption and know initiative can’t be stolen, you can activate him back to back, at the end of the round and the start of the next one.  He can change games with three back-to-back-to-back attacks. 

 

Ahsoka has the amazing special ability, move wherever you want and then kill something.  She might not always take out a figure, but she holds up to a few attacks and isn’t easy to ignore.  Also, her command card makes it so your opponent has to be wary of attacking her with figures with low health, potentially diverting some attacks from her.  Plus, her ability to get involved even round one is particularly powerful for a melee figure.  She functions sort of like a Luke-lite, with the bonus of being able to get out of dodge in a hurry when needed.

 

Drokkatta is the most intriguing of the new figures.  Her(?) ability to deal out unmitigated, AoE damage with Demolish and her Shrapnel surge ability helps to finish off characters (or junk droids—and the people said Amen!).  She’s got decent range and can attack farther away with more confidence with Hera in tow, and her attack, health pool, and defense are all strong.  Mostly, I like Drokkatta because she causes your opponent to rethink his positioning and tactics.  And cuz demolition experts are cool.

 

I like Newbacca (thanks to whomever among you I stole that name from!), but at eleven points he’s hard to include.  Starting with his card creates some interesting strategies where you can throw another unit into the fray more to press the issue, but I haven’t tested Newbacca out enough to have a solid opinion.

 

As to Ko-tun, I’m not quite sold on him yet.  The main problem is that I don’t think he pulls enough weight for seven points, and I’m more interested in these other characters.  Eventually I’ll play him just to play him, but for now he’ll take a backseat. 

 

List Building

 

To construct a new list, you can easily follow the mold of the Luke/eRangers list by swapping out a few figures for some added firepower.  @brettpkelly suggested his new list (in his awesome review of the Rebel faction, which you should definitely check out), Han’s New Wookiee, along these lines:

Han 10

Drokkatta 9

eRangers 12

Hera 4

Gideon 3

C3PO 2

 

Not only is this a powerful list, it’s a fun one.  Both Han and Drokkatta are exciting to play (Drokkatta especially is a blast, buh doom ching.  I’ll see myself out…).  They both force the issue and cause your opponent to make tough choices, and so pairing them really strengthens this list.

 

But really you can just swap out most of these figures in and out and still have a competitive list (though Jedi Luke and Han serve as the strongest anchors right now, in my opinion).

 

However, I’m feeling, like probably many of us, a bit of Hunter fatigue.  I still want to be competitive, but I’d like to try to win without relying on those Rangers, which is hard.  The Hunter cards are obviously the best in the game right now, and so abandoning them makes it feel like you’re playing from behind.

 

So, how can you compete against Hunters? 

 

The first answer comes by focusing on the two second-best traits: Spy and Smuggler.  If the Hunters win from their awesome command card advantage, then try to even the playing field with those Spy cards.  And On the Lam is up there with the most powerful cards in the game, negating an attack (assuming you can get out of LoS), and with Vader and Ahsoka becoming prevalent, Slippery Target might also help you to evade an attack (as DT showed me in a recent Vassal game). 

 

Here’s my list for Rebels:

Han 10

Ahsoka 8

eSabs with Targeting Computer

Hera 4

Gideon 3

C3PO 2

Alliance Smuggler 2

Rebel High Command 2

Balance of the Force 1

 

A problem with this list is that it only has two spies (one of which is the underpowered Sabs), and so one solution to that would be to drop the Alliance Smuggler, RHC, and Targeting Computer/Balance of the Force to add Jarrod (who, after I had firmly settled in to dismiss him, has surprised me in games), but I prefer to have that extra command card draw.

 

Will this still stand up to the Hunter onslaught?  Will it be able to handle the force-choking, double-black-rolling freight train that is Vader?  I don’t know, but I think it has potential.  I’ve played it a few times now and am excited to see how it stacks up. 

 

However, I don’t always play to hone my Regionals or Worlds list.  Sometimes, I just want to throw some figures on the table and have at it.  And when I’m in that mood, I’m probably going for a Heroic Effort list, which requires all the complexity of throwing units one after another into your list until you hit forty points.

 

Here’s one:

Han 10

Drokkatta 9

Ahsoka 8

Hera 4

Gideon

Chopper

C3PO

Balance of the Force

 

And for when I’m feeling particularly thematic, here’s another:

Jedi Luke 12

Ahsoka 8

Obiwan 7

Diala 7

Davith 6

 

 

***

 

Please let me know your thoughts on my approach to list building, as well as whether you think Rebels can compete with those lesser factions or if a Hunter-less list has potential. 

 

Happy gaming!

 

-ryanjamal

 

(Special thanks to the Boardwars database—all of the images were stolen from there!)

Edited by ryanjamal

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Great topic @ryanjamal, been animated by the new rebel cards to see a little more variety to rebel list building. I am eager to test Drokatta, but Newbacca is what I've been waiting for since I started playing skirmish.

The benefit of pairing with Han is the synergy of the powerful smuggler cards, and despite the use of less figures, I'll try Heroic effort in chewie lists to see if I feel a little more free with debts repaid on my hand.

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4 hours ago, ryanjamal said:

Ahsoka has the amazing special ability, move wherever you want and then kill something.  She might not always take out a figure, but she holds up to a few attacks and isn’t easy to ignore.  Also, her command card makes it so your opponent has to be wary of attacking her with figures with low health, potentially diverting some attacks from her.  Plus, her ability to get involved even round one is particularly powerful for a melee figure.  She functions sort of like a Luke-lite, with the bonus of being able to get out of dodge in a hurry when needed.

Ahsoka is amazing IMO. Her damage output isn't the highest, but you can't hide from her. With a couple of assisting Command Cards I've used her to turn-one assassinate Jabba hiding deep in his own DZ before now. That level of manoeuvrability is worth a bunch of points that might not seem obvious when you're looking her thinking, "only" one attack per turn...? But that's an attack on whoever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want, or near enough.

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3 hours ago, Bitterman said:

Ahsoka is amazing IMO. Her damage output isn't the highest, but you can't hide from her. With a couple of assisting Command Cards I've used her to turn-one assassinate Jabba hiding deep in his own DZ before now. That level of manoeuvrability is worth a bunch of points that might not seem obvious when you're looking her thinking, "only" one attack per turn...? But that's an attack on whoever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want, or near enough.

Man, a turn-one Jabba kill is too awesome 👏🏼 👏🏼👏🏼  

Yeah, I think she'll catch some people by surprise. 

-ryanjamal 

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6 hours ago, Bitterman said:

Ahsoka is amazing IMO. Her damage output isn't the highest, but you can't hide from her. With a couple of assisting Command Cards I've used her to turn-one assassinate Jabba hiding deep in his own DZ before now. That level of manoeuvrability is worth a bunch of points that might not seem obvious when you're looking her thinking, "only" one attack per turn...? But that's an attack on whoever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want, or near enough.

Which command cards? Positioning advantage and force surge are the only ones i can think of at the moment that could assist her damage output

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24 minutes ago, Fightwookies said:

Which command cards? Positioning advantage and force surge are the only ones i can think of at the moment that could assist her damage output

Deathblow, pummel, Prepared for Battle (the new 2 cost one that lets leaders get 1 dmg power token and 1 block power token) are a few that come to mind to boost her damage without the help of other figures. and with her forcing rerolls 'Wild Attack' could be a good choice with her too.

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1 hour ago, Fightwookies said:

Which command cards? Positioning advantage and force surge are the only ones i can think of at the moment that could assist her damage output

IIRC: started with focus and extra squares from Gideon. In her own activation, 2 squares free, 6 squares leap, plus Fleet Footed got her adjacent. She attacked, Jabba barely survived, Force Surge (such a fantastic card) finished him off.

So it took help from Gideon and two Command Cards but she did it. I'm not saying it's a certainty every time, but it can happen (and did that time) which is something many "stronger" cards can't do.

Edited by Bitterman

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I am playing this:

Han, with fix
Chewe, with fix
Jyn
Gideon
C3po
Chopper
Hera
Smuggler

And I find it very good list, fun and charismatic. Focusing on the letters of command of smugglers and leaders ..
Edited by alexkazze

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Another plus for the Smuggler: He is a cheap activation. If you just have some points left or just want to add something to your activation count, the Smuggler is your friend.

IMO, it's either Chopper or R2, never both. The both have the same orders: "Run to the nearest Terminal and do your thing." You just don't need 2 droids standing besides your terminal. Because Chopper is faster and more versatile, Chopper is a staple in my Rebels lists, and R2 is on the bench. Don't get me wrong, R2's extra Command card is great, but on the maps currently in rotation, he is just to slow.

The Rangers being a three figure group is actually a plus for me. Command cards, that affect a whole Deployment group, are much more effective than on those two figure groups. And you absolutely want to end turn 1 and start turn 2 with a big bang. What's a bigger bang than a 10 to 13 points deployment?

The best thing about new Han Solo is that he causes your opponent to rethink his positioning and tactics. I've played quite a few games against him, and it always ended with me having headaches. Yes, Han's 2nd and 3rd shot can be played around, but is hard to do so, and this situation gives the opponent lots of tough choices.

Edited by DerBaer

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I love how well Han pairs with Gideon. I go early on with Han and move him out of LoS, then, with one of my last activations, I use gideon to focus him and push him back into LoS. So, does my opponent attack Han with his last activation and then suffer return fire? and if he leaves him be I still have my end-of-round attack. 

It doesn't always work out that smoothly, but it's so awesome when it does. 

-ryanjamal 

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On 11/3/2017 at 4:02 AM, ryanjamal said:

 

As to Ko-tun, I’m not quite sold on him yet.  The main problem is that I don’t think he pulls enough weight for seven points, and I’m more interested in these other characters.  Eventually I’ll play him just to play him, but for now he’ll take a backseat. 

 

Isn't Ko-tun also a 'her'? Not sure though, haven't read any texts regarding him/her, but looks female :P

A few things that I have noticed playing Rebels:
- Make sure you don't have too many fragile guys in your team that want 'last->first' activations of a round.
For instance, I have tried Han + Ahoka twice now (once with eRangers and once with Luke), but you run into the issue that you want all your guys to have the last activation (and the first on round 2); Ashoka want to jump in, attack. Start the round, attack, jump out. But you also want to position Han for his free attack. With Luke it was even worse.
And both Han and Ashoka are fragile and can die in 2 hunter hits if CC are used and you don't dodge.
So your first list is actually the best one I think (Han, eRang, Drokkatta and support)
- The more the high-end figures become played, the more interesting Chewie becomes due to his option to Stun. Stunning Luke, Vader, IG, enemy Han etc is all interesting. There are also interesting surprised to trigger if you can kill your own troops (drokkatta's ability to finish of your own guy can give an interesting surprise effect this way. And there are probably more ways to do it, like blowing up Chopper or C3PO with that droid card, if you play Jarrod you can blow up his droid too with that). I think Chewie might be slightly worse than Han, but Han will be played more I think, so people won't prepare much against Chewie. Combined with some surprise use as listed above, that might catch players off guard more than Han could, making him also an interesting pick.

Edited by Soulflame

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On ‎03‎.‎11‎.‎2017 at 4:02 AM, ryanjamal said:

 

 

Here was my list, which was pretty standard:

Jedi Luke 12

eRangers 12

Hera 4

Gideon 3

C3PO 2

Chopper 3

rAlliance Smuggler 2

Rebel High Command 2

 

My current rebel lists:

1. Your list minus Luke plus eRangers

2. Your list minus Luke plus Han plus Smuggler

I absolutely think that all 3 are top tier lists.

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1 hour ago, Soulflame said:

Isn't Ko-tun also a 'her'? Not sure though, haven't read any texts regarding him/her, but looks female :P

Ha ha, just goes to show how little I've looked at her card 😄  But good point about Han and Ahsoka. What I'm loving about running both of them is their ability to strike hard the first round. The amount of space counting that goes on against these two causes opponents head aches. 

But I haven't gotten to play against too many Hunter lists with these two yet. 

-ryanjamal 

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On 11/5/2017 at 3:30 AM, DerBaer said:

Don't get me wrong, R2's extra Command card is great, but on the maps currently in rotation, he is just to slow.

He was slow, but now with that extra movement with Hera's smooth landing, it seems he gets to pull a card 1st round on every map in rotation (except Anchorhead Cantina but you can use Gideon for help).  

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8 hours ago, Soulflame said:

- The more the high-end figures become played, the more interesting Chewie becomes due to his option to Stun. Stunning Luke, Vader, IG, enemy Han etc is all interesting. 

Maybe others have got out of the habit of this with so many fewer eSabs around these days, but whenever I'm playing a list with any significantly-priced figure I make sure to have a way to clear Stun: Motivation, Unshakeable, Command Cards, etc.

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57 minutes ago, Bitterman said:

Maybe others have got out of the habit of this with so many fewer eSabs around these days, but whenever I'm playing a list with any significantly-priced figure I make sure to have a way to clear Stun: Motivation, Unshakeable, Command Cards, etc.

Yeah. With Vader back on the board, I actually brought a Stun oriented list... unfortunately, my opponent brought Unshakeable.  And yes, I was running two sets of eSabs, they give many groups out there fits, especially if they can do a hit and run attack, or go after objectives.

 

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6 hours ago, DerBaer said:

Did you bring those new Heavy Weapon cards with tose eSabs?

Did they work well?

No. I brought lots of Spy cards, to help cause Chaos.  They worked well.   I'd like to get some Heavy Weapons cards, but then have to cut out some other things.  I ran with the following this last weekend.

  • Comm Disruption
  • Deadeye
  • Debts Repaid
  • Efficient Travel (really came in handy in Nal Hutta)
  • Hide in Plain Sight 
  • Negation
  • Planning
  • Positioning Advantage
  • Rally
  • Right Back at Ya.
  • Slippery Target
  • Stall for Time
  • Strategic Shift
  • Take Initiative
  • Tough Luck

I could possibly exchange out Stall for time and Hide in Plain Sight (which is pretty situational but can be key to keeping a figure alive for the next round).

 

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@kingargyle Did you end up using strategic shift? I've had it in my hands recently but haven't wanted to sacrifice the action to use it. I've been debating about dropping it, but those Hunter lists with the Black Market card draw have kept it in...so far. 

-ryanjamal 

Edited by ryanjamal

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2 minutes ago, ryanjamal said:

@kingargyle Did you end up using strategic shift? I've had it in my hands recently but haven't wanted to sacrifice the action to use it. I've been debating about dropping it, but those Hunter lists with the Black Market card draw have kept it in...so far. 

-ryanjamal 

In the three games I played I never got the card in my hand soon enough.   It would have came in handy against @cnemmick's vader list that had Rule by Fear and Zillow.  Could have taken away his Zillow supply, early.

I view it as a situational card, that if I can get it early, I can keep an eye on when my opponent has a bunch of command cards, and just ruin their day by making them get back down to 2.   I'd probably only use it on one of the Sabetours that was wounded near death or just carrying out an objective with no danger of being shot... or if it would just royally mess up my opponents plans.  For 1 point, with the potential to really swing a round in your favor, I think it is worth the action to use it.  I just would never use it with Ashoka unless she was on death's door.

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