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JediPartisan

The Problem With Rebels

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Posted (edited)

When I started Legion, I started playing Rebels, then moved to Imperial, because I started having less and less success with Rebels. I truly believe that Rebels are not balanced and have serious problems, but every time I raised that as an issue, I was quickly shot down by people who would point to the lists who won tournaments and it was Rebels (not always, but enough to be more than fluke).

I think I have finally figured out what the problem is with Rebels and why some people succeed with them an others don’t and it all has to do with faction identity, or lack there of.

In order to explain, let me talk about the faction that was done correctly first, the Imperials. The Imperial faction is based on a foundation of core troops that benefit from Aim tokens. All of the Imperial corps troops benefit from Aim tokens beyond just being an Aim token (with the exception of Snowtroopers, but they can Aim, Move and Shoot all in the same activation). They benefit from Aims through their Keywords (Precise & Target) and from adding to their attack strength while their red defensive dice have already given them a defensive advantage, and also added to the fact that each of those keywords are Active keywords in that you get to choose when or if you will get benefit from them (more on that later). Not only is using and even giving Aims a common thread through many of the Imperial units (Stormtroopers, Shore Troopers, Veers and the generic Commander, not to mention Bosc and a generic command card), but the Imperial faction also has a lot of units that have the Suppressive keyword. This makes for an excellent foundation to add units like the Tank, Boba Fett, or the AT-ST to give variation and versatility to something already quite cohesive.

Now let’s look at the Rebel faction. They were once known as the “cheap” faction, but lost that long ago, as each newer unit became more and more expensive without adding to their overall faction identity. The Rebels may be called a more mobile faction, but that descriptor can only really be applied to one or two units and isn’t a common thread. Perhaps they have Nimble and their ability to give and use Dodges without spending them (Nimble keyword), but that does require the use of an action and Nimble is a passive ability. Unlike the Imperial active keyword (Precise), Nimble does not see a benefit unless your opponent decides to attack that unit. Meaning you don’t get to decide when the ability is used (if at all) and your opponent will in all likelihood attack another unit without a dodge (if they can). This makes their main ability not very useful and/or hard to get benefit from. Beyond that there are no intrinsic common threads to create cohesion in the Rebel faction, no foundation from which to build. Because of this lack of cohesion (pun intended) each unit has its own way of playing. Their isn’t a set, “you can do this for rebels” kind of playbook. Those that have found success have been able to see on some level or other that each unit needs to be played differently. For example, the Rebel Trooper needs to be played very differently than the Fleet or even Veteran Trooper let alone a unit like the Landspeeder or Luke Skywalker, even though most of those units have white defense dice and black attack dice, there just isn’t enough of a cohesive thread to tie the entire faction together.

Moving forward, I hope the devs see this and make changes to give the Rebels a more cohesive play style, or at the very least make them the “cheap” faction once again (except for Tauns, those suckers need to be increased).

I hope this made sense and you can see what I’m trying to get at. Please understand I’m not saying the rebels are garbage and the Imperials are the best and by transitive properties any Rebel player is worth 2 of any 1 Imperial. What I am saying is because of this disconnect in faction identity, it has caused Rebels to be more challenging to play, so that you can’t get a feel for a few units and know how to play the entire faction. It creates a steeper learning curve that fewer players can manage, so you get those usual players who will frequent the top tables as rebels with fewer new players than the Imperial faction who’s units are more cohesive and so more straight forward, but not necessarily easier.

I hope that this gives other Rebel players insight into their faction and allows them to improve as it is harder to get the knack for the faction when each unit plays differently without a common thread. And for the record, this is a type of imbalance, but will be harder to fix than something like a point or power imbalance. Though there may be some of that too, between Rebels and Imps, but to a lesser or more subtle degree.

Just my opinion, but if you disagree, let me know why, but please be civil and polite. Pretty please. I bruise easily.😏🥺🤪

 

Edited by JediPartisan

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Its hard to agree with you here. You make some good points, especially around rebels identity being found in dodges and that not being a controllable advantage, but I think the overall theme is kinda off. Rebels have some of the best units in the game right now (Tauns, op Luke, Sabine, Leia) backed by excellent command cards. I'll admit they have some of the worst units as well (rebel vets, wookies, pathfinders, Jyn) but some of those are about to see a big jump in power thanks to Cassian coming out. Rebel heavies also look bad compared to other faction heavies, but are significantly cheaper.

I believe rebels do have a solid faction identity around defense, with dodges and lots of inspire and such, but I'll agree with you that those defensive abilities are not as strong as the Imperial aim gunline or other faction's heavy support options. You just need to play differently with rebels. You won't win a straight up gun fight with an Imperial gunline, it just won't happen. You need to dodge in and out of cover, like a rebel, and play to the objective. Just like in the movies and TV shows the rebel alliance only does well when skirmishing, head on conflicts usually end up terribly for them. 

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“A scrappy, diverse fighting force that adapts to the environment and makes do with what they have” seems like a faction identity to me! The variety in Rebel playstyles is the identity. 

 

But yeah, the Rebel keywords do give a lot of agency to your opponent in a way that Imperial keywords do not, which can be frustrating. 

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Posted (edited)

There is a problem with how the core factions got designed yes. Aim tokens are almost always useful and you can use more of them to roll crits. In addition to this, we have critical weapons and surge-crit on alot of stuff today which brings up a problem.

Crits are too powerful in comparision to how easy they are to get these days. They both ignore cover, dodge and armor and since you don't get 1 or maybe 2 anymore, but sometimes 4-5 you have enough to take out rebels despite them sitting in cover with a dodge. Sure not every unit can do this, but the amount of crits is increased.

However dodges do only so much and are less flexible in use. You need to either get the dodge in the command phase or before your unit get's attacked. Also if you have a dodge token, you can only use it when attacked. So if you have 3 squads with dodge, your opponent can focus one of them and ignore the other two. At this point the nimble keyword can help, but very few rebel units have it. Sure troopers have it, but not veterans or fleets, no special forces nor support got nimble. 

I still think rebels have alot of good stuff and I personally haven't had a problem with playing rebels in tournaments. However you really have to adapt to beat the current imperial gunline.

I think the theme of rebels is hit and run, get in and fire and use dodges and cover to try and negate the return fire and get away while securing objectives. However with more guns being range 4 and/or critical it's harder to actually run from anything and dodges isn't that big a help. I don't think this is a problem unique to the rebel faction. Any unit that have bad defence and or Short range have a heard time in the game. The firepower in the game is increasing, but units defence and mobility stays the same. So any unit that can't tank damage or deal dmg at range is having a hard time. Also since you got so much crits out there, it's hard for armor units to compete because their single unique feature is not that strong anymore.

Maybe if we see some buffs to dodge and armor. Then I also want to mention that faction identity gets less and less prevelant with each release. You can build very different armies within a faction. Last tournament me and a friend had a tense even game with rebels vs rebels in the last round. I think 2 units overlapped and that was rebel troopers and snipers. All the rest where different, but we were both close to go undefeated despite playing very different lists.

Edited by jocke01

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Posted (edited)

Precise 1 on Stormtroopers is basically just funny flavor text.

The Imperials have some of the most correctly costed units out there while as it was mentioned, rebels are (critical) hit-and-miss.

The rebel problem seems to be balancing the few outrageously good heroes (or tauns) with the rest of the faction. As in, could you have OP Luke, if troopers, fleets and vets weren't just a bit s***? That's not a great design though is it? :P 

It gives you very clear winners and losers inside the faction and holds your hand towards very specific list-building.

 

 

From the outside, Rebel list-building feels like this:

Step 1) Take the good units. They're fantastic!

Step 2) Fill the mandatory slots with as few points of the the crappy ones as you can to pad out your activation control so that you can last/first with the good units. 

Edited by Polda

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Posted (edited)

To summarize (the other posters):

Rebels are consistently inconsistent throughout (Design, execution, theme, play-style etc)

 

 

 

 

 

Part of it, at least for me, is wanting the rebel units to be able to do something, that they really just aren't able.  There is some expectation disappointment when they don't function that way.  I think some of that may change with time, just like all thing s change with new releases and their erratas.  I think the Mandalorian set will add another "too good" for its cost type of unit. Or at least that's what people with complain about.  

Edited by buckero0

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, PikminToo said:

I'll admit they have some of the worst units as well (rebel vets, wookies, pathfinders, Jyn) but some of those are about to see a big jump in power thanks to Cassian coming out. 

Outside of the fact that I disagree that these are the worst units in the game , there are units that are popular and unpopular, some that are "bad" may just be hard to play or understand. Exampke I'd rate Jyn over Han for example, others would disagree, I also like pathfinders, others will disagree.

My question though is unrelated to that, how does Jyn get better with Cassian, Cassian has tactics that can help spec ops, commanders and other operatives but I don't see how those tactics have preference for Jyn/pathfinders/ wookies, or veterans over other units

48 minutes ago, Polda said:

Precise 1 on Stormtroopers is basically just funny flavor text.

The Imperials have some of the most correctly costed units out there while as it was mentioned, rebels are (critical) hit-and-miss.

 

Actually it isn't there are some quite precise maths involved here

A stormtrooper unit with a dlt with an aim token shooting at a rebel trooper unit with a dodge does almost the exact same amount of damage as a  rebel trooper unit with a z6 unit with no aim token shooting at a stormtrooper unit. Without the aim the stormtroopers shot is weak,of course other units are out that outperform storms.

Edited by syrath

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21 minutes ago, syrath said:

Actually it isn't there are some quite precise maths involved here

A stormtrooper unit with a dlt with an aim token shooting at a rebel trooper unit with a dodge does almost the exact same amount of damage as a  rebel trooper unit with a z6 unit with no aim token shooting at a stormtrooper unit. Without the aim the stormtroopers shot is weak,of course other units are out that outperform storms.

I just felt the need to take *aim* (huehuehuehuehue) at saying Precise somehow defines the Imperial identity when in reality, it barely adds a quarter of a hit on Stormtroopers and gets worse with every mini lost from that stormtrooper unit.

Precise, as it exists now seems like an underbaked idea, with the team leaning more towards adjusting the average hits a unit should be rolling with dice + surge chart instead of micro-adjusting it via Precise.

In your comparison of DLT Stormtroopers with an aim into Rebels + Dodge vs. Z6 Rebels no aim, shooting Stormtroopers the Precise 1 doesn't do a whole lot to balance the attackers damage between the two scenarios. Imperials already have an edge, Precise doesn't really balance it out.

 

 

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What if they made it so dodge tokens could cancel crits? Would that be enough to help/make dodge/nimble worthwhile? Its just I thought I dont personally play rebel but looking at dipping into faction was Cassian gets released

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, lunitic501 said:

What if they made it so dodge tokens could cancel crits? Would that be enough to help/make dodge/nimble worthwhile? Its just I thought I dont personally play rebel but looking at dipping into faction was Cassian gets released

Since they released the saber tank with outmanouver, I doubt they will change dodge to that now, but perhaps just change the dodge for troopers, but then airspeeder and speeder bikes lose out.

I think that maybe making dodge tokens more akin to shield. Spend dodge token to add 1 dice with a block symbol and roll one less but, skip the unpierceable thing. This makes critical less effective vs dodge. Maybe make impact be able to pierce this die in order to not make dodge to good on vehicles.

Or perhaps allow dodge to be spent either as normal or as an aim token to re-roll up to 2 defence dice. I don't know, something that boots dodge would be fun. This would make it work better against critical, but again it also hurt impact, wich is not needed IMO.

Edited by jocke01

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6 minutes ago, jocke01 said:

Since they released the saber tank with outmanouver, I doubt they will change dodge to that now

Yea your right I had totally forgotten about the outmanouver keyword. But I do agree with u dodge could use some kind of boost at least in how it interacts with trooper units

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, lunitic501 said:

What if they made it so dodge tokens could cancel crits? Would that be enough to help/make dodge/nimble worthwhile? Its just I thought I dont personally play rebel but looking at dipping into faction was Cassian gets released

I always kinda thought it should cancel 2 hits. I mean the aim token rerolls two dice, right? 

Maybe a middleground? 

In Armada the evade defense token does different things at different ranges. Extreme cancels two dice, Long cancels one die, medium rerolls a die, and close does nothing.  Similarly, Legion could adopt a similar ruleset to make dodges a little better. 

Range 4+ cancel two dice
Range 3 cancel one die
Range 2 choose 2 dice to reroll
Range 1/Melee choose 1 die to reroll

Probably an easier way to make it more effective. Crits seem to be the issue with dodges locally. After cover there's usually only 2-3 crits left, dodges do nothing. 

 

Edited by Darth Sanguis

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I have a hard time with the idea of changing armies in order to win more. Winning isn't everything: it's nothing.

I do think there's a lot of overly-specific faction identity for rebels. The developers basically make it so that the faction hinges on characters, which, is annoying. It feels like I'm being told how to play and what to do. If I wanted developers to dictate my options, I'd play video games. The balance, if they were going to go down that road, would have been to give imperials just awful command cards and no real heroes.

I also think critical and sharpshooter and blast and stuff, is too common. Moving into cover and dodging feels pointless.

But Legion in general is more about the figures than the rules though. Didn't they pretty much do a copy/paste from a fantasy rules set? That's what I heard anyways.

 

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1 minute ago, Darth Sanguis said:

I always kinda thought it should cancel 2 hits. I mean the aim token rerolls two dice, right? 

Maybe a middleground? 

In Armada the evade defense token does different things at different ranges. Extreme cancels two dice, Long cancels one die, medium rerolls a die, and close does nothing.  Similarly, Legion could adopt a similar ruleset to made dodges a little better. 

Range 4+ cancel two dice
Range 3 cancel one die
Range 2 choose 2 dice to reroll
Range 1/Melee choose 1 die to reroll

Probably an easier way to make it more effective. Critics seem to be the issue with dodges locally. After cover there's usually only 2-3 crits left, dodges do nothing. 

 

I like this solution but reroll 2 dice could end up better than cancel 1, maybe:

  • 4+ cancel any 2 results 
  • 3 cancel hit or crit
  • 2 or cancel hit only 
  • 1-melee reroll?

The other option is literally make it a defensive aim, you get to reroll 2 defence dice, 3 with Nimble/Outmaneuver (just so outmaneuver doesn't become obsolete)

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5 minutes ago, Platinum_V said:

I like this solution but reroll 2 dice could end up better than cancel 1, maybe:

  • 4+ cancel any 2 results 
  • 3 cancel hit or crit
  • 2 or cancel hit only 
  • 1-melee reroll?

The other option is literally make it a defensive aim, you get to reroll 2 defence dice, 3 with Nimble/Outmaneuver (just so outmaneuver doesn't become obsolete)

This is a good idea. Re-rolling for shields is better than an ability that gets ignored by the seemingly ubiquitous critical hits.

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7 minutes ago, Platinum_V said:
  • 4+ cancel any 2 results 
  • 3 cancel hit or crit
  • 2 or cancel hit only 
  • 1-melee reroll?

I like this. I think the dodge should still cancel results. defense dice suck. Full stop. The tokens and actions should be ways to mitigate or circumvent that suck, not further invest in it. 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, TauntaunScout said:

I have a hard time with the idea of changing armies in order to win more. Winning isn't everything: it's nothing.

I do think there's a lot of overly-specific faction identity for rebels. The developers basically make it so that the faction hinges on characters, which, is annoying. It feels like I'm being told how to play and what to do. If I wanted developers to dictate my options, I'd play video games. The balance, if they were going to go down that road, would have been to give imperials just awful command cards and no real heroes.

I also think critical and sharpshooter and blast and stuff, is too common. Moving into cover and dodging feels pointless.

But Legion in general is more about the figures than the rules though. Didn't they pretty much do a copy/paste from a fantasy rules set? That's what I heard anyways.

 

Honestly, dosen't Legion have powerful characters overall, is this really a rebels thing. I doubt the shoreline would be as good without Krennic and his compel, entourage and very good command cards.

They might have taken rules from a fantasy set, but it's very very different from their own fantasy game runewars so I doubt it

Also changing armies to win more weird?
Miniatures game like this have always gotten erratas, point changes or fixes to armies. This game just like any other needs some balance updated for "compedetive play". 

However I agree winning isn't everything, but history have shown us that winning is alot to alot of people :P

Edited by jocke01

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I think the OP is 95% correct.  I have long thought the Rebels are a mish mash of units that lacked synergy and had keywords that were impractical in the majority of game situations.  So you have build issues where so many things don't function well that a casual player buys in on some of their favorite units and finds out that it doesnt work.  I think the OP touched on but didnt quite spell it out, the Rebels have an activation issue at their core because if you take a dodge you lose an activation and you dont necessarily affect the enemy.  

Rebels are still quite competitive though with their specific builds but it takes a dedicated Rebel spender to make it work.

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Posted (edited)

I agree with you 100 percent! You articulated what I felt better than I could! I don't want to fish around for my fun activations while my cruddy filler troops get slaughtered! And the whole idea of running and gunning isn't a good strategy imo because you only get two actions. Am I really going to use two move actions to try and get into different cover? This entire game feels very 1st edition to me in terms of power creep and lack of direction for factions. Hopefully they put out a 2nd edition like they did with x wing once they've learned and can more correctly balance things.  Rebels are my favorite lore wise and I just want them to feel like the heroic freedom fighters they are and not just meat shields for heroes. 

Edited by Lord Abadeer

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2 hours ago, TauntaunScout said:

But Legion in general is more about the figures than the rules though. Didn't they pretty much do a copy/paste from a fantasy rules set? That's what I heard anyways.

Some of the mechanics came from the Dust tactics game, right?

i bought the starter and never really played a full game so it's hard for me to remember.  I never played their fantasy game Runewars, was that similar?

I think similar designers develop similar games (that's why I still hope for an Imperial Assault Re-skin with Marvel characters or Cthulu figures or Samurai or whatever FFG does at that point)

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, buckero0 said:

Some of the mechanics came from the Dust tactics game, right?

i bought the starter and never really played a full game so it's hard for me to remember.  I never played their fantasy game Runewars, was that similar?

I think similar designers develop similar games (that's why I still hope for an Imperial Assault Re-skin with Marvel characters or Cthulu figures or Samurai or whatever FFG does at that point)

Rounders( edit nice autocorrect here - Runewars is of course what I meant)had a different order mechanic, each unit had a double dial order token that you set a primary order (like move forward 2 and attack) with an adjuster which might include things like turn 2, veer2, or an attack bonus you could then combine them to make up what that unit would do. Each prime order had an initiative slot You choose your orders for every unit then went down the initiative count down until They all activated.  

Edited by syrath

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, buckero0 said:

Some of the mechanics came from the Dust tactics game, right?

i bought the starter and never really played a full game so it's hard for me to remember.  I never played their fantasy game Runewars, was that similar?

I think similar designers develop similar games (that's why I still hope for an Imperial Assault Re-skin with Marvel characters or Cthulu figures or Samurai or whatever FFG does at that point)

I dislike their overall approach to games. So I have only ever got IA and SWL. If there's little toy Star Wars people who's fate is decided by dice, I'm in 110%. Even if I hate the rules.

Edited by TauntaunScout

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I find myself getting tired of seeing the argument that rebels have a different play style and should use cover and play to objectives.

The Empire players can and will do exactly the same thing: Stormtroopers move as fast as rebel troopers and benefit just as much from cover. It's not like Imperial players aren't going to try to score objective points.

Before I bought the game I imagined that the rebels would be fast and stealthy (or cold and stoic) but hit and run tactics seem to be the preserve of characters and folk mounted on lizards. 

Then again, I also imagined the airspeeder would be overpowered in a skirmish game.  The foolishness of my younger days.

 

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