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Schanez

Rebels lacking Astromechs?

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So I am relatively new to the game, been playing for a year and only have one tournament behind me, on which I did rather poorly. But... I like to read a lot and theory-craft with lists from factions I don't play, or only now plan to try out. And it occurred to me recently, that the Rebel Alliance is severely lacking in the Astromech department. Out of curiosity I did a search and the results were quire... Surprising to say the least. Here is a quick comparison of the factions, that use Astromechs.

  • Rebel Alliance: 3 faction unique Astromechs (R2-D2, R5-D8, "Chopper") out of which only 1 grants a unique ability; the other 2 are better versions of generic R2 and R5
  • Scum and Villainy: 3 faction unique Astromechs (R5-P8, R5-TK, "Genius") and each grants a unique ability
  • Galactic Republic: 6 faction unique Astromechs (R2-A6, R2-C4, R4-P17, R4-P44, R4-P, C1-10P) and each grants a unique ability and 1 is a non-limited astromech
  • Resistance: 6 faction unique Astromechs (BB Astromech, BB-8, M9-G8, R1-J5, R2-HA, R5-X3) and 5 of those grant a unique ability, while BB-8 is a better version of non-limited BB

Looking at the comparison, Rebels have one unique Astromech, the "Genius", while the other factions have a much wider spectrum of available features. Especially the Republic and Resistance stand out in this regard. While I think I know the reason, that being Rebels came directly from 1.0 and the other two factions were developed for 2.0 (apart from some Resistance ships?). It astonishes me, why weren't the Rebels given any new upgrades for that slot? It seems like Rebels are the "simpletons" while the newer factions get all the "cool" ideas.

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Rebels and Scum get the worst of it.  Scum may seem like they get better off with 3 uniques, but "R5-TK" is very, very niche and R5-P8 is barely okay. 50% of the time it does nothing, and 12.5% it literally deals a crit to you.

Republic is frickin' swimming in fun astromechs, but often choose generic R2's or C1-10P, despite the myriad of options, most of them cheap enough to justify. Resistance has good options, especially in the cheap BB generic, but the rest of them are fairly cost prohibitive.

I'd love to more unique astromechs show up in Rebel and Scum. I'd recommend Making R2-D2 and R5-D8 the same cost as the generic, but also just making new ones for those factions would be nice.

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It also doesn't help that Rebels and Scum haven't gotten new astromechs since they haven't had a release for a ship that uses them that isn't a re-release. If the Rebels or Scum get Squadron packs that feature a ship with an Astromech slot they will likely only then get new Astromechs to play with. 

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Posted (edited)

Rebels definitely need more Astromech options. R2-D2 and R5-D6 being just generics with an extra charge is ... kinda boring and Chopper is just okay. Here are what I think would help:

(note: some of these are not my original ideas)

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Edited by ImperialAce95

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1 hour ago, ImperialAce95 said:

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Actually most of your ideas seem pretty decently balanced, though this one looks a little OP. You could simply put him on Luke Skywalker and never take a focus or lock, and use it to totally lock down an enemy ace. Not sure if that's a good idea.

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12 hours ago, ClassicalMoser said:

Actually most of your ideas seem pretty decently balanced, though this one looks a little OP. You could simply put him on Luke Skywalker and never take a focus or lock, and use it to totally lock down an enemy ace. Not sure if that's a good idea.

Speaking of Luke, that R2-F2 would mean that he's even more survivable than he already is.

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Posted (edited)

R2-F2 probably is the one that isn't a great idea. Once defense gets too consistent the game gets... weird, because holding your mod for defense prooooobably means your getting 2 evades for the first attack very consistently, even ignoring Luke. I personally think that ships should not necessarily die when they get shot at, but consistently get closer to dying at the very least.

Also, next level galaxy brain jank incoming: AP-5, C3-P0, R2-F2.

Is it good? No. But casually stroll around the battlefield rolling an average of 3 evades the whole time plinking away with 2 dice out the front and back feels funny to me.

Edited by dezzmont

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Those are some nice options right there. I am just surprised, that FFG decided to completely skip the R6 series. Not to mention the R7 which was developed in secret for the E-Wing. I would really like to see something, that adds a little bit of mobility to the otherwise clunky Rebel ships. being able to Roll after a basic Maneuver seems like a must have on Aces like Wedge or Luke. But I honestly think, that there should be more around stress and actions after red maneuvers. From all the factions, Rebels seem to be the ones, that deal with Stress the best. B-Wings get outright better from it. Some pilots can outright remove it. I mean Ibtisam or Jek Porkins. Then you have those that gain Stress for some additional effects.

I just feel there is a huge potential for development in this singular upgrade slot. Republic has lots of great options. Resistance as well, not to mention having access to the Tech slots as well. Rebels seem to lack in both regards, being reduced to solely focusing on their pilot abilities, without any flashy synergies with upgrades. The best I can think of is E-Wing with an R3 Astro or maybe Corran Horn with an R2. But that's mostly just working off of ship or pilot ability. Then you look at something like Nien Numb in T-70 with Pattern Analyser and a BB Astro... Ehh.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Schanez said:

Rebels seem to lack in both regards, being reduced to solely focusing on their pilot abilities, without any flashy synergies with upgrades.

Splitting the Rebels and Resistance seems to have had a consiquence where part of the Rebel identity (unintentionally) became 'Boring' to some extent.

They do have some razzle dazzle here and there, especially when the pilots work together, but they aren't really the teamwork faction, the heroic faction with super powerful characters, or the faction with the tough all rounder ships that punch hard enough to outfight a greater force, because those are part of the identities of other factions.

Rebels feel like they want to be a faction where you have a ton of named characters that have interplay, like with how the "Squad Leaders" of Dutch, Jake, and Garven all work together to in theory double your action economy (Jake gives Garven or Dutch a Focus, and either gets a TL or focus back, Garven and Dutch trade Focus and TLs), but it doesn't work good enough to make up for the super impactful passive abilities of other pilots (Who are basically getting a double action without depending on others).  It isn't terrible, its a solid off meta pick, and it COULD work if the mid tier pilots weren't such a big ask compared to some upgrades or an extra ship, but it isn't 'there yet.' 

A big thing that would help is some way to let Garven FORCE his focus to be spent, and more ways to make ships that are 'locked into' certain actions like Two Tubes focusing all the time more stable and less affected by stress, or better able to do other things when needed. That, and more teamwork effects that are 'side benefits' to a varied set of actions the ship can easily do even if it has to do another action, or doesn't have someone else to help, like with Jake. Like, for example, a pilot who can give themselves or someone else a calculate in some way when they do a certain action or are in a certain situation. A big problem with rebels is most of their pilot abilities aren't very flexible despite their power.

17 minutes ago, Schanez said:

But I honestly think, that there should be more around stress and actions after red maneuvers. From all the factions, Rebels seem to be the ones, that deal with Stress the best

Its weird, because yeah, rebels are good at not getting stressed and have ways to deal with stress, but they also are affected by stress super intensely and some things they just HAVE to stress to do, like dealing with enemies trying to get behind them.

More tools to interact with stress makes sense for a rebel ID, because its hard now for them to teamwork better than networked calculations. It would also be on theme for Rebels to have upgrade options or more varied pilots than Cassian to 'be in it together' and 'keep the hope alive.' 

 

Edited by dezzmont

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Yeah, I always thought it was lame that the Rebel R2-D2 is just an R2 with an extra charge. They could even release another rebel R2-D2 with different text? Like the same way they are now having pilots with different abilities? I feel like Alphabet Squadron probably has some astromechs that are "canon" to pull from as well.

Maybe they are worried that combining really good astromechs with all the good rebel crew and synergy abilities may be too strong?

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Also, my problem with the faction identity of "everyone helps each other" is that the Rebels have to work so much harder to do what other factions can just do natively. Like, it would take 2 Rebel ships to do what 1 Redline could do. Jedi don't need support. Networked Calc + Relays are way more consistent then a Dutch/Garvin interaction. Also, while Rebels can help each other, they do not have a lot of "area buff" pilots like Jonus or Howl or Serrisu or Sinker, etc. Instead, you get a Dutch or Kyle or a Jan which at most can help 1 other ship.

Plus another problem with complex combos is once even 1 ship goes down, the combo breaks apart.

The other problem with Rebel design is if you make them too cheap, the mix of HP and firepower is oppressive. So it is a tricky balance of getting the ships to cost just enough, but not too much, but making combos possible, but not too possible, etc. Like, obviously 2 point Leia was way too cheap, but without Leia, certain Rebel squads are just not competitive.

Anyways, I love Rebels and pretty much fly them exclusively. I just wonder if the lack of powerful astromechs is because the Rebels are in a trickier design space than it originally looks.

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I mean, they are releasing an R2-D2 Astromech for Republic with the V-Wing or Eta-2. Maybe it will not be faction locked? Although I would expect it to be. It seems to be a 2 Charge Shield/Hull Regen, but we will have to see. But Republic is definitely getting two new Astromechs in the leaked ships. So I am hoping for the Phoenix Squadron to also carry some additional cards for the Rebels.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, HanScottFirst said:

Also, my problem with the faction identity of "everyone helps each other" is that the Rebels have to work so much harder to do what other factions can just do natively. Like, it would take 2 Rebel ships to do what 1 Redline could do. Jedi don't need support. Networked Calc + Relays are way more consistent then a Dutch/Garvin interaction. Also, while Rebels can help each other, they do not have a lot of "area buff" pilots like Jonus or Howl or Serrisu or Sinker, etc. Instead, you get a Dutch or Kyle or a Jan which at most can help 1 other ship.

Plus another problem with complex combos is once even 1 ship goes down, the combo breaks apart.

 

This is why I think the gimmick should be that Rebel Combos are way more powerful than basic passive modding. Your working harder, and risking the combo 'breaking' and should be rewarded for maintaining it as long as you can.

1 hour ago, HanScottFirst said:

Anyways, I love Rebels and pretty much fly them exclusively. I just wonder if the lack of powerful astromechs is because the Rebels are in a trickier design space than it originally

I suspect it is more that they missed the mark with the 2.0 Conversion Kits, assumed that the combo actions would be stronger than they ended up being, and because rebels have basically gotten nothing new it is hard to fix. The reluctance to print new cards in the 2.0 packs, combined with cardboard packs being thin on the ground, and now we are 2 years in and rebel lists haven't really changed save some points shake ups.

I mean R5-K6 would 'fix' a big problem with Gavin for example, in that he is meant to be a combo piece who just gives you not just a free action, but a free action to a ship that needs it most because they seem like they will be under fire, during the engagement phase, but he is so inconsistent he doesn't generate a ton of value and isn't worth 'planning around' unless you do something weird to try to force him to get a focus offensively like rolling with a torp.

Likewise there are lots of other potential upgrade cards to make 'Rebel Teamwork' way stronger. K2-S0 for example was a great idea: The crew just gives a ship a calculate if you are already planning a blue, which rebels often are, especially with characters like Cassian and Lando, who create a need for a way to gain value from stress because they do 'too many' blues and 'waste' the stress removal. It just isn't good enough at 8, and there aren't quite enough rebel ships that are fine with stress (again, it can REALLY negatively affect them) or ways for rebels to de-stress. The pilot abilities are a good start, but without more ships and upgrades that can piggyback off them they aren't going anywhere.

Meanwhile, a passive modding ship like Vader or Fenn or whoever can take or leave upgrades, because their preformance isn't dependent on their ability to sync up with anyone else like rebel characters are. This is part of why rebels have, very unthematically, become a faction known for generic spam: When your abilities don't have real support to create a viable archetype, just toss Blue Squadrons till your blue in the face. I am sure that isn't a huge buzzkill for the faction that has all the named protagonists from the comics and novels people grew up reading or anything that may have gotten people into the game in the first place No I am not bitter.

Rebels are just getting cards glacially slow, because they basically DON'T get them, which is why I think they really need to consider pure cardboard packs if they want the faction that contains the namesake of the game to be good. A huge design goal of 2.0 is to ensure that old ships that are iconic never become obsolete, and they are sorta failing that by an entire faction being obsolete just because most new generic upgrades being printed are garbage, and the ones that aren't are not really usable on most rebel ships. Like I guess plasma torps are neat, but what am I gunna do with passive sensors on a U-wing?

Quote

The other problem with Rebel design is if you make them too cheap, the mix of HP and firepower is oppressive

I disagree. For one, there are ships in the game that combine so much durability and firepower that it is questionable if 6 generic X-wings would beat em. Even in the age of old rebel beef rebels were still the inferior faction. The best rebel list is always the list your list needs to beat nearly every time to be a meta list, not actually a meta list yourself, once the brakes were slammed on Han, of course.

I do think it isn't INTERESTING for Rebels to be about slugfests, because it makes games boring and it isn't why anyone who currently plays rebels is playing rebels, and plays into the opposite of what I think most rebel players see as the rebel fantasy. Yeah, their ships lore wise are known for being durable and powerful, but their gimmick was also that they weren't about straight up fights so much about dynamic tactics and wings of named characters flying together to help overcome impossible odds, like with how the fact that their ships had Hyperdrives allowing them to enter fleet engagements with fighters launched and bombers attacking while TIEs had to scramble.

Also, a good Rebel list should basically be fan-fiction. Classic example is 'Oh isn't it Wacky that Jyn and Kyle are on the same ship, they got the the Deathstar Plans in two different continuities, teheee. I am gunna make them hang out with my favorite character Dash!" I don't care how it is done, but I do care that generics are the spice of Rebels, maybe 1-2 to go along with 2-3 named pilots, or 1-2 going along with really powerful pilots, not the main course.

Rebels, to steal a MTG concept, are too 'fair.' Calling a card "Fair" in MTG is to basically say it probably won't ever see play because its what you expect from a given option. It sounds like its a good balance point, but fair isn't the opposite of unfair, and in reality what you want is stuff to be good. If a card or deck in MTG is 'fair' it means it is following too many of the default rules of how the game operates and isn't doing anything to actually create obstacles for your opponent's plans, catch them out, or trying to press any advantage. In MTG if your not doing something that breaks the normal arc of a game, like accelerating mana, drawing extra cards, or getting creatures to be unusually strong for the turn, or some other effect, and just plan to fight their creatures with yours and not do anything, you are too 'fair' to be competitive. I think Rebels are in this 'fair' spot where they are being balanced to almost be a platonic X-wing faction rather than a faction that is intended to have any high point.

Rebels should have things that are actively strong and make you turn your head and go 'oh, well that is what they are about.' Empire has named aces who can fly with absurd precision and preform an embarassing number of effective actions. Scum has super ships that feel like your opponent hacked the game and is playing a boss character. Resistance can fly swarms with powerful abilities, reposition, arc coverage, and damage consistency. Droid swarms in formation are an unstoppable force perfectly modifying all their effects. Ect. These things aren't just 'abilities the faction has access to' but are also 'abilities that are costed less than you would think, abilities that create serious value in addition to exclusivity.'

Edited by dezzmont

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2 hours ago, dezzmont said:

(...)These things aren't just 'abilities the faction has access to' but are also 'abilities that are costed less than you would think, abilities that create serious value in addition to exclusivity.'

That's exactly my point. There is synergy between Rebel ships, but the moment one drops, the other ones are reduced to little more than single mod pew pew platforms.

Garven is great, Dutch is great, Gavin is okay. Jake is awesome, but he is too speedy for the other Rebel ships. I feel like Rebels should be kings in the I3-4 area, but they just feel adequate.

But not to steer the topic away from the main issue, getting back to Astromechs, I really feel like an R7 for the E-Wing could add a two charge SLAM option. Building into the jousting style of the chassis. Engage, then move away with a maneuver, SLAM and a new Lock.

I feel like the Rebels need some option to perform while stressed. Republic has the wide array of R4 Astros to help with red maneuvers and shedding stress. Why not something similar on Rebels side.

Ships with an Astromech slot are Arc, X-, E-, Y-Wings and the Sheathipede. I don't think any of their pilots would really get broken with a decent Astromech.

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It would be nice to see a "Whistler" astromech that pairs decently with Corran's ability and a double-sided "Mynock"/"Gate" astromech that pairs well with Wedge. R5-K6 for Garvin Dreis. R2-F2 for Biggs. et cetera et cetera.

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Posted (edited)

One I have thought about is a new R7-T1, would be unique to E-Wings as R7s were,  "When you boost or barrel roll you could perform a red focus action.  It would be a linked action allowed by the mech, Maybe a calculate would be better as other have said.  No need at that point to add or delete different types of slots

 

Edited by librarian101

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