Before, during and after the game
When list-building consider the following:
- What number of activations am I shooting for, and what does that mean for my list?
- What mix of heavy hitters to support units am I including?
- Can my list deal with Vader?
- Does my list have access to key abilities like Stun, Weaken or Blast?
- Does my deck compliment my list, including powerful staples like ‘Take Initiative’, ‘Celebration’, ‘Single Purpose’ and powerful cards for my uniques?
When starting a game think about:
- The objectives and what they offer in points
- How many of those points can you achieve?
- Where in your opponent’s list will you achieve the remaining points you’ll need
When playing a game think about:
- Activation order
- Using your knowledge of the dice to your advantage
- Positioning and movement – don’t rush to the middle
- Preserve deployment cards
General Strategy Points
Diversify your open group selection. Don’t take similar cost units. Take a wide range of options to use depending on what stage of the mission you might need them and what compliments other units. If your initial deployment force is decent and you can afford to bank threat take Royal guards. If you get stuck with E-webs and probes an imp officer isn’t a terrible choice to toss in. If your initial deployment is Stormtroopers and you find yourself falling behind because your opponent is dropping them fast probe droids are a good early use of threat points (assuming replenishing Stormtroopers inst a better option at the time).
Shoot to wound. Most missions will end when all 4 heros are wounded. Position your forces so that they’re not all focused on the hero with 9+ hits already taken. Dont worry if they rest and recover damage. Its less actions they have on offense and time is ultimately on your side. If you’re on the IP side, systematically focus on wounding each hero, one by one.
Focus your fire. Choose a rebel unit, and put all of your guys on them until they are wounded. Got two Stormtrooper groups? Make every last one of them attack the same hero. Got Trandoshan Hunters waiting after that? Send ‘em in. Do everything you possibly can to waste heroes one by one, and they will stop dropping like flies. You can often dispatch heroes in one full round if you focus fire efficiently enough, and if not, sometimes a double rest is the only course of action that can save them, which is a colossal waste of would-be-useful actions. Also, focusing on Rebels that are important to the mission is a good start when determining who to aim for. Objective heavy missions that require a lot of movement and technical attribute tests, for example, will be hindered if Jyn or Mak go down. Remember that wounded heroes have less movement, strain, and suck at passing attribute tests. It’s a good rule of thumb to look at whatever hero is most important to the mission, and bringing them down first.
Be annoying. If they’re turtling up hit an run but if they rush the objectives clog up lanes and bottleneck them at chokepoints to slow their advance. Surround terminals that need to be destroyed if it gives you a defense bonus. Break off and deactivate claimed objects if possible to deny points instead of going for more damage. They greatest asset you have as an imperial is knowledge. You know exactly what they need to do to win and they have only a basic idea (assuming they aren’t cheating and reading the campaign guide). Use every bit of info about the scenario to plan future rounds. If a scenario gives you options at certain progress points do whatever will hinder them the most depending on their plan of attack.
Look through your XP pile before you purchase and ability. Make sure that you complement each other and that you have a realistic upgrade path for your hero. I think it is also great to get one of the stronger 4XP upgrades first.
The jedi can go different ways. Can become pseudo ranged, can push people around (even his own), can become a great supporter or a great area of effect dealer. I can really recommend way of sarloc with a cleave weapon and a surge-mod – that way if you don’t roll a surge you can “make” one (once)… you can attack a group of 5 guys and each will get one attack and you will have up to 5 cleave yields. Another way to play the jedi is to get the tier 3 rest item (which gives you focus when you rest) and get battle meditation. That way when you rest you will recover strain/damage AND gain focus AND possibly someone else will gain FOCUS too. The net gain by 1 rest per activation then is awesome.
– Don’t let yourself be tricked. The goal is not to kill as many IP figures as possible, but to achieve your goal. Finding this balance between fighting, resting, and moving is what the game is really all about. Each mission and situation (dice can be fickle) will require rethinking the best approach to the goal.
– Quantity does trump quality if you’re in command of the Imperial legions. There’s a strange psychological effect that happens when you bring in lots of small guys. First off, the Rebels can never seem to agree on who to attack. Since the units are weak, the Rebels just kind of fire on whoever they can as they move along. While every group is different, I’ve consistently seen that the urge to focus-fire on a specific unit is largely dampened when none of your units are anything exceptional. Group units, in addition, strangely seem to have a longer life than expensive guys. If your Rebel group is smart, they will keep a steady eye on your threat dial. I’ve found that many rebel players don’t focus very hard on killing your weaker units, because more often than not, they’re exceptionally easy to reinforce the turn right after. From a rebel standpoint, what’s the point of wiping a unit off the board if it’s just going to come right back? While, in my opinion, the best strategy is to strike a healthy balance between running and firing, many rebels don’t do this, and if not, your cheaper group units will begin to overwhelm them. The other huge benefit of using cheaper units is that you may potentially exceed the Rebels in activations counts. In other words, you get more turns than them. This can be extremely helpful, especially if certain abilities depend on this.
– Call in the right reinforcements. ou know those “open groups” you get to bring into every mission? Those are, well, they’re important, and choosing the wrong backup to bring into a mission is basically asking the Rebels to serve you a cold plate of galactic justice. Be wise with which cards you bring into battle. I could write a whole article on just this bullet-point, but I’ll try to spare everyone from that wall of text and I’ll condense it into a couple of points here:
- Don’t buy what you can’t afford Shouldn’t this one be obvious? Well, if certain players I’ve observed are anything to go by, it’s not. This point is simple; if you can’t afford to pay for what you’ve brought in, your card will be useless. Take, for example, the AT-ST. This costs 14 points. If you’re gaining three threat per round in the opening missions, it’s going to take you five rounds to get this bad boy. Not only that, but you’re dead in the water if the Rebels focus-fire and bring ‘er down in one turn. You’ll want to bring in cards that scale well with the amount of threat you’ll have available. Instead of bringing in the AT-ST or Elite Royal Guards, consider bringing in, say, a Probe Droid; maybe a pack of cheap Stormtroopers. Maybe some normal Trandoshan Hunters. The Nexu can be pretty deadly, why not him?
- The point is, cheap units are not bad, and you don’t always have to go elite. You’ll find yourself using elite cards more and more as the game goes on, but it’s not necessary in the beginning. It’s hard to narrow down exactly what are the best reinforcement choices, but at the very least, don’t choose something that will clearly and obviously take multiple rounds to afford. Not only does this give the Rebels tons of wiggle room, but it completely drains you once your threat has been spent on your mighty card. Sometimes expensive cards are good, but until you’re earning mad threat, it’s not bad to keep things conservative.
- Exception: Keep an eye on starting threat, mission events, and potential Rebel allies !
- This is sort of the exception to the rule above, though they both work hand in hand. Your on-going threat level is not the only indication of threat you’ll have during the mission. Many missions start with the qualifier “Increase threat by twice the threat level and resolve an optional deployment.” This means that you’ll start with a boost of threat. By round two, you could be up to 9 threat. It might not be a bad idea to bring in a high level card that can capitalize on that starting boost.
- Bringing in high level cards can be a viable option if you get enough bonus threat throughout the mission to justify it. In this case, it’s not a bad idea to bring in ONE expensive card that you can bust out relatively early from your bonuses, and then to have the rest of your cards be relatively cheap. This means that you can bring out a powerful card early, and then continue to reinforce with cheap units once you’re drained by the high cost.
- There are other sources of bonus threat aside from the setup conditions. If the heroes bring in an ally, it can dramatically boost your starting threat amount. This one is tricky, however, because you have to choose your reserve cards before the heroes choose their ally. If you’re absolutely sure that they will bring someone in, you might be able to justify a higher level card. If, on the other hand, you pull an AT-ST and then they decide not to bring in Chewbacca, you may have just brought in a card that you’ll never get to play. Be careful.
- Finally, mission events can modify your threat, so be prepared. This is mission-to-mission, so it’s hard to make a blanket statement, but take a look at what’s going to happen throughout, and if you get significant threat bonuses, you might be able to bring in some better cards. Overall, keeping an eye on any kind of threat bonus (influence cards can help you with this, too) will give you a better gauge of what to bring into battle.
– Synergize with your class deck. Make sure that your reinforcements jive with your Class Deck. The Endless Ranks Class Deck, for example, is clearly biased in favor of troopers. If, then, you’re loaded with trooper upgrades, what good is it to bring a bunch of Trandoshans into the mission? In a similar vein, Technological Superiority favors the use of Droids, and Inspiring Leadership (Twin Shadows expansion) puts an emphasis on leaders. Don’t waste your class deck!
– Movement is arguably the most important decision you have to make as the Rebels. I can’t stress this enough. The thing is, you always have objectives to complete as the Rebels, and these are your biggest priority. If you want to effectively win your missions, don’t sit around like ducks taking double actions with everyone to attack. Focusing too much on combat will make you lose, every time. You’ll be three rounds in before you find yourself completely overwhelmed by Imperials, and they’ll have fun blasting you into oblivion while you’re cornered. Movement points are worth their weight in gold, and if you’re not taking advantage of them as best as you possibly can, you’re doin’ it wrong.
- “Strain Move”: It often prevents you from having to use a double move to get where you want to be. If, for example, there’s a terminal that’s six spaces away, it’s better to take one full move action, strain move two more times, and then use your second action to interact with the terminal. A less wise player would use both moves and have to wait until the next round to use that terminal. This is especially dangerous when it’s an attribute check that they would be far less capable of passing should they get wounded before then. As a double bonus, this frees up more movement for them on the following turn if they have to get out of there.
- Also, strain moves might get you past otherwise impassable blockades. Let’s say there’s a clump of four units huddled together, and you need five movement points to pass through them, but you only have one action (this is assuming you have 4 movement). It’s easy to write that off and opt for killing those enemies instead to cut a path through. Always factor in strain movement if you’re passing through units or impassable terrain, it might just get you through.
- Fenn’s 1XP Tactical Movement card is one of the best abilities in the entire game: It might be the best ability. Basically, Fenn, on his turn, can exhaust this bad boy to choose either himself or a unit in close proximity to move two squares. This means that he can either move himself to get into position to double attack while still gaining some distance (which can be stretched farther by strain, which is great for Fenn because he’s a light strain user), or he can put someone into position to go the extra mile when their turn comes. Imagine that your objective is to reach a space that’s fourteen squares away. There’s no way you could reach that in one turn, right? Wrong. Move Jyn Odan two squares with Fenn’s tactical movement, double move Jyn on her turn, and then move two more squares with strain. If your opponent didn’t account for your craaaaaaazy movement, they’ll be dumbfounded by the victory you just pulled over their nose.
– Make Sacrifices. A smart imp player will almost never fully kill your hero, since wounding is all they need to do to win; it’s a waste of actions to spend more time on them. If you REALLY need to keep someone alive, double resting is insanely powerful and you can use it in a pinch, if you really, really need it when most of your guys are done for. The truth is that some of these missions are hard, and often, it’s worth sending a hero to their death if it means they’ll clear an objective that would have been harder and taken longer if you decided to be conservative.
– Item Crates are Treasures. Almost every single box has something very, very good inside of it. You’ll either get a grenade that can wipe out clusters of imperials (or stun, which is just as good or better), powerful healing items (some of which don’t require a rest action to use), and even one that deactivates an Imperial activation for a whole round. f you’re afraid of the action economy for taking crates, Mak and Jyn are great options. Jyn’s 1XP Smuggler’s Luck allows her to draw a new card if she doesn’t like the first, and Mak has two abilities that are great for items. Supply Network (1XP) allows him to see what’s at the top of the deck, as well as draw an item card at any time (from anywhere) once per mission. The real money is Expertise (3XP) though. With this one, Mak can take a free action after interacting, which basically means that item crates are free for him.
– Stun is fun ! Admittedly, it’s more painful for Rebels than Imperials to get stunned, since Rebels have more valuable actions and imps can only attack once anyway. However, there are imperial units that get disgustingly hindered by stun. Royal Guards and Trandoshans arguably suffer the hardest from this. Royal Guards are a royal pain, but they can’t do jack-diddly if they can’t get near you. Stunning them robs them of one action, so even if they can reach you after a stun, they won’t be able to attack. Trandoshans are a nightmare with their shotgun and strain dealing abilities, but these only work at close range. If you can stun them and keep them at a distance, they’re garbage, even if they do use their one action to attack. Stun is also great against villains or otherwise super powerful units. Darth Vader can basically wreck everything he lays his eyes upon, but being stunned can make him near useless. Did you ever think about stunning the AT-ST? What about the E-Web Engineer, who loses one of his mighty attacks? If you have a character that can stun, use it liberally. Look for item cards that have stun. Also, Jyn Odan’s Cheap Shot (3XP) can add stun to her Quick Draw, and Diala Passil’s starting weapon has stun. If you set a character for stun, just make sure they can deal damage. After all, stun only applies if you can land a hit. Build your loadout and combine free surge abilities (like Tactical Display) with stun cards to ensure their chances of landing
Bringing in additional heroes
Whoo-hoo! You got Chewbacca! It’s going to be great! Wait, what’s that you say? Oh, the Empire can bring in a free AT-ST with those extra points Chewie gives them? Sorry Chewie, maybe you should sit this one out.
Yeah, so allies are cool, but they’re dangerous. Can they be useful? Absolutely. They can also ruin any chance you have of winning just by being in your mission. As you most likely already know, an ally card that’s brought into battle gives the Imperial player additional threat equal to their value. For expensive heroes such as Luke, Han, or Chewie, this can give the Imp a free AT-ST, or elite Royal Guards/Trandoshans on the first turn, all of which are nasty. Most missions are designed for the Imp to start with a certain amount of threat, and are quite managable if played at that level, but allies can really wack things out. Therefore, you have to be wise when deciding when to play or not to bring an ally. Here are some things you can consider:
- How much threat does the Imperial start with?
- You’ll want to look for missions with a low starting threat count. Many missions start the Imperial off with double the normal threat level. Later on, this can mean up to 8 or 10 starting threat, which can bring in some nasty units on the first turn. If the Imp starts off with 8 and then you add 10 by bringing in Luke, well you’re asking for it when they bring in Elite Trandos and Elite Stormtroopers on the first turn. This is five more powerful units that you wouldn’t have been dealing with without Luke. Given the threat that the Imperial will continue to receive throughout the mission, this might lead to you being quickly overwhelmed.
- Now let’s pretend that their starting threat is 3 or 4. Suddenly, Luke’s not so bad. With 13 threat, the imp could bring in one set of powerful enemies, but not much more than that and most of his threat would be spent afterwards, requiring another two rounds to be at a dangerous level again. That might be worth Luke’s extra firepower, but there are more factors to consider, such as:
- What kind of mission is it?
- As a rule, “After ____, the mission progresses” missions are risky to bring heroes into. Because you don’t know what happens after you trigger the first objective, you’ll want to get there as soon as possible to open up the rest of the mission. If you take four rounds to do that and then realize you were only a third of the way done with the mission, you’ve probably doomed yourself.
- Bringing in a hero ensures that there will be a lot more opening opposition from the Imperial. In the last game I played, I made the mistake of bringing Han Solo into such a mission, which ended up giving the imp enough threat to clog things up pretty badly. It took me far too long to extend the mission, and by the time I started getting close to beating the mission, it was all over; the Imp had all of my guys outnumbered 3:1. Had I not brought Han in, the Imp would have started with a relatively weak threat level, and I could have conceivably cleared the first objective within the second round. The starting enemies weren’t tough to deal with, and I very well could have pulled off an easy win if I wasn’t so negligent.
- I’ve found that offensive-based missions benefit much more from allies than objective ones do. Allies just create more enemies in objective missions, which impedes your ability to be efficient, and they quite often don’t have the power to complete objectives as efficiently as heroes do (if they can complete them at all). On the other hand, most allies are great in combat. The story mission Under Siege is a fantastic choice for an ally, because it’s basically a tower defense mission; you’ve got to hold down the fort until the mission ends. Chewie or Luke’s combat abilities would be highly beneficial. Take a close look at the mission before you bring your ally, because not all of them are created equal.
- How many cards are in the Imperial’s reserve pile?
- How many cards does the Imperial have stacked away for the mission? The Imp will almost always have two types of reinforcements–reserve units, and “open groups.” Reserve units come out at specific, scripted points during each mission, while reserve units are cards that the Imperial voluntarily brings into the mission for reinforcements.
- If the Imperial player has a lot of cards, you might not want to jumpstart their threat by bringing in an ally; you’ll have enough on your plate as it is. If the Imp doesn’t have very many cards, then they might not be able to effectively use all that extra threat you give them. Use that to your advantage and bring an ally.
- Are your allies the Rebel Saboteurs or Rebel Troopers?
General Strategy by Unit
Stormtrooper: Pop and shoot if you can get good positioning near a corner. If you’re out in an open area and your opponent is using the wookie with cleave damage then stagger them a bit. They have 4 movement so collapse on your middle trooper with the outer ones, shoot, get your range bonus for reroll then use the rest of their movement to fan back out. Not eating early cleave or splash dmg is a big bonus. Also use your threat points wisely. If you have a squad with only 1 trooper left take the safe route back off from your opponent and force him to either take an inopportune shot ti finish the squad off or not shoot him it all. Replenishing the squad is 2 points cheaper than rebuying it outright.
Open group quality: high
Probe Droid: Abuse the fact that you dont care about certain terrain obstacles and use surges to recover dmg as much as you can. Also really points efficient so toss them in your open groups for sure.
Open group quality: high
Imperial Officer: Great with Probe droids and E-Webs and anything with low movement. Repositioning an awkwardly placed E-web for better coverage is huge. Keep your officers next to your slow guys.
Otherwise use them to block line of sight of your more valuable units.
Open Group quality: low-medium
E-web Cannon: This can be a tough unit since its movement penalty means you’re pretty much stuck with his initial spot if you wanna maximize his effectiveness. If hes in your opening deployment you can probably get 1 round to setup a better spot before the rebels can engage him. Move to maximize your firing arc coverage then plant him where he is till hes dead. Surge to repair if hes an early target to draw fire longer from your more maneuverable and efficient units.
Open group quality: Low
Royal Guards: One of your only melee type units. These guys will wreck enemy heros hard so always keep them together for the defense bonus. They have great movement at 5 and reach so dont be afraid to hit and run with these guys like you would any other unit. 8 health means they can take a beating and killing one makes the others attack that much more powerful. Probably one of the best units in the game. Put them in your open group to swing a late game in your favor. Position them near terminals and other objects that get benefit from adjacent friendly units to force your opponent to target them first.
Open group quality: High
Nexu: A decent blocking unit and the pounce can be useful at times but I find him too large to be very effective. If you have the space to maneuver block line of sight to more important units from enemy heros or block bottleneck areas to slow your opponents. I think he can cleave too which is ok when enemy heros are rushing together. If I remember right he can also move into enemy heros and push/displace them to adjacent spots so if you can push them out of line of sight or away from an objective go for it but its pretty hard to plan for such a tactic.
Open group quality: low
Transdoshan Hunter: They have a decent up close ability and slightly above average health so use them to screen your other units if you have something valuable like elite Stormtroopers. No range bonus means you can split them up from each other at no penalty and send them off to cover other areas as needed. Depending on what you’d rather have or need at the time ( a blocker or attacker) its more cost effective to replenish a fallen Hunter than to deploy a new Probe droid.
Open group quality: medium
Choose Units in accordance to the Scenario
Here are some scenarios to look for, and units you can use to supplement them:
Objective/Timed/Movement-heavy for Rebels: Royal Guards and Elite Officers all day. These are your only stun units, and as I’ve mentioned before, stunning is ridiculously effective. In any mission where the Rebels need to move, these guys can cause a thorn in their sides. Be aware—being melee units, Royal Guards can be easily dealt with if the Rebels just double-move, or if they stun you. Prepare for this. The Officer can help to close the distance gap by commanding moves, but you’ll want to supplement guards with ranged units in case you’re playing with clever rebels. Nexus can also screw things up, due to their blocking potential and easy bleed.
Combat/Escort missions: Trandoshan Hunters might as well be the spawn of Satan to Rebels when they’re trying to keep someone alive. At close range, I would argue that these are the most deadly units in the game. Elites can deal +2 shotgun damage, a strain, AND whatever they rolled, plus some nasty surges. Even with defense, I’ve seen Trando Hunters dish out 6-7 damage in one move before. If you need somebody dead, such as an important ally, send these jerks in; they’re a real pain if the Rebels don’t know how to deal with them. Stormtroopers are also a great choice when you need to dish out damage, since they come in threes. One group is good, but two is even better. Even a fully-nursed hero can fall from six to nine weak Stormtrooper hits.
Wide-open/spacious maps: Bring an AT-ST if you’re feeling bold. AT-STs are really easy for Rebels to deal with if there are hallways and corridors to hide in, but in maps where there’s lots of room, an AT-ST can fry anybody that’s trying to get by. E-Webs can also be good here, because they have exceptional range and they work best when they’re in a spot that Rebels have to be in.
Narrow corridors/long passes: E-Web Engineers and Nexus. If you slap an E-Web at the end of a hallway, Rebels will either have to send someone to sprint through, potentially leaving them alone and open to whatever lurks beyond, or they might try to go in together as a group and blast through. Even if your E-Web dies after one round, dealing two attacks worth of triple dice damage is nothing to scoff at. I’ve seen E-Webs bring heroes down 50% or more in one activation, but they’re only useful if they’re set up somewhere where they can’t be avoided.
A Nexu, on the other hand, is a wonderful blocker. If you really want to block a hallway, the AT-ST is your best choice, but that’s expensive, unwieldy, and quite often simply not a good choice. Nexus are cheap, extremely mobile, and can block four spaces at once. A common mistake I see people make with Nexus is trying to get raw attack power out of them. The Nexu seems really strong, but more often than not, I’ve seen it deal disappointing damage, only to die fairly quickly afterwards. As I see it, the Nexu works best as a distraction. Don’t expect much out of it, from an offensive standpoint. Just plop it down somewhere, let it block their path, and let it get some free bleeds in.
Put the pressure on with Influence Missions.
Ah, Influence Missions. I love these. You can buy a side mission, and run it alongside the Rebel missions. These missions benefit you, so it’s in your best interest to play them, since you’ll get a sweet reward should you win. Here’s the thing, though: you don’t actually want to play these missions. Your imperial missions are offered alongside the two typical Rebel choices, and should the Rebels choose something that’s not your mission, you’ll get the reward for free.
Because of this, be wise with when you choose to “play” your side missions. In other words, lay them down when the other two choices for the Rebels are really tempting.
Some side mission rewards just kind of suck, and you’ll likely recognize them when you see them. Allies are also part of this. If the heroes have, say, Luke, and they get the option to recruit Chewie, it might not be worth their time since Luke is already doing what he does best for them. In this scenario, ally-side missions might not be enticing. If their missions suck, they might just choose your mission, and you’ll risk not getting your sweet card.
Managing your Threat Level.
A common mistake I see Imperials play is using all of the threat, all of the time. Don’t do this; it’s unnecessary. You’ll always be gaining threat, and you don’t always have to use it right away. It’s hard to narrow this down, because it’s basically just a “be smart” point, but just don’t be overzealous. It’s okay to take a round or two of having less enemies on the board if it means you’ve got a nasty surprise in store later.
Look ahead at the mission events. This is the most important point here. If you see a good spawn point that’s about to open up, don’t waste your threat on the current round, wait until that spawn point opens up and bombard the rebel scum with your swift reinforcements. You’ve gotta be tactical with your threat, so just be reasonable. Don’t save it up excessively, but there’s also no need to bring it down to zero every round.
Manage your Class Decks.
One of the most common Imperial mistakes I see is when players just forget about their amazing class deck abilities. These are just like the Rebel class decks; each one serves a unique purpose, and if you harness its built in potential, you’ll do work. Get cards that complement each other, and for goodness’ sake, don’t forget to use them.
Military Might: Arguably the most all-around class deck, with an emphasis on combat buffs and Trooper optimization. Five out of the nine cards are exclusive to troopers. Play lots of Stormtroopers and E-Webs with this deck. I used this one in my first campaign, and by the end, my Elite Troopers were nightmares for the Rebels. With Twin Shadows out and Return to Hoth on its way, Heavy Troopers and Snow Troopers can also be buffed by this deck, which is something that’s truly terrifying to think about.
Technological Superiority: This deck is the “I want cool toys to play with” deck. There’s not one clear focus here, though it does give some extra power to droid units (which will also be scary if paired with Return to Hoth’s Assassin Droids). The main focus of technological superiority is attachments. Four out of nine cards are attachments, another one buffs cards if they have attachments, and one may as well be an attachment, being a universal buff to all droids. If you want to buff up your units in all kinds of ways, tech superiority is your deck.
Subversive Tactics: This may as well be the opposite of tech superiority, which is basically “I have a bunch of toys that make me better.” Instead, Subsersive Tactics focuses on making your enemies worse. Subversive Tactics deals heavy strain, and cripples the Rebels’ special abilities. Five out of nine cards deal strain in some capacity, while another one gives a bleed surge (which deals strain) to its attached unit. Two more of them give effects based upon how much strain rebels have. The general consensus I’ve heard is that this is the most effective deck, but we’ve shied away with it because we feel like it’s just not as fun to play with.
Inspiring Leadership: This one is a newer class deck, available only with the Twin Shadows expansion. This deck focuses on action economy, and heavily favors Leader units. Three of the cards revolve around the “command” action (and two of them can grant that ability to other units), while two of them focus on readying exhausted units to get more use out of them. This is an interesting deck that I haven’t fully explored.
Some Tips & Tricks to remember.
– Darth Vader is Bad – In a terribly good kind of way. Darth Vader wins games in every way imaginable. He’s great at objectives and even better at killing enemy units. With two black defense die and the ability to re-roll one die each attack, he’s very difficult to hit.
– Objectives and Units – With ten units, I rarely have an issue competing on objectives. It also seems like when I split my list across a map, both sides of the list are strong enough to grab objectives or hold off an opponent until reinforcements arrive.
– Take Initiative Wins Games – This command card is insane and by far my MVP from the command deck. This card reminds me of Twist of Fate from Star Wars the card game. Regardless of whether your opponent has it in hand or not, it always has to be on your mind. Can my opponent steal initiative and seal the game?
– Winnings Games – It’s uncommon to table an opponent or win from all objective points. The game has an insanely good balance between grabbing objectives that lower the number of points you need to gain from destroying models. There is this constant race between dealing with threats and making sure you don’t give your opponent easy objective points.
– Large units can’t move diagonally.
– Unless otherwise stated on their card, units can only ever attack once. If they have a special ability that says “perform an attack” that counts as their attack. So you couldn’t have a Nexu attack, and then use their pounce ability to move and attack again in the same turn.
– You can discard a command card from the top of your deck to negate damage from strain.
– You can Move, Attack, Move. So a speed of 4 you can move 2 spots, attack, then move 2 spots.
– You can make one of your own figures harder to shoot by putting it behind your other figures, for example Darth Vader behind Royal Guards This is good for trying to keep a power figure or a damaged character alive longer.
– Study the 3 tournament legal maps and the 6 missions. Know the objectives. Find a preferred deployment zone for if you get the chance to decide. Some maps have one deployment zone that is slightly better than the other. (The better deployment zone may depend on your army as well.)
– When fighting against Stormtroopers, try to take out a whole deployment group in one round. That Reinforcements command card can be annoying.
– If possible, defeat units who haven’t activated yet before ones who have already activated.
– Don’t clump your units together when fighting against Rebel Sabs. Even though they can now (post errata) only do max Blast 3 (using two surge plus Explosive Weaponry), Blast can still do a lot of harm.
– If you’re using troopers the Grenadier command card is great. A well placed grenade can do a lot of hurt. You could take out a whole squad of regular Stormtroopers with a 3 damage roll. (I once hit 6 figures for 3 damage each, it was glorious.)
– Anticipate which figures your opponent is going to target. If you only have one stormtrooper left in a group, you may want to just run it away so your opponent has to chase it down to get the points for the group.
– Learn the dice – know the minimum accuracy that you’ll get from each die. (1 from a Green, 2 from a Blue, 0 from yellow and red.) But, don’t be afraid of taking longer shots. You may get a lucky long range hit.
– Know your opponent’s abilities. Does your opponent have a lot of brawlers? Watch out for Parting Blow. If the mission has something to do with controlling terminals (to get points or to open a door) and your opponent has R2-D2 – remember that R2 has a command card that lets him control both terminals no matter which figures are adjacent – try to keep R2 away from the terminals.
– You may want to take out that unit that can give a more powerful unit an extra attack before trying to take out the more powerful unit.
– If your opponent has a lot of melee units, try to stun them. Stun can shut down Wookiee Warriors.
– Stun and Blast are very important pieces of the meta. Try to have access to both in your list (Sabs are your friend here). If you can’t have both, have at least one. If you can only have one, prioritise Stun over Blast.
– If you have conditional triggers in your list (Royal Guard Vengeance, eStormtrooper Last Stand, Trandoshan Relentless, Royal Champion Executor etc), REMEMBER to resolve them. Use post-it notes or write a memo on your hand if that’s what it takes.
– Speed of 5 (or more) and movement shenanigans (Officers and Gideon) are mandatory to stay ahead in the mission VP race for every mission in the current map rotation other than Deception Game. If you can’t have both, prioritise movement shenanigans over speed five, see next point for why.
– Have at least one Leader in your squad to make use of Leader command cards (Planning and Inspiring Speech in particular)
– Try to have at least six activations, if you cannot, do not go below five. If you have a smaller activation count REMEMBER to use the pass rule, especially in the first round to see what your opponent is planning.
– An average tournament match between competent opponents with competitive lists ends in three rounds. You need to maximize your actions in that time to get the most bang for your points – ie. you need to be doing mission stuff or killing things from round one, and you need all of your guys actively doing stuff on rounds two and three. Reconsider taking very slow hitters (E-Webs, Wampas) that might need two rounds to get stuck in, especially if you don’t have means to speed them up (officers, reliable draw of movement command cards). As an aside, this is also why I don’t subscribe to the Leia bandwagon, three rounds is too little time to make use of her reshuffle gimmick.
– Study the maps in the current rotation. Spend the time to count spaces, imagine potential deployment setups for your list. Figure out which deployment zone makes it easier for your particular list to reach mission objectives and terminals, get advantageous lines of fire or reposition quickly to respond to threats. Count up the spaces to figure out what movement boosts you’ll need to reach mission objectives on the first round and adjust your list (officer and movement command card ratios) accordingly. Figure out potential chokepoints to either avoid them or use them to your advantage. Think about best positions to block lines of fire.
– A good IP will never hit the wookie unless he plans to wound him. And he will do so only AFTER the wookie activated (or before if the wookie is already focused because he can’t gain ANOTHER focus).
– If you can’t kill a regular Stormtrooper (without addons) with one melee hit, why attack in the first place? You will waste too many actions/strain that way (cause you are melee and have to reach your target first).
– Some units are really hard to kill. Sometimes it is better to kill an officer and run away from an e-web engineer. Or to run away from 2 elite royal guards. Or from a nexu or an AT-ST or vader. Sometimes it is very good to kill units. For instance if the IP gains 3 threat/turn but only has 2 threat but combat medic Stormtroopers, maybe it is good to kill them. If they got assault armor, maybe it is not too good to kill them. Etc.
– Don’t waste your strain. Try to weight in benefits of using strain.
– Only open doors during the first (maybe second) hero activation.
– Sometimes it is better to fight, sometimes it is better to run. If the mission timer is very low, probably better to run, if it is rather high, probably better to fight. If you can kill a whole Stormtrooper pack before it even activates, good stuff.
– Usually DON’T split off unless you are desperate or need to run. E.g. need to run for the exit or towards the mission goal at last breath. If you stay together you can use the heroes that are already wounded or don’t help much with the mission (low damage, wrong stats for tests) to cover the more important heroes (for this mission) with their bodies (against LOS)
– Thus if the wookie activates early and charges into a group THEN he may decide to use all units to WOUND the wookie. Hurting the wookie a bit (like 3-5 damage) is really bad for the IP cause the wookie will initially only kill stuff with one hit when he gets focus.
- Weekend Warlords – IA Strategy 101
- BGG Forum: Imperial Player Tactis Post
- Boardgamer Resources: Empire Strategies
- Boardgamer Resources: Rebels Strategies