I’ve always been a rebel player at heart. When I first started playing this game I was all about the wonder twins (Luke Hero of the Rebellion and Leia). When alliance rangers came out, I took them to a regional championship. Everyone jumped on the Mercenary faction after the scoring rules changed based on figure cost instead of deployment card. Before that, it was almost not worth it to kill the alliance rangers because you’d never be able to kill all 3 and score their 12 points. After that, just killing 1 or 2 would make the list so much worse.
Then the droid wave came and gave the rebels Hera, another top tier option that greatly benefits the Rangers. Nal Hutta swapped into the map rotation replacing ISB Headquarters, another buff to ranger lists. Unlike Weequays, who usually need to move and prowl round 1, Rangers can get off solid attacks in the middle of round 1. On Nal Hutta you’ll pretty much always have a target.
Because of these changes, rebels are making a bit of a comeback. They have still been underrepresented at most national tournaments, but that’s about to change with the release of Heart of the Empire.
What They Have Going for Them
Elite Alliance Rangers
Just as Weequays are for Mercenaries and Jet Troopers are for Imperials, the elite Alliance Rangers are the workhorse of the Rebel Faction. Their 2 rerolls make them great candidates for focus, Tools for the Job, and the new Concentrated Fire. Their minimum base range is 5, but a focused Ranger will consistently hit targets 9-11 spaces away. With an automatic Pierce 1 they chew through black die units. Once they start knocking figures off the board they become hidden with their Guerrilla ability, greatly decreasing their need to be supported. 7 health is another bonus, making them very hard to take out in 1 hit. Hunter/Trooper is one of the best trait combinations in the game. Call the Vanguard and Assassinate are auto-includes with the rangers. Heightened Reflexes to deal with dodges, Tools for the Job, Concentrated Fire, and Ready Weapons are all good options as well.
Gideon is an auto-include in every list. His tactical maneuver ability is better than the Imperial Officer‘s Order since it doesn’t have a range requirement, he also has 2 more health AND he can distribute focus. The value of distributing focus cannot be understated, this is often the difference between killing a figure and leaving it with 1 or 2 health. Gideon is probably the best per-cost figure in the game.
Another focus distributor, 3PO gives you immense value for 2 points. He only has 3 speed and can’t attack, but that’s inconsequential considering what he gives you. His distracting ability adds a lot of defense to units that want to sit back in safety and take long shots, not to mention it gives Han Solo an extra block as well. His 4 health is not bad for a 2 cost figure, plus he can reroll his defense die making him a very annoying figure to attack. I can’t imagine any Rebel list right now without 3PO.
She’s a support/attacker hybrid and it works so well. With a 3 die attack and 7 health she’s fully capable of earning back her low cost of 4. Her ability to add range, a damage or a surge to attack results after the dice have been rolled once per round is amazing for ensuring killing blows or avoiding costly misses. Smooth Landing is great for putting your team in position to grab objectives or have good shots on your opponents round 1. The leader trait is also really good, giving her the full effect of Officer’s Training and Planning, and access to New Orders. I’d argue that she’s an auto-include in every Rebel list right now right after Gideon and 3PO.
Jedi Luke is a powerhouse. His Heroic ability allows him to move 8 spaces and still attack. Blue Green Yellow +1 damage is a bit more inconsistent than I’d like it to be, but it’s usually good for about 5 damage against a black die. Getting 2 attacks in a row, especially at the start of round 2, is vastly superior to abilities that give you an attack at the end of the round, like Vader’s Driven by Hatred or Han’s Rogue Smuggler. 16 health with a built in evade makes him a nuisance to kill, especially since he’s returning 1 damage every time you shoot at him. He also has the best command card in the game in Son of Skywalker, able to completely swing a game if used early. Heart of the Empire adds some useful command cards for Luke, namely Officer’s Training, Looking for a Fight, and Deathblow. Be careful not to commit too much of your command card deck to cards only Luke can use, he is killable. His biggest weakness is his 4 speed and melee attack, making it possible to play around him, especially on a map like Nal Hutta.
There is a large drop in power between tier 1 and tier 2 for Rebels. The beefy elite Echo Base Troopers and Obi Wan have been a popular choices for objective running and front line survivability. Mak or Murne are sometimes included as a cheap way to gain access to powerful spy cards like Intelligence Leak. Regular Alliance Smugglers are a cheap option for running objectives. Elite Rebel Saboteurs with a Targeting Computer attachment are good for their 5 speed, surge for stun, and spy trait, but they don’t have good range, and their damage is inconsistent. Regular Alliance Rangers are a tier 2 offensive option.
Rebels have the weakest skirmish upgrades of the three factions. Balance of the force and Rebel high command are good ways of getting some extra value out of your command deck. If you can’t find a way to fill up your list, Combat Suit is usable on elite Alliance Rangers. On a Diplomatic Mission on Gideon is another option if you’re desperate.
Heart of the Empire Impressions
Han Solo + Rogue Smuggler
Blue Green Green with a reroll is an incredibly consistent attack pool. It’s slightly worse than Jedi Luke’s attack, but it has decent range. An extra attack at the end of the round is very easy to set up round 1. However, activating Han first during round 2 is not nearly as threatening as activating Jedi Luke or elite Alliance Rangers, since he doesn’t get his second attack until the end of the round. At 12 health with cunning, Han is pretty fragile for 10 points. It’s tempting to throw him right into the middle of a skirmish, but it’s better to play cautiously with him, even if that means losing an opportunity for an end of round attack. “Return Fire” is more useful now that you don’t need a dodge to use it, but it’s still possible to play around, especially on Jabba’s Palace in the tight hallways. Jet Troopers who are ordered to attack by Palpatine can avoid “Return Fire” because they must spend their 2 movement points immediately before Han gets a chance to shoot back (player with initiative resolves first). At 10 points with potentially 3 strong attacks per round, he’s absolutely a tier 1 option for rebels.
Drokkatta is an amazing figure for cleaning up wounded units. His base attack is very strong, but the Shrapnel ability makes it much more versatile. If you didn’t accomplish a killing blow with your attack, you can use demolish to ensure the kill. Placing a rubble token can be a valuable method to control your enemy’s positioning as well, especially on the Anchorhead Cantina and Jabba’s Palace Maps. Difficult Terrain works great against Terro or units who like to peak around corners then retreat. Wookie/Heavy Weapon don’t have a lot of synergy with other Rebel Tier 1 units, but there are some Heavy Weapon command cards worth considering just for Drokkata, such as Collateral Damage. 12 health and a built in block will make your opponent think twice about focusing on Drokkatta.
With force Leap and Vigor she is the most mobile figure in the game. The Force User/Leader/Spy combination is great. My biggest problem with her is I don’t think she does enough damage to win back her cost. She hits harder than Han and can force your opponent to reroll, but she only gets 1 attack per round. Once you start pairing her with other force users your list becomes very one dimensional. Her command card, Right Back at Ya! seems good for a cost of 1, but it’s very situational. She could see some play, but I don’t think she fits in the current meta.
Chewbacca + Wookie Avenger
At 11 points Chewbacca is usable. Letting him have a free Slam ability is great, although not as good as Luke’s free attack. Blue Red Yellow + 1 is a pretty consistent short-range attack pool for dealing 5 damage to black die units. The trick is getting him in range to utilize his free slam. A list with Chewbacca requires a lot of movement command cards, especially ones that don’t cost actions. Smuggler is a decent trait, but Wookie/Guardian don’t add much at all. While Nal Hutta is in the rotation, he’s not going to be seen much in competitive play.
Another offensive/support hybrid like Hera, for 3 more points Ko-Tun gives you 2 more health and a better attack. Arms distribution is OK, but not as good as Hera’s more versatile “Call the Shots” ability. Her attack is slightly worse than a focused elite Alliance Ranger, which is decent. “Dead Precise” has good synergy with Alliance Rangers, since they don’t have any other way to deal with a dodge (besides Heightened Reflexes). Trooper/Leader is a good combination and has synergy with other top tier Rebel units. All that being said, I don’t think Ko-Tun is worth 7 points.
You really have to think of Jarrod as a 4 point figure with J4X-7 being a 1 point companion. With that mindset he’s absolutely worth his points. Jarrod’s attack is ok, and there are some other things to like about him. For one, he gives you the spy trait for only one more point than Murne. His 5 speed is good and 7 health with a built in evade is manageable. J4X-7 is going to have a hard time keeping up with Jarrod, and you’ll probably want to double move him to get the extra pierce on an important area. Even if Jarrod dies, J4X-7 will still give you the bonus pierce on adjacent spaces until he is destroyed. The reason I rank Jarrod below average is that he doesn’t synergize with the top options in Rebels. His lack of range also makes him difficult to use, especially with Nal Hutta in the mix. I don’t think he’ll get much play, but he is an interesting figure.
Rebel Support Package
Any Rebel list should include at least 2/3 of 3PO, Gideon, and Hera. This is the best support package in the game, and works with all the current popular Rebel Archetypes.
With several new Brawler and Leader cards in this wave Luke gets a small bump. However, he’s still hard to use on Nal Hutta. This list makes up for that by pairing him with the longest range attacker in the game in the Elite Alliance Rangers.
Same as above except replacing Luke with Han. It’s a little harder to control objectives with Han, and his single activations aren’t as threatening, but he can also sit back with the rangers and attack from afar, without the need to fully commit him. This is the archetype I’m currently playing with:
My current list: http://ia-armies.com/army/aSxQzrjz
Han’s New Wookie
- Han Rogue Smuggler
- Elite Alliance Rangers
Han and Drokkatta are great supplements to the Ranger list. There is not an Imperial list that can match up against this combination on any map, especially Nal Hutta. Drokkatta is amazing at finishing off units sustained by Zillo Technique.
The biggest problem with this list is that the rangers really like to be focused, and there’s not a lot to go around. You can throw Ko-Tun into this list to really specialize. A bit one dimensional, but it’s strong.
There are a couple options for this list including Ahsoka, Mak, Leia, Jarrod, and elite Saboteurs. The figures themselves are weaker than trooper or hunter figures, so you don’t want to dedicate too many points to the spy trait.
Rebel Heavy Weapons
I really don’t think it’s worth running, but Drokkatta and Elite Saboteurs share the Heavy weapon trait.
As long as Nal Hutta is in the rotation I don’t think you’re going to want to try this. There are a lot of health in Wookie figures, but the command cards are not there to make up for their lack of offense.
Rebels are getting the biggest boost from Heart of the Empire. A lot of people are suffering from Mercenary fatigue, and the fact that Mercs didn’t get a lot of new stuff to use should push players towards the other two factions. I still feel that Imperials are the weakest of the 3 factions, especially on the Nal Hutta map. With all the great new options for Rebels, expect to see a heavy dose of them at upcoming events.