This week we look at Cassian Andor, the debonair doomed hero that got vaporized by the Death Star (spoiler alert), and the best thing to hit the Rebel Alliance since Tauntauns. At least he got to hug Jyn first.
What are the chances of me dropping some K2 jokes in this article? It’s high. It’s very high. Don’t worry, he’s in here too.
Cassian is on whatever boat the AAT, Vital Assets, and Iden are stuck on. Some people have him already, some don’t, and his cards are all out there if you want to proxy him. He’s going to be legal for the upcoming Invader League, so whether you have your hands on plastic little Cassian or not, hopefully you can pull some tactics from this article.
You can actually capably field Cassian both by himself and with K2-SO. Let’s hit Cassian first.
- Strong command cards for other characters
- Long range reliable pierce (with sniper)
- Not bad at close range either (with pistol config)
- Can deploy anywhere with Covert Ops
- Weak in melee
- Fragile when focused
- No command slot
- Low courage
- Poor burst damage
90 points. Very solid for what you are getting. Cassian is priced like a support commander. Once you give him some gear he ends up somewhere in the 110 range.
Defense: White/surge save, 6 health. Danger Sense 3. The Danger Sense is neat, but Cassian is pretty fragile. His training slots are in high demand for things that generate aims so he doesn’t usually want Duck and Cover, and unlike Jyn he has low courage so he can’t really afford to accumulate a bunch of suppression anyway.
Offense: Surge/Hit, Pierce 1, Range 1-2 Pistol with 1 Red, 2 White. Not terrible, not great. The whites really beg for use of Marksman. Cassian’s rifle/pistol config is basically auto-include (more on that later) so you probably aren’t using the Covert Blaster very much anyway. 2 Reds in melee isn’t terrible either, but if Cassian is in melee you’ve probably done something wrong.
Courage 2: Not great. Cassian also doesn’t have a command slot for Strict Orders or any sort of suppression mitigation abilities like Inspire. His command cards can strip suppression in various ways, but only on characters and Special Forces. Cassian is many things, but a Corps commander, he is not.
Slots: Two training, one Recon Intel (ahem, gear slot), one armament. These are all good and useful slots, you are likely going to be filling all of them. Notably Cassian does not have a command slot.
Covert Ops: Well, this is a money keyword. Change your rank to Operative to Infiltrate. In some ways this is worse than Infiltrate, in other ways it is better.
Loadout: Swap upgrades for other, set-aside upgrades. Basically this is a side board. Very handy. More on that later.
Marksman: Spend an aim token to flip a blank to a hit, or a hit to a crit. When you have a small dice pool like Cassian does, this is invaluable to push those crits through.
Tactical 1: Aim token on move. This is great for the “run and gun” version of Cassian with his pistol config, and also gives aims to K2 because of teamwork. At first blush, this doesn’t seem to work with Cassian’s cumbersome sniper rifle, but it actually sort of does. More on that later…
- Tough profile, difficult to target (Incognito)
- Token machine between Calculate and Teamwork
- Can be healed with Repair
- Strong short ranged attacks
- Limited range
70 Points: This is a steal for what you are getting, when paired with Cassian. K2 is tough and toolsy. His only real weakness is his short range and the fact that he wants to be close to Cassian.
Defense: 5 Health, Armor 1, Red save. K2 is tough, by Rebel standards. Five health isn’t a lot, but Armor 1 goes a long way and red saves are more than what Rebels are used to. He can also be healed by the Repair ability, which means he runs great alongside R2-D2.
Offense: 4 Red melee, surge/crit. This is a solid melee attack. He doesn’t have charge or anything, but he will womp some stuff if it gets close to him. The surge/crit really comes into play when you give him Jyn’s pistol and feed him aim tokens from Teamwork.
Courage 2: Not bad, especially when you consider K2 is a droid trooper so he doesn’t lose actions from suppression.
Slots: Comms, armament. You are going to be almost always filling the armament slot with Jyn’s Blaster. The comms slot is interesting but I find I usually leave it empty.
Calculate Odds: Now this is a great ability. Previously only available on 3PO, you can now have two of these in your list if it floats your boat.
Detachment, Cassian Andor: You can’t take K2 without Cassian, which makes sense. Notably detachments deploy within speed 1 of their parent unit, which means if Cassian Infiltrates, K2 can too. Between Recon Intel on Cassian and the speed 1 move from detachment, you can get K2 pretty darn close to things (like the center box on Recover, for example) even if you wait until late to drop Cassian and K2.
Incognito: This is a little different from R2’s Inconspicuous. Basically K2 can’t be targeted by enemy units beyond range 1 until he has performed an attack or interacted with an objective. It’s worth reading the full RRG entry on this one, as there are some important things not in the reminder text. Notably, K2 also loses the benefit of Incognito after defending from an attack.
Teamwork: Cassian Andor. Now this is fantastic. Teamwork is a great keyword, but the teamwork units really need to be able to generate their own tokens for each other to make it work. Unlike Han and Chewie, K2 and Cassian can do that pretty capably between Calculate Odds, Tactical, and Cassian’s command cards. Cassian and K2 both love aims, in particular.
There are some important armament upgrades that define Cassian and K2, so we’ll start with those.
A280-CFE Sniper Config
The A280-CFE should be stapled to Cassian’s card. The sniper config the best sniper rifle in the game, between the unlimited range, strong raw dice, High Velocity, and Pierce, which is why it is also Cumbersome and attached to a 90 point unit.
However, it is only two dice, and Cassian doesn’t have Sharpshooter. If you want to do more than just pick off one model a turn with this (which is still useful, don’t get me wrong), you need to be feeding Cassian aims in various ways. There are a couple of ways to do this.
Tactical – At first blush, Tactical doesn’t seem to mesh at all with Cumbersome on the sniper rifle. However, Cumbersome only limits Cassian during his activation. There are plenty of ways to move outside of Cassian’s activation. Specifically 1) Scout move (with Recon Intel) and 2) Command cards, No Time for Sorrows and Smoke Screen. If you pop Offensive Push at the same time, you get two aims during your free move and can then also take the aim action for three. Crack Shot gives you four.
Crack Shot – You get a free aim from this one. So does K2 because of Teamwork. Speaking of…
K-2SO – K2 can give aims to Cassian with Teamwork, both via Calculate Odds and the good old fashioned aim action.
Calculate Odds – K2 can Calculate on Cassian (or himself!) to give him an aim (and a dodge, and a suppression). So can 3PO. Calculate is really good on Cassian.
Hunter – I love this upgrade on Cassian, especially against Tauntauns and Emplacements.
Spotter – Okay, not really. Rebels don’t have any units with Spotter unless you buy binocs, which sort of seems like a waste.
Abuse the unlimited range on this bad boy to get the leg up on other sniper teams, and try and get out of cover shots whenever possible so you don’t have to feed Cassian so many aims. Infiltrate usually lets you set up some good angles.
A280-CFE Pistol Config
Now that’s a pistol. Jyn is jealous.
Two red, one black. If you can get open shots with this, with the free aim from Tactical, you are going to be pushing three hits in with Pierce. Long Shot 1 alternatively allows you to spend that aim to fire at Range 3, which is quite handy. If you aren’t getting open shots, the number of hits you are pushing through is going to be basically 1:1 with how many aim tokens you have to spend on Marksman.
The pistol is a config of the rifle, so you can swap back and forth if necessary. I often start with the pistol and use Volunteer Mission to hot swap to the rifle and get a surprise unlimited range shot, or start with the rifle and hot swap to the pistol once things get hairy and close.
Jyn’s SE-14 Blaster
Now that’s a pistol. Jyn can actually take this, which is neat… but the five whites basically make this a crit slot machine, which means you want aim tokens. Jyn has a really hard time getting aim tokens, especially on a Range 2 gun which means she often needs to move and shoot instead of Quick Thinking/Shoot. I think you probably still just want the Range 3 gun on her.
K2, on the other hand, doesn’t have nearly as much trouble getting aims because of Cassian’s various aim generating abilities (which we covered above) and Teamwork. K2 can function like a mini-Bossk once he gets up close when equipped with this pistol. I wouldn’t leave home without it.
We’ll hit these before moving on to tactics. Like most commanders, Cassian is defined very heavily by his cards.
Cassian is essentially a character/special forces support commander, which should become rather clear through his cards.
Gunslinger, a free aim, suppression (if you want it) and a free standby. The standby is neat, but I sort of view it as a bonus more than what this card is really for. The free aim and Gunslinger make this like a focused version of Coordinated Bombardment with Pierce if you do it with his sniper rifle, or you can play it when he is up close with his pistol and do a Han impression while getting some more mileage out of the standby. You want to supercharge Cassian with aims on the turn you play this to get the most mileage out of Marksman with your double gunslinger attack.
There are a couple of ways to do this. My favorite way to use this card is on Turn 1 with the sniper rifle, equipping Offensive Push and Recon Intel. When you deploy him, take your scout move and trip Offensive Push at the same time, which gives Cassian 2 aims. You should be able to line up at least one open shot, if not two, because of Infiltrate. After you play Crack Shot and take the aim action, you’ll have four aims, which gives you a strong chance to just pick up four models on turn one.
You’ll want to prioritize high threat, pierce-vulnerable targets, like Phase IIs, ARCs, Rex, Shoretroopers, Deathtroopers, and other snipers. If you can line up both members of an opposing strike team in your vision, that should probably be your #1 target, followed by the other stuff.
If you are running the “Run and Gun” (Pistol) Cassian, this does a great Han impression and also feeds K2 aims to follow up with his own pistol.
Don’t forget you can use Gunslinger off the standby attack, which theoretically gives Cassian 4 attacks in one turn.
Up to three free tokens, and indomitable. That’s hot. Your targets need to be wounded, of course, but that usually happens at some point in the game, and this gives them a fantastic boost in whatever sticky situation they find themselves. It only works on Operatives and Commanders, which sort of makes sense anyway as there aren’t many multi-wound trooper models out there besides characters.
Good targets for this: Cassian (you have to anyway), K-2SO, Luke (both versions), Sabine. Because of Indomitable this doubles as a suppression clearing card.
Note that if you play this on Cassian and/or K-2SO, it procs teamwork, so you get twice as many tokens. In theory you could get up to 12 tokens if they both have at least three wounds and give the second order to K2. Not that you actually need 12 tokens…
Rebel free recover! Hot damn. Who thought of that one?
Anyway, this is great card. It only works on Operatives, Commanders, and Special Forces, which is fine. It also gives targeted units Danger Sense 1 and a suppression (if they want it). This is great on units that have exhaust cards, red saves, and/or existing Danger Sense. Good targets: Cassian, K-2SO, Luke (both versions), Sabine, Bistan Pathfinders(!). It doesn’t make the Pathfinders any cheaper, unfortunately.
This is the second of Cassian’s cards that helps its targets clear suppression.
Maybe you are noticing a trend here. Cassian is really good with Luke or Sabine.
Now that is a unique effect. I love the card art on this one; nothing invokes “Sacrifice” like the image of K2 locking Jyn and Cassian in the vault by slamming on the terminal and then getting shot to pieces by Stormtroopers.
The “you can’t shoot something” effect is situationally very powerful, but I find it hard to set up consistently. That portion of this card is sort of like Luke’s I am a Jedi. You might only use it one out of every five games or so, but when you use it, it’s going to win you the game. This is a three pip and K2 needs to activate before the effect kicks in, so you aren’t going to be able to use this to save an out of position unit that is about to get plastered. The Guardian 4 can help keep your target alive when you lose priority, but I find it sort of unreliable for “saving” endangered units.
The Guardian 4 bit on this card is the most consistently useful part. Rebel units are squishy. K2 is not squishy. Moreover, he can be healed by the cheaply accessible Repair keyword. Even if you aren’t planning on using the actual sacrifice part of this card, the Guardian 4 by itself can get you out of some tight jams or allow you to advance and take some shots with squishier Rebel units without having to worry as much about return fire.
So how do you actually use Cassian?
There are basically two ways to run him, and because of the Loadout keyword and the flexibility of Covert Ops, you can flex between roles from game to game or even within the same game as the situation dictates. You essentially have Sniper Cassian (sniper config) and “Run and Gun” Cassian (pistol config).
Cassian is your fourth sniper, reliably picking up 1-2 models a turn at unlimited range. I find this role most useful against GAR and Empire, where you have high value, single wound, red save targets. Against droids, if you find yourself sniping, you should be targeting BX droids or Grievous. Against other Rebels, good targets include characters, snipers, and Tauntauns.
Positioning sniper Cassian can be tricky, particularly if you intend to get use out of his command cards on the more aggressive character you are pairing him with (say, Luke or Sabine). Basically you need him to be in a spot to pick off good targets while being close enough to your Luke/Sabine’s assault approach but far enough not to draw too much return fire. It is a tricky balance, but an achievable one, especially with Infiltrate from Covert Ops. Usually you want to look for lanes parallel to the long table edge, but it is highly table and deployment dependent.
Getting extra aims to Cassian in sniper mode can be sort of challenging, unless you babysit him with K2 or R2, which isn’t ideal. You an actually push K2 up a little further and still get the benefits of Calculate on Cassian, since teamwork is Range 1-2. If K2 uses Calculate on himself (or R2 uses it on K2) and he is in Range 2 of Cassian it is just as good because of teamwork.
This is the more fun, and in my experience, the more impactful version of Cassian. Besides his solid pistol, it is also much easier to use Cassian in cooperation with K2 at close range, since K2’s range is 2 (with his own pistol). Basically you want to stake out an important area of the table (usually near an objective) and harass units that try to go near that area while not exposing yourself too much. I find this easiest on Vaporators, but it is also very doable on Recover and some other objectives. Infiltrate gives you a lot of flex here.
Use Calculate, Tactical and Last Stand to generate lots of aims and dodges for Cassian and K2 to both use. K2’s pistol in particular is really good if he is being fed aims by a running and gunning Cassian.
The only time I think you almost never want to use pistol Cassian is against GAR. Standby sharing makes getting in there a nightmare, and the infinite range sniper rifle is too valuable for picking off the standbys.
Don’t forget you can use Volunteer Mission to flip your config and swap between roles as necessary.
Speaking of swapping…
Take any of your upgrades, and set aside an upgrade of the same type that costs equal or lesser points. For example, you could take Hunter, and then pair it with Endurance, and grab either of them when you deploy Cassian. For those familiar with card games, this is essentially a sideboard.
I have sort of a primary way I like to run Cassian and then some variations depending on setup and matchup. Let’s look at some upgrade considerations for those slots.
Let’s be honest, this is your Recon Intel slot. It gives Cassian an aim on the first turn for free, lets him position closer after infiltrating, and only costs 2 points. What’s not to like?
I think you could consider Environmental Gear on maps with a ton of difficult terrain, but I find Recon really hard to set aside.
Now this is where it gets really interesting. Cassian can benefit from a lot of different training upgrades, though I usually find myself taking just the first two. I heard you like some aims with your aims.
Did I mention Cassian needs aims? This is particularly good against Tauntauns and Emplacements (ahem, mortars). Not bad against characters either, though a lot of those are pierce immune. This is usually my first choice for Cassian’s first training slot.
Moar aims. Offensive push combos with Recon Intel and Tactical to give Cassian 2 aims on the first turn, if you are into that sort of thing. Or you could save it for your Crack Shot turn. Or those could all be the same turn and you could end up with like 4 aims. Whatever floats your boat. This is usually my first choice for Cassian’s second slot, or my set-aside complement to Hunter if I’m only filling one training slot.
I usually put this counter to Hunter, because it is the same cost and it’s possible your opponent doesn’t have any multi-wound models besides their Commander. Removing extra suppression is always handy.
Duck and Cover
I’m not a super fan of Duck and Cover on characters that are Courage 2. See: Solo, Han. However, Cassian does have two cards that strip suppression. I would consider this opposite Offensive Push, though I think I would rather have…
Overwatch is the same cost as Offensive Push and it combos nicely with Crack Shot if Cassian is up close. This is an easy choice to pair with Offensive Push.
This is my jam. Cassian’s cards are incredible on Luke. Basically this list is a counter-meta pick for Empire and GAR. If there is one thing Rebels have going for them besides Luke Skywalker and Tauntauns, it is Pierce stacking. This list has six units with some kind of Pierce, and four of those units have Pierce at Range 5+.
The DLTs are squishy, which is fine. If you want, you could run Sacrifice to help on your approach turn, though I find Return of the Jedi really hard to leave behind. I generally poke with Cassian, snipers, and Range 4 DLT until I can get Luke and K2 in the mix, and then I move the DLTs up into Range 3 once my opponent has more important things to worry about.
This list has two Calculate Odds, which can be unnecessarily and hilariously applied to Cassian and K2 at the same time for an amusing 8 tokens. It’s probably better just to use one of them on Luke, though.
Command Hand: Crack Shot, Son of Skywalker, Last Stand, My Ally is the Force, Volunteer Mission, Return of the Jedi.
You could definitely make a case to swap in Full of Surprises or Sacrifice to taste.
Variations: Drop R2 or K2 to upgrade Luke to Jedi Luke. If you drop K2 you can also throw a 4th DLT in there.
Cassian, Sabine, Tauntauns
Gross. This list sort of goes all in on stacking Taun/Sabine/R2 friendly battle cards using the options from Vital Assets. Basically you want Danger Close, Disarray, Battle Lines and Hemmed In alongside Recover the Supplies, Breakthrough, Bombing Run and… whatever other 4th objective you want. I would actually consider cutting one of the uplinks for more bid. You could also cut one of the Tauns down to a sniper and have some more points to spread upgrades around. Sabine’s recoverable upgrades in particular are good here, since she gets two free recovers. 3PO is great too; Calculate is excellent on Sabine.
Command Cards: Crack Shot, Explosions, Last Stand, Symbol of Rebellion, Volunteer Mission, Legacy of Mandalore.
Variations: Cut a taun for a sniper and upgrades, go K2 + upgrades instead of Sabine, go Leia + upgrades instead of Sabine.
Leia Cassian gunline
Rebel gunline is dead. Long live the Rebel gunline!
That is kind of a lot of Range 4+ firepower. You are probably hosed if Tauns get into your lines, but seriously… like that ever happens.
Leia also shores up one of Cassian’s primary weaknesses, which is he doesn’t really do much for corps units.
Command Cards: Coordinated Bombardment, Crack Shot, Last Stand, No Time for Sorrows, Volunteer Mission, Sacrifice.
I actually think you could make the case for Smoke Screen over Volunteer Mission here, because there aren’t a lot of great targets for Volunteer Mission and Smoke Screen gives you an amusing three pre-turn free aim tokens from Tactical (Recon Intel, No Time for Sorrows, Smoke Screen).
Variations: Cut a DLT down to a medic and bid, throw in some FD cannons or something. I dunno. Range 5.
Well that was a journey. Rebel players should be super excited about Cassian. I’m optimistic about our odds.