This article is a unit guide for Dewback Riders in Star Wars Legion.
Are you tired of B1’s running all over the place? Call 1-800-Dewback today to order a your very own lizard camel to deal with those pesky droids. Dewback Riders are an amazing unit in the Imperial roster. They are inexpensive and synergize with powerful Imperial units like Darth Vader. Dewback Riders are well rounded and in a great position in the current meta. In this article, I will first give an overview of Dewback Riders, then cover the best upgrades, and end with some strategy and potential armies you can run them in!
- Cost: only 70 points
- Large melee dice pool (good bye droids)
- Tanky: Armor 1 and 6 health with red saves
- Reliant on Spur for speed
Dewback Riders are 70 points with no upgrades and only cost 75 points total when upgraded with the T-21. They are extremely inexpensive considering what they bring. Because of their low cost, you can easily fit 2-3 Dewback Riders in a single army while still having multiple other strong units in your army. At this cost, Dewback Riders are one of the best units in the entire Imperial roster, which explains their current popularity.
Dewback Riders have Surge to Hit and the melee weapon profile Razor Claws & Shock Prod which has 3 red dice, 3 white dice, Critical 2, and Suppressive. Unaimed, this attack averages 3.75 hits and averages 4.63 hits with tenacity. This is a solid melee base profile. Armament upgrades give the Dewback Rider ranged weapon profiles which I will go into more detail in the upgrades section. Overall, the Dewback is decent at range and deadly in melee, while also being quick and elusive due to the keyword Relentless.
Dewback Riders have 6 health with red saves giving them 12 effective wounds. This is further augmented by Armor 1, which will often shave one hit off every incoming attack. Notably, Armor 1 still protects Dewbacks in melee, giving them extra defense when engaged. Armor 1 and heavy cover, combined, removes 3 hits off any incoming attack, making them difficult to wound when in cover.
Dewback Riders have no support abilities, they are purely fighters who support your army by applying pressure to opposing units. The main way they can support an army, is by tying up opposing ranged units in melee, so they cannot shoot your other units.
Dewbacks are only speed 1 but this is deceiving since they are quite fast in reality. Spur 1 and their medium sized base makes them move father than range 1 per move. This means you can double move and engage any units at range 2 and nearly range 3. This is a huge threat range. The one drawback is the suppression you must take to move this speed. This suppression is typically mitigated once engaged since you do not receive suppression from melee attacks. One unique combo that makes Dewbacks especially fast and deadly, is the combination of Darth Vader’s two pip command card New Ways to Motivate Them (NWTMT) . This card allows you to take a free action if the unit suffers a wound, allowing the Dewback to move three times in one turn. Three moves in a single turn raises your engagement range nearly range 4!
Training is the most competitive upgrade slot for Dewback Riders. While there are many different Training upgrades, there are two that stand out the most.
Endurance helps Dewback Riders deal with suppression from the keyword Spur. It is an especially good option if you are struggling to manage the suppression on your Dewbacks. The main downside of this upgrade is 1) it’s expensive cost (6 points), and 2) the fact that it does not add any offensive or defensive capabilities.
Tenacity is my personal favorite upgrade choice for Dewback Riders. Tenacity ads roughly an extra hit to each melee attack. Because Dewback Riders are a single model unit with multiple wounds you can easily trigger Tenacity. Tenacity is only 4 points and makes them deadlier in melee. The Darth Vader command card I mentioned earlier, New Ways to Motivate Them, synergizes great with Tenacity since it gives you a wound. Tenacity with NWTMT creates a devastating alpha strike.
I often leave the Comms upgrade slot empty, but if you have the points to spare there are still some strong upgrade options.
Since Dewback Riders are aggressive and often engaged with the opposing army, Comms Jammer can be useful for breaking up order control. Comms Jammer can destroy B1 order chains. Considering the popularity of CIS gunlines, upgrading a single Dewback with Comms Jammer as a hedge against B1’s seems like a reasonable choice.
If you are having difficulties with order control, HQ Uplink can help shore up that short coming. HQ Uplink is expensive, so I only recommend it if the army you are running relies on good order control.
While Dewback Riders have 3 interesting Armament options, the best weapon option is also the least expensive, making it a no contest. The Dewback Rider suffers the same issue the AT-RT had on launch, the worst option is also the most expensive. Hopefully the Armament costs will be adjusted in the future, similarly to the AT-RT so there is more competition between the options.
CR-24 Flame Rifle
The CR-24 is the most expensive Armament option at 15 points. There are two major reasons why I would never take this Armament. First, it is the most expensive option at 15 points. Second, it is highly redundant since the Dewback already has a strong melee pool. The Flame Rifle averages 1 hit per model in the opposing unit. If the CR-24 is attacking a 5-man unit you will average 5 hits while a melee attack with Tenacity (11 points cheaper) averages 4.63 hits. Because of this, I find the CR-24 is just too expensive for what it brings. Even when attacking an 8-model B1 unit, which is the gun’s best case scenario, it often takes two attacks to kill the full unit. It also takes two attacks to kill the same unit with Tenacity in melee but this still costs 11 points less. The CR-24 also forces you to be at range 1 instead of safely tucked in a melee engagement. And for those reasons I’m out!
RT-97C Blaster Rifle
The RT-97C has the longest range out of the three options. It costs 10 points and brings an average of 2 hits per attack. The main issue here is that 2 hits are not enough to shoot through cover. This gun is only effective when shooting enemies in the open. Also, while having range 4 is nice, Relentless plus the Dewbacks speed makes range 3 guns usable at range 4 (I will explain this in more detail in the how to play section). If you just sit at range 4 attacking, you are not getting the full 80 points of value that you are paying for. Because of this, I also never bring the RT-97C.
T-21 Blaster Rifle
Drum roll please… the moment we have all been waiting for, the pride and glory of the Dewback Rider: the T-21. The T-21 is the strongest and the cheapest Armament, making it a no brainer. The T-21 averages 1.5 hits unaimed but, more importantly, it averages ~1 crit per attack. This means the T-21 can reliably push damage through cover, armor, low profile, dodges etc. At only 5 points and range 3, this gun is a steal. The range on the weapon is also deceptively far. For example, the T-21 on a Dewback is amazing for hunting down enemy snipers. A Spurred move is over range 1, so at range 5+ you can double move and shoot a unit. All this combined, makes this the best option by default.
How to Play
Dewback Riders fill two general roles when played, they are first, long range chip damage, and second, melee linebacker units. While being a melee unit is quite intuitive, sometimes it is less clear why they are so good at long range. I will go into more detail on why they are so strong at range in the next section. Because these two roles are opposites (long range and melee), you will often switch from one mode to the other. Start with taking chip shots at long range, then close in rapidly and engage in melee. Dewback Riders are uniquely good against meta CIS armies. These armies rely on long range chip damage (which the Dewback Rider is also good at) and they are vulnerable to melee threats. Fully kitted Dewbacks are only 79 points (base 70 + Tenacity 4 + T-21 5 = 79), so you can take 2-3 in an army and overwhelm any melee units in the opposing army with numbers then go after the juicy core units.
Playing at Range:
Dewbacks are surprisingly good at long range (range ~4) because of Relentless. They can start at range 4, move into range 3, pivot 90 degrees, shoot, pivot another 90 degrees (doing a U turn), then move back to range 4. They can also just move forward and then reverse back out of range 3. As I mentioned before, Dewbacks are excellent at hunting down low-profile snipers since they can double move. This means that their ranged threat range is 5+. Also, since Low Profile does not block critical hits, the T-21 is amazing for pushing crits through cover.
Playing in Melee:
Dewback Riders are strong in melee and difficult to kill since they have Armor 1 and red saves. The engagement range of Dewback Riders is roughly range ~2.5 (two spurred moves). If a Dewback double moves at the end of a turn then double moves again at the beginning of the next turn, the unit can cover roughly range ~5. This is a massive threat range and makes it so you can quickly switch from ranged chip shots to melee. As I mentioned before, New Ways to Motivate Them also extends the threat range of Dewback Riders to nearly range ~4 (three spurred moves). Notably Dewback Riders struggle against force users since they have large dice pools and 2-3 pierce in melee. When fighting a force user it is sometimes better to take a dodge action instead of an aim since dodge + armor 1 shaves off two hits each attack making it so your Dewback can potentially survive 3 attacks instead of 2.
The following three armies are what I consider to be the most competitive armies in the Empire currently. Notice that they all have Dewbacks. This is for two reasons: Dewbacks are one of the best units in Empire, and they synergize with the other best unit in Empire, Darth Vader. The two main weaknesses of Dewbacks are force users (pierce + large dice pools often two shot Dewbacks) and enemy red saves. Darth Vader is amazing against both these weaknesses. He can go toe to toe with other force users and can single handedly tear apart an entire red save army. However, Darth Vader struggles against pierce immune melee units and high wound count white save units (Wookiees, & droids). Dewback riders are amazing at fighting white save armies since they have large dice pools and they can go toe to toe with pierce immune melee units. This makes Dewbacks and Vader a match made in heaven. If you want to learn more about playing Vader and his synergies with Dewbacks, you can read my unit guide on Operative Vader. https://thefifthtrooper.com/operative-vader-unit-guide/
Empire Melee Skew
This army has been making waves in competitive tournaments. It has placed in the top 8 of multiple recent tournaments. Its strategy is to basically ignore the objectives on the table and just try to kill everything in the opposing army. Many armies can not deal with Vader + 3 Dewbacks + an Imperial Royal Guard (IRG). While your opponent is fighting for their dear life, your Stormtroopers are free to play the objective and run away with a box from Recover the Supplies or escort your Payload into the scoring zone.
If you still want a very strong and competitive army, but want to play the objective rather than just overwhelm your opponent with melee units, Vader Dewline is a great option. This army drops a Dewback and IRG opting for heavy weapons and Stormtrooper Specialists on your core units. The army has answers for virtually any matchup and is well rounded between the ranged and melee units. Your Dewback Riders augment your ranged firepower then engage the opponent with New Ways to Motivate Them. I played this army at LVO this year and had a great time with it. It is an all-comers list that feels felt great in any matchup.
You may be asking yourself, “Do I really have to play Vader if I want to bring Dewbacks?” and the answer is no! Dewback Riders are still a great unit in their own right. This army in particular leverages threat saturation of Iden, 3 Imperial Special Forces (ISF), and Tactical Strike to give Dewbacks a relatively unopposed approach to the enemy army. If they shoot at the Dewbacks that leaves the Iden and the ISF unchecked to attack, and if they focus Iden and the ISF they will find 3 Dewbacks at full health in melee with their army. If you want to learn more about Iden and why this army is so strong, you can check out my unit guide on her. https://thefifthtrooper.com/iden-versio-unit-guide/
Right now, Dewback riders are in an amazing position. They are one of the best units for their price in Empire, they synergize with the other best units in Empire, and they are uniquely strong against the current meta. It is clear why they are such a popular option. Dewbacks, until recently, were virtually un-played, so I am happy to finally see them in the limelight. I hope you found this guide helpful and are encouraged to put some thunder lizards on the table!