In light of the recent RRG points update on October 27th, 2021, I have decided to discuss and rank all units in the Imperial faction in a tier list. While these changes are still extremely new, one thing is clear, the Empire is back baby!
Units in S tier are very powerful and are significantly more efficient than the rest of the faction. You basically cannot go wrong when you include these units in an Empire army. Even if they do not synergize with the rest of the army, they are so efficient points wise. You will almost always want to include them in your armies in some capacity.
Darth Vader The Emperor’s Apprentice
The Emperor’s Apprentice is back and is taking no prisoners. AKA it’s hallway scene time! Operative Vader was buffed gaining 1 health, speed two, a training slot and losing spur. Because Vader no longer needs to use Endurance to deal with the suppression from Spur, Vader effectively gained two new training slots. His command cards Implacable and Darkness Descends were also both buffed. With all these new buffs, Operative Vader only costs 175 points, which is 20 less than both Count Dooku and Operative Luke (both similar to Vader in power level). This makes Vader extremely competitive when it comes to price. He now has 21 effective wounds and deals on average 6-7 wounds per activation when equipped with Tenacity and Force choke. All this together makes operative Vader hard to kill, a strong damage dealer, and a solid objective player. In his current state, I think most competitive Imperial armies can’t go wrong with Operative Vader.
Before the RRG, Vader Dewbacks was gaining momentum and finding success earning second place at the Lone Star Open, and two top 8 finishes at the London GT. Dewbacks were one of the best units in Empire at countering aggressive meta lists. Now, at 5 points cheaper, they are a compelling choice. Currently, aggressive units like Wookiees are the units to beat. Dewbacks typically come out on top against these units if they can attack first. Fully kitted Dewbacks with the T-21 and Tenacity only cost 79 points which is 29 points cheaper than fully kitted Wookiees. Vader’s two pip, New Ways to Motivate Them, allows Dewbacks to move 3 times in a turn and activate Tenacity. This enables an alpha strike setting you ahead in attrition against units that are 20-30 points more expensive than the Dewbacks. Overall Dewbacks are an inexpensive linebacker unit, meaning you can fit 2-3 Dewbacks in most lists to help deal with aggressive threats and chase down the opposing back line.
A tier units are competitive and some of the best in the faction. These units are great to build around and field in a competitive army. The main difference between A tier and S tier is their overall efficiency. S tier units fit in any army, while you typically want your A tier units to synergize with the rest of what you bring and/or fill a specific role.
Darth Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
The Dark Lord of the Sith gained the ability Compel: Core Trooper and a command upgrade slot along with the Command Card updates. The main change that makes Commander Vader so powerful is the release of Burst of Speed. Commander Vader’s main issue has always been his speed and inability to engage the enemy. Burst of Speed fixes this issue. The only reason I consider Commander Vader A tier and not S, is because of Operative Vader. I think in most cases, Operative Vader is the better choice due to his lower cost and increased speed. The one place Commander Vader is better, is in a Shoretrooper or Stormtrooper Specialist gunline. Compel: Core Trooper, fixes many of the issues core units have with suppression. This allows you to field inexpensive core units that pack a heavy punch. In summary, Commander Vader is a menace but is overshadowed by the buffs to Operative Vader.
Imperial Royal Guards
Imperial Royal Guards (IRG) received a point decrease making them a much more compelling option to field. The IRG are a solid melee option for Empire lists to use as a linebacker unit. They are excellent at stopping Wookiees, since they are immune pierce in melee when you have the Electrostaff Guard upgrade. The IRG also provide Guardian 2 to help protect your high value units, such as Darth Vader or Palpatine. If you have the points to spare for IRG over a Dewback, they are great option as long as you get value from Guardian. They also synergize with Iden Versio’s 3 pip Tactical Strike making them a strong linebacker option for an Imperial Special Forces Army.
Despite having no changes, Iden Versio was and is still one of the best commanders in Empire. She brings both powerful abilities that augment Special Forces units, and she is a strong combat unit herself. Units that synergize well with Iden, such as the Imperial Royal Guards, Death Troopers, and Imperial Special Forces all have had their points reduced as well making more possible combinations. Iden is still the best commander in Special Forces lists and is a great unit to include in your army.
The Imperial Officer, similar to Iden, has not had any changes but remains one of the best commanders in Empire. Previously, the Imperial Officer was S tier in my opinion, but now, with so many other units dropping in price, you now have the extra points to invest in some of the more expensive commanders. That being said, the Imperial Officer with Electrobinoculars is only 53 points and is an excellent choice to support an Imperial army. The Officer is still great activation padding and amplifies the damage of the rest of your army.
While all the heavy weapons for Stormtroopers only had a small points reduction, the Stormtrooper Specialists and Captain points reduction has made Stormtroopers extremely viable. In my opinion, these two personnel upgrades were already the best way to run Stormtroopers and the point’s reduction only makes them even better. In most armies you will want to bring Stormtroopers with the Captain and Offensive Push. The Captain helps you deal with suppression, while Offensive Push adds to your Offensive capabilities. The Specialist is best run alongside Krennic or Commander Vader, because Compel can help them deal with suppression.
Emperor Palpatine is 10 points cheaper in this update. The bigger change that has made Palpatine competitive, was the release of Burst of Speed. Burst of Speed extends his threat range to roughly 26 inches, which is farther than range 4. This range makes his 1 pip, And Now… You Will Die, virtually unavoidable. Palpatine is also great against aggressive units. Notably, IRG also went down in points, making it possible to bring multiple IRG in a Palpatine list.
The AT-ST had its base cost reduced, hard points cost reduced, and General Weiss was buffed. Weiss lost exhaust and gained field commander. Along with all the other points reductions, you can now comfortably fit two AT-ST’s in an army. The AT-ST with Weiss can reliably attack with 3-4 weapons, tearing apart anything in its path. The AT-ST also has 4 red dice in melee, making it decent even when rushed by aggressive units. The only real weakness of the AT-ST is ion. Because of the popularity of Dwarf Spider Droids, I recommend you bring repair along with an AT-ST to deal with the potential ion. The AT-ST pairs nicely with Dewbacks. It dominates at range 4 and has Impact 4, while the Dewbacks tarpit aggressive units.
B tier units are still great, but typically are more limited in the roles they can fill. They also have more potential weaknesses than the A and S tier units. These units are still competitive, but must fill a specific role in your army and have other units to compensate for their shortcomings.
Bossk is still my favorite unit in Empire. He brings a deadly range 4 kit and he can collect bounty from range 4, which creates massive pressure on enemy commanders and operatives. He is one of the best units in Empire against other gun-line armies, but the current meta is primarily made up of aggressive armies. These units can flank and kill Bossk. If Wookiees get the jump on him, he crumbles quickly. Air Speeders can also tear him apart. Despite this, if played right, Bossk is still effective at range 4 and can apply pressure in a gunline fight.
Shoretroopers are a strong core choice but require order support. Because they are 11 points more than a DLT-19 Stormtrooper Specialist unit, you need to invest orders and surges into them. The T-21B is still the best heavy weapon in the Imperial roster, but it comes at a steep price premium. With support from Aggressive Tactics and Strict Orders, they justify their cost. Also Del Meeko and Gideon Hask had their points drastically reduced, making them an attractive option for Shoretroopers. Shoretroopers benefit greatly from Coordinate Core Trooper and Del Meeko can be deadly with the free aim from Target 1. Overall, I typically would prefer Stormtroopers because of their reduced cost but Shoretroopers are still a strong option with the proper support.
DF-90 Mortar Trooper
The DF-90 Mortar Trooper is the most inexpensive unit in the Imperial roster. The changes that made the Mortar competitive again were the changes to GAR. Now that ARC Troopers and Take That Clankers have been nerfed so the Mortar has fewer long range threats that counter it. The only drawback is the fact the Mortar can only fire from range 3-4. This means, close range units such as Wookiees can rush where the Mortar can no longer shoot it. Because of this, the Mortar Trooper still has some major weaknesses but is effective as activation padding and at range.
Scout Troopers Strike Team
The Scout Troopers Strike Team gained Scout 3 and Low Profile was buffed. Strike Teams are still one of the best units for activation padding. The Sonic Charge Saboteur is now a viable option because of the buffs and points reduction to Emergency Stims. Scout 3 allows you to drop bombs on the center of the map starting on turn 1. The Low Profile changes also make the DLT-19x Sniper the best sniper unit in the game. Sadly, snipers are currently falling out of favor for more aggressive special forces, which makes this a somewhat moot point. Overall, Strike Teams are still excellent activation padding but other special forces are now also attractive options.
Director Orson Krennic
Krennic had his points dropped by 15. Along with his points reduction, Death Troopers, Dewbacks, and Stormtrooper Specialists had their points reduced, which all synergize with Krennic. Cunning is an excellent ability. It gives you priority when pips are tied. At 75 points, he is a compelling (pun intended) option as a support commander for Death Troopers, Dewbacks, and courage one core units.
Death Troopers are now 12 points cheaper. With the E-11D becoming free and the base unit losing 4 points, Death Troopers are now a much more reasonable cost and are still devastating at range 4. Previously, snipers tore Death Troopers apart but snipers are being replaced in the current meta by aggressive melee units. This makes Death Troopers a much more viable option. They still fall apart to pierce but are dominant at long range.
Imperial Special Forces
While the base Imperial Special Forces (ISF) unit only went down by 2 points, Inferno Squad is now 22 points cheaper. This makes Inferno Squad a solid companion to Iden Versio. While it is a great unit it still only has a small attack dice pool of 6 dice which makes them less valuable without Iden. I personally would not bring ISF or Inferno Squad unless I am running Iden. That being said,they are both very strong units when in a list built around them.
Most units in C tier are still viable, but are outclassed by other options in the faction. There is still an argument to be made for these units in a competitive army, but they require heavy support or synergies to be worth it.
The main thing holding back Scout Troopers is the fact they are only range 2 and die to a stiff breeze. Now, with scout 3 and the buffs to Low Profile, they may have a place in certain armies such as an Iden Tactical Strike list or in the back of an Occupier Tank. The base unit is only 48 points and brings 8 black dice at range 2, which is not terrible for the cost. With all this in mind they may be a good option in the right army. My main concern is how they quickly die to aggressive melee units, since they only have 4-5 health behind white saves.
Boba Fett had his points reduced by 5, making him a good choice as a playmaking unit. He is great at flanking and finishing off fleeing units. His whipcord can also strand aggressive units out in the open. Boba shines when he is run alongside Bossk, since you can bounty more than one of your enemies Commanders or Operatives. This creates amazing pressure on any of these units. The main thing currently holding Boba back, however, is the fact that Operative Vader outperforms Boba in many ways. Boba is a great play maker, but Operative Vader is also a great playmaker who can murder half your opponent’s army.
Agent Kallus is a jack of all trade’s unit. He has a good ranged attack, a good melee attack, good mobility with Ascension Cables, and has solid command cards. I find that the main thing holding Kallus back, is the fact he shares weaknesses with the units he supports. For example, Vader has a tough time dealing with a bunch of Wookiees or Magna Guards but Kallus also has this issue. So while he is good alongside Vader, I would rather bring Dewbacks, since they have a larger melee dice pool to help deal with immune pierce melee units.
Units in D tier are not often seen in competitive armies because these units typically have a major weakness or are only situationally effective.
Snowtroopers struggle since they only have two heavy weapons options. The Flametrooper requires you to get to range 1, which is too close to aggressive units, and the Snowtroopers are too slow to rush ranged units. The T-7 Ion Snowtrooper is only 18 points, making it a good choice against droids or armor but ineffective against other units.
General Veers only costs 75 points, but is still outclassed by the Imperial Officer. Veers is a decent commander but for 22 points less you can field the Officer who fills a similar role. Despite this, Veers is still ok in armies that leverage his 3 pip Imperial Discipline.
74-Z Speeder Bikes
74-Z Speeder Bikes main issue is how order hungry they are, and the fact that they are outclassed by other similar units in the faction like Dewbacks. 74-Z Speeder Bikes need orders since they are fragile and timing dependent. While they are effective in this context, I find they require too much effort to make them viable and I would prefer to just have Dewbacks in my army.
F tier units are rarely ever seen in competitive lists. Unless you really love the flavor of one of these units, I would recommend against fielding them.
E-Web Heavy Blaster Team
Sadly, the E-Web in legion is not nearly as deadly as Moff Gideon makes it out to be. E-Web Heavy Blaster Teams were rarely played before this RRG and they had no changes. Basically, they were already not very good and are now just outshined by everything else that has had its cost reduced.
TX-225 GAVw Occupier Combat Assault Tank
The Occupier Tank only had its points reduced by 5 and did not have any of its hardpoints changed like the AT-ST. The AT-ST was already the better option and was buffed more than the Occupier Tank leaving it in the dust.
LAAT/LE Patrol Transport
Some of you may be surprised to see the LAAT in F tier since it has found moderate success in Vader armies. In Vader lists you were transporting the Dark Lord, but now Burst of Speed exists. Burst of Speed only costs 3 points and basically gives the same effect. So despite the 15 points reduction, the LAAT is still too expensive to be a transport and is outshined by all of the special forces when it comes to damage.
Overall, the Empire is in an excellent position. As you may have noticed, most units in the faction are in the S-B tiers with only a few in D-F. This means that there is tons of flexibility in what you can run in a competitive Empire army. Also, if you think I have it all wrong I encourage you to re-rank the units and share them with us. You can find the tier list here https://tiermaker.com/create/star-wars-legion-empire-tier-list-2021-1357219