This article is a Galactic Republic Retrospective, a look back at the faction as it has developed over the life of Star Wars: Legion.

With the Galactic Civil War wrapped up, I’m going to move on to the Clone Wars factions. While the window of releases is smaller, due to coming to the party later, they got a very dense release schedule to compensate. Of all the factions, Republic may have the most interesting history. It’s oscillated from the best army in the game to arguably the worst, and it did that more than once! So lets take a look and see where these ups and downs came from.

As before, these release dates are based off the American release dates, so the release order might have been slightly different in your region.

Galactic Republic Retrospective 1

October 2019 – Clone Wars Core Set

Before we go into the individual unit analysis, lets look at a more drawn back view of the faction as a whole. Both Galactic Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems introduced rules that affected the vast majority of their units, based on a unit type. While Legion doesn’t really have high level “faction abilities,” instead preferring to keep rules contained to specific units, Clone Troopers basically worked as a faction ability. Clone Troopers could share green tokens (aim, dodge, standby and the new surge tokens) with each other if they were at range one of one another. This would become a nightmare to balance and lead to many balance changes over the next 3 years. Republic wasn’t quite a terror at launch, it didn’t have the necessary unit variety yet, but once a few units got out into the wild it made them much more adaptable. Their ability to share tokens encouraged a “Castle” playstyle, where units stayed in close formation so they could share tokens off one another, assuring a unit was never caught without them. It made them a tough nut to crack. There were two major nerfs to this, and I’m going to break the traditional format of these articles to call them out as they happened, rather than all at once. They were often too entwined with the meta at the time to just give it a passing glance.

The box set also introduced “surge” tokens. Clone Wars factions didn’t have surge to hit or defend, instead Surge tokens were introduced to make this ability a limited commodity, as opposed to the Rebels and Imperials. This introduced a way to buff units in a way that wasn’t quite as powerful as just straight up handing out aims and dodges. It didn’t make much of a splash initially but as more ways to generate surge tokens would appear, even Empire got in on the fun (Rebel units all mostly surge in both directions already).

Let’s move on to the units. The box set contained Obi-Wan Kenobi, 2 units of Phase I Clone Troopers and a BARC speeder. An interesting mix of units.

Obi-Wan Kenobi has always occupied a spot of mediocrity. Not exactly bad, but doesn’t quite “get there” most of the time competitively. Definitely playable, but not ideal. At launch when he was the only Commander choice, sure you ran him, but really you were waiting for other choices. He was a more defensive Jedi than Luke or Vader, tending to stay in the back line and defend the clones from enemy fire. The problem is he costed a bit too much to be playing passively, but it would be rectified when he came down in cost. Much like Obi-Wan in the lore, he was more of a quiet hero behind the scenes than the more bombastic Anakin.

BARC Speeders have oscillated a lot in popularity. At launch they cost a bit too much, a running theme, but they also were all you got. They got shelved for a bit as more stuff came out but in recent times have come back in popularity due to their cost reductions and an increased importance of speeders for objectives. If you run a naked BARC, they cost about what rebels and imperials are paying for their strike teams, which allows them to occupy a similar niche as cheap activations. Instead of cheap pierce and suppression from a distance, these guys can run objectives and if they get blown up, they’re cheap enough they won’t be missed too much. For a faction that generally is overpaying for everything, this is a welcome respite.

Finally, Phase I Clone Troopers. The backbone of the Republic Army, these guys have dipped up and down in popularity surprisingly frequently. The truth is they are pretty hard to balance against Phase IIs. Unlike every other faction, where the corps units start with an all-rounder choice and then push niche options for specific playstyles and strategies, both Phase I and Phase IIs are pretty well rounded, Phase IIs are just usually “better” (with the cost increase that entails). However, that doesn’t really matter here. This is launch, and it was what you had. With the token sharing mechanic, they were pretty solid. Red saves and black attack dice without native surges, but with surge tokens you could emulate this to a limited capacity. They were basically the hyper elite army, good at everything but every loss hurt due to limited unit count.

They were lucky enough to stumble into their best guns from the outset, too. The Z-6 and DC-15 both fit the “Range 3 slot machine gun” and “Range 4 Crit gun” the Galactic Civil War factions had, no upgrade packs required. Both were, and still are, utilized heavily for the same reason every other faction wants them.

November 2019 – Clone Captain Rex

As stated above, Obi-Wan was…OK. Very expensive, didn’t quite wow people. Clone Captain Rex was different. The fan favorite commander was exactly what the faction needed, he was a reasonably cheap shooting hero who also supported the army. Since he was a Clone as well, he could also share tokens with allies, something Obi-Wan lacked.

He was also helped by having very good command cards. Take That, Clankers! notoriously broke the game for a bit, as it expanded guns up to range 4; when combined with Tactical this created a huge threat range for those large (normally Range 3) clone dice pools. The card would be errata’d later (In November 2021) to require an aim action, while Rex also got a cost increase. It could be argued that this ended Rex entirely, as he really hasn’t shown up in lists much anymore, but for a while he was your go to.

January 2020 – Phase I Clone Troopers Upgrade Expansion and Crashed Escape Pod

Every army got their basic Corp expansion at this point. Clones benefitted slightly differently, they already got their best guns in the core set. The DP-23 shotgun was pretty bad, but the RPS would become a one-of staple as an armor hedge, particularly in Anakin lists where you could fire support an Anakin Saber Throw to kick off a ridiculous Impact 5 attack pool into an armored unit.

The Captain was a different story. A solid addition to the army, he would let them take a Training slot and stop them from being suppressed (a problem for the Courage 1 clones). He still sees play even today. The Specialist also wasn’t bad, letting a unit generate more tokens as a free action, which of course they were free to share around. The Specialist has dropped off as token sharing isn’t quite as egregious, but he got his time.

In the Crashed Escape Pod, R2-D2 was the first dual faction unit, usable by both Republic and Rebels. While rebels loved the little droid, Republic was a bit mixed. He didn’t get to share tokens, which meant he wasn’t always carrying his load. R2 was also best in aggressive lists that let him beep boop to victory with Secret Mission, and Republic was still mostly playing defensively at this time.

February 2020 – Phase II Clone Troopers & TX-130 Saber-class Fighter Tank

Ah Phase IIs. As stated in the core set above, there has been a weird balancing act between Phase Is and IIs. Phase IIs are not a niche unit like other army’s corps, they’re just about as general purpose but do it better, for a premium price. While Phase IIs don’t get access to the DC-15 ranged gun, they do have the same Z-6 as the Phase 1s and a new gun, the Mortar. They keep Fire support, but also get Reliable, and an extra courage to boot, a rarity for a Corps unit. On release, Phase IIs were quite undercosted for all these benefits (especially with their training slot for Overwatch, as they could share Standbys) and essentially replaced Phase Is wholesale.

Over time, nerfs to token sharing and cost increases on the Phase IIs have led to more of a mix between Phase Is and Phase IIs, with most GAR lists relying primarily on Phase Is with Phase IIs sprinkled in for the occasional surge token.

The Saber-class Fighter Tank became an interesting anomaly in a game where up to this point, vehicles were generally seen as lackluster. The tank was the first time it really felt like a vehicle did its job. Reasonably priced, it came with good armaments and Outmaneuver to help it dodge critical spam. About the only thing that might put a wrench in is if the board was terrain dense, but if there was a lot of empty space, it got to be open season. Also special shoutout to Ayla Secura introducing Field Commander to the game, which would be retroactively placed onto Rebels and Imperials later, and offer a new way to build lists, if you wanted to eschew heroes to focus on a more vehicle-focused style of play.

Sadly as with other factions, COVID would hit shortly after this and shut down all releases for a while.

July 2020 – Padme Amidala

Padme was the first operative for the faction, but in some ways plays more like a Commander in the sense of being a generous buff piece for your army rather than a lone operator. She was also very adaptable and had a lot of ways to play her, you could exploit her Secret Mission from her 3 pip command card to try and score an extra victory point, or more commonly choose not to and have her support your army instead. Since this was tied to a command card, you could even make this decision on the fly depending on what you were up against. While she herself was not a clone, the new Exemplar keyword allowed her to work very similarly, and since she had Quick Thinking she could generate a lot of tokens. Padme was a great addition to the army, but she didn’t really shine until clone token sharing was nerfed, which left a unique space for Exemplar.

September 2020 – ARC Troopers

Finally, after far too long of a wait, Republic got their ARC Troopers, though the path they ended up taking was notably different from the Galactic Civil War factions before them.

On release, the ARC sniper strike teams were absolutely crazy for their cost, delivering reliable damage at Range 5 and generating extra aims for the other clones. Though they did not have High Velocity or native Pierce like their Civil War counterparts, they got free aims from Tactical, could use the aims of other clones, and had significantly better raw dice on their sniper rifle. ARC troopers would see a cost increase and eventually lose Critical on the DC-15x as well.

The full ARC teams were also exceptional as part of the clone standby castle when they could still share Standby tokens. They had a training slot for Overwatch and their pool absolutely slapped at Range 3. Full ARCs would also see a cost increase and be effected by the loss of Critical on the DC-15x.

Though Fives was not often taken in ARC units, he was a great addition to Phase I or Phase II units, where he could receive an order and then Coordinate another one to get maximum value out of Fire Support and Aggressive Tactics. Fives eventually saw a substantial cost increase as well.

Galactic Republic Retrospective 2

November 2020 – Anakin and Rules Reference Update

Good news and bad news. Anakin launched with a bit of a letdown, initially. The premise was interesting, an undercosted Jedi who didn’t have that many tricks from the outset, but would gain permanent keyword upgrades as each of his command cards were used. However, each one used would put a stipulation on what he should do (or not do), and to defy those would grant him a suppression token. This played into the new mechanic introduced with him, the Flaw card. Anakin’s Not A Story the Jedi Would Tell could be played during the command phase if he had any suppression, stopping you from giving Anakin an order. This was only once per game, but it could be pretty crippling if Anakin is in a bad spot. If you could balance his various restrictions, he was severely undercosted compared to other Jedi, but his command cards simply added keywords and were not splashy. Eventually Anakin had Defend 1 added to his two pip which fundamentally changed how he worked and made him much more effective.

The bad news for Republic would come with the rules update. FFG would remove the ability to share Standby tokens, as Republic had became far too defensive faction, basically creating a No Man’s Land where it would be impossible to get within Range 2-3 of the army at any point. It was toxic for the game and for a while Republic was dominating most tournaments due to it. One could argue this went overlooked for some time due to COVID limiting the number of in person events, but it was a change well appreciated by the community. It made Anakin and Padme’s Exemplar far more important, as they could still share Standby tokens. Anakin and Padme lists would start to dominate a lot of the faction play as a result.

February 2021 – Clone Trooper Personnel Expansion

For the most part, you were in this for the Clone Commander and the command cards. Clone Commander was even cheaper than Rex and a well appreciated addition. Direct and Bolster made him a much better support commander than Rex, and a range 3 gun meant he could stay much further away, supporting from the back line. He wasn’t bad attached to a unit either, giving them both Inspire and Reliable. The other personnel were pretty lackluster, though the Medic finally sees some use after a large cost reduction, as the ability to save your very expensive clone troopers pays off massively.

The generic command cards shouldn’t go unnoticed either. While Synchronized Offensive is…bad, Air Support is very good and Attack of the Clones is decent in a Clone list. Offering an early bombardment that could hit multiple units, and a way for multiple units to generate surge tokens, exactly what the faction wanted.

May 2021 – LAAT/le Patrol Transport Unit Expansion

The LAAT didn’t really work out for Republic. While it saw some niche play in Imperials with Operative Vader, it just doesn’t jive well with Republic’s playstyle. They want to remain in their castle and generate tokens, to support their allies. Sending a unit in separately just isn’t the goal. Even if you want to, ARC Troopers can get Jetpacks for far cheaper. Finally, it’s a lot of points to spend in an army often fighting for the last few upgrades to fit into their list.

November 2021 – Raddaugh Gnasp Fluttercraft Unit Expansion and Rules Reference Update

Don’t tell Evan I said this, but the Fluttercraft is a meme. I know it, you know it. It’s just really bad all around, far too big of a profile for a unit that can be shot down easily, and competing in the very tight Support slot for Republic makes this thing just non viable all around. It is fun as hell in casual though.

The bad news doesn’t stop though, this month also introduced the cap on Token Sharing. Going forward, clones could only share one token, not an unlimited amount. Before this change, clone lists were still performing well above the curve with charged up multi-aim Z-6 shots. This made Padme/Anakin lists essential with their dual Exemplar becoming even more important as it allowed clones to access tokens beyond the clone trooper cap. Additionally, this is largely seen as when Rex met his end. Take That, Clankers! was nerfed to require an aim action, making it essentially a stand and shoot card to extend range. A decent effect, but nothing like how it used to be used for massive long range alpha strikes.

Clones also got a massive round of points increases in this balance update, with ARCs (both versions), Rex, the Clone Commander, Phase IIs, and Fives all going up in cost.

To do a bit of editorializing, they probably leaned a bit too hard on the nerf scale in the 2021 update. The changes were all good and reasonable in isolation, but in aggregate they brought clone lists a bit too far back in the opposite direction. GAR would get a subsequent round of points decreases in the December 2022 update.

Galactic Republic Retrospective 3

January 2022 – Grand Master Yoda and Wookie Warriors

After months of seemingly nothing but bad news, Yoda was a bright spot for Republic. Yoda was extremely expensive, but probably the most powerful force user in the game. He was deceptively fast between Burst of Speed (which was released with Yoda) and his command card cycling, and delicate if focused on, but he could support the army heavily with his strong command cards. If he did get close, he could tear up units in combat and be a terror on objectives. Generally speaking he did it all and you got what you paid for. Republic lists are now mostly split between Anakin/Padme lists and Yoda lists.

He also came with a new card to use Chewbacca in Republic. Though Republic Chewie was fairly niche outside of Yoda lists, he really shined when paired with Yoda and his Size Matters Sometimes command card that let Chewie cart Yoda around the battlefield (usually to pitch him into enemy lines).

Republic also got a newer version of Wookiee Warriors that were an interesting experiment for Legion, trying to make a more melee centric list viable. Republic didn’t take to them quite as much as Rebels did, a problem many units like this have is that they don’t get to participate in token sharing. This wasn’t as big of a loss with that mechanic being nerfed, so with the new Chieftain it did see some fun niche play. The new carbines and shield were welcome variety as well, though most still liked to stick to the Vibroblades. The biggest change in this release was giving Wookiees Scale and Duelist, which made them far more mobile and deadly.

Otherwise…that’s it. Over a year ago and this was the last new release for Republic. Sad, huh?

Looking Ahead

2022 was a bit of a down year for Republic, with no new releases after Yoda and the Wookiees and a fairly mixed tournament record. However, Republic dodge spam saw a bit of a comeback in the middle of the year with the arrival of Pykes, which gave Republic an easy way to access an affordable Courage 2 unit that also benefitted hugely from dodge sharing. GAR benefitted in early 2023 with the arrival of the CRB, which favored defensive trooper lists by virtue of essentially giving everyone cover. Republic also has the most Courage 3+ commanders and has the easiest time hedging against the Panic changes. 501st was a bit of a dud on release, with some obvious nonbos in its command cards (not to mention typos and likely mistakes, I’m looking at you Lead from the Front with your “within Range 1”) but the cover changes increased the value of Sharpshooter even more, and 501st can access that in spades. Clone units also got almost the entire universe of points decreases in the December 2022 balance update, though they were hit indirectly by some of the neutral upgrade increases (particularly Vigilance) and the Pyke increases. Exemplar also got hit with a nerf, removing standby sharing from the game for good. Overall, however, Republic looks to be in a better spot than it was for most of 2022, being able to bring durable dodge spam trooper lists (with Anakin) or effective objective focused ones (with Yoda). Clone centric lists are still in a bit of an awkward spot and look forward to the release of Commander Cody sometime in 2023.

6 thoughts on “Galactic Republic Retrospective

  1. Max says:

    Great article Alice, however it seems like you forgot the releases of the AT-RT and the ISP for the Republic (granted, those are not the most formidable assets of the clone army ;-)).

  2. john says:

    “While Synchronized Offensive is…bad”

    is it?

    If I understand the rules correctly if you take 2 vehicles in your list and give one of them HQ uplink, you can activate the uplink on the same turn you use the order to activate a total of 4 units off a 1 pip card.

    I think you can go even crazier with say 3 naked barks with 2 having hq uplink to activate 3 barks and 3 clone troopers off a 1 pip for a massive blitz while probably going before your opponent.

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