The new kids on the block! The Geonosians have landed in Star Wars Legion and today we will look at their strengths, weakness, and the general wackiness they can bring to the table.
Let’s first look at the overall Strengths and Weaknesses.
- Incredibly mobile
- Potent offence
- Offence tough to execute
- Courage 1
45 points: At a base of only 45 points the Geonosian Warriors are very economical for what you get. this squad can easily be justified at base cost or have an upgrade or two added. For 45 points you get a unit that can be an incredibly mobile objective squad that also happens to throw eight attack dice with the possibility of no cover.
Defence: Sporting a white surging save with no other defensive tech the geonosians are very fragile and any actual offence thrown their way will surely see a squad evaporated. They must use their mobility to prevent them from getting shot.
Offence: The Geonosians have considerable offensive potential as they throw a lot of dice with an ability Death From Above that can allow them to ignore cover. Even naked geonosians need to be respected, once they’re upgraded with a heavy weapon and/or extra mini their potential goes up even more. This all does of course come with the major drawback that they need to be at range 2 or closer. This very fragile unit could easily be considered a glass cannon.
Mobility: The Geonosians come with amazing mobility. They first of all get Jump 3 which is basically ‘ignore terrain’ for a move per turn. However, this Jump is also a free action. This means that Geonosians get three moves per activation allowing them to cover vast distances as compared with regular troops. This mobility also allows them to pull off some tricksy plays. Move, shoot, move is an option for Geonosians, as well as move, move, shoot to allow them to close from much farther then you’d expect. Geonosians are also great for objective play. The drawback for objective play is that they can’t use Jump while carrying an objective token. This can be somewhat mitigated with clever use of Jump. Jump, claim, move is a valid turn sequence which allows them to dash to retrieve something while still getting back behind cover or further away from the enemy. Geonosians can also move onto and claim objective tokens outside of range 1 of your deployment zone first turn which is definitely an asset. Another thing to note is that they do have Scale as well, allowing them to climb height 2. This won’t come up tons, but combined with Death From Above could be crucial for a Jump, shoot, climb to get something out of cover.
Death From Above: Death From Above is the Geonosians’ signature keyword. This allows the Geonosians to ignore cover when shooting targets below them. This will pump up the Geonosians’ offence as ignoring cover (particularly in the new cover system) is really valuable.
Some notes about how Death From Above works. When considering how units are related in terms of height you use the height bracket of the piece of terrain you’re on. This is the definition of height we all know as ‘height 1’ or ‘height 2’ etc. This means that if an opponent is on top of a very small building the Geonosians would still need to be on top of a height 2 building to activated Death From Above. Importantly, it has been clarified in the forums that the playing surface basically counts as ‘height 0’ so any non-area terrain will do to get an out of cover shot on units on the play surface.
All of these upgrades definitely should be explored and have a place. What is the ‘ideal’ build will probably differ a lot based on the exact role you decide your geonosians should fit. Are you building an objective squad that can flex into offence, or a glass cannon unit that needs to do some damage?
For 11 points you get an extra warrior in your unit. This is of course a standard upgrade and usually one that has at least some use. In Geonosians it is a very cheap way to increase their offensive reliability. For only 56 points you get a squad that throws 10 dice at targets often with no cover, that’s nothing to sneeze at. This extra body is also useful to make Geonosians a bit harder to wipe off the board in one fell swoop. There is a big difference in likelihood for a five body squad to survive a single shot than a four body squad.
Sonic Cannon Warrior
The ‘ranged’ heavy weapon option adds a rainbow to the attack pool, as well as two keywords. These keywords are Impact 1, which is nice to have but hardly enough to carry against an armor skew, and Scatter which is very interesting. For those who haven’t used Scatter in awhile, Scatter is a keyword which allows the attacker to recohere the defending unit. This is a great way to pull enemy units out of cover, closer to your lines, or even recohere them outside of range of various abilities such as token sharing.
The biggest potential problem with this upgrade is that it is 25 points which is a hefty sum. This brings the entire unit to costing 70 points which is quite a lot for a unit that can easily get evaporated and has to get in close to do anything. If you’re not going to fully use Scatter, you should probably just spring for an extra body or force pike as you save 10 or 14 points which all you lose is an extra red attack dice.
That all being said, Scatter is very powerful. It might be very possible to make a close assault list in CIS that involves many Geonosians. Having a sonic cannon or two would make it much easier for the rest of your units to apply their offensive potential.
Force Pike Warrior
The most niche of the upgrades is the Force Pike Warrior. This upgrade is 4 more points then an extra body. for those points you get the potential for an Overrun Attack as well as slightly better melee profile. This upgrade definitely shows potential. The overrun attack is very situational, but it does have Suppressive meaning geonosians could put two suppression on a unit in a turn which is always a good ability to have.
If you want to go ‘oops all Geonosians’ then this could be a good place to start. This list wants to get close and pummel then enemy quickly, as well as grabbing any objectives right off the bat.
This list also utilizes the various command cards that Poggle and Sun Fac bring to get the most out of the various units.
Additionally we see the mix of Geonosians to include a couple Sonic Cannons to get the powerful Scatter ability but mostly use Force Pikes and extra bodies.
This list also could make interesting use of the command card ‘Let the Executions Begin’
This command card can potentially allow you to make two incredibly powerful attacks at the beginning of a turn. Mixing in a unit of Magnaguard both allow them to utilize this opportunity but also make it easier to execute as the Guardian provided by the Magnas make Poggle much harder to kill. An optimal use for this card would be to at the end of the turn move into position with Poggle. The following turn you would play this card, get to make your two Fire Supported attacks, and then Jump to safety with a free action. This combo could definitely shift the tide of a game.
Sun Fac is an interesting piece. 90 points is certainly a lot to pay for what he brings to the table. However with a fully Geonosian army it is probably justified to gain access to his Command Card ‘Brutal Enforcer’.
This command card allows your already mobile Geonosians to gain even more mobility. This could allow you to at the top of a turn, move a unit twice, grab an objective, and then move once more to safety. You will certainly catch opponents sleeping with this command card as Geonosians will be moving so much further then they expect. Brutal Enforcer allows a Geonosian unit to move four times in one round.
This next list is just to exemplify what Geonosians could do for you in a ‘standard’ droid list. Basically they are only there to act as a filler objective squad. This role could be filled with the 38 point B1 squad, but paying 7 points more for a squad that can move three times is probably worth it. Plus the Geonosians can help back up the MagnaGuards when it comes to the linebacking roll. If the enemy gets close Geonosians can still hit reasonably hard.
There has been mentioned many times throughout this article that Geonosians can hit reasonably hard, even when naked. How hard is this really?
Let’s start with the least ideal shot, naked squad into heavy cover. This averages 1.4 hits past cover which is better then the typical naked squad but not that good. Lets then look at if you can get no cover utilizing Death from Above. Taking out cover we now get to an average of 3 hits. This is akin to naked fleet troopers which are a similar cost. Still nothing amazing but definitely reliable backstopping damage.
Now let’s consider a unit that has paid for the Sonic Cannon Upgrade. This unit, (without cover) will force 4.5 saves. We’re now starting to get into some actual offensive potential. However you’re paying decent points for it now.
If we want to go more budget let’s look at the offensive pool offered by five bodies shooting which would happen with either the extra body upgrade or the Force Pike. Again without cover we are forcing 3.7 hits. This shows how a cheaper Geonosian squad just might be the best version.
The overrun attack offered by the Force Pike always puts down a suppression and on average forces one save. Definitely not the best but plinking isn’t the worst idea. Plus, the point of this overrun should be the suppression, not damage.
Lastly let’s look at the most expensive possible Geonosian squad possible, Sonic Cannon plus Extra Body. This build forces 5.3 hits without cover. This package costs 81 points which you’ll have to judge for yourself if that is worth it.
Some ways to up the offensive potential of the Geonosians is obviously to give them some tokens, namely aims and surges. Geonosians have a decent amount of orders floating around which may mean that Aggressive Tactics is a potential for them. With the amount of dice Geonosians are throwing you will consistently average getting an extra hit per attack roll if you have a surge available. This, especially right now, is an expensive way to get a slight increase in offence, maybe it will be more viable in the future. The other way is the old reliable, (not the keyword) Aim Tokens. These can come from a few different sources. You can take the aim action, which with Geonosians is easier to do as they can Jump, Aim, and Shoot all in the same turn. You could also use command cards such as We Serve the Queen which offers Geonosians an aim token. You could also of course use abilities like Spotter or Strategize. All of these options should probably be utilized on other units first, but if they’re available the Geonosians could also avail themselves of those services.
Geonosian Warriors will surely be hitting the tables soon. It will be very interesting to see in what ways they hit the table. Will they be a filler objective unit here or there? Or, will we see entire Geonosian lists in the future? Hopefully the latter is true as it will be amazing to see all the bugs on the table.