This article will be a guide to getting started with the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in Star Wars: Legion.
This Article was written in September of 2022, if you read it significantly after that date the information may be out of date.
Continuing my run of Getting Started guides, we’re finally hitting the second wave of factions – The Clone Wars with the Clone Troopers of the Republic. If you’ve settled on a faction or even if you are still looking for which one is for “you,” then read on.
Learning Difficulty: Hard
The Republic may be the hardest army to learn right now. Both Clone Wars factions have a “core mechanic” that is inherit to that faction and requires you be much more cognizant of how you move your army as a whole, as it is proximity based.
They’ve been hit with a double whammy of having this mechanic nerfed, and everything still has not been re-priced accordingly. This means you tend to have expensive units that don’t operate as efficiently as comparative units in other factions and every loss you suffer is only going to spiral the problem even further.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Clone Wars factions are no longer new, but they still came quite some time after the core armies. They’ve had a pretty healthy release schedule to make up for lost time, but Republic struggles to be as adaptable as other factions. Generally you’ll be playing some similar looking lists, which makes their core strengths and weaknesses much more apparent than in the last 2 factions we covered.
- Excellent Synergy – Your army is quite literally manufactured to work as a team. Once you get a feel for how the mechanics play out, a well placed Republic force is very difficult to crack.
- Powerful Gunline – If things work out, Republic has one of the better gunlines in the game. They can throw fistfuls of red and black dice and use surge tokens to make sure they hit, crushing an unprepared opponent. They can also combine pools with Fire Support for some really devastating combos.
- Decently Tanky – Arguably the toughest soldiers in the right circumstances. Most of your units get red dice like the Empire, but with the easier access to Surge tokens and dodge tokens, you can improve that bonus even further.
- Very Expensive Units – Your units are elite and expensive. Losses are going to hurt.
- Poor Unit Diversity – The number of units you can buy isn’t bad by any means but you’re still playing some catch up with Rebels and Empire. What makes this tough is many of the units aren’t all that great well others are very good, which pairs the pool down significantly.
- Challenging heroes – Your Commanders are all a bit…weird. They have a steep difficulty curve and while satisfying to master, can be a brutal uphill battle to learn them.
- Vulnerable to hard counters – Particularly Pierce and High Velocity, two things that people are bringing a lot of right now to try and counter Pykes.
Both Clone Wars armies have an overarching mechanic that touches most of the army, and requires you to learn to move them all together. In the Republic’s case, all Clone Trooper units have the ability to share green tokens when within range 1 of each other. This means aim, dodge, surge tokens can be taken from a nearby ally and used by them at the appropriate time. This used to be as many tokens as you wished but this was a touch too powerful, letting you create “battery” units that just handed out tokens freely, or passing around standbys so there was no safe place to end a move on the board.
Gradual erosion of this ability has left it less game breaking but still useful. You may now only borrow one token per attack or defense, and that’s it. Otherwise you’re counting on what’s on the unit itself. As many earlier units were designed around the idea of being able to use multiple tokens (Hi lack of surge to defend and attack) they simply don’t perform as well as they should. You still need to do it, unfortunately, so that means not letting your clones get too far from each other, lest they be caught without fire support. You can somewhat mitigate this by using units with Exemplar, whose tokens can still be shared without a cap.
Speaking of Fire Support, this is one of the keywords you will rely on frequently in the faction. Both basic corps troops have it so since the army tends to stick together anyway, it is easy to have them offer backup by increasing the dice pool to take down a particularly tenacious unit.
Another important mechanic you will need to master is Surge tokens. Introduced alongside the Clone Wars factions, Surge tokens allow you to exchange surges on dice for hits or saves (as appropriate). Although anyone can use them, this mechanic was largely intended for Republic, as they often lack both surge to hit and to save, and use these tokens to make up for that. While there is an advantage in that you can make your units both stronger at offense or defense as necessary, it also means you’re banking on limited currency to make that happen. Naturally you have more ways to hand them out, whether it’s Reliable to gain them for free each turn or Bolster to hand them as an action. Then you can use Exemplar or the aforementioned Clone Trooper keyword to hand them out to the unit who needs them in the moment.
What should I grab?
I’m going to eschew the spiel about buying the Starter Set as I said in previous articles. Same rules apply, if you can grab it, it’s a good deal. Grab 2 and split the forces with a friend, or if you want to keep the droids, it’s a solid start for 2 armies. In addition to the plastic bits and cards, it’ll give you all the starting Phase 1 Clone Troopers you will need. Kenobi is very…OK but a perfect learning hero as he is much more straight forward than the other heroes in the faction. Finally, the BARCs are excellent, especially for starting off. We’ll talk about them below.
Republic Specialist Personnel – As much of your units are very expensive, it pays to have a cheap Republic Captain to make up for it. Since the nerf to his command cards, the dreaded Rex Star hasn’t been doing so hot so his understudy looks a lot more palatable. Direct is essentially a free command token while Bolster hands out those desperately needed surge tokens. Put him in the middle of your Clone castle and support his men on the field.
Anakin Skywalker – Anakin is not easy to learn, he has a very steep learning curve as each of his command cards you use makes him stronger, it also makes him more prone to gaining suppression. If that wasn’t bad enough, his flaw card can be used by your opponent if he has even a single suppression, making you unable to put a token on him.
So why take him? Simple: he’s amazingly powerful and possibly the best Jedi in the game once you get a knack for his weird quirks. He is very undercosted, since his starting abilities are fine but not stellar and he has to build up to his final form by using his command cards. His 3 pip notably gives him Exemplar and Reliable 2 which allows him to just plain play well your heavily synergy based force.
Padme Amidala – Padme can be used in two ways. Either divulging her 3 pip for Secret Mission to hopefully score a bonus point, or to take advantage of her Exemplar keyword to function as a battery for your clones. Alongside Anakin with his 3 pip, they can sort of get around the challenges of your nerfed token sharing. Luckily you don’t have to make this decision until the start of the game, and pick whichever strategy is best for you in the moment.
ARC Troopers – But not for the reason you’d think. In Republic and Empire, you bought them for cheap filler to give yourself more activations. Not so true anymore, as the sniper rifle got nerfed pretty badly. Fives and Echo are still excellent characters and much like Gideon and Del Meeko from Empire, they can be put into basic corps units, and they are quite useful. Echo is particularly good in a strike team.
BARCs – You get one of these in the Starter Set so you’re already on your way. It’s very popular to run triple BARCs in lists. They functionally are like the Commando squads in Rebels and Imperials – Cheap bonus activations at only 55 points a piece when run naked. They can’t snipe out targets with pierce like those do, but they can move incredibly fast to grab objectives that are left unattended or get close enough to sniper units in order to clear them out.
Yoda – Yoda is good, but he’s also tough to use, but in a different way than Anakin. He’s a quarter of your list, and that’s before Force upgrades (which you will use, of course). So he really needs to make his points back to justify that. He can be a bit wonky, as he’s slow without some help, and most of his power comes from making the rest of his team better. He has an ability to delegate a (non attack) action to another trooper nearby, allowing you do fun things like give an extra aim, dodge or a standby (it’s not actually an attack action after all). He’s quite a monster himself if you can get him stuck in. Yoda has the potential to put the game on his back, but you usually need him to at his price point.
Chewbacca – Pairs best with Yoda. They have an excellent command card when paired together. Chewie serves as an excellent bodyguard for Yoda. If your opponent wants to cut down your very important heroes, they have to go through him first and he has a lot of wounds. He’s also a bit tougher than he is in Rebels, since he gets the Reliable keyword to give him some surges to defense, something Rebel Chewie does not get.
Wookiees – If you get sick of gunlines, these guys are an extremely solid melee option. The reason I put these as second priority is its really one of those “Have to lean into them” things that you may not want to get into when learning the faction. You’re going to want to run 3 squads who are decently kitted out and since they’re not Clones they don’t get to participate in token sharing, which is going to shrink the number of available green tokens to pass around. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s a strategy you’re going to need to commit to.
Saber Class Tank – Not as popular as it was, but still very solid. Plays well with Yoda, with Luminous Beings Are We letting him hand out tokens (including standbys!) to it. Like many heavies it’s very expensive and you’re committing a lot of resources to it, so if your opponent brings a counter they will remove a large chunk of your list very easily.
Pyke Syndicate Foot Soldiers – Yeah, I’m adding a mercenary unit to this list. Pykes are one of only two mercenary units currently available to Republic (the other being the unfortunately-not-BARCs Swoop Riders). Unlike Swoops, Pykes slot perfectly into what Republic is trying to do, particularly if you are running Anakin or Padme, since Exemplar isn’t specific to Clones. Pykes love their free dodges, they give you a potential cheap Courage 2 corps unit (the Disruptor and the Capo brings it to 80 points, a good 9 points cheaper than a Phase II with a Z-6), and you can also take the Capo Commander to bring Ploy, which perfectly counters Anakins flaw.
I won’t mince words, if you pick up this army you are getting into the most difficult faction to learn to play. That said, there’s a lot of affection for the faction as a whole. Whether you like access to some of the best Jedi in the game, clone troopers, or throwing endless wookiees at an opponent there is something here and they’re due for an adjustment in due time. If you decide to start with Republic, just keep your chin up and keep up the fight!
Next month we’ll wrap up this series with the Separatists and their droid army.
One thought on “Getting Started with the Grand Army of the Republic”
Great article, thanks Alice.
As a very new Legion player I have to say I wish I had read an article like this prior to investing. I’m not sure I would’ve gone with GAR had I known how steep the learning curve/skill cap was going to be. Certainly not what you’d call a beginner’s faction. As you say though, just gotta keep up the fight!
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