Operative Luke Unit Guide

Operative Luke Unit Guide 1

Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight.

That has a sexy ring to it, doesn’t it?  I mean, just look at those baby blues.  He’s pretty sexy on the table too.

This guide will build upon the previously released Luke Skywalker commander article, looking at Luke’s new command cards and how Luke Skywalker: Jedi Knight (Operative) is different from Luke Skywalker: Whiny Farmboy (Commander).  Most of the same principles apply to running both versions of Luke, so if you are looking for general Luke tactics, check out the previous article at the link above.

As usual, we’ll start with some strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths

  • Mobile
  • Flexible
  • Hard hitting
  • Toolsy (if that’s not a word, it should be)

Weaknesses

  • Expensive… very expensive
  • Not a commander
  • Vulnerable to bad luck on defense
  • Can’t do everything by himself*

*actually…. sometimes, it sure feels like he can

Jedi Luke

Operative Luke Unit Guide 2

200 Points: Woof, that’s quite a price tag, second only to Palpatine; and Palpatine is a commander.  He just might be worth it, though.

7 health, red defense dice. Slightly tougher than Commander Luke, 7 health is respectable and tough, but hardly invincible.  He still dies when you shoot him.  Those blanks are real painful on red dice.  Try not to roll any and you’ll feel better.

4 Courage. Good luck panicking or even suppressing Luke.  You might be able to manage the latter with a Krennic/Bossk suppressive list.

Speed 2.  What?? No speed 3?  He’s good at everything else!  Look, we can’t all be tauntauns.

Jump 1.  Same as farmboy Luke.  Jump is real good.  Make sure you know which terrain pieces are height 1 or lower before the game starts.

Charge.  Free melee attack after move.  It would be pretty embarrassing if he didn’t have this.

Deflect.  Standard Jedi fare.  Zap back at those who dare try and shoot you.  This combos nicely with Full of Surprises.

Disengage.  Well that’s new.  If he is in combat with 1 unit he can just move as he pleases.  Yeah, you can still swamp him with two units.  What did I say earlier?  We can’t all be tauntauns.

Immune: Pierce.  More standard Jedi fare.

Master of the Force 1.  Refreshing force powers on Luke!  Yes please.

7 Black dice, Pierce 2, Impact 2, Surge to critical.  Hot damn, now that’s an attack pool.  This is the strongest single attack in the game after you account for Pierce.

Operative Luke vs. Commander Luke

First lets just look at the primary differences between Jedi Luke and Farmboy Luke.  We’ll break these down below.

Advantages

More health

One health doesn’t feel like a lot, but it actually kind of is, especially now that Emergency Stims is more expensive on Farmboy Luke.

Master of the Force (MOTF), three force slots

This is huge.  Force slots are arguably the most powerful ones in the game, and Master of the Force allows you to recover one for free every turn.  I find this is usually Jedi Mind Trick, but Force Push and Force Reflexes are both excellent on Luke and are solid recover targets.

Higher Courage

In a world of more suppressive weapons and mechanics, Courage 4 is kind of a bid deal, especially on a model that is the most important piece in your list and you want to guarantee two actions on every turn.  Arguably this is better than Vader’s Courage (-), because 4 suppression (after Rally step) is pretty difficult to achieve and Luke still gets the cover benefit of suppression.  I’ve found Commander Luke gets suppressed more than I would like even at Courage 3.

More Attack dice

It’s not like Commander Luke’s attack pool is bad.  One extra dice doesn’t seem like it should make that much of a difference, but it does.  I often get anxiety when I roll Commander Luke’s attack pool; you need that pool to connect, and sometimes it lets you down.  Jedi Luke’s saber has never let me down.  More on the stat differences later.

You can also supplement this with tenacity, if you want to get crazy.

Training slot

Speaking of tenacity, Luke can take it.  An extra red dice in melee for this melee monster is nothing to shake a stick at.  There are some other training upgrades you could make the case for as well.  A training slot is quite a bit better than a gear slot, especially with the stims price hike.

Disengage

I’ve found this to be huge.  You could argue it isn’t that big of a deal, as Commander Luke can use Force Push to do the same thing; but disengage doesn’t exhaust, can be used more than once per turn, and allows you to use Force Push to do something else at the same time.

Disadvantages

Much more expensive

All those perks have to come with a cost, right?

That cost is twofold.  40 actual points, for starters.  40 points is a lot; that is an extra activation, usually, or a couple of nice heavy weapon upgrades, or the difference between Leia and the generic officer.

Speaking of…

Not a commander

Luke is the most expensive operative in the game, by a lot; the next closest is Boba Fett at 140, for 60 points less.  Being an operative is a straight disadvantage relative to being a commander.  You have to buy a commander, for starters, and your 200+ point Jedi investment doesn’t fulfill that requirement.  Operatives don’t have courage bubbles, and they can’t issue orders with generic command cards.  Importantly, that includes the standard suite of Ambush, Push, Assault, and Standing Orders.

This means a lot of things in practice with respect to list building; you almost certainly are pairing Jedi Luke with the unremarkable generic officer.  Even Leia feels almost too expensive at 90, if you want to flesh out the rest of your list with enough meat to support your expensive Jedi.  Han and Jyn are almost certainly out of the question (besides being bad fits for the current meta).  It’s also unlikely you will be able to fit Jedi Luke alongside another operative (except R2), since after that you still have to take a commander.  If you want to run Jedi Luke and Sabine, for example, that is going to cost you 375 points, before upgrades (if you take the generic).  Not much room left for the rest of your army after that.

Taking a generic isn’t as terrible as it could be though, because you now get six excellent command cards when you take Luke, so the “opportunity cost” of not running Luke alongside another character like Leia with their own good command cards is a little lower.

No ranged attack

Jedi Luke doesn’t bother with pistols.  Such uncivilized weapons have no place in the hands of a Jedi Knight.  Don’t get me wrong, though; you’ll miss the pistol.  It’s not great, but it’s something, and something is frequently better than nothing.  You can take Saber Throw, of course, but that costs more points and takes up a valuable force slot.  It also probably doesn’t work with Son of Skywalker like you think it does (more on that later).

Conclusion

So… Jedi Luke or Commander Luke?  I lean the former, because I’m addicted to all those perks, especially Disengage and Master of the Force.  It really depends on your playstyle and your build, though.  Commander Luke is much better for Luke/Sabine builds, and there are some really tantalizing solo Commander Luke builds now that he gets six command cards; particularly Luke/triple tauntauns.

Command Cards

Speaking of command cards, the Jedi Luke pack comes with three of them; and either version of Luke can use them.  This also means that Jedi Luke can use the original Luke command cards as well, of course.

If you want to see the breakdown of Luke’s original three cards, see the Commander Luke article linked at the top of this one.  They work basically the same on Jedi Luke as they do on Commander Luke, except Son of Skywalker which is both more devastating and less flexible, depending on how you look at it (see Saber Throw, below).

Let’s look at the spicy new cards.  Each of these only gives an order to Luke.

Serve Your Master Well

Operative Luke Unit Guide 3

As a free action, perform an attack or move action with one of your units or one of your opponent’s suppressed units.  This is basically a one use Pull the Strings, except it doesn’t work on characters (that would be kind of silly), it’s a free action, and you can use it on enemy units.  This might be the single most flexible one pip command card in the game.  I’m going to list all the things I’ve used this for, and there are probably a million other things you could do with it.

This combos well with Jedi Mind Trick, which provides enough suppression to fulfill the requirement on any legal target (there aren’t any courage 3+ units that aren’t characters).  Don’t forget that Jedi Mind Trick is range 1-2, but this ability is range 1.  On at least one occasion I’ve made the hasty mental error of assuming because I can Mind Trick something, I can Serve it.**

I would strongly advise reading the rules forum FAQ entry on this card, because it is not remotely clear how it works when used on enemy units.  The TLDR***: The unit targeted counts as friendly to Luke and enemy to your opponent for the duration of the ability.

Some uses of Serve:

  • Use an enemy unit to attack another enemy unit
  • Use an enemy unit with steady, relentless, or charge to move and then attack another enemy unit
  • Move an enemy unit out of position or off an objective
  • Move an enemy unit out of position or off an objective, and then move it again with Force Push (this results in the enemy unit leader being about 10″ from their previous position)
  • Move an enemy unit out of melee with you (since it is friendly to Luke for the duration of this ability, it doesn’t have to disengage or be force pushed).  This particular use is obviously better on Commander Luke since Jedi Luke has disengage.
  • Move your own unit; to save an exposed unit, get an extra unit a move with a box, or just move them into a better/more useful position
  • Attack with one of your own units
  • Move and then attack with one of your units that has steady, relentless, or charge (looking at you, tauntauns).  Tauntauns also get another Agile proc out of it (beware, so do opposing tauntauns, unless you reverse them).

The sexiest use of this card is almost certainly to ice one of your opponent’s units with one of their own strong units, like Shoretroopers, Deathtroopers, or Tauntauns.  You can also spend any tokens on the targeted unit during the attack.  It is really satisfying to spend a surge and an aim token on some Shoretroopers and have them shoot their own dudes.  Don’t forget that Critical 1 on the T-21b is optional, so if you only roll one surge you can spend the surge token instead of converting the critical.

The one downside of this card is it telegraphs itself pretty strongly, since it is only range 1, and range 1 is pretty darn short.

Well that was a long entry for that.

Full of Surprises

Operative Luke Unit Guide 4

Serve gets all the press, but I think this is my favorite card from the Jedi Luke pack.  Any command card that gives Luke a free dodge is a good command card; on top of that, Surprises supercharges Luke’s defense, especially when he has a dodge.  If Luke doesn’t have any suppression tokens, you are rolling 4 extra white dice on defense, or three with Commander Luke.  Combined with deflect, this makes it an extremely risky proposition to shoot Luke while he has a dodge token.  I’ve had Luke completely shrug off 6-7 hits and cause a few wounds via Deflect with defense rolls from Surprises.

This is my favorite “approach” card with Luke; where Luke is in a vulnerable position or about to be, it lets you create a significant deterrent and eat a single ranged attack with lower risk, which is often all you need.  Force Reflexes gives you some extra mileage with Surprises and is a great fit for Jedi Luke generally.

I’ve also found to be a nice soft counter to Deploy the Garrison, to eat one of the standbys on the way in.  You really want to shoot a dodged up Luke, rolling four extra dice with deflect, with your Deathtroopers?  Sure… go ahead, see how many you have left afterwards.

It’s worth noting that this card hardly makes Luke invincible.  It is a lot worse without a dodge (for the second and subsequent shots) and you should still avoid getting Luke shot in general, because blanks happen.

I Am a Jedi

Operative Luke Unit Guide 5

This card does two separate, but extremely useful things, with a cost.  You can prevent up to two enemy trooper units from attacking, which is potentially very amazing.  Luke can’t attack though, which is a very steep cost.  If you flub this and play it at the wrong time, you’ve just taken your most powerful attack off the table for a turn.

This card is great for a “stall” turn, where you want to keep things around Luke exactly as they are for another turn.  You can use it to shut down some powerful pieces like tauntauns or Shoretroopers, or to just generally keep Luke safe for a turn.  You can also completely dumpster some really powerful command cards with this, such as And Now You Will Die and Son of Skywalker.  If you can time those counterplays you will feel like a boss; but if your opponent calls your play and does something else instead, you will be very sad.  Give In To Your Anger is both a natural mirror of this card and a strong counter to it if they are played at the same time.

In addition to the primary attack restricting effect, I Am A Jedi also gives Luke surge/block for the entire turn, which is pretty darn amazing.  I’ve used this card on turns where I don’t even have any eligible enemy targets, just for the defensive benefit, particularly if I know Luke won’t be attacking anything this turn anyway.

Upgrades

Luke only has two upgrade slots, Force and Training.  Those might be the best ones in the game for a trooper unit, though (besides heavy weapon slots).

Force Upgrades

Force Push

Operative Luke Unit Guide 6

Staple this card to Jedi Luke, just like you do with Commander Luke.  Master of the Force significantly increases how often you can use it, and Disengage doesn’t diminish its necessity or usefulness at all.

For the myriad uses of Force Push, see the original Commander Luke article linked at the top of this page.

Jedi Mind Trick

Operative Luke Unit Guide 7

Jedi Mind Trick is already a good card, and it combos nicely with Serve Your Master well as mentioned above.  It also gets a lot better with Master of the Force.  You can really stack suppression over the course of multiple turns.  Usually once I have Luke stuck in, I am refreshing this instead of push and disabling/suppressing one unit while running around dicing up others.

I like this in combination with Saber Throw (or Luke’s pistol) because you can throw down 3 suppression at once between Mind Trick and a ranged attack.

This along with Force Push should be stapled to both versions of Luke.

What to do with that third slot, then?

Force Reflexes

Operative Luke Unit Guide 8

Now just ten points, Reflexes is the leading candidate for that third slot, if you can spare the points.  I actually think it is perfectly fine to run Jedi Luke with just Force Push and Jedi Mind Trick, leaving the training slot and the third force slot empty, but this is a great addition if you have some points flex.  Reflexes really supercharges Full of Surprises, in particular, and it combos nicely with Master of the Force.

Hope

Operative Luke Unit Guide 9

Inspire 1 for just three points is excellent value.  However, it is a force slot, and you have to really be thinking about what to put in your force slots.

The problem with this card is Luke usually has to go earlier in the turn for it to be useful, and when Luke is near your dudes you generally aren’t wanting to do that.

Personally, if I have three points to spend on that last force slot, I probably have five points, and then I would just rather have…

Saber Throw

Operative Luke Unit Guide 10

On Jedi Luke, this is four black dice with Pierce 2, which is quite a strong attack.  It doesn’t ignore cover, obviously, so you still want to be using this on targets in the open if you can manage it.  It is great on red save units and vehicles, and it gives Luke something to do on turns where either you don’t want to get all the way to melee or you can’t.  Sometimes Luke is in a safe spot and you want to keep him there, but still attack something.  It also throws down a suppression, which combined with Jedi Mind Trick (which you should also have) is three suppression in one turn.

There are some important limitations to Saber Throw, however, specifically relative to Son of Skywalker.

  1. You cannot Saber Throw twice with Son of Skywalker.  Saber Throw is a card action, and although Son of Skywalker allows you to perform two attacks, it doesn’t allow you to ignore the card action restriction, so you can only do this once per turn.
  2. Arguably, you also cannot Saber Throw as your second attack on Son of Skywalker, even if your first attack is a melee attack.  Son of Skywalker allows you to perform a free attack after you perform an attack action; and Saber Throw is an attack action, not an attack, in the same way that No Time for Sorrows is a move, not a move action.  I think this one is somewhat open to interpretation, and will probably need some kind of FAQ at some point.

Basically, the TLDR is there is no way for Jedi Luke to perform two attacks with Son of Skywalker unless both attacks are melee attacks, even if he has Saber Throw.  It is hard to know if this is intended or not, but it is an important limitation of the card, particularly as Jedi Luke often wipes his melee target in one shot with his silly melee attack and is left standing there with a second attack action on the table that he can’t use.

Guidance

Operative Luke Unit Guide 11

Guidance is pretty useful text, but it has the same limitation as Hope; it is best used early, when you generally don’t want Luke to be going.  Rebels also have very few good targets for this, possessing no units that benefit from surge tokens in both directions (offense and defense) and only a few that don’t surge to attack (Rebel Troopers, notably).  Luke is also often not near your main force for more than the first few turns.  I could see potentially taking this to dial up some Z-6s, but not for ten points.

Training

Tenacity

Operative Luke Unit Guide 12

An extra red dice on top of seven black with Pierce 2 and surge crit.  Ouch.

This is probably my favorite training upgrade if you have the points for it.  It’s kind of overkill most of the time, but it’s still useful to have your outcomes go from probably wiping something to definitely wiping something.

I’ve found tenacity most helpful against pierce immune targets or those like tauntauns with a lot of raw wounds, where your Pierce 2 doesn’t count for as much and you just need more dice.  Even with Tenacity you aren’t likely to do more than kill one tauntaun model unless they are already fairly wounded, but it helps, especially if they have dodges you also need to plow through.

See below for lightsaber stats with and without tenacity.

Offensive Push

Operative Luke Unit Guide 13

Offensive Push comes in the various trooper upgrade packs that are supposed to release alongside Jedi Luke this month, and it is another solid choice for Luke’s training slot.  Tenacity only works if you are wounded, which you (hopefully) aren’t for the first half of the game.  Offensive push requires you to recover if you want to use it more than once and doesn’t count twice with Son of Skywalker like tenacity can.  I probably prefer Tenacity for those reasons, but I could definitely see the argument for it.

There are a lot of other training upgrades out there, but I think those two are the ones you are considering for Luke.  I could see the argument for Hunter if you intend on using Luke primarily as a tauntaun and character counter, but I probably still prefer tenacity there for the versatility.

List Ideas

There are basically two ways to run Jedi Luke; as part of a traditional Rebel corps-based build, or in an all-in aggro build alongside tauntauns.

Traditional

This is a newer riff on my Invader League list, which was good enough for 3rd.  It incorporates upgrades and units from releases that should come out at the same time as Luke (the upgrade packs and R2, specifically).

Operative Luke Unit Guide 14

Basically you use Luke as a linebacker and flex piece, poking with your snipers and DLTs until you can get Luke into a position to pick up the game and put it on his back, which he is more than capable of.  My colleagues jokingly call this list “800 points of Luke” which is kind of hard to argue with.

You can swap up one of the Rebel Trooper units for an FD Cannon (which is what I did for Invader), giving you four range 5 units.  I’ve found the new FD to be very solid, if somewhat terrain dependent.  I don’t think you can go wrong either way.

The Luke upgrades are pretty flexible as well.  You can cut Reflexes down to Saber Throw or Hope to fit in a bid, a training upgrade, or another DLT (instead of a Z-6).

I usually run all six of Luke’s command cards, generally playing Standing Orders on round one and flexing from there.

Luke Taun Aggro

Operative Luke Unit Guide 15

This is super lean and is missing some important upgrades, particularly uplink on the Tauntauns, but man… dealing with three tauntauns and Jedi Luke all at once is no easy task.  It is even 11 activations (somehow).  This list type probably just works better with commander Luke so you can fit the uplinks.

Eric Riha pioneered this archetype with his Warfaire Weekend winning list, and it only gets better when Luke can take six command cards, although you probably want assault instead of I Am a Jedi.

Appendix: Saber Stats

Below is a comparison of the melee attack on both versions of Luke vs. red defense dice, as well as Jedi Luke with tenacity.  The percentages are cumulative; for example, Jedi Luke has a 60% chance to do at least four wounds to a red save unit.

Operative Luke Unit Guide 16

That extra black dice isn’t nothing; it brings up the floor quite a bit.  You are going to be doing 4 wounds fairly reliably, or 4-5 with tenacity.

 

 

 

 

**to “Serve” something is, of course, to use Serve Your Master Well on it.  Try to resist the urge to tell your opponent “You just got served!” after a solid use of this card.  Or don’t.

***Yeah, I’m hip now.

 

 

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