Greetings! The upcoming release, and recent spoiling, of Operative Luke Skywalker has cast quite a decision upon the community: do you continue to use Commander Luke with some new command cards, or do you pay the extra points to get an even beefier version? Today, I’d like to touch on some comparisons and command card scenarios for each unit, and attempt to lay a case comparing the two. In terms of raw stats and general command card usage, Op Luke seems to be slightly advantaged, but time will tell if the extra 40 point cost (plus an upgrade or two) is a fair price for some new abilities and a better lightsaber. First, let’s briefly cover the new command cards coming within the Operative Luke expansion.
New Command Cards
You Serve Your Master Well (YSYMW) is one of the most interesting, potentially powerful cards the rebels have access to. It functions in the same manner as the Emperor’s Pulling the Strings ability, but adds the caveat of a non-commander or non-operative, as well as the ability to use it on a suppressed enemy unit. Why is this so good? Well, using Jedi Mind Trick with Luke will suppress any valid target for this card, allowing you to use an enemy unit to attack another enemy unit (those Deathtroopers never cared for Krennic anyway), or have one of your powerful friendly units (tauntauns perhaps?) attack twice in a turn. Yes, this move triggers relentless. This action is a free action, and allows Luke to retain both of his own two actions, leaving him free to attack or pull some force push shenanigans of his own as well.
Full of Surprises helps to boost Luke’s survivability. He gains a dodge and the ability to roll extra white defense dice for the difference between his courage and number of suppression. The short version of this is that the “earlier” Luke gets shot at, the better his defensive rolls will be. Seeing as Luke is usually a prime target for the enemy to focus down, he will generally have a few suppression, meaning that the primary ability of this card is giving Luke access to a “better deflect” for the first volley fired his way. Full of Surprises is potentially a strong turn 2 or 3 card, where you have to expose Luke to a dicey position and want to boost his defense in preparation for a 1-pip assault the next turn.
Have you every thought, “I wish Luke had a change of plans card like Han does?”. Well, he has a version now. I am a Jedi removes Luke’s ability to attack for a turn, and in return gives him Surge to Block and allows you to choose two enemy troopers at range 1, and deny them the ability to attack this turn as well. This card is extremely powerful, but comes with a large opportunity cost, as you are giving up 200+ points of offense for an entire turn. Just like change of plans, this card is extremely timing dependent, and some of the best cards to counter with this card include Son of Skywalker, Implacable, Trained in Your Arts, and And Now You Will Die.
Attack: 6 Black with Pierce/Impact 2 (Melee) and 2 Red with Pierce (Range 1-2)
Keywords: Charge, Deflect, Immune: Pierce, Jump 1
Upgrade Slots: Force, Force, Gear
Right off the bat, Op Luke is 40 points more expensive. What do those 40 points get you? An extra health, courage, force upgrade slot, and attack die, a training slot, Disengage, and Master of the Force 1. These are all substantial upgrades, but you also lose the commander courage bubble, stims slot (gear slot), and the built in ranged attack. Having an extra force slot can only be seen as a net upgrade, but the training vs. gear slot can definitely be debated. Having a gear slot grants Commander Luke access to emergency stims or recon intel, thereby staying alive for an extra round or getting into the action quicker with a free speed 1 scout move at the start of deployment. However, the training slot gives access to tenacity (an extra red for a crazy 8 die pool), endurance (shedding an extra suppression to keep Luke moving), and offensive push (gaining an aim token after a standard move when you need to double move and kill something). The importance of Disengage cannot be overstated as well. Having the ability to move out of a single melee combat at will not only saves force push for protection purposes later on, but also ensures the enemy can almost never tarpit Luke or slow him down to keep him away from his terrified target.
Considering all testing with Op Luke so far has been through proxying or TableTop Simulator, much more data is needed to make a definitive answer to which is better point for point. I believe this will come down to play style, as Commander Luke functions better as a linebacker unit that holds down the troops while waiting until the late game to pounce; due to his courage bubble and one less health and courage. Meanwhile, Op Luke functions as the ultimate melee alpha strike, as his higher courage value and greater health and damage output mean he can get into the enemy lines before they can stop him. (Picture that with triple tauntauns or even wookies) Once he gets there, he can also hop from engagement to engagement through his use of force push and disengage.
Both Luke models have the ability to use either’s set of command cards, so with six options per mini I think its worth quickly going through the cards and noting some stylistic differences between commander and operative. Spoiler alert: there aren’t too many, but Op Luke appears to have a slight edge here.
One Pips: Son of Skywalker & You Serve Your Master Well
Honestly, there’s not a whole lot of difference here. Son of Skywalker functions the same for either model, two giant melee attacks with pierce tend to kill their target. One caveat for Op Luke, you may want to invest in a 5 point Saber Throw, as a 4 black pierce 2 range attack is a fairly decent second strike if you kill your first target. Its also not terrible on its own. YSYMW edges slightly in favor of Op Luke here, as Jedi Mind Trick is capable of suppressing any enemy unit, and Master of the Force ensures that Op Luke has the option of having it every single turn, whereas a mistimed Jedi Mind Trick by Commander Luke can leave you high and dry.
Two Pips: My Ally is the Force & Full of Surprises
My Ally functions identically for both Luke’s, as both have deflect and the same raw defensive stats. Full of Surprises once again edges slightly towards Op Luke, as he has an extra courage value to boost those additional white dice. Pretty straightforward here.
Three Pips: Return of the Jedi & I am a Jedi
It seems like FFG might be telling us Luke is a Jedi, doesn’t it? Just like My Ally, Return of the Jedi functions the same for both versions, and arguably I am a Jedi does as well. However, you can make the argument once again that Op Luke has a slight advantage in his usage of I am a Jedi because of his extra point of health. This is a very edge case, but having an extra health can allow Luke to survive the current turn and make it to the command phase of the following turn to play the card before he dies. This same argument can also apply to Commander Luke with Stims, but considering Stims is an optional upgrade, I give the slight, slight, slight edge to Op Luke.
So, you’ve heard the cases, seen the evidence, and had some time to digest the information, which version of Luke is more worth your points? It’s still very hard to say, and I’ll offer a cop-out. If you already run Luke in a Wonder Twins-style list, I give the edge to Op Luke, as he hits harder, has better survivability, and slightly better action economy through his Master of the Force ability. Additionally, Op Luke comes with a “commander tax,” where you are forced to run a commander to accommodate the force organization chart, and having Leia as an integral part of your list removes that tax. In a Luke-Sabine style list that Zach and I are fond of, Commander Luke takes the day, as he presents a better courage bubble than the Generic Officer for Sabine and the troops, and costs 40 points less so you don’t have to skimp on any upgrades that are direly needed, such as Sabine’s Darksaber or squad officer upgrades. I’m personally interested in which version will better suit a tauntaun list, as fitting 2/3 tauntauns plus Leia and either version of Luke is a sizable investment. Personally? I’m taking Op Luke and a fleet of lizards into Invader League 4, so I’m betting Operative.
Next week, Zach will take a look at Operative and Commander Vader, so be sure to stick around for that, as the Dark Lord of the Sith is primed for a resurgence on the tables following his points drop and new command cards. As always, if you have any questions or comments be sure to fire away, and join in on the Facebook group and Legion Discord for some discussion on which Luke will be swinging his way into your upcoming lists.