In this article, we’ll take a look at some potential sample lists using the new Mercenaries.
The most obvious place to begin our explorations are in the battleforce that is dedicated to mercenaries, Shadow Collective.
Maul and Bus
This list, or something very similar, has been bouncing around as a possibility since the rules of Shadow Collective started to come together.
The basic idea of this list is that we have a Force User plus gunline which is a tried and tested list archetype. This list is going to lean on Maul to get a lot done while providing a backbone of guns behind him to do some damage and keep the enemy distracted.
Do note that Maul in this list is carrying The Darksaber giving him Cunning. This is a great effect and will surely be made to win games.
This list also features a mercenary A-A5 Speeder Truck which has a couple of uses. It is a fairly survivable gun platform that also hands out aims. With Frenzied Gunner the bus is able to throw four dice with Crit 1. This should yield good plink damage. The bus is also able to act as a transport for any unit that needs it, likely the Black Suns or maybe Maul. The bus also features a HQ Uplink which will help with order control in this list.
Mentioning orders, in this list you will want to get Maul and the bus an order every turn. Basically everybody else doesn’t want orders or prefers to not get them. If you desired a little extra control, you could bring Improvised Orders on one of the Pyke Capos.
This list is adept at a variety of objectives, though you still prefer to play the ones you bring you can flex if needed.
One decision that could also be made is to move the Pykes around a bit so that you could have some units with the Capo embedded with them. The Capo raises the offense and also the defensiveness by adding another health to the unit. You would likely need to sacrifice a heavy weapon to do this so it would be an interesting trade-off.
You could also add Frag Grenades to the Black Sun. This would raise their range 1 output a considerable amount, and also make them even more deadly to armor.
Do you want Mandos? Well here ya go.
Featuring Gar Saxon and three units of Mandalorian Super Commandos, this list focuses on having four hyper mobile units that should be able to get excellent shots a lot of the time. Mandos are also of course excellent at many objectives. Playing Bombing Run with this list would be pretty self-explanatory.
This mercenary list decides to focus on the added range of the Super Commandos by adding the Super Commando Marksman to the Mando units. This allows the Mandos to fight effectively at range 3 which should help them stand a chance of surviving. Also adding to their survival is the Combat Shields that the Super Commandos are carrying. Though these shields are pricey, they are probably worth it to keep the Mandos alive as long as possible. The shields should be prioritized for attacks with Pierce, especially sniper shots. Impervious is good, but don’t rely on it.
This list also features some Pykes to provide some support and objective running. The Capos also bring with them two copies of Improvised Orders as this list really needs reliable order control, but also wants to activate the Independent keyword. This is compounded because the units you want to use independent on are also the ones you want orders on.
Specifically this list wants to be getting aims to the Super Commandos. Because you are bringing the Marksman, the Mando units get Precise 1 which allows them to make excellent use of an aim or two. On a few command cards you should be able to double stack aim tokens on a Mando unit or two. These shots should be able to do considerable damage. With double aims the Mando unit will get six hits at range 3, seven at range 2. Combined with Speed-3 and Jump you should be able to catch units in the open or light cover which will really raise the damage output.
In this list we also have a fairly lean Gar Saxon. Just packing two of his weapons, his flamethrower and rocket. This combo of weapons gives him a lot of versatility. The flamethrower of course can do a ton of damage to big units. The rocket allows Gar Saxon to operate at range 3. Saxon’s rocket can also be a strike team killer. Speed-3 plus range 3 can really catch opponents unaware. Three red dice with blast can often wipe out a strike team, especially Civil War era strike teams.
This mercenary list is focused on Raiders, going fast, and giving suppression.
The key to this list is that the Raiding Party Leader gives all Raider vehicles Demoralize 1. This means that all the vehicles throw a suppression token to an enemy unit at range 1-2. Combined with suppression from displacement and shooting, you are chucking a boatload of suppression every turn. The only unfortunate thing about this though is that displacement takes time so this play style might just be unwieldy to play.
This list also hires some more Pyke mercenary units to give some support, both with guns and on objectives. We also see a Black Sun unit that wants to catch a ride on the Reckless Driver express.
This list is a janky list to be certain. With enough practice it could actually have some legs though to catch unaware opponents off guard.
This list might actually want to bid even more to get its battle deck. It can really force some bad objectives on the opponent.
In our Discord, Grammar Police dared ask the question ‘What if my list made over 30 tokens per turn?’ The collective response was a bit of a groan thinking about the stacks and stacks of tokens you’d need to play this list. But it certainly is interesting to look at.
All these Pyke units are going to be stacking up dodge tokens between their own Independent and the Capos’ Aid. These units will be tough nuts to crack, (ignore High Velocity, when does that ever show up…?)
The Bus also adds a bit of Aim support which is further utilized by a couple Pyke units having Targeting Scopes to make even more use of those aims. The average of that pool with 1 aim is six hits. Nothing to sneeze at. Pykes certainly seem like very solid range 3 gunline units.
You can also drop this to 10 activations and convert the bus and a Capo to Maul (you probably also have to trim the scopes and a Capo personnel to do that).
All Round Shadow Collective
This list utilizes a lot of what the Shadow Collective has to offer. Specifically you can field this army with two Shadow Collective starter boxes and one Pyke Syndicate box meaning it doesn’t break the bank nearly as much as some of these lists.
This list is only nine activations which is its biggest weakness. It does bring nine really tough units that can hit really hard. Especially if you can get this list to close to range you can tear enemy armies apart.
Maul also has some extra leeway in this list as you opponent will have to focus on other things besides him otherwise those other things will shred them.
You’ll be wanting to run Maul and Rook Kast up together to keep using Retinue. This is especially good as the Mandos should be getting 2 green tokens to start every turn. This will offer a fair bit of flexibility as you get some choice over the type of token you need at any given point.
You will want to focus on giving orders to Maul and the Mandos when possible. After that you will have to rely on Improvised Orders to keep your units activating when you want them to. To get more control you could bring HQ uplink on the Mandos. This is quite expensive but could be worth it if that means they activate when you need them to.
CIS Bounty Hunters
Bounty is back on the menu!
Turns out that the Bounty keyword was never really that bad, just that it existed on characters who were fairly meh. But that has changed. This list seeks to make the most of the Independent keyword on both of the mercenary bounty hunters, while still having full order control.
This list makes great use of range 4 poke weapons to try to keep the enemy at a distance while Cad Bane jumps around and messes with them on the approach. And then the Magnas help lineback to keep your gunline firing at peak efficiency.
One unfortunate thing about this list is that it only has one unit that can Spotter Bossk. By dropping some upgrades or a heavy weapon you could easily raise that to a few units with Spotter to help Bossk shoot at peak accuracy.
The battle deck for this list is a bit all over the place as you have a pretty standard gunline that also has Cad Bane who can pull some great tricks. This list also just has a ton of bodies, 11 activations to throw at objectives if needed.
Similar in idea to the last list. Same mercenary characters. However… We put two Ion Spiders in and some more ways to give aims out. I call this list the artillery section because that’s what you want to do. Form up away from the frontline and drop shells into the action.
As with the last list you should have full order control every turn. Also to note, as with the last list, that Cad Bane has a Comms Relay on him. This is to pass off his order so he can proc Independent, it’s really good on him.
This list also has some tough decisions about command cards. The hardest slot is probably the 3-pips. Cad Bane’s 3-pip is excellent and allows him to deploy anywhere, and also makes Recover the Supplies very interesting. Bossk’s 3-pip basically reads “throw five crits at somebody with pierce”. However it’s been replaced in this list by the Super Tac 3-pip Do Not Underestimate Our Means. This card was added over Lying in Wait as it adds so much flexibility and threat to the Ion Spiders, which really are the bedrock of this list.
Double Bounty 2.0
Borrowing the latest Orkimedes list from the Discord we have a new take on Empire Double Bounty. There’s a lot of activations, and two brawl adept characters.
This list doesn’t lean into the Independent keyword at all, though it will sometimes proc. This list wants to keep orders on the bounty hunters. The bounty hunters are still backed up by a solid gunline that can also chuck a fair bit of suppression.
When playing this list you’ll want to focus on making sure that the gunline gets into position early with the officers throwing aims to the important units. Then as the battle engages get your bounty hunters into positions to punish high priority targets, likely their bounties.
This list will require some practice to get correct as there is some complexity to getting the command card order correct, as well as getting the most out of the bounty hunters.
The introduction of Mercenaries to the game has opened up list building in some new and exciting ways. We even have a whole new battleforce. It will be very interesting to watch the competitive scene in the season to come as mercenaries and battleforces become more widely available.
Between Mercenaries and Battleforces we will surely see some competitive lists that will make a splash. Between these two additions we will also have tons of list building options and plenty of options to mull over.