Well, another packed Ministravaganza weekend is in the books. Though it focused on multiple AMG games, there’s plenty to talk about regarding Shatterpoint reveal. Before I get too far into things, I must mention that I’m currently packing for a big trans-Atlantic move. As such, I was following along on discord but not watching the streams, so I am dealing with some second hand information. Mainly that’s around release dates; from what I understand there are no plastic releases on the horizon for 2023. The spoiled units will be coming out in early-ish 2024.
While I mainly want to look at unit reveals and hints this gives us about the game design going forward, I do want to mention that I heard great things about Dallas’ “Assembling Elevated Elevations” stream, which you can watch here. If you are looking for creative ways to build your terrain sets I suggest you check that out!
Lead by Example Squad Pack
This is the squad pack featuring Plo, Padawan Ahsoka, Wolffe, and the Wolfpack. We already know what Snips does thanks to the preorder bonus and we saw the Wolfpack unit card back in May/June. The big juicy reveal here is Plo Koon’s unit card and stances. Not shown, but he comes in at 3 force with 8SP.
I will admit that I already had an idea in my mind for a December article themed around the Christmas wishlist for each faction. Mainly as an excuse to examine the state of each faction, their weaknesses, and missing pieces. For the Republic I was going to say “a primary with a guaranteed push/pull effect” and, well, that’s taken care of now! Suffice to say, that makes me instantly like Plo. Looking at his unit card, Plo should be a swing machine: he has a way to move friends out of activation and a guaranteed push/pull effect. Republic has great primaries like Obi-Wan and Vader, but those units can’t create swing like Plo can. Paying for Force Push is going to be the tricky part, but more on that later.
Deflect is nice to make Plo a bit more annoying to shoot. Plo’s identity is where things get funky. It’s … fine. Spoiler alert, but his defensive expertise is nothing crazy. It’s nice, sure, getting two blocks on one expertise, but it’s not a top tier defensive expertise like Luminara or Mace. Sharing his expertise with clones is probably getting you one extra block on average, which, again, is fine. Maaaybe you get some crit mitigation, which can be very nice. However, exposing himself to do so is a big drawback, and range 3 is fairly limited. The best part is probably the extra dash. Perhaps the enemy shoots a clone off an objective, but now Plo dashes on to it to prevent it changing hands. Now he has decent offensive and defensive swing! Unlike most primaries so far, Plo’s strength is not his identity. It’ll help here and there, but it’s not why I’m taking him.
Maybe I’m just a biased GAR lover, but is anyone else a bit annoyed that light side force users a) don’t get ranged attacks and b) often have one stance with super low dice? Come on man! Five dice and no easy crit generation is the wettest of noodles. I’ll try to end Plo’s turn in Form III Soresu if possible, but I never want to swing his lightsaber with it. However, Form V Djem So is pretty nice. The offensive expertise is good, the defensive expertise is OK, but lacks crit mitigation. Plo will be a little squishy. The combat tree is pretty nice with some flex options plus a sweet, sweet free force push at four successes. I want to pair Plo with Vader or ARF (or both) to make his offense more consistent, that way I never have to actually pay for Force Push.
My impression is that people were generally lukewarm on Plo on reveal, but I think he is a great addition to the Republic lineup. He brings a lot of tools and is pretty good in a lot of areas. Time will tell whether he can be a truly effective piece or if he’s hurt by being a jack of all trades, master of none.
Fearless and Inventive Squad Pack
This is the squad pack featuring Luke, Leia (Boussh), Lando, and R2. Previously we had only seen model pictures, so all these cards are new. I’ll spend some time on Luke then go through the others more quickly since we don’t have the full picture there yet. Some of the pictures are small so I’ll talk through those abilities a bit more.
Luke is the first 7SP, 3 force character we’ve seen. However, Return of the Jedi refreshes force when he activates, so really he could be 3-5 force, depending on when you activate him and whether or not you use the Shatterpoint card to activate him. It also gives a free jump when he activates, which is nice.
You Can Either Profit By This, or Be Destroyed allows Luke to choose an active objective within range 2. Then, enemies contesting said objective get to dash. Then Luke dashes towards the objective and may perform a 5 dice attack. This is a great ability for one force and we’ll look at it more when we examine his stances.
Deflect makes Luke annoying to attack at range while I Will Not Fight You makes him annoying to attack in melee. When targeted by a melee attack, Luke can spend one force. Later, if the attack produced at least one failure, Luke gets a double heal and a jump. This will make it tough to knock Luke off of objectives.
Finally, Luke’s identity is I Am a Jedi, Like My Father Before Me. Much like Plo, I don’t think it’s why you’re taking Luke. When his card is in the deck or in reserve, he’s immune to being exposed. When his card is not in the order deck, he is immune to being pinned. Immunity to expose is good with all the expose floating around, but it’s unreliable. Especially in the late game you may want to activate Luke when drawing him early. Immunity to pin could be very good if friends have ways to move him around on to objectives. When a unit gain immunity to a condition they lose that condition, so a pinned Luke will lose it when you move his card from the deck to the discard/reserve. I think on the first deck shuffle you ideally go early with Luke on the Shatterpoint card, then late with Luke’s actual card.
Luke seems very strong individually, but he’s not boosting up the team very much. I love the design of the force refresh on activation (instead of making him 4 force) and the varying effects based on his order card location. I like seeing new areas being explored. My big concern is that, once he gets wounded/injured, his whole kit gets fairly expensive. That’s why I want to keep his expose immunity up as long as possible and I’ll probably spam I Will Not Fight You to try and keep him healthy.
Plo, are you looking at this? Now this is a Form III Soresu stance! I think this is what I want to be in usually to use Profit by This. On 5 dice Luke will still get easy crits which lead to easy shoves, knocking someone off the objective if they didn’t leave on their own accord. Form V Djem So brings a lot of killing power and two strikes on one expertise, also making it a good target for Profit assuming the target has maybe 5 health left. The Soresu stance certainly has better defense. I foresee it being Luke’s “default” stance with the occasional swap to Djem So when you really need a wound.
Fan Out is nice. A free advance for Leia or a Spy friend is similar to Obi2’s Run ability, but more reliable. Her active and reactive abilities I’m not super stoked about. On first glance I don’t like how Low Blow requires she start engaged and has a follow up push of Leia towards the enemy, but maybe it plays OK on the table. It’s just priced like premium move abilities while being less flexible. Fearless and Inventive seems like it will be situational. Once we see Leia’s combat tree maybe the extra dice from these abilities will be super appealing. Finally, I want Fifty Thousand, No Less is a diet version of Anakin’s identity ability. I like the father/daughter theme there. Again, we’ll have to see her tree to determine how effectively she can wound primaries. Ways for her team to expose such targets would also go a long way.
Mingle is a dash that can become an advance. I like more speed! Element of Surprise is a way get more dice with a downside gamble. I like it more than Leia’s ability because it affects two characters and is reliable. The expose could be bad but maybe they are already flimsy! Forward Planning is a great support ability. Taking pins, strains, or disarms off of allies when they activate can be clutch, and range 4 is a big bubble. Once again we see a deck dependent ability with Clever Disguise. It’s ok, but I can see going through a number of games where it doesn’t matter because these guys are wounded anyway or get targeted by melee attacks.
I don’t want to read too far into things, but looking at this squad perhaps we get some clues about what the Rebel identity could be. The characters seem to be mainly self-sufficient with a bit of cross-over synergy. Location of order cards may be a faction thing, but we’ll see it again on Vader, which makes me think it’s just a new design direction they’re exploring more.
Yub Nub Squad Pack
This squad pack features one primary (Logray), two secondaries (R2 & 3-PO, Wicket) (Secondary), and one support (Ewok Trappers),
So Logray has approximately one billion support abilities. He’s healing up his friends, he’s dashing them, he’s got a version of Tactical Network for Ewoks, he let’s friends add dice, and has a 50/50 force refresh/dash on a wound. Oh yeah, and he can get a dash-focus or dash-hunker. The great thing is, only two of these five abilities will ever cost force. He looks squishy, but even when wounded/injured he can keep on supporting.
Oh wow, more support abilities! It makes sense the R2 and 3PO are not combat focused. I’m getting the impression that Ewok Trappers probably have the Ewok Scout tag, then Ewok Hunters (in the other Ewok pack) have the Ewok Warrior tag. Perhaps the secondaries have one or the other as well. What I’m seeing is that a lot depends on how good the ewok supports are. Logray, R2, and 3PO supercharge Ewoks, especially the supports, so it’s hard to judge their value at this moment. I do like the idea of having characters with a lot of supporting abilities and lackluster combat profiles. More variety in unit styles is good.
Based on this incredibly small sample size, it looks like Ewok teams will be highly synergistic with lots of great support abilities. It’s a playstyle that seems most comparable to droids on steroids.
Fear and Dead Men Squad Pack
Alright, home stretch here! Let’s take a look at the Stormtrooper Sergeant first before glorious Mr. Vader.
Advancing a full support unit for free is good. A single damage isn’t too much cost. Imperial Firepower is fine when you really need a condition, but easy enough to give up if you are tight on force. Coordinated Offensive is the latest variant in the Coordinated Fire and Coordinated Assault series. I like that they keep exploring different permutations of this concept. Extra dice aren’t bad, but this likely won’t be too flashy until we get more stormtrooper units to spam. Permanent Sharpshooter 1 is a nice bonus, but the Sergeant has no way to get a free focus. For a 3PC unit, this guy looks very serviceable!
Much like Luke, Vader brings three force but refreshes one when he activates. He also heals two damage or removes a condition, which is great at the start of an activation.
I see Anger, Hate, Aggression as a sort of replacement for Vader’s Fury. It downgrades the advance to a dash and risks Vader becoming exposed. He still has 12 health though which offsets that a bit. We’ll have to see his stance cards to know if he’s a better or worse killer than his Jedi Hunter version.
You Are Unwise to Lower Your Defenses is basically So Uncivilized but for melee attacks (and no hunker). I believe they discussed on stream that they want both Luke and Vader to have an ability similar to Obi-Wan’s So Uncivilized. Each has their own twist showing the different paths Luke and Vader took as compared to their master. I like the nod to theme there.
Perhaps I Can Find New Ways to Motivate Them gives a friend a dash when Vader gets a wound. This is similar to my favourite part of Luminara’s Flow of the Force and adds good swing potential to this Vader compared to Jedi Hunter.
Alrighty, You Cannot Hide Forever is the real spice. I think many people initially saw this as a positive ability, but honestly I think it is actually our first identity that is mainly a drawback. Or at least it’s a double edged sword. If Vader isn’t wounding, he isn’t creating much swing other than shoving enemies off of objectives. We’ll have to see his stances to figure out how good he is at that, but I assume it’s not hard for him. He also doesn’t have much speed to move around the board, so if you get stuck with two or more straight activations with him that could potentially be a death sentence in struggles two or three. He does get to refresh one force on each activation which helps offset him going multiple times in a row, but once he gets wounded even once his kit gets very expensive, much like Luke. Unlike Luke though, Vader often leaves himself exposed, rather than being immune to expose.
I love the design on Vader, but my first impression is that he’ll be a character that struggles on the competitive level. That being said, I do like the design aspect of having negative abilities to offset strong positive abilities. Of course, maybe I’m wrong and You Cannot Hide is actually a strong ability that is useful more times than not.
Sabotage Showdown Mission Pack
I’m personally not bored with Shifting Priorities yet, but I know some people are. For those people I have good and bad news: the good news is that there’s a new mission coming November 3, the bad news is that it seems fairly similar. There are some critical differences though.
So … the grid has changed! This is good from a variety standpoint, but from a tournament standpoint this will be a huge pain in the butt. Making sure terrain works for the two different setups will be a pain for EOs everywhere. Alas, I get ahead of myself. What are the similarities?
Well, struggles 2 and 3 still seem to have three active objectives with one scoring double points. The three objectives in the midline are also the same spots as in Shifting Priorities.
One new addition is that missions have tactics on them. When a unit activates using the Shatterpoint card they gain that tactic ability. The one we see in this picture, Press Forward, gives each character in the chosen unit a dash. Based on the wording of the instructions, it looks these extra abilities will be present in all three struggles. We also see Signal the Transport, the card on the left, has a block icon but only one layout option. This suggests that it is a struggle 2 or 3 card without an option for the loser to chose. My best guess is that struggle 2 cards will have options, but struggle 3 cards will not. That is a big change to the catch-up mechanic we’re used to and will likely lead to more comeback victories when losing the first struggle.
Overall, this mission is more condensed than Shifting Priorities. My first impression is that characters like Plo, Windu, and Bo-Katan will prefer this mission. They all have defensive aura effects that should now be easier to trigger. They also give out dashes and jumps to their friends, which should be more effective at moving allies onto objectives with everything closer together. If it does devolve into a big mosh pit, units focused on ranged effects may suffer. A particular example that springs to mind is Cad, who likes being close to the action but not engaged. There may not be enough space for him to do his thing on this layout.
Sabotage Showdown is a good mix of new and old mechanics. It will be familiar enough to pick it up quickly while also adding some new spice. I am personally very excited, but for those who are already bored of Shifting Priorities I don’t think this will be different enough.
And now, we will finish up by quickly skimming through some things that were revealed but had no rules spoiled.
Ee Chee Wah Mah Squad Pack
This squad pack features two primaries: Leia and Chief Chirpa, then one each of secondary (Paploo) and support (Ewok Hunters).
That’s Just Good Business Squad Pack
Yes, yes, and more yes. Hondo with his pirates is exactly what I was hoping for. I will buy this, no questions asked. I love the Hondo’s pose. Not only is it very Hondo, it’s also fairly unique compared to other poses we’ve seen thus far.
Certified Guild Standards Squad Pack
AMG lists this pack as including “Mandalorian and Child, Greef Karga, and IG-11.” The ordering there makes me think Greed is the secondary and IG-11 is the support, but we’ll see.
You Have Something I Want Squad Pack
I’m a bit surprised to see a death trooper and dark troopers in the same pack. I am very curious what the point costs are on this. My early guess is darks are the first 5PC support we see in the game.
Today the Rebellion Dies Squad Pack
Per the stream, Gideon is the secondary and you get to choose between Del or the two ISF agents as the support unit.
Real Quiet Like Squad Pack
More stuff for Endor! As noted above, Ewoks seem fairly self-synergistic so I’m curious how this pack combos with the other two.
Thrawn and Bad Batch are coming! Just pictures right now so probably a ways out, but something to look forward to.
A new garage terrain piece is coming. It certainly looks cool and will provide a large LoS blocker for the table. That small piece of overhanging walkway can be moved, allowing for multiple linkage points. I think it looks really cool, but potentially a bit of an awkward piece to play around.
And finally, some dope Ghost Crew promo order cards! Looks like we have three characters with tactical abilities. So much spoiler! But in all seriousness, these look really cool and give me a lot of confidence for future promos.
That’s a lot of stuff. It’s a bit disappointing that we won’t get unit releases for a while, but that just means plenty of time to try out more squad combos with all the stuff we already have. And time to test out and learn the new objective.
Between all the cool units on the horizon, new objectives, and cool promo support, I’m very excited for the future of this game. I hope you feel the same after this weekend. Happy Shatterpointing!