Updated: Jun 25
So far in Shatterpoint, most support units we’ve seen have two characters. No primaries or secondaries have two characters yet, but I assume it’s only a matter of time. Multi-character units can be a blessing and a curse, but mainly a blessing. Two is better than one, right? Today I want to look at some of the basics surrounding how these units work, but also go a level deeper to examine some cool shenanigans.
A lot of rules questions I’ve seen concern the nature of multi-character units, so let’s quickly cover the basics. Health, conditions, and hunker are all shared amongst the unit. If enough damage is dealt to wound the unit, both characters are wounded. If Character A gets exposed the unit is now exposed, so if Character B is attacked next they won’t get defensive expertise. If someone moves into engagement with Character A the unit loses any hunker tokens it has. When the unit takes an action, both characters take that action, but they don’t have to do the exact same “sub-action”. For example, if the unit takes a combat action, one character can do a melee attack and the other a ranged attack. If they take a move action, one can advance and the other can climb. If they take a recover action each character heals one, and if they take a focus each character adds one die to their next attack that turn. Finally, the unit does not have to stay close together, they can stray as far as they want from one another.
With the basics out of the way, let’s get into the juicy stuff!
In a my competitive experience in similar games, the best, most reliable strategies are often those that don’t require dice rolls. Two bodies are a very reliable, non-dicey way to take control of an objective. Outnumbered by one on a key spot? Move two characters onto the point in one activation and you’re guaranteed to take control. It’s not flashy, but extra bodies for the objective game is a key part of the value multi-character units bring.
If you do want to roll dice, getting two attacks instead of one is another perk of two character units. This is one of the few ways you can wound multiple enemies in one activation, which gains a lot of momentum. An individual support attack is often a bit weaker than a secondary’s attack, but if you target the same enemy with both attacks the output could be similar or even better than a secondary’s attack. I value flexibility a lot, and the ability to split or concentrate fire opens up good options, even if I usually choose to concentrate fire on one target.
Another obvious perk of two characters is a larger board presence. Consider the Coordinated Fire ability on clone supports compared to the Enfeeble ability on inquisitor supports. The effects are very similar, but the clones can spread out and cover a much larger area than the single inquisitor model. In another example, spacing out two MagnaGuards gives more area for their Bodyguard ability and Intercede abilities.
While some multi-character units like to spread out, others like to stay close to trigger abilities off one another. Consider Clan Kryze Mandalorians: if they stick close, they can trigger Mandalorians Are Stronger Together off each other. This makes them useable as a self-contained unit that can fit into both Mandalorian and non-Mandalorian focused lists. Conversely, Bo-Katan Kryze or Gar Saxon, Merciless Commander need a second Mandalorian unit around to trigger the same ability.
Something like B1 Battle Droids have arguments for staying close or splitting up for board coverage. Their Combat A.I. Protocols is great for applying conditions, and if you keep the B1s together they can trigger it fairly easily. However, splitting up B1s can make it easier for other Battle Droid characters to fulfill the requirements of Kalani’s Target, Coordinate All Firepower ability, for example. In general, I find playing multi-character units to be a dance of keeping them spread out enough to have a large board presence, but also close enough that they can team up and pile-drive a single objective when needed.
The very last thing I want to bring up is a fun “range-extension” shenanigan. This particular example concerns Rex and a pair of clones, but I’m sure we’ll see more examples in the future building off this concept. Thanks to Bring It On, Clankers, when a Clone Trooper unit within range 3 of Rex gains a hunker, one character in that unit can heal. If you look at the example below, the clone on the right is within range 3 of Rex, but the clone on the left is not. However, if the unit gains a hunker, the unit is at range 3 of Rex and the character on the left can be the one that heals. Thus Anakin is healed even though that particular clone that did it was beyond range 3 of Rex. A multi-character unit can act as a booster for abilities worded like Bring It On, Clankers.
As mentioned at the top, the unit shares wounds, conditions, and hunkers. In the same way multi-character units can boost the range of friendly effects, they can also boost the range that enemy units can mess with you. Suppose Lord Maul wants to use There is No Place to Run to expose Character B, but Character B is on the other side of the board. Perhaps Maul can reach Character A in the same unit who is much closer. Maul has now exerted influence much farther than he usually would and the whole unit is now vulnerable.
It is worth mentioning that there are ways in which some conditions only affect half the unit, from a certain point of view. If a two character unit is pinned and tries to do a move action, the first character will have their move cancelled by the pin, but then the pin is gone and the second can move freely. Similarly, if the unit is disarmed and attacks, the disarm will be gone after the first attack.
Remember when I mentioned how two bodies in one unit is great for the objective game? Well, it can be a double edged sword. Sometimes it’s tempting to use a multi-character unit to contest multiple objectives. While this can help you win objectives quickly, it can also make you lose them just as fast.
Let’s examine the scenario pictured below. Clan Kryze Mandalorians have one character one two different objectives, both controlled by the red team. Anakin activates for team blue, and decides that Clan Kryze must die, for they are unpainted. Anakin can almost certainly wound Clan Kryze at which point team blue outnumbers team red 2-1 on the left objective and 1-0 on the right. Suddenly two objectives have been flipped in one turn. If this is struggle 2 or 3 and you have to win it, losing 2/3 objectives in one enemy activation is huge. Have you lost the game? Not necessarily, but the odds are almost certainly stacked against you now. In the example scenario it will be very tough for the red player to take back control of both pictured objectives in one activation so they are likely on the back foot. Does this mean I will never act like the red player in this example? Definitely not. It was quite possibly worth it to split up Clan Kryze as shown. However, when you make such a move do be aware of the risks you’re taking.
As I hopefully demonstrated, multi-character units have good and bad aspects. Overall though, I’d say the good clearly outweighs the bad. They bring a lot of cool and unique tactical choices that I’m still unpacking. I definitely think the best Shatterpoint players will be masters at positioning such units to have a large board presence but also support one another.
If you find any other cool interactions that multi-character units enable, let me know in the comments! Let’s all learn together and discover the cool tricks Shatterpoint has to offer.