This article will take a look at the brand new, refurbished (gently used) bounty hunters!
That’s right, Cad Bane, Boba Fett, and Bossk are getting all new unit cards with the arrival of Shadow Collective.
It still isn’t clear exactly how these guys fit into force organization or how you can actually field them; but we know a few things (like the factions they can be used in) which we’ll get into. They can also all be used in the upcoming Shadow Collective/mercenary not-faction, but it’s not super clear how or in what quantities yet.
Anyway, lets hit some main themes and then we’ll get into them individually.
All three bounty hunters are now getting the mercenary treatment, which means they are subject to (as yet unknown) force org restrictions, and they can’t receive orders from other units that don’t share their affiliation.
Let’s focus on that last one; that seems like kind of a big deal, but you can pretty easily get around it with the Allies of Convenience keyword, which is on the “Underworld Connections” command upgrade for five points, as well as printed on the cards of Shadow Collective Maul and Gar Saxon.
We don’t know what the force org restrictions look like, but AMG has dropped some impromptu info on paint streams that there may be some kind of cap on the number of mercenary units a faction can field.
All three bounty hunters are also getting the same thematic treatment as most of the rest of the mercenary units, each gaining an Independent keyword. The benefits here are pretty obvious (free tokens) but the drawbacks are equally obvious: intentionally throwing what is likely your focus piece’s token into your stack is not usually going to be a great idea. Personally, I think the rest of the changes to each of these lads is more than enough to justify taking them even if you aren’t triggering Independent; I think it is best to view those free tokens as a consolation prize in a situation where you can’t or don’t need to order them, rather than something to build around.
There is one exception to this: Separatists. Those cheeky droids can pretty easily set up a situation where they can reverse-sort their order pool and have an entire table of faceups except for your operative tokens, which means you can (potentially) get the best of both worlds. It takes some list building choices to set up but I suspect it will be a common bounty hunter build.
Anyway, lets get into the bounty hunters themselves.
Bossk has always been quite a solid pick, and his new version, Boosk, is even better. Bossk was definitely the least in need of buffs of the various bounty hunters, and his relatively minor changes reflect that. Independent: Surge 2 will make him a bit more durable when he’s in your bag. He also gets Scale, which seems to track with all the other units that previously had the unhindered/expert climber combo (ahem, Wookiees) getting the same treatment. Finally, he gets a nice little cut of 10 points, which was hardly needed but certainly welcome.
Boosk can also be taken in CIS now in addition to Empire, just in case CIS needed a little extra way to generate crits at Range 4 (they didn’t). Anyway, I’m excited to see some CIS double bounty lists. On my side of the table.
It’s been awhile, but once upon a time I did a unit guide for Bossk, which is probably still somewhat relevant.
Boba Fett got some nice buffs to round out his card. Independent is nice (and this is a flexible one, between the aim or a dodge) but Boba is fairly timing sensitive and you can’t take him in CIS, so I would view this more as a bonus rather than something to build around. The largest change here are the buffs to his attacks; he gained an extra red dice in melee, an extra black dice on his Range 2 attacks (which are now called “Integrated Rockets”… I hope that means knee rockets) and Versatile on those same rockets. This must be what Versatile rockets look like:
I think it’s obligatory to throw your knee up in the air and go “FWOOSH!” whenever you make a Range 2 attack with Boba.
Four dice up to five on his Range 2 attack pool (between his E-11 and the rockets) is actually quite a buff, and the extra melee dice with Versatile means being tied up in melee really isn’t that bad for him anymore. You can always Whipcord your way out of it if it’s something scary like Wookiees or a Jedi, and if it is something like a B1 unit you can quite capably just roundhouse them with your boot spikes while shooting something else with your knee rockets. Or flamer them with 9+ red dice. Your call.
Boba also got a comms slot, which is pretty interesting as well; there are some good candidates here. I’m particularly intrigued by comms jammer, which could lean into his (now much better) close range threat profile. If you are running him in a list where you want to use his Independent keyword you could make it a comms relay (to bounce his card orders) or an Emergency Transponder (to throw him an extra token) but I’m somewhat skeptical it’s a good idea to have him in your bag. Uplink is potentially interesting as well, but I think I would rather just take Seize for five points less instead.
Cad Bane had the previously dubious distinction of merely being a decent unit in a faction full of good units; now he is a great unit. Cad Bane received the most changes of all the Bounty Hunters, so let’s just rattle them off:
- Increased Danger Sense from 2 to 3
- Independent: Dodge 2
- Extra training slot
- Ten point cut
Unlike the other two Bounty Hunters, Cad Bane’s new Independent keyword is both 1) really good, and 2) much easier to trigger while still having order control of him, if you run him in CIS (make sure you throw a comms relay on him if you do that). Two free dodges every round is amazing, especially on a unit with Danger Sense; they serve as a nice little buffer while he accumulates some suppression. Once he does have some suppression, then he’s really a pain to kill.
Surge crit is a nice change too; previously he was pretty miserable against armor or anything with dodge access, and this helps a fair bit there. The extra training slot allows you to really take advantage of those dodges (with Situational Awareness) or his upgraded Danger Sense (with Duck and Cover) both of which are cheap and useful training upgrades here.
Empire also gains access to Cad Bane, which could be potentially interesting. He’s probably still most interesting in CIS (for those sexy Independent dodges with the reverse order pool sort) but I’m excited to see how Empire players use him as well.
The points cut is icing on the cake. Cad Bane has been on my “I want to paint this cool model but haven’t had the motivation” shelf for awhile. I think he’s just moved to the priority shelf.
I did some unit guides on Cad Bane back when he was first released which should still be pretty relevant (among other things, they cover how his tokens work, which nobody seems to know). You can find them in Part 1 and Part 2 on FFG’s site.
The Bounty Hunters are back (did they ever leave?) and better than ever. I hope you can still find your Bane Tokens in your punched-out token tupperware.