This article will take a look at the newly spoiled cards for Maul from the Shadow Collective starter box. You can find the original spoiler article here.
We’ve previously had the cards spoiled for Black Sun and Pykes, which Timbo was kind enough to do a rapid reactions on: Pykes and Black Sun
At last, we have some previews for Maul, “A Rival.” For those wondering, that subtitle is a reference to an episode of Clone Wars. If you don’t watch Clone Wars, you should at least watch this scene:
Let’s get right into it.
Maul: A Rival
Almost the same as Separatist/CIS Maul (Impatient Apprentice) with some key differences. If you want an extensive look at the basic Maul, check out our comprehensive unit guide. We’ll primarily just highlight the differences here.
Maul: A Rival has a unique faction symbol (officially an “affiliation”) in the upper right of his card, for Shadow Collective. We’ve already seen this as well for Pykes and Black Sun. From other reveals we know that this means a couple of things: he can issue orders to other Shadow Collective units and they can use his courage value for panic checks, even if they have the Self Preservation keyword. So far, we haven’t seen any other Shadow Collective unit cards yet, but the Mauldalorians (officially, Mandalorian Super Commandos) have been confirmed as being Shadow Collective only.
Don’t get hung up about the grey circles in the upper right where other mercenary units have faction symbols; AMG has confirmed on streams that Maul will be unique to Shadow Collective.
Let’s look at what else makes this Maul different than CIS Maul.
Allies of Convenience: It isn’t entirely clear what “one additional unit of any rank” means. What is clear is that Maul can issue orders to any Mercenary unit, regardless of affiliation. That seems relevant if Shadow Collective is going to be a battle force comprised of a bunch of Mercenary units.
Wound 1: I guess having your leg chopped off has some side effects. One of them, apparently, is having Juyo Mastery (and Tenacity, if you have that) active right from the start of the game, without having to play At Last. This is almost always going to be a straight benefit; as a long time Maul player, having to play At Last to activate Juyo (or get shot, which is an unpredictable way to do it) can create some awkward command card sequencing. Now you can save At Last for when you really just need an aim token and priority and not have to worry about whether you need Juyo yet or not, because you will always have Juyo active.
Slots: Shadow Collective Maul trades a training slot for a command slot. This is probably a bit of a sidegrade; training upgrades are really good on Maul (and now we have another really spicy one to add to the list, more on that later), but command upgrades are also generally very strong. This is probably going to be Vigilance, nearly always. Force Users with Deflect love those dodge tokens.
There is also an armament slot, which appears to be specifically for…
What a journey this thing has been on. No one has been more capable with it on screen than Maul, and now he gets to use it in Legion, tactical rock and all. Sorry Sabine. No tactical rock for you.
Six black dice, Sidearm (both melee and ranged), Commander Rank, Surge/Crit, Pierce/Impact 2, and Cunning. The attack profile is definitely worse than his Double-Bladed Lightsaber, even with Surge/Crit: you are talking about an eight dice pool that averages 4 hits (32/8) for the Double-Bladed Lightsaber, and a six dice pool that averages 3.75 (30/8) for The Darksaber. The biggest downgrade is on its Saber Throw, where you go from four red dice to three black dice. Because of Sidearm (which is a real keyword that already exists, by the way, in case you forgot) you don’t have a choice; you have to use The Darksaber if you take it.
The rest of these keywords are amazing, though. Cunning, in particular, is an incredible keyword on anyone, much less a force user. Imagine if Count Dooku had six command cards instead of three.
The melee pool is also not that much worse, especially if you use Tenacity, which narrows the difference to just 0.125 hits (38/8 vs. 37/8). Not having that four red Saber Throw is a real cost, but it gives you the option of building a more melee focused Maul. If you take the Darksaber, I would also swap the “standard” Maul force power build of Saber Throw/Force Push to Force Choke/Force Push or even Burst of Speed/Force Push.
Maul: A Rival gets three new command cards, and he can use OG Maul’s cards as well, which gives him a full suite of six command cards like Luke and Vader. Hot damn.
Note that CIS Maul cannot use these new command cards as they require you to nominate Shadow Collective Maul, and you can’t play a command card if you can’t nominate someone to issue orders.
A three pip that counts as a one pip when building a hand; the exact opposite of At Last, which is a one pip that counts as a three pip when hand building. In practice, if you include both cards you end up with a “normal” 1-1-2-2-3-3-4 distribution of pips in your hand. That’s a good thing (for balance) because a Cunning Sith with three one pips would be pretty silly.
Besides the pip weirdness, the text on this card is amazing. This is the first self-healing command card in the game, and it’s on a force user, who have (arguably) the most valuable wounds in the game. On top of the two wound heal, you can also strip immobilized and poison tokens, and you get a free recover. Another reason to run Maul with both Push and Choke. The immobilized token stripping bit is a dark horse sleeper here; whipcords (both Sabines and Boba’s) and immobilized tokens generally are very detrimental to a melee force user’s effectiveness, and this gives you a nice little counter to them.
Maul just casually relaxing in a throne room is apparently pretty unsettling, because he gives everyone around him suppression tokens with his one-knee-up swagger. He also gets a free dodge token (amazing) and prevents friendly units within range 1 of him from being effected by suppression (also amazing, if somewhat short ranged). Note that the suppression from this goes on friendly units as well, which could be good (if you are Pykes with Danger Sense, or if you are anything else that wants suppression cover), or potentially bad, though because of the suppression-ignoring effect on this card you probably won’t have to worry about that until next turn. It’s like Master of Evil and Complete the Mission had a baby.
Seize What Power We Can
Well that is quite the wall of text. Let’s interpret this a bit into something more manageable.
This is like a command card version of the Cache keyword (which was previewed on some upgrades) except your entire army can use the tokens on it. You get an aim and three surges to start, which is pretty good. You also put tokens on this card whenever enemy units at Range 1 of Maul spend tokens, which could potentially be a lot of tokens, or not really many tokens at all. This is still a pretty good card just for the on-demand aim and surges, but its value really scales when Maul is stuck in the middle of your opponent’s army. Note that Maul is himself a Mercenary unit (given the Sabaac watermark behind his keyword text) so he can spend these tokens as well.
These new command cards really transform Maul from something of a fragile scalpel to a melee force user that wants to be in the middle of your opponent’s army, more like Vader. I dig it.
There was one more nugget in this article, not specific to Maul…
Up Close and Personal
Well now this is a spicy upgrade. Before you ask, yes, this appears to generate two dodges with Gunslinger (since that is two separate attacks) but not Arsenal (since that is one attack split among different targets). I’m sure we’ll get an FAQ if we haven’t already.
There are some obvious candidates for this out of the gate: Sabine, who is, in fact, on the card art, would love this. She only has one training upgrade slot though, and I’m not yet convinced this is actually better than Situational Awareness, Prepared Supplies, and a nearby Vigilance. Han has the spare training slot and would generate free dodges for Chewy too, so I could actually see this being pretty amazing on him.
Beyond the obvious Gunslinger candidates, this is also great on force users with Saber Throw. Force users with deflect love dodges more than any other unit. Any dodge you can generate on a force user with deflect is money in the bank. The one that really jumps out is Anakin, who 1) uses Saber Throw a lot, 2) has Outmaneuver natively (once he plays his one pip), 3) has a strictly better version of Deflect, and 4) can share his dodges with other units (once he plays his three pip). I could also see this on Maul (if you run Saber Throw and not the Darksaber). You could make an argument for Jedi Luke or Operative Vader, but in both cases you usually want them swinging in melee and not making ranged attacks, and Into the Fray is a better upgrade there.
Some sneaky value for somebody everybody always forgets about: General Grievous. This procs for every ranged attack you make; besides Grievous generally using his pistol a lot, he also makes a ton of ranged attacks on his Trained in Your Jedi Arts turn. He only has the one training slot, but Up Close and Personal would stack a silly number of dodges on him for his one pip turn while giving him one free dodge on most other turns for Block. It feels bad to cut Endurance, Tenacity, or Into the Fray (can we just give Grievous four training slots?) but the effect on this is hard to ignore.
Maul: A Rival looks really exciting for Shadow Collective. As he should… Shadow Collective is basically “the Maul Faction” (yes I know its not officially a faction). It’s going to be tough to assess how effective a Maul-centered Shadow Collective list will be until we see what the structure of such a list looks like and the full picture of what you can bring alongside him, but I’m very excited about tactical rock Maul. Six command cards, pre-activated Juyo Mastery, and Cunning? Yes please.