Today we’re going to take a look at a couple of “new” meta Rebel lists that have been getting play in recent events. This lists are interesting for a couple of reasons: 1) they are themselves counter meta lists for other factions and 2) they are all aggressive skews. Let’s talk about those separately.
What does it mean for a list to be “counter meta”? First, we have to talk about what a “meta” is in the first place.
Broadly speaking, a meta is what sort of lists you expect to see at a tournament, and more specifically which lists you expect to need to beat in order to be successful in that tournament. The classic example of this was Tauntauns during the August 2019 (NOVA Open) through January 2020 (Las Vegas Open), which also included several other tournaments such as Warfaire Weekend and Season 4 of Invader League. During this time period, if you weren’t playing Tauntauns yourself, you needed a strong plan to counter them, or you weren’t going to go very far in a tournament. As it happens, Tauntauns did indeed have a strong counter pick: Palpatine. Two of the referenced tournaments (NOVA Open and Las Vegas Open) were won by Palpatine players, and basically all of the other tournaments during this time period were won by Tauntauns.
It’s sort of hard to say what the “meta” is now, but we can at least say what some of the strong lists are based on what tournament data we do have. All forms of Republic (GAR) lists, especially Rexstar (Rex and a bunch of Phase IIs with ARCs) as well as high activation CIS lists (13 activation STAPs and 11 activation double AAT). Any plan for making a “counter meta” list should include something to deal with those. As luck would have it, all three of the Rebel lists we’re going to look at today do that.
What, exactly, is a “skew”? Basically it’s something that asks a difficult question of your opponent (do you have a counter to armor, for example) and then leans hard into that question with redundancy. The classic example is a double heavy list; maybe your opponent has enough Impact to deal with one heavy, but not two at once. Or the old school triple Tauntaun list; perhaps your opponent could handle one aggressive creature trooper in their face, but what about three at a time?
Skew lists tend to be extremely good at a couple of things and lean into that identity as hard as possible. They may themselves have hard counters, but those counters are either inefficient or not commonly taken in tournament lists.
Let’s dive into our first list.
Rebel Armor Skew
This one was played by Zak Harbula (Floorf the Dwarf) at the recent Dallas Open. There are many variations of this list; you could certainly swap in any variation of AT-RT weapons (I like flamers, because rolling fistfulls of dice is fun). You can also cut the RTs and run Rebel Veterans with heavies instead of naked Rebel Troopers. There are ways to add some astromechs as well, if you don’t feel like you need as much bid.
Basically this leans into the fact that very few lists (except for Maul/B2 lists) run dedicated Impact weapons. GAR lists can capably handle some armor with ARCs and crit fishing, especially tanks, who rely on their save (Lethal goes a long way there). However, the Critical Keyword is unreliable when dealing with mass amounts of armor, and GAR lists tend to leave a lot of paint (hits) on the table when all their important targets have the armor keyword. 13 Activation STAPs also tend to rely on Critical for their armor hunting needs (via STAPs or E-5s’), and T-47s are one of the only units that actually out-ranges STAPs on threat range, so they make good STAP hunters.
This list leans hard into objective play, with a strong bid and objectives that favor mobility and vehicle scoring. It also has R2, because hopefully your opponent is too busy focusing on your scary vehicles to see that R2 is slowly beep booping his way to victory. Clone lists are unparalleled at slugging it out over open areas, but they lack mobility and tend to want to stay together in a ball, so if you can split their focus and force them to do things besides aiming, dodging, and shooting you’ve got a chance.
Popularized by CowboyTyrone in Ladder and Invader League, this is what I like to call a “W Key” list, because it only has one mode; you just mash the “W” key and go forward. This list has so many wounds and Pierce [six(!) units with Pierce] that it is capable of just completely overrunning a Clone ball. There really isn’t much more to say about this list except “I bet you can’t handle all this fur.”
The recon intel on the vets also allows for forward deployment of the MkII’s for some cheeky fire support shots.
This is the Way
Finn ran this one against me in our most recent team league match. I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say you shouldn’t underestimate the melee ability of Mandos.
There are many ways to do a Rebel Mando skew; you could swap Cassian/K2/Chewie for Sabine and R2, if you really wanted to go all in there (and upgrade one of the generic Mandos to Clan Wren). Cassian adds a lot to this list, though. Volunteer Mission is great on the Mandos, and K2 gives you an annoying objective unit on Recover, Vaps and Hostage. Cassian, K2 and Chewie also give you a lot of Pierce stacking for those pesky GAR matchups.
Rebels have some really interesting aggressive skew options that are well positioned to deal with some of the “top” meta lists running around right now. Rebel list building is positioned to get even more interesting with the impending release of the the A-A5 speeder truck, which besides being an unending source of various van/bus related memes looks to be a really solid support option. I’m excited to see what sorts of lists we get at Atlantic City Open, which should be the first tournament where those are legal.
Anyway… go forth and bury some Clones in fur!