This article will take a look at the new Separatist Specialist pack. The most consequential card in this pack (Vigilance) might actually be something that isn’t very useful for Separatists, but has huge implications for GAR and Rebels, so we’ll look at that in a separate article.
We’ll walk through what is in this pack, but most of this article will be comprised of list ideas. The T-Series really opens up list building for CIS even more than before (by virtue of being at least 115 points cheaper than the next cheapest thing you can run as a commander).
Lets dive in.
55 points. This is easily Mr. Disco Pants’ best attribute. 115 points cheaper than Grievous, 120 points cheaper than a field commander AAT. 145 points cheaper than Dooku. You get the idea. CIS has lots of new list building space. Want to run 13 activations with 6 B1s, 3 BXs, and 3 droidekas? Sure! You do you.
4 Health, White no surge. Okay, so this guy is made of peanut brittle. You’d think whoever build the separatist droids would have at least given their commanders some kind of like, armor or something. I guess all that calculating power eats up a lot of budget. Anyway, this guys’ job is to piss on a wall on your side of the table. He’s a high priority target that melts, keep him safe.
Ranged: 1 Red, 1 White, Sharpshooter 1. Not great, not terrible. This should be a last resort, in any case. If you are engaging something at range 3 you are likely to get pasted shortly afterwards.
Melee: 1 White. Oh boy. If you are making a melee attack with the T-Series, you are really in trouble.
Bolster 2. Like Take Cover or Spotter, but with surge tokens. It is strictly worse than both of those abilities, but surge tokens are nice, and the T-Series doesn’t have anything better to do while he’s playing Tetris behind a LOS blocker, so you will get mileage out of this.
Direct, Corps Droid Trooper. Now this is handy. Basically it is Entourage, without the extra slot (can you imagine being able to field 7-8 corps as CIS?). Anyway, it’s a free order to kick off your chain, and the T-Series doesn’t have to do anything except exist and be close enough to your target. Note that you can extend the range of this with Commanding Presence in the same manner as Entourage.
Comms, Gear, Command Slots. Most of the time you will only be filling the command slot. You could make a case for binoculars or a scanner in the gear slot, if you have the points, since he doesn’t have anything better to do. The command slot should nearly always be filled with Aggressive Tactics, if you have the points (you should cut something else if you don’t) and you aren’t running some kind of crazy double operative list.
The pack also comes with some command cards.
This is basically ambush, plus free orders (assuming you want to give orders to vehicles), which is great in a list with vehicles. Note it doesn’t matter where the order comes from; for example, if you have STAPs, and you order a STAP, that STAP orders a droid trooper (from the card effect) and another STAP (from it’s coordinate ability), the second STAP can then duplicate this effect to order another droid trooper (from the card effect) and another STAP (from it’s coordinate ability). At this point you’ll be swimming in orders, but you might have been doing that anyway just from coordinate. Where it is really nice is in AAT lists where you can give an order to a tank and then bounce it to something else.
If you don’t have any vehicles in your list, or you are running a list with Maul or Cad Bane, you probably want to just cut this one.
Free attacks are neat, though this card has a huge weakness; it only orders your commander. If you are taking this card with an AAT field commander, you probably will be happy with that, but it is a lot less thrilling in a T-Series list when the only card order can go to your T-Series. If you are running any operatives, you almost certainly just want Push instead.
The attack itself is kind of whatever. 2 Red, 2 Black without surge might be able to take out a strike team, if you can catch both models. You definitely need to be careful when using this with the T-Series; he’s extremely squishy, and even just a couple long range sniper shots once he’s visible could be enough to drop him. Free attacks are free, and the suppressive helps, but I definitely wouldn’t take this card just for the bombard attack.
Note the order doesn’t have to go to the unit performing the attack, just a commander or heavy. If you are running a normal (non field commander) AAT with a separate T-Series trooper commander, for example, you can give the face up order to the AAT and then just do the attack from the T-Series whenever you pull him from the stack.
This card gets cool points based on the name alone, but the effect is also great. 3 Droid troopers is pretty restrictive, especially in a list with meatbags like Maul or Dooku, though you can use comms relay to get around the droid trooper restriction (such as a relay on Maul’s sith probe droids). It isn’t clear if they then still get a dodge token or just a faceup (for Invader we’ve ruled they don’t get the dodge) but you still get dodges on your other targets, which isn’t nothing.
CIS droid troopers generally have bad saves, which means they benefit significantly from dodges. Even B1s are worth giving dodges to. I can’t think of a reason you would ever want the surge token here instead of a dodge.
Separatist Personnel Upgrades
T-Series Tactical Droid (personnel upgrade)
I am so excited about this guy. Not only does he strip AI: Attack, he gives you Reliable 1 and a Red attack dice at Range 3. 18 points is a little steep for putting him in a B1 unit, but he fits perfectly into a B2 unit. The loss of AI helps mitigate their primary weakness (lack of coordinate), Reliable helps with both their defense and their ridiculous offense, and the red dice can be paired with the B2-HA at range 3 for a 3 Red, 1 White attack with Blast which is pretty darn respectable. Previously B2s were sort of a 1-of at the end of your B1 chain; the T-Series lets you run as many B2s as you want (assuming you can afford it…). The T-Series upgrade plus a B2-HA for a total of 93 points is officially my new favorite way to run B2s.
PK-Series Worker Droid
If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? If a B1 gets beheaded, does anyone care? Apparently, this guy does. I love the image of him looking tenderly into the eyes of a B1 head.
Anyway, this is functionally the CIS medic. He’s cheaper than other faction’s medics, because CIS droid trooper wounds are cheap (mostly). He’s more expensive than other astromechs, because he works on basically everything. If you are taking him to heal your tank, you are paying about 50% more than Empire and Rebels do to heal their heavies, but he can pull double duty and pick up B1s or B2s if necessary.
I think you probably only run this guy in two circumstances; with BX Dioxis saboteurs, or with AATs. He’s too expensive to use on B1s or B2s (just take extra dudes for less).
EV-Series Medical Droid
A perfect visual (though not tactical) compliment to his disco pants commander, the CIS medical droid comes with his own boom mic and turntables. Actually I think that might be a buzz saw, now that I look at it…
Honestly, this dude looks kind of terrifying. I would not want to be operated on by a multi-armed mechanical monstrosity with a buzz saw and an army of pointy appendages.
Anyway… 14 points is a cheap medic. Your targets are very limited though; they are literally just the roster of CIS characters. Those characters are expensive, and thus their wounds are valuable, but I think the EV droid is Dooku-only. Maul and Cad Bane are unlikely to be consistently close enough to your main line to make use of it, and Grievous needs the flex to run around and do his lightsaber death spin parkour stuff. Dooku, on the other hand, has extremely valuable wounds, and is very likely to be near your main B1 line. I could easily see taking one of these in a Dooku list and feeling great about it.
Viper Recon Droid
This model looks badass, but I have a really hard time figuring out where this guy fits. Observe is a neat ability, but it costs an action. The sidearm weapon is decent, but it’s range 2, which is really awkward if you are putting him in a B1 unit. The range 2 works better in a B2 unit, but you won’t have the extra action to observe, and he is only 1 wound.
Here, we’ll hit a few list ideas. I am not going to do battle cards, as those are heavily play style depended; but I would recommend checking out my competitive list building article for battle card advice.
Generally speaking, if you are running STAPs, you want mobile objectives like Bombing Run and Breakthrough; if you are playing a gunline, you want attrition focused objectives like Sabotage; and if you are playing Dooku and/or Maul, you want area control objectives like Hostage. There are also some lists centered entirely around blocking and/or drowning objectives with vehicles and bodies; for those you want center end-game control objectives like Key Positions.
13 Activation B1s and STAPs
This is the quintessential “how many droids can I fit into a list” build. You can also basically hard swap the STAPs for droidekas if you prefer a more durable, static build.
12 Activation Maul/STAPs
Yeah, you can get 12 activations with Maul and still have room for B1 heavies and a couple STAPs. Between Maul and the STAPs, this is a pretty good “red player’ List, where you don’t really care much about battle cards. You could easily shave that bid a little with some more upgrades and not feel bad about it.
Yeah, you can also fit Maul in with 4 B2s. This is the new hot way to run B2s (HA plus tactical droid). I threw and ACM in here, because you can a free chain to bounce to them anyway (from direct) and sometimes it’s nice to have a deadly Range 2 pool that doesn’t exhaust. They are also 11 points cheaper, so that lets you squeeze a repair droid in there in case your opponent brings some ion or something.
You can pretty much hard swap Maul for an AAT with LTA and HE shells and it is nearly the same points (you would also swap the probes for another sniper).
Full B2 spam
The “wallet warrior” list. You would need six B2 packs and seven specialist packs to field this one, so I don’t know how realistic it is. Also, you might not make many friends with this one. 54 of the wounds in this list are behind Armor 1.
B2s and Droidekas
If you want to be slightly less degenerate and a little easier on your wallet, there’s also this. The droidekas double down on the “you can’t kill me” nature of this list, and double as blockers late in the game to prevent your opponent from scoring. If you can keep them alive until turn 5/6 your opponent is going to have a really hard time burning through those shields.
As with other lists you can hard swap the dekas for STAPs and it is nearly the same points, though it plays completely differently.
If you want to get really crazy, you can swap the Droidekas for Dioxis sab strike teams with shields and add some repair droids. I’ve played it, it is exactly as hilarious as it sounds.
There are a lot of different ways to do this one. Luke Cook popularized a particularly effective play style with this list, where you basically just hide all the B1s and snipe activations with the AATs until the end of the game, and then body the objective. It isn’t particularly fun to play against, but it certainly works. You need a good bid here because it’s pretty bad on “mobile” objectives like bombing run.
I hope you are as excited as I am for these specialist packs. The T-Series in particular really opens up CIS list building in a way that wasn’t possible with the expensive commanders. Dooku isn’t going anywhere (he’s still great) but give some of these builds a try.