As we are getting closer to the release of Shatterpoint, we are getting more and more preview articles for the units that will be included in the Shatterpoint core set. I haven’t been able to play much on TTS yet, but that won’t stop me from getting excited and theory crafting with some of my favorite Star Wars characters. Now that we have all the articles for the core set primary units, let’s take a look at what makes each character unique and try our best to evaluate their stance cards.
General Anakin Skywalker
From a list building perspective, Anakin only brings 7 squad points which limits his list building capabilities, but he does make up for this in bringing 4 force points which is one more than all other primaries in the core set. This extra force point can help make sure you are able to pay for those expensive abilities or to reserve units for maximum impact. Anakin also comes equipped with 11 stamina and 3 durability which makes him a tough nut to crack. From what I have seen so far, characters are hard to remove from the board, especially primary units. The higher than average stamina value is important; when someone has damage equaling their stamina value, they will take a wound and will no longer count as scoring. Once that unit activates, they clear the damage and turn the wound into an injury so they can score again. Having that higher stamina value will make it harder to prevent him from scoring or contesting objectives.
Force Jump seems like a good ability to be able to quickly traverse elevations to contest objectives that you otherwise might not be able to reach. It’s an ability that on the surface seems like a nice to have but might win you the game on a rare occasion (especially considering characters can only take 1 move action a turn). I’m Going To End This is Anakin’s bread and butter, this lets Anakin make an extra attack on the same target. This should pretty easily wound most characters in the game with how front loaded the damage on his Djem So form is. Being 2 force points this ability is costly but will be a brutal effect. Deflect is a simple ability that will send 2 wounds back at a ranged attacker that rolls any fails, but it’s enough to make someone think twice about shooting you. This Is Where The Fun Begins is Anakin’s identity ability and it really ties his role as a beat stick together. This ability encourages you to try to wound enemy Primary and Secondary units by rewarding you with moving the Struggle token back your way (don’t forget your momentum token too for wounding an enemy). If it was an enemy Primary unit as well, you get a free recover action which can help you heal or shrug off a pesky token from ALL of your Republic units.
Most Primaries will have a double sided stance card; in Anakin’s case he has one side as Form V Djem So and another as Form V Shien. Djem So is Anakin’s strong attack side between being a base 8 die attack, a combat tree that front loads a lot of damage, and an expertise chart that converts to more crits, you will be able to reliably push through a lot of damage. Shien is there for when Anakin needs to take a hit or play a more objective focused turn. In Shien, Anakin gets an extra Defense die, gains better defensive expertise, and his combat tree provides far more utility and options than Djem So does. The drawbacks of Shien is you lose 1 attack die, but you also lose the attack expertise that grants criticals, meaning your opponent can more easily block your attack and prevent you from moving very far on the combat tree.
Asajj Ventress, Sith Assassin
From a list building perspective, Asajj comes in with 8 squad points and 3 force points. This is the stock standard for the core set, as Anakin is the only one that breaks this stat line. Asajj also has 9 Stamina and 3 Durability. Having 3 Durability will make it very difficult to remove Asajj from the table, but having the lower Stamina of 9 will make it a little easier to wound her and “deactivate” her from scoring. Her combat trees and Abilities have some tools to help her mitigate this, but only when she activates and not when she is being targeted.
Dathomirian Dexterity allows Asajj to make a jump to help her get to where she needs to go, but unlike Anakin, Asajj can use this ability twice in a turn, making her one of the more mobile units in the core set. Force Push is a simple but effective tool which allows you to move an enemy unit range 3 away from Asajj. This is great, as you can remove an enemy character from contesting a point without having to trust dice to go in your favor. Riposte allows Asajj to reflect 2 damage back when a melee attack rolls a failure against her. This is great at giving her a leg up in melee duels, but not having Deflect opens her up to pressure from ranged attacks. When engaged, characters typically have to reduce their speed to disengage, but with Slip Away if another Separatist or Dathomirian unit attacks a unit Asajj is engaged with, she can make a full speed move and gain a hunker token. This is all made better by the fact that it happens outside of her activation, potentially making it harder for your opponent to score. Sith Assassin, Asajj’s Identity ability, triggers when she wounds an enemy, allowing her to recover 3. If she wounds a Primary or Secondary, she can either advance or jump and recover 2 force points. More mobility means Asajj can cover a lot of ground, but also being able to recover 2 force points is a great benefit and can potentially open up a free force push for you.
Asajj’s stances are Form II Makashi and Jar’Kai. Form II Makashi seems….ok, her expertise chart generates more crits allowing her attack to be more consistent, but this side lacks a lot of damage in the tree itself and instead offers more recovers and shoves. Jar’Kai seems to offer far more damage and an additional attack die. This side’s combat tree also offers a lot of status tokens, which seem to be fairly detrimental to units. Strain will cause a unit to take 3 damage, disarm prevents an attacker from using attack expertise, and expose prevents defenders from using defense expertise. Each of these effects can be a huge pain and possibly will force an opponent to use precious actions to recover these status effects. The Jar’Kai defense expertise also helps to soften the incoming attacks by reducing crits to successes. The last thing I would like to call out on Asajj’s combat trees is that on each side she has a node allowing her a free use of one of her Active abilities, getting a free force push (which can get as expensive at 5 force points when Asajj has 2 injuries and 1 wound) sounds like a powerful tool.
Ahsoka Tano, Jedi No More
Ahsoka comes with the same base stat line as Asajj. She has 8 Squad Building points, 3 Force points, 9 Stamina, and 3 Durability. Even though Ahsoka’s Stamina is on the lower end for the primaries, she has a lot of tools to be able to mitigate damage to really stretch out that 9 stamina and make her tough to injure on the table.
Force Speed won’t let Ahsoka traverse elevations like force jump, but instead is a full speed advance. Since characters are only allowed to take one move action per turn, Ahsoka can cover a lot of ground to try and catch up to contest objectives. What’s The Matter, Too Fast For You will make Ahsoka really tough to damage and really scary to attack. This ability is expensive at 2 force points, but will prevent half damage (rounded down) on a melee attack and send the prevented damage back at the attacker. This will prevent big spikes in damage and might even scare attackers that are low on stamina from even wanting to try to touch you. There are two things to consider on this ability though: first, it doesn’t work on ranged attacks, so watch those wrist rockets. The other important thing to remember is combat is not only about damage in this game. Depending on that attacker’s combat tree, they might only send 3 damage at you, but still shove you around and drop some status tokens on you which can be just as troublesome. Deflect is the same as Anakin’s and will make your opponent think twice about shooting you with a ranged attack. Where What’s The Matter, Too Fast For you deters your opponent from attacking Ahsoka, Fierce Protector will deter your opponent from attacking units around Ahsoka. Every time an ally becomes wounded Ahsoka makes a free advance toward the attacker and recovers 3, this will add up over the course of the game. Additionally, if Ahsoka advances close enough to the attacker, instead of recovering, Ahsoka can make a free 5 die attack. This attack won’t be full power, but this ability can generate a lot of free attacks over the course of the game and be a real thorn in your opponent’s side.
Ahsoka’s first stance is Jar’Kai, which is her more offensive stance of the two. Her melee attack is 7 dice and defense is 5 dice for both melee and ranged, this seems fairly standard. The combat tree on this side deals a good amount of damage but also provides easy access to a disarm condition to continue with the theme of protecting her allies. The Jar’kai expertise charts grant a good amount of successes but doesn’t start granting crits until 3 expertise. This will overall make Ahsoka’s attacks feel a bit less consistent against other primaries. The defensive expertise chart is really interesting here though, having the ability to reduce a crit to a success, a free jump, and a free recover. On the Jar’kai stance side these special defense abilities require you to roll a lot of expertise on not a lot of dice but on her defensive side this becomes a lot easier. Ahsoka’s other side is Form V Shien Reverse Grip. On this side Ahsoka loses 1 attack die, but her defensive dice become 7 and 6 for ranged and melee respectively. The offensive expertise is similar to Jar’Kai but requires 1 more expertise before you start to generate crits. This side’s combat tree doesn’t provide a lot of condition token options, but gives easy access to shoves, jumps, and recovers which can help Ahsoka really lock down an objective in tandem with her abilities.
Lord Maul’s base stats are really interesting, and when I first saw it I thought it might be a typo. He comes in as the normal 8 squad points and 3 force points, he also has 11 Stamina but only 2 Durability. When I first saw this I thought surely this was a typo, won’t Lord Maul die too easily? After playing the game it became clear that it is hard to remove models from the table and Lord Maul is no exception. Sure he will die more easily than other primaries, but this is still a difficult task to achieve. To make this even harder, Lord Maul becomes much more intimidating as he takes damage, making your opponent have to balance when they choose to attack Maul unless they fully commit to wounding him.
Lord Maul has Force Speed just like Ahsoka, so he won’t be flipping up onto many gantries but can get to a fight or objective in a pinch. There Is No Place To Run is such an interesting ability, first you get to do a a range 2 pull towards Lord Maul (and potentially off of an objective), then you drop an expose token on your opponent which will turn their defense roll from a pseudo 4/6 save into a flat 2/6 save. This is a huge drop in defensive stats for anyone, and will really open your opponent up for a devastating attack from Lord Maul. Revenge, I Must Have Revenge allows Lord Maul to dash and make a 5 die melee attack when he becomes wounded. On the surface this seems fine, a free attack is great and 5 dice is fine, but this is actually more than 5 dice as we will see with Lord Maul’s identity ability. Lord Maul’s identity ability, Sustained By Rage, is a really strong passive effect. The first passive effect allows Lord Maul to spend stamina instead of force points to use his abilities which will stretch your force points further for the rest of your strike team. But wait, why would I want to be putting damage on my glass cannon? The second part of Sustained By Rage gives all of Lord Maul’s melee attacks an extra attack die for every 3 damage and 3 more attack dice if he has an injury. When you become wounded, Lord Maul will have 11 damage on him, this means when Revenge, I Must Have Revenge is procced that 5 die attack is actually an 8 die attack, or possibly an 11 die attack if Lord Maul already has an Injury token. This is where Lord Maul’s glass cannon really comes into play, he will be rolling far larger attack dice pools than anyone in the core set but needs to be taking damage to get there.
Sinister Cunning is a very interesting stance for Lord Maul as it is the only ranged attack on a primary in the core set. In this stance Lord Maul can make a 7 die attack at range 4 or a 6 die attack in melee while being a bit more defensive with 6 defense dice in both cases. The ranged attack doesn’t interact with any of Lord Maul’s abilities, but can be helpful if you draw his order at a less ideal time. This side’s combat tree has easy access to a shove and reposition to better position Lord Maul. Looking at the attack expertise chart as well, Lord Maul has the ability to generate additional damage outside of the combat tree. Dark Rage is Lord Maul’s other stance and the more offensive of the two. In this stance we see the standard gain 1 attack die lose 1 defense die, but Lord Maul loses his ranged attack on this side. This side’s combat tree is almost pure damage but has access to a few shoves and later in the tree a strain and a jump. While his attack expertise stays the same, Lord Mauls gains a few more tricks on his defensive expertise with some recovers and a jump but these require you to roll a lot of expertise results. Across both stances Lord Maul has the highest damage capability at 10 damage plus what he generates from his expertise dice.
I don’t want to do a full deep dive on General Obi-Wan Kenobi until we see his stance card, but I figured I would leave you all with a teaser that AMG showed at their Star Wars Celebration panel. Between the enhanced force jump, enhanced deflect, order card shenanigans, and hunker token synergies I am very excited to try Obi-Wan out on the table.
All the Primary units in the core set feel unique and really capture the spirit of the characters from the show. From the early previews I had some concerns when it came to balance, but after trying the game and piloting the characters it was clear there were a lot of instincts I had from other games that just didn’t transfer to this one. I think all the primary units in the core set are designed really well from a thematic and from a balance stand point. I can’t wait to see what else this game has in store as we see more of our favorite characters that we have come to know and love.