Updated: Jun 9
For the time being, there is only one objective to choose from in Shatterpoint. Luckily, I think it’s a pretty good one. There are 27 possible permutations for 3 struggle cards, and even more when you consider the player agency to choose 1 of 2 options in the second and third struggles. Needless to say, it’ll be a while before you play the same combo twice. However, there are still some general trends and useful approaches we can take. In this tactics article I want to explore things to keep in mind going into each struggle.
Shatterpoint is interesting in that you don’t know what the active objectives will be when you deploy. Only after deployment do you find out which of the three options has been randomly assigned. Therefore, it’s often best practice to deploy controlling all three objectives on the back row. That way you don’t have to commit any actions towards claiming it on your first activation.
Luckily, deploying to control all back objectives is not very difficult. You just need to put your primary range 2 up between two objectives and fan out two of the other characters in the squad. You don’t have a lot of room for error though, so if you’re like me and have trouble eyeballing the center between two points here’s a little trick:
Take your range 3 ruler and place it so one edge is lined up with the outside of an objective token. Line up your primary so that about 1/4 of their base is outside the other edge of the ruler. There are probably other methods that work, but this is what I’ve done to help line things up reliably. The good thing is that you’re never putting two tools on the table at once, so it’s all good with the pre-measuring rules.
After taking away the range 3 tool we move Obi up range 2, fan out his buddies, and voila! Now with the second squad we can repeat the same thing to double cover the middle or skew over to one side.
An important thing to note is that terrain could mess this strategy up. As first player, a big part of my table side choice is making sure I can easily cover all three objectives, or making it hard for my opponent to do so.
If one objective is left uncovered, the 1/3 chance that the uncovered objective is active can swing the game early. The winner of struggle 1 wins the game more often than not in my experience so far, so you want every little advantage you can get.
Whether you are winning or losing struggle 1, you also want to have an eye towards struggle 2. Working with the struggle 2 cards there are a couple interesting things to note.
Firstly, the center objective will never be active in struggle 2. Does this mean you don’t want to put units in the middle during round 1? No, not at all. Central units will be well positioned to attack any objectives, but it’s just good to remember that the center point itself cannot be active in struggle 2.
The second observation is even more important, in my humble opinion. Every single struggle 2 card has one option with an active objective in the bottom right and the other option with an active objective in the top left. This means that, no matter who is first player, either the bottom right or top left objective will be active in struggle 2. Knowing this fact, I try to keep a character within range 2 of my back right objective. Being able to potentially secure an objective in the first round of the new struggle without expending any actions is really handy. If possible, I also try to have a unit of my own threatening the back left objective. If you accomplish both of these tasks, it will make selection much easier for you if you lose struggle 1, or much harder for your opponent if they do.
Given the above, let’s think about deployment again. Let’s say I’m playing a Separatist-synergy strike team with B1s and MagnaGuards as my supports. MagnaGuards would prefer to push forwards to protect characters and get into melee. They would prefer not to sit on a back objective since they have no ranged attack. Conversely, B1s are OK sitting back a bit since they do have a range 5 attack. As such, one consideration during deployment could be to put the squad with B1s on the right side and the squad with Magna’s on the left side. This is just an example and other factors may complicate things, but it should be one factor to consider.
In struggle 3 the center is open for business once again! Not only is the very center spot active on 2/3 cards, all 3 cards have an option for bottom center and an option for top center.
Much like struggle 2, the bottom right and top left are still big factors to consider in struggle 3. Having a strong presence there from struggle 2 should translate to struggle 3 success.
The clearest trend in struggle 3 is that the bottom left and top right objectives will never be active. In fact, across all 9 cards, these spots are used the least number of times. Unless these spots are active in struggle 2, putting a unit within range 2 won’t help you contest early struggle 3.
Bringing it All Together
Based off the trends above and my in-game experience, I’ve drawn up a rough, definitely-not-to-scale heat map of where I like my characters to be. The more simplified approach is to imagine a diagonal line from the top left of the board to the bottom right, and try to be strong along that axis. Struggle 1 I often collect most near the center, then they move outwards in struggle 2 to contest wherever needed before moving back towards the center in struggle 3.
Lots of abilities in this game grant out of activation movement to friendly units. If placed right, a dash should be enough to move a character from one objective to 3 neighboring objectives. In Shatterpoint you have limited control over the order of your activations, so putting multiple units in positions to make plays is key to victory.
It’s still early, but these are some key takeaways I have so far for the objective Shifting Priorities. Join me, and together we can rule this objective!