We all love throwing fistfuls of dice and putting big damage on units. However, you win games of Shatterpoint by scoring objectives, not killing. Of course wounds on enemies is a big part of the objective game, but not everything. I’ve already taken a look at the value of various characters in the damage game, so today let’s look at another metric: swing. Swing is a measure of how much a character can affect objective math. A deep understanding and application of Swing Theory makes seeing your path to victory much easier. You’ve probably already been using it, so let’s dive into what it means exactly.
Swing Theory 101: The Basics
Let’s consider the scenario where red player is controlling an objective. Just to be clear, the big red dot is a character and the small yellow one is the objective. Nothing is really to scale. Currently red has one character contesting and blue has none, so red is +1. For blue to flip the objective a tie isn’t enough (ignoring Inquisitorial Mandate). Blue needs to get to +1, which is a swing of two.
To achieve a swing of two, there are three common, basic methods:
a) Move onto the point and wound the red character
b) Move onto the point and shove the red character off
c) Move two characters on to the point
All three will get the job done, but with varying degrees of reliability. Generally speaking, A is the most dicey, B is a bit dicey but can sometimes only requires a success or two on an attack tree, and C doesn’t need dice to be rolled at all. As you evaluate swing in listbuilding and on the battlefield, keep in mind how reliably you can reach full swing potential.
Since every character can do Method A, each single character model has a minimum swing potential of two. Two-character units have a swing potential of four since they have two attacks. Technically the swings can be even higher if you consider wounding a multi-character defender, but I don’t want to add that caveat constantly so let’s assume single-character defenders for this article.
The other thing to remember with swing is that a character’s total swing potential can be spread across multiple objectives in a single turn. Flipping multiple objectives in a turn often puts you in the driver’s seat for that struggle, at least in my experience, so it’s great when you can pull it off.
Swing Theory 201: Self-Contained Effects
When I say “self-contained” I am meaning that the unit doesn’t need other friendly characters around. The main example of this would be push and pull abilities such as Force Push or Capture Wire. Such abilities are very reliable because they don’t rely on dice at all. As such, all these abilities are going to cost you 1-2 force base. One reason I’ve been loving Lord Maul is that he has a pull ability and can take damage instead of using force, making for very reliable swing without burning significant force.
Let’s illustrate the potential of self-contained effects with an example. Red controls both objectives to start the turn. Barriss activates from off screen and moves towards the right objective. From range 3 away she pushes the red character off the objective using Force Push. Then she uses Force Speed to move to the left objective, attacking a red character and shoving them back through her attack tree. That’s a total swing of 3 which is enough to flip both objectives to the blue player.
The undisputed king of self-contained swing if Fifth Brother with Force Repulse. It pushes all characters within range, giving him the highest swing potential of any character so far.
Swing Theory 301: Synergistic Swing
So we’ve looked at self-contained effects, now let’s broaden out to include friends. There are a ton of abilities in this game that allow out of activation moves and/or attacks. Though these can provide diceless swing by piling bodies on an objective, the catch is that the friends you are moving around have to be unwounded otherwise they won’t contest. They also have to be close enough to actually reach range 2 of the objective. If all you need is an attack to wound or get a shove then the friend doesn’t have to be unwounded.
There are four main examples of synergistic swing: Internal – Move, Internal – Attack, External – Move, and External – Attack. Let’s walk though a description and example of each.
Internal – Move: I call it internal when it is an ability triggered by the active character. In this case, the active character has some sort of ability to move an ally. An example of this would be Captain Rex using Get a Move on, Soldier to dash a Galactic Republic ally onto an active objective for one extra swing.
Internal – Attack: Similar to the above, but now the active character is giving an out of activation attack to a friend. In practice such abilities often give a move and an attack. An example would be Kalani using Tactical Network, allowing a friendly MagnaGuard to dash onto an objective and attack an enemy, shoving them off for two extra swing.
External – Move: I call it external when an ability on the non-active character is triggered, usually by way of a reactive or innate ability. An example would be Lord Maul activating and Savage Oppress using Unwitting Brute to dash onto an objective for one extra swing.
External – Attack: You can probably deduce this one by now. In practice External – Attack abilities often give a move and an attack. An example would be a clone support unit performing a combat action. In response, Padawan Ahsoka Tano triggers Getting Ahead of Yourself Again, Snips. This allows her to jump then attack the same target, adding up to two swing if she can move on to an objective and remove an enemy the clones weren’t quite able to.
Considering I’ve titled this section “Synergistic Swing” we need to end this off with a crazy synergistic example. To start, red controls the left objective 2-0 and the right objective 1-0. Mother Talzin activates, trigging her Obscuring Shadows with which she elects to make Maul dash onto the left point. In response to the start of her activation, Savage uses his aforementioned Unwitting Brute ability to dash onto the right point. Talzin attacks the red character on the right, shoving them back. Then she moves onto the left point and uses Manipulating Hand to make a red character dash out of contesting range. Now blue player will win both objectives. If you were keeping count, the total swing during that activation was 5, split between two points.
Swing Theory 401: Capstone
What use is all this knowledge if you don’t know how to wield it? Well, I’ll mostly leave that to you. Time to hit the battlefield and experiment. If you can find another scenario with 5 or more swing potential then share it with the world! Two rules: no Fifth Brother and single-character defenders only.
I will leave you with some general tips though. When choosing what to activate at the start of the turn, whether it be choosing to use a unit in reserve or not, or choosing who to use your Shatterpoint on, add up all the swing you need need to flip the desired objectives. Then evaluate the potential swing of the relevant characters on your side. This could help narrow down your decisions regarding who (whom? Me no English good) is worth activating.
If you know your opponent’s activation options in the near future, evaluate the swing potential on those enemy characters. This way you will know how valuable it will be to reinforce already claimed objectives with extra bodies.
Finally, consider swing potential all the way back in listbuilding. As much as I like characters like Darth Vader and General Obi-Wan, both are limited to just the basic two swing per activation. Pairing one of them up with someone like Luminara can open up a lot of objective play. Luminara in general is a great addition to most strike teams precisely because she adds one swing to every single activation due to her Flow of the Force ability (specifically the part where you can get a dash after wounding an enemy). Don’t go overboard on expensive abilities though! If you plan to pair Asajj and Talzin to spam Force Push and Manipulating Hand then you’ll need a solid plan to manage force.
Whether you’ve called it swing or not, you’ve probably already been evaluating the potential for characters to flip objectives. Hopefully this crash course/degree in Swing Theory has given you some new information to evaluate characters and situations on and off the battlefield!