The Barracks - Let's Rank the Supports
Following a bit of a meta shift, and the rise of some new powerhouses in this category, I have decided to rank the Support units as of January 2022!
Hello! I'm Blaze Firestar, a new writer here at Dice and Cardboard focusing on Star Wars Legion! I've been an avid tabletop game player for about eight years now, have played Star Wars X-Wing for six years, and have played Star Wars Legion for two! My favorite Star Wars movie is The Empire Strikes Back, though Rogue One is a close second.
Following a bit of a meta shift, and the rise of some new powerhouses in this category, I have decided to rank the Support units as of January 2022! This tier list will not be in a vacuum, and each unit will be evaluated both within its faction and within the category as a whole, so let's dive in!
Your S Tier units are ones that you are happy to be including in your list, and will get milage in nearly every matchup. They can be the crux of a list or the support to a larger piece, but they serve a specific role and they serve it well.
Dewback Riders were released alongside Tauntauns in late 2019, and while initially underwhelming compared to their furry counterparts, they have recently come into their own. Points decreases and support for both Operative and Commander Vader and themselves means that they are now able to pressure your opponent with a heavy melee threat without sacrificing elsewhere in the list, and that puts them as prime candidates for best Support unit at the moment.
The T-21 armament being the cheapest (and still quite good) means that most players are taking it, though the flamethrower unit can be good against a droid heavy meta. Tenacity is typically your choice for the training slot, but Endurance can be good too with Spur. Commonly the comms slot is left open, but Comms Jammer and the new Hacked Comms Unit can be good for when you make it to the enemy's forces.
DSD1 Dwarf Spider Droid
A recent addition to the support roster, the DSD1 Dwarf Spider Droid has made a name for itself quite quickly. Being customizable and versatile means that it can fit just about any role in your list, and the new protocol cards are much of the reason why.
Starting with no ranged attack, only the new self-destruct attack, you are near required to equip a Hardpoint, and thankfully all of them are well worth equipping. The generic Nose-Mounted Laser Cannon comes in at 15 points, and as a solid range 1-3 weapon it is worth what you are paying for it, but the Nose-Mounted Ion Blaster take the cake for best choice (in most cases). Range 2-4 with 3 Black, 3 White, Ion 1, Impact 2, and Cycle is just a wonderful mix, and it comes in five points cheaper than the other two options. Ion is rare, and a good ion weapon is even rarer, but the Separatists are shaping up to be their own worst nightmare with the amount of ion running around on the nose of a Dwarf Spider.
The Flamethrower gets an honorable mention because it is fun and pairs really well with the self-destruct attack, but sometimes it can be tough to close range.
The A Tier is populated with a menagerie of units, all of which are fast and dangerous. These unit are good, but can sometimes be anti-synergistic with your list if you try and force them in, and oftentimes have to be supported or built around to be good.
In this case it's not the tauntauns getting cut open, but your opponents on the other end of their claws! They're finally getting revenge for being killed off early in The Empire Strikes Back, and they mean business.
Tauntauns are good in melee, and what makes them shine is the Ram 1 keyword. Changing any die result to a critical is great, and doing it twice is even better! This means that you can stay a decent ways away, charge into battle, and deal at bare minimum two crits! The typical build of Tauntauns is to go all in on them, and to run three sets with Tenacity and HQ Uplink (or sometimes changing out one Uplink for a Comms Jammer).
The problem of Tauntauns is not one of their own and rather the faction. Rebels have, in many ways, been the faction of identity crisis. They have strong commanders, strong operatives, strong special forces, and recently have received strong heavy options. Tauntauns, while still good, often cannot compare with the role that Wookiees have recently filled, or that Luke or Sabine could fill. They have their place in many ways and in many lists, but will remain on the sidelines until their time in the spotlight returns.
Another unit that once reigned supreme and has had a slight fall from glory, STAP Riders are the big older brother to Imperial speeder bikes. What speeder bikes do well, STAPs do better, and their (relatively) recent nerf was more of a trade off than a direct nerf.
They have coordinate, Critical 1, and Agile, all of which are great benefits to them! The drawback of STAPs is their fragility. 6 total health between the two figures, no surges, and the need for speed means that they die to focus fire fast. They often serve their purpose though before dying, which gives them a wonderful role of glass cannon. They sit well within A Tier, but are rarely a bad pick for any non-hero centric list.
Raddaugh Gnasp Fluttercraft
What potentially may be a hot take, the Raddaugh Gnasp Fluttercraft is a newcomer to the Legion scene just like the DSD, and it seems to be slotting into new GAR archetypes well. With recent changes to the faction and less of an emphasis on token sharing amongst clones, GAR has new strategies opening up. The Gnasp fills those holes in a unique way, introducing a new keyword, Overrun, and a new way to used speeders with a Fixed: Rear weapon.
Cheap and efficient, the Gnasp has two options for dealing damage (because let's face it, the pilot's pistol is just there as a backup). The first is the Wookiee Bombardier, which brings the Gnasp to 75 points and grants it an Overrun attack. This attack is performed when you move through an enemy unit, after you have finished displacement. It doesn't allow for Fire Support, and doesn't place suppression (unless the weapon has Suppressive), but it does ignore cover and because of the Overrun 2 keyword, can be performed twice. This means that when the Gnasp is on the flank of your enemy's forces, it can be moving and performing two attacks a turn and still have an extra action leftover! The other gunner grants a good weapon with Pierce 1 and Impact 1, through with Fixed: Rear, it becomes a new puzzle as to how to consistently strafe and get shots with it.
This is why I currently put the Gnasp in A Tier. It has a lot of potential, and as GAR is becoming less focused on running mass clones it gains more viable strategies, and it may be an interesting counter-meta pick with it being immune to Melee and having Cover 2. It still suffers from no token sharing, a sad problem that many units are facing in GAR, but it is a solid vehicle with multiple new, unique, and viable strategies that is sure to find a place somewhere.
B Tier units are the units that serve a purpose, but are rarely taken, and are often more niche than other options. They can be gimmicky, or just tough to run correctly, but aren’t collecting dust on your shelf.
E-Web Heavy Blaster Team
The E-Web has always been the cousin that shows up for Thanksgiving and Christmas but isn’t seen the rest of the year. It’s got three options for being run:
- On the back of a GAV
- With a Shoretrooper gunline
- Because you want cheap activation padding with decent firepower
The nice thing about the E-Web is its cheap with surge to crit and it can become suppressive with the Barrage Generator. This makes it like a Mortar Trooper without range 4, but with actual firepower. It rounds out gunlines nicely, and can be coordinated from Shoretroopers since its an emplacement trooper, but it being a support is its biggest problem. Oftentimes dedicated gunlines are running six corps, three special forces, and a commander, sometimes two. Rarely do they run anything in the support category, which makes order control a bit clunky, but they see enough niche play to warrant a spot in B Tier.
74-Z Speeder Bikes
The comparison of STAPs, and often the one that is discredited, 74-Z Speeder Bikes are the quick, short range threats of STAPs without all of the fancy toys. Bearing both offensive and defensive surge, they have decent offensive and defensive capabilities, but for 70 points it doesn’t carry the weight it needs to. They lack the flashiness of STAPs and the versatility of BARCs, and are left being right in the middle of cool and functional. If you bring Speeder Bikes you aren’t making the wrong choice, but you will have to work to make them worth their while.
C Tier units are classified as units that serve a very specific purpose in your list, and are otherwise not worth taking. Sometimes that purpose is a cool factor, sometimes it’s a flamethrower, but it's always a specific role.
A good indication of early power creep is the rebel AT-RT. Good, but not great, the AT-RT is often outclassed in melee by Tauntauns and wookiees, in ranged by nearly any special forces unit, and its left being the flamethrower cannon. AT-RTs were once the powerhouse of early rebel lists, but have since been outclassed by the firepower of units in nearly every category. Flamethrowers are gimmicky, and despite having armor, they are still susceptible to focus fire and, now more than ever, Impact.
It isn’t the worst option to take an AT-RT, but if you are bringing one you have to know what your game plan is with it in any situation, otherwise it can end up being dead weight holding you back.
Ever since their first appearance in The Phantom Menace, Droidekas have been one of the coolest droids to appear on screen. They are defensively strong, intimidating, and can be tricky to handle if not prepared. All of this transfers over to Legion, so why are they in C Tier? The sad answer is that they are massively outclassed, even after points decreases. Their firepower is ok, and Suppressive is a handy keyword that Separatists rarely have access to, but they are slow (wheel mode is sadly too gimmicky to be good, even though thematically it is awesome), they lack offensive surges, and their AI can hold them back. Shielded makes them tanky, but issuing orders to them is a hassle that isn’t worth fighting, especially because of their slow speeds.
Recently they have seen niche play with points decreases, but they still aren’t good enough to give a second thought to, and having to compete with DSDs and STAPs only makes this worse.
It looks better in almost every way. It is more versatile with a rocket launcher as the included weapon, Scout 1, and defensive surge, but clones have one major problem: they are buddies! The Gnasp foregoes this problem by filling a niche and having a distinct playstyle, but time will tell if that is enough to bring the AT-RT to light. Right now a clone gunline can have better offensive firepower, share tokens, and be more defensive than an AT-RT, and order control is made better.
A flamethrower or a rotary blaster can be nice, but for their cost (both opportunity and in list building), the AT-RT is outclassed.
D Tier units are the ones you bring for when you really want that one scene recreated, or have a very specific purpose in mind. Often gimmicky, overcosted, and underwhelming, these units can’t help but sit on your shelf and gather dust.
Oh how cool it was to see Obi-Wan Kenobi and his clones ride in on these in 2003’s The Clone Wars. Oh how sad it is that he isn’t a pilot. The BARC Speeder is the redheaded stepchild of the speeders, and even after impactful points cuts, they still suffer the same problem of any non-clone trooper unit in GAR: why not take a clone? A unit has to be incredible in order to be worth taking when they’re not a clone, which is why we’ve seen Jedi, Wookiees, Padme, and R2 show up, but haven’t seen LAATs, BARCs, and AT-RTs. Maybe it’s just that the Republic have something against capital letters, but more likely its that the BARC is underclassed in every way.
1.4 FD Laser Cannon Team
Remember those awesome cannons they shot at the legs of AT-ATs at the start of Empire Strikes Back? Well translate every aspect of that to Legion and you’ve got the 1.4 FD Laser Cannon Team. The Dish Turret sadly is about as effective in Legion as it was against AT-ATs, which is to say that it does very little except blow up. Brandishing decent firepower, and gaining the ability to throw out an attack with high Impact or Impact and Suppressive, the Dish Turret becomes limited by its inability to move. This means that a poor placement, a bad map, or good maneuvering by your opponent could mean that you’ve spent 68+ points on a terrain piece.
If you want an incredibly thematic Battle of Hoth list, or if you just want to chuck tons of dice in a range 1-5 cone, the Dish Turret is for you. Otherwise, I’d toss your points somewhere else.
Star Wars Legion is full of unique and well designed support units. The "Rule of Cool" reigns supreme, and this tier list is more in terms of meta play than it is in kitchen table play, so don't let this define what you bring to your next game night. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and check back soon for more Star Wars Legion, X-Wing and Armada content.