Out of the Shadows - The Barracks
"At last we will reveal ourselves to the players" - Maul, a Rival
Shadow Collective is finally here! After weeks and weeks of buildup we have hit the moment where we figured out what the battle force composition is for Shadow Collective, and it is a doozy!
The basic trade off is 1 fewer Corps unit in exchange for an extra Special Forces, alongside a collective 4 Commanders and Operatives. There's very few options for Special Forces, Support, and Heavy units, but the options for Commanders and Operatives make up for it. This is hardly a faction of corps gunline spamming and some sniper teams to back them up, but instead you will most commonly want a powerful leader or lynchpin piece to be at the head of your army, with some troops behind them. Today, I want to dive in to how to build Shadow Collective, what upgrades might be good with them, and how many of each unit you should buy!
Remember that thing I just said about no generic gunlines? Well having 4 commanders and strong corps units seems like maybe a generic gunline won't be awful. The nice thing about this list is not just the firepower and sheer number of wounds it has, but it also greatly benefits from having low order control, as every corps unit has at least one instance of Independent. The speeder truck is there because of extra points and to get the Mag Det Enforcers in there, but you could also do Super Commandos if you wanted to.
For lists that want to use just Maul then I feel this may be what shows up. A couple of Corps units with long range firepower, but mostly this list wants to get up in your face and kick it in (or blast it, or blow it up, etc.). Commander Maul is great because you aren't forced to take Saber Throw anymore, so now you can take another force upgrade, of which I like Burst of Speed for his Duel of the Fates turn. This list should be fairly tanky too between the Pykes, Mandos with combat shields, and Maul having a 2 heal card.
This list seeks to combine Maul's new command cards with Gar Saxon and his command cards that seem specifically tailored to work with at least two Mando squads. Gar is like a Swiss army knife and it seems like he'll be a great fit for many Shadow Collective lists. Five Pykes back up the heavy hitters as some objective grabbers, though they don't have a commander nearby to keep from using Self-Preservation so you'll have to be careful about keeping their suppression low.
So I can't take full credit for this, but I saw either on Reddit or on Discord that Saxon's Compel and Bane's Steady and Danger Sense seem like a match made in heaven. Alongside Gar's 1 Pip you've got a lean, mean, bounty hunting machine. Gar can weaken the target and Bane finish them off, or just have Bane slide in there with Seize the Initiative. Comms Relay is there for Bane's cards if you don't need him to go at a certain point, but you can also cheekily use it alongside Seize as a way to get an order onto a crucial unit close by. A couple of Super Commandos are there for backup, and points can be shifted around for either more corps, better heavy weapons, or both!
If I had said "gar double bounty" a year ago you might have thought that Republic was getting two bounty hunters, but nope! Instead Saxon leads two bounty hunters now and makes that 1 Pip even tastier. Forcing your opponent to play something like Vaps can make it very favorable for you since you have 2(!) additional ways to get a point. Double bounty has never looked more viable than it does now.
So I can safely say that I expect to see something like this do well at some point. It HATES pierce, but it has an insanely high survivability and a really high offensive capability. This is a list that is built for fast paced objectives so if you want to shed some points then you can drop a couple upgrades and grab a bid, because you may really want to try and force Bombing Run or Breakthrough, as both of those can be good for you with over half your list being speed 3.
So as you've probably already seen, a few upgrades are popping up repeatedly. Instead of doing in depth dive into why each upgrade is good, I'll instead categorize them into three types: Offensive, Defensive, Flexible.
- Offensive Push/Hunter (duh)
- Unorthodox Tactician
- Frenzied Gunner
- Super Commando Gunslinger
- Super Commando Jetpack Rockets
- The Darksaber
- Saxon's Galar-90 Rifle (and his other armaments)
- Up Close and Personal(!!!!)
- The Combat Shield's (Saxon's and Super Commando's)
- Backworld Medic (only unspecified heal in Shadow Collective)
- Prepared Supplies
- Situational Awareness
- Lead By Example
- Seize the Initiative
- Comms Relay
- Improvised Orders
All of these upgrades will end up in a Shadow Collective list at some point, but I'm sure I've missed some as well, so let me know in the comments below!
The Buying Guide
So I can't tell you what to get. Or I guess I can, but you don't have to follow it. Here is what I am recommending for if you are playing Shadow Collective fully, and then also my recommendation for each faction. All of this assumes that you have the basic movement tools and dice. (note: there is a points update coming out tomorrow, 6/14, so this buying guide may be made immediately obsolete)
- 3 Shadow Collective starter
- 1 Pykes
- Gar Saxon
- Cad Bane
- Card Pack II
As of right now this seems like the best composition for a starter army, unless you want way more Pykes or Black Sun, but this gives you 7 corps units so you have some variety. Originally I had 2 Shadow Collective starters and then 2 Pykes, 1 Black Sun, but then I realized that literally is the same cost as a starter, so why not get an extra set of Mandos and Maul too! this brings you to 4 Pykes, 3 Black Sun, and 3 Mandos, which feels like a good start. Perhaps the AA-5 will be good here in Shadow Collective, but for right now it didn't seem terribly pressing unless you want to valet Cad Bane into your enemy's lines.
- 3 Pykes
- Card Pack II
This feels obvious, but rebels can only use Pykes at the moment, so that's all they need! Unless the Pykes come with Lead By Example, I also recommend getting that from the Card Pack because Rebels will love having even greater Inspire.
- 3 Pykes
- 2 Black Sun
- Card Pack II
Obviously you could do 2 starters here instead of 2 boxes of Pykes and 2 of Black Sun, but they can't use those other models so this is for the sake of this argument (though the Shadow Collective box is such a great value, I'd always recommend it). Empire is going to love extra bounty hunters and then some cheaper or more versatile corps options, so they'll get a tad bit of usage out of those.
GAR (Not Saxon)
- 3 Pykes
- Did I mention 3 Pykes?
- I would highly suggest 3 Pykes
- Like seriously 3 Pykes seems like it'd be good
- Nah they don't need anything
- That was a test, they do need something and its 3 Pykes
I've made myself clear. 3 Pykes frees up 36 points in any GAR list that has 6 corps, which seems like an amazing way to pad activations and to allow you to play some of the cooler aspects of GAR without having to think about their cost as much.
- Cad Bane
- Card Pack II
CIS is loving Independent on bounty hunters. With their way to force them as the only units in the bag, this is an amazing addition to some units that were already seeing more play. I would highly recommend this, and then Black Sun and Pykes are lower on your priorities because B1s and B2s fill very similar roles (even if it isn't as well) and the flesh and bones units can throw off your order chain.
Moral of the story is Pykes seem to be good, Shadow Collective is going to be tons of fun, and this seems to be the biggest breath of fresh air breathed into Legion in a long time, and it seems like it'll only get fresher. Legion is in a great spot right now and has been for a while, so if it continues in this trend then we may have entered into the golden era of a great game. Let me know what you're most excited for in Shadow Collective, and I'll be back next week (or maybe sooner) with more Star Wars: Legion content here on Dice and Cardboard. Thanks for tuning in!