YHWARGGHHHHHH! - (The Barracks, Wookiee Commanders)
The new hotness is Wookiees!
"Into exile I must go" says Captain Rex. The new hotness is Wookiees! Spamming clones isn't enough anymore after the recent changes to token sharing and a points increase on some key pieces (though cloneball isn't dead, more on that another time). If it isn't clones, then what is GAR going to do?
The answer is our furry friends from afar! Wookiees have been tearing up the meta for a while now, and with the US release of the new Wookiee Warriors there is a greater presence of them than ever. Clones now have access to Wookiees, and they have an extra piece that the Rebel Alliance doesn't have: the Wookiee Chieftain.
This guy has it all! A keyword soup on both his unit card and with his ranged weapon, let's break down everything he has to offer.
- Agile 1 makes him tankier than most other Wookiees, and synergizes well with Duelist
- Duelist! Bonuses for spending Aims or Dodges on offense and defense is always nice!
- Good weapons, native Pierce in ranged and conditional pierce in melee
- Not a clone, so no token sharing
- Low courage, even with Indomitable
- White defense dice. Still making those Wookiees feel like rebels!
100 Points - This feels like a steal. When you compare a unit like this you can see a few flaws, but he's basically Diet Jedi, and in a faction that is full of high costed units it feels good to get a bargain. Typically you'll be putting him anywhere from 104-113 points depending on what upgrades you use.
Four black dice in ranged with a native Pierce 1 and Impact 1 is about all you can ask for! A lot of GAR's Pierce comes from Jedi, so a ranged Pierce is a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one! In melee, his weapon has the same double rainbow as Kenobi's saber, and Duelist lets him get Pierce 1 in melee on top of his rerolls, which means getting this guy aims is never a bad idea. Charge gives great action economy and opens up your ability to gain aims a lot more.
White dice with surge, blech! This isn't all though, as Agile 1 will help him stay alive, and with him running around using Charge he might rack up a few. Duelist also helps keep him away from those saber blades, as long as he has dodges, which we know he'll have! Don't rely on dodges too much though, as they will run out, and he still just has white dice beyond that.
This is always a welcome addition in a clone list. Most of the time you'll be running Vigilance here, as it works well with your natural Agile and can benefit your Duelist or your Wookiee Warrior's Duelist, not to mention any clones that have dodge tokens. Improvised Orders might not be a bad idea as well since you're most likely not just running a standard corps gunline.
Your bread and butter slot, at least one of these will go filled every time. I almost always choose Offensive Push and Situational Awareness, in that order. Tenacity is great, and a very close third pick, but the defensive value of Situational Awareness combined with Agile 1 and Duelist, along with the abundance of crits flying around these days, makes me want to run Situational Awareness almost anywhere I can.
There's probably only one choice here, and it's Recon Intel. 2 points to be closer to your target or in better cover is almost always worth it, but leaving it empty isn't a bad idea either.
It's important to discuss with the Wookiee Chieftain the command cards included. Each one provides a marginal upside to the generic cards, and it sets up some interesting plays for a Wookiee centric list.
GRROOOOGRRRAAAAWRRRRRRRRMPH - 1 Pip
No, someone didn't just fall asleep on their keyboard. All of these cards are written in Shyriiwook! This one pip is nasty, and it plays to the strengths of the high health Wookiees. When a Commander Wookiee trooper unit issues an order to a Special Forces or Support unit (namely Wookiee Warriors or Gnasp Fluttercraft) then it gets an aim, dodge, and surge if it is wounded or has lost a mini. For a 1 Pip this is an extremely good play! On the turn of your approach this can help bolster a unit that is in harm's way or has already been targeted, plus it activates the Duelist for melee Wookiees! If running a Wookiee Commander and special forces that aren't snipers, this feels like a no brainer.
MROWGH GHRRMROWRIG! - 2 Pip
Now stipulating that the benefit must go to a Wookiee trooper unit, this card is the Fear and Dead Men or Full of Surprises for Wookiee lists. A great pick that allows for a safer approach on the turn before you start slicing and dicing, this 2 Pip gives Wookiee Warriors Agile 1, or gives your Wookiee Chieftain Agile 2, both of which are great to get in there and start fighting! An interesting note is that the orders can go to any trooper, but the benefits are only to Wookiee troopers, so in a pinch, this is a Push!
YHWARGGHHHHHHHHHH! - 3 Pip
Again with both the caveat of being a Wookiee trooper for the benefit, but any trooper for the order, the Wookiee 3 Pip sadly is the worst of the three. A 3 Pip is too slow for an effect like Demoralize where you want to be already in the thick of it when you activate, and even then Demoralize isn't impactful enough in the way that Inspire can be. Not the worst choice in the world, especially if you're running three Wookiee Warrior squads, but sometimes this is just going to be an Alt-Art Assault.
There isn't only one Wookiee Commander though, we've got our old pal Chewbacca!
A sidestep from the Wookiee Chieftain, Chewbacca retains a lot of what makes Chewbacca good in rebels, but gains a few other tricks as well! This article is about the Wookiee Chieftain at its core though, so instead of doing a full unit breakdown (which I am sure I'll do at a later date), I'm just going to do a comparison between the two.
90 Points - He's cheaper! 10 points isn't nothing, and if you really need those 10 elsewhere don't be afraid to drop to Chewie. I think that 90 is a good place for him, and I feel happy spending 94-100 points every time I run Chewbacca.
With 2 Reds and 2 Whites and gaining the Critical 1 keyword, Chewbacca's Bowcaster is better only because of Critical 1. The odds of 4 Black dice with Surge:Hit are averaging 2.5 hits, which is the same as 2 Red and 2 White with Surge:Hit. This means that Chewbacca can do a good job with dealing Armor damage between Critical 1, Impact 1, and Pierce 1, but is otherwise the same.
The melee is where it gets dicier. Bad puns aside, the four Red dice of Chewbacca's attack average 3.5 hits, and gain Pierce for the cost of an Aim because of Lethal. This looks better than the 3.25 hits that the Ancestral Weapon gets, but Duelist is a Wookiee's best friend. Duelist lets you get Pierce and rerolls, which means you can bump those hits up. It also has a larger dice pool, so a higher damage ceiling. So it might FEEL better to roll 4 Reds, but it might BE better to have the Ancestral Weapon on your side.
Chewbacca has two extra health and Reliable 2, which can be comparable to the natural Surge:Defense of the Wookiee Chieftain. If you use Guardian you'll be taking more hits, but with Enrage you'll get a greater benefit because of that. No Agile is the greatest detriment here, and what makes the Wookiee Chieftain potentially way tankier than he looks.
Chewbacca has the same slots as the Wookiee Chieftain except no Command slot, so without Vigilance he retains a lower defensive power. I advocate for all of the same upgrades on here as I do on the Chieftain, except this time I would put Tenacity up higher on the list, and bump Situational Awareness down.
I think overall the Wookiee Chieftain is better. It has greater defensive capabilities, a higher offensive ceiling, and the points difference isn't enough to make a huge difference.
This is a very basic Wookiee gunline. It has 4 Wookiee troopers, and 6 clones, so token sharing and a good melee presence! This isn't the best build, but more a picture of what pieces may look like. You can drop an activation for more heavies, or swap the melee Wookiees for ranged ones to better use the Bowcaster. Either way, these are the bones on which a Wookiee gunline list should be built.
This gunline takes the Gnasp as a disrupt piece rather than bringing clone heavies, which will hopefully draw fire off of your Wookiee Warriors. If you want a deeper bid, you can drop Recon Intels or a Comms Jammer, though with so many droid lists running around I would want at least one Jammer. The Bombardier vs the Gunner is a tough choice that the meta has yet to decide, but either seems to be good, even if playstyles are drastically different. R2-D2 is included as a way to heal your Gnasps, and an additional point with Secret Mission, though he can be easily swapped out for another Phase I squad if you would prefer that.
This list takes advantage of Padme's standby/token sharing to get Wookiees closer to the enemy without as much threat. In theory the heat is spread out amongst a lot of units, therefore allowing many of them to survive. In practice, it may be a pipe dream. At the very least, its a lot of Wookiees and therefore a lot of good muscle in ranged and melee.
This is an example of what Yoda could look like with a group of Wookiees and their Chief. This list looks to use the Wookiee's native Charge and Yoda's Guidance to make the most out of their melee. 5 Phase I squads are included for objective play, and to bolster activations.
This ranged Wookiee list makes the most of the Pierce found on Wookiee weapons to punch through the current CIS lists. Maul, Dwarf Spider Droids, and Kraken are all showing up in droves, and this list looks to hit hard with Pierce and Impact. On top of that, this hurts Dewback lists with their Armor 1. Definitely experimental, and if anyone has tried something this I would love to know what they've thought of the ranged Wookiees.
It's weird. It's wacky. It looks like a case study in crazy list building. This list is taking advantage of two things: Grroooogrrraaaawrrrrrrrrmph working on any Special Forces unit, and the "in your face" nature of the LAAT. Start with the Chieftain on board the LAAT, and play Synchronized Offensive. That will let you get 4 Orders on a 1 Pip, getting your troopers into place. Then, on the turn that you've lost a mini in the ARC squad, fire support a Z-6 or RPS onto their heavily modded shot, and watch something get blown sky high. It's janky, but it puts a lot of underused pieces on the table at once, and who can really be opposed to that?
The Wookiee Chieftain and Chewbacca are both welcome additions to the ranks of the clones, and they open up many new playstyles for a faction that was pretty stagnant for a while. Their command cards benefit this new archetype, and time will tell if the commanders will work well as Jedi Lite, or just with their fellow furry friends. Either way, the Wookiee Commanders are a blast to play, and I highly recommend you play them soon.