Strike Team Spotlight! - Hera and Kanan

Strike Team Spotlight! - Hera and Kanan

Ah, the Spectres. The crew of Ghost. The Rebels of Lothal. Whatever you like to call them, they are one of the most notorious teams in all of Star Wars lore. If you have not watched Star Wars: Rebels, I seriously recommend it. It is, in my opinion, one of the best overall pieces of Star Wars media out there. Second only to The Clone Wars.

Some people might argue that playing squads purely based on who comes in what box is boring, but let me assure you: it is not. There is a reason that many of the Squad Packs are packaged the way that they are. Think Dooku+Jango+Magnas, one of the best teams in the game, and all came in the same pack. The Spectre team is no different. They all work incredibly well together and I love them. They are not only some of the most fun you can have in this game, but they are very good. Let's talk about why!


The Good

Flexibility - The Spectres are some of the most flexible units in Shatterpoint. Yes, they all have preferences, but if you can't make that work then it's not the end of the world. They are all Good at their preferred range and Solid at their not preferred range. Take Sabine for example, she loves shooting things, but if you need her to punch, she can still do it effectively. They also have such a wide variety of abilities and skills that you are generally pretty safe in any matchup. They have attrition, diceless displacement, solid defense, and good objective/board control.

Mobility - Oh my god, this team moves like nobody's business. Three of them have OOA movement tactics and the other three have abilities that allow them to do extra moves. Hera specifically might be one of the slowest units in the game, but the mobility support that she provides for the rest of the team makes up for that. The rest of them are all capable of moving a TON in and out of their own activations. If you need to capture a point across the map for the win, you can pretty much always count on one of them to do it.

Good Defense - This whole team is extremely defensive. They have lower-than-average Stamina, but that is made up by their defensive abilities, keywords, and expertise. Let's look at Chopper. He has 8 Stamina, which is fine for a Support. He also has only four defense dice at range and five in melee. Not bad, but not amazing either. He makes up for both of those by having Protection, Immunity [Pin], Immunity [Disarm], and one of the best Supporting Defensive Expertise charts in the game. Even after all of that, (which is just the tip of the iceberg as far as this team goes) even if you do manage to wound one of them, Kanan will come after you with one of the best 5-die attacks in the game. Good luck.

all things die — "Lightsaber? Isn't that the weapon of the...

Board Control - This team as a whole starts off with automatically worse board control than many other teams. They only have 6.5 bodies on the table vs the normal 8. In theory, but not always in practice, this means that you need to make up for your lack of bodies via other means. Luckily, this team has a lot of fun abilities that assist you in this area. Kanan has Force Push and his Idenenity, Ezra Wins Ties, Zeb can stay unwounded at will, Hera can wake people up and heal a lot of damage, Sabine can do area attacks with her bombs, and Chopper can, well, he's the weak link here. Five out of Six units have abilities that help your overall stance on the table and help you win and hold points.

Force Push is Force Push, so I won't get into that. What I do want to talk about are two abilities that I think have a MAJOR effect on the way this team wins games.

  1. Zeb's Lasan Honor Guard ability. This is an ability that a lot of people still do not think is that good. I disagree. This ability has singlehandedly won me multiple games. Yes, adding extra Injured Tokens sucks, but you know what sucks more? Being Wounded. With this ability, Zeb can completely ignore the state of being wounded. This allows you to throw him on a point and make sure that your opponent will not be able to win said point if they go after Zeb. Now, this does have some side effects. Once people realize how good this ability can be, they will likely stop trying to wound Zeb. This is good and bad. Good because it means you can always rely on Zeb to stay awake and generally healthy. Bad because it moves fire away from him and onto other, more important pieces. However, other pieces defend better so it's not the end of the world.
  2. Hera's We Will Not Stand Down. This is another ability that a lot of people seem to ignore. This is, in my opinion, Hera's best ability. It is a very similar ability to Zeb's except with this one you do NOT gain an additional Injured Token. There are two main reasons I love this ability. The first is, If you have a unit that is 1-2 damage away from being wounded, you can just use this on them. Since they do not become wounded by anything, your opponent does not gain any momentum. Basically, this ability denies your opponent momentum that they otherwise would have gained. The second reason is more common and much better. You can, during Hera's activation, use this ability on a unit that is wounded and "wake them up." If they're across the map and would be winning a point for you, but they're wounded? Good, use this. If they have an effect that they need to be unwounded to use? Good, use this. There are more use cases, but I don't have room here for all of them. The point is, that this ability is amazing and allows you to do things that other teams cannot. One last neat trick is that the rule book does not specify that a unit has a maximum amount of injured tokens. You can, tho not for super long, keep using this ability on a unit that has not activated but keeps getting wounded. At one point during a game I played recently, I had a Rebel Commando unit with 5 Injured Tokens on it (Activated Commandos -> They Got Wounded -> Hera Wakes them -> repeat four times due to lucky deck shuffle and reserves -> They activated and died). This will not happen very often, but it's not impossible.

Both of these abilities increase your overall control of the table. I'm not sure if I am explaining it super well, but both of these abilities are ones that you need to see in action to imagine the full value. The first time you wake up a Kanan and win a struggle because of it, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Tricks - This is similar to the last section, but has a few other things. I would classify both of the previous abilities as "Tricks" but I would also include some other ones. Ezra's Informant, Chopper's Mayhem, and Sabine's Fireworks all also come to mind. Sorta sneaky little things you can do that have the potential to change the flow of the game. Not much else to say here except to have fun blowing stuff up!

Support - This is also a shorter list, but most of these units have abilities that directly or indirectly support their team. Kanan can move another character or refresh force, Hera can move, heal, or wake up allies, Sabine can move an ally, Chopper can load up an enemy with conditions and possibly move an ally, and Zeb can keep himself awake which potentially allows you to do other things with your other units instead of babysitting one point. Some of those are not "Support" abilities in the traditional sense, but I'm sure you can see where I'm coming from on all of them. The traditional support abilities are mostly the movement and healing ones. I'll say this here: I think, Hera is up there for best "Support" Primary in the game. Probably still behind Luminara, but it's close.

Ezra Bridger Star Wars Rebels GIF - Ezra Bridger Star Wars Rebels Sabine  Wren - Discover & Share GIFs

The Bad

There is not a lot to say here or otherwise, I likely wouldn't be writing this article at all. There are a few things that I do feel like I need to talk about.

The Character Count - This is an issue, but not as big of an issue as you might expect. Yes, you win the game by putting bodies on points and if you start with fewer bodies, you'll have a harder time winning. This is the case for the Spectres some of the time. I would not recommend playing them on Sabotage Showdown if you can avoid it. Because all of the objectives are so close together, it makes it a lot easier for your opponent to steal points from you. Overall this fact is usually made up for by their Defenses, Exra's Tiebreak, and their Wake Up abilities. It really has not caused me any major issues yet.

Offense - They do not have bad offense. It's just not as good as some other teams. They just have a lower-than-average damage output as a team. They roll solid amounts of dice, have fairly good offensive expertise, but when you need that 7-9 damage, you can not rely on it to spike all that often. Kanan tops out at 7 and 10, Hera tops out at 7 and 7, Ezra at 8, Sabine at 8, Chopper at 7, and Zeb at 6. Those are some pretty low numbers, especially when you consider half of them need to roll a certain expertise to get there. Kanan supplements this via his identity, Sabine can help with her Fireworks, and Zeb can attack the same unit twice. Overall, they're not terrible at killing but it is something I would keep in mind.

The Meh

Force Hunger - This is not much of an issue, honestly it could be on their Pros. This team, much like Bad Batch, will be fine if you spend zero force. They can all do their jobs for free very easily. However, if you do want to splurge a little bit, you can spend almost all of your force on like two activations. They have abilities that are good but expensive. If you tally up how much force you would need to use all of their abilities (unwounded) it would take TWELVE. That's an average of two force per activation to use any extra ability. Obviously, that is rarely what you need or want to do. I have many more decks where I have more force than I know what to do with than I have decks where I run out. Do with this information what you will. Good or Bad, I'm not sure.

1/6 Hot Toys - TMS112 - Ahsoka series: Chopper | Page 3 | Collector Freaks  Collectibles Forum

The Team

I've talked a lot about Hera and Kanan already so I will mostly talk about the rest of the team here.

(From my Han+Kanan Article) Sabine stole my heart in a way that I was not anticipating. She is a wonderful secondary and has many very helpful and always relevant abilities. She is pretty tanky, very offensive, and fairly mobile.

Ezra is wonderful. He has so many fantastic abilities that are all very relevant and, many, game-winning. His tiebreak is phenomenal and the rest of his abilities are excellent. The abilities that he has to mess with enemy supports are both hilariously good. He can pull off some major swings. He also hits fairly well and dishes out a solid amount of conditions, shoves, heals, and extra moves. Overall, he is very very good.

Zeb is awesome. He has a whole slew of abilities that are helpful and consistently good. He is pretty capable of wounding other supports and secondaries on a fairly consistent level. His double attack is pretty nice when it's only one force. He is also incredibly tanky. I know he has three durability so that you can use Lasan, but that means if you don't use that ability he has the same amount of HP as many Primaries. I've already spoken at length about his Lasan ability.

Chopper plays exactly like the little war-criminal robot we all wanted. He creates problems every time he goes. Whether it be throwing 9 dice into a Jedi and shoving them away or loading up an enemy with conditions. He, in my opinion, is the weakest link of this team, but he's not that far behind, nor is he bad. If everyone else is S-A Tier, Chop is B-Tier.

TV Quibbles: Star Wars: Rebels – Series Review – Quibbles and Scribbles

The Strategy

Before I wrap up this spotlight, I am going to briefly talk about some tactics I employ with this team.

Let's break down the abilities here. Barring very uncommon situations and circumstances, this is how I use the team's abilities 80-90% of the time. Starting with the Tactics.

  1. Kanan always starts the game (and spends most of it) in Pack Leader. He targets anyone who can contest a point with a single dash otherwise it's on a case-by-case basis. I will flip to Soresu if he will be punching a lot or if I know I will be activating him again this deck, and need a force refresh.
  2. Hera is similar. There is a basic hierarchy for abilities like this: 1. Units that can win points 2. Units that have not activated 3. units that can contest points 4. whatever else. If Kanan has not activated yet, he is my choice 90% of the time otherwise it is pretty dependent on the table.
  3. Sabine targets whoever will allow her to proc her free focus easier.

I like to split them up into three general teams. These are not hard and fast teams, but more of a general idea of who I lump together. This does not necessarily mean they stick together on the table all the time, but also the role I see them in.

  1. Kanan and Ezra - Not only is it thematic but the two of them work well together, especially with Ezra's movement reactive.
  2. Sabine and Zeb - This is my flex team who can play offense or defense. They can push with Kanan or hang back with Hera. Whatever you need these two to do, they can usually do it.
  3. Hera and Chopper - They like to hang back-mid and play defense. Keep Hera unwounded so her abilities don't get too expensive. If you really need them to run and do something they can but it's best for them to chill away from the biggest scrum.

With a lot of that said I would still recommend keeping at least one other team near Hera at all times so they benefit from cover and her Identity if you use it.

As I mentioned, Kanan starts and spends most of the game in Pack Leader, occasionally swapping to Soresu. Hera usually starts and generally stays in Spread a Little Light for most of the game. The one time I will swap is if I need the extra defense dice in melee.

That's about all I have to say here! I would strongly urge you to give them a go when you can. They are a lot of fun and very good. Let me know what you think about them!

Thanks for reading!