21 September 2016 | Star Wars: Imperial Assault

It Is the Future You See

Zach Bunn on the Rebel Faction of Imperial Assault

“General, count me in.”
   
–Leia Organa, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Through the skirmish games of Imperial Assault, you have the chance to enter the Star Wars universe as the leader of a trained strike team. Your objectives may lead you to infiltrate an Imperial facility, carry out a tactical assassination, or gather information from the locals. Of course, it’s never just that easy—there’s always another strike team, trying to accomplish the same goals and fighting to stop you by any means possible.

Last time, we welcomed Zach Bunn of Team Covenant to give an overview of the Imperial faction, exploring some of their best builds and strategies to help in the midst of your training for the Imperial Assault World Championships. Today, Zach continues his series of faction reviews with a look at the protectors of freedom: the Rebel Alliance.

Zach Bunn on the Rebel Faction

Continuing our journey through each faction of Imperial Assault, we venture to the Outer Rim to visit the base of true scum and villainy… the Rebel Alliance! Before we get into the current state of the Rebel Alliance, we need to look at what has changed at the core.

The Core

We can’t get too far in analyzing the Rebels without discussing a pair of units that have become the hallmark of just about every Rebel list. I am talking, of course, about Gideon Argus and C-3PO! We don’t need to go into the numbers here, but it’s safe to say that you would be hard pressed to find a better five points in any faction.

Access to early and guaranteed Focus is incredible. And if that weren’t enough, you get the side benefits of an extra evade from C-3PO and the movement of Gideon Argus, along with extra activations. This is great for cards like Take Initiative, but extra activations can also help you learn your opponent’s intentions before you commit your strongest units.

The short version? This is where nearly every Rebel list is going to start:

1 x Gideon Argus
1 x C-3PO

You might be surprised to see Rebel Saboteurs, once an absolute Rebel staple, not on my core list. They used to be nearly an auto-include, but slowly and surely, they’re seeing less and less play in competitive armies. Why might this be the case?

There are several reasons. For starters, the 4 x 4 army, composed of four groups of Royal Guards and four Imperial Officers, has all but disappeared, due to errata and the rules change that allowed players to pass on activations. The Rebel Saboteurs also had an errata themselves. While all of this played a role, there is an even more important factor to this change…

Zillo Technique.

You’re right, I spent most of my Imperial faction overview talking about this card. Enough is enough, right? Not even close! This is why Zillo Technique is so, so good. Literally every faction has to think about this skirmish upgrade when they are building a list. 

This card in and of itself makes the Rebel Saboteurs much less potent. The ability to cancel Pierce 2 and add a block to an attack drastically lowers the odds of scoring damage and having surges left to create blast damage. Further, Zillo Technique has changed Imperial lists to feature more armored, defensive black dice over the agile white dice. 

The Rebel Saboteurs are still an effective unit that is an option for your team, but they’re far from the “must-have” unit that they were in the past. And added variety is a good thing, even for those of us who spent endless hours painting our Saboteurs just right.


Zach's painted Rebel Saboteurs in action!

A New General

Gideon Argus and C-3PO are part of the core of any Rebel list, but I would argue that they aren’t the end of it. Ever since her arrival, Leia Organa has been a torchbearer for the Rebel Alliance—maybe even more so than her brother, Luke Skywalker. She’s one of the best units in the game, she easily fits into almost every theme that the Rebels currently have, and her ability to recur Command cards is extremely useful against the rising tide of strain-centric lists popping up from the Mercenaries. 

Ultimately, she acts as the final piece of what I believe to be the current foundational archetype of the Rebels:

1 x Gideon
1 x C-3PO
1 x Leia Organa

How you want to take your strike team from here is really up to you. The decisions you make with the rest of your points will affect your Command deck heavily. Speaking of which, a relatively safe starting point for your Command deck is something like:

1 x Take Initiative
1 x Urgency
1 x Element of Surprise
1 x Planning
1 x Negation
1 x Heart of Freedom
9 x cards based on how you spend your other points 

In my opinion, the two strongest options to pair with this Rebel core are Force Users and Troopers. Let’s take a look at what each of these directions might look like!

One with the Force

The natural starting point when looking at a Force User list is Luke Skywalker. He’s the poster boy for Rebel Force Users and is still quite strong, coming in at only ten points. Another Force User, Davith Elso, has also grabbed my attention since he came out in The Bespin Gambit. It’s also important to note that he has the Spy subtype, letting us really build on the Spy theme we began with Leia Organa.

Spies are important, because they have recently gained access to a few of the most powerful Command cards in the game. Leia Organa’s ability to recur those Command cards makes them even better. 

My Rebel Force User list currently looks like:

1 x Gideon Argus
1 x C-3PO
1 x Leia Organa
1 x Luke Skywalker
1 x Davith Elso
1 x Elite Rebel Saboteurs
1 x Rebel High Command

My Command deck goes something like this:

1 x Take Initiative
1 x Urgency
1 x Element of Surprise
1 x Planning
1 x Negation
1 x Heart of Freedom
1 x Son of Skywalker
1 x Force Illusion
2 x Slippery Target
1 x Strategic Shift
1 x Comm Disruption
3 x cards of your choice

Strength in Numbers

A Rebel Troopers army has also become quite strong over the last few releases, and if you haven’t played with or against it in some time, I highly recommend it. There are lot more options when it comes to this list, but I generally start with:

1 x Gideon Argus
1 x C-3PO
1 x Leia Organa
1 x Elite Rebel Troopers
1 x Elite Rebel Troopers

With the command deck, you’ll want to add two copies of Reinforcements and probably Grenadier. Outside of that, the rest of your list and Command deck are going to depend on how you finish building and what you expect to encounter.

Always in Motion Is the Meta

Throughout this article, I mention that your choices would ultimately be guided by what you expect to see on the other side of the table. It can be difficult to predict the meta, but that’s the greatest challenge for the Rebel Alliance. They don’t have obvious includes or preset lists, but they have enough tools to answer anything the Imperials or Mercenaries might have in store. The trick is predicting what you’ll see on the field of battle.

With a slew of new additions coming in Jabba’s Realm later this year, I’m anxiously awaiting the continued growth of options for the skirmish game. The game has reached a great point and it’s impressive how many older units and cards are becoming more relevant with each new release. The meta is always in motion and the past must be revisited to successfully navigate the future.

In my next article, we’ll see what the Mercenaries have to offer in the Imperial Assault skirmish. Until then, may the Force be with you all!

Zach

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