(Four) Armed and ready for battle General Grievous and his Squad are the latest models we’re going to be taking an early thoughts look into for Star Wars Shatterpoint following their release last week.
General Grievous led the robotic army of Clones into many battles during the Clone Wars and was a thorn in the side of the Republic and the Jedi for many years. A Kalessh Cyborg who learned many forms of LightSaber Combat under the teachings of Count Douku he took many a Jedi life and collected their Sabers to form part of his trophy collection wielding many in battle at once. Alongside the infamous General in the pack we have Kraken, Super Tactical Droid who holds the rank of Commander in the Droid Army and some of the many many numerous B2 Battle Droids.
The models as one would expect for this game are once again outstanding. Atomic Mass Games continue to knock them out the park and Grievous might be the most imposing model yet. Claiming the title as the tallest model yet (even without his scenic base) he looks over his endless ranks of droids looking for the Jedi he hunts as sport. Kraken strikes a pose directing his forces and the B2’s march in coordination laying down wave after wave of blaster fire.
Lets start with the big lad himself shall we? One of the main antagonists during the Clone Wars and the reason why Obi-wan Kenobi is on Utapau when Order 66 occurs Grievous was a cunning Warlord and a vicious fighter until Obi-wan Kenobi took him out with a well placed, if uncivilised, blaster shot.
Coming in at 8 Squad points and 3 Force he’s very much on the baseline for these first few waves of releases while his 11 Stamina and 3 Durability make him one of the more difficult Primaries to take down in terms of raw damage required to remove him off the board. Realistically, he’s not ever coming off the board due to this unless you’ve got an extremely long game and using the Shatterpoint Card on Grievous at every opportunity.
Onward – Grievous Tactic’s ability will trigger at the start of his activation and allows you to pick another allied Battle Droid unit with 4 and make a Dash with it. Bonus movement is bonus movement and having this kind of ability to trigger for free, it does only work on Battle Droid units so that does direct your force construction a little, but you’ll want to do that if you’re taking Grievous anyway.
Scuttle – Getting down quadruped position, Grievous gains added speed and mobility. For the cost of 1 Force he gains the Scale special rule and may make an Advance. At the risk of repeating myself, bonus movement is good, and when combined with Scale this gives you options for climbing unlike most characters who can make an advance providing he’s not engaged, so gets a little bonus mobility via this rule.
I Have Been Trained In Your Jedi Ways – For the cost of two Force, following a melee attack made by this character, you deal 2 damage to each enemy unit in melee range. I guess the key part here is that it can be used similar to Anakins additional attack to finish off someone you’ve already damaged or hurt multiple units if you’re engaged with a few, especially in the 2nd or 3rd struggles. You won’t use this a lot but I’m sure there will be stories before long of Grievous seriously damaging a character, triggering this and injuring 2-3 units at once.
Appetite for Destruction – Where the box gets it’s name. Another ability which can be triggered after Grievous makes a combat action. Pick another Battle Droid unit within 3 and it may make a Dash followed by a 5 dice attack targeting the same enemy character and in LoS. Move movement, bonus attacks and for the grand cost of zero force? I’m sold. There isn’t a downside to this bar the range on it’s trigger, so if Grievous shoots off to attack early on in the game he might not have anyone in range to activate it, but just don’t do that? Ok?
Another Fine Addition To My Collection – Grievous Identity Ability allows him to hit certain triggers after wounding an enemy unit. The first is that he can heal 2; this always triggers no matter who you’ve wounded. The second part only applies with Force Users (so Primary and the occasionally Secondary Character) allowing him to refresh 2 Force spent earlier in the round. This is broadly represents him taking the enemies Sabre as a trophy. I guess the ideal situation here if that you’re in effect getting a I Have Been Trained In Your Jedi Ways for free if you need to use it to finish off an opponent who you’ve already attacked.
Quad Arm Attack is the first of the Stances, this is very much his Offensive Stance wielding all the Sabres he’s collected during the War. Here we have a really low defensives stats with only 4 dice against melee or ranged and expertise resembling a basic Mandalorian. But what it lacks for in defence it really excels in damage. With only a melee attack the stance is slightly limited but with 8 dice you get a lot of options through this tree. With a possible 11 damage over either tree (requiring 5 or 6 success’s) and some other options (Shoves/Reposition vs a Disarm) you’re going to have to make decisions on, but overall, it’s just dealing damage. His expertise also leads to this with Hits, Crits and Damage being the overriding theme.
Cunning Warlord is the second Stance for Grievous and allows for improved defence and a ranged attack. Capping out at 8 damage it’s less forceful than his other but double shove or access to a reposition along with a little healing gives him more flexibility and the ranged attack (at 7 dice!) really allows him to impact the battle earlier than a lot of the Primaries we currently have access too.
Kraken, Super Tactical Droid
Kraken is a Super Tactical Droid serving under the Separatist Forces during the Clone Wars. Costing 4 Squad points along with 10 Durability and 2 Stamina he’s pretty much where we’d expect on the baseline of Secondary Characters.
Do Not Let Them Escape – Another Tactics ability in the same box, we don’t very often get 2 of those in the same pack. Allowing both Kraken or an allied Battle Droid Supporting Unit and allowing all the models in the selected units to Dash. Getting either Kraken or an entire supporting unit up the board is great.
Tactical Network – A repeat of the same brilliant ability found on Kalani as discussed here. Bonus Movement is good.
Complete Analysis – Once again, as above we’ve seen this before on Kalani. Useful ability, which when combined with B1’s and Kalani really lets you manipulate your Order Deck.
Conqueror’s Resolve – Gifting both Steadfast and Protection to Kraken when he’s contesting an Active Objectives adds a little bit to both his ability to hold objectives and the amount of damage he takes before going down. A lot of key units through the game hold both these keywords and they’ve never a bad thing to have access to.
Ruthless Logic is certainly a Stance card which excels at ranged combat, but isn’t great in keeping Kraken in one piece. With only 4 defensive dice and an average at best defensive expertise track you’re going to want to keep Kraken behind your frontline forces.
With access to a a bunch of tricks and a relatively early free ability (3 successes off 7 dice and an easy 2+ E-5 Blaster Expertise) for lots of hits means you’ll be looking to make the most of his weapon. 2 Shoves off 2 successes is also brilliant and Rex levels of early control from range.
Overall you’ve got yourself a really Focus efficient character who grants lots of bonus Dashes to your force, he’s a force multiplier but with that early double shove can really do some work himself.
B2 Battle Droids
The second most popular Droid in the Separatist Army during the Clone Wars make an early Shatterpoint appearance. Without the weakness of the easily removable head they were a little more resilient to the Clone Forces, this is represented in their rules as we’ll talk about later.
Relentless Advance – An inbuilt Dash is great, even at the cost of a Force. You won’t use this all the time as you get a lot of other bonus movement from the other characters but if you need an additional extra bit of movement to get to Ingress Points or similar then it’s great to have it on the card when you need it.
Saturation Fire – More dice is great, and allowing one of the characters to get a small dice boost to reliably get to the more impactful results on the Stance Card is great. Just be aware that as it’s reactive ability you can only use it once a turn and it only effects a single character in the unit so only one of them will get to use it, making it a fairly expensive ability.
Enhanced Blast Armor – Remember me saying we’d come back to how these are slightly more resilient than the B1’s? This is represented here. The unit has Protection by default and no ones ever going to be annoyed at having that as a rule.
The Stance Card for the B2’s is Suppression Protocol. Once again we’re fairly weak in terms of defence with 4 and 3 dice alongside an average defensive expertise.
Their offensive output however is good, you’ve got a Range 5 Weapon with 6 Dice and a damage based expertise. With only 2 Expertise you’ll get a raw 2 damage which is excellent and when coupled with a possible 4 damage from the first 3 results on the tree mean you’ll get towards 5-6 damage out of each shot. Having 2 Shoves or a Shove and a reposition within the first 3 results also gives you real manoeuvrability with the models, which when added to bonus movements of the Primary and Secondary in this box you get a really mobile firebase.
That’s another box looked through and while I’m mainly going to be a good guy player for the start of this I get the feeling that this might be the first Dark Side box I’m picking up, who can really say no to Grievous for any length of time right?