So you’ve played a few games using the contents of the Core Set and are looking to take your Star Wars Shatterpoint experience to the next level? Want to build some of the cool combos you’ve got in your head? Want to know what it would be like if Obi-wan and Anakin had actually gone to the Siege of Mandalore and how events would have played out differently if things had gone to Maul’s plan? Well now you can.
In this article we’ll talk about some combinations of units and characters which can go into building a Strike Team and some of the early combinations we’ve found which work well in our early games of Shatterpoint. Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have a few ideas on what you’d like to try out in your next few games and be in a better position to take the fight to your gaming groups than you were before.
Rules for building a strike force
This is luckily pretty simple and one of the great aspects of the game. When building a Strike Team there are only a handful of rules to follow:
- Each Strike Team must contain exactly 2 squads
- Each unit taken in each Squad must be from the same Era
- Each Strike Team must contain a single Primary, Secondary and Supporting Unit
- The Squad Points value of the Primary Character must not be exceeded by the total cost of the Secondary and Supporting Units chosen
- Units in the Strike Team may not share the same Unique Name as another Unit in the Strike Team
- No Strike Team may include two Units which contain the same Unit Name (so each unit may only be taken once)
- Your Strike Force will also include a single Mission Set currently this is Shifting Objectives, the mission set in the Core Box or Sabotage Showdown, the newly released Mission Pack.
When you add in that all the Primaries in the game at the moment grant 6, 7, 8 or 9 Squad Points you can build teams pretty easily at the moment. As the game grows and options become more varied things may change. But even then, this is about the most straightforward method of list building I’ve seen in a table top miniatures game with flexible squads.
It’s worth pointing out that you don’t have any Light/Dark/Whatever restrictions when building a Strike Team. As long as the rules above are followed you can take whatever units you want in your team. A lot of the unit synergy comes through keywords on the cards so this is where we’ll be looking at building the majority of the teams. So we’ll look at the Galactic Republic and Separatist Alliance and then finally we’ll be throwing all common sense out the window and going for a mish-mash of what might be the best Units in the game.
In addition to the above you need to think about what you want your force to be doing every activation and how you get the most from the units you’ve brought with you to the battlefield. Someone like Asajj Ventress is great at spending a large amount of force to do amazing things on the table, but if she’s doing her thing and spending 4 Force a turn it’s going to be a good idea to have characters who don’t need a lot of Force to build the Strike Team around her. So when reading through this article and coming to your own conclusions, please bear in mind how you are going to get the most from these units and what you might have to sacrifice to get the most from them as they become wounded and the Force Cost associated with these powerful abilities starts to increase.
Galactic Republic Building
I guess we start with the set of models which are showing the easiest to build around synergy in the Galactic Republic’s Jedi led clone army. In terms of what’s been made public we have the following units we can design a list around;
- General Anakin Skywalker (+7)
- Ahsoka Tano, Jedi No More (+8)
- General Obi-wan Kenobi (+8)
- Jedi Master Luminara Unduli (+8)
- Jedi Master Mace Windu (+6)
- Darth Vader, Jedi Hunter (+7)
- Queen Padme Amidala (+8)
- CC-7567 Captain Rex (4)
- CC-2224 Clone Commander Cody (4)
- Padawan Ahsoka Tano (4)
- Barriss Offee, Jedi Padawan (4)
- CT-411 Commander Ponds (3)
- Sabe (4)
- 212th Clone Troopers (4)
- 501st Clone Troopers (3)
- Republic Clone Commandos (4)
- ARF Clone Troopers (3)
- Handmaidens (4)
So where do we go from here? I always like to start with an idea for my Strike Team and build around it. That’s why I strongly feel there is never a “best list”. There might well be a best list for you but chances are that won’t always be the best list for me or someone else. With that in mind I’m going to write for myself and expand from there.
I’m a big fan of objective plays in other games, where you get to or past objectives and deny your opponent in getting them, then sit there and win through denying your opponent the chance to win. With this in mind I’m going to take Obi-wan Kenobi as my first Primary Character as he provides Hunker Tokens to characters in Melee as part of his Identity and allows Galactic Republic Characters to Heal and Dash, thus keeping them healthier and allows them to stay on objectives when shoved off.
Playing into this means I need to really keep mainly to Galactic Republic Units and with that in mind I’m going to pick the Supporting Units next. The Republic Clone Commandos are the more resilient of the 4 Clone units so they go into the list next, and as they’re 4 points they’re going on Obi-wans Squad. The Supporting Unit for the other squad can be either the 501st, ARF Troopers or the 212th as they’re all 7/2 in terms of Durability but the 501st are slightly better in defensive situations due to their 5range/4melee dice opposed to the 212th 4ranged/3melee or the ARF’s 4range/4melee. Padme and her box really play into the Objective play of the game, maybe more than anyone else and it’s something we need to also take into consideration.
When it comes to Secondary Characters for the Republic I feel you need to really look at Force use; specifically ones that don’t need a lot of force themselves. Clones are Force Hungry for the first set of activations as you get them where they need to be and keep them alive via Defensive Manoeuvres. With this in mind, despite Barriss looking great on Paper she’s not on the top of my pile for a single list (though at a premier event I’d consider taking her for access to Force Push). Cody, while not being Force intensive (the opposite in fact) has a problem that while everything on his cards are great, it’s actually really difficult to get the most out of him and he drains other bonus movement abilities if you really want to get him doing what he wants to do. This means that for the moment the premier Secondary Characters are the 3 which allow bonus movement, with Padawan Ahsoka and Captain Rex being the choice if you’ve got the 4pts spare and Ponds taking the slot if you need to take a 3pt Option.
This brings us now to the point where you need to decide on the last Primary Character and as a result the Secondary and Supporting Options almost slip into place as a result. I really like Luminara, herself she’s a bit of a tank and might spike some damage rolls but it’s all about Flow of the Force with her. Having a character who doesn’t really take up much of a Force Investment allows you to make the most of all your other characters while still tapping into this brilliant Identity. The other options I like (in theory) are Mace which does lock you into Ponds and the ARF Troopers or Vader and a mix, which gives you a real real heavy hitter similar to Anakin. This has the secondary effect of wanting you to really play into the Primaries as a style and I’m not sure that the Secondaries aren’t where the real power of the Republic bases lists rests at the moment.
An example of my current favourite squad is below. It gives you lots of options, lots of easy to achieve synergies and plays into the strengths of the characters involved.
Separatist Alliance Building
What makes a Separatist Alliance force? Well models from the below list for starters.
- Count Douku, Separatist Leader (+7)
- Asajj Ventress, Sith Assassin (+8)
- General Grievous (+8)
- Kalani, Super Tactical Droid (5)
- Kraken, Super Tactical Droid (4)
- Jango Fett, Bounty Hunter (4)
- B1 Battle Droids (3)
- B2 Battle Droids (4)
Not really as many options as the Republic had is it? It’s very important to remember that these lists are going to grow and that this is very specific if you want full Separatist synergy, which might not be the best way to go. You’ll have a lot of lists that bring in a different character at times to fill a slot but if you want the fully thematic Separatist list then the above characters are what you’ve currently got access to.
I think it’s once again here to decide how you want to play a list before you decide what you’re taking. Do you want to play around the deceptive mobility of the Droids or would you like to take lists which allow your Primary and Secondary Characters to really shine in the list?
I’m a big fan of the Droid central lists which really brings you options on the table. You’ll nearly always start with Grievous when you do this, he allows you to play into the Droid theme of overlapping abilities and bonus movement, and Kraken and Kalani really want to max out this idea. In terms of Droids in your supports you’ve really got a wide choice of options, despite there only being 3. They work in any combination so the B1’s/B2’s, the B1’s/Magna or the B2’s/Manga, but this might be influenced by your Primary Character Choices. If we presume Grievous with his 8 points takes Kalani and one of the 3 point units then you’re taking Kraken and the B2s with Ventress or Kraken and the other 3 point option for Dooku.
Below is a pretty standard full Sep list. But it can certainly be turned up a little more in terms of bang for your buck if you’re willing to set outside of the full synergy offered by building in a certain way. This is very similar to a lot of the Republic Lists. You also have choices to make in terms of how you want the list to function. For example Jango is (and I’m sure I’ll mentioned it plenty of times) one of, if not the best secondary character in the game for what he offers. But at the same time if you’re running double Droid Support, then would Kraken in the below list be a better option? Sure you lose out on Jango but you’re pushing the Droids to do more via Krakens effects on them. It’s something you have to weigh up when deciding on lists and there isn’t a correct way to do it, it’s about finding what fits your style.
The Hybrid Model
We also have this weird group of models which don’t have enough to currently fill a full Strike Team of two squads. We have the Mandolorians who have 2 Support, 2 Secondary and 0 Primary, we have the Dathomirian group who have a little overlap with Ventries also falling here along with Maul, Talzin (3 Primaries), Savage (Secondary) and the Night Sisters (Supporting). Then we have the Inquisitors (Primary, Secondary, 2 Support) and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Out of Hiding as well.
Then we come to the ever popular Vader option, usually paired with Grievous and you’ve got yourself a really high damage output team which really shines when it comes to just wounding/injuring enemy models and if forgoes some synergy for raw power. It’s up to you when designing your list what you want to do and how you want to play and design lists.
Cad Bane’s box has also brought serious consideration where you can in effect pull from synergies elsewhere to get the most of whatever you want like Payday.
- Lord Maul (+8)
- Cad Bane, Notorious Hunter (+9)
- Mother Talzin (+8)
- Grand Inquisitor (+8)
- Obi-wan Kenobi, Out of Hiding (4)
- Aurra Sing (5)
- Gar Saxon, Merciless Commander (4)
- Third Sister (4)
- Bo-Katan Kryze (4)
- Savage Opress (4)
- Bounty Hunters (4)
- Clan Kryze Mandalorian (4)
- Fith Brother (4)
- Fourth Sister (4)
- Mandalorian Super Commandos (4)
- Nightsister Acolytes (4)
Here we have a group of characters where they either don’t fit into any tags (Obi-Wan) or characters where you haven’t got enough to make a full strike team out of them. In this case I think you end up taking a decision which forms the strike team. Do you either Build around something and slot in the gaps, or take two distinct squads and have them operate in their own little bubbles only crossing paths by accident.
Some popular combo’s are using the Dathomirian Characters and then adding in an additional Secondary and Support. Some times they pair well, sometimes you take the Vader approach to list solution and just take the best stuff in the gaps. Here you’re making the choice of how you want to play and what models you want to play with, there isn’t a right or wrong way to play this but just pick something which fits you. On the above example you might take Mandolorian Super Commando’s as the Support Unit, but then you’ve the choice of taking Jango (as the best secondary) or Bo-Katan Kryze as the best secondary to support your Mando’s, once again there isn’t a right or wrong choice, it’s about how you want to play and what models you want to play with.
There’s also a Independent model, characters which apply buffs without going full out on a particular synergy and just apply buffs to certain aspects. We might look at the notorious Vader/Grievous list architype, usually this has Jango/Magma with Vader and Obi2/5thBrother with Grievous. Now there’s very little synergy here and what little you do get is very minimal in turns of helping the list do what it wants to do, it’s just the most cost efficient unit for each points slot, and when in doubt take the one which hurts the opponent the most first.
This however doesn’t stop it from being bad, if anything it’s potentially the best list in the game (if there is such a thing). But what does it do if it doesn’t use synergy? It just takes the most damaging units in each points slot and uses them to push an advantage of activations. Your opponent might not always take out one of your models but the idea is that at every chance you get you remove one of their from the game for the time being. There are a few variants of the above list like throwing in Rex and the ARF into Vader squad and building a little synergy to get more from some pieces, but the principals the same.
I haven’t really touched on this in any of the above but what you need to do is think about the squads you’re taking and what it can mean on the table. I’m going to approach this from a Galactic Republic PoV as it’s where I’ve got the most experience, but the same conversation can be had about a lot of different things. Lets take the example Obi/Padme Squad from earlier in the article here as the example. I’ve put in the 212th and Handmaidens as my Supporting Units, this despite me feeling that the Clone Commandos are better than the 212th in a vacuum. So this leads to the question of why?
It’s actually pretty straight forward but comes from what they offer in terms of combat trees in their stance cards. Neither the Clone Commandos or the Handmaidens have Shoves on their trees. In my opinion early/easy to achieve displacement effects are key to performing well on the tabletop for units with the game in it’s current state, the only time this isn’t true is when you’re just outright wounding the enemy with every attack, something the Galactic Republic won’t do in most cases. With this in mind I don’t want to put myself in a situation where both my supporting units don’t have this, I really like what the Handmaidens bring to the group and their interactions with Padme & Sabe, and as a result the Clone Commandos are relegated to watching duty.
They’ll be other instances as the game progresses where I feel “just taking the best” models works and others where it doesn’t, and it’ll be for the players to learn and adapt as things change heading into the new year with the Original Trilogy models joining the fray.
Tournament List Building
Now you know what you want to play and how you want to play it how about we add another layer of something to pay attention to? Here we have the Premier Event Format. Not every event will be this, but I do expect most big events to switch to this over time and it’s almost certain that any event at big Conventions in the US will use this before much longer if they aren’t already. Here instead of bringing a single strike team comprising of two squads you bring a set of 4 squads and form a strike team before each game. The other thing to think about is that each one of these squads had to be played at least once during the event, so you can’t just pile everything into two of the squads and play those all day, they’ve already thought of that.
Here you’ve really got a few choices to make, you can clearly got all in on something like the Galactic Republic. They have at least 4 more than capable Primaries and and enough Clones without asking you to do anything else to fill the squads. You could go the total mix approach, take 2-3 squads which work well together and then add in something like the Cad Bane Box (or trade in Jango for Sing) and just have that as a decent option. Next you can go for a split, take 2 squads of Galactic Republic and 2 Squads of Separatists for example meaning you only ever really play with 1 set of the other set, that’ll really keep your opponent guessing. Finally you just go for the 4 best squads approach, play the worst of those early on and be left with 2 or 3 squads of absolute powerhouses, but limited synergy.
On a personal level I’m not sure what I’d actually want to take. I like the idea of the Galactic Republic or Separatist themed lists with something in them to just make it a little interesting, like taking all 3 Separatist Primaries then adding in Cad’s box to give you a nice themed selection, or taking Obi-Wan, Mace & Luminara and then picking up Padme to keep the theme and synergies but not having to take the 501st in any of your lists. You could take Vader in one of the squads and enjoy his benefits and synergies off the Galactic Republic Tag but doing so would limit you to not taking Anakin as one of your Primaries as he can’t be in two places at once. I think if I was going to an event tomorrow I’d be looking at taking the following.
Here we’ve got lots of options but what I’m mainly doing is having easy synergies no matter the combination of lists I choose to take. The Obi list might be my single favourite squad and the combination of other things means the only two I’m unlikely to pair together would be the Lumi/Padme, this is because as mentioned earlier it’s the lack of Displacement on the supports which would be something I wouldn’t want to engage with.
Overall it’s a really interesting system and one I’m really looking forward to trying out over time and of course this all gets more complicated as we move into different Era’s of the Timeline with the Rebellion on the Horizon and Luke and Leia starting to take centre stage. What are you looking forward to running moving forward? Are you still doing single Strike Team events or looking forward to Premier events kicking off now the games got a solid foundation? Please let us know below.
This article is part of a paid partnership with Atomic Mass Games