Star Wars: Shatterpoint – Witches of Dathomir Squad Pack Review

Prior to the recent Ahsoka Series on Disney+ you’d have been forgiven for wondering what on earth Dathomir was if you’d never watched the Clone Wars. You can see hits of Maul in Savage, they’ve brothers after all, but for the others we’re going to take a quick crash course.

Mace Windu vs Mother Talzin on Make a GIF

During the Clone Wars Ventress was Dooku’s pupil and assassin, she came from Dathomir and went back there once Dooku had turned on her on the orders of the Chancellor. Talzin and Dooku had an uneasy alliance for a lot of the time period but Talzin tried to kill Dooku towards the end of the War and in retaliation Dooku sent Grievous and a force of droids to wipe out the Sisters. Talzin escaped and lived to fight another day but the rest of her people weren’t so lucky. Savage was meant to be Dooku’s brute replacement but eventually went off on his own, joining forces with Maul and trying to take down Palpatine. Clearly that didn’t go fantastic and here we have a snapshot of them all at the height of their powers.

The models are fantastic and have real dynamism to them. I’m not 100% sold on Savage but the two sisters and Talzin are brilliant models and the green Witch flame on them build into the models and creating an illusion of additional movement is excellent.

Mother Talzin

Coming in at 8SP along with 10 Stamina and 3 Durability we have a really well rounded character. We only have a handful of keywords and not all of them are a benefit with Force User currently usually being more of a detriment than a benefit. But Dathomirian interacts with Savage and the Night Sisters allowing for bonus movement or easy expose.

Obsuring Shadows – Bonus movement for another Dathomirian character in the form of a Dash. Luckily there aren’t any other stipulations so this could be used on a single sister or Savage from the box or currently Ventress or Maul from the Core Box. No ones ever going to turn down bonus movement but the fact it’s on a different character and doesn’t help Talzin get into the fight sooner is a little disappointing. Good for moving people on to points as the game moves on though.

Manipulating Hand – This is a pretty unique ability in the game but comes with a high cost of 2 Force. Pick an enemy character within range 4 and dash that character on behalf of their controlling player. This is similar to Force Push or Mauls No place to Run in allowing you to clear a point without having to roll dice. While it does have a high cost one of her stances Wrath allows you to get it for free but that one also contains no shoves so you’re reliant on removing the enemy character via damage (7, plus a possible 3 from the Strain). However it does allow you to pay 2 to remove one character from another point and then use the Shoves on Great Mother to remove someone from another.

Life Drain – A little bonus for all the Dathomirian in form of some healing as long as they cause at least one damage to the enemy. Small amounts of healing in the game isn’t usually great because of the amount of Primary and Secondary Characters which can currently one-shot everything. However if you’re taking some chip damage from Supporting units then it’s better than nothing and over the course of a couple of activations and maybe a Shatterpoint Card thrown in it could be handy. The biggest downside however is that as it’s a reactive ability you can only use it once during a supporting units activation, in addition if Talzin is ever Wounded then you’ll be paying Force to activate it, not something we really want to be doing for such a small heal.

Wrath of the Great Mother – is Mother Talzin’s signature ability and the main reason you’re taking her in any Strike Team. Once per turn when a friendly unit is wounded you can Dash Talzin and make a 5 dice attack against the enemy unit which wounded your friendly character. This is an outstanding ability and really lets you flex mothers stance cards. You’ll be wanting to leave her in Great Mother a lot of the time as that will allow you to shove enemy characters off points once they’ve wounded yours in an attempt to wrestle control of the of the points. Just please be aware it’s been ruled that you can’t get the free active ability off the Wrath tree via this attack. The idea with this is that you’re always making your opponent pay when they swing their weapons or pull the trigger on those blasters.

Wrath – is the more offensive stance with the free active ability. As mentioned you can use this tree to apply 7 damage, strain and then get a free Manipulating Hand to instantly trigger the strain for 10 damage total. Outside of this you’ve got a bunch of conditions which are really beneficial to apply and a couple of heals which either let you remove conditions or remove that chip damage you might have taken.

Great Mother – is where the real fun is, with 10 damage on this side, multiple early shoves and a reposition you can really get Talzin moving around the board and take objectives. She’s one of the few models which can interact over multiple objectives in a turn in terms of trying to steal control of opponents objectives and one of the few who can move two separate characters off a single point through the shoves and Manipulating Hand. With 7 defensive dice against ranged people really have to get close to make an impact on her and a really nice ranged expertise track means you’ll regularly get 2 total crits off 5 dice attacks with her Identity allowing you to remove your opponents models off objectives in their turn.

Savage Opress

Maul’s brother heads into Shatterpoint as a brute. He’s all about dealing damage to the opponent and trying to stay in his place denying them the chance to take objectives back off him. Clocking in at 8 Durability and 2 Stamina we have a pretty standard Secondary at 4 cost. However he’s a little bit more durable than that implies due to Pain is Weakness we’ll come to later on.

Dark Fury – a 2 cost ability which in effect gives you an additional source of damage. It’s really useful for finishing off someone you’ve taken a swing at and have just fallen short of removing and helps to make up for a lack of shoves on the stance card. However it’s a very expensive ability and the expose only applies to Force Users which is a little disappointing, if not really thematic.

Furious Rush – Bonus movement! We all know how I feel about bonus movement. The downside here is that the full advance version only triggers when injured after you’ve been wounded and as a result that will cost you 2 Force to activate at that point. But a lot of characters and units pay a Force for a single dash, due to how good bonus movement is, and Savage joins that group here.

Overpowering Monster – Finally some abilities which won’t cost Force! Here we have a nice bonus of 2 additional dice when attacking Primary Characters. Handy for trying to stretch through to the full tree for free active ability at the end of the tree which might be enough to allow for bonus damage and a dead primary.

Pain is Weakness –  Steadfast and Protection are never poor words and these do allow him to stay in place a little longer than you’d expect.

Unwitting Brute –  Bonus movement! Excellent. Allows Savage to follow up with a Dash when an allied Primary Separatist or Primary Dathomirian activates within Range 3. Bonus movement is never going to be sad and while it’s reliant on drawing the Primary in the Squad he’s in prior to him, if you do, it allows you to get him into combat without spending force in most settings and that’s exactly what he wants to be doing.

Unchained Rage – is a really weird combat tree in that it’s got a track which just does damage and I don’t think we’ve really seen that before. In theory it’s great as you’ll just kill whatever you’re fighting against, but if you fail to do that with his 8 damage (and potentially free active ability) you can fall back on applying a bunch of powerful conditions to your opponent. The other downside I see here is that with only 4 defensive dice he’s got only slightly better defensive stats than Clones (and even they might get 2 blocks off expertise) and we all know how quickly they go down. Offensive expertise is however really excellent!

Nightsister Acolytes

These form the mainstay of the Dathomirian Society we see in the Clone Wars and I feel they’ve really tried to capture just how agile they are on the screen in this unit entry.

Acrobatic Advance – Similar to the Clones who get a dash and a hunker these get even more movement with a Jump allowing them to get to places most clones could only dream of and a hunker token which pairs well with Darkness and Shadows later on. End of the day it’s bonus movement with a little something extra tacked onto the end and that’s always a winner in my book.

Coordinated Fire: Expose – Similar to the ARF troopers we have Coordinated Fire: Expose. Allowing you to hand out expose when an allied Dathomirian Unit makes an attack as part of a combat action on their target. This only applies at the moment to Savage, Maul and Ventress but hopefully they’ll be additional Dathomirian units over time and you’ll be able to flex this even more like the Clones Can.

Darkness and Shadows – As mentioned earlier the sisters get an additional bonus when they have a hunker token active against ranged attacks, in effect giving them super hunker (the correct technical term) which moves from from a base 5 defensive dice against ranged attacks to a relatively easy to achieve 8 (5, hunker, D&S, Cover) from ranged attacks. This will allow them to roll move dice fishing for blocks as they won’t gain many from their expertise chart.

Night Hunter – Getting additional dice when a friendly Dathomirian character is in combat with your target it a nice little bonus, bus again there isn’t a wide variety of units to trigger this and you’d hope that would expand over time. But what it does do is push them up a very tasty 8 dice on ranged attacks allowing you to make the most of your decent tree.

Shadow Hunters – Here we have the stance card of the Night Sister and you’ve got a decent track. 7 possible damage from a support is decent and you’ve got 2 conditions along the track and an early shove, not to mention a jump later down in the track. Overall it’s tree is one of the better ones in the game, expertise can be a little lacking but you’re nearly always breaking even on rolls unless you roll 3 expertise. They do suffer when they have to move forward but that’s something which nearly every single ranged unit in the game has a problem in.

Overall Thoughts

Here we have a very thematic unit being added to the game early in it’s production cycle and while it does occasionally feel like it suffers a little from not having full synergy available to it in terms of triggers from both squads in a strike team what it does have is a very powerful Primary and a decent Supporting selection. Savage is something I’m not keen on but I’m told he’s not a write off. Pairing this box with one of the other Dathomirian Primaries or with Dooku gives the best options and even things like the Bounty Hunters (more on them soon) allows some synergies to take hold sooner.

Why not get them on the table and give them a runout yourself?

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