The IA Continuity Project Steering Committee is proud to present our first set of balance changes for Imperial Assault. The Committee’s priority is to create a competitive, balanced and most importantly fun meta using a community informed approach to balance changes. Additionally the Committee selected several older deployment groups that, with a simple price change, become more viable to be used in competitive play.
Update May 14th, 2019: On April 29th, the IACP released updates to the Season 1 suggestions. This post does not contain the latest Season 1 changes.
What is a Season?
The IA-Continuity project will be releasing waves of changes in 4 month Seasons. Each Season will begin with an announcement of planned changes including point changes for figures, rules changes and erratas, and unique attachments to fix older deployments. The Season will culminate in a tournament where the Season champion will be crowned. At the end of a season, everyone who participated in playtesting will be able to fill out a final survey to vote for the existing Season changes and suggest what the next Season should focus on.
All changes for that Season will rotate out at the end of the season unless the community votes to approve them. The vote to keep changes will be a simple yes or no vote where the majority of participants must approve each change. Using this approach the Committee hopes to keep ownership of the game in the hands of the community. For more information about how a Season will work, including a rough timeline of events, please see our About The Project page.
All of your feedback helps! After you have reviewed the suggested changes below, use the the Season 1 Announcement Survey to share your thoughts in the Community Feedback section. If you playtest the changes below, the survey also has a Testing Results section to record your playtest notes. You can fill out Testing Results for each playtest you perform! This is also one of the ways to provide your input on what you think the Committee should focus on for Season 2!
This post will be updated if Fantasy Flight Games announces any sort of errata or changes concerning cards or rules mentioned here.
Season 1 Timeline
This Season will last from April 5th, 2019 until July 14th, 2019.
Season 1 Rule Changes
Spectre Cell (Skirmish Upgrade) is not legal for organized play
The card has been eaten by a hyperspace whale. Then the whale jumped into hyperspace towards a destination unknown. So long! And thanks for all the fish.
In all seriousness, over 60% of official FFG Organized Play Regionals for the 2019 OP season were won by a player using Spectre Cell. At IA Worlds on March 30th, 2019, 51% (33/65) armies used were Spectre Cell; Spectre Cell made up 12 of the top 16 lists that made it to the Day 2 Worlds bracket, and was both armies in the final match were Spectre Cell. It is sadly too good to keep it in the competitive meta.
Like many of you, the Project Steering Committee has some ideas on how to make the Spectre deployment groups playable together without the Spectre Cell card as it is written. Once the Committee has finished with our internal testing, a Spectre Cell replacement will be offered in a future Season.
Hunter Command Card Restriction
Update to Rules Reference via FAQ entry under Command cards:
While performing an attack, a maximum of 1 Hunter card can be played during that attack.
Since the Jabba’s Realm expansion, Hunters have been able to drop multiple Hunter cards in a single attack. This results in situations where high-priced figures are defeated too quickly when Hunters are fortunate enough to have drawn most of their Hunter attack cards. With this rule, the abilities of Hunter cards are spread out across multiple attacks, allowing the Hunter’s opponent some agency to respond.
Season 1 Command Card Changes
On The Lam Text Change
Text update to the On The Lam Command card:
Use when an attack targeting you is declared, before any attacker abilities, to perform a move.
On the Lam is the best defensive card in the game, since the card can be played after all dice have been rolled and cards committed by the attacker. By changing this card’s text, On the Lam still negates an attack roll (which may have Beneficial conditions) but the attacker still keeps his or her attack cards such as Element of Surprise. This change also addresses one of the worst aspects of this card: a defender could save it for later if they rolled a dodge, gaining a massive game-swinging advantage. In a small boost for the defender, On the Lam now prevents attacker abilities like Relentless.
There is a bit of a learning curve with this change as players will need to check if On the Lam is being played immediately after declaring an attack. The Committee will be watching closely to ensure that by changing On the Lam, Smugglers are not struggling to defend versus Hunters.
Update 4/8/2019: Additional Details on How This On the Lam Works
The Committee’s On the Lam change is specifically worded to operate in the following manner:
- The attacker declares an attack on a target. This is the Declare Target step of an attack as described in the IA Rules Reference Guide, page 5. During this step, effects are resolved from mission rules first, then attacker, then defender, as specified in the Timing section of the IA Rules Reference Guide, page 2.
- Mission rule effects related to declaring an attack step occur: Focus is applied to the attack, the attacker must choose to use the attacking figure’s Experimental Weapon effects from the Abandoned Research mission on Tarkin Initiative Labs, etc.
- The attacker’s timing window for declaring an attack occurs. This is where the defender may interrupt to play On the Lam.
- If OtL is played, as per the IA FAQ v.30 Rules Updates and Clarifications section on page 11, “…the attacker must then re-declare a target space. If none of the defender’s spaces are eligible, the attack misses, there is no target space, and abilities that refer to a target space have no effect.” Hidden is discarded because the attack resolves.
- If OtL is not played, the attacker’s timing window continues. The attacker may play Command cards, choose to spend a power token or use any other ability that uses the “declare an attack” phrase (such as IG-88’s Relentless).
The unmodified On the Lam also operated in a unique timing window (after dice rolls, before attack modifiers). This change simply moves this unique timing window up to the On Declare step of the attack.
Why the Committee Suggests This Change
On the Lam is a card that forces a conservative play style that the Committee believes is harmful to the game. Players often are afraid of using any cards against a Smuggler figure because of the massive penalty incurred when countered by On the Lam. The two main problems the steering committee are trying to address are:
- On the Lam can be saved for later when the defender rolls a Dodge.
- On the Lam can gain massive value by completely negating other command cards and conditions.
We believe that our proposed changes address both of these issues in a way that won’t cripple the Smuggler trait, but also won’t create games that are decided by whether or not someone is holding this one card. It also allows On the Lam “mind games” to still be a tactic for a player running Smugglers.
Season 1 Deployment Card Changes
For this first Season, the Committee’s focus was to reduce the cost of Deployment cards that could open up more flexibility in list building. For some deployments, a price is reduced to a baseline where a future skirmish upgrade or attachment adds other improvements. For other deployments the price reductions allows for figures with similar traits to fit better together in a list.
Imperial Deployment Cost Changes
|BT-1||Cost reduced to 5|
|Elite Stormtrooper||Cost reduced to 7/3|
|Kayn Somos||Cost reduced to 6|
|Elite Sentry Droid||Cost reduced to 9/5|
|Elite Probe Droid||Cost reduced to 4|
|The Grand Inquisitor||Cost reduced to 7|
In the Committee’s experience, the emphasis on Queen pieces (IG-88, Darth Vader, Han Solo, etc.) pushed the former Imperial Trooper archetype out of the metagame. The Imperial price fixes are largely focused on buffing Troopers and Droids with two aims: bring back those units, and join the Trooper and Droid/Vehicle archetypes together. These changes, when used with Jet Troopers, are intended to bring the Stormtrooper Swarm back to prominence. Additionally, The Grand Inquisitor is reduced in order to fuel his pairing with Palpatine, Maul, and Vader for fun “Sith Lords” style lists.
Mercenary Deployment Cost Changes
|Elite Gamorrean Guard||Cost reduced to 7/4|
|Rancor||Cost reduced to 9|
|Shyla Varad||Cost reduced to 7|
|Maul||Cost reduced to 6|
Mercenary Melee units have a tough time finding play. Elite Gamorrean Guards and Shyla are exceptionally well-designed, except where the price point makes pairing with other Merc units too difficult. Maul’s cost reduction is also beneficial to Imperial lists that want to go full into Force Users. With the Rancor’s price reduction, Dual Rancor lists or Rancor/Bantha Rider pairings are a bit more viable.
Rebel Deployment Cost Changes
|Sabine Wren||Cost increased to 8|
|Kanan Jarrus||Cost reduced to 7|
|Ahsoka Tano||Cost reduced to 7|
|Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight||Cost reduced to 11|
Hero of the Rebellion
|Cost reduced to 9|
|Ko-Tun Feralo||Cost reduced to 6|
|Leia Organa||Cost reduced to 7|
|Elite Wookiee Warrior||Cost reduced to 9/5|
|Elite Echo Base Trooper||Cost reduced to 7/4|
Even outside of Spectre Cell, Sabine’s Parting Gift ability is exceptionally strong when paired with her Mobile keyword and Hunter trait. Increasing her cost ensures that Rebel and Merc players are paying a premium for her services. Kanan works best with another Force User, so his cost is reduced to better make that team-up happen. Either Luke Skywalker deployment card is powerful — especially paired up with his Command card Son of Skywalker — but are difficult to fit into a list that can take advantage of all of Luke’s abilities. The Committee will be watching carefully for any imbalanced pairings of either Luke with other powerful Rebel or Merc figures that may come.
Leia works best when paired up with another figure that brings strong, consistent attacks. Therefore her cost is lowered to optimize those pairings. It wouldn’t be surprising if Ahsoka and Leia become a potent tag-team, given Ahsoka’s price reduction and the traits she shares with Leia. Ko-Tun’s damage results aren’t especially high or spiky, which justifies dropping her to 6.
New Skirmish Attachment – Diala Passil
The Core Box heroes are some of the most conservative and vanilla skirmish designs currently in the game. These figures also represent some of IA fan’s favorite characters and should better reflect the dynamic class abilities allowed in the Campaign. The Committee would like to address this discrepancy starting with a personal favorite: Diala Pasil.
This forsaken Jedi has spent enough time in exile and is ready to return, more powerful than ever! With her built-in Force Throw ability rebels now have a tool to manipulate positioning of both allies and opponents. This ability should bring a whole new level of strategy and fun to Rebels!
Season 1 Release Notes
Gideon Argus, Everybody’s Favorite Leader
At this time, no changes are recommended for Gideon. With Doubt and the new Hunter card restrictions, testing is required to see if the less-expensive Rebel Care Package (Gideon/C-3PO) is still too cost effective in a Merc Hunters list. Testing is also needed to ensure triple Focus builds (Jabba/Gideon/C-3PO) aren’t too powerful.
The Chosen Ones
The Committee felt that choosing a small number of figures to errata in each season allows for a less jarring meta shift than if every card was balanced at the same time. The team also found that some older deployments will require more than a simple price fix in order to be balanced, without losing the essence of the figure.
The Committee’s priority is to improve Unique and Elite non-Unique Deployment cards over this and the next couple of Seasons. We want to fix Boba Fett as much as you do! Addressing all the Core Set figures is also in the works, so that newer players can assemble lists that are a bit more viable in relaxed organized play settings. Additionally the team will be watching the competitive meta closely and will do their best to add diversity without sacrificing existing list archetypes that are already fairly balanced.
Don’t Forget, That’s Two You Owe Me, Junior
A big thanks to Pasi with BoardWars.eu for helping the Project Steering Committee with rule wording. Also a big thanks to Andy Patrick (Bitterman) of Kensai Imperial Assault Tools Suite fame for letting us know of some wording inconsistencies.