Announcing Season 2: The Core Set Strikes Back

Season 2 Timeline:
July 29th thru November 3rd, 2019
Season 2 Announcement & Feedback:
July 29th thru August 11th, 2019
Season 2 Approval Voting:
November 4th thru Nov. 17th, 2019
What’s a Season?

Update August 14th, 2019: The Season 2 Announcement period has ended and the Steering Committee has finalized what changes will be official for Season 2. Some of the changes listed in this document have been changed or dropped for Season 2. See the Official Changes document for the latest information.

The IA Continuity Project Steering Committee is proud to present our second 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. This season sees more improvements to Deployments from the Core Set, some new Skirmish Upgrades to help Troopers & Heavy Weapons, a few Command card changes to help Force Users and a fix to Boba Fett.

The Season 2 Announcement is the start of a discussion with you, the Skirmish Community. Over the next two weeks, review and try out our changes. Give us your impressions in the Season 2 Announcement Survey. As we have done previously, we will adjust the Season 2 content based on your feedback. (And we’ll correct any obvious wording problems or design issues that we overlooked promptly.)

You can download a PDF of all the IACP Official Changes (which includes these Season 2 Recommendations). A PDF that contains printable cards will be made available later this week.

Rule Changes

Spectre Cell

Welcome back! Try not to make a mess of the place again, ok?

In the June 12th, 2019 update of the FFG Official FAQ, an errata was applied to the Spectre Cell card. The Steering Committee has evaluated this card and feel that it no longer can dominate Skirmish play as it once had. We are recommending that Spectre Cell should be allowed for IACP play.

Last Season, the community approved reducing Kanan Jarrus’ price to 7. Adding back Spectre Cell means that players using it will now have 2 extra Deployment points for Skirmish Upgrades. Given the extensive nerfing of the fixed Spectre Cell, we feel that allowing Spectre Cell players to use a 2-point Skirmish Upgrade like Rebel High Command or two 1-point upgrades (Doubt, Extra Armor, Motivation, Balance of the Force, etc.) will not cause this list to dominate Skirmish play again. If we are wrong, the Committee will just bump the price of Spectre Cell for IACP play up to 3 points.

Boba Fett

Everybody gonna get put in the cargo hold!

Boba Fett is one the most iconic figures of the Star Wars universe. That his Deployment card was completely unplayable in Skirmish has been a shame. The Steering Committee has been researching previous speculation in how to fix Boba Fett, and has pooled what we feel is the best of those ideas into a Deployment card that overrides his existing card. The above is our recommendation for Season 2.

Boba’s changed Deployment card is packed full of abilities that separates him from IG-88. The spending movement points for abilities mechanic is something we felt could be best utilized on Boba since we wanted to retain his Speed of 6. We also created a new Command card for this Boba to further enable his Custom Loadout abilities. And while Boba has all these new tricks, he is still vulnerable with a Health of just 12 and only one defense die.

As we stated previously when reviewing your feedback about what should be changed in Season 2, this Boba Fett is the start of a discussion with you and other members of the Skirmish Community. Be sure to leave us your feedback in the Announcement Survey.

Trooper Improvements

In Season 1, we tried changing the costs of some Trooper deployments to see if they would become more competitive. While the Skirmish Community told us that our changes were a good start, those Troopers still lacked in many different ways. For this Season, we’re building on our Season 1 changes by recommending the following modifications to the Elite Stormtrooper and Elite Rebel Trooper cards:

Pew! Pew! Pew!
Pew! Pew! Pew!

One of the significant responses we received at the end of Season 1 was that, while the reduction in Deployment cost was appreciated, losing 9 Victory Points for 7 Deployment points felt unfair. We totally agree that it is thematic for the Empire to keep throwing expendable waves of Stormtroopers at enemies, and gave Elite Stormtrooper a new ability to make an even 7 Victory Points for 7 Deployment points trade. However, we feel that Elite Rebel Troopers should still be worth 9 Victory Points, as that represents how each loss impacts the desperate Rebel Alliance. To justify not lowering the Victory Point impact, we improved Elite Rebel Trooper so that those figures can use Get Into Position more easily and have a slightly better chance at surviving the first attack against them when they rush into the fray.

Additionally the Steering Committee has been working on some ideas for Trooper Skirmish Upgrades that boost their usability and combat effectiveness. We present the two recommended upgrades below for testing during Season 2:

Uncle Owen? Aunt Beru?
Rotary blaster not included.

We see Cohesive Fireteam as good upgrade for either Elite or Regular Trooper Deployments with multiple figures. With clever positioning, Cohesive Fireteam will help figures like Elite Jet Troopers, Elite Stormtroopers, Elite Wing Guard, Elite Rebel Troopers & Elite Alliance Rangers finish off wounded targets. Suppresive Fire is designed for setting up other attacks, and can be used on single-figure Trooper or Heavy Weapon figures.

While these Skirmish Upgrades may not fix all the Trooper deployments — we believe that Heavy Stormtrooper & E-Web Engineers require more direct fixes — we’d hope they become viable tools for Trooper lists.

Core Set Rebels

The Steering Committee was thrilled with the feedback we received about the new Elite Deployment card for Diala Passil in Season 1. You told us that you were delighted to have one of the Core Set campaign heroes back in Skirmish. In order to further increase the amount of viable Rebel Unique deployments, we recommend the following 3 new Deployment cards for some of Diala’s Core Set teammates:

One in a million.

Jyn desperately needed an overhaul, as her defenses were too weak for her to run headlong into the fight for Hair Trigger. She gains some static bonuses for her attack, so that she can more easily Stun single-die defenders. She also gains the Sidewinder ability, which allows her to move into cover after she shoots, either from Hair Trigger or from her normal attack.

For Alderaan!

For Fenn, the Skirmish Committee wanted to split the difference between his two campaign identites: Fenn the skirmisher and Fenn the leader. His Havoc Shot ability returns, not just to apply Blast 1<damage> on his attack, but to ping damage on figures nearby the target space (similar to Vinto Hreeda’s Boltslinger ability). With Tactical Movement, he or one of his allies can more easily get into and out of fights. Lone Wolf is provided to give Fenn a chance to stick around just a bit longer and to recover any damage suffered from Havoc Shot.

The friendship of a Wookiee is more valuable than armor.

We designed Gaarkhan’s new card to be a menace to your opponents. His attack stats are completely reworked, including an auto-Bleed. He can suffer a <strain> to perform a second attack during his activation using his original attack pool of 1 red and 1 yellow die. He maintains his Charge ability, which should be able to get him into the fight quickly.

Since this version of Gaarkhan is so improved, the Steering Committee felt it necessary to increase the cost of his Command card, which gives him a conditional reactivation.

These three new Core Set heroes should help experienced players have strong new list-building options. These changes also help new players who may only own the Core Set: With these 3 new cards, the changed Diala (see below) and the unchanged Regular Deployment cards for Gideon Argus & Mak Eshka’rey, a Core Set player has 6 figures at 33 Deployment points. This allows enough room for the IACP Approved Luke Skywalker, Hero of the Rebellion, the IACP Season 2 Elite Rebel Trooper or Elite Rebel Saboteur.

Diala Passil was a success in Season 1, but the Steering Committee received enough feedback that she might need yet another tweak. Players were concerned that, at 10 Health, she was too easily defeated for a figure with a cost of 8. Others told us that she had way too many surge abilities. The Committee is recommending the following change to our Season 1 Approved Diala Passil card.

Engage me at your peril.

Please use this version of Diala as you participate in Season 2 events.

While not *exactly* a Core Set hero, Chewbacca was released as part of the first wave of IA Ally/Villain Packs. In the Heart of the Empire Expansion, FFG released a Skirmish Attachment that reduced Chewbacca’s Deployment cost and made him more playable. But even at a total cost of 11 Deployment points, Chewbacca was still tough to use with other playable pieces, as his ability to <dodge> was removed and players were forced to take his Debts Repaid card.

For Season 2, we are recommending that the cost of Chewbacca, Loyal Wookiee be reduced from 15 to 13 points. While we don’t believe this makes his Deployment card alone playable, it does mean that with the Wookiee Avenger attachment, Chewbacca costs just 9 points. This enables better pairings with other Rebel deployments, like with Chewie’s pet human Han Solo or with other Wookiees like Drokkatta.

Melee Deployments & Force Users

At the end of Season 1, the Steering Committee heard your feedback that most melee figures are particularly difficult to use successfully. While the price reductions to Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight, The Grand Inquisitor, Elite Gamorrean Guard and Maul were well-received, they did not solve the issues with playing them. Generally speaking, most melee figures needs improvement in at least one of the three following areas: damage output, defense, and/or engagement range.

We spent some time researching to see if a generic Skirmish Attachment or Skirmish Upgrade could improve all melee attackers easily. Unfortunately, for every 3 deployments a generic upgrade would help, there would be 1 deployment that it would not help, and at least 1 deployment it would make too strong. Imagine if there was a generic upgrade that made Loth-Cats hit harder!

We have decided to take a two-pronged approach to melee deployments. The first method is evaluating the weaknesses of each deployment that has a melee attack as their primary attack or as part of an ability (such as Biv Bodhrik) and making customized modifications to Deployment cost or card abilities to improve those figures. The second method involves boosting groups of melee figures via Command card changes.

For Season 2, we are taking a handful of melee deployments as a sample for improvement. We start with the Royal Guard Champion; we recommend his Deployment cost to be reduced from 15 to 11. After evaluating him, we felt like a drop in cost was possibly all he needs. We are hesitant on dropping him any further since we are not modifying the results of his black & white die defense pool.

We also looked at the Elite Royal Guard. We felt like this Deployment card needed a change to produce steadier damage output along with a deployment cost drop. Therefore we are recommending for Season 2 changing the Elite Royal Guard card to the following. We’re looking forward to see what one card worth of this new Elite Royal Guard does to two sets of Elite Stormtrooper or while flanking Emperor Palpatine.

🎶Red Royal Guards, stay close to meeeee… 🎶

Our final sample of this experiment is Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. He suffers from disappointing rolls from his attack and defense pools. He is a queen piece that only feels like a queen piece if you happen to draw Son of Skywalker early. We felt like he needed a significant adjustment on his card and are recommending the following:

No, Luke, you can’t have two black dice like your dad.

Just rerolling one of his own attack or defense die helps raise his floor of dice outcomes — that he can’t reroll into a <dodge> keeps it fair for his opponents. Clever players will find situations where having a figure attacking Luke reroll one of the attack dice might cause the attack to miss. We expect this Luke to be able to jump in the middle of a fight, defeat a figure or two, and then jump out the next round. As the reroll ability we gave Luke is so powerful, we increased Luke’s cost back to his original 12 Deployment points.

The second prong of the Steering Committee’s two-pronged approach to improving melee deployments involves focusing on a subsection of melee figures with Command card changes. In Season 2, our sample of this approach involves Force Users. The Committee feels that it is iconic that any melee Force User should have a bit better defense versus ranged attacks, and Rebel Force Users be even better than that. Instead of adding abilities to every melee Force User, the Committee is recommending the following Command card changes for Season 2:

Deflection is reworked so that it is only usable against ranged attacks. But now, even if the attack hits, the attacker suffers 1 <damage>. This is similar to Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight’s Deflect ability, and can be played in conjunction with it. It’s an interesting card to mix with an Imperial Force User list, especially builds that focus on keeping Vader on the board. We feel this changed card is especially good with Rebel Force Users, especially those who can pair up with Kanan Jarrus and his Protect the Old Ways Command card.

Knowledge and Defense is like most of the Core Set Command cards; unusable since they require an special action to use. The modern Skirmish game’s action economy punishes players who spend both actions not attacking or re-positioning. With this change, Knowledge and Defense now can be played when attacked, and has the ability to be re-drawn into the player’s hand to be used again. Of all the Force Users, we felt like the Rebels (made up of mostly former or wannabe Jedi) are more motivated by defending themselves than attacking. The more attacks your opponent wastes attacking the same figure, the less opportunity your opponent will get the Victory Points necessary from killing figures, especially in a timed game.

We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback about our two-pronged approach to improving melee deployments.

Imperial Massive Vehicles

Almost all Skirmish players own a Core Set and have the AT-ST model, either assembled or not, sitting somewhere in their collection unused. Imperial players hoping for a Massive Vehicle revival with the release of the AT-DP in the Heart of the Empire expansion found that figure fun but still suffering from the same problem almost all Massive Vehicles suffer from: Lackluster mobility, limiting action economy, problematic attack outcomes and incapable of surviving long enough to earn back its points.

Like with the problems with melee deployments discussed above, the Steering Committee first looked for a way to create a generic Skirmish Upgrade or Skirmish Attachment that could buff most (if not all) the Imperial Massive Vehicles. After careful consideration, we are recommending the following new Skirmish Upgrade card for Season 2:

Sorry, we did not make a Skirmish Attachment for Rebels that uses tow cables.

This card provides a Beast Tamer-like move once per round, but with the added benefit of increasing the figure’s defense with a <block> token. It also grants the AT-ST, General Weiss and the SC2-M Repulsor Tank two attacks per round if those figures are in place. Depleting this card for a Focused attack will especially be helpful when trying to extend your Massive Vehicle around a corner to wipe out a troublesome foe.

Even with this upgrade, some Imperial Massive Vehicles still need some customized help. The Committee is convinced that the SC2-M Repulsor Tank needs a more thorough overhaul of its Deployment card to be playable. We’re saving that for another Season. We also recognize that both the AT-ST and General Weiss, Field Commander suffer from being too pricey; in the case of General Weiss, he suffers from a limited action economy due to his General’s Orders ability. We are recommending reducing the AT-ST’s cost from 14 to 11 and the following change to the General Weiss, Field Commander card:

General Weiss still has slightly worse attack outcomes compared to the AT-ST, but now gives a lot of utility with General’s Orders being a free ability at the start of his activation. We hope these changes inspire you to dust off that AT-ST model and finally get to use it.

Kayn Somos & Advanced Com Systems

We’ve discussed at length the issues with Kayn Somos costing just 6 Deployment points. In order to prevent any potential issues with the Death Trooper’s Field Tactics & Strength in Numbers Command card, the Steering Committee is recommending increasing Kayn Somos’ cost to 7 points.

We feel that having a player commit to 8 points for the Kayn Somos plus Advanced Com Systems combo was too much. We were just going to modify Kayn’s card to increase the range of his ability, but then Noa (TVBoy, of the IA Command YouTube Channel) suggested that we should just drop the price of Advanced Com Systems to zero. The Committee generally does not want to reduce the cost of any Skirmish Upgrade or Attachment to be free, as it will just be an auto-include buff. However, the more we evaluated the idea, the more we found that this could be an exception to that rule: Advanced Com Systems was released as a skirmish fix for figures like Kayn Somos & General Sorin. That it is an attachment and is unique means only one Leader can benefit from it in a list. And the list of Leaders who can use it is small: Kayn, Sorin, Regular and Elite Imperial Officer.

We think it’s a pretty elegant solution for not just Kayn, but also for buffing one Elite Imperial Officer and for helping with the eventual General Sorin fix. We recommend that Advanced Com Systems price is reduced to 0.

Mercenary Core Set Figures

The Steering Committee recognizes there isn’t much new in the way for Mercenary players this season. Of the three factions, Mercenaries are the most diverse in building lists and contains the most Deployments that are competitive at high level play. But we did want to adjust two of the Core Set Mercenary deployments that might assist Mercenary army experts and players wanting to make an Imperial list with Mercenaries using Temporary Alliance. The Steering Committee recommends the following changes to these Deployment cards:

That’s one bad kitty.

The Elite Nexu receives what the Steering Committee considers quality-of-life changes: a slight increase in Health and a static +1 <damage> bonus to help push damage through tougher defenses. We’d like to see how this Deployment card works with the Loth-Cat Rocket Strike lists that are becoming popular.

We felt like the Elite Trandoshan Hunter needed a bigger overhaul of his attack pool and abilities. Our inspiration was Bossk, a figure we hope to address in a future Season. ACP Scattergun (which gave the Elite Trandoshan Hunter a +2 <damage> bonus to attacking adjacent targets) was removed in favor of a better average damage output from up to 3 spaces. Revivify keeps the Trandoshans in the fight in case they are hit with Harmful conditions.

Prepare Your Men For a Surface Attack

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Season 2 Recommendations. Fill out the the Season 2 Announcement Survey before August 11th. You can also communicate with us in chat or email.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *