Welcome to your first Season 4 preview for the Rebel faction! We have a Star Wars character that probably needs no introductions. Card player, gambler, business man, scoundrel. We definitely thought you’d like him.
Lando Calrisian was introduced to Imperial Assault in the Bespin Gambit expansion, the last boxed expansion to release before Jabba’s Realm came out and turned the game on its head with a huge power level increase. Lando had been a step in the right direction for unique figures in the game, which at that point had been struggling against their far more efficient generic adversaries like elite Stormtroopers and Echo Base Troopers. He was a lot cheaper than his predecessors at 6 points and he had a health pool higher than his points cost (unlike Han, Luke, and Chewbacca). Unfortunately, he still didn’t quite bring enough punch to the party for a 6 point deployment card with just 2 attack dice, even though they were extremely flexible thanks to his unique ability to swap out dice colors after the dice had already been rolled. With the steadily increasing power curve in the game after Jabba’s Realm, his deal kept getting worse all the time.
At 6 points, Lando fills a points slot that is otherwise very empty in the Rebel faction. Only 4 other Rebel deployment cards sit at this point cost, and of those only Ko-Tun’s IACP rework can claim to be competitively viable. The changes to Lando’s card we’re implementing in Season 4 may be surprisingly subtle at first. Only +1 Health. Still 2 attack dice with no inherent bonuses to attack or defense. Replacing Stun with Pierce 1, and even converting his inherent +2 accuracy to requiring a surge.
At first glance, this hardly seems like much of an upgrade. Instead of going the easy route of just giving Lando a 3rd die and a few more health points, we wanted to really lean into Lando’s character identity and bring that out in his card in hopefully a novel and fun way. So who is Lando? He’s a gambler of course. But he’s also a shrewd, calculating man, always weighing his options and playing the odds in a way that manipulates them to his favor.
Shrewd Scoundrel is an ability that plays into Lando’s status as a legendary gambler and his mastery of the dice, a theme that had already been established in FFG’s original design for Lando. Once per activation, before Lando rerolls a die, he can use his deep knowledge of the dice and the odds and declare a number between 0 and 2. If the rerolled die has that many or symbols on the rolled face, Lando gets to double that die’s results. That includes damage, surges, blocks, evades, dodges, and accuracy as well.
This combines with his other existing abilities, Resourceful and Gambit, allowing him to pick up the weakest of his rolled attack or defense dice and roll the same or new color die for which he can guess which side will come up and be rewarded for making the correct calculation. Lando’s resourcefulness is represented through his wide array of options when rerolling his dice, but he still has to play the odds game and decide if he wants to go for broke or hedge his bets with a smaller payoff.
Probably the best way to understand how this ability truly works is to think about it as if Lando is basically able to create his own kind of unique dice whenever he rerolls a die with Gambit. On offense, if Lando is shooting at very close range, he can swap out his weakest die roll for a red, and if he guesses 2, then he’ll be effectively be rolling a red die that has 4 damage pips on 3 sides and 3 damage on 2 sides. If he’s attacking at a longer range though, he can swap out for a blue die, and if he guesses 1, he’ll be rolling a die with 4+ accuracy on 4 sides and 2 damage pips on 5 out of 6 sides.
On defense, Lando can beef up his black die reroll to super consistency, guaranteeing at least 2 blocks on 5 sides, though there’s still a chance of rolling that singe evade result. And if he really needs some extra defense to save him from a super strong attack, guessing 2 will give him a 1 in 3 chance of rolling 4 blocks. If he really needs evades to cancel out a particularly dangerous surge ability, he can reroll into a white die and guess 1 to have a 1 in 3 chance of getting 2 evades.
This ability went through a lot of different iterations as we playtested it before we found a version that worked, though the mechanic that started it and persisted through all of them was “make a bet on the die roll, and get rewarded for being right”. And that is essentially what Lando does. Whether that is a matter of luck or skill is up to the player, but having a strong understanding of Imperial Assault’s dice and their odds plays to Lando’s favor. Do you just swing for the fences every time and only guess 2? Do you go for the more consistent reward and guess 1, or do you hedge against disaster and guess zero? These are the kinds of probability puzzles that Lando offers to players that wish to roll the dice with this suave businessman.
But of course, Lando’s not above a little bit of under-the-table insurance to force the outcome that he wants, as we saw in his dealings with the young Han Solo. Cheat to Win was always one of the best things about Lando in Imperial Assault, and it’s even better with the IACP version of Lando. When Lando feels the dice have treated him unfairly, Cheat to Win specifically changes the die that was rerolled with Gambit immediately after that die is rerolled, which is before Shrewd Scoundrel checks the results. So while Cheat to Win was most often used to convert a rerolled white die to a dodge, it can now be used just as effectively on offense to ensure at least one of your guesses falls correctly and you get to double that die’s offensive results. No need to hedge your sabacc bets when you’ve got a green sylop hidden up your sleeve.
7/12/20 Edit: A lot of folks have been asking us why we removed Stun from Lando’s surge ability and replaced it with the bit more mundane Pierce 1. I think a lot of players remember Lando’s Stun ability most fondly because that was probably the most useful thing Lando could actually do in his past iteration. Now Lando is capable of dishing out and taking a lot more damage worthy of a 6 point figure, and IACP already has a powered up Jyn Odan from Season 1 who is very good at dealing out Stun and damage and can do it twice a round thanks to Hair Trigger (Her original card did this too). With Smugglers being such a strong and hard-to-pin down trait in Rebels already, as well as Chewbacca being another hard-hitting Smuggler untouched by IACP with a Stun ability, we were worried that keeping Lando’s stun would make Rebel Smuggler lists a negative play experience to play against. We wanted to still offer an incentive to use his Hide surge, so we replaced it with Pierce 1 to let him Hide while still dealing a little extra damage. We hope that once players get a chance to try this Lando on the battlefield, they will not be missing the Stun ability nearly as much.
It’s been long overdue for Lando to make his proper debut in the Imperial Assault metagame, and we wanted to make sure that we did right by this fantastic Star Wars character. Lando brings a much needed splash of color and levity to the original film trilogy, who has also featured prominently in other Star Wars feature films and extended universe media, and is a character from the original trilogy that I have long wanted to see brought into the competitive fold of Imperial Assault, and I’m grateful to have been part of the committee during his redesign process.
This article is part of our Season 4 Preview series. Until the end of July 2020, the Steering Committee will be revealing the cards that make up our Season 4 content. You can discuss these cards in the comments of this post or on the IACP Reddit.