I’m excited to have the opportunity to spoil some new IACP Season 8 content! Having finally started playing Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order recently, I’m even more excited to present to you what you’ve all been asking and waiting for: Cal Kestis!
“I guess it’s about time I find out who I am.“
Having survived Order 66, Cal left the Force behind to hide right under the Empire’s nose working in one of their scrap yards. Over the years, he’s had to rely on other skills and abilities to survive. As is commonly a Jedi’s weakness, Cal is exposed as he uses the Force to save a friend from certain death. Back on the run, he must reconnect with the Force to survive the Inquisitors that hunt him.
As with most lightsaber wielding characters in Imperial Assault, Cal brings with him the Force User trait as well as surge abilities for +2 damage and pierce 3. To capture this protagonist’s unique acrobatic and technical abilities, he also brings along the new Technician trait, a speed of 5, and Wall Run as a special action. Instead of having the blanket “Mobile” keyword, this special action allows him to pass freely through terrain that is touching a wall. In the current map rotation, this can help on Uscru Entertainment District to pass through some difficult terrain when entering the centre tile through the middle door from the blue deployment zone or from either of the sides coming from the red deployment zone. On Bespin Tibanna Facility, it only helps passing through the top corners of the carbonite freezing chamber tile. However, on Tarkin Initiative Labs, this will allow him to ambush your opponent out of the “Treehouse” square or from the blue side’s terminal. Also note that, being a special action, you must complete your movement all at once and cannot save movement points to hide back in the Treehouse after your ambush in the same activation.
His other unique ability is the first Force ability he relearns on his journey, Force Slow. This ability adds to the activation control abilities of the Rebel Pathfinders and Kanan Jarrus, with another unique spin. Being a start of round ability with a limited range, it can help prevent some last-first activation attempts by your opponent to deal uncontested damage to Cal.
On to his attack, another aspect of his acrobatic ability to take on multiple targets at once is two separate surge abilities for cleave 2 each. With four strong surge abilities, his attack includes 2 yellow dice and a red for the potential to use all of them in one attack!
[BD-1 beeps affirmatively]
Of course, you can’t have Cal without his buddy BD-1! His Droid/Technician companion may not count for control, however he can provide Stim Canisters to his allies so they can stay in the fight longer. As a two action ability, he introduces a new mechanic with Terminal Slicing which discards a terminal to gain a command card. This ability has the potential to really disrupt your opponents access to command cards, if you can get him to their terminal.
You may have noticed that neither of the previous cards deals with deploying the companion. This comes as Cal’s unique command card, allowing BD-1 to be deployed in the game during one of Cal’s activations rather than at the start of the mission. Therefore, if you have the card in your hand, you can choose whether you want to deploy him earlier to provide support for your team or wait and drop him on the opposing terminal for card draw disruption. Unlike Dio and the Child, BD-1 does not follow Cal without actively moving himself once deployed. For this reason, he has a higher speed than most other companions at 4, similar to the Junk Droid.
Lastly, I present to you some defensive support for these Technicians in the form of a Personal Energy Shield. On its surface, it may seem similar to Survival Instincts or Fuel Upgrade. However, after giving the user an evade token, it effectively gives them Cunning for the rest of the round. This means that the gained evade token will also add a block, and so will any evades rolled on Cal’s white defense die. This adds to Cal’s access to Knowledge and Defense, but would pair especially well with Parry for any Technician/Brawler or Guardians out there. A Technician/Smuggler could stack this with Smuggled Supplies if you really want your opponent to avoid attacking them.
Team Building Speculation
Since I am not on the Steering Committee, have never playtested him, and have not seen any other cards from Season 8, I thought it would be fun to speculate where he might fit with the preexisting cards. Whenever I see yellow dice, I think about rerolls. Like the Rebel Saboteurs with their red and yellow attack dice and numerous good surge abilities, I think Cal will benefit from some surge and reroll support. Although he would have more synergy with Hero Luke as a Force User, Ko-tun could kill two birds with one stone. Being able to hand out surge tokens, which would allow for a reroll as well when used close enough to her would seem to be the perfect fit. When it comes to surge support, unfortunately, Murne will not be able to hide him with his three dice attack pool. I also anticipate him being an aggressive front line figure who could run well alongside Mara or the Brash Ezra. Similar to Mara, he could also be a good partner for Jyn Erso‘s Trust Goes Both Ways.
I look forward to seeing how you fit Cal into your lists, the other cards with the new Technician trait, and the rest of Season 8!