By Mastermoge a.k.a. Morgan Gee
Hello there, sports fans. I wanted to share with you a list building archetype I actually started my skirmish career playing: The Smuggler Box. Inspired by a post from the then-active Twin Troopers blog site, I have since improved it over several iterations of IACP and I think it is still a viable and competitive list if piloted well. The premise is that your list synergizes well when positioned close together and can lock down an important part of the map. Your consistent, hard-hitting offense, coupled with defensive tech will ensure you win most trades.
◄12▪ Han Solo
◄7▪ Ko-Tun Feralo (IACP)
◄6▪ Cassian Andor (IACP)
◄5▪ Jyn Odan (IACP)
◄4▪ Hera Syndulla
◄3▪ Gideon Argus
◄-2▪ Rogue Smuggler
◄(3) ▪ On the Lam (IACP)
◄(2) ▪ Run for Cover
◄(2) ▪ Tools for the Job
◄(2) ▪ Heart of Freedom
◄(2) ▪ Double or Nothing (IACP)
◄(1) ▪▪ Marksman
◄(1) ▪ Negation
◄(1) ▪ Sniper Configuration (IACP)
◄(1) ▪ Tough Luck
◄(0) ▪ Take Initiative
◄(0) ▪ Urgency
◄(0) ▪ Planning
◄(0) ▪ Wild Attack
◄(0) ▪ Fleet Footed
◄(0) ▪ Element of Surprise
I’ll go over some strengths and weaknesses, suggested Deployment and Command cards, and finally, some piloting advice
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Consistent Offense: Between tokens, focus, rerolls, added results, and dodge removal, you’ve got a lot of ways of mitigating the bad luck that usually comes from rolling dice.
- Highly Defensible: Command cards can help remove entire attacks and the Cunning ability can help supercharge your white defense dice.
- Surprising Threat Range: You can get half your squad out of your deployment zone before you even draw Command cards and two of your attackers can move at least 8 without Command cards and still get an attack off. Couple that with an infinite range shot from Cassian and there are few safe spots for your opponents to hide.
- 8 activations: You will have more activations than many opponents, usually guaranteeing that Han gets to go last. This is critical for using Han effectively, as it sometimes lets him attack 2-3 times in a row without reprisal, utilizing a last-first initiative swing and his end of round attack.
- Doesn’t Contest Objectives Well: You need to stay together, and on some maps, not being able to spread out and contest objectives can hurt your VP economy.
- Vulnerable to Blast: You want to stay in a tight box. Enemy saboteurs or heavy troopers are great at blowing up that box.
- Vulnerable to the Weakened Condition: Both Jyn and Han really depend on surges to spike damage and on evades to survive incoming attacks. Weaken kills both of those.
The Meat: Han with Rogue Smuggler, Jyn Odan, C-3PO, R2D2, Gideon Argus
Han and Jyn are both your sword and shield in this list, hitting hard and frequently with out of activation attacks (Han’s end of round attack and Return Fire, as well as Jyn’s Hair Trigger) while blunting enemy attacks with their Cunning ability as well as defensive Command cards. Its success will largely depend on how much value you’re able to procure from them.
C-3PO is essential for giving Han and Jyn an extra evade result, which adds a block every time they are attacked. Gideon, with 3PO, give our smuggler friends the Focused condition, allowing them extra range, damage, and surge results to help power up their attacks. R2 is there for extra card draw, helping to draw that critical defensive tech like On the Lam and Run for Cover.
The Seasonings: Ko-Tun Feralo, Cassian Andor, Hera Syndulla
Ko-Tun and Hera both provide extra attacking power to figures within 3 spaces with their Call the Shots, Dead Precise, and Squad Cohesion abilities, while Cassian gives out some extra damage tokens and movement at the start of the game and provides another solid long range attacker.
- Saska Teft can bring over scum smugglers for added trait synergy. Consider Hondo Onaka, Migs Mayfeld, or Greedo to replace any of the above seasonings. Her Unstable Devices can provide an offensive boost even to figures who step away from the box, and her own attack is nothing to scoff at. With a weak attack pool amped up by powerful surge abilities, she too is vulnerable to the Weakened condition.
- Lando Calrissian is another smuggler that benefits greatly from rerolls, though make sure you include his Command card if you do. It’s amazing.
- Saw Gererra is great if you want to give your list some splash damage and the Weaken condition. His Command card, while good, is basically the opposite of the Box playstyle, though, so I’d leave that one at home.
- Leia Organa turns this Smuggler Box into a classic variant known as the Lover’s Box. She gives even more attacks to Han so that seems good.
- MHD-19 can provide some good healing and his Command card, Miracle Worker, stops a figure from dying. He adds a lot of survivability to a team, but often at a cost of a list’s general offense and mobility.
The Meat: On the Lam, Take Initiative, Negation, Urgency, Heart of Freedom, Tools for the Job, Run for Cover, Marksman, Planning
- On the Lam is your most important card and it’s not even close. The ability to deny an attack and give yourself a free move is absolutely game changing, especially when you can still shoot back afterwards with Han.
- Run for Cover can also completely negate a ranged attack by removing a blue or green die a figure will need to make accuracy for their attack, or removing a red die to prevent 3 damage (on average).
- Tools for the Job is the best offensive card a smuggler can use to add 3 damage with a red die to secure those tough kills.
- Marksman is in your deck to ensure that you are able to fire your return fire and hair trigger shots, even when your opponent uses clever positioning behind other figures in hopes of preventing their use. It also helps shoot key targets who are hiding behind less important figures.
- Heart of Freedom is great at removing harmful conditions that would otherwise ruin your day, and sometimes you just need a bit of extra movement to get an attack you wouldn’t otherwise be able to make.
- Take Initiative, Urgency, Negation, and Planning should be in every deck.
Double or Nothing, Sniper Configuration, Tough luck, Wild Attack, Fleet Footed, Element of Surprise
- Double or Nothing at worst is a reroll of a bad attacking die or a great defense die, and at best can completely change an attack, including canceling a dodge when you can’t get Ko-Tun’s Dead Precise online.
- Sniper Configuration is Cassian’s unique card and is really helpful for finishing off low health figures your opponent thought were safe. Works really well with Jyn’s Hair Trigger for applying a ton of forward pressure.
- Tough Luck is just a really good tech card that can really blunt an attack.
- Wild Attack gives an extra red die on an attack and would normally have a downside of giving your opponent an extra white defense die to potentially dodge with, but so long as you are spending an offensive token on an attack within 3 spaces of Ko-Tun, then the dodge they could get will be negated by her Dead Precise ability. Unless they double dodge, in which case, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
- Fleet Footed and Element of Surprise are both solid 0 cost cards.
Second Chance, Smuggler’s Supplies, a second copy of Marksman, Intelligence Leak
The main goal of this list should be to eliminate enemy figures and prevent them from getting easy objective points. Deployment is super important for setting up the box. Hera moves each adjacent figure 1 space with Smooth Landing, then Cassian chooses an adjacent figure and they both move 2 spaces due to Strike Team. This order is important because Cassian gives tokens to up to 4 figures outside of your deployment zone after his move. You want to max that out at 4 figures. Because of Ko-Tun’s Squad Cohesion ability, you can even put tokens on 3PO and still use them on a figure that can actually attack, if it suits you better to push him forward to get an aggressive position for your box. Round 1, I like to focus up Han and Jyn and try to put an evade token on each with Ko-Tun. Don’t forget that Ko-Tun gives out 1 token right after deployment, and then 1 each round at the start of her activation.
Positioning-wise, your goal is to set up your box somewhere close to your deployment zone with good sightlines on a couple of objectives. Put 3PO in the middle of your box, Hera and Ko-Tun nearby with Han being the only figure that your opponent can shoot. Cassian and Jyn can rove a bit or stay close depending on the threat range of your opponent. In the example above, you can set up this box with an open door on Tarkin initiative with some clever deployment. Note that Han is the only figure your opponent can attack (without priority target or other shenanigans). He is getting full benefits from his support staff, and he’s in a good spot to shoot anyone on any of 3 different objectives (third not shown in the picture; it is south of him).
Depending on who has the initiative and whether or not you have On the Lam in hand, you may be able to use your last activation to safely set up an end of round attack with Han, or get an unexpected shot with Jyn or Cassian. Because you probably can’t play the objective game as well as your opponent, you should look for ways to take out an opposing figure or two to gain an attrition advantage. Just remember that you need to be able to bring those rovers back to the safety of the box before your opponent is able to isolate and kill them. Ultimately, you want to force your opponent to make unfavorable trades by forcing them to attack Han, who, with evade tokens and adjacent to 3PO, will be adding 2 blocks and 2 evades to whatever he rolls on defense, as well as being able to Return Fire.
If you stay and attack from the box, you’ll be likely spending a damage token you got from Cassian or Ko-Tun, getting a reroll and negating a dodge due to Dead Precise, and adding whichever of +2 accuracy, +1 surge, or +1 damage you need to finish your target off thanks to Call the Shots. If all goes well, you should have enough of an attrition advantage from your initial skirmish to leverage into removing the majority of your opponents figures.
Thanks for reading and let me know on the discord how the Smuggler Box works out for you.