Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Post World Wave 7 Power Rankings - Commanders


Feels like I haven't written anything for Armada in a bit.  Anyways, thanks to the Tagge Thread, I am reminded that it has been 6 months since I did a Power Ranking of the Commanders.  I need to remedy this:

So, without further ado, it's time to rank the various Commanders, thanks to the results of both the Regionals and World Championships!

Yet again, here is a description of the tiers we will be using for our power rankings:

Ω Tier - A card that works all by itself.  It is overpowered and undercosted, and changes the way the game is played in some fundamental way.  "Broken".  Example:  Yavaris.  Still... Yavaris...

S Tier - A card that is very good, without needing anything else to work.  Does something substantial or meta shifting while being inexpensive.  Something you would say is an "Auto-Include".  Example:  Strategic Advisor

A Tier - A card that is either good without needing any other card, or something that is excellent with other cards supporting it.  Example:  Shara Bey

B Tier - A card that can work well in certain situations.  Good when paired with other cards, or just decent alone.  Example:  Boarding Troopers, paired with a first/last Avenger

C Tier - A bland card.  It might only be okay, or maybe only considered for some niche situations.  It may require several other cards, or something outside of your control to "work".  Or it might just be something okay, when there is another card that does the same thing, but better.  Example:  Salvation

D Tier - A bad card.  May only be okay in niche situations, or puts unnecessary restrictions or costs onto things that something else does better.  Clearly outclassed, or doesn't do anything useful.  Example:  Tactical Expert

F Tier - Worthless.  Do not take this upgrade.  There is no reasonable scenario where it would be useful.  Taking nothing at all would be a better use for your points.  Example:  Point Defense Reroutes

So without further ado... here we go!  (Tied commanders are listed in order of their SWA release number)

Ω Tier

There was no consensus that anything is "Broken" right now.

S Tier

General Rieekan (Overall S) [+1 Tier]
- Biggs (Ω) - If anything is overpowered and breaks a key concept of the game, it would be Rieekan.  Even after the nerf nearly a year ago, he's still a top tier commander, and I think he still would be if you limited his ability to once per game.
- Truthiness (S) - Perhaps it's the threat of Raddus that has brought Rieekan back to the forefront for Worlds, but I don't think he ever really left. I think we all just got tired of time. The Zombie Lord is now a back to back World champ, even after getting hit over the head with the nerf bat. Like with Raddus, I don't think he's overpowered post-nerf, but you can't argue that he's still quite potent.
- Shmitty (A) - I have never used him, but he just keeps winning major events.  I find him very boring.

Admiral Raddus (Overall S) [New Commander]
- Biggs (Ω) - Raddus takes a key concept of the game - out deploying your opponent - and breaks it over his head.  Remember when TIE Bombers / Rhymer could threaten an enemy ship on Turn 1?  Raddus can do that.  He removes Second Player advantage from Superior Positions and Solar Corona.  He keeps you from running one big ship with supports unless you want it to get eaten by the Raddus drop.
- Truthiness (S) - One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish works for our Mon Cal admirals, doesn't it? The Kool-Aid man of Star Wars has taken a wrecking ball to many metas, as I expected. He completely up-ends the traditional deployment paradigm and heavily impacts the activation game. Some would argue he's broken, but clearly some of the best players in the World figures out how to beat him
- Shmitty (A) - Changes the game in so many good ways.

A Tier

Admiral Ackbar (Overall A+) [-1 Tier]
- Biggs (A) - Ackbar continues to be great at what he does, which is broadsides.  Wave 7 gives him another potential tool in the MC-75.
- Truthiness (S) - Man I hate putting Ackbar this high. He's just so damned boring to me. But there can be no doubt he's a solid commander that hasn't gotten worse with age. You have to build around him, but that's something that's never bothered me.
- Shmitty (A) - Awesome with the right ships, but limiting with others.  A common fallacy is that ALL of the ships in an Ackbar fleet must be broadsiders.

Admiral Sloane (Overall A+) [No Change]
- Biggs (S) - The clear winner of favorite Imperial Commander, Sloane Aces are the best Imperial archetype for dealing with the big Rebel lists.
- Truthiness (A) - She's the only true squadron commander in the game. I'm surprised she didn't fare well at Worlds. Post-errata, I thought she had an opening to gut Rieekan Aces now that Gallant Haven is far less of a factor. My running theory is the mirror matches are mainly what did her in, as Sloane can sometimes lack enough punching power to deal with ship heavy builds that ignore the squadron game.
- Shmitty (A) - Top Tier squadron commander.

Moff Jerjerrod (Overall A) [No Change]
- Biggs (A) - Inexpensive and good movement.  If you can't beat 'em, and you can't with Raddus, you just have to mitigate the damage, and nobody gets you out of a bad spot better than Jerry.
- Truthiness (A) - I love what this guy can do, especially with Raddus in the meta. I think there's a lot of potential for an MSU list to do well in this meta. You just have to be brave enough to try it. It helps that he comes in at one of the lowest costs.
- Shmitty (A) - So damn good.  Gives you so many strong choices.

Darth Vader (Overall A-) [+1 Tier]
- Biggs (A) - If Jerry is the best at moving, Vader is the best at punching.  Rerolls will absolutely win you games, and Run DMC was underrepresented but over-performed at Worlds (even if it wasn't 2 Cymoons).
- Truthiness (B) - Vader's ability to give re-rolls to the Cymoon had made him especially deadly in this meta. Double Cymoons or Cymoon/BT Avenger are both legitimately scary builds. The only thing that keeps Vader down is his cost.
- Shmitty (A) - The Cymoon has seen a huge Vader resurgence.  My favorite Imperial admiral, he also loves Interdictors.

B Tier

Admiral Motti (Overall B+) [-1 Tier]
- Biggs (B) - B is for Baseline.  B is for Boring.  B is also "Better than he has any right to be".
- Truthiness (B) - Yes, he's boring. But he's the default Imperial commander for a reason. Taking down a Motti ISD is no laughing matter. Take a crack of Caribbean Ninja's double Motti ISD list sometime. If you can table him, you get a prize.
- Shmitty (A) - Always a useful ability for a good cost.  Works with most any fleet.

General Madine (Overall B) [-1 Tier]
- Biggs (B) - In a World of Raddus, movement is the way to get your positional advantage back.  This is the best Rebel commander to make that happen.  Just a shame you have to hyperfocus on Navigates to make it happen.
- Truthiness (C) - I tried to make him work, but locking into a single command is very limiting. I've taken parts of what I liked about my list with him and found that they're still pretty great without him. I won't be touching him again.
- Shmitty (A) - He's really good, although dependent on a specific command.  It doesn't hurt that if you are going to spam a certain command, Nav is the best choice.

General Dodonna (Overall B-) [-1 Tier]
- Biggs (B) - He's literally 5 points cheaper than the next available guy.  These days, that's literally an activation (Strategic Adviser).  If Motti is the Imperial Baseline, Dodonna is the same for the Rebels.
- Truthiness (B) - Cost is the main thing that keeps Dodonna this high. Rebels don't have many commanders below the 30 point mark, and nobody is even within 5 of Dodonna. However, underestimate his ability at your own peril. He can be completely game changing.
- Shmitty (C) - Key feature is that he is cheap.  Ability is just "win by more" except in certain edge cases.

Mon Mothma (Overall B-) [+1 Tier]
- Biggs (C) - Overpriced when Cracken can do much the same, automatically, for cheaper.
- Truthiness (B) - I almost want to put her lower, but I have to conceded to Ard's continuing dominance with his MC30 swarm. And that's pretty much her niche nowadays: she makes the legitimately scary MC30 even scarier by making it's evade tokens work up close and against bombers.
- Shmitty (B) - Pretty underrated.  Mostly as her fleets are out of style, but she is still quite strong.

Garm Bel Iblis (Overall B-) [No Change]
- Biggs (B) - Tokens for Days is worth 5 points over the next cheapest Rebel commander, especially if you aren't doing critical shenanigans.  Just a personal fan, really.
- Truthiness (C) - I won't flunk Garm, but he's nothing special. I often find myself thinking about his inclusion now that flotillas, and therefore Comms Nets, are more limited. His cost is certainly attractive as the second cheapest Rebel commander. Ahsoka Tano has also been a huge boon. But at the end of the day, I usually find one of the other commanders suits me better
- Shmitty (B) - Cheap with a very flexible ability.

C Tier

Admiral Screed (Overall C+) [No Change]
- Biggs (B) - Still the only way to guarantee a Critical Effect with Blue / Black dice.  Yes Vader puts more oomph behind his dice, but with Heavy Ion Emplacements, he's back!
- Truthiness (C) - He might claw his way back into the meta now that HIE is around. "Krit Kuats" are also a thing (ACM+HIE+Fire Control) he does well. There's nothing wrong with him. He's just been pushed out by upgrades, such as Ordnance Experts, that give you similar reliably while getting something different out of that commander slot.
- Shmitty (C) -  He hasn't been the same since Ordnance Experts existed.

Admiral Ozzel (Overall C+) [-1 Tier]
- Biggs (C) - The thing I find myself doing most with more expensive commanders like Tarkin / Thrawn / Leia is going "Oh, I could change my speed by 2 with a... oh I'm just overpaying for Ozzel."  Note: This is more of an indictment on them than a commendation for Ozzel.  Especially when Ozzel himself now has to contend with the Empire having access to Entrapment Formation!
- Truthiness (C) - He's solid in the hands of a good commander, and I have credit Snipafist and Duck Bird for making me see that. Like Dodonna, his cost is also a pretty great factor. What drops him in my mind is he's not that much cheaper than Jerjerrod, and Jerry's extra clicks are often more useful than the speed jump.
- Shmitty (B) - Underused, but in the right hands the speed control he gives can let you win the maneuver game.

Grand Admiral Thrawn (Overall C+) [New Commander]
- Biggs (C) - I just haven't unlocked what Thrawn can do for a list quite yet, and I'm not sure anyone really has.  On paper his ability is huge, but between his cost and the question of how best to double up your commands, it's hard to justify him of the cheaper commanders that will do the job more efficiently.
- Truthiness (B) - I don't think we've quite unlocked the blue man's full potential yet. The issue I've typically seen is players doing a lot of navigating with his dials, which is a pretty big waste of his talents. If you want some extra naving, you probably should be using Jerjerrod. Perhaps he'll come into his own with the next wave. As it stands, he's still a remarkably flexible admiral, and costed well to be competitive.
- Shmitty (C) - I thought he was just nuts when he was spoiled, but I still haven't seen a build with him that is really impressive.

General Cracken (Overall C) [-1 Tier]
- Biggs (C) - Cheaper Mothma.  Gotta go fast.  MSU's disappearing has made him phase out quite a bit.
- Truthiness (C) - I think we've all kind of figured out Cracken's gimmick. Being locked in at speed 3+ is quite limiting. Assault Frigates in particular become very easy to telegraph and trap. QBTs have certainly not helped. There's nothing quite like a direct counter to make you drop in the rankings.
- Shmitty (C) - He's kinda a more restrictive Mothma.  With a very specific build, he can be as good or better than her, but she is overall the better admiral.

Commander Sato (Overall C) [+1 Tier]
- Biggs (C) - Sato got some fun new tools in Wave 7.  Both types of the MC-75 work really well with his ability.  That isn't enough to make him good.
- Truthiness (D) - He's got his diehards, but until we can see some consistent results, he stays down here. I think we might finally be getting into his time to shine, though. The MC75 works extremely well for him, and the flotilla nerfs mean he can concentrate on what he does best: concentrating a ton of firepower on capital ships.
- Shmitty (B) - Unlike Biggs who has never lost to Sato, I rarely lose when I play with him.

D Tier

Grand Moff Tarkin (Overall D+) [No Change]
- Biggs (C) - Wave 7 has been a big boost for Tarkin.  Cymoons and Chimera both love his ability to hand out tokens, and Sovereign fixes his biggest weakness which is the lack of flexibility with his tokens.   Wait, I meant his second biggest weakness.  #1 is still his cost, which keeps him from being a solid B like Garm.
- Truthiness (D) - He's another one that could rise in this wave with the introduction of Sovereign . His cost is just brutal, though. If Sovereign we're just a free upgrade for a Tarkin-led fleet, then I think we'd be in business. But paying more points to make an overcosted commander work? Eeek.
- Shmitty (D) - Just too expensive for what he does.

F Tier

Admiral Konstantine (Overall F+) [No Change]
- Biggs (F) - The hottest garbage.  At least Tagge is a soft counter to Sloane.  Konstantine is a soft counter to winning.
- Truthiness (F) - It's easy to see what FFG was going for here, but he just doesn't work well enough to justify. Leave him in the bin.
- Shmitty (D) - It's hard to make his ability relevant, but it can be done.  Even then, it generally isn't worth the work involved.

General Organa (Overall F+) [No Change]
- Biggs (D) - She's just too expensive to justify, outside of some sort of gimmick list.  "But she's good for MSUs" sure, but other cheaper commanders are better.
- Truthiness (F) - No Geek. Just no. Stop trying to make her a thing. She's terribly overcosted and badly hamstrung by her limitation. I've tried her and found her wanting. I won't be touching her again unless forced to do so.
- Shmitty (F) - The worst Rebel commander by far.

General Tagge (Overall F) [No Change]
- Biggs (F) - I almost put him as a D, because he is that Sloane soft counter.  But still, that doesn't make him good, or usable.  Also a Sloane soft counter - 3 extra hull from Motti.
- Truthiness (F) - Again, not hard to see what FFG was going for, but the rounds are easy to bypass. It would have been nice to see him just be a discard-style effect where once per game, everybody gets their tokens back.
- Shmitty (F) - Worst...Admiral...Ever


  1. Tagge is really strong in the current meta. Otherwise, yup

    1. His effect has the potential to be very effective but inconvenient timing is inconvenient

    2. If his trigger was once per game, or even Round 4, he would be a lot better.

  2. Honestly, Thrawn suffers as an expensive generalist in a game of specialists. He is the anti-synergist. The only fleets I have seen him do well in are combat ships + squads. And you can argue for sloane over him even there.