Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Twilight of Wave 7 / Post-2019 Worlds Commander Rankings

It's time, now that world's has ended, to do another Commander rankings.  Too bad we're still in Wave 7!

Again, a description of the tiers:

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:  Rieekan, back when he wasn't limited to once per turn.

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:  Captain Brunson on your most important ship.

A Tier - A card that is either good without needing any other card, or something that is excellent with  other cards supporting it.  Example:  Comms Net - it's just good!

B Tier - A card that can work well in certain situations.  Good when paired with other cards, or just decent alone.  Maybe hard counters a common archetype.  Example:  Boarding Troopers - Good, but you need to get them to the target and a way to take advantage of them.

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".  It might soft counter a common archetype, or hard counter an uncommon one.  Or it might just be something okay, when there is another card that does the same thing, but better.  Example:  Salvation - a decent title on a not very good ship.

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:  Jyn Erso - Hope you're running an objective that can make use of her ability, or you're just running a worse version of Cham.

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.  The Forever Example:  Point Defense Reroutes

As before, we're going to rank them based on an average of the full letter grades we give to each commander, and include our reasoning for voting the way we did.  Here's the explanation for how we're doing our rankings:


In baseball, there are many metrics that you can use to determine who is the best on any given year.  Pitching is a great example - you have ERA (Earned Runs Against), K (Strikeouts), WHIP (Walks / Hits per Innings Pitched), and even some very esoteric number like ERA- (ERA vs the league average) and WAR (Wins Above Replacement).  However, when it comes to things like end of the year voting, one pitching stat takes precedent:  WINS.

My ranking system will be heavily influenced by Wins - Regionals, World Cup, and Worlds.  That being said, once we get out of the top few finishers, into the B Tier and below, then it's going to be arguing semantics.


We had a conversation recently about how specific various admirals are to the fleets that they can do well with.  This came up in the context of Thrawn.  In our last set of rankings we all rated him around a C.  We all thought he would be great when he came out, but in practice he just wasn't winning games at that point.  Then 2-Ship comes along and Thrawn had found his home.  The question for me then is he going to fade away now that 2-Ship is somewhat less popular and people are understanding the counters?  Or will he keep hanging around like our buddy Rieekan?

This has also played out for me personally with Sato.  I am of the opinion he has exactly one good build.  It is an amazing fleet that has a handful of horrendous match ups.  So how do I rate an admiral like that?  A with Hammerheads and F with everything else?  Is Thrawn going to be the same story?

Also, given the number of Admirals now in the game I have no problem with some of them only workin gin very specific cases.

Anyways, as much as I love tournament data, thinking about about how specific fleet builds work with these admirals has influenced my ratings this year.


(Truthiness has not revealed his overall ranking strategy)

Ω Tier

None - No one got here, which would require 2 / 3 writers to rate them Ω and the 3rd to rate them S at a minimum.  Not only that, but no one ranked anyone Ω at all.

S Tier

General Rieekan - No Change (From 2018 Post-Worlds Ranking) - Overall: S
Biggs - S - Runner-up in Worlds, runner-up in the World Cup and the best rebel commander by a mile.  He still breaks a key component of the game, just not as hard as he used to.  What more do you need?
Shmitty - S -  The admiral that just won't go away.  Probably the most flexible Rebel admiral as well.  I've seen him do well in almost every style of fleet.  Someday I may actually use him for a game.
Truthiness - S - He's been hit with the nerf bat, as has his most famous build multiple times. And guess what? He STILL made the top table at Worlds and was the only Rebel commander represented twice in the top ten. All hail the zombie lord.

Admiral Raddus - -1/3 - Overall: S-
Biggs - S - Annoying little bugger, and responsible for a lot of Rebel wins.  If you asked me before looking at the Regionals data, I'd have said he was borderline Omega tier, because he just LOOKS good to fly, and feels like cheating when you're flying him.  Is he a good commander being brought down by bad players jumping on his bandwagon?  Or is he a decent commander doing well because quality players like his gimmick?  I don't know.  What gets him the S though is that in spite of a relatively poor Regional showing, he is still the World Cup Champion Commander, 2 years running.
Shmitty - S - Although Truthiness is his champion around these parts I am a fan of the Blue Fish too.  I tend to play him a little less seriously as I love the nesting doll approach.  He changes the game so much that he deserves a spot near the top.
Truthiness - A - Hated by many, he underperformed slightly during Regionals season. Yours truly got him into the top ten at Worlds, but only three Raddus lists made the top 40 cut. I think he shares a lot of characteristics with Pryce. They both fundamentally change parts of the game that had been fairly binary to this point. Raddus at this point I think has been more or less "figured out," by which I mean he's still good, but requires skillful use to get him right.

Admiral Sloane - +1/3 - Overall: S-
Biggs - S - Won worlds, and by that measure must be one of if not the best.  Sloane performed quite well in Regionals, over-performing her expected take.  She does one thing and does it well, and would you guess that specific thing is what is hot right now?  I won't put her alone at the top, but she's definitely made her argument she belongs there.
Shmitty - S - Squadrons are strong and Sloane helps you win that squadron war. 
Truthiness - A - After being largely dismissed as unable to cause enough ship damage, I think she has benefited from two ship's rise. Sloane remains the squadron supremacist, capable of utterly and totally dominating the squad on squad fight like no other. I think more than anyone, she is responsible for the extinction of medium and small squad balls. Against Sloane, you either have to go all in to stand a chance or nothing at all and go for the carriers. I've trounced Sloane enough times to know she is hardly overpowered, but you have to respect the reigning champ.

Grand Admiral Thrawn - +2 & 1/3 - Overall: S-
Biggs - S - The Regional stud, Thrawn and his 2 ships quickly became the bane of all regional players.  His ability to eliminate slicer tools from being a worry against a 2 ship squadron based list allowed the archetype to dominate.  Plus he just WINS.  35% overall, and 50% of Imperial wins.  Most impressive.
Shmitty - A - Despite his recent success in Regionals, I am not sold that Thrawn is here to stay.  Much of his success was the cumulative effects of Pryce and others.  He does nice things to the fleet, but his main function seemed to be making it Slicer proof.  I am curious to see what the future holds for our favorite Chiss.
Truthiness - S - He owned Regionals season and dominated the top ten at Worlds. His flexibility is obviously of considerable value. I think it's his quasi-slicer proof status that is what's really making him so exceptional right now, though. He can guarantee those squadrons hit things for three turns, so long as Thrawn is alive.

A Tier

Admiral Ackbar - -2/3 - Overall: A-
Biggs - A - The Red fish continues to do well enough.  Similar wins to Raddus, similar appearances to Raddus.  He hits like a truck, and gets to point his nose away from the fight, and that's pretty good.
Shmitty - A -  Red Fish is one of my go to admirals.  It is always fun to just roll more dice!
Truthiness - B - Before Worlds, I would have put him in the "A" tier, but then he laid a massive egg at Worlds. He's the same as he's ever been, but he hasn't had new toys to play with in a long while and the squadron heavy meta hurts him. Still, the red fish will probably never be actually bad.

General Madine - +2/3 - Overall: A-
Biggs - A - Deserves an inclusion as an "A" for making the top 10 and being one of 3 Rebel commanders in that slot.  Not bad Clicks, not bad.  Movement shenanigans tend to be pretty good.
Shmitty - A - Armada is often won during the navigation phase and these 2 admirals enable some crazy hijinks there.  Generally I think Jerry is a little stronger than Madine as he isn't tied to a specific command, but I've seen what a competent Madine user can do and it is not to be discounted.
Truthiness - B - This is the opposite of Ackbar. Had you asked me before Worlds, Madine would have been a "C." However, a Worlds top ten deserves acknowledgement. In a world with Raddus at 26, Madine will always been a bit too expensive, but Alex rocked the hell out of him.

Moff Jerjerrod - -1/3 - Overall: A-
Biggs - B - Movement shenanigans tend to be pretty good, and Moffy J's got one of the better tricks.  You don't even need to navigate!
Shmitty - A - (See General Madine)
Truthiness - A - Dirt cheap and incredible flexible. His downside is well worth it since a good maneuver can save you a lot more than just one damage. Plus, he effectively gives you the primary benefit of a nav command, while still allowing you to do a different command.

B Tier

Admiral Screed - +1 - Overall:  B+
Biggs - A - If Raddus and Ackbar make the "A" list, based on wins, then Screed has to as well, cranking out 5 different Regional Wins.
Shmitty - B - With each wave we get more and more powerful Crit effects (looking at you HIE).  Screed enables those like no other and I think is under-appreciated in the current meta.
Truthiness - B - He's a cheaper Vader with a bit more specialized use. HIE has brought Screed back up the ranking in my mind. Screed using HIE openers and ACM finishers is a brutal thing.

Admiral Motti - -1/3 - Overall: B
Biggs - B - There's nothing wrong with Motti.  He's the Imperial version of Dodonna, only there's actually commanders cheaper than him now.  He's still the Imperial baseline though, if only because he was around the earliest, and his Commander ability works with all ships the Imperials have (at least until the SSD comes out).
Shmitty - B - Boring but effective.
Truthiness - B - He's there. He's solid. That's... about all there is to it.

Darth Vader - -2/3 - Overall: B
Biggs - B - Vader hits like a truck.  Hitting things is good.  People like him but he under-performed compared to other Imperials, and never showed up in the World Cup.
Shmitty - B - Vader is my go-to Imperial Admiral.  I think he is going to be amazing in 800 point Sector Fleet matches.  Offense is good and he's got it.
Truthiness - B - His expense is significant, but Vader remains one of the better Imp commanders around. He is effectively the only commander that can get use out of Cymoons because of their limited access to re-rolls, which should not be underestimated. Cymoons can really freaking hurt.

General Dodonna - +1/3 - Overall: B
Biggs - B - Dodonna just disappoints.  If you squint at the data he looks good, but the problem is that he's a placeholder, a way to get more points into your list when you can't figure out how to fit in Rieekan.  He is the Motti of the Rebel side, and he just can't close out to win tournaments.  The most common World Cup commander, only half of Dodonna players made the elimination rounds, and not one of those made it past the round of 16.  In Regionals, he was one of the most popular rebel commanders, but only won once.  At Worlds there were 5 players with Dodonna.  Who was the best ranked Dodonna player?  Was it you?  If so, speak up!  We know he wasn't in the top 10 at least.
Shmitty - C - His primary feature continues to be his low cost.  I have to rate him lower than Garm.
Truthiness - A - THE dirt cheap Rebel commander, with an ability that is all too often overlooked. He's one of the for mainstay Rebel commanders that make up the bulk of competitive Rebel fleets. Fear the crit fish.

Commander Sato - +2/3 - Overall:  B-
Biggs - B - Credit where credit is due, Sato over-performed Rebels in general in the Regionals, although he didn't make it out of the PODs in the World Cup, and didn't even show up for Worlds.  Squadrons are in right now, and Sato helps make your ships better with your squadrons.
Shmitty - B - Sato is so tough to rate.  Either an A or an F depending on the fleet.  I settled on B.
Truthiness - C - Playing with Sato feels like landing on the island of misfit toys. He's the only non-MSU commanders (meaning his use is strictly limited to smalls and/or mediums) that I've found who would rather have more small ships than a large. He loves having Han and Ketsu along for the ride. And he can absolutely demolish large ships from downtown. Because he relies on long range black crits, though, he's also prone to extremely hard counters when he faces things that can cancel dice. At times he feels like an A, and at others an F, and often little in between. I love pulling him out from time to time because it makes things sooooooo different, but he's too swingy for reliable competitive use.

C Tier

Admiral Ozzel - No Change - Overall: C+
Biggs - B - If you want to talk about people overperforming, Ozzel didn't show up to World, didn't show up the World Cup, barely showed up to Regionals, but still has a Regional Win.
Shmitty - C - Underrated for the speed control, but easily outmatched by other Imperial choices.
Truthiness - C - I've seen some really good uses out of Ozzy, and his cheap cost is a major plus. I just have a hard time putting any higher than a C because he can be replicated so easily by a token plus command. You often only need that dramatic speed change once.

Garm Bel Iblis - -1/3 - Overall:  C+
Biggs - B - I don't know why more people aren't taking Garm.  Tokens are great to have - just ask Hondo, or Comms Net flotillas, or Veteran Captains.  The problem is that there are just not enough stats on Garm to say exactly where he belongs.  No one at all seemed to take him to a Regional (only Tagge and Konstantine appeared less often).  No one took him to the World Cup.  At Worlds he did okay.  He has historically done quite well.  I cannot in good faith give him less than a B grade, and that is because I've put him on the table personally, but I also cannot give him higher than a B without seeing him do better than he has done lately.
Shmitty - B - Space dad has a couple of things going for him, but one of those is a relatively low cost.  I have always found success with Garm based on being free to do what is needed in the early game without the need to bank tokens, while using the late round tokens for a push to finish the game strong.
Truthiness - D - Frankly, he stinks and these two over inflate his value. Like Tarkin, he got an attempted fix in Ahsoka, which is the only reason he's remotely useful. Again, he's more intriguing in Sector Fleets, but of very limited value at 400. But hey, what do I know? I only finished 35 places above Biggs at Worlds and am 2-0 against him. *Shots fired*

General Cracken - No Change - Overall: C
Biggs - C - Cracken doesn't work against squadrons, and guess what everyone is bringing these days?
Shmitty - C - Slightly worse than Mothma and more restrictive.  I think that there might be a good Cracken fleet out there waiting to be unleashed.
Truthiness - C - Like Mothma, Cracken has dropped more due to MSU's drop in prominence than anything else. The speed restriction also makes his ships rather predictable, and thus can make them easier to trap into make situations. He's also about as boring as it gets.

Mon Mothma - -2/3 - Overall: C
Biggs - C - No one at all takes her.  What do we even know about what she is capable of these days.
Shmitty - C -  I like Mothma and what she brings, but her style of fleet just isn't as strong as it used to be.
Truthiness - C - Still has niche uses with MC30, but she lost some of her territory to Cracken and has suffered badly from the decline of MSU. Her main problem is being unable to help out any Rebel larges, which feel kind of required these days unless you're using heavy squads. You also often end up asking yourself, why not Rieekan?

D Tier

Grand Moff Tarkin - -1/3 - Overall: D
Biggs - D - He's not hot garbage, but he's not good either.  I've tried to make him good, but the best I can do is make him not-quite-bad, but fun.  The problem being that I can make a better list with Motti and a pair of officers to generate tokens.
Shmitty - D - I want him to be good and Sovereign was an interesting patch.  Maybe in Sector Fleet games?
Truthiness - D - All the token commanders are badly costed, as FFG has over estimated the value of tokens. Tarkin got Sovereign as an attempted fix, and while it makes him an interesting Sector Fleet commander, he just costs far too much at the standard 400.

F Tier

General Leia Organa - No Change - Overall: F+
Biggs - D - She's not terrible, but she is a long way from competitive.  Sorry Geek, you gave her your best shot.
Shmitty - F - Unfortunately the worst Rebel admiral.
Truthiness - F - Poor Leia. Even without her downside, she's badly overcosted. With that restriction she's just terrible.

General Tagge - No Change - Overall: F
Biggs - F - I'm waiting for the SSD to show up to see if I can make him not suck.  I'm not holding my breath.
Shmitty - F - I want him to work on the SSD.  We will see if it happens.
Truthiness - F - No

Admiral Konstantine - -1/3 - Overall: F
Biggs - F - In spite of rumors I've heard of a European playing around with 4 VSDs and Konstantine, he's still the worst.
Shmitty - F - I tried once, it was fun for awhile.  But wow he is not good.
Truthiness - F - Just...no

Biggest Jump:

Grand Admiral Thrawn - People figured out how to use him, rocking him all the way up from a C+ to an S-.

Biggest Fall:

Mon Mothma, Darth Vader, and Admiral Ackbar slipped the farthest, each dropping almost a full letter grade.  


  1. I think it was me, at 16th. Dodonna til I Diedonna

    1. and i was also the one who won the Regional w Dodonna, so I guess that also boosts him up overall. maybe some day ill get to play in the world cup...