Thursday, February 27, 2020

Wave 8 is finally here! Time for some Commander Rankings

Wow it has been awhile, hasn't it?

As always, 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".  Ur-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.  Easy to use.  Something you would say is an "Auto-Include".  Example:  Lando.  Whichever one you're thinking of, he's S Tier.

A Tier - A card that is either good without needing any other card, or something that is excellent with  other cards supporting it.  Example:  Electronic Countermeasures - Great on a large ship where you need that brace!  Not something you want to put on a CR90.

B Tier - A card that can work very well in certain situations, but at least decent in most.  Good when paired with other cards, or just decent alone.  Maybe hard counters a common archetype.  Example:  H9 Turbolasers - Accuracies are good, and sometimes having one all but guaranteed is exactly what you need, but they aren't always what you want.

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:  Lt Blount - I'm sure on paper, a 14 point scatter ace with swarm looks pretty good.

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:  Shields To Maximum! - One shield for a token and 6 point investment?

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.  Ur-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.  Shmitty deleted our reasoning for some reason so this space is blank.

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

Admiral Sloane -  - Overall: S- (+1/3)
Biggs - S - Sloane takes something that is already good at a job - Imperial Anti-squadron Squadrons - and makes it good at EVERYTHING.  Sloane takes the best 1-2 punch the Imperials have in Maarek / Jendon, and makes it better.  Sloane is offense, and offense is good. 
Shmitty - S - This is the commander that consistently gives me the roughest time when I am up against her.  Just makes everything in her fleet more lethal.
Truthiness - A - The game's meta remains squad heavy. Sloane wins squad fights and then tears up ships. Any questions?

General Romodi  - Overall: S- 
Biggs - S - Oh, hey, a net +2 dice in certain circumstances that aren't very difficult to pull off?  That's worth what?  38 points for Ackbar so it should be similar in cost right?  Romodi is lucky he's not Omega.  He's useful even if you don't build to him.
Shmitty - A - Really, this is an incomplete for me.  But my guess is he will be very good.  Upgrades that grant more dice are consistently expensive and hard to stack.  The potential here is very high.
Truthiness - S - Romodi is bonkers good. Right now, we're mostly seeing people leverage him for a couple opening Onager shots. Once you start seeing more players make the necessary mental adaptation of flying INTO obstruction rather than away, you'll see a whole new level. He is remarkably good, especially for his cost. I expect him to be the break out star of this wave.

A Tier

General Rieekan  - Overall: A+ (-2/3)
Biggs - S - Not seen as often, but still almost breaks the game.  He's good when he does show up.  But this is a tier list and not a "sick" list, so even if he's boring and not fun, he's still very, very good.
Shmitty - A - Boring.  Also really great for counter-punching any style of haymaker that might get thrown your way.
Truthiness - A - By the Prime data, the Zombie Lord could drop much further, but I think his lack of representation is more to do with boredom than suddenly being bad. I expect to see him as one of only two Rebel admirals really represented at Worlds. He's still the best squadron commander available to Rebels in a meta that is extremely squadron heavy.

Moff Jerjerrod- Overall: A+ (+2/3)
Biggs - A -  Want to run an SSD?  Moffy J.  Want to run anything else, and have it turn on a dime?  Moffy J.  He adds offense in that he makes it easier to get your big guns on the target, and offense is king.
Shmitty - S - So good.  So very good.  command independence for the most important command in the game.
Truthiness - A - How did it take this long for the Prime data to match the overall community's feel of Jerry? The SSD is part of it, but not nearly as much as you'd expect. According to the Prime data, Jerry gives the SSD a slight edge over non-Jerry SSDs. Jerry himself, though, is massively over-performing this year with all kinds of lists. Apparently this just in: turn good is awesome.

Admiral Raddus - Overall: A (-2/3)
Biggs - B -  Nu-Raddus isn't as good as Old Raddus, but he's still pretty good.  Who knows, he might even be better... but right now people need to figure him out.  He might make his way into the top tier as this happens.
Shmitty - S - I disagree with the others and think that nu-Raddus loses almost nothing from his old version.  Still gets you whatever ship you want in a place your opponent doesn't want it.
Truthiness - A - Nu Raddus might not be quite as good as old Raddus, but the extra distance is huge for keeping him relevant. I almost downgraded him, but forced myself to take another look. Now I'm probably taking him to Worlds again. The Prime data also shows him as the Rebel's single beacon of hope at the top of tournaments.

Krysta Agate - Overall: A
Biggs - A - Offense wins games, but Agate makes one of your ships harder to kill and that means more offense out of it, right?  The point is, she's the best defensive commander in the game, bar none, and she lets you do things you wouldn't otherwise be able to do.
Shmitty - A - She's really good.  Gives you a great centerpiece.  And can slot into almost any style of fleet.
Truthiness - A - Man, does she make one ship tough. She's damn near stapled to the hawk (if you're not crazy like Shmitty), and allows a ton of flexibility for other ships, such as the Lib, the Potato, and perhaps an Admo MC30 (the latter seems to be heavily contested). And above all, she's dirt cheap.

Grand Admiral Thrawn  - Overall: A (-2/3)
Biggs - A - Thrawn didn't get worse, but people figured out how to do what he does but with Sloane, and offense is better.  You taught the empire well, Thrawn.
Shmitty - A - 
Truthiness - A -  Two ship's day seems to have run its course as people have mostly moved on to Sloane or Romodi, but Thrawn is still the pinnacle of flexibility. Just have a look at Giled's NOVA list in action: those Thrawn dials are all con fire so that GP can nav all day long on his main dials. When the same commander is useful both squad heavy and squadless, you know he's doing something right.

Admiral Ackbar - Overall: A (+1/3)
Biggs - A - I can't put Ackbar at the same level as Romodi, because similar net effect for cheaper.  But I can say that +2 dice is very good, and you'd better believe we'd be willing to pay out the nose for it.
Shmitty - S -Again, dice are good.  More are better.  I think I rate Ackbar higher than the others as I play him more often.  I also now how rough he can be to play against.
Truthiness - B - He's still hanging on, but his performance has been slipping over the last year. He was a no-show at Worlds and that continued into Prime season. His cost and broadside restriction makes for some very same-y fleets, unfortunately.

B Tier

Admiral Piett Overall:  B
Biggs - B - Solid, but not amazing ability, for a single ship.  Hurt by other inexpensive commanders for the Imperials, and Jerry being just a little bit better for the SSD.
Shmitty - B - He's much better than my initial impression.  I am not huge on Admirals that boost a single ship, but I hame been impressed with what he can do.  I think he has the potential to move up higher in the future.
Truthiness - B - Some people swear by Piett on the SSD, but their performance isn't quite that of Jerry. He's kind of a poor man's Thrawn, but with a little longevity. He's reliant on tokens, though, so if those gets disrupted, Piett is dead weight.

Admiral Motti -  Overall: B (no change)
Biggs - B - The purest baseline upon which all Imperial commanders must be judged.
Shmitty - B - Always solid, if unspectacular.
Truthiness - B - Boring, but solid. If I were to go squadless Imperials, I would start here.

Garm Bel Iblis Overall: B (+2/3)
Biggs - B - Former World Champion.  Current North American Champion.  How did I only give him a B?  He's a solid pick, but he needs you to build around him to make him great.  Not every list needs him, but the lists that do need him really do.
Shmitty - A - I feel like I have maxed his potential over the last year.  And well, I did pretty good.  He's never gonna be plug and play, but he can definitely compete with an admiral in the game.
Truthiness - C - The second someone other than Shmitty (yes, I'm throwing shade at Biggs) does anything with Garm, I'll change my stance. But as it stands, he's solidly mediocre. The extra tokens are good, the cost is low, but there are just better effects out there for Rebels. Nevermind he's badly outclassed by some increasing dominant Imperial commanders.

C Tier

General Dodonna - Overall: C+ (-2/3)
Biggs - B - Agate is better, and the same price, so he's lost his "I'm cheap" luster.  Can you use him to fish for criticals in a list?  Sure, right up until your opponent runs DCO, then he's just a 5 point discount... oh, wait.  Now he's just a missing brace on your flagship because Agate exists.
Shmitty - C - I never liked him much before Agate and now the main reason to take him, cost, is just gone.  I can see him slipping further in the future.
Truthiness - C - Agate fires Dodonna from 90% of the fleets that have Dodonna. Brunson and DCO are fairly common too, which hurt his main ability. The main Dodonna player I knew stopped playing him with the advent of the SSD.

General Madine - Overall: C+ (-1 & 1/3)
Biggs - B - Poor Clicks.  He's just not been able to match his worlds showing last year.  He should be better but is just boring.
Shmitty - B - Really fun to play.  But hard to translate that into a win.
Truthiness - D - Shave off 10 points and then we're talking. In theory Madine should be able to match Jerry, but the problem is the command lock. Where as Jerry can do whatever commands he wants and still work, Madine is locked into the nav command, severely limiting what he can do. Man is he fun on the board, but his fleets just aren't producing results consistently.

Admiral Screed Overall:  C+ (-1)
Biggs - B - Offense is still good, and Screed is cheap.
Shmitty - C - I think he can still be good with a lot of new upgrades.  there is potential here to unlock, but I haven't seen it done in awhile.
Truthiness - C - He's suffering from a lot of the same problems as Dodonna: Brunson and DCO neuter him badly. There are also a lot of other sources of re-rolls out there.

Darth Vader Overall: C (-1)
Biggs - D - Officer Vader > Boarding Team Vader > Squadron Vader > Commander Vader.
Shmitty - B - Still my favorite Imperial Admiral, but the other, better incarnations of Vader make it harder to play him.
Truthiness - C - Vader officer basically fired Vader commander. Why take the commander when you can get the same effect (for admittedly only one turn) and take another commander? For a single point, you can choke that silly officer to some clutch re-rolls. Need some re-rolls for your Raider? Grab a Skilled First Officer that you have no intention of doing anything with but choke.

General Cracken - Overall: C (no change)
Biggs - C - Literally bent over a barrel by Romodi.
Shmitty - C - So annoying to play against, but there are some horrible matchups out there for him.
Truthiness - C - Still here. Still boring. I think Cracken could still be good if it weren't for the fact MSU itself is in a poor state right now.

Mon Mothma - Overall: C- (-1/3)
Biggs - C - "She's good against Onagers!"  No, fleets built to her strengths are maybe better against tanking an Onager shot at extreme range, but her ability does nothing at extreme range.  Sorry.
Shmitty - C -I miss Mothma fleets.
Truthiness -D - Poor Mothma. She's suffering from the same problem as Cracken, but she's even more niche.

Admiral Ozzel - Overall: C- (-2/3)
Biggs - C - There's so many cheap Imperial commanders, like Romodi who is really, really good.  Also Officer Ozzel a good card.
Shmitty - C - There are just too many other ways to get this effect and too many other cheap-ish Imperial commanders.
Truthiness - D - As if he wasn't having a hard enough time, Romodi has to come over and punch him in the nuts by costing the same. I don't see a reason to bring Ozzel these days at all.

Commander Sato - Overall: C- (-1)
Biggs - C - Every time I talk about Sato I talk about how impressed I always am when I play a Sato list, at the amount of damage he seems to add to his ships.  I also point out how I've never lost to a Sato list.
Shmitty - C - I love playing him, but there are just too many moving parts for him to be reliably competitive.
Truthiness - D - In addition to all his other issues, Sato now has to deal with the same problem Dodonna and Screed are: widespread crit effect mitigation. He remains amongst the more interesting commanders because of how you have to fly, but he currently just can't match the top of the field. And no, Malee doesn't help him, because she herself is terrible.

D Tier

Palpatine Overall: D
Biggs - D - What do you even do with him?  It doesn't help that Officer Palpatine is pretty darn good on a high value ship, while Commander Palps is overpriced and feels like he needs expensive upgrades to make work.
Shmitty - D - Seems cool, but have yet to see it work on the table.
Truthiness - D - I've seen exactly one Palp build work, and even duck struggled to get it functional. Unfortunately, his ability is one that if it were cheap enough to use, it's going to feel oppressive as all hell.

Grand Moff Tarkin - Overall: D (no change)
Biggs - D - Overpriced in a world where Thrawn exists, Garm exists, and many, many Imperial Officers that give tokens exists.
Shmitty - D - Someday he might be good.
Truthiness - The wave one over-cost is strong with this one.

F Tier

General Leia Organa - Overall: F+ (no change)
Biggs - D - She's overpriced the same way Tarkin and Palps are overpriced.  Not bad in and of herself, but just too expensive for the effect she gives.  If she was 20 points and Dodonna was 38, he'd be here, and she'd be a "B".
Shmitty - F - Sorry
Truthiness - F - Stop being nice Biggs. Leia is bad. Really bad. Cut her cost and then we'll talk.

General Tagge - Overall: F (no change)
Biggs - F - Such potential, wasted on the start of Turn 3.
Shmitty - F - Nope
Truthiness - F - Pretty much as bad as it gets.

Admiral Konstantine - Overall: F (no change)
Biggs - F - Magnites show what Konstantine could have been, but wasn't.
Shmitty - F - Double nope.
Truthiness - F - Actually as bad as it gets.

Biggest Jump:

JJ and Garm (+2/3)

Biggest Fall:

Madine (-1 & 2/3)

Wave 8 Biggs Raw Numbers:
S - Romodi, Sloane, Rieekan
A - Ackbar, Agate, Thrawn, Jerry, Piett
B - Garm, Dodonna, Nu-Raddus, Motti, Madine, Screed
C - Cracken, Mothma, Sato, Ozzel,
D - Palps, Tarkin, Leia, Vader
F - Tagge, Special K

Wave 8 Shmitty Raw:
S- Raddus, Sloane, JJ, Ackbar
A- Thrawn, Rieekan, Garm, Agate, Romodi
B- Motti, Vader, Madine, Piett
C- Dodonna, Ozzel, Cracken, Mothma, Sato, Screed
D- Tarkin, Senate
F- Leia, Tagge, Konstantine

Wave 8 Truthiness Raw:
S- Romodi
A- Raddus, Sloane, Jerry, Thrawn, Rieekan, Agate
B- Ackbar, Motti, Piett
C- Garm, Dodonna, Cracken, Screed, Vader
D- Tarkin, Palps, Sato, Madine, Mothma, Ozzel
F- Leia, Tagge, Konstantine

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