With the release of the Imperial Royal Guard and impending release of Wookie Warriors the upgrade, Recon Intel, will be hitting the play space for Legion. Today I wanted to talk about my thoughts on this new upgrade. Several weeks ago we spoke on Notorious Scoundrels (A Competitive Star Wars Legion Podcast with myself, Orkimedes – Never Tell Me The Odds, and Endless – Yavin Base) about Recon Intel and it jump started my brain into how different and elaborate this card is from most of what we’ve seen.
Let’s take a look at this new upgrade card:
Recon Intel is a 2 point gear upgrade that allows whatever unit it is put on to gain “Scout 1”. (After you deploy, you may perform a speed-1 move.)
The first thing of note here is that the gear upgrade is the one we most frequently see. It’s on every Corps/Spec Ops/Operative unit for both factions currently. It’s also available on every Commander option for the Rebels including the newly revealed Jyn Erso! This means there is a tremendous amount of flexibility on where we can apply this upgrade in our lists. You can be selective by just giving it to one or two units or you can literally blanket most of your list for somewhere between ten and twenty points if you want.
What base can we form our opinions on this card from?
We’ve seen scout in two places before:
I. Scout Troopers/Rebel Commandos
II. Advanced Positions
Scout has been a fine overall ability on Scouts and Commandos and it is certainly cool to be able to get Scouts to Scout 2 and Commandos to Scout 3. Note though, that the addition of Scout X+1 where X is the units original scout value, that if X’s value is greater than zero than you will be adding 2″ of movement. If X’s value is equal to zero you will be adding 4″ of movement. This makes Recon Intel inherently worth more in a vacuum on units that lack the Scout keyword. As we’ve been over earlier, there are a ton of units in the game that are able to equip this upgrade that have a scout value of zero.
Before we get to those units though lets wrap the thought process on Scouts and Commandos. Ork and I have talked a lot recently in our articles about Sniper/Sab squads and their effectiveness and utility. One of the things that Commandos could do in the past was couple Advanced Positions along side their keyword of Scout 2 to achieve Scout 3. Leia could then use her command card turn 1 to No Time For Sorrows (Allowing the unit to make a speed 1 move when it receives a command token that turn) to get the commandos adjacent (actually touching) to the middle box on Recover the Supplies before the 1st activation of the game.
Recon Intel replaces Advanced Positions for this Combo!
Recon Intel allows you to do this on Commandos without having to have Advanced Positions AND Recover the Supplies in the same scenario. (NOTE: This may not work if there is terrain in the way or the board layout is funky, but on most boards where the middle is accessible it should work)
Scout Troopers get a bit of the short end of the stick on this one, as their native Scout 1 ability and lack of access to a Commander with a movement effect makes it close to impossible to set anything like this up. With that being said however, you can use Darth Vader’s New Ways to Motivate Them command card or Palpatine’s Pull the Strings ability to make up for it.
Let’s talk about Advanced Positions
When is Advanced Positions good?
I. You have more trooper units than your opponent, generally when your opponent has taken one or more vehicles.
II. You have extremely slow units that benefit from being closer to the enemy at the start of the game, like Darth Vader.
III. When you can pull off the Recover the Supplies Combo
We have already talked about bullet point III and how Recon Intel allows you to circumvent the need for advanced positions. Bullet point II in most cases don’t have gear slots (Darth Vader, E-Webs, etc.). Which means we are going to be focusing on bullet point I.
Bullet Point I: Where is the High Ground?
Bullet point I effectively says that you should be attempting to take Advanced Positions when you can make it so you take more advantage of it then your opponent. But what if you could always have advanced positions BUT deny your opponent access to it, even if they had trooper units? How much would you be willing to pay for that advantage?
People have been bidding between five and twenty points for the advantage of Key Positions in recent months(Pre-Errata) and that was a size-able advantage for one side of the battlefield. Similarly you could pay between ten and twenty points to outfit your entire army with Recon Intel and give your self Advanced Positions but withhold it from your opponent. It’s possible you could even take it out of your deployment deck at that point, since it would give your opponents army 4″ of movement and yours only 2″. Additionally, it gives you Advanced Positions on deployments that aren’t the Advanced Positions layout! All of a sudden you can have the effect of Advanced Positions on Major Offensive or Battle Lines, etc. All the while, your opponent has to play as if they didn’t, unless they too paid the Recon Intel army tax.
Recon Intel and Infiltrate – A look to the Future
At this point the community has been ranting and raving about Jyn Erso and the newly spoiled Pathfinders. There is a little bit of utility that Recon Intel brings them as well, assuming that the Rules Reference Guide text states that Infiltrate is a “deployment” like it’s reminder text does. In the event that you don’t get to deploy your infiltrating unit first, Recon Intel’s text allows Infiltrate to become “You may deploy anywhere beyond distance 3 of your opponent, then make a speed 1 move”, allowing you to deploy closer than distance 3 to enemy units still!
Will taking Recon Intel on these units be good? I have no idea, but a 2pt insurance plan on not going first isn’t the worst thing in the world!
Recon Intel allows you to have several new options (and some old options too!). The cheapness of this upgrade will ultimately decide whether or not it gets played a ton in competitive lists going forward and at a bear minimum will make it present in lists as a filler upgrade. Overall, its a great upgrade for units that really need to get close to their enemy to deal damage or can combo with it to make objectives more feasible:
- Fleet Troopers
- Snow Troopers
- Scout Troopers
- Han Solo (For Gunslinger)
- Rebel Commandos
- Imperial Royal Guard
- Wookie Warriors
Let me know how you feel about Recon Intel below. Is there any theory crafting you came up with that I didn’t? Let me know!
May the Dark Side be with you, Always