The Grand Inquisitor and Imperial Hunters

I won't mince words here - I love the Inquisitor.  From the time you see him use the remains of a Jedi Master to lure in the Rebels heroes to the moment he exclaims that there are things worse than death, he's been one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars universe.  Thus, I've been searching for a list that would support him since I began playing Imperial Assault in February 2017, only to be forced to replace him time and time again in favor of his more efficient contemporaries.  The Worlds tournament came and went, as well as the Droid wave, the release of a new competitive map, and the announcement of Heart of the Empire.  I had all but given up on one of the figures that had interested me most at the beginning of the game.  However, I think I'm ready to give him one last shot - and this time, I'm making a deal with the devil to make him work.


A shame we don't have someone who specializes in dealing with them, otherwise our problem might be solved

The Grand Inquisitor.png

I've written on the Inquisitor in the past.  In fact, I think I did so in the very first article I put together for this site.  Needless to say, I have a much different opinion of him now than I did then.  But, for the sake of intellectual honesty, let's look at what I wrote:

In my opinion, he is the best costed figure in the Imperial faction (maybe in the entire game) for what he offers.  15 health and 5 speed at 9 points is a steal.  Put that behind a white die and a free block if you don’t roll a block on defense, and you’ve got a very survivable figure that rolls three dice and removes dodge results from your opponents.  I don’t know what else to say other than he is fantastic.

I wouldn't say that this position has aged particularly well from my point of view.  Other than that the Inquisitor is fantastic.  That is still true.  The rest is complicated.

Hunt Them Down.png

The Inquisitor isn't really a bad figure.  He has a lot of the hallmarks that I associate with good and sometimes great figures.  He has 15 health, a free defensive bonus, a three-dice attack, and 5 Speed.   He also has what I think is one of the most unique surge abilities in the game, Cleave 3 that can be activated off of a ranged attack (Cleave 5 with his Command Card, Hunt Them Down).  Unfortunately, my experience is that the Inquisitor has a bit of a cohesion problem, in that while all of these abilities are good, they fail to come together as a meaningful threat for 9 points. 

This problem begins with the Inquisitor's Lightsaber Throw ability.  While it's an interesting skill, it also reduces the Inquisitor's dice pool to a red and yellow die (down from red, green, and yellow).  I understand the desire to balance the damage of the ranged attack, but unfortunately this drastically reduces the utility of the skill, almost to the point of unplayability.  The Inquisitor isn't cheap at 9 points and part of his cost is the benefit of a three-dice attack.  Lightsaber Throw is interesting as an ability, but losing the green die is too significant a sacrifice on a figure at that cost.

A similar problem presents itself with the Inquisitor's Defensive ability.  Undoubtedly, a free block is better than no block, and maybe this ability was much better when running against many low-damage troopers.  However, in the current meta where Hunters do five to seven damage per attack on the low end, a single block doesn't improve the Inquisitor's longevity by a significant degree.

And worst of all, at 9 points, the Inquisitor just doesn't do enough damage.  With no rerolls and no surge for +2 damage, the Inquisitor's offensive impact is unreliable.  I see his Cleave 3 as an offset for his low damage, but unfortunately that benefit doesn't square with one of the most sound strategies in Imperial Assault - focusing damage.  Cleave 3 lets you split an impressive amount of damage, but it doesn't make up for a mediocre attack.

I want to reiterate that I don't think the Inquisitor is a bad figure.  He's just not spectacular.  And as figures are being costed more and more aggressively, it's harder for the Inquisitor to compete in the current meta.  That said, I want to give him one more try and focus on a strength that I had failed to leverage when I first started playing - the Hunter trait.


Imperial Hunters

Imperial Hunters is a list that I've been considering for quite some time.  As explained above, the Inquisitor is a fine figure, but not good enough to build a list around the same way you could with Jedi Luke or Darth Vader (with his upcoming attachment).  Therefore, he needs to be buttressed with a supporting cast that will provide some synergy.  Here's what I propose:

The Grand Inquisitor: 9 points

Elite Stormtroopers: 9 points

Onar Kona: 6 points

BT-1: 6 points

Greedo: 4 points

2 Imperial Officers: 4 points

Zillo Technique: 1 point

Temporary Alliance: 1 point

As I've already discussed the Inquisitor at length, I'll spend some time touching on the other elements of the list.  To start, the inclusion of BT-1 was a necessity.  A few months ago, the Droid wave blessed the Imperial faction with another Hunter, and one that's pretty impressive to boot.  While BT-1 hasn't been the dominant powerhouse that many players feared, he's certainly a well-costed threat that also possesses the hunter trait.  Given BT's synergy with the Inquisitor and his reasonable cost, he was a perfect addition to the list.

The next question I faced was how to leverage the inclusion of two Mercenary figures via Temporary Alliance, as that would be my vehicle for additional Hunters in my list.  As most players know, there's no shortage of Mercenary Hunters. 

While I looked at a number of them, I settled on Onar Kona as a starting point for a few reasons.  First, he's one of the lower-costed Hunters, which was important because the Inquisitor is costed on the high side.  Moreover, I wanted a figure that would offset the Inquisitor's unreliable single-target damage.  Onar can spike his damage quite a bit with his surge abilities, assuming you have the range, so he solved the issue with the Inquisitor's damage quite nicely.  And finally, I wanted a figure with high survivability, as I knew the Inquisitor would be removed quickly if I didn't have another figure that could survive a few attacks.  Onar doesn't get any defensive dice, but he generally soaks two or three attacks anyway - therefore, I find him suitable as a tank in the list.

The next Hunter was a more difficult choice.  At this stage, I knew I still had a large amount of points left to work with, so I had the freedom to pick any Hunter I pleased.  However, still worried about the Inquisitor's cost, I decided to go with a figure that I valued for his efficiency - Greedo.  Greedo offers a lot of benefits, despite his tendency to die.  First, he has an impressive amount of damage via his inherent +1 damage and his surge for +2 damage.  He also offers a bit of utility in that he can apply the Bleed condition and gets a free attack when he dies.  However, all of these aspects pale in comparison to what I wanted him for - a 5-Speed objective runner.  I've played against Greedo a number of times, and the fact that he can so easily grab terminals and objectives without costing my opponent much has always impressed me.  Therefore, he made the cut as my second and final Hunter in the list.

At this point, I have space for one more significant figure or group.  Although I considered Jet Troopers and Captain Terro, I ultimately settled on Elite Stormtroopers.  In making this decision, I primarily examined what this list lacked, and that was a ranged threat.  The list likes to be close and personal, as well as threaten objectives, so I needed a group that could not only threaten enemy figures at range, but threaten my opponent's ability to sit on objectives.  Stormtroopers seemed like a good choice for a few reasons.  First, Elite Stormtroopers are a three-figure group with a very reliable attack.  If a high-damage, single-target attack fails to remove an enemy figure, there's a good chance a Stormtrooper attack or two can finish the job.  Second, Stormtroopers are versatile in their role.  They can capture objectives, hold terminals, and even be removed via an attack, and the list doesn't necessarily fall apart as a result.  I would prefer to use them offensively, but I like the flexibility.  And finally, given the prevalence of figures that rely on high-damage, single-target attacks, I like bringing a group that forces those attacks to be spread around - e.g., using a focused Weequay on a Stormtrooper versus a Jet Trooper.  Opponent's can only produce so many Focus tokens in the first round, and they can't use them on all my figures if my figure count is high.


Conclusion

I concede that this isn't the strongest list, as I genuinely believe that the Inquisitor can't justify his cost when compared to some of the more aggressively-costed figures that could be in his spot.  However, the list isn't unplayable.  That's what I love about Imperial Assault - there's plenty of ways to build lists around figures you want to play that can still be competitive.  I have a tournament this weekend, so I'll be back with an update on this list after that.  Thanks for reading!

- Dietz

Did you enjoy this article?  If so, I would encourage you to leave me a Facebook review or buy me a coffee once a month via my Patreon.  Thanks!