I'm terribly sorry about all this. After all, he's only a Wookie.
Chewbacca is too expensive. There's no getting around it and I wanted to bring it up because this casts a shadow on every other aspect of the figure. This was also true for Han, but at least he had the potential to attack twice in a round and recapture some of his 12-point cost. Chewbacca isn't so generous. Slam, an ability that arguably would supplement Chewbacca's offense, is nearly unusable as Chewy needs to forgo an attack in order to actually use it (Move adjacent to an enemy and Slam).
I felt it necessary to get the cost issue out of the way, because now knowing that his attachment is going to remedy the problems described above, there's a lot to love about Chewbacca.
To begin, Chewbacca has an excellent set of traits. As with Han, Chewbacca possesses the Smuggler trait giving him access to cards like On the Lam, Tools for the Job, and Run for Cover. I don't think all of these cards are perfect for Chewy, but being able to utilize them helps justify their inclusion when running Han, Hera, or Jyn Odan.
On top of that, Chewbacca also has the Guardian and Wookie traits. As both are relatively under utilized in the current meta, I'm sure there will be some unpleasant surprises for those facing Chewbacca in the coming months. Unfortunately, these traits don't mesh well with other Rebel figures, other than Drokkatta, Gaarkhan and Wookie Warriors.
Synergy aside, Chewbacca is a monster of a figure. He sports a three-dice attack (Blue-Red-Yellow), two defense die (black-white), and 14 health. With surges for +2 damage and Stun, he's an obnoxious presence that is difficult to ignore.
And then there's Slam. The ability provides a nice bit of damage (five out of six sides provide at least 2 damage) and a very unique bit of of utility - the capability to push a small figure one space. The power of this ability is vastly understated. Moving a figure one space has the potential to net you an 8-point swing when pushing an opponent's figure off an objective and holding it yourself (assuming 4-point objectives, which is increasingly common). Not many figures can interact with other figures in this manner, so leveraging this aspect of Chewbacca will be extremely important.
Finally, I feel compelled to at least acknowledge Protector as an ability, as it is very thematic. I don't mourn its disappearance though, because as damage and dice have increased, the usefulness of the ability has waned.
Note: Tim and I did a podcast episode about Chewbacca (prior to the reveal of Wookie Avenger). Check it out here!
That's 'cause a droid don't pull people's arms outta their sockets when they lose
I absolutely love Chewbacca's attachment. It reminds me of Vader's, in that Chewbacca is going to feel like a brand new figure. For Han, I could basically summarize his card with the phrase: "he gets to shoot more." For Chewbacca, well, there's a lot going on.
Let's begin with what he loses - goodbye Protector, goodbye dodge result, and goodbye four points. The loss of Protector was largely explained in my article about Han's attachment, so I won't elaborate on it here. I'm not surprised at the loss of the dodge. I recall speaking with one of the Imperial Assault designers at my first tournament and recall him discussing how two-dice (defensive) figures were too swingy for the game. The figures were either unkillable with good rolls or died too quickly with bad rolls. Now, Chewbacca is essentially positioned as a black die-plus character, which I think is the right spot for him given his new cost of 11.
A seemingly mundane change is that Chewbacca now gets a free +1 damage with his attachment. I wouldn't normally make a big deal out of this, but occasionally that extra damage will let you apply a Stun when you wouldn't have otherwise been able to, so it deserves a small bit of recognition.
The attachment also enables you to start the game with Chewbacca's Command card, Debts Repaid, in your hand. It's not obvious to me that this ability is all that good, given that Chewbacca's Command card is a bit weaker than other 3-point cards. Undoubtedly, reactivating and becoming Focused is strong, but those benefits come with some restrictions: a friendly figure has to be defeated; Chewbacca has to have already activated before that friendly figure is defeated; Chewbacca has to still be alive. These aren't impossible to fulfill, but certainly isn't as easy to use as a card like Son of Skywalker.
That said, I have to admit that the benefit of starting with Debts Repaid in your opening hand could influence your opponent to target Chewbacca instead of your other figures. A choice, that given Chewbacca's health and defensive dice, isn't necessarily in your opponent's best interest when ideally he or she would like to remove a weaker figure.
Obviously, the risk of targeting other figures is that Chewbacca may reactivate and perform a Focused attack, which is painful in its own right. However, there's also the potential that Chewbacca reactivates and Slams an opponent's figure off an objective. If Chewbacca is able to remove two opposing figures from contesting objectives in a single round, he will have nearly paid off his cost.
Which brings me to the last change - once during your activation, you may use Slam without spending an action. This was a necessary change for Chewbacca to be competitive. Slam is a great ability, but was nearly impossible to justify as you could rarely Slam and attack in an activation. Wookie Avenger makes it much easier to do both.
I still think Chewbacca is an expensive figure considering he can only attack once per round. However, starting with Debts Repaid, being able to Slam for free, and the utility of being able to push figures off objectives makes him sufficiently competitive.
Laugh it up, fuzzball
Chewbacca is going to force a lot of players to dust off some of the old Command cards in their collection, because he's coming in with the Guardian and Wookie traits which currently don't see much play. Time will tell if it's worth investing the points in the cards specific to these traits, but here's a few that I find interesting.
Note: I'm skipping the Smuggler Command cards since I covered those in my article on Han Solo - those cards are still good, even with Chewbacca!
Guardian Stance: In the past, this is a card I wouldn't have considered, as the effect doesn't strike me as all that powerful. However, this analysis is obviously different if you're running Stealth Tactics or Brace for Impact, where you can get some serious value out of Guardian Stance. Chewbacca would need to be adjacent to a friendly figure for this to work, which may be realistic if running him in tandem with Jedi Luke. Overall, I think it it's worth considering for 1 point despite it's limitations.
Edit 9/8/2017: I initially misread this card and I've updated the text to represent what the card actually states.
Bodyguard: This is another card that hasn't gotten much attention, but I think deserves at least some thought since forcing an opponent to split their damage among multiple figures is a powerful ability for 1 point. Using this card with Chewbacca has the potential to net good results with Chewbacca's two defense dice, especially if used in tandem with Guardian Stance or Brace for Impact. The biggest limitation of this card is that if your opponent is already focusing Chewbacca, it has no purpose because the Rebels have no other figures with the Guardian Trait.
Provoke: Speaking of throwing off an opponent's plans, Provoke does just that - it changes the course of the game at your behest. Maybe your opponent is hoping to get one last activation out of an injured IG-88 - sorry, activate that regular Jawa instead, thank you. Again, the card will require a lot of practice, but is insanely powerful if executed correctly. And as a bonus, Chewbacca will already be adjancent to enemy figures in order to Slam, so it's likely he'll be able to take advantage of this card.
Roar: I would put this card further down the power scale relative to the previous cards I've mentioned, but it's still worthy of examination. Mainly, because most opponents won't expect three of their figures to become stunned in such short order. The obvious problem with this card is that Chewbacca already has useful actions. However, occasionally a well-timed stun can change the entire course of a game, so I had to mention a card that could provide three well-timed stuns.
Battle Scars: While this card isn't out yet, it will be by the time Wookie Avenger is released, therefore it is worth mentioning. This card provides insane value for 0 points. Blitz, a card that provides a single surge, costs 1 point. This card can provide a free damage, Surge, Block, or Evade over the next two attack or defense rolls for 0 points. I can't see a reason not to run this card with Chewbacca.
Chewie, take the professor in the back and plug him into the hyperdrive
Prior to writing this article, I hadn't thought much about using Chewbacca in a list - in fact, I wasn't very excited to run him at all. However, now I'm having an epiphany about what a Chewbacca-based objective control list might look like. It's not clear to me if it's competitive, but it sounds like a lot of fun.
Chewbacca and Wookie Avenger: 11 points
Han Solo with Rogue Smuggler: 10 points
Elite Echo Base Troopers: 8 points
Hera Syndulla: 4 points
Gideon Argus: 3 points
C-3P0: 2 points
Regular Alliance Smuggler: 2 points
The list is primarily designed as an objective control list. Chewbacca, Han, and Hera act as the main offensive force, harassing your opponent and removing enemy figures from objectives, while the Echo Base Troopers and Alliance Smuggler move to hold the uncontested objectives. In an ideal situation, you'll be holding three or four objectives at the end of the first round, having taken advantage of Chewbacca's Slam to swing any objectives your opponent chose to contest.
At 10 points, obviously Han could be replaced with a lot of different figures. However, I like him for a few reasons. First, he's a figure with very high offense, which means that an opponent will be conflicted about whether to target him or Chewbacca. If an opponent targets Chewbacca, I'm still in a good spot with a healthy Han that is attacking up to three times per round. And, if they target Han, Chewbacca will be able to utilize Debts Repaid. It's a fun little dilemma to place on an opponent and one that I wouldn't want to deal with myself. On top of all that, who doesn't want to run Chewy and Han together?
Finally, this list is nice because it has large pool of Smugglers, making it much easier to utilize Command cards among many figures. There's still room for some character specific cards, such as Hera's Evacuate, that can be used to activate Debts Repaid (Sorry C-3P0) or deny your opponent a large pool of points. Overall, I don't think this is a top-tier list, but will be fun to try.
I love what FFG has done with Chewbacca, and I think he's going to be a figure that promotes high level play. It's unclear whether he'll be part of top tier lists in the meta created by Heart of the Empire, but I expect he'll be a lot of fun. Thanks for reading!
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