Saturday, April 11, 2020

Tactics: Rex and the Boys

If you've been playing the Republic so far, then you are no stranger to everyone's favorite Clone captain, Captain Rex. Currently being the cheapest available commander for the Republic as well as the only Clone Trooper commander, he's a very common choice. He's a great offensive support character, helping the boys get the tokens they need and provide some additional firepower to any list. He's an excellent toolkit commander to help get some work done and we're going to discuss all of the cool tricks and synergies this Clone veteran can bring to the table.

Clone Captain Rex | StarWars.com
Now to wait for those ARC Troopers to be released and recreate this scene!

General Tactics

As stated above, Rex is more of an offensive support character. He's not the best offensive commander out there when compared to the powerful force users (Vader, Dooku, and Luke) or straight gunners of other factions (Iden, Cassian, and Jyn), but he's also not that great at supporting the rest of your army like other armies' support-centered commanders (i.e. Leia, Veers, and Krennic). A few other issues with Rex is his love for Trooper units, his somewhat low, for a Commander, health and only having Courage 2. While the first point seems a bit odd, it can be a bit of a problem when you're trying to use any form of vehicle with Rex as he struggles to issue them Orders and hardly has any way to support them either. The last two points are what make him feel a bit weaker when compared to other Commanders as well, so you need to be careful with him or he'll get shot off the board or Panicked. However, unlike other Commanders, he can still dish out some raw damage and support the troops. Arguably, Rex is one of the best offensive-support Commanders out there!

With Scouting Party, Rex can help the gang get into position before the battle even starts, ensuring those DC-15's and RPS-6's can immediately start firing or R2 gets one move closer to getting that Secret Mission. He can also act as a great little support Clone squad by generating tokens for his fellow troopers to borrow (especially as he has Tactical, so anytime he moves he gains an Aim token). Plus, you can give him upgrades to really help him support your other Clone troopers (Electrobinoculars, Smoke grenades, Aggressive Tactics, Offensive Push, etc.), especially since Rex is only range 2 so he won't be shooting too immediately.

Equipment

Thankfully Rex is a pretty great toolbox and he has a lot of options that you can take on him to really change his role. Have a Command, Training, two gear, and a grenade slot gives you quite a few things to play around with, but universally it's always a great idea to take Recon Intel. Recon Intel synergies so well with Rex as is that it's honestly almost a disservice to not take it. Being able to Scout 2 and then provide that to two other troopers (like Obi-Wan, for example) is such a huge boon! With that said, let's break down each slot and provide some suggestions for what to take and what not to take:

Command

You have a couple of things you can take here, but a few really standout. Aggressive Tactics is by far one of the better options, especially since Clones have that sweet sweet green token sharing! Surge tokens have a lot more versatility in a Republic army using Clones than they do in any other force and this is especially true if you use Rex's "We're Not Programmed" and can then hand out four Surge tokens. Another great option with Rex is to take Strict Orders. Currently Republic is hurting a bit for some Suppression control and this pain is felt even more when you're playing an elite army with fewer actions to start with. Strict Orders can help mitigate this by helping you remove Suppression on units that have face-up Orders, helping to ensure you maintain your action economy. Esteemed Leader can also be a good choice if you have a problem of getting your Rex shot off the table, but can currently be a bit hard to swallow since then you'd be sacrificing your poor Phase I's and Phase II's just to keep Rex alive. However, if you plan on using Rex more aggressively to utilize his Gunslinger keyword, then Esteemed Leader will be your best bet.



Star Wars: Legion – Clone Captain Rex Commander Expansion | Board ...

Training

To be honest, this is the one slot I regularly skip when kitting out my Rex as I like to help costs down and put a few more upgrades on my Phase I's and Phase II's, but don't let that fool you! Rex can be a real monster with the right training! If you want to play a more defensive Rex, Duck and Cover can really come in handy to help give him a Suppression token when he needs it most for some cover. Or if you want to make sure Rex maintains his action economy, then good ol' Tenacity will help a lot. Trust me, if Rex is your only Commander and he's not hiding, your opponent will focus fire on him. I've had my poor Rex panic before and it's those times when I wish I had some way to deal with his Suppression. 

However, if you're of the shoot 'em up path of life, Hunter will help you get the crits you need when attacking squads with multiple wound models or characters. The only problem with Hunter on Rex I find is Rex already can get a lot of Aim tokens himself and that's not including the Aims he can get from friends. It can feel a bit redundant at times, but this does come in exceptionally handy if you plan on using squads to Fire Support with Rex when he shoots a character. With three Red dice, Crit Surge, and Sharpshooter 1, Rex rarely needs much help when it comes to hitting his target, but that Mortar squad that Rex got Fire Support from use the help! Another great offensive upgrade to take is Offensive Push. With Rex already having Tactical 1, he would then get Tactical 2 the turn you opt to use it, providing him with another Aim just for moving, either to help himself or any close-by squads. This is especially handy when you play Rex's 3-pip and he automatically recovers Offensive Push, so you don't even have to spend an action for it.

Gear

Just to reiterate, since Rex does have two gear slots, you really should be taking Recon Intel. It just synergizes so well with Rex and what's he trying to do, there really isn't a reason not to. The rest of the gear options are somewhat lackluster, but a few standouts are Emergency Stims, Targeting Scopes, Electrobinoculars, and the upcoming JT-12 Jetpack.

The Stims come in handy to help give you one final burst with Rex even after he technically should have heaved over. This can come in handy as it allows him to keep tokens around for the other Clones to use for a bit longer, instead of his tokens immediately vanishing with him. Again, if Rex is your only Commander and you're using him a bit more out in the open, Emergency Stims are definitely not a bad idea. The big problem with them is the 12 point cost, which is a bit hard to swallow as a Republic player since you're already having to cut costs to ensure your squads can even take heavy weapons.

You can almost never go wrong with Targeting Scopes, but they're a little less valuable on Rex than most other options. and this is, again, because you probably won't be using too many Aims with Rex himself. You especially won't need to be re-rolling three dice, since Rex is only throwing three red and they each miss 1/8 times. Statistically speaking, all three dice would only miss 1/512 times.

While a bit more controversial, Electrobinoculars are something you can consider taking on Rex if you really need to pump out some Aims to other units. If you didn't take a Phase I Support squad (a plain Phase I squad hidden out of LoS to provide green tokens), then you can substitute in for Rex. Using Electrobinoculars and Offensive Push, you could get three Aim tokens out in a single turn on two different units! It also combos well with Rex's 3-pip which allows him to recover and not have to spend an action for it. This then becomes a 102 point combo which is a bit pricey, but at least you don't have to relegate a Corps unit to the job. The really important point to bring up though is why spend 8 points to provide an Aim to someone else when you can Aim yourself and share tokens at the same range? I guess this way that Aim has an effective range of 2 (range 1 to the target unit and then anyone within range of them can share) for those games when you're a bit more spread out than you'd like to be, but you really shouldn't take them on Rex at all. In fact, almost no Clone unit should take Electrobinoculars at all, especially when they can already Aim for themselves and then share it with nearby Clones, unless you need that unit to pump out more than one Aim token a turn. Rex already has Tactical though, so he can get Aims just by moving, so he already has a second source of Aim tokens.

For those moments when you really want Rex somewhere FAST
Courtesy to Tabletop Admiral for the picture

Lastly, the JT-21 Jetpack. This thing can help Rex get wherever he needs to go and essentially makes Grappling Hooks and Environmental Gear pointless. If you want to make sure you get Rex exactly where he needs to be, then this is your option! Do note that the Jetpack doesn't make him faster, he'll still be Move 2, but this means he's essentially unimpeded by anything on the table. It's also worth noting the it still counts as a regular move, so he can still trigger Tactical off of it.

Grenade

Honestly, this is probably the least useful slot on Rex. The typical go-to (Fragmentation grenades) are useful (already having Surge: Crit and throwing three reds out to range 2), but if you wanted to play a more support-focused Rex, then definitely consider taking Smoke grenades. Smoke isn't always the most useful thing in the world, but the usefulness of being able to lay down smoke wherever you want and providing cover to your expensive and precious Clones can never be understated. Plus, you can still move into position, get an Aim with Tactical 1, and then provide cover to an area which is a nice support package. It is pretty situational and a bit expensive for a piece of equipment you might use once or twice a whole game (don't forget, Rex does like shooting every once and a while and also likes generating two Aims), but sometimes that once six point upgrade can save a 30 point DC-15 Phase I or even secure you a VP. Lastly, and another upcoming release, Droid Poppers. If you really hate droids or vehicles, then this might be the option for you. Load Rex up with that jetpack and have him run head-first at the enemy, Ioning them and crippling their action economy! It's also worth noting that since Rex has Gunslinger, you could make two attacks with Droid Poppers and effectively cripple two units at once or REALLY cripple one unit. The big downside, however, is that you have to be within range 1 and a Rex at range 1 of almost anything is going to be a dead Rex, unless you took a lot of defensive upgrades (Duck and Cover, Emergency Stims, etc.).


Command Cards

This is where Rex really begins to shine (which I guess you can make that case for every character who has them). This is what really makes Rex into a support and offensive powerhouse, but learning the right time to use each card can be a bit tricky.

Call Me Captain (1-Pip)

This is the card you play when you REALLY want Rex to dish out some damage. This allows Rex to shoot indefinitely until you either activate him or run out of other units to shoot with. He can keep Fire Supporting until you get tired of it and even into combat! You'll primarily want to play this card once you get Rex somewhat up the board and within range of a plethora of targets or when you need to get some of your Clones out of combat with lightsaber-wielding maniacs. Again, Rex isn't exactly the best shooter, especially when Fire Supporting and losing out on his Sharpshooter and Surge: Crit, but adding an additional 3 Red dice is nothing to sneeze at! Of course, another benefit is you're more than likely going to be able to snag priority with a 1-Pip too, so you can easily start blasting away, but the problem is no Order control since you'll only be able to give Rex an Order.

Take That, Clankers! (2-Pip)

Probably the best card Rex has to offer, as it increases the range of every weapon a trooper unit by 1 up to a max of 4, as long as they have a face-up Order and an Aim token on them (this excludes token sharing, they have to explicitly have the token themselves). Range 4 Z-6 and Range 3 DPS-23? Heck yeah! Since you'll only be able to hand out Orders to two Trooper units though, you'll need to pick wisely as it's not going to affect your entire army. It also requires one of their two actions to be an Aim (or at least get an Aim placed on them by other means, like Electrobinoculars or Offensive Push) and then the second action will to obviously be shoot. It makes those two units extremely predictable as you're essentially revealing your plans to your opponent up front, but it's hard to deny how strong it is to have an entire DC-15 or Z-6 squad being able to shoot up to range 4 AND with at least one Aim token. I highly recommended to play this card whenever you need some extra range to deal with enemy threats and I personally like to play it early to go ahead and get those early shots off before things get real heated. The sooner you can Suppress your enemy and cripple their action economy, the better! 

Rex | Wookieepedia | Fandom

A big issue is this card being a 2-pip and any opponent knowing about Rex will be able to predict when you're going to play this card (as it does require some setting up from you on the previous turns) and be able to counter with their own 1-pip and then cripple the units you gave face-up Orders to and then essentially making the card useless. That's why I like to provide orders to units that have Offensive Push so I can hide them on the previous turn, play this card, give them an Order, and then move them out of hiding to take advantage of it. Or I use it on a DC-15 squad that's already out of reach of my opponent, but who can safely shoot out to range 4.

We're Not Programmed (3-Pip)

This last card is really great if you need to issue an Order to a lot of your Clones, remove some Suppression from the rest of the gang, or want some additional Surges. I find this card usually comes in later in the game when things might not be looking too good for me or if I need a lot of Surges to help with reliability (especially when coupled with Aggressive Tactics). It's also almost always the card I play before, if not right before, I play "Call Me Captain". As it helps you make sure you get all of your units into position right before you go to town with Rex next turn. Plus, the Inspire 2 on Rex also helps any units that might have been Suppressed before hand, but will now be able to function at their full capacity. However, to me, the really big draw of this card is the possibility to lay down six Surge tokens. If you have any Phase II's in your list, that's an additional one per too! This can REALLY give your units some reliability and ensure everyone has a few Surges to play around with if you want to increase your offensive or defensive capabilities and if you have most of your units within sharing range. The last thing to note here is the ability to Recover Rex. This might sound kind of 'meh' at first, but if you have Offensive Push and Electrobinoculars on Rex, then you can refresh those and use them again to ensure you get the most use out of your Rex as possible. Like I said, this is an absolutely great card to help you recover from a bad turn or help you really get into position while also giving you a pretty efficient turn. The last benefit here is the fact that you're getting to issue 4 Orders this turn, which can really clear out your Order stack, making it more predictable. If you only have three Phase I's, Rex, a BARC, and a AT-RT when you use this card, then you have complete activation control for that turn since Rex and the three Phase I's will have face-up Orders and then you have two Support Orders in the stack.

Really the only downside to this card is it being a 3-pip and you aren't very likely to have priority, but does that matter you have a turn where all of your units are more reliable, your action control is higher, and you can help alleviate some Suppression? That's more up to how you like to play, but I definitely think the benefits outweigh not going first. I guess a minor complaint of this card is that it's only Clone Trooper units, so you can't issue any orders to anything other than your Clone units, which at this moment limits you to your Corps choices, Rex himself, and any upcoming units that are (presumably) boots-on-the-ground Clone units, like ARCs.

Conclusion

All-in-all, Rex was always a Clone Trooper's best friend, always there to help them out when they need it and laying down some smack on anyone who hurts the troopers under his command and on the tabletop he lives up to that image. He's a staple (currently) of a Republic army built around Clone Trooper units and he can act as some support-offense when needed. Plus, once kitted out, Rex can really accent either his support or offensive sides and help really push a Republic, Clone-dominated army with more tokens than a nerf herder than shake a stick at or take out key targets all by himself, especially when using his 1-pip. Speaking of his Command Cards, Rex's cards also help him slot nicely into his support-offense role by giving him a few ways to buff the Clones under his command (increasing the range of your Z-6 is always fun) while also making him a true beat-stick (UNLIMITED FIRE SUPPORT!). If you're looking for a bit of extra punch and support for your Clone Republic army, then you can't go wrong with Rex. Just make sure you keep him out of trouble and in turn, he'll make sure the boys get the job done right.


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