Thursday, October 7, 2021

Defending the Death Star Plans with Krennic

Krennic is probably one of my favorite Imperial commanders in Legion, but I find regularly that he doesn't get enough credit. I will admit, he's pretty 'meh' if you don't really utilize his strengths. He's 10 points more than Veers without the support that Veers can bring and the same price as Kallus without the strength that Kallus can bring. Instead you get some niche abilities and weird command cards, but if you play your cards right (literally), you can get some great use out of him.



Let's hunt down the Erso family, call in the Death Troopers, and deploy the garrison as we analyze how to get the most out of Krennic. We'll first be examining Krennic as a unit, then his command cards, and we'll intermix those two with synergies and list-building ideas. 

General Tactics


Alright, let's just get this out of the way, Krennic's not a great combatant. He's not a great support piece. He's kind of awkward in the fact that he doesn't really do much when he activates. It's all about what he brings to the meta-game of Legion. On the table, he's...just okay. Having Sharpshooter 1 and Pierce 1 is pretty decent, but the real benefits are Compel, Cunning, and Entourage: Imperial Death Troopers.

These skills allow you to put together some very interesting builds for a list. Specially, Compel is an excellent ability to stack with Krennic's 3-pip that'll let you stack up Suppression on your foes while your troops are still able to perform at 100% efficiency. Cunning is another great ability that helps Krennic and your army get a little head-start on your opponent. Being able to activate first in a turn with reliability is nothing to sneeze at! Being able to keep units operating regularly even with Suppression and being able to consistently activate first in a two are already some great meta pros to Krennic, but he has another interesting ability, that Entourage. Now, Imperial Death Troopers (IDT) have kind of been on the decline for being too fragile and too expensive, but man. When they hit something, they can hit HARD. Allowing an army to have one extra Special Forces unit and being able to issue an order to a IDT unit per turn reliably is another sweet, although somewhat niche, benefit a Krennic list.

Better watch out, Krennic's always got backup!


Although, as a support piece, Krennic doesn't really want to see much combat. He'd prefer hiding behind units and terrain to avoid the enemy, and provide his unique blend of peculiar meta benefits. He'll want to kind of hide, but still be close enough to units that will keep advancing, like IDTs, to keep using Compel and Entourage as needed. The real important part of keeping Krennic alive is so you can keep using Cunning, so do your best to limit line of fire to him or have a backup plan if you do. With only 6 health, white defense, and Surge: Defense he can weather a shot or two, but will go down to focus fire -easily-.

Equipment


Krennic doesn't quite have much room here to be flexible when it comes to upgrades. He only has two Command slots and one Gear slot. Gear is arguably interesting on a character who's mostly for support anyway, but never important. The Command slots are where things can get pretty spicy.

Command


With Krennic's two Command slots, his Compel ability, and his 3-pip, the most obvious choice is to give him Strict Orders. There's no way around it. Strict Orders is a decent support Command card enabling you to get more mileage out of your units and, hopefully, hurt yourself less when using the 3-pip. There's no real reason not to give him Strict Orders since it's so cheap and synergizes well. For the second slot, it's a bit interesting, but you have three interesting choices: 

1) Aggressive Tactics. Sure, it's kind of pricey and you probably don't -need- the surges, but they can come in handy to save a Trooper's life.
2) Nothing. Sometimes going cheap is better and in this case, yeah. Going cheap on Krennic is probably the better play.
3) Esteemed Leader. Folks dislike Krennic and Krennic's kind of squishy. He's a decent force multiplier and once he's out, your opponent will try to gun him down. Having Esteemed Leader on him and some cheap Storms nearby will help him take a few hits, but it's not the ideal play. This is more if you're worried about being able to hide Krennic than anything else.


Gear


I mean, let's be honest here, there's a pretty obvious and standout item you'd want to slot here; Electrobinoculars. As a support piece with minimal combat effectiveness and no inherent action-based support abilities, giving him one through gear is a solid choice. Krennic can then easily keep pace with your units and provide them with Aims as needed. Another interesting Gear choice would be Emergency Stims. Again, this will be more ideal if you struggle with line of fire and minimizing the amount of trouble a commander can get into. 

Command Cards


Now this is where the fun really begins! Krennic's Command Card are pretty interesting for meta tactics, but the real issue is learning when and how to use them. They're not the most intuitive, that's for sure. However, once you get the feel for them and start thinking about how to build around them, you can pull off some really interesting combinations.

Voracious Ambition (1-Pip)


This card is probably the most straight forward of the three, but it's still quite powerful. If you have any ways to provide Orders outside of the Command Card (like with HQ Uplink or Krennic's Entourage), you can make this card pretty powerful. Being able to pull three random tokens from your pool and then set them aside provides a decent amount of activation control. Especially when you combine the fact that this is a 1-pip and Krennic has Cunning, you'll almost always get to activate first with a little bit of activation control. This is usually pretty rare for playing a 1-pip as you typically have very little activation control. 

Plus, immediately being able to thin down your pool by giving an order to Krennic and setting aside three other orders helps immensely if you want to draw from the pool. Even if you do randomly pull three Corp, for example, onto Voracious Ambition, you can more reliably pull out your heavier hitters and you'll be able to consistently activate Corp units. The main downside is you aren't issuing any units an Order with Voracious, besides Krennic. It just adds a little more consistency and reliability which is always helpful in a game with chance involved. There's no real grand synergy or strategy for this card, it's just a tool and can be use on any turn you would appreciate a bit more consistency or the ability to go first (barring any other Cunning commanders or Han Solo's '1'-pip).

Deploy the Garrison (2-Pip)


Now this is an interesting card. It allows Krennic to issue orders to two Troopers, but it says any friendly Troopers with a faceup order may perform a free Standby action. You can get a bit more mileage out of this card if you also take the Overwatch training upgrade, but you won't have to. You really want to use this card once you get a little further into the game, like around turns three or four. This means you should have Troopers that are already in range 2 of some important units or objectives. If you play your cards correctly, you'll be able to get extra shots off this turn allowing you to boost your offensive power for whatever turn you play Deploy the Garrison and that's super slick! Imagine being able to use your Snowtrooper flamethrower twice in one turn. There is are a few issues though.

The first major concern is you can lose Standby if you receive a Suppression. Standby states that you can use it after an enemy attack, but if they attack as the first part of their activation and put a Suppression on the unit, you lose that Standby. Of course, this doesn't only apply for attacks too, the rules simply state if they gain a Suppression from -anything-. However, it's not strictly a bad thing. This means you're forcing your opponent to spend actions coming up with ways to remove those Standbys which could include forcing your opponent to perform a weaker attack (not being able to Aim) to shoot at your Standby units first. It's more of a catch-22 than an explicit force multiplier. You force your opponent to either allow you a free shot or perform a sequence of action they don't exactly want to perform, forcing activation control. Another interesting trick about this play is then you are forcing your opponent to deal with this unit, so you can keep Royal Guard nearby to soak up damage or put the Standby on a unit to tank the damage themselves, essentially using a taunt.

When things go really wrong, Krennic's not afraid to deploy the whole garrison

The second not-so-fun point against this card is that the Standbys can be avoided by trying to out-active your units with the Standbys. If your opponent doesn't want to get shot, they'd just have to stay out of the range (either two normally or three with Overwatch) or wait to activate any units that are already in range until you activate your Standby units. This can, in turn, enforce activation control on you, especially if you put the Standbys on a heavy-hitting unit (like Death Troopers) and now you're trying to wait your opponent out with that heavy-hitter until a unit at range 2 activates. The way to avoid this is make sure if you do put the Standby on a heavy-hitter, you don't mind having them wait or make sure they're close to a unit you know your opponent will activate soon. The other part of this is to put the Standbys on units who you can still dish damage with, but you aren't too worried about when they'll activate.

Annihilation Looms (3-Pip)


Now this is where things get really interesting! Let's get the basic information out of the way first: you get to issue Orders to Krennic himself and then two units (doesn't even specify Trooper). Then, -every- Trooper Unit on the table gains one Suppression. However, if it's past turn 5, they gain two Suppression instead. Now, you might be thinking to yourself 'why would I want to add Suppression on my own units? That sounds useless!' You wouldn't exactly be wrong, but the real benefit is you can prepare and build a list around it, while your opponent can't. That's when things can get pretty spicy! It's another reason why Strict Orders is such a handy card on him when coupled with his Compel ability.To really get the most out of this card, it helps to pad out your list with sources of Suppressive or try to pile up as much Suppression as you can before the turn you decide to use the card. It's why you see Bossk in a decent amount of Krennic lists. 

Such a beautiful card, name, and ability
Credit to Tabletop Admiral


However, there are a few problems with the card that can kind of make it a trap. Enemy units with Danger Sense can really take the wind out of your sails with this card. In fact, they'll even thank you for helping them get more Suppression (unless you were fortunate enough to time the card right with being able to Panic those Danger Sense units)! You'll definitely need to be cognizant of that. Another issue is you need to make sure you don't accidentally Panic your own units. Try to keep lower Courage units closer to Krennic, so they can benefit from his Courage when checking their Panic threshold. The last little bit is the two Suppression on turns 5+. This will mostly depend on you and the current state of things, but you won't really care about crippling your opponent at this point. It's a bit of a trap, as you should try to use this card sooner than later to cripple your opponent's action economy sooner to give you a snow-balling advantage.


Conclusion


Sure, Krennic isn't Kallus. He's more fragile, he's not as beefy in any form of combat, but Krennic brings a few unique tools to the game that Kallus can't. If you enjoy those meta-strategies and being able to build your list around them, then Krennic will be the commander for you. He's got some really interesting possible list options and you can really capitalize on his Command Cards to do some interesting things with them. Krennic's obviously not the best commander available to Empire, but he's probably one of the more unique commanders in the game with his focus on meta-tactics rather than contributing much to the playing field. If you really enjoy meta-tactics and having a cool piece to build around when it comes to list-building, Krennic won't disappoint!

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