Count Dooku’s apprentice/assassin is making her way to Legion! Asajj Ventress is a formidable opponent for the heroes of the Clone Wars and her abilities in Legion reflect that. Let’s dive in and see how she can help lead the Separatists to victory.
Ventress starts off with the standard force user Immune: Pierce, Deflect and red defense dice. She also comes with 5 health, 2 courage and no surge on either offense or defense. She is the first unit without a jetpack to have Jump 2 which can really help her mobility around the battlefield, especially in combination with Relentless. She is also has Indomitable which means it’s going to be tough to keep her panicked or suppressed when she activates.
Where she really separates herself from other units is with her new keyword: Jar’Kai Mastery. This ability allows Asajj to spend dodge tokens to improve attack dice results while she is performing a melee attack (similar to the Marksman keyword). With a melee attack of 8 black dice she will have ample opportunities to make use of this keyword. And even if she rolls hot and doesn’t need to improve attack dice she can still use the dodge tokens for defense. This mastery also pairs really well with her Independent: Dodge 1 keyword.
Ventress comes with 2 force upgrade slots and 2 training upgrade slots. She is a fairly heavy investment at 150 points from the operative slot, but with the price of other units in the CIS army she shouldn’t have much trouble finding a good home in a variety of lists. And as we’ll see with her command cards, she can be a very versatile piece of your army, while also providing you with a good counter to your opponent’s force user if they have one.
Ventress has 3 command cards that she can use:
THE JEDI SHALL FALL
This command cards gives her Jedi Hunter, which gives her the much desired surge to crit when attacking a unit with a force upgrade icon. In addition, while she performs an attack she may gain up to 4 suppression tokens (during the Roll Attack Dice step but before dice are rolled) and she gains 1 dodge token for each suppression token she gained. This can set her up for a huge swing in melee. On average she should be able to force all 8 saves (before dodges are applied of course) with Jar’Kai Mastery. Note that this card doesn’t specify that she can gain the dodges/suppression during a melee attack so if she is equipped with saber throw she could gain them during a ranged attack to help her defend any attacks she would take back.
Do note as well that if you take all 4 suppression tokens this does put her at her panic threshold. This doesn’t effect her during her current activation as she would have already completed the rally step, but it could effect her later in the game. She does have Indomitable so she shouldn’t have an issue rolling suppression off on future activations and she will remove 1 normally during the end phase, but you want to be careful playing this card during a scoring round or the last turn of the game if she is in position to score an objective if your opponent has the means to put additional suppression on her in that round.
I AM FEAR
This card can be a great follow-up to The Jedi Shall Fall as it lets Asajj recover when she begins her activation to clear away the suppression she took. (Note that this is not a free recover ACTION so it would not trigger your opponent’s standbys). The free recover is also big for her as she does not have Master of the Force so she will need to recover in order to use any exhausting force powers she has equipped.
In addition to the free recover, this card also gives Asajj an end of activation attack with a 1 black, Suppressive, Spray weapon that surges to crit and has a range of melee/range 1. Since this is an attack not an attack action she can use it even if she has performed an attack during her activation. It’s not the spiciest command card attack but with Spray it can do some damage to squads that still have a lot of minis left in them. The most impactful part of the attack might just be the Suppressive keyword with the new panic rules, especially if you use this as a ranged attack.
YES, MY MASTER
This is the big one. This command card is unique in that it doesn’t order any units and MUST be Divulged during the Deploy Units Step. Once divulged it stays in play and gains Permanent, giving Asajj the choice of 2 different sets of keywords that she has access to during the game.
The first option gives her Bounty and Reinforcements. This isn’t a flashy choice but it is a strong one. Bounty is obviously big as it gives you the opportunity to gain another victory point during the game and Reinforcements lets you deploy Ventress after all other units have deployed so you can see how your opponent has deployed all their forces and put Ventress in the optimal position.
The second option gives her Demoralize 1, Makashi Mastery and Outmaneuver. This choice is spicy. Makashi Mastery is arguably one of the strongest keywords in the game (and is one of the reasons I voted Dooku the strongest force user). It can be tough for a unit to actually win a saber duel against another saber user as they most often have Immune to Pierce but Makashi Mastery lets you reduce your Pierce value by 1 to remove your opponent’s Immune to Pierce during a melee attackj. Guaranteeing a wound on a saber user is huge, especially with Deflect no longer granting surge to block during melee attacks. Outmaneuver is also a great defensive keyword, especially coupled with her Independent: Dodge. Demoralize 1, while not a flashy or powerful as the other 2 keywords she gains from this option, can still be very good. Giving out a suppression just by activating can remove a standby token from a nearby unit, which is great for a force user who doesn’t have Master of the Force and thus won’t always have access to force push at the beginning of their activation.
Both options to choose from are good so it is far from an easy decision. That being said, I would personally lean towards the 2nd option when your opponent has an Immune to Pierce unit on in their army. While Bounty can still be tempting in this matchup, being able to reliably damage the Immune to Pierce unit is the right call in my opinion. Especially because Asajj only has 5 wounds, which puts her at the lowest health for force users currently, so she is already at a disadvantage when trying to out duel a saber wielder.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
In addition to her 3 command cards, Asajj also comes a command card that her master Count Dooku can use!
This command card is a 3 pip that counts as a 2 pip while building your command had. It only orders Dooku and gives him and aim token and a dodge token. It also lets Ventress activate immediately after Dooku, provided she does not have a facedown order token. This card can give you a big 1, 2 punch with your force users, while still letting Ventress gain her Independent dodge token.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
As mentioned earlier, Ventress comes with 2 force upgrade slots and 2 training upgrade slots. So what are some of the best options to take in these slots? Let’s start with the force slots.
The first force upgrade slot should go to Force Push, no question. Currently the only force user I would consider not putting Force Push on is Emperor Palpatine. This card is too good not to take as it warps games, forcing your opponent to have to account for it. The 2nd slot is a bit more flexible depending on how you want to run her. Force Choke, Burst of Speed and Saber Throw are all viable options. Burst of Speed and Saber Throw are great because they do no exhaust so the lack of Master of the Force doesn’t effect them, and they both make her more versatile on the battlefield. A unit with Burst of Speed and Jump 2 can cover a lot of ground very quickly, add in Relentless and their threat range gets real big real quick. Adding a ranged attack with Saber Throw gives her more options to attack, especially with Relentless.
Force Choke is the sexy choice as it just straight up removes minis from the board. With no Master of the Force, you might be recovering more with Asajj to get more uses out of Force Push, which would give you more uses of Force Choke as well. This is another instance where Relentless is huge because it allows for a recover, move attack turn if needed/wanted. The other option to consider is Force Reflexes. Since Asajj and uses dodges either on offense or defense, she can never have too many dodges. If you are recovering to use Force Push again, you can keep using Force Reflexes for more dodges as well.
For the training slots, the first one I am equipping Asajj with is Into The Fray. With Deflect no longer giving surge to block in melee and Ventress not having an offensive surge, this upgrade can go a long way in to making her more effective in combat. There are really only 2 other upgrades I’m considering and that is Tenacity and Offensive/Defensive Stance. Tenacity can help her offense by adding a more consistent die to her melee attacks but Offensive/Defensive Stance is my preferred option. Taking 2 dodges with 1 action and then being able to move/attack with Relentless seems pretty solid.
A tempting combo might be to run both Force Reflexes and Offensive/Defensive Stance (cause 3 dodges a turn, why not!) but the problem with that combo is that Ventress won’t be attacking much with it. Most turns you will need to recover in order to use Reflexes again and if you are also taking a dodge action then you have no actions left for moving and/or attacking. There are going to be some exceptions or edge cases where that combo could work, but as a general rule of thumb, if you are running Force Reflexes I wouldn’t bring Offensive/Defensive Stance and vice versa.
You know it had to be done lol. This is a straight forward, all eggs in a basket of 3 force users choking and slashing their way through the enemy army. The B1s provide dodges and heals to keep the Sith alive as long as they can. Is it competitive, probably not. Is it fun…it definitely could be!
MASTER AND APPRENTICE
Keep the T-Series back with the B1 gunline and let the Master and his apprentice go wherever they are needed. With the order control this list provides Ventress should only have an order on 2 turns, 3 if Dooku is not in range of any of the droids during the You Disappoint Me turn. Vigilance can let Ventress keep a dodge before she dives in with Burst of Speed.
Since Cad’s and Asajj’s divulge cards do not have any conflicting timing about being selected during the first round you can divulge them both. With Ventress having the choice to take the Bounty Keyword you are not locked into double bounty if there is less than 2 targets so you can give her the other option. This kind of flexibility is what is going to make Asajj good in CIS lists. Your order control with this list isn’t perfect but Improvised Orders can help with that a little bit once you get a few pulls in. 11 activations is also nothing to sneeze at.
Ventress is a very versatile unit and has the potential to pack quite a punch on offense. She is a little bit more fragile on the defensive side than most of the other force users, the 5 health might keep her on the losing end of more saber duels than she might like. While her 3 pip command card and Jar’Kai Mastery are flashy and quite good, the most underrated thing she has might be Indomitable. Action economy is huge in this game and being able to far more reliably remove suppression goes a long way towards maximizing that especially with (not to beat the dead horse too much) Relentless. She is also in a great position to take advantage of Independent as she is in the army with historically the best order control. She doesn’t have to worry as much about not having a faceup order token as there are going to be plenty of times where hers is the only order token in the order pool.
Ventress brings a lot to the table and can be a fine addition to a CIS army.