Sabine Wren – Explosive Artist

Sabine soars into the Rebel roster this week.  Her incredible speed, coupled with tremendous defense, offers a unique option to rebel commanders who are looking for a mobile control piece.  

Unit Summary

Offense (Surge to Crit)

Average Ranged Output (Pierce 1) = 1.88 Net Hits (but you do this twice with Gunslinger)

Average Melee Output without Darksaber = 1.25 Hits

Average Melee Output w/ Darksaber (Pierce 1, Impact 1) = 3.14 Hits

Let’s take a look at the expected average wounds to a group of Rebel Troopers and Stormtroopers. We will always use this as our standard of comparison and this may change with the release of the Clone Wars units.

Average Wounds Rebel Troopers Stormtroopers
No Cover 1.76 1.63
Light Cover 1.05 1.01
Heavy Cover 0.76 0.73
Melee without Darksaber 0.83 0.62
Melee with Darksaber 2.79 2.42

Defense

5 Wounds

66.7% Save

Impervious

Nimble

*Durability = 15 Rolls

*Durability is a stat we will use to track expected average number of defensive dice she will have to roll before dying. This calculation changes with defensive keywords such as impervious or Immune:Pierce.

Utility

Speed 3 and Jump 2

Courage 2

Unit Analysis

At first glance, Sabine may seem like a Rebel re-skin of Boba Fett.  Her Mandalorian armor grants her the same mobility and defense possessed by the bounty hunter.  But her weapon choice and other keywords pull her away from the mid- to long-range hunting that Boba was known for.  Because she possesses no attack options that exceed Range 2, Sabine has to play much nearer to the enemy in order to be effective.  In addition, lacking Bounty means she does not directly contribute a Victory Point source in a game.  So why take Sabine?

First, look at her offensive capabilities.  A lackluster melee means Sabine is unlikely to want to engage targets head-on.  Her twin pistols allow her to spread a consistent 1-2 points of damage across two targets, but only if they are both in her range.  She will likely inflict a single Piercing wound with her pistols on each target, even if they are behind cover, thanks to her Surge to Critical.  As a result, she is comparative to the damage output of two snipers, though her range forces her to fight closer.

Conversely, Sabine’s defense is among the highest in the game. Right out of the gate she possesses a 67% chance of saving any normal wound that she rolls against.  Combined with her 5 wounds, Sabine can reasonably be expected to absorb 15 hits, with no cover or dodge, before being removed from the table.  The math behind Impervious is complex and is reliant upon how many points of Pierce the attacking pool has, but just remember that Sabine taking those hits is still better than most units, though it likely reduces her effective durability with each successive hit. That said, Pierce is irrelevant if you never need to roll defense at all.   This is where Nimble comes into play.  The Rebellion is rife with sources that can grant Sabine a Dodge (Leia, Generic Officer, Luke and Jyn’s command cards etc.) and her survivability goes up tremendously when she is negating one hit off every pool that comes her way.

So Sabine is terrific on defense, and likely throwing at least 2 damage out per turn.  But this isn’t all Sabine does.  To really see where she really shines, analyzing the control aspects inherent in her cards is crucial…

Command Cards

Explosions!

There are several points to note about this card.  First and foremost, Sabine can only lay out her Thermal Charges on the turn this card is played, but she can Detonate the charges on any turn from there on out.  Second, when Sabine Detonates, she must blow up both charges simultaneously, due to the current wording on the rules on Detonate X.  Third, Sabine’s free speed-1 move does not benefit from her Jump 2 ability.  

Useful applications of this card include laying charges to block key pathways or spreading shots from Gunslinger and Detonate to inflict 4+ points of suppression in a single activation. Often though, this turn will be spent moving into range of 2 targets, Arming Thermal Charges, backing off into heavy cover and immediately Detonating.  As a result, this card can also be useful for repositioning.

Symbol of Rebellion

 This command card helps mitigate one of Sabine’s biggest weaknesses.  She has a large kit, and if she is suppressed, she loses a lot of her utility.  A free recovery is terrific for her, and unless Sabine panics off the table turn 1, this card is a get-out-of-jail-free card against an opponent trying to suppress Sabine.  In addition, this card provides additional anti-Suppression utility through a graffiti token. 

If a friendly unit has line of sight and is within range 1-2 of a graffiti token, the unit may roll an additional die to clear suppression. This makes it increasingly difficult to keep friendly units suppressed. To give an example, if a friendly unit has a single suppression, and Courage 1, they only has a 33% chance to get their full activation. However, if they are able to benefit from a graffiti token, the probability of clearing that suppression and getting full activation value goes up to 56%.

If an enemy unit has line of sight and is within range 1-2 of a graffiti token, the unit rolls one less die to clear suppression, to a minimum of 1. This effect is very helpful if enemy units are accumulating suppression, since this part of the effect only matters if the enemy has more than one suppression token. Even so, it’s a deterrent, and becomes more magnified the longer the game lasts.

Legacy of Mandalore

This card is excellent for turns where Sabine needs to reposition.  Since one order must go to Sabine, she can gain a guaranteed Dodge, giving her the benefits of Nimble without costing an action.  In addition, she can gain more tokens to bolster her offense and/or defense.  If given 2 Aim tokens, Sabine’s expected net hits goes up to 2.5 on each Gunslinger shot, assuming one token is spent on each shot.  

This means that a great deal of value can be gained by using this card and targeting Sabine plus 2 other units that grant her tokens, as she can reposition to a flanking position and will inflict heavy amounts of damage with minimal risk. This is also the only operative-specific command card in the game that allows you to issue to orders to other units besides the operative themselves. Having activation control on a turn with an operative command card is only icing on the cake.

This card also grants Sabine Inspire 1.  Combined with a graffiti token, this allows Sabine to assist a heavily suppressed unit that might otherwise act inefficiently or panic.

Upgrades

Unique

The Darksaber

 At a baseline, the Darksaber brings Sabine’s Average Melee Damage to 3.1 with Pierce 1. This card also grants Dauntless and Pierce Immunity. Dauntless is incredibly useful on Sabine, shoring up her weakness to long-range suppression. There is an inherent synergy in stacking extra suppression on Sabine to grant her a move action and playing Luke’s Return of the Jedi or Sabine’s Symbol of Rebellion on the following turn. Immune:Pierce in Melee improves her close-range defensive capabilities. This allows her to go toe to toe with lightsaber users in melee and expect to live through an attack.  As a result, this card buffs Sabine’s offense, defense, and utility, all in one card.

Electro Grappling Line

 A useful utility choice, the Electro Grappling Line is often compared to Boba Fett’s Whipcord Launcher.  While the effect and range are identical, the value of this card is very different.  Where Boba’s Whipcord is a free action, Sabine’s upgrade is not.  It also exhausts, meaning it is freely refreshed by Symbol of Rebellion.  And finally, and perhaps most critically, this card does not allow Sabine to freely withdraw from a melee if she immobilizes one of the combatants.  There is a debate over whether or not this is worth taking over emergency stims, and we believe that choice comes down to playstyle and your intentions with Sabine.

Personal Combat Shield

This is a defensive option for Sabine, functionally granting her an additional save’s worth of Durability, bringing it up to 16.  If utilized in conjunction with Symbol of Rebellion, this increases further, up to 10 wounds.  This means that the Personal Combat shield can be a huge defensive boon for Sabine. It is also important to not that the shield can be shut off via Ion weapons, which may potentially make a comeback if new more interesting ion options are made available. It remains to be seen whether or not this will end up being worth the points. With all of Sabine’s other defensive options and strengths, this may not be necessary. We will do some more play-testing and provide an update.

General

Training Slot

Endurance is a solid choice for Sabine, helping her manage her low Suppression threshold.  Even Imperial Suppressive lists will have a hard time keeping Sabine down

Hunter is a situationally good choice on Sabine, as it further increases her efficiency against many high-value targets.

Tenacity can be used to improve Sabine’s melee offense, and may be a worthy addition if you plan to run her as a melee tarpit.

Duck and Cover is not recommended on Sabine, as she struggles with managing suppression and does not have Low Profile.

Sentinel has minimal value on Sabine, as she lacks a Range 3 weapon and most often does not want to waste an action to standby.

Gear Slot

Emergency Stims is a strong option for any character, and Sabine is no exception.  This upgrade is recommended if neither of Sabine’s unique gear choices are taken.

Recon Intel could be useful on Sabine for the same reasons it was useful on Boba.  It allows a turn-1 middle box grab on Recover the Supplies.  However, Rebels have other options for this play such as Leia’s No Time For Sorrows, so this upgrade is situationally useful.

 Targeting Scopes are not recommended on Sabine, as she is unlikely to take Aim actions in order to benefit from her other keywords. She also gains very little value out of rerolling her entire ranged attack pool.

Environmental Gear is not recommended on Sabine, as her mobility often avoids difficult terrain and there are better options for her solo gear slot. We strongly suggest not taking this.

Grappling Hooks have minimal value on Sabine, as her Jump 2 action is preferable in almost all cases. We strongly suggest not taking this.

Scope

All in all, it seems that Sabine feels strongest when behind heavy cover near a crucial objective or pathway, where she can maximize her offensive plays while also using the 3-hit negation from Nimble and cover to mitigate large amounts of damage.

In addition, this tactic plays well into Sabine’s command cards, as keeping her near the action makes it easier to hit enemies with Explosions! and control suppression with her graffiti token.

Sabine also becomes highly effective at maneuvering into flanking shots if she is paired with a commander who can grant her Dodge tokens.  Luke Skywalker’s command card My Ally is the Force or the Take Cover action pair well with Sabine.

She is most effective at harassing back capping units, flanking snipers, and setting up strong plays with Explosions! Then going in late on the later turns and pushing in aggressively. She also tarpits Luke, Vader, and Palpatine very well.

Counter-analysis

Sabine does however, have a few weaknesses that can be exploited.  Her highly diverse kit is also a huge weakness.  It is very difficult for Sabine to take advantage of every keyword she possesses in any given turn.  If she is moving and Dodging, she isn’t shooting.  Noting which option she chooses is vital in playing around her.

This makes her very vulnerable to suppressive fire as well.  Any time Sabine is denied actions, she either suffers on attack or defense. Many Suppressive keyworded attacks also outrange Sabine, meaning that they can stall her out.  If she does not have the Darksaber, she may end up wasting several turns just trying to get into position. 

This tactic combines well with the pre-game.  Sabine can be outmaneuvered by ignoring the objective she chooses to sit on, as she lacks range and is uses static tokens to control her area.  Battle Lines and Intercept the Transmissions is a notable weak combination for her.

If Sabine is not paired with a commander who possesses Inspire or has Courage 3+, it is very possible to panic her off the table on the first turn as an Imperial player.

 “I personally have taken a full-health Sabine off the table by hitting her with Bossk’s Reptilian Rampage and a follow-up Death Trooper Range 4 fusillade.  6 suppression on her in 2 activations is tough to handle for a Courage 2 unit” – John Griffin

4 thoughts on “Sabine Wren – Explosive Artist

  1. I just want to say that this was a fantastic article, and I can’t wait to read more from you fine people!

    Love the thought and depth you put into this piece with the odds vs the Rebel troopers and the Storms. And the net hit averages listed.

  2. Hey guys, first off thanks for all the content both on this page and the podcast. I’m a bit confused about the durability stat as being the number of defense dice you can expect to roll before you expect Sabine to die being 8.5. At a red die with surge to block she has a 66% chance to to make a block. With 5 wounds wouldn’t you expect her to have to roll 15 dice before she fails 5 wounds (15 * 1/3 = 5)? Likewise I would expect Luke to roll 12 dice before he dies (12 * 1/2 = 6). Or am I missing something?

  3. Hey, Jeff. I did the math a bit differently, but honestly, your way of interpreting it is probably easier to understand and more useful to the reader. I’ll be switching it over soon. Thanks for the comment!!!

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