General Grievous – Sinister Cyborg

The fearsome cyborg general of the CIS is here to hunt down the Jedi. In this article you will find a break down of all his terrifying abilities.

Unit Summary

Offense

Jedi Hunter – new keyword that gives Surge: Crit against force users

Relentless

Average Melee Hits = 2.00 with Pierce 1 (and thanks to Arsenal 2, he does this twice)

Average WoundsRebel Trooper (White
with surge)
Stormtrooper (Red,
no surge)
Single Trophy Saber

Melee1.861.70
Melee + Aim2.502.22
Dual Trophy Sabers

Melee3.853.55
Melee + Aim4.754.25

Defense

8 Wounds

50% Save

Durability = 16 Saves (with Impervious to somewhat mitigate Pierce)

Block – Spending a dodge gives Surge:Block (a weaker version of deflect)

Utility

Speed 2

Scale

Courage 2

Unit Analysis

Leading the new Separatist (or CIS, if preferred) faction, General Grievous is one of the most iconic characters of the Clone Wars.  A towering cyborg who delights in hunting down Jedi generals and ambushing his foes, this titan of metal and flesh comes to the Legion table…

Offensively, Grievous is an absolute powerhouse in melee. Against most 5-man trooper squads, he stands a solid chance to take them from full to gone in a single attack from his twin Trophy Lightsabers.  And with Speed 2, Relentless, and Scale, not much will stop him from reaching his targets, however high or low they may hide. Not for nothing is this cyborg one of the most feared combatants during the Clone Wars.  Interestingly, thanks to Jedi Hunter, against units with a Force upgrade, his Trophy Lightsabers average about 2.5 hits each, for a likely total of 5 saves against that sort of opponent. That said, with no upgrades he lacks any ranged attacks whatsoever.  

Defensively, Grievous boasts a staggering 8 Wounds, with a 50% defensive save.  This brings his total durability into the realm of most Heavies, before even taking his other defensive keywords into account.  With Block, should Grievous have a Dodge token, he can spend it to gain Surge-to-Block, along with the normal hit negation from the token.  Unlike Deflect though, he has no chance to cause wounds to the attacker with this ability. Finally, while the math for impervious is entirely dependent on the amount of Pierce in the attacker’s pool, this ability does improve his defense when facing such opponents. 

It is also worth noting that Grievous can get Surge Tokens from various sources, further bolstering both his offense and defense beyond the metrics shown in this article.  Since these are gained and used situationally, they cannot be included in base calculations and tables, but their importance cannot be overstated.

For 175 points, General Grievous maintains strong abilities in every category.  And if that wasn’t enough to select him as a Separatist Commander (not that there is currently another option), his Command cards also exist…

Command Cards

Trained In Your Jedi Arts

This command grants Grievous the Keyword Disengage and a Dodge token right away.  This means that he can immediately gain the benefit of his Block keyword, while also gaining the ability to slip away from a melee that includes only one unit at no loss to his action economy.  Also, once he has moved to his ideal position and quite possibly attacked another unit, he makes an additional attack to all units in melee or range 1 of him (the Versatile Keyword on this attack is intended to allow him to hit units at Range 1 even if he is in melee at activation’s end).  Each attack from this card averages 2 hits, and carries the Suppressive keyword, meaning that it is very likely that every enemy within Grievous’ range is going to take at least a wound and 2 Suppression Tokens.

This is an incredibly potent control card.  While it lacks the massive damage of a Son of Skywalker or And Now You Will Die, this card has no limit to the number of units it can hit and suppress other than the range band.  Many armies like to keep most units in Range 1-2 proximity, so as to benefit from various keywords. This attack will absolutely punish “Death Balls” (armies that have several activations bunched together) and the like.  Plus, thanks to Disengage, Grievous can easily reposition from a previously entered melee, including (and usefully) one he is losing.

Supreme Commander

This card is deceptively powerful.  While it may not immediately seem useful to push wounds off of Grievous onto the much-lower saves of B-1s, consider this.  A single B-1 (with a single wound) is worth 6 points. Grievous has 8 wounds, but costs 175 points. If we were to make a Durability-per-point metric just for this scenario alone (because this metric isn’t terribly relevant for many other scenarios), Grievous is worth about double what a B-1 is even considering his much-improved save.  And consider how useful pushing Pierce damage onto B-1s would be…

This card is incredibly powerful for sustaining Grievous before he gets into melee, especially since the Separatists currently lack any Medics, so Wounds on Grievous will stick.

In addition, this card grants Grievous Surge Tokens equal to each other friendly trooper within Range 1.  Since these can be spent on defense as well as offense, any attack that does manage to get through the Guardian defense on this card can be negated by defensive Surge results. 

Crush Them!

Definitely a late-game card, this command card becomes increasingly powerful as the casualties mount. It is worth noting that this card gives Surge tokens to units who receive orders from Grievous himself.  Units given orders via abilities like Coordinate or HQ Uplink do not gain the benefit from this card.  

Upgrades

Unique

Armament Slot (1)

DT-57 Annihilator is recommended on this unit.  While by no means mandatory, this gives Grievous a ranged option that makes it much easier for him to attack multiple units at once, since he can attack with a single Trophy Lightsaber while in melee and fire out with this weapon, thanks to Versatile.  That said, if pure melee damage is preferred, attacking with both Trophy Lightsabers is more powerful.

Average Ranged Hits = 1.75 with Pierce 1 

The values in this table are rough estimates, as Critical 1 and its effect on our sim is still being worked on.  

Average WoundsRebel Trooper (White
with surge)
Stormtrooper (Red, no surge)
No Cover1.641.51
No Cover + Aim2.282.03

If any cover is applied, this weapon is likely to inflict 1 wound, thanks to the combination of Critical 1 and Pierce 1.

General

Command Slot (2)

Aggressive Tactics is recommended on this unit.  At 175 points without any upgrades, Grievous is likely to be a solo Commander option; and as a result, he gains maximum benefit from this card, since the effect can only be triggered if the equipped unit is the one issuing orders.  In addition, thanks to B-1’s Coordinate ability, it is very easy for the Separatists to reach the 4 face-up Order Tokens needed to get the full Surge Tokens form this card. Twenty four potential surge tokens across the course of a game is incredibly potent. 

Esteemed Leader is situationally recommended on this unit.  Without Medics, any wounds on Grievous will remain till the end of the game.  Therefore, it is worthwhile to pass wounds off onto 6-point B-1 troopers, which are there to die anyway.

Strict Orders is situationally recommended on this unit.  Thanks to the “daisy-chain” effect of the B-1s Coordinate ability, it is very likely that a Separatist army will have a large number of face-up tokens that can benefit from this card’s guaranteed removal of suppression.

Improvised Orders is not recommended on this unit.  Thanks to Coordinate, Separatists are unlikely to have a large random Order pool, so this card has minimal benefits at this time.  

Commanding Presence is not recommended on this unit.  Based on Coordinate, it appears that Separatists benefit from being in close proximity to each other, in order to get face-up Order Tokens and avoid AI.  Therefore, having units at Range 4 from Grievous who can’t receive orders via another method is unlikely. 

Training Slot (1)

Tenacity is recommended on this unit.  After taking only wound, his damage chart changes to the following…

Average WoundsRebel Trooper (White
with surge)
Stormtrooper (Red,
no surge)
Single Trophy Saber

Melee2.502.20
Melee + Aim3.202.72
Dual Trophy Sabers

Melee4.504.05
Melee + Aim5.444.75

Hunter is situationally recommended on this unit.  Not really a bad upgrade for Grievous, but it is largely eclipsed by the benefit Tenacity gives. Both require a particular trigger to activate, but since Grievous may not be targeting multi-wound models, while being a multi-wound model himself, means this upgrade is harder to activate than Tenacity, and the overall benefit from Tenacity is greater.

Endurance is situationally recommended on this unit.  While Grievous only has Courage 2, he does not have a lot of keywords that require him to take a second action to gain a benefit (only Block).  Plus having Relentless and Scale mean that even if he is suppressed, it’s likely that after Turn 1 or 2, he can still get into melee and attack.  His low courage does remain one of his biggest weaknesses on his base profile (and isn’t it thematic?).

Sentinel is not recommended on this unit.  Lacking a Range 3 weapon means Grievous gains minimal benefit from this card.

Duck and Cover is not recommended on this unit, as he does not have Low Profile or Danger Sense, and so, does not gain extra benefits from Suppression.

Scope

Grievous is an incredibly potent force on the field.  He has terrific mobility, offense, and defense. There really isn’t any area at which he does not excel, which makes him a terrific starting Commander for any Separatist player. 

In most CIS lists, Grievous is likely to be the only “heavy hitter” in the list (at least until the AAT is released).  As a result, choosing his targets early is crucial to being victorious with CIS. It’s likely that Grievous will be engaged 3-6 turns of the game, and only on his 1-pip will he be able to damage targets outside of his melee choices.  That said, Grievous is fully capable of taking down near-full squads every activation, so his impact on an opposing battle-line cannot be understated.

Additionally, Crush Them is a fantastic late-game card that can increase the offense and defense of both Grievous and 2 other units.  Doubling the effective save of a pair of B-1s in the late-game can be crucial for surviving long enough to lock down objectives.

Counter-analysis

While Grievous is tremendously powerful in both offense and defense, he isn’t immortal.  And, due to his high points cost, should he fall, it would be a tremendous blow to any Separatist army.  At the time of writing, Separatists only have him, Courage 1 B-1s and Droidekas. Should the cyborg be defeated, it is likely his Corps line will crumble, leaving only the destroyer droids to salvage the game.

Like any classic animated series villain, General Grievous likes to panic and run away when things get tough. Therefore, a player with the right list could potentially delay Grievous for a significant amount of time using Suppression.  At Courage 2, maintaining 3-4 suppression on the cyborg means he is unlikely to get full action economy. And since he has no method of dealing damage beyond melee (or Range 2 if given the Annihilator), keeping him suppressed is highly viable to delay his damage for a turn or two.  This is somewhat mitigated by his Relentless keyword, so don’t expect to delay him until game end. Don’t be afraid to try to panic him if you cannot kill him outright.

For Imperials, Imperial Royal Guards remain a great tarpit option for lightsabers, and since Grievous cannot take Force Push, the only way he can escape them is through his 1-pip.  Should the opportunity arise, using Deploy the Garrison with IRG allows for a mild counter to this escape.  If this combination is used (so the IRG have a standby), Grievous is left with no way to escape the IRG. If he Disengages, the IRG can simply use their standby to move as well, triggering their Charge and giving them a free attack. Dewbacks can also serve as an excellent tarpit option to lock grievous into place for a turn or two.

For Rebels, it is probably best to try to avoid Grievous in melee with Luke.  His Jedi Hunter and access to Surge options make him a poor matchup for Luke, who even with Son of Skywalker, is likely to only deal 3-4 wounds on Grievous.  It is very likely that matchup will end in a “tar-pit” where one side or the other will eventually win, but only after 2-3 rounds, and both will be heavily damaged. Conversely, attacks from Han or Leia, ideally protected by Chewbacca, can be done with slightly more safety.  And Fire Support attacks, like Brains and Brawn combined with a Mark 2, can put a solid dent in Grievous’ metal hide. Tarpitting Grievous with Taun Tauns can be a strong play because he will not have access to his jedi hunter keyword, and also cannot use esteemed leader if he chose to take it.

For Republic players, clone fire support seems to be the optimal strategy for taking down Grievous. In fact, a high health power-house like Grievous seems to be the exact target that fire support was designed for. Consider fire supporting a z6 unit into a barc speeder (to improve the entire dice pool to surge:hit) or fire supporting a z6 into Obi Wan’s saber throw to add pierce and critical 2, to help put big damage on Grievous and take him out quickly. 

All images found in this article are property of Lucasfilm and/or Fantasy Flight Games.

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