B1 Battle Droids

Roger Roger! This unit analysis should help you to understand some of the basics of the Confederacy of Independent System’s cheapest, most expendable fighting unit.

Unit Summary

Offense

Average Ranged Hits = 1.50
Average Melee Hits = 1.50

B1 Base Squad (No heavies)

Average WoundsRebel Trooper (White with
surge)
Stormtrooper (Red,
no surge)
Melee1.000.75
Melee + Aim1.331.00
No Cover1.000.75
No Cover + Aim1.331.00
Light Cover 0.630.47
Light Cover + Aim0.900.67
Heavy Cover0.520.40
Heavy Cover + Aim0.720.55

Defense

16.7% Save
Durability = 7.2 Saves

Utility

Speed 2
Courage 1
AI: Attack
Coordinate: Droid Trooper

Unit Analysis

The first wave of droid troopers enters the battlefield at the very low cost of 36 points.  With 6 models in the base squad, each B-1 is only worth 6 points, and their weak offense and defense reflects this.  However, this does make them more disposable than the average Corps unit (the next cheapest squad is 10 points per model). And even a single B-1 model can still score on objectives, though it won’t likely contribute much else.  

Offensively, B-1s are extraordinarily weak without a heavy weapon.  Even if they Aim, they only average 2 hits, meaning that they are largely useless at shooting units in heavy cover.  As a result, B-1s without a heavy weapon are generally not effective, so you really want to tack on a heavy to gain that extra firepower. 

Defensively, while B-1s may initially seem extremely frail, they typically perform better than some other Corps options. With a Durability of 7.2 Saves, B-1s actually score better than Rebel Corps units.  Compared to the Imperial/Republic options (both who score at 8 saves), B-1s still have an advantage, due to their low points cost. Additionally, with such weak saves, powerful keywords such as Pierce have reduced effects on them. Using Pierce to delete a 6 point model does not feel as rewarding as using it on, say, a death trooper.

Let’s take a look at some of their upgrades.

Upgrades

Unique

Heavy Slot (1)

E-5C B-1 Trooper

Average Ranged Hits = 1.5

Average WoundsRebel Trooper (White with
surge)
Stormtrooper (Red,
no surge)
No Cover2.001.50
No Cover + Aim2.571.92
Light Cover 1.421.05
Light Cover + Aim1.921.43
Heavy Cover1.000.75
Heavy Cover + Aim1.401.05

This weapon is recommended on this unit.  Contributing the same offense as a full squad, at half the cost, the E-5C is a reasonable choice for the B-1s.  However, this upgrade also only contributes only 1 wound more to the squad, so there is a slight trade-off. It is also worth noting that only averaging 3 hits means, even with this upgrade, B-1s are unlikely to deal serious damage to other units statistically. However, this unit, like all B1 units, can have quite a large ceiling. This unit feels very similar to a rebel trooper z6 unit, in that sometimes you just roll 7-8 successes and it feels really strong.

E-60R B-1 Trooper

Average Ranged Hits = 1.75 with Impact 2

There are a few things to note when looking at this weapon. The first is that it is currently the only source of impact on your corps units inside the core set. Therefore, this is a very strong choice if you are expecting to go up against armor. Also, this weapon has a minimum range of two, so it cannot be used at range 1 and therefore may require you to hang back with this unit. This weapon is recommended on B-1 squads that serve as “lynchpin” units.  Because this weapon Exhausts, the B-1 unit it is included in will be taking the recover action often to make full use of the weapon. Combining this unit with the Comms upgrade HQ Uplink, which also Exhausts, will allow you to get multiple benefits from one Recover action. Building redundancy into your list is generally important, so taking 2-3 of these is recommended. A common core set build is Grievous, two 8 man B1 squads with HQ Uplinks and the E-60R, four 8 man B1 squads with the E-5C, and two droideka units with linked targeting array. The E-60R allows you to run two sets of 24 unit “pods” to assault two different objectives. The E-60R unit in each pod can Uplink to help issue orders to all your B1s on the turns that you cannot do this through command cards.

General

Personnel Slot (1)

The extra B-1 Trooper is recommended on this unit when you have the points available to add it.  Like many Corps units, including an extra generic is a matter of preference, though at only 6 points, this option is incredibly affordable. During the initial core set launch, it is recommended to run six sets of B1s with an extra trooper and a heavy weapon to have 48 corps models on the table.

Comms Slot (1)

HQ Uplink is recommended on this unit, but only in limited quantities.  Including one to two of these allows its unit to Coordinate “daisy-chain” an entire line of B-1s, removing AI penalties, even on 1-pip tuns.  Given how cheap and fragile B-1s are, it may be wise to include 2 units with this upgrade, just for redundancy. As noted above, this upgrade pairs well with the E-60R B-1 Trooper, as a Recover action will refresh both cards.  

Long-Range Comlink is not recommended on this unit.  With only Courage 1, this unit should not be beyond Range 3 of a Commander at any given time, lest they Panic.

Comms Jammer is not recommended on this unit.  This upgrade is more useful on assault units, which gain powerful benefits at range 1-2, where its debuff can affect the greatest number of enemy units.

Comms Relay is not recommended on this unit. If this unit does not receive an order token, it defaults to its AI and becomes less useful overall.

Linked Targeting Array is illegal on this unit.

Electrobinoculars Slot (1)

Electrobinoculars are situationally recommended on this unit.  The primary advantage of this card is to give a disrupted or Comms Jammed B-1 units the ability to still Aim with some units (by giving some units Aims via this card).  However, at 8 points, this is more expensive than an extra soldier. If you have extra points in your list and are struggling to pad it with useful upgrades, this piece of gear should be considered.

Scope

Statistically, B-1’s are incredibly weak.  Even with a heavy weapon, it’s unlikely that a B-1 unit will inflict significant damage on anything, even other Corps units.  And while they are defensively strong against powerful weaponry, the weapons of other Corps units will likely defeat them in a protracted fight.  However, since B-1s are rather cheap, Separatist armies can out-activate other factions, meaning B-1s can often gang up on other units, trading firepower 2-to-1.  

In addition, with Coordinate: Droid Trooper, issuing an order to a single B-1 can cause a ripple effect, allowing a commander the option of pulling all their Corps tokens out of the random pool.  This kind of battlefield control has a big impact for any army, but for Separatists who must deal with AI, this ability is invaluable.  

B-1 battle droids are an excellent choice for Commanders such as General Grievous to pass wounds onto via Esteemed Leader. Because Grievous is a powerhouse in the CIS army, and medics currently do not exist in this faction, his wounds are precious. While passing off the hits to the B1s will significantly downgrade the save from Red to White, and they will likely die from the shots, giving up a 6 point fodder model is generally worth keeping the wounds off Grievous. Think of them as super cheap shields/health to buff your commander’s survivability. 

It is often recommended right now when pairing B1s with an army centered around General Grievous as a Commander to upgrade him with Aggressive Tactics. If you are able to keep your B1s together or use HQ Uplinks properly, you should be able to issue orders to all 6 of your corps units. In doing so, it is now your choice to give some of them a surge token. One recommendation that we can give relative to surge tokens would be to just spend them when you can, especially for the CIS faction. Also, you will typically want to spend them on offense. If you are shooting into heavy cover with your B1s, roll your dice and see a surge result that would push your total number of hits past the two that will bounce off cover, you should always spend your surge token. If you roll one hit and one surge, you should save your surge token as the second hit will also bounce off the cover. But beyond that, it is almost always better to spend surges on offense instead of defense as B1s tend to die in mass. Their offensive efficiency does not drop off too much until they are down to just their heavy weapon and their unit leader. So you can think of those extra 5-6 bodies as just meat shields for your heavy weapon. Their defense is irrelevant. If you keep them in cover, you can usually overwhelm your opponent with your sheer numbers. However, in turns 5 and 6, when you are trying to hold an objective, and you are down to one or two models in a squad, it might be worth gambling and saving your surge tokens for defense just to try to win on objectives. This is typically a corner case, and generally you just want to front load as much offensive damage as you can early with these units.

Finally, this unit removes a lot of the power of the Pierce keyword.  With such poor saves and a relatively large health pool, if B-1s are taking Pierce shots, they are largely minimizing the value of the attack. Who cares if a sniper pierces out a 6 point model? They are in your army to overwhelm and act as a pest to your opponent, and their job is to die.

Counter-analysis

B-1s do NOT like the Spray Keyword.  AT-RTs, Dewbacks, Snowtrooper Flamer/Frags, and for one turn Boba Fett all can take a B-1 squad from full to zero in a single attack (and are, in fact, statistically likely to do so).  However, because these units are so cheap, they are largely considered expendable. That said, taking an activation off the table in a single attack, no matter how inexpensive, can have a big impact in the long run.  

It’s probably wasteful to attack B-1s with weapons that include Pierce, unless that keyword is being attached to a large dice pool or is being used to finish a squad off completely.  For example, if a sniper shoots at a B-1 squad in heavy cover through an entire game and manages to push through one Pierce shot every turn, this still only returns 36 points of value.  However, engaging B-1s 1-to-1 with other Corps units is a solid choice, since they will likely win such an engagement across several turns.

Written by John Griffin, edited and expanded upon by Joe DePinto

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

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