Jet Troopers are an exciting addition to Imperials. Blue-Green attack, Trooper levels of health, Black dice, 4 Speed. Just what Imperials needed! But Jet Troopers are actually quite interesting.
The basic functions at an identical level as 2/3 of a basic Stormtrooper unit. But although they lose Squad Training, they gain Mobile, Agile, and Jets. Agile lets them trade a block for a countersurge, which is hugely powerful and can increase their survivability significantly. Jets gives a movement point after attacking a target within two spaces, which is useful but not a huge boon. They also gain the Vehicle keyword, which doesn't have as good of command cards as Troopers or Heavy Weapons, but there's a few that seem neat with Jet Troopers (Overrun, for example). Overall, I don't see myself running the basics over something like two Officers for the same points, but it's a neat option.
The elites make an interesting jump, going from 2 to 4 cost per unit, and they do indeed resemble elite Heavy Stormtroopers more than they do elite Stormtroopers. Compared to the basics, they have an expected upgrade in surges, a significant upgrade in health, and they exchange Jets for Fly-By. Fly-By is the most exciting ability of the unit. While attacking a target within two spaces, add a Blue dice to the attack pool, then gain 2 movement points. Blue-Blue-Green is a very respectable attack pool. Agile is even better here, as a Black dice with reliable access to countersurges on a hefty health pool like the elites have is a major advantage.
I see myself running Sorin with a pair of elite Jet Troopers. These may be the durable troop that that list needed.
Captain Terro is a character Dewback Rider. He has increased health and speed, has a marginally better surge arrangement, and exchanges Shock Lance for Flamethrower. Flamethrower has an AoE effect, does one damage and one strain, and weakens whoever it affects. It's a good upgrade compared to the somewhat unreliable Shock Lance. He also gains the Leader trait, which is nice.
With the Dewback and Terro, I feel FFG has found the right approach to Weaken. It's not strong enough to warrant choosing a surge for it over damage (in most situations), but with a non-avoidable ability that happens to tack it on, I feel it is appropriate. It's a good way to incorporate Weaken back into the game.
The elites just have more health, automatically have Pierce 1, and can reroll 2 dice instead of 1 with Elite Sniper. Really not much worth it at the cost of losing Reinforcements.
You know what good snipers need? Focus. You know what Rebels have? Gideon and C-3PO. I see these viably competing with HKs. Little less individual damage, but more health and without the Temporary Alliance tax. Who knows?
The Rancor is a fascinating unit. It's flexibility is very strong, meaning you can tank up on an objective or smash your way through enemy lines. And at only 10 points, it's a bit of a steal. There are so many options available to it. The first thing that comes to mind is a Turn 1 Trained+Move x3 with Beast Tamer, then Turn 2 Trained or not depending on the situation. If it gets shot Turn 1, those shots are largely wasted, but it just as much can't be ignored. This'll be an interesting addition to scum for sure. And I'm expecting double Rancor to be a thing; calling it now.
Darth Vader, Temporary Alliance, Rancor x2, Zillo Technique = 40 Points. Just a though and a pile of black dice.
But the price of spending VPs is mitigated by Jabba's final rule. If I had to point to anything from this wave and say "This here. This is broken and overpowered.", this would be it. Every time a hostile figure is defeated, gain a VP. This is fairly obviously targeted at the major complaint of the meta Trooper lists, that Reinforcements and retreating the last model would prevent gains of any points from Trooper units. Now a double Reinforced elite Stormtrooper unit is worth more than a third of the game. It makes every unit at least one point more valuable. And this is huge.
What gets me about it is that I see it as saying "Scum is a weak faction, as it should be. To mitigate that, you get a handicap if your opponent is Scum. Rather than have Scum become better, we're just going to have them play the same game differently." I don't like that. Jabba begins to remind me of Blaise in that when you field him, you stop playing the same game as your opponent. Blaise removes the guessing game inherit in command cards, whereas Jabba fast-forwards the game for Scum.
Let's make a hypothetical scenario. On one side is an Imperial, fielding only models with a figure cost of exactly 2. That means I have 20 figures. (Note to self: Field this list.) On the other, a Scum list. Without Jabba and ignoring scenarios, kill 20 models to win. With Jabba, you only have to kill 14 to win. That's 30% faster. In this scenario, Jabba eliminated literally a third of the game. Yes, not every list has 20 models, but I anticipate that the extra VPs from Jabba will have a significant impact on the game flow.
What this means for: Imperial
I don't see Imperials changing much from this wave. I doubt either Jet Troopers or Dewbacks make it into the meta list, as much as I'd like to see either there. Both seem quite usable, but in more niche lists.
What this means for: Rebels
Twins is bigger than ever. Jedi Luke is the centerpiece of a meta list, but features prominently across the faction. Rangers are decent, perhaps replacing Echo Troopers as the heavy choice.
What this means for: Scum
Jabba is huge. He makes it into nearly every meta list. Rancor is big, makes beast-centric lists better than ever. Weequay Pirates and Gamorrean Guards allows more variations of lists than previously seen. The heroes remain sheltered in campaign mode.
What this means for the meta
Troopers is still really good, but not as overwhelming as it is now. Everybody got something to deal with them. Blaise still screws over the game, Jabba begins to do the same. There is more variety amongst the meta. Rebels fall behind the other two, next in line for a game-changing (literally) hero.
So, now here's a question for you: What do you think? Did I nail it? Was I way off point?