14 July 2017 | Star Wars: Rebellion

Daring Heroes and Dastardly Villains

Preview the New Leaders from Rise of the Empire

"Suddenly the Rebellion is real for you. Some of us live it. I've been in this fight since I was six years old."
     –Cassian Andor to Jyn Erso

Every great story needs a great protagonist. And every classic struggle needs a villain worth your time.

We've said before that the Rise of the Empire expansion for Star Wars™: Rebellion adds a whole new chapter to your Galactic Civil War, and it does. The expansion brings new rules for cinematic combats that you'll be able to play out with several new units. You'll be able to undertake dozens of new missions, construct brand new technological terrors, pursue new Rebel objectives, and surprise your opponents with a wealth of new advanced tactic and action cards.

And you'll have eight new leaders to drive all this action—four each for the Empire and Rebel Alliance.

Imperial Discipline

Two of the Galactic Empire's new leaders from Rise of the Empire exemplify the ideals of Imperial discipline.

Director Krennic's intelligence, ambition, and dedication saw him rise through the ranks to manage one of the Empire's greatest experimental weapons projects, and he rewarded his masters' faith by delivering them the ultimate power in the galaxy.

In Rise of the Empire, he stands ready for recruitment as an Imperial officer with ground and space tactic values of two each, plus an impressive total of five skill icons—one logistics, one spec ops, and three intel. Notably, two of these intel icons are the new, smaller icons that appear on all the expansion's new leaders. These are "minor skill" icons.

While minor skills fulfill mission requirements the same way that standard skill icons do, they don't grant you access to red or black dice in opposed missions—the way standard icons do. Instead, they grant you access to the expansion's new green dice.

Unlike the red and black dice from the core game, these green dice count only two direct hit icons. And, as a result, they are slightly less reliable than the core dice, making the expansion's new minor skill icons extremely useful for completing missions—until that leader is opposed.

The other tried-and-true Imperial officer from Rise of the Empire is Admiral Motti. Young and ambitious, Conan Antonio Motti may be remembered by fans primarily for daring to question Darth Vader in a meeting of the Empire's Joint Chiefs, but the fact that he was subsequently Force choked tends to overshadow the incredible accomplishment Motti's very presence in that room signified.

As the head of the Imperial Navy, Motti commanded enough power to terrorize the galaxy. Accordingly, in Rise of the Empire, he comes with the logistics icon one might associate with a leader dedicated to coordinated fleet movements, plus minor skill icons for both intel and diplomacy. Fear is a strong motivator.

You don't need every skill icon in the game when you have the might of the Imperial Navy at your disposal!

And although Motti's screentime in A New Hope was limited, you might be able to get greater use of him in Star Wars: Rebellion.

While you can see more about the game's other action cards in another preview, it's worth noting that the action card associated with Motti, Ambitions of Power , makes him a uniquely desirable Imperial leader. Because Rise of the Empire comes with so many new leaders and powerful action cards like Ambitions of Power, the expansion also introduces a necessary cap on the number of leaders you can keep in your leader pool. Normally, this new rule restricts you to a maximum of eight leaders, but Ambitions of Power makes it possible for you to keep the Admiral in play even if he's your ninth leader.

Yes, Motti—like Jabba the Hutt—is ambitious and resourceful enough to keep himself in play, even when his presence would otherwise violate the game's core rules.

The Spirit of Rebellion

While the expansion's Imperial leaders may boast careers decorated by success and accolades, its Rebels tend toward more checkered backgrounds.

Thieves, spies, militant extremists, and the broken guardians of temples that no longer need guarding, the Rebel leaders from Rise of the Empire share difficult pasts—histories full of challenges and disappointments—and they may view your recruitment of them as a chance to aspire to a higher purpose. But the ways these leaders may view that higher purpose can differ tremendously.

Saw Gerrera, for example, arrives to the game as a battle-scarred commander with a long history of warfare, loss, and suffering. After fighting alongside the Jedi in the Onderonian Civil War, Saw was among the very first to take arms and rebel against the Galactic Empire. But his ruthless tactics eventually won Saw the reputation of an unrepentant military extremist, forcing him—and those who fought alongside him—to work in isolation from their base on Jedha, without the formal support of other Rebel leaders.

Even so, Saw's rebels continued their fight against the Empire, launching numerous attacks to disrupt the Empire's collection of Jedha's Kyber crystals.

To match his history and abilities, then, Rise of the Empire presents Saw Gerrera as a leader with a logistics icon and three spec ops icons—one standard and two minor. He's a dedicated combatant, and you'll find few leaders better able to coordinate your troops on the ground.

Since even the Rebels view Saw as a Rebel Extremist , you might suffer a point of reputation when you recruit him, but you can put him to use immediately. Since he goes straight to your leader pool, Saw can either contest an Imperial mission or help you Prepare for Battle, putting you in a good position to win your ground combats. His high ground tactic value of three may even help you defy the odds and win battles in which you find yourself outnumbered and outgunned—whether you play with the core rules or the expansion's new rules for cinematic combat, which we'll explore in another preview.

Of course, Saw Gerrera isn't the only Rebel to have suffered under the Galactic Empire. Both Cassian Andor and Jyn Erso had their childhoods and their lives ripped apart by Imperial cruelty.

After he lost his parents at an early age, Cassian Andor fought against the Galactic Empire as a member of an insurrectionist cell until he was recruited into the Rebel Alliance by General Draven. Steady, quiet, and intelligent, Andor proved to be one of Draven's most capable agents—providing reconnaissance, gathering intelligence, and even assassinating targets when called to do so, justifying his actions by weighing the evils he committed against the greater good of the Rebel cause.

Rise of the Empire reflects Andor's exceptional talents by bringing him to life as a leader with one logistics icon and a whopping four intel icons, of which two are minor icons.

Finally, we have Jyn Erso, the protagonist of Rogue One, whom the Imperials separated from her mother and father when she was a child. She was raised for a time by Saw Gerrera and inducted into his band of rebels, but when he feared that others would realize she was the daughter of Galen Erso—the scientist working on the Empire's new weapons project—he abandoned her, leaving her with only a small blaster and the need to fend for herself.

And for years, that's what she did. But after she was captured by Imperials and rescued by Rebels, she was given a chance to make a meaningful impact on the galaxy. Her father had sabotaged the terrifying weapon he had created, building a fatal flaw into the Death Star's design. Spurred by the knowledge of her father's secret work, Jyn chose to risk her life in order to secure the Death Star plans for the Rebel Alliance.

In Rise of the Empire, then, Jyn Erso appears as a supremely capable leader with Something to Fight For , and if you can recruit her to your cause, you might be able to win not just one Decisive Victory , but two. Or you might hold a Defensive Position two turns in a row. Either way, the ability that Jyn grants you to take an objective back from your discard pile means that you'll almost certainly be setting yourself up to score it twice. Additionally, her six skill icons make her exceptionally versatile, even as they reflect her cleverness, her military training, and her decision to join a cause greater than herself. Jyn's minor diplomacy icon doesn't so much reflect the trained politics of a leader like Mon Mothma as it reflects her ability to inspire those around her with the strength of her conviction and the example of her actions.


There Will Be No Escape

Which new leader are you most excited to recruit into your games of Star Wars: Rebellion? Share your thoughts with the other members of our community forums, and keep your eyes open for our next preview!

Remember to head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy of Rise of the Empire (SW04) today!

Back to all news