I’ve always been fond of our most well known Wookie friend. He’s like a big teddy bear, until he gets angry and decides to rip off your limbs.
It’s a bit of an understatement that Chewbacca was sub-par prior to his Wookie Avenger attachment in Heart of the Empire, which released late last year in 2017. Basically, he cost a little too much for a figure that always felt short on actions. Fantasy Flight improved Chewy by giving him the ability to do an extra damage when attacking, Slam for free (without spending an action) and start with his Command Card at the beginning of the game. Although Chewy lost the ability to Dodge, these are some very welcome changes.
All that said, Chewbacca is still very challenging to play. His Command Card is seemingly at odds with his play style. He wants to be in the fight, but he can still go down pretty quickly. Since your opponent knows you have Debts Repaid, they can just focus on Chewy and basically guarantee that you’ll have a dead card in your hand. This is a big glaring weakness for Chewbacca. Thankfully, however there are a few solutions.
One of the best ways to build a team with Chewbacca is to include one or two other powerful figures, especially one that can dive in behind enemy lines. Ahsoka seems like a natural fit and I haven’t played her with Chewy yet, but I like the idea of being able to run the most powerful Spy cards, including Comm Disruption and Intelligence Leak (currently my favorite card in the game). I’m still working on a Chewy/Ahsoka list but so far I haven’t gotten it to where I’m satisfied.
Jyn Odan is more efficient. Not only does she cost a measly five points, but she can hit like a truck: arguably as strong as Ahsoka, using Command Cards that Chewy can benefit from as well: Tools for the Job, Smuggled Supplies. Heck, even Wild Attack, which you would normally use on Jyn in combination with her Command Card: One in a Million, could theoretically be used on Chewy in a pinch. Don’t forget On the Lam, arguably one of the most powerful cards in the game.
Not that there are a ton of them, but I like the Wookie synergies that you can get by playing Drokatta and Chewbacca together. Battle Scars, Adrenaline, and Wild Fury have some real potential, and Drokatta can put out tons of damage. She pairs well with Chewbacca too, because of her natural block.
Defensive buffs are also a pretty good way to keep Chewbacca alive and make sure you get your value from him. C-3PO’s Distracting ability helps and MHD-19’s Medical Loadout and Miracle Worker card can potentially keep him alive longer than he should be. Brace for Impact and Stealth Tactics are obvious choices, but I’ve even looked at cards like Take Cover and Take Position on that first round when I’m getting Chewy set up.
Finally, I think there’s something incredibly important when trying to win with Chewbacca: timing. Knowing when and where to set up Chewy. You’ll want to get him in position so that when a friendly dies he can reactivate with Debts Repaid and do some damage. I’ve considered running Black Market Prices for that first round when he probably only needs to spend one action to move.
Ultimately, I think Chewbacca is currently one of the most interesting figures in Imperial Assault. You have to build your list around him and practice him many times to play him well. Moving forward, I think he will continue to stay relevant, especially if Rebels continue to get inexpensive, but powerful single figures that can dive across enemy lines.