Because there's a path to follow

Despite Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes being a collection game, where owning characters from the saga is a goal, you can't get them all quickly. You'll need to make compromises. And in order to make the less compromises possible, you'll need to optimize your main characters.

Using droids is an option, there are many others (rebel synergy, dodge lead, etc.). I'll try to cover in this article why choosing droids, how they work together, how to build your squad, taking into account which character to level, and when to include new ones.

How Droids are working together ?

These robots are not assembling your car. They're here to dismantle anything in their way.
At the time of writing, the key components are 2 gunners and one leader, in the end you'll include the turbo boost and the artillery.

HK-47 leading the way

HK-47 will be your squad leader. He's not hitting very hard, he's resilient, but his leader ability is insane. Named Assassin Protocol, it boosts critical chance for all your droids, and it provides turn meter bonus on critical hits. It's the engine of your team. Don't worry if he dies, his effect persists (and he may even come back to life on his own...)

Introducing the synergy

Playing droids is very straightforward : They hit hard with good chances to critical hit, even more with the leader's bonus. Every time they land a critical hit, they play again faster.

The turn meter indicates when you'll take the next turn : a maxed HK-47 leader bonus fills half your turn meter for every critical hit.

It's like pinball : on a critical hit, same player shoots again !

Damage dealers

You'll include IG-86 and IG-88 as your 2 gunners.
IG-86 hits like a truck, and can call an ally because, well why not hitting harder ?
If IG-86 is an axe, then IG-88 is a scythe. Hitting every opponent with his Area of Effect (AoE) attack. But that's not all : for each opponent with a negative effect, IG-88 will hit hard. Let's add a paragraph for debuffs !

Debuffers

Because you need to add insults to multiple crippling injuries, you'll debuff the opponents too.

  • HK-47 : His AoE skill is an enabler for IG-88. The chance is low (25%), but effects are multiple : ability block and/or speed down and/or offense down, and/or defense down and/or a damage over time. These debuffs will stay only for one enemy turn. Not very long... but who cares, one turn's enough to disable your opponent
  • IG-88 : Can block abilities (no taunt, no damage bonus, no super deadly AoE Skill, etc.) and inflict defense down. Defense down is nice. Because droids are not hitting hard enough, tendering opponents helps finish them faster. Finally, should you be worried about enemies healing themselves, IG-88's basic ability has a chance to provide healing immunity.
  • B2 Super Battle Droid : we'll talk about this guy later as you can't unlock him right from the start. However he'll be the orbital cannon you'll need to totally obliterate any defensive character in front of you. On his basic attack, he'll inflict evasion down (dodging becomes complicated), and with the divine "Mow Down" ability, he'll dispel all positive status from all the enemies, then he'll have a chance to add a little buff immunity. Indeed, that'd be annoying to see the opponent boosting his damage in order to break your tiny robots.

That's so beautiful, I'd like to share a totally genuine poem :

Roses are red,

Debuffs are too,

Sugar is sweet,

My DPS too.

Turbo boost

If you read up to this point, I'm sure you're ready to follow this path. But there's a remaining key element. You'll need a mechanic to pimp your squad. It's the Jawa Engineer. He's insane too.

He will play first (almost every time). Then he basically says to your enemy (in a tiny Jawa voice) :
_ Now for my next trick, my fellow droids will play before you
[Loud laser noises ensues, burned flesh can be smelled quickly behind heated metal smoke slowly fading in the air.]
~ The end ~

It's less theatrical in game : using Recalibrate, the Jawa Engineer will fill up to 45% of the droids turn meter bar.
You may then proceed to deal a lot of damage with all your droids.
Should happen a rare situation, where some opponents are still up, and worse than that, if they managed to kill one of your droids, don't worry :
Jawa Engineer will Patch up your squad : reviving one droid, healing the others.

Didn't I say it's like pinball ? Extra Ball !!

The engineer is not very resilient. His basic attack is a detonator that explodes after 1 enemy turn (or in other words : just before the second time they play). It's considered as a debuff, that's nice for IG-88, it doesn't trigger any counter attack (that's nice against Sun Fac, Fives, Dooku or Aayla among others).

He's a key component, because in the end game, speed is very important, and your droids can't withstand a beating : by going first they can remove one (or sometimes two enemy characters), lowering down their offensive power.

Benched droids

There's two other droids available, they're benched because they're not efficient enough :

  • IG-100 MagnaGuard : it's a tough droid, but not dealing enough damage, even if he can counter attack

  • General Grievous : well, at first this one needs a lot of patience to unlock him... Should you have him eventually, his abilities and damage, while being decent, are not as strong as a simple IG's squad with HK.

Your squad objective

This is what you're aiming for :

  • HK-47 as leader
  • IG-86
  • IG-88
  • B2 Super Battle Droid
  • Jawa Engineer

But you can't have them right from the start

Building droids without engineering courses

To build your dream team, you can't go in a straight line. I'll try to provide insights on how to optimize your squad based on how fast you can unlock each droid. It's not meant to be the "perfect" path, but mostly enlightened advices.

Right from the start

You'll start with no droids. That's boring when your plan is to focus on them. It requires patience, don't deviate from your main objective ! If you can acquire shards for these characters, make it a priority.

HK-47 and IG-88

Quickly enough, you can start fighting in the PVP Arena. Starting from player level 8 you will be able to acquire Arena tokens used to unlock both HK-47, and IG-88.

Unlock both characters, then prioritize IG-88 to upgrade his damage. HK-47 is here mostly for his leading ability, and his debuffs.

Jawa Engineer

At player level 22, you can join a guild. Well, let me reformulate, you must join a guild.

By spending correctly your energy (and participating in raids) you'll earn a currency used to buy Jawa Engineers shards

Do not spend your currency on anything else than Jawa Engineers shards. They appear randomly 3 times a day (at 1pm, 7pm, 10pm). They share a spot with 2 other characters. Sometimes they won't show up for a few days so keep you currency and don't miss them.

As soon as you unlock him, you can use him with the 3 other droids (HK-47, IG-88, IG-86). Save some credits, training droids, and gear to max him as fast as possible

IG-86

At player level 40 (a few days after starting), you can unlock IG-86 in the Galactic War shop.

He may not be your focus, as Luminara is often recommended. She's a very good addition to help you go through battles with her healing skill while waiting to unlock your pinball team...

Even alone in your squad, IG-86 will provide excellent damage. Unlocking him and gearing him soon is relevant.
You may want to alternate upgrading IG-86 and Luminara. Get IG-86 to 5* then continue gearing him up while unlocking Luminara up to 5* too. Finally finish the 2 remaining stars for IG-86.

B2 Super Battle Droid

When you'll reach player level 69 : it'll be time to invest massively into the cantina. If you can afford 200 crystals a day (because you're owning the arena with shiny droids thus earning precious crystals), go to the squad cantina battle Stage 6-D, and spend all there.

As soon as he reaches 5 stars you can use him in arena battles. When you start grinding his shards, start saving enough cash to max him, save gear and good mods too. You'll use it almost immediately. If you want to figure how long it takes : use our planner.

Intermediate squads

Don't be fooled, the time needed to build this squad is counted in weeks. The return on investment is worth it, but how to reach this points without droids at first ?

Your squad options while leveling

First, I'd recommend spending as much crystals you an afford into cantina energy : you can farm endlessly these nodes, unlocking characters faster. Even if it's more expensive than normal energy, you won't split your efforts.

Cantina battles
  • Geonosian Soldier : nice Damage, strong assist ability, he's important to progress early on in arena, but it's somewhat a dead end (he lacks moustache!).
  • Lando Calrissian : a very interesting alternative for early cantina farm (with a moustache). He's a scoundrel and scoundrels are very important for the credit heist event. Tough choice versus the geonosian soldier. But considering the need for credits, I'd lean for him. Being a rebel too, he'll help for mod battles and events. And he hits hard enough.
  • Jawa : He's not very strong by himself, but you'll be very happy to have him ready for mods. Do work on him. He will have a small synergy with jawa engineer, should you use them both together.
  • Mods : when you'll reach player level 50, that means 19 level before starting B2, should you have finished Lando and Jawa : start working on mods to have a nice collection ready.
  • Chewbacca : you may want to farm him to 5 or 6 stars to work with Lando in events, or as a tank. He's expensive to gear, be careful not to over invest on him early on. Don't forget to save up for droids !
Cantina currency shop
  • Qui-Gon Jinn : he has an assist attack, he dispels : pick him first.
  • Jawa scavenger : you'll need him for mods, pick him second !
  • Then, follow your own path. Nothing left in this shop is important for your squad.
Galactic War Tokens
  • IG-86 : don't forget you pick him first. Then in no specific order :
  • Poggle the lesser : he provides good buffs to droids, should you want to play without tanks. He'll help droids give a hard time to enemies. Has a place in your arena squad
  • Captain Phasma : she grants nice buffs, can fit in your arena squad
  • Luminara Unduli : she heals. Heals are nice in Galactic War early on.
Hard Battles
  • Royal Guard : it's a tank you'll be happy to have geared up early on. He fits in your arena squad
  • Rey : she hits very hard with her staff. Like very, very hard. Characters that are hitting hard are always useful. You will use her in Galactic Wars, and maybe in Raids
Arena tokens
  • Unlock IG-88 first to have a strong damage dealer to help in arena and Galactic War. Work on unlocking HK-47 just after.
  • Then boost IG-88 up to 6 stars, let HK-47 get back to 5 stars, finish IG-88 afterwards then HK-47
  • After you maxed IG-88 and HK-47, I'd recommend Chief Nebit : that's the missing Jawa for the mod battles. He has some very good synergy with droids : while waiting for B2 to unlock, use him in arena battles
  • Stormtrooper Han : scoundrel and rebel, many events where he's needed, he should come after Nebit
Early Arena Squad

Take all the hard hitters in your team, try to hide them behind the Royal Guard. Try to see if you can progress into arena ranks without healers.
As soon as you unlock Lando, make him leader, include Chewbacca as he'll benefit from the leader bonus.
Include IG-86 as soon as possible (check that he can survive a few hits in arena though)

I don't have time to start other a new account, and provide a real roadmap there. However these first levels while important are not critical. As long as you buy the correct shards, you're still on track

When you have the first three droids : HK-47,IG-88,IG-86, you can start using them in arena.
Add a tank, I'd recommend the Royal Guard. (don't forget to level him and farm his shards in hard battles EVERY DAY)
The Fifth spot may be for another damage dealer, Poggle or Phasma for buffs, or a healer.

Include the Jawa Engineer as soon as you unlock him. He'll take the place of the healer, or a damage dealer.
Two options there for the 5th character, depending on your arena opponents, and the state of your roster

  • Keep RG as a tank, to buffer deadly damage to your squad
  • Go for more offense : using Poggle or Captain Phasma. Phasma provides more turn meter, and a speed debuff, Poggles add damage and speed to your squad.

You're now welcome to the Droids User's Club.

As you continue to progress : Always maximize levels, gears and mods for you characters.
Plan ahead : you'll need raid gear, and hard-to-farm violet components from standard energy battles.

Modding

Attributes and characters

It's hard to set definitive priorities. However, here are some ideas on the subject :

  • All Droids should have a set of critical damage on them (4 mods, 30% more damage on critical hits). They're here to deal damage, they're naturally buffed for critical hits : maximize output ! Even for B2 : even if he's not hitting as hard as the IG-Bro's, he's triggered often and deals AoE damage, filing down more protection every time.
    Critical damage set requires a full jawa team to unlock the 5* mods : if you followed my previous advices, they should be in your roster already, with enough gear to beat this stage (cheer up, it's the easiest one)

  • The triangle mod should have a critical damage bonus as primary bonus. A 5* mod will give you +36% critical damage. Combined with the critical damage set bonus, you're critical hits are dealing 216% of your base damage.

  • HK-47, IG-88, B2 are needing potency for their debuffs. Potency as primary is found on cross patterns. It may even be good to add potency on Jawa Engineer for thermal detonators.

  • Jawa Engineer needs speed to be sure he plays first. You can find speed bonus on the arrow mod. That's +30 speed for a 5* arrow, and you can find secondary speed bonuses on other patterns too.

  • Everyone needs speed too though... the faster you play again, the less hits you take...

  • Jawa Engineer needs protection and health : don't be afraid to throw 6x health set mods. He'll usually be focused by the opponent, because he'll revive any dead droid. Give him something to hold the ground a little longer.

Mix and match

Mods are dropped randomly, you don't know the shape or quality you'll get : Don't hesitate to start with average mods, but don't forget to check on them regularly.

Attack order optimization

Should you be lucky enough to have many speed secondaries spread on your mods, you may consider an attack order :

  • JE goes first and recalibrates
  • HK-47 goes next : landing debuffs everywhere
  • IG-88 going for his AoE, with maximum damage bonus from all the debuffs.
  • IG-86 will then snipe any badly hurt target, should IG-88 assist, that's almost a guaranteed kill.

This is performed by giving enough speed bonuses to HK-47 for him to go before IG-88. That's not a necessity though, Droids have so much firepower that you don't need this optimization to succeed.

Mods Summary

Primary bonuses you should look for, sorted by pattern are :

  • Arrow : Speed for every one (if you're lucky enough). Top priority for the Jawa Engineer. Protection, Offense or Accuracy are good too for all the others
  • Triangle : Critical damage for all droids, protection for JE
  • Cross : Potency for all your Debuffing Droids, Protection or Offense for IG86, Protection or Potency for the Jawa Engineer
  • Circle : prefer protection over health
  • Square and diamond have no alternatives, so pick the best secondaries.

Droids in various encounters

How to play droids squad, what to expect from them ?

In Galactic War

In GW, you're here to outspeed and outdps most of the nodes. Especially with JE. What I usually do is :

Ignition

On Node 1, use JE's recalibrate, kill everyone. You may get hit once or twice (when you're modded and maxed).

Rev the engine

Deal damage, kill opponents, do not use recalibrate : wait until its cooldown is up again, and remove JE from the squad. Include a fast DPS instead. (I use Rey, shes's attuned to droids, seen that in a documentary about the rise and fall of the first order)

Cruise

Using your DPS Engine (remember : critical hits = turn meter bonus = you play more turn than enemies), you should reach node 9 or 10 without too much trouble.
Node 6 is usually harder, if your droids are getting too damaged : retreat, and get back to Ignition step (include JE, recalibrate to play twice before the enemy, etc.)
Try to save all your AoEs for the start of the next battle if you can

Control

For the last nodes, you'll face hard teams. What's good for you is you'll start with turn meter bars half filled. Do what you do best : deal damage.
You may face some serious resistance : remove your additional damage dealer, and get JE back in again. You can let your droids take hits : don't heal them, unless one is dead. You'll bring him back to life.
What you're looking for is ending all nodes with your full squad, and if possible JE timers up, especially recalibrate.
You may have to try different attack patterns depending on who your facing.

If it's too difficult, try to soften the enemies with replacement characters. You should keep upgrading at least another squad for these situation, and for various events. (You may have Lando or, Luminara left among others)

In "The Pit" (guild raid)

Droids are not premium raid characters.
Pretty useless in phase 1. However in phase 2,3,4 they are hard hitters. Using the door while landing defense down from HK-47, you can score some decent damage to the beast. But you won't be often in the Top 10.

Choosing opponents in PVP Arena

The arena is very important for your crystals income, but each game server is different. I'll try to sort some situations you'll face, depending on your squad

If you're running : HK-47L, IG-88, IG-86, RG (without JE/B2)

This is your levelling team, your opponents may not be very optimized too. You'll have to try different opponent teams to learn where you're strong, and who to skip.

Counter attack characters (Dooku, Fives, Aayla) are annoying because of your low health pool (and some of their debuffs). At this stage you're not maxed, and you may not have enough firepower to kill them efficiently.

If they play 2 tanks (RG / ST Han / Sun Fac), it may be difficult for you. Check if their damage dealers are a real menace for you ; if they also have Qui-Gon Jinn : don't bother and choose another opponent.
Other than that, any squad with only 1 tank is worth facing. If they have no tanks at all, well, it should be easy for you.

Aim for their primary DPS (Lando, Rey, Leia , JKA, Wedge for instance), shoot it down, and pick another one.

If the enemy squad includes the Royal Guard (RG), try to set up your attack : remove any protection on your target, and leave IG-86 snipe what's remaining of your target's life. RG triggers a taunt when one of its allies reach 50% HP or below : you don't want to let him do that.

If you're running : HK-47L, IG-88, IG-86, JE, Nebit/RG

Nebit or RG are good to protect your damage dealers. But they're making your team very vulnerable to dispel.
Be careful of any team using QGJ, or Teebo.
Same advices applies as before, but with JE you should be able to win versus much more enemies.

If you're running : HK-47L, IG-88, IG-86, JE, B2

This is your premium squad.
B2 doesn't taunt. But you won't care anymore. Should the enemy attack you, he can counter attack. He dispels and prevents buffs with his AoE : that means he removes any taunts or important buffs.
Leia cannot hide, nor buff her allies : Stormtrooper Han cannot provide turn meter boosts through his taunt ; Lando loses his critical chance bonus ; etc.

Any team using 2 tanks is now a primary target : those tanks will become useless, they won't have enough dps aside to bring you down. Even Qui-Gon Jinn is not a menace : let him dispel any critical chance buff JE put, and dispel with B2 all his team's buffs afterwards.

But you're not invincible. From my experience, here are some setups really difficult to handle. (currently 39K power, facing arena opponents around 42-44K)

Rex Lead

Any squad using Rex, gains turn meter the more you crit them. And he may dispel your debuffs too. Try not facing them. The good news is that Rex is (at the time of writing) not farmable, and very expensive to obtain.

Wedge Antilles and Biggs

They're very fast, hitting too hard, generally with other hard hitting characters.
The good news is they're expensive to gear up. But still available F2P, you will face some.

Faster droids

If your team is slower than your enemy, you'll get shattered quickly.
Getting multiple (strong) speed secondaries is really important, but you'll need a lot of attempts in Mod Battles (really a lot).

High tenacity squads

This is more hypothetical, but if you're low on potency, facing a team very resilient, with a lot of tenacity : your debuffs will not land.

And your debuffs are important :

  • Blocking abilities protects your squad indirectly,
  • Speed down gives you more time to kill,
  • Defense down helps you deal more damage,
  • Buff immunity prevents many synergies and defensive setups.

These needs to land.

This list is not exhaustive, and will change with the meta and new characters. Everything can't be written down : try for yourself, identify what works for you. This article will help you get on the right path, but you're the one in control !

One last word ?

Bleep.