Gungans and Fambaas and Kaadus, Oh My!
A Gungan Overview
By Len "RedneckJedi" Fowler
The Phantom Menace card set has been on the streets for a few months now, and I'd like to promote a currently underused facet of the set: Gungans. I previously reported that they have, perhaps, the best synergy of any units in the game to date, and now it's time to go in depth into my rationale.
What? No Gungan Space units? Did you see any in The Phantom Menace? No? Then you won't see any here, either. As you can also see, the Characters offered for the Gungans aren't going to win you the Character arena, unless your opponent doesn't intend to challenge you there. However, with proper primary Characters holding the Character arena, the benefits Boss Nass and Captain Tarpals supply in a supporting role makes your Gungans that much more potent.
I'm going to start off with the "oddball" of the Gungans... the Falumpaset. Turns out that this creature isn't actually a Gungan, but the Gungans have a positive effect on it. In a Gungan-themed deck, this unit is virtually guaranteed to gain Accuracy 1 from any of your other Gungan units.
The Fambaa Shield Beast, in this player's opinion, should be the linchpin in any Gungan deck. For a relatively thrifty 4 build, it gives each of your Gungan units in the Ground arena Shields 1, including itself. Additional Fambaas add to the Shields amount, and if enough of them are in there, you could conceivably bump all these units up to Shields 4! That'll make a lot of your opponent's cringe, when they're denied 4 of their attack roll dice.
As additional equipment for doing battle, the Gungan Battle Wagon makes for a nice little accessory to your other Gungan Ground units. For a mere 3 build, each of your other Gungans get +1 power, as well as a bonus of Critical Hit 1 when attacking Droids. With the possibility of viable Trade Federation Droid decks, this additional ability could come in handy.
Multiple attacks are a key element in the game, and what better than to have a unit that can attack twice in a turn, rather than just once? The Gungan Catapult has a built-in ability to untap itself once per turn to attack, should its low attack speed allow it to still be in battle. It's 5 build points is a bit costly for a unit with 3 power and 4 health, but since it gets to act like 2 units, that averages out to 2 and a half build points for 2 attack opportunities. This is always a plus, especially if coupled with the Gungan support units. Much like the Gungan Battle Wagon's support effects, the Catapult also gives itself Critical Hit 2 when attacking those pesky Droids.
Time to introduce the big daddy of them all, the Gungan Grand Army. This incredible unit at 9 build points has the potential to rule the Ground arena roost. Compared to other large "tank" units in the Ground arena, this one has 20 speed, allowing it to combat other large, slower units. Along with it's own ability to have Critical Hit 1 when attacking Droids, it also has possibly the best ability a high-powered unit could have? Overkill. Why waste all those hits that could be generated by this 10 power goliath on a single unit, when they could be spread to another opposing unit, too?
When it comes to having a little bit of everything wrapped up in a nice, neat package, the Gungan Kaadu Squad has it all. At a respectable 50 speed, 5 power and 5 health, it's Accuracy 1 and Critical Hit 1 quickly spell a whole lot of damage to opposing units in the Ground arena. When bolstered by other Gungan support units, this one is a very nasty customer to contend with.
The final Gungan Ground unit is the nimble Kaadu Scout. This quick and thrifty little unit isn't known for its speed, but rather for its ability to tap instead of attacking to give all your Ground units (not just the Gungans!) Accuracy 1 when they attack a particular unit. It would appear that it's truly scouting out the position and weakness of opposing forces.
Now, for best Gungans in a supporting role, let's talk about the Character arena. Perhaps one of the pitfalls the Gungans have is their build cost. I have personally seen only a couple of the Gungans in actual play, but I would imagine that some intrepid gamers may try to play them as a Ground theme. To help offset this problem, Boss Nass reduces all Gungan unit build costs by 1. As an added bonus, he also gives them all +1 power! Rivaling Boss Nass is Captain Tarpals. He gives all of your Gungans Accuracy 1. Boosting Accuracy and power just simply makes for lethal Gungans, if the build points allow for them. Honorable mention must also go to another unit, who isn't a Gungan at all. Captain Panaka (A) is a hidden boon for a large portion of these same Gungan units. His ability bestows Stun 2 and a Force-free Retaliate 2 to all your Naboo units. Many of the Gungan units, though not all, also have "Naboo" in their subtype.
Poor little Jar Jar. He's sometimes jokingly played in Light Side decks featuring other Characters that really did all the work. His ability to reroll an attacking unit's attack dice was most annoying, and his new version, with Jar Jar Binks (B), giving himself Lucky 3 just continues that tradition. Although he gets Critical Hit 2 when attacking a Droid, he doesn't have much else going for him... not even as a supporting Character.
Finally, the Gungans fair best in their own habitat. The Gungan Aquatic City of Otoh Gunga allows for increased card cycling, and getting those crucial Gungan units into your hand. The Swamps of Naboo also allow for a little damage prevention for your Gungans (and Naboo Creatures!) by giving them the ability to prevent 1 damage to themselves for no Force.
The massive interaction the Gungans provide as a cohesive team is bad news for an opponent. If a savvy deck builder can get past the build cost deterrent, Gungans could easily rule the Ground arena for some time to come.
For an innovative use of Gungans, check out Darth Walls Dark Side Gungan deck!
4 October 2004