IOIn the last few months there have been drastic changes to the meta, with over a dozen impactful characters being released as well as zeta upgrades and more. This means that the swgoh F2P arena is changing, and drastically.
As a F2P (or a dolphin, even), it isn’t feasible to chase every one of these characters, let alone continue to build up the slew of older yet still useful characters. Further, I think this is perhaps the most tumultuous time for the arena meta and the most amount of viable teams.
For the sake of this discussion, we’re going to leave out characters (as options, but not threats) that aren’t practical to collect as a SWGOH F2P arena player:
- Baze / Chirrut / Cassian / K-2SO / Jyn (probably reasonable to add in ~3 months)
- Nihilus / Sith Trooper / Sith Assassin (probably reasonable to add in ~5 months)
- Krennic / Death Trooper (probably reasonable to add in ~5 months)
The important exception is characters that everyone could acquire, like Death Trooper, may be worth considering if they’re still viable at the * rating they could be acquired via F2P. Sith Trooper is in a similar boat: worth considering if you got it from the events, but I’ll try to make sure to include alternatives in case you missed Sith Trooper.
I think at this point, SWGOH F2P arena players would be wise to focus on what I’m going to call “Plug And Play” (PnP) characters. Characters that can fit on many teams are going to be some of the most valuable for F2P, allowing them to switch gears with less growing pains. Characters that have many viable arena teams AND strong roles in HAAT are especially valuable. Minor notable benefits include characters with ships, strong in Rancor raid, and/or particularly strong in GW.
Having a strong roster of PnP characters means that SWGOH F2P arena players can adopt faction-based teams with only the 2-3 strongest members. This allows the F2P to insulate themselves against reworks and meta changes, as they have less invested in these specific teams. It also means they can get a taste of how these teams function much quicker.
I’m also going to avoid talking about mods to keep the scope of this guide reasonable, but realize mods are important.
With all that out of the way, let’s look at the options.
Zader / EP / Boba / TFP / ShoreTrooper
Pretty much the team that everyone expects, I think. Notable substitutions are B2, Zidious, Death Trooper, and GK, among others. If you are currently not level 85 or have only recently gotten there, Shoretrooper is likely not going to be a viable option for you as he is only farmable through an exceptionally challenging node, 9-B Hard. From here down, expect to aim for a different tank, like B2, if you can’t get Shoretrooper.
This team, besides being obviously strong in arena, has the extra advantages of being powerful in HAAT, Rancor, and GW. As an added bonus, it includes several PnP characters, including arguably the best one, Boba Fett. Its only weakness that I can call out is that it has only two useful, available ships between all of its potential members (TFP & Slave I).
It can also swap into EP / TFP / Shore / Boba / GK (or something similar). This is a strong alternative for those that don’t have Zetas or want to Zeta Boba first. This team requires exceptional speed on Boba to be a top competitor, however, and TFP should be quite fast as well.
First Order (don’t laugh)
Zasma / Zylo Ren / FO Zormtrooper / FOO / ZFOTP
If you think I’m kidding here, just watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKNBSiB-k3I&t=601s
Convinced? Good. It’s obviously not a team without flaws. This team rolls over a lot of other strong teams, thanks to the added crit immunity team-wide.
I think Kylo Ren is the gem here. While maybe not the top character in the meta, Kylo Ren works excellently on a FO team, Sith team, and others. Furthermore, Kylo Ren is quite strong in HAAT. Finally, he nets minor advantages with his strength in GW and his ship.
Phasma’s next best, but it’s a pretty distant second. She’s pretty much only usable in a FO arena team. She’s similarly a strong raid character, but is weaker in GW than Kylo Ren.
The rest of the toons, however, I think are what sinks this team for a F2P player. None of them are particularly useful in raids, don’t play well with other teams, only one of them even has a ship. FOTP and FOST are both notably awful farms as well. FOO earns his spot on the team only if you have a surplus of resources. A better F2P team to look something like: Phasma / Kylo / FOST (viable at lower stars) / Rex / B2
ZQGJ / JKA / X / X / X
Fill in the X’s with Barriss, Yoda, Aayla, Ahsoka to taste. GK is an auto-include if available. I’ll be frank. As someone that has run this team for about six weeks, right now, this team is missing too much to be top tier. B2 causes it fits, forcing a counter-pick (like EP) to be subbed in. Fast Bobas and other skill block/stun mean that a fast Yoda is needed. And so on and so on. In other words, this team needs 6-7 toons all at once. At 5, it can cover most of its bases, but suffers damage-wise. Without GK it gets plowed by the Wiggs combo that everyone has, thanks to neither Yoda nor QGJ being particularly durable.
Further, the team isn’t strong in raids, and only Ahsoka has a ship right now (though it is a damn good one).
Wedge / Biggs / JKA / ShoreTrooper / Boba Fett
This team is really a hybrid team, and sorely wants to include Chaze. It’s also suffering thanks to its reliance on a speedy crit-burst, which will only continue to become less reliable as more autotaunters become available and if FO teams make a splash. The Wiggs aspect of this team has been fading in popularity as well, thanks to it having issues with the advent of autotaunters and anti-crit abilities, and those troubles are only going to get worse as those characters become more avaiable. It also can run Boba Fett lead, and often times should.
Of course, Wiggs are still useful in a lot of areas, plug-and-play reasonably well in other teams as damage output, and both have useful ships.
Maul / Sidious / EP / Vader / X
Where X is one of ShoreTrooper or B2, among a few other options. Kylo Ren may also have a place on this team. I don’t really think any of the other reworked Sith are strong enough to take a place on this team. However, with the minor nerfs to Zader (in the form of bug fixes, admittedly), as well as the newly released Sith, I think this team is looking like one of the strongest out here. As the new Sith become more available, and more F2P have the resources to invest in Maul, I expect Zaul to replace Zader as the prime choice.
Sith Trooper deserves a special mention here. He requires you to have a Sith that outspeeds your opponent to get the “autotaunt” mimicry, if you do, he is better than Shoretrooper.
Boba Fett / Zam / IG – 88 / Greedo / X
Where X is one of GK or B2, among a few other options. This team is extremely rare, as it requires Zam to operate. Now that Zam is available F2P, this is a viable option if you want a strong team that is rarely seen.
Zody / Fives / Rex / Sergeant / Echo
Admittedly this is the team I know the least about, thanks to its recent paywall. From my limited experience, this seems like a strong team that just quite isn’t there. It needs a minor rework, an extra zeta, or a better clone reach the top tier.
Clones have the added benefit of being excellent in HAAT and having several strong ships. Rex is also one of the best PnP characters in the game, now a staple F2P PnP cleanser. This team does suffer as its difficult to farm.
ZFinn / Poe / RT / X / X
Where X includes a choice between Rey, RP, Asajj, and Zidious. This is an excellent new team that I think has surprised a lot of people in its efficacy. It performs excellently in arena and HAAT, though it is unfortunately poor on arena defense.
However, the team has some serious disadvantages. Only Poe has a useful available ship, and the characters are all limited to use on a Resistance squad. They also struggle without including Asajj for the fast dispel of auto-taunt, and need to either have Poe & Zidious or have an exceptionally fast Poe. A quick ability block on Poe (or no exposes) is devastating for the team.
It is worth pointing out that the new movie will likely mean new Resistance characters. How well the old ones work at that point is anyone’s guess.
HK47 / IG-88 / IG-86 / JE / B2
Let’s be honest, this team is on its way out, if it hasn’t left already. Further, it’s going to have increasing difficulty with the anti-crit squads & characters that are becoming more prevalent (see First Order). With the lack of ships for every member of the squad and their P2 HAAT duty being eclipsed by clones, I think we’re finally seeing an age where droids aren’t a top recommendation to F2P. A saving grace for droids teams, however, may be the demise of Wiggs teams aside the rise of Empire. Droid teams have an exceptionally easy time with Empire teams. It remains to be seen how the meta shakes out if the anti-crit teams are more prevalent (and thus give droids teams serious issues) or not.
B2 however, deserves a special mention. B2 is still the best F2P AoE dispel (the other option being Asajj) and can PnP in just about any team on this list.
While that was a lot of setup, I think now we can get to the point. I think Zader looks like the strongest F2P squad choice for now. Where Zader stands out isn’t its arena-capability, but rather that it is exceptionally capable in HAAT & Rancor, includes several useful pilots, and includes several PnP characters (Boba, EP, ShT, etc). Further, if Nihilius ends up being the new meta, Zader teams are best suited to that transition.
On that note, I think SWGOH F2P arena players should really be focusing on PnP characters that have multiple roles. CG seems to be trending towards a faster pace, which means that we should expect meta shifts.
Right now, I see the best SWGOH F2P arena PnP toons as Boba Fett, Shore Trooper, Emperor Palpatine, Rex, and B2. JKA makes for an honorable mention, but I think his day is fading. Sun Fac is in a similar position to JKA. Both are still viable choices, but I don’t expect them to still be in the coming months. Either would need to get unexpected synergies with new characters or are reworked. Kylo Ren I expect to be good enough to make the list as well, especially with his Zeta upgrade. I’d like to see a little more of him until I commit to that label.
What are your thoughts? Are there any teams I’ve missed? Other PnP characters worth mentioning? Also, a big shout out to everyone on reddit that helped with this post.