Choosing the RIGHT Admiral for your fleet can make or break it. If you try to run squadrons with Ackbar in a significant number, you're not going to have a great time. Similarly, if you put Mon Mothma in with your Defiance list, you're not going to get the most benefit out of your list. I'm not saying you CAN'T win with your list (I've run Madine with an Assault MC80 and done OK with it! I've tried that Ackbar squadrons list!), but I'd rather save you some time in figuring out what works with your guy, what doesn't work with your guy, and how to fight the Commander when all of your friends start choosing him. I'll start this off with one of my favorite Rebel leaders.
|So if I ram his ships, they take even MORE damage when they ram me back?|
|If you're a Rebel commander, you gotta stare at a weird globe. It's the rules.|
The benefit of Rieekan is there in the ability. One of your unique squadrons or ships doesn't die until the end of the turn (but BEFORE any Objectives, such as Fire Lanes, would trigger). So even if you have second player, and Demolisher jumps your ship, you still get to go, no matter how much damage your ship takes. If you survive with one HP into next turn, you get an ENTIRE full turn. You could have an LMC80 going speed 3, have no defense tokens, and have Power Failure, Ruptured Engine, Damaged Controls, Crew Panic, Compartment Fire, and just had the Structural Damage Crit triggered last turn. But you know what? It's got 1 health left, which means it gets one full turn before it insanely explodes. Fire out of that front arc! Ram something else! Laugh as they ram you and take ANOTHER damage! He's also very new player friendly, in that you still get to have a turn with your ship, even after it's been blown up. If you're going to lose a ship this turn, well....
|Give them the Billy Dee!|
However, he's not just New Player Insurance. When he first came out, I heard people say "Oh, he's only good if you lose a ship, so he's bad." Three Worlds wins later..... First, no, he forces your opponent to consider things a LOT differently. If you don't DIE until the end of the turn, I can't maneuver myself to be where you were. I might be forced to keep my ship in the side arc of that HMC80. Rieekan doesn't care if it's dead, it's going down swinging. I have to plan movement so I either end up out of the way, or I have to deal with taking fire no matter what I do. Second, he can keep your Unique squadrons alive. When you need Wedge to put that last damage into Jonus, when you need Keyan Farlander to roll one more time into that ISD, when you need Nym to try to roll a blue crit onto that ship one more time.... Rieekan lets you do that. Lastly, because of his ability, he's one of the few good easy Rebel counters to Demolisher. The Imperial player could have a 30 point bid, Demolisher loaded to the gills with upgrades (there's another way to play it?), and be attacking that 7 HP shot LMC80. But! I still get a turn. Rieekan honestly does OK with either first or second player, so 0-bid lists are frequently seen with him.
To quote friend-of-the-blog Ian Cross, Rieekan does best with options. You want several ships and/or Unique squadrons so you have the OPTION of using his ability at least 6 times a game. He works great with every ship. The ability to make a great trade with something that's already dead is mighty powerful.
There's several common fleet archetypes SEEN with Rieekan, but they break down into Eric's 3 common archetypes. Read the 201 Archetypes sections in the Objective tab, and decide how you want to build, either focusing on Rieekan's ability to keep unique squads alive and pushing those better and stronger, or by focusing on Big Heavy or MSU. They're all valid options for using Rieekan, just make sure you don't end up charging too hard into battle and losing most of your ships because you get one more turn. Great Rieekan usage involves trading up something that was dying or about to die and getting a substantial benefit out of it "not dying" for a turn.
I once heard someone say that Rieekan can be either a Beginner's Guide to a Video Game, or he can be your Master's Thesis, if you know what you're doing with him. Through careful practice and repeated playing, may he be the latter for you. Good luck with your experiments!