What’s in the Box?
Stepping away from the usual cavalcade of Jedi, Clones, Droids and Mandalorians, this set focuses on some of the key players from the Dathomir arcs of The Clone Wars series and associated media. A potential family reunion for Darth Maul is included in the form of his manipulative and sinister ‘Mother’ Talzin and his stoic older brother Savage Opress, along with a pair of Nighsister Acolytes to round out this unique squad pack.
The Witches Of Dathomir Squad Pack: Star Wars Shatterpoint contains 4 individual models and scenic bases, as is standard with the Shatterpoint squad packs, along with the requisite unit and stance cards. Also as per usual, there’s multiple language options for the cards included in the set, so expect some spares, along with multiples of the textless, language agnostic unit Order cards which just include artwork. In a recent post, AMG have acknowledged that having multiples of the Order cards in every set is an error and in future releases they’ll do the environmentally friendly thing and take out the superfluous print.
There’s no instructions for assembly in the box (as per general AMG policy) but there is a sheet with a QR code to link directly to the assembly instructions on their website.
With Shatterpoint (like Marvel Crisis Protocol before it), Atomic Mass have really gone out of their way to make the sculpts of their miniatures feel like they’re dynamic and posed in a way that reflects the characters they portray. This set is no exception and the Witches have allowed for some really evocative displays of motion in the models, as well as adding some environmental details in the form of the ‘mist’ that accompanies each character. Mother Tazlin striding forward with an arm outstretched to cast dark side magics, the other drawing in the mist from the earth of Dathomir beneath her, in order to power her spell. Savage (who is a suitably big chunk of model) posed aggressively, lunging forward, with his lightsaber held in both hands to deliver a crushing blow, has a real sense of ‘weight’ to his stance, evoking the brutality of the character. The real gems though are possibly the two Nightsister Acolytes, one with a bow, the other with dual blades. Both are posed with a real sense of elusive motion which captures their light, enigmatic fighting style, all surrounded by the green mist that follows the contours of their bodies, heightening the sense of fluidity to their movements.
Generally all of the models in the set were straightforward to assemble; even without the instructions, the sprues are clearly labelled regarding which components belong to which model. The AMG plastic quality is, as expected these days, excellent, with very few mould lines or flash to remove (and what there is, was typically on broader surfaces where it’s easy to get to with a knife or tool). Likewise no huge gaps to be filled once built as all the parts fit
snugly together, though I did apply a layer of varnish to some of the joins on the larger, flatter surfaces such as Savage’s kilt, just to make the fit that little bit more seamless. One slight issue with this set in particular though is fragility on some areas. Mother Tazlin’s glorious 1980s spiky shoulder pads might do a lot for her sinister silhouette but the tips of those spikes come in two sections and are unfortunately very easy to bend or damage. I lost a small part of the tip on one side whilst removing it from the sprue and needed to add a slight bit of green-stuff to repair the gap. Not an insurmountable problem but something to just be mindful of with this set. Savage’s thin lightsaber blades are also potential areas of concern; the plastic is ‘springy’ enough that it withstand a slight knock without any lasting issue but much more and they could very easily bend or snap. ‘Try not to drop them’ seems like unnecessary advice for high quality miniatures but it’s doubly important for any Shatterpoint model with a lightsaber as the elongated style of the designs has really stretched those blades thin.
One additional element is the bases; like with Marvel Crisi Protocol, AM have elected to include a standard set of sculpted bases in each set, which are great in of themselves and, if a player wants consistency across their collection, are ideal. Personally, I prefer to sometimes theme my bases to the models I’m using so for this set, I’ve decided to adapt them to look more like Dathomir itself (and will paint them as such). Visually this might be jarring on certain tables? I’m not sure but with Shatterpoint only needing a relatively small selection of models, at this scale I like to embrace the hobby potential aspect of the miniatures and treat each set, or even each model as distinct creative project and make them more bespoke.
What Does This Set Add To The Game?
Importantly, variety. Shatterpoint is still in its relative infancy as a product line and the growth of different squad sets like these are undoubtedly a good thing for the continued health and interest of the game, particularly if a player is looking to get involved but isn’t necessarily enthusiastic about the clones or droids or Jedi or Mandalorians (unlikely as that may seem) that have formed the bulk of the core release waves. Adding content for more niche factions like the Nightsisters helps with this aspect, particularly as the flexible mechanics of forming a force to put on the table, means that by just purchasing and building this box as a ready-made squad, there’s a degree of trust that it can slot in alongside another and be tabletop-ready with some viable and obvious synergies straight away.
Mother Talzin is an interesting addition to the roster as she’s, broadly speaking, a ranged support-type character, albeit one that can still push out solid damage when needed. Her draw ability offers a fairly standard bonus dash for an ally with the same faction keyword (Dathomirian in this case; more on that later), whilst her active ability lets her move an opposing model around. Her Life Drain ability is a characterful heal for a Dathomirian ally that triggers upon them causing damage, a potentially very useful addition and, in the grand spirit of revenge that her people seem to enjoy, Wrath of the Great Mother allows her to make a free dash and ranged attack when an ally is wounded.
Savage Opress is, very suitably, an aggressive frontline Secondary who can just consistently put out a robust amount of damage whilst soaking it up in return. There’s not a huge amount of complex strategy to his abilities; everything he does is geared towards him
moving further, surviving longer or hitting things harder. His Attack and Defence die are relatively average for a Secondary Unit but with permanent Protection and Steadfast as innate abilities, coupled with an above average 10 Stamina he’s durable and difficult to shift, particularly as he gets more mobile once injured. His combat tree is just a consistent source of damage or debilitating effects, with the potential for a free active ability at the end (for either another chunk of damage from Dark Fury or some extra movement from Furious Rush). He’s a unit that wants to be up close and smashing as soon as possible and with other Dathomirian Primaries like Talzin, Lord Maul or Asajj, he gets a bonus dash whenever those units activate nearby; also meaning that he can act as a potential bodyguard for them by keeping up with them more efficiently.
The two Nightsister Acolytes are a fairly versatile, mobile Support unit that works best at range but can still be effective when face to face if absolutely needed. They specialize though at targeting enemies that are already engaged with another Dathomirian model, being able to add the Exposed condition to their ally’s target or gaining a 2-dice bonus to the Acolytes’ own ranged attacks. With Pinned being triggered on the first success of their combat tree, they’re likely to prove a constant annoyance to the opposition whilst whittling down enemy health with a very respectable potential damage output. They’re far from the most durable however, so benefits of cover and hunker tokens are important.
I won’t pretend to have had enough games with Shatterpoint yet to really get a handle on all the little tricks available but a core component of building a strike team or a squad is finding how to make the best use of the linked Faction or Era keywords and the Witches of Dathomir set adds some exciting additional mileage to a couple of characters from the core set, purely from the Dathomirian keyword. Asajj Ventress will no doubt benefit from the addition of some greater healing access from Talzin and from a dedicated melee beat-stick in Savage who can beef up her aggressive playstyle. The big winner though is probably Lord Maul, for the same reasons as Asajj but even more so as he previously had very little in conjunction with other units whereas Asajj could still fit in alongside Seperatists. The synergy of Talzin’s Life Drain with Maul’s Sustained by Rage is just an obvious win for the red and black icon, allowing him to be that extra-bit more assertive with spending his own health in place of force and letting him trigger his own powerful abilities more regularly, with less risk of wounding.
The Witches of Dathomir box adds, for me, some welcome diversity to the Shatterpoint lineup, with some predictably lovely, dynamic models and an opportunity to add some more visually distinct colours to my painted collection. I very much appreciate the expansion of the Dathomirian keyword (if nothing else because I love Maul and this set makes him better). The models are dynamic and evocative of their faction and, some slight fragility aside, are about as high a quality as anything else on the market. Shatterpoint’s structure allows for quite a selective approach to purchases; you can just concentrate on what you enjoy from the Star Wars galaxy and still have a worthwhile experience with any given expansion. So for anyone who enjoys the spiky weirdness of the Dathomirians and their spooky green mist witches, I can highly recommend this set.