Which Characters First? Your Future in SWGoH

Your Future in SWGoH:

As a player reaches Level 81 and beyond, the ultimate goal (for a competitive player) will be to reach the Top 100 of Arena by payout time daily.

One of the most perplexing issues with gaining the Top 100 of Arena, and staying there, is that the same team that helps a player reach Rank 61 today, may not help a player reach Rank 161 a month later.

To stay at the top of the Arena rankings (and thusly gain the most free crystals daily), players must be cognizant of the “Meta” and adapt as it changes.

The SWGoH Meta, a history

When the game first began to gain ground, Barriss-L was Meta since she was capable of removing debuffs and balancing health across all toons on a team. The Meta, however, eventually shifted to Sidious-L since he brought an initially damaging set of AoE debuffs, and was much faster than Barriss could debuff and heal.From there, players adapted further and began using Dooku and Old Ben as Leads, which allowed a Dodge-focused meta, since toons could be prevented from receiving debuffs at all. Luminara Leads still saw significance due to the Dodge increase under her lead and the fact that she could heal and apply Heal Over Time buffs.

The Protection stat was then introduced and shifted the Meta further, rendering the bulk of healing toons (Lumi/Barris/JC) almost useless overnight. Around this same time, Leia was removed from Chromium-only and became farmable, which allowed her to create a new Meta when combined with a taunter like STHan since she could hit up to three times on a single turn.

Leia’s three-hit turn proved too unreliable for constant Arena use, and once Rey became farmable a new Meta emerged with Rey combined with RG or STHan. With Rey being one of the hardest-hitting toons at the time and with RG auto-taunting anytime Rey (or anyone else) dropped below 50% Health, Rey+RG seemed nearly unbeatable for some months.

Anakin saw a rework and was also featured as the monthly login character, allowing more players to become accustomed to his new abilities. For months, the best teams included Anakin and QGJ under a Lando Lead, with Rey+RG thrown in to make things difficult.

Mods, however, were unleashed shortly afterward, allowing players to make fast characters even faster, and changed the Meta going forward. Wedge also became farmable around this time, and then paired with Biggs, Wedge+Biggs became “Wiggs” and became one of the best pairs in the game. Biggs’ Special brought Wedge along with another character on the team to attack all at once, allowing players to one-shot a character on a single turn. Lando, especially under a Wedge Lead, attacked fast and often, and his Special found him continually sending AoE attacks that hit harder and harder each time. To this day, Wiggs+Lando still works well and Wiggs teams can still be found in Top 50 of Arena.

On the heels of Mods and the emergence of Wiggs, the Rogue One characters dropped, which again augmented the Meta. Scarif Pathfinder was among the first arrive and brought a short-lived Meta, but then came the Tournaments which introduced the “pre-taunter” age with Shoretrooper, who needed to be killed or dispelled before other characters could be killed. Other Tournaments and the Shard Shop gave Chirrut and Baze, later known as the duo “Chaze”, which created a slow and steady Meta-defining pair that still continues well into 2017.

As Chaze continued to gain traction, Palpatine returned giving a new Meta of EP+RG teams that were also often paired with Wiggs teams and rained destruction for a considerable time.

Ships and Zetas appeared in the game shortly before Palpatine’s return, and once they became numerous, players saw the rise of zVader-L teams dominating the Meta. That Meta was short-lived, however, as zMaul teams quickly rose to eminence and continued into a multi-month Meta that did not seem to have a solution.

For a brief time, zBarriss seemed to be the key to everything, but the developers adjusted the effect of her Zeta ability, and with zBarriss no longer as useful, the Meta returned to zMaul prominence.

The continued surge of Zetas brought a few sporadic changes to the Meta with zKylo teams making headway along with the re-worked zBoba and ushered in the age of “plug-and-play” toons.

A light appeared within the realm of the long-standing zMaul meta with Rex-L teams rising with the zMaul-defeating Tenacity Up buff, and the with the addition of Darth Nihilus, and a greater number of high-star General Kenobi and Chaze teams, one of the most difficult Metas appeared: Rex-L, Nihilus, GK, and Chaze.

R2D2 arrived as an excellent plug-and-play toon and allowed the Meta to shift slightly and expand to include R2 in place of Nihilus, but Chaze teams still reigned supreme.

Thrawn’s surprise arrival brought some further slight shifting from Rex+Chaze as Empire teams saw a small revival, but the Meta continued to favor Chaze.

The introduction of Commander Luke along with reworks and Zetas of all the characters required to attain him has started to disrupt the current Meta, with a CLS Lead overtaking the previous Number 1 Rex Lead almost overnight. Combined with other Rebels, CLS has once again shown that the Meta is never stable, even though the power couples like Wiggs and Chaze may take many more months to diminish.

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So, what is the point of all this long-winded history of SWGoH Meta diatribe? To thoroughly illustrate that the Meta is constantly changing. Characters that were not in existence when the game first launched in November 2015 are part of the Meta today. As characters receive Zeta abilities, as new components are added to the game, as new characters are introduced, or as older characters receive reworks, the Meta will change.

The SWGoH Arena is very competitive and to reach and stay within the Top 100, which offers a guaranteed 100+ crystal payout (up to 500 crystals at Rank #1 daily), a player must follow the Meta and, in some cases, even attempt to predict the next Meta characters. To reach and stay Top 50, a player must be willing to shift as quickly as the Meta shifts, and to get into the Top 5 daily, a player must also have the best Mods along with the newest, and best, characters in the game at all times.

A prime example of shifting with the Meta was best seen in the change between zVader Lead teams, zMaul Lead teams, and Rex Lead teams. The zVader-L teams offered bonuses for Sith characters that players had been starring and gearing for months in hopes of a rise and the teams also gave bonuses for Empire characters.

Almost as soon as zVader-L teams started to crowd the top tiers of Arena, players discovered that zMaul offered an even better Lead between offering increased Dodge, Turn Meter gains, and instant Stealth. Players who had been farming and saving Zetas for weeks and who put all their effort in Vader’s Zeta ability, suddenly found themselves either scrambling to acquire another Zeta for Maul in hopes of remaining competitive or face a constant battle to remain relevant. The change between the zMaul Lead and the Rex Lead was far more gradual, but it still occurred and a player had to adapt if one expected to stay within the Top 100.

Deciding which tier a player intends to reach daily is key, and upon reaching a higher tier in Arena, it is psychologically difficult to go backward. After remaining Top 200 for several weeks, it will seem unthinkable to go back to Rank 500+, and likewise, remaining Top 50 for weeks, will make it impossible to go back to the 51-100 rankings.

Who to Farm for Top Arena Rankings?

Every player is placed on a server or “server shard” upon starting the Arena for the very first time. Arena shards contain about 20,000 players and once one shard fills, another shard opens. A player often starts above Rank 5000 and works down to better tiers over time, but the Arena shard never changes and all shards are different. The players who were on a shard once Arena opens will always be there, which means that all players are constantly playing against others who started at roughly the same time.

This is significant because a player who started in December 2015 has months more gameplay than a player who started in December 2016 and even more than a player who started in August 2017. It would be unfair to have a player with a month-old roster trying to compete against a player with 18 month-old roster, so Arena shards always contain the same players. With this said, understanding the current Meta and remaining aware of changes within the game will allow a player to keep up with the Meta and ensure that one is using the best characters and teams in Arena.

The best place to find the current is Meta is via swgoh.gg: https://swgoh.gg/meta-report/

The Meta Report shows the most commonly used Leaders, full Arena teams, and the most used characters at the top most Arena tiers. As of October 2017, the five most used Leaders for those reaching Rank #1 are CLS, GK, Rex, zThrawn, and Ackbar, while the five most used characters in Rank #1 squads include R2, CLS, GK, “Raid Han”, and Thrawn.

Does this Meta Report mean that a player should drop everything and farm these characters? Absolutely not!

Of the Top 5 most used characters in squads, one is only attainable through HAAT, one is only available through Heroic Rancor, and the others are only available in Legendary Events. As shown in the History of the SWGoH Meta, by the time a player just starting out managed to acquire all the current Meta characters, the Meta will have completely shifted.

Instead, focus on farming “core” characters that will allow players to make jumps into different tiers. An Anakin-L Jedi team may work for Rank 201-500, but a Wiggs team with a 3* G9 Shoretrooper might help with the jump below Rank 200 regularly. Though the Meta will always shift, there are core characters that are very strong and will greatly improve all parts of a player’s game.

Core characters to focus on for strong Arena performance (as of October 2017):

  • Wedge
  • Biggs
  • Chirrut
  • Baze
  • Kylo*
  • Savage*
  • Ezra
  • Shoretrooper
  • Leia
  • Fulcrum
  • Nihilus
  • Rex
  • EP**
  • R2**
  • Thrawn**

 
(*)Requires a Zeta
(**)Legendary character
Note: CLS and Raid characters omitted

Again, upon reaching the Top 100, it is fully up to the individual to follow the Meta or plan Meta-opposing teams to reach and retain the top Arena tiers.

 
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Last updated: 10/9/17