First introduced to the Star Wars canon timeline in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels, Grand Admiral Thrawn’s background story is explained in much greater detail in the book Thrawn. Mitth’raw’nuruodo, Thrawn’s given name, was a member of the Chiss Ascendancy and later rose up the ranks of the Galactic Empire at a record-pace, achieving the rank of Grand Admiral.
In SWGoH Grand Admiral Thrawn has a two Zeta Abilities – both his Unique, Ebb and Flow, and his Leader Ability, Legendary Strategist.
At level 7, Thrawn’s unique ability reads “Thrawn has +50% Counter Chance, +50% Tenacity, and -50% Speed while any enemies are Fractured. Whenever another Empire ally uses a Special ability while Thrawn is active, that ally gains 15% Turn Meter and, if any enemies are Fractured, Thrawn loses 15% Turn Meter.” The upgrade to level 8 with a Zeta used reads “Thrawn has +100% Counter Chance, +100% Tenacity, and -50% Speed while any enemies are Fractured. Whenever another Empire ally uses a Special ability while Thrawn is active, that ally gains 15% Turn Meter and, if any enemies are Fractured, Thrawn and Fractured enemies lose 15% Turn Meter.” The difference? The Tenacity and Counter Chance are doubled to 100% which is helpful with or without Empire characters on your squad alongside Thrawn. The key is that any use of a Special Ability by an Empire member of your squad while an enemy is Fractured, it makes the Fracture stick longer and puts the enemy at more of a disadvantage when the Fracture wears off.
For his leadership ability Zeta, the text reads “Whenever an Empire ally gains or loses a status effect, they recover 2% Protection.” Basically, whether it is a buff or a debuff, when any Empire ally gains or loses that buff/debuff (aka status effect) they regain 2% Protection. Paired with his Maneuver special leader ability within Legendary Strategist, Empire allies can dispel all of their debuffs and gain 50% Turn Meter, so if your Empire allies have been debuffed not only is this a nice cleanse, but also a source of Protection regeneration.
Grand Admiral Thrawn – Zeta Review
Gameplay: Using Thrawn in a all-Empire team is fun given that many have multiple Special abilities, thus the effectiveness of the Zeta Ability is enhanced greatly. If the goal is to compete in 5 on 4 battles and destroy your opponent, that is easily achieved against weaker competition. This is especially effective against any taunting character since Thrawn can Fracture them and allow you to pick away at the offensive toons against you. The Ebb and Flow Zeta just adds more “oomph” to the Fracture to make it more effective. The addition of the Zeta on his leader ability is all about the long game. For longer, more drawn out use, like the Galactic War and Territory Battles, this allows you to continually keep Thrawn at or near Max Protection.
Squad Arena: Personally, I use my Zeta Grand Admiral Thrawn in the Squad Arena and this has helped me return to the top of my shard as I have written about previously. While the use of Thrawn continued for a few months, the addition of Rey (Jedi Training) has changed things up a bit. I still value Thrawn as a Top 5 toon in the game, but the synergy of other with RJT is too great to use him in the Squad Arena now that the META has shifted.
Rancor: Running Thrawn against the Rancor make Zader even more fun. My preferred lineup, pre-Thrawn, to solo the Rancor, was Zeta Darth Vader lead with Qui-Gon Jinn, Emperor Palpatine, Darth Nihilus and Jyn Erso, however I always wanted an awesome Empire character and Palpatine was not the right guy in my opinion. When Thrawn was added he replaced Palpatine as my Empire character to help knock away Turn Meter, but his Fracture also reduced the Rancor’s speed by 50% which is a great help. The Zeta on Ebb and Flow, however, is not as valuable against the Rancor given the different set of rules for Fracture, but it does provide the 100% Counter Chance and Tenacity which are nice to have. The Zeta on Legendary Strategist is irrelevant against the Rancor as I do not use him as a leader, and with Devour as an option in Phases 2 & 3 the added survivability of the Protection regen will not be of much benefit.
AAT/HAAT: While the Tank Takedown Raid does not have the same excitement as it once had now that I am backing off the leaderboard to allow my Guildmates to get to the Top 3, I have been experimenting with Grand Admiral Thrawn on my Phase 3 Chirpatine team. Working in place of a 3rd tank, Thrawn’s Fracture reduces the counter attacks from the B2 Rocket Trooper significantly, thus allowing Emperor Palpatine to tee off on him. As a result I have seen my consistent 600-800k scores from before range from 1.2 million to over 2 million with good RNG, and others have reportedly been able to solo Phase 3 with Thrawn. Another option is in a Teebo-lead TM reduction team with CLS, Thrawn, Baze Malbus and Chirrut. However, with no other Empire members included and Thrawn not being used as a leader, the value of the character is high, but the value of the Zeta is not for these teams.
How I Use zThrawn: My use of Zeta Thrawn was as a lead in the Squad Arena for some time, albeit without any other Empire toons on the squad. It did not look on paper like it should work as well as it does, but it worked and it worked well. Anytime a solo Rancor is an option, because I am busy and rarely have time to experiment, I use Thrawn in my zVader team to solo The Pit raid, and now that my Guild is doing all FFA tank raids, I also use zThrawn in Phase 3. With the additions of the Dark Side Territory Battles, aka Imperial Retaliation, Thrawn is a key piece there as well as in Territory Wars.
My Rating of zThrawn’s Unique: My rating for Zeta Grand Admiral Thrawn is a 5/10 for his unique. It qualifies as a nice-to-have and not a must-have in my experience, and I have not found it to be a game changer even though Thrawn as a character is. Run with the right characters around him it will increase in value and only adds to one of SWGoH’s top ranked characters.
Images courtesy of SWGOH.gg