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Zeta Bootcamp: How to Spend Them

Once we have completed the ship challenges (see Part 1) and have zetas on farm a new problem arises: it can be difficult to decide who to zeta first, and then second, and on down the line.  The first step to correctly strategize how to spend zetas is to clarify what goals we will want to accomplish with the new zeta ability.  Raid dominance, arena dominance or a little bit of both?

For a list of the complete zeta abilities available in-game see swgoh.gg here.  Lists are only so helpful, however, so here we have compared each relevant zeta ability against other potential characters you could zeta and then we make it clear why the specific zeta ability does or doesn’t stack up.

Simply put: we want you to know which zetas work and why so you can make your mind up confidently.

We will divide our analysis into two basic parts: zetas mainly relevant in the arena and those used mostly in the raids, and further divide them by tier to give a rough idea of which ones are superior to others.  This sheet has all the relevant zetas outlined by arena or raid relevance and tier that will be covered below:

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First, let’s review some zeta abilities with relevance to arena performance.  Then we will move to those that help in the Pit and AAT raids.

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Tier One: Zetas With a Huge Impact on Arena Placement

Darth Maul‘s Dancing Shadows Leader Ability

All Sith allies gain 20% Evasion, gain 20% Turn Meter and Stealth for 1 turn at the start of each encounter and whenever they Evade or are Critically Hit, can’t be Critically Hit while Stealthed, and gain Advantage for 2 turns whenever Stealth expires. The Stealth and Turn Meter from this ability ignore Taunting allies.

Analysis:

  • Zeta Maul grants a 20% speed increase to his Sith allies.  This is great all around but is particularly helpful for allowing Emperor Palpatine to lead off the battle with his Power of the Dark Side AOE special, stunning as many as possible of one’s enemies before their first turn.
  • Sith allies stay alive much longer in arena thanks to their frequent stealth under a zeta Maul lead and the inability of opponents to inflict a critical hit on Maul’s stealthed allies.  Sith also gain evasion and offensive advantage bonuses under this zeta leadership ability but those are less consequential in the arena.
  • To get the most out of this zeta, it is important to remember only to zeta Darth Maul for the arena and to make sure you have a strong Sith team under him.

Popular team compositions people are using right now for zMaul:

  • zMaul (L), Emperor Palpatine, Darth Nihilus, Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus/Savage Opress and Sith Assasin

Resources for Further Research:

Eighteen Maul Arena Trial Video Playlist:



Kylo Ren‘s Outrage Special Ability

Deal Physical damage to target enemy and, if Kylo has full Health, inflict Stun for 1 turn. This attack deals 75% more damage if Kylo is below full Health. Recover Protection equal to the damage dealt.

Analysis:

  • On paper Outrage has a three turn cool down.  But thanks to Kylo’s unique Unstoppable he has a 50% chance to reset all of the cooldowns whenever he takes damage.  Thanks to the prevalence of AOE attacks in the arena today, whether or not Kylo is even being targeted he is still taking damage regularly and so the cooldown for Outrage is constantly being reset in most arena matches.
  • This allows you to spam the zeta’d Outrage attack, which does tremendous damage since his rework and with the zeta will add protection to Kylo in the amount of the damage dealt.  This makes Kylo a freakishly hard to kill attacker whose gotten his fair share of attention as a raid hero, but whose relevance in the arena is still being fully appreciated.

Popular team compositions people are using right now for zKylo Ren:

  • zMaul, Kylo, Darth Nihilus, Emperor Palpatine, General Kenobi/Sith Trooper

Resources for further research:


Darth Nihilus‘s Wound in the Force Unique (NOT his leader ability)

Ability Description:

At the start of each of his turns, Nihilus inflicts Damage Over Time for 2 turns on a random enemy that doesn’t have any debuffs. If all enemies are debuffed, inflict Damage Over Time on a random enemy. At the start of each enemy turn, Nihilus inflicts Health Down on them for 2 turns.

Analysis:

Nihilus is mainly valuable in-game thanks to the effectiveness of his “Annihilate” special ability, which is basically an insta-kill on an eight turn cool down.  He relies on his other special “Drain Force” to reduce this massive cooldown requirement, and this cooldown reduction is much more efficient when you have debuffed as many enemies as possible.  Nihilus’s unique already applies a Damage over Time (DOT) debuff to an enemy without any debuffs before the zeta ability and, if all enemies are debuffed, another DOT applied to a random enemy.  A zeta added to this unique adds Health Down to enemies every time they take a turn.  This dramatically increases the number of enemy units with a debuff, allowing dramatic reduction in the cooldown for annihilate.

In sum, players using Nihilus in arena ESPECIALLY with non-debuff oriented teams like Sith or Empire should strongly consider zetaing his unique.

Popular team compositions people are using right now for Darth Nihilus with a zeta’d unique:

Rex · GK · Chirrut · Baze · Darth Nihilus
Maul · Emperor · Chirrut · Baze · Darth Nihilus

Resources for further research:


Tier Two: Zeta abilities that should get you between ranks 50-20

Darth Vader‘s Inspiring Through Fear Leadership Ability

Empire and Sith allies gain 30% Offense and have a 50% chance to remove 20% Turn Meter when they damage an enemy. This Turn Meter removal can’t be Resisted. While Darth Vader is alive, enemies immediately regain Damage Over Time for 2 turns whenever Damage Over Time expires on them.

Analysis:

We are dealing strictly with arena relevance here, not zeta Vader’s huge raid viability.  In elite arena Vader is increasingly used strictly on zeta Maul teams, making a zeta on his leadership ability irrelevant.  If you are not set on a top ten finish in most shards, however, there is still plenty of room for a competitive zeta Vader lead team in arena.  His permanent DOTs allow for his “Culling Blade” special to do extreme damage on enemy targets.

Popular team compositions people are using right now for zeta Vader:

Vader (L), Tie Fighter Pilot, Shore Trooper, Palpatine, Zeta Darth Sidious

Resources for further research:

This chart from Redditor Atari Lynx shows the effect that adding the zeta ability to Darth Vader on March 16th had on his arena ranking.  The huge improvement in his placement was immediate, but not enough to make for a truly elite ranking.

38 Darth Vader Arena Trial Videos Playlist:



Qui-Gon Jinn‘s Agility Training Leadership Ability

Jedi allies have +30 Speed, gain Offense equal to 3 times their Speed, and gain Foresight for 2 turns at the start of each encounter and whenever any unit is defeated.

Analysis:

  • The first problem Jedi have generally had in the arena is their low damage output.  The offense gain from Qui-Gon Jinn’s zeta doesn’t make them hard hitters relative to high damage options like Chirrut but it fixes the problem enough to make Jedi under this leadership arena viable in some situations.
  • Specifically, you will need to run a zeta Qui-Gonn Jinn Jedi team with a zeta’s Luminara or several tanks to add survivability to the squad.  The foresight gain under this ability was designed to lengthen battles, which it does, but you will need more protection from your opponent’s attacks to win consistently.

Popular team compositions people are using right now for zQui-Gonn Jinn squads:

Resources for further research:


Tier 3: Arena Zetas that Depend on Team Composition to be Useful

Count Dooku‘s Flawless Riposte

Count Dooku has 100% Counter Chance. In addition, whenever he attacks outside of his turn, he deals 30% more damage, has a 25% chance to gain 45% Turn Meter, recovers 10% Protection, and gains Critical Hit Immunity for 1 turn.

Analysis:

Dooku’s zeta was a fantastic upgrade, the most useful part of the ability has proven to be the 10% protection gain whenever he counters.  This ability is useless under a Nihilus lead since Nihilus turns protection to health and Dooku’s protection gain does not transfer over to a health gain.  Under the much more popular zeta Darth Maul lead, however, Dooku can be an extremely tough opponent.  Under Maul not only is Dooku gaining protection from his constant counter attacks but he is often stealthed for much of the match as well.

The only way to slow Dooku down in these situations is usually to stun him and prevent his counters.  Unfortunately for Dooku owners, stunning him is actually a very effective way to deal with him and has led to a decrease in his use in elite arena.  That said, while not as valuable as some other zeta abilities, you can do a lot worse than a zeta Dooku under a zeta Maul lead in your arena team.

Further Resources:


Savage Opress‘s Brute Unique

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Savage gains 30% turn meter, Offense and Defense up, as well as heal over time for two turns each whenever he takes damage.  At the end of his turns, he takes on and dispels all the negative status effects of a random Sith ally, but loses all these debuffs whenever he is critically hit.

Analysis: See Haron Khast’s excellent write up here.

Popular Team Compositions:

Maul · Savage Opress · Emperor · Darth Nihilus · Sith Assassin
Maul · Savage Opress · Emperor · Vader · Darth Nihilus


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Tier 1: Zeta Abilities For Extreme Raid Damage

Darth Vader‘s Inspiring Through Fear Ability in the Rancor Raid:

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Ability Description: See above

Rancor Analysis:

*** Update: Devs confirmed there is a bug with the turn meter reduction here. ***

Besides placing constantly regenerating DOTs, Vader’s zeta also means he has a 50% chance to reduce enemy turn meter,  THIS is the feature of the zeta that makes him so effective in the Rancor raid insofar as it allows him to function as a more effective version of Teebo.  Culling Blade, thanks to the permanent DOTs he applies with the zeta ability, does tremendous damage and does assist in clearing each phase.  The key, however, is zeta Vader’s turn meter reduction.

Using multiple Empire/Sith lineups to solo the rancor playlist:

Learn how to use Zader in the tank raid to do 3-5 million damage in the heroic raid:


Commander Cody‘s Ghost Company Commander

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Ability Description from the Alliance Gaming community:

Clone allies gain 30% Critical Chance, and other allies gain half that amount. Cody gains 60% Defense for each living Clone ally and other Clone allies gain half that amount. Clone allies recover 5% of their Max Protection whenever they use a Basic ability.

Analysis:

Zeta Cody lead clone-based teams pioneered by McMole2 and DenzoG have had tremendous success in both phases two and four of the heroic AAT raid.  The primary mechanism of the zeta ability responsible for this is the added protection clone allies receive when they use a basic attack. The added Defense for ally Clones, as well as the large boost to Critical Chance allows your Clones to deal out massive amounts of damage, and then shrug off any damage that comes their way.  A Clone squad with Leia is your best Phase 4 team for damage, and switching her out for Jawas allows for almost as much damage in Phase 2.

Resources for further research:

McMole2’s Clone Facility

swgohindepth HAAT Guide


Kylo Ren‘s Outrage Special Ability

Ability Description:

Deal Physical damage to target enemy and, if Kylo has full Health, inflict Stun for 1 turn. This attack deals 75% more damage if Kylo is below full Health. Recover Protection equal to the damage dealt.

Analysis:

As long as you retreat to avoid the enraged tank, zeta Kylo can actually solo the entire first phase of the hAAT.  The protection regeneration is just too much for Grievous and company to keep up with.

For further research:


Tier 2: Zeta Abilities With High Raid Damage / Low Zeta Investment

Darth Vader‘s Inspiring Through Fear Ability in the Heroic AAT Raid:

Heroic AAT Analysis:

Zeta Vader’s DOTs and culling blade are the only things he brings to Phase Two of the Heroic AAT since his turn meter reduction does not work on the Tank.  They’re enough, however, to make Zeta Vader – lead teams many of the highest damage P2 teams currently in use.

Team composition for the highest scores will typically include zeta Sidious, Tusken Shaman, Ewok Elder and Captain Phasma.  The zeta Sidious and zeta Vader combination here is often referred to as Zidader.

Denzo G invented this team and shows how it is run here:


Finn‘s Balanced Tactics

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Ability Description:

Resistance allies gain 30% Offense and 60% Defense, and other allies gain half that amount. Whenever a Resistance ally loses Foresight, they gain Advantage for 2 turns and whenever an enemy takes damage from Expose, reduce the cooldowns of all Resistance allies by 1 and grant them 35% Turn Meter.

Analysis:

The clutch aspects of Finn’s zeta for a resistance team in phase two of the heroic AAT raid are at the end of the above description: ” reduce the cooldowns of all Resistance allies by 1 and grant them 35% Turn Meter.”  With the sole exception of Rey, ALL Resistance heroes possess an expose mechanic, this means Finn’s zeta leader ability allows for consistent cooldown reductions and turn meter gain.  This is why it has become such a favorite among F2P players looking for a great raid team that can also help players in so many other aspects of the game.

For further research:

If you are building this team be sure to listen to our mini-podcast featuring expert theroy crafter Good Ole’ Maurice and as detailed a run through of this team as you can find anywhere in barely over ten minutes:


Darth Sidious‘s Sadistic Glee

Ability description:

Darth Sidious recovers 20% of his Max Health and gains 50% Turn Meter whenever any unit is defeated. In addition, he has +35% Evasion against Jedi attacks, +50% Potency, and gains Max Health equal to his Potency percentage.

Analysis:

With his Zeta ability, Sidious gains enough health to make it to enrage and more reliable turn meter.  As part of a P2 hAAT zVader team, zeta Sidious is an important part of getting the highest score possible.

For further research:


Barriss Offee‘s Swift Recovery

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Ability Description:

At the end of each of her turns, Barriss Dispels all debuffs from the debuffed ally with the lowest Health and gains 10% Turn Meter for each effect removed. Whenever an ally is Critically Hit, that ally recovers 20% of their Max Health and Barriss gains 10% Turn Meter. This effect is disabled while Barriss is defeated.

Analysis:

In phase four of the hAAT raid many players have had success with a traditional rebel squad alongside a zeta’d Barriss.  This adds healing both via her special “Force Healer” and the zeta’d unique whenever your squad is critically hit.  Furthermore, her special adds a defense buff up for two turns, protecting your team after a topple from the air attack.


Tier 3: Zeta Abilities With High Raid Damage / High Zeta Investment

First Order Zeta Team

Though requiring four zeta’d characters, a full First Order team can do north of two to four million damage in the second phase of the heroic AAT raid.  Their lower tier assignment is due to the extreme amount of zeta investment they require.  Let’s walk through each character’s zeta ability and then analyze how they fit together, before watching the team in action.

Captain Phasma‘s Fire at Will (Leader Ability)

Ability Description:

-15% Damage Penalty, triple Assist chance for First Order, and First Order allies gain Advantage for 2 turns at the start of each encounter, can’t be Critically Hit while they have Advantage, and gain 20% Potency

Analysis: As we’ll see, the rest of the First Order team will be largely utilizing assists and Advantage to do their damage.  So Phasma’s triple assist and added advantage for First Order allies are central to this team’s success.

First Order Tie Pilot‘s Keen Eye

Ability Description:

First Order TIE Pilot has +30% Critical Chance and +30% Critical Damage, and gains Advantage for 3 turns whenever an enemy falls below full Health. First Order TIE Pilot has a 70% chance to gain Foresight for 2 turns whenever he loses Advantage.

Analysis:

Since First Order Tie Pilot’s primary attack “Double Tap” is guaranteed to attack twice when he has Advantage, the added Advantage he gains both in this ability and from his First Order aliies make it the best attack he possesses damage-wise.  The foresight FOTP gains here is useful in keeping this notoriously squishy character alive but not game changing.

First Order Storm Trooper‘s Return Fire

Ability Description:

Whenever First Order Stormtrooper uses any Ability he has a 50% chance to call a random ally to Assist, dealing 50% damage unless they are First Order, then grants them Advantage for 2 turns if they were First Order

Analysis:  First Order Storm Trooper’s zeta is designed perfectly to synergize with the rest of the this reworked First Order team by further stacking assist and Advantage opportunities.

Kylo Ren’s Outrage: See Above

Overall Team Analysis:

While not the fastest team out there, the strong synergy a fully-zeta’d First Order team brings to the tables between multiple assists and almost continuous Advantage makes it a very viable option for the second phase of the heroic AAT.  To really understand how to use this team in this phase we strongly recommend you see it in action here.

16 thoughts on “Zeta Bootcamp: How to Spend Them Leave a comment

    • Thanks man and great question. I see Cassian’s zeta as probably more geared toward arena since it’s all about 3- turn buffs. 3 turns is a long time in an arena match, not so much in a raid. So if we start to see some more people using a full Rogue 1 team in arena we could definitely add him in in the future.

      Like

  1. Great guide guys! Unfortunately for me I started the game with nightsisters and there’s no going back now lol :). Finally zetad assaj vent’s leader, hoping it pays off.

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  2. No addressing Boba Fett’s zeta, is it not even worth mentioning?? Great review, I enjoyed it and found it very educational.

    Like

  3. To state an obvious question…..players can’t use ability material zeta until they complete the zeta challenge?….if u look under help in swgoh its not readily found

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    • you can purchase zeta mats from the fleet store beginning at level 80.

      they are 2000 tokens for each one though, so perhaps not the best use of fleet currency on a regular basis… unless you don’t have many shards or gear pieces you would rather have from that location.

      Like

  4. Is there a limit on how many zeta characters you can have? Most posts say something like choose carefully and it makes it sound like you can only have one or maybe a couple but not all of them so I’m just looking for some clarification

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  5. Great Guide!
    Does this evaluation include R2-D2? So many teams are using him in Arena now.
    Than you very much for a confirmation.

    Like

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