With Star Wars: The Force Awakens arriving on Blu-ray later this month, Star Wars fever is rising once more – and so is the turn-based RPG-lite Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes for iOS and Android, which upped its level cap to 80 on 31 March.
As players get used to the additional changes to Gear and Ability Materials in the popular free-to-play adaptation of the galaxy far, far away, the struggle over which iconic characters (affectionately known as toons by fans) deserve the time and effort to upgrade has grown evermore fierce.
Getting a single Jedi Master, droid assassin or Sith Lord to level 80 will require a lot of in-game credits – and that is without factoring in the wince-inducing cost of promoting a character to a seven-star rating.
Never fear young padawans, IBTimes UK has delved into numerous Galactic Wars and battled countless foes in the Arena to bring you the best characters that are deserving of your collective spoils.
Note: I'd like to make it clear from the start that all characters that are unobtainable by any means other than the premium Chromium Data Packs will not be eligible for consideration. I refuse to tempt anyone into turning to the Dark Side and succumbing to the allure of in-app purchases.
The undisputed Galaxy of Heroes MVP from day one.
This Mirialan Jedi Master is the common denominator in almost any high-end team found in the game, thanks to her monstrous attack, above average speed and life-saving heal ability.
Despite the fact that she has less than stellar ability cooldowns and that her Master Healing's Blessing recently received a small nerf, this versatile member of the Jedi Order is the ultimate heal-support character, leaving the Chromium/Cantina node-only Bariss Offee in the dust.
Incredibly easy to farm through Galactic War Tokens (forget the minimal haul from Hard missions), Luminara will make future GW runs a much simpler affair, making this Clone Wars veteran worthy of every token and credit you could think of spending.
Much like Luminara, this pre-black cloak, lighting-fingered incarnation of the Dark Lord of the Sith wields dual red lightsabers to devastating effect and is found on the majority of successful teams in the Arena.
With a brutal area-of-effect attack and the chance to inflict healing immunity via his basic Deathstroke strikes, the wizened future emperor is vital for tackling opposition taunts and healing effects. The evasion boost against Jedis and health regain for each kill that are both granted by the Sadistic Glee passive ability also gives Sidious an edge over most light-side teams.
With five shards for every 400 Arena Tokens, upgrading Sidious is a relatively speedy process and although players with a broad range of characters may find he disrupts the synergy of a perfect final squad, he's certainly a viable level-80 toon worth investing in until well into the end-game.
A recent edition to the upper echelons of the Galaxy of Heroes pantheon, Qui-Gon Jinn's addition to the Cantina Battle Store upped this previously Chromium-exclusive toon-turned-Obi-Wan Kenobi's teacher into a valuable leader candidate.
Perfectly suited to a 'glass cannon' attack-heavy squad, Qui-Gon's Harmonious Assault calls a second ally to assist in attack. Dealing up to 75% more damage after being fully upgraded, a single turn can demolish many opposing toons in one hit.
His Jedi-speed boosting leader ability fits perfectly with teams built around vicious-striking Jedi characters (e.g. Luminara, Ashoka Tano, Mace Windu), while dispelling positive status effects with Humbling Blow can change the tide of losing battle as it grants Offense Up for two turns.
It may take a while to earn those Squad Cantina Credits, but Qui-Gon's pacey attacks start to come into their own as early as a four-star ranking if his abilities are invested in early.
Possibly the most visually unappealing and unmemorable character on this list, the Geonosian Solider has built an infamous reputation on the Galaxy of Heroes holotable based off his ability to wipe out even the bulkiest characters in single turns.
This insectoid menace based on the winged swarms notably seen buzzing around in the prequel film Star Wars: Attack of the Clones is essentially built on one move, the appropriately named Swarm.
This two-turn cooldown assist calling-blast perfectly complements the Geonosian Solider's vanilla attack, that also adds a 55% chance to apply Offensive Up for three turns.
Frighteningly quick to farm early on in the game through shards from the very first Squad Cantina Battle 1-A, this blisteringly-powerful bug is the bane of the Squad Arena.
The Jedi-turned-Sith played on film by the late, great Christopher Lee is a savagely quick attacker who can wreak havoc on a light side opposition thanks to his guaranteed counter abilities.
Particularly useful against Jedi-based squads who suffer from Dooku's increased stun and ability block chance, this dual-stabbing tyrant may fall easily, but he often takes at least two or three enemies with him.
With the rise of Qui-Gon Jinn in the Arena, Dooku is the perfect counter as his Force Lightning can instantly disable the fast-paced Jedi in one blow. A recent update also fixed his leader ability and the results have seriously disrupted the meta-game, as the increased evasion and attack buffs it grants can render teams completely inert if used correctly.
The downside to Dooku? Farming his shards is a slow, painful process. Initially only available from Hard battles (Light Side 1-C and Dark Side 1-C), the arduous task of promoting the character only eases up much later into the game when you unlock the Squad Cantina Battle 6-G. At 12 Cantina Energy per go, it's hardly a speedy journey to seven-star heaven, but stick with it.
While putting these five together will not result in the optimum team set-up, they are individually strong choices for your squad. That being said, here are those that just missed the cut and are well worth your considering: