The Mechanisms of the Separatist's Most Fearsome Droids: CIS Elite Droid Database [Vol. 1]

The Mechanisms of the Separatist's Most Fearsome Droids: CIS Elite Droid Database [Vol. 1]

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We talk a lot about clone commanders on this  channel, in case you haven’t noticed. A great   many noteworthy clones served in the Republic's  Grand Army, especially in command roles.   However, the same can’t really be said for the  CIS Droid Army. Most Star Wars fans probably   couldn’t even name one droid commander. But  the loremasters out there might remember one   notable battle droid commander - OOM-9,  the commander of the Trade Federation   Droid Army in the Battle of Naboo. Not  many Star Wars fans remember poor OOM-9,   even though he was one of the major antagonists  in The Phantom Menace and had about as much   screentime as Darth Maul. Even fewer know his full  story. In this video, we’re going to rectify that.

OOM-9 was one of the very first OOM-series  Battle Droid Commanders. Back in his day,   most droids in the Trade Federation’s army had  no individual personalities and were completely   controlled by a Central Control Computer.  But the OOM-series commanders were different.   Though OOM-9 and his colleagues still relied on  the CCC, they had their own personalities and   their own independent logic modules, allowing them  to act without connection to the central computer.  

This allowed OOM-9 to stand out from the crowd  a little. In early tests of the Trade Federation   Droid Army’s capabilities, OOM-9 performed beyond  his expected parameters, earning himself the   attention of Viceroy Nute Gunray, who selected  him to lead the Droid Army’s first real mission. In 32 BBY, shortly after the Droid Army initial  tests, OOM-9 and his troops were deployed to the   planet Naboo as part of the Trade Federation’s  invasion. During the invasion and subsequent   occupation, OOM-9 commanded all droid forces on  Naboo. He answered only to the Central Control   Computer and the Trade Federation leaders in  charge on the planet - Viceroy Gunray, Settlement   Officer Rune Haako, and Captain Daultay Dofine.  The Neimoidians mostly concerned themselves with  

the political aspects of the Naboo campaign;  they left the fighting to OOM-9 and his droids. OOM-9 landed his troops in the Naboo wilderness,  where the Naboo had no settlements or defenses to   worry about. As he was organizing his troops,  OOM-9 received a message from Viceroy Gunray,   warning him that two Jedi had snuck aboard  his landing craft. OOM-9 sent STAPs out to   deal with the Jedi and then returned  his attention to the bulk of his army.

While the bulk of his army was still being  mustered, OOM-9 led a small force out into   the countryside to neutralize the Naboo’s  communications. The Trade Federation had   already jammed communications from Naboo,  but Gunray feared the Naboo would find a   way around it. He wanted their communications  infrastructure destroyed before the Naboo were   aware the Trade Federation had troops on the  ground. In the early hours of the morning,   OOM-9 and his army captured the towns  of Vis, New Centriff, and Parrlay,   destroying their communications buildings and  wiping out any Naboo patrols they encountered.

Elsewhere on Naboo, however, the occupation  force hit a snag. Naboo troops from the town   Harte Secur managed to capture another  droid commander, OOM-14, and were working   on reverse-engineering his command software.  Fearing that the Naboo would be able to use   OOM-14’s command software to seize control of the  Droid Army, Gunray wanted the software recaptured,   and assigned OOM-9 the job. In short  order, the command software was recovered,   OOM-14’s forces were reactivated, and Harte  Secur was razed to the ground for good measure.

After obliterating Harte Secur, OOM-9 returned  to the main army and moved on to the city of   Spinnaker, one of Naboo’s wealthiest spaceports.  Spinnaker was quite close to Theed, and it was   there that the Naboo Royal Security Forces chose  to make their stand against the Droid Army.   They hoped to lure the Droid Army into the city  and whittle down its numbers to give Theed a   fighting chance; however, their plans were foiled  by the Trade Federation’s top droid commander.  

OOM-9 chose to occupy a small village near  Spinnaker before attacking the city itself,   using it as a forward base for his army. The  village surrendered without incident, allowing   OOM-9’s troops to seize valuable caches of war  materiel. Some of the NRSF forces entrenched   at Spinnaker pushed to recapture the village,  but OOM-9’s troops wiped them out with ease.   This weakened Spinnaker’s defenses enough for  OOM-9 to capture the city in a lightning strike,   securing the city’s caches of valuable  nova crystals for the Trade Federation. Once the city fell, OOM-9 gathered the entire  Trade Federation Droid Army at Spinnaker, from   which he planned to attack Theed itself. As the  droid forces advanced towards the Naboo capital,   Queen Amidala ordered her troops to stand  down, knowing that the NRSF couldn't stave   off the Trade Federation. OOM-9 and his army  entered Theed without incident and faced only  

minimal resistance as they destroyed the  city’s few military installations. Once   Theed had fallen, OOM-9’s troops occupied  the royal palace and captured the Queen. In a matter of days, OOM-9 transformed  Theed into a Droid Army stronghold,   moving the people of Naboo off to labor camps  and setting up defenses around the city. But   even though the Trade Federation had nominally  captured Naboo, OOM-9’s job wasn’t quite done yet.   From the captured Naboo, Trade  Federation leadership learned there   was another civilization on the planet - the  Gungans, an amphibious species that lived in   underwater cities. OOM-9 was put in charge  of finding the Gungans and wiping them out.

A captured mariner from Harte Secur gave OOM-9  his first lead. The mariner told his captors of a   Gungan city called Rellias, which was connected to  the Gungan capital of Otoh Gunga via the Rellias   Straits. The Droid Army was unable to obtain  the exact location of the city from the mariner,   however, and had to search the Naboo swamps  manually. On the advice of Darth Maul, OOM-9   ordered his droids to poison the swamp in a bid  to drive the Gungans from hiding. When this didn’t   work, he ordered his troops to instead start  draining the swamp. Midway through the draining,  

OOM-9 heard back from Darth Maul, who had managed  to locate the city of Rellias. OOM-9 had the city   bombarded with depth charges and then sent troops  to capture it, opening the way to Otoh Gunga. OOM-9 and the Droid Army advanced to  Lake Paonga, which contained Otoh Gunga,   and cut off all supplies to and from the city.  As OOM-9 assembled his forces on the surface,   the Gungans sent up a small army  to repulse Trade Federation forces.   OOM-9 and his droids scattered the Gungans,  however, and the Trade Federation proceeded   to bomb Otoh Gunga with depth charges. When no  bodies surfaced after the bombardment, OOM-9 sent   scouts down to the city. They reported back that  Otoh Gunga had been abandoned; the Gungans had  

fled deep into the swamps. For all intents and  purposes, the Trade Federation was victorious. At Otoh Gunga, OOM-9 was cheated out of a  final battle with his Gungan adversaries,   but his droids would come up against  the full Gungan Grand Army before long.   Soon after the fall of Otoh Gunga, Queen Amidala  returned to Naboo and made an alliance with the   Gungans, hoping the two peoples could liberate the  planet by working together. The Gungans assembled   their Grand Army and marched onTheed, a bid  to lure droid forces away from the capital.   This ruse was successful. Upon  hearing of the approaching army,  

Nute Gunray ordered OOM-9 to lead the vanguard  of the Droid Army out to meet them in battle. OOM-9’s troops met the Gungan Grand Army on the  Great Grass Plains, where the Gungans had set up   shield generators. OOM-9 began the battle by  ordering his tanks to shell the shield. When   the shield repulsed all incoming fire, OOM-9  instead deployed his battle droids and sent   them to engage the Gungans at point-blank range.  The droids marched right through the shield and  

began slaughtering the Gungans. The Gungans  had a numbers advantage at the Battle of the   Great Grass Plains, but nonetheless, OOM-9’s  troops made short work of their Grand Army. The only thing that saved the Gungan army from  annihilation was the sudden destruction of the   orbiting droid control ship. This caused  all battle droids on Naboo to shut down;   the Gungans won the battle by default.  OOM-9 was deactivated with the rest,  

and the Naboo unceremoniously  melted him for scrap.   It was an ignoble end for a droid who, all  things considered, had been quite the commander. The Confederacy of Independent Systems  employed some of the most effective   droid models in galactic history during the Clone  Wars, the infamous droideka among them. Nicknamed   destroyer droids, droidekas were incredibly  formidable battle droids, known for their unusual   configuration, their individual energy shields,  and their devastating blaster cannons. Even Jedi   struggled to best these fearsome units, and their  effectiveness made the Confederacy desperate to   purchase more of them. They made many deals with  the Colicoid [CALL-eh-coyd] Creation Nest to ramp   up droideka production - one of which involved  shipping containers of raw meat to Colla IV. In  

this video, we’re going to be talking about the  iconic droideka, and why it was so effective. The droideka was designed by the Colicoid  Creation Nest, which also designed the   buzz droid, the droid tri-fighter, the Scorpenek  Annihilator Droid, the Droch-class Boarding Craft,   and the Protodeka. The Creation Nest was one  of several specialized Colicoid nests, which   operated under the rule of the Colicoid Sovereign  Nest. The insectoid Colicoids were reclusive,   mostly sticking to their homeworld of Colla IV  and the systems around it, but they were also   known to accept manufacturing contracts from  outsiders. Millennia before the Clone Wars,   for example, they had designed  battle droids for the Sith Empire. The Colicoids designed the  droideka in their own image,   basing the droids’ posture and stance on  their own. This was the origin of one of  

the droideka’s most distinctive features. The  insectoid Colicoids were capable of curling up   into balls and rolling as a form of locomotion,  a trait they imparted to their destroyer droids.   When curled up, droidekas were easy to  store and also incredibly fast. Their   rolling ability made it easy to deploy large  numbers of them rapidly, though droidekas were   a bit vulnerable when in this configuration.  When not rolling, droidekas used repulsorlifts   built into the bottom of their reactor bulbs  for support, and three legs for maneuvering.

Since droidekas required a considerable amount  of power to activate, they featured their own   small built-in reactors, which were located  in a bulb where their legs joined. This bulb   primarily powered the droid’s deflector  shields, while power for its blasters and   sensors was supplemented by a series of  power cells running up the droid’s spine.   Droidekas were very spindly in design -- like  the B1 Battle Droids they would eventually come   to work alongside -- but their crucial systems  were protected by case-hardened bronzium armor   plating. The droids’ heads, deflector plates, and  reactor bulbs were encased in bronzium, and they   featured additional bronzium plating on their  shoulders and along the backs of their spines. Droidekas relied on a rather unusual set of sensor  systems, which set them apart from other droids.   Most droids used photoreceptors to perceive  targets -- electronic systems that essentially   acted like the human eye, turning patterns of  light into images. Droidekas instead perceived  

the world through non-visual composite radiation  sensors, which made them immune to light-based   stunning attacks and enabled them to detect  targets more easily than most droids. It was   quite difficult for meatbags to evade destroyer  droids, which made them quite useful as guards. It’s hard to imagine a fiercer battlefield  opponent than the droideka. These droids   featured powerful deflector shields that could  safely absorb anything up to a blast from light   artillery, and solid objects had to move slowly to  pass through them. These shields formed a bubble   around the droids, protecting them from harm on  all sides. They were also polarized, allowing  

blaster bolts and the like to pass through the  shields when going out, but not when going in.   Droidekas featured a pair of dual blaster cannons  which fired extremely potent bolts at a very high   rate. When deployed, droidekas could unleash a  positively withering stream of blaster energy,   shredding anything in their path  while remaining safe from harm.

Over the course of the Prequel era, the  Colicoids designed three distinct series   of droideka. The original destroyer droids,  the P-Series Droidekas, were the ones used   by the Trade Federation during the Battle of  Naboo. Many of these units had their droid   brains replaced with relays that linked them  to the Federation’s Central Control Computers,   allowing them to be operated in tandem  with the rest of the Trade Defense Force’s   droid army. Though this made the droidekas  less intelligent, it did not significantly   decrease their effectiveness in combat,  fortunately for the Trade Federation. By the time of the Battle of Geonosis,  P-Series Droidekas had become obsolete,   replaced by the W-Series Droidekas.  These droidekas featured slightly larger  

blaster arms and more powerful blaster cannons,  which were considerably more destructive than   those used by the P-Series Droideka. W-Series  Droidekas were powerful enough that they were   sometimes classified as mobile, autonomous light  artillery, but this increase in destructive force   did have a cost. These more powerful blasters  required a lot more power than the blasters of   the P-Series Droideka. As a result, W-Series  Droidekas rarely used their deflector shields,   opting to save power and rely on their blasters  to kill enemies before they could open fire. This flaw was fixed in the Q-Series Droideka, the  most advanced droideka model of the original line.  

First deployed during the early months of the  Clone Wars, the Q-Series Droideka featured even   more powerful blasters than its predecessor but  also corrected the overheating and power shortage   problems the W-Series had suffered from. As a  result, these droidekas used their shields just   as much as the obsolete P-Series Droidekas had,  all while retaining the superior firepower of   the W-Series. Additionally, the Q-Series Droideka  came with slightly stronger bronzium plates. This   was the Droideka model favored by the Confederacy  of Independent Systems for most of the Clone Wars. All of these droideka models were highly  effective, as we all surely know from   watching the movies and The Clone Wars. This  made them highly sought-after combat units,   but the Colicoids charged a high price for  them. Just one droideka was two hundred times  

the price of a B1 Battle Droid, which  is somewhere in the ballpark of 360,000   credits for just one droideka. Only  the wealthiest non-Republic factions,   like the Trade Federation and, later,  the CIS, could afford that price. Of course, just because they could afford it  didn’t mean they wanted to pay it. The Trade  

Federation approached the Colicoid Sovereign  Nest asking for discounts on bulk shipments   of the droids, and they were told they could  get their discounts if they paid in something   the Colicoids considered more valuable than  credits - meat. The Colicoids were carnivores,   and they were eternally ravenous, with  a special hunger for a number of rare,   exotic meats from the far corners of the  galaxy. The Trade Federation was easily able   to acquire massive shipments of these exotic  meats, which were sent to Colla IV in bulk.   The grateful Colicoids gave them bulk shipments of  droidekas in turn. The Trade Federation ended up   with hundreds of droidekas, though, as you  might say, it cost them an arm and a leg. The Confederacy of Independent  Systems was also able to secure   discounts on droidekas by paying  in raw meat, though this was on top   of the discounts they got by virtue of  Colla IV’s secession from the Republic.

The Confederacy typically deployed droidekas  as fast-moving shock units, intended to   soak up incoming fire while simultaneously  spraying blaster bolts across the battlefield.   Walls of them were often deployed to reinforce  key fronts, where they would form up between   other droid units and the enemy, giving  their allies a hot second to regroup.   They were also commonly deployed as a sort of  mobile turret, positioned at key points on the   battlefield to keep the enemy away from  crucial targets. During the Clone Wars,  

Loyalist soldiers quickly learned to fear them  and their incredible destructive potential. Very few droidekas participated in the First  Battle of Geonosis at the outbreak of the Clone   Wars. The reason for this was simple - droidekas  had been given preferential treatment when the   Geonosians were loading up the Separatists’  troopships prior to the battle. As a result,   most of the available droidekas on  Geonosis were already packed away,   rendering them unavailable when the Grand Army  of the Republic attacked. Just three thousand  

droidekas fought in that first battle, which  was greatly disproportionate in comparison to   the million B1 Battle Droids and hundred-thousand  B2 Super Battle Droids that fought on Geonosis.   Many of these droidekas were deployed - and  destroyed - in the initial arena battle, while   the rest were all thrown into the fray on the  battlefront to the immediate east of the arena. After Geonosis, however, droidekas  quickly became prevalent. At first,   the Confederacy primarily used W-Series  Droidekas, which, as mentioned earlier,   used their shields less. The W-Series was  last used in the Battle of Muunilinst,   following which they were replaced by the more  powerful Q-Series. The increased effectiveness  

of the Q-Series meant the droideka saw another  spike in popularity after Muunilinst. Droidekas   were a common sight on the battlefields of the  Clone Wars right up until the conflict’s end. An unusually large number of droidekas  participated in the Battle of Coruscant,   at the war’s climax. In that battle, they  were deployed across Galactic City to cause  

chaos as cover for the kidnapping  of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.   Some carried out concerted attacks on key  targets, while others just went around causing   aimless destruction. They penetrated even the most  secure buildings on Coruscant during the battle;   HoloNet feeds from the battle showed them gunning  down clone troopers in the Senate Building itself,   which many fearful Loyalists took as  a sign that the Republic was doomed. Of course, that wasn’t the case; the  Republic ultimately won the Clone Wars,   though it became the Empire in doing so. All the  droidekas that survived the conflict were shut   down following the Mission to Mustafar - at  least for a little while. Smugglers and crime   lords immediately went around stealing droidekas  from Separatost warehouses and reactivating them,   while the remaining droidekas were claimed by the  Empire. The Empire incorporated these fearsome  

battle droids into the Imperial Stormtrooper  Corps, in which they served as support units. During the Clone Wars, Baktoid Combat Automata’s  B-series battle droids were the bread and butter   of the CIS Droid Army. Virtually all Star Wars  fans are familiar with the famous B1 Battle Droid   and its younger brother, the B2 Super Battle  Droid. But what about the B3? Most fans are   completely unaware there was a third entry in this  classic droid series, as the B3 Ultra Battle Droid   was a very rare sight on the battlefields  of the Clone Wars. In this video, we’ll be   discussing why that was, as well as the history  and specs of this little-known battle droid model. In the First Battle of Geonosis, Baktoid  Combat Automata’s latest droid model,   the B2 Super Battle Droid, proved itself on the  first battlefield of the Clone Wars. Despite  

the Confederacy’s defeat in this battle, the new  droids were deemed a success by Baktoid and the   Techno Union, and as the Clone Wars rapidly  escalated, they looked into designing even   more effective droids. Just as the B2 was  a major improvement over the fragile B1s,   the B3 was meant to be put the B2 to shame,  capable of outmatching even Jedi Masters. These dreams of an unstoppable battle droid  set a high bar for B3 design proposals,   and the Techno Union upped the stakes even  further by having its designers compete   against each other. The best and brightest  design teams in the Techno Union would each  

come up with their own take on the B3, and  whichever droid proved most effective would   be given the coveted B3 designation. Two  of the Techno Union’s design teams quickly   emerged as the frontrunners in this contest -  one based on Foundry and one based on Metalorn. The Metalorn team had the backing  of Techno Union Foreman Wat Tambor,   who had a major stronghold on the planet. Their  design prioritized being able to stand up to Jedi,  

incorporating lightsaber-resistant cortosis  armor and high-intensity laser cannons,   and closely resembled the B2. It was a delicate  but highly effective design. The Foundry team,   on the other hand, focused on making the  most overpowered war machine imaginable.   Their prototype, the Avatar-7, was twice  the height of a B2, was armored like a tank,   and featured blaster cannons, plasma cannons,  a flamethrower, and a built-in guided missile   launcher. While the cortosis droids took a  very precise approach to outmatching Jedi,   the Avatar-7 went with the tried and  true tactic of just using more dakka. Five months after the First Battle  of Geonosis, the two prototypes were   presented to General Grievous, the newly  appointed CIS Supreme Commander. Grievous,   who was never one for subtlety, chose the  Avatar-7 as the winner of the contest. The  

Avatar-7 was reclassified as the B3 Ultra  Battle Droid and entered production. The   runner-up became the C-B3 Cortosis Battle Droid,  and despite its defeat in the competition,   Wat Tambor made sure it entered production  as well, albeit in limited numbers. The finished B3 was an absolute nightmare for the  Grand Army of the Republic. The droid’s massive   size allowed it to wear armor comparable  to a tank, making it absurdly difficult to   destroy. Its main arms boasted a tight-spray  flamethrower and a wide-spray plasma cannon,  

while two smaller arms on its abdomen featured  rapid-firing blaster cannons. A launcher built   into its left shoulder could fire off two  highly sophisticated tracking missiles,   which had tracking capabilities so sophisticated  they could arguably be classified as sentient. The   finishing touch for the droids was a density  projector, which allowed the B3 to vastly   increase its weight, rendering it temporarily  immobile and all but impossible to knock over. The B3 made its first appearance in the Battle of  Iktotch, when one unit battled Jedi Masters Mace   Windu and Saesee Tiin, two of the greatest Jedi of  all time. Despite their formidable skills, Windu   and Tiin both failed to defeat the B3 individually  and had to work together to outsmart the fearsome   machine. They were ultimately able to destroy  the droid by crushing it under a downed Hailfire  

Droid, but it was a close call, and the Jedi  Masters walked away from the fight deeply shaken. After Iktotch, the B3 saw deployment all over the  galaxy. The Confederacy never had any illusions   of deploying the droids in vast quantities, as  they were much too expensive to produce for that   to be viable. Instead, the B3 was typically used  as a stand-in for droidekas, which were even more   expensive. Ultra Battle Droids were typically  used in frontal assaults on heavily fortified  

Republic positions, as miniature tanks in field  battles, or as guards for important installations.   Republic forces struggled to combat these fearsome  battle droids. Not even Jedi could reliably take   them down, and clones stood little chance of  surviving encounters with Ultra Battle Droids. Fortunately for the Republic, however, it soon  emerged that the B3 had a design flaw. Most Ultra   Battle Droid models had issues with their density  projectors, which would activate randomly and then   fail to shut down. On battlefields all over the  galaxy, these Ultra Battle Droids would suddenly  

lock up and remain frozen in place, unable to  shut off their density projectors. Republic forces   were able to exploit this and easily defeat the  droids, which became sitting ducks for artillery   fire. Baktoid hastily recalled the entire Ultra  Battle Droid line in response to this problem. For years, the engineers struggled to fix the  density projectors. B3s were redeployed at several   points during the Clone Wars, only for their  density projectors to act up again and get them   destroyed. It was only at the end of the conflict,  during the Outer Rim Sieges, that Baktoid cut   their losses and just removed the density  projector from the B3 design. Once more, the   Ultra Battle Droid became a force to be reckoned  with on the battlefield, but it showed up too late   to change the course of the Clone Wars. The CIS  was defeated soon after the B3’s reintroduction.

But what about those other B3s, the cortosis  droids we mentioned earlier? Thanks to the   sponsorship of Wat Tambor, they also saw action  in the Clone Wars, if only for a short time. As   we mentioned earlier, these droids were designed  with the express purpose of fighting Jedi,   and they were quite good at their job. Their  cortosis armor made them invulnerable to   lightsabers, forcing Jedi to get creative  with the Force to bring them down. Their   high-intensity laser cannons were even more  powerful than the blaster cannons of the B2,   and had an even higher rate of fire, which  kept Jedi on the defensive. Combined,  

these two attributes meant only the greatest  Jedi stood a chance against the C-B3. To test these new cortosis droids, Wat  Tambor dispatched them against one of the   most high-value targets in the galaxy - the Jedi  Temple. While Separatist agitators distracted the   Coruscant Guard with an insurrection, a strike  force of C-B3s landed at the Jedi Temple and   stormed the Archives, killing many Jedi and  leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.  

After a chaotic battle, the droids  cut their losses and left, but not   before Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker  figured out a way to defeat the C-B3s. As it turned out, the C-B3 also had a weakness.  Its cortosis armor was tightly attached to its   inner shell in form-fitting plates, but  there was a tiny gap between part of the   droid’s breastplates, which Jedi could get their  lightsabers through with very precise vertical   slashes. Skywalker used this technique to destroy  several C-B3s during the Coruscant Insurrection,   and he taught it to the other Jedi defending  the Temple, helping them crush these new droids. Wat Tambor and Count Dooku were impressed  by the C-B3’s effectiveness at Coruscant,   but Darth Sidious was much less enthusiastic. It  wasn’t that he didn’t think they were effective   enough, mind you - he thought they were too  effective. Fearing that the C-B3 could upset  

the balance of the Clone Wars, Sidious leaked  the location of Wat Tambor’s Metalorn factory   to the Jedi, who sent Anakin Skywalker  in to lay waste to the facility. There,   Skywalker encountered heavy resistance, but  the element of surprise gave him an advantage   over the factory’s Separatist defenders.  Skywalker managed to destroy the cortosis   droid factory and capture Wat Tambor, ending  the production of the C-B3 in one fell swoop. The IG-100 MagnaGuard was one of the deadliest  units ever fielded by the Confederacy of   Independent Systems, a unit some considered  to be even worse than Droidekas. And honestly,  

they were - Droidekas, while deadly and efficient,  had several notable weaknesses. MagnaGuards,   however, had none. They were capable  of slaughtering clones and Jedi alike,   and the Republic was lucky that they were  never fielded in great numbers. In this video,  

we’ll be examining the fearsome Jedi-killers  that General Grievous kept as bodyguards. The IG-100 MagnaGuard was produced by Holowan  Mechanicals at the behest of General Grievous,   intended to be used as a top-of-the-line elite  combat droid, intended for bodyguard duties   and special missions. Grievous was looking for  warriors that would make fitting replacements   for the Izvoshra*, the guard of eight elite  Kaleesh warriors that had accompanied him at all   times during his time as the warlord of Kalee. The  Izvoshra were all killed in the shuttle crash that   disfigured Grievous, and Grievous was forced to  turn to droids to replace them. He always viewed   his MagnaGuards as inferior to the Izvoshra,  but nonetheless appreciated their effectiveness,   and had those that served him equipped with  cloaks of the sort that the Izvoshra had worn. MagnaGuards were built to last, and each unit was  encased in a shell of heavy durasteel armor, which   could shrug off hundreds of blaster bolts before  finally giving way in some places. Of course, this  

armor wouldn’t count for much against lightsabers,  and as MagnaGuards were expected to fight Jedi,   this wasn’t the only defensive measure that  the droids came with. While their primary   droid brain and logic centers were contained in  the head, as with most droids, MagnaGuards had   secondary clusters built into their chests, which  enabled them to continue operating even after   decapitation. Their well-contained internal power  systems also meant that they could suffer other   cases of extreme damage without failing entirely  as well, something that was rare in droids.

Perhaps the most groundbreaking  feature of the MagnaGuards, however,   was how fast and maneuverable they were. Their  high-end circuitry and finely-tuned motion systems   enabled them to move faster than any living  being, and they had a better sense of balance,   better reflexes, and better motor skills than  most organics as well. This, combined with how   easily they were able to learn new combat forms,  made them devastating in combat, especially when   General Grievous taught them the seven forms  of Lightsaber combat and how to counter them. Most MagnaGuards were equipped with special  electrostaffs that were made of phrik alloy,   a lightsaber-resistant metal. These weapons  were devastating - the composition of the   staffs themselves meant that they  were able to match lightsabers,   and the electric pulse generators on each end  of the weapons made them even more deadly.  

MagnaGuard electrostaffs could function at  various power settings, from simple stun modes   to high-energy modes that had the potential to  kill on contact. At high enough power settings,   the staffs could even arc bolts of energy  towards opponents, though this was very rare. Not all MagnaGuards were equipped  with electrostaffs, of course. They   were trained to fight with a variety of  weapons, including other melee weapons,   blasters, and rocket launchers. Some  units had weapons built into their bodies,  

like toxin emitters or small brilliant  missile launchers. In some cases,   the droids were equipped with extendable arms  that could function as grappling hooks, which both   increased the odds of their survival in combat  and made them more effective in combat as well. MagnaGuards, of course, were primarily intended  to function as bodyguards, a task for which they   were honestly over-qualified. Only a Jedi  was capable of breaking through a squad   of MagnaGuards to reach a target, and even  then they would likely have some trouble.   The high speed and maneuverability,  combined with their inhuman reflexes,   made MagnaGuards perfect bodyguards,  as they were capable of detecting,   attacking, and killing threats within the  span of a few seconds, and their multiple   sets of sensor packages meant that it was  very, very difficult to avoid their notice.

General Grievous in particular frequently used  MagnaGuards for other roles as a result. Their   combat skills made them perfect for assassination  missions or outright use on battlefields,   or for simply slowing dangerous enemies down,  which Grievous frequently assigned the droids to   do. No matter what their mission was, MagnaGuards  tended to carry it out in groups, often ganging   up on single opponents to increase the odds  of victory. This was incredibly effective,   and so MagnaGuards were almost always  deployed either in pairs or squads of four.

Interestingly, MagnaGuards were also  occasionally used as pilots. This does   actually make a good bit of sense -  their incredible reflexes would be the   envy of any pilot, and when paired with capable  starfighters like the Separatist Rogue-class,   they could easily prove to be among the  best starfighter aces in the galaxy.   Pilot duty was one of many odd jobs that  MagnaGuards saw themselves assigned to,   and no matter what their task was, they could  usually be trusted to perform it to perfection. Like with Super Battle Droids, most  on-screen appearances of MagnaGuards   failed to do them justice. This does make  some sense - they’re supposed to be sent  

against Jedi and the Republic’s best, after  all, and beings like Anakin Skywalker or   Obi-Wan Kenobi make every opponent seem like a  pushover. But MagnaGuards were far from being   pushovers. Their reputation as Jedi-killers  and worse than Droidekas was well-earned. Like with General Grievous himself, MagnaGuards  were designed to be Jedi-killers. They were   capable of functioning at speeds that could  match even those that Jedi were capable at full   strength, and their circuitry gave them reflexes  that were nearly as effective as the innate battle   precognition that Jedi relied on. They were,  as with everything, vulnerable to the Force,   but they were capable of moving so fast that  most Jedi would be too busy concentrating on   not getting bashed to pieces to be able to  effectively use the Force. Add the fact that   MagnaGuards often fought in groups, and you can  start to see just why they were so effective.

It should also be noted that MagnaGuards  were designed, in a way, to exploit learned   behaviors. Most Jedi were used to being able to  lop off an opponent’s head and then walk away,   and though we know of no Jedi that died after  doing this and being subsequently killed by   their headless opponent, it’s a fair bet that it  happened at least once. There were no real quick   ways for Jedi to end battles with MagnaGuards,  which, of course, worked in favor of the droids,   as even Force-sensitive organics tire  much faster than the weakest of droids. It was General Grievous, ultimately,  that brought the MagnaGuards to their   full potential as Jedi-killers. In teaching  them all the seven forms of lightsaber combat,  

he taught them the weaknesses of those forms as  well. Within the first few seconds of a duel,   MagnaGuards were capable of analyzing a Jedi’s  combat style, determining what weaknesses it had,   and acting on those weaknesses. In such  situations, the average Padawan would be   incapable of lasting even a minute against  a MagnaGuard. Even masters struggled to deal   with the raw skill and speed of these  deadly droids, and no Jedi was powerful   enough to be able to simply cut through  MagnaGuards without a second thought. For a sample of how dangerous MagnaGuards were,   even for Jedi Masters, consider the following  scene. [ - 1:20 to  

end.] We’ve established how dangerous MagnaGuards  were for Jedi. Now, consider how dangerous   they would be for a clone. Jedi, with all their  superhuman skills and abilities, were barely  

able to keep up with these nimble killing  machines. Clones rarely stood a chance. The   only clones known to have destroyed MagnaGuards  singlehandedly were the commandos of Delta Squad,   and anyone who’s played Republic Commando  probably still has nightmares of those battles. In fact, those fights illustrate exactly what made  MagnaGuards such dangerous opponents. It isn’t the   combat skill, it isn’t how much damage they can  take, and it isn’t even how much damage they can   deal. Those fights in Republic Commando were hard  because those buggers were so hard to even hit.   Ask anyone who’s played the game or watch any  playthrough, and you’ll quickly discover that   even the most skilled players missed a good many  of their shots when fighting the MagnaGuards, and   due to their close-combat fighting preferences,  this often means accidentally shooting squadmates.

And while Republic Commando is just a game, it’s a  good simulation of what fighting MagnaGuards would   be like for clone troopers. No ordinary being has  a chance against those reflexes in a fair fight,   and again, MagnaGuards rarely fought fair,  usually choosing to gang up on their opponents   and ambush them, if possible. Their tactics were  far more complex than the average battle droid,   and they were more complex than the  average clone battle tactics, too. Unlike most battle droids, MagnaGuards would  never just charge towards opponents, unleashing   their weapons heedlessly. They would pounce on  a group of opponents, strike dozens of times in   the space of a few seconds, and then leap away  before leaping back in and repeating the cycle.  

Even against a full platoon of clones, single  MagnaGuard units were able to stack the odds of   a fight so heavily in their favor that the clones  would never have the slightest chance of victory. The B2 Super Battle Droid was one of the  Confederacy of Independent Systems’ most   well-known droid units, being used primarily  in a heavy infantry role. In Star Wars:   The Clone Wars, they were depicted as  little better than the standard B1 units,   with perhaps some slightly stronger armor and  even less intelligence. But this depiction   doesn’t really do the droids justice. In Legends,  B2 Super Battle Droids were formidable units that   were a huge step up from their predecessors, and  most clones actually feared them to some degree. Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ depiction  of the B2 unit is rather misleading,   primarily because it’s depicted through the  lens of the Jedi. When you have a lightsaber,  

you can make short work of just about anything  - but clones didn’t have lightsabers, and B2s   really were heavily-armored. In some cases, it  could take a whole blaster clip to bring one down,   and most clones would be dead before they  managed to pull that off. Anyone who’s ever   played Republic Commando knows just how  much of a threat these guys really were. The Battle of Naboo showed the Trade  Federation, in no uncertain terms,   that their B1 Battle Droids were far too flimsy  to compose an effective army by themselves. For   a solution, they turned to their stronger droids  for inspiration. Their Droidekas had proven wildly   successful, but they were also very expensive  to produce, and had weaknesses that an army of   them could easily be crippled by. Instead,  they had the Geonosian engineers that they  

had contracted look instead to another droid in  their armies for inspiration - the E4 Baron Droid. Baron Droids had been manufactured in small  numbers for the Trade Federation, and they were   essentially used as commandos during the Battle  of Naboo. They were bulkier than the standard B1,   but much of this bulk was armor, and instead of  having hands designed to operate cheap blaster   rifles, they had dual blasters instead of hands  in the first place. They had proven incredibly   effective at flushing Naboo resistance  fighters out of the tunnels beneath Theed,   but they were primarily designed for  commandos, and didn’t operate nearly as   well on an open battlefield. As a result,  the engineers at Baktoid Combat Automata  

decided to design a new droid entirely,  using the Baron Droid as inspiration. The result was the B2 Super Battle Droid. Taking  the basic frame of the B1 and combining it with   inspiration of the Baron Droid, Baktoid’s  Geonosian engineers designed a much more   heavily-armored and heavier-hitting droid for use  as a standard heavy infantry unit. Their first  

live-fire test under the Trade Federation  was during the Kashyyyk Trade Rebellion,   in which they were instrumental in crushing the  resistance of a guild of Wookiee traders. They   began to make appearances in the galaxy  at large in the years that followed,   usually under the Trade Federation, Commerce  Guild, and other, similar groups. The galaxy at   large was mostly unaware of them, however, until  large numbers of them were used for the first   time during the First Battle of Geonosis, after  which they became staples of the CIS Droid Army. The B2 was ultimately based primarily  on the B1, especially internally. The  

droid brains for the new design were all but  identical in programming to the originals,   and the internal mechanisms for the  two droids were very similar. But the   resemblance mostly ends there. The B2 was  much more heavily-armored, especially the   main body of the droid, which was rather bulky  and had the droid’s head built into the chest,   unlike with the standard B1s, whose heads  were exposed on spindly neck stalks.

Their arms, in particular, differed greatly from  those of the standard B1s. They were very bulky,   and could be used as blunt weapons in and of  themselves. Though B2s were equipped with hands   to manipulate objects and fire specialized  blaster rifles, they rarely used them,   as they weren’t very precise and their primary  weapons were built into their arms anyway.   Their legs were less bulky and resembled  those of the B1, albeit with heavier armor,   resulting in a sort of top-heaviness that led to  the Geonosians installing gyroscopic devices in   the hips of all B2 units to lower their center  of gravity. Jedi frequently exploited this,  

using the Force to push B2s down with the  knowledge that they would be unable to get up. The heavy armor of the B2 super battle droid  is what is most commonly underplayed about the   unit. It was composed of heavier alloys than the  armor of B1 droids, and armor coverage was also   much more comprehensive. It could take plenty of  punishment, and many clones opted to use grenades   or anti-armor rockets to take down B2s instead  of small-arms fire, when they could. Super Battle   Droids only had a handful of weak points. Many  clones quickly learned to fire at their joints,  

and more veteran troopers knew that the surest way  to destroy one with a standard blaster was to get   behind them and fire a few shots into heir heat  exchangers, which were exposed on their backs. Of course, the weaponry of the B2 wasn’t to be  underestimated either. Super Battle Droids had   dual repeating blasters built into their wrists,  which were capable of devastating barrages of fire   and could not be knocked out of their hands. In  addition, many B2s were equipped with deployable   wrist rockets, which functioned as grenades,  while others had dedicated rocket launcher arms,   which were, of course, incredibly  destructive. Certain models of the   droid had specialized cannon arms that featured  both a rocket launcher and a repeating blaster.   These models also featured deployable energy  shields to protect against grenade blasts.

The tactics of the B2 Super Battle Droid were  simple but effective. They would constantly   advance towards their targets with all guns  blazing, shrugging off blaster bolts and   refusing to stop until either they eliminated  all targets or were themselves destroyed. The   benefit of this was primarily psychological  - if your enemy is advancing constantly,   then suddenly you’re on a timer for destroying  it, which heightens anxiety and makes it harder   to fight. Some clone commandos were of the opinion  that B2s were actually scarier than Droidekas,   as Droidekas just stayed in one place and shot  at you, while B2s were always getting closer.

For a clone, B2s were a real threat. The sheer  amount of punishment they were capable of taking   made blaster weapons mostly inefficient, and  anti-armor weaponry wasn’t a common element of the   standard clone arsenal. Taking B2s down was always  a squad effort, if there weren’t any Jedi around,   and many super battle droids were indeed  capable of slaughtering whole squads if the   clones weren’t careful. The heavier models that  had built-in shields were even more challenging,   as it those shields were designed to  negate blasts from thermal detonators. Even the most lightly-armed super battle  droids, furthermore, were devastating in combat,   as they wrist blasters were powerful on a  level equivalent to the DC-15A Blaster Rifle,   which was already one of the most high-powered  blaster rifles on the market at the time. To  

make matters worse, these wrist blasters had  a really high rate of fire, and being droids,   B2s didn’t have to worry about overheating all  that much. The wrist rockets employed by the   standard units were also widely feared  by clone troopers, for obvious reasons. As for the super battle droids that came  with heavier weapons, even clone commandos   feared them. Their rocket launchers were no joke,  capable of destroying light vehicles in one shot,  

and due to how they were integrated into  the arms of droid units, they had an almost   unfairly high ammo capacity. Even in close  combat, clones had plenty to fear - if an   enemy got within ranges at which their blasters  were ineffective, super battle droids would   often opt to just bat them aside with their  arms. Those arms were heavy and well-armored,   and a hard strike to the head would probably  be enough to snap an opponent’s neck. So, with that all said - why, then, do super  battle droids not come off as nearly as   terrifying as this in The Clone Wars and  most other material from that era? Well,   the answer is the Jedi. We’ve said in the  past that Jedi make everything look easy,  

and Super Battle Droids are one of the worst  cases of this. Where a clone trooper would   take dozens of well-placed blaster bolts  just to bring down one Super Battle Droid,   any Jedi was capable of just cutting right  through them, one after the other. Against Jedi,   the common B2 tactic of constantly advancing while  shooting was even made into a weakness, as it just   lined them up for the Jedi to cut down. Were it  not for the Jedi, the Republic would’ve had a much   harder time with B2s. The Confederacy was able to  produce them in mass quantities, like with B1s,   and it didn’t take long for them to be integrated  into the ranks of the CIS Droid Army pretty well. Well, that’s why B2 Super Battle Droids are a  lot scarier than you probably thought, unless   you’ve played Republic Commando, in which case  you probably still have nightmares of these guys.

2023-06-08 06:11

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