The Mechanisms of the Separatist's Most Fearsome Droids: CIS Elite Droid Database [Vol. 1]
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. [https://youtu.be/Bx2bP5xv2jo - 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.