Star Wars: Grand Admiral Thrawn – Report to the Bridge



Today let’s talk about the next big bad that NEEDS to be in Star Wars: X-Wing/Armada – Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Hey BoLS Readers, AdamHarry back with some more Star Wars goodness. Today I want to look into the the future of a galaxy far, far away from a long time ago. With the introduction of the new Emperor card for X-Wing it’s only a matter of time before Palpatine shows up in Armada. So down the road – who is the next big threat to the Rebels? Grand Admiral Thrawn, that’s who! He’s the only non-human in the service of the Empire to become a Grand Admiral.


Thrawn Star Wars


Thrawn started his career as a Chiss officer who believed in the power of a good pre-emptive attack. This was counter to what Chiss society believed and eventually he was exiled for his actions. He was discovered by Imperial Officer Voss Parck and was brought to Emperor Palaptine. The Emperor was already familiar with Thrawn and his tactical acumen because of a previous encounter with Darth Sidious. This led to admission to the Imperial Navy and paved the way for his meteoric rise through the ranks to become the thirteenth Grand Admiral.




If you talk to just about anyone who read the Thrawn Trilogy they will probably tell you how good Thrawn is at being a boss. He is a very popular character and he even had command of a Victory-Class Star Destroyer, the Chimaera, during his career. He has the history and Fantasy Flight Games has already released a ton of ships from the EU – so why stop now? Thrawn would be a great addition to Armada as a unique character card upgrade along with a new ship title card for the Imperials. For X-Wing he should totally take up a passenger slot (Thrawn is an Admiral not a fighter-pilot after all) and should probably have a very impressive ability.


Thrawn Boss


As an arm chair game designer if I had to come up with some type of ability in game for Thrawn it would have to be something that showcases his tactical prowess. He is the master of studying his enemies and designing a strategy that uses their own strengths against them. Thrawn would be flexible and able to adapt to whatever he was up against. He wouldn’t just add an extra attack die or allow you a re-roll – his ability would be more strategic than that, something not left to chance and it would be flexible. I don’t know exactly what that would be. But it would need to be something that would live up to the name of Thrawn and one of Star Wars fan favorites.


What do you think? Would he grant an extra move in X-Wing or re-allocate stress? Maybe he would grant extra command tokens in Armada? Or maybe Thrawn could have a set of generic useful abilities that he could pick at the start of the game after he sees the opposing squadron list. If you got to write Thrawn’s card what would he do and for which game system? Let us know in the comments below! AdamHarry, OUT!

  • Jacob Hopkins

    You do know the Chimera was an Imperial star destroyer.. Not a Victory class…. right?

    • denzark

      If we’re going to be pedants, you know the Chimaera (not ‘Chimera’) was an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer…. right?

  • Badtucker

    currently Thrawn doesn’t actually exist in official cannon…. will they use him 😉 (i know x-wing takes from legends though)

    • Hannoveraner

      Disney can tell me nothing what is canon. They must prove their work first.

    • sleeplessknight

      Thrawn exists as cannon to me. What doesn’t exist as cannon is anything made by Disney. I’m not going to bother watching any of it. And if I’ve never seen it, then it won’t exist to me.

      • Badtucker

        well i wish i could bet on you not going to see the new film.. 🙂

    • Dave

      X-wing has a bunch of stuff already that technically would no longer qualify as official cannon. I hope they keep it up and blend the new stuff in as well. Wave 8 = Sun Crusher!

  • Bergs

    seeing a new Star Destroyer class was in the episode 7 trailer i expect all armada waves and even x-wing waves moving forward to feature ships from the new movies. its a great way to cash in on the hype train

  • Davis Centis

    Maybe something in X-wing could be:

    (Cost 3)
    “You may purchase up to three different Pilot Upgrades with Grand Admiral Thrawn. At the start of the game, each ship you control gains an additional Pilot Upgrade slot, then assign each upgrade purchased with Grand Admiral Thrawn to any ships in your squad.”

    Would make him one of the most expensive upgrades in the game, but the ability would be terrifyingly powerful in a number of fleet designs!

  • jed kar

    Whatever card he gets… should be called, wait for it….: “Games of Thrawn” (sorry)

  • SacTownBrian

    took me several sentences before I realized that this article is wish listing. Since Thrawn never existed except n the expanded universe which Disney has also stated doesn’t exist as cannon… Probably never happen.

    • Only existed in the EU… yeah, as do most of the models and characters present in the X-Wing Tabletop. I don’t see an issue.

    • sleeplessknight

      The prequels and anything made by Disney aren’t cannon either. Because I’ve personally stricken any memory of the prequels from my mind and won’t be bothering watching anything made from this point on. None of the new stuff will exist as cannon if I never go see them.

      However, I have read the EU stories and hold them as cannon.

  • derf249

    I was thinking, for Armada that is.
    “Thrawn predicts all redirects and evasive maneuvers”, redirects and evasive can´t be used.

    • Hannoveraner

      Draw one of the following effects, blind to the opponent:
      – Brace tokens inflict double damage instead
      -Scatter tokes destroys any ship that uses them

  • Mathew G. Smith

    Thrawn’s abilities were mostly strategic though, his main skill was using old tactics or tech everyone thought was useless in new and unexpected ways. Mining rigs as assault shuttles, Jedi as fleet coordination, that kind of thing. The only way I can see using him in a game is to cosplay him.

  • Cylux

    Reading the Thrawn Trilogy, then working alongside him in the game Tie Fighter, will pretty much cement him as a fave in any star wars fan’s mind.

  • He was a brilliant character and I wonder would he get the option of using his stealth ninja bodyguards at all.

  • Damistar

    It would be difficult to really represent Thrawn’s strategic brilliance in what is ultimately a tactical game. Perhaps an ability to neutralize another character’s/ship’s special actions? Or being able to activate ships out of pilot skill sequence? Possibly something to add stress tokens to enemy ships.

    • rickyard

      Just an opinion: when people fight with a great minded tactician they feel comfortable and are sure of their possibilities… perhaps giving focus tokens to your own fighters could represent it?? OR choosing the ability of ONE pilot whenever you need to check? Example: I’d like to move first, my ability is zero, now I want to shoot first, my ability is 12, now I want to move BEFORE this one but AFTER this one, my ability is 6?? Choosing one pilot from the table OR the ship he is in.

  • Ira Clements

    I still think those books were terrible. I read them when they came out and found them starting out exciting but degraded into a random series of events. I read the graphic novel version awhile back to try and get the story again and still found it to be a disjointed bore full of cliche characters. I would still consider it some of the most overrated fan fiction of all time if some of the later stuff didnt actually get alot worse.

    • Mathew G. Smith

      Honestly I love that series and I don’t care for the comic version either. Although if you think the new characters are too clinched I can’t imagine how much you must hate the ones in the movies, since they’re literally just archetypes played straight.

      • Ira Clements

        I guess I wasn’t real clear, it just seemed to me that TZs characters were redndant knock offs of the main characters. Talon Kardde= Hanlando. Thrawn= Tarkinvader. Mara= We already had Vader as the emperors enforcer.

        • Mathew G. Smith

          Ah, that makes much more sense.

    • Vom Kriege

      I’m glad i’m not the only one. I found Thrawn to be a bit of a “gary stu” character as well. Not only is he awesome at everything military, he has blue skin and red eyes so you know he’s cooler than your regular human admiral.

      Still, compared to some of the other junk in the EU (Suncrusher, i’m looking at you) he seems positively great in comparison.

      Smartest thing Disney did was say “EU, in the bin, but we will use that bin as an idea pot and cherry pick the less crazy stuff”. It allows them to have creative freedom with their investment, while ignoring a bunch of the very silly things that happened in the EU.

      I would not expect to see Yuuzhan Vong, Ysalamir, the suncrusher or any of the other wacky things from the EU.

      Thrawn may make the cut, in one form or another.

      • Ira Clements

        I am glad someone feels like I do about it. I read most EU stuff all the way until around1998 or so and it just got worse and worse. Honestly though Tales of the Jedi stories I was pretty fond of. I am giving the re writes a chance and I noticed that from some of the comics, the Tarkin novel and referencing that with the RPG stuff and just going back in the development of background via EU, it seems that galactic geography and world backgrounds so far tend to remain intact. It seems mostly that post RotJ stories as it pertains to major character arc is what has gone.

  • mundo

    Ability to see all enemy command dials before programming yours in turns 1 and 4 for Armada. That would be awesome, and a strategic bonus if you could get the most out of it.

  • Grand Master Belial

    Isn’t the strategy of X-wing in the Maneuver Dials? If so, then let Thrawn be able to see them out of sequence.

    “Before the beginning of the maneuver phase, your opponent must reveal all of his chosen maneuvers. In addition, any friendly craft within Range 2(or 3?) may change their dial accordingly.”

    This takes out a lot of guess work but still allows Pilot abilities and special actions. As long as Thrawn is alive, he’ll be able to anticipate his opponent as he was known to do in the novels.