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All Keywords In Star Wars Unlimited Explained

A selection of Star Wars Unlimited cards on the Card Gamer card mat.

Though Star Wars Unlimited is a very straightforward and accessible game to play, like most collectable card games (CCGs), the usage of keywords can sometimes make card abilities and functions a little tricky to decipher.

Sometimes, the keyword effect or ability is explained on the card, but even if they are, players may still have questions that arise from the wording.

Which is where Card Gamer comes in!

Let’s take a look at all of the keywords that feature in Star Wars Unlimited, and explain them one by one.

List of Keywords in Star Wars Unlimited: Spark of Rebellion

Star Wars Unlimited cards highlighting some of the keywords

The full list of keywords that feature in Spark of Rebellion, in alphabetical order, are as follows:

  • Ambush
  • Grit
  • Overwhelm
  • Raid
  • Restore
  • Saboteur
  • Sentinel
  • Shielded

Bounty and Smuggle Keywords Star Wars Unlimited

Two more have been introduced in Star Wars Unlimited’s second set, Shadows of the Galaxy. They are Bounty and Smuggle.

All Star Wars Unlimited Keywords Explained

So let’s take a look at all of the keywords in Star Wars Unlimited so far, in alphabetical order.


Star Wars Unlimited card showcasing what Ambush means. There is a Rogue Squadron Skirmisher on the artwork

When played, cards that have the Ambush keyword may immediately ready, rather than enter play exhausted.

This readied unit can then immediately attack an opponent’s unit. 

However, do note that if no enemy units are present to be attacked when the Ambush unit card is played, it cannot be readied and, therefore, remains exhausted in the same way as a non-Ambush card does when being played.


Bounty Keyword Star Wars Unlimited

Cards which have the Bounty keyword grant a bonus to the opponent who defeats a card. As this can differ so much, we’ve included two examples in the above picture. The Wanted card on the left, for example, will allow the opponent to ready two resources if the card that Wanted is attached to is defeated.

This introduces a very intriguing element to Star Wars Unlimited, as you’ll play Wanted on an opponent’s card as an action. It doesn’t grant them any bonuses, but if you defeat the unit you’ve attached it to, you’ll be able to immediately ready two resources.

The Public Enemy card on the right works in a similar way; it essentially places a target on a unit and gives the opponent a reward for defeating them. So you’ll attach this card to an enemy unit, then when they’re defeated, you collect the Bounty; in this instance, that means giving a Shield token to the unit of your choice.


Star Wars Unlimited card with Baze Malbus artwork. The card explains what the keyword Grit does

If a card has the Grit keyword, it gains 1 additional point of power for each point of damage it has. 

For example, if it has 2 points of damage, it gains 2 points of power that it uses when attacking and defending.

However, note that this does not apply during the combat in which it receives this damage, as attacking and defending is considered to occur simultaneously.

This is not the case if the attacker has an ability where it deals combat damage before the defender (such as Shoot First, for example). As long as the defender survives the damage it receives, it can then retaliate with the Grit bonus applied.


Star Wars Unlimited card bearing artwork of an AT-ST. The card explains what Overwhelm does in battle.

When a unit with Overhwhelm attacks, it deals damage to the unit it’s attacking, then any excess damage is applied directly to the opponent’s base.

So if a unit with 6 power and Overwhelm, as in the example above, attacks an enemy unit with 2 HP, it will then deal 4 damage to the controller’s base!


Card showing a Green Squadron A-Wing as well as explaining what Raid does in battle

If a unit has the Raid keyword, it gains additional power when attacking; the bonus is dependent on the number next to the keyword on the card.

For instance, if a unit has Raid 2, it gains a power bonus of 2, which it adds to its printed power level.

So if a unit has 1 power and Raid 2, as in the example above, it would attack with a power of 3.


A card from the Star Wars Unlimited range with a Restored Arc-170 craft on the artwork. The card explains what Restore does

A unit with the Restore keyword heals its controller’s base, for the number of HP equal to the Restore value, when it attacks.

So for example, when a unit with Restore 1 attacks (as in the example of the card above), its owner would then heal their base for 1 point. 

A base’s health may never exceed its printed HP, so if there are less than 2 damage counters on a base when a Restore 2 unit attacks, it will only heal back to its full HP and no more.


Card with an image of a Rebel Pathfinder and an explanation as to what the keyword Saboteur means.

The Sentinel keyword forces other units to attack the Sentinel unit(s); Saboteur units are able to ignore the effect of Sentinel units altogether.

Additionally, Saboteur units destroy Shield tokens before dealing damage, which makes them among the most versatile and useful units in Star Wars Unlimited.


Artwork on a Star Wars Unlimited card showing Lieutenant Childsen. The card explains what happens when you play it and what Sentinel means.

As previously mentioned, if a unit has the Sentinel keyword, it forces other units to target the Sentinel when attacking.

Which means that neither an enemy base or other units can be targeted If a card has the Sentinel keyword.

When attacking, a player must choose an enemy unit in the same arena with Sentinel and all Sentinel units must be defeated before other units or the base can be targeted.

When multiple units have the Sentinel keyword, the attacker may choose who they target.


Card bearing the image of a Wilderness Fighter holding a gun. The card also explains what the keyword Shielded means.

A unit with the Shielded keyword gains a Shield token immediately when played.

A unit equipped with a Shield token blocks the damage of a single attack. So when a unit with a Shield takes damage from an attack, instead of applying damage to the unit, the Shield token is simply removed.

Beware, however, because if a unit has Saboteur, the Shield is destroyed and then your previously Shielded unit will take full damage from the attack!


Smuggle Keyword Star Wars Unlimited

Smuggle, like Bounty, was introduced in the Shadows of the Galaxy set. Also, it’s slightly more complex to use than other keywords; something else it has in common with Bounty! As such, we’ve included two examples of cards which feature the Smuggle keyword.

Privateer Crew, on the left, has Smuggle, plus a cost in brackets, which is 6 resources plus the Command aspect. With Smuggle cards, they can be placed face down as resource, but brought back into play later in the game by paying their cost in brackets. This is, pun unintended, an absolute game-changer, as it can be agonising playing cards as resources and knowing that you’ll never be able to use them. With the Smuggle keyword, this changes the problem dramatically!

So the Privateer Crew card can be played as an action, straight from your resource area. It is then replaced with the top card of your deck, which goes directly into your resource area, so you don’t actually lose any resources by playing it. However, you do lose a card from your deck which you don’t get to choose, as such, so do be careful!

Given that Privateer Crew’s normal cost is just 2 resources, why would you bother using Smuggle? Here’s the thing: it has a bonus if it comes into play via Smuggle, and it’s a very tempting one. If played using Smuggle, it gains an extra three Experience tokens; this means it essentially goes from 2 power and 2 HP to a massive 5 power and 5 HP!

The card on the right, Pirate Battle Tank, has a normal cost of 6 and a Smuggle cost of 7 (though you’ll also need Command and Villainy to make the best use of it), which is much less of a difference than with Privateer Crew’s Smuggle cost. It also doesn’t gain a bonus when played using Smuggle, but that 1 resource difference means it offers quite a straightforward choice to use it as a resource in the early game, without sacrificing too much later.

Which brings us to the end of the list of keywords in Star Wars Unlimited!

What Other Information Is Useful To Know When Playing Star Wars Unlimited?

Star Wars Unlimited Aspects

If you’re looking for insight into other elements of the game, why not check out my guide to Aspects in Star Wars Unlimited?

There’s also a Star Wars Unlimited Card List, for full details of all of the mechanically unique cards in Spark of Rebellion, and a similar list for the second set, Shadows of the Galaxy.

Finally, the guide to Star Wars Unlimited Card Rarities will give you the insight you need to identify the most sought after cards in your collection!

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