Edit: This article was accurate at the time that it was written. However, the speed mechanic has changed since its publication.
We here at Team Instinct would like to welcome you to our article relating to a subject many seem to be incredibly curious about: the Speed stat, and how it works in Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes. We’ve been working on SWGOH Speed in-house for a bit, and we’ve finally decided we’re comfortable enough with our data to share this publicly with all of you for the first time. Our own member, EwokRampage, was the primary brains behind this operation, and without his help none of this would have been possible! So a big shout out to him and all that he’s done in helping us to better understand this system.
PART 1 – THE SWGOH SPEED STAT: DISPELLING THE MYTHS
Have you ever stopped to wonder how Speed actually works in Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes? Sure, we know about the stat on our character sheet, and we know that some guys have a speed number bigger than others, but what does that really mean? Why do some guys go before others, when their speed stat is lower? Why does there seem to be so much variance? Are there random bonuses to teams on Defense, or variables the game decides on at the start of a match?
Here’s your first lesson within this article: nothing about the Turn Meter is random, and there is zero variance in how it fills. Now, this is not to say that there is absolutely no RNG in how combat plays out, because there is – and we’ll get to that! But, as far as SWGOH Speed and the Turn Meters go, the rumors of “bonuses to defense” or “random numbers each match that start the bars off” are 100% false. It’s all myth. There are no “random rolls” of dice or numbers at any point in the combat system of GoH.
It’s actually much simpler. Speed as a stat is a guideline, a tool that determines a ballpark turn order but is by no means a direct indicator of who is going to go first or not, because of how it consistently results in ties during each of the Turns. Ties happen for a very definitive reason – again, zero variance here. Two characters that tie in one game for first action are going to tie for first action again if you replay that same match one hundred times over, and they may have very different Speed stats. This is by design. Six characters may tie all at once. However, the RNG takes place within these ties, as the system doesn’t always choose the same person to go first! Sometimes one character will take first action, sometimes the other character. We admittedly do not have a definitive way of knowing which characters gets action priority first in the case of a tie, and we truly chalk it up to RNG – until a Dev says otherwise, we assume this is the case.
The stat itself is incredibly important because taking actions first in this game has a huge advantage. If done right, one side can completely manipulate the other in the coming turns to the point of guaranteeing a win right away. Here are but a few of the reasons why the Speed stat is so important:
Taunting – He who taunts first sets the pace for much of the few turns, as most taunts include messing with the Turn Meter for opposing guys. You also effectively make one of the most important decisions there is for the opponent – who to attack. By Taunting, you strip the power of decision away from your opponent, and in a back and forth game with little decision-making to begin with, this is a very, very big deal. As a team on defense, Taunting puts the Offense in a pickle. They now have to play by your rules.
High Damage Attackers – Sometimes, the best way to get around Taunts is to deal so much damage in a single attack that you actually outright kill a weaker, squishier high damage attacker on their end. There’s a reason Leia sees so much play – her turn priority is rivaled only by Dooku, and with a bit of luck she can attack enough to “one shot” lower HP toons. This is very valuable in that an opposing Poe taunt may be just one action away.
Ability Blockers – Another annoying quick strike is to ability block important characters. Doing this quickly enough effectively strips more decisions away from the opponent, similar to taunting. Applying both a taunt AND an ability block really shuts your opponent down, hard. They are left with little to any options at all, and any methods they may have had of removing the taunt are taken away from them. There aren’t many quick-to-attack Ability Blockers in the game, but we’ll cover them in my next article about specific characters.
These three forms of combat are currently why Speed is so important. It’s not about just getting hits in, it’s about dictating the entire outcome of the battle on your terms. If you’re the first to strip options away from the other team, you’re usually in control for the rest of the fight. In my opinion, Speed is king.
PART 2 – THE TURN METER
Dismiss how you view the Turn Meter and start fresh with me. Let’s build a new framework for how you envision it. This new perspective is probably nothing like what you’d expect, but I assure you – it is real!
As I’ve said before, you may have thought about SWGOH Speed as a concept in this game, or you may have dismissed it completely in the meantime. You may have just considered the Turn Meter as a physical representation of your Speed stat at work, but it’s actually far more concrete a tool than you may expect!
The first step to understanding Speed and your Turn Meter is this – your Turn Meter represents a pool that starts at 0 and builds to 1000. An empty Turn Meter basically represents 0/1000, and a full meter means you’ve reached 1000 and you’re ready to take a turn. Note, however, that a full meter may mean your Turn Meter has more than 1000 in the tank, as we’ll cover in a second. But as your bar fills, it is filling from 0 to 1000.
As soon as the game starts, everyone on your team and everyone on the opposing team “takes a Turn.” Now, this doesn’t mean an action – from this point on, when I say “Turn” I mean something very specific: a “Turn” in Galaxy of Heroes is a point in which every character in combat fills their speed bar up by their corresponding Speed stat. When this occurs, ALL characters add their TOTAL current Speed stat (after buffs/debuffs) to their bars BEFORE anyone takes an action. So if your Princess Leia has a Speed of 143, on turn 1 her Turn Meter goes from 0/1000 to 143/1000. If you have Old Daka at 126 Speed, Old Daka’s Turn Meter moves from 0/1000 to 126/1000.
With me so far? Good!
Now, this process continues. Turn 2 happens and everyone fills again. Then Turn 3. Then Turn 4. Right now, with current speed stats, it’s not actually until Turn 7 that the fastest characters breach the 1000 mark on their Turn Meters. The characters in question are, of course, Count Dooku and Princess Leia.
The math looks something like this: Count Dooku has a Speed of 155, so after 7 Turns, he gets 155×7 = 1085/1000 in his Turn Meter. He clears the check to take an action by a landslide.
Princess Leia, however, has a speed of 143, so after 7 Turns, she gets 143×7 = 1001/1000. She BARELY meets the requirement to take an action on Turn 7, but she does nonetheless. This game doesn’t care about anything but hard numbers – if you reach the mark to take an action, you reach it, and that’s that.
Now, once this occurs, the game freezes and actions begin. Princess Leia and Count Dooku must resolve their actions before Turn 8 will take place.
The board on Turn 7 would look something like this:
Now, what you see here is Leia and Dooku after 7 turns, both with full meters. Leia has 1001/1000, and Dooku 1085/1000. Both of these characters are set to resolve their actions before the turns continue. Leia, in this case, was RNG chosen to act before Dooku.
What I like about this picture is it also highlights something very important: take a look at Darth Sidious. He looks full, right? You probably think he is currently also in a tie with Leia and Dooku for action priority?
The truth is, he is not. He currently has a Speed of 142, which means after 7 turns he sits at 994/1000. We have theorized over why his meter looks full, and our best guess is that the game uses a method of breaking the meter down in to 1/100ths visually, and rounds up when it’s too close to call. But make no mistake, he is NOT in a tie for action priority here! He has 0% chance of taking a turn before Leia or Dooku, and ANYONE ELSE that hits 1000 on the following Turn 8 on EITHER team still has the chance of taking an action BEFORE him! Basically, always trust the Turn Meter math, and disregard the visual as it is not 100% accurate.
After Dooku and Leia finish Turn 7 and take their actions, EVERYONE will take Turn 8 and fill their Turn Meters again. The fact Darth Sidious was only a sliver away from taking his action does not matter. All characters are allowed to fill their Turn Meter a full Speed stat length before actions take place. This means that the board could immediately look like this:
See? Look at that! Qui Gon took his Turn 8 along with Sidious and immediately was given the priority to take an action due to RNG. His Speed of 137 means that on Turn 8, he filled up to 1096/1000. Also, check out Old Daka – she has a mediocre speed of only 126, but Turn 8 gives her 126×8 = 1008/1000 and she’s right in the mix with Sidious and Qui Gon! She actually could have gone BEFORE either of them, even with only a speed of 126! You read that right – because of the Turn filling system, a character with 126 Speed could theoretically act before a character with 142!
Here’s a frightening realization: Taking absolutely no Turn Meter manipulation in to consideration via skills and such, Leia has gained 716/1000 towards her SECOND action by the time Asajj takes her FIRST action. That’s a pretty shocking comparison!
Also, go back up and check out that image one more time. Here’s one more interesting observation: Count Dooku has a considerable amount more Speed Points in his Turn Meter than Leia. Why? Because when the Turn Meter fills up and depletes, you retain any extra Speed Points you had at the time of taking your action. Because Leia was at 1001/1000 and Dooku at 1085/1000, Leia immediately went down to 1/1000 and Dooku to 85/1000. Dooku keeps his advance towards his second action over Leia and everyone else! By the time Turn 8 and 9 finish up, Dooku is well on his way towards his second action, several hundreds of Speed Points in! (Dooku used his Lightning Special attack, and not his base attack… meaning he did not generate Turn Meter as a result of his attack)
One quick side note to keep in mind is that after their actions, Leia’s bar was almost completely empty. The only reason she has as much as she does at the time of that picture is because her and Dooku both took their Turn 8’s with everyone else – the representation shown is not actually Leia at 1/1000, but 144/1000 and Dooku at 240/1000 to account for their Turn 8 gains!
Also, a couple key quick notes –
A) Leader abilities that generate Speed bonuses are currently broken, and do not start working correctly until some point after first actions are taken, and
B) Any skill that generates Turn Meter cannot boost your score to being OVER 1000. This means First Order Officer will cap out at boosting an ally to 1000/1000, and after taking an action that ally will drop down completely to 0/1000. Abilities that take away turn meter checks your CURRENT score out of 1000, and reduces that amount by 25%. This means if your Turn Meter is at 300/1000 and Poe Dameron hits you for 25% Turn Meter, you lose 75/1000 and not 250/1000. It’s based on your current existing Turn Meter portion that is full. Gaining Turn Meter is far more generous than having it taken away.
So, let’s review real quick:
– Turn Meter is a representation of 0/ 1000 Speed Points
– Speed Points are gained every “Turn” of combat equal to the character’s total Speed Stat
– Characters take actions when they fill their bar over 1000, and ties mean each character over 1000 take their action before the next Turn
– Any extra Speed Points over the 1000 Turn Meter limit are refunded to the character after they take their action
– Visual representation can be misleading as the Turn Meter itself displays a rounded number and not an exact number
– Leader Bonuses to Speed are currently broken for the first set of actions
– Turn Meter manipulation checks your current portion of Turn Meter only, and cannot boost you beyond a full Turn Meter
PART 3 – IN CLOSING
Once you understand how the SWGOH Speed stat and Turn Meters work, all of those really weird questions you have will start to answer themselves.
“How in the heck did my Old Daka take an action before Darth Sidious!?”
“Why did his entire team get to go before mine!?”
“Why haven’t I considered applying to Team Instinct before now!??!”
They’re good questions, and hopefully after reading this you now have the better tools to answer them. I assure you that if you somehow still have doubts over the validity of this, that careful testing will prove time and time again that the system does in fact function in the way highlighted in this article. The only RNG variance is in the case of ties, and the Turn Meter is an ever-filling beacon of unvarying stability!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and hopefully now you have a better grasp on the Galaxy of Heroes game mechanics.
Until next time!
PS. This guide was written primarily for Squad Arena battles. In Galactic War, the system acts a little wonky due to the “continuation” of cooldowns, and Leader Speed Bonuses work after the first match since the game isn’t considering it to be the “first round” of actions on your second fight!