I can't argue with Jeff's best of except the basic Legacy figure... So this is mine:
-Best Legacy Basic Figure: Tied between the Hoth Rebel Trooper
& Imperial Scanner Tech
... Two of the best army builders in the modern line in 2009 as far as I'm concerned, and the first truly decent Rebel Trooper we've ever received. If the variants ever become easy to get, they're just that much better to me then. Both come with nice accessories, and both are pretty flawless. The Hoth Rebel maybe takes the edge with me since the Scanner Tech lacks a removable (should be standard at this point), but both leave hope for re-releases at some point, especially the Hoth Trooper who can be redecoed and resold fairly easily.
-Runner-Up: Major Panno
... Again, I like a lot from 2009, but Panno's a great army builder of characters that haven't gotten much love from Hasbro. Boring to some, I personally love the Dresellian commandoes seen briefly in the movie, and I was longing for a fairly non-descript one to army build. Hasbro gave me my wish, gave me a bitchin' softgoods cloak, gave me lots of gear for him, and they also gave me hope that his legs are getting re-used to make a better Endor Rebel Trooper at some point. This figure was definitely in my top 3.
-Best Basic Release Vehicle: This one was a toss-up to me between the Freeco Speeder and the Snail Tank
. Ultimately my vote went to the tank due to its complexity, and Hasbro's SW team tackling a functioning tread for once. While I skip a lot of "basic" release items, I bought both of those and was pretty pleased with them, and the tank displays great with troops around it. It may be a hair underscaled, but it's not too shabby actually, and so it won me over, and I even got it on sale.
-Multi-Pack: Scramble on Yavin
... How anyone could vote against this, I'll never know. This is the way battlepacks are meant to be done, and ironically Hasbro's doing only one and no more.
Go figure. This thing didn't have time to hit the shelves, much less shelfwarm, so I'm glad I got what I got while the gettin' was good.
-Best Exclusive (and best vehicle overall, exclusive or basic): AT-ST
... The price aside, which it really is still worth the price to me, this was pretty much fantastically done. It's Hasbro's best work to me since the AT-TE. The joint mechanism takes some getting used to, but once you do you can get it into a number of poses. The sculpting is fantastic, and finally the AT-ST dominates the Endor set-up. The paint lacked, there are a few "flaws" on it, but overall I'm 100% satisfied with it, and hope to get several more.
... As exclusives go, this one was fantastic as well, and came with a great figure I'd love to have a lot more of. The AT-TE trumped it only because it was superior to all exclusives IMO, and all vehicles. The Dewback's a darn close runner-up though, with the TIE Interceptor at TRU hot on its heels.
-Comic Pack: Katarn/Vong
... I've waited for a new Kyle for ages. I got one. He's a pretty great figure too, and one I hope to custom up a lot.
-Evolutions (runner-up to the multi-pack category): Rebel Pilot #3 WM Set
... This set gives you two great generic army building type Rebel Pilots... Other sets didn't deliver that much "generic" to them, and so this one was a tops in my book, of strictly Evolutions sets. And at half off right now, they're a steal!
Worst of 2009:
-Basic Figure: The Organas... Just dull, and overly abundant.
-Distribution: Simply attrocious this year, and the first year since 1999-ish that I actually didn't see a figure at a normal retail outlet... We're still struggling with jam-ups here of old figures. It sucks.
-Legends, Legends, Legends: We've got so many Legends figures here, it's simply insane. I really hate these figures at this point. You have to rifle through 100,000 of them, to find one Legacy figure you want hidden in there somewhere. And the decisions on some of those are seemingly unexplainable. Some of those, such as Plo Koon, just seem to be doing nothing. Vader I get, Maul sure, Chewbacca, Clones for sure, but secondary Jedi should be used more sparingly IMO.
-Price... At $7.99, I spent significantly less this year than years past. I took advantage of sales wherever possible (K-Mart, TRU), and while building droids has enticed me to buy a figure here and there just for the part, more often than not that decision was passed on and if I did decide to make the buy it was to get a useable army builder over some random figure I have no need/desire to keep in some capacity.
Likewise, $25 vehicles made me not buy one single full priced mid-size vehicle this year. Likewise I would've passed on packs like the Gela-grub. Fortunately I got the Snail Tank at a Target sale, and I got a lot of battlepacks this year at K-Mart in their $19.99 sale on those (they just restocked, great timing).
$70+ vehicles though? Forget it. I'll wait for clearance on those if they're not delivering something knock-out spectacular.
While I am sure my $$$ pumped into Star Wars this year was significant, I'm equally sure I've sent almost double this in years where figures were in the $5.99-$6.99 range.
I also skipped a lot of comic packs and whatnot this year. If I really wasn't interested, I stuck to my guns and skipped things like the Marvel comic sets that had the Mandalorians and whatnot.
I am anxious to see what Hasbro has in store for 2010. I think figure quality is at its best level for the most part (paint aps are down, but otherwise I think figures are pretty top-notch), so I always have the desire to know what they're up to at Hasbro. I don't think the line's on life-support by any means, but I know I won't spend more in 2010 if prices remain the same, and if the BAD pieces go away on top of prices staying at $7.99, I'll have about 50% less motivation to buy figures. The BAD made some of the cost increase more pallitable, so that's my biggest concern for 2010 right now I think. What can you replace BAD with, that is actually of value? That answer interests, and scares me at the same time, haha.
Black cardbacks that look like vintage ones won't cut it by the way.