The weekend of June 17th and 18th was ACO, and it was the second major US Legion event post-points and errata. Indy Open was technically the first since it started on Friday the 16th, speaking of which I want to congratulate Brian Baer for coming in first with his Rebel “Zombielorians” list! Him and Tyler Carnes with his 11 act Bossk, Magna, B1 gunline, both Indy Garrison guys, faced off in the finals and I wish I had gotten to watch it go down! Before I get start breaking down the Top 8 from ACO, I want to shout out the organizer Brendan Smith and a couple other cool cats!

Shout-Out to the Organizer

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Brendan is an active member of the Legion Community, as well as a founding member of the Inglorious Blasters. This was his first year running ACO, previously done by Nick Bodnar, and I just want to say he did an amazing job! The prize support was incredible, and he even did a bounty board which is always fun to participate in. Brendan and I have only played each other once. He beat me at Pax 2022 with his Op Vader IG-88 shoreline and later went on to place second, having only lost to the champion, Kyle Dornbos. Brendan also brought this beautiful table to the event, and we actually got to talk about it a lot beforehand. The level of detail is immaculate! If you look closely, you can see the platform in the middle has many fallen clone troopers and highly detailed blaster and saber scorch marks. Another interesting tidbit is the platform is height two, with the only access points being on opposite ends. I was hoping I’d get a chance to play on this during the event, but unfortunately fate decided it was not to be.

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Shout-Out to the Streamer

For those of you who didn’t catch it, all the top games of ACO can be found here (Be sure to catch them before Twitch’s hungry video demons gobble them up because they dared to exist longer than a couple weeks – Doc). YavinBase has become the leading streaming outlet for Legion games across the country, and the more we can help support Dave and his crew, the better! It’s NOT cheap to lug all that gear across the country. It’s also worth mentioning that Dave will be moving YavinBase to Youtube soon, so be sure to follow him there!

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Shout-Out to the Cool Competitor

Just wanted to give a special shout-out to my round 2 opponent Ryan Smith. Round 1 was barely a win vs Anakin clone ball, so what better for round 2? Another Anakin clone ball, only this one has Padme and more clones with no Pykes. Still pretty sure I don’t love this matchup. Ryan and I had a super fun game that was kind of back and forth at some points, and Cad was being super annoying for him with the old move, Steady shoot, move back behind cover plays. In the end, Asajj was able to finish Anakin off at the end of a round thanks to out activating him 10-9.

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Shout-Out to the Coolest Travel Case EVER

Despite being fully in “tournament mode,” it’s hard not to look around and appreciate all the cool sights and craftsmanship for not just Legion, but all the games at an event. I think it was round 3 of day 1 when I spotted what is 100%, without a doubt, no question the COOLEST TRAVEL CASE EVER. Luckily I was able to find the owner on Day 2 after the finals ended, and man is this thing not just cool, but highly functional too! Ladies and gentlemen I present to you, Cameron Reid and his MTT Legion travel case:

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Shout-Out to the Wizard

While not quite Gandalf, my second-favorite wizard was spotted at ACO on Day 2, and he had plenty of shiny treasures to hand out to a select worthy few… Who am I kidding, he’s the Oprah of wizards! Everyone got a shiny gem from his mysterious bag of wonders! Fan-favorite, Evan “Mad Racoon” Bulriss made sure to give the people what they came to ACO for, a chance to pluck the might Gem of Destiny from his sack of secrets!

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Shout-Out to the Wife

Anyone who has a spouse knows it’s not easy getting the green light for these kind of events. Travel isn’t cheap, there are a lot of working parts, and airports are annoying. With all that said, I just wanted to publicly thank my wife Olivia for not only helping me to make these events possible, but for coming with on this trip! We sort of had an early 30th birthday celebration for me in Atlantic City and it was the best birthday ever! Her and I got to take it easy and roam around the resort doing fun stuff and getting some pretty good casino ice cream. While we didn’t gamble, I almost had her on the Roulette table and that’s pretty adventurous for her. Next time hun! Thanks for making this a great birthday weekend and supporting my hobby, I love you!

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Without Further Ado: Top 8

#8 John Lopez:

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John is also part of The Inglorious Blasters, and he brought a solid squad of guns to ACO! As fate would have it, we had a Round 1 TFT and Inglorious Blasters showdown: He and I played each other while Koray played Evan. I was not super excited about the matchup, because I have a lot of small-dice pool chip damage, and he had Pykes and big-dice pool fire support bombs. I was trying to leverage the fact that Asajj was 174 points and Anakin is 175, so if I could find a way to trade her for him and be up 1 point I could hopefully ride that to victory or maybe even score bounty with Cad. He ensured Anakin couldn’t really be touched in the early rounds, and I knew I had to make adjustments. We had a long standoff for a couple turns and spent a lot of time positioning things without getting too close to each other, but ultimately it worked out in my favor as we ran into time in the round. I had assured John that if we went into the next round, there’s virtually no way he doesn’t win. I had lost Asajj thanks to my E5s not being able to produce a hit on a P2 with a standby, and he only lost a P1 RPS squad. With having two units that could double move to touch the middle KP, I felt like I could still pull it out but he actually made a really good and annoying play by force pushing my own squad of 4 B1 minis to try and make a wall around the center KP. Luckily, the Magnas were able to double move past the B1s to touch. John later went on to advance in his other games and made it into the Top 8. Congrats John, and I look forward to the next time we get to play!

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John and I after our first round showdown.

#7 Steve Dodd:

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Steve brought an absolute beefcake of a list. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to chew through 17 surging red saves, with shields, but let me give you some advice. YOU NEED BIG DICE POOLS, and that’s just the Mandolorians. If that’s not enough, he also has a squad of BSE that are ready to hit you like a truck after you’ve exhausted all your resources on the Mandos. Steve and I faced off in the Top 4, and I knew I had an uphill battle. He was fresh off his win vs. Koray and I could tell it was going to be a tough game. My only hope was to get Asajj into melee and make use of her Makashi (that’s right, Makashi can cancel Impervious if you forgot). Once we landed on “Intercept the Transmissions,” I knew the name of the game was to preserve bodies. I made sure to keep the B1s as far back as possible and use my activation advantage to its fullest. I was able to grab the middle point turn 2, and could then back off and try to get some chip damage through on the Mandos while Asajj and the Magnas got into position. The Magnas were also tasked with tying up the BSE, and they were able to get that done. Steve did a great job of kiting with the Mandos until it was time to dive onto the point, and we came to a real close end where I was just barely able to pull it out thanks to Force Push yanking a unit off his home point. I also want to mention that Steve has only been playing competitively for about 7 months, so congrats to him for a job well done! His list is a powerhouse and is to be feared.

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Steve and I after our Top 4 game

#6 Graem “CanadianBear” Cull:

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Graem brought the Grand Master himself, and a lot of guns to back the little frog up. In a world where you have to check a box on the amount of impact you bring, bowcaster Wookies with an RPS fire support platform seems good for dealing with a single unit with full armor. Not to mention, Yoda (twice a game) can tell the shooty-wooks to attack twice with There Is No Try. Graem’s only loss was to Raul who himself has an obscene amount of full armor. I didn’t get to sit in on that game, but I suspect it went a little something like this: Graem was able to do some wounds to the Darks, but he just didn’t have enough Impact and lost the attrition battle, which is exactly what happens if you don’t have enough Impact to counter Darks. Even with their points increase, they are still highly oppressive if you don’t have Impact:10+ built into your list. Props to Graem for having good success with the shooty-wooks though. I wish I had gotten to see some of his games and talk to him more about his matchups!

#5 Sam Gould:

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Hey, look another GAR list! It’s almost like they may be the best faction now? Who knows, ACO might just be a small sample size. Anyways, Sam brought some full Arc squads and R2+3PO. I also like the inclusion of the DP-23, a highly underrated heavy for clones, especially if you can set up the dream range 2 Ani FS + DP squad. Surge:Crit and Pierce 4 will most definitely take care of anything you need it to. The Portable Scanner P2 squad is a little interesting, as I feel it could just be a Boil unit for 1 point more. Where I really start to get intrigued with the upgrade choices is Fives in a full Arc squad. I can honestly say, I’ve never seen this done, and while I’ve never seen it done it seems like an interesting way to get a Fire Support option going with the HQ Uplink. Whether or not it’s too expensive, I’ll leave to the GAR players to decide because they are my least played faction (It’s a fun concept that can also be achieved by putting Five in a corps with a Comms Tech and Long Range Comlink at a much lower price – Doc). It’s worth noting his only loss was to Koray who played an 11 act Invasion Force AAT, Magna gunline. I can definitely see where being down 3 acts to an AAT is less than ideal for his list, but regardless, congratulations on making Top 8!

#4 Jonathan Grizaniuk:

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When I saw this is what I was up against in the finals, I thought to myself “well, better the devil you know than the one you don’t I guess.” Sure Blizzard took a hit, but it got right back up and made it to final table here at ACO. It’s worth mentioning right off the bat, that Jonathan actually played in the Finals, but due to SOS tiebreakers, got placed lower. There’s not much to say about Blizzard that hasn’t already been said. It’s still good, while not quite as oppressive as it was before, it still has a lot of objective play and a fair bit of firepower. Commander Vader definitely lost some juice with the Choke errata, so I can see why Jonathan switched to Saber Throw. Jonathan was an awesome opponent to play against and I had a great time in our showdown on stream, speaking of which, make sure to check out YavinBase to see our match in all its glorious detail! It’s also worth mentioning that this was only Jonathan’s second major tournament ever. Congrats on making final table, and keep up your pursuit of Legion greatness!

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Jonathan and I after our Finals match.

#3 Christopher Lewis:

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Christopher brought a pretty rad Imperial Remnant list to ACO, and had huge success with it. HH12 DTs are actually starting to grow on me. They have pretty good anti-armor, and the cheapness of the mini itself is hard to say no to. He finished 4-1, with his only loss being our game. Our game was really fast paced and there were dice being thrown from deployment step. I vividly remember an invincible Scout Trooper squad tanking a Cad Bomb, double detonation Minefield mine, and a single detonation Minefield mine before I even activated a unit. I thought to myself, “so this is how it’s gonna go?” Luckily, they eventually died but they definitely hung around long enough to make Cad have to go out of his way to deal with them. Chris had a real cool tactic with his Dark Troopers where he would go early with them, and move behind the E-Webs so that if I wanted to shoot them, it would trigger E-Webb standbys because of Sentinel), so I just had to settle for measly R4 plink shots until I had the opportunity to pounce. All in all, it was a super fun game and Christopher managed to rally back and get 3 more wins in a row to finish 3rd at ACO.

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Christopher and I after our Round 3 slugfest.

Runner-Up Raul Rosado:

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The one list I really was hoping to not play the entire weekend. You may say to yourself, “Oh Dark Troopers got nerfed, they’re fine now.” They are certainly still competitive, and most definitely not fine. The ongoing problem of, “did you bring Impact 10+” still exists. It’s worth mentioning that almost all other full armor units have some sort of “Weak Point,” or low health pool/bad defense dice to give people a chance if they didn’t bring a ton of Impact, but Dark Troopers still ignore this rule. This list definitely makes use of teleporting Dark Troopers to the most inconvenient spot possible, and does so through 2 ways. 1: The GAV tank can basically deliver them wherever. 2: Gideon’s 2 Pip. Raul and Jonathan faced off in the Top 4 on stream, and I imagine it was just a lot of Impact for Raul to deal with. Another sneaky good tactic for this list is the use of Gideon’s 3 pip to set up a nasty Fire Support. With 3R, 2B, 3W from the GAV plus 8 more black dice (9 black and a red if range 2), you’re likely to one-shot whatever it is you’re looking at. Let’s run the numbers.

Surge:Hit, 3R, 10B, 3W results in 8 required saves after heavy cover (with a standard deviation of 1.823) and that’s without an aim. Now imagine if you get an aim, that goes up to 9 maybe even 10 saves after heavy cover. Nothing in the game wants to take that shot…but it gets worse. The Dark Troopers that just got to Fire Support can activate and shoot you again, most likely from range 2 after a quick recover action. All in all, Raul has got a lot of firepower, and you can bet on him rolling a bunch of dice with this list.

WINNER: Austin Miller

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Hi everyone this is Evan “Doc Velo” Paul, who apparently is going to be continually doomed to write the “top list” entry on Austin’s articles because he keeps winning the damn tournaments he’s assigned to. Just like last time, we both agreed this made the most sense to avoid the perception of braggadocio when someone writes about a tournament they won. In that vein, I do want to take a moment that it’s been a pleasure to edit for Austin and Andy “AJST” Terrill, both of whom are excellent at “telling the story” of a big event and to boot are a couple of top players in their respective nations. Maybe you two should have my job!

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LOL, watch your f______ back

Austin’s list is a textbook blend of versatility and efficiency. He has one Force Push, up to two Bounty opportunities, and Impact 6 (with 4 other units that are Critical or Surge: Crit). Additionally, all of his “power” units have some kind of movement ability that allows them to chase objectives if need be. The medic droids may seem excessive but they importantly keep Asajj healthy as she moves up, ready to flip “Burst” when the times is right and effectively making her no more killable (less in fact) than any other Jedi in the game from range, This Asajj build is one that I also like a lot on Shadow Collective Maul (no darksaber) and may well be the template that keeps dark-siders relevant: if you can keep them alive on the way in, then they’re allowed to dive, and when they can dive, they’re sometimes unstoppable. This being a droid list, Austin also naturally has near-perfect order control with the T-Series combination of “Direct” and “Improvise Orders” which turns the “Independent” into three free dodges a turn (between Cad and Asajj) with basically zero downsides.

As Austin himself noted above, the “mere” Impact 6 and multiple crits probably wouldn’t have been enough to get reliable wins against the original Dark Troopers and this list could certainly have been run pre-update but like so many other lists it has gained via the Empire’s “loss” But enough about that, I’m pass it back to Austin to take us through some more thoughts on the larger meta game, congratulations.

Meta Breakdown:

I’d like to point out, all the top lists at ACO save one had either red saves or surging red saves for the majority of their army. It’s also worth noting that when you take into account the fact that heavy cover is now more accessible than a burnt end in Kansas City, basic red and surging red saves are the way to go. 50/50 saves absolutely love having hits shaved off for free, and surging ones love it even more. Not to say white save armies aren’t competitive, but you are at a major disadvantage and have to play around the fact that red save corps will probably outlast yours. Anakin also seemed to be really popular, which was to be expected because he’s probably the best force user in the game right now. All in all, the Top 8 seems to have a healthy balance of units and army archetypes, but it is worth noting that there were no Double Bounty lists in Top 8, or…wait, I guess mine counts because Asajj can choose Bounty on her 3 pip… but only in the most desperate of circumstances.

Thanks again to everyone who showed up and made this possible! ACO 2023 was a blast, and I couldn’t think of a better birthday weekend to celebrate officially being old! As always, thanks for reading and feel free to drop a comment below!

10 thoughts on “Atlantic City Open Top 8 (with a side of Indy Open)

  1. Graeme Cull says:

    Hey there CanadianBear here. Funny thing about my game with Raul was that I actually had both Dark troopers dead by turn 3. Essentially what the game came down to was that I made a mistake of prioritization. After killing both darks and Gideon on turn 3 I should have done the math on kill points and brought Yoda back to help resecure my hostage, instead of trying to deny his hostage. Unfortunately for me Yoda died on the last turn and I was unable to do either. At the end of the game it ended up being Raul taking the win 3-0, with me destroying 544 of his list and him killing 417 of mine. All in all Raul was a great opponent we definitely had a lot of fun.

  2. Sage says:

    Color me confused, rules allow for one attack action a turn. Even with Yoda’s There Is No Try not giving a unit Relentless, your still allowed only 1 attack action an activation correct? I’m referencing list #6’s break down.

    • Graeme Cull says:

      The wookies attack or relentless during their activation. During Yoda’s activation he can then guidance the wookies, that received the order from the “there is no try”, to move which will trigger relentless outside of their activation. The second attack happens outside of the wookies activation. I just double checked the rules forum and it still works. For some reason, when writing the CRB they decided to use the word ‘turn’ for “turn 1-6” and “unit turn”. why they didn’t just say activation is beyond me. lol

    • Benjamin Weikel says:

      I believe the tactic is the wookies get Relentless from the command card. Then Yoda uses Guidance on them to move, which then triggers Relentless for an attack in addition to the attack they get in their own activation.

  3. Specter says:

    Rules allow 1 attack per activation, not per turn. So it works like this:
    – Wookies get Relentless from Yoda’s command card
    – Yoda uses Guidance on Wookies
    – Wookies move and attack thanks to Relentless, but they don’t activate to do it, it is still Yoda’s activation
    – Yoda does his second action and ends his activation
    – Wookies activate – since they have just statered their activation and have not yet attacked in THEIR activation, they can do an attack action

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