B1 Battle Droid Unit Guide

B1 Battle Droid Unit Guide 1

Hey Troopers!  Welcome to our unit guide for the B1 Battle Droid for Star Wars: Legion.  This guide will cover the B1 Battle Droid unit, as well as their myriad upgrade options.

Other good articles for the Separatist Alliance (or is it the Confederation of Independent Systems?):

Droid Basics

Corps Upgrade Pack Guide

Count Dooku Unit Guide

B1 Battle Droids

B1 Battle Droid Unit Guide 2

Strengths:

  • Cheap
  • Inexpensive
  • Low Cost
  • Coordinate allows for order chains
  • Bargain priced
  • High wound count
  • Thrifty
  • Did I mention cheap?

Weaknesses:

  • Very bad saves
  • Minimal/no offensive output beyond range 3
  • Poor stats individually
  • Need to be close to each other to be effective
  • Need faceup orders to prevent AI
  • Need surge tokens
  • Take up lots of space

Cost: 36 points.  It really doesn’t get any better than this.  Naked B1s are tied for the second cheapest activation in the game (with mortars) and are barely more than R2-D2.

Defense: 1 wound per model, white save, no surge.  This is literally as bad as it gets.  They start with six models though, which is more than any other unit.  And if you give them surge tokens they become as durable as a Rebel Trooper unit (not exactly a crowning achievement) but with 50% more raw wounds.

Offense: White dice, no surge.  Also literally as bad as it gets, but you are still throwing six dice.

Courage 1, Droid Trooper: The courage is standard fare for a corps unit, but droid trooper is a fantastic keyword.  They don’t gain cover from suppression, but they also don’t lose actions to it.  Make sure you keep them close to your commander, because they can still panic.

AI: Attack: This keyword can be absolutely devastating when it triggers in certain situations.  You can usually prevent it from triggering by making sure your B1s have face up orders all the time, but that itself can be fairly restrictive on the positioning of your corps.

Coordinate: Droid Trooper.  This is a fabulous keyword that really makes the CIS faction tick.  Note that all game effects except attacks are measured from mini to mini, not from unit leader to unit leader, so you can spread your squads out via cohesion to extend their coordinate range.

Heavy, Personnel, Comms slot: They don’t have many slots, but each of these has a lot of great upgrade choices.  B1s and B2s are the only corps units that have a comms slot printed on their unit card.  B1s can also take electrobinoculars even though they don’t have a gear slot.

Overall Tactics

Order Control

B1s have AI.  B1s also have terrible stats and really want surge tokens from Aggressive Tactics.  It is essential to make a plan for getting every single one of your B1s an order on every single turn.  Luckily, with Coordinate and their comms slot, B1s have to tools to achieve this.  B1 order chains are addressed extensively in the articles linked above (especially the Droid Basics and Dooku articles) so I won’t exhaustively retread all that ground here, but we’ll hit the basics.

There is a very important upgrade that we need to talk about here, and it is…

HQ Uplink

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Ten points seems like a lot to tack onto a B1 unit.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to buy six of these, since the B1s have coordinate.  Realistically you only need one or two.  My rule of thumb is you should have no more non-coordinate AI units in your list than you have uplinks plus one.  For example, if you have two uplinks in your list, you would want no more than three AI units that don’t have coordinate (BX droids for example).

Positioning

Your B1s need to be able to coordinate to each other, and to do that they need to be close to each other.  Since coordinate is measured from mini to mini, I like to do what I call “honeycombing,” which basically means that you overlap your B1s such that each B1 is within range in both directions of multiple other B1s, so if you lose one unit it doesn’t break your chain.

Additionally, your uplink units need to be in a position where they can bounce an order to kick off an entire chain, which generally means they need to be on the ends of your chain.

This is an example of honey combing:

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The light blue and dark blue B1 units on either end of the chain are the uplink units; the red arrows point to the BX droids (orange, burnt orange, and brown).  Note how all the B1 units are overlapping, so they have more range to bounce orders and if one of them gets iced it doesn’t mess up your chain.

I put my uplink units at both ends of the chain, so that I can 1) start the chain from the end and bounce in both directions, and 2) bounce directly from an uplink unit to a BX unit if the chain starts on the opposite end.  For the latter reason, I usually put my BX strikes at the end(s) of my chain.  If you keep this tight it shouldn’t be an issue to get perfect order control every turn.

In general, understanding the cohesion rules is really important for positioning your B1 models.  Your B1 units are going to have six to eight models in them, which means 1) you need more minis in cover than other corps units to gain the benefits of it, and 2) you are going to be taking up more board space than other armies, which means you have to make more efficient use of the cover you have available.  Check out this article on Cohesion for some key tips on how best to position individual models in a unit.

Swarm

B1s are individually pretty bad.  A single unit of six or seven B1 models can be focused down rather quickly and is unlikely to be able to do much more than plink away at a few targets.

You know what isn’t bad?  40 B1s.  Suddenly you have a lot of bodies and dice for your opponent to deal with.  Coordinate isn’t the only reason to keep your B1s close to each other, you need to make sure they are supporting each other offensively.

B1s have one very important weakness when it comes to gunfights, which is that their effective engagement range is 3.  Even though they can equip a Range 4 weapon (the E-5s) its output when it is in a pool by itself is pretty dismal.  Other factions have much better access to range 4 firepower with their corps units.  This means you need to be extremely careful about how and when you get your B1s involved.

CIS has two very strong area control pieces in Dooku and Grievous, and one excellent long range firepower piece in the AAT.  I like to be cagey with my B1s until my opponent has their hands full with one of those anchor units.  Threat saturation is important for any list, but it is doubly important for a faction like CIS where your corps units are so fragile and so individually weak.

Upgrades

Heavy Weapon Upgrades

And now the most interesting part.  We’ll take a look at each of the heavy upgrades, in order of awesomeness.

Really though, they are all pretty decent.

E-5C

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It’s an E-5, but bigger!  I’m not sure what the “C” stands for.  I’m going with Cato Neimoidia, after its place of invention.  Would that pass muster in Balderdash?

Anyway, this thing is a bargain.  It basically doubles the offense of your B1 unit for 18 points.  The average hits on this thing clock in at exactly 3 when you combine it with the rest of the pool, which is basically the worst heavy pool of any corps unit that isn’t naked (DLT-19 is 3.25, Z-6 is 3.5, DLT-20a is 3.86, for comparison).  It’s also the cheapest one though (by a lot), at only 54 points, so it is kind of hard to complain about.  B1s also shed white dice when they take casualties instead of black dice, which means this bad boy is heavily backloaded.

What gets really interesting is when you give them surge tokens.  A single surge tokens increases their average hits to about 3.7, which is rather punchy for a 54 point unit.

The E-5C is my default heavy weapon choice when I am kitting out my B1s.  Unless I am building a list specifically with naked B1s in mind, I usually end up with at least 4 E-5C’s if not 5-6.

E-5s

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The longer, pointier, cooler looking cousin of the E-5C.  I’m not really sure why the “s” is lowercase, or why this dude needs a wire to connect his face to the scope (how does he run like that?).  Anyway, this is my second favorite heavy weapon choice for B1s, and I often end up running 1-2 of them.

Why not 6?  On paper, this thing looks objectively better than the E-5C.  There are a couple of reasons for this, which I detailed in the Corps Upgrade Pack article, but I’ll rehash them here because I know you aren’t going to read that even though I love cross-linking old articles.

This thing does an average of 3.14 hits when you account for critical, which is a little better than the E-5C.  However, the E-5C is better than the E-5s under the following circumstances:

  1. When you have at least one surge token (as it is uncommon to roll 2+ surges on 8 dice)
  2. When you have an aim token (since you are usually re-rolling at least one black die instead of white)
  3. After you have taken at least three casualties (the E-5s is powered by surge results on the unit’s white dice, the E-5C has strong dice on its own)

Let’s not discount the E-5s entirely, though.  There are a couple of situations when the E-5s is better:

  1. When shooting into heavy cover
  2. When shooting at range 4 (the E-5C can’t do this at all, obviously)
  3. When targeting vehicles

None of these things are trivial.  If they were the same cost, I would probably run a lot more E-5s, but two points isn’t nothing.  Mostly you are paying for the ability to lay down suppression at range 4 and a minor armor hedge.  I usually take 1-2 of them as more independent B1 units, and give the surge tokens from Aggressive Tactics to my E-5C units.

E-60R

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This is easily the best corps-based, dedicated Impact weapon.  It is very cheap at 20 points, the dice are solid, it doesn’t have cumbersome, and B1s usually get both their actions so the recover isn’t as devastating as it is on other corps units.  Further you usually have one or two units with uplinks that want to be recovering anyway.

I wouldn’t take more than two of these, but if you are having trouble with armor you could do a lot worse.

Radiation Cannon

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The T-Shirt cannon!  Well, it shoots irradiated T-shirts.

Anyway, this thing hurts.  It does the same average damage as the E-5C when combined with the full unit (3 hits) but it tacks on a poison token when you do a wound, which is free, unavoidable damage.  Units with good saves and/or pierce immune really hate poison tokens.  I’m looking at you, Jedi, Sith, and Mandos.

Range 2 and cost are literally the only drawbacks here, because the Radiation Cannon hits like a truck.  A radioactive truck loaded with poison tokens.

Range 2 is a pretty significant drawback, though.  This is an assault weapon, and B1s are decidedly not an assault unit.  If you want a linebacker unit and you can’t afford B2s though, you could do a lot worse.  You are going to be pretty happy if you ever manage to clap a Jedi or Mando with poison tokens from this bad boy.

Naked B1s

Alright, let’s talk about naked B1s.  Legion is a game about activations, and you can’t really do any better than a six wound activation for 36 points.  They hit like a wet noodle, but it is kind of hard to go wrong for that price.  There are a lot of solid CIS builds that emphasize the other strong elements of the faction (AATs, characters, STAPs) while taking six naked B1s to score objectives and be a nuisance.  Does your opponent really want to bother shooting a 36 point unit in heavy cover with six wounds when they have two tanks in their face?  Make sure you still take at least one uplink.

Naked B1s aren’t exactly useless on offense, either.  Basically you are crit fishing, but six dice have a 55% chance to roll at least one crit.  You are flipping a coin to push a crit through.

Personnel Upgrades

I covered these extensively in the Upgrade Pack article.  Basically, if you want anything at the moment, it is the extra body or the OOM-Series droid.  If you can spare the points I really like the extra body on an E-5s unit, as those extra white dice power the rifle’s Critical 1.

I could also see a Security Droid in a unit with a comms relay to bounce the end of your chain to STAPs or an AAT.

This is slated to get a lot more interesting with the specialist pack upgrade.  I’ll flesh out this section more once we get more info on those upgrades.

Comms

We already talked about the essential HQ uplink above.  That should be your first consideration for the comms slots on your B1s.  Mostly I leave the comms slot naked on my non-uplink B1s, but there are a couple of interesting possibilities.

Comms Relay

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Comms relay does two things when you put it on a B1 unit: it lets you transfer the order they receive to any unit type (rather than coordinating to a droid trooper) and it lets you do it at range 2 instead of range 1.  Importantly, however, it only transfers the order, it doesn’t duplicate it like Coordinate would, so your B1 doesn’t end up with a face up order.  Nonetheless, this is useful if you want to bounce your chain to a vehicle like STAPs (who can then continue the chain to more STAPs or even more B1s) or an AAT.  You could also bounce to a character, though those are usually getting face up orders from their command cards anyway.  If you pair this with a security droid it eliminates the AI downside of not receiving a faceup order.

Comms Jammer

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Comms jammer is extremely situational.  I could see throwing this on B1s as a hedge against timing-sensitive aggressive units like Tauntauns, but that is kind of what you have Dooku for.  I personally can think of a lot better ways to spend five points.  It would be entertaining if you got a jammer B1 unit into the mix against another CIS player, but I can think of a number of other units with comms slots that are much more likely to be in your opponent’s grill than B1s (STAPs, stabby BX droids, Cad Bane).

Other upgrades

Electrobinoculars

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There is a B1 on this card, and I really want to like it.  Aim tokens are solid, and CIS doesn’t really have any good ways to get them, lacking any units with Spotter or Tactical.  Basically your choices are the aim action, Offensive Push, Linked Targeting Array, or this card.

This takes an action though.  All you are really doing is transferring an action from your B1 to the target unit.  I could see taking one of these on a naked B1 to pass aims to a BX sniper, but even then, 8 points is a lot.  I can think of a lot better ways to spend 8 points.

List Integration

So how many B1s do you want to take?

B1s are the anvil of any CIS list.  Sometimes you are going to give them heavy weapons, sometimes you are going to run them naked.  Regardless, you are going to want 5-6 of them.  I could see this changing with the newly previewed T-series upgrade, which potentially gives some new life and spammability to B2s, but we aren’t there yet.

CIS is probably the most internally well-balanced faction, which basically means they have the most viable list variety of any faction.  You want to run Dooku?  Grievous?  Maybe take some STAPs?  Double tank?  Single tank?  BX droids with swords?  Snipers?  Mines?  Cad Bane?  Some combination of the above?  All of these are perfectly excellent things to run alongside your B1s.

Hobby Thoughts

Hey look, a hobby section!  What can I say, I enjoyed assembling and painting my B1s.  I’m not sure if that makes me some kind of masochist.

You can find lots of great hobby supplies on our store, including paints, paint brushes, basing materials, and more.

Assembly tips

B1s represent the first step into a brave new world for the Legion hobby: hard plastic sprues.  B1s are spindly and skinny, and there really isn’t a way to do them in PVC.  That’s fine though, because hard plastic is awesome.  It’s durable, it’s detailed, you don’t have to boil any water to fix bent bits, and it is easy to customize.

I really dig how posable the B1 kits are.  I come from a long history of playing Warhammer 40k, and when I first got into Legion the mono-pose nature of the core set models was really off-putting to me.  Now you can have 50 droids and they can all be posed a little differently.

That said, the assembly difficulty is definitely something of a step up from the mono-pose PVC models.  Customization comes with a price.  The difficulty still pales in comparison to most GW kits, but if you aren’t used to sprues it can certainly be a challenge.

First, check out our very own Dustin Harvey’s video on assembling B1s.

A couple of my tips for assembling your B1s:

  1. Use plastic glue.  It has a much stronger bond than super glue, it doesn’t stick to your fingers, and you have some time before it fully dries to bend your model around a little, which is clutch for those gun arms with multiple connection points.
  2. Get some sprue clippers.  If you are trying to get those bits off the sprue with a razor blade or hobby knife, you are going to cut yourself, it is going to take forever, and you are going to get very frustrated.
  3. Grab a very soft sanding block or a hobby knife.  When you clip plastic off a sprue, you often get some bits that hang off at the connection points that need to be trimmed or sanded.
  4. For the heads, hold the back part between your thumb and forefinger, put a dab of plastic glue on the connection point, and then attach the front part with your other hand and hold it.  Why are they in two pieces?!?!  FFG sculpting lead Corey DeVore actually answered that question for us in an interview.
  5. Put on some good music and get into a rhythm.  It’s going to take you some time to put these bad boys together.  Be patient and don’t get frustrated.  Don’t worry, they are easier to paint than they are to assemble.

I have also seen some folks clip out all the bits beforehand and use egg cartons to organize all the parts together before assembling them.  I prefer to put my Roger Rogers together one at a time but I could see that working rather well.

Painting

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My quick and dirty Roger Rogers

There are a ton of different ways to paint your B1s.  Colors aside, B1s have a lot of hard edges and crevices, which means they lends themselves to quick painting techniques such as dry brushing, washes, and GW contrast paints.  This is fortunate, because you need to paint 40+ of them.  They can look really good with relatively minimal effort, though.

For my part, I went with the “standard” Naboo style tan colors.  Beige is an easy color to paint and is fairly forgiving of mistakes.  I knew I was going to have to paint nearly 50 of these dudes so I wanted to strike a good balance between difficulty and art.

I have an airbrush, which I used for many of these initial steps, but you could easily do most of this the old fashioned way.

This was my process;

  1. Base coat with black.  I use black primer from Vallejo mixed with some airbrush thinner, but you could easily use a black aerosol.
  2. Xenithyl highlight straight down from above with white.  You can do this without an airbrush as well (white from a spray can works just fine here).
  3. Base coat with tan.  I used Desert Tan from Vallejo.  Analogous choices would be Zandri Dust from GW or Arid Earth from Army Painter.
  4. Another Xenithyl highlight straight down from the top with white.
  5. Apply Agrax Earthshade as a wash to the entire model.  Just about any dark brown wash would do here (or you can use contrast paints).
  6. Dry brush in increasing layers of brighter colors: I used Zandri Dust, then Screaming Skull, then pure white.
  7. Paint guns and joints black.
  8. Dry brush guns with Gunmetal (or any other metallic silver)
  9. Paint across shoulders with various colors for squad markings.
  10. Add dark brown and metallic stippling to simulate rust effects.  Stippling basically involves dipping a sponge in paint (the foam cutout bits from carrying cases work great here, or you could try some artist sponges), dabbing off the excess on a paper towel, and then carefully dabbing away at your model.  It creates a subtle speckled rust effect (which you can see in the finished photo above).  This is pretty optional but it doesn’t take very long and I like the weathered look it adds.

Basing

Like my overall painting job, I wanted the basing scheme to be relatively easy and repeatable.  I really like the GW technical paints for jobs like this; you can slap them on and they look solid without having to do anything else.

I took it a couple steps further though to get my dirt/grass effect.

  1. Basecoat with Stirland Battlemire (which is like a dirt/mud effect).  Let dry for 24 hours.
  2. Drybrush with a medium brown and a lighter brown
  3. Apply Elmer’s glue in patches to the dirt.  Sprinkle on some Battlefield Grass from Army Painter
  4. Using tweezers, apply 1-3 Jungle Tuft’s to various parts of the base, carefully pressing into the undried glue
  5. Let dry.  Voila!

Before we go, let’s talk about one more critically important hobby topic…

Squad Markings

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Squad markings are kind of a hot topic.  Personally, I find them absolutely essential; both for my opponent and for myself.  B1s tend to get mixed up a lot, and it is really important to be able to tell on a model by model basis which mini belongs to which unit, from three feet away.

I went with different colors for each unit across the shoulders, because it is easy to see and meshes with some canon paint jobs of B1s.  I also like to be able to refer to units by colors, it makes communication easier and speeds up play (i.e., blue B1 is going to attack yellow clone).  I have seen a lot of different ideas for how to accomplish this; some people put markings on their bases or paint the base rims different colors.  I have seen some really creative ones where folks integrate the different colors into the scheme of their models, or use different colored foliage on their bases (Felucia provides a unique opportunity for something like this).  These ones below are some of my favorite, from Trezkapepsi on the discord:

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Make sure you have a plan for how to do squad markings on your B1s, or both you and your opponent are going to be pulling your hair out and wasting a lot of time trying to figure out who belongs where.

 

I hope you enjoyed this B1 unit guide!  Check out some of our other great articles on the blog.

 

 

 

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