In this article we’ll cover the X-1 and winning lists (top 5) from the Canto Bight Cup. For most of these lists I was able to get some feedback from the players themselves, which has been incorporated into the text of each section. Enjoy!
I’ll just say it: the results of the Canto Bight Cup (50 players, run as a straight-up 6 round swiss tournament) hearten me in a way those in LVO did not. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no denying that LVO was bigger and was at least as much of a test of player skill (and, likely, a stronger test of the meta) but seeing 4 super tac lists and one Yoda castle in the top 6 didn’t exactly fill me with hope for diversity in tournament success. Here, however, we have five lists that span all the factions and cover multiple archetypes. Although most of these lists (Luke Cook being the exception) rely heavily on high-value units, the variety in which they do so inspires me to think that things may be more interesting than they may have seemed recently.
Let’s not dally (there will be plenty of that in my OTHER article this week), you came here for the lists, here are the lists:
5th Place (5-1): Richard Devivo’s “Poisonous Spiders”
What it beat: Leia Sabine RT gunline, Rex gunline, Kalani Maul Spider E5C gunline, Han 3 Taun 3 Wook, Grievous Magna B2
What it lost to: Poetically, the #4 list!
Honestly, a case of viscerocutaneous loxoscelism (I’m not linking, look it up at your own peril, have puppy pictures nearby just in case) is one of the few medical experiences that gave me a real nightmare afterwards, and the spider that did that didn’t even have a gun on it! Naturally, the list title is ACTUALLY a reference the completely awesome decision to include three RAD cannons in here to give extra wound potential for organics. This gunline is interesting in that while it has a VERY significant range 4 presence its threat is strongest at range 2 (where everyone can shoot with all they got) but drops off a cliff at range 1.
Take it a step further and consider that that this list has potential answers to many threats including vehicles (ion and AP) and Jedi (HV and poison) but does lose some ground against high health melee focused lists such as Wookiee Taun spam (which Richard did manage to beat using some clever trooper placement tactics) or….Nick Coleman’s CIS Mega Melee list (which ended up besting this list for its only loss, partially due to melee-friendly battle cards).
4th Place (5-1): Nick Coleman’s “Kraken the Whip”
What it beat: Iden Dews, Rex Gunline, Han Landspeeder Airspeeder, Richard Devivo’s #5 list above, Magna AAT E5s gunline
What it lost to: Yoda Suppression (see below for link!)
This list is basically the Legion version of Ryu’s ↓↙← H and I’m all about it. Nick won 5 straight to edge his way into the top 4 with a list that is….just, all about bopping your noggin. It takes a special kind of bravado to run something that barely relies at all on the relative efficiency of B1 masses, instead opting to overwhelm opponents with offensive melee force. I’m especially a fan of the smoke grenades, I think it’s not an upgrade we’re sleeping on to cover an advance especially when you may not always have 100% perfect order control.
In fact, Nick’s only loss came in the very first round when he faced David Dole’s (who ended up at #6) suppression-heavy Yoda list, which apparently forced even these droid-ly fellows to run for their lives. I doubt many of us would have predicted that such a matchup would ever happen at all a few months ago, a sign of even more intriguing ideas that have found success!
3rd Place (5-1): Luke Cook’s Iden Double Bounty
What it lost to: More poetry…his own father’s Luke Wook Bus (and the #2 list below!)
I have this strange feeling that Jay and Teknofobia are going to gush about this list on their next pod together but the reigning World Champ once again does not disappoint. Luke exchanged having an “optimum” Tactical Strike for what basically amounts to an Imperial hero hammer that can add up to 2 victory tokens to its pile. I can imagine that, while one is dealing with the marching crit machine ISF + Iden in front of you, it’s difficult to account for Boba swooping in for the side for a quick jetpack rocket bounty then to peace out when the job is done. I have a personal feeling that Bossk somehow continues to be underappreciated because of the new hotness that is Operative Vader but hopefully this will help people come around.
For those who are curious, Luke took Iden’s sniper rifle twice (against both Empire lists naturally, where pierce matters more than volume) and ended the tournament with a total of four bounty VP’s. It was bounty that got Luke his toughest win in fact, in his otherwise stalemated match against Krennic on KP.
2nd Place (5-1): Chris Cook’s Cookie-Wookiee Party Bus
What it beat: Rex Double ISP, Wookiee plus dodge-spam gunline, HIS OWN SON THE HUMANITY, Magna AAT E5s gunline, Yoda suppression list
What it lost to: Bushman’s winning list below
Yet another episode of “THAT FITS?!” which seems to reverberate through non-GAR lists these days. Though I’m sure Chris would be flexible when it comes to who to put on the bus, it’s hard to discount a Shriv bus with R2 in it as a victory point that’s RELATIVELY close to a sure thing and a bid of 5 is often going to be sufficient to get those sweet secret-mission friendly deployments.
I respect the hell out of this list for its ruthlessness honestly, it hits you in the face while R2 puts a banana peel under your foot. Luke attested his loss to this list with a combination of a key position that was too lateral for his liking when the fight that mattered was all in the middle, plus the fact that he just couldn’t kill Skywalker (which, I think we can all admit, happens a lot when it comes to that 7 health disengaging bastard).
Winner (6-0): Jon Bushman’s
What it beat: Iden Dews, that Rebel Highlander list, Yoda suppression, Yoda Padme BARCs (his closest game, where he attributed the win to map advantage and that BARCs melt to sharpshooter), Chris Cook’s Rebel List, and Han triple wook triple taun
What it lost to What Bushman is glad he didn’t face: Any list with significant range 4 shooting
You have to respect the hunger of TFT’s own Jon Bushman, dissatisfied with a “mere” second place at LVO he took a completely different (aside from Chewie and a green lightsaber that is) list to Canto Bight and ripped it to shreds. Were I to write a whole big thing about the state of GAR in the meta right now the thesis statement would be that the faction has been forced into a bit of a corner that I’ll call “activation recycling.” I’m using that term specifically because its meant to encompass both standby sharing AND, specifically, Guidance. Clone troopers aren’t in a great place right now, and it shows in that the lists that sideline them the most (Yoda Saber, Yoda Wooks, Anakin Padme Wooks) and instead use activation recycling to let your really good dudes to attack an extra time (or two or three extra, why not) to more-than make up for inherent disadvantages of lower activations.
It’s hard to give Bushman enough credit, I’ve seen a lot of Yoda wook skews that look good or great but his decision to take a single overwatch shooty squad was a revelation, which he confirmed to me after the tournament. The obvious reason why even a little, let alone a lot, of range 4 in his opponent’s squads would have chilled his porridge is that standbys with an overwatch squad that has natural pierce is REALLY solid, lest we forget the bad old days (yes even I admit it) of “Arc-Star.” I’ve usually been lukewarm on shooty wooks but the combination of free aims (on the Yoda 3 or Wookiee 1 turn) and precise make a big difference in terms of lethality. A move shoot with two aims from Luminous will kill 3 minis in a full T21 Shore unit in heavy (down to light) cover 70% of the time and will get the heavy as well 40% of the time, it is not to be trifled with. Even when you’re deep in the fight, Yoda can always simply guidance a melee wook into a charge or (if you want to get fancy) guidance a standby on them and then push an enemy off an objective to THEN get charged.
Chewie is another fun aspect of this list, and the GAR version truly doesn’t need any upgrades (tenacity is nice when you can afford it). He makes the prospect of shooting Yoda early on even less attractive than it normally is, especially on the Chewie 2 turns when the big boy is rolling death trooper saves. Chewie can also drop Yoda off into melee or even pick him up FROM melee for free, its really quite an excellent card especially since the nature of Yoda’s commands means that you never HAVE to use it. Bushman shared with me that he left it in his hand 2/6 times, but also pointed out that it’s especially “Han”dy against Change of Plans which normally is very annoying to deal with as a Yoda player.
A huge congratulations to Jon and the other players featured here! No matter what happens, I think we’re all glad to see all the factions make cut, and just glad in general that (fingers crossed) big-event legion is back for the foreseeable future!
Bonus Section: Haikus for the fallen TFT members (links on player names)
“Don’t Choke On Your Ambition”
Too bad he did though
Three wooks and three tauns
“At least I have lots of pierce”
They didn’t much care