This article will take a look at how an Empire Double Bounty list fits into the current Star Wars: Legion meta.
Salt, Invader League, & Double Bounty
Empire has had an identity crisis since the rise of Rex gunlines. Standby sharing made GAR the favorite gunline of Invader League, leaving Empire in its shadow. After standby sharing was removed, the Empire’s golden boys, the Shore Trooper and Mortar, were both given a point increase. Many Imperial players started having less success and soon a tidal wave of salty Imperial players followed. Because of my love for Empire as a faction, I set out to prove the community wrong by playing Empire in Invader League season 6. Before the rise of the Rex gunline, Empire was the undisputed strongest gunline/ranged faction. During this time Imperial gunlines were straightforward and powerful. They relied on ranged efficiency to shoot their opponent off the table. After these points changed, brute force efficiency was no longer the Empire’s strong point, and the Empire lost its range advantage due to many new range 4 units. I decided to start from scratch and try to come up with new Empire lists that were not Shorelines (Shoretrooper gunlines), which led me to Double Bounty.
All the units in Double Bounty are old units from early waves, but some recent changes caught my attention. First, Seize the Initiative was printed which allows for extra order control without the need for a comms slot. Second, points dropped on Boba Fett, Improvised Orders, Imperial Officer, and DLT-19 Stormtroopers. The biggest issue Double Bounty had during the height of its popularity back in Season 2 of Invader league was the lack of order control. Seize the Initiative helped fix this problem by allowing an extra turn of order control for Bossk and Boba Fett for only 10 points. These point changes allow for 11 activations with heavily upgraded bounty hunters.
Pure shooting efficiency is no longer the primary strength of the Empire, after the nerf to Shoretroopers and the rise of the Rex gunline. In any list you plan to play competitively you need to understand your list’s strengths and weaknesses compared to the meta. This list leans into flexible hero focus pieces and a total of Pierce 5 across primarily Range 4+ attacks, backed up by a core of inexpensive red saves for soaking up shots.
- Ranged pierce – Boba, Bossk & Snipers
- Double bounty – Sorry R2D2 & T-series
- Strong against armor – Surge crit, Pierce, Impact
- Order control of focus pieces- Seize the Initiative & Improvised orders
- 11 Activations – Each activation helps keep your Bounty Hunters safe
- Weak Range 3 gunline – DLT Stormtroopers struggle to keep up in a Range 3 slug fest
- Suppression – List cannot deal with suppression on Stormtroopers
How to Play
Bounty Hunter Order Control
Since this list cannot lean into pure efficiency in the current meta, you need to leverage the Bounty Hunters, by last-firsting (going last on one turn, and then first the following turn) with them every other turn. Each operative command card only gives one order, which means there will be 3 turns where each operative will not be receiving a native order token. On these turns you have two ways of keeping order control. You can use either Improvised Orders or give a onetime order with Seize the Initiative. Improvised Orders is best on turns where you want to go last with an operative since it allows you to delay the activation by reshuffling the token back into the stack. Improvised Orders should not be relied upon on a turn where you want start with a Bounty Hunter, because it is unlikely you will draw an operative out of a stack of multiple orders. Seize the Initiative can be used for both turns where you want to go first or last. In short, Improvised Orders should primarily be used for delaying activations and Seize the Initiative should be used on turns where a bounty hunter is not in a safe position and needs an order to get out of that position.
Bossk: Long Range Glass Cannon
Bossk is a long-range glass cannon powerhouse. He is good at shooting virtually any target due to the combo of range 4, surge critical, and Pierce. The one drawback to Bossk is he only has 7 wounds with non-surging white saves. This means he can be killed in one shot by large dice pools and does not stand up to focused fire. Since Bossk is very order hungry, he needs to rely on cover and line-of-sight (LOS) blockers to keep him alive. One thing to remember is the power of Regenerate. Leaving Bossk where he can be shot with an order can many times be a tempting target for your opponent to shoot, and because of Regenerate he can heal away damage from small dice pools or single units’ attacks, essentially causing those attacks to be wasted. Be especially cautious doing this, because anytime there is a dice pool with enough dice to kill Bossk he needs to hide behind a LOS blocker as soon as possible. Bossk produces reliable damage which is augmented by his command cards. Lying in Wait is great when you have Bossk behind a LOS blocker and want to go last with him giving you five crits with Pierce 1. Reptilian Rampage is one of Bossk’s most flexible cards; you can use it to double tap your opponent, to gain extra mobility by shooting with a double move, or even triple move. Merciless Munitions is the most situational of his command cards but can almost single handedly win games. A Dioxis charge on a KP or intercept point can cripple your opponent. Overall because most of Bossk’s points are put into his offensive ability if played properly he can easily carry games.
Boba: Play Maker
Boba Fett plays a unique role in the list because he is a mobile playmaker. Boba is the only unit in the list that is Speed 3. I use him to hedge against many objectives that the rest of the list is weak against. Due to his mobility and command cards, Boba can flex and play as a ranged Pierce threat, anti-armor with wrist and jetpack rockets, and a close-range diving unit with Whipcord and his Flame Projector. He is also great at finishing off wounded Bounty targets or units in general who try to run and hide. Command card order and sequence of events is extremely important for Boba’s safety. Z-6 jetpack rocket is used similarly to Bossk’s Lying in Wait, it is great as an engaging shot regardless of cover or armor. Boba’s ZX flame projector is strong against droids as it is essentially a guarantee one shot on a B1 unit. I typically use this card to try and shoot my way out of a melee or to destroy a large unit with weak saves. Whipcord Launcher is in my opinion one of Boba’s most under rated cards. Whipcord can give you a safe melee to dive into on a first activation since the opposing unit can’t withdraw. Conversely it can allow you to escape a melee because Boba can free move out of melee on his turn. Whipcord can also root a unit in place on a scoring turn to prevent them from moving to score or just stop a unit from moving to cover allowing your entire army to shoot it. Overall, Boba Fett, while not the most efficient when it comes to damage, still brings a lot to the list in the form of flexibility and playmaking potential.
Stormtroopers: Red save bodies
Stormtroopers are in the list so that you have bodies for objectives and 25 wounds behind red saves. Their job is to soak up shots so that your fragile ranged Pierce units like snipers and Bossk can survive until late game. While they are primarily bodies you still want to play conservatively with them. Approach slowly and do not underestimate how just getting a crit or applying suppression at range 4 with DLT’s can help control your opponent and soften them up for your heavy hitters. Once you have closed the gap to range 3, Stormtroopers just want to aim and shoot. While they may not be as strong as other core units, they still put up a solid fight in heavy cover with their red saves.
Imperial Officer & Snipers
Strike teams have been a staple in so many archetypes and lists over the history of Legion and serve the same role here: long-ranged pierce, with high velocity to break potential doge castling. The are also cheap activations to get your count up to 11. The Imperial Officer is also an inexpensive unit allowing for higher activation counts, which your bounty hunters love. Bossk is extremely aim hungry, so the officer in most games will hide behind a line-of-sight blocker and just hand out aims to your snipers and Bossk for the whole game.
How to Play Match Ups in the Current Meta
Gunline Lists: Rexstar, Stormtrooper Captain Gunlines, B2 Gunline
Rexstar is the list by which all others are measured, the undisputed most efficient gunline in the current meta. In this matchup you must leverage your long-range Pierce with Bossk, Boba’s 3 pip, and your three snipers. Be very careful that Bossk does not get destroyed by a Take That Clankers shot as Bossk is essential to winning the gunline matchup. Against Rexstar your DLT Storms are heavily under gunned compared to Phase 2 clones so you will need to rely on range and kiting. Avoid objectives that require early engagements and movement since your list cannot keep up in an all-out slug fest at Range 3. Bossk and your snipers are the key to winning this match up.
Against other gunlines leveraging your range advantage with Bossk and snipers is still important, but you have more flexibility with range 3 engagements. DLT Stormtroopers can trade well at Range 3 against B1’s, B2’s, and basic Rebel Troopers. Because of Impact, DLT Stormtroopers can trade with B2’s at range 3 but make sure to stay out of the Range 2 threat range of B2’s. Overall, the key to winning gunline matchups is leveraging Bounty for extra points and knowing how to efficiently trade.
Hero Focused Lists: Luke, Maul, Sabine, Obi/Ani, Double Bounty
Against lists that focus on powerful heros, Bounty is great at creating extra pressure and risk. For example, Bounty against aggressive heros such as lightsaber users makes it almost an auto loss if that hero dies to the hands of a Bounty Hunter. The pressure of the Bounty token creates situations where mistakes and overly eager engagements can be heavily punished. Both one pips are amazing tools at dealing with aggressive heros. Boba can root in place a Jedi to be shot by your entire list, and Bossk’s Dioxis Charge is a guaranteed way to apply the final wound on a fleeing Bounty target. Bounty is your friend use its pressure to gain favorable zoning power and force powerful units to hide while your operatives destroy the enemy core.
Armor Skew Lists: AAT’s, Padme Saber Tank, AT-ST, Air Speeder AT-RT
Double bounty is uniquely powerful at destroying armored targets. Between 5 DLT’s, Bossk’s surge crit Pierce, Bobas surge crit Impact Pierce, and powerful command cards like Lying in Wait and Jetpack Rockets you can destroy any armored vehicle. During Invader League I destroyed every heavy I played against. Opponents will many times underestimate how quickly you can kill a tank giving you opportunities to gain huge attrition leads. The main thing you want to be careful of is losing Bossk to long range burst shots. Most armor units are range 4 or fast like the Air Speeder, so you must make sure that Bossk is hidden or has an order any time there is enough fire power to kill him. In these games do not be afraid to close the gap to Range 3 since your DLTs are strong against armor and trade efficiently in this matchup.
Activation Spam Lists: 13 Activation STAPs, 12 Activation Dual Air Speeder
High activation lists can be difficult to manage with Double Bounty. Battle card selection and deployment are important in this matchup. Avoid mobile objectives like Bombing Run and Breakthrough, as these objectives are difficult to win against. In this match up you must be very careful with Bossk. STAPs and Air Speeders can easily flank and kill him in a turn. Make sure Bossk is behind LOS blockers. You want to leverage your long-range firepower to get some early attrition before you engage the full list. Lying in Wait plus one sniper shot is enough to typically fully destroy a STAP unit. Similarly, Lying in Wait plus Jetpack Rockets can fully destroy an Air Speeder. If you can deal with the STAPs or Air Speeders with minimal losses the ensuing gunline battle is much more manageable.
Conclusions – How did this all pan out in Invader League?
In Invader League I was able to finish 5/0 in the group stage running Double Bounty giving me a slot in single elimination. In single elimination only 7 players brought Imperial lists out of 80 players total, which demonstrates the community’s general view on Empire. In single elimination I finished in the top 32 going 1/1 with a bye in the play in round. My single win was the only win for the Empire in single elimination. While this may seem bleak for the Empire, Invader League is only a small sample size and the community perception of what is good is many times incorrect. For example, CIS was by far the most common faction representing nearly half of the lists brought to single elimination, but CIS had a negative win rate against every faction (Besides Empire XD) and the top 4 only contained 1 CIS list. While the community believed CIS to be the best faction, it played out very differently in reality. The path forward is not clear for the Empire, but it is still possible to find success. There are no clear “meta” lists for Empire, so it just takes more home brewing. If you understand the strengths/weaknesses of the current meta and the strengths/weaknesses of your faction you can still find success!