This article will serve as a guide to the Echo Base Defenders Battleforce for Star Wars: Legion.
We’ll go over some overall strengths and weaknesses of Echo Base Defenders, the force organization chart, the unit roster, the command cards, and some battle deck considerations.
- Access to possibly one of the best command cards in the game.
- Excellent area coverage with long range shooting and fast tauntauns.
- Decent suite of hero options
- Locked to two (related) corps, both rather costly options.
- No real support for Tauns
- Limited to commander Luke can hurt your options against other force users
Force Organization and Unit Roster
As the opposing side of the imperial Blizzard Force, this battleforce covers the Battle of Hoth and only stuff that realistically would be there. As is designed, that does limit your options, and you will need to work within those constraints. Luckily, the Rebellion has a lot of units that were actually present at Hoth (they don’t need any made up units like those pesky Imperials!), and all of the main characters were present at the time so there’s way more options to pick from.
The rebel alliance’s biggest strength has been it’s vast number of hero options. The number of S tier heroes outpaces every other faction, which means that by sheer number alone the Rebels will have some winners here. You may not get some of the greats like Cassian or Lando but you got enough here to work with.
Upgrades to Consider: Vigilance, Strict Orders, Portable Scanner
Leia unfortunately struggles from being a launch era hero. She functions better in the back line supporting her troops, but lacks the range to actually assist them in combat. However, you can make a pretty good argument for using her in Echo base. Echo Base tends to prefer a much more passive game, using more emplacement troopers to guard important zones. With several troops in the back line, her Take Cover and Inspire starts to matter more. However, the Rebel Officer is still here and you can argue he still just does her job but cheaper.
Upgrades to Consider: Force Push, Force Reflexes, Force Speed, Recon Intel, Emergency Stims, Battle Meditation (if you’re going all in on the FD three pip build)
Just commander Luke, he hasn’t gotten his full Jedi training yet. Unfortunately he is your only force user and man he just does not cut it these days. Luke suffers from being able to do a bit of everything but none of it well. He has a reliable gun, but he has to get close. He can chop up in melee, but not nearly as well as anyone else who can. He has force powers, but only 2 and he has to manually recharge them. He costs a bit too much and just doesn’t synergize well with the rest of the force.
Upgrades to Consider: Vigilance, Up Close and Personal, Endurance, Environmental Gear
Now we’re talking. Since his refresh, Han really works well here. While you have your forces that do best holding the back line, somebody’s gotta push up and make things happen and Han is it. He can run and shoot 2 units before getting the hell out of dodge, and reliably puts down 1-2 models in each squad doing it.
Upgrades to consider: Portable Scanner, Vigilance
As stated above, Rebel Officer is economic Leia. He does all the same jobs, just slightly worse for significantly cheaper. You can give him upgrades to allow him to get on her level while still remaining cheaper than she is. The only thing Leia has over him is her command cards which, quite frankly, are not great. Unless you want to be really fluffy with your list building, probably let this guy lead the troops while Leia escapes on the Falcon.
Two options here, both bangers and heavily worth considering.
Upgrades to consider: Protector, Tenacity
With his buff alongside Han, Chewie is a really good take, especially if you bring Han. Rebels are delicate, and while Chewbacca may have an awful save he can tank those hits real good where everyone else in your army can’t really afford to. Alongside Han they compliment each other with Teamwork and make a devastating team to lead the vanguard pushing into enemy territory.
Upgrades to consider: Comms Relay
As always, R2 is sort of an all or nothing option. If you want to bring him to tip the scales by giving you that tiebreaking victory point, go for it, otherwise don’t bother. He won’t be able to play backup repair bot as the only vehicle you’ll have is the Airspeeder and he won’t be able to keep up with that. Additionally, you don’t have any tricks you can play like bringing him over enemy lines in an Landspeeder. You’re doing this old school like back in the day when he had to slowly double move trudge across the field.
I’m not saying don’t do it, but accept you’re taking a risk. Plan your deployments accordingly.
Simultaneously where the faction suffers and excels. In short, you’re short changed out of the better rebel troop options, no cheap Range 4 DLTs on rebel troopers or shotgunners on fleet troopers. You have to take the more expensive options which means you’re eating up a lot of your points on corps alone, which rebels tend to want to avoid. It’s not all grim though, as Echo base gets some pretty rad synergies we’ll get into with the command cards. They can be pretty lean as well if run naked.
Upgrades to consider: CM-0/93, Prepared Supplies, Situational Awareness
Vets aren’t actually bad, seriously. Surge to hit puts them a cut above their fellow troops. The problem is they are just as delicate and 20% more expensive. Defend is much less reliable than Nimble, and just like any other rebel troops you need that Dodge token spam.
Unfortunately, you do have to take at least 2 of these guys. You need 3 troopers, and your only other option is taken as a detachment to these guys. So let’s make the most of them.
Make sure to issue them orders as much as possible so you can get dodge tokens and pass orders off to your emplacements. The CM-0/93 gun is practically an auto take with its Range 4 Critical 2 shots, you don’t get to take 2 heavy weapons like your Imperial counterparts, but it will keep you safely out of range of standard enemy fire.
Medium Blaster Trooper
Upgrades to consider: Linked Targetting Array
You may take one of these for each Rebel Veteran you take, and they’re generally worth it when the option is there. At 38 points it helps offset the cost of the Rebel Vet, and they’re excellent for establishing killzones. With Fire support they can throw extra dice into the pool of another unit, and it does not have to be the Veteran unit. Han, Leia or the Officer can add sharpshooter to the pool if they they fire together, for example. If there aren’t any good targets for them, it is wise to keep them on standby with their built in sentinel. Their chief role is to guard important zones.
Two options again, Tauns and Laser Cannons. Sadly the Tauns don’t have much support but they are your fastest way up the field, while the cannons play well with the command cards.
Suggested Upgrades: Comms Jammer, HQ Uplink, Hacked Comms, Tenacity, Up Close and Personal
Tauntauns have occupied a weird slot in rebels since their nerf. They’re not bad but are a bit lackluster and have to compete with the special forces and heavy options in Rebels that just work better. They’re only good in melee but since legion is such a shooting focused game, most units aren’t very good in melee. To their benefit, they are hard to shoot, with Agile 1 they almost always have a dodge token on them and with Relentless they can get up the field mighty quick with a double move 3 while still taking some surprisingly effective pistol shots.
Since the exploit to retreat and charge again is long gone, Tauntauns are best doing hit and run attacks on weaker units that will be decimated by the attacks so they can keep moving. Just be very careful about moving them out into the open; wait to charge a unit that has already gone, lest they withdrawal and leave you open to enemy fire.
Upgrades to consider: Generators, Linked Targetting Array
For newer players, make sure you know that the card has been errata’d these are range 5 now, effectively making them snipers. Which is good because they can’t move. As emplacement troopers you want them to go early to get a standby set up because of their built in Sentinel. Place them on a good vantage point to guard your objectives and dare your enemy to come forward.
Only one, the iconic Airspeeder.
Upgrades to Consider: Linked Targetting Array, Comms Jammer, HQ Uplink
In its current state the airspeeder is quite solid, it’s just very fragile. Echo Base also doesn’t specifically do anything for the airspeeder (bit of a thematic miss for the most iconic unit from the battle). You likely want to bring two as well, because Airspeeders can be difficult to hit but are delicate, so concentrated fire will bring them down eventually.
Not being able to bring Shriv is a pain, but these guys can still put in some work and are some of the only armor piercing you got.
3 cards, one of each pip.
Sometimes, this is worse Sabotaged Communications. Other times, this is an absolutely crazy downside-free version of Dooku’s two pip, when used as a silver bullet against operatives. The rank exclusion on this card only applies to Commanders and not Operatives (unlike every other card that has a similar rank exclusion, which always excludes both). If your opponent has an important operative and no other way to generate extra orders to kick back (which is especially common in Shadow Collective, bounty hunters lists, and Blizzard Force Vader lists… all of which are top picks right now) you can kick that extremely valuable operative token back to the bag on the operative order turns.
Courage of the Rebellion
Free refresh is always appreciated. It’s a simple workhorse card that does a strong effect really well. If you brought Luke Skywalker it’s one of the only ways to get his powers back without burning an action.
Hold At Any Cost
This card is the shining diamond of the faction and makes all those emplacement troops make sense. While the order is restrictive, at only 3 Corps units, the wording says each friendly Corps unit and each friendly Emplacement unit, having nothing to do with where the faceups actually are. It feels like this might be a mistake in the wording, but no attempt has been made to try and correct it since then.
I probably don’t need to belabor the point here, this is really good. One free aim token on each of your corps unit is solid but the free standby on all your emplacements is insane if you build your list around it. You can create an effective killzone that your opponent will be unable to cross without taking serious blaster fire. Plan it right for the turn that they will try and push up and watch their plans get dashed against the rocks as it becomes impossible to try and and cross the field. You can also proactively trigger your standbys with Force Push if you brought Luke (which is why you want Battle Meditation on him if you do this build). Don’t forget that fire support doesn’t strip a unit’s standby, so your Mk2s can fire support your FD shots and still spend their standby.
Most of the units, with all the emplacement troopers, ask you to play more passively. Unfortunately that doesn’t win games! However, we need to leverage our greatest strength.
In short, the emplacement troopers are your rear defenders, set the Laser Cannons in the back with a solid view over the battlefield. The Veterans and Medium Blasters will move up cautiously, but largely their goal is still to sit out and observe the battlefield.
Han, Chewie and the Tauntauns work as your vanguard. Up close they’re devastating and so you can move them more or less in unison (tauns might need to slow down a bit) so they can unleash fire upon the enemy up close.
Scramble the Speeders
Similar to the last one, a lot of your troops are trying to maintain the back line, in this case the Airspeeders try and move ahead and clear out the most dangerous forces before your corps move up. Airspeeders are fantastic for their point cost now, but as i stated in their entry they can be kind of shaky if you only bring 1, as concentrated fire can bring them down. So bring 2 and some tauns to harass the enemy and shut down their orders.
When Echo Base Defenders was launched I got real excited, because the Battle of Hoth was a formative experience for me so building a list around the idea was very exciting.
Having actually gotten to test it out I leave a bit underwhelmed. The over-reliance on emplacements makes the gameplay style very passive, and requires your opponent to come to you, which means that it can struggle pretty bad if your opponent has good long ranged fire to keep the emplacement troopers away from their precious standby tokens. Legion, frequently, is a game that rewards the bold willing to take decisive action.
If you do like the idea of turtling up and making your opponent fight for every inch of ground, then the battleforce is quite effective at that.