Gen Con is without a doubt the premiere convention in the entire world for “gaming” in a general sense. There are other cons that are more wargaming focused (Adepticon) or broader nerd-culture appeal (SDCC) or with a greater likelihood that you’ll see Godot from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney making out with Princess Zelda (Dragon Con) but Gen Con is an amazing experience that covers all facets of gaming in a fairly accessible part of the United States that’s full of lovely people. I only went once, to fail making elims in L5R worlds after a promising start earlier that year, but I really hope that I get to go again soon!
This year’s Star Wars: Legion event was two separate heats each of which yielded a top 4 to end in a 8 person single elims bracket. The top 4 overall will receive an invite to next years World Championships at Adepticon 2023 if they did not have one already. Heat 1 (Thursday 8/4) had 25 players (who played 3 games) and heat 2 (Friday 8/5) had 42 (who played 4 games) meaning this tournament was 67 players strong overall.
No prequel faction lists made the final cut of Top 8 so I wanted to shout out the top performers for them!
Top CIS: Armand Meza (picotheguyyo) 3-1, #5 on Day 2
Armand missed the cut just barely on the PACKED Day 2 Heat, but his performance is naturally one to be proud of. I imagine his snail droid was a glorified battering ram, comms jammer and mag dets tell me that the idea was to scream in there and dump some madness on the opponent while STAPs hit the flank. Certainly would be a pain, especially to other droid lists.
Top Republic: Dan Bertzyk (CREATEminis)
Dan certainly broke the mold by playing an army somewhat similar to a few that have been played with Anakin as an Obi list. Dan saved several points by going with the “economic” version of these Pyke heavies by leaving the Capo personnel at home. In doing so he’s able to stay at 9 acts while taking 5 heavies along with Padme, who can do the usual token sharing shenanigans. Impressively creative, and also very well executed. Well done!
And with no further ado, let’s get to the Top 8!
Top 8: Goreshde – Shadow Collective – “Maul Bus Medley”
Goreshde was unfortunately unable to make it for elims and thus his opponent (who ended up winning it all!) was given a bye. So, we won’t know how far this can go until he or someone else gives this a try, but what we see here is a list that clearly pushes for efficiency spread across several units on top of Maul and a fairly lean medic bus, all of which is likely charging whole-hog at the opponent. One thing I’ll point out is the choice of “Discretion” instead of “At Last.” While two dodges (Maul will likely still get an order) is certainly nice I do think that the opportunity to have two cunning one-pip plays is worth considering as well. In any case, the list obviously did well, I’ll be curious to see if we’ll see more of “Maul in a bus” – oh hey look here!
Top 8: Nathan Nicholson (Minor Tom) – Shadow Collective – “Black Sun on the Run”
Oh hey here’s another! While at first glance this list seems like its even more purely about bum-rushing your opponent than the list one was, check out this neat strategy which came from the player himself:
“The play is to play Phantom Menace turn 1, move the bus forward and standby, then Maul disembarks, grabs the center box, and moves. Phantom Menace means that in order to shoot him, people have to move close enough to the bus , at which point bus procs the standby and blocks him off. But yeah, outside of recover, it’s usually BSE.”Nathan Nicholson
So dastardly my monocle fell off (nearly)! And, surprisingly, Nathan ended up losing a game where this tactic went off like a charm. He ran up against the Runner-Up list in the first round of the cut and unfortunately (for Nathan) had his back box carrier killed by some stray shots into his back lines despite Nathan controlling the game to that point.
Anyway we’ll now move on to a different faction with
Top 8: Austin Miller (PoisonDart) – Shadow Collective – “Maul Pyke Gunline”
Oooooops nevermind we got more free tokens to throw at ya! Between this event and Lone Star it sure seems like our friendly game stores may want to invest a bit more on having a healthy supply of Shadow Collective starters to start handing out to all the try-hards out there. This one clearly sets itself apart from the other two in the form of its core of corps. Austin tried his best to spread the butter evenly here, all his corps have heavy weapons but since that includes one whip and two foot soldier Disruptors to go along with the now “traditional” 80 point Pyke Capo Disruptor he loses just a little bit on ranged attacks. Don’t sleep on those whips, at 5 black dice its much more than a simple “suppression generator and token grabber” even at range and Jedi are (obviously) everywhere so your whip will usually find something to crack at.
Now let’s move on to a list that doesn’t rely on a significant number of free tokens every round and oh who am I kidding…
Top 8: Michael Smith (GMSmithers) – Rebels – “Pescatarian Luke DLT”
Michael went with a new spin on the not-so-old hotness of Luke with a bunch of dodgy heavies. The advantage Pykes have is that their weapons hit harder at range 3 and against vehicles. The disadvantage, of course, is that their dodges will actually go away when they’re spent, meaning focus fire will start taking care of business eventually. Additionally, these are the cheaper variety with the “Foot Soldier” so they don’t get any natural courage 2.
Michael confirmed these things certainly mattered sometimes, but he moved the Pykes in first to get their shots in and the DLT’s were the closers. This ensures you get your money’s worth while at the same time reducing the number of times you need to make the hard choice of tapping your captain when your DLT squads start taking suppression tokens. It also allows you to start the shooting in-earnest a little earlier when your opponent deploys close…the Pykes don’t need to charge up at the start with dodges, since they get them for free with Independent. Michael told me this also gave his generic Rebel commander more time to find his opportunity to hand out a couple dodges of his own to enable the Rebel DLT to do their thing.
A cool twist on a a meta favorite, this is NOT your daddy’s Luke DLT list.
And now for something completely different, a list that does not feature any units from the Shadow Collective starter
Top 4: Jon Bushman (Bushfacts) – Rebels – “Your Daddy’s Luke DLT List”
Well, at least this army needs to earn those dodges with a dang action (once each for the whole game)! For anyone who has not been paying super-close attention to the scene this year, I’ll point out that this is the only list of these 8 that I would have called a “traditional” meta list prior to the Shadow Collective release. Basically, the Rebel troopers get dodges and Vigilance and Nimble they stay there forever effectively giving them the ability to cancel a hit or crit out of every non-high velocity attack pool for the entire game. Oh and…Op Luke is pretty good too.
Jon cruised through 3 droid lists to finish undefeated on Heat 1 (including poor Nik, see below). Droids were part of the original reason for this list’s existence after all, it obliterates the plinky hits that e5s normally excels at and is able to respond in kind at range 4 against spiders while still having a very good Jedi to do…Jedi things.
Jon was able to beat Austin’s Pyke gunline (a matchup that we’ll likely see play out quite a bit these next few months, where it’s as yet unclear to me which one of these two similar concepts has the advantage) before running into the winner’s list which had significant high velocity. For quite a while this keyword that everyone (except Republic…cough) has decent access to was considered a possible answer for this list above, and when you add Pykes into the mix its value goes up even higher. Jon confirmed that, in his words, “HV and Boba were the only ones that did damage.”
Congrats to TFT’s own Jon Bushman, you finally got that invite you’d been working hard for!
Top 4: Danny Trujillo (kiramode)
While it is, yes, another Op Luke list this one at least doesn’t have a free token in sight. As you’ll see momentarily, it is in fact the only list in the top 8 AND the honorable mentions above them that will have no modifier tokens on the field at the start of the activation phase (not counting those granted by commands). We’ll get to the implications of that in a bit but I felt like it was worth pointing this out, which in my opinion is an extra testament to Danny’s ingenuity.
Per Danny, Luke started inside the bus 99% of the time. This allows Luke to dive into enemy lines on turn 1 with some measure of regularity. The wookiees and fleets are diving in alongside them and serve as a nice distraction that can also get some damage done. And then, of course, there’s our favorite/not quite favorite/most hated garbage can on wheels R2D2 to take full advantage of the significant number of distractions on the field.
I lost to Danny playing a very similar list at Adepticon and I can attest that he’s very skilled with using the bus as a mobile giant barricade to protect Luke from shooting after he’s been dropped off. After all, with comms jammer and no weapon it doesn’t have a TON else to do. Wedge is cheaper than Shriv and he allows the bus to do some tokyo-drifting in order to get into the perfect blocking position for the list’s centerpiece.
Runner Up: Brian Baer (Weebaer) – Shadow Collective – “Double Decker Maul”
I can guarantee that prior to this event you wouldn’t have seen much mention of either this list or (to a slightly lesser extent) the winner’s on many podcasts or blogs, there’s a lot to admire about that! This is just about the definition of a top-heavy list: you have two units that get built up for an absolutely massive dice to unload onto the enemy and there’s little you can do about it when the units in question are housed inside of a giant truck. Let’s do a little math:
Dice Pool: 7 black 4 white 1 red surge crit blast impact 3
Mods: Let’s just assume 3 of them, with precise 2
Median required saves: 10 (!)
Median Expected wounds:
- Rebel troopers with a dodge: 6 (ded)
- Stormtroopers: 5 (ded, probably these days)
- Clone troopers with one natural surge and one to spent: 4 (heavy is ded)
- Spider Droid: 5 (uh oh! Lol)
That’s a lot of hurt! Brian beat double bounty and two Luke gunlines prior to the day of finals but fell just short of repeating the new Battle Force getting a win in the second major tournament since its release (the first being Lone Star Open). Brian felt quite happy with his list and wouldn’t change a thing at the moment, he feels it lines up well against the meta in general…obviously I don’t think any of us could disagree when he had a performance like that!
WINNER: Emmanuel “Izzy” Gambliel (Izzboticus) – Empire – “I fit in a carry-on”
Izzy also had Overwatch, Duck and Cover, and Enviro Gear in his loadout
Along with a certain gentleman I’ll shout out at the end of the article, Izzy is the premiere player in my home turf of Seattle, WA and is a leader in the community. Not only that, he’s the captain of the home-grown Yavin Base Team League team “Louis Vuittontaun” (yes, he has to put up with both me and my brother) which will surely climb back into the Champion’s League this year. For as long as I’ve known him Izzy has been attracted to hero-based lists and the imperial bounty hunters in particular. So, it’s no surprise that some recent buffs to said bounty hunters, along with an increased value of high velocity in the meta, was the perfect recipe for Izzy to devise a scheme to take one of his usual lists deep into a major tournament. By the way, just look at how compact it is!
Though Izzy has had a bit of a recent love affair with Cad Bane he ended up going with the classic tried and true double bounty and…well, who can blame him? Bossk and Boba are monsters in their own right, but keep in mind that Izzy has been playing lists with at least one bounty hunter since the day they existed in this game. Boba especially is a nuanced unit (at least until the cards from his upcoming “Dad Boba” expansion release) and I’m sure Izzy felt a bit like a runner who hits the track without ankle weights for the first time in weeks when the new unit cards came out. Izzy mentioned to us in our local discord that Double Bounty allows for a lot of mind games, in most situations a strong player will at least have a clue what a “good” move will be to prevent bad outcomes but that becomes less clear when 1-2 victory points are at stake at any given time. Plus, the list has significant high velocity presence, meaning it can get a lot of damage past those pesky Captain DLT’s and Pykes.
Notice that Izzy also has emergency transponders on some of his key units. On Iden and ISF it gives him some extra marksman opportunities outside of Tac Strike (I had to fix this in an edit, it can’t be used ON tac strike because the order has to come from the pool, apologies!) or drops a suppression when necessary to guarantee two actions. For Boba, it allows him an extra aim that he can also flex as needed, making it a bit better than offensive push since he isn’t likely to recover much anyway.
Some fast facts from Izzy:
- He claimed bounty twice (one imperial officer, one capo) in the tournament
- He took Iden’s repeater twice when the opponent didn’t have strike teams and Iden wanted to be closer to the action
- He would actually make a small change, to move the smoke grenades to a strike team
- Izzy obliterated a bus full of Black Suns in the final but his opponent stayed in it to the end because of the heals from Witch Magick…go figure that healing a really good force user is like good and stuff!
Congratulations to Izzy, our 2022 Gen Con Champion! I’m glad you’ll finally be getting the recognition you’ve deserved for a long time! My brother (Pilot Paul) and I basically can only win games because Izzy beat our faces in over and over, and Bobby Joe Thomas (also a local, but sadly will mostly be a thousand miles away soon) learned from the three of us beating his face in over and over. It’s beautiful really, the circle of smashed faces, the essence of legion instruction and friendship.
Speaking of getting your face beaten in, let’s take a step back and join me on composing some haiku for the fallen TFT staff who didn’t make cut, as is tradition…
Nikolaus Lichtneburg, 2-1 with 11 act Spider/Magna business….who lost to Bushman during the heat (Friendly fire!!!)
You thought you brought sweat But the salt that you tasted Was Separatist tears
Evan Bulriss, 2-2 with Maul Bossk Pyke
You DID bring the sweat In your evaporation You have cooled yourself
Some brief thoughts on the meta
I am sure that brighter minds will discuss this in greater detail on Notorious Scoundrels but let’s recall the lists we saw in the top cut of Lone Star Open to make some less-early-but-probably-still-a-little-too-early observations about the current state of the meta:
- Definitely: Free tokens are good. As I mentioned above, 7/8 of these lists either have the Independent keyword or they leverage Vigilance with Nimble to generate dozens of free dodges over the course of the game. All Shadow Collective lists and all bounty hunter lists will get at least a few free tokens from now until the foreseeable future, and this mechanic is just plan “free money” when these units cost pretty much the same as their peers who have similar heavy weapons but nowhere close to this level of reliable durability.
- Definitely: Have an answer for Jedi. Most commonly, this will be your own Jedi with force push, but whether it’s large high velocity pools, immobilize weapons, whip-cord launcher, or anything else that could slow Jedi down in the middle of the board, make the investment so you don’t get rekt by force push.
- Probably: Droid players should consider running the AAT. Between the high velocity and the red saves, they will usually stand up well to the non-piercing impact of Pyke units. I think the AAT is well positioned to be a method droid players can use to outsmart the meta a bit. E5S, BX, and range 4 Magna shots are nearly useless against both Pykes and infinite dodge DLT, so I think droid players would be smart to rely less on these things in particular. Plus, if you bring AP rounds you can take care of those speeder trucks which are apparently the only vehicles that you’ll ever see if THIS top 8 is to be believed.
- Maybe: Republic players should
just switch to Shadow Collective for a whilelearn Anakin Pykes. We may get into this on Scoundrels or a future post but…I have a feeling that the only consistent GAR list out there in the current meta may be a combination of Anakin with Padme and at least two Pyke corps. While Yoda can still obviously do well, I fear for his safety in a couple months when Din Djarin will be able to automatically just kill him with zero defensive dice rolls during most games so…barring some kind of points/rules adjustment, I think GAR folks would be wise to learn the ways of the Anakin. It’s true that an Obi list took the top spot in this tournament, the results of Invader League and Lone Star still point towards Anakin or at least Yoda being the jedi of choice at the moment.
One last thing
I (pictured left, pardon the hair it was windy and we’d just come in from having beers outside) just wanted to send a public melancholy happy trails to Bobby Joe “Blood Ocean” Thomas (right) who played his last tournament (he won, of course) here in the greater Seattle area for a good while as he’s shipping off to San Diego soon as a part of his Naval duties. We’re going to miss having an excellent Legion player, who will call you trash (if he knows you) in a way that doesn’t even make you mad some how, and just a good guy all around. Hope to see you a SoCal Open! Also, good luck San Diego players, prepare for all your usual tournament standings to drop by one.
Thanks for reading, be sure to let us know what you think of these lists in the comments below or on Facebook!