This article will walk through my experience at the 2023 World Championships for Star Wars: Legion at Adepticon.
Coming into 2023, I was still very undecided on what list I wanted to begin focusing on and practicing with for Worlds. Despite my early practice with Shadow Collective/Swoop Bikes, after the rules update I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to take. I had plenty of ideas, but every time I thought I’d hit on something, I’d take it to a day tournament and get roundly beaten. My wife, somewhat frustrated by my mithering and indecision, eventually suggested that perhaps I just take this Blizzard thing everyone keeps talking about. I knew I wanted to do well at my first Worlds and wanted to make day two, so perhaps she had a point and maybe I should just take the most meta thing possible?
Then the release of Assaj was announced so I immediately started practicing lists with Dooku and Assaj and I went from worse to bad. At this point my friends also kept asking me why I didn’t just take Blizzard Force too, but I didn’t really have an answer other then I didn’t want to. I wanted to do it on merit not the list.
Then just for fun, I tried out double Dark Troopers and right away started seeing results – even beating a Blizzard Force list. Finally, I thought I’d found something worth considering.
I started as most people do by taking two Dark Troopers along with Gideon and then trying to fill in the rest of the points. I tried bounty hunters, and having a fire support shot of 8 black dice plus IG-88’s or Boba’s normal gun profile made claiming a bounty quite scary. Additionally, the ability to threaten a back objective or run away with a key objective with Gideon’s two pip is rather impressive.
I then dropped Gideon and instead had two bounty hunters along with some Imperial Royal Guards to help keep the Dark Troopers alive even longer. This list felt more like the bounty hunters were the threats rather than the Dark Troopers, and if they got shot and died the dark troopers were easy enough to avoid to survive long enough to win.
I had played a game against Blizzard Force on play bombing run and realized that mobility was the biggest issue of this list. Yes, they are speed three over two activations and can move quite fast, but they really struggled with this objective.
My first tweak was to run Imperial Remnant, since having a free aim or a dodge every turn made the list very flexible.
The command choice was a generic officer which I sat at the back of the board nowhere near any of the action. She can be grabbing the safe box or intercept point, leaving everyone else to claim the middle. The other option you have is on turn six you can then double move her towards the centre to use your courage bubble since that is the only time you ever need it. If you have used Improvised Orders early to look for a unit or delay, then you can also recover to get it back early.
For the core I took one each of the Shore Troopers, Storm Troopers and Scout Troopers plus one Death Trooper with the RT-97C and the config. The Storm and Shore Troopers are the activation padding in this list, not really doing anything apart from piling onto objectives on the final turns when needed.
The Scout Troopers if allowed to get a shot off can be a threat. The also block four hits on the first shot and three on subsequent shots due to that free dodge, which can make them a hard unit to shift off the objective as well.
The Death Troopers are a range four menace, since they get a get a free aim and can fire at range four with one red, four black and three white dice with suppressive. If they are in a good spot they can just shoot and recover, and if at range three, they just take a second aim giving them a good chance with Precise 2 to get 7-8 hits. This means after heavy cover they can delete a unit of bikes if they make no saves.
For support I took two bikes, which due to independent have a free aim or dodge every turn so I don’t need to spend the points on emergency transponders. These are to help contend with enemy fast units and to help give this list a chance when it comes to bombing run or breakthrough.
The two Dark Troopers are the key focus of this list, both taking the Assault Cannon and the Frag Launcher as the heavy options. Due to the way of playing with Imperial Remnant, I did not have to take Programmed Loyalty and saved myself 10 points, which allowed me to take heavies in this list elsewhere. Knowing these are the main focus of your list is important since although they are full armour and can tank a lot of damage, once they start to die you also lose a lot of your fire power so you have to control the attrition loss.
Unfortunately, after I played my list in a mirror match at an event, I thought watching paint dry was more entertaining than watching our game. Neither of us wanted to get in range two, and range three plink shots did nothing. With Worlds being a few weeks away and hearing and seeing other events taking quite a lot of Dark Troopers, I did the same as others and added some Impact.
Since I had the bikes already, I dropped the RT-97C from the Death Troopers and swapped to an HH-12, making the dice pool more consistent but losing a dice in return. The synergy of having to also recover for the Range 4 config gun works well if your positioning is great.
As much as I really enjoyed Improvised Orders, I wanted a second heavy weapon, and the HH-12 fit perfectly into a second squad. I chose the Shore Troopers, since if they stay at range four, I could just recover shoot every turn and if they stayed near the commander they would have an order and therefore still get a free aim. If the enemy were at range three, then that’s seven black dice for a solid attack.
Finally I had my list and I managed to get 39 reps in testing it as much as possible before locking it in!
Chicago – Bean there, done that
We arrived a couple of days early and did some sight-seeing around Chicago with some of my fellow team mates (and even caught a Bulls game)! On the Thursday, I went looking for a final practice game to take me to 40 games with my list. My pick-up game was against Dustin Austin and I was excited to play a high skilled player as practice. I chose to try and kill his LAAT instead of taking a standby to stop his Vader getting out, however I failed and he murdered my army giving me only my fifth loss with this list.
Despite feeling confident in myself and my list still, I felt myself quickly becoming unwell. The night before the biggest gaming event I’ve ever taken apart in, and I felt awful. I wanted to have another game to get over my mistake with Austin but I felt too bad. I decided to head back to my hotel room and proceeded to spend the night with fever sweats, a headache and hardly any sleep.
I woke up feeling little better the next morning, but with some strong medicine and plenty of fluids I decided to attempt my games anyway with the worst case scenario being that I would only play one or two games if I was still struggling.
Game One vs Alexander Heetmøller (Norway)
Intercept transmissions, Advanced Positions and Supply Drop
Having flown 5000 miles across the ocean, I was a little disappointed to play another European for my first game. However, I’d also not had the pleasure of playing Alex before and was looking forward to this matchup.
With Alex having a whole army that shoots at range three, I made sure that all my scout moves left me at exactly range four to stop him from being able to move and shoot me. I hoped to wait long enough that my Dark Troopers would get the second activation to shoot this army with little to no retaliation.
Due to how I had deployed, the plan went off without a hitch and by the time we came to scoring the first turn I had already killed a squad of Storm Troopers and the Imperial Royal Guard who had tried to contest the middle. In exchange I lost two Dark Trooper minis.
On turn 3 I played Pinned Down against Boba rocket. I pulled a Dark Trooper unit first and I managed to shoot Boba, only doing a single wound but sending his order token back into the bag. This then enabled me to hide the Dark Troopers in Melee with the Dewback, negating the chance of any huge damage spike and a chance for Alex to start to have a comeback.
We played turn four out with me scoring the middle and home objective again. At this point in the game, Alex had Kallus on one health along with his imperial officer and part of a Storm trooper unit left. In return I had only lost a single unit of bikes. We agreed the game state would not change and scored the game 8-4 to me.
Game 2 vs Richard Rasmussen (Germany)
Intercept the Transmissions, Roll Out, War Weary
Luckily the medicine had cleared my head enough for me to win my first game, but it still didn’t make me confident going into the match up against Richard. We had played several times in Invader League and I had never beaten him.
Richard deployed very defensively and out of range of all my range four units, or if I did then he would be able to shoot with his FD cannon. I used the line-of-sight blocker to go around the building, keeping the FD cannon from shooting me. I suffered some wounds from Cassian from this approach, but I was able to kill some veterans and MK2’s. I secured the middle objective early on in turn two giving me the early lead and I had the early attrition lead as well.
As we moved into the middle part of the game, I had a Dark Trooper squad hiding with just the leader left ready for a turn six dive. During turn four, my bikes and Dark Troopers managed to pull their weight and removed Cassian and some veterans while also keeping Richard from advancing on the middle giving me the 4-2 early lead.
As we went into turn five, Richard had to double move Boba for whatever he had planned to try and claim the middle. This unfortunately left him to be double shot by the Dark Troopers, and Boba’s Mandalorian armour was not strong enough. It was at this point Richard conceded since he could no longer contest the middle giving me another 8-4 win.
Game 3 vs Mikolaj “Mickeyyy” Radziszewski (Poland)
Recover the supplies, Major Offensive, Limited Visibility
Again, another European, but also another I’d never had the privilege of playing. I did know he’d come second at PAX, so was one to watch!
The early part of the game was lots of maneuvering due to limited visibility. I decided that I needed to focus down the bike units and chose to ignore Vader on some shots I had. This turned out to be a bad choice, since Vader then dove in my lines and engaged some Shore Troopers once my Dark Troopers moved away from them.
I had claimed both of my boxes and had currently kept Mickey from claiming one of his boxes and neither of us had advanced on the middle. I was pulling my Dark Troopers back away from Vader as far as possible, but this unfortunately was not enough. Vader chased after the unit and chopped them down leaving the unit leader.
Mickey made a mistake on turn four when he thought I played Push, when in fact I played Pinned Down, so he played Vader’s Might but didn’t activate Vader first. I went straight with the lone Dark Trooper and shot Vader to put his order in the bag and run towards his box to threaten it. This gave me a chance to kill Vader. I managed to take five shots with Dark Troopers and bikes, leaving Vader on one health before he managed to find him in his bag! Mickey cleared off three suppression, giving Vader two actions and enabling him to climb down and move, using Vader’s Might to pull my box carrying Scout Troopers into melee.
The last two turns lead to me trying to pick up the middle box and his unclaimed box. I got the middle one but my Dark Troopers died, meaning whilst I got to his other box, a lone snow trooper refused to die and prevented me from picking up it up. Even if I had I would still have lost on kill points as I needed to have both boxes.
Day One Summary
At the end of day one, all three games had been against fellow Europeans, however I’d managed to get the required 2-1 wins getting me through to day two, along with four of my fellow Brits – Olly Dier, Lyla Claire, Geoff Porritt and Dave Grant – and my main personal objective for my first World Championships. Now I just had to win one game on the Saturday so I could say I’d finished top 32!
Game 4 vs Mikolaj “Mickeyyy” Radziszewski (Poland)
Key Positions, Advance Positions, Supply Drop
A good night’s sleep (and copious amounts of Deep Dish pizza the night before) managed to shift what remained of what turned out to be the dreaded “Man-Flu” and had me feeling better and ready to go for Day Two! Game Uplink thought it would be funny to give me a rematch against Mickey. Whilst I had enjoyed our previous game, I hadn’t much liked the result, and now we were in a one loss and out situation.
I had picked a Key Position that in hindsight was a big mistake, as it was too close to Mickey and already threatened from turn one. I also committed a unit of Dark Troopers early and lost two Dark Trooper models and suffered some Ion in the process. I had managed to kill two bike squads along with doing three wounds to a HRU, and more importantly did four wounds to Vader in a single shot!
This caused Mickey to be very passive with Vader for the next couple of turns, allowing me to try and weaken the core units and prevent them from scoring later in the game. I was feeling comfortable with Vader being heavily wounded, but I had at this point now lost a Dark Trooper squad and by turn six all of Mickey’s core units would be contesting my objective and not the middle objective. I had to start moving my units away from the fire base I had set up in the middle to help defend my key position.
At the end of turn four, Vader made an advance for the middle, but I had an activation over him and was able to put two more wounds on Vader who had been healed from a supply drop. Mickey played Implacable, and dove into some shores, killing all but one. He then suffered a wound to have a second activation. Before pulling Vader from the bag, I went with my Dark Troopers and moved away and took a standby.
When Vader activated, he finished off the Shore Troopers but took a range two shot from the Dark Troopers to the face, finishing him off.
Going into the final turn of the game, I had secured the middle objective with my Dark Troopers. I had a bike squad with two wounds left and a lone scout trooper ready to move onto Mickey’s back objective where he only had his officer and a bike with a single wound. On my home objective I only had my Death Troopers and my storm troopers, against a bike, a unit of snows and an HRU.
I managed to activate my scout and bike early, double moving onto the back point and taking a dodge with the bike now having two dodges. Mickey charged his HRU leader into melee, pulling my Death Troopers off the key position but also preventing him from scoring. I was able to cohere my squad surrounding the model and cohere my unit leader still touching the key position. This then meant he could only score a max of two points. My Dark Troopers shot a unit of Snows, preventing them from double moving and rendering them unable to score. In return, he shot his Ion, preventing me from shooting a second time since I had to walk off the centre point and I needed to use my only action to walk back onto it.
Hard dice down was called at this point, but the TO was watching our game and gave us a few extra minutes since all we had to activate was Mickey’s officer and bike on his home objective and my Death Troopers. The Death Troopers just took an aim and punch to kill the unit in melee to score some extra kill points but had no effect on the game score.
Mickey’s officer took an aim and shoot at my bike, hoping to get it off the point but only scoring a single hit blocked by a dodge. Mickey spent the remainder of the time trying to figure out if it was possible to move, shoot and move back onto the point, either trying to kill the scout or the bike. The consensus between us both and the Judge was he could either triple move back onto the objective or compulsory move off and try kill a unit. Either result would mean that Mikey’s objective and mine would be contested. With the only victory point now scored being the centre point, it gave me the victory.
Game 5 vs Joshua Amelia (USA)
Sabotage the Moisture Vaporators, Advanced Positions and Rapid Reinforcements
The start of this game I made my biggest mistake all tournament. With me being blue player and using my deck, I started deploying all my troops on the back line expecting Joshua to have to advance towards me. I had played this scenario as a practice game before Worlds and tried to win by tapping my opponents Vaporators. This is not a good strategy, as the easiest way for me to win is on kill points.
What I should have realised sooner is that Joshua wins on ties! Lucky for me we were playing Rapid Reinforcements. I had already nominated both my Dark Troopers to drop in. This allowed me to go from being deployed mega defensively to being on the offense.
I dropped my Dark Troopers behind a big line of sight blocker that was just outside Range 2 allowing me if needed to move forward and shoot. What I ended up doing was shooting and moving further around the big hill to reduce the rocket shots incoming from the droid horde. I did this for three turns while the rest of my army was double moving to help catch up. Over these three turns I managed to kill a unit of B1’s, MagnaGuard and Assaj. I had lost four Dark Trooper models, but no heavies. At this point my bikes and Death Troopers were now also contributing to the fight.
Predictably, the game did come down to kill points, but all I’d lost was one unit of Dark Troopers, Scout Troopers and a unit of bikes in exchange for over half his army.
Game 6 vs Artur “Mad Bull” Szyndler (Poland)
Intercept the Transmissions, Advanced Positions and Supply Drop
Finally, I got my long awaited mirror match! I managed to counter deploy my Shore Troopers at range four of his Dark Troopers, and he instantly fired his rocket and moved out of range of my Death Troopers. I managed to fire my Shore Trooper’s HH-12 and kill a Royal Guard instead of a Dark Trooper due to Guardian. I could see it was going to take a lot of firepower to win this fight. I had deployed my Dark Troopers outside of range four of all his storm troopers, and started to move up behind line of sight blockers to help keep them protected on the advance.
Boba was very daring and jumped onto a roof and took a shot at range two to try and kill some Dark Troopers who had already been hit twice. Unfortunately for Boba, I still had the other Dark Troopers left to activate once, along with a unit of bikes. Artur’s saves were way below average and Boba was dead at the end of turn one.
Turn two saw me scoring the middle and home objective. I was also threating his home objective with one of my Dark Troopers, while also killing Storm Troopers to reduce his Impact. I then used both bikes to kill IG-88. Meanwhile, my Storms, Scouts and officer spread out as much as possible, zoning out the possibility of the Dark Troopers dropping behind me from his Gideon command card.
By the time we scored turn four, Artur only had Gideon and Dark Troopers with heavy weapons left whilst I had only lost a Dark Trooper squad and bike squad. It was at this point we agreed the game was not going to change from the current outcome and Artur conceded the game taking me to that all important 3-0 score to continue through!
The elation of not only getting through Day Two but into the top eight was only bolstered by the fact I was one of three Brits through to the quarter finals. After being fortified by a Portillos beef sandwich (kindly provided by AMG!) we were ready to go into our fourth games of the day.
Quarter Final vs Dien Tran (Canada)
Payload, Disarray and Fortified Positions
I’d been asked if Dien and I minded going on the excellent Yavin Base stream to play our game – you can view the game here if you like: https://www.twitch.tv/yavinbase
Dien started the game being very aggressive with his bikes and focusing my Death Troopers down. This was going to reduce some of my firepower, but I preferred he went for them instead of my Dark Troopers. All four of his bikes scored five hits before cover and left me with a single Death Trooper alive at the end of the turn. In return I sent my bikes and both Dark Troopers to kill two bike squads and wound the third.
We had both measured and worked out that the most victory points we could score was one each. My focus was to score as many kill points as possible and just make sure we both delayed the payload for one turn.
Dien had moved Vader up behind a LOS blocker and I played a one pip to try and win priority and get my Dark Troopers to take a standby. This would either make him think twice about diving into my lines or make him waste Implacable.
Dien tried to use his last couple of bikes to soften up the Dark Troopers to reduce the damage, but I only suffered three wounds. To my surprise, Dien decided to still go for the play, and I managed to do five wounds to Vader; he still chose to use Implacable leaving him on a single health. Despite this, Vader still single handedly killed the Dark Troopers, Shore Troopers and choked the last Death Trooper.
The following turn I withdrew from combat and left Vader for my bikes to clean up. This was the turning point for me, going from being behind to feeling more comfortable. Dien managed to start moving all his Snow Troopers and wounded HRU units with his Payload keeping it moving. My other Dark Troopers followed close behind, deleting a squad with each activation.
On turn five I managed to kill the last two bikes escorting his payload and had my Dark Troopers contest the payload against the last Snow Troopers alive. It was at this point we talked the last turn out. Due to his Payload not moving I won on kill points.
Semi-Final vs Lyla Claire (UK)
Recover the Supplies, Major Offensive, War Weary
Well with two Brits making it through to the top four, it was inevitable a team kill was in the cards. Lyla and I had been practicing against each other for a number of months now and we both knew each other’s lists inside out. This was going to be a really tight game.
Turn 1 Assault vs Standing Orders
Lyla moved her bus to block line of sight to her whole army. I tried to counter this by killing it as quick as possible, but it made quite a few saves and it took most of my army to get the kill. I did also manage to kill some Pink Suns who were starting to flank and threaten one of my home boxes. The suicide squad (as Lyla so affectionally refers to them) in the bus managed to jump out before I killed the bus. Rather then disembarking and shooting either of the units I’d put within range, she double moved and threatened the centre box instead.
Turn 2 – My one pip vs Maul three pip
I went first to try and get some early shots on the Pink Suns, who with the extra surges were proving to be resilient. It took four shots to wear down Lyla’s surges and begin actually killing them. I was aiming at putting suppression down on the units near the middle box, but the two with the boxes started retreating. She caught me completely by surprised as this was nothing like she’d ever played before!
Turn 3 Ambush vs Standing Orders
Maul moved out claiming the middle box, then jumped back behind the line of sight. I had cleared all the Pink Suns down to unit leaders in the middle and managed to wipe out a five-model unit completely with the blast weapon from the Dark Troopers. This meant nothing in the long run whilst Lyla still controlled three boxes.
Turn 4 Pinned Down vs His Eminence
Maul continued to run away from the Dark Troopers with the box. Unfortunately, I spent a good 10 minutes checking all my possible options to try and get a shot with my Dark Troopers. In the end we decided there was no angle from a double move that was going to give me a shot leaving just the bikes to shoot this turn.
Maul went first and double moved again before taking a dodge. This turn I was going to get two shots into Maul from my Dark Troopers, along with my three bike minis shooting him. I got him down to a single health.
Turn 6 Push vs At Last
Lyla double moved Maul behind a building and I spent another few minutes trying to see if I could get Line of Sight with my bikes on Maul. Unfortunately for me there, was no possible shot I could get. This then meant I had to shift my focus towards the other two box carriers – two squads, one of three and another of five.
I pulled a bike first and went after the three-man squad, but the leader survived and hid behind a building. I then pulled the other bike before my Dark Troopers. This turned out to be the biggest issue in hindsight, since he managed to kill a Pink Sun model and Lyla was sensible and took the closet model, which then prevented me from getting a range two shot. I took the only range three shot I was getting and prayed to the Dice Gods. I hit for seven which was five after cover. Lyla rolled three blanks, one surge and one save on the five-man squad. It left alive four models total on the board, leaving Lyla to score three boxes against me who only lost a single bike model.
It was so close and hindsight is always 20/20 afterwards. However, any disappointment was overshadowed by my pride in coming fourth and in seeing Lyla get to the final and eventually finish second overall.
My first World’s Championship completely surpassed my expectations. So many people that I had been talking with and playing online over the last five years, it was fantastic to meet and talk with people in person rather then over Discord or Facebook. The entire community was friendly and supportive and AMG did a fantastic job of running the events. The only downside (if you can call it that) was that of my overall eight games, I still played six Europeans. I would have loved to have played some more Americans after traveling all that way. My personal aim was to make day two and get a single win to make the top 32 players. To finish in fourth was better than expected, with some fellow Team UK in the top 8; more than we could have hoped! Now, to reset the clock and begin practicing for those 2024 Qualifiers…