Invader League regional eliminations are over! We’re gonna detail each list that made it in but first…
It’s Thanksgiving here in America, and for my fellow Yanks I hope you had a great one. Naturally, I have many things to be thankful for myself. I have a wonderful wife who tolerates the occasional smell of plastic glue in our apartment, two dogs who sometimes listen to me, and a challenging but fulfilling day job.
And, of course, I have this.
Naturally I am thankful to Jay and Kyle for giving me this opportunity around a year ago, but before you misprize me as an obsequious sycophant, you should know that I only get paid $1 for each word that would score 18 or more in Scrabble (and since I can’t just copy and paste this sentence over and over again, the extra flattery won’t do me any good anyhow). I am also thankful for the wonderful staff here who help me bounce ideas/jokes off of them and who give me plenty of wonderful things to read themselves.
This is a picture of the structure of tryptophan. There actually isn’t all that much in turkey, you’ll get tired after pretty much any carb-heavy big meal, so the potatoes are contributing more. Check out this article if you want to be a smartass at dinner.
And, I’m being genuine here (I said it so it has to be true), I am thankful to everyone who has taken the time to read my writing. Having a platform like this is a privilege, and since I’ve arrived here…I’ve done nothing but abuse that privilege. I look back on my very first article with fond nostalgia. So many people said nice things about it, and not one of you found it in your hearts to point out to me that I had completely missed Mandalorian Resistance/Clan Wren because I frankly had kinda forgotten they existed. But you let me get away with it, along with all the other nonsense I’ve posted on here. One time I even had one poor soul on Reddit concerned that I was literally in danger from my boss, and if that isn’t a badge of honor for an amateur satirist I don’t know what is!
Being that it’s Thanksgiving I’m also gonna hold off on the traditional roundup of links to the Patreon and our store. We very much appreciate the support, but if you’re gonna spend some extra cash when you’re reading THIS article, how about you spend it donating to your local food bank. Hell, as a way to thank you for reading this and not just scrolling down to #thelists, if you donate to a food bank by the end of this weekend, post a comment below saying where you donated to and I’ll pick someone at random to send an as yet unannounced (I’ve seen them, they’re rad) TFT order token set as a show of appreciation for thinking of those less fortunate.
Before we get into it, we should note that these are the lists that these finalists used in Regional finals, for Grand finals they will get to change anything in their list except for the faction. Anyone who is here won at least 2, sometimes 3, matches in single elimination so far. Unlike the transition from Round Robin to Regionals, there have been no changes in available units or attached command cards/upgrades. Therefore, I’d expect to see a few changes here and there but I’d be surprised if most of these folks will try to fix what isn’t broken.
Ok, here are the lists!
Worlds Region Finalists
How can the World be a region? Well technically this was just a combination of Australia/NZ and Europe, or as Richard.#4678 on The Legion Discord put it, it’s basically a collection of time zones that inconvenience everyone.
Innosatam – “Sax on the Bossk, avec fusée (Shadow Collective)
We start things off with a bang with a former champion of Invader League! Gar Saxon may not be as flashy as Lord Maul but he has a respectable stat card and commands. He has the only three dice high velocity gun on a trooper in the game which is respectable on its own, but his one pip in combination with that should be enough to make just about any low health unit run for cover, it’s made for killing generic officers of all kinds (which is fairly thematic actually) and after all that he’s still a Mandalorian with all the pains in the butt that entails. Inno paired him with three full mando squads. I really like the choice of the generic here, its not as flashy as the marksman but for the alpha strike with rockets you’d rather have a couple surges to spend anyway. Toss Bossk in and you have a list with 5 heavy hitters that are not easy to kill. An exciting list that breaks the more traditional molds!
What it beat: Maul Bus and Palp/Iden/Din
Nostrus – “Sax on the Bossk, avec poisson” (Shadow Collective)
TWO?! I was as surprised as you all probably are, but credit where it’s due for our two Frenchmen for seeing the value of trading Maul for Gar and getting back the ability to spend more on the rest of the list. This one clocks in at ten activations and fully relies on our “favorite” pelagic pugilists the Pyke Foot Soldier. Out of the 10 units in this list, 8 of them are true threats which is more than most can say (even Blizzard Force and Maul Pyke lists are usually only 7), and I’m a huge fan of any list that forces your opponent to make difficult decisions.
What it beat: Rebel Hero Hammer, Maul Swoops
Ringmaster – “The Good Republic List” (Republic)
What can I say about this list that hasn’t been said ad-nauseum here and elsewhere. Republic DOES have a good list…and Yoda can be ok too, but really? It’s this. It’s true that you can see variations that rely on BARC’s more than Pykes but I view those as variations on the same core theme: Anakin and Padme. They keep their buddies alive, they’re very hard to charge into, and they can control the board well when piloted by an experienced player. While the command-less Cody was technically legal in this Invader League, it was Boil who made more of a difference in providing a damage sponge to use against pesky long range attacks like snipers and command card bombardments. In this list, the points saved on kicking Endurance to the curb (since Ploy makes it unnecessary) allowed Ringmaster to put Seize on Padme which allows him to Authoritative that to a Z6 to enable the fire supports these lists otherwise miss out on when they don’t have a generic clone commander.
What it beat: Vader Din, Boba Kallus
Mediocre Mitch – “This List Sucked in 2019” (Empire)
Mitch actually messaged me to point this absolutely true fact out: This whole list is composed of units from 2019 and before, a nostalgia for simpler times in the world perhaps? It’s a good old fashioned double bounty gunline, the kind that would have had you labeled as kind of a hipster back then but is something to be completely respected now. The “Rule With Respect” turn with this list is truly ridiculous, is it too late to say that Imperial Boba probably shouldn’t be able to use Rebel Boba’s post-Empire themed command cards?
What it beat: Luke and Pyke/DLT, Din/IG-11
North America East Region Finalists
Dashz – “The Good Republic List” (Republic)
For this edition of “the good Republic list” we have the rather daring choice of a regular old non-echo ARC strike, a unit that’s been collecting dust in my minis bin for over a year now. To be fair, even with Critical 1 it would be worthless against the fishes, but against other lists it’s really not so terrible. It’s still quite good against Shores, Blizzard Force, and dodge-less clones though and if nothing else you can always shimmy around to generate two aims for your friends. Dashz went with the lighter non-Capo variety of Pyke to squeeze the extra act in, which certainly pays off for a good number of objectives out there.
What it beat: Luke Truck, Tank & Cad
Timbo – “Hipster Award Winner” (Rebel)
Tim is the first of three TFT blog boys who made it into the Grand Finals, and as you’ll soon see he’s by far the one who did it with the most style. Rebel Boba had its fair share of doubters from the “jump” (speed-2 scare quotes there) and to be frank the verdict is still out until he’s actually released in real life, but this performance certainly demonstrates promise. With 11 acts, a giant bid, and a boatload of dodgy shooters, this list sort of feels like a Bizarro version of the Luke DLT list. Boba with his free standbys can be a real annoyance once he gets lodged into melee, and it’s very difficult to do damage to him when he dives in and generates seven dodges. Respect for the medical droid by the way, we’ve all seen from Book of Boba that this poor guy needs a lot of medical care.
What it beat: Luke Vets, Maul Pykes, Vader Dews
Minor Tom – “Zerg Rush kekekekeke ^o^” (Shadow Collective)
A Shadow Collective list with no Pykes! This list exemplifies why Kyle has long said on the Notorious Scoundrels podcast and elsewhere that moderate/major future nerfs to Pykes should likely be paired with mild future nerfs to Black Sun. The only reason we see more Pykes is that their range 3 gun makes them more versatile. Aims are basically a more useful token to get than dodges in any case (since the owner of the free token has more agency on how it gets used) and this list is going to be popping out an insane 8 free aims per turn before anyone takes any actions. The bus functions as a medic for the marching, likely very suppressed corps units and also as a Maul delivery vehicle. It’s difficult to think of many lists that could handle an assault like this, IF it’s allowed to get there.
What it beat: Kraken Full BX, Han Din Wooks
Orkimedes – “Incredible Cross Sections Page 24” (Empire – Blizzard Force)
My intrepid editor saw little reason to change his strategy from Round Robin and I doubt anyone blames him, aside from his one loss there the other matches were all total wipes/concessions. Blizzard Force is a problem. Setting the well-documented thematic issues aside (a speeder bike list where that unit is primarily based off a page of the aforementioned book that you probably skimmed once at Barnes and Noble and never saw again) four bikes may literally just be too much. The primary advantage of bikes (to me anyway) is the ability to rapidly close in on and attack an enemy with a significant dice pool from a starting point of relative safety. This is why Rexstar was as good as it was after all: the best thing to do with a unit is to shoot the other guy without getting shot back. So, when you start with this situation that is not duplicated in any other list (four speeders with range 3 pools) and then toss in the Stormtrooper Heavy Response unit, which averages 3.76 hits per shot at range 4 natively, and then toss in the most insane bombardment card in the game, and then just for fun add a helping of a Sith Lord…now that’s a Thanksgiving dinner.
What it beat: Iden Boba, Separatist Invasion, Din Boba
North America West Region Finalists
Doc Velo – “Scanned PDF of Incredible Cross Sections Page 24” (Empire – Blizzard Force)
I wouldn’t try to deny it even if I could with a straight face. I did well enough in Round Robin with a Maul Pyke list at 3-2 to scrape into Regionals, but I had problems with high velocity heavy lists and I was only barely able to beat a Blizzard list precisely because it did not have a Jedi. When Kyle regaled us with tales of his wipes and concessions in his own Round Robin bracket, and when I considered the absolute madness of a Blue deck this list can force, I knew what I “had” to do, which in this case was to take Kyle’s list and try out a mild variation in the use of a R4 astromech and two transponders instead of a medic. None of those upgrades even made much of a difference frankly, this list is just plain monstrously strong. It’s not without faults: it relies greatly on alpha and doesn’t deal well with attrition, but if your opponent has lost half their units by the start of turn 3 then there isn’t much attrition that you really have to worry about is there?
I think I speak for both Kyle and myself when I say that I hope this list isn’t possible in a few weeks when the rumored points changes will drop.
What it beat: Boba Bossk, Boba IG-88
Snider – “Cheating Variety Pack” (Shadow Collective)
I’ve played against this thing and it’s a real bastard, to be completely honest it was the only list I’ve played against so far that can make the Blizzard blue player advantage feel a bit dull. This list can basically just make sure Bombing Run is banned and then it’s fine. When a bus is minimally stacked like this, it often feels like a waste of effort to invest significant resources into taking it down, if you fail to do so and Maul gets in your lines then it’s very often not even worth pursuing a unit that costs less than 100.
What it beat: CIS Bossk Cad, Palp Iden Bossk
Talk Polite – “Screw The Rules I Have Fishies” (Shadow Collective)
This is fairly close to the list I used in Round Robin, it’s extremely strong…basically the picture of efficiency. It’s smart to use a couple foot soldiers to stretch the acts out, and the whip is a very very cheap heavy that yes will often go unused but a Jedi will think twice before diving into it.
What it beat: Droid Bossk, Kallus Boba Gunline
Izzboticus – “Gen Con 2.0” (Empire)
Izzy made just a few edits to his Gen Con winning list, essentially replacing Bossk with IG who seems to be a bit of a steal at his current points cost. Ascension cables also mitigates one of his greatest issues which is a total lack of mobility upgrades at base cost. Izzy’s decision to play the jet pack rocket over “Rule with Respect” is interesting, though I get the fact that the jet pack rocket allows you to just straight up murder an unsuspecting generic commander.
What it beat: Maul Pykes, Anakin Padme
Some mild conclusions:
- Pykes are good: 10 of these lists were allowed to bring them and only three chose not to
- CIS is still struggling: We would have considered this a silly statement to predict seven months ago but here we are.
- The Battle Forces that succeed the most are the ones with special units: Yes I’m counting Shadow Collective here, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Blizzard Force is eating its peers lunch at the moment.
- I’m ready for a new meta: Ok this one is a bit personal, but when we know that points are around the corner it’s a little hard to maintain focus on a meta that needs a bit of elbow grease. It will be fun to say goodbye with a ridiculous Blizzard list that I will hopefully not be able to field again, just like I did with Rex two Invaders ago.
In any case I’m very excited to hash out one more single elims challenge against some of the best players all around the world. Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers, and when it comes to the League well…
May the best fish win!