It’s that time again. Invader League! The Round Robin stage just wrapped up, and Eliminations are under way. The first Elimination round is already in the books, so this article is a little tardy. 13 Parsecs to complete the Kessel Run. Good thing there isn’t any unrefined coaxium in this article.
Yes, I know I still owe you an Adepticon data article. I figured I would get this out first, since the information is a little more time-relevant. The Adepticon meta basically became stale as soon as Krennic and Deathtroopers were legal (more on that later).
Big shout outs to Aldaran Moses and Bushfacts for the raw data pulls.
In case you don’t follow the scene on the Legion Discord, you may not know what Invader League is. First of all… you should follow the scene on the Legion Discord. Secondly, Invader League is an online Star Wars: Legion tournament played on TableTop Simulator (TTS). The first stage is the Round Robin stage, from which this data is derived. 96 players compete in 16 groups (or divisions, if you are a sports fan), with six players in each group. Each competitor faces off against every other player in their group, and the top two players from each group advance to Single Eliminations (32 total), which is exactly what it sounds like: a March Madness style single elimination bracket. The players that advance to single eliminations are based on their Round Robin records and points scored.
You will see references to Sabine and Bossk in this article. Invader League allows unreleased units, to the extent said units have been officially spoiled in articles or other official FFG media.
One final note: players were allowed to change lists in the Round Robin stage from game to game, but faction is locked in for the entire tournament (Round Robin and Elims combined).
Let’s start with this one, since folks are always interested in faction balance. Invader League is but one of many Legion metas (although some, myself included, would argue it is a compilation of Legion metas due to its international scope). However, it is a highly competitive tournament, so we can still get some bits from the faction data.
Out of the 90 players that actually completed their games (6 didn’t play any games), there were 42 Rebels and 48 Imperials in the Round Robin stage. 11 Rebels and 21 Imperials advanced to Single Eliminations. That should tell you something by itself, but we should also look at actual data from cross-faction matches (i.e., excluding Empire/Empire and Rebel/Rebel mirrors).
In 103 matches where one player was Empire and the other Rebel, the Empire players won 61 games, and the Rebel players 42. Ouch. That’s… not 50/50. For those that remember, Invader League Season 2 saw an almost 50/50 split in Eliminations and a Rebel advantage in Round Robin (albeit with a much smaller sample size in both cases).
Speculating is fun. There are many possible reasons for this disadvantageous split, so let’s talk about each.
Much of the talk around the Legion-verse recently has been about the viability of Krennic, Deathtroopers, Bossk, and the Occupier Tank, and the relative mediocrity of Jyn, Pathfinders, and the X-34 Speeder (Sabine is the very capable outlier here). We will get more into unit mix when we hit the Eliminations lists, but suffice to say the data bears out what folks have been observing anecdotally. Personally, I think Pathfinders are not far off from viable… I used them in High Command, after all… but that was also in a meta without Deathtroopers.
I actually think this viability gap started with the Specialists Pack (specifically with Medical Droids and command cards) but it is certainly most visible beginning with the “Rogue One” wave of releases.
Luke, Leia, Z-6s, and snipers are still effective and solid, but Rebel unit variety at the competitive level is certainly looking… boring, to say the least. More on that later.
I noticed this anecdotally. Empire has been getting a lot of high powered Range 4 dice pools all of a sudden, between Deathtroopers, the Occupier, and Bossk. Heavy cover is usually fairly plentiful, but none of those things really care much about static defensive benefits, because of their large, high quality dice pools. For Rebel Troopers, the only way to not get pasted is to avoid getting shot entirely.
Players have yet to adjust to this new dynamic. Rebels still have faster, better assault units, in my opinion, but they have to get there first. Players have not been using enough Line of Sight blockers, particularly in the center of the table, and Invader League was no exception. The maps have been adjusted for Eliminations, but the Round Robin maps were just too open by new units’ standards. The maps probably would have been fine a few months ago, but it is a different game now.
If old-meta terrain is bad terrain, then this really just goes back to factor #1: unit mix.
Rebels are hard
This view has been bouncing around in the game for awhile now. High skill cap, low floor. Rebels tend towards offensive efficiency but are very squishy when targeted. Positioning is therefore extremely important. You have a lot less margin for error with white die armor saves.
I don’t think anything about the recent releases makes Rebels harder to play, specifically. Indeed, their competitive unit mix has hardly changed at all, so I don’t see why this would be terribly different from Season 2 or from previous events like Adepticon and LVO, where Rebels performed just fine.
That is enough about faction balance. Let’s take a gander at battle (setup) cards. With faction balance.
Below are the number of times each objective/condition/deployment was played, as well as the wins by faction in cross faction matches for each.
Rebels mostly got stomped across the board. There are some surprising ones in here, particularly Limited Visibility. Granted, 9 games is a small sample, but one would expect Rebels to at least split those, given the Empire long range advantage. 7-2… ouch.
Recover the Supplies appears to have been the only setup card to meaningfully favor Rebels. Luke and Sabine are good at that one.
Once again, Intercept, Major Offensive, and Clear Conditions were the most popular picks. Least objectionable, I suppose?
96 players entered, 32 remain. Let’s look at some list data from the Single Eliminations participants.
Eliminations players must submit their lists in advance, so these lists are static and must be used during the entire Eliminations phase.
One large caveat: The lists below do not necessarily reflect what the players used during the Round Robin stage, though most players choose a build that they are comfortable with, so it should be loosely reflective.
All 32 lists can be found here: Single Elimination Lists
Yeah, I played Empire this season. It’s just a dabble on the Dark Side. Really.
The data below is courtesy of Bushfacts, who wrote a pretty brilliant macro to pull it all down from the site.
I daresay bids have gone down quite a bit since Key Positions was fixed. A bid of 4-5 will win you choice of Red/Blue most of the time, with a bid of around 3 also being fairly solid. 0-2 looks like a bit of a dice roll.
Now the fun bits.
Hopefully you can read all that. I’ll break down some tidbits. This is from a macro so obviously there are units/upgrades listed that aren’t legal yet.
Snipers are good
Nothing but the hardest hitting analysis right here folks.
Rebels are boring
Alright, the individual pieces aren’t boring. Luke is really fun. Sabine is really fun. Z-6s… who doesn’t like rolling fistfuls of dice?
You know what isn’t fun… not having many competitive options besides snipers, Luke, Sabine, Leia, and Z-6s. Wookiees? Nada. Jyn? Zip. Fleet Troopers? Nope. Pathfinders? One brave soul took some. X-34? One. I actually think it could be not terrible, if bounty hunters weren’t so good. Yeah, the crit lizard and the Mando are pretty good against vehicles.
I don’t mean to say these things are bad (well… except Jyn. Jyn is bad). I have a special place in my heart for Wookiees in particular. But you know what Wookiees aren’t? Sniper teams. You can’t take three sniper teams if you take a unit of Wookiees.
The lack of Fleets is an interesting data point. The range of the game really has been extended with all the Range 4 Empire toys. Range 2 is the new Range 1. Fleets just don’t get there anymore.
I’m glad Han showed up 3 times to spice up the commander mix just a little.
Empire… less boring
Deathtroopers, Krennic, Bossk, and Veers, oh my. Empire even squeezed some Snows in there. They are more durable than Fleets and still kind of useful at Range 3. Not present… Sith lords. Have to take the bad with the good, I suppose.
I was a little surprised at the lack of Palpatine, but he’s quite difficult to play to begin with. Sheev aficionado R1H4 also pointed out Palp lists lack a source of Inspire or Compel, so they can have suppression issues, which just doesn’t cut it in a meta with Bossk, Deathtroopers, and Krennic (sometimes all three at once).
Lets talk about medics
26 Empire medical droids, and only 4 Rebel ones.
Medics are good… with Deathtroopers and snipers. They are even decent with Storms. When medics were first released, I was a little surprised the cost difference was only one point between the Rebel and Empire medics. Empire units are more valuable, so Treat is generally more valuable. Luke and Sabine are both decent medic targets, I suppose, if you can catch them.
I’ll save my medic rant for another post, but suffice to say I think the Empire medics should be a little more expensive.
To be clear, I think Rebel players should still be taking at least one medic, for strike teams or the occasional Luke/Sabine heal. That’s basically it, though. Empire players can benefit from multiples (I like two in a list with Deathtroopers).
These shouldn’t be surprising. Hunter, Emergency Stims, Recon Intel, and Improvised Orders are all competitive upgrades. Hunter is particularly excellent on both bounty hunters and on Deathtroopers.
How to follow Invader League
One of the benefits of TabeTop Simulator (TTS) is the games can be streamed. Most of the Elimination Stage matches will be. If you want to watch any games, the best place to start is the Legion Discord. Besides being a place to follow some high level Legion play on TTS, it is also just generally a great place to talk all things Legion.
Good luck to everyone in the Elimination Stage!
Update: The first round of Eliminations is complete (hopefully with better maps for Rebels). 11 Rebels and 21 Empire players entered… 4 Rebels and 12 Imperials remain. Ouch.