July 21st-23rd brought us the FIRST U.S. World’s Open Qualifier, and the Lonestar state itself was a more than hospitable host! I want to preface this article with the following statement: LSO 2023 was the MOST FUN tournament I have ever been to, and the camaraderie I witnessed was truly wonderful. I have said it before and I will say it again, LEGION HAS THE BEST COMMUNITY. The FLG event was held at the beautiful Marriot Dallas Allen Convention Center and Hotel, and one of the first things I noticed upon arrival was the pool. Where it was located within the hotel, how the patio was arranged, all the way down to how the rays of sunlight shimmered off the small ripples created by the fountains inside of it told me one thing: at some point this weekend I would be indulging in all it had to offer. Point is, you should try to make it out to LSO 2024 if you’re able!
Before I dive into Top 8, I want to shout out everyone that made this possible, and all of my opponents throughout the weekend as well! Going into this weekend having only slightly more than no idea what to play (as I’m sure some others did as well) and with slightly lower than normal expectations, seeing old faces, meeting new ones and seeing everyone in great spirits/excited for the “new meta revelation” alone made the entire trip worth it.
Our Event Organizer TO/ZO
Zane “Hot N’ Frosty” Ferguson was our energetic, philanthropic, and good ol’ fashion, Texas ass-kickin’, Memaw’s gravy n’ Bourbon sippin’, gotta get you some Hard Eight BBQ with all the fixin’s, wranglin’ ducks like their chickens tournament organizer. He had a huge impact in making this tournament what it was, not to mention the amount of prize support he paid for out of his own pocket. He had everything from Legion core sets, Shatterpoint core sets, the Star Wars deckbuilding game, and all kinds of other items that he was raffling off. He is truly a man of the people, and I hope he continues to run events for a long time to come!
But wait, there’s more…
Remember that pool I mentioned earlier? Well, indulge we did! Funny back story to this picture, we all went down Saturday evening after Day 1 play and we found a mother duck and baby duckling swimming around with us. When we left, the duckling was still stuck in the pool and Zane with his heart of gold knew he had to help the poor little guy out. Believe it or not, this wasn’t the night Zane indulged in some Kentucky Owl bourbon, which he described something along the lines of, “Dang this is a cool label! They’re bootleggin’ down the river and the barn’s on fire!” That was Sunday night!
Fifth Troopers, FL Men, 5280 Guys, Bombad Boios, YavinBase Dave and Mickey from Poland at BeauxBeaux’s Bourbon and Biscuits.
All in all, thanks a ton for running such a fun event, on and off the battlefield!
Dave’s brand new streaming rig, and boy is it top notch.
For those who don’t know Dave Zelenka, you can follow/support/find him here. YavinBase has always been Legion’s premiere streaming outlet, but boy has Dave really given us some awesome content to eat up in the last year. It costs a lot of money, and takes a lot of time for him to do this for us, so please make sure you support any way possible! His rig has controllable cameras that can pan 360 degrees in all directions, and on top of that he has top of the line lighting effects and player mics, and apparently he’s still improving! I didn’t even think that was possible after seeing everything he can do with this setup. Both days of LSO are streamed on his YouTube channel, so be sure to support by viewing, spreading the word, and even subscribe to his Patreon if you’re able to! My parents actually subscribed because they loved his stream so much, and because of it they want to try and make it out to some of these bigger events now.
Our hardworking consulars Ethan Judd and Zak Harbula aka “Floorf.”
I had never met either of these gentlemen in person prior to LSO, but I’d heard nothing but good things about them as people and members of the Legion community. These guys worked hard to get everything set up and torn down as well as run from one end of the gaming space to the other answering rules questions all weekend. Getting to know them and talk about Legion and other things was an honor, and I hope to see these guys at the next event I’m at!
Some Special Shout Outs
Last bit of business before I break down the Top 8 is I just want to shout out a couple players I got to play against on Day 1. This was one of the most fun set of games I’ve played, and they were all close.
Game 1: Joshua Burks
This was somewhat of a funny match round one, because I had actually gotten to talk with Joshua a lot on Friday once I arrived. Him and I talked about Legion, how he watches the cast and reads the blog, and teaching (he actually gave me some good advice since I’m still new to the whole gig, so thanks for that Josh) and we talked about how neither of us wanted to have to play Kyle Dornbos first round. What we failed to cover was the possibility of us playing each other in the first round, but fate would have it no other way. He played a Boba Dew gunline which you can click to view, and when I saw flamers on the lizards, I knew I needed to be careful. I set up my army so the Magnas could intercept the charging lizards as I figured they could take the heat from his Dews, because the B1’s certainly would’ve gotten dicey.
Game 2: Tim Hannon
Alas, round 2 brought about a crisis situation. A Fifth Trooper team kill was imminent. One of us would not be making Top 8. Friends turned enemies for a match. War was everywhere. Now both of us are pragmatic guys, but seeing as how I managed to take the game against Tim at PAX 2022, I figured he’d be out for revenge and he was playing Ani Cody Clones, and I needed to be careful how I approached things. We played on what I think is quite possibly the most aesthetically pleasing tables I’ve ever seen (definitely in the top 3) and I knew I had to secure red player to get the side with the two corner buildings vs his list. It was a game of hostage where I had 800 pts and he had a bid, so I was feeling good about my chances as long as one of his big fire supports from Cody didn’t nuke anything important. We finished with a very close kill point margin after his immortal, single health Fives mini refused to die from 3 turns of full Magnas aiming and melee attacking him. It’s ok though, because I too had immortal minis: the Magnas thanks to PK droids. Tim did a great job of trying to get flanks with his Barcs, but it proved a little overwhelming with my 3 Magnas and Cad all threatening to hit his army turn 2. Once the dust had settled, we went back to being besties and even talked about Oppenheimer a little bit. Oh, and there was the “Here try this” drink thing at dinner Sunday night you should ask him about.
The table Tim and I played on.
Game 3: Colton Evans
Round 3 brought, and this is textbook irony, a boogeyman list. C’mon people, he named it the Baba Yaga.
Once I saw it I thought to myself, “Am I about to play the John Wick of Legion?” Colton is part of the Dust Bowl Bounty Hunters crew from Oklahoma, and he proved to be an tough opponent. He had the bid, and we were on a fairly open table with a small LoS blocker in the middle, but nothing really around it to get some cover on the approach. Intercept, Major, and Supply Drop were our battle cards so I figured I had a chance to grab the middle early then back up, weather his alpha storm, and dive back in to secure the middle on turn 4 without taking too much damage. This plan didn’t quite go how I thought it would though, because Cad’s bomb one shot a mortar in deployment! I thought to myself, now is no time to get complacent just because I basically got a lucky free act kill. Boba, Bossk and the rest of his guns were hitting my Magnas pretty hard, but I managed to grab both arc welders which massively helped weather the storm. Our game was intense from the very moment it began, and props to Colton for going on to win the redemption bracket day 2!
Top 8 Breakdown:
8th: Neil Junco
Neil brought what I considered to be “the people’s list.” Barely legal for tournament play having released a couple days prior, and with almost 60 minis required to be assembled and 3-color minimum, he was able to get things done in time for LSO. It’s no secret Ewoks are still being figured out, but I think Neil has a great start on what “the best” Ewok army looks like. I think all 6 of his command cards are correct, and each of them brings a nifty trick or two. Arboreal Assault is devastating against heroes. I learned that the Immobilize stacks on each of their weapons, so after 3 hits even the mighty Sabine would be stuck in the mud. Chewie provides excellent cover for the remainder of his army, and with Incognito he literally gets to start fights on his own terms. This army is a melee skew through and through, but also has an AT-ST so it requires a wide range of tools to deal with it.
7th: James Russell
What’s this? Blizzard Force still doing well at tournaments post-nerf? The HRUs going up certainly did help, but the core of Blizzard (Non-Operative Vader version) has remained intact: it’s still a competitive list with a great battle deck. The HRU’s are kitted with DLTs and HH-12s for some seriously heavy anti-armor tech. Given that he has two astromechs, his opponents may find that the first few shots on either the AT-ST or the bikes would lead to zero change in attrition after the heal. The amount of fire-power this list can throw out when everything is in position is quite heavy, especially with Veers’ surge:crit on BOTH infinite range bombardment cards. I would like to point out James accumulated 3200+ kill points over 6 games this weekend, that’s a lot of shooting.
6th: Travis Posey
Travis aka “splashcola” on the Discord (who’s also a member of the Dust Bowl Bounty Hunters) brought an 11 act Sabine gunline. His vets are pretty heavily loaded up and are sure to pack a punch. Clan Wren, which just got significantly cheaper from the points update, is an excellent objective pierce and a heavy hitter all packed into one. His list has no shortage of long range firepower, and with Sabine having Darksaber, has a great melee linebacker for a cheap price. I love how his list performed in our game, and it gave me great difficulty dealing with it. His play with Sabine was immaculate, and he did probably 12-14 wounds to my army turn 2 with Sabine’s bombs, one of which actually killed Cad who started the round on 2 hp.
The aftermath of Sabine’s bombs turn 2 (Cad was on the middle box getting Sabine ziplined and shot to death.
His list is fairly well prepared for armor with the rockets and sheer amount of critical mixed with Sabine’s surge profile and bombs for some added crit generation. All in all, a solid Rebel list and if I were going to play Sabine this is probably what it would look like.
Travis and I after our Round 4 Slugfest
5th: Thomas Trotman
Oh look, what do we have here? I seemed to have copied and pasted James’ list twice on accident…. Doc, please don’t fire me. It’s ok, only Jay can make that call and he doesn’t read the blog – Evan Kidding aside, Thomas actually acknowledges it with his list name:
Like I said before, Blizzard is still highly competitive, and ever more so with armor becoming increasingly popular. Thomas was able to secure a slightly higher SOS which put him above his James, but with about 1000 less kill points although still impressive, not quite as much death and destruction as his mentor.
4th: Cesar Fuentes
To begin, where to. This is a list I have desperately been wanting to try out for some time now, and Cesar has given me the confidence to consider playing it next time I’m at an event. Yoda Chewie is hands down the strongest duo of characters in the entire game. There are maybe three units left in Legion that can single-handedly turn a game upside down at a moment’s notice, but the top spot belongs to Yoda. Being backed by Chewie is also a part of the equation too, but that’s sort of implied. Cesar’s battle deck is extremely obnoxious for anyone to deal with, even other speeder lists, and I was truly losing sleep figuring out the best game plan to deal with his list if it came to it. Kyle said it best: “Yoda’s decision tree is incredibly complex.” That means you can rarely know what the Yoda player is planning (with the exception of his command card order, but sometimes not even that) because the options are almost unlimited. Cesar powered his way through 6 games only to lose to the second place finisher, but I’m confident we will be seeing more of him in the future. Congrats on Top 4 Cesar, well deserved!
3rd: Aaron Smith
Aaron brought an 11 act Ahsoka gunline with some old, but good toys. While the DLT Captains aren’t spammable anymore, two of them seems to fit nicely with his list. For only 2 points more you can have Pykes with the Capo and Disruptor, but I’m not actually sure that’s better for him in this list because he isn’t able to include a Capo commander unit. He could cut a sniper I guess, but that doesn’t seem worth it. Aaron and I played on the Day 2 stream, which you can access here, and I knew I had my work cut out for me.
The flop gave him the potential of Hemmed in Payload as blue player, so I knew I needed to actively avoid that, which landed us on KP, Major, and Hostile Environment. Ahsoka on KP is very good, because typically it’s an attrition style game where she’s able to use all her defensive tech to limit how much her opponent can actually accomplish. Aaron did a great job covering my approaches to the middle KP, but fortunately I was able to start with Cad touching it via his Here I Am Bane Token. Round 6 was the most intense moment of the entire game, when I was luckily able to get priority and use a full squad of Magnaguards (who had an aim from retinue) to charge a wounded Ahsoka and defeat her before she got to activate.
Even with Ahsoka going down, Aaron still wasn’t out of it. He did a great job setting up units to advance onto the middle KP in an attempt to overwhelm me, but it just wasn’t quite enough in the end. This match was dubbed a “battle of the beards,” and it was hard fought by Aaron as he didn’t make any mistakes and played exceptionally well. Props to Aaron for finishing 3rd and I hope we get to play again one day!
I apologize that I forgot to get a picture with him, but his exceptional play put me through so much mental tribulation that after our game I was truly down for the count and trying to muster up as much mental fortitude as I could before my final game of the day.
2nd: Michael Smiley
Michael also brought Ahsoka backed by a rebel gunline, only this one has Cassian and K-2SO. From my perspective, there’s not a bad act in the entire list. It functions very well together and has many different tools for dealing with different list types. Ahsoka and Cassian pair extremely well together, not just for their command cards but their play styles as well. His corps is backed by a solid gunline with great R4 poke, and you’d be surprised how many times Vets just roll 2 crits with their CM-0/93. The FDs with overcharged give the list excellent play into armor skews and Dark Troopers, so I think he quite possibly has the perfect Rebel list.
I’d also like to point out that Michael had already accumulated over 3300 kill points throughout the entire weekend. Every last one of his games except his finals match was a tabling or concession, and that is quite impressive. In my game against Michael, which can be watched on the Day 2 stream I linked in Aaron’s list breakdown, I noticed many paths to victory for him, and only a few for me. I think it’s safe to say, he just straight up had the better list. We played a game of Long March Hostage, and there was a lot going on from before Deployment. Ahsoka with Burst makes for a massive threat range on her 1 pip, and I knew I couldn’t really avoid it. Basically what helped me the most in our game was that a full Magna squad with an aim from Retinue (ironically enough the exact same squad from mine and Aaron’s game) was able to charge Michael’s wounded Ahsoka and luckily kill her before she activated on turn 3. For those who would like to donate, under Dave Zelenka’s suggestion we are starting an Ahsoka Memorial fund and it can be visited in person here. All in all, Michael had an amazing run and I hope to see him out at more major events!
1st: Austin Miller
Evan, once more round the sun we go again…
Hi this is Evan “Doc Velo” Paul back again to write an analysis of Austin’s list to limit the appearance of authorial boastfulness. I like to pretend that this is both unexpected and that it’s something to gripe about on my part but in truth it’s neither one. If Austin does write a Top 8 someday about something he didn’t win (it would probably have to be in Australia or something, which is kind of like the whole world’s Florida when you think about it) then it would probably be fairly jarring for me at this point. We can pretend that bringing Austin to TFT empowered him or something but let’s be honest, we just got lucky that we snagged him! He’s even writing top quality jokes! When I clicked on that Ahsoka link above I was destroyed, (you actually can donate on the bottom left of that page, if you do let us know in the comments below and I’ll send something from TFT to the first five as a thank you since I work for the VA myself).
ANYWAY I suppose I should get to my actual job here. Austin essentially took the list he won Atlantic City Open with and made it a bit more shall we say, daring, by dropping Asajj and all the B1 heavies to make room for two more Magnas and make Cad Bane as fully kitted out as possible. As expected, Austin made himself a list that does that wonderful CIS trick of ensuring complete order control whilst also maximizing the use of independent. You can pick whatever Cad Bane command you want and pawn it off to a Magna, then use the T-Series Direct and the HQ to get face ups on the other Magnas, leaving you with just the T-Series and Cad himself in the bag, which you can use “Improvised Orders” on to actually pull whatever you want. The army of B1’s will help keep the 4 combat units alive and also represent 38 hit points one has to chew through to whittle down the count on objectives where unit counts matter, and lest we forget those 6 white dice attacks will sometimes just land on an insulting three crits.
The real stars here are of course the Magnas themselves. It’s easy to forget that these bots were tied with Spider Droids as the meta monster du jour but while the ion Spider was priced into the stratosphere last December (+15!) the Magnas merely had 6 added to their total cost when including the RPS. I don’t think there’s a way to spend around just over 100 points in this game that’s better than this unit, it has 4 minis with two red saves each, (usually) a free token every turn, and it packs the triad of an excellent range 4 attack with impact and critical, a very solid range 2 hit, and a terrifying melee package that will turn even Darth Vader into a glowing blue
Sebastian Shaw Hayden Christensen most days of the week. The changes to deflect alone may have been worth the 18 point hit this list took last year, it turned what was already a bad fight for force users into a nearly-hopeless one, which those Top 8 Ahsoka players experienced first hand. By the way, speaking of our boy Anakin, I myself can at least rest easy if Austin inspires a new wave of Magna men: not only can the chosen one tank their attacks fairly well with Djem So and Reliable 2, but his combination of saber throw with available fire support is really the most reliable way to cut a Magna down to size quickly. Indeed, Austin himself confirmed to me that Anakin lists were his boogeyman, it would have been interesting if he had collided with one.
Congratulations again Austin! Since you’re a fellow teacher I’ll let you close things out with some important “Lessons Learned” from the very first Worlds Qualifier, though I naturally reserve the right to give feedback myself.
“Things I learned In Texas” by Austin Miller
1: Armor is definitely popular, but it’s not the only thing that’s good in the meta right now.
2: Ani Clones is still probably the most consistently good list out there. See?
3: The Lockhart, TX Biscuit from BeauxBeaux’s Bourbon and Biscuits is just apparently just a fancy McRib. Austin this seems libelous please remove.
4: Someone’s mom is a “Tasty Treat.” I’ll let the reader decide whether I had to change this line to make it anonymous
5: Red save gunlines are really really good.
6. Ranged pierce is really really, REALLY good.
7: Texas really does have the best BBQ. Ok seriously dude his is how we get DDOS’d by Carolinians
8: The 5280 guys are the most entertaining people on the planet. …
9: I like my Bourbon like I like my Ahsokas, down in one shot.