In this article, we will attempt to predict what the meta will look like for the Las Vegas Open (LVO) Legion Tournament.
Right now is an exciting time for legion. We have recently had the 2021 points changes and errata, making a multitude of units viable. LVO is the largest legion event every year and will be a new testing ground for the new points adjustments. With that in mind, I want to go over the expected meta and my process for preparing for this amazing event!
First, my expectations are purely speculation, obviously we cannot know exactly what people will play. This compilation is based on feedback from other players and the general sentiment in the community. In this article I will list the main armies I expect to see at LVO in the hope that this information can help you prepare for the event. After talking about the armies, I will briefly go over the list I plan to run as well as my thought process around building it.
What I Expect
The following list has been one of the most popular for GAR and while this does not mean you cannot find success with an alternative army, it is important to be familiar with this army so that you can create a plan of action.
Yoda Padme Saber
This list has been gaining lots of momentum and hype in the community of late. The army uses Padme and Yoda to feed 2-3 standbys to the Saber tank per turn allowing it to fire up to 3-4 times each turn. In addition to the standbys the list provides multiple dodges per turn making it extremely difficult to kill the Saber Tank. This army likes stationary objectives where it can place the Saber Tank in the middle of the scoring zone. The Saber proceeds to kill anything that approaches that zone through its multiple standbys. The lynch pin of this army is Padme. If you are able to kill Padme early the entire strategy falls apart. Dewbacks, with New Ways to Motivate them and Air speeders, are excellent at taking Padme out. When approaching Padme I typically try to go all in on her at the beginning of the turn to avoid standby’s that the army can stack. This army also wants to sit still behind cover with the tank in a scoring location. With that in mind any objective that forces your opponent to move such as breakthrough, bombing run, or payload makes it much easier to catch Padme out in the open.
Empire post 2021 points change and errata is in an amazing place. Almost every unit in Empire is competitive. That being said, one unit in particular stands out: Darth Vader. You will most likely play against Vader in some form, so you need to be prepared.
Vader Melee Skew
Darth Vader is great, Dewbacks are also great. You can only take 3 Dewbacks, no problem throw in 2 more Imperial Royal Guards for good measure. This army is the definition of an all-in army. You have 6 deadly melee threats and simply rush your opponent, giving them too many threats to deal with. The army has only one mode: attack. When playing against this army you need to delay the engagement as long as possible and standbys are key. The main weakness of this army is its lack of ranged threats. This makes shooting standbys off your units difficult. If you have some melee units of your own alongside ranged models, like in the CIS Good Stuff list (which I will go over in the CIS section), you need some early attrition and solid standbys to handle the 6 melee threats. The longer you can delay the engagement and take shots against this army, the better. If you can get on top of buildings, these units will struggle with verticality since Dewbacks can not climb.
Empire has many amazing gunline options between Stormtroopers, Shoretroopers, and Death Troopers. Therefore, I can only give an example of a potential gunline because I expect we will see many different kinds of Vader gunlines at LVO. This army I have listed functions like most gunlines, meaning that it likes playing objectives that are stationary and tries to use its range advantage to kill opposing units. It is formidable at range, but also contains Vader. Most people would agree that Empire has one of the best gunlines between Stormtroopers, Shoretroopers, and Death Troopers. However it does have one main weakness: Darth Vader. Darth Vader (and other force users with Burst of Speed) can single handedly tear apart a red save gunline. So, why not bring your own Darth Vader to destroy opposing gunlines and deal with melee threats? When playing against this kind of army you need to lean into the playstyle you do better. If you are a melee skew, make sure to engage asap and take away the ranged advantage. If you are a pure gunline, keep your distance and leverage your ranged advantage but be very careful of the engagement range of Vader, as he can single handedly destroy your gunline.
I heard you like range 4 and suppressive, well then you’re in luck because this army relies fully on range advantage and strength of firepower at range 4. It is pure ranged efficiency. No other army can compete with its firepower at range 4. Krennic and Death Troopers are also decent at preventing melee units from engaging between Cunning and Deploy the Garrison. The main weakness of this army is Vader and other force users with Burst of Speed. While this army has red saves with surge to block Vader’s Pierce 3 and Force Choke does not care about the saves being rolled. If you can engage with any kind of melee Pierce unit, you are in great shape.
CIS still has amazing internal balance and almost anything in the faction is viable. While there is a wide range of options I am going to focus on the 3 armies I expect to be the most common.
CIS Good Stuff
This army is extremely well rounded. It is strong against armor at range 4 with 2 RPS-6, 2 Nose-Mounted Ion Blaster and 4 E-5s. It is also a strong gunline with Kraken and 2 MagnaGuards as linebacker units. Kraken’s 2 pip also helps deal with opposing aggressive units making it so you can disengage and still fire with your entire gunline. This army plays similar to the Vader gunline. It is an all-around army able to play most objectives. This means you want to lean into whatever your list is good at, so that you can try to beat this army with your specialization.
Dooku Magna Guards
This army sacrifices some ranged firepower to bring Count Dooku. It still has a decent gunline, but it is much more aggressive with Dooku and the Magna Guards. Michael Snider recently won Invader League with this list. In a world where you expect to see Vader at some point, Dooku and Magna Guards are excellent counters. Dooku, with Burst of Speed Cunning, can obliterate most opposing units. When playing against this army, you want to fight at range 3 since it excels at range 4 or melee. But be careful at range 3 since Dooku can move nearly 16 inches with burst, which is roughly range ~2.66.
While double AAT has been around for a long time, it is still an excellent choice in the right hands. Additionally, the Dwarf Spider Droids are solid alongside AAT’s adding to their range 4 firepower. Double AAT still plays the same as it used to. The army hides all the B1’s and shoots you at range 4. When playing against it, you need to close the gap or play objectives that require movement since the AAT’s would prefer to sit still and fire.
Currently Rebels have great competitive choices but 2 units in particular stand out. Airspeeders and Wookiees. I know some people will be disappointed I did not include a Luke list but the story with a Luke list is similar to the Vader Gunline or Dooku Magna Guards, and I don’t see value in rehashing that kind of list. Also, Luke armies have been around longer than anything else in this article, so most people are already familiar with playing against Op Luke.
Double Airspeeder Wookiees
Like I previously mentioned, Airspeeders and Wookiees are pretty much the undisputed best units in Rebels. So why not run them together? This army wants to simply rush forward and kill everything. While the opponent is fighting for their life against the onslaught of speeders and Wookiees, R2-D2 is able to slip into your deployment zone and score. This army is pure efficiency and is objective agnostic since its main goal is kill everything your opponent has and rush R2-D2 into score. When playing against this army, you want to try and get short table edge deployments like the Long March. This makes it so that you can more easily battle and block R2-D2 from scoring. Try to take out the Airspeeders and damage the Wookiees as much as possible at long range. If you have your own melee units in a gunline, try to focus down the Airspeeders, then use your melee units to deal with the Wookiees. For example, Magna Guards want to shoot their RPS-6 into the Airspeeders for as long as possible before the Wookiees engage.
Han Double Airspeeder
Han Solo has been making a splash now that he has Steady and Low Profile was buffed. Han, when run alongside Lando and Chewbacca, brings strong Pierce and heavy firepower. This combo is devastating against red save gunlines, however, some are concerned about its efficiency against CIS. Since Magna Guards are not Immune Pierce outside of melee I believe this combo may have more play than people realize. The army combines this pierce heavy combination with Airspeeders, which makes it so you can play almost any objective and provide some large dice pools to help deal with white save units.
This army is similar to the previous one but chooses Wookiees over the Airspeeder. It is more aggressive and would prefer to rush in guns blazing. Chewbacca is excellent at protecting your Wookiee Warriors and Han Solo on the approach. Chewbacca does not lose any efficiency until he is fully killed, so it is often better to take wounds on Chewbacca to prevent models from being defeated in the Wookiee Warriors. Sorry About the Mess combined with Ace Up His Sleeve, makes it so you can get automatic priority on any unit. This is amazing for Wookiee Warriors because it allows them to get priority to finish off deadly threats.
What am I Playing?
In summary, there are 3 main things you need to be prepared to play against. Armor (Yoda Saber, Double AAT, Double Airspeeders), melee units (Vader, Wookiees, Magnaguards ect.), and range four gunlines (Krennic 333, CIS Good Stuff).
This was my general process when I put this list together and why I think it is positioned well. I personally like all comer style armies over a skew. I enjoy having flexibility on how to play each game. Skew lists are more prone to one-sided games, for example, Vader Melee Skew armies bulldoze most gunlines but really struggle against the Yoda Tank army. With this in mind, I set out to make a well-balanced army that should be able to handle almost anything in the current meta. I began with Operative Vader, since he is amazing at his current cost. Vader can single handedly destroy red save gunlines, but he struggles against melee units like the Magna Guards and Wookiees. Because of this, I brought two Dewbacks to help deal with melee units. New Ways to Motivate Them makes it so Dewbacks can move almost to range 4 in one turn. This results in a devastating alpha strike. It also means the Dewbacks can hang back with the gunline and skirmish, then engage into melee in a single turn. While between Dewbacks and Vader, I have a great plan against Gunlines and Melee, I am low on answers for Armor. To shore up this weakness I chose 4 T-21 Stormtroopers, 2 T-21 Dewbacks, and equip Vader with Saber Throw. All this together, will give the army a great chance regardless of what it is paired up against.
Overall, I want to emphasize that it is essentially the wild west in Legion and I would not be surprised if there are armies that do well that I haven’t covered. If you think I am missing an army, please feel free to share it in the comments. I hope this guide can help you prepare for your next event and give you some inspiration as you build your next army!