This article will be the first in a series of articles eloquently dubbed “Officers’ Mess.” In these articles I will introduce a Star Wars: Legion gameplay concept or list idea, and then I will do some Q&A with people smarter than me so you can get something useful out of your 5 minutes of reading on the ivory throne. This week we look at what has become the ubiquitous Rebel template for a list, Wonder Twins. Though Han has now been released, and is dynamic and interesting, Wonder Twins will still be a Rebel staple.
Today we are talking to Gordon Chace and Matt Dunn, two of the winners of the recent NOVA Open Maximum Firepower Qualifiers. You can find their lists in detail in the NOVA Open Recap article.
What is a Wonder Twins list?
Broadly speaking, a Wonder Twins list is any Rebel list that includes both Luke and Leia as commanders. These two go together like peanut butter goes with jelly. Like baseball and peanuts. Like Jaime and Cersei. Er… no. Not the last one.
Beyond the twins themselves, a Wonder Twins list usually includes 5-6 Corps units (1-2 Fleets and the rest Rebel Troopers) with Scatterguns and Z-6s being the most common heavy upgrade choices. AT-RTs fill out the rest of the list. The choice of AT-RT hardpoint upgrade significantly influences how a Wonder Twins list plays.
Let us hit some highlights of the strengths and weaknesses of a Wonder Twins list, talk about some quick synergies, and then we’ll talk to Gordon and Matt.
Dual Command Bubbles:
This might be personally by favorite benefit of running the twins. Luke is a beat stick commander. If you aren’t familiar with gaming slang, that means he hits things. Hard. In the face. With a laser stick. Unfortunately to hit things in the face with his laser stick, Luke needs to be… in their face. Often this means his sexy 3 courage command bubble will be too far out front of your squeamish Rebel Troopers. Leia provides a nice second command bubble so your dudes don’t panic while Luke is running around making Stormtrooper kebobs.
Oh the dodge tokens. All of the dodge tokens. Nimble and Deflect both feed off dodge tokens, and Leia hands them out. Given how much Luke in particular needs dodge tokens, any way you can access them is going to be a benefit. Luke can also hand Leia a dodge with My Ally is the Force.
Before upgrades, the Luke/Leia combo clocks in at just 250 points, which is a downright bargain for two commanders. Usually a Wonder Twins list will have 9 or 10 activations, which is right where you want to be.
Rebel Troopers and Fleets Troopers:
Both Rebel Corps units are extremely efficient sources of anti-trooper damage. Rebel Troopers hold down that Range 3 sweet spot, and Fleets delete things at Range 2. Leia’s Take Cover benefits both of them significantly. No Time For Sorrows works quite well with Fleets (and Luke), potentially surprising your opponent with that little bit of extra distance to get you within killin’ range.
Most objectives center around controlling a specific area of the map, and/or denying your opponent control of said area. A Wonder Twins list has tools for this in spades. Luke is a one man Range 2 wrecking ball (Range 2 being roughly his double move charge distance) and Leia is herself surprisingly dangerous at Range 2. Fleets are the king of controlling tight areas, throwing a disturbing amount of dice at Range 2 and Piercing through armor.
Both of the twins have excellent command cards. What is better than half a hand of awesome command cards? A full hand of awesome command cards! I won’t get too much into specific command cards, as those will be covered at a future date in the respective Luke and Leia articles. Both two pip cards (No Time for Sorrows and My Ally is The Force) provide direct benefit from one twin to the other, in the form of extra movement and free dodge tokens.
A Wonder Twins list is not without weaknesses.
This is true for Rebel lists in general, and the Wonder Twins list is no exception. White dice saves are bad. Your dudes need cover, or you will be out of trooper units real quick. Luke is slightly tougher with his red die and deflect, but his 6 health pool can start to look real fragile real quick when you start rolling blanks on that red die.
The sweet spot of a Wonder Twins list is Range 2-3. DLTs and AT-STs will be able to out range and suppress your troopers as they advance.
Lack of Impact:
This is less true if you take Laser Cannon AT-RTs, which seems to be the staple these days as a hardpoint choice. Besides Laser RTs, the only real source of Impact in a Wonder Twins list is Luke’s lightsaber. I’m not afraid to burn Son of Skywalker on an AT-ST or AT-RT if the opportunity arises, but it is not ideal as your only anti-armor option.
About those AT-RT hardpoints
The AT-RT hardpoint options were covered in detail in the AT-RT article. Generally speaking, the Laser Cannon is the ‘safe’ choice, providing needed Impact damage while being not terrible in other situations. The Rotary is inferior against armor compared to the Laser, but much better against troopers and bikes. The Flamethrower draws a lot of attention (often away from Luke and your Fleets) and occasionally gets to barbecue something.
Enough of me talking. I’m sure you want to hear from some Maximum Firepower champs.
About the players:
Matt Dunn: The Day 3 NOVA winner, Matt is a local guy who makes some awesome terrain boards. I had the pleasure of playing him on one of his Hoth tables, complete with destroyed, burning AT-AT. Matt likes bounty hunters, comics, and painting. He’s a high school art teacher and loves the hobby.
Gordon Chace: The Day 1 NOVA winner, Gordon is another local. Sadly I haven’t yet managed to play against Gordon but no doubt the day will come for him to school me. Gordon just recently had a kid, which makes his win more impressive. The first few months after my firstborn showed up I was barely coherent enough to form a sentence, much less make complex tactical decisions with little plastic dudesmen.
What would you say constitutes a “Wonder Twins” list?
Matt: First and foremost you have to have Luke and Leia in the list.
Gordon: In general, I would say it is Luke, Leia, Dual ATRTs, and 4-5 Rebel Troopers with Z-6s. I personally don’t like to give a specific list a name because it promotes “Net Decking/Listing”. I spent the last year playing SW Destiny and giving a specific deck a nickname was/is the thing to do. As soon as that deck wins a big tourney, everyone copies the deck. You go to a tournament and end up playing the same exact deck multiple times over the course of the day. Hopefully Legion keeps the units well balanced so a good player can play many different lists and still do well in tournaments.
What is your favorite thing about running Luke and Leia together?
Matt: I like to run a variation I call “Sibling Rivalry”. I split my forces giving half to each twin and placing them in separate parts of the deployment area. This causes my opponent to do the same or be open to flanking units and losing objectives. Rebels have better chances when they run in smaller groups against a force of similar size. It also provides more space for units to separate and not bunch up on top of one another.
Gordon: The dual commanders allow for a more aggressive approach.
What is your favorite Rebel unit?
Matt: I really like the AT-RT. It has great options for weapons. I like it as a sitting duck and not for its offensive power. I find opponents go after it, which keeps my objective grabbing troopers alive and away from fire. It also provides light cover for troopers and requires crits to take damage.
Gordon: Luke, he is very versatile. However, I am jealous about the Imperials getting Boba Fett soon.
How many Fleet Troopers do you take? Do you use the Scattergun?
Matt: In a twins list I take two units of fleets, both with the scatter. I use them specifically to combat speeder bikes. I find that if they get an aim token, they can often take out one bike per attack. But once the unit starts taking damage and you start losing those double white dice per man, they become less effective fast.
Gordon: Usually 2 units, 1 with a scatter gun and 1 without.
Rebel Troopers: Z-6, MPL-57i, or Naked?
Matt: Z-6 every time all the time. It is six white dice for the points. I find 5 black and 6 white dice can really help in combating cover and imperial red defense dice. Black dice by themselves are okay, but those moments when the z-6 dice get hot are awesome.
Gordon: Z-6 or Naked.
Matt: I like the laser cannon because they do okay against AT-STs , Speeder bikes, and AT-RTs. The rotary is good against infantry. I have never been able use the flamer the couple times I have run it, because it makes the AT-RT THE primary target.
Gordon: I believe they are all useful. I would love to run the flamethrower version more, but the rebels lack impact and thus I usually run 2 laser canons. I am also a fan of the rotary canon as well.
What would you say are the weaknesses of a Wonder Twins list?
Matt: This list is not an offensive force. It is a defense focused style of play. Get to objectives under cover and then dig in. A defensive style is tough to get used to in a war game. Most of us want to shoot guys off the board and this list just doesn’t do that. This list needs cover, out in the open you will die, a lot. Getting dodge tokens out is a priority.
Gordon: Depends on the build, if you don’t include 2 laser canon AT-RTs in your list you will usually need more impact. With rebel troopers, not having enough cover on the table is a major weakness.
How do you generally use Luke in your games?
Matt: I use Luke to occupy Vader if he’s on the board first. I try to rush to Vader as quick as possible. I hope to get to him with a dodge token on me. This means I can aim and then hit him first with the dodge to help protect me when he swings back. Luke / Vader battles are almost always dependent on who wins the 1 pip card play. If I win it I take an aim and pray the dice roll hot. In my experience if I don’t kill Vader with SoS, Luke dies 100% of the time.
If Vader is not on the board I want Luke to get into the enemy troops, hopefully near a couple of squads, so I can melee them quickly. Along the way I shoot at them with my blaster to provide suppression tokens and slow them down. I keep a dodge on him so he doesn’t get killed along the way. Around turn 3 I want l Luke to usually do a jump move followed by a second move with charge into a full unit. Attack and kill all but 1-2. Use Jedi Mind trick on the next closest unit to suppress them down. Hopefully next round (4) use Son of Skywalker; ideally you can force push a unit into melee with you so you are contacting two targets. With the first attack hit the larger unit in melee, and with the second attack go after the smaller of the two units. If luck is on your side you are left with 1-2 troopers still in melee with you. (5) Kill the last two in melee with you and then push to the objective. At the end you hopefully are on an objective having killed 2 units along the way and possibly suppressing any that get in blaster range.
Gordon: Aggressive but with some caution. I have learned that if you leave Luke in the open without a dodge token, he will not last very long.
What about Leia?
Matt: I place her in such a way that I can use Bombardment round one. I want to hit either all three bike units if I’m going against triple bikes or you hit trooper units if it is a Vader trooper list. Aim for snow troopers first, then regular storm troopers and Vader if no one else is in sight. Make sure to pass out dodge tokens first, take an aim and then do the attack. Red dice are good, but they can fail you. After that I use her mostly to hand out dodge tokens, attack bikes that get close, or even melee weakened units on an objective.
Gordon: Great support character.
What are your favorite command cards and why?
Matt: There really isn’t one card that is better than others with this list. They all serve a purpose and have saved my butt more than once. Their cards combined are really wonderful and highlight the synergy between heroes I think we are going to always see in the Rebel army.
Gordon: Son of Skywalker; the threat of being able to attack twice with Luke has to always be considered by your opponent.
When do you generally find yourself using the following command cards:
- Coordinated Bombardment:
- Matt: Round 1 period
- Gordon: 1st to 3rd round
- No Time for Sorrows:
- Matt: later rounds to secure an objective 3-5
- Gordon: 2nd to 5th round
- Somebody Has to Save Our Skins:
- Matt: if snow troopers get to the objective she is at, or to kill Vader if he got to her and Luke.
- Gordon: 3rd to 5th round
- Son of Skywalker:
- Matt: To Kill Vader or wipe an objective 3-5
- Gordon: 3rd to 5th round
- My Ally is the Force:
- Matt: round 2
- Gordon: 2nd to 4th round
- Return of the Jedi:
- Matt: round 5-6
- Gordon: 3rd to 6th round
What objective/condition/deployment cards do you cut from your deck?
Matt: I cut Limited Visibility because it nerfs Leia’s opening card. I cut moisture evaporators because too many actions get spent on the objective to win. I cut disarray because it is a pain to set up and manage your cards because you are constantly walking around the table. In tournaments that just sucks.
Gordon: I cut limited visibility because of my laser cannons, I cut battle lines so the speeder bikes would have a harder time flanking my forces, and I cut sabotage the moisture vaporators because I thought it provided my forces the least benefit.
What objective/condition/deployment cards do you generally try and veto during setup?
Matt: I will try to veto to get to advanced positions and key positions. Advanced positions really helps the split army style of my play. Key positions is huge for the blue player. I run this list with a 15-point bid which means I am always blue, I have yet to see anyone run more than 15 in a tournament.
Gordon: This depends on the opponent’s list, on whether I feel like having to play on a different side of the table and on how the gaming table is situated (against the wall, attached to another table, etc).
Anything else interesting you want to talk about?
Matt: As with any list its how you play it. There is no list in this game that guarantees a win. Each game will be different because of the card variables turn zero and the design of the terrain. I have not played two games yet that felt the same. Even playing the same lists against the same guys, every game is different. Most of all have fun, it is a game, its little plastic spacemen. Have a good beverage, laugh about crazy saves, get to know the person on the other side of the table.
Gordon: The amount of terrain on the table can have an impact on the outcome of the game. I have generally found that the less terrain there is, the better it is for the Imperials and the more terrain the better it is for the Rebels. Cover becomes pretty important to stay alive when you have a white defense die. As more units are released I think terrain/cover will be less of a problem, resulting in a better game experience.
Lastly, the two new clone wars factions coming next year will be great for the future of the game. I am looking forward to fielding a CIS army with General Grievous, Droideka’s, and hopefully some Geonosians. These units alone should bring a unique and different play style to SW legion.
Totally not awkward.