Honest Look: Organizing Invader League

Honest Look: Organizing Invader League 1

As many of you may know, I am the new Tournament Organizer for Invader League Season 5. Many months ago, even before I joined The Fifth Trooper, I was approached by LJ Pena to take over for him in his stead. First of all, it was an honor to be trusted with such a burden because Invader League is a big part of the ever growing online community. Second of all, it was almost impossible for me to say no because I’d like to think the first thing on my to-do list every day when it comes to Legion starts and ends with the word community. Third of all, I have never organized an event before; let alone the biggest online event there is! With all of that in mind, I figured why not get an inside peek at the mind of the person running Invader League Season 5….me!

Invader LeagueI have to admit, I knew becoming the Tournament Organizer (TO) of Invader League would be a lot of work but I can’t stress how much work it really is. It’s now May and I started putting in work back in December. That was a simpler time, a less complex time. I was just planning dates and starting to figure out who I would like to have as sponsors. Then as the weeks passed by, specifically right after LVO, the work started to increase. I needed to start finding judges, solidifying the sponsors I lined up, discuss with Nerfley about what maps we want to use this season, and the list just goes on…and on. 

One of the first things that I had to ask myself, and it was not an easy question, was how do I change Invader League? Now this is not to say that Invader League NEEDED changing. However, the game of Star Wars Legion is evolving and I felt like the Invader League needed an evolution as well. In the past, for those of you who don’t know, Invader League allowed you to pick a faction and choose a different list for each game during the Round Robin phase of the tournament. When there were two factions in the game this was much simpler. With the two new factions not being as fleshed out, and having various ways to be countered, I thought it best to lock lists with a “Wild Card” this season. Some folks are going to like this concept, some folks aren’t going to like it. I’ve accepted that it’s going to have mixed reviews, that’s just how life operates to be honest with you. Either way, the decision came with a lot of thought, discussion, and a lot of in-depth look at prior seasons’ feedback. It was not a lighthearted decision, I can promise you that much, and it was made to try and benefit the community as a whole.

Now for anyone that knows me, or perhaps has played against me, I am somewhat of a methodical thinker and a planner. Especially the planner part, which maybe doesn’t get seen over the internet too much. I planned for a lot of variables and possible outcomes this upcoming season. My dates for everything revolved around various tournaments: Worlds, Yavin Base Team League, Northeast Open, Gencon, and Nova, to be precise. (Side note: I didn’t even realize I selected Easter Sunday as the sign up start date because I was so entrenched on finding a timeline that meshed well with other tournaments!) The one thing I didn’t plan on would be that most of those tournaments would be cancelled and we would all be quarantined.

Now you may be sitting there and thinking: why does the quarantine have an effect on Invader League, a strictly online based tournament? It has a lot of implications! We have the most signed up players EVER and the actual tournament got bumped from 144 participants last season to 192 participants this season! Models we planned on having in our hands continually getting back logged means now we won’t have them on a physical table before we have them in Invader. Now, mind you, this is a common theme for Invader League to have various unreleased items on the Tabletop Simulator mod, but not typically this amount.

One of the major things in those unreleased items: Vital Assets. I won’t beat around the bush here: I was very uncertain Vital Assets would happen for Invader League for a multitude of reasons. The first being that the mod team (which if you have a moment just thank those awesome folks for what they do for this community) was unsure they could code it properly into the Legion mod. The second being that Vital Assets, often referred to as VA, has never seen actual play outside of playtesting. It’s one thing to play unreleased models, it’s another thing to play unreleased, unplayed battle cards. Especially battle cards that change the game like it’s never seen before! 

As I am writing this, I can’t tell you how many conversations the judge team had prior to the start of Invader League (now officially started) to try and get the rulings right on Vital Assets. I’m not going to sugar coat anything and say we got everything right because that would be a boldfaced lie. We probably got some things wrong. It’s up to me, and the awesome judge team, to remind ourselves that we made every ruling we made with the intention of bringing the best product to the 192(!) participants this season! I hope, no matter the case, that all of the participants have the best possible experience with Invader League because that was the goal in mind with every decision made by me as TO and the team I put together to help me run this awesome event. Now back to the pile up of things that happened…where was I…

Oh, yes! Another thing that happened, that was not planned on by me (you know, the planner), was FFG posting the new tournament document. Now, Margin of Victory (MOV) has no effect on Invader, as Invader has its own scoring system, but silhouettes do. Thanks, AGAIN, to the awesome team that put together the Legion mod as we were able to get them into the mod in time for Round Robin.

At the end of the day, it turns out that something I agreed upon months ago turned into the experiment nobody was really expecting. For the first time ever, people are going to be using units such as Cassian and K2S0, Iden and ID10, Padme Amidala, Cad Bane, BX Commando Droids, ARC Clone Troopers, Clone ATRTs, Droid STAP Riders, and….the ever elusive AAT! On top of those units we are testing out Vital Assets and silhouettes; I mean who would have thought this would be the first time we would see some of this stuff! It’s awesome, but also a bit nerve wracking as the person putting it all together for everyone. It’s going to be a massive, massive learning experience.

I want to say thank you to all of the awesome community content creators and members that contributed to the sponsoring of the Invader League. I want to say thank you to LJ for passing the torch on to me and I hope I haven’t let him down. To the judge team, this might have been the most complicated season of Invader League yet with the implementation of Vital Assets, and while it was not easy at times, we did this together as a team and I thank you for that. To the community(!), the most important piece of this puzzle, I want to say thank you for signing up and being a part of this league. I look forward to this season, even with all the looming possible problems at hand as we bob and weave through the battlefield like a set of Pathfinders on the beach of Scarif, and I hope that everyone gets what they want out of this season of Invader League. Thank you all!

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