PAX Unplugged Tournament Recap – Mike Gemme

PAX Unplugged Tournament Recap - Mike Gemme 1

Hello there. 

My name is Mike Gemme and I’m fairly new to Legion, though not FFG games. I’ve been playing X-Wing since the later days of 1.0, and am most known for running TheHyperloops.com a Star Wars Destiny publication where my teammates and I published articles and videos for over three years every single day, so I’m used to writing a lot about gaming. However, we finally convinced Elon Musk to buy our domain, so after winning the Legion tournament at PAX Unplugged I found myself without a venue to post a tournament report. Thankfully, the team at The Fifth Trooper are letting me borrow some bandwidth to drop a few thousand words on you.

I’m mostly a TTS player, and while I have played IRL Legion on five separate occasions, PAX Unplugged was my third “major’ Legion tournament after attending the Atlantic City Open and the Lone Star Open over the summer.

I think PAX Unplugged was the most fun of the three by far. While a little bit smaller, the venue city and the fact that it took place at an actually amazing gaming convention really helped. The buzz in the air made it feel bigger than it was, and people kept stopping by all of the tables to take pictures and ask questions about the game. The tables were absolutely amazing and I’m always blown away by Nick’s work. He got a ton of prize support together and cared a lot about everyone having a great time; it’s really great to have a TO whose tables are so expertly done. And, as much as I like playing on TTS, playing on these tables made me never want to play TTS again. 

Following my top 4 finish at LSO, I swore to work on Force Users, so I ran Op Luke in some Ladder games and in Invader League Single Elims to try and figure it out. After getting absolutely smooshed by my dude Codec and his Yoda list, I decided I needed the little green menace in my life in a major way.

I came to find the Yoda Saber list by, like most people, blowing it off for being 8 activations when they saw it won a large tournament in Europe. However, after casting an Invader League SE match between Orkimedes and WhoKickMyDog, I saw the true power of the list. WhoKick mostly dominated the game, and while Ork was able to pull it out in the end with a masterful Vaporator placement, it was WhoKick’s game to lose, and I was fully into trying out the list. I really liked his addition of Clone Commander for the direct, and thought there was enough room to play with some of the upgrades, like adding a Recon Intel for Padme (so good) and Plo Koon on the tank, who is absolutely baller. I think Plo Koon raises the most eyebrows, but two dodges on a unit that has Outmaneuver, Armor, and is moving into the middle of the board basically on the first action of the game, it’s totally worth it. Even though I didn’t recover once all tournament, I’d still take Plo Koon if I ran the list again, and I’d probably drop Linked Targeting Array if deciding to bid or add another upgrade. 

The List

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As I said, I was skeptical of the 8 acts, but after watching WhoKick shove the tank into the middle of the board, everything sort of clicked for me. The general idea of how to run the list is: moving the tank into the middle (generally either turn one or turn 2, depending) and using standby sharing from Padme (and sometimes Yoda on his Luminous Beings Are We turn) to fire a 9 dice attack as many times as possible. That “As many times as possible” can be four when you take into account Padme can Standby, Yoda can guidance her a standby, and then on Luminous turns Yoda can take a standby himself.

The real crux of the list is figuring out how to win when your opponent refuses to trip all those standbys, and I think relying on Yoda’s tankiness between Vigilances, Padme’s Exemplar tokens, and Force Reflexes, as well as dodges from his own attacks, really stack up and make people truly work to put damage through on the Jedi Master. 

Games

Game 1 vs. Miles Harris on Commander Vader Dews

Turn Zero

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My opponent had the bid and took blue, after taking a look at the table sides I liked the one with the heavier buildings with the archways on my side. I thought they would be really good protection from the Dewbacks and would let me approach the center without having to worry too much about getting meleed to death. Anything that came after me would have to go around the crazy long way along the top board edge, or have to move through my tank and yoda and all my standby shenanigans. 

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My opponent passed on his first ban, and essentially said that since it’s his deck he’s happy with everything, which was fine by me because I was able to tailor the game to how I wanted to play. I didn’t really want KP because I didn’t want to delay the game til turn six. Intercept at least lets me pressure the middle of the board early or get free points. When he passed again I thought a while about banning AP to get to Battle Lines for my R2, but felt it was probably a trap. His Dewbacks would be able to catch R2 without having to face down my tank on such a wide deployment. 

The GameAdvanced Positions – Intercept the Transmissions – Hostile Environment

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I didn’t have a great spot to put Padme so I just put her directly behind the tank. That circular building is actually open, so it wasn’t a great spot to hide her, but nothing would be able to one-shot her if she’s hiding there so I ultimately felt like it was the safest spot to keep her from approaching dews and Vader, with the Saber and Yoda between them.

I opened the game like I mentioned above, by moving the tank up and close to the center, getting into range 2 of one of the dewbacks and forcing six or seven saves on it. The Dew only took two, and then retreated to not trigger standby range and kept the center clear for a bit while the rest of the armies positioned, my P1s behind the buildings firing in under the archways, and his taking up position far away to fire his cumbersome storm bazookas. I greeded the R2 Secret Mission a bit by pushing him out and away from the tank, leaving myself far way from heals, and ended up having to move him back a bit in subsequent turns.

We spent the first half of the game jockeying for position and me using Yoda and the tank to eliminate the Dewbacks. 

The real issue happened at the end of turn 3. I had been run out of dodges by Saber Throw and Crit Shots, when Vader charged into close range of my tank opting to eat a shot from a standby trigger in a trade for positioning, Vader dodged, then rolled three surges, taking a damage and deflecting three back at the tank, breaking it and leaving it at 3HP and me with no dodges to Vigilance for the top of turn 2. 

Here’s a shot of a random tabletop content  creator (@TT_HQ) who snapped this image just after the brutal deflect and posted it on twitter. 

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So, I was forced to play Yoda’s 1 pip and play for the roll off (Padme’s 1 pip wouldn’t save me because there was no suppression to pull) – fun fact, we rolled off every turn of this game through the first five turns, and I had to go first every time except for turn one, the literal worst outcome for me, especially on this turn when he opened with Vader and Saber Threw my tank to death. 

After that I sent Yoda after Vader, leaving them both at 1 HP going into turn 5, where Yoda saved 6/6 with natural blocks before finishing off Vader, then relentlessly zapping some storms. Padme moved into the middle with relentless as well, and she and the P1s cleared out the rest of the middle, leaving just 2 units and 3 total models to contend with Yoda, Padme, and two full P1 units. 

Round 2 vs. Nick Coleman on Iden Double Dewbacks

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Turn Zero 

I was pretty frustrated to play on this table. It had massive scaffolding the tank couldn’t go over and could barely fit under because there were lots of obstacles underneath it too. Even though I had choice of board side I didn’t see more than one spot to put the tank on most deployments. It took me a few minutes to even find that place, and I tried several different options before settling on what felt like a pretty mediocre option under some scaffolding that was only loosely held together with magnets that fell apart several times during the match and even snapped my tank gun. 

He passed his first ban, so I banned Recover because I didn’t want him to be able to infiltrate his units right onto the center box. I was planning to ban to Hostage, but he did that for me so I decided to cut Hemmed In since I was worried about where I’d be able to place my tank.

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The GameAdvanced Positions – Hostage Exchange – Supply Drop

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After set-up, my opponent tried to both engage and trample my hostage carrying unit, neither of which is allowed. My opponent went and asked the TO for the ruling; he came back thinking he could engage my hostage unit turn one, which isn’t allowed. When you initiate a judge call, make sure you call the judge to your table in the presence of both players, to avoid confusion. When I called the judges over, they admitted they weren’t sure, and it took us 30 minutes to figure out what the actual rulings are on the matter. In the end, my opponent couldn’t do anything to my hostage unit turn one, and we played on.

In this match, the Tank took lots of shots at Inferno Squad and had a tough time killing them, but did end up doing so. That left the rest of his army to shoot at Yoda several times each round while Yoda saved like an absolute god and barely took any damage throughout the game. He did, however, pour tons of suppression onto our little green friend, keeping him suppressed from turn 3 on. This seriously hampered his damage output, but I was able to set up an early double move relentless turn to get him engaged with the hostage unit and free the hostage. 

From there, we held on as long we could, but Yoda eventually fell, and while I was behind several acts I got bailed out by luck in the end when he drew the only unit that could’ve killed my hostage carrier (a P1 that was down to one model) before I drew my Padme (the only unit who could’ve picked up my hostage). 

This was a super close game I got lucky to win, I didn’t really understand that he would be on the full suppression plan, and the table prohibited my tank from getting anywhere near the middle of the table to influence the game. Not fitting on top of the scaffolding, and being blocked from 75% of the table was something that really should’ve cost me the game, but a little fortune went our way and we came out 2-0. 

Round 3 vs The Fifth Trooper’s own Evan Bulriss and Chewie/3 Wookie/3 Fluttercraft 

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Turn Zero

Evan had the bid but chose Red Player for board edge, which was pretty surprising for me because I felt that the table sides were fairly equal, but I will admit his side had better ways to land his Fluttercraft on top of buildings and advance them safely and at their own pace. 


This did however give me an opportunity to find the Short Edge deployments as Long March and Rollout fell in the third and fourth slots respectively. Double banning to these deployments let Evan basically take whatever else he wanted, and we ended up on my second game of Intercept, this time with Fortified Positions.

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Here’s a good image of the post turn zero setup.

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The Game – Intercept the Transmissions – Long March – Fortified Positions

As I said earlier, I’d only played one game with this list before PAX, and this was my first time playing on Long March and it felt absolutely busted to play an objective that wanted to fight over the middle in this way. I was able to ram the Tank into range 2 of the objective and dare Evan to move up with his Wookiees. Between two Vigilance, Padme, Luminous Beings, Force Reflexes, and Plo Koon, and dodge actions, Evan had to fight through 9 Dodges on turn two when I moved my tank into the middle, and was only able to poke through one damage despite having Pierce 7 Impact 7 in his list because I actually forgot to tap Force Reflexes turn two. 

This image is mid-turn one, the damaged Fluttercraft was the only thing in range 3 of my tank when I moved it up, so it’s what I took a shot at but otherwise my plan was to avoid the vehicles. Evan used his four barricades to make a place to move his wookiees up to that was just outside of range 1 of the center.

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We both rolled pretty hot offensive dice this game, but mine were kind of absurd. Evan put a Wookiee in the center gazebo and they got nuked by the tank and my P1s pretty heavily. I eventually threw Yoda into the middle who was able to double move with relentless to double attack and sit in the middle with all his tokens stealing shots the next turn. I didn’t even worry about having speed 0 because Yoda had so many tokens between Luminous Beings and Padme’s Exemplar I wasn’t too worried about getting owned against Evan’s thinned out army. Eventually, when I activated Yoda he was able to force push to proc a standby and then take his own standby, which, when he was done activating he could then use to move (since immobilize goes away at the end of activation) and get into melee for protection/next turn. 

Once the tank, Yoda, and the advancing P1’s took out all three wookiee units, as well as Chewbacca, Evan had only three P1s to fight over the Transmissions, whereas I don’t think I lost a single activation, and he conceded on turn five. 

Round 4 vs. John Prosser and OpVader with two IRG and Triple Dewbacks

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Turn Zero

Four games in a row I lost the bid, 799 just ain’t cutting it I guess! John chose to give me red player, and I was pretty happy with my board edge, and this map was really forgiving for my tank, as it could basically go anywhere, and while John would have plenty of places to hide his troops, his Dewbacks would be really exposed. 

I was planning on having to double ban objectives to not face Vader Dews on Hostage or Breakthrough, but John helped me out by banning Hostage. New Ways to Motivate them is absolutely broken with Vader Dews on Hostage so I was pretty surprised by the ban, but that allowed me to ban Rapid Reinforcements which is absolutely terrifying when facing three Dewbacks. 

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I would have considered banning Advanced Positions to take Major Offensive, but I just couldn’t play on Breakthrough or Rapid against this list. 

The Game – Intercept the Transmissions – Advanced Positions – Hostile Environment

I wish I had some pictures of this game, but everyone was so exhausted I think we just forgot, but here’s the table with the Intercept points drawn on.

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I’m on the bottom side, and I had the idea of putting Padme on the building in the middle, which the bottom is inside the deployment of AP, and with scout 2 (because of Recon Intel)  I could get her pretty far out to increase her bubble – there are a lot of pros and cons of this play so let me talk it through; Being on the building makes her susceptible to shots that will plink off her standby, but I made sure to put her outside of range 3 of the Dewbacks and the rest of John’s list had very little range, and his corps units started really really far away from Padme with the tank between them. However, with Yoda and my other units bunched together and close to the building she was on, she probably would struggle to get her line of sight for Exemplar. To me, protecting her from melee on the Dewbacks while keeping the tank in line of sight far outweighed any detriment.

I ended up moving the tank first onto the building with Padme to pressure the right side of the board where Vader, an IRG, and a Dewback were aiming to flank. I wanted to be able to pin them away from the rest of the list. My opening shot put 4 or 5 damage into a Dewback (John’s defense dice really let him down for the first half of the game), which forced him to move that Dewback backwards to not proc my standby later in the turn. Yoda was placed just below Padme as far out as he could go with scout 1. My P1s and Clone Commander were on the right side of the building, near those tanks below the ramp, and I had a P1 on that ramp.The opposite side of the ramp is still in range 1 of the Intercept point, so it would be a great spot to hide late game. 

John moved that flank up turn two, and I was able to pour some damage into the Dewback and IRG, and token sharing made it so I didn’t lose a model when the Dew finally hit one of my P1 squads who punched back and killed it the following turn. 

The major turn was turn three when John made an aggressive Vader’s Might play to pull Padme off the building but failed to kill her. I activated Padme and took a QT/Standby. I had played There Is No Try, so I popped Burst of Speed, moved up and Zapped the last 3 damage to kill the IRG, then I Force Pushed Vader out of Melee with Padme, tripping her standby and after an awful defense roll Vader was on 5 wounds, so with Yoda’s second action I moved back into the middle, but still at Range 2 of Vader so I could fire his Force Wave fire supported from my clones via Direct from the Clone Commander to not only finish him off, but put Yoda back into the middle of the board to begin controlling the center objective and the last healthy Dewback pressuring it. After we wiped that Dewback our opponent conceded and we got the 4-0! The other undefeated lost his pair down leaving me atop the standings for my first Legion tournament win.

Summary

Overall, I think this list is really strong. The Saber Tank is an insane threat that can consistently fire twice a turn and sometimes more. People get really distracted by it, rightfully so, and think the whole list is a Meme Tank List, but Yoda is absolutely insane too, and while the tank absolutely carried me in my third round match vs. the Wookiees, I truly think Yoda carried me throughout the day. I’m not sure I’ll be playing this list much going forward (although I am in the TTS Ladder Top Cut with it), I’ll absolutely be playing Yoda, and likely Padme, for the foreseeable future as I prepare for LVO. 

This was a long read, so I’m going to cut it off here, but if you have questions or want to talk strategy feel free to ping me in The Legion Discord.

Thanks for reading,


BobbySapphire

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