Around a month ago I was cracking wise on the Legion Discord about how positive I was that Anakin is actually going to be better than Yoda in the current meta. One person suggested I post similar takes on a blog, at which point one Kyle “Orkimedes” Dornbos reminded the channel that The Fifth Trooper™ was still hiring writers. It certainly sounded like a way to write something more exciting than a discharge summary, so I applied. I attached my resume of sassy blog posts about Legend of the Five Rings (RIP) as well as my CV of decent performances in live play (as much as one can for someone who learned right before Pandemic™) and Invader League, hoping they’d gloss over the fact that I can pin most of those wins on now-defunct rules for clones and arc strikes.
Imagine my surprise when Kyle messaged me that I was being considered! Though I can’t say I understand their decision I am quite humbled by it and will do my best to write things worth reading. For my first article I’ve considered the reason most players visit the Fifth Trooper™ blog: insightful analysis and thoughtful musings…of the canon-accuracy of units.
I know what you’re thinking: why should I trust you, Evan, on such a subjective premise? I will have you know that I have watched all 13 films (no Clone Wars movie but yes to both Ewok Adventures), The Mandalorian, the good episodes of Clone Wars and Bad Batch (several!) as well as the good episodes of Rebels (much less several…) and some assorted comics. I’ve also played quite a bit of Battlefront 2 which is helpful for certain vehicles and BB-8, who if ever released will certainly have a “Jedi Arts” style attack with 18 red dice.
He’s coming for you
For this “article” I will be assigning ranks to all the units in the Rebel Alliance with regards to their canon-accuracy. As a shorthand, we’ll refer to and the Legion version as “the unit.” To get started, we’ll set a benchmark with the unit I (and by proxy, The Fifth Trooper™) consider to be the gold standard and go down the list from there.
Literal perfection! Like the man himself the unit is fashion-obsessed (multiple clothing options!), sneaky (blending in with all the other Tooth Helmet Corps in Jabba’s Palace), and frequently uses cards to cheat. Both versions also get along very well with Han and Chewie but not especially well with Leia. The unit even has a “Flaw” card, which naturally represents both the character’s habit of overzealous bets and Billy Dee’s mailed-in performance in Rise of Skywalker.
Leia was born with a silver spoon but forged herself a heart of steel. Think about it: after watching her home planet get dusted she endured several evacuations, two encounters with Vader, a problematic costume, and an attempt at ritual sacrifice by space bears. Then, when the Rebellion was over, she did it again in the sequels! Don’t get me started on this unit though; “No Time” is cool and all but everything else feels like a waste. A travashamockery of a unit compared to the real deal.
Han is great because he is always cool but unlike Lando is only sometimes smooth, and the unit evokes that…pretty well. A well-placed Change of Plans can really ruin a game but it feels weird when he rolls into battle to do 1 wound from two shots because he rolled one miss into some doofus behind a barricade. Steady was a great addition mechanically but also thematically since the Death Star hallway chase is honestly his non-Falcon shining moment, although his 2-Pip should also give Demoralize 2 (those storms RAN, dude!).
What a man
Cassian’s opening move in Legion is usually to snipe multiple enemies off the face of the earth then later upset his opponent’s army with a pistol. In Rogue One Cassian’s opening move is to act upset most of the time, and kill multiple allies with his pistol. When ordered to snipe ONE GUY FOR ONE HIT he decides instead to aim and then move when K2 is more than range 2 away. I do appreciate that he gives false hope for a full life to Pathfinders though, that one is on point.
She had hints of a rock-solid character but was the unfortunate victim of re-writes and “creative differences.” I quite liked that she mostly just wanted to be left alone until she ran into the holo-message, imagine how things could have been if she had just one real scene with Saw. Just look at the original teaser, WE COULD HAVE HAD THIS MOVIE! Similarly, the unit started with promise but ironically would NOW BENEFIT from re-writes to rescue 2/3 of her commands from “theme” status. Two paths to the same result, an unfulfilled promise.
His insignia is that of a Major, same as ol’ Bren Derlin (such a name!) who recommended that speeders “Take Cover” from the cold, Inspired some troops right before the evacuation, and most importantly never even bothered to try shooting anyone.
If you were big-dogged by a tiny old man in a disgusting swamp right before getting psychiatrically (and also literally) dismembered by your own dad you would ugly cry too, but I bet you couldn’t somehow fall into exactly the right…gas…hole? I don’t especially understand Cloud City’s system of trap doors that seem to dispose of nothing in particular, but I do understand that a 2 dice pierce 2 gun without sharpshooter is very endearing. You can do it buddy!
Which is exactly why Luke became less interesting when he became a glowing green people/droid blender. His appearance in Mandalorian was controversial in my friend group because some thought it was cliché and an unfortunate Deus Ex Machina. And while I still thoroughly enjoyed it… they were absolutely right. So it is with Op Luke: why bother carefully planning the next three turns when you can just use your disengage to move around at will? Yawn-o-rama, but at the end of the day, sadly accurate.
Rank: A, but a sad A, like “…A…”
The devs bought into the bull, huh? After listening to Luke’s whining, tolerating Han’s hilarious but reckless buffoonery, and enduring Leia’s deeply hurtful comments he didn’t even get a damn medal. He shouldn’t be using Guardian 3 for any of these fools, and yet that’s what he’s there for, along with two extremely situational command cards and a third that basically only exists to make Han look better at Chewie’s expense. By the way, do you recall all those great Chewie and Luke moments? Neither do I.
Wait a minute though, I just remembered “The Holiday Special,” which was made by Lucas so criticize its canonicity at your own peril! In one of the first scenes Luke gets a call from Chewie’s family. He quickly begins to pretend “fixing his X-wing” when he obviously has been spending his time trying to find the right foundation/eye shadow/mascara ratio (and failing miserably, see the top image). When challenged on why the head of the household hasn’t made it back home for Life Day™, Luke is a real bro and covers for the fact that Chewie has clearly been taking on more and more dangerous missions as an excuse to avoid family time. This is understandable, because Itchy and Lumpy are honestly terrible. I suppose that when viewed through the lens of absconding from his familial hell-scape, Guardian 3 makes a whole lot more sense… “sorry honey, wouldn’t you know it I was standing next to some Mandalorians and I’ll be darned I got hurt again!”
She apparently has been shot quite a lot, and as far as we can tell hasn’t ever…EVER…died.
Rank: A, but an angry A, like “grrrr…A”
Since this is the REBEL version I have to give it low marks. He didn’t make it through a single OT movie without getting captured (I’m counting the swamp snake here), forgot how to use his jump jets and flame thrower, and was only capable of suppressing a Monkey Lizard. He is a brave little guy though, too bad the primary Legion use of Rebel R2 is to “bravely” hide him in a truck until turn 6.
It honestly took me forever to realize that these were fashioned more off Battlefront than any of the films. So, when you look at them from that perspective…they’ve got plenty of head choices, can take captains who help them last a little longer in a fight, and have a variety of heavy weapons to choose from of which only one is any good. They’re accurate enough, and the A-280 makes a really cool pew-pew sound!
The pinnacle moment of fleet troopers in canon involves:
- Two squads standing by in a short hallway for intruders, mostly out of cover
- Taking careful aim from behind LOS of the enemy
- Losing one full squad immediately against one unit of suppressed stormtroopers (who only take two wounds themselves) while the other one panics (and goes down in the next hallway).
A slightly less pinnacle moment (for them) is when they do the same thing against Vader himself and…it goes even worse.
“K I’ll take zero then” “…yep”
Rebel Veterans AND Mark 2
This Wookieepedia blurb raises serious questions about the validity of that website. The speeders make enough sense and it’s not like you can move those garbage FD cannons (see below) but why send foot soldiers out there at all when all the soft targets are safely tucked away in robo-Paracatheriums? And yet, somehow, Rieekan makes it through the whole war and even is commissioned as a General of the Resistance instead of getting busted all the way down to 2nd Lt. of the 65th Latrine Quality Inspection Division. It is true that the Mark 2 usually stayed close to the vets and the vets in fact “Defended” the Rebel base, since that verb itself does not imply success, but I have to stow this one away until we see some content that shows them fighting an enemy they’d have any hope of inflicting damage on.
FD Cannon: While we’re on the subject, this gun is ostensibly designed to destroy armor but seems to be fairly garbage at it. There’s a fairly memorable shot where it absolutely nails the knee joint of an AT-AT, which does get a little glowy for a second, but then it’s fine. Honestly the main value of this weapon is to demonstrate just how incredible the practical effects were in this scene, when they go down (and they sure do that pretty well!) they explode outward from the center as you would expect when its energy cells overload and combust. The unit in Legion isn’t quite as much of a joke, but there’s a reason you barely ever see it out there.
The “my favorite part of the movies bit” has been done to death but hear me out:
INT. REBEL BASE
A dozen snow troopers advance into the now-unshielded Rebel Base. Suddenly, two soldiers riding tauntauns trample 8 of them and simultaneously headbutt the last 4, killing all but one. As the creatures continue to savagely maul the last remaining member of that group, the other snowtroopers raise their weapons against the beasts. One of them, their leader, calmly pushes the nearest man’s blaster down and shakes his head sullenly.
Snowtrooper Captain: “I’m sorry son but we can’t. We might hit our own guy.”
Since the REBEL AT-RT is basically a video-game only item may I point out that in Battlefront 2 it:
- Can roll out with either laser cannons OR god-dang ion cannons
- Can go down just from shooting the pilot in their highly exposed head and torso
- Can’t climb over nothin’
They do some work on that bunker with just a few charges but I did go back to watch the battle scene and kept an eye on them…they didn’t hit a single dude (which at least covers the spirit of sniper strikes). I definitely noticed one guy who has a decently long shot that features him ducking behind debris and taking several blaster hits to that general area with no wounds inflicted. Well done, FFG.
An easy shot for my ARC…oh wait
Since we’re talking the Rebel version we basically again only have Battlefront to go on. In that game they’re…decent, mostly cool because they have a sweet as hell grenade (The Thermal Imploder™) and can heal themselves. Thank the lord the unit can’t do none of that, but to be fair the ones in BF2 definitely CAN’T scramble all over the map and win one-one-one fights with actual Jedi.
You know what happens when a monkey with a machine gun shoots at a the knee joint of an imperial walker? If the Rebels had three of these guys at Hoth they may have actually just straight up won. So, minus points for Legion’s Bistan paling in comparison, but they get some back because while they die a little more slowly, they definitely always bite it in the end.
Now that we’re here I was reminded that it’s pretty great that Luke immediately recognizes AT-AT armor as “too strong for blasters” while the FD cannons (which are apparently less strong if we believe Legion) continue to haplessly fire away. The Airspeeder honestly feels pretty nice in the game, it moves fast and can soak up small arms fire but will go down fast to a vehicle with built in anti-armor. My only real complaint is the tow cable. A pivot is too limited! Are you trying to tell me that an ATRT hit by a tow cable attached to a T-47 that’s flooring it is…gonna take one wound and spin around a little? You don’t have to have spent any significant time in trauma bays to know that things aren’t working out for that pilot. You were close, devs.
I feel for FFG, like it or not Rebel vehicles that aren’t space vessels really demand scraping the bottom of the barrel. This one seems to also be directly lifted from Battlefront 2, where they are clumsy and largely useless. I only found one video on Youtube that “featured” the X-34 in BF2…which is 3 minutes of driving around Tatooine with no resistance and finally meeting some stormtroopers and exploding within seconds (link to the good part). Anyway, you sure as heck can’t put shields and a rocket launcher on one in that game, so the standard mediocrity of the Legion version outshines it quite a bit actually.
AA-5 Speeder Truck
When you open Wookieepedia for this thing it actually defaults to the Legends (disgusting!) page because it’s trying to hide what we already know: while its source is listed that this came from the scrap heap of a West End Games RPG sourcebook. I distinctly remember picking one of those books up in “Borders Books and Music” (RIP) during my childhood (RIP) while my dad browsed CD’s (RIP). Poor little Evan had no idea what an RPG even was, and thus I found these mostly picture-less books quite a bore. Now here I am, 25 years later, trying hard to conclude this “article” with something clever to say about the “canon accuracy” of a hover truck from a fiction within a fiction? Well you know what, I’ll tell you what I think, as soon as they put this thing in something more significant than a financially exploitive tower defense mobile game. Take that, West End Games.
Rank: NOT. APPLICABLE.