Star Wars: Legion has EIGHT Battle Forces now, and it’s high time we pass judgment on their accuracy to the canon.
My last canon article didn’t exactly go well. I was too emotionally invested in the accuracy of my dear Republic and…I turned to wine to dull my internal struggle: I needed to admit the truth but I hid from it beneath a bottle’s shadow. It actually posted right in the middle of LVO, and I remember well when I found out the consequences of that disaster of a post. It was during the Top 4 match that the site’s only editor at the time, one Kyle “Orkimedes” Dornbos leaned in as he flipped the final card of my battle deck and said “you’re on probation, no canon crap from now on.” Well I’m an editor too now KYLE so probation this (please don’t!).
Funny enough, I was playing a certain Battle Force that day, and my (very swift) loss to Kyle (playing the same Battle Force) was hot on the heels of a close win I had against Austin Miller, who was playing a Battle Force. Kyle went on to beat Mike “Dashz” Barry in the next game, who was also playing a Battle Force, and who ended the whole tournament with only two losses, both to Battle Forces, the other of which was me on Day 1. Interestingly, one Matt “Zeusjus” Bronson was also there playing a Battle Force, though he unfortunately barely missed making the top cut after he lost just one game…to a Battle Force. Why is this relevant? It’s because Jay looked at their lists and nodded approvingly, a freshly stirred Manhattan in his hand, “these guys sure know their way around a Battle Force,” he said knowingly. Now, less than a year later, Mike, Austin, and Matt all work for the site. That, my friends, is the power…of the Battle Force.
Clearly, their power in the game is so far beyond question that I will not even slightly entertain the suggestion that they are not supreme creations of the tabletop…but what of their artistic “power”? How well do they capture the works from which they are taken? I know for a fact that many of you, if not most of you, have been spending day after day just hoping, praying even, that The Fifth Trooper would finally tell you how to think and converse about the canon accuracy of these Battle Forces, and I am thrilled to tell you that time is now.
Battle Force Time.
I’m going to assume that the Empire had no more than 20 or so “named” armies like this because at that point your list of available synonyms for “storm” starts to get pretty dicey. I’m just going to guess that you’d find “Typhoon Force” on Scarif, “Squall Force” on Bespin, and “Noreaster Force” on Martha’s Vineyard, it’s a fun but ultimately self limited motif which is really a reflection of whatever mid-level officer came up with the concept (we can assume they’ve been executed by now).
First thing’s first. I’ll admit that I kind of thought that Iden and Inferno squad would be in here when it was announced, but when they weren’t I remembered this: as much as the films wanted us to believe that entire planets can be boiled down to one or two cities (in Mandalorian, known cosplayer Cobb Vanth claims to speak for the entire planet at one point when he’s scaring off some thugs…like, what?) planets are in fact large things where two events (but usually no more than that, to be fair) can happen at once. Iden and her crew weren’t close to the shield generator, which was the “beat” Tempest Force was assigned to. You know who definitely was there though? A crapload of AT-ST’s, speeder bikes, scouts, some no name officers, and a few stormtroopers. So, great, pack it up right?
You see, initially when I saw Major Marquand and his three Marq-cuommand cards I came up empty for a sec, then I remembered that I had his card in Decipher’s old CCG, which I purely bought for the thrill of collection back then and which I vow to never actually learn the rules to.
I know it’s low-res but please remember that this game is old enough to have kids in grade school
And then I started getting into the trivia, that this guy was in fact played by the director Richard Marquand, who sadly died of a stroke just 4 years after ROTJ was released. But after that, I noticed that I was still on the “Legacy” side of Wookieepedia. To my abject horror, when I clicked on “Canon,” I saw…this.
Well, apparently in material released by Disney (which amounts to an Atlas and a Topps card apparently) they inexplicably changed the dude’s name. I double checked, this guy wasn’t cancelled or anything, they just changed it…and that kinda sucks! He’s dead, let his kids and grandkids celebrate their family when he shows up briefly and gets beaten to submission by multiple furry creatures.
So you know what? I like that the devs of Star Wars: Legion took a brief look at the canon, and kindly asked it to talk to the hand in order to bring a small amount of justice to our boy Marquand.
Unfortunately, the grade here is based on the actual accuracy, so ol’ Not-Newland here brings it down substantially from its strong start.
Grade: C, but again, big props to AMG for dipping into Legends in a moral way
Echo Base Defenders
Echo Base super-fans are getting off easy here because while I’ve already scientifically documented the ridiculousness of FD’s and Tauntauns in this game from a canon perspective, that’s not what’s at question here. Indeed, it’s all about the Battle Force and what’s in it…and this one is about as 1:1 as is humanly possible. I like the touch that Wedge is allowed to be included (he was obviously there) but is absolutely not allowed to be in charge because Field Commander can’t be used. This is naturally a reference to how surprised he was when the whole “tripping” thing actually worked, not exactly inspirational leader material there if you ask me.
The key thing to remember about the Echo Base Defenders is that they never had a chance, it was like Thermopylae but if the Spartans only killed like 10 Persians before they bought the farm. I even like how the command cards shake out!
- Delaying Tactics: I mean, yeah man, that’s literally all they achieved or were ever going to achieve. They sure as hell weren’t “destroying stuff tactics” with that piece of crap army.
- Courage of the Rebellion: It’s hard to be more courageous than to look around at the garbage the brass gave you to throw at giant hulking armored behemoth artillery monsters and to still agree to go out there, all so some of your buddies can escape to keep the Rebellion alive.
- Hold at Any Cost: Those troopers got to the trench, did some aiming, some shooting, some standing by, and most of all…some dying (they still roll white saves after all, which is the main reason this insane command card hasn’t actually become a problem for balance). Of course, they sure didn’t hold the base at any cost, but they held their ground! And since they basically all smoked…if that ain’t “any cost” I dunno what is!
I covered this to a certain extent in my Shadow Collective Canon article but all the units here were in fact featured in the Shadow Collective episodes to one extent or another…ASIDE from the two bounty hunters (Cad Bane and Bossk) that is. It’s believable enough that they would have worked for them though, they’re known scumbags after all.
There’s actually quite a bit of room to expand the Shadow Collective with future expansions, currently unreleased characters such as the Nite Owls, Dryden Vos, and of course Savage Oppress could all still be added with full accuracy. And yeah…I’ll be honest. I’m only bringing this up because I was just now extremely disappointed when I saw that the joke that’s been bumping around my head for years waiting for just the right time has already been made by someone else.
Damn you t_mmyparker! I’ll have to find another way to make a joke about Johnny Depp’s poor taste in tattoos. Some day.
No, not yet, I can’t do it
Yeah I mean, what can I say? For the non-uniques that are otherwise allowed in Empire lists, there is plenty of explanation for their absence:
- Pykes/Black Sun: Too expensive, they can only afford a couple bounty hunters at a time (see below).
- Snowtroopers: No more snow planets to fret about until The Force Awakens, so they were all sent to hibernate until then
- Imperial Royal Guards: No more royalty to guard (until, somehow…well, you know)
- Imperial Special Forces: Even the Remnant knew they’re worthless without Iden
- Dewbacks: Basically impossible to find thanks to the success of convincing animal rights lobbyists in the New Republic Senate
- Any Heavies Aside From Dark Troopers: No one was qualified to maintain them after the Ughnauts were allowed to unionize again
So, just like with Tempest Force, a strong start…but then, just like Tempest Force…disaster!
When it comes to uniques, the first problem is that there’s no Gideon. Are you confused? If so, you’re probably thinking of a different Gideon. The one I’m talking about is…
this goose-stepping piece of human trash, Gideon Hask! He like, definitely was hanging out with all the other wannabes in the Remnant, he was even still there a generation later working for the First Order! He obviously couldn’t be in Inferno, but he could show up in a stormtrooper unit or whatever.
But that’s not all! Riddle me this: if the Mandalorian and IG-11 are both mercenaries eligible to take in the Empire because of basically a single episode of canon, and that said episode took place a few years after the Emperor’s death…why are they not allowed in this Battle Force, which represents the literal organization that hired both of them?
For that matter, this scene takes place preeetty far away from Moff Gideon but…it sure doesn’t seem like these guys got any Independent: aim or dodge tokens.
You had me in the first half, Remnant.
This one is hard, it’s like judging how good someone is at Battleship when their opponentdidn’t put any ships on their own board: you’ll always miss when there’s nothing there to hit. This Battle Force was never really meant to represent anything in particular, which was basically confirmed last year at Ministravaganza, where it was stated that this Battle Force was meant to basically mimic what people were already putting on the table. I’ll always be curious why this wasn’t just “Naboo Invasion,” dropping Dooku, Grievous, and the Magnas. It’s possible that the developers were worried the lack of variety in commander choices would have made it less fun to play, but Tempest Force has since shown us that people can have plenty of fun with severe restrictions on named characters.
In any case, it’s clear that Invasion Force was meant to represent a concept (one that, someday, I might understand) more than an actual army in the fiction per se. And for that, I can really only give this Battle Force…
Bright Tree Village
I’m glad that few people acted upset that Op Luke wasn’t on here since, as we noted above, both this and Tempest Force are meant to represent the bunker scene/sneak attack. I’ll be honest, there are only two problems here and they’re both pretty minor.
First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t raise an eyebrow against this thing:
When you compare this monstrous attack to, say…a ship’s turbolaser battery:
It does seem a little silly. Then again, using physical weapons in Star Wars (tow cables, an iron gate in a Rancor cage, an entire ship to ram with in Rogue One) often does more damage than a minute’s worth of CGI lasers do, so maybe it’s actually fine. Also, note that Log Traps is not Immune: Deflect which suggests that Anakin could Djem-So a woodchip directly into an ewok’s cranium from range 4, now that’s hardcore!
My other point is really more of a missed opportunity, which is that this card:
Should have had the same text and just been called “Ewok Hunt.”
For those who don’t know, Battlefront 2 had a mode called Ewok Hunt that was originally kind of a themed mode/joke on Halloween the first year of release. Why Halloween? Well, most of the players start as stormtroopers, who have to survive for ten minutes against endless waves of Ewoks. It is completely dark, you have a narrow flashlight that lasts for like three seconds then has to recharge. The Ewoks can see in the dark, teleport using the trees, damage you and screw with your vision by throwing some kind of stinging firefly crap at you, and are of course tiny as hell so they’re hard to hit. You get one life as a stormtrooper, if you die you respawn as an ewok to help take down your former allies. That’s when you finally understand that this mode isn’t about hunting ewoks, it’s about them hunting you.
The mode is insanely hard for Empire, I remember clearly the one time I won with them…out of dozens of games. And yeah, when these little bastards could be coming from anywhere, it’s legitimately kind of unsettling, but also hilarious of course. It’s some of the most fun you can have in a Star Wars game, and if you don’t think you’ll ever play it then I encourage you to check out the 5 minute video below to get a little taste of the insanity.
Despite that this Battle Force is (as of this writing) probably the second most competitive in the game (after Blizzard with Commander Vader) I still have hang-ups that have to do with freedom in list-building, but of course I need to be a professional and remember…this is for the canon, focus Evan! I really went back and forth on this one, spending entire minutes comparing possible conclusions, but it was really just one clip that awakened my final, and ultimately unassailable, opinion.
It’s of key importance that the developers mentioned the Battle of Umbara as the inspiration for this particular Battle Force. I’m going to be a class act and breeze right by the fact that the box art is clearly showing a different planet (because there is daylight, which Umbara has none of) and that at the Battle of Umbara Anakin left after like…half a day. Still…he was there for those 12 hours, as was everything else in this Battle Force, and it’s not really missing any released units as far as I can tell. Aside from the fact that the use of “within” instead of “at” in Lead from the Front still has not been corrected a year later, the command cards are generic and inoffensive enough that they could apply to most Republic lists really.
But there’s the thing that really put it over the top. Click on the video below, which features a fight the clones are losing against a big armored worm on Umbara’s surface. And what does the clone fighting the worm ask for?
“Mayday Mayday, Rex we need rocket launchers!”
Which is exactly what every Republic player would say right now about this Battle Force! SUPER ACCURATE! The difference of course is that Rex delivered the launcher to 501st troopers when Atomic Mass has not, and probably won’t. Until that happens, 501st in Legion will just have to keep praying not go up against armor…like, ever. Good luck guys! But since there is no Phase 2 RPS right now, I regretfully have to admit that this one is technically…
INCREDIBLE. CROSS. SECTIONS.
What do you think of my ratings? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you for some reason enjoyed this “content” please consider contributing to our Patreon, which gives you access to our exclusive Discord server and comes with regular giveaways for certain tiers. Finally, Jay just telepathically glowered at me from across the country for not reminding you that we have a brand new set of order tokens available for your perusal.
Happy Battle Force-ing!