Atomic Mass has dropped their fourth and final article previewing the new rulebook, and this time we’re covering movement.
Well boys and girls it’s been a hell of a ride. It all started with an official reply…to a post on an X-wing Facebook page of course, but now only about a month later we know a whole lot more about what to expect from Legion 3.0. Who knows what the actual document will say on it, from the sound of it it’s so different from the current version (2.0.3) that it would merit being a full number up. For those who want to follow along, it was the 2.0 edition that changed some pretty big ticket items such as turn zero tokens, compulsory moves (from start of activation only to start OR end), and most tragically….clone standby sharing. I often long for those halcyon days when an enemy Jedi would be unable to approach you because a 52 point clone unit out of line of sight had one token that was going to set off a 20 dice attack that could use basically unlimited surge tokens and 6 or so aims if you DARED get within range 3. We’ll never see such high level strategy again, but at least these new movement rules look cool. Let’s dive in with some text.
🎵 One less way-to-cheat (accidentally)🎵
I think there’s going to be a mix of folks here, some of whom are going to go “finally, I’m so tired of people doing this wrong right in front of me!” and some who are going to understandably ask “wait, what actually changed about this?” I don’t want to add confusion to folks who may be skimming this by copying a screenshot of the old text, but basically the big difference is that units used to slide directly over the center of the movement template and stop either at the end or somewhere in-between. These pictures demonstrate that the move tool placement on the left would technically get Leia nowhere if she wanted to move out from behind the spire. If she wanted to do so, the player would need to (in the old rules) shift the movement template in such a way that the model doesn’t just collide with the rock on the way out. The Atomic Mass author is right on the money, it was common to see people misusing their move templates, and when I saw it myself across from me I rarely bothered to actually call it out because it felt ticky-tack.
Anyway, as of January 16th the picture on the left would represent a legal placement, Leia could go anywhere across that middle line as long as she didn’t land in a spot that actually overlaps the terrain height 1 or more above the mini. It’s important to note that while the posted rules don’t mention this the article author states that notched bases will still follow the old rules. So, this means that the mortar, tauntaun, and all vehicles will still scooch along template as before. The good news though? For the notched troopers that are allowed to move at all (all except the FD) they all have reposition, which really decreases the likelihood of running into problems with terrain such as height-1 that is completely blocking your way. Great change overall! Here’s a tease: there’s actually now only one unit whose movement I now anticipate will (continue to) be a true slog, bonus points if you can guess right away! Speaking of height though, let’s get to the other important revelation.
🎵 And a Vader you can’t hide froooom🎵
The way the movement template works was just the soup though, here’s the steak:
I don’t know about all you, but I really didn’t like the old climbing rules. It was rough enough with troopers (the sooner I forget about wiping my own snow squad with a 3/3 block roll on a clamber in IL elims the better) but there was one area in particular, “climbing vehicles,” that seemed particularly dumb to me:
Here’s my summary of new movement:
- All units can move on terrain if it’s silhouette is taller than the terrain
- Small based troopers can change their elevation height 1 by taking a speed 1 move onto or off of it
Now, small based troopers at least (and hopefully climbing vehicles too) won’t have to worry about perfectly hugging the edge OR rolling any clamber dice, because as above the new climb is a world apart from the old one.
Height 1 terrain used to be a territory of particular import in the game, because it was a roost ruled by a minority of units that had Speeder, Jump, Hover: Air, or Scale. Everyone else, including many of the most powerful units in the game, either had to take a lot of time and risk to move up that height (Vader et al) or had no chance of doing it at all (creature troopers/a few vehicles). The latter part didn’t change as much as the former but it IS mostly better than before for notched bases because the silhouette has is decently tall. Creature troopers and walkers can now just move onto terrain shorter than its silhouette, whereas before they were limited to moving on to half-height.
The arrows here show the old height that these units were allowed to use as the upper limit of terrain to move onto before, which was half height for creatures and full height for emplacements. They will now move up to terrain at the full height of the silhouette! FD is still too chunky, sorry FD I’m sure they’ll bring you some snacks.
As far as walkers go in the change department…this is unfortunately TBD. “Climbing vehicle” CURRENTLY allows said units to make climb/clamber actions the same way troopers do, but that fact they would also be “notched base” (which the written rules say “cannot” climb) there is a bit of a contradiction that I honestly think will be fixed with zero drama, it makes sense for walkers to change height in the same way troopers would and I fully expect they’ll be able to do so.
This change is enormous, and if suppression/panic doesn’t become a “gotcha” win condition the way some of us fear then I would surely call this one “the biggest.” The number of ways mobility and height cause units to interact with each other in very particular ways are innumerable, but let’s try to shift that towards “slightly numerable” by diving directly into “winners and losers” with a focus on what factions I’d expect to benefit/lose the most from them.
Dark Lords of the Cliff (Winners and Losers)
Non-Jumping, Non-Scaling Melee Units – WINNER:
When Atomic Mass promised a Vader Down scenario in late 2020 it seems that what they meant was that Vader would be able to climb down from height 1 terrain to murder people.
Height was kinda all we had against Vader. He has a lot of health, (now) free access to surge tokens, excellent command cards (which got even better with the suppression update) and a six dice pierce 3 saber. A big rock wall between you and him kept his saber away and caused his saber throws to really max out at one damage because you’d basically always benefit from cover.
Not anymore! Vader, Dooku, and Palpatine used to be afraid of heights but now they’re veritable Dark Lords of the Cliff. This does make the massive increase of Burst of Speed (10, from 3!) more understandable though, one can imagine that Palp and Dooku at least will still run it, only they’ll have to pay a fair price to do so.
Additionally, there are a smattering of units in the game aside from the Sith boys who are melee focused but do not have any solutions for height before this update will go live in January. As noted above, creature troopers still can’t “climb” but their normal movement does have more wiggle room than before. Royal Guards, Magnas, and Pyke Whips also fit that description, two of which can equip gear upgrades that we also think will be functionally useful for this new meta…
Faction most likely to benefit: Empire because of Vader alone, Palp is just icing on the Cake of Darkness.
Units With Jump and Scale Already- LOSER:
When the movement poor get richer the movement rich get poorer, that’s just capitalism baby.
I’m going to finish this thought in the denouement, but this change casts some serious doubt on the cost of a whole lot of units and upgrades. Naturally, we don’t know what the new rules of Jump and Scale will be, but unless they give some very significant bonuses to movement that push them beyond what a trooper with Expert Climber (the final form of which we also don’t know) will be able to do…they ain’t gonna be worth as much as they’re worth now. We would have gotten an early clue to this if it was reflected in the points changes that hit a couple weeks ago but…there were zero units with jump or scale that actually went up/down in points. Does this mean that the new versions of these keywords will match their current costs? Probably not.
Faction most likely to suffer: Everyone who has a jumping Jedi (4/5 factions, yes I know Shadow Collective is a battle force don’t @ me) or non-Jedi units with either jump or natural scale (Mandos of all types, Wooks, ARCs, bounty hunters, BX). So basically everyone…
Climbing Vehicles – WINNER:
Again this is based on some very slight speculation, but I would be very surprised if these didn’t just act like small base troopers when it comes to climbing now. AT-RT’s and Spiders were meant to be cavorting all over the battlefield and acting as flankers, so this is a change that would be welcome from both a balance and play experience perspective. The Spider’s Ion gun is thankfully severely nerfed now, but a flamer unit of either of these vehicles is going to be especially scary when they can just stomp up to you from one height down with (presumably) relative ease.
Faction most likely to benefit: CIS, because flamer spiders with engagement protocols seem just plain better than any RT and now it can charge with gusto.
The Infantry Support Platform- LOSER:
I’ve spent a lot of time writing four of these in two weeks, so pray forgive me taking a moment to hang a lantern on a corner case loser here. I really like this vehicle in theory, but my God it moves like a drunk Roomba. These new movement rules will do nothing for them, they’ll still be trapped bumping around with terrain that’s basically trooper height and hoping that it can do some strafing without the slightest edge of it’s base overlapping something taller. The same is true of the two treaded tanks (Gav and Snail) but they at least have reposition to mitigate the pain, this thing doesn’t have crap. GIVE IT HOVER: AIR 1 YOU-
“Hey guys I’ll be right there…yeah right…”
Faction most likely to suffer: “‘NEATH THE BLACK THE SKY LOOKS DEAD”
Shooting, especially with Steady – WINNER:
Even with all the changes we’ve mentioned the last couple weeks, one thing that hasn’t changed is that height confers a specific advantage to gunlines. A gun at height can see more and will always have cover, plus they’re on top of the cover they’re using so they won’t have to worry about their enemies getting it. Perhaps most importantly, a unit can be safe behind a very LOS-blocking height 1 building then, late in the round, activate to climb up and take a shot with little risk for recourse, then they can do the opposite the following round. This will be especially potent with range 4-5 dice pools that have critical, sharpshooter or marksman such as Del, or DC-15’s, or HRU’s, or snipers, or shores, or Iden, or…well you get the idea.
Units with Steady will benefit even moreso than the others, as our reading of the rules suggests that units will be able to take shots after a climb. This effectively gives all units with steady the Cad Bane style peekabo that you used to need special upgrades for. Snowtrooper stock is still higher than usual in general just because it’s on Blizzard force, but it’s obviously also a big boon for Han as well as a little-known command called Tactical Strike.
Faction most likely to benefit: The one that has tactical strike
A New Frontier
If you’ve picked up on some subtle clues I left in the previous section, you may have noticed that I’m a bit concerned that we’re once again seeing changes that benefit the faction that is already dominant in the meta while leaving a lot of units from various other factions in the dust from a cost perspective. Let’s be clear about one thing though: this was likely going to happen regardless given the level of rules changes that are happening. Changes like this would have taken a significant amount of testing, which likely needed to be completed months ago so it would have an appropriate affect on future production in various respects, plus the oft-rumored stringent change control policy of Lucasfilm Limited. Pykes were hit hard in this points change and Empire was basically not hit at all, which suggests they had to put this one in the can a while ago. I hope the above is read as an explanation and not an indictment, it’s clear that a lot of thought has been put into these changes, and yeah there’s one of them (suppression) I don’t like but I am more than willing to stand corrected if the community ends up having a good experience.
I do think we’ll have a golden opportunity after Las Vegas Open (LVO), which is barely more than a month away. This will likely be the first real test of this meta, which by then will likely look even more different than this theoretical meta is different from what we have now. I’m hopeful that if LVO demonstrates some obvious malformations in high-performing lists then Atomic Mass will stand ready to make some micro-adjustments on the fly, to reduce the risk of major meta malformations (Jay is giving us an extra pack of dollar store baseball cards for alliteration now) in their very first Worlds. I also want to note that I have faith the points weirdness with these keyword changes will get worked out over time, these rules were clearly a lot of work and with that in the rear view there can be a bit more focus on those and likely some errata as well.
That aside, I am very genuinely excited to try out these new rules, and I want to extend a particular thank you to Atomic Mass for giving us a taste before the real thing, which has given us something to write/talk about in what would otherwise be a Legion-dormant holiday period. Let us know what you think in the comments, and please have a happy and safe Holidays!