(Re) Balance in the Force – Star Wars: Legion Points Update

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 1

This article takes a look at the surprise (but not unwelcome) points re-balance and errata that was announced this past week and will be hitting in mid-September.

Boy, we are really hurting for relevant things to talk about lately, huh?

Unless you have been living in a Bantha cave for the last two weeks, you know that Legion is undergoing a points re-balance and errata.  There were several changes to competitively relevant units (ahem, strike teams) and some nice points drops on other units and upgrades that were not seeing much competitive play.

A few notes from FFG about how this is going to work for Legion: the re-balance was in two components, errata and points updates.  The former will be for all play modes and will be reflected and printed on future cards; the latter is specifically for tournament play and is published in the back of the RRG (of course players are welcome to use them for their own local games if they wish).

Since points re-balance is primarily for tournament play, this article will focus on the (new) competitiveness of the affected units, as well as how some of the changes effect units that weren’t directly changed.

 

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 2

Starting in this article and for future articles like this one, I am going to use a rating scale for the relative competitive viability of a given unit.  This is just my opinion based on experience; don’t let me or anyone else tell you what you should or shouldn’t play if you disagree or find a particular unit/combination fun.  The most important thing in any tabletop game is making sure you are comfortable with what you are putting on the table and you have fun when doing so.  These ratings (particularly Viable through Highly Competitive) are also somewhat smallish grades of nuance; Legion is ultimately a very balanced game where nearly any unit can be strong in the right hands.  But, you know, pundits gotta pundit, right?

Competitive tiers

Here is the scale:

Handicap: If you are bringing one of these units to a tournament, you are basically handicapping yourself.  We’ll just go ahead and call this one the “T-47” tier.  At least, it used to be…

Situational: These units/upgrades are decent in the hands of a skilled player ,with the right setup cards or match-up. However, they are sometimes not consistently strong in a tournament setting where you have to account for multiple different scenarios, tables, and opposing match-ups.

Viable: Can be very solid if supported correctly in the right build.

Competitive: Units or upgrades that are very strong, versatile options in a tournament setting.  Lists are often built around these units.

Highly Competitive: Units or upgrades that are taken in nearly every tournament list, often in multiples (if possible).  This is previously the “strike team” tier, and perhaps now only includes a couple of corps units (Shoretroopers and Z-6 Rebel Troopers, specifically).

I am not going to hit every single upgrade, though I will hit most of them.  To the extent that a particular upgrade significantly influences the effectiveness of the unit it is on, I tried to list it in the same section.

Without further ado, lets get to the changes, in no particular order.  Well… we’ll start with the biggest one.  I am going to combine points updates and errata for purposes of this discussion.

Hot Takes

Strike Teams: Snipers (+4)

Errata: Sniper range (both the DH-447 and DLT-19x) from unlimited to range 1-5

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 3

Old rank: Highly Competitive

New Rank: Competitive

This was almost certainly the largest change as far as competitive play is concerned.  Range 5 is new; basically you just tack another range ruler segment on to the end of your existing one.  Most people will have this anyway from multiple cores (especially with Clone Wars now) but FFG recommended you just borrow a segment from your opponent if you don’t have an extra one.

In practice this means snipers can now only shoot 30″ (range segments are 6″) instead of anywhere on the table.  Let’s get real, that’s still pretty far.  I don’t think this is quite as devastating for snipers as some have thought; it brings snipers up into range of more units, but it also essentially brings them out of range of their previous primary counter; other snipers.  I foresee situations where either A) Your opponent isn’t bringing any snipers at all (because other stuff is more interesting now) or B) both you and your opponent’s snipers spend the game plinking away at your front lines instead of each other.  Either way, if you’ve brought your own snipers, they might well be safer than they used to be, although they can now effect a much smaller area of the battlefield.

I should note that putting your snipers at “exactly range 5” is going to be just as important as doing something like this with your front line units, particularly when facing units with range 4 Critical weapons or large dice pools, like Deathtroopers, Shoretrooper T-21b, or the eventual Rebel Trooper DLT-20A.  Since a speed 2 move is just shy of range 1, using your snipers at exactly range 5 against these units prevents return fire.  Ideally you still want your own snipers behind your front line so units that move up to attack them are exposing themselves to your gun line in the process.

The primary difference I’ve noticed is that it is more difficult to get those no cover/light-cover-down-to-none side angle shots lengthwise across the table, which is no small thing.  It’s also somewhat harder to “deny” back objectives to your opponent by sniping the objective grabbing unit (this was sometimes possible on Vaporators or Recover).

The +4 points hurts as much or more as the range 5 change, in my opinion.  Strike teams are still cheap activations that are nearly always useful, but I think this likely means you are taking two of them instead of three (if you are taking them).  The lack of return sniper fire due to reduced range means I think even just one sniper is now viable, for some occasional ranged support and activation padding.

Strike teams: Saboteurs (+4)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 4

Old rank: Competitive

New rank: Competitive

Let’s be real, this is really +8, with the changes to stims.  That said, I think sabs are still very solid, particularly if more snipers (one of their natural predators) is coming off the table.

For one, sabs are pretty good against the new hotness, Tauntauns.  Don’t forget that detonate can be used before Agile triggers (after a move but before the dodge from Agile is gained).  Yes, that includes the free moves from No Time for Sorrows.

Secondly, sabs have always been excellent, albeit hard to use, as demonstrated quite famously (infamously?) by Daniel Lupo at Adepticon and Worlds.  This functionally increases the cost to field them by 24 points if you are taking three, but you can always run one of the three without stims and use it as your backfield objective/trigger man, which means the cost to field these lads only went up by 12 (+8 for the two stims, + 12 for the strike team increase, -8 for cutting a stim).  Your opponent probably will still assume all three of them have stims, no matter how often you tell them otherwise.

Sabs always have and will continue to depend on decent, balanced tables, but luckily the tournament community at large is getting better at throwing more (and better) terrain on the table (Thanks Brendon!).

Jyn Erso 110 (-20)

Duck and Cover 4 (-4)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 5

Errata: Danger Sense now works in melee

Old Rank: Situational

New Rank: Viable

Well that is quite a drop.  Let’s get real though… she needed it.  She still hits like a wet noodle and her command cards are still very situational, but she’s always been good at recover and breakthrough, and a pain in the ass to kill with ranged chip damage, and now she can be good at those things for 110 points.

The duck and cover changes are no small thing, either, and functionally decreases the cost to field Jyn by another (-4) points, since it is stapled to her training slot.

The danger sense working in melee change technically happened in the last update, but it is worth mentioning here because of how it effects Jyn.  It’s a nice little bonus, but Jyn is still going to get murdered by any dedicated melee unit.  She also doesn’t have any way to disengage and her melee damage is worse than her ranged damage (because of Pierce), so you don’t really want her tied up in melee anyway.  If she is in melee with a couple of Stormtroopers, she isn’t tarpitting them; they are tarpitting her.  Hard to complain about getting something for free, though.

Chewbacca (-15)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 6

Old Rank: Situational

New Rank: Viable

The points drop doesn’t really help either of Chewie’s core issues (lack of his own command cards and vulnerability to bounty) but it makes it easier to fit him in.  Interestingly, he’s getting some indirect help in the latter department, because Empire players have been running the new hotness (Shores with relays and Aggressive Tactics) and cutting bounty hunters in the process.  That has nothing whatsoever to do with this balance update, but it’s something of an indirect benefit to the Walking Carpet.

Many of the units that work well with Chewie’s guardian are also getting some direct and indirect buffs as a result of the re-balance (full Commando units, Pathfinders, FD Turrets, and Rebel Veterans).  This might be a bit of a wash still with all the high dice pool and Critical X units entering the game, but it is worth mentioning.

Chewie starts to look really interesting in some Leia gunline lists as a bullet sponge at just 95 points.

Darth Vader (Commander) 190 (-10)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 7

Saber Throw 5 (-5)

Force Reflexes 10 (-5)

Old Rank: Viable

New Rank: Competitive

This is really more like (-20), because Saber Throw and Reflexes also got 5 point drops each.  Vader is also getting access to three more excellent command cards (for a total of 6).  I think it is possible a new rank of “Competitive” might even be a little conservative here, but maybe that’s okay.  He is the Dark Lord of the Sith, after all.

T-47 Airspeeder 140 (-35)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 8

Harpoon 3 (-7)

AX-9 Ground Buzzer 10 (-10)

Errata: Gain Immune: Range 1 (weapons with a maximum range of 1 do not effect you)

Old Rank: Handicap

New Rank: Situational

Well that is pretty spicy.  35 points is a lot.  The range 1 immunity thing is neat too, and makes the T-47 immune to grenades, charges/mines, and Greivous’ 1 pip.  The two hardpoints also got significant drops.  The hardpoints are still not great since you can’t combine them with the main gun and ass-facing shots are hard to set up, but the harpoon in particular at 3 points is sort of hard to complain about.

I’m still not sure the newly costed T-47 is better than the X-34 landspeeder, which hits a fair bit harder for roughly the same cost, but it is much more of a conversation now.

AT-ST 170 (-20)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 9

Old Rank: Situational

New Rank: Viable

The mechanical monstrosity got a nice cut.  It is still more expensive than the tank, but it also hits harder with the right upgrades and can see over most terrain (you know you want the walking Eye of Sauron with a blaster cannon).  The Occupier vs. AT-ST discussion is really interesting now, and I’m not entirely sure what the answer is there.  If it is anything resembling “it depends,” then we are in a good spot.  The AT-ST has always been something of a terror against other vehicles as well.

It is worth mentioning here that pretty much all vehicles also get a nice benefit from Linked Targeting Array, a 5 point neutral upgrade coming along with the Clone Wars release.  It isn’t directly related to the re-balance, of course, but it bears mentioning because of how much it helps vehicles.

AT-RT

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 10

Laser Cannon 20 (-15)

Rotary Blaster 20 (-10)

Flamethrower 20 (-5)

Old Rank: Viable (Flamethrower and Rotary), Situational (Laser Cannon)

New Rank: Competitive (Flamethrower and Rotary), Situational (Laser Cannon)

Woof, that is a nice little drop for AT-RTs, especially the rotaries.  Rotaries were already sort of on the edge of competitive, and a 10 point drop gives you some extra meat to play with in list building.  The fact that Empire players are starting to cut DLTs for Shores and Mortars is going to further increase the stock of the Rebel vehicle meta, with AT-RTs at the forefront.

Flamers are making some noise now also with the impending release of Droids.  They basically one-shot B1s (would you like to roll 12-16 black dice and ignore cover?).  I am excited that my Sorry About the Barbecue list (Han/Chewie with Flamer RTs) basically got 30 more points to play with between the Flamers and Chewie.

The drop to the Laser Cannon was welcome and necessary.  It’s still not a super great armor counter, especially against tanks with red saves as it lacks pierce, but it is more reliable than most of the other Rebel options.  You are going to still be real sad though if you take this and you don’t run up against armor, because it hits like a wet noodle when you are shooting anything else.

74-Z Speeder Bikes 75 (-15)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 11

Old Rank: Situational

New Rank: Viable

 

This is quite a nice little drop to bikes.  They remain a very high skill cap unit, but between this drop and the likely decreased prevalence of snipers, their natural predator, bikes are in a decent spot again.  I’m excited to see how Empire players start working them back in.

Exhaust Weapons: MPL-Ion, MPL-Barrage, HH-12, T-7 Ion (-8)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 12

Errata: T-7 Ion range increased to 1-3

Old Rank: Handicap

New Rank: Situational

These sure needed a drop.  Bad news though; they still exhaust, and they still aren’t great against things that aren’t armor.  The Ion weapons also don’t have Pierce, so you still have a highly uncertain outcome, particularly against tanks with red saves.  The points drop is nice, but like the AT-RT Laser Cannon you are going to be real sad if you bring one of these and you don’t run up against armor.

I actually think the T-7 Ion has some of the most play here, because Snows can Recover, move and shoot with steady (or move, shoot, recover).  I think it would be really amusing to use these as an armor counter in a Palpatine list, where you can move, shoot, recover with the Snows and then move, shoot with Pull the Strings to throw down two ion tokens in one turn.

Emergency Stims 12 (+4)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 13

Old Rank: Highly Competitive

New Rank: Competitive

Stims definitely needed something of a bump.  Luke’s gear slot was jokingly referred to as “the stims slot” and Stims were a staple on other durable, important characters with gear slots like Boba Fett and Sabine.  Now this makes it a more interesting conversation; I definitely think you still want stims on Luke, but I also think you could make the case for some other interesting things like Recon Intel.

Rebel Veteran CM/0-93 26 (-5)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 14

Old Rank: Situational

New Rank: Viable

Or is it the CM-93/0?  I can never remember.

Anyway the drop on this is nice.  Folks were mostly fielding vets naked or with an uplink if they were taking them at all, and this means they can actually use their heavy upgrade and be a combat unit in their own right.  They still aren’t Shores for a variety of reasons, but they are definitely interesting as a 1/1 in a Rebel list to access a little Fire Support.

Rebel Pathfinder A300 Config 0 (-6)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 15

Old Rank: Situational

New Rank: Viable

Well, it is hard to complain about free.  I think it is likely you weren’t taking this anyway if you were running Pathfinders (I wasn’t) so I’m not sure this meaningfully reduces their cost to get them on the table, but they got a little of that with the Duck and Cover drop (-4).  Free things are free.

Bistan’s stock is going up a little anyway with the arrival of CIS and the almost universal drops on armor, so this will be a nice little bonus when firing at range 4.

Targeting Scopes 4 (-2)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 16

Old Rank: Handicap

New Rank: Competitive (on Shores and Bossk), Situational (on anything else)

Two points isn’t a lot, you say.  Is that enough to jump this thing all the way up to competitive?

The reason I specifically list Shores and Bossk is for two reasons; the former gets free aim tokens (reliably every turn if you do it right) and has a large, strong dice pool but lacks precise.  The latter also gets lots of free aim tokens, and has a large pool with poor dice.  Stims, previously a competitive gear upgrade for Bossk, also went up.  Scopes were already borderline decent on both of these units and the drop really helps justify it even more.

Battle Meditation 5 (-5)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 17

 

Old Rank: Handicap

New Rank: Viable (on Palpatine), Situational (on anything else)

This is, and always has been, a decent upgrade in terms of function.  Force slots are very competitive, however, and you generally don’t want to be passing orders from your centerpiece to something else instead.

The points drop is nice, but what really makes this thing tick are Shoretroopers (Shores make a lot of things tick), specifically with Palpatine, but I could see this on Vader as well.  With comms relay on your mortars, this allows you to give an order to a Shore, bounce it to a mortar, who bounces it to another Shore, who bounces it to a mortar, who bounces it to Palpatine.  This results in face up orders on all your Shores and Palpatine, even on your Give in to Your Anger and And Now You Will Die turns.  I’m doing a separate article on Shores where I will talk about the Coordinate/Comms Relay gimmick in more detail, but the fundamental realization here is you don’t need orders on the mortars (they are plenty excellent without Fire Support) and you can turn one order into 3-4 depending on how many Shores you have and who you want orders on.

This also works with Vader, and particularly his operative cards, but his Force Slots are far more in demand and he tends to be farther from your line, so it is harder to pull off with him than Palpatine.

Battle Meditation is also great for ordering something on the other side of the map, which is occasionally necessary.  Now you can do it for 5 points.

Comms Jammer 5 (-10)

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 18

Old Rank: Handicap

New Rank: Competitive

Wowza.  The effect on this has always been situationally amazing on aggressive units, but 15 was hard to swallow; now it has been chopped all the way down to 5.  Put this bad boy on tauntauns or dewbacks and they will really mess up a Coordinate gunline.  Against droids, the B1s won’t even be able to withdrawal, since they won’t be able to get face ups and will have to use AI: Attack.  Taking away player agency always feels bad, and we’ll have to see how long it lasts, but this is an excellent upgrade on Tauntauns, Dewbacks, AT-RT Flamers, and maybe even the T-47.

FD 1.4 Cannon

(Re) Balance in the Force - Star Wars: Legion Points Update 19

Errata: Range increase to 1-5

Old Rank: Situational

New Rank: Viable

 

Well that is spicy.  Range 5 is pretty darn far.  It makes sense for an artillery piece, and now this bad boy can really reach out and touch some things from your deployment zone.

Stationary is still a thing, though, and line of sight blockers are still a thing.  What this probably does in practice is makes your opponent cluster behind line of sight blockers maybe a little more than they would otherwise (not quite like they would against an Empire Shore gunline…)  It is nice to see Rebels get a little piece of long range dakka.  I’m interested to pair this with Sabs to see if going full defensive meme has any merit.  And because sabs like units that are clustered behind line of sight blockers.

Indirect winners: Deathtroopers, Shoretroopers, Clones

I’m not going to go into specific ranks here, but suffice to say there are some units that benefit from less snipers on the table.  These units were all quite competitive to begin with, so we will have to see how less snipers impacts them.  All of these units also have access to Range 4 weapons with either Critical or large dice pools, which makes them something of a potential natural predator of their previous bane, snipers.

 

That is all for now folks.  I have a lot of work to do updating the efficiency tables and going back and updating some of the old unit guides, which I will be doing as time allows in the coming weeks.

One thought on “(Re) Balance in the Force – Star Wars: Legion Points Update

  1. Pingback: The Fifth Trooper: (Re) Balance in the Force – Star Wars: Legion Points Update | Legion HoloNet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *