Homage to the Organizer
Memorial Day weekend brought Star Wars Legion its largest tournament on the East Coast. It
officially surpassed ACO from last year, which had 56, by one attendee for a grand total of 57
players. It was run by none other than the Samwise Gamgee of the Smoky Mountains, Ryan
Sliwoski. Those who have never been to one of his events and have never met him are truly
missing out. I first met Ryan at Cherokee 2022, and was lucky enough to make it into Top 8 at my first event of his. Being my first major event ever for competitive Legion, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I did see is how high he sets the bar for organized play. Ryan and I have only ever played one game against each other, and he currently holds a 1-0 record on me (damn your Leia for killing Cad before he activated!) with which he claimed first place in a 3 round tournament at our home base store in St. Petersburg FL. He’s one of the pillars of the Legion community and a truly amazing human being. With absolute confidence I can declare this event as the most competitive casual Legion tournament in the world!
(No, Ryan didn’t pay me to say all these nice things)
Homage to the Hobbyist
The last bit of business before we dissect the Rocky Top meta is that I also want to shout out Drew from
Ninetales Hobbies. The first thing that caught my attention when I walked in Saturday morning
(besides Ryan’s beard, which gives ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbon a run for its money) were two
downed AT-TEs that were not just beautifully printed, but beautifully painted as well. Had the
wife given me the green light, I would’ve bought one of them immediately. Every little detail
down to the exposed wires in the cockpit was flawless. I spoke with him before, during, and after
the event and he’s a very talented artist and all around cool guy. I really wanted to give him a
chance to tell the community about what he does and get some exposure, so I had him send me
some bits about his business. Feel free to reach out to him if you’re looking for some cool
“I’m Drew Davis or Ninetale Hobbies, a commission painter from Northeast Tennessee. I’ve been painting minis for a little over three years and have been into Legion for about two. Painting usually consumes at least twenty hours out of my week and I am always trying new things and experimenting with techniques. Like most Legion players I have been a fan of Star Wars since I was a kid, but was drawn to the game through the dynamic models and solid ruleset. I’ve painted models from all kinds of companies, genres, and materials but Legion is on the top of my list for models I like to paint. Commission work got started for me when a buddy asked me if I could paint up his Bolt Action army and that gave me the inspiration to try to make a business out of it. After some mixed success trying to sell things online I thought I would give an event a try. Rocky Top was the very first time I have had a booth at a Con and I was blown away at the support I received by the players (I completely sold out of all my Legion minis and terrain). With the positive outcome from Rocky Top I’m hopeful to make a painting business based on Legion. On top of painting, I am currently working on 3d modeling a set of buildings for Legion. I’m hoping to make it out to other events and meet more of this awesome community.”
Honorable Mention 4-1s
Before I break down the “Top 8”, I want to note that I will be shouting out all 4-1s, and also sharing some of the fun non-Legion things we did while in Knoxville, TN. I also asked those who wanted to send me a few words on their lists, what they thought of the tournament, and what they thought of other players’ lists.
11th Place – Tyler Pridgen
I love the idea of running Dooku, I also love the idea of running Asajj. Tyler decided, why not mesh them together! Double BoS will ensure these two Sith will have the mobility to get into your lines, and the Magnas with Protector plus EV-Series Medical Droids will ensure the fallen Jedi and his apprentice stay healthy! I was hoping to play against Tyler in the later rounds as he blitzed past the first 4 undefeated, only to lose on stream Round 5 vs Kentucky Dan (due to a massive 0-6 whiff on Dooku). Double force user is VERY unforgiving, and you basically have to put on a master class every game to win out. In my spare time, I would love to play this exact list and test its mettle. Props to Tyler for going 4-1 with his only loss to 2nd place in round 5! This just kind of goes to show, SoS can place players lower than they probably should be, because let’s face it you can’t control who you get paired against. I will be honest, I was somewhat glad when I dodged this matchup round 5, because I have 2 objectives in my deck that I think he beats me on, and I would be reliant on dice to almost always go my way if we had to play them.
10th Place – Nicholas Schott
This list is very similar to the list Richard Lavery played against me in Round 5 at Cherokee 2023, and boy was it fun to see across the table. The GAV is definitely not a commonly used unit, but it basically guarantees the Darks get wherever they need to go instantly. One Dark gets out shoots you in the face, and another gets in before you can recover! Nicholas also brought a 13 point bid, which seems like it has a good chance of outbidding anything it faces. Vaps with that much of a bid is certainly interesting, but perhaps he’s planning on just killing more points than he loses, or better yet, maybe teleporting Darks onto his opponent’s tokens late game.
9th Place – Stephen Sylvia
“My list is mostly trying to focus on stormtroopers using T-21’s to generate crits and testing whether they can fill a dual role by combating armor, cover, and dodges efficiently as an all comers list option rather than using impact weapons. Iden helps the low courage units to not panic and finishes off weakened units. Inferno snipes early at range 5, then pushes late to help out the Corp units. Boba either plays linebacker against the force user, or pushes the opponents weakest flank, normally the home objective. Bounty is always on the table, but I don’t try to force its timing and over expose Boba. So far the list has done well, and it is 8-2 in tourney play. I am hoping to get some reps vs. more list types soon to see if I need to tweak anything. Overall the list is fun and easy to play, which is good enough for me.”
8th Place – Robert Saville
At first glance, you ask yourself what is going on, what is this list, HH-12s are horrendously bad, and then you write the list off entirely and proceed to get rolled by Robert because you underestimate what it can do. I won’t get too much into the nitty gritty, because Robert lays it all out pretty clear as day below, but what I will get into is our game round 5 of Rocky Top. He was put into a tough spot Turn 0, because the flop was Hostage, Bombing Run, Payload, Breakthrough with Battle Lines, Disarray, Hemmed In, Danger Close to follow. He couldn’t double ban to Payload because then I leave Hemmed In and it’s almost an auto win based on how the table is set up. He can’t ban Hostage because then he’s left with Bombing run against Blizzard, and he doesn’t really want to leave Hostage up, but has no real other choice because at least on Hostage, he could try to leverage double bounty on my generic officer and Vader as a win condition. It’s worth noting that I was able to sneak in Hostile which caused issues for some of his corp. I knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t win a straight up gunfight with him, so I tried to position units and dive them into his army to pave the way for Vader to “do the Vader Hostage thing.” Long story short, it worked out. Although he got priority on the Vader’s Might turn, he made it as close of a game as he could. Bossk and IG were hot on Vader and the Generic Commander’s heels, but couldn’t get those final shots to try and score bounty. Robert’s list absolutely excels against Dark Troopers, but it doesn’t really want to move or play Hostage Exchange, specifically vs force users. The recover action is actually his most useful action outside of moving/shooting when they need to because he gets his rocket back AND a free aim from the specialist. All in all, was a fun game on a table that made us make some really interesting adjustments. It seemed only fitting that him and I played in the final round since we both finished 5-0 at the Cherokee Open 2023. Congrats on 4-1 Robert, and it was a blast!
- It’s a hammer, not a scalpel. You are looking to get into a brawl with any faction in the game, although Black Sun’s and Clones you need to soften them up with Snipers/Bounty Hunters first.
- The list is really resilient, in that it has a grand total of 56 wounds, the majority of which are either red saves or have defensive keywords to help keep them alive.
- You need to ensure your HH12 units stay close to each other. If one unit is getting shot, the others can return fire at the shooter.
- In every matchup, the bounty hunters are your aces. Bossk is very good and IG88 is almost certainly under-costed. It is not uncommon for IG88 to deal 4-6 damage per activation and his one pip, once played, ensures that every turn he lives is yet another turn he’s guaranteed to get. There is no possibility of killing him before he activates, which is a very big deal for a character with his damage output.
- The hope is that at 800 points, you will be red player and be ahead in the points game from the onset. This forces your opponent to come to you on many objectives and this list is extremely good at sitting and shooting. The list is best at Sabotage (to win ties with bounty),, Intercept, and Key Positions. It does not enjoy Bombing Run, Breakthrough, or Hostage Exchange.
The list is a blast to play. It goes without saying but it of course obliterates Dark Troopers and has solid game against most other lists. It’s also worth noting that at 11 acts, if you can get a couple activations off the board, it can be nearly impossible for your opponent to claw their way back into the game.”
7th Place – Isaac Pendley
Isaac brought what is probably one of my favorite lists of this tournament, and I can’t help but point out the fact that he has a Republic AT-RT! This list can play a variety of objectives, but finds itself probably wanting to avoid Hostage Exchange, Breakthrough and Bombing Run. Cody brings a lot of things to the table in a pure gunline like this list, but perhaps the coolest thing about Cody is the Comms Relay on the AT-RT. This basically gives Cody “Direct: Clone Trooper” with which he can use to set up some nasty fire supports. Oh yea, that’s what this list is doing! Whether it’s Cody shooting, the BARCs, or the AT-RT, he will always have at least 2 face-up corps to fire support with. Cody also makes decent use (despite the lack of Sharpshooter) of the Generic Clone 2-pip since he brings Surge: Crit to the table. I think this can be a fairly standard meta build for clones in the coming days, and Isaac, you put it on the map! Congrats on 4-1, and best of luck in your other tournaments.
“When I built the list, it was out of a love for the faction and wanting try something new since there was no worlds on the line. The list is built to simply fire support units off the board and once it gets dug in and the battle lines are drawn it cant really be beat in a firefight with surging red saves and multiple massive fire support attacks a turn. One thing I liked about the list was that all of my opponents echoed that this was the best way to run Cody. I will say that the list does take a lot of brain power trying to set up all of the shots so I found myself becoming fatigued while playing it over the course of 5 games. The list suffers when it has to keep moving or is unable to attain line of sight with massive LOS blocking pieces. One thing I may change in the list is swapping the ATRT for another BARC. I didn’t find myself always using the comms relay and unless it’s being fire supported it’s almost worthless offensively, aside from a few nice shots on armor. I was able to get a lot of free shots with Cody via Boil with Cody’s 2 pip as well. [If you want to try it out] just take Cody and your favorite guns and try to play zoning objectives that let you dig in and control the board.”
6th Place – Kameron Burt
Kameron woke up the morning of Rocky Top and said to himself, “I am choosing violence today.” Bossk with Double Darks backed by protector IRG is a vicious and aggressive combo. If this list isn’t rolling attack dice, it’s not doing what it needs to. I love the inclusion of Bossk, even though Boba Fett is a bit better of a hedge against force users, because it doubles down on “how much firepower can I pack into one list.” If you have to dodge Bossk at R4 AND stay out of the way of double darks advancing on your position, you’re likely to run out of table space. We all know the protector on IRG is a broken combo against Dark Troopers, and should likely be fixed because it certainly doesn’t seem intended, but that didn’t stop Kameron! Not to mention, there are two T-21 stormtroopers casually thrown in there just, ‘cuz. It’s worth pointing out, that in an army with Bossk he included Limited Visibility in his battle deck, and I would venture to guess it’s because he doesn’t want anti-armor units getting the jump on his darks, although with a 1 point bid it may likely not matter. The weaknesses I see for this list are: it has few answers for force users who can reliably get into his lines, and with no way to compete against speeders on Bombing Run or Breakthrough, he could likely find himself in a pinch against that particular archetype. A solid list, that provides a lot of ranged firepower, and as we all know, those darks are deceptively fast!
“The list was called Bossky’s Big Boys because 1) I thought it was hilarious and 2) because the Darks act as a form of positional-defense body guards for Bossk. [I used Dark Troopers] as a mobile screening force for another unit that can make plays. In my case, I use Bossk to potentially nab bounties and keep pressure on units trying to hit objectives, so the opponent must always think before diving something in (I was able to nab a Vader bounty in my first game this way). Anything that wants to hit bossk has to do so from range five, or else they have to take retaliation from the Darks…Shoutout for Jordan Smith for my defeat at the hands of Ventress and ‘Chad’ Bane, when I forgot for a turn that engaged units can’t be shot, haha! I’ve gone from 0-4 at the Richmond Open last year to 2-3 at Cherokee this year [and now this], so it feels good.”
5th Place – JJ Wood
JJ and is another fellow Florida Man, and he decided to bring what he calls his “Yoda 501st” list to Rocky Top. He and I have talked about this list quite a bit, and I’m glad he had such success with it this past weekend! Yoda and Chewbacca are a proven, tried and true, gross combo, throw in Boil for some extra Guardian, and the “Shooty Wooks” and full ARC Echo squad should be able to get shots on whatever they need to. Not to mention, in combination with barrier on Yoda those ARCs and Wooks can probably withstand most shots that get thrown at them. I think this list excels in center based objectives like Hostage, KP, Recover, Intercept, and even Payload (except it’s an extremely risky objective to take now a days). Whaddya know, JJ has all of those in his battle deck! The only weakness I can find in this list, is that it’s 8 activations and can be super dependent on having some solid LoS blockers. JJ also emerged from this weekend as the top GAR player, so congrats to him for that and 5th place!
4th Place – Jordan “Luminous Gaming” Smith
Jordan is an absolute pillar of the Legion community, and if it weren’t for him Florida Legion would not be organized into what it is today. I constantly praise and shout out his events in Tampa, FL and for good reason: they’re always competitive but in the most fun and enjoyable ways possible. He landed top Separatist thanks to kill points, and we even had a Florida Man showdown round 4 on stream! Check it out here if you have a chance. This list has a lot of tools in its toolbox, and Cad brings a lot of flexibility for a droid army. The obvious advantage of Asajj being in this faction, is that you get her Independent: Dodge at no cost because the bag is almost always Operative plus one other thing. The only weakness I see is that the BSE do shake things up in terms of what’s in his bag on certain CCs, so it’s not always a guaranteed pull. This list can pivot from focusing on the objective to duking it out pretty easily and has a lot of game on objectives like Recover, Key Positions, and Intercept due to the sheer amount of bodies. In our game, I was fortunate enough to force him into Breakthrough (the other options were much worse), and on Danger Close, he had an awful choke point to go through to get into my deployment. That point could be seen by my entire army and had zero LoS blockers or cover, which meant I just rush my units into his zone and shoot his as he was funneling them in 1-2 at a time because that’s all there was really space for. He recognized that pretty early and we rolled a die to see if we would do something fun or not… Fun won the match, so we both dove our force users at each other and slugged it out. Vader emerged triumphant, but Asajj definitely put some hurt into him even with sub par attack dice. Jordan and I have played a few games against each other now, and they’re always a blast. Congrats on top Separatist and 4th place!
3rd Place – Matt Evans “Flawed Zombie”
Matt and I also played each other, but in Round 1 and boy was it a fun one with some intense moments. We played Breakthrough, Hemmed In, and Supply Drop, and I knew I had an advantage due to being 10 acts to his 9, but Matt made sure to deploy units in each zone to try and stop me from toilet bowling, but it wasn’t quite enough in the end. We had one sequence of events where one of my speeders shot his rebel troopers in the open and forced 4 saves, and he blocked all of them, then later in the game I managed to get an open and aimed shot on Sabine with a bike to force 3 saves, of which he blocked none. Talk about dice variance! I absolutely loved how Matt used the Ahsoka Sabine team-up card to propel Sabine into range to detonate 2 bombs onto a few of my units that were trying to skate around the long edge of the map and into the breakthrough zone, but a lackluster performance from his attack dice left most of my units unscathed. The turn 0 flop was also beneficial for me, because he had to choose between Hostage, Breakthrough, or Payload but on Hemmed In with him as red player, so I think he made the best out of a bad situation. 10/10 would play Matt again, and congrats for getting 3rd!
“So I had been practicing this list since Ahsoka was first previewed. I tried making it work with veterans and mark 2 (and another version with swoop bikes) but found that Sabine/Ahsoka were so mobile they couldn’t keep pace and often took too much concentrated fire before the ladies got ‘into the fray’. Ahsoka and Sabine themselves work great at getting up field into the fight to hunt down opponents commanders or harass their corps, however I needed my other units to be mobile and field ready. In the course of testing I found that rebel troopers with captains could keep pace with the sabine/ahsoka “ball” by tapping when they were suppressed….[The Sx-21 shotguns also] gave me some minimal impact for vehicles and armored units. It also takes lean rebel troopers and makes them throw 9 dice at range 2.”
2nd Place – Kentucky Dan (5-0 with 3400 points destroyed, almost 900 more than first)
This army is a gunline through and through. The Pykes can hold down range 3-4 while also providing some covering fire for the BSE, who pack some major close quarters firepower with those scatter guns. Maul rocks his standard loadout and brings all of his command cards to maximize use of his Cunning. Personally, in a Shadow Collective Maul list I would never leave any of his cards at home. Even though At Last isn’t needed to turn on Juyo, it’s a 1-Pip with a force user that has Cunning in an army that has very good order control. If this list can pull off Rapid or Limited Visibility as a sneaky condition because if the opponent is too busy focusing on banning objectives or deployments, those BSE will be even more effective. Kentucky Dan had the highest kill points of the entire weekend, which isn’t surprising as those BSE are built for one thing: destruction. I think one weakness of the list is the 9 activations, which can matter if the army finds itself on KP, Intercept, Breakthrough, or Payload versus the wrong list since it relies on a jedi to make it to the end or close. The only other weakness I see is the courage 1 on your Pykes with absolutely no way to inspire them. It could make it hard to get the amount of actions you want/need in certain situations, but at least you have Maul’s 2-pip for that. All in all, a great list and I wish we could have played against each other. Maybe next go ’round!
Kentucky Dan’s Thoughts:
“Choosing my list for Rocky Top involved weeks of waffling before I decided to just bring a list I had never played before because I felt confident my opponents probably hadn’t either. The truth is that it is hard for any faction to build a list that has an answer for both Blizzard and double dark troopers. Pykes en masse do well against Blizzard, but lack the impact to bring down dark troopers. While BSE spam might stand a chance to do both, I don’t own six units of Black Sun Enforcers and everyone knows how to counter that playstyle now after all the buzz from worlds, Pink Suns etc. So…I decided to forget about BSE with the mags and frags and embrace shotguns. Pierce 1 behind 12 dice means I still get to damage dark troopers but I no longer require the bus to get me into range, plus pierce is just great against any list you’ll play. A Black Sun with the Vigo and ‘trench broom’ is 96 points for six wounds, so throwing prepared supplies on for another wound is just cash money. I was worried about how “light” my Pyke line was…but ultimately the Black Suns ended up drawing so much heat and killing so many bodies that my Pyke lines stayed mostly intact throughout my games. Rocky Top was a blast.”
Winner – Austin Miller
Hi this is Evan “Doc Velo” Paul, I’m editing this article and offered to write up the section about Austin’s list in an effort to avoid the appearance of self-aggrandizement. The irony of this is not lost on me.
I made a half-hearted attempt to label this list the “TFT Special” since we now have four events won by Austin and Kyle (along with a mere top 4 at LVO from myself) with very very similar lists, but with any luck it won’t be around long enough for naming it to really matter. Austin did make an interesting meta call by dropping one RT-97 for an HH-12, a strategy employed by Northampton, UK’s Olly Dier in his top 8 Worlds list. The dice pool ends up becoming a bit more reliable and naturally becomes Impact 4 by doing this but naturally the issue is Cumbersome and the need to recover after shooting. The latter can especially be an issue when a single sniper shot can suppress the unit, but can be somewhat overcome by good positioning. In saving those points and by dropping merely one transponder, Austin was able to afford a medic to keep either Vader or the HRU’s healthy enough to ensure attrition will usually go his way, Austin did face a Gideon Remnant list with a single Dark Trooper and won on MOV quite handily.
I nor no one else should fault Austin, he played to win and he did. He is a top-level player and he’s running a list that is clearly too good for its points. For Blizzard, this is an advantage that is multiplied more by highly skilled operators than most other high-powered lists in the meta. I think that Double Bounty is perhaps the only one that exceeds Blizzard there, but it takes a bit more practice to succeed with it. And believe me, he is the last person that would try to make an argument that this list should exist past whenever we get the points update. Here are his own thoughts that he asked me to share if you don’t believe me:
“I was really surprised at how my unique, and totally original list performed! The fact that it was the only one of its kind at the tournament should show how off-meta it is! The HH12 was crucial in propelling the list to victory in most of my games. I’ll have to try it again and see if it was just a fluke.”
Austin’s take (edited for brevity/accuracy):
Wow! Well, I’d worry about what Jay would think if he saw you casually admit this on your own article Austin but as I hope you know by now he doesn’t read these so you’re in the clear this time. Go ahead and take it home.
Goooooood oooool’ Rocky Top (woo!)
I wanted to try my best to capture and emphasize just how FUN this event was, and is every year. Each and every one of my opponents was a blast to play against, made me make some tough decisions, and tested my knowledge of the game with their decisions. At no point this past weekend did I feel like anyone was anything less than excited to be together playing Legion at (we have to ride this out into the sunset because Ryan told me to) THE LARGEST EAST COAST LEGION EVENT EVER (by 1 player). Last and final shout-out is Chris Vandergriff from 82 Legion. He did all the streaming, and even gave out custom Legion shot glasses to everyone who played on stream. He offered to “fill ’em up” after every game, but I believe only those who lost on stream indulged in the adult beverages.
Below is a photo dump that I hope relays just how much fun I had in the mountains.