Hej ven?! Sup bro?! Would you like to know what happened at two big tournaments this last weekend?
Let’s start with Nordics Denmark, which had 45 players and served as a World Championship qualifying event.
Nordics Denmark: Overview
Let’s start with some stats, courtesy of our own LegionStats site!
These numbers just about align with the level of popularity we’ve seen lately between factions. Empire is obviously in great shape with their preponderance of excellent mercs along with their ability to pelt massive numbers of high velocity crits into the general direction of dodgy corps and/or red save units. Naturally, one’s attention drifts to the SINGLE Republic player in the whole tournament. And you know what? Keep it there. I’m not going to spoil why yet, perhaps you should keep reading to find out!
As we look to the breakdown of the commanders used we can see that everyone’s favorite fish-man the Pyke Syndicate Capo remains on-top, followed by his brother, sister, and robot in the other factions that aren’t GAR. Three Leias is surprising and heartening, it may surprise you that none of those were in Echo Base lists which has usually been the way by which she shows up these days. Again, to tease things just a bit…the winning list had one commander that was at the top of this list (Mister Fish) and one OTHER commander who was at the bottom of this list, the only one played in the tournament and in-fact the only commander in the whole thing who hails from a certain faction. What could it be?! KEEP READING!
These numbers will probably also surprise few. 10 activations has been the sweet spot for a while (the entirety of the game?) and the lack of anything 12 and above merely suggests to me that no one took STAP spam lists which are the main way to get there these days. I will say that only 3 lists at 11 acts is a bit strange to me; Empire and Rebels in particular usually have no trouble getting there and on the Empire side especially that could mean 3 speeder bikes plus whatever else (such as Iden and Boba) to combine for an extremely potent alpha attack. As far as bids go, it basically seems to me that you have two groups to worry about: “Red lists,” which have bids of 0-3 and are typically made to be relatively agnostic of objective choice, and “Blue Lists” which run from 5 all the way down. Empire and CIS generally have the easiest time bidding but Rebels and SC are no slouches either. It’s GAR that typically finds itself in the weird spot of only being able to bid 4-10 points at the most, which will reliably beat “Red” lists in this department but lose to the “Blues.” So, go figure that the winning list was the only one with a bid of 4. Wait…could I possibly mean?! Keep reading to…
Ah forget it, GAR won.
Nordic Denmark: Top 4
We’ll get there soon, but first let’s take a look at the rest of the top 4 which was the threshold for qualifying.
Fourth Place: Finn P (3-1) “Blizzard Force”
Do you remember the part in 1984 when England is at war with one country for years but the government convinces people that they’ve been at war with some other country the entire time and the whole thing only takes like 5 minutes to flip the switch? I’m beginning to worry that the next time I see Empire Strikes Back I’ll see imaginary speeder bikes darting between the legs of AT-AT’s in sub-zero temperatures at which point my eyes will widen and I’ll start pointing at the screen wordlessly. While my wife leaves the room to call the paramedics I’ll see stormtroopers taking potshots at a hundred yards while the snowtroopers sneak around the corner without shooting at anyone in particular. “They were there! Hurry honey get me my pen!” I’ll say as I’m wheeled down the hallway “You see, I need to apologize for some things I said on the internet!”
Putting “theme” aside Blizzard Force is pretty much insane y’all. That battle deck is pretty much hell for any list that doesn’t both have speeders and out-activate it. Plus, with Vader around, you’re sometimes forced to choose between something like Breakthrough on Disarray or Bombing Run on Hemmed In. No thank you! This list forgoes the transponders that are often placed on the bikes to make the alpha better for a 17(!) point bid which as you can see above was tied for the largest in the tournament. This may shock you but…it good!
Third Place: Johannes J-I (4-0) “Luke Shooters”
It’s strange to say that this list feels slightly old-school by now, it shouldn’t right? Although the “safe” option against this list would be to concentrate on the non-capo syndicate first (since it will only have one dodge at courage 1) it still won’t go down easy with danger sense and after that you’ve got four corps with better offense that are still sitting pretty in the back. The conventional wisdom for what it’s worth has placed the Maul/full Pyke version of this list slightly ahead in terms of its corps and jedi performance (yes, I am at this point comfortable saying that Darksaber Maul is better for the money than Op Luke, because of better objective play) but it’s worth remembering that Shadow Collective doesn’t have access to any sniper rifles outside of Saxon so the trade ends up feeling pretty darn even.
We should note here that both Johannes and Finn elected to skip out on the Top 4 given that they both had Worlds invites and flights already (and also, something to do with karaoke may have been involved in the decision or so I hear!)
Second Place: Alexander Heetmøllerr “alsø wik”
In my efført to appropriately catch the “ø” in this genetleman’s name you’d better believe I went down a bit of a rabbit høle. First øf all, check this øut on Wiktiønary. Yøu can learn tø prønøunce it here as well. It was when I nøticed the section on “humørøus use” that I remembered an øft-øverløøked sectiøn of “Mønty Pythøn’s: The Høly Grail” during the øpening credits where multiple peøple are “sacked” until the credits are changed entirely in ørder to protect them frøm the bufføønery.
Please don’t sack me for this little aside, Ørkimedes
Anyway I don’t want our Danish, Faroese, and Sami readers to bolt because they think I’m making fun of their language. I love it and I wish I had been raised to speak more than one language the way….pretty much everyone in Europe was. We’re the ones who spell knife with a “K” after all, it’s ridiculous! Let’s just get to the list eh?
I really like the fresh take here and continue to be amazed at what Empire can fit into a single squad. Those royal guards are going to take it on the cheek long before there ever see melee in a lot of games but in doing so they’ll have been protecting dewback and gunlines from enemy snipers and other long range shots as the gunline closes in to throw a LOT of dice at range 3. Meanwhile, Boba will be sneaking around doing Boba things and with a bid of 14 opposing lists will often usually pretty much have to deal with close deployments.
Winner: Yannick O (4-0) “Ya Nick, Obi Wan Kenobi won a worlds qualifier”
It will surprise no one that a Pyke-based list won the finals at a Worlds Qualifier, but it certainly will surprise some (me included) that they came supported by Republic’s least-played commander during this era. I very much like the design here: Spam dodges onto Padme who can share them with either the Pykes (Outmaneuver) or Obi (pseudo-Outmaneuver with Protector). Save force barrier for the HV shots and by this point you’ve cancelled half the enemy’s arsenal. Then they can choose whether they want to shoot into all the dodges again or dive and risk getting smacked by Obi’s very decent lightsaber and more-than-decent One and Two pip command cards. The actual clones have decent enough guns on their own and can serve as a decent fire supporter, despite the fact that Padme is the only unit in the army that surges to attack. Believe me, I’ve wiped quite a few units with a Padme FS attack, people still don’t really expect it and the sharpshooter 2 is a hell of a drug.
In winning a major event with an Obi list (and the only GAR in the whole thing!) Yannick will certainly be pulling the numbers up for a beleaguered faction, and he deserves all the credit in the world for it. Still, I find it saddening that GAR needs to rely on aritifically pumping up its offensive efficiency with fishman n’er-do-wells. I’m not arguing that this list shouldn’t exist or anything, but I do miss the days of the standard “Jedi with a bunch of clones…or maybe just a bunch of clones” lists doing well on the table when those two armies represent the majority of what us clone fans came to love from the films and shows. Well, per AMG there is a points update in the works. List building will hopefully open up a lot for GAR soon so I can be patient.
But until then, thanks for all the fish.
SoCal Open: Top 8
SoCal Open was a bit more humble at 37 players and was not a Worlds Qualifier, but what they DID get is a whole lot more Legion since they cut to a Top 8 AND ran a redemption tournament for those who didn’t make that cut. I’m really appreciating the fact that so many events are doing this, if you’re going to travel all that way you want to play some GAMES dang it! Maybe not 8 in two days though…<3 you Adepticon.
Top 8: Frank DeLoach “Luke Tauns”
I hadn’t even thought about Tauns with Up Close and Personal until I ran into a nasty pair of em in my Invader League round robin bracket. Nasty combo, even nastier when our friend Mr. Skywalker can play “You Serve Your Master Well” to march them across the entire map while attacking twice on the way over the course of a turn. Interesting list!
Top 8: Anthony Gonzalez “Iden Boba Cad”
I hope you enjoyed seeing a list without mercenaries because you won’t see another one until you scroll down to the winner from here on out. It turns out that relatively cheap High Velocity plus Marksman is a really great combo whether it’s against dodge spam or pretty much anything else. As for Boba….welp…looking forward to those new command cards being legal on him for some reason.
Top 8: Matt Bronson “Iden Boba IG”
Matt was not content to stick with the faction that earned him a win on Legion by the Bay a few months ago so he instead tried out double bounty with his shiny new toy in IG-88. Were you aware that six dice with surge crit at range 3 is good? Especially when the target is in light cover that goes down to open? Especially especially when that target can’t spend tokens? IG-88 is ah…he’s good. I expect we’ll see much more of him in the next few months.
Top 8: Chris Schaefer
“ALL THE DODGES! IF IT DOES DODGES I WANT IT IN MY LIST AND I WANT IT TO WORK OVERTIME! NIMBLE IS EVEN BETTER, AND MAKE THEM ALL OUTMANEUVER TOO! BUT MOST OF ALL, DODGES!!!” – Patrick Hanschen, probably slamming his fist on the desk exuberantly as he says so.
Top 4: Patrick Hanschen
“Sabine Pykes” Iden Boba Bikes “ALL THE DODGES! IF IT DOES DODGES I WANT IT IN MY LIST AND I WANT IT TO WORK OVERTIME! NIMBLE IS EVEN BETTER, AND MAKE THEM ALL OUTMANEUVER TOO! BUT MOST OF ALL, DODGES!!!” – Patrick Hanschen, probably slamming his fist on the desk exuberantly as he says so.
So uh we had a bit of a mix-up when it comes to Patrick’s list and Chris’ above…achem….
“NONE OF THE DODGES, I WANT EVERY DODGE YOU’VE GOT ON MY DESK BY 5 P.M. AND THEN YOU’RE GONNA SQUASH EM. NO DODGES!!!”
Top 4: Daniel Herren “CIS Double Bounty”
Has anyone else tried killing Cad now that he has Independent: Dodge 2 AND Danger Sense 3? I did, for one attack in a recent game, and then I think I gave up on doing it again ever. He even has two magnas to boot, a unit that’s only been slightly muffled by the commonality of piercing HV in the meta right now.
Runner-Up: Thomas Sullivan “Anakin Padme”
Good on Thomas for making a second great showing for our GAR friends in one weekend. Of course, we can’t ignore that the clones themselves are back-seaters to the fish in the grand scheme of things but the Z6 is still quite decent when it’s fire supporting a BARC or Padme. Being able to play a variety of objectives is one of the best selling points of an Anakin BARC list, the problem comes when you realize that you A) have one less activation than everyone else and B) your own vehicles can’t really go head-to-head with your opponent’s speed boys in an actual fight. You might even say that when it came to the finals match, Thomas’s “BARC” was worse than the “bike!”
Winner: Bobby Joe Thomas “Tactical Bike”
As I’ve mentioned before Bobby was recently deployed to Southern California from the Seattle area but we still lay claim to him. I spent a bit of time chatting with him about his list to get a better feel for how it did so well.
It’s worth mentioning that the list did actually lose a game in Day 1…to Matt Bronson above. Apparently IG-88 took out an entire ISF squad two turns in a row and that’s enough to ruin anyone’s game really. Otherwise though? I direct your attention to the bid.
Bobby has pretty much always been of the belief that you should go bid or go home and he’s nothing if not consistent. When you take a look at the above list and realize that you could be staring down the barrel of situations like the following:
- Hemmed In and Payload
- Disarray and Breakthrough
- Bombing Run and…anything
Then you start to realize how much trouble you may be in.
For those curious Bobby went with Iden’s Carbine in around half his games, these days the sniper rifle gets a lot more business but he pointed out to me that the Carbine will help you do a lot more damage to something like a Maul bus which he was also able to beat earlier in Round Robin. I’ve faced this list before once myself as played by Bobby and it seemed liked half of my poor Pykes never got to see the light of day. Nasty list overall, and an extremely skilled player to boot? Makes for a recipe to win a big event. Congratulations! Also, check out this sweet surfing Vader mini he won!
Can you truly “hang ten” when you don’t have any toes?
Final Thoughts, and a Haiku
As Lucas (“Dr. Ustick” “Teknofobia”) so eloquently put it in his “State of the Legion” post, it’s an Empire/Pyke world and the rest of us are merely living in it. It’ll be interesting to see whether that particular phenomenon will get caught up in the points update. If it doesn’t, then with Dark Troopers, Gideon, Tempest Force, and (for some reason) Rebel Boba’s command cards on the way to Imperial lists I think we shouldn’t expect things to change very much on that front. By the way, Lucas is doing his post-doc in Germany right now and thus was playing in the Nordic Tournament. Unfortunately, he missed cut by just one spot, so as is my tradition I spent hours meditating to write him a perfect haiku:
It's bikes versus Pykes! HV could not save you though Try rølling better?