My how it flies by, it’s already time to break down the end of Round Robin and preview the first Elims round for Invader League 9!
I want to start off by thanking Ben “Mbweha” of Team Relentless for two reasons. First and most importantly, he was kind enough to share his data of the results of Round Robin. While our LegionStats tool is, in my opinion, somewhere between the 11th (Penicillin) and 76th (the Yacht Rock station on Sirius XM) Wonders of the World, it just wasn’t built to catalog results of a tournament that ends over a month after it starts. It also has a rough time when it comes to the fact that Invader League inevitably has adds and drops when real life (pesky!) gets in the way. That’s where Ben came in, with his hand picked data, to save me from having to worry about it. That’s right, Ben’s data is the kind you could sell at a farmer’s market or at an organic grocery store, but unlike actual food in that category it’s neither full of dirt nor exorbitantly priced! I asked Jay if a collaboration was OK, and after I reassured him that it wasn’t with Stabcast, he gleefully accepted.
The second reason I’d like to thank Ben is that he failed a single suppression roll, and thus was forced to leave a stormtrooper leader within range 4.5 of an un-activated Maul in our game together in the Round Robin. Because Maul is extremely fair, this allowed me to pull off a last act move move dodge into a first act move move push choke standby (on Duel of the Fates) to seal the fate of all his highly thematic Blizzard Force troopers. Ben even went on to win his last game which via weird tie-breaker rules was the thing that landed me in elims (sorry Johnny Bushfacts, know that you did prove you’re better than me, just not better than math). It was an exciting cap to an excellent Round Robin with 5 awesome opponents. After all that and stealing his data, the least I can do is promote Ben’s stuff, “fair is fair!”
Ben himself is releasing a video the same day of this post to really drill down on Round Robin, which can be found RIGHT HERE or you can scroll down to the bottom of this article…IF YOU PROMISE TO READ IT FIRST YOU INGRATES. I’ll be giving a summary of that with some of his finest charts then will move on to previewing the Regional Elimination phase of Invader League.
Round Robin Summary
As a little reminder (and small update) from my first article, this is what the faction breakdown ended up at for Round Robin. The relative paucity of Shadow Collective (as well as Blizzard Force, with only four entrants) was the most surprising aspect of these numbers. I mention that only because there’s been a bit of a “Sea Change” when it comes to elims. Keep reading to find out more!
A really interesting couple of charts here. Let’s break down down some thoughts per faction.
Rebels: More like “Meh”bel Alliance AMIRITE?! (31% advance rate)
Best Performing Archetype: Airspeeder single/double (83% advance rate)
Least Performing Archetype: Sabine (0% advance rate)
The Sabine performance was jarring to Ben and I at first. She is a nimble speed 3 dodgy lady with Impervious after all, she can do work for objectives or lay down some explosions to make everyone sad, and she enables Clan Wren. But I think things become clearer when you consider the following, which to me represents one of the clearest examples of power creep (sorry, it’s true) one can demonstrate in the game today by showing two units side-by-side.
Perhaps fate destined the power levels of these two at the same cost to mirror the entertainment value of the shows they hail from. The sheer amount of dodge spam that’s lying around also doesn’t exactly make “Explosions!!!” what it used to be, joining Orbital Bombardment and the Saber’s Beam Turret on the list of cards that should be ashamed of themselves for “only” rolling two dice against three or more units. Rebel Din lists were actually the most popular archetype in all Invader (24 in total) and won games at a rate nearly double that of Sabine lists. What’s also interesting, however, is that Din lists still “only” advanced at a rate of 17%.
AND YET, despite all the above, Rebel Din lists only advanced at a rate of 17%, which is less than the overall faction performance. I do think that much of this is learning curve, over time players will figure out which lists he works best in. At the end of the day it remains quite convincing to me Din is “the” Mandalorian and Sabine is just…”a” Mandalorian…neither of which hold a candle to….
T-47 LISTS! This is where Ben and I would like to put a giant disclaimer bumper sticker on this that the sample size for these lists IS only 6….but 5 of them made it! This is despite the fact that Pykes with impact guns were everywhere. The comparatively low numbers of E5S and spider droids lying around probably helped this case a lot. A welcome surprise to be sure!
GAR: Grand Army of the Repetitive (22% Advance Rate)
Least Performing Archetype: Cloneball (22% advance rate)
I dunno what to say man. At the risk of repeating myself from prior articles, the issue with Republic is not that they’re “unplayable” it’s that the skill threshold is high and the list variety is low. For the above archetypes? They’re the only two Ben has for GAR. There were a couple Yoda lists, one of which (Degree’s) did very well, but he did not collect archetype data on anything with less than 5 examples.
I do want to give a very-special shout-out to CaptainBill who MADE IT to elims using 501 (the only one who completed the tournament with it too!) and will continue to play it in elims too like a true baller! As promised I’ll be sending him a TFT token set of his choice (a bounty I was glad to “lose” on!) and hell I’ll give him another if he makes Grands.
Empire: The Bureau of Standards (32% Advance Rate)
Least Performing Archetype: Vader (any flavor that isn’t Blizzard, (9% advance rate)
The Empire ended up with an overall “win rate” of 52%, though much of that average-ness is driven by intramural violence. This Kallus archetype IS only six lists but…look at that! It’s heartening to see him doing well as he often feels like the wicked stepchild of the faction that receives little attention. The combination of contingencies with Boba can be a deadly one in the right hands, especially as Boba (for some reason!) has access to all six of his commands.
As for that low-performer? NINE PERCENT! Non-Blizzard Vader was more than a bit pedestrian in terms of his performance…probably because he can’t jump over anything!
No but seriously, when your opponent doesn’t have 8 speeder bike models to worry about they’re just gonna shoot the big guy more often. The terrain-heavy maps in Invader are certainly good at hiding him, but they’re also good at limiting his movement. As a final tidbit, it’s worth noting that lists with two or more speeder bikes DID advance at a respectable rate of 40%, which aligns with the Conventional Wisdom that they’re very good right now.
Separatists: ConCIStency Incarnate (41% Advance Rate)
Best Performing Archetype: T-Series and Other Stuff (63% advance rate)
Least Performing Archetype: AAT that isn’t the Battle Force (50% advance rate)
You read that right, the true “archetype” that performed the “worst” still made elims half of the time which meant that most of the losses came from lists that dared venture outside the norms of list-building. I suppose the robot faction is always going to be tinged by normativity to a certain extent.
Broadly I think this performance can be attributed to two things:
- Droids were doing very well before Pykes showed up to ruin their fun
- There weren’t a ton of lists that were truly full of Pykes, thus the lists that did utilize the E5S often had targets of opportunity to hit that can’t dodge their crits.
Shadow Collective: Catch of the Day (53%)
Best Performing Archetype: Commander Maul (67%!)
Least Performing Archetype: Oops All Pykes (60%)
It doesn’t happen often that if you took a player name out of a hat within a faction (again, don’t @ me about this not being a faction, pedantry is a one-way-street around here!) that you’d be more likely than not to grab a player that was headed to elims. I personally think that a lot of the faction-neutral try-hards flocked to the Shiny Objects that Din and Boba’s new commands represented but in doing so left behind the faction that was already established as the one that can…you know…
Spam the most busted unit in the game.
We’ll get to a few more specifics about the warping effect Pykes have had on the elims meta below, but check out Commander Maul lists with their 67% rate. As I mentioned at the top, I was a part of that list myself (barely) and I can confirm that these lists feel remarkably consistent. Some of the data discussed here was actually released prior to the time Elims lists hit their deadline for submission, could it be that a few players were inspired to pick up Shadow Collective’s mostly non-existent banner? KEEP. READING.
Once again, we’d like to thank Ben for his incredible help in providing this data, and we really do encourage seeking out his video for even more details including 5-0 rates per faction and much more!
Regional Elims Preview
Naturally due to the timing of writing this we can’t know exactly what these 67 players from across the world are gonna submit for their lists but we can always make educated guesses!
Oh hang on I just got a message from Editor-In-Chief Orkimedes, probably to thank me for writing two articles in one week, lets see here…
Oh, yeah, sure boss, cool. I guess I’ll just manually look through all these lists to give some basic breakdowns.
Oh also, if you want to follow along the lists are here on this excel for now, the Invader website should have them soon as well!
Not incredibly surprisingly, it’s still basically a 10 act game. The increasing bids makes sense to me as well, the switches to Shadow Collective (see below) are indicative of a player base that is getting more Min/Max as one does in this situation, and bids are super important in a world where speeders and Maul infiltrates are very common. Note the distribution when it comes to bids, You can just bid 6-7 and accept getting it half the time if you’d like but if that’s not good enough then every point starts mattering a lot in that range:
- If you bid 11: 74% chance you’ll get a guaranteed chance to choose Blue
- If you bid 10: 70% chance you’ll get a guaranteed chance to choose Blue
- If you bid 9: 64% chance you’ll get a guaranteed chance to choose Blue
- If you bid 8: 58% chance you’ll get a guaranteed chance to choose Blue
He’s hoping I don’t regret changing from a bid of 12 to a bid of 11 when I shamelessly (mostly) stole Orkimedes’ Blizzard Force list for my own chance at getting through regional elims, if so I’ll do the only sensible thing…and blame the dice.
Goodness it looks like folks were paying attention. We should note here that players are allowed to switch factions between Round Robin and elims, but not again after that. There are two effects here: a lot of players who played SC in the Round Robin stage stuck with it, but that would only account for around half of the number of SC players who showed up (especially since I myself bailed on SC for Blizzard Force because of the siren call of its Blue player deck). Let’s look at things from another perspective.
While one would have to zoom in more than is probably worth it to figure out for sure, it seems like a few CIS and Rebel players jumped ship for Shadow Collective and a bit of Empire. GAR players are masochists, naturally, and therefore stuck around. With this shift, Civil War is no longer the majority, replaced by the combination of Shadow Collective and Empire.
I intentionally stayed broad when defining these in order to try to paint a picture, but the most common lists that share a single archetype in eliminations are as follows:
- Imperial Double Bounty: 10, 3 of which have IG88 and one of which is BOTH IG units! Pretty much all mercenaries in the game that don’t rhyme with “scoop” are insanely good from a power level perspective and Bounty can literally win games on its own, so this is not what I would call a shocker.
- Imperial Boba Fett (single bounty): 5, again about as surprising as tax day
- Anakin Pyke, Maul Bus, and Maul Pykes (no bus): All tied at 4, and one could argue that I’m getting too cute by dividing Maul into Bus/No Bus lists but I do feel like it makes a significant different in playstyle. Maul is….pretty good! Anakin Pyke is the only Evergreen list GAR has at the moment.
- Blizzard Force, Separatist Invasion, and non-Blizzard Vader: 3, which rounds out the list of archetypes that showed up more than 1-2 times in the total list. Echo Base notably had three players that qualified with that list but only one (Tieren) stuck with it heading into elims, perhaps wary of its questionable matchups with Maul/Pyke and Blizzard Force in particular.
I feel like it cannot be ignored that all the above items heavily feature an item that was either released or “re-released” (Vader, Boba) in the last year. I’ll let others draw whatever conclusions you wish to from this.
Oh yeah yeah I forgot…actually, I didn’t, I’m just I’m tired of giving them so much attention but…45% of lists that are eligible to take Pykes (anything that isn’t a faction based Battleforce) do in fact, have Pykes. So here’s to you fishes!
The Bravest of the Brave
The unit card photos were a big hit last time so I included them again with this template, I think I did it right again, Kyle will fix it if it’s not. My highlights from the above (aside from 501 obviously, you King of Kings) are Rebel Double Bounty which is a list that only the drunkest of dreamers among us could have predicted existing a couple years ago, and Derrkater’s Super Tac Cad Double Spider list which would have turned zero heads in May but now stands completely alone. If you had “Spiders will become a hipster choice” on your prediction list then I guess turn yourself in to the Empire for having latent clairvoyance or something.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
The Invader meta (which is only really different from real life when it comes to Boba having access to all 6 cards in Invader) seems to reinforce some common themes about the current meta. Mercenaries, speeders, free dodges, and (therefore) high velocity are all quite strong. Empire can eat from all those cakes and is therefore expected to come out on top with greater likelihood of the others, followed by Shadow Collective which has most of them. Rebels and CIS don’t quite have all those tools but have a few reasonable options to keep pace. GAR has Anakin Pykes, and a couple other plucky players (one 501 one Yoda) who want to have their say as well. We’ll be sure to check in with you all once this stage is done and we move on to Grand Finals. Thanks for reading, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!
Thanks again to Ben (Mbweha) for his help in gathering and piecing out the Round Robin data! Check out the video yourself right here!