3 – 4 June 2022 / Birmingham, UK
Welcome to my recap of the first official AMG two-day event in the UK for over two years! It has been a long time coming since the last worlds qualifier took place a couple of weeks before the UK went into lockdown back in 2020. It was a fantastic event, so let’s get the two slight negatives of the event out of the way before we proceed. To begin with, the event itself – with Armada and X-Wing events running simultaneously – was only announced in April which did not give people a lot of time to budget for what is an expensive weekend. The worlds qualifier is held at UK Games Expo, the date of which is announced a year in advance, so hotels nearby sell out quickly or hike their rates up.
The other big issue (particularly for people with families) was that it was announced to be over the extended Bank Holiday weekend. Now for you non-UK readers, this was to celebrate HM Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign so we were given additional days off to throw street parties and celebrate this achievement. Or like me and the other 45 players, celebrating in real style by rolling some dice and making pew pew noises!
Now onto the positives of the event, of which there were many! There were plenty of players attending not just from the UK but also from France, Germany, Poland and other parts of Europe. One of the things I love about Legion events is the social side; but due to COVID, I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing some of these people for several years. It’s always better to meet and play in person rather than in TTS leagues. The event itself was run by Ellis Priestley and his crew and they ensured it ran smoothly with some amazing tables set up. Every judge call was met with a great smile and a helpful, friendly face – even when you got Ellis himself!
The Main Event
I had originally been asked to help TO the event which I was very excited about. Unfortunately, I’m also a collector of the alt art cards, and with Cad Bane being one of my favourite models and characters I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try to get my hands on one of his alt art cards. The judges did receive some promo art cards but was no more than if I attended the event, so I made the decision to drop out of judging and throw my hat in the ring as a player instead.
With my recent success at the Element Games two-day event in Stockport last month, I decided to take the exact same list without any changes. (My previous recap and information on each unit choice can be read here: https://thefifthtrooper.com/tournament-recap-may-the-force-be-with-you-at-element-games/)
The event format was four games on day one, with the top eight going through to the second day and a skirmish side event for people who didn’t make the cut. With the 46 players there was a chance I could drop a game and still make top eight, and typically at these events I’ve dropped my first game then won all others, just missing out on making the cut.
My first game was against Alex Critchley who I’d not met before but who was a really nice guy. We rolled for who was Blue, and I won the roll off, so we went with my deck getting Payload, Limited Visibility and Hemmed In. This was Alex’s first tournament and he was quite nervous since he hadn’t practiced with this list. His friend had forgotten his army and Alex lent him his original army, but you can see what he put together.
From the start of the match up Alex was only ever going to score a max of two VP due to his payload not being able to touch the objective, while I could score three VP on turn five. All I had to do was make sure I kept my payload moving all game. My B1 snipers decided to show me they meant business for the whole weekend, scoring four crits and doing three wounds to Maul on turn one. The rest of my army focused on killing the spider droid to stop the Ion. This did leave the B2s alive so they could walk up and get some big shots on my units, but by this point my payload was safely on its way to scoring three VP. Dooku and the double Magnas managed to finish Maul and hold Alex’s payload up for one turn to make the final Score 3-1. The biggest threat in Alex’s whole army was the comms jammer sword unit. They refused to die and were a big pest spreading the range one jammer bubble around my units.
I had broken my normal habit of losing game one now to play Chris Rees, who brought the kind of list I knew I would struggle against. I just had to hope my lone repair droid could keep the Ion off.
We played Sabotage, Advance Positions and Fortified; my favourite and most played combo with this list.
Turn one was both of us tapping the objectives and taking a few pot shots. One of my B1 units completed the vaporator but did get double ioned and I lost four droids. This immediately put me on the back foot for the kill points from next turn.
Turn two I won priority so I went with my double ioned unit to give me the activation before it died. There was no point in me removing the ion at this point since he would add the second ion again. Chris fired the spider at the B1s and wiped them clean off the board which was perfect for me since now I could focus on the spider since it had not retreated. With the help of the remaining B1s and both my Magnaguards I managed to exchange a unit of B1’s for the spider droid putting me back in the lead.
Maul was hiding behind the height-two cargo crate ready to make a move towards my army and a vaporator. I played ‘You Disappoint me’ turn three against ‘At Last’. Near the end of the turn, with just Maul left to activate, I moved Dooku up to a window and took a standby. Maul used Burst of Speed around the corner and jumped towards the B1 ready to force push them in. What Chris didn’t realize was that I got to do a speed two move with him after attacking him with Dooku, so I moved Maul into the open far away from me with his immobilized token and two wounds. The next turn I played ‘Ambush’ against ‘The Phantom Menace,’ which was a good play leaving me one chance to hit Maul again before he slowly moved behind some cover. My E5c droids moved and took a shot on Maul in the open, so not to be out done by the snipers from the last game, they scored four hits on Maul only for him to blank out. At this point with me being 200 points ahead on kill points, Chris conceded the game.
Three games in and my third droid opponent – each one getting harder then the last. I had never met Seb Ezra Meiloorun before but had spoken on discord a few times. I knew this was going to be a tough fight. This was the first game where I was red player. We ended up playing Intercept, Roll out and Clear Conditions. Against this list I was worried about the potential triple ion I could get hit with.
Seb played very aggressively with the tank which was carrying the Magnaguard. I managed to get the damaged result on the tank while it was near the centre objective, so he had the choice of the Magnaguards either getting out and scoring or moving the tank so the Magna can charge me. He chose to move it closer to me putting the magna in charge range of Dooku. I moved my B1s with the uplink to give Dooku a dodge and then cohered fully surrounding Dooku preventing the charge. This delayed the magnas getting out while Seb thought about what to do. This allowed me to charge and melee attack the magnas inside, killing one before they could get out and who only managed to inflict a single wound back. Dooku moved and killed the tank with lighting and force pushed Seb’s magnas into melee with him.
At this point in the game the score was 4-2 to Seb meaning I had to score the middle and my own objective on the final turn. I was feeling confident at this point. I went with Dooku, who killed the Magnaguard, then moved towards the centre. There was a standby on a spider droid, but I thought this was fine due to Dooku being at range 2. I forgot that the the spider’s ion gun range is 2-4, not 3-4! Seb then got to go with the other spider and shot Dooku and killed him. This was not the way.
Dooku was the only thing I had lost at this point and I still had 2 full magnas who I charged into Seb’s B1s, tying them up and slowly killing them. When it came to piling onto the final objective, the melee with the magnas and the spiders blocked the way making it harder for Seb to get units to the middle. I ended up having one unit more than Seb causing us to go to points destroyed where I took the win since I had only lost Dooku in exchange for the tank, magnas and a unit of B1s.
I needed one more win to guarantee I make top eight. Unfortunately, I was paired up against Dave Grant, a good friend and an even better player who I have never beaten! I knew this game was going to be difficult, but I hoped it would provide a fun game to provide a nice end to the long day.
Dave’s list was interesting, having the long range with big dice pools, Luke, an ion, a bus…the list goes on! I was blue; we used my deck and ended up playing Intercept, Hemmed In and Rapid Reinforcements. Dave decided to Rapid both of his FD cannons to my single E5c squad. At the start, I managed to move and shoot with a unit of B1 snipers to try and kill a strike team sniper knowing these can chew through my Magnas. Fortunately, I rolled four crits killing the whole squad. In return, Dave’s full scout team opened fire and killed a few B1’s. Meanwhile on the other flank, the ion squad double moved behind a LOS blocker, which I countered with a unit of Magnas doing the same. In the middle, the fleets jumped out and shot Dooku, only for it all to be guardianed. There was action at every part of the board, and this was on turn one!
I played ‘Double the Fall’ against ‘Serve Your Master’. I put all of the orders back in the bag to stop the fleets getting a double shot on Dooku. The first thing he pulled was a special forces which was the best thing for me; in return, I got to charge my magna into his ion unit. At this point there was so much going on all over the board I had begun to spread myself too thin since I was currently 0 points to Dave’s 3. I had managed to tie Luke up by this point with a unit of Magnas and Dooku, but Luke had only taken a single wound whereas I had lost a lot of B1 models. My plan at this point was to hopefully win the attrition war vs rebels. By turn three I had secured the right flank by killing all three special forces. I was winning on the middle to the point where Luke was trying to escape into the truck to stop me from attacking, which he managed on turn four and the score sat at 4-2. This left me the only option to score the middle and the right flank to go points destroyed. If I could also keep Dooku and the magnas alive and kill Luke, then I should win. With Luke in the bus and getting healed this was not proving to be easy.
I had sent a unit of magnas to try and contest the other flank, but in hindsight I was never going to kill an FD cannon quick enough and should have targeted the bus carrying Luke to stop the heals. Meanwhile Luke went and used “Son of Skywalker” to kill two units of B1s, removing activations and possible scoring units. This in the long run led to me being behind on activations and not being able to contest the middle objective due to Luke being able to force push units off the middle. Dave picked up the win (keeping his streak against me intact!) and giving him 4-0 for the day.
I was disappointed but luckily for me, with my only game being dropped at the end of the day and the tournament using strength of schedule, I finished the day ranked 5th and made the cut for day two!
The final game to determine if I was going to make the top four and finally earn my ticket to the worlds qualifier was going to be against another good friend, Olly Dier. This was the third time we’d played each other in a tournament with these exact lists and ended up playing Intercept, Major Offensive and Minefield.
The first turn there was a lot of positioning and a few long-range exchanges with my droids coming worse off due to being unable to dodge some crits. Turn two I had managed to line my T-Series up for an ‘orbital strike’ on a sniper team seeing both models. I rolled three crits and a hit which was more then enough to delete the activation. In return one of my B1 squads was reduced to a single model who ran away and hid. I tried to move on the middle objective, but Olly managed to secure it with a force push on turn two to take the early lead.
Turn three I started to move on the objectives more aggressively, double moving a unit of magna guard towards Olly’s home objective. This was to make him to commit more units which would hopefully give me the advantage in the middle or have him concede his home objective which could get me the win.
In the middle of the board, Dooku and a magna guard managed to do two wounds to Luke in exchange for a single wound on Dooku. With the start of turn four I played ‘Double the Fall’ against ‘Full of Surprises.’ I managed to charge Luke with my magnaguard; he spent his dodge and I failed to do any damage. Dooku then took a dodge and force pushed Luke into melee with him and the magnas. Dooku took a swing hitting for the full five. Luke currently had one suppression and was rolling five red saves and three white saves. Olly managed to roll four surges and one save across all eight dice. With my Makashi Mastery I did five wounds which killed Luke immediately. This was a huge shock to us both! At this point Olly conceded since with me still having Dooku and him having no real way to contest the middle anymore and the score at the end of this round to be 3-3 we agreed Dooku was going to continue putting the pressure on for the win.
Although the ending of game five had finished on a bittersweet note with Olly, the good news was that I had finally won my ticket to worlds! It had taken me four years, but I was now going. My next opponent, Geoff Porritt, was going to be tough. I had been watching his list come up the ranks and I didn’t know if I had a single answer for it.
I was blue and using my deck I figured I had to make sure we played a mission that required lots of thumbs – so anything other than Sabotage hopefully! We ended up playing Advance Positions, Fortified Positions and (unfortunately for me) Geoff did force Sabotage. It was in the third slot and there was nothing I could do to stop it unfortunately.
The first couple of turns we both did our objectives and I tried to hide my army as best as I could. I tried to do some chip damage to one of the AT-STs with the magna guard rockets but R4 astromechs then started healing it. On turn three one of the AT-STs managed to get a clear shot on some B1s but left a single model alive who then had to run and hide – which is not easy from two AT-STs.
On turn four, Geoff managed to one shot a whole squad of B1s then started to run away. I tried to get my own one shot retaliation against a speeder bike unit with my magna guards moving into range two, but they left the bike alive on one health. It was at the end of this turn I made a big mistake; I positioned my T-Series for the ‘orbital strike’ and checked the line of sight but then forgot to use the cards ability. This could have put me back in the lead and meant Geoff would have to keep the pressure up and giving me the chance to finish off the AT-ST which was on half health at this point.
Geoff knowing this was a points game started backing off with everything including the AT-STs so I started to follow as fast as I could with the magna guard and Dooku hoping to kill the AT-ST.
Turn six I played ‘Fear, Surprise, Intimidation’ and used burst of speed which got me just in range of the speeder bike who had run away previously and been healed. Geoff had thought his bike was safe and hadn’t used the units full movement since it was at his end of the board. I scored three hits, of which one went away for cover leaving two saves to deal the two wounds to put me in the lead. Geoff managed to save one but thankfully Dooku has pierce 1 on his lightning! The lone officer was also close enough for me to force push him into melee. This meant Geoff now had to pull this officer as soon as possible so he had the most possible shots to deal five wounds to Dooku. Unfortunately for Geoff, he pulled the officer second to last and the AT-ST had to pivot and shoot but only managed to score three hits after cover and dodge. Dooku survived and I won by a total of 14 points to make it into the final!
So here it was, my final game for the overall win was to be against Janne “Viceroy” König. Janne was one of the German players who had flown over especially for the qualifier and whilst I’d met him before, I’d never had the pleasure of playing. All the previous two-day world qualifier events in the UK have all been won by Germans so I knew this was going to be a hard game for this reason alone, along with the fact his list was a very similar to mine. My biggest advantage was that I had the force on my side.
The battle deck was dealt as:
Minefield, Fortified, Limited Visibility, Rapid Reinforcements
Hostage Exchange, Intercept, Sabotage, Payload
Danger Close, Major Offensive, Advance Positions, Hemmed In.
After seeing this I joked, “I guess we are playing Intecept then” since I knew he would ban Hostage with his second ban to give him the best chance of winning. I passed with my first ban since I was happy with the current selection. He banned Danger Close but again I was happy with what we were playing since I knew Hostage was not going to be the mission we played however straight after I passed, Janne instantly banned Minefield!
Turn one was the normal set up of hostages double moving, with the rest of our units moving up towards the middle behind line of sight blockers. While moving units into positions ready to take the hostage, Jannes was sling shotting his B1s round a corner. He was placing the unit leader within range four of Dooku but the sniper could see to get the shot. After the first crit was saved, I didn’t panic since if I moved up to where I planned, he could do the same trick with more units. Without protector on my Magnaguard, each wound on Dooku gives Grievous a chance of beating me and Jannes managed to line up two more shots on Dooku with the first of these getting two crits and two wounds!
Turn two was ‘You Disappoint Me’ vs ‘Push’ to make sure Janne could double move his hostage carrier before me. I used burst of speed to get to the other side of a barricade, lightning the hostage carrier and moved them close enough to be force pushed into melee. I had only managed to kill one B1 and since I had the barricade behind me Dooku was fully surrounded and safe in melee with his hostage carrier. I managed to double move my hostage away safely while chipping away at his magna guards.
Turn three I played ‘Double the Fall’ to send the hostage carrier’s and a magnaguard’s units order back into the bag so neither of them could withdraw, again keeping Dooku safe with the hostage. I managed to tie up Grievous with a unit of magnas in the middle right next to Dooku surrounded by the B1 hostage carrier.
Turn four saw both one pips played but Cunning won it for me. I force pushed the B1s who had only three left at this point into the open. Dooku moved into melee with Grievous and attacked him while killing the hostage carrier. This meant Grievous was stuck in melee since he was engaged with my magnas and Dooku. He tried to kill Dooku but he was left on two health, leaving Grievous stuck in the middle. By this point my hostage carrier was safe behind line-of-sight blockers and in my deployment zone.
Turn five saw Jannes try to use the B1s from earlier that had hurt Dooku and started to make a move towards my hostage carrier by double moving, hoping to get a shot on the next turn. I used some of my smaller B1 units to double move into melee to hinder this option for Jannes as much as possible since his hostage carrier was currently stranded in the middle, currently not owned by either of us. Grievous tried to finish off Dooku but left him on one health. In retaliation, Dooku got the killing blow on Grievous and then moved into the melee that had been taken place between two magna guards for the last three turns.
Turn six I moved my hostage carrier behind another line-of-sight blocker. After my previous moves into melee with some of the units Jannes was hoping to get a shot with, my hostage was safe and I still had the opportunity to claim his hostage. This was the point where we called the game since nothing was going to change the outcome.
Even though Jannes admitted he made a mistake not banning Hostage at turn zero, he still put up a good challenge all the way to the end. It was a great final and a fantastic weekend overall. A huge thank you to all my opponents and it was a pleasure to meet so many people – new and old – over the weekend.
Best of all, I came away with my first place prize (and some excellent limited edition swag!) but in the meantime, I need to start practicing for worlds!