The First Grand Tournament

United Kingdom Games Expo Grand Tournament, or UKGE GT for short, was the first Grand Tournament in the world of the new season. This event had been a world open qualifier with flights and hotel paid for in the past but the event was still given official status from AMG as a Grand Tournament.

Games Expo is a great event in the UK with thousands of people attending the multiple game halls to try the latest board or card games. In recent years they have even added tournaments for all the AMG games along with card games like Star Wars Unlimited and Lorcana.

Prize Kit

With this being the first GT of the year we also got exclusive look at the prizes. Just for turning up and playing every game in the swiss round each player will earn:

  • Two white defence dice
  • Two black attack dice
  • Two Red attack dice
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  • Lying in Wait foil card
  • Tactical Strike foil card
  • The Sith Will Rule foil card
  • Reckless Diversion foil card
  • Hello There! foil card
  • Ploy Foil Card
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Top 4 players receive an acrylic round counter

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Top 2 players each receive the 3ft side bars

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First gets an Operative GT trophy

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There is also two painting award prizes.

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Pros and Cons of prizes

The quantity of prizes just for playing is great and is really good for just playing all your Swiss games. I think the top four prize is a bit funny since it’s hard to tell if the acrylic round counter is much different to a normal round counter. First place and top two prize is probably the best things overall in my opinion but the down side is you only get one side bar each where you need two for when you play Legion.

Now onto the biggest complaints about this prize pool: everything we can earn is what was available at world where you got participation tickets (eight for playing a game and ten for a win)
Each pair of dice at worlds was worth ten tickets and each foil card was worth 20 tickets. The round counter was 50 tickets! The bumpers where 150! Just for playing your games at a GT you will get the equivalent of 150 tickets from worlds! which was not even possible to earn even if you won all your games and became the world champion! The complaint about the actual contents is there is nothing new here. Yes, there are lots of people who don’t get to go to worlds and this is great they get the chance to earn some of these items.

The official GT rules document states that the painting prizes are to be distributed by a play it painted style. This method is all fully painted armies are entered into the competition and a random winner is picked which seems a bit iffy. There are a lot of players who turn up to try and win the best painted prize since they are a better painter then playing the game and just enjoy playing the game. This means that I have the same chance of winning as the person who can actually paint and puts time and effort into painting unlike me who paints because I have to. This doesn’t exactly encourage striving for excellence on the hobby side.

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Tournament Format

With following the rules for the GT I had the choice of running the event as pure Swiss and I would need 6 rounds based on the 64 players expected. Since I run every other event in the UK as a Swiss and UKGE is one of the few where I have the option for three days of Legion, I decided to do a Swiss with a top eight cut. This would allow players to lose a game or two and still make the cut.

The ticket sales where half of what was expected! We put this down to three things.

  1. Ticket Sales where only announced 7 weeks before the event while the previous years we have had several months.
  2. The prize support was unknown till the morning of the event.
  3. No incentive for international travel.

The first two do make an impact on sales and should also reflect in the next couple of GT’s we have in the UK hopefully since we have 6 months+ notice for each of them.


The last and most important one is the biggest shame. In previous year we have had 20+ international players attend UKGE with several players from Poland and Germany. Last year the whole top 4 was made up of international players!

This year we had four international players three of these players it was pure coincidence they could attend due to the timing of being in the UK for work or visiting family/friends while UKGE was on. The fourth player is someone who played Armada last year and saw Legion, brought into it and came back this year.

I think we will see a repeat with other events in the UK where we have had previous good representation of international players now disappear due to the lack of incentive for international players to play abroad along with the lack of a hunt of promo cards or prizes from playing in GT’s.

Top 8

After the 5 rounds of Swiss the top 8 looked like this and yes once again intentional draws were allowed due to following the Galactic Conquest rules. Don’t hate the players hate the game as the saying goes.

The final top 8 after the cut is a lot different!

8th – Navjeet Atwal | Team UK

UKGE GT 9

Nav had a very original list name on Game Uplink: Anakin Padme. He came fifth in the Swiss rounds only losing to Dave Grant in the first round. While he did lose the first game of top eight to Lee Macken that game could have gone either way if both players had an extra five to ten mins since it went to hard dice down on key positions with both players having yet to activate force users since they were trying to save them until last.

The list itself is nothing new or special we have not seen over the last 6 months with Anakin and Padme allowing the sharing of the tokens giving the army flexibility to either be aggressive or defensive when it needs to be. In the hands of an experienced player like Nav it’s not hard to see why it made it into the top eight.

7th – Liam Alford

UKGE GT 10

Liam’s only loss during the Swiss rounds was to Lee Macken in the second round. One of the strongest aspects to this Wookiee list is the tough choice to choose between focusing the fluttercrafts or the Wookiees themselves. If you ignore the flutters, then the two overrun attacks a turn can start to stack up the suppression and the damage. If you decide to focus the flutters, then the Wookiee squads are making a big impact arriving on full health. It’s a good threat saturation list. I also like the comms jammers in this list since they help in the Ex-D match up but they’re potentially useful in any matchup.

One of the strong parts of this Liam’s list I think if you have never played against it before it’s hard to get the kill order of his units correct. Unfortunately for Liam he got paired against Timbo in the top eight cut after just beating him in the last game of Swiss. I think this gave Timbo the chance at redemption since they played the exact same mission, objectives and deployments, just on a different table.

6th – Dave Grant | Team UK

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Dave grant is well known for taking unconventional lists and Dave and his daughter both brought the same list while Dave made the cut with a 6 activation list I’m 100% sure this comes down to his experience with the list and being a very good player. Dave decided to take an “intentional draw” in the final round of the Swiss to make the cut. The first-round pairings was then the same match up of him vs Olly Dier. Having two busses and a Gav tank on the table did not leave much movement available on the table once boxed in which then led to Dave dropping a bomb without being able to score it.

The list is lots of fun and his very good at killing things but in case any of you out there are wondering it takes a lot of practice to get the most from the low activations.

5th – Nathan Hoole

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Nathan has brought a Yoda, Padme list with two full arcs. The main difference in his vs most other versions of this list I’ve seen is he has gone for a clone commander to setup a fire support option of the RPS every turn. This allows a range four shot of 5 dice if he needs it. Along with this he has brought three medics which means when the red dice abandon him on the arcs then he can bring them back. The one thing not to underestimate is that these clone squads are still rolling five black dice and can be used to help clean up squads the arcs have nearly one shotted.

Nathan only lost to Lee in the swiss rounds and was knocked out in the single elims by the winner, who he had actually beaten in the Swiss rounds!

Top 4

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4th – Lee Macken Team UK

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With Lee going undefeated in the Swiss and making the third day, it was looking possible that Blizzard force could win UKGE again…for the fourth time in a row. The only person Lee didn’t want to face is someone who knows the strengths and weaknesses of Blizzard force very well…such as Olly Dier, who has played over a hundred games with that particular army.

3rd – Tim Veldhuis – Timbo

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All the way from Canada it is Timbo from the 5th trooper himself! He brought zero minis with him just a trusty fiddle! He can play really well, probably even better than he can play Legion! Timbo stayed at my place on the lead up to the event and wanted to play Rebels but is the only faction I don’t own. He decided that based on his recent games back home against Jessi that Ex-D was his best chance of doing half decent. I managed to convince him to instead take Inquisitors since I thought of the list and it was competitive. We spent the week bouncing ideas off each other to improve it while sightseeing buildings in Cambridge that are older than Canada itself. We agreed that compel is needed in the list and we made a few changes and got Krennic in there. For someone who has only played Empire once before he did really well to finish top of the 3-2’s

Timbo managed to earn some revenge against Liam in the top eight game but staying out drinking till 4am singing karaoke probably didn’t help him in his top four game the following morning against the future winner!

2nd – Oliver ‘CBT3’ Dier | Team UK

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The current world champion managed to lose to Timbo during the Swiss rounds and only managed to scrape his way into the top eight with his worlds list thanks to the intentional draw with Dave. He made zero changes knowing the list did well into Ex-D and Clone balls which the current Meta is made up of. Clone commandos and Range troopers are not something that has arrived in the UK yet so they were a non-factor.

The list has some similar advantage to Blizzard Force in that it has a battle deck that most lists will only be good at some objectives but not all of them. The swoops’ overrun and being able to hit units in melee means force users are not safe if they survive the Black Sun shot and dive into melee to survive like you normally would. The two busses with comms jammers are great in most matchups but Ex-cel against the Ex-D and were key in the Olly’s victory at worlds but didn’t play as big a role in the final for UKGE.

1st – Geoff ‘Podfrey’ Porritt | Team UK

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The plan works. The plan is good. Stick to the plan. This was the mantra of Geoff for this list. At first glance the entire list is just a hodge-podge of Rebel units and you might even think he is trying to make a Highlander list. The plan is to have some good firepower at all ranges which then gives you answers and options for every opponent you face.

The list is built around having ways to win past the objective. Having both secret mission and bounty gives Jeff ability to score up to two bonus victory points. Each of the missions he has taken are low-scoring to help make the impact of these choices more useful. Having the Landspeeder escort R2 is a nice option but Geoff said R2 scored in every single game just by walking into the deployment zone. He starts in the speeder but gets out and walks the rest of the way. The combo and synergy with Wedge, Ion gun and HQ uplink means the speeder fires one red, two black and five white at range four then recovers and can move sideways essentially due to the free pivot meaning the speeder can keep out of range of shot back whilst also dropping R2 off.

The fleets can give the speeder an aim and due to the HQ uplink can wait till they activate to fire to help increase damage output. The Ewoks are able to grab your safe objective or harass or tie up a unit with a melee charge.

The best thing about this list in my opinion is every unit has a job and a task to do which goes back to the mantra of Geoff “The plan works. The plan is good. Stick to the plan.” The only game Geoff lost was due to not following that plan and was to Nathan in round three.

Final Thoughts

Everyone who turned up had a great a time and enjoyed the format. Did they miss the fact there was no worlds ticket on the line? Yes. Was it still competitive? Yes. Did we miss our international friends? Damn right we did! Did we still have new and experienced players all bonding and having a laugh? Hell yes!

Also, with the event being three days we got to have TWO awesome social nights which is always a solid reason to go to GT events, along with the prize support that is on offer.

This is the first of four GT events I’m running so look out for more top 8 articles and how the meta changes in the UK.

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