The History of London GT
The London Grand Tournament (LGT) is one of the biggest events in the UK. LGT hosts over a thousand players across several game systems from 40K, Age Of Sigmar, Blood Bowl, Battle for Middle Earth, Marvel Crisis Protocol and many more table top miniatures games.
It attracts people from all over Europe and is a prestigious event to win no matter what game system or prize is on the line. Back in 2019, LGT was the first two day event for Legion in the UK with a Worlds invite including flights and accommodation paid for. Even with a short break for covid in 2020, LGT returned last year despite no official prize support.
This year, Legion at LGT was going to hosted and run by Organised Play Events (OPE) with Worlds tickets for the top four plus flights and accommodation for first place on the line! This was exciting news, particularly since we’d only had an event four months ago with Worlds tickets at UKGE. This announcement came along with the fact OPE were going to be hosting the world championship events for X-Wing, Armada, Digimon and Dragon Ball Z too. With all these games added to the already huge attendance of LGT plus the Warhammer and other miniature games, it generated lots of interest for the event.
Initially, the Legion event was going to be run by the previous organiser, Ellis Priestly, and would be six games over two days as we’d come to expect. However, about three months prior, it was announced that OPE would be taking over and that the World’s invite was now on the line. Almost immediately after, OPE announced the tournament structure was now changing to five games on day one with a top eight cut, then three games on day two. There was going to be a skirmish side event for all players who didn’t make day two but this side event would be charged at an extra £10 on top of the £50 for the original ticket!
As you can imagine, there was a lot of community push back for this. The main complaints being about five games in one day to the fact you got punished and charged extra for not making day two. However, within a few days OPE had listened to all the comments and feedback and updated the event. It was now confirmed as four games on day one with a top eight cut. The skirmish side event and a normal 800-point side event was free for players who didn’t make the cut.
An initial hiccup from the organisers wasn’t a great start for the new people running the event. From speaking with players who would normally attend LGT, this didn’t fill them with confidence and some were put off from attending having lost faith in the display of organisation. I did still have high hopes however based on previous events they’d headed up. OPE had run the Worlds Qualifier at UKGE with success and I knew they were going to be using the same terrain and tables from then and from 2021. In the end, there were 44 sign ups on TTO and any apprehension I may have had subsided and I was excited to travel to London!
T’was The Night Before LGT…
As we were excited, I, along with a few other local players decided to go down early on Friday with the aim of getting a pickup game or two as some last-minute practice. Unfortunately, we were a bit too early and the tables weren’t yet set up, so we improvised and had a game using 40K terrain. We went and had some dinner and then decided to go back and have a look at the Legion tables and layout as they had been beginning to set up before we left. When we arrived back, at first glance there didn’t seem to be much more than how we’d left it a couple of hours before. Somewhat disappointed by the coverage, I decided to try and find someone from OPE to talk to about the terrain to find out if there was going to be more added.
Upon speaking with a couple of organisers, they confirmed table set up was finished and ready for tomorrow. Somewhat taken back, I advised that for a Worlds Qualifier event, the terrain was not acceptable and as a player on behalf of the community, this was not what we had signed up or paid for. They directed me to speak to an individual from OPE who was heading up their events this weekend. I apologised for speaking out of turn and said that if they were struggling to get enough terrain, I’d be happy to go home to get my own eight tables of terrain and could reach out to people I knew would be arriving tomorrow. I was duly informed that due to the exclusivity contracts in place with LGT, they could not accept the offer of community terrain to be used at the event.
OPE informed me that they had more terrain available but Warhammer Kill Team (one of the other events taking place) had priority on all the terrain and Legion would get access to what remained. He advised that they would add more terrain to the tables ready for the morning and we left that evening feeling reassured but also a little apprehensive about what it we would come back to in the morning.
We turned up early to assess the tables again and offer some help if needed. As per OPE’s reassurance, the tables had been topped up from about seven/eight pieces a table to double digits. In addition, the layout of the terrain tables was so spread out that a lot of deployment zones had zero terrain in them. Many of the tables also had their pieces running straight down the middle, making it so the hostage or centre box objectives would start with the units on the top then having to clamber down.
Over at the judge’s table were some other regular tournament players already asking questions about the terrain but being told they were not going to change. I introduced myself the judges of the event. I asked if they needed more terrain since some players had brought it down with them after seeing the early set up photos the night before. Again, we were told we could not use outside terrain.
Eventually, almost every player who turned up complained to the judges about the terrain and you could see the frustration building between the players and the judges before the event even started. Understandably as players we are used – and had paid for – a minimum level of set up for us to be able to play the game, especially at something as big as LGT and were disappointed as we knew OPE had always been able to provide in the past. There were still boxes of terrain available but were still being kept aside for Kill Team to set up.
I went and grabbed the tournament documentation from online to show the judges the terrain breakdown and how it should take up about a quarter of the 6ft x 3ft table. It should also be broken down into different types of terrain pieces ranging in size. At first, I was told that they did have X line of sight blockers and Y pieces of terrain matching that document. To their credit, after some further discussion, they did ask why we needed more terrain and what would adding more do for the game.
Fortunately, after plenty of my own experience setting up tournament tables, I was able to explain that if a player has turned up with Rebels or Droids and vs Clones or Empire then just with the dice alone, the red saves will have the advantage. A player might have brought a list that is specialized about using the terrain to hide till the final turn to grab the objective. I also explained that any player who might have brought a double heavy list will have a heavy advantage over their opponent. All of these are reasons why we need good balanced tables to make units more balanced in the game.
The judges listened and agreed they would add more density to the boards before we started. At this point Ellis, who was now running the Battle for Middle Earth and Marvel Crises Protocol events, turned up with some extra terrain. The judges were allowed to use this extra terrain since it was coming from another event organiser within LGT.
Finally, after being topped up three times, we agreed that this was the best we were going to get, and we now just had to crack on and make the most of the event. What did frustrate us as players was also that OPE had only set up twenty tables for a forty-four player event even after being advised the night before not having enough tables. The judges quickly got an additional two tables set up with terrain but these two tables had more terrain than any of the other twenty tables! It was these two tables that the official OPE social media pages took photos of to try and dispute players’ claims later that weekend of poor set up.
The event started later then intended but not by much and I don’t think a single player minded since it was all due to getting more terrain out. There was a phantom pairing to make sure all attendants who signed up were in attendance and to validate our opponents lists. This was an interesting approach but still worked. The rest of the timings of the event and pairings ran smoothly.
Now the above issues could easily be solved by just getting more terrain. However, what is harder to quantify are having judges presiding over the event who aren’t familiar with the game or rules.
Firstly, I have to say that this is not aimed directly at the judges, who had both been receptive to the criticism levied at them about the terrain earlier in the day and were polite and courteous throughout the weekend. As I spoke with both of them and got to know them more it was apparent they were very keen to run the best event possible and I feel like they managed to do what they could with what they had. One of the judges had experience of running Legion events and a Worlds Qualifier event in Italy (with some amazing tables too!). The other didn’t have any Legion experience but had run X-Wing events and other game systems of large player counts.
The issue is from OPE who had appointed judges who were perhaps not familiar with the game enough to know how to make rulings quickly and concisely without having to refer to the rulebook for each call. Not because they were double checking their ruling but because at times they just didn’t know! Due to this, I had my games interrupted multiple times by other players coming to me asking for judge calls on rules. One instance had two players waiting on a ruling from the judge (flicking through the rulebook) whereby they then came to me, got the answer they needed, and carried on playing whilst the judge continued to try find the answer.
Now the obvious problem here is the players don’t have the confidence in the judges running the event. I and many of the other veteran players are never going to turn someone away for a rules question. Everyone was respectful and happy to wait for me to be at a point where I could answer but that’s not to say it might not affect my game. The biggest issue is what happens when me a player give the official ruling, but the judge rules it another way? Now I know the judge’s call is final, but this leads back to the lack of confidence the players will have in asking for judge calls.
As the prep for LGT began I knew I would have to deal with a form of dodge spam as it’s very meta at the moment. So I started practicing for about a month with double AAT and settled on what I think is the best version of this list inspired by the list version I saw at MK:GT.
As I had my final practice at one of my monthly tournaments it made me doubt the list. I came across a Black Sun list I’d seen somebody else play locally. The seven dice into heavy cover vs red saves, kills on average three models. So with both tanks being worth just short of half my army, I can kill one unit a turn. This made me really reconsider the list.
My wife convinced me to just go with something I knew worked rather then something new if I was going to be like this. So, I took the exact list I took to 7th City Collectables. My double bounty, triple bike list.
Now in hindsight with the way the terrain was all set up I wish I had stuck with my double tank list!
Game 1 vs John – Disarray, Minefield, Sabotage
John’s list puts Luke in your face very fast with a double shooting speeder at the same time. As we deployed, I put my army in one corner with my vaporators while my bikes were all in the other corner. John put his army opposite my own, whilst his Luke, speeder and sniper teams faced my speeders.
I decided to send my bikes after his snipers to get an even bigger activation advantage on turn one. While the speeder double moved ready for Luke to jump out for next turn. John was trying to avoid setting off the minefield around one of his vaporators since doing so would also put his unit into the open towards where Boba was making his way. Meanwhile I was trying to make my way to my vaporator before Luke killed my shore troopers.
Around turn four I was very worried. Luke was killing units and staying in combat so my bikes were not able to shoot him. I had only tapped one of my vaporators once while John had finished one of his. Somehow and still now as I write this up, I’m not sure how it shifted but by end of turn five, I had claimed a bounty and touched his vaporator and finished one of mine but Luke was sitting next to it. For the final turn John decided to tap my vaporator and take a dodge and stand his ground from my bikes and bounty hunters to prevent the table and leave the game with a VP. The bikes and Cad managed to suppress Luke and strip him of dodges and leave Luke on two health for Boba Fett. Boba fired his rocket and scored five hits and Luke saved four! It left him on one health and stopping me from tabling him leaving the score at 4-1.
Game 2 vs Nick – Roll Out, War Weary, Bombing Run
For game two with this mission, I knew I could drop all three bombs but the real test would be could I stop him from dropping a single bomb. I gave a bomb to two bikes and Boba. This way if I pull a support token early, I can use the bike without the objective. While Nick gave one bomb to the tank, Pykes and Cad Bane, I managed to pull a bike after a lot of B1 units had been and decided to charge one of my bikes turn one. Early victory point for me. Nick’s Pykes advanced up the middle of the field which gave me the chance to shoot them with my mortars. My intention was to slow them down but they failed to clear a single suppression. They dropped the bomb and ran and now all I had to do was make sure he never picked it up again. On turn three I managed to score the bounty against his T-Series with Boba. I failed to secure my second bike’s bomb before it got shot by the tank.
I shifted my focus to making sure his Cad Bane did not make it to dropping the bomb while making sure my Boba survived. I had focused Cad so much and he survived but he did have a pile of suppression. I was expecting Cad’s two pip to remove all the suppression, but Nick didn’t run that card. Once again Nick’s suppression rolls were not great for him and Cad dropped the bomb by panicking. This allowed me to use Boba to finish him off due to Cad being shot and killed by the tank as he tried to retrieve the bomb my bikes had dropped. The tank delivered his bomb on the final turn and Boba whip corded some B1’s then engaged them in melee to secure his life and my victory of 2-1.
Game 3 vs Kevin – Battle Lines, Supply Drop, Recover the Supplies
Kevin was running a scary villain hammer list. With Recover the Supplies and Vader I could not fight over the middle box. I considered this and made a plan to make sure I scored a bounty or try and Whipcord Vader for my bikes to then shoot and kill them. What actually happened was that I got drawn into a gun fight and started losing sniper teams and bikes quickly. Vader got into my Shoretroopers and killed all of them and force pushed my officer into the open for his Boba to claim the bounty. All while my Boba killed Inferno Squad and Cad killed Bossk scoring me a bounty.
Kevin moved Vader back towards the middle to scare me away from his Stormtroopers picking up the middle box. What this enabled me to do was shoot and focus Vader. Cad already had the bounty from killing Bossk. So, I had to make sure Boba got the kill. This didn’t happen until the end of turn five making the score 4-4. I had two boxes and both bounties while Kevin had three boxes and a bounty. With the last activation from me being from Cad we had to take a few mins to work out the kill points. Since if I was behind, I could make a double move and shoot the box carrier for a Hail Mary play but then realised there was a unit I could aim and shoot in the open for kill points. We took the time to work out the kill point difference before making the shot since we had plenty of time before the end of the round. With the score as it stood, I was eight kill points ahead after getting the kill on Vader. With no return shots coming or any actions that would change this, it ended a hard fought game against a great opponent.
Game 4 vs Simon – Advance Positions, Minefield, Bombing Run
Going into the final game I was sat in fourth place so even with a loss there was a strong potential for me to make day two! Simon told me he had never played Bombing Run before so I made sure that he understood how to detonate and disarm the bombs and how you can only score a victory point a turn. As expected, Simon gave all three bombs to his bikes while I gave mine to all three bikes.
I deployed one set of bikes cautiously at the back of my deployment with the option to then zip and drop the bomb at a better time. Then I deployed the other two ready to zip and drop them as quick as possible. Turn one Simon moved forward with a unit of bikes and started shooting my bomb carriers. In response I triple moved and dropped my first bomb safely. I think Simon panicked and then did the same, but he dropped the bomb within range of Boba to just move and disarm. I’m 1-0 up and the max Simon can currently score is two. The downside was Cad Bane was in Melee with Vader after he did Burst of Speed.
I played Cad’s one pip expecting a Vader one pip and was not disappointed as he played Vader’s Might. I managed to win the roll off so I decided to keep the order on Cad and move and shoot Vader getting outside range one and hoping to do some damage ready for Boba to finish Vader off. I did a total of two wounds from seven hits. Not an issue as I still had three more bombs to drop. I sent another bike to triple move and score victory point two.
Simon took advantage of Boba being in the open and with all his bikes facing Boba all took aim and shot while also moving forward to drop the bombs so he can start detonating his victory points. Boba Fett was the last unit I pulled from the bag but he never survived long enough to be able to move the bomb he had disarmed. This lead to Vader eventually moving to pick it up in exchange for letting Cad Bane live. This lead to Simon scoring all three of his bombs. I did manage to score my third bomb on turn five but this left me with just my officer and a scout team left being chased by two units of bikes, since the other bikes had finished Cad off.
As we started turn five we agreed it would be the last turn due to time on the round about to be announced. I had gone from a potential win on turn one to trying to avoid being tabled and not securing my spot in day two. I managed to hide my scouts and take a standby so when he moved around the corner to shoot me I could engage in melee. I moved into base contact to prevent the shot but lost the game but with 3-3 on victory points. Simon played a good game and deserved the win.
The mistake that cost me the game was trying to keep Cad alive. I should have bounced the order from Cad with the win of the roll off and given it to Boba to make it so he could have just double moved with Simon’s bomb to score me that extra victory point but hindsight is always 20/20.
End of the Run
At the end of the first day I had gone 3-1 which I was happy with but unfortunately I came ninth and missed out on making the cut by 0.02 points of MoV. On the upside by me not making the cut it meant that of the top eight, half already went in with invites which meant the other four players walked away with an invite regardless of where they placed. If Kevin (my third opponent who came eighth) and I had swapped places, I would have felt bad since he would have just missed out on an invite. This was also the end of my current tournament winning streak and the next big two-day event is not till the end of November. I’m anticipating the meta is going to change a huge amount with the release of Mando, “dad” Boba and the IG droids.
Day two was much more relaxed for the skirmish and 800-point event but there was a noticeable drop in players who did not return for the second day. The event was won by Oskar Kida, a player who’d flown over from Poland. He came top eight at UK Games Expo, narrowly missing out in a ticket back in June but now I look forward to seeing him at Adepticon!
I’m an optimistic person and I think next year’s Legion event at LGT can be improved on for 2023. It was a huge step back from the previous LGT Legion events, but there are some easy steps they can take to rectify it for next year. I believe the organisers have some work to do with rescuing the reputation of the event and at this stage, would not be surprised if next year’s numbers do not match up to this year’s. The biggest issue which came through was that the organisers really need their event to be headed up and run by people who play and understand Legion from top to bottom as it really felt like Legion was a forgotten game system this year.
I think that the widely documented negative issues have been well covered above and as result, I’ve been asked by many people whether I did enjoy the event. Surprisingly, my response is to the affirmative! Every single game I played on both days was enjoyable and I always enjoy catching up with friends at events and making new ones from the opponents I play. I just hope the organisers learn from their mistakes as LGT really does have the potential to be a fantastic flagship event in the UK.