Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Help! Help! I'm Being Suppressed!

Repressed!  Suppressed!  Same thing right?

Either way I'm sure we can all see the violence inherit in the Legion game system.

Despite all that violence, it is still more than possible to win games of Legions without actually killing much of the opposing force.  Not that going pew-pew and blowing up your opponent's troopers isn't good times.  It's just that you can often often accomplish your goals by simply aiming a few blaster bolts in the other guy's direction and forcing them to keep their heads down.

The suppression system is one of my favorite parts of the Star Wars: Legion core mechanics and I'm going offer you some tips to getting the most out of it.

Let's start with the basics, what is Suppression and what does it represent?

When your troopers come under fire in Legion they may gain a suppression token.  These tokens represent the troopers taking cover, hunkering down, or any other survival behaviors.  When they are busy looking after their own survival, they become less combat effective or mission focused.  Enough suppression and they will panic and begin to flee the battle.

I like this system more than some used on other games where units test leadership attributes and potentially flee as they meet causality thresholds.  Suppression in Legion degrades a unit's ability to contribute to the game, before eventually seeing them Panic and flee.

Troops become Suppressed and lose an action when they have a number of suppression markers equal to or greater than their courage value.  They Panic when the number of markers is double the courage of the unit or a nearby commander.  Obviously the Suppressed state is much easier to accomplish than Panic, especially when Vader is around preventing any nearby Imperials from Panicking.

With Corps Troops only having a Courage of 1, it can be pretty easy to get that Suppression marker on them costing them an action.  Even 1 suppression marker can have a pretty large impact.  During the Rally step a unit has just a 1-in-3 chance of clearing each suppression marker.  So, they tend to stick around.  Troops also clear one suppression marker at the end of each turn, so it takes some constant pressure to really keep a unit suppressed over multiple turns.

Losing one action may not seem like much, but it adds up fast.  In a 6 turn game of Legion a unit will typically get just 12 actions.  A unit that is Suppressed for 3 turns would lose 25% of its actions for the game.  That's a full quarter of its ability to move, shoot, or otherwise participate in the game.  And that can all happen without that unit suffering a single casualty.

Suppression in Legion is a weapon.  Learn to use it.

How to suppress a unit

The easiest way to suppress a unit is to simply shoot at it every turn.  You also have to score a hit on that shot, but that should be the goal anyways.

Because a unit clears one suppression marker automatically each turn, in order to keep it suppressed you need to either shoot it before it activates or shoot it multiple times in the same turn so that it will have a marker carry over to the following turn.  The more times you can shoot a unit the more the suppression will add up.
  • One of the most important things to remember about suppression is that you don't have to cause damage to suppress a unit, only roll a hit or crit.
A unit of Stormtroopers with a Dodge token and behind a barricade can be really tough to actually wound.  The first 3 hits you have are auto-canceled.  Even if you have 4 hits or a crit, they still get a 50% chance of ignoring it.  But just one hit, even if it is canceled by cover, forces them to put their heads down and gain a suppression marker.  Which then has a 66% chance of taking away an action if they can't clear it first.

In Legion, as long as you are shooting at troops there are no futile shots.  Never pass up the chance to suppress a unit just because the odds of doing damage are low.

Spread the love

Another key to maximizing suppression in Legion is to take advantage of your ability to split fire.  Each weapon system a unit possesses may fire at a different target, which means they can suppress a different target.  While I like to concentrate fire at vehicles when using Impact weapons, when I shoot at troops I split my fire as much as I can.  This is such a backwards idea to me as I am typically all about concentrating fire when I play miniatures games.  Legion is different though.  The ability to both damage and suppress a unit makes spreading fire much more potent than in other games.

This is one of the reasons it is almost always worthwhile to grab that heavy weapon in your troops squads (or setup to take advantage of Arsenal when you have it).  That second shot is more than just a chance to deal damage, it lets you generate even more suppression on the table.

While there will obviously be times where concentrating on one unit is key to winning, but in many cases you can best hinder your opponent by getting as many suppression markers on the table as you can.

Tie up those commanders

As good as it is to suppress a unit and take away an action, getting a unit to panic can be almost as good as killing it out right.  With their Courage values of "3" and "-" both Luke and Vader are really good at preventing this...when they are around.

If you can get enough Suppression on the table that your opponent's troops are nearing Panic it can really limit where their commanders can go.  I had a game where Luke heroically charged off to clear some Stormtroopers from an objective.  He was successful, but moved just out of range of two units that subsequently panicked.  He raced back and helped one rally, but the other fled the battle.

Use dirty tricks

While basic shooting is the most consistent way to add suppression there are already a couple of ways to get more.  The first is to use Suppressive weapons like the AT-ST Mortar.  It can actually give a unit 2 suppression markers in one shot, which can panic a trooper squad with no commander nearby.  I suspect we will see more Suppressive weapons in future waves.

Jedi Mind Trick is also worth mentioning on Luke.  I've been able to use this to shut down more than one unit of Stormtroopers.  2 suppression for free is no laughing matter.  It think it will be staple for me in any force featuring Luke.

What to do when suppression comes for you

Aside from huddling around the commander there isn't currently a ton you can do.  The occasional Refresh action can be really important for keeping a squad in the fight.

Both Leia and Veers have abilities that help them remove suppression from their forces and just having the option of 2 commanders will make a difference as well.  I am looking forward to their inclusion in the game.

Also remember that vehicles are immune to suppression (although Ionization is pretty much the same thing) and can help out supporting your troops that are getting suppressed.

Anyways, I hope that was a useful look at how suppression can impact your games.  Good luck!

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