Thursday, May 10, 2018

Building a Legion Army for Tournament Play - Part 1 (Where to even begin?)

Where do I even start?

As you may have read in my previous post I am headed back to GenCon this year.  I have played in both X-wing and Armada events at GenCon before and this year aside from another go at the North American Armada Championships I figured I would enter one of the 3 Maximum Firepower tournaments for Legion.

Which leads to a problem.  I have no real idea what a tournament Legion list should look like.

So, this is the first in what I am hoping will be a series of posts as I try to figure out what goes into a Legion tournament army.

The second GenCon that I attended was in 2015.  Armada had released earlier that Spring and I was excited to play in the tournament there.  It was going to be the first major Armada event and I think people really had no clue how it would go.  Even the Armada designers that were on hand seemed genuinely curious what kinds of fleets would rise to the top.  I remember doing a lot of testing at the FLGS with friends as we tried to figure out what would work.  I ended up finishing second with a fleet type that would win Worlds later that year, while the first place finisher was the now infamous as the "Gencon Special" that had players questioning the viability of squadrons in Armada (my how times have changed).

This year's three Legion events at GenCon really have the same feel to me as that Armada tournament.  They will be some of the first, large Legion events and I don't think anyone really knows what to expect.  The results are likely to define the early meta of the game.  So, I find myself in a similar position.  I need to design an army for a game with little in the way of a defined meta.  I have only hints of what my opponents might use or what tools I will need to compete.

Now, I don't expect to win, nor am I very invested in doing so.  I just love the mental puzzle of figuring out a new game/tournament meta.  Which leads me back to the question that this post began with: "Where do I even start?"

I suppose I start with the basics.  I am going to play Rebels.  Mostly as that is what I have gotten in the most games with so far.  I actually think Imperials are slightly better than Rebels, mostly due to Speeder Bikes and the awesomeness that is the DLT-19.  But I also think it is more important to play what you know, so I will stick with the Rebel Scum.

I'm also running with the assumption that Han and the Rebel Commandos have a chance of being released by then.

Which leads then to a series of questions that I need to answer:
  • 1 or 2 Commanders?  Which Commanders?
  • How many Corps/Troops?
  • Do I bring a T-47?
  • How much Impact do I need?
  • How much Blast/Sharpshooter can I fit in?
  • How many activations do I want?
  • Do I want to spam a specific unit type?
  • Do I have a plan against Jedi?
  • How do I counter a Speeder Bike swarm?  
I think if I can answer these questions I can start to get a good idea of what my army can do and be more or less prepared for whatever I may run into.  Some of those questions are just based on my own army, but others are really guesses on things that I might face.  I should probably start with the questions about what I might face as they will inform the other questions as I construct my army.

How much Impact do I need?

This ends up being a difficult, but very important question.  It could also be phrased as either "How many AT-RTs, AT-STs, and T-47s do I expect to see?" or "Can I safely ignore my opponent's units with Armor?"

Lately I've been trying the "ignore the AT-ST and focus on the objectives" route.  I've won games that way, but had my army get just trashed in the process.  I've also had a flamer equipped AT-RT sprint across the board and burn down a unit before I could drop it.  So, I can see where it will cost me a game if I choose to leave the anti-Armor tech at home and focus on other things.  If I don't bring any Impact I can imagine ending up in a no-win situation with a bad match-up.  No-win match-ups don't sound like any fun, so I need to have an anti-Armor plan.
This is bad.  You'll want to prevent this.

My goal would be the ability to burn down a Flamer AT-RT in a turn or two.  What would it take to do that?  6 HP on an AT-RT with only a 1/6 save means about 7 damage to do it.  You can kill AT-RTs with crits alone, but not quickly without Impact.  You also can't always plan to have all of your Impact units able to hit the target you want, so some redundancy would seem important.  Maybe a total of Impact 9 across the whole army would be a good starting point?  That's just a guess and far easier to achieve with Imperials than Rebels.  With the limited range of Impact Grenades, I would think you would need to discount those a bit.  You could possibly count Surge-to-Crit units as half a point of Impact as well.

So, when I get to building an army list I will shoot for 9 points of Impact.  Then I can play some and adjust as needed.  It's as good a starting point as any.

Do I have a plan against Jedi?

Vader and son are both terrifying in Legion.  Either commander is capable of removing a trooper unit a turn without breaking much of a sweat.  That is even less of a concern than their simple ability to take and hold objectives.  Once Luke or Vader grab an objective it can be hard to pry it off of them.

So, I will want a plan to stop them from rampaging around my forces and the ability to remove them as needed.  The simplest (and probably correct answer) is to simply bring my own Jedi to counter theirs.  Beyond that?  I haven't played a game yet without Luke or Vader in my force to know, but one would imagine finding a way to lure them out of the main fight would be the best bet.

How do I counter a Speeder Bike swarm? 

I suppose someone may try an army with paired T-47s eventually as well.  Either way, that can be a lot of firepower speeding around a flank.  I need the ability to react to a flank with enough firepower to whittle down the speeders quickly.  Basically a counter or reaction force.  I haven't really run in to this yet, but it is something I feel I would want an answer for.

Well, that's enough for this post.  I will answer the other questions that I have in the next one.  Let me know if there are any questions about putting together a tournament army that I missed in the comments.

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