The Gun Line

Hello and welcome back commanders! Maybe you’re new to Legion and wanting to improve you level of play. Or maybe you’re a long time Legion player looking for a refresher on fundamentals. Either way, today is a lesson, or a refresher, about unit positioning creating a gun line.

What is the Gun Line

‘Gun line’ is thrown around as a term by players in different ways. I often see gun line refer to the corp of an army. Such as saying the five storm troopers with DLTs are your gun line.

When I use the term gun line, I am referring to the imaginary line you can draw across unit leaders. Among the top players, you often can look at the battle field during one of their matches, and draw a line across most of their troops. Most commonly, this line is made up mostly of corps. They are the bread and butter of any army after all.

The creation of this line is like riding a bike. Top competitive players are doing it without thinking about it or maybe without realizing it. To try and prove I”m not making this stuff up, I’ve taken some screen shots from streamed games of top players, that show the line being formed across the battlefield.

In this screenshot taken from the Fifth Trooper live stream at Adepticon, you can see Orkimedes and Kingsley both keeping very straight lines.
From the FFG Worlds stream this past weekend. Kingsley in the bottom left, and Lupo in top right. Both armies have deployed and moved into forming a line.

Why Is This Happening?

A gun line is important because it focuses your fire. It keeps your units in position to all fire down on the same targets. And in return, you’re minimizing risk, by making it difficult for your opponent to take a shot at a unit without much return fire. Its like drawing that line in the sand, and saying, “Do not cross this point”.

The top level players are most often moving forward just enough to get whatever unit they want to shoot, at max range. For Rebel troopers and Stormtroopers, that means placing a range 3 ruler down and putting your unit leader just up to the edge of range three to take the shot. As this occurs again and again, on both sides, the lines starts to form.

On the flip side, lets say one player is making max range shots and the other player is not. The player that does not make max range shots moves a unit forward, ahead of the rest of his units. This forward unit is exposed. The max range player then can aim shoot at this unit, while the opposing player has to move shoot to return fire. I’ll elaborate more.

Avoid Unnecessary Exposure

Units that break the line should be doing so while you are minimizing risk. And they should be breaking away from the gun line for a purpose. Such as objectives or making a push on a flank.

Let’s say you have 3 storm leaders in a line, and you move a fourth one forward, but you place this fourth leader just in front of the other 3. Let’s say this fourth leader is just an inch forward. Your opponent now has an isolated unit to focus.

Your opponent lays the range 3 ruler down, and moves his units to be at max range three to this isolated storm leader. Going into the next turn, any unit your opponent moved to be in range of this forward storm leader, can aim shoot, dodge shoot, or move shoot. In return, you’ll have to do small moves with your storms that are an inch back, to return fire. By not getting aimed shots, you’re going to fall behind. Even worse would be your further back storms receiving suppression, and not being able to return fire at all!

Unnecessary exposure could be moving a unit just an inch too far forward from the main line. Or it could be over extending an unit on one of the flank ends of your line, which gives a target for your opponent to collapse onto. To take this full circle, this is why the top players’ gun lines look tight. They are minimizing exposure.

Death Ball or Spread Wide

If you haven’t read my post about thinking of space as a resource, check it out. It’s relevant for this part. Keeping your unit’s positioning tight is easier said than done. There is terrain to work around after all.

A gun line can be as long or short as you want it to be. Spreading wide gives you advantages of more angles to shoot from, more targets to shoot at, more positions of cover to take advantage of and different ways to approach objectives. The downside of spreading wide is it also gives you greater vulnerability on the ends of your line, or your flanks.

Opposite of a wide line is packing in tight, a ‘death ball’. Obviously someone has to push forward or the games would be stalemates. Objectives are great as normally force you to engage. Nothing pushes and engages harder than a death ball. A massive death ball would be something like 5-6 corp unit leaders standing right next to each other with all their other minis cohered in behind. With a ball of units, you’re focusing your firepower all in the same place. Anything that moves forward to engage with one unit engages with all the units.

I think Palp and Vader make great death ball leaders for the empire. Objectives like KP or intercept are great for a death ball as you can move your army forward, running over your opponent to get the center objective.

I think a good classic death ball list is something like Vader, IRG, two sniper strike teams, and five DLT storm troopers. Two with medics. You could throw trade some storms out for snows if you really want to go hard in the paint.

Wouldn’t you know it, on the worlds stream I was able to catch a shot of a death ball vs gun line.

In this picture, we have the champ, Luke Cook in the bottom left, and the Matt Kish in top right. Kish was running Palpatine and you can see how he has bunched up around the pillar. Luke on other hand has a line formed to deal with the Kish death ball.

Conclusion

In closing, I hope I’ve helped you stay aware of the positioning of your units and how they fit into forming a gun line. Are you leaving units forward and hanging them out to dry? Are you minimizing the risk of bad trades by making sure the ranges of your units over lap? Lastly, does your game plan play out best death balling or should you spread out wide?

I wanted to get into the topic of flanking, but thought this would be better served kept as a quick read.

Thanks for reading and best of luck!

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