Well, Year 2 of Star Wars Legion has (unofficially) ended, with the Knowledge and Defense invitational being played on the same weekend as the sadly-cancelled Adepticon Worlds. At the end of 8 tough rounds of Legion play, spread across three days, I found myself 7-1, and the “Fake Worlds” champion!!!
I cannot express how happy I am to have come this far, played against so many wonderful opponents, and been a part of such a supportive community. As many of you know, I am expecting a wonderful baby girl this coming June, so I won’t be around for much of Year 3’s bigger tournaments. This is likely to be my last major event until next Adepticon, so a good showing was important to my vainglorious ego.
But enough about me, let’s get into the list!
The Birth of the GOATs
So, for a while now, I’ve been singing the praises of Shoretroopers with the Comms Tech and HQ Uplink (which I often abbreviate to UPShores). For 72 points, a unit that can get a faceup order token on itself and an Emplacement Trooper, plus an Aim for the Shoretroopers, seems like a lot of value. By taking a Recover action every turn, UPShores can keep themselves and a friend out of the random order pool indefinitely.
But then I thought, everyone says the T-21b is really strong. I’ve already got a 5B dice pool at Range 3, so why not add some extra oomph to that? Now my UPShores are at 104 points, nearly Death Troopers in cost. But also nearly Death Troopers in function as well…could I take this further?
With that in mind, I added both Targeting Scopes and Offensive Push to my UPShores, bringing them to 112 points each. My thought being that these Shores could reasonably hit 9/9 dice, which would force more saves than even DTs (though the DTs would be superior in both range and defense).
Now it was here that I identified the major weakness of these Shoretroopers. While I could buff their defense and utility by including the command upgrades Aggressive Tactics and Strict Orders, these Corps were vulnerable to being suppressed out over the long-term of the game.
And then it hit me. I wanted to recover to get my upgrades back every turn, but most games I only needed to recover on turns 3 and on. If I could just recover from all the previous suppression on turn 3 or 4, the superior firepower of my 112-point Shoretroopers should be able to swing the game in my favour. And there was one command card (Imperial Discipline), and by extension, one commander (Veers), who could give me what I want.
Now all this tech and thought was done a while ago, before Invader League Season 4. And I took these GOATShores (as I like making silly names for my units) into Invader. This worked, and I made it to the top 16 (link to my list here). But they didn’t take me all the way. I had to ask, what went wrong?
A Screwy Suggestion
I played other lists, experimented with CIS, even won a tournament with Vader/ATST. I joined Team Relentless, and it was there that the new version of my list was born. Following a Worlds Planning discussion with the team, Screwtape put a new idea in my mind. Why not include “wound-battery” units to keep my Shores healthy and increase my activation count?
So, I cut the ATST+2 Mortars and added a second E-web, IRG, and 2 snipers. This increased my activation count to 10, gave me some much-needed Range 5 and Pierce, and increased the overall durability of my list. In addition, these units could score with greater flexibility. In exchange, I sacrificed some of my Range 4 firepower, and put the burden of damage squarely on the shoulders of my Shoretroopers.
I was going to live or die on their performance…
And So It Begins…
Day One: Game 1 vs Dave Grant (Vader/Bossk/Occupier/Shoreline)
I began my day against a really off-meta list. A Sabotage the Moisture Vaporators game, I foresaw Vader being delivered by the tank straight into my lines and threatening one of my “safe” vaps. So, I decided to give him a nice target. I left a sniper team and a Shore unit on one vap, away from the bulk of my army. They tagged it, and as expected, Vader came barreling down onto them in his metal doom-buggy.
Fortunately, their sacrifice was not in vain, as Vader was taken down by the rest of the army shortly after their demise. Without the Dark Lord of the Sith, his list didn’t have much left to stand on, and the game ended.
Day One 1-0 : Total 1-0
Game 2 vs Starscream (Krennic/ATST/Shoreline)
I’m sorry, Starscream. I know he was surprised to not see me rolling with my own Heavy, and I felt like I betrayed him!!!
This match was really a grind-fest. Starscream did a fantastic job of smashing my units as they attempted to secure the central Transmission zone. I spent a little time trying to wound his ATST, but after he pulled it back, I realized my only chance to win was to preserve scoring activations, while knocking out his.
In the end, it just came down to numbers on the objectives. I was able to put more scoring bodies on the middle. I know Starscream did feel that he misplayed by targeting the wrong units with the ATST at the end, and that could very well have changed the outcome.
Day One 2-0 : Total 2-0
Game 3 vs Teknofobia (Krennic/ Bossk/ Shoreline)
Oh dear. I knew there was a list archetype that would be troublesome, and here it was, in all its loathsome glory! A Range 4 Suppressive Gunline that out-activated my own.
And Tek leveraged that advantage very well, keeping my Shores heavily suppressed, preventing me from making the clutch plays that would allow me to take back the pace of the game. I’m not sure if there was a point where I felt like I was out of options, but I do know those options did not pan out in my favour.
This was my loss, but I would avenge it!!!
Day One 2-1 : Total 2-1
Game 4 vs Zuesjus (Luke/R2/FD/DLT-20A Troopers)
Rebels with an FD and no Tauns! Be still my beating heart, I do love variety!!! But then…there’s OP Luke. I don’t like Op Luke, he’s hard to pin down, and can evade my IRG all day. I knew if Luke made it into my lines with activation advantage, that would be it. So, I focused on eliminating activations and taking shots on Luke where I could.
The pivotal moment came when one of my Shoretroopers were able to hit Luke with a full-power shot, dealing heavy damage. Now, this was on a Full of Surprises turn, where Luke still had some extra dice and a dodge, so this was very risky. But at the end, he took 4, and my Shores took 2 from Deflect. This meant Luke had to be cagey, which gave me the opportunity to also take down R2.
Zuesjus did try to bring it back by using You Serve Your Master Well to blast my Shoretroopers with another squad, which did a lot of damage. But unfortunately, it was too late, and my superior firepower had already carried the day. This was probably the game where the E-webs contributed most to offense.
Day Two 1-0 : Total 3-1
Game 5 vs Luke Cook (Boba/Shoreline)
So, I was really excited for this game. I’ve been looking forward to testing myself against certain players for some time, and Luke was definitely on the list.
Early on, I wanted to try to take down Luke’s healer units, allowing me to try and luck-shot Boba in the mid/late game. Regrettably, I was unable to do any significant damage early on, and realized the only way I might win was to delay his army from collapsing on the center objective. So I blitzed my E-webs forward and just tried to hunker down and weather the storm of fire I was sure would follow.
Fortune favored me, and many of my units survived longer than expected. And at the end, turn 6, it really came down to the single initiative roll of Whipcord vs Ambush. Had Luke won the roll, he could have tied down my Shoretroopers, killed my sniper and possibly even my E-web, taking down 3 of my scoring units in one activation. Fortunately, I won the roll-off, got my Shores where I needed them, and barely carried the game.
I hope we can play again on the real table and have a fake vs real World Champ match. I think that’s some good television!!!
Day Two 2-0 : Total 4-1
Game 6 vs Roirin (Obi-Wan/Saber+R2)
This game was particularly troubling. We played Sabotage the Moisture Vaporators, and while I was blue, his Saber tank was able to take down my IRG relatively early in the game, while I struggled to finish any unit due to Obi-Wan absorbing all my Pierce and saving every hit I tossed his way. Once that was done, his entire army began to retreat, seeking to win solely on points destroyed.
I couldn’t have that, wouldn’t have been fun to lose like that. It was risk time!!! So, Veers Spottered my snipers, and they came through with a couple of clutch Crits at the end, putting the game back in my favor. At that point, his retreating tactic actually cost him the game, as he had no way to bring his firepower back to bear on my forces.
Day Two 3-0 : Total 5-1
Game 7 vs Mbweha (Bossk/Shoreline/E-webs)
Let me preface this match by saying Ben is a great player, whose input has helped me become a better player and part of the team. But he’ll be the first to tell you, he misplayed this game.
He started 3 activations up on me, and with Bossk and 3 mortars, was poised to leverage the same disadvantages that I faced against Teknofobia. But he put 2 sniper teams in a position where I could see both models and left a Shoretrooper squad mostly in the open.
Because of this, I was able to quickly equalize our activations (a double sniper crit and Maximum Firepower each accounted for one of his sniper teams). From there I took the central position, where I was able to capitalize on the objective until the endgame. By rotating which units scored on the objective or attacked, I was able to keep Ben from finishing off anything towards the end, and that’s really what carried me to victory.
Game 8 vs Teknofobia (Boba/Shoreline)
The matchup I didn’t want to return to. As before, I knew Tek’s list was a solid counter to my own, with lots of Range 4 suppressive. I knew that my usual tactic of moving and shooting while relying on Strict Orders to keep my Shores efficient was not going to work in this instance.
We decided to make it interesting by playing Minefield, and Advanced Positions, then putting our units in range of the mines until they detonated. As you’ll see, this agreement really backfired on me with a double detonate that nearly put my Mortar in the grave.
From there on out, I focused on keeping his army engaged with only a few of my units at any given time. It wasn’t an interesting tactic, but ultimately easily secured my victory…
OR IT WOULD HAVE, if I hadn’t forgotten that Bossk could finish off my 2 single-wound-left unit leaders with his Dioxis Mine. Towards the end of turn 5, I almost misplayed and lost the game on turn 6. Fortunately for me, my wounded Shores refused to die and their compatriots (yellow) managed to annihilate the enemy Shoretroopers and carry me to the end!!!
Final Thoughts aka TLDR
Man, that was a lot to write. I played a bunch of super-close games with some extremely skilled opponents. I cannot write enough about all the small decisions and spots of luck that could have swung any of those games out of my favor. All I can say is thank you all for playing with me, and I wish you the best of luck next year!!!
Thanks to all those who organized this tournament and provided prizes.
Author: John Griffin