Deployment, Condition, and Objective Cards of Legion.

The original cards from the core set for Legion.  Which ones should you eliminate?  What do they do?  What choice is best for me?  I’m going to talk about all of that.

Deployment Cards

Deployment cards are going to tell you where your deployment zone is.  The blue zone for the blue player, and the red zone for the red player.   The numbers on the edges of the card, indicates how many range tools each section is, in terms of length and width.   A (3) indicates it is range 3, or 18 inches (since each range unit is exactly 6 inches).  Many of these deployment cards are going to force you to take a look at the terrain on your board, and determine which one will work best for your army.

Each card is going to by symmetric between the blue player and red player.  For this phase, there really isn’t any difference between the two colors, so if you end up being the red player, don’t worry.

Battle Lines is easily the most basic of all deployment cards.  It allows you to deploy anywhere on your side, within range 1 of your edge.    This is fairly universal and gives most armies a lot of flexibility.  It’s worth noting that starting with this deployment can have the highest potential of having shots fired on the first round, so be careful how far forward you start marching those first few troops.

The Long March, is also fairly basic, but will have you playing at the short ends of the table, marching towards your opponents from potentially a longer distance.  This one can be favorable to fast units, especially those with compulsory moves.  This one can also benefit extreme long range attacks, like the mortars from the AT-ST, which have a minimum range of 4.

Major Offensive is giving each of you opposite corners, but it also extends moderately far into the center.  This one is interesting in how it extends into different depths of the board, and can really depend on how your terrain is laid out, on weather or not this one works best for you.  Generally, I tend to prefer this deployment only if I have blocking terrain near the center, but slightly closer to my side, allowing me flexibility of deployment, as well as covered approach paths, to objectives.

Disarray is the most difficult to set up for new players, and easily the most chaotic.  Newer players are likely only have a single commander, and since it requires you to deploy units in BOTH corners, you are going to be forced to split up your forces in different areas, leaving some units beyond standard command range.  This can work well however, with builds using cards to mitigate this distance, such as Long Range Comlink.  Another way to utilize this deployment is to simply ignore the disadvantage, by focusing on corps units, and simply putting all of them on one side, and your commander plus whatever remains on the other corner.  You’ll be able to issue orders to Heavy, or Support units for example from your commander, and then pull from the pile to get your corps units with ease.  If you have 6 corps, and heavy, for example, this might work for you.

 

Condition Cards

 

Condition cards are telling you something about the condition of the battlefield you are fighting.  Maybe it’s a bright sunny day, maybe it’s foggy, or snowy.  Whatever the condition, it’s going to have an impact on your tactics.  You’ll want to avoid certain conditions that might cripple your army’s strengths.

Clear conditions is simple.  It has no effect.  This is equally good for everyone, and that means sometimes you’ll purposely want to eliminate this one if the one behind it might hurt your opponent worse than you.

Hostile Environment makes it more difficult for troopers to remove suppression.  It also means that trooper units are less likely to end up in the open, while trying to move from one objective to another.  If you are particularly trooper heavy, and your battlefield has lots of wide open spaces, you may want to avoid this one.  If you are using a lot of vehicles, your penalties here could be minimized.

Rapid Reinforcements is unique in that it doesn’t reference the battlefield itself, but rather the availability of the troopers within it.  This one could potentially hurt a build that is maxing out on heavily upgraded troopers, as it will be far more difficult for a player to set aside 2/3rds of his stronger configured trooper units for a few turns of the game.  If you feel like you have plenty of troopers, and can afford to play without them for the first few turns, then perhaps you may enjoy this one.   As a side note – any future trooper units can also be effected by this card, so as more troopers enter the game, the tactics for this card may evolve.

Limited Visibility is the best condition to have, if your opponent is equipped with long range attacks that they’d like to use on the first turn.   If they are using Leia or Veers, then they’ll have command cards capable of striking you at distance 4 or beyond from the first turn.  If they have long range weapons, like the AT-RT Laser Canon, or AT-ST Mortar Launcher, then they’ll also be at a disadvantage, unable to fire at you until after the fog has died down.

 

Objectives

Objectives are how you win the game.  Well, technically you can also completely destroy all of your opponent’s units – but more often than not it’s going to come down to objectives.  The right objective can make or break the game for you, so make sure you pay close attention to these.

 

Intercept the Transmissions turns the game into area control.  It’ll will most likely be a fight for the center, as typically one player will end up having an advantage on the left, and the other player will gravitate more to the right.  If you have a build that can lock down 2 areas of the battlefield that you’ve built, then this might benefit you.  Troopers are crucial for this objective however, in that only trooper unit leaders can give you control of one of the three objectives.  A vehicle-heavy list is likely to struggle with this objective in that while vehicles may have some firepower, they have no ability to gain victory points.

Key positions heavily favors the blue player.  There are only 3 tokens to be placed and the blue player gets to pick two of them, which means they can select the two terrain pieces that are easiest to defend.  Any type of unit leader can compete for control of the terrain pieces however, so vehicles are fine for this one.  I like to think that AT-RTs with long range weapons like the AT-RT Laser Canon can be great here, since they can climb on top of an obstacle and hold it, while firing at a distance to cover another one.  If you are the red player I’d seriously consider eliminating this objective.

Recover the Supplies is another objective that heavily favors trooper-heavy lists.  You are going to have to claim an objective, and keep it safe until the end of the game.  If your build can put out a lot of suppression then you may be able to force enemies to panic, and drop their supplies, so that is worth considering.  Also if terrain allows for strong hiding spots that block line of sight, you may want to consider claiming supplies and staying safe.  Vehicle heavy lists may struggle with this one if they cannot get at least 3 tokens claimed and kept safe.

Breakthrough is a pretty fun objective and perhaps has the most interesting dynamic of all objectives that come with the Core Set.  It makes your game almost feel like a sporting event that I might compare to a Star Wars version of Football.  It favors the most units, and also favors fast units.  Slow units will have difficulty making it to the enemy’s deployment zone, so if you have slower forces like Darth Vader, this one might not be the best for you.  Personally, I’ve had success with this mission when using units that have high speed and compulsory moves.  Even though rebel snowspeeders cost alot of points, they have the speed and survivability to spend a few turns shooting, and can make a break for the enemy zone right before the end of the game to make the difference.  Generally however, if your opponent has several more units than you do, I’d steer clear of this objective.

 

In Summary

If you prefer a video instead of reading all of this, here is a video as well!

Hopefully you found this information helpful!   Out of all the three card types, objectives are easily the most important, but they are also influenced heavily by the other two.   The one constant that I’ve found, is that most winning builds tend to favor quantity, over quality – so the more units you have, and thus, the more unit leaders you have, the better your chances of gaining victory tokens and winning the game!

 

Painting and Modding Vader

It’s not every day you stumble across a video tutorial this amazing.   I am declaring this to be the best paint job in all of Star Wars Legion.

If you found that video insightful, here are some more triumphant videos from previous years.

About this same time every year I put out some of my finest content.   Stay tuned for more next year!

 

 

Squadron Foundations – From Planning to Deployment

Squadrons are an crucial part of virtually every game of Armada.   Weather you are going heavy on squadrons, light on them, or focusing more on dealing with enemy squadrons, they are something that every build needs to consider.   In this article I’m going to talk about some of the cornerstones of a squadron build.

Plan

The first thing you need to do is figure out an overall plan of what you are trying to accomplish by adding squadrons to your fleet.  This will help guide how many you need to add,  what keywords you’ll want to include, and what overall point cost you should be shooting for.

One common strategy is to bring some bombers.   Bombers are most effective at hurting your opponent’s ships, but they tend to be weaker when compared to enemy fighters, so you’ll want some supporting squadrons as well.   You may want to consider some Escorts, for example, which will increase the number of squadrons you’ll have to bring overall.  Bomber-Heavy builds tend to usually run alot of squadrons and push very close to that 134 point limit.

Perhaps you only want to bring a few squadrons, merely to help slow down your opponent’s squadrons from hurting your ships.  A handful of TIE Fighters or Z-95s will usually do the trick, but you’ll generally want an even number, since you’ll get more of a deployment advantage by having multiples of 2.   In these cases it can be a good idea to bring at least 2, but perhaps even 4 or 6 if you want a more versatile fleet.

Synergy with Rest of Fleet

Once you have a plan you’ll want to make sure your selections match up to the rest of your fleet’s capabilities.  Make sure that your ships can actually activate your squadrons.  You wouldn’t want to have only Arquitens, or CR-90s and also have 12 Squadrons to support.  Ideally you’ll want to have your carriers, (generally ships with higher squadron values) be able to activate nearly all of your squadrons if they all performed a squadron command.   If you aren’t running carriers, you could also consider running a pair of squadrons with the Rogue keyword, which wouldn’t require squadron commands.

You may also want to add some upgrades to your fleet that enhance your squadrons.  A Bomber Command Center staying near your bombers can have a tremendous impact on your offensive capability.  Similarly, adding Instructor Goran to an Imperial Fleet that also includes Dengar, can have a very high boost on your fighters’ ability to counter attack.

Variety

Adding a variety of squadrons to your build will greatly enhance your flexibility and allow you a greater chance of overcoming most fleets that you face.   Any fleet that has for example, only bombers, might suffer due to their lack of offense to other squadrons.  Any fleet without even a small squadron force, won’t have much to defend against a swarm of enemy squadrons and will quickly face what is often known as “Death by a thousand cuts”.

Intel is one of those keywords that really gives you tremendous flexibility, in that it can prevent a single enemy from locking up your entire squadron force.  It helps bombers attack ships and avoid interruption, and keeps your fighters mobile.  Relay is another keyword that gives you the ability to stretch your squadrons further away from the safety net of your ships.    Adding multiple keywords to your fleet allows them to stay flexible and effective.

Deployment 

Most of the time it is best to include even numbers of squadrons, due to the fact that you deploy them in groups of two.  If you have enough squadrons, you can out-deploy your opponent and delay your important ships until the end.  This is known as Deployment Advantage.  Deploying 2 squadrons, in place of a ship, is one of the biggest advantages in the early game, and it’s a mistake that many new players tend to make, by forgetting their squadrons until the end.  It is almost always best to save your biggest ships until the end when you deploy, and taking larger amounts of squadrons allows you to delay your ships, gives you intelligence on where your opponent is deploying, and allows you to protect your valuable ships.

If you are interested in more information on how squadrons can influence deployment and give you deployment advantage, check out this video demonstration!

 

 

Legion – Barebones AT-RTs

The AT-RT is one of those units that can go from very cheap to very expensive with just a single upgrade.   The price of hard-points tend to be significant, and units that have the ability to take them, often very much want to do exactly that.   But at what point should you leave that slot empty?

At only 55 points the AT-RT is the second cheapest unit available for the rebels at launch.  But it’s price dramatically increases as you add hardpoints.  In fact, you can bring it up to 100 points with enough upgrades – which is almost double the starting price.   This may be a bridge too far for many lists, in which you’ll want extra activations more than simply extra upgrades.  It may be easier to pass on   Let’s take a look at each hardpoint available.

The Extra Guns

F

The AT-RT Rotary Blaster comes in at 30 points, and is the most general purposed hardpoint available.  Like all of the weapons that you can add, it has Fixed: Front, restricting it’s fire to the frontal 90 degrees only.  It does however, offer five black dice, which paired with the AT-RT’s offensive surge to crit, can do some great damage to enemy targets.  It doesn’t have any additional keywords however.

The AT-RT Laser Cannon is the most expensive and has the longest range of the AT-RT’s weapons.   It only has 3 dice, but one of them is red  and combined with the surge ability, this means the AT-RT is virtually guaranteed to get some damage in.  And with it’s Impact 3 keyword, it can be a great tool when used against enemy targets with the Armor keyword.  The downsides are that this weapon can’t be used at Range 1, and that it is the most expensive, at 35 points, nearly the cost of an entire rebel trooper unit.   Is it worth sacrificing nearly an entire unit’s worth of troops and firepower just for an alternate weapon that you can’t use up close?

The Flamethrower has the opposite problem that the Laser Cannon has.  It ONLY works up close.   It makes up for this weakness by costing only 25 points, which might be easier for some to pay for.  Against larger formations of troopers, this weapon can potentially roll the most dice and deal the most damage out of all available options, if you can make it work.   But if you end up not making it work, are those points wasted?

Leaving the Slot Empty

One thing to keep in mind, is that the AT-RT doesn’t have the ARSENAL keyword, like the Snowspeeder and AT-ST.  This means that the AT-RT isn’t sacrificing a free weapon being fired, by leaving the slot empty.  Those other vehicles are virtually required to take at least one hardpoint due to the opportunity cost of missing out on what is effectively a free attack.  The AT-RT doesn’t miss out on this attack.  It still can shoot at Range 3.  It still has an offensive Surge, which means it still has a reasonable chance of being able to suppress enemies that are fairly far away.  And it still can do serious damage to enemy units if it can close into melee range of them.

 

Support

Freeing up points also allows you more room in your squad for extra units – which could go towards another AT-RT.  Having an extra unit can often be more advantageous than simply having an upgraded unit that has several options on which weapon to use.  This is especially true when you consider the survivability and support that AT-RTs can provide your other units.

Troopers behind an AT-RT will receive light cover.  Having a front line of AT-RTs can help keep your troopers safe while you are advancing toward the enemy, or when storming an objective.  And keeping them up front also allows them to have early opportunities to engage enemies with the three red dice from those terrible Grappling Claws!

 

Front Line List

I like the idea of being able to run Naked AT-RTs so much I made a video list about it.   Check it out if you’d like to learn more!

Building Your First Legion Squad

So you just picked up Legion and you are trying to figure out what to do next?  This guide should help you get started putting your first squad together to wage war against the rebel scum or the evil galactic empire!

 

A standard game is 800 points, so you are going to need more than just a core set.    For most people interested in full 800 point games, that’s going to mean buying multiple core sets, and possibly a few expansions as well.   For now, I’m going to assume that you’ve either bought 2 core sets or split two with a friend, and have at least one other expansion to round out your army.

 

Commander and Command Cards

Selecting a commander is going to be an important part of your overall strategy.   For now however, since each faction only has one readily available, you are going to be stuck with either Darth Vader, or Luke Skywalker.  However, General Veers and Leia Organa are on the horizon, and will soon offer new, cheaper options.    You can have up to 2 commanders, so we may see dual commander lists fairly soon.

Command cards go hand in hand with choosing a commander.  You must have 7, and must include a Standing Orders card.  You must also have two of each “pip” cards, so two 1-pips, two 2-pips, and two 3-pips.   Additionally you cannot duplicate any command cards, so you can’t include two Ambush cards for example.  This means at launch, you won’t even have any choices here, since Luke and Vader offer you exactly enough to get you up to that minimum requirement.  Once the next wave of commanders comes out however, you’ll have some choices to make.  It is worth noting however, that you won’t be able to use Leia’s command cards, if she isn’t in your army.  The same holds true for any character specific command card.

The Corps

You need a minimum of 3 Corps units, and a maximum of 6.  So at least 3 rebel troopers, or 3 stormtroopers.  If have more than 6 you won’t be able to use them all in a standard game.  Once we have fleet troopers and snowtroopers, players will have more diversity in their corps options.  For now, there are multiple ways to outfit your existing corps troopers and make them cheap, diverse, strong, or tough.

The corps troopers are crucial to winning the game.  If your commander is the head of your army, the corps is the backbone.  This game is not just about killing the enemy.  It is about accomplishing the mission and completing objectives.   Most of the mission cards favor builds that have the most unit leaders – and the troopers you’ll get at launch are the cheapest way to get unit leaders.  You may want to maximize their numbers by running very few upgrades.  You may also want to help ensure their survival by adding extra miniatures to their ranks.  Try to outfit your initial corps units in various different ways for the first few games to get a feel for what works best for you.  You may want to swarm troopers with no upgrades.   You may want to give them all extra weapons to split up their fire.  You may want to run every one of them completely different!  It is important to get a good feeling for the corps units because they more than likely will be the difference makers in the games that you win.

The Rest of Your Squad

We haven’t seen any Special Forces units announced yet, so for now, that just leaves Support and Heavy.  These are the larger units that are going to give your army a battlefield presence to really help it stand out!   These are the units that may tend to be more focused on one particular play-style, and may even require you to build your list around them.  Vehicles in this game are going to be extremely fun, because they represent one thing that wasn’t really well done in FFG’s last ground game, Imperial Assault.  Vehicles here are absolutely gorgeous and having a few of them on your battlefield can really help make your game come alive.

Vehicles tend to be more expensive than troopers, so it’s generally a good idea to have fewer of them, in order to facilitate a more balanced list.  Running two fully loaded AT-STs might look cool, but would leave you with very few points for the rest of your list.  Generally, newer players may want to limit their first builds to only one heavy, and at most two supports.  You’ll want enough points to allow you some hardpoints and other upgrades, especially on those vehicles with the ARSENAL keyword, which allows your attacks to use additional weapons.

Videos

If you want some additional help, here are some videos to walk you through the process.

Rebels:

Empire:

X-Wing Wave 14 Announced!!!

Wave 14 is finally announced and it’s going to have the long awaited T-65 fix!!!   So much goodness here!

It’s an entire Rogue One theme!   TIE Reapers, Saw Guererra, Partisans!   Oh, and by the way NO SCUM!   WHAT?!?!  Maybe some scum will come soon.

A 2-Pack for the rebels includes yet another place to pick up X-Wings and they actually seem to have movable wings!   Numerous upgrades in here and several of them say “S-Foil” so we are almost certainly getting that long awaited X-Wing fix!   And also apparently some love for U-Wings as well.

And the TIE Reaper looks amazing!   Look at this thing OMG!   It is so big for a ship that’s riding on a small base!   And you can put Palpatine here as well!

 

Here’s my video breakdown of the wave!

More painting!

Armada Wave 7 has finally come out and I’ve made it a point to paint at least ONE of each of my rebel ships.    Since I recently did one of each Imperial ship I decided I’d follow up for the rebels with an Oceanic theme to represent the fine Mon Calamari people, but accent it with some flames to represent burning oceans, or their fighting spirit.

Picture of painted rebel ships
Some of the first rebels I did with the “Blazing Oceans” theme.
More Painted Rebel Ships
Another Batch, including Wave 7’s MC-75. I didn’t give the MC-75 the flames yet, not sure if I will.
Close up of MC-75
The MC-75’s Armor was fun to do, taping off everything else, and multiple layers of light grey and mixtures of darker black and hints of blue.
Picture of all Armada ships, painted.
Here’s all of my airbrushed ships.

Scanned Images

I’ve had a few requests for Scanned Images of the Wave 7 cards and tokens as well.  My scanner isn’t the best, but hopefully this will work!

Armada Wave 7 in hand!

Armada Wave 7
Look what Santa Brought!

It was just a normal night, in fact I was getting ready to play some Armada with a friend.   When suddenly, my doorbell rang.  It was late, and the kids were already in bed.   Curious as to who could have been at my door this late, I opened the door to see that nobody was there, but instead a package was laying at my door!  FFG had sent me these two ships to review!   I showed my friend and immediately we knew that the game we wanted to play was going to have to wait so we could dive right in to these expansions!

Armada wave 7
The Profundity and Chimaera are gorgeous!

First the Chimaera – I was really pleased at the fact that the paint job is on both the top AND on the bottom.   A really nice touch.  This expansion really does a lot to emphasize large ships and make them more competitive, which has been one of my top complaints in the game so far.   Additionally, the explanation of raid tokens that comes with the rules, clears up all of the speculation as to how we can get rid of them.   You can either spend a command token to get rid of a matching raid token, (Making commanders like Tarkin and Garm more useful) or you can spend an entire dial, to get rid of ALL raid tokens.   Additionally the Gauntlet Fighters are gorgeous, and Gar Saxon’s ability to finally harass squadrons with Intel or Relay, begin to address my other concern with this game, in the form of Relay.

Another thing that is great about this set is the fact that it comes with enough new Star Destroyer cards to outfit itself and 2 additional Star Destroyers, so you can take 3 brand new ships into battle using the cards that come with this expansion!   Considering that you get all that plus two new squadrons, this is one heck of a value for a single box!

Now the Profundity expansion was really something special.   First off, I think this ship may be the best looking ship the rebels have in game up to this point.   Honestly, it is just jaw-dropping.   Like the Chimaera, it comes with lots of good cards that will really help large ships, and some duplicate cards that means rebels players won’t have to buy the Chimaera just to get a copy of Strategic Adviser.

Additionally, cards like Bail Organa offer a asymmetrical counter to cards like Governor Pryce.   And considering new Hyperspace Jump mechanics, that show up with the Profundity title and Admiral Raddus himself, the rebels gain a unique tactical advantage in their ability to deploy ships almost anywhere on teh battlefield!  With an emphasis on large ships and tokens, this looks to be a truly amazing ship!

Is this going to be an amazing wave or what?

Here are some higher rez pictures of the unspoiled cards:

Star Wars Legion – Excited to Start Painting

As Legion gets closer and closer to reality, I find myself at a loss because I still haven’t decided on a color scheme for my armies!  It’s got me thinking more and more about how I’m going to approach painting and customizing the game once it arrives.

When to Paint

I’ve made the mistake in the past, of getting a game and refusing to play it until I’ve finished painting it.   There are several problems with this approach.  The most obvious of which is that it means I’ll have a brand new game but not actually be playing it for awhile.  The second problem is that I’ll be anxious to play, and perhaps be tempted to do rush jobs on my miniatures just so that I can get them finished and start playing.  Additionally, this doesn’t allow for an intermediate time of reflection.   For example, if I painted one squad of miniatures, then went to go play a game or two, I might see some other paint jobs that could inspire some variation on future models.   This helps establish some depth of variation and design.

So this time around, I’m going to assemble everything right away, and possibly even prime them immediately, but I don’t think I’ll have that much of a rush to fully paint everything before playing.   If you are torn on this, I could suggest a black prime and maybe a light dry-brushing, just to bring out the detail on your models to hold you over until you decide to sit down and hammer out a squad or two of troopers.

Pink Stormtroopers?

Do I want everyone to be standard?  I generally do, or at least I think I do.  When I got into playing X-Wing, I remember going nuts and painting a ton of my ships in all sorts of wild colors, like red X-Wings, purple TIE Fighters…  and now as I look back on these I think I was overanxious to do something different.   For now, I think I’d rather have the majority of my troops looking standard.  But there’s something to be said for doing a squad or two with some special paint scheme.

The key is (in my opinion) not doing a paint scheme that will overwrite something that’s likely to show up in the future.  I wouldn’t paint my stormtroopers black for example, because that might make them look too similar to Death Troopers if those show up.   Same goes for Chrome, as if they ever do sequel trilogy units, I wouldn’t want confusion with Captain Phasma.  So while I may not go so far as to do Pink Stormtroopers, I think some variation may certainly be a think.  Dirty stormtroopers, Sandy Stormtroopers, and maybe even some regular stormtroopers with a touch of snow on their uniforms for my Hoth terrain.  (To hold me over until snow

Bases

It looks like the figures don’t actually come attached to their bases.  This will help people who want to customize their bases have more freedom to do so.   The only risk with doing that however, is that it might look strange if you end up playing on new terrain at some point.   In my case, my terrain is all going to have a snowy theme, so weather I’m on Hoth, Starkiller Base, or the snow-crested mountains of Alderaan, my snowy terrain will be appropriate.   However, if I made all of my bases snowy, it might look strange when I eventually bring an army to a tournament and play on an urban setting, or an Endor map.  I may just paint all of my Imperial bases in grey, and all my rebel bases in tan, like I did for Imperial Assault.

Additionally, I won’t want any base decorations to cover up the sides of the bases.   This is specifically for the outer rings, which I plan to color differently for each unit.   One stormtrooper unit, for example, will have a red ring around it’s base.  Another might be blue, then purple, then green, etc.   This will prove helpful when units get close together and will help players differentiate between them.  This might be less of an issue for rebel units, which are more likely to have uniform variation between them.

Magnetization

In a recent videos by Sorastro, you can see the bases from below, and it appears that they have a recessed section that would allow for easy placement of a magnet.   This would be great for metal trays, and transporting armies.

This is something that could provide a ton of ease when transporting armies in a manner that will keep them mostly locked in place, and also look pretty cool to your friends.   The downside here, is that gluing a magnet into every miniature is likely going to be expensive, and time consuming.  It will also require a metal tray system for storage, which is great if you already have one from previous wargames, but if you are just getting started here with Legion and don’t have a system like this, you may want to wait a bit before magnetizing your miniatures.

 

Are you as excited about painting and playing Legion as I am?   It’s looking like February is going to be the month that we finally see it!   I’m hoping it’s not delayed!   There’s a lot of painting to do!