Preview the Combat of Star Wars™: Legion
“Fire at will, Commander!”
–The Emperor, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
The Galactic Civil War rages on countless worlds across the galaxy. Although it is a war fought between institutions—the monolithic Empire and the scrappy, ragtag forces of the Rebel Alliance—the battles are won by men and women on the ground. In Star Wars™: Legion, the new miniatures game of cinematic Star Wars ground battles, you have the chance to play out all of your favorite battles as you lead Imperial or Rebel forces into battle.
In our previous previews, we’ve already seen an interview with designer Alex Davy and explored the challenging command system that aptly simulates the fog of war and chaos that attend any battle. Most recently, we also looked at the fast and organic way that Star Wars: Legion allows you to move your miniatures across the battlefield and into position. Still, maneuvering is often worthless if you can’t use your new position to destroy your opponent’s army—and today, we turn our attention to combat in Star Wars: Legion!
You can pre-order your copy of the Star Wars: Legion Core Set at your local retailer or online through our website today; then, read on for more information.
A Hail of Blaster Fire
Attacking your enemies is one of the most fundamental actions in Star Wars: Legion. Destroying all of your opponent’s miniatures is rarely your true objective in the game—but you can be sure that you won’t make much progress without attacking your opponent’s units and inflicting casualties. Like movement, the combat system in Star Wars: Legion keeps the action flowing quickly with the tempo of the battle, while still providing room for you to make clever tactical choices. To initiate an attack, you’ll simply use one of your unit’s two actions during its activation to attack—though it’s important to note that only one action per activation can be used to attack.
Your choices start when you choose the target of your attack and the weapons that your troopers or vehicles will use. Every unit in Star Wars: Legion is equipped with unique weapons—ordering an AT-RT to ignite its flamethrower feels very different from having a Stormtrooper squad concentrate fire with their E-11 blaster rifles. In many cases, units will have one ranged weapon and one melee weapon—though some units may have multiple ranged weapons, a single melee weapon, or other options. Choosing the right weapon for the current situation is the first step to making a successful attack.
For example, we may consider a group of five Stormtroopers that’s firing on a Rebel Trooper squad above. During this attack, you first collect the dice that you’ll roll by choosing a weapon for each miniature and claiming that weapon’s attack dice. You choose that each of your five Stormtroopers will be using their E-11 blaster rifle, and each E-11 blaster rifle contributes a single white attack die, giving you a total attack pool of five white attack dice. There are three types of attack dice in Star Wars: Legion—white, black, and red. White dice feature the fewest hit results, black dice carry more hits, and the potent red dice are the most dangerous of all.
In the example shown above, you roll the five white attack dice, obtaining one hit, one attack surge, and three blanks. On the right-hand side of every unit card, you can see if your unit is able to use its attack surges or defense surges. Every unit is different in this regard—nimble fighters may be adept at dodging out of harm’s way, converting defense surges into blocks. Other units, like the Stormtroopers, have combat training to draw upon when picking out their targets, and can convert attack surges to hit or critical hit results. The attack surge rolled by the Stormtroopers above is immediately converted to a hit.
If the Rebel Troopers had been able to get behind some cover or take advantage of a dodge token, they may have been able to negate some of the hits that you rolled in your attack. Fortunately for you, these Rebel Troopers have been caught in the open, and they must attempt to defend themselves to the best of their abilities. When a unit comes under attack, it rolls one defense die for each hit rolled by the attacker. Rebel Troopers roll white defense dice, so the Rebel player immediately rolls two white defense dice in an attempt to block your hits.
As shown above, the Rebel player rolls one blank and one defense surge. Rebel Troopers can convert defense surges into block results, so one of your two incoming hits is blocked as the Rebel Troopers scramble to evade your attack. Still, one of your hits strikes home! Every unit in Star Wars: Legion has a green wound threshold printed next to the defense die on its unit card. This wound threshold shows the number of wounds that a miniature in that unit can suffer before being destroyed. For most rank-and-file trooper units, this wound threshold is simply one—and the Rebel Troopers are no exception. Your single hit that gets through from your attack will destroy one Rebel Trooper miniature, removing it from the board!
Some units—especially vehicles—have higher wound thresholds. This means they won’t be destroyed in a single hit, but they’re still far from impervious. Vehicles have a resilience value printed below the wound threshold on their card, and when they’ve taken wounds equal to their resilience, they suffer some form of severe damage. A vehicle may become damaged and sacrifice actions, it may be disabled and suffer movement restrictions, or one of its weapons may be destroyed, preventing you from using that weapon for the rest of the game!
Up Close and Personal
Melee combat in Star Wars: Legion is handled very similarly to ranged combat. When attacking during a melee, you’ll still choose a weapon for each of your miniatures in the engagement—you’re just limited to melee weapons, rather than ranged weapons. Then, both players will roll attack dice and defense dice as we described above. The main difference comes when you first engage the enemy in melee combat.
A melee starts whenever you move your unit leader into base contact with an enemy miniature. When this happens, you’ll move all of your unit’s minis into base contact with the enemy unit’s miniatures, and from that point onwards, the two units are engaged. While two trooper units are engaged, they cannot make ranged attacks or be targeted by ranged attacks from outside units! In other words, if you anticipate that one of your units is about to come under massed fire, rushing into melee combat with a single enemy unit can be a potential solution. Once engaged, enemy units can only withdraw if they’re willing to sacrifice their entire activation in order to make a small retreat and disengage from the melee combat.
Test Your Courage
Imperial discipline and the will to fight for freedom can motivate soldiers on the battlefield, but even the most steadfast warriors will duck and take cover when they come under concentrated fire. In Star Wars: Legion, this is reflected by suppression tokens. A single suppression token is gained after a trooper unit suffers a ranged attack that produces at least one hit or critical, as the incoming laser fire forces your troops to hit the dirt. Suppression has certain benefits for you—while a unit has at least one suppression token, it benefits from increased cover against ranged attacks. However, there are downsides as well.
Every trooper unit has a yellow courage value, listed directly below its wound threshold. If a unit has a number of suppression tokens that equals or exceeds its courage value, that unit is suppressed and loses an action. In the example below, the Rebel Troopers receive a second suppression token after coming under fire from the 74-Z Speeder Bikes. If they’re unable to shake off these suppression tokens, the Rebel Troopers lose an action on their activation.
Too many suppression tokens can even cause your units to break and flee. If a unit has more suppression tokens than twice its courage value, it becomes panicked, unable to perform actions other than a single move towards the closest battlefield edge. If the unit retreats past the edge of the battlefield, it’s defeated… but all is not lost. It’s certainly possible to recover from suppression. Units can attempt to rally and remove suppression tokens at the beginning of each activation, and at the end of every round, a single suppression token is removed from every unit. What’s more, your commanders have an stabilizing influence on the troopers that they lead into battle. So long as a commander like Darth Vader is nearby, your troopers can use the commander’s courage value instead of their own when they would become panicked, letting you use your commanders to keep your troops in the fight.
Battle Is Joined
You’ve laid your battle plans and you know your objectives—but can any plan survive first contact with the enemy? The fast-paced, deeply tactical ground combat of Star Wars: Legion is coming soon to tabletops near you. Join us for our next preview as we look at the objectives of Star Wars: Legion and exactly how you’ll choose your setup zones and the battlefield conditions!
You can pre-order your copy of the Star Wars: Legion Core Set (SWL01) and its accompanying expansions at your local retailer or online through our website today!