The Imperial March
Preview the Galactic Empire Forces in the Star Wars: Legion Core Set
“Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.”
–Darth Vader, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
It has been nineteen years since the fall of the old Republic and the proclamation of the Empire. Within that time, freedom has been crushed and hope extinguished in countless star systems—with more falling under the Empire’s sway with every passing day. Yet this new order has also brought order, stability, and from a certain point of view, peace. In Star Wars™: Legion, the new miniatures game of epic conflicts on the planets of the Star Wars galaxy, you can choose to take up the mantle of the monolithic Galactic Empire, commanding the massive resources of an entire galaxy in order to smash the Rebels underneath your heel.
In our past preview articles, we’ve explored every aspect of the gameplay of Star Wars: Legion, including issuing your orders, moving your units, engaging in combat, and determining the battlefield conditions at the beginning of the game. Today, we turn our attention to the forces of the Galactic Empire that you may choose to command in your battles for the fate of the galaxy!
In addition, we're proud to announce a release date for Star Wars: Legion! The Star Wars: Legion Core Set and the eight expansions releasing alongside it are scheduled to release on March 22nd! You can pre-order the Star Wars: Legion Core Set, as well as the eight expansions releasing alongside it, at your local retailer or online through our webstore today.
Dark Lord of the Sith
Among all the weapons of the Galactic Empire, from endless ranks of Stormtroopers to superweapons that can vaporize entire planets, none are more terrifyingly effective than Darth Vader. Darth Vader is a master of the dark side of the Force and truly deadly with a lightsaber, and at a point cost of 200 points, he’ll take up a full quarter of your 800 army points. Still, Darth Vader is more than worth the investment for the sheer power that he brings to your armies.
In combat, Darth Vader’s prowess with a lightsaber is unmatched. He rolls six red dice—the most powerful type of attack dice—in combat, which allows him to cut his way through enemy troops with ease. The Impact 3 keyword lets him punch through thick vehicle armor, turning three of his hits into critical hits, and Pierce 3 cancels out three of your opponent’s blocks. Whenever Darth Vader turns his attention onto an enemy unit, it’s only a matter of time before that unit is destroyed.
In fact, Darth Vader is so powerful that your opponent may choose to simply flee rather than turn and face the Sith Lord in battle. And indeed, Darth Vader’s speed is perhaps his greatest weakness. By using the speed-1 movement tool, it can take a while for Darth Vader to cross the battlefield and engage in melee combat where he can use his lightsaber to punishing effect. Vader’s advance is utterly relentless, however, and the Relentless ability lets Darth Vader perform a free attack after moving. In other words, you can move twice and then still attack once you’ve engaged your target at the end of your movement.
If your opponent decides to concentrate fire on Darth Vader as he advances, you can counter the Rebel scum by using Darth Vader’s Deflect ability. So long as you’ve taken a dodge token, Deflect lets you convert defensive surges into blocks, making your defense more impenetrable. And more than that, you can reflect incoming laser bolts back at your attacker—during a ranged attack, the attacker suffers one wound for each defensive surge you roll.
Even if your opponent chooses to flee, Darth Vader has three upgrade slots for Force powers—which can help you ensure that Darth Vader causes significant damage, even before reaching the enemy lines. If you’re closing in on an enemy unit, Force Choke allows you to choose any enemy trooper miniature and immediately deal it one wound, choking out Rebel Troopers and picking off heavy weapons miniatures before they would otherwise be defeated. Force Push let you perform a speed-1 move with an enemy unit, potentially pulling them directly into your grasp. You may even throw your lightsaber with Saber Throw, making a ranged attack using half of your weapon’s attack dice! Best of all, though upgrades like Force Push and Force Choke must be exhausted to use them, Darth Vader is a Master of the Force—he can ready one of his Force upgrades at the end of each round, without spending an action to recover and ready all upgrades.
Darth Vader’s impact and influence on the battlefield is dramatic and undeniable, but it goes beyond just Force chokes and cutting down enemies with your lightsaber. Choosing Darth Vader as a commander in your army gives you access to his three personal command cards, but we’ll take a closer look at both Darth Vader’s and Luke Skywalker’s command cards (and how they can influence the unfolding battle) in a future article!
The Fist of the Empire
Darth Vader may be the linchpin of your army, but playing as the Galactic Empire means that none of your soldiers ever need to fight alone. Within the Star Wars: Legion Core Set, the Imperial forces also gain two units of Stormtroopers —the highly trained and indoctrinated troopers who serve as the backbone of your armies within the game. White-armored stormtroopers are a ubiquitous sight across the Star Wars galaxy, striking fear into the hearts of any who would oppose the Empire. Though their tactics can be rigid, these fanatically loyal troops are often capable of overwhelming their foes through sheer weight of numbers.
In battle, your Stormtroopers are armed with E-11 Blaster Rifles, and although the white dice contributed by these weapons are the least accurate in the game, you can improve your Stormtroopers’ accuracy by taking an aim token. Aim tokens typically let you reroll two of your dice during an attack, but with the Stormtroopers’ Precise 1 ability, you can reroll an additional die, giving you a better chance of hitting your target, so long as you can take the time to aim.
Your army wouldn’t be complete without some support vehicles to keep your opponent guessing. In stark contrast to the relentless, slow assault mounted by Darth Vader, 74-Z Speeder Bikes can whip from one end of the battle to the other in a matter of moments. These repulsor vehicles use the speed-3 movement tool, and what’s more, they must perform a compulsory movement at the beginning of their activation! If you combine that with the movement actions you can take during their activation, there are few units as quick and mobile as these 74-Z Speeder Bikes.
If you can keep your opponent’s units in your front arc, you’ll be able to level the 74-Z Speeder Bike’s Ax-20 Blaster Cannon at your opponents, but even if you fly past them, the Scout Trooper riding on board can use an EC-17 Hold-out Blaster to fire in any direction. It’s true that 74-Z Speeder Bikes aren’t as durable as a more heavily armored vehicle such as the Rebellion’s salvaged AT-RT. Still, speed can provide its own defense, to a certain extent. The Cover 1 ability automatically gives the 74-Z Speeder Bikes’ cover against ranged attacks, making these small, fast-moving speeders much more difficult to hit than your opponent may initially expect.
Destroy Freedom Across the Galaxy
The Galactic Empire is powerful, with the seemingly-infinite power of countless solar systems behind it. Yet the Rebel Alliance has proven time and again that by fighting for hope and justice, they can light a fire that spreads across the galaxy. In a later preview, we’ll take a closer look at the forces of the Rebel Alliance, and the units that they can call upon from the Star Wars: Legion Core Set!
The battles of the Galactic Civil War are about to move to your tabletop. The Star Wars: Legion Core Set releases on March 22nd, along with the Dice Pack, Movement Tools & Range Ruler Pack, Stormtroopers Unit Expansion, Rebel Troopers Unit Expansion, AT-RT Unit Expansion, 74-Z Speeder Bikes Unit Expansion, AT-ST Unit Expansion, and the T-47 Airspeeder Unit Expansion. You can pre-order your copies at your local retailer or online through our webstore today.