16 March 2020 | Star Wars: Legion

Elite Commanders

Interviews With the Finalists From the 2019 Star Wars: Legion World Championships

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Star Wars™: Legion officially entered the Clone Wars with the release of the Clone Wars Core Set in October 2019. Now that the Galactic Republic and Separatist Alliance have joined the fight, we asked the participants in the 2019 Star Wars: Legion World Championships for their perspective on the game and these new factions. Join us today as we talk with seeds eight through six: Matthew Kissh, Gordon Chace, and Eric Riha!

#8 - Matthew Kissh

What are some of your memories from Worlds? Do any games in particular stand out to you?

Dinner and drinks with the other players and the FFG developers/staff was a big highlight! Kingsley rolling double crit on a sniper shot after I said something along the lines of “you will probably roll crits.”

Tell me a bit about your Worlds list. What were you going for with it?

I tried using Emperor Palpatine with Death Troopers to use Pull the Strings on them. At eight activations, it wasn’t as effective as I wanted it to be.

Did any units in your list perform particularly well?

Palpatine almost pulled off a Hail Mary in my game with Luke Cook. I just didn’t have enough bodies to deal with his gun line.

What approach do you take to new units being released? Do you test them out?

I do try and see how they can fit into existing lists that I’m playing. If it’s a new commander, I focus on the command cards and what units and upgrades work well with them. My running joke is to use what’s on the card art.

What are your thoughts on Legion entering the Clone Wars era? Are you playing Separatists or Republic?

I love the new flavor and feel of having the new factions in the game. I’m actually trying to collect all four armies. My plan is to play Republic competitively after Worlds 2020 and when more units are released. My Separatist army is table-ready at the moment. 

How do you think adding these two factions has changed the meta?

Personally, I think the meta is wide open right now. The addition of these two factions is very healthy for the game.  With the points updated and new upgrades, I think there are army lists and styles out there that are yet to be discovered.

#7 - Gordon Chace

What are some of your memories from Worlds? Do any games in particular stand out to you? 

It was great getting to meet many of the FFG Legion Team, including Alex, Luke, Jimmy and Derrick. I also enjoyed hanging out with the other Legion players at dinner and in the hotel. Lastly, have to thank my fellow Air Force Veteran Brendon for teaching several of us Star Wars: Outer Rim while staying at the hotel. It is definitely another FFG game to add to your collection. As for a game that stands out, Eric's Palpatine was a monster and he played his Royal Guards magnificently. Bravo my friend!

Tell me a bit about your Worlds list. What were you going for with it?

I went with an 11-activation list containing Luke, Leia, a standard Rebel Trooper squad, five Rebel Troopers with Z-6's, two sniper strike teams and a full commando squad with a sniper. I wanted to have an activation advantage over the Imperial players and wanted to make sure I had a good shot at winning the sniper war.

How much time do you dedicate to practicing Legion and testing different lists? 

I play about two days a month. Hopefully, this provides some hope to others who don’t have much free time but are interested in getting into the competitive side of Legion. This game allows you to compete at the highest levels without spending a crazy amount of time or money playing it.

Did any units in your list perform particularly well? 

I think the Z-6 Rebel Trooper Squads performed the best and worst. Such is nature when you are rolling six white dice.

Did you experiment with any variations of your list before the tournament? 

I know this is not the best approach, but I play a new list in every tournament I have played, including Worlds. This is due to my lack of playing time and thus each tournament I play is providing me more data to modify and tinker with list building.

Do you have any advice for new players looking to get into Legion?

Find a good friend (Mine was John Brader from Tabletop History) that is also looking to get into Legion. Having a good friend involved will keep you motivated to keep playing and will make the total cost of playing Legion a decent amount less if you end up deciding to split the core sets. Second, focus on the objective. The worst two games I ever had rolling dice, I was still able to win because I focused on the objective more than destroying the enemy’s units.

Also, a large part of the Legion community are non-tourney players, so it’s important to cultivate and maintain narrative driven games as well. Lastly, I would say never quit. Many games do not allow for comebacks once the snowball effect has started. This game is not one of them. There are plenty of ways to come back in this game, so don't give up. I have learned the most from the games I have lost.

#6 - Eric Riha

What are some of your memories from Worlds? Do any games in particular stand out to you?

My game against Luke Cook is always one that will stick in my memory; however, my fondest memories are of the camaraderie and genuine sportsmanship we had at the 2019 Worlds event. My favorite moment was running in to give Luke a giant bear hug after he won it all. It was great to hang out with all of the Worlds players and FFG crew, and really get to know everyone involved with the game we love so much.

Tell me a bit about your Worlds list. What were you going for with it?

I ran a Palpatine 'gun-line' list with three Scout Trooper snipers, a full Imperial Royal Guard, a Snowtrooper, and four Stormtroopers based on my familiarity and success with it in previous events. It had strong opening-turn play, along with Palpatine's command cards that played well against many 'standard' lists at the time. While solid, it needed to 'trade-up' early in the game via massed sniper fire with Pulling the Strings and a Royal Guard Charge/Pulling the Strings Flamethower shot otherwise it would fall short in a battle of attrition. It worked in 3 out of 4 games.

Was there anything about the meta you were responding to when you put your list together?

I wasn't responding to anything in the meta per se, but I played an off-meta list in an attempt to throw my opponent's judgement off. Nearly all lists in the event had a similar 5-6 Corps, three Strike Team base and I went with a slimmer base in order to throw Palpatine into the mix.

How much time do you dedicate to practicing Legion and testing different lists?

Much like a boxer or fighter preparing for a match, I do most of my practicing/training in the lead up to a specific event and try to get in at least one game per week. In between events, I'll usually get a practice game in when I want to try something specific or when a new unit is released. If I find something with promise, I'll usually bounce it around a few "Discord Think Tanks" and try to hone the idea further.

Did any units in your list perform particularly well?

In general, I'd say the units in my list performed exactly as expected, in nearly all occasions. Palpatine's command cards were probably the most effective—especially Give In To Your Anger—in nearly all rounds given the list's ability to set up and control the tempo in turns 1 and 2.

What approach do you take to new units being released? Do you test them out?

I generally try to test every new unit and lean on the experiences of others if I don't have the opportunity to do so. If something looks particularly good 'en masse', I'll try an old-fashioned proxy in a few local practice games to prove it out. If the tests are successful, then it's usually a quick trip to the LGS to buy what I need.

What are your thoughts on Legion entering the Clone Wars era? Are you playing Separatists or Republic?

I am super excited for Clone Wars because it represents a true 'set battle, war-time' era in Star Wars™ fiction and it is a perfect fit for Legion. I'm currently on board to play both factions, as both look exciting and different from the existing Imperial and Rebel armies.

How do you think adding these two factions has changed the meta?

Republic forces have certainly taught me a thing or two about Standby Tokens—but outside of that, I don't think the new factions have had a tremendous impact on the meta quite yet. I think Comms Jammers have seen a resurgence given the AI vulnerabilities of Separatists, but the new factions still need a few army pieces to make them as broadly competitive as Imperials or Rebels. There's a ton of potential there, so I can't wait to see what options are in store for the new factions that bring them up to speed.

Do you have any favorite Clone Wars units?

Dooku has to be my favorite so far. As someone that isn't afraid to throw 200+ points at a commander, having a speed-2 Sith on the board with Lightning, Force Push, and Force Choke just feels great.

Do you have any advice for new players looking to get into Legion?

The game of Legion has been developed in such a way that you really can't go wrong by buying a core set with a friend and just jumping in. If you want to take your game from casual to competitive (or jump straight into competitive play), join a Legion forum community or Discord server. There's plenty of advice out there for new players and lots of friendly people willing to give new players a hand.

Thanks for joining us today! Be sure to join us next time as we continue our discussion with 2019 Star Wars: Legion World Championship participants Daniel Lupo, L.J. Peña, Kyle Dornbos, and Davis Kingsley!

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