18 March 2020 | Star Wars: Legion

Setting the Bar

Our Interviews with the 2019 Star Wars: Legion World Championship Participants Continue 

#StarWars #Legion

We're continuing our interview series with some of the best Star Wars™: Legion players in the world! Today we hear from the #1-4 seeds at the 2019 World Championships: Davis Kingsley, Kyle Dornbos, L.J. Peñ​a, and Daniel Lupo!  

#1 - Davis Kingsley

What are some of your memories from Worlds?

My favorite memory from Worlds was actually getting to cocast a game with Alex Davy after I was knocked out. I was really impressed by FFG's streaming setup!

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

I was running a fairly normal Luke/Leia Rebel list. I don't think much of anything there was a surprise -- you have some solid frontline units with Rebel Troopers and Z6s backed up by snipers, and then Luke runs around as the "wild card" causing trouble for the opponent.

Did you experiment with any variations of your list beforehand?

A bit. The basic structure of the list ends up with some points left open, and I'd played around with different approaches to using those points. Ultimately, I think I ended up using them on a single 2-1B Medical Droid.

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

It depends. Some new units I'm very excited to test, while others I might not get around to for a bit unless a friend recommends me something cool to try with them. I tend to prefer playing with painted and based models, which can slow down how fast I get to testing -- it kinda breaks up the look to have an unpainted new unit alongside a fully painted army!

What are your thoughts on Legion entering the Clone Wars era? Do you have any favorite Clone Wars units?

Right now, the new factions have significantly more limited options, so they aren't really making a big splash just yet -- in particular, it can be very hard for them to deal with aggressive melee units like Tauntauns. Once they get some more options I suspect we'll start seeing them make more of an impact, and it looks like they have some cool things in the pipeline! In terms of what's already out, I quite like Captain Rex. He has some interesting options and unique command cards.

Are you playing Separatists or Republic?

I'm not collecting Separatists right now but the AAT has got to be one of the coolest models coming to the game!

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

One good way to get into the game, especially with the Clone Wars factions, is to split a core set with a friend or local player, one of you taking the Separatist units and one the Republic. If you take two core sets this way, you will easily have enough miniatures for 500 point skirmish games (with some solid listbuilding options besides!), and you will be well on your way to an 800 point army, plus you'll get dice, templates, etc.

#2 - Kyle Dornbos

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

My favorite memories from Worlds are all away from the table; just hanging out with people. The eight of us that went had all met previously and got along well at various tournaments, and it was a great bonding experience. Besides just going out for drinks a couple times after the day’s Legion-related activities concluded, we also had a rousing game of Star Wars™: Outer Rim in one of the hotel rooms. I think Luke Cook won that one, too.

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

My Worlds list was the eminently boring “Wonder Twins” build that was popular at the time: Luke Skywalker, Leia, six Rebel Troopers, and three sniper strike teams. It is designed to be able to reliably flex in a variety of situations. I wasn’t going for anything besides consistency; when you have to play six or more games over multiple days, you need a list that you are comfortable with that can also deal with a variety of different threats.

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

The Luke/Leia list is designed to have a lot of answers while not being particularly amazing at any one thing. I actually toyed with Wookiees for a while; I have a soft spot for them, but ultimately, I dropped them to get to 11 activations. The meta at the time was primarily similar lists with a support character (Veers, Krennic or Leia) what I like to call a “scalpel” character (Boba Fett or Luke Skywalker) and a bunch of corps and strike teams. I actually toyed with playing Empire, which I had a lot of success with shortly before the tournament, but I defaulted to my comfort zone.

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

Not nearly as much as I would like. Leading up to a big tournament, I probably average about a game per week. I’ve actually become sort of notorious for “winging it” with a brand new list (or faction!) that I haven’t played before and still having success with it. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Did any units in your list perform particularly well?

Luke Skywalker. He is such an effective multi-tool, if not a somewhat fragile one. Any list with Luke in it ties its fate to his.

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

Most of them, yes. You can usually do some theorycrafting in advance to see how a new unit fits your play style and get a sense of how strong it is going to be. I play three factions now (Rebels, Empire, and Separatists) so it’s somewhat time prohibitive for me to test every single thing that comes out. I know my play style and I do a lot of analysis off the table, so I have a pretty good idea of what units are going to be a fit for me before they come out.

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

I love the direction Legion is going with the new factions. The developers really nailed the theme and feel of each of them. I play Separatists; I am somewhat of a control freak, and I love the idea of perfect activation control. I also really enjoy horde armies and slightly incompetent killer robots.

Do you have any favorite Clone Wars units?

I really like the B1 battle droids. They have so much character; Clumsy, dense, and seemingly useless, they can really carry the day for you if your opponent underestimates them.

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

Find someone else to get into the game with. Besides allowing you to split or swap core sets, it gives you someone to learn the mechanics and the nuances of the game with. The rules for Legion are fairly straightforward, but it is a very deep game that can take a lot of practice to master, and one that can leave you fairly discouraged at first if you have some bad experiences early. Be persistent, be willing to learn, and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone.  After you’ve found a friend to play with, try and get plugged in to a group at your local store. I would also advise absorbing as much content as you can. There are a ton of great blogs, podcast, and communities out there that can help you improve your game and meet other players.

#3 - L.J. Peña

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

My favorite memory from Worlds is easily the game of Star Wars™: Outer Rim we played after the first set of matches. Everyone was wiped from three high quality games—so we decided a little fun was in order and settled down to some pizzas and a board game to relax. We took a fantastic hotel room selfie of the event, even the delivery guy got in! I also can’t forget casting a game with Luke Eddy on Sunday. Everything went smoothly, and we had a lot of fun calling the game and talking Legion. 

The game I remember most was my first match against Kyle. I was incredibly nervous—I know Kyle, he’s a great player and a good friend. I probably pored over my options for opening moves about 50 times. It really taught me to trust my instincts, as I played that game cleaner than the rest, and took home a win to start the day.

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

My Worlds list was a bit of a deviation of what won me my spot. I dropped General Veers and Snowtroopers for Director Krennic and Death Troopers. I think the list had a very strong range 4 punch, Boba Fett was a great linebacker, and Krennic really brought some great tools to the table. Everything else was standard Imperial gunline, and I think even today the list has some staying power.

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

I knew the Rebel players that were coming would likely have Luke, so I figured Cunning and Boba Fett’s one pip could help me fight them off effectively enough. I wanted to be prepared for anything, and I felt like that list was the most well-rounded list I could have brought.

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

I probably played the same list to prep for Adepticon from September (when Boba Fett was released) to March. I personally feel that muscle memory is an extremely important aspect of Legion, especially when you’re playing your 8th game in a row over two days. I usually try to get one game of Legion in a week otherwise and will constantly try out different combinations to see what suits me. 

Did any units in your list perform particularly well?

During Worlds the Death Troopers were a blast to play and were very threatening. Boba Fett also had a couple of great moments, including a Flame Projector/Boot Spike combo that took Luke off the board.

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

I was waiting for the Clones Wars to hit Legion ever since Legion was announced. I got my hands on some droids at the first opportunity possible, and have been playing with them ever since August. They have been an absolute blast to play and helped earn me a spot at Worlds 2020. I will likely be playing them in March.

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

While I don’t think it’s had a profound effect on the meta, I do believe players need answers to the new factions. Knowing how to counter each army is critical when you’re planning for a large event - especially when you have to play multiple games in a day. If you’re not familiar with General Grievous' mobility, or the token sharing tricks of the Clones, you are in for a surprise! 

Do you have any favorite Clone Wars units?

Count Dooku has been an absolute monster on the field, and a pleasure to play. Luke and Alex really captured him thematically, in both his stats and his command cards. Learning him has been a unique challenge for me, as I was never a big Vader guy and didn’t play Luke Skywalker.

#4 - Daniel Lupo

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

Legion’s 2019 Worlds was a literal once in a lifetime opportunity. I had previously been to the X-Wing World Championships three times, but Legion’s was more unique! My best memories were meeting the people, both the other players, Brandon the judge, and the FFG staff. There are now genuine friendships that have been made. The casual competitiveness was great. At every event, from weekdays to Worlds, the events have all been stress free.

Games that stand out were my games against Luke Cook and Davis Kingsly. Luke’s game ended with my Luke Skywalker using Son of Skywalker to gunslinger kill two squads and Leia doing a stand by shot to stop a sniper from crossing into my deployment for breakthrough. Kingsly’s game was just the many, many, multiple saboteur explosions.

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

My list was a Luke/Leia list with some spicy changes, namely with fleet troopers and 3 saboteurs. The point of this list is centered around using my saboteurs to provide cover to allow my fleet troopers and Luke Skywalker to accomplish my missions.The key component of the list is centered around the three saboteurs, with emergency stims and three medics around to keep them alive. I know for a fact that the saboteurs were not the most optimal choice, but the surprise factor is a big leg up.

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

Kinda, as I feel at the time 99% of the lists had snipers and I was purposely going against the grain. In tabletop games that I play, I like to play a list that has tricks and presents a puzzle for my opponent, as I have likely played against their list archetype, but they may have never played against an archetype like mine. I think at the major events leading to Worlds I was one of the very few who was running saboteurs. 

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

I usually have one or two good game nights a week in Houston. We have a healthy community that has a Facebook and chat group. Leading up to events our group would often play both the list we want to bring and “boogie man” lists. As the best way I feel to know how to beat a list is to pilot that list and know how that list wins and loses.

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

As a group, we put units through the ringer. We first ‘spam’ the unit by putting as many of it in a list we know just to amplify its strengths and weaknesses. Leading up to Worlds the only unit that I was worried about was the inclusion of Death Troopers, as they were not out for Adepticon in 2019.

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

I love the idea of the Clone Wars era as they add a unique spin to various list styles. I am currently playing with a Separatist army. I picked them due to the ‘perfect’ activation you get with the coordination of the B1 Battle Droids and the powerful hammers of characters like Count Dooku and Grevious you have to manage.

Do you have any favorite Clone Wars units?

B1s, as I get to roll so many dice and respond “Roger Roger” all the time.

Thanks for joining us! Be sure to check back as our series concludes next time with a discussion with 2019 World Champion Luke Cook!

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