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Rocky Top Open Top 8 Breakdown: Star Wars Legion

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Rocky Top Open Top 8 Breakdown: Star Wars Legion
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Honoring the Organizer

Memorial Day weekend marked the East Coast’s biggest Star Wars Legion tournament to date, taking the crown from last year’s ACO with a total of 57 players. The event was expertly organized by Ryan Sliwoski, also known as the Samwise Gamgee of the Smoky Mountains. Those who have had the pleasure of attending Ryan’s events can attest to his exceptional skills and infectious enthusiasm. Personally, I had the privilege of meeting Ryan at Cherokee 2022, where he set the bar high for organized play. Despite having played only one game against him, I have witnessed his passion for the Legion community and his talent as a player. It is without a doubt that this event stands as the most fiercely competitive yet welcoming casual Legion tournament in the world!

Honoring the Hobbyist

Before diving into the breakdown of the Rocky Top meta, I want to acknowledge Drew from Ninetales Hobbies. When I arrived at the tournament, I couldn’t help but notice the impressive display of beautifully printed and painted AT-TEs. Drew’s craftsmanship captured my attention, and I regret not snatching one of these masterpieces. I had a chance to speak with Drew throughout the event, and his talent as an artist and all-around cool guy is undeniable. To showcase his work and offer him the exposure he deserves, I asked Drew to share a bit about his business. If you’re in need of some remarkable terrain, don’t hesitate to reach out to him!

Drew from Ninetales Hobbies

“I’m Drew Davis, or Ninetale Hobbies, a commission painter from Northeast Tennessee. With over three years of experience painting minis and a strong passion for Legion, I dedicate at least twenty hours every week to perfecting my craft and exploring new techniques. While Star Wars has been a lifelong love of mine, Legion’s dynamic models and solid ruleset drew me into the game. I’ve painted models from various genres and companies, but Legion holds a special place in my heart. My journey as a commission painter began when a friend asked me to paint his Bolt Action army. Motivated by the opportunity, I decided to turn my passion into a business. After some trials and errors selling my work online, I decided to participate in events, starting with Rocky Top. The support and encouragement I received from the players were overwhelming—I sold out all my Legion minis and terrain! Inspired by this positive outcome, I am hopeful and excited about building a painting business centered around Legion. Currently, I’m working on 3D modeling a set of buildings specific to Legion. I look forward to attending more events and connecting with this incredible community.”

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Honorable 4-1 Mentions

Before delving into the Top 8 breakdown, I want to give a special mention to the players who achieved a 4-1 record and share their thoughts on their lists and the tournament.

11th Place – Tyler Pridgen

I am intrigued by Tyler’s creative list featuring both Dooku and Asajj. Combining these two strong Sith characters provides excellent mobility and a healthy dose of protection with the MagnaGuard Protectors and EV-Series Medical Droids. Tyler’s impressive performance in the early rounds caught my attention, but unfortunately, he suffered defeat in the fifth round against Kentucky Dan due to some unfavorable dice rolls. Mastering a double force user list requires exceptional skill, as every game becomes a test of strategic prowess. Tyler’s list is undoubtedly formidable, and I look forward to trying it out myself. Well done on your 4-1 performance, Tyler!

10th Place – Nicholas Schott

Nicholas’s list reminds me of a thrilling game I had against Richard Lavery, who used a similar setup. The GAV provides incredible mobility, allowing the Darks to instantly reach their desired locations. With one Dark providing covering fire while the other moves in for the attack, Nicholas’s list is a force to be reckoned with. I appreciate the 13-point bid he included, as it gives him a significant advantage over opponents in bidding wars. It’s possible that Nicholas plans to outscore his opponents or surprise them by teleporting Darks onto their objectives in the late game. Overall, an intriguing list that showcases Nicholas’s tactical ingenuity.

9th Place – Stephen Sylvia

Stephen’s list revolves around stormtroopers utilizing T-21s to generate critical hits. His goal is to create an all-purpose force capable of efficiently combating armor, cover, and dodges. Iden Vallo provides support by preventing low-courage units from panicking and dealing the finishing blow to weakened enemy units. Inferno Squad functions as a sniper in the early stages of a game, shooting from range 5 and later joining the main forces. Boba Fett’s role varies depending on the situation, either acting as a linebacker against Force users or targeting the opponent’s weakest flank, typically the home objective. The bounty mechanic is always an option, though Stephen doesn’t rely on forcing its timing or exposing Boba unnecessarily. So far, his list has proven successful with an 8-2 record in tournament play. Stephen aims to refine and adapt his list based on matchups, always prioritizing the fun and ease of play. Kudos to Stephen on his enjoyable and effective list!

Top 8 Breakdown

8th Place – Robert Saville

At first glance, Robert’s list may seem perplexing, as HH-12s are generally regarded as subpar. However, underestimating this list can lead to unexpected defeat. While I won’t delve into all the intricate details, as Robert explains them thoroughly below, I must highlight our own encounter in the fifth round of Rocky Top. Robert faced a challenging situation during setup due to the objective distribution, but he skillfully navigated the unfavorable conditions. His list excels against Dark Troopers, but it struggles in scenarios that require movement or play to the strengths of Force users. Despite the odds, we had an enjoyable match, and I commend Robert for his 4-1 performance. Congratulations!

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7th Place – Isaac Pendley

Isaac’s list immediately caught my attention, particularly because he included a Republic AT-RT. This versatile list can adapt to various objectives, although it may struggle with Hostage Exchange, Breakthrough, and Bombing Run. Cody brings a multitude of benefits to the table in this pure gunline setup, with the Comms Relay on the AT-RT standing out as a valuable asset. Cody can use “Direct: Clone Trooper” to set up devastating fire support opportunities. Moreover, his 13-point bid allows for effective outbidding strategies. Isaac’s list is likely to become a standard choice in the meta, and I congratulate him on his impressive 4-1 performance. Best of luck in future tournaments!

6th Place – Kameron Burt

Kameron’s list embraces a “choose violence” mindset with Bossk leading the charge, supported by double Dark Troopers backed by Protector IRG. This aggressive combination packs a powerful punch. Dodging Bossk at range 4 while simultaneously evading Dark Troopers charging into position is a daunting task that can overwhelm opponents. Kameron’s list focuses on packing as much firepower as possible into one cohesive force. Its weakness lies in its limited answers to Force users capable of infiltrating their lines. Additionally, it struggles against speeders in scenarios like Bombing Run and Breakthrough. Nonetheless, Kameron’s list boasts significant ranged firepower, and those Dark Troopers are surprisingly fast! Well done on your 4-1 performance, Kameron!

5th Place – JJ Wood

JJ Wood, another fellow Floridian, brought an intriguing list to Rocky Top, which he affectionately dubbed “Yoda 501st.” This list offers versatility and firepower through the combined forces of Yoda, Chewbacca, Boil, and a full ARC Echo squad. With Yoda’s barrier ability and the list’s superior firepower, JJ’s list excels in center-based objectives such as Hostage, Key Positions, Recover, Intercept, and even Payload. Its weakness lies in its reliance on solid line-of-sight blockers and its 8 activations. Nevertheless, JJ emerged as the top Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) player, a remarkable achievement. Congratulations on your 4-1 performance, JJ!

4th Place – Jordan “Luminous Gaming” Smith

Jordan is a true pillar of the Legion community, and his impact on the Florida Legion scene cannot be overstated. His expertise as an organizer and his commitment to creating enjoyable and competitive events have greatly enriched the Legion community. Jordan’s Separatist list caught my attention, as he put together an impressive combination of characters, including Asajj Ventress and Cad Bane. Asajj’s Independent: Dodge pairs perfectly with this faction, and Cad provides versatility for a droid army. Jordan’s list effortlessly switches between objective play and all-out combat, with a sizable number of bodies securing objectives. Although Jordan and I faced off on the battlefield, he emerged as the top Separatist player and finished in 4th place. Congratulations on your remarkable performance, Jordan!

3rd Place – Matt Evans “Flawed Zombie”

Matt’s list immediately caught my eye during our game in the first round. Our match was filled with intense moments and strategic choices, making it an incredibly enjoyable experience. Matt’s Rebels showcased an effective combination of Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren, allowing for great mobility and control on the battlefield. Matt’s Rebel troopers, equipped with SX-21 shotguns, provide minimal impact against vehicles and armored units while unleashing an impressive 9-dice attack at range 2. Despite the lean Rebel troopers, their ability to keep pace with the Sabine/Ahsoka “ball” through tactical tapping proved to be a vital advantage. Matt’s list thrives in scenarios that allow for zoning objectives, enabling a strategic stronghold approach. Well done on your 4-1 performance, Matt!

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2nd Place – Kentucky Dan (5-0 with 3400 points destroyed, nearly 900 points more than first)

Kentucky Dan’s army is a formidable gunline, with the Pyke Syndicate and the Black Sun Enforcers (BSE) at its core. The Pykes excel at range 3-4, providing cover fire for the high-powered close-quarter attacks of the BSE armed with scatter guns. Maul, equipped with his full range of command cards and Cunning, leads the way. This list presents a unique challenge for opponents and capitalizes on the strengths of Blizzard, a highly skilled operator. The Pykes’ ability to damage Dark Troopers combined with the affordability of the Black Suns makes for a deadly combination. Kentucky Dan achieved the highest kill points of the entire tournament, a testament to the destructive potential of his list. The only weaknesses I can identify lie in the list’s 9 activations and the Pykes’ low courage without the means to inspire them. Nonetheless, a remarkable performance deserving of recognition. Congratulations on your outstanding 5-0 performance, Kentucky Dan!

Winner – Austin Miller

Austin Miller emerged as the victor of Rocky Top with an impressive performance that showcased the power of his unique and original list. Austin made an interesting meta choice by including an HH-12 in place of an RT-97, a strategy employed by Olly Dier in his top 8 Worlds list. This adjustment made Austin’s list more consistent, turning it into an Impact 4 powerhouse. However, accommodating the Cumbersome keyword and the need to recover after shooting can pose challenges. Despite these hurdles, Austin’s list provided him with a medic to ensure the sustained health of either Vader or the Heavy Repulsortank UTX-85s (HRU). In one of his matches, Austin faced a Gideon Remnant list with a single Dark Trooper and won with significant margin of victory. Austin’s list clearly outperformed expectations and proved highly successful. It’s safe to say that Austin played to win and demonstrated his top-level skills as a Legion player. We can’t deny the list’s superiority, especially in the hands of a skilled operator. Congratulations, Austin, on your well-deserved victory!

Goooooood oooool’ Rocky Top (woo!)

I want to emphasize just how FUN the Rocky Top event was. Every opponent I faced brought excitement and challenge to the table, pushing me to make tough decisions and test my knowledge of the game. Throughout the entire weekend, the atmosphere was filled with enthusiasm, as Legion enthusiasts gathered for what would become THE LARGEST EAST COAST LEGION EVENT EVER (by a mere 1 player). I want to give a special shout-out to Chris Vandergriff from 82 Legion for providing the live streaming coverage and gifting custom Legion shot glasses to all players on stream. Cheers to a fantastic event and a memorable time spent in the mountains!

Below, you’ll find a selection of photos from the event, capturing the incredible fun and camaraderie we shared during Rocky Top.

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That wraps up the breakdown of the Rocky Top Open Top 8. It was an event filled with top-tier competition, innovative strategies, and unforgettable moments. Congratulations to all the participants for their outstanding performance and for contributing to the vibrant Star Wars Legion community. Keep rolling those dice and may the Force be with you!

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