It’s that time again! Every six months or so I’ve created a buying guide for prospective and beginner players, and with the prequels nearly out it’s time to review what we know about the Imperial and Rebel armies.
Much of this is copy-pasted from the last article, but with important updates.
A Welcome, and Some Context
Detailed below is my best attempt at a buying guide based on the current state of the game, as well as what we might expect moving forward based on the info we have now.
A word of caution: unless you are 100% sure you’ll want to invest a lot of money in this game, I would stick with one faction to start with, either Rebels or Imperials (or, of course, you could wait for the Clone and Droid armies). They’re reasonably balanced at this point (generally speaking Imperials favor their big, expensive toys like Vader or the Occupier Tank, while Rebels favor a larger number of expendable units) so just go for whatever you like best.
You might also consider trying the game on Tabletop Simulator first to see which army fits your play-style better. That way, you can get a feel for the game and see which units you’d like to buy before you go out and spend a bunch of money. Similarly, check out videos-on-demand from any of the YouTube/Twitch channels or read up on any of the blogs on my Resources page to see what people are saying about your preferred faction.
Further, check out the single elimination lists from Season 3 of the Invader League to see what lists are doing reasonably well right now. If you see one that really strikes your fancy on either side, you can use the below list to build towards it.
Before you read this list, I’d encourage you to read over my very first buying guide, which goes over army requirements.
My original buying guide for paint and other supplies is still valid, but the pieces below have been updated to factor in all the new units we’ve gotten since the game’s release. You can purchase all of these units through your local game store, Amazon, or the Fantasy Flight Games website.
And finally, don’t be afraid to pop into the Legion Discord (link to the right) and ask questions before you buy. Everyone there would be happy to help!
NOTE: This is not a ranking of unit strength. This is what I believe to be an accurately ranked list of the purchases that make most sense for a new player given their overall strength, utility, and cost.
Legion Core Set ($90 USD)
Perhaps it’s obvious, but if you do not already have the Legion Core Set, you absolutely need to get it to play the game. Inside you’ll get the following miniatures:
- Darth Vader
- Stormtroopers x 2
- 74-Z Speeder Bikes
- Luke Skywalker
- Rebel Troopers x 2
In addition, you’ll get 8 barricades, 4 range ruler segments, 3 movement templates, and all the command, upgrade, and objective cards you’ll need to get started.
All of that is enough to do a simple two-player demo game, but won’t give you enough for a full 800-pt army from either faction (the specifics of which are detailed a bit more in my original buying guide).
To fully expand your army, take a look at the options below.
…Another Core Set ($90 USD)
“But I just bought a core set,” you might say. “Why should I get another one?”
At the end of the day, the Core Set is the best bang for your buck. The base cost is $90 USD, but as of writing it’s on sale on Amazon for $70 USD. And if you were to buy the units individually…
- Stormtroopers ($20 USD x 2 = $40 USD)
- 74-Z Speeder Bikes ($15 USD)
- Rebel Troopers ($20 USD x 2 = $40 USD)
- AT-RT ($15 USD)
- Dice Pack ($15 USD)
- Range Rulers and Movement Templates ($15 USD)
- TOTAL = $140 USD
Assuming you were to buy the Core Set at a slight discount of $70, you’d get all the units for your side at the same price plus a free dice pack and all the units for the other side as well. It’s a no-brainer for most Legion players and gets you very close to a viable full army on either side.
And here’s the thing: most of the units in the original core set are still the ones you want.
No army is complete without Rebel Troopers and Stormtroopers. Luke is still perhaps the best unit in the game. Vader, AT-RTs, and Bikes have fallen off a bit but are certainly still worthwhile units.
If you’re worried about price, check eBay or one of the Legion buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook (or even players at your local game store!) to see about splitting one or both of your cores for a reduced price. It’s a fairly common practice in the community.
General Veers, Stormtroopers, Scout Troopers (Imperial)
Leia Organa, Rebel Troopers, Rebel Commandos (Rebel)
To flesh out your armies, you’ll want a second commander in either Veers or Leia, and you’ll want to fill in your remaining trooper units. It’s extremely common to see players running the maximum of six trooper units in powerful lists; two core sets puts you at four of each, and you can easily bring yourself to five or six now.
Further, the current meta has two to three Strike Teams as nearly indispensable (certainly in the form of snipers, or perhaps the gutsy triple-bomber lists popularized by Daniel Lupo-Albritton. Many people may dislike the sniper-heavy meta, but I would be remiss to not make this point clear for you.
The B Tier is where you’re fielding a mostly realized army, but the C Tier is where you’ll start to make distinct competitive choices.
Imperial Specialists, Boba Fett, Bossk, Director Krennic, Death Troopers (Imperial)
Rebel Specialists, Han Solo, Sabine Wren (Rebel)
Previously, the C Tier was home to things like the AT-ST. It was about faction identity and big toys.
Instead, we now find that once you’ve picked up two main commanders, enough corps units, and a handful of snipers, you’ve got a couple of choices left for you to decide what kind of list you’d like to run.
On the Imperial side, would you prefer to run Director Krennic and his Death Troopers, or one or two bounty hunters? (Or, perhaps, run them together as I did at the Northeast Open with a Krennic/Boba/DT list.)
On the Rebel side, who are you pairing with Luke or Leia? Han is a wily scoundrel who can be tough to play but devastating with his Gunslinger and Sharpshooter abilities, while Sabine’s Explosions! card is one of the biggest booms in the game.
And finally, consider picking up one or two Specialists packs. The medics alone are worth it, but the added flexibility of a comms unit and a generic officer bring a ton of options to your gameplay.
Occupier Tank, Snowtroopers, Palpatine, Royal Guard (Imperial)
Chewbacca, Wookiee Warriors, Pathfinders, Jyn Erso,
X-34 Landspeeder (Rebel)
Now we’re back to the big fun toys that are less than necessary but still a real joy to play.
For Imperials, the Occupier Tank is easily the best available vehicle. Snowtroopers have fallen out of favor in the recent meta, but are still heinously fun at range one. And the Emperor and his Royal Guard can be difficult to play, but are still absolutely viable (see Eric Riha at Worlds).
Rebels bring in a couple of popular names and their cohorts in Chewie and Jyn – they’re certainly not challenging Luke or Leia’s longstanding supremacy, but they have their own unique playstyles and look great on the board. Plus, the Landspeeder is a sneakily good unit for flanking and surprise attacks.
E-Web Heavy Blaster, 74-Z Speeder Bikes, AT-ST (Imperial)
1.4 FD Laser Cannon, AT-RT, Fleet Troopers (Rebel)
This far down the list, we approach units that can be slotted into many a competitive list by smart players, but are far from necessary. Only purchase these units if you really like their look or feel, not because you think they’ll be hyper competitive.
I stanned AT-STs for quite some time, but unfortunately the Occupier Tank is just a better unit right now. And Speeder Bikes have come a long way from the dominant Veers/3x Bikes lists of the earliest meta.
Similarly, triple AT-RTs went out of style a while ago, and it’s rare to see one on the board anymore. So with the one or two from your original core set, it is pretty well unnecessary to buy another.
I expect Fleet Troopers to be potentially my most controversial pick this low, but I genuinely believe they take a skilled hand to command well, and are not an optimal choice for beginners.
T-47 Airspeeder (Rebel)
And finally, still perhaps the lone truly “bad” unit, the T-47 Airspeeder (which you might also know as the Hoth Snowspeeder from Empire Strikes Back) is sadly also one of the prettiest models in the game right now.
Its weak guns and low health pool don’t quite make up for its high cost. It’s a beautiful mini and a blast to paint, but if you’re looking to be competitive off the bat skip this one for now. And maybe forever, or at least until we get a good fix for it.
Unreleased At Time of Writing:
Shoretroopers, Dewbacks (Imperial)
Rebel Veterans, Tauntauns (Rebel)
Of course it’s impossible to predict the exact impact of upcoming units, but all four of the above expansions look to shake things up. Especially on the Rebel side, Tauntauns have the possibility of radically overhauling the Luke/Leia-heavy Rebel meta.
And new mechanics for the two corps units promise to provide some fun new options, especially looking at suppression-heavy Imperial lists.
As always, leave your comments below for agreements and disagreements. There’s plenty of discussion to be had on this subject, and I’m sure you all have many thoughts of your own.
I hope that you enjoy your welcome into the Legion community – it’s a great game that’s only going to get better over time, and the current meta is a fantastic place to dive in.
Best of luck, Commanders! The Prequel Core Set is just around the corner, but the Empire and Rebellion are still alive and well.