Now that the dust has settled and we have had a major tourney under the new rules I feel confident in giving my breakdown of the new Core Rulebook (CRB). Note that this will not be giving my opinions on any of the rules in this article, this is merely a breakdown and explanation of some of big new rules. For discussion and opinions join us in the 50Worst discord!
Before we dive into the new rulebook itself I wanted to mention the Star Wars: Legion Rules Questions forum from AMG. This is a great resource to follow as it provides additional clarification and rulings on some edge cases and some of the more convoluted areas of the rules. All rulings on the forum are official rulings but is important to note that there is an section of archived rulings from before the new CRB went into effect on 1/16/23 and those rulings are no longer official rulings.
There’s a lot to unpack with the new rules and I will do my best to cover it all. The following is a quick overview of the topics we are going to discuss:
- LOS & Cover
- Other Game Mechanic Changes
- Keyword Changes
THE 3 THREES
Terrain is one of the foundations of any legion game. At first glance it can seem pretty complex but terrain in Legion is all broken down by basic principles which I have dubbed the 3 Threes: Type, Movement & Cover. Each of these principles has 3 different categories a piece of terrain will fall under (hence the 3 Threes). Type is broken down into Scatter, Area & Obstacle, Movement has Open, Difficult & Impassable, Cover is Light, Heavy or No Cover. How terrain is classified greatly effects how your units will interact with it and how it will effect your game so the pregame discussion about terrain with your opponent is crucial.
THE GOLDEN RULE
A big section that you might notice missing from the new CRB is examples of different terrain types. Instead we are given The Golden Rule of Terrain.
The Golden Rule gives players a lot of flexibility when it comes to how terrain is played, but it is vital to have a discussion with your opponent on how the terrain will be played for your game. You know what they say when you assume, so take the time to figure everything out before models hit the table so you don’t find yourself in a “gotcha” moment midgame. It is also important to note that larger pieces of terrain can be hard to define as a whole so it is entirely fair to “break up” the piece of terrain and have separate parts of it function differently.
There are 3 different terrain types: Scatter, Area & Obstacle. Scatter terrain is your smaller pieces like crates and such, area terrain is things like forests and such where the physical elements inside aren’t as important since the terrain piece is a giant cylinder, obstacle terrain are your larger solid pieces of terrain like walls and buildings. For the most part, scatter and area terrain are the same as they were under the previous rules, obstacle terrain are where some of the biggest changes are. Most of these changes are related to moving and climbing so we will discuss that more in depth when we talk about movement. The one thing I will call out here is that Trooper miniatures cannot end their move partially overlapping a piece of obstacle terrain. If they are on a piece of terrain their base must be fully on the piece of terrain, the base cannot overhang the edge of the terrain.
Barricades are the one piece of terrain that has pre-defined rules for how they play in Legion.
The rule against overlapping means that creature troopers can no longer balance on a barricade and enter melee with units on the other side. The rule against placing objective tokens on them means they cannot be selected as piece of terrain objectives for objectives like Payload and Key Positions.
The rules for the different ways terrain effects movement (open, difficult, impassable) did not really change. Open terrain still has no penalties for movement, Difficult terrain still reduces your speed by 1. The main difference comes with Impassable terrain in that it cannot be moved over at all, even via climbing (which we will discuss later) unless you have an ability like Jump or Speeder that ignores the terrain.
This is the one aspect of terrain that has changed the least as the cover types have not changed. The process of how cover is actually determined has changed, which we will talk more about later. What I will say about it here as it relates to the pre-game terrain discussion is that for vehicles to have cover, 50% of their silhouette must be obscured, so keep that in mind when deciding if a piece of terrain would grant cover to a vehicle or not.
There are 2 basic types of move actions that units can take: standard moves and climbs. There are a few other type of move actions like withdraw and embark/disembark, but those are special cases and given that they haven’t changed much or at all with the new rules I am not going to discuss them here.
Standard Move actions are going to be the most common moves you will see. These are done by putting the movement tool into base contact (or the front notch) and moving the unit either to the other end or somewhere along the template. Standard moves are mostly the same as under the old rules with a few exceptions. The first being that small base units no longer need to “follow the path” of the movement tool. The unit leaders is simply picked up and placed where you want him to move to. This means no more leaving space for the base of the mini when moving around walls and barricades. As long as the movement tool itself fits, the unit can make the move. Note that this is for small base minis only, notched base units must still move along the path of the tool.
Another change to standard moves is how units move onto or through obstacle terrain. All units can now move onto or through obstacle terrain that is less than the height of the mini’s silhouette. Whether or not this is a difficult or open move is up to you and your opponent during the pregame discussion, but it does open up the movement for units like the GAV Tank that were limited to only moving over terrain less then half their height previously.
If a small base unit wants to move onto or over terrain that is taller than the height if its silhouette it must perform a climb action. Notched base units cannot climb. Climbing is the biggest change to movement as climbing as we knew it in the old rules no longer exists. No longer do units have to start in base contact with a piece of terrain in order to climb. Now if you want to climb onto or over a piece of obstacle terrain you simply perform a move as normal, except the move must be done with the speed 1 tool. Note that this is not reducing your speed by 1 like moving through difficult terrain so a speed 3 unit would still use the speed 1 tool, not the speed 2.
Climbing may only be done up to a vertical distance of height 1, but note that this distance is measured from where the unit begins its move. So if you are already on a piece of terrain or part of a piece that is height 1 from the ground, you can move up to terrain that is height 2 from the ground, as long as it is height 1 from the position of the unit doing the move. Also note that the determination for whether the movement tool overlaps a piece of terrain for a climb this can be done from a 2D, top-down perspective. This means a unit can climb onto terrain like the middle of a suspended bridge or platform like you might find on Endor trees.
How do these changes to climbing effect Expert Climber, Scale & Clamber? Expert Climber let’s you move a vertical distance of height 2 instead of height 1, Scale simply gives a unit both Expert Climber and Unhindered, and Clamber no longer exists. There is now no longer a risk of damage when moving vertical distances.
Also note that since climbing is not a standard move, it will not trigger things that require a standard move action like Tactical.
One final important note: you can only climb onto or over Obstacle terrain. Impassable terrain CANNOT be climbed, it can only be ignored by a special ability like Jump or Speeder.
Withdrawing has also been updated to not allow a unit to end a withdraw move action in melee. So you can no longer withdraw from one melee into another melee.
LOS AND COVER
Silhouettes are king. No longer do you draw LOS from a single point on a mini. If any part of a mini’s silhouette can see any part of another mini’s silhouette, those minis are in LOS of each other. For small base troopers the silhouette remains the same. All notched base troopers now also use a silhouette that is a bit taller than that of the small base troopers. Vehicle units do not have a standard sized silhouette like trooper units, their silhouette is determined by creating a cylinder from the base of the vehicle up to the top of the hull. This does not include things like antennas, weapons, or crew members. It is also does not include parts of the vehicle that overhang the base. For repulsor vehicles the silhouette starts at the lowest point of the miniature, thus ignoring the base and flight stand.
All ground vehicle and hover: ground vehicle silhouettes will block LOS. No longer is there a distinction between walking and treaded/wheeled vehicles. All other repulsor vehicles and all trooper unit types, including creature and emplacement troopers, do not block line of site.
LOS FOR ATTACKS
There are a couple important changes to LOS in regards to attacks that I want to cover here. The first is that the unit leader now needs LOS to the defending unit in order for an attack to be made. Other units cannot peak around a corner and attack an unit if their leader cannot see the defender. The other big change is related to wound allocation. When wounds are dealt to a defender during an attack they may be assigned to ANY mini in the unit, regardless of whether or not they were visible to the attacker (all other rules for assigning wounds remain the same). The number of wounds that can be dealt to a unit is still determined by the number of mins that can be seen however. The defending unit cannot suffer wounds greater than the total wound threshold of minis that are in LOS.
Determining cover is one of the bigger mechanical changes in the new CRB. When a mini is determined to be obscured no longer is there a center to center line check as a 2nd step in determining if that mini has cover or not. Instead, if ANY part of the defending mini is obscured from ANY part of the attacking unit leader then the defending mini has cover. No longer do you check from just the top of the silhouette, but from all parts of the silhouette, including the base. So unless the attacking unit leader is touching a piece of terrain (that is still ignored for partially obscured minis), if the terrain lies between him and the defending mini will most likely have cover. For vehicles the check different as 50% of the vehicle’s silhouette will need to be obscured in order for cover to be granted.
Ground and Hover: Ground vehicles will provide units they obscure with heavy cover. This is true for both walking and treaded/wheeled ground vehicles. Repulsor vehicles and all trooper types (including creature and emplacement troopers) do not provide cover at all.
A CONSTANT CHECK
The changes to Panic are arguably the most impactful changes as they effect units’ ability to score VPs. The first thing to note is that the check for when a unit is panicked is a constant check. A unit is considered panicked when they have a number of suppression tokens equal to or greater than double their courage value (they can still use a friendly commander’s courage at range 1-3). This constant check is important because Panicked units and any objective tokens they have claimed CANNOT be used to satisfy victory conditions on objective cards. This means that you can now stop units from scoring AFTER they have activated without having to defeat them. It is also important to note that panicked units only exempt from the Victory conditions on objectives, so they can still count for moving payload carts for example.
AFTER THE RALLY
What happens to units when they are panicked after their rally step has also changed. They still are not allowed to take any actions, but instead of moving towards the edge of the battlefield, a unit that begins its perform actions step while panicked it drops any objective tokens it has and then removes suppression tokens equal to its courage value. Note that this is the only time a unit would drop an objective token. A unit will NOT drop an objective token if they become panicked outside their activation.
Passing is a brand new mechanic for Legion. During a player’s turn, instead of activating a unit, if they have FEWER remaining orders than their opponent, they may pass. To determine the number of remaining orders a player has, add together the number of faceup order tokens they have on the battlefield, the number of orders in their order pool, and the number of orders on their command cards. Note that “dead pulls”, i.e. an operative token when all your operatives have been defeated, are not removed from the order pool until they are drawn so it will still count when determining the number of remaining orders. Each player can only pass once per round.
OTHER GAME MECHANIC CHANGES
The following are overviews of changes that don’t directly fall under one of the larger sections above but are still important to be aware of.
Other than the attacking unit leader needing LOS for an attack to be made, attacks have not changed much on the surface. The big changes come from the way certain things are worded. First let’s take a look at the actual attack sequence:
The biggest change that comes from this sequence is how additional attack pools from splitting fire and arsenal are treated. If there are multiple attack pools after step 10, step 11 directs you to PERFORM AN ATTACK by repeating steps 4-11. Splitting fire and arsenal are no longer considered 1 attack. Why is this important? Because the effects like that of the upgrade Up Close and Personal that trigger off of attacks will trigger off of EACH attack that is made. So units with Up Close and Personal can gain multiple dodges from splitting fire or arsenal!
Another change for the attack steps that might not seem important at first glance but may be effected by certain effects is applying dodges now specifically happens before applying cover instead of at the same time. I can’t think of any scenario where this distinction is currently important, but I’m sure there is probably an edge case somewhere.
There are a couple of changes to how ranges are calculated. The first is for “At” range. Being At a certain range just means that any portion of an object is inside the specified range, as opposed to inside the specific range segment under the old rules. This translates to units effects targeting units “at range 2” is the same as “units at range 1-2” under the old rules. This means that effects like Gideon’s Ruthless keyword and IG-11’s Mechanical Carnage cards are no longer “donuts”.
The other range change is for when a weapon or effect lists only 1 range icon. When 1 number is shown that is the maximum range of that weapon or effect. For example, this means that the Super Commando Jetpack Rockets can now be used from range 1-4 instead of just range 4.
There is no damage penalty for units that are unable to fully complete their compulsory move. Because of this you must complete a full compulsory move if able, you cannot choose to do a partial move if a full one can be made.
LEAVING THE BATTLEFIELD
With the change to panic units can no longer leave the battlefield at all, with one exception: a unit may temporarily leave the battlefield if it is able to end it’s movement with its base fully within the battlefield. If this is not possible, the mini stops its movement when it contacts the edge of the battlefield. It then loses any remaining actions and cannot perform any free actions.
Units can now overlap condition tokens, they still cannot overlap objective tokens. In addition, units cannot be in base contact with an unclaimed objective token at the end of setup. This includes objectives like Sabotage the Moisture Vaporators as all objective tokens are considered unclaimed unless stated otherwise, even if they cannot be claimed.
Players’ battle decks are no longer hidden information. This means that if you won the bid you can look at your opponent’s battle deck before choosing if you want to be the red or blue player. Command cards are still hidden information.
If players are tied on victory points at the end of the game the tie-breaker hierarchy is as follows:
- The player who defeated more points worth of their opponent’s army
- The player who’s army had more points at the start of the game
- If there is still a tie the game ends in a draw
Bomb carts are now treated like other minis when it comes to movement. They can only move over terrain that is less than half the height of their silhouette (which rises from the base up to the handles of the cart) and cannot move through impassable terrain. They do ignore the effects of difficult terrain. They also provide heavy cover to non-creature trooper units.
In addition to taking a suppression and wound, when a unit is embarked in a transport that is defeated it either has it’s order token flipped facedown or is assigned a facedown order token, thus losing its activation for the round.
To embark into a closed transport unit, you must do the speed 1 move into base contact with the transport and then sacrifice an action to embark into the vehicle, as opposed to spending it’s entire activation to embark. This is an important distinction because it now specifically requires 2 actions to embark, whereas “your entire activation” could be 1 action if you are suppressed.
Line of sight can also no longer be drawn to units inside closed transports. So no more amban rifle or whipcords targeting units inside closed transports. Vader’s Might can still pull units out though because “maxi big da force”.
Standby tokens are no longer considered to be green tokens, so Yoda can no longer share them with his command card.
The following section talks about changes to specific keywords.
A unit with Covert Ops can no longer change its rank to operative and gain infiltrate if there is no other commander in your list.
Units with a Cumbersome weapon can now attack and them move during their activation. They are still prevented from moving and then attacking but this restriction is now during the SAME activation, so Yoda can no longer use Guidance on a unit that has Relentless to move and attack.
This keyword can no only be used during ranged attacks. That means that even if a unit with Deflect spends a dodge token while in melee they will no longer gain surge to block. Note that the Mastery keywords do not necessarily follow this restriction. Refer to the entries for each Mastery to check when they can be used.
Units with Field Commander can no longer be promoted to commander during the game if all other commanders in your army are defeated. They only gain the commander token (the little one, not the order token) if you have no other commanders in your list during army building, and Field Commanders only share a courage 2 bubble if they have this commander token.
Units using Fire Support can only contribute 1 eligible weapon to the attack pool, so a unit with Arsenal that uses Fire Support cannot add multiple weapons to the attack pool.
Attack pools no longer need to be exclusively weapons with Immune: Deflect in order to prevent wounds being dealt back from Deflect and the various Masteries. The attack pool simply needs to contain weapons with Immune: Deflect.
Units with Incognito cannot be used to satisfy the Victory conditions on objective cards, which means they can start with objective tokens in Bombing Run or count for moving bomb carts in Payload for example.
Retinue requires “another” friendly unit of the specified type in order to trigger. So a Mangnaguard or Dark Trooper that is promoted during the game cannot Retinue itself.
ALWAYS IN MOTION, THE FUTURE IS
There are a few new/updated entries in the new CRB that do not effect anything in the game currently but offer exciting prospects for the future.
We already have Unique cards, which are denoted by a single dot next to the name of the card. The new CRB mentions Limited cards which will be can have multiple dots next to their name, with the number of dots showing how many cards of that name can be taken.
FORCE UPGRADE CARDS
Page 17 of the CRB gives us the following intriguing nugget:
This leads me to believe we will be seeing multi-mini units that have access to force powers. We can only speculate what those units would be but it is an exciting prospect.
The Legion rules are a living document and while the basics of the game are fairly simple, there are a lot of nuances and edge cases that can complicate it. I have done my best to cover the biggest changes from the previous RRG to the new CRB but it is entirely possible (and probably likely) that some things have slipped through the cracks.
I will end this article with another plug for the Star Wars: Legion Rules Questions forum. This is a fantastic resource to keep up on the nuances and edge cases of the game, especially if you are playing competitively.