We have all heard the argument that most of the great clone lists have one or more Z6s in them. We also know that you can get amazing value out of them using Rex’s 2 Pip - “Take that Clankers” and shooting them at range 4. Well I played a really interesting game of Legion over the weekend against a friend of mine, Chris Groff. He showed me some tech that I had not really considered up to this point. Instead of running a Phase II Z6 unit with Offensive Push, a common staple in many Rex lists. He instead opted to run a Phase I unit with a Clone Specialist and Targeting Scopes. The idea is the same as the Phase II unit: on the “Take that Clankers” turn, you move into range 4 and shoot. Instead of tapping offensive push, you use the specialist ability as a free action to get your aim, but you are shooting with an additional clone (1 extra black die), and you get to reroll an additional die using Precise 1 from Targeting Scopes. Both versions of the build cost exactly 93 points. This got me thinking and I decided to use the dice simulator to math this out. Which build is better at 93 points? To take it one step further, there is also a third 93 point option to consider, and that is the Phase I unit with a Clone Captain, a Z6 and Offensive Push. Should I be spamming one type or taking a mix of all 3 and why?

Let’s start by looking at the list Chris played:

800/800 (9 activations)

Captain Rex (90): 

Aggressive Tactics (15) 

Offensive Push (4)

JT-12 Jetpacks (10) = 114


R2-D2 = 45

C-3PO (15) = 60

 Padmé Amidala (90)

Esteemed Leader (5)

Situational Awareness (2) = 97

Phase I Clone Troopers (52)

Z-6 Trooper (23) = 75

Phase I Clone Troopers (52)

Z-6 Trooper (23)

Phase I Clone Specialist (14)

Targeting Scopes (4) = 93

Phase I Clone Troopers (52)

Z-6 Trooper (23)

Phase I Clone Specialist (14)

Targeting Scopes (4) = 93

Phase I Clone Troopers (52)

Fives (36) 

Phase I Clone Specialist (14)

 Targeting Scopes (4) = 106

BARC Speeder (60)

BARC RPS-6 Gunner (21) = 81

BARC Speeder (60)

BARC RPS-6 Gunner (21) = 81

Chris told me that in this build, he has found success by using the BARCs to serve as a distraction while getting into position for a really strong Take that Clankers play. 

*Note that there are 2 of the Phase I Z6 Specialists with Targeting Scopes in this list. For the sake of comparison, I will always assume that there will be two redundant copies of the Z6 choice in the list.

I am going to sim against the four most common types of corps units in heavy cover. The four tests will show B1s in heavy cover (white saves, no surge), rebel troopers in heavy cover (white surging saves), stormtroopers in heavy cover (red saves, no surge), and clones in heavy cover (red saves with access to 4 surge tokens). Once clones burn through their surges, their sims should look the same as the stormtrooper chart.

The first set of sims assume that the unit shooting goes first in the turn and does not have any suppression. The sims also assumes that “Take that Clankers” has been played with Aggressive Tactics, orders have been issued to fives and the two z6s and therefore surge tokens will be available.

Phase I Z6, Clone Specialist, Targeting Scopes (Courage 1, 1 aim, Precise 1, 3 Surge Tokens)

4 wounds 23.73% of the time
3 Wounds 26.77% of the time

2 Wounds 30.16% of the time
1 Wound 35.04% of the time

Phase I Z6, Clone Captain, Offensive Push (Courage 1, 1 aim, 3 Surge Tokens)

3 Wounds 25.53% of the time
3 Wounds 24.57% of the time
2 Wounds 29.14% of the time
1 Wound 37.02% of the time

Phase II Z6, Offensive Push (Courage 2, 1 aim, 5 Surge Tokens)

3 Wounds 26.44% of the time
2 Wounds 29.29% of the time
2 Wounds 29.17% of the time
1 Wound 38.37% of the time

What Does This Mean?

The first thing that i want to point out is that the sims for all three builds are surprisingly close in terms of damage output. That is a testament to how well these three builds are balanced in my opinion. However, there are a few considerations that we can pull out of these numbers. First off, the highest raw damage goes to the Phase 1 build with a specialist and targeting scopes. The average ceiling/expected save rolls is also raised slightly. This is not super surprising, as you have 1 additional black die and 1 additional reroll from your aim. However, the massive downside relative to the other two builds is that you are courage 1 and you absolutely need two actions. In a perfect world, you could start from behind a line of sight blocking piece of terrain, move out while using your specialist ability to get your aim, and shoot from range 4. Another scenario could be that you start from range 5 and move into range 4 with the same ability. However, at range 5 you are still vulnerable to sniper shots (dealing a suppression), tank fire, or other range 4 units that activate before you. This is why I would consider this build to be both the highest risk and highest reward version of the 93 point z6. There are certainly ways to mitigate suppression via command cards, but I would caution going all in on these. However, from a purely alpha strike damage perspective, this build puts out the highest numbers so I would consider it as a one-off.

As you can see from all three of the sims against clones with 4 surge tokens, access to more surges is extremely important to clone defense. This brings me to my next point.

How many surge tokens do you need to spend on these attacks to maximize damage?

The sim shows that you are spending 0 surge tokens 43.84% of the time, 1 surge token 35.87% of the time, and 2 surge tokens 15.30% of the time.

Using the list shown in the beginning of the article, even one attack could potentially reduce your defense significantly for the remainder of the turn. Are there more optimal Rex builds when it comes to surge token generation? Of course there are, and the addition of a generic clone commander will also help. But for the sake of comparison, we will continue using the BARC list as a baseline.

The Phase II build is interesting because it has a few benefits. For starters, it is always courage 2. The value of this cannot be overstated as it is more likely to preserve action economy over the course of the game than the other two builds. While it can still be suppressed (and quite easily by certain lists), it will generally net you more actions over the course of the game than courage 1 units. The other benefit is the Reliable 1 keyword, which adds extra surge tokens into your pool. Looking at the above sims against clones with 4 surge tokens, it is interesting to note that the highest average wounds taken is actually 1. To only take a single wound as a clone army  requires spending 1 surge token around 35% of the time and two surge tokens around 14% of the time on defense. This is why going all in on Phase IIs carries the benefit of putting more of those surges into the pool for defense. The tradeoff is that you have five wounds instead of six. This can make you more vulnerable to units with pierce or poison. It also makes “safe” fire supporting less effective, which seems to be the biggest benefit of the Phase I Clone Captain build.

What is “Safe” Fire Supporting?

It is pretty typical for games of Star Wars Legion to end in ties, and have those ties resolved by looking at points destroyed. This is why activation preservation is an extremely important consideration in this game. The concept of “safe” fire supporting is that you can position your squad next to a line of sight blocking piece of terrain, keep a single model hidden so your squad cannot be completely destroyed from return fire, and still feel safe to shoot or fire support.

There are a number of reasons why the Phase I Clone Captain build is so good at this. First, it has offensive push, so it can take full advantage of a range 4 take that clankers shot without exhausting the captain if it is the first unit to activate in the turn and it has not taken suppression. If it has taken suppression, it can exhaust the captain ability to still get its two actions and make the same play. All of that is great, and it still does slightly better damage than the Phase II build because it has one extra model. Where it really shines is in its ability to cohere as seen in the pictures above to take a shot with the same efficiency and expected result as the fully vulnerable Phase II unit, while hiding and preserving one model. This allows for the Captain unit to fire support into something else on subsequent turns without fear of being completely eliminated. When it has either lost all five visible models, or in a later turn in the game, it can choose to exhaust the captain (who is the leader so his effect remains in play the entire time and cannot be “scoped” out) and regardless of suppression, take two actions. Commonly these actions can be to advance on a key position or other objective in turn 6, or to simply move into melee with something to prevent it from touching an objective. I have personally been in a situation where a squad in this position had 5 suppression tokens and made a move towards a middle Key Position on turn 6 using Anakin's courage to prevent panic. The value of this play can be extremely strong, and in my opinion it is worth considering taking at least one unit with this build, especially if you plan to set up fire support plays. You can even leverage Anakin, Obi Wan, or Padme with Inspiring Presence Courage 3 value to keep this unit from panicking when it takes 5-6 suppression. In the list we have been looking at throughout this article, fire supporting into either of the BARCs can be extremely powerful and will push the expected average wounds from 1 to 3 against stormtroopers and no surge tokens will be spent. If you are fire supporting into Anakin’s saber throw, you can expect 4 wounds into stormtroopers in heavy cover.

What Should I Take?

Well that really depends on your list but I think this data proves that there are at least interesting choices besides just spamming Phase II z6s. I truly believe that there is room for and a justification for at least one of the alternative Phase I builds. If you are playing Anakin and looking to set up fire supports, I think the Captain build is great. You might even want to consider saving two points and taking situational awareness on that unit in an Anakin list. In a Rex list supported by Arcs and a bunch of Phase IIs, it might be worth swapping one of the Phase IIs for a Phase I with the Specialist and Targeting Scopes for max damage potential on the first act of your Take that Clankers turn. Be sure to play that unit safely for the remainder of the game, keeping it back a bit and potentially using it to just generate tokens for the rest of your army for a turn or two after TTC. Or, be prepared to manage its suppression with We’re Not Programmed and Attack of the Clones.

I hope this article gave you something to consider when building your next clone list. Stay tuned for more articles in the future where we continue to explore different builds using the Dice Simulator tool. Thanks to Michael Hammond for all his work on the Dice Simulator and Chris Groff for giving me the inspiration to run these numbers.

Until next time, May the Force Be With You.


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