Cherokee Open 2023 After Action Report
Cherokee Open 2023 was my first large Legion tournament and holy hell did I have a good time! I am definitely going next year. It's an easy drive for us, only about 2 hours from Knoxville. The venue was also great, the large convention hall area was excellent and the hotel itself was fantastic.
I would like to congratulate Austin Miller for going undefeated and winning the whole tournament! I would also like to thank my friend Ryan Sliwoski for organizing and judging the event! I was so happy that all of us locals could come out and support him and it was an absolute blast!
In this AAR I am going to go over my list, my 5 games, and how they went and I will be joined by my lovely girlfriend Ashley who will also go over her 5 games and a list.
Greetings, I have been playing legion here in Knoxville for about a year now. I started taking it more seriously and playing more opponents about 6 months ago. I am an avid fan of the Empire and it's evil goons. You will quickly notice my humor and cadence differ from Mitch's significantly, so please enjoy my black cat-esque point of view.
This is a list I have been playing variations on since Din was released. It started as a Rebel Officer and comms techs instead of Lando and I'm not sure if swapping them was the right call. Han and Chewie are two of my favorite pieces to use in Legion and I like to bring them almost everywhere. The same can be said for Din, I could use him in every list and never get bored.
I tried using Boba for a while instead of din, but for me, Boba is just a bit too slow and less of a hammer for the rest of my list. Losing bounty is also something I take into consideration a lot, I think I was able to score 3/5 bounties this weekend.
The Vets, Mk2s, Lando, and Chewie act as a really solid gunline/anvil. I haven't played rebels without using vets since probably late August 2022. They are phenomenal and so much fun to use. Super versatile and also offensive powerhouses.
The last edit I made to my list was actually per Ryan's suggestion. I used to have 2 strike teams, but he persuaded me to try two fleets instead for cleaning up my bag and saving some points. I loved it. I used to almost exclusively run double strikes as act padding but now I think I may just have to switch completely to fleets.
Overall I am happy with how my list performed, If I were to do it again I think I'd probably take a generic officer instead of Lando for some comms tech or maybe even scatter guns on the fleets.
Dewbacks have been my children for a hot minute now so it felt like a betrayal not bringing them along to this tournament. In truth, how could I NOT take the character who shares a name with me and brings along his gigantic robot minions? As soon as the info for dark troopers was released I knew they were going to be a new favorite. I've been proxying them for a while now against my local opponents who graciously let me use proxy models. Aggressive tactics on Gideon make dewbacks even scarier...surging dewbacks...I think yes. The double-heavy setup with darks is by far my favorite on them. The assault cannon is killer for getting extra dice and critical 1 and the frag launcher with blast brings me too much joy.
Round One: Mitch v Chris Lawton (4-1, Best Rebel, and 5th Overall)
My round-one opponent was Chris Lawton (who ended in 5th overall) from the Raleigh Rancor Riders. He was a phenomenal opponent and it was a super fun game. Interestingly enough the thing I want to fight the least is other Rebels, especially double Airspeeders. I have a grand total of Impact 1 in my list and Critical 8 plus 4 surge: crit heroes. In the past, that has been sufficient but in this game, it ended up just not being enough.
I misplayed Din and moved him to the bottom left corner of the board to try and catch Leia's bounty at the top left, but Chris did an incredible job at making sure that didn't happen. He had a massive castle of Leia, Vets, Mk2, and FD sitting in the top left scoring his intercept, hiding behind a wall, and stopping my advances. Meanwhile, his two Airspeeders rushed up the top right to hit the rest of my list. I was able to build a decent standby castle to slow that advance and then play Lando's All-In to drop a speeder turn 2 with fire support from an MK2 I placed nearby with rapid. He put his Tauns in the bottom right corner with rapid and pincered my list between his speeders and Tauns.
Din was too far away to act as protection from the Tauns and they chewed my gunline up. I misplayed and Chris was able to take advantage of that to gain control of the board. He was an excellent opponent and went on to win Best Rebel, so it was an honor to lose to him.
Round One: Ashley v Dan Carpenter (1-2, 42nd Overall)
My first game against Dan was a lot of fun. He and I made it clear from the beginning that we were both fairly new to the tournament scene. He was super kind and a great first opponent but the moment he pulled three dewbacks out of his case I was not looking forward to dealing with them. It was truly a lizard frenzy.
We played objectives I haven't played in a long time so it forced me to stay on my toes. We played payload and put our objective tokens fairly close together so our bomb carts (and therefore our forces) were inevitably going to crash. Dan sent his dews into my side of the table very quickly which allowed me to use the dark troopers in melee with them. I kept the dark troopers apart because I knew Vader with his waving hand of evil was coming for them. Dan sent a lot of his forces toward the bottom of the board and gave me the chance to slip up the middle.
It was a close game and I was able to stall his cart one time to get mine closer. This allowed me to score one point more than he was able to in order to win.
Round Two: Mitch v Kameron Burt (2-3, 36th Overall)
This game was streamed! I am at the bottom of the screen. It was a fun game and ended 4-2 in my favor. I won't go into too much detail since you can watch it yourself!
Kameron was a fantastic opponent and it was a really fun game. I hope he can get his revenge at Rocky Top in May. I'm rooting for him if we get paired.
Round Two: Ashley v Chris Vandergriff, aka Tha Captn (2-3, 27th Overall)
The dreaded Blizzard Force matchup was not one I (or my dark troopers) was hoping to see, but it went better than I was expecting. I personally love Vader but seeing him twice in one day is too much. Chris, however, was a great opponent. We were able to have a fun and talkative game. Chris is from Chattanooga, TN so he is pretty local to us in Knox.
We played KP, which I'm very familiar with, and disarray, which I have played a total of once in the (almost) year that I have been playing. We begin our deployments and I deployed everything but one Dark unit and Moff Gideon when Chris reminded me that I have to put at least one unit in the other deployment zone, which I had not. This forces me to divide my forces, so I put my two remaining units in that box. The game started quickly with Chris's four units of speeder bikes coming for one dark trooper unit and my two dewbacks. I was able to roll well and fight back against them better than anticipated. What really changed the game was Vader diving into melee with Gideon with a unit of darks nearby. I had a couple of hot rolls with Gideon and the darks once they arrived on the scene of the melee and took down Vader.
I was then able to move my units toward the center to secure the middle key position and maintain my other KP. We ended it at 2-1. It was a super fun game that ended in a shot of whiskey from a flask to toast our game.
Round Three: Mitch v Eric Maylott (3-2, 22nd Overall)
This was a really fun game and only my second time facing Shadow Collective. Eric was an excellent opponent and we had a good time just chatting and laughing as we played. This was also my first time playing payload since the new rules dropped and it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting.
The game went pretty rough for Eric, unfortunately. My dice were really hot during the first turn and I was able to kill off his Bus, Black Suns and I think 1 mando unit by the end of the second turn. He threw a full-blown BSE, Mage-Det, Frag Grenade shot into no-cover din and only did one wound. Din in return killed 5 Black Suns I think, might've been 4. He positioned Gar and 2 of his mandos on top of a building turn 1 and made it a real challenge for me to stick any wounds on them. Once his payload started moving across the map, he was forced to come into the open to avoid me stopping his cart, which allowed me to take open or light cover shots into the mandos and Gar.
By the end, we had both done a number to each other but I was able to stop his cart and kill enough things to keep it from moving long enough to score my cart and my bounty with Din. Overall, it was a really fun time and I hope he feels the same way.
Round Three: Ashley v Stephen Sylvia (2-2, 18th Overall)
At this point in the tournament, I was quite stressed with the entirety of my Knox team being held on my shoulders. Kidding, but I was told by my friend Chad that our local game store would shut down if I lost, so thanks. Anyway, Stephen was a lot of fun to play and was very patient as I kept violently rolling my dice outside of my dice tray. He and I had great chats during our game as well.
I am fairly familiar with sabotage, but as soon as I saw his LAAT filled with black suns I had no idea how to deal with them. As we started I immediately went for the Vaps near my deployments to get them out of the way. Stephen played more of the long game and sent his speeder bikes and Boba on their missions. After much, much trying I was able to get Boba which is what really changed the game. I sent my dewbacks right into the middle to handle most of the heavy lifting with the black suns.
I was eventually able to secure a third Vap and take the win. It was a VERY sweaty game but lots of fun and a little trash talk from my and Stephen's mutual friend Ryan.
Side note: I was happy to have ended in third place with a 3-0 streak on the first day of my first big tournament. Then, as I predicted, I fell apart on the second day.