5 Stages of Coordinated Fire Grief
How to navigate not taking one of the best command cards in the game.
Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.
These are the steps I go through while list-building for the Galactic Empire in Star Wars: Legion. Why? A single, otherwise insignificant piece of card stock with title “Coordinated Fire”:
A bit of background: Coordinated Fire is a command card that shipped with the Imperial Specialists Personnel Expansion. This card is uniquely significant to Galactic Empire players because of the very-low-floor, very-high-ceiling nature of Imperial units, especially Corps units. For example, Imperial Stormtroopers:
Stormtroopers, assuming they take the RT-97C, the most popular weapon currently, have an impressive dice pool of 1R, 7W, which in mathematical terms (including surge: hit), is
1 * 7/8 + 7 * 3/8, or
3.5 hits. When you include heavy cover (i.e. “cover: 2”), that drops down to 1.5 hits.
However, if you give the Stormtroopers an aim token, their effectiveness jumps. Instead of doing, on average, 1.45 wounds to a B1 Battle Droid unit in heavy cover, they now do 2.30 (a nearly 40% improvement).
“Great!” you might say, but how does that apply to Coordinated Fire? Coordinated Fire rewards you with an aim token every time you pull this off, which means with a complement of Corps troopers, you can be improving the offense of a considerable chunk of your entire army with this card.
Even if you have a lighter detachment of Corps units, read the fine print:
Another friendly unit at range 1-2 may gain 1 aim token
That’s friendly unit. Not corps. Not trooper. Unit.
There are a plethora of excellent Imperial units that greatly benefit from essentially free aim tokens. In fact, the Coordinated Fire turn is often considered one of the scariest ones to face, in that it improves the offense of the entire Imperial army in predictable but often, especially for newer players, unknown ways.
“Ok - so, what’s your point?”
I, as an Imperial player, just can’t not take Coordinated Fire. I’ll explain why:
First, you start off telling yourself it’s not that necessary.
There are a lot of ways for Imperial armies to gain aim tokens, between General Veers, Imperial Officer, Electrobinoculars (often on both Veers and the Officer), and on some units, upgrades like Offensive Push or Linked Targeting Array. Some units get aim tokens just for receiving an order.
However, each of these approaches have subtle flaws, or further constrain list-building. Spotter, while an excellent keyword, is both order and activation-dependent; you need to activate a unit with the keyword, have it within range-1 of target units, and then activate those target units. Any of the below can happen in the meantime:
Your opponent moves the unit(s) you wanted to shoot out of range or LOS
Your opponent shoots the unit(s) you wanted to shoot, defeating models
Your opponent suppresses the unit(s) you wanted to shoot, then moves, denying them the ability to move/shoot (and as a result, spend the aim token in the way you intended).
Your opponent throws fast and scary melee units like Tauntaun Riders, Dewback Riders, or various Jedi into your gunline, and you have to make decisions around surviving/dealing with them, or shooting other, less valuable units.
Other keywords such as Target, or Tactical are easier (less activation-dependent), but come at the cost of needing to be able to equip these keywords, and to use the (often) few orders you have at your disposal in Galactic Empire lists to gain those benefits.
Then, you start to get angry. It’s [insert current company]’s fault that Coordinated Fire is such an important part of list building for Empire, and not your fault for wanting to include it in every list.
You start to build lists that take advantage of it as much as possible:
The above list has a potentially terrifying maximum of 8 aim tokens turn 1 (Tactical Strike), followed up with a potential (rare, but possible) 15 aim tokens turn 2 (Coordinated Fire, with aim tokens of all 6 Corps shared to Iden Versio and her Imperial Special Forces).
Next, you move on to trying to figure out builds not dependent on Coordinated Fire. After all, there are plenty of other 3-pips in the game - Vader even has two - and you can surely find a combination that is as good or better than Coordinated Fire, right?
You’ll start to crank the numbers, but will quickly realize that even otherwise excellent command cards like Lying In Wait are often worse versions of Coordinated Fire:
For example, you could take Lying In Wait, and get Bossk several aim tokens, leaving the rest of your army in the dust as they tickle the enemy over and over with un-aimed dice. However, if you take Coordinated Fire, they can simply give aim tokens to Bossk, getting virtually the same effect, and in the process increasing their own effectiveness by nearly 40%.
At this point, with 20 or so odd discarded lists in your favorite list builder, you probably have something that looks like this if you’re not running Coordinated Fire:
It’s true - you can build lists where Coordinated Fire is not a mainstay of list building, but they look further and further from typical Imperial lists, and rely more and more on stranger builds. What is an Imperial army without Stormtroopers, after all?
If you’ve made it to this point of the article, you, like me, have accepted Coordinated Fire is likely here to stay in most Empire list-building. Frankly, without it, there are more interesting and more consistent gunlines available in other factions that do as much or better, with their own upsides.
So let me show you a couple of templates I’ve used for Imperial list building late 2020:
Both of these can be solid “starter" templates for lots of Imperial list building, and have a solid amount of points (~300-400) to fit in your favorite side-characters, whether it be Boba Fett, Bossk, Vader, or even vehicles like the AT-ST.
I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed my latest article, and would love you to share your thoughts, either here or on the unofficial Star Wars: Legion Discord. Feel free to subscribe (it’s free!) to receive any updated content or articles!