What's in a Standby?

A token by any other name would be spent as sweet.

It may not hold the fear it did during the days of Clone Castle token sharing, but the Standby token still plays an important role in Star Wars: Legion. It can also be quite the trip for someone new to the game, so let's briefly clarify its rules and some weird interactions it presents.

Overview

What is a Standby? Well, it's essentially a banked action that can be taken if you haven’t already performed an attack during your current activation.

According to the RRG, “After an enemy unit attacks, moves, or performs an action, if that unit is at range 1–2 and in line of sight of a unit with a standby token, that unit may spend that standby token to perform a free attack action or a free move action.”

These enemy actions include:

  • Move

  • Attack

  • Withdrawal

  • Aim, Dodge, and Standby

  • Interacting With Objectives

  • Free Actions (such as force powers)

  • Recover

So once this has happened, you have two possible options yourself: attack or move. Once your unit spends a standby, it is free to move in any direction it would prefer. Crucially, this move is a move action, so keywords like Relentless and Charge do in fact trigger off of the standby move. You are also free to attack any unit, it does not have to be the unit that triggered your standby.

So how do you gain a standby token? Well, you can perform the standby action or gain a free one from a command card such as “Hello There” or “Deploy the Garrison.”

How do you lose it? If a trooper unit gains a suppression token or performs a move, an attack, or an action; it removes any standby tokens it has. It’s also just a standard green token, so it disappears at the end of the round if you don't spend it.

Seems pretty straightforward right? There’s a host of minor tidbits and loopholes to examine still!

Vader’s Might

This one is….interesting. The card text reads that you “place” a unit on the battlefield. Crucially, this is not a move or move action. It also does not give out suppression tokens! Therefore, despite the targeted unit’s “relocation” on the board, it retains it’s standby. This works for both friendly and enemy units, so the shenanigans here are almost endless.

Force Push

Every player has to experience the trial by fire that Force Push can be in Star Wars: Legion. Push is unique in the sense that it can be both beneficial and detrimental when engaging with standby, depending on your point of view. 

To begin with, a unit that is being pushed can trigger other standbys. For example, let’s say a Phase 2 squad is around the corner of a building with a standby token in their possession and is waiting for an enemy Rebel Trooper squad (currently out of line of sight) to come around that corner. If a friendly Anakin jumps forward and uses Force Push to move that rebel squad around the building and into range two and line of sight of the clones, they are allowed to spend their token and attack the rebels.

Now let’s invert that. In this new scenario, the Rebel Troopers have stumbled their way into gaining a standby token and are around a corner outside of line of sight. If Anakin is able to move within range one (for Force Push) and stay out of line of sight of the rebels, he can use push to move the rebel squad and strip their standby token.

Vehicles

For better or worse, repulsor vehicles cannot perform the standby action (unless they have Hover such as the AAT or Saber Tank). However, ground vehicles such as the AT-ST or AT-RT can! A standby on a vehicle is a unique prospect because it cannot be “stripped” and it only disappears once it has been spent or the turn ends.

The token cannot be stripped for two reasons: vehicles do not take suppression tokens, and force push cannot target them. This can be used effectively when attempting to hold a choke point later in the game in a scenario like Intercept the Transmissions, where you need to be selective with which units your AT-ST or AAT fire upon.

Cohesion

This last one is crucial. Standby triggers at range two of a unit. This means that a squad of three minis has a larger standby radius than a single mini unit. 

Let’s use the AAT example from above. Because that unit is composed of a single mini, the “standby bubble” of range two around it is static, and cannot be changed. However, this changes when we examine a three man Shoretrooper squad.

Due to cohesion rules, minis within a unit have to be placed within a speed one move of their leader. Therefore, they can be spread out to extend the range of the squad for standby, due to its range being measured by unit and NOT unit leader. 

This is especially important because the actions you can take off of a standby are not limited to range. For example, if a standby is triggered on a unit with a range four weapon, that unit can fire at something range four away, as we already stated you do not have to attack whatever unit triggers your standby spend.

Passing

Yes, it is in fact possible to avoid a standby through a cheeky maneuver. During a unit’s activation, it is allowed to perform “up to two actions.” This “up to” includes zero. If you go to activate a unit, and it is already under the gun of a standby token, you can “pass” or “decline” to take any actions, and the standby will not trigger.

Obligatory Wrap Up

I hope this was useful! There are plenty of other corner case scenarios where standby tokens come into play, but these are some of the most commonly seen. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Facebook (Mike Syrylo) or Discord (@GhostWalking) and I’d be more than happy to respond. Stay safe, and enjoy your games!