Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Unit Guides: Stormtroopers

Stormtroopers are the backbone of the Imperial Army. Faceless, numberless, and ubiquitous, they impose the Emperor's will throughout the galaxy. In Legion, how effectively you use your stormtroopers may likely be the difference between victory and defeat.

"Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise." Yeah, right...


At a cost of 44 points, Stormtroopers are currently the cheapest unit the Empire can field.
A standard unit of Stormtroopers has 4 minis, each with a wound threshold of 1 and courage of 1; without additional upgrades, it can only take 4 hits before it's completely eliminated. Just 1 suppression token is enough to suppress a unit of Stormtroopers, and they can only have 2 suppression tokens without being at risk of panicking.
Stormtroopers have a red defense die, which means they have a 50% chance to block each incoming hit.
Speed 2 gives them average mobility.

When fighting at range with their E-11 Blaster Rifle, they throw a white die each. Thankfully, their offensive surges count as hits, so that each die has a 37.5% chance to hit. This yields an average of 1.5 hits from 4 troopers, with an average of 0.5 crits
Their melee Unarmed attack is significantly better; a black die with offensive surge to hit has a 62.5% chance to hit its mark. This yields an average of 2.5 hits from 4 troopers (and 0.5 crits.)
Precise 1 improves the efficiency of aim tokens.
Total Hits vs. % Chance; Red = Ranged, Black = Melee
Above is a probability distribution for the Stormtroopers different attacks. As you can see, the distributions are mirror images of each other. While using their E-11 Blasters, the Most Probable Result for a standard unit is 1 damage; there is a 36.6% chance of seeing this outcome. On the other hand, their Unarmed melee attack has a Most Probable Result of 3 damage, with the same 36.6% chance.

With an unmodified red defense die each individual Stormtrooper has 2 EHP (Effective Health Points, the average number of hits needed to kill 1 trooper outright.) Given average rolls -- and barring the use of cover, aim, and dodge tokens -- you would expect to lose 1 Stormtrooper mini every time a standard unit of Rebel Troopers attacks. (Keep in mind that not only does this bring your unit closer to destruction, but it diminishes the strength of its attacks as well.) If the Rebel Troopers are not suffering any losses themselves, then it will take them an average of 4 attacks to completely deplete the unit of Stormtroopers.


Stormtroopers have 4 upgrade slots: Heavy Weapons, Personnel, Equipment, and Grenades.

Heavy Weapons Slot

Total Hits vs. % Chance; Red = DLT-19, Black = HH-12
From the probability distribution of Heavy Weapon attacks we can see that in terms of raw damage, the major difference between the DLT-19 and HH-12 is their potential damage output.

The DLT-19 Stormtrooper (24 pts) provides a substantial boost to your unit's firepower, while simultaneously increasing survivability. Its 2 red dice (with offensive surges becoming hits) average 1.75 damage at range 1-4. This more than doubles your unit's average damage, taking you from 1.5 hits to 3.25 hits, and lets you take potshots at enemies that would otherwise be out of range. Impact 1 means you're likely to do some damage to units with Armor, which helps to shore up another offensive weakness.
Beyond this, one additional mini represents a 25% increase in your unit's health pool. This all comes at a price: its cost of 24 points is more than half the cost of the original unit in fact. Still, I feel the DLT-19 improves your Stormtroopers' firepower enough to be worth it.

The HH-12 Stormtrooper (34 pts) also improves your firepower and survivability. From range 2-4 it adds 1.875 average damage and has Impact 3, giving you some real punch against Armor. It also increases your unit's health pool by 1.
However, this Heavy Weapon comes with significant restrictions: you cannot use its attack and move in the same turn; it exhausts on use, and it can't hit enemies at range 1. Combine this with its rather expensive cost of 34 points, and it might be too expensive and clunky to use on a regular basis unless your army lacks other options to deal with Armor.
Of course, all the above restrictions can be circumvented by having the HH-12 Stormtrooper use the E-11 Blaster Rifle (or a Grenade upgrade) instead of the rocket launcher-- but if you find yourself doing this very often you might just be better off with the DLT-19 instead.

Personnel Slot

Currently, the only available Personnel upgrade adds a single Stormtrooper mini. At 11 points, this provides a 25% increase to firepower and a 25% increase to survivability with 25% increase to cost. This upgrade is probably worth taking if you are only bringing 3 or 4 corps units. An extra Stormtrooper mini can also help you get more value out of any other upgrades you attach to the unit. For example, you may also want this if you are planning on including a Heavy Weapon ugprade, as it will help to keep the expensive Heavy Weapon mini on the table.

Gear Slot

Grappling Hooks (3 pts) might be helpful for getting your troopers safely into position to capture objectives, flank an enemy, or escape destruction. Just how helpful is going to depend on the terrain you're playing with.

Targeting Scopes (6 pts) will stack with your native Precise 1 to give you up to 4 rerolls when you use an aim token. Even with white dice, your chances of rolling 4 blanks is pretty low, and once you start coming under fire you might not even have 4 dice to roll. I think this is only useful for Stormtroopers if you 1) are already including an extra trooper and/or a Heavy Weapon trooper, 2) are really relying on your Stormtroopers to consistently provide damage, and 3) can get into position to aim and attack before taking casualties.

Grenades Slot

Concussion Grenades (5 pts) let you ignore cover and use black attack dice at range 1. Like your Unarmed attack, this is a pretty good increase in damage over white dice and useful if you are unable or simply don't want to close to melee range. Blast makes it great for assaulting enemy troopers that are in behind cover or already suppressed.

Impact Grenades (5 pts) are the cheapest way to gain Impact and improve your anti-armor capabilities. Once again, the black dice are a pretty good increase in damage over white dice and useful if you can get into range 1 but are unable or simply don't want to close to melee range.

The Stormtroopers' Role in Your Army

Units of Stormtroopers are crucial for controlling and capturing objectives. It is therefore important for an Imperial player to keep some of them alive long enough to fulfill this function. This also means that they are likely to draw a lot of fire from the opposing force. Ideally, Stormtroopers should be moving from cover to cover while getting in position to contest objectives, and remember that keeping your commander units nearby will help them stand their ground so they can fight and score points rather than routing under enemy fire.

Once in position, consider using the Aim action before firing (or before taking a standby token) in order to make the most of your Stormtroopers' attacks. Even with offensive surges counting as hits, their ranged attack is likely to turn up multiple blanks, but since they have Precise 1, an aim token will let you reroll up to 3 dice.

Stormtroopers are noticeably stronger in melee combat than they are at range. You should especially consider closing to melee against Rebel Troopers and Fleet Troopers; this will give you an advantage since your offensive surges convert to hits while theirs do not. Meanwhile, as long as you are engaged in melee any supporting enemy units will be unable to make ranged attacks against you, increasing your Stormies' chances of survival.

An effective army will have to balance the need for Stormtroopers' ability to score points with their weak offensive output. Should you favor large numbers of Stormtroopers, you should either bring upgrades that will increase their firepower or go light on upgrades altogether in order to fit some more powerful support units into your army. If you bring fewer units of Stormtroopers, you should consider upgrades that will increase their survivability.

Possible Stormtrooper Loadouts

DLT Squad
Stormtroopers (44 pts)
-DLT-19 Stormtrooper (24 pts)
-Stormtrooper (11 pts)
Total: 79 pts
While almost as expensive as 2 standard units of Stormtroopers, the "DLT Squad" has 6 minis, 3.625 avg damage at range 1-3, 1.75 avg damage at range 4. Taking 3 sets of "DLT Squads" emphasizes quality over quantity while leaving room for more powerful support units. You should try to protect them as much as possible while using the superior firepower of your Support and Heavy units to quickly wipe out enemy troopers.
On the other hand, bringing 5 or 6 sets of "DLT Squads" leaves a lot less room for other units but supplies a decent amount of firepower on its own, while providing plenty of activations to claim objectives and control tempo.

Stormtroopers (44 pts)
-Concussion Grenades (5 pts)
Total: 52 pts
A unit of "Grenadiers" only has 4 minis, but hits fairly hard at close range with 2.5 avg damage at range 1, 1.5 avg damage at range 2-3. They are inexpensive while still spending some points on grenades to supplement close range firepower. You should be aggressive with them, trying to close to range 1 quickly in order to use your grenades. Keep in mind that you will almost certainly take some losses before getting into range 1, and your damage output will suffer accordingly; however, quickly engaging enemy troopers that are out of position can prevent them from scoring objectives and otherwise throw a monkey wrench in your opponent's plans.
You could consider adding an extra trooper to really get the most out of the Concussion Grenades, and/or taking Environmental Gear or Grappling Hooks to improve mobility. You could even bring a DLT-19 to capitalize on pushing damage through cover with Blast, but the unit will be quite expensive at that point.
Of course you might choose to equip Impact Grenades instead, making your squad more threatening against Armor but less effective against un-armored units that are in cover.

Imperial Meat Shield
Stormtroopers (44 pts)
-Stormtrooper (11 pts)
Total: 55 pts
Sometimes, quantity is a quality of its own. The "Imperial Meat Shield" takes this philosophy to heart, aiming to provide the most bodies for the least amount of points. The purpose here is simply to improve your ability to survive attacks and increase your opportunity to score objectives, while still preserving points for support and heavy units to provide your offensive firepower. For 275 points, 5 units of "Imperial Meat Shield" provide 25 minis. That's a pretty beefy corps that can weather numerous attacks, while still leaving 525 points for the rest of your list.

As always, thanks for reading!

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Change Log
12/15/2017: changed "overwatch" to the official wording of "standby"
1/2/2018: updated to discuss some effects of courage, suppression, and panic
1/30/2018: added Upgrades and Possible Loadouts sections, some wording and other minor changes
3/23/2018: added Hit Percentage Curves for Heavy Weapons upgrades
4/5/2018: added more info about using the HH-12 Stormtrooper

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