AT-RT stands for a All Terrain Recon Transport, which makes it either a mini AT-ST or a giant chicken.
What happens when you cross a chicken with a Flamethrower? Let’s find out.
Welcome to our fifth deep dive.
I’ll be honest up front; this one is going to be kind of long. Not only do I really love me some robotic chickens with flamethrowers, but there are three pretty interesting and viable weapon options to look at, as well as some important defensive considerations. So grab your sitting-on-your-bum beverage of choice, and let’s dig in.
- Can fill nearly any role depending on hardpoint choice
- Armor offers some protection against small arms
- Fast and mobile
- Can provide cover to your trooper units
- Poor armor save
- Difficult to get into cover
6 Health, 4 Resilience, Armor, white defense. The armor is good; 6 health is decent for a platform that is 55 points. That white defense die though, ugh. And you thought your Rebel Trooper saves were bad. This is officially the notorious “T-shirt” save; a 1 in 6 chance to save. Don’t expect it to happen and you will feel better when it does.
Climbing Vehicle, Expert Climber. I haven’t used this much, but it could certainly be handy depending on what sort of terrain you play on.
Surge to Crit: Awesome. Until the E-web comes out, the AT-RT is the only non-character unit that surges to crit.
There are two weapons on this card that you probably won’t use very much:
A-300 Blaster Rifle: Two white dice with surge to crit. Hopefully you are never in a position to need these, as they are obviously inferior to all your hardpoint upgrades, but you could certainly do worse for a backup weapon.
Grappling Claws: Three red dice, Impact 1. It hurts a lot to get kicked by an AT-RT. Don’t underestimate how surprisingly painful the AT-RT melee can be. Do you think they have an AT-RT soccer league? I feel like that has to be a sport somewhere.
Don’t laugh, but you can actually take these naked and just use them for Stormtrooper punting and mobile cover.* Riggins made it to #2 in the Invader league with two naked AT-RTs.
Let’s move on to the hardpoint upgrades.
There are three very different hardpoint upgrades available to the AT-RT. Each upgrade allows the AT-RT to fulfill a very different role on the battlefield. Broadly speaking, the Laser Cannon is anti-armor, the Flamethrower is in-your-face trooper melting, and the Rotary Blaster is somewhere in between, providing flexible fire support at Range 3.
Here are the average wounds by target for the three options (no cover). I’ve included a line accounting for aim on the Laser Cannon and the Rotary Blaster, because you will often be in a position to be able to take an aim token on those two loadouts.
As per usual, green/blue is good and red is bad
Nothing overly surprising here. Both the Laser Cannon and the Rotary Blaster benefit pretty significantly from Aim. The Flamethrower roasts troopers. Time to get into the nitty gritty.
On thing I would strongly advise is to take all of your AT-RTs with the same loadout. Decide what role you want them to fill, then take two or three of the same. The Flamethrower and Laser Cannon in particular benefit from being used in pairs (or packs).
Before we get into the details, lets look at how the various hardpoint options stack up against other Rebel choices. Once again I’ve included aim tokens for the Laser Cannon and Rotary Blaster.
As expected, the Flamethrower looks pretty darn good against troopers. The values shown are for 5 targets (except for the Pierce Immune and Boba columns).
The Rotary comes in right below where a 4 man naked Rebel Trooper squad does, if the Rotary has an aim token and the Rebel Troopers don’t. Without an aim token, the Rotary is… not great.
The AT-RT Laser Cannon looks pretty good here (both with and without an aim token). Note it is also the only option with Range 4 on this list (besides the unreleased Fd 1.4). This is why I like to get my Impact from my AT-RTs and my anti-trooper damage from other units.
The AT-RT Flamethrower is like that crazy chick from Geometry class that teases all the football players and writes lurid things on your desk. If you can score a date with her, there’s a good chance she’ll walk out with the smooth talker she met on the way to the bathroom before you even order appetizers, but if you can hang on for the wild ride you’ll be cackling maniacally as you roll 12 dice and roast a squad of Stormtroopers.
25 points. The cheapest hardpoint upgrade. Makes your AT-RT 80 points.
Range 1: Short. You need to get this thing in your opponent’s face. Luckily the AT-RT is fast.
Dice: Two black dice. Not great on their own, but obviously when combined with Spray….
Blast: Ignores cover. Always good.
Fixed Front: Like all AT-RT weapons, point front towards enemy.
Spray: Here’s the money keyword. With the two dice on the weapon, this could mean up to 12(!) dice in your pool from a single weapon. Practice that cackle.
Like the Snowtrooper version, the AT-RT Flamethrower’s blessing is also a curse. Your dice decrease significantly as the number of minis in your target unit goes down. Unlike the Snowtrooper version, however, two black dice base means you are still generally going to be rolling quite a few dice, even on smaller units. Additionally, because of its armor, the AT-RT doesn’t share the Snowtroopers’ defensive vulnerabilities to characters (Vader and Luke excepted).
Here is how the Flamethrower stacks up as you decrease minis in the target unit:
And here it is graphically, compared to the Rotary Blaster and the Laser Cannon:
Once you hit two minis in the target unit, the Flamethrower puts out less average hits than the Rotary Blaster, which should be obvious as the dice are the same (black) and that is the point at which the Flamethrower is throwing 4 dice to the Rotary’s 5.
As with all short ranged weapons, the AT-RT Flamethrower has one glaring problem: delivery. How best to get into torching-things range?
Luckily, the AT-RT is pretty fast, due to its large base and the front-to-back nature of movement in Legion. Below is your threat range (a speed 2 move plus Range 1) with the AT-RT. Note it is actually a little shorter than the Snowtrooper threat range:
Just a little beyond Range 2, at the end of that first little indent.
If you have a fair bit of tall, line of sight blocking terrain, you can try and be a little more cautious advancing your AT-RTs up the table. Unfortunately, the AT-RT model is quite tall, so you are unlikely to be able to do that for very long. At some point you just have to charge your barbecue chickens straight at their juiciest target and force your opponent to deal with them.
This strategy necessitates target saturation; you want more high threat models in one place than your opponent can deal with to guarantee that at least a few of them make it into killing range. If you are taking Flamethrower AT-RTs, you want at least two (or three if you want to get crazy), as well as Luke and possibly some Fleet Troopers. If you move them up in one flaming, laser sword wielding, shotgun shooting ball of death, something is going to survive to melt the faces of those opposing little plastic dudes. As a bonus, ground vehicles provide cover, so if you have Luke and/or Fleet Troopers moving up with your AT-RTs they can use them as mobile light cover.
AT-RT Laser Cannon
The bookish, reserved type, you’ll be worried the Laser Cannon is going to spend all night telling you about her three cats and regaling you with the intricacies of Pride and Prejudice. But soon you’ll realize Victorian England is pretty darn interesting and Mr. Darcy is actually kind of dreamy, and then that English Lit question will come up on trivia night and you’ll be glad she actually knows who “The Bard” is.**
Um… where were we? Oh right. Laser Cannon.
35 points. The most expensive of the hardpoints. Total cost clocks in at 90 points.
Range 2-4: Range 4 is solid. 2 minimum, so you have a tiny donut, but if something is that close you are probably just going to want to run up and punt it anyway.
Dice: One red, two black. Very reliable, though not a particularly high dice count, especially compared to the other hardpoint options.
Impact 3: The Impact is the primary reason you take the Laser Cannon. Any hits you score can be converted to crits.
The AT-RT Laser Cannon is the ‘safest’ of the three choices, in my mind. If your opponent shows up with an AT-ST or some AT-RTs, you are going to be pretty stoked. If they don’t show up with armor, the decent dice and long range mean the Laser Cannon won’t be optimal, but can still be plenty useful.
The long range of the Laser Cannon means it requires relatively little setup to get into position, and therefore you will have a lot of opportunities to take aim tokens. Here is the AT-RT laser, with and without aim tokens, against no cover and heavy cover:
Unsurprisingly, the AT-RT Laser Cannon has some trouble pushing hits through cover. The surge to crit helps a little bit, but you aren’t going to be dislodging many entrenched trooper units.
Where the Laser Cannon really shines is against armor. Most vehicles have a hard time getting cover, and with an aim token you are going to be pushing through 3 Impact hits pretty regularly. Not too shabby at all. Two AT-RTs with a Laser Cannon can focus down even an AT-ST rather quickly. You can expect to do just shy of 2 wounds to at AT-ST if you have an aim token.
Here is the probability chart for expected outcomes against an AT-ST (or any vehicle with white/surge defense die). This is all the way through to wounds, so it accounts for the AT-ST’s saving throws.
An aim token helps significantly here. With an aim token, you have a 93% chance to do at least one wound, and a 64% chance to do at least two wounds.
If you have two AT-RTs focusing an AT-ST, without any help from other units, you should be able to drop in it 3-4 turns.
Engaging an AT-ST
I usually run two AT-RTs with Laser Cannons, which is enough to take out an AT-ST (or at least distract it for most of the game). If your opponent has an AT-ST, plan for your AT-RTs to be chipping away at it until either it is dead or they are. Don’t be intimidated; two AT-RTs can definitely take down an AT-ST.
How best to engage an AT-ST? It starts with deployment. If you have more activations (and you should if your opponent brought an AT-ST), try and wait to deploy your AT-RTs after your opponent deploys his AT-ST. Set them up with a clear path to start aiming and chipping away at that 11 health pool. If you can set them up out of its arc, that is ideal, but often not possible.
After the game starts, make sure you are using the AT-RT’s long range. The AT-ST’s main gun is range 4 as well, but you want to make sure you prevent the AT-ST from bringing its 88 Light Blaster Cannon to bear, and that is only Range 3. When deploying and moving up your AT-RTs, put that range ruler flush with the AT-ST’s base and move just right up to the edge of it. Make the AT-ST waste a move action if it wants to throw all its dice at you.
I often find myself supplementing the AT-RTs’ effort with another unit if the opportunity presents itself. If your opponent is running the grenade launcher version, they need to get up close and personal, which also means getting close to Luke. Alternatively, a Z-6 squad can deal some decent Impact damage in a pinch by fishing for crits.
Engaging other AT-RTs
How this matchup is going to go depends entirely on your opponent’s hardpoint loadout. If they have anything but the Laser Cannon, you will easily out-range them and drop them very quickly. If it is a true mirror and your opponent brought Laser Cannons as well, make sure you focus 2-on-1 as much as possible, and use cover if you can manage it. Occasionally there is an AT-RT sized terrain bit you can hide behind.
Engaging a T-47
Let’s be real, you probably aren’t going to run into many T-47s. If you do, that Cover 1 actually makes itself useful (for a change), since the Laser Cannon has a high Impact and low dice pool. It only has 7 health, though; you still shouldn’t have too much trouble dropping it. Just don’t let it flank you.
AT-RT Rotary Blaster
Taking the AT-RT Rotary Blaster is kind of like taking your not-unattractive neighbor friend to the prom. It’ll be an easy ask and you will probably have a good time, but there will definitely be times when you wish you’d brought the crazy chick from geometry.
30 points. Middle of the road. 85 points for the whole package.
Range 1-3: Decent. Stormtrooper/Rebel Trooper range.
Dice: 5 black. Nothing flashy, but very solid combined with surge to crit. The Rotary Blaster benefits from the AT-RT’s crit conversion more than the other two options.
The Rotary Blaster is kind of the jack-of-all-trades, master of none hardpoint upgrade. You aren’t going to melt troopers like the Flamethrower or wreck armor like the Laser Cannon, but you can do a passable job against both.
Like the Laser Cannon, the Rotary Blaster benefits pretty significantly from aim. Unlike the Laser Cannon, the Rotary Blaster does a decent job of pushing hits through cover.
The Rotary Blaster performs reasonably well against armor, due to the surge to crit. You can expect to do about a wound to an AT-ST if you spend an aim token, which isn’t Laser Cannon good, but it is serviceable. I wouldn’t be relying on the Rotary to be your primary anti-armor weapon but you could do worse in a pinch.
There really isn’t much to say about how to use the Rotary Blaster. Find a good spot, take aim, and start throwing dice at trooper units.
If you have an AT-RT, especially the Flamethrower version, it is going to draw a lot of fire. That has some inherent value even if your barbecue chickens never make it to their target(s). How much value?
The value of soaking damage is somewhat hard to quantify due to the variables involved, but we will attempt to at least look at some informative stats.
Whenever something shoots your AT-ST, some hits are likely dropping off due to armor. Those hits would not be wasted if that same enemy was shooting one of your un-armored units instead, so we can call those wasted hits value your AT-RT is delivering for your non-armored units.
Before we look at wasted hits, lets just take a quick look at the defense table for AT-RTs. This will show the biggest threats to your AT-RTs. The colors are inverted, so red = high damage (most dangerous) while green = low (least dangerous).
Vader, the AT-ST and Luke will wreck your AT-RTs. Fleet Troopers (MPL-B), HH-12s, the T-47 and Saber Throw are not far behind. Speeder bikes and other AT-RTs (with Laser Cannon) are also very dangerous.
Let’s move on to the more interesting part; quantifying the damage soaking ability of the AT-RT.
Figuring out, on average, how many hits a given unit wastes by shooting at armor should be relatively straightforward. One would simply subtract their average impact hits (which includes crits) from their average total hits. So Wasted Hits = Net Hits – Impact Hits.
To determine how many of these wasted hits an AT-RT will soak up over the course of a game, one then takes each unit and determines how many attacks, on average, it would have to make to kill an AT-RT (to cause 6 wounds). One then multiplies that result by the average wasted hits to determine how much damage an AT-RT should cancel over the course of its lifespan.
Therefore Damage Soaked = Wasted Hits * Attacks to kill AT-RT
Before this gets too obtuse, here is the table:
Weapons with higher Impact waste far fewer hits by shooting at an AT-RT then those without. Logically, weapons that have as much Impact as they do dice (AT-RT Laser Cannon and Vader’s Saber Throw) waste no hits. Attack pools that rely on crits to deal Impact damage will waste far more hits (Fleet Troopers, the AT-RT Rotary, Rebel Troopers with Z-6).
Ultimately the answer to “how many hits will an AT-RT soak” is… it depends. If your opponent is firing at it with Impact efficient weapons, the AT-RT will cancel very few hits with its armor. If they are desperate to destroy it and are shooting at it with things like Z-6s and Rotary Blasters, that Armor keyword is going to give you a lot more bang for your buck.
Does that really add any inherent value? It is hard to say; after all, if your Rebel Troopers are in heavy cover and something targets them, they are ‘soaking’ two hits, just like the AT-RT’s armor would.
- The role of your AT-RT and how you use it is highly dependent on your hardpoint choice
- All three hardpoints are viable (as are naked chickens)
- Decide what role you want to AT-RTs to fill, and then take two or three of the same
- AT-RTs are surprisingly fragile. Try and keep them away from high Impact weapons
- AT-RTs can be used as mobile cover if you move them up with other high threat units
*Be aware that the cover rules for vehicles changed in the most recent update. Vehicles now create a “cylinder” of cover; draw lines from the base up to the top of the mini, and anything behind that cylinder receives the cover benefit. No more shooting through an AT-RTs legs.
**No, I don’t mean the kind of bard that dances around slashing at orcs while singing about tavern wenches and giving you a +1 bonus on your attack roll.