AT-ST

AT-ST 1

This week we take a look at the All-Terrain Scout-Transport (AT-ST).  A Rebel article was due to be next, but I don’t think anyone is bringing the T-47 to NOVA, so here we are.  Don’t worry; we’ll get to my beloved T-47 next.

Like the AT-RT, the AT-ST has a ton of weapon options (and an excellent pilot upgrade), all of which are viable.  This article is therefore going to be a little long.  In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson:

AT-ST 2

Some highlights.

Pros:

  • Lots of firepower
  • Toughest unit in the game
  • Several useful upgrade options
  • Long range
  • High speed (due to large base)
  • Tall profile makes it easy to see over cover

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Nearly impossible for AT-ST to receive cover

 

Overview:

AT-ST 3

195 points.  It’s not cheap.  What did you expect for something that towers over the battlefield?  I mean, the thing is like, as tall as my cat.

11 health, 8 resilience, Armor, white/surge defense.  The AT-ST is tough as nails.  11 wounds is the largest health pool in the game, and it is backed up by armor and a nice high resilience value.

Arsenal 2.  Can fire two weapons at once.  Weiss makes this Arsenal 4, which lets you use all of your hardpoint upgrades at once, if you are into that sort of thing.

Weak point 1: Rear.  Don’t get flanked.  Usually this is pretty easy to prevent, unless you are facing a T-47 that you somehow haven’t killed yet before it gets behind you.

Upgrade slots. Pilot, 3 hardpoints, comms.  That is a lot of hardpoint upgrades.  You probably don’t need the comms (until we get HQ uplink anyway) but the other slots are all legit.

Fence cutting blades.  You could certainly do a lot worse than 4 reds in melee, if you are desperate.

MS-4 Twin Blaster Cannon.  This is worth its own section.  See below.

On to the good stuff.  Though we will talk about each of the hardpoint upgrades, this article will not cover every possible combination of dice and every situation, though we will hit the most common and interesting ones.  Generally each of the hardpoint upgrades is going to be combined with the MS-4, except the mortar which is often fired separately.

Offense

AT-ST 4

MS-4 Twin Blaster Cannon

Let’s start with the big boy, the MS-4 Twin Blaster Cannon.

Two red, two black, two white.  Range 1-4.  Impact 3.

The Blaster Cannon packs a punch.  Thought the AT-ST lacks surge to hit, two of each dice equates to 24/8(6).  That isn’t terribly scary by itself, but the range is long (the most output at range 4 besides Maximum Firepower) and Impact 3 means you are going to dent vehicles pretty hard.  Though not terribly efficient by itself for 195 points, it combos extremely well with the AT-ST’s hardpoint upgrades, which actually all face the same direction, unlike the poor T-47.  This is the ‘base’ that you are going to be building your AT-ST dice pools from.

Here are the average wounds by target for various situations firing the MS-4 by itself:

AT-ST 5

As expected, aim helps the MS-4 considerably, while heavy cover is quite detrimental.  Aim is worth about an extra hit, or about 30% more output.

One of the most common targets for the MS-4 are AT-RTs.  Often, these will be out of range of your full pool (with the 88) but within range of the MS-4.  The Laser Cannon, in particular, likes to stay at the edge of the AT-ST’s range to prevent it from bringing its full dice pool to bear.

Here are the probability charts for wounds to an AT-RT with just the MS-4, with and without an aim token:

AT-ST 6

With an aim token, you have about a 68% chance to do at least 3 wounds to an AT-RT; without an aim token, that drops to 46%.  You probably aren’t going to hit that resilience threshold in one shot, but you will get pretty darn close.

Here is the AT-ST on AT-ST matchup:

AT-ST 7

The MS-4 does considerably fewer wounds to another AT-ST than an AT-RT, with or without aim.  If you are facing off in a mirror match your AT-STs are going to be punching back and forth for awhile.

What makes the MS-4 better?  Next up is the most ‘generic’ of the hardpoint upgrades, the 88 Light Blaster Cannon.

88 Twin Light Blaster Cannon

AT-ST 8

20 Points.  The most expensive hardpoint upgrade.

Range 1-3.  Decent.  Slightly shorter than your main gun, unfortunately.  If you want to throw all your dice at something you are going to have to move up.

Dice.  One red, one black, one white.  Very solid.  Added to your MS-4 it gives you 3 of each color, for 9 dice.  Yowza.

Impact 1.  When combined with the MS-4, you get Impact 4.  AT-RT go boom.

Fixed: Front.  Front towards enemy.

The 88 Twin Light Blaster Cannon is basically an upgrade for your MS-4.  A very solid one.  Here are the wounds by target for various scenarios:

AT-ST 9

I included the 88 by itself at the bottom there, just for posterity.  You generally don’t want to be splitting fire.  In theory you could hand out an extra suppression token; if you are firing at two different targets out of cover and don’t particularly want to murder one of them, there really isn’t a downside.  You only have a 9% chance to completely whiff with the three dice, so you have a pretty good shot to get that extra suppression down.

The 88 adds a lot to the AT-ST’s pool, especially with an Aim token.  How does it fare against an AT-RT?  Here is that same chart as before, with two lines added for the 88:

AT-ST 10

With the 88 TLBC and an Aim token, your AT-ST is going to hit that AT-RT’s resilience value in one shot 70% of the time.  Ouch?

The 88 helps in pushing hits through cover as well.  You are looking at 2.56 hits against units in heavy cover with the 88, and 1.29 without.

There is one thing better than the 88 at dealing with cover, though…

DW-3 Concussion Grenade Launcher

AT-ST 11

15 Points.  Just 15 points to add Blast to this monstrous dice pool?  Yes please.

Range 1-2.  Rather short.  If you have an AT-ST with a DW-3, you want it up in your opponent’s grill.  Luckily the AT-ST is pretty good at not dying, amirite?

Dice.  Two black.  Pretty good, but this isn’t why you take the DW-3.  You take it for…

Blast.  Your entire dice pool ignores cover.  If you have the Weiss full monty, that’s like, 11 dice or something.  I lost count past holy shit.

Fixed: Rear.  Just kidding.  It’s Fixed: Front.  What did you think this was, a T-47?

The grenade launcher adds a couple of dice and, most importantly, Blast.  Your entire pool ignores cover.  This is the hardpoint upgrade that turns the AT-ST from a durable nuisance to an in-your-face board presence.

Here are the wounds by target for the DW-3.  As it ignores cover, I left cover off the table, though I’ve included the main gun + 88 pool against cover for comparison purposes.

AT-ST 12

As with the 88, I wouldn’t recommend firing the DW-3 by itself.  It is tailor made to turn the MS-4 into a cover ignoring murder machine.

The DW-3 Grenade Launcher + MS-4, without Aim, does better against targets in heavy cover than the 88 + MS-4 with Aim.  Obviously this gap widens further if you aim with the DW-3.

There really isn’t much more to say about the DW-3.  Get it up in your opponent’s grill, preferably near an objective.  Personally I fear this version (or Weiss) of the AT-ST the most.  The backline gun turret version can be ignored, to an extent.  Any AT-ST with the DW-3 cannot.

One cautionary note which we will cover further in defense, which applies particularly to the DW-3 AT-ST: watch out for Luke.  If you are close to your opponent, then they are close to you.  Luke with Son of Skywalker has a pretty decent chance to take an AT-ST to it’s resilience threshold in one shot.

AT-ST Mortar Launcher

AT-ST 13

Evidently whatever Empire tech was designing weapons ran out of alphanumeric prefixes, because he just named this thing “AT-ST Mortar Launcher.”  All the other Empire weapons get cool monikers.  MS-4.  E-11.  DLT-19.  DW-3.  Ax-20.  HH-12.  T-7.  EC-17.  Sorry AT-ST Mortar Launcher.  Personally if you are going to scrap the alphanumeric standard, I would have gone with “WTF my shit is panicking,” Launcher, but sadly I am not in charge of such things.

10 Points.  Cheap.

Range 4-unlimited.  So that is a long range.  Unfortunately that is also a big donut.  Not the tasty kind either.  The I-can’t-shoot-stuff-close kind.  Often the mortar will be firing by itself, as this range band does not overlap with any of the AT-ST’s other weapons, except the main gun at Range 4.

Dice.  Three white.  Not great.  The mortar is not going to kill very much.

Suppressive.  The keyword that gives the mortar its value.  One additional suppression to the target just for being fired upon.  Potentially you can throw down two suppression on one target if any of your whites hit.

Fixed: Front.  Shocker.

The mortar launcher is for suppressing stuff.  It’s good at that, but not much else.  You might kill a stray Rebel Trooper on occasion.

Due to the unique range band, generally you are not going to be able to combine the mortar launcher with any of your other weapons, except the MS-4 at Range 4.  Here is what the probability chart looks like for just the Mortar Launcher, with and without an aim token:

AT-ST 14

Without an aim token, you have a 42% chance to completely whiff.  You still get the one suppression token from the mortar’s Suppressive keyword, but it is kind of a bummer to only get one token with a Suppressive weapon.

An aim token helps a bit, though 24% to completely miss still feels high to me for a weapon which exists almost exclusively to dish out suppression.

I’m personally a little down on the bare bones Mortar/main gun version of the AT-ST, because of how unreliable the mortar is an how surprisingly inefficient the MS-4 is by itself (yes, it is worse than a T-47).  Check the Empire Charts if you don’t believe me.

That doesn’t mean the mortar is bad, but I don’t think you want to make it the AT-ST’s primary trick, either.  It is good at panicking units that are not close enough to their commander, but experienced players don’t usually leave themselves open to that sort of thing.  That is a lesson you only need to learn once.

Now to my favorite version of the AT-ST…

General Weiss

AT-ST 15

Pointing dynamically from his cupola in his definitely-not-Wehrmacht tank commander outfit, General Weiss is the hero you need.  Astra Militarum tank commanders wonder why he isn’t also carrying a cavalry saber to hack apart the xenos from his position high atop a pinnacle of ranged firepower, but I digress.

Weiss gives the AT-ST Arsenal 2 (when exhausted), which stacks with the AT-ST’s inherent Arsenal 2 to give it Arsenal 4.  Obviously you want to pair Weiss with the full suite of hardpoint upgrades, so you can actually use all 4 points of that Arsenal.  The whole smorgasbord clocks in at 250 points.  That’s not cheap, but it is more of a bargain than you think.  More on that later.

Tactically speaking, Weiss works well with Veers.  Veers can use Imperial Discipline to give Weiss a free recover, and feed the AT-ST extra aim tokens to take advantage of those 11 dice attack pools.  An AT-ST with two aim tokens sounds kind of outrageous, but it is not terribly uncommon to achieve if you bring Veers.

So how much damage are we actually talking with a Weiss AT-ST firing all of its weapons?  Here are the wounds by target tables.  This excludes the Mortar Launcher, as it is impossible to get the Mortar into the same pool as all three of the other hardpoint upgrades due to the range restrictions.

AT-ST 16

Before you ever start throwing down any aim tokens, you are looking at 5.5 net hits.  Due to the Blast keyword of the grenade launcher, this applies to units in cover just as much as units in the open.  5.5 hits against cover is awesome.

Throw in an aim token?  6.64.  Two aim tokens?  7.41.  You have a decent shot at wiping out an entire Rebel Trooper squad throwing those kind of dice.

Speaking of, here are the probability tables for an attack pool that includes the MS-4, the 88, and the DW-3 Grenade Launcher, against a Rebel Trooper squad (white/surge defense):

AT-ST 17

With two aim tokens… again, not that uncommon… you have a 37% to completely delete a 6 man Rebel Trooper squad (or a 60% to kill 5).  I hope those Rebel Troopers brought some force empowered neck trinkets along, because they are going to need them.

What about against armor?  Here is the same table, with an AT-RT as the target:

AT-ST 18

Run chickens, run.

There are downsides to Weiss, of course.  250 points is a lot.  If you run Weiss he is going to be the centerpiece of your army, and the one that needs to be doing the most work.  250 points for almost anything doesn’t seem terribly efficient, does it?

AT-ST 19

Well hey, that’s not bad at all.  The base Weiss (no aim) is more efficient than the excellent Stormtroopers and DLT-19.

Ok, full disclosure.  This is the Cover 2 table.  Is that cheating?*  I don’t think so.  How often are your targets in the open?  The Blast on that grenade launcher does a lot of work when you are talking about an attack pool with 11 dice.

That was a long offensive section.

Defense

The AT-ST is a durable platform.  11 wounds with Armor is tough to bring down.

I spent some time in the Effective Wounds article exploring how difficult it is to quantify the impact of Armor, and then proceeded to attempt to do so anyway.  Give it a read if you haven’t already.

Below are the average wounds to an AT-ST by attacker.  The color scales are inverted, so Red = most damage/most dangerous, while Green = least damage/least dangerous.

AT-ST 20

It should not be surprising that Vader and Luke both wreck an AT-ST, because they pretty much wreck everything.  Good dice with high Impact/Pierce will do that.

Other AT-ST’s, Saber throw, and Speeder Bikes are all very dangerous to at AT-ST as well.  The HH-12 and Fleets/MPL-B are up there, but you don’t really see exhaust weapons very often these days.

Don’t be deceived by the AT-RT Laser Cannon’s mediocre number on this chart.  They can match your max effective range, come in packs, and often get aim tokens.  AT-RT Laser Cannons should be priority targets if you are running an AT-ST.

What about IonIon weapons aren’t very popular, but if you do run into them, they can cause problems.  Keep the Ion squads suppressed and unable to recover, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble against the rest of your opponent’s list.  Just don’t completely ignore them or let them flank your AT-ST and you should be fine.

Highlights:

  • All hardpoint variants are viable.  Choose a combination that suits your play style and your list.
  • Weiss is particularly dangerous.  Taking a fully loaded AT-ST will force your opponent to deal with your 11 wound monstrosity.
  • The AT-ST is tough but not invincible.  Focus on eliminating Impact weapons and stay away from Luke.
  • Your AT-ST is designed to be supported by your list’s other elements; be aggressive but not reckless.
  • Watch out for E-woks.
  • If something is knocking on your top hatch in the middle of a battle, maybe don’t open it?

 

 

 

 

 

*There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics.” – Mark Twain

 

 

 

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