This unit guide will focus on the Imperial Death Troopers, some of the most elite of the Empire’s special forces on executing their mission to eliminate enemies of the Empire. They are a solid choice but a sizeable investment and with the tools this guide gives you can find how to make the most of it.
Ever since their first appearance in Rogue One, fans have been enamored by the inherit cool factor of the Death Troopers. They’re elite Troopers in Black armor, how bad ass is that? I see a lot of questions on how to use them properly and it’s understandable. Their elite status is reflected on the field in the form of versatile equipment options and the ability to defy imperial expectations and hit with pin-point precision. Calling in special forces is an expensive affair though, and you cant exactly bring a ton.
- Hit hard.
- Have a lot of versatility to be built for many lists.
- Generate tons of shooting rerolls.
- Has access to Entourage through Krennic.
- Extremely expensive.
- Without Impervious you’re going down as fast as any other Imp trooper.
- Need to get reasonably close to maximize damage.
72 Points: A fair cost up front for 4 troopers, and you’ll be investing more before we’re done, but thanks to a recent price cut on the base unit and some of your add-ons the overhead got a lot cheaper.
Defense: Red die, with surge to defend. Fairly tanky, but when Pierce weapons come out you’re going to be vulnerable. You don’t have much built in defensive abilities so don’t get cocky.
Offense: E-11D Blaster Rifle 1 Black die, surge to hit. Not bad but you have other stuff you can give them. We’ll get to that in a bit.
A single red die in Melee meaning they can absolutely hold their own in Melee against basic troopers if you need to tie somebody down.
Courage: 2 Not bad, and you have an easy way to remove extra suppression because you have…
Disciplined 1 When issued an order you can remove a Suppression token. Good if your opponent stacked suppression last turn.
Precise 2 When you use an aim token, reroll up to 2 additional dice, for a total of four. You’ll all but guarantee most of your shots are going where they need to.
Ready 1 Standby, get an aim token. Not a bad perk if you cant find a good opening for an approach.
We have a lot of upgrades to cover. As a special forces unit you have a lot of Equipment slots, but you also have several unique options that bring the unit into its own. The unit is already pretty expensive to start with and so you sometimes have to be choosy with what you bring. While the trooper and Weapon slot will probably get filled you have to make some choices on other things.
You have two unique Trooper upgrades: The DLT-19D Trooper and DT-F16.
The DLT-19D Trooper is a slightly more suped up version of the DLT-19 on the basic Stormtroopers unit. It has Impact 1 and 2 Red, 1 White (1 more white than the Stormtrooper version). It’s definitely not a bad gun, at range 4 it lets you do some damage safely outside of the Range 3 most firefights occur at but it is expensive at 34 Points. Given the rise of armor in the game’s meta as of late it’s probably a lot more useful than it used to be, so if you think you can fit this into your list there are worse picks.
DT-F16 is a unique character. You may only use the upgrade once, and she becomes the unit leader. She’s 2 wounds instead of 1, her gun is 1 Black and 1 White and she gains Compel, which can force another unit at Range 1-2 to move at the cost of gaining another suppression. Not an ideal upgrade but given how low Imp courage tends to be, its real easy to be caught with no means to escape so when you can use it you’ll be very grateful. Otherwise she’s useful for the additional wound, allowing her to survive just a bit longer.
Previously, the E-11D Config used to cost 8 points but now its free, meaning there’s no reason not to take this. With a short range and long range version you can swap between them whenever you take a Recover action. The Focused Fire Config keeps the 1 Black damage die, but expands the range to Range 4 and adds suppressive. The Grenade Launcher Config turns your dice to red, shrinks your range to 2 and adds Blast. Ouch!
The caveat to all of this is both sides are exhaust effects. In order to use them you need to turn it side ways and then recover
Training is probably one of the most valuable slots in the game. It is an extremely flexible slot that can elevate a unit in a lot of ways and there’s a ton of direction you can go based on personal preference. Some of the best picks for the Death Troopers include Offensive Push, Hunter, Situational Awareness, Duck and Cover and Overwatch. The best picks are going to be whether you want to be more aggressive or improve their chances of survival.
If you want a more offensive bent, Offensive Push and Hunter are your choices. The effect of these is pretty similar and the one you pick tends to come down to personal preference. Both give you extra Aim tokens on demand and Imperial Units are extremely Aim token hungry and any opportunity you take should be heavily considered by default. Offensive Push is held back by being an exhaust effect but is much more flexible. If you have a lot of ways to get easy refresh (which you likely should pack due to how much Death Troopers want to refresh their special weapons) then this is a better pick. Otherwise, Hunter only works in niche scenarios like when targetting Heroes or multi-wound units like Wookies but is free to use. Again, it largely comes down to personal preference and where it all fits into your list.
If you want to be more defensive your options are Situational Awareness and Duck and Cover. Situational Awareness is almost always the better choice because it lets you do something you otherwise couldn’t do normally (dodge crits) and is very cheap at only 2 points. Duck and Cover has its niche, since Death Troopers can shake off suppression more easily than other units but you’re better off trying to play the field in such a way that you minimize how often you get shot at in the first place.
A third option for utility is Overwatch and Death Troopers may be one of the best beneficiaries of it. They already get Ready so they’re primed to be good at standby, they just need to have the range to be effective with it. Because of the proliferation of Pierce you probably will want to hide them behind line of sight blocking cover as much as possible. So rather than push them up let them guard the rear from anyone trying to get close. It’s a tough call to make because you’re investing a lot of points in what is likely to be a more passive unit but even if it stops one scoring unit it did its job.
Gear & Grenades
Less important on them, but worth looking at Ascension Cables if you brought a means of Refresh and Recon Intel and Targeting Scopes are both cheap options for improving the general utility of your troopers if you have points leftover. Grenades can be safely ignored, you have a grenade launcher built in to your weapon option that’s better than the one these can give you, even if they require an exhaust.
You’re suited up, now lets talk about how to get the best out of your unit. As mentioned before these guys are expensive and you can’t waste them. You also want to get the most efficiency out of them, to justify their bloated point cost.
Picking Your Leaders
One of the biggest mistakes I often see people make is not bringing proper leadership. They see how cool the Death Troopers are and want to roll up with them. Well even elite troops need good leadership and picking your leader is key. The best options for Commanders are Director Orson Krennic, General Veers and Iden Versio.
Krennic is a shoe-in for the role given his built-in synergy. He has Entourage with them, which not only means they don’t count against your special forces limit (although the Death Troopers are on the expensive side, so this is unlikely to be a huge boon) they also get a free Order token, helping reduce the pool so you can draw what you want and activate the Death Troopers when the time is right. His command cards are also naturally designed to benefit them, with Voracious Ambition making it easier to further reduce the command pool and Deploy the Garrison giving them a free Standby, something they like quite a lot with Ready. I’d go as far as to say that Krennic is just about essential if you want to play with Death Troopers. He’s a solid leader for the Empire and his synergy elevates them to a higher potential. Even better, he recently saw a 15 point price drop that makes him even more of a must-take.
Veers remains the go to jack of all trades option and why not, he’s cheap and any list you bring he makes it better with Spotter 2. We’ve already said you need those Aim Tokens so why not more? His 3 pip, Imperial Discipline is also the only access you have to a free refresh so you absolutely want that.
Iden Versio is another potential pick, possible to run alongside Krennic rather than as a replacement. Krennic and Veers aren’t great fighters but Iden is rather dangerous in combat so she gives great fire support. If you keep her as a Leader instead of Infiltrating her in she also has Courage 3 compared to Krennic’s 2 which will make them all but impossible to dislodge from suppression. 2 of her command cards really only benefit her, but her 3 pip Tactical Strike is a huge boon for them. A free Aim token from Steady and a free attack action is a super good deal and as one of your best damage dealers in the army it’s one of the best returns on investment for that particular card. Refresh your weapons if need be, move up and open fire.
With your Heroes we talked a lot about offense but let’s talk defense. For such an expensive unit you need to not be reckless. A lot of this stuff is pretty basic advice for anything else but while you can afford to throw a few Stormtroopers to the wolves if it gets you ahead every one of these guys lost is a setback that hurts a lot.
One of their biggest banes, and an argument many use against bothering with them at all is their lack of Impervious. In short, Pierce weapons are not your friend and even a Red die with surge to defend is going to start collapsing one some Rebel Strike Teams start taking pot shots from across the board. Not to belabor the point but with such an expensive unit your opponent will take that opportunity every chance they can. That means keeping them away, counter sniping out Pierce weaponry first to clear the way and keeping your Death Troopers behind line of sight blocking Terrain as much as possible.
You at least do have the benefit of being particularly good at standbys if you need to hold back for a while. Between Ready and (if you brought it) Overwatch you can hit from the same range they need to get close to you anyway.
Death Troopers are cool, and that’s reason enough to bring them. They’re also potentially lethal, capable of some serious damage output if placed in the proper positioning and given the appropriate gear. Deploy the garrison, mobilize the Emperor’s finest and restore order.