Imperial Scout Troopers – Sniper

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“Over there! Two more of them!” – Leia Organa – Return of the Jedi

Imperial Analysis of two-man and five-man Scout Trooper Sniper Teams

This is the first of a two part report; the second will focus on the role of the Saboteur heavy weapon in Scout Trooper units. This report will focus on the DLT-19x Sniper heavy weapon upgrade and its inclusion in Scout Trooper units. I’m Dash – your resident Imperial Strategist – here to scrub all the scummy rebels out of our glorious galaxy. I will be your guide moving forward to this goal.

Before we dive into the meat of the article I’d like to address the generic Scout Trooper Unit Card and the possibility of taking the unit without a Heavy Weapon.

Overview

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Unit Cost: 60 pts (15 pts per model) – Generic Scout troopers are 4 additional points per model more than the generic Stormtrooper. These units are expensive and should be treated as such – they melt like paper when denied cover. This is a glass cannon unit. (Glass Cannon – High Damage, Easily killed)

Courage 2: A notable change with Scout Troopers is that they are our first non-character unit for Imperials to have access to a courage value above 1. This allows them to perform actions even with 1 suppression token, keeping their precious activations intact. In the event of a commander death, your Scout Troopers are a viable candidate for promotion.

White – Surge Defense: While Scout Troopers are incredibly powerful offensively they have a real drawback in that they boast the save of the enemy, the dreaded white-surge. You’ll only save 1 out of every 3 incoming hits on average. If your enemy gets good shots on them they will die; keep them out of line of sight and behind cover whenever possible.

Keywords

Low Profile: This ensures that whenever you have cover, it is heavy cover. Low Profile is solid, but should not be relied on to save your models. It does combo well with the upgrade: Duck and Cover – ensuring that you have Heavy Cover at all times.

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Scout 1: A built in advanced positions that is only available to Imperial lists via Scout Troopers. This keyword allows you to re-position your Scout Trooper Teams beyond your deployment zone at the start of the game. When used in conjunction with the Advanced Positions setup, it transforms into a speed 2 move. Use this to your advantage on Recover the Supplies to pick a box up early. On other objectives, use it to out flank enemies and gain a superior LOS advantage. The recently spoiled Recon Intel upgrade improves this further, to Scout 2.  Add advanced positions on top of recon and you get Scout 3.

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Sharpshooter 1: This ensures that your enemies will only have light cover at most. It negates suppression tokens when enemy units are out in the open. Sharpshooter is an incredibly powerful keyword, denying your opponent defensive positioning bonuses. It is excellent with the DLT-19x, but is less impressive with the Saboteur upgrade covered in the next article.

 

Attack:

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Note: The Net Hits column does not account for cover.  The wounds columns reflect the impact of cover and other variables.

This is the attack of a 4 man scout squad with no upgrades. The naked squad generates an average of 4 hits when the enemy is denied cover (meaning they have no cover or are at cover 1 and you are canceling it with sharpshooter 1). This translates into between 2-2.5 wounds on the average enemy squad, a decent attack without adding heavy weapons. This is more effective than the average 5 man Fleet Trooper squad (no scatter gun), averaging 3.74 hits per attack.

An aim token increases your hits earned by 1, on average. The increase in wounds vary based on the target’s save (⅔ for white- surge/ ½ for red no surge).

Conversely, targeting a unit in heavy cover reduces hits by 1, on average.

 

Overall analysis of the naked Scout Trooper unit:

A very focused unit in the Imperial arsenal designed for close range brawling that does not degenerate to melee combat. Excellent at hallway combat and any situation that LOS blocking terrain makes standby tokens effective. When scouts are caught in a bad position, or are the victims of a lucky attack roll through cover, they will often be obliterated. Each model lost reduces the attacking effectiveness of the squad dramatically.  This contrasts with other units like DLT-19 Stormtroopers or Snowtroopers with Flamethrower, which are back-loaded with firepower.

 

Sniper Wars: The Imperial Firebase Expands

 

The focus of this article is on the upgrade DLT-19x Sniper – A Heavy Weapons upgrade.

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Let’s take a look at the keywords/abilities that the DLT-19x brings to the table:

Range: 1 – Infinity

If the Scout Troopers have line of sight to it, this model can shoot it. This would be the best range band in the game if it also included melee. Alas, we will settle for second best.

High Velocity: This keyword denies the defending unit the use of dodge tokens. If you are using this weapon in a 5 man Scout Trooper team, this keyword will be blank most of the time as you are really looking to combine the sniper with the rest of the unit’s attack pool for maximum effectiveness. Where High Velocity really shines is in the 2 man strike teams. We will cover Strike teams further on in this article.

Pierce 1: Oh hey Fleet Troopers, we can pierce too! This keyword is excellent in both the 5 man and 2 man variants of the Scout Troopers. Pierce allows you to further break through the opponents defense, with a high volume attack or a precise sniper shot. All upside here.

Extra Model: This upgrade adds 1 hp to your 5 man units – which is in and of itself a large gain (a 20% increase in raw health). It goes without saying that the Scouts want to have as full a squad as they can. The DLT-19x allows you to keep your model count higher than it would be in a naked trooper squad. You are essentially paying 15 points for the model and 13 points for the keywords above, which is quite a bargain.

 

5 Man Sniper team:

The 5 man sniper team is a strictly better version of the naked squad, if you have the points. The attack value of the squad is below:

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Five man Scouts with sniper clock in at an average of 4.2-3.45 wounds against trooper units outside cover. The Scouts with sniper are close up brawlers designed for efficiently removing as many models in one attack as possible. The full team’s attack only degrades to 3.44-2.9 wounds against targets in cover.

Refer to https://swlegionodds.com/empire-charts/ for comparisons against other Imperial units. The only Imperial unit that rivals the Scouts in raw hits are the standard Snowtroopers with Flamethrower. This should give you an idea of the Scouts’ effectiveness at close range. Its high; it is very high. And they can do it from range 2 instead of range 1, while reducing their target’s cover by one.

The biggest challenge with the 5 man team is getting them to their targets unscathed. Keep them in heavy cover and if necessary, take the dodge action. Once you get them in range, the scouts are pretty self explanatory. Point and shoot before the enemy shoots you back, preferably while keeping your squad in cover. Unlike the Snowtroopers with flamer, the Scouts’ damage is not back-loaded, so preserving your model count is imperative in order to utilize their effectiveness.

 

2 Man Sniper Team:

A totally different beast than the 5 man unit, the 2 man scout squad is built to fire extremely precise shots at the enemy from a position the enemy cannot fire back to.

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The Scout Troopers – Strike Team unit is different from the original scout trooper card in 3 ways:

  1. The base point per model of the generic model is 16, not 15.
  2. There is only 1 model in the base squad instead of 4
  3. It gains the Heavy Weapon Team keyword.

Heavy Weapon Team: This keyword forces you to take a heavy weapon. Additionally, it makes the Heavy Weapon become the unit leader. The Heavy weapon will always be removed last, and if the heavy weapon were forced to die before the other model in the squad, it would replace the generic model and remain on the table until the entire unit was defeated. This keyword increases the longevity of the heavy weapon within this extremely small unit.

As stated above, the only way to take this unit is with a heavy weapon – we’ll just be focusing on the DLT-19X sniper here.

DLT-19x: Wounds by Target

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I have included the DLT-19x as the normal attack for this unit. I have also included the range 2 attack bands separately, reflecting the addition of the EC-17 Holdout’s addition to the Sniper’s attack pool.

Most of the time you will be attacking with just the DLT-19x: 2 black dice with High Velocity and Pierce 1. The fact that this weapon has Pierce 1 makes its Hits to Wounds ratio extremely effective. If it hits, it wounds, assuming you can catch the enemy in no cover or cover 1. This should be the main role of your sniper teams: finding enemy models in light or no cover and applying wounds to them. Targeting units or characters with better saves that are not pierce immune should be prioritized. The DLT-19x does not discriminate based on your defense die: it will kill you all the same.

DLT-19x: Probability Charts

The probability of various outcomes are below.  The tables show the contrast between the DLT-19x and the DH-447.  DLT-19x on the left, DH-447 on the right.

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The DLT-19x has slightly more variance.  It benefits more from aim tokens, but also has a slightly higher chance to completely miss.

Fundamentals Alert!

Strike Teams deviate from some of the normal principles of unit cohesion and cover to “abuse” game mechanics to prolong their life. In past articles we introduced the concepts of corner peeking and making sure heavy weapons could not be singled out. However, this concept is inverted with sniper strike teams. We want the only model the opponent can target to be the heavy weapon. Fundamentally, if you are at Range 3 or greater, you want your sniper strike team to be positioned in such a way that the enemy you are shooting at (and any other enemies that can draw LOS to you) can only see the model with the sniper rifle.

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In this picture you can see the left hand sniper has LOS to the entire red unit, where the Red unit can not draw LOS to the right hand man of the sniper team.

This puts the sniper team in Heavy cover and makes it so they can only kill the left hand model if casualties are taken.

 

Since the Sniper model is the unit leader, it will replace the model that is completely protected behind the LOS blocking cover. This means your sniper team will always survive one potentially lethal shot that would wipe it out since wounds can only be allocated to models that are visible to the attacking units.

You can use this same idea by putting a the sniper model on top of a structure and keeping the secondary trooper behind the structure.  See the Commando Sniper article for more detail on Corner Peeking and Clamber Peeking.

Upgrade Possibilities

We’ve already taken a look at a few upgrades that are potentially useful on the Scouts (Recon Intel, DLT-19x and Duck and Cover). Let’s take a look at some other decent upgrades for Scouts:

Hunter (Training)

This gives you a free aim token when firing at a unit that has a model with a wound token. Hunter is best for snipers dedicated to killing characters or multi-wound models. One of the benefits of snipers is that they are a cheap activation; taking an upgrade like Hunter turns them into a more specialist unit with a dedicated focus (taking characters off the board). Factor the extra cost into your list building when purchasing this upgrade for your snipers. I would recommend leaving this one at home unless you have a specific idea in mind for it. Hunter is much better on a character like Boba Fett. Notably, using sniper strike teams to “paint” (wound) a unit for Boba’s Hunter is a great use of them.

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HQ Uplink (Comms)

Uplink allows you to activate your snipers whenever you want, but it suffers from being even more expensive than Hunter. I personally stay away from up-linking my snipers as they turn into 54 point units at that point. However, if you have trouble with activation control or really need them to go at a specific time, HQ Uplinks are a reasonable solution. Keep in mind that to make Uplink worth it, you really need to give every sniper team Uplink.  Uplink can combo with Veers’ Imperial Discipline command card.

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Grappling Hooks (Gear)

Grappling Hooks are the easiest and most versatile of the upgrade options. They are also the cheapest. For 3 points you can give yourself real flexibility in where your strike teams can deploy and reach. If you have a spare 3 points I’d recommend taking 1 sniper team with hooks, especially if your terrain meta has taller buildings that you can draw great LOS from.

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The Wrap

The Scout Troopers are a great addition to the Imperial Arsenal as the first Spec Ops unit. Most Imperial armies moving forward will be sprinkling 44 point sniper squads into their lists to buff their activation counts. We will likely see more dedicated 5 man units once we get used to playing them similar to Rebel Fleet Trooper units. Next, we will be taking a look at the second weapon upgrade in the Imperial Scout Troopers pack: The Sonic Charge Saboteur.

May the Power of the Dark Side be with you – always,

Dashz

 

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