The 501st clones hit like wet noodles, but if you’re rocking a Galactic Republic synergy list with General Anakin Skywalker or Darth Vader, Jedi Hunter then they’re going to be your best bet. They have some decent abilities, just don’t expect their attacks to do much for you.
501st Clone Troopers are available in the Shatterpoint core box.
3PC is the cheapest we’ve seen secondaries. Currently the only 5PC secondary in the game is Kalani, Super Tactical Droid, and you probably aren’t running him with 501st clones. As such, I wouldn’t usually run them unless I have a 7SP primary who necessitates a 3PC support. Clones have better options if you have 4PC to spend (212th, commandos).
The 501st clones have only 7 stamina and 2 durability, which is on the low end for supports. I think clones pay a health tax for having hunker access.
Defensive Maneuver is a classic clone ability. The 501st aren’t the worst clone supports for defense, but they are still pretty squishy. If you’re keeping them way in the back you may not need a hunker, but if you’re trying to push forward to claim some objectives then a hunker will be very helpful to not get one-shot. Since they aren’t great at attacking, I’d usually prefer to just move and Take Cover early though to contest objectives, saving the force if possible,
Coordinated Fire: Strain isn’t always the flashiest, but it’s good. Strain is probably the most consistently useful condition. I find this ability especially useful when someone is attacking an enemy with a reactive ability like Deflect, or moves in their defensive expertise. A unit with a strain is not often going to take 3 damage to send 2 back at the attacker. The 501st are often running with Anakin, and in his Djem So stance he gives a strain to the defender on his third square. If the 501st use Coordinated Fire to put a strain on before the attack, that strain will become an extra damage instead, which could be the difference in Anakin wounding the enemy and getting his fancy ability to trigger. The big thing to remember is to trigger Coordinated Fire before attack dice are rolled. It starts free so no reason not to use it, if able, until clones are wounded/injured.
Brothers in Arms is another standard clone ability and makes clones a pain in the butt to get off objectives. If you don’t have force for Defensive Maneuver, then taking the Take Cover action for a hunker and a little movement is a great choice for these clones.
Advanced Combat Training
As I said, wet noodles. A pin in spot one isn’t nothing, and it becomes a damage if the defender already has a pin (like with Coordinated Fire: Pin from the 212th) but it’s not great. No push until the third square makes it tough for the 501st to contribute much in the objective game beyond being two bodies. Against Mandalorian Super Commandos without cover at range, the 501st only average 2.1 successes after defense. That’s not great considering the Super Commandos are the melee ones. It’s nice to have 7 attack dice, but the offensive expertise is only adding a single hit most of the time, which makes it hard to push successes through.
Defensively 501st clones aren’t too terrible, especially if they have a hunker token to shore it up. They don’t have the raw health of something like B1s or magnas though, so you are relying a bit on defense dice to keep them alive.
Synergy & Wrap Up
|Coordinated Fire: Strain is consistently useful
|Easy hunker access and synergy
|Aren’t especially tanky
Considering their 3PC cost, I feel like I can’t ask for much more out of 501st clones. Coordinated Fire: Strain and having two bodies for objectives are their best features, especially since it’s hard to shove them off objectives with Brothers in Arms. In a squad with General Anakin Skywalker or Darth Vader, Jedi Hunter I’m taking them for sure.
Synergy wise the 501st love being in a Galactic Republic focused list to trigger Coordinated Fire as much as possible. Due to their hunker synergy, General Obi-Wan Kenobi and/or CC-7567 Captain Rex are good units to have in the strike team.