Welcome to deep dive the fourth. This week is the white-hood wearing, flamethrower wielding Snowtroopers (Hazard Troopers?). The Empire needs flamethrowers on hot planets too, right?
Snowtroopers are the close assault force of the Galactic Empire. Slower than their less hooded counterparts, they can still lay down fire while advancing and boast some excellent close range weapons. And by some, I mean one (the flamethrower), because the T-7 Ion is hot garbage. Cold garbage?
- Can fire while moving
- Devastating to troops in cover (with flamethrower)
- Vulnerable to characters (Vader and basically all Rebel ones)
- The T-7 Ion. Ew.
48 points (12 per man). 1 more point per model than Stormtroopers.
1 wound, 1 courage. Standard fare. Don’t get cocky.
Your basic Stormtrooper profile; 1 white dice with surge. Not great, but nothing to write home about.
Snowtroopers really shine when you give them weapon upgrades. The flamethrower is quite popular, with good reason. Though the range is short, you add 1 black die to your pool for each mini in the target unit. They barbecue large trooper units in cover, though they tend to have problems with single troopers (more on that later).
Snowtroopers also benefit significantly from grenades. They gain the same white-to-black die conversion as their Stormtrooper brethren, but they are much more likely to be in a position to throw them, especially when equipped with a flamethrower. You want your Snowtroopers up close and personal.
Steady, their special keyword, is solid. This helps offset their slow movement, as they can double move and still shoot. Two speed 1 moves is the same as a speed 3 move. If you want to be constantly advancing your Snowtroopers (hint: you want to do that) they can keep throwing down suppression as they move up the table. Steady also helps to mitigate the negative impact of being suppressed, as they can effectively still take two actions (speed 1 move and shoot).
Red defense die. Nice and durable. Additionally, their damage output is heavily back-loaded to their weapon upgrade (assuming you are taking the flamethrower), so casualties on the front end don’t reduce your damage as significantly as other trooper units.
Note: As per usual, all stats shown include the supplement of dice from a full squad (5 E-11s) unless noted otherwise.
Snowtroopers have access to two different heavy weapon upgrades. The flamethrower is by far the more popular choice. I’ve never seen anyone ever take a T-7 Ion, but we’ll talk about it anyway, because I want to make jokes about garbage of varying temperatures.
As with all other corps units, Snowtroopers can also take grenades. In fact, if you are going to take any grenades in your list, Snowtroopers are probably the most sensible unit on which to take them, given their short ideal engagement range and surge to hit. I would strongly recommend the Impact variety, because you can get Blast from the flamethrower.
Here are the wounds by target for the various load outs (plus the T-7 for posterity). Unless otherwise noted, green/blue is good, red is bad.
High level takeaways:
Naked Snowtroopers are bad. Don’t bother. They are more expensive and just as punch-less as naked Stormtroopers.
Flamethrowers burn things. A lot of things.
The T-7 Ion is lukewarm garbage.
Impact grenades are the hotness. Coldness?
Mmm. Do you smell something cooking?
It’s fun to set things on fire. It’s fun to roll lots of dice. It’s fun to make your opponent pick up his minis. What’s not to like?
Well, range 1. That’s not to like. But the rest is gravy. Tasty, napalm flavored gravy.
One black dice, range 1. Nothing to shake a stick at. 20 points, super cheap. Bargain basement. Crazy hot deal. Cold deal.
Oh hey, look, there’s some keywords on this thing.
Blast: Ignore cover. So that’s pretty good.
Spray: Add the weapon’s dice to the attack pool for each mini in the defender. If you are scorching a unit of 6 dudes, that’s 6 black dice. If there is one thing I’ve learned about this game, it’s that more dice = better. Some hard hitting analysis right there.
Flamethrowers make efficiency charts fun. It’s kind of cheating, really. Let’s look anyway.
Here are the top 5 most efficient sources of non-impact hits for the Empire, no cover:
Just to give the other stuff a fighting chance, that is with just 5 minis in the target unit (5 black dice). Also, that’s no cover. So against cover… yeah. I won’t even bother with that chart. Needless to say the Flamethrower is on top.
That’s the good of the Flamethrower. There is some bad we have to talk about, unfortunately.
The flamethrower’s output is highly dependent on how many minis are in the target unit, because of Spray. While this makes it great against 5 or 6 man trooper units, its output suffers as the number of minis in the target unit decrease. Here is the average hits and wounds by target, accounting for different number of minis in the target unit. I’ve also added 5 and 6 man DLT-19 Stormtrooper squads for comparison.
Let’s look at this graphically. I’ve included a 5 man DLT-19 squad, both with and without Cover 2, to visually contrast the damage drop-off of the Flamethrower and account for the impact of the Flamethrower’s Blast.
The flamethrower is still better against units of all sizes in heavy cover, but worse against one or two minis in the open. This is one reason Snowtroopers have some trouble against characters;* 2.5 average hits is nothing to shake a stick at, certainly not for 80 points. The other reason is all characters (so far) have some degree of Pierce, against which Snowtroopers share the same weakness as Stormtroopers.
What can be done to mitigate this? One way is to give them Impact Grenades. Besides converting your E-11 white dice to black, it also gives you a reliable source of Impact at close range. Here’s that same chart, with grenades added:
As expected, grenades significantly help your Snowtroopers’ overall output, and help somewhat when dealing with characters or other single-mini units. They aren’t free though; 5 points doesn’t seem like a lot, but you have to make a lot of important list-building decisions at the margins, and 85 points is starting to get into pretty expensive territory for a Corps unit. You also have to ask yourself how many of your extra grenade/E-11 wielding guys are actually going to still be alive once you get into Range 1.
T-7 Ion Trooper Upgrade
Did you even paint your T-7 Ion model? Be honest.
I’ve never seen one of these on a table. They are expensive, shorted ranged, exhaustible, and mostly useless.
34 points; ouch. Range 1-2; double ouch. Exhaust; triple… never mind. You get the picture.
Two white dice, one black. That’s actually not bad with surge: 11/8(3). It’s no DLT-19, but its passable.
Impact 1: Pretty terrible for an Empire unit. Empire lists get Impact from so many places, this hardly seems worth it on such an expensive platform.
Ion 1: This keyword is why the T-7 is expensive and exhaustible. We’ve already talked about the problems with the Ion mechanic in the Rebel Troopers article. Give it a read if you haven’t already.
The short version: Having one Ion token on a target is really not that detrimental, unless that target is an AT-RT flamethrower. Two Ion tokens is pretty devastating, but that is difficult to set up consistently, and requires multiple Ion equipped units.
The T-7 presents quite a dilemma, tactically speaking. Impact 1 on this thing means you are usually wasting your E-11s if you are throwing your entire dice pool at one vehicle, but if you split fire you are significantly reducing your chances to actually stick an Ion token on your target. Here is the wound chance for the T-7 by itself, compared with the T-7 plus 5 E-11s, against an armored unit with a white/surge defense die:
If you split fire, you have almost a 40% chance to not stick that Ion token. Ouch.
Conversely, if you put the E-11s in the pool, you are wasting some hits because of the T-7s low Impact 1, and you still have about a 19% chance to fail to apply an Ion token. How many hits are you wasting?
The below is wasted hits (hits that drop off due to armor) if you fire your entire E-11 pool along with the T-7 at the same target:
You have a 70% chance to waste at least one hit, and a 40% chance to waste two or more hits.
Summary: The T-7 is expensive and ineffective (especially compared to the flamethrower). Leave your T-7 mini at home. As an Empire player you have much more efficient ways to deal with armored vehicles.
Snowtroopers are defensively identical to Stormtroopers, except they need to be much closer to their target. This is somewhat of a catch 22, as all of the things that are most dangerous to Snowtroopers and Stormtroopers are also very close ranged. See the Stormtrooper article for a more fulsome discussion on this topic. Here is the defense chart, for reference:
Try and stay in cover with your Snowtroopers as you advance. It’s not critical, but it definitely helps. Snowtroopers don’t get slowed by difficult terrain at all, since their move speed is already 1. Area terrain is your friend.
Things with Pierce; not your friend. Try and stay away from characters and Fleet Troopers. If you must engage a unit of Fleet Troopers armed with a Scattergun, make sure you hit them first.
Snowtroopers with a Flamethrower have very heavily back-loaded damage. Their output won’t suffer as significantly as other Corps units as they take casualties. Here’s that chart again from the Rebel Troopers article:
If you can reach your target with at least two models (the Flametrooper and your unit leader), your Snowtroopers are still going to be pretty dangerous.
Your Snowtroopers need to be up close and personal. Advance while laying down some suppression, but don’t be reckless. Use barricades and area terrain on your way, and be wary of anything with Pierce, especially Vader and Rebel characters.
If you need an extra burst of speed, or your opponent thinks he is just outside of your threat range, New Ways to Motivate Them can offer a surprise advance. You can probably spare the extra E-11 guy. Sorry extra E-11 guy. Vader’s not sorry.
Make sure you know your threat range. For Snowtroopers with a Flametrooper, if you aren’t suppressed, that is two speed one moves plus range 1, which is a little bit past range 2. Here it is on the range ruler:
That’s about a third of the way past range 2, to the start of the second indent on the ruler.
- Take the Flametrooper
- Impact grenades offer a significant improvement if you can spare the points
- Get your Snowtroopers up close, but don’t be reckless getting there
- Know your threat range
- Beware of Pierce and especially Rebel characters
How do you use your Snowtroopers? Have you ever used the T-7? Feel free to discuss in the comments!
*Snowtroopers’ particular weakness against characters was quite expertly highlighted by Kingsley (the Invader League champ) in the Legion Discord chat. I know I’ve plugged the Legion Discord before, but let me do so again; it is a great place to pick up strategy tips. The invite link is in the side banner.