These Stormtroopers just finished a fun day of paintball.
Welcome to our second deep dive. We begin our look into the units of the prosperous and orderly Galactic Empire with it’s humble and valiant peacekeepers, Stormtroopers.
Stormtroopers are the mainstay of any Empire force. Tough, versatile, and reliable, they’re everything you would want in a Corps trooper unit.
- Versatile and flexible
- Good defense even out of cover
- Heavy weapon options have long range (4)
- Unit damage is back-loaded to heavy weapon
- Expensive (compared to their Rebel counterparts)
- Poor default weapon
- Vulnerable to pierce
- Damage output (vs. cover especially) is uninspiring without Aim
44 Points (11 per man). 10% more expensive than Rebel Troopers. That may not seem like a lot but it adds up.
1 Wound, 1 Courage. Like all Corps units, Stormtroopers need to be near a commander as they are vulnerable to Panic otherwise.
E-11 Blaster Rifle: White dice, surge to hit. Stormtroopers are notoriously terrible shots. The surge makes it not bad, though; 3/8 is still decent. It’s only 12.5% worse than a Rebel Trooper’s A-280. Storms also benefit significantly from Aim tokens. We’ll spend some time later on Aim tokens.
Like all corps units so far, Storms really depend on their heavy weapon upgrades for their firepower and utility.
Precise 1: Lets you reroll an extra dice when you spend an aim token. Basically that means you are getting 50% more efficiency out of an aim token than a normal unit. This does stack with Targeting Scopes, though that seems like overkill.
Red dice, no surge. Very solid; 50% chance to save a given hit. This is the big reason Storms are more expensive than their Rebel counterparts. It also means Stormtroopers are quite vulnerable to pierce.
Important note: all information shown is for a full squad (i.e., with extra trooper) unless otherwise noted.
Stormtroopers have access to two heavy weapon upgrades: the versatile DLT-19, and the AT-RT terror, the HH-12. The latter doesn’t get much use, though I think that is partially just because of how good the DLT-19 is.
Stormtroopers also have a grenade upgrade slot. Grenades not only add their extremely useful keywords at Range 1 (Impact or Blast), they replace a Storm’s white dice with a black. Since they surge to hit, you are going from 3/8 to 5/8, which is a 66% increase.
Here are the wounds by target tables for the most popular load outs:
High level takeaways:
Naked Stormtroopers are almost entirely punch-less. If you take a unit of them they won’t be doing much except babysitting an objective, which is about as fun as watching a moisture vaporator vaporate moisture.
Storms don’t get as much firepower from that extra man as Rebel Troopers do. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; you can run smaller squads and still have decent damage output since your unit’s firepower is so back-loaded to your heavy choice.
As noted above, grenades add a lot to the offensive output of Stormtroopers, whether you are actually using their special keywords or not.
Stormtroopers are never going to be without some Impact. The HH-12 absolutely wrecks armor, but even the DLT-19 has Impact 1.
DLT-19 Trooper Upgrade
That’s a DLT-19, right?
The DLT-19 is one of the most reliable and versatile weapons in the game. Let’s take a look at why.
Two red dice with surge to hit, range 1-4, Impact 1. 24 points. Those red dice are 7/8, which means you are going to get 2 hits very consistently. You aren’t ever going to get 3 or 4 hits like you can sometimes with a Z-6, but you’re almost never going to get zero, either. The Z-6 is the guy in baseball who swings for the fences every time and either hits it into the parking lot or strikes out. The DLT-19 is content to just keep bouncing doubles off the wall.
For comparison, here is the probability chart of the DLT-19 and the Z-6:
Stormtroopers are notorious for not being able to hit the broad side of a Skywalker. Apparently no one ever thought to shoot him with a DLT-19, because this thing doesn’t miss. There’s a chance you might only get one hit, but its pretty low. You can pretty much bank on those two red dice at the back end of your dice pool. You are going to get so used to those two hits you will be a sad panda when it doesn’t happen.
But what about the other half of your dice pool, the part no one wants to talk about? The 4 E-11s:
You know what? That’s actually not that bad. You have roughly an 85% chance to get at least one hit. Half the time you are going to get at least two hits. You have a better chance at dishing out two suppression if you split fire with a DLT-19 Stormtrooper squad than a Rebel Z-6 squad.
Let’s take a look at how a DLT-19 squad handles cover:
DLT-19 Stormtrooper squads definitely have a harder time pushing hits through cover than their Rebel counterparts (without an aim token…). You really aren’t going to be doing a lot of damage if you split fire against targets in cover.
So the DLT-19 is pretty good. However, we have yet to touch on the thing that really gives Stormtroopers their mojo; aim tokens.
Storms have Precise 1, which allows them to re-roll an extra dice when spending an aim token. This gives them three re-rolls (or four, if you want to get crazy with targeting scopes).
Here is the average hits and wounds by target, with and without aim, for no cover and cover 2:
Stormtroopers get a 30% increase in non-impact hits vs. targets out of cover, and a whopping 58% increase vs. targets in cover. The difference for impact hits is smaller, since the extra hits tend to drop off due to armor anyway.
I was actually surprised by how much (on a percentage basis) an aim token increased net hits vs. cover 2. This is because cover is a static benefit; that is, as you get more hits, your target’s cover benefit doesn’t change. Their cover subtracts 2 from your hit total whether you get 2 hits or 6 hits.
A simpler way to think of this is an aim token roughly nets you one additional hit, whether you are firing at a target in cover or not.
Let’s take a look at the maligned alternative to the DLT-19, the HH-12.
HH-12 Trooper Upgrade
I definitely got the right pic this time.
The HH-12 is the most efficient Impact weapon currently available to the Empire. Unfortunately, it also has Exhaust and Cumbersome. There are ways to get around this that are worth exploring, but lets first look at the weapon itself:
Range 2-4, 3 black dice, Impact 3, Cumbersome and Exhaust. 34 points. The dice are good (better than a DLT, actually), the Impact is great. The cost and the exhaust, not so much.
Range 4 is nice, but in practice you may not want to exhaust this to fire it by itself without the dice from the E-11s. All of the below charts include the dice from the entire unit (a 6 man unit) unless otherwise noted.
First, lets take a look at the good stuff:
Empire efficiency: Impact hits per point
These are the top 5 most efficient sources of Impact for Empire (besides Impact Grenades). As you may recall from the intro article, per point metrics essentially measure how many hits a unit generates vs. how many points it costs. From an Impact perspective, the HH-12 is the shizzle.
Here is the probability chart for the HH-12 without aim (plus E-11s):
You have an 81% chance to net at least 3 impact hits. Ouch. AT-RTs are going to have a bad day.
Just for posterity, lets look at how the HH-12 performs by itself, without the dice from the rest of the unit:
It’s actually not that bad by itself, especially if you can get an aim token. You have a pretty solid chance at netting 2-3 impact hits.
Alright, so that’s the good stuff. Now for the bad:
Exhuast: You need to take a recover action to reload. This cuts your action economy in half, and if your Storms are suppressed, you won’t even get to fire every turn. The primary drawback of the HH-12. Generally you are going to be giving up an aim token to recover.
Cumbersome: Possibly almost as bad as exhaust. You can’t move and shoot. Luckily the HH-12 (and E-11s) have good range, so you may not have to move much once you get into a good position. Notably, you can move, standby, and then fire your cumbersome weapon during standby, though the times when you get to standby successfully are pretty rare.
Because of the negative keywords, and the extra cost, I find it personally hard to justify taking the HH-12 over the DLT. If your list is lacking in Impact from other sources, it may not be the worst idea to grab one, especially if you run Veers. Veers shores up a lot of the weaknesses of the HH-12; he has a command card that allows a unit to recover for free, and he can feed them the aim tokens they are giving up by reloading.
We’ll just talk briefly about grenades. I’m going to show you how much they improve a Stormtrooper unit’s damage output, and then… recommend not taking them.
Here’s that wounds by target chart again:
The bottom row, with all that beautiful green, is grenades. Grenades turn those less-terrible-than-you-think E-11 white dice into objectively good black dice with surge. The flavor is up to you: Impact grenades give you more impact than you could possibly want, while Concussion grenades give you Blast, which is great for hitting units in cover.
So why not take them?
Grenades are Range 1. Stormtroopers are not close assault units. Their sweet spot is Range 3. If you really want to give something grenades, give them to your Snowtroopers, who get the same white-to-black conversion benefit and are much more likely to want to find themselves within Range 1 of something.
Stormtroopers are pretty tough. That red defense die goes a long way, and allows you to take more risks in the open than you would with the squishier Rebel Troopers. Here is the Stormtroopers’ wounds by attacker, with and without Cover 2. The color scales are inverted; red shows the most dangerous units to Stormtroopers (highest damage), and green the least.
Stormtroopers can still get a significant benefit from cover, although they are less screwed than Rebel Troopers if they get caught out in the open. You can afford to be aggressive, but don’t be reckless. Snap off suppression with that Range 4 DLT and move from cover to cover until you get into your sweet spot of range 3.
The most dangerous threats to you should not be a surprise: Flamethrowers, anything with Pierce. For the moment, excluding Veers, everything with Pierce is range 2 or less. Try and keep Fleets, Leia, and laser swords at a distance.
I covered damage degradation for both Storms and Rebel Troopers in the Rebel Troopers article. If you can’t be bothered to read articles about scruffy terrorists, in summary: DLT-19 Stormtroopers have backloaded damage. Their firepower suffers less as they take casualties since so much of their output is wrapped up in that DLT-19.
Here’s the chart again for reference:
Once you drop to 3 models or less, your Storms have the same average output as a Z-6 unit.
- Take the DLT-19 option. If you have extra points, the added troopers are quite good but not critical.
- You could possibly make the case for one HH-12 unit if you are running Veers.
- Leave the grenades to your Snowtroopers.
- You don’t absolutely need cover, but it definitely helps. Don’t be reckless.
- Close assault units (especially ones with Pierce) still murder you. Try and keep them at a distance.
- Range 3 is your sweet spot.
- Aim over dodge. Aim helps your Stormtroopers quite a bit (about 30%).