Sunday, November 1, 2009
Tactica: Stormtrooper (Part II)
For part 1, go here.
Before we get into builds, a word on deployment. As far as I'm concerned there are two optimal ways to deploy stormtroopers- as drop troops or as mechanized infantry. Drop troops allow you to get into any position very quickly and reliably thanks to the scatter die reroll, while mechanized troops grant more survivability and a ghetto Hellhound added into the mix. Infiltrating or outflanking on foot might work, but the chance of the team being slaughtered before they fulfill their mission is much too high, at least in my opinion.
I've recently come into favor of the mechanized option, as it opens up great degrees of flexibility. Thanks to the Reconnaisance special mission the STs can gain Scout, allowing them to drive the Chimera forward 12" before the game begins or outflanking it. If you get first turn set the squad up on the board inside the tank and drive it towards the enemy. You should hopefully be able to get into weapons range in the first turn or at least set up in a position where you can open fire later. Because opponents will probably deploy around this strategy I have found it useful to take two squads equipped in this manner to give the enemy fewer places to run.
If you get second turn, no big whoop- either deep strike and use the chimera to provide some extra transport/cover to the rest of your army or outflank with behind enemy lines or reconnaissance. You can even do this if you have first turn and don't feel right about the first turn rush.
I won't be talking much about using Valkyries with Stormtroopers for two reasons. First, I don't own any and would feel bad talking about a tactic that I haven't used. Second, I personally don't think that they are necessary. STs already have deep strike, so leave the Valkyrie antics to those wannabe-stormies the Veterans.
On to the killing!
When using Stormtroopers one can't be a generalist- the orphan sons and daughters of the Imperium are much to finicky to show up to any old dance. They must be purchased with a specific purpose in mind and then deployed in the best way to fulfill that purpose. With this in mind, here are some builds with various targets in mind:
Melta, melta, melta. If your primary concern is tanks and you have the ability to get close rapidly, melta is absolutely the way to go. Since stormtroopers can deep strike right next to vehicles with a very good chance of not scattering thanks to the reroll, two meltaguns allows the squad to take out its target on the turn it lands. I find that a min-sized squad with a plasma pistol given to the sergeant is a good build as it minimizes point expenditure, grants an additional high strength shot to hopefully penetrate the tank and minimizes the chance that one of your troopers won't be able to deploy.
Another option is to have the squad mounted in a chimera. This tactic is great as a general deployment strategy, but is taken to new heights in an anti-tank focused group. Think of this- if you can get close enough and if you put a heavy flamer on the Chimera your meltagun team might be able to get 2 KPs on turn 1 by targeting transports!
Plasma, plasma, plasma. While a squad could be made out of pure hotshots, plenty of high powered plasma shots are always welcome if the points are available. If marine players are a frequent site then a full squad with plasmaguns and pistols mounted in a Chimera will be hell on treads. We can still use the tactics mentioned earlier to great effect, but there is an additional caution about infiltrating here. Since hotshots have a maximum range of 18" you will not be able to get a shot off with your lasguns when infiltrating under most circumstances as you must deploy outside of 18". If you can sneak your squad closer, good, but otherwise beware.
Optimal build would either be 10 troopers deep striking or 5 in a chimera with two plasma and a plasma pistol (though feel free to add more troopers as points allow). The deep strikers allow you to have maximum impact on the turn they land as well as offering a very large headache that the enemy now has to deal with. The mechanized squad can take advantage of all of the scouting/outflanking trickiness and can use all of the squad members firing out of the fire points.
While Stormtroopers do not excel in this area they can fill this role if need be. Flamers are naturally the way to go, and I would even hazard adding a power sword to your sgt. Why is this? It turns out that STs have pistols and close combat weapons in addition to their other armament, granting them all 3 attacks on the charge. While the rest of their stats are nothing to write home about, that plus 4+ armor can at least try and do some damage.
Deployment for this squad would almost certainly be in a Chimera equipped with a heavy flamer and outflanking. I see this squad as charging on to an objective during one of the latter turns of the game and at least contesting if not outright slaughtering whatever troops are there. With ten Stormtroopers, a power sword and two flamers the squad can do quite a bit of damage. Finally, since the squad will probably be charging into cover using the reconnaissance mission is recommended, unless you feel that the pinning granted by behind enemy lines is preferable in your situation.
Stormtroopers are excellent tactical assets to any Guard commander's arsenal as they have the ability to be exactly where they need to be to destroy whatever threat they have been tasked with. They can strike before the rest of your army or wait to destroy their target with surgical precision. Especially for armies with little in the way of mech STs are great boons, delivering your special weapons into the heart of the enemy's forces and ripping it out.
Please leave any comments, criticisms, anything you feel that I left out, etc. Ave Imperator!