Friday, February 17, 2017

Star Wars: Imperial Assault - Tips for the IP Player, Part II: Bucketheads

Good morning readers,

In today's post, we'll be looking at the core of most Imperial armies: troopers. There's probably nothing more iconic than stormtroopers in all of Star Wars (except Darth Vader), so if you like troopers but wonder how to use them, today's post is for you.

You might think that there's not much difference between the trooper options available to the Empire, and you wouldn't be too wrong. Most Bucketheads use a Green-Blue on offense (blame E11s). This means that besides health and surge options, they all basically do the same damage. In today's post, we'll be looking at Stormtroopers and E-Webs - we'll cover the other Stormtrooper units in our next post.

Perhaps the “vanilla” Imperial grunt might be assumed to be the worst of the bunch, but this wouldn’t be true. Stormtroopers are the most “standard” of the troopers simply because they have common buffs you see across other troopers. Stormtroopers, though, have two important characteristics that work in their favor.
First, they can reroll a dice. This ensures that if you get a bad roll, you will probably get something better. While the bump you get in damage/accuracy isn’t that high, it does make your units more reliable than other troopers. Look at the chart below to see the difference between the base (dashed lines) and reroll (solid lines) probability curves:
Second, when you’re using a regular Stormtrooper, you’re good against White defense dice. Since Elite Stormtroopers get 2 Damage from the first Surge they get, they’ll do better against Black dice (since Blacks let in almost all Surges). For a regular Stormtrooper, though, 1 Surge is worth only 1 Damage, which means that a White dice (unless the defender gets a Dodge) will effectively get 0-2 Block on a white dice – here’s what the same methodology from above looks like against the White dice (notice that roughly one-sixth of the time, you don’t hit the target – this shows the impact of the Dodge on the white dice):
While it’s hard to compare the two pictures above, your Stormtroopers are slightly more reliable at dealing higher damage against the White dice than against the Black dice. With this in mind, here’s my recommendation for running Stormtroopers in Imperial Assault:
·         For Regular Stormtroopers, shoot whoever’s nearby (ideally, you’ll want the target to have 3-6 health, since you should get 1-2 damage per trooper), but make sure as many of your Stormtroopers are adjacent to a trooper;
·         Attack in groups – while each of you individually doesn’t do a lot of damage, you want to be able to focus the fire of all three of your figures on the same target.
·         You can reliably stand 4-5 spaces away from your opponent (80% probability of hitting or higher) – make him work to shoot you back;
·         Special note on Elite Stormtroopers: we didn’t cover these guys much, but they get a lot of damage coming from that Focus dice when they die – expect to add 1-2 damage to the total damage dealt (along with 1-2 accuracy). While this doesn’t make a big difference for an individual trooper, if the group is doing 3-6 additional damage, it means the difference between polishing off a basic unit (like a Regular Rebel Trooper) and a hardy power unit (like Han Solo).
E-Web Engineers:
E-Webs aren’t like Stormtroopers – you need to use them differently! For one thing, an E-Web Engineer is a single model, so reinforcing the unit if it’s lost is much more expensive (and virtually impossible in early missions when you’re getting 2-3 Threat/round). Similarly, an E-Web has slightly more health than its equivalent Stormtrooper cousin, but because there are three Stormtroopers in each squad, Stormtroopers have roughly double the health of an E-Web cumulatively.   
As a heavy weapon, E-Webs are also slower than Stormtroopers. Added to their special rule that allows them to “Scoot or shoot” (but not both), getting an E-Web into position (and keeping it alive) can be really, REALLY hard. With all this in mind, what do you do with E-Webs?
E-Webs play defense. Yes, they’re very powerful and deal a lot of damage. Yes, they can heal themselves which gives them some resilience. Yes, they get to shoot twice (which effectively allows them to blow a low-health unit up pretty quickly OR drill through a low-health hero’s health store quickly. But they play defense: you don’t want to move an E-Web (like, ever). So, find a firing lane (preferably one that won’t let an attacker stand out of sight and then charge you on its next turn) and sit there and wait. A turn that an E-Web isn’t attacked is a good turn – even if the E-Web doesn’t shoot.
While E-Webs are complicated to use well, there is one thing that isn’t that complicated – they fight everything well. What’s shown below is their range/damage curve against black (dashed) and white (solid) lines. As you can see, doesn’t really matter what you’re hitting – you’re going to do roughly the same damage against it no matter what dice they have:
As shown above, an E-Web will do slightly more damage against a White dice than a Black dice. For those who are wondering, the Elite E-Web Engineer gets slightly more damage against White dice, but again, it’s not that different:
For those of you who are scratching your heads trying to figure out why there’s basically no difference against a White dice (and why the Elite against the Black dice only does roughly the same as either version does against a White dice), there’s one simple explanation: White dice fight yellow dice really, REALLY well (see my first post for why). With the primary difference between most elite/regular units being the benefits you get from Surge, unless you’re rolling 2 Yellow dice (like Probe Droids), you won’t see that big of a difference. 

In our next post, we'll be wrapping up our discussion of "bucketheads" by examining those that do not appear in the core set (heavy stormtroopers, snowtroopers, jet troopers, and Dewback riders). Part III will cover the stormtrooper heroes (Kayn Somos and Captain Terro - sorry, no Blaise yet). After we're done with troopers, its on to new groups, so watch this space and happy hobbying!

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