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Elites: Storm Troopers
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 12:19   #1 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Elites: Storm Troopers

Purpose: The Purpose of this Thread is to discuss and present a tangible, coherent, and useful guide on the use of the "Storm Trooper" Entry within the new Imperial Guard Codex. As this is my first article on Tau Online, I hope to make a good impression.

STORMTROOPERS

The first thing most people see when they view the Stormtrooper entry is its points cost. At 16 points per model, they cost just as much as regular Space Marines do, so they're not exactly throwaway troops like regular guardsmen are. However, what you do pay is exactly what you get. AP3 Lasguns, Frag and Krak, Pistol and Close Combat Weapon, Carapace Armor, Improved Ballistic Skill, and their missions.

Hot-Shot Lasguns: An interesting weapon to be sure. The only change between this weapon and a standard Lasgun is a reduction in range by 6" and an increase in AP to 3. Immediately, many will regard this unit as a strong anti-MEQ (Marine-Equivalent) unit, and this particular unit can fulfill that function well in most situations. However, the reduction in range forces several things on this unit:

1) It MUST be mobile to some degree. Either a Chimera Transport, a Valkyrie/Vendetta Gunship, or reliance on their unique special rules (which I'll get to later on in this discussion).
2) It can only support a gunline force as a Close-In-Weapon-System (CIWS). To illustrate, you could use the Stormtroopers to support your gunline force, either by acting as a buffer between your ranks of men and a charging unit, OR they could act as a counter-charge unit.
3) It easily fits into an assault Force, aiding the advance of either a group of screaming conscripts or a few squads of Veterans.

Unlike many of the entries in the Codex, Stormtroopers cannot rely on sheer numbers to back them up, nor do they function at digging their heels into cover. Rather, much to the praise of their namesake, they must rely on constantly pushing forward, leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake (theirs and the enemy's!)

Frag and Krak: Not surprising considering their points cost. This makes effective assault forces when seizing an objecting, which is, frankly, what they're designed for: Clearing an objective of enemy forces and letting scoring units occupy that objective.

Hot-Shot Laspistol and Close Combat Weapon: While not as effective in close combat as Space Marines, this, once again, make them effective assault troops in helping to clear objectives. As stated earlier, they can also act as good counter-charge units, especially in conjunction with flamer-command-squads. Remember, even if the squad has rapid fire weaponry, they can still choose to fire their Hot-Shot Laspistols and charge the enemy!

Carapace Armor: Stormtroopers regularly face some of the strongest and toughest of enemies. When clearing objectives, a little extra plating between yourself and bullets can make all the difference.

Missions: This is where Stormtroopers earn most of their points, their missions. During your deployment phase, you have to decide what you want this squad to do: Either aid a gunline force, mount a surgical strike at the enemy's key units, or help in assaulting objectives. Let's go over each ability and see its useful traits:

Behind Enemy Lines: This affords the unit the Infiltrate USR as well as granting this unit's first phase of firing the Pinning USR. This can be used in multiple ways:

1) Since they are the last to deploy, you can easily plant this squad on an opponent's weak flank to take advantage of, especially if you need to pin down an enemy assault force.

2) This allows you to see how your enemy is going to assault your forces and plan this unit's counter-charge effectively, especially if you manage to pin down the enemy chargers so YOU can get the charge off!

3) They create a distraction. Do you have a unit that has a job that it absolutely MUST perform, no matter the cost? If the enemy has a sufficiently open area behind or right in front of its lines, your Stormtroopers can act as a distraction while that critical unit does its job. And if you get a bit of pinning in on it too, extra kudos.

4) Outflank much? This makes for an excellent surprise if done in conjunction with other outflanking forces (Al'Rahem, Sentinels, etc), especially if you want to create a distraction (like above) or surgically strike at an enemy unit, such as a group of Devastators, A command squad, or a pesky Whirlwind.

Airborne Assault: This rule allows allows a unit of Stormtroopers to re-roll their deep strike scatter dice! Not only would this apply to the squad coming out of reserves, but also jumping out of a Valkyrie/Vendetta Gunship. Once again, this has many uses:

1) This is the epitome of a surgical strike. Deep Striking down next to a critical enemy unit and bringing it down.

2) This also can act as a sort of 'SURPRISE' unit as some of your Veterans move in to clear an objective.

3) While less effective than the 'Behind Enemy Lines' ability, this can also work if you wish to act as a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) for your gunline units.

Recon: This particular mission is an oddball one, however, it awards the squad the 'Scouts' USR as well as 'Move Through Cover'. This also has a few uses:

1) This helps immensely in a footslogger force, able to cover ground quickly and immediately begin engaging enemy units to help clear objectives or strike at a particular enemy unit.

2) Because of how mobile this makes the unit, they can also act as a QRF force in your Gunline army, able to deal with enemy units as they approach the gunline.

3) Much like the 'Behind Enemy Lines' mission, this also allows the unit to Outflank.


SPECIAL WEAPONS:

Each squad has the option of special weaponry, up to two. Grenade Launcher, Meltagun, Plasmagun, and Flamer. Each of these weapons is highly useful when used as both a support unit for your gunline force as well as assaulting enemy objectives and surgical strikes. Let's go over each one:

Meltagun - An Obvious choice. It affords your squad an excellent anti-tank punch, as well as instant-killing most infantry units (except for daemons!). This is an excellent choice for surgical strike and objective assault roles, as they're able to deal with a multitude of enemies whilst surging forward. This is so-so in a gunline army, as you'll likely have many ranged anti-tank (AT) weaponry already in the force, but the addition of Meltaguns helps its function as a QRF unit in such armies.

Grenade Launcher - While adding a little versatility to the squad, I've found this choice to only be so-so in both functions, both offensively and defensively. Its ability to grant more hits against tough units is ideal, but its punch through armor isn't nearly as great as the Hot-Shot Lasgun. While their improved ballistic skill helps them hit more often (Krak) or reduce scatter (Frag), this weapon is usually better kept for regular line infantry squads, but if you need a versatile weapon when you have no idea what you're up against (which seems to be frequent with most Stormtroopers), this weapon will likely be a good all-round performer.

Flamer - While the increased ballistic skill is wasted on the flamer, this weapon is excellent to enhance the squad's offensive and defensive abilities. Offensive in the fact that you'll be scoring quite a few hits with the template weapon in order to drive enemies off an objective (especially if they're in a bunker!), and defensive in the fact that it aides the counter-charge function of the unit. However, its fairly useless against most vehicles.

Plasmagun - Probably a favorite amongst some guard players, Plasma Weapons enhance the anti-MEQ function of the unit immensely (at the cost of losing a few good men in the process!) While they can only field two of them, these weapons, like most other weapons listed here, can enhance both offensive and defensive roles, due to high strength and low AP. When mounted in a Chimera, they can act as a good 'bodyguard' unit for a command squad sporting a similar function.

SERGEANT

Ah, the Sergeant. Unlike most of the models in the squad, he has a higher leadership, giving them improved chances of surviving the rough (and often suicidal) job of assaulting enemy positions. In addition, he has quite a few options available to him.

-Bolt Pistol. Improved Strength for Less AP. This helps the Sergeant wound more often at the cost of blowing through power armor. This is more of a choice when facing weak-armor-save armies.
-Boltgun. Again, Improved Strength for Less AP, but it also extends his firing range out 6", unlike the rest of his squad. Like the Bolt Pistol, this is mroe of a choice when facing weak-armor-save armies.
-Plasma Pistol. An excellent way to enhance the unit's capabilities when close to the enemy. Not only does this give you some high-strength punch when you're getting ready to charge, but it aides the unit's anti-MEQ function perfectly.
-Power Weapon. While still being human doesn't really help him out in combat, it's a fact of life that Stormtroopers see melee combat frequently, since they're the best melee unit you have (aside from Ogryns and Melee-Focused Command Squads). This also helps the functionality of the squad's anti-MEQ role.

TRANSPORTS

While Stormtroopers can only buy a Chimera as a 'dedicated' transport, I'll also be covering the use of Valkyrie/Vendetta Gunships as well.

Chimera - This choice gives them excellent mobility on the ground, and is an excellent addition if the Stormtroopers are part of a mechanised army (they could either use it themselves or 'loan' it to, say, a Special Weapons Squad) or as a QRF unit for your Gunline squad. This is also ideal if you have several squads of Veterans mounted in Chimeras and you wish to support them with Stormtrooper assistance. The unit of Stormtroopers (if Behind Enemy Lines is chosen) confer the Outflank USR to their transport, which is useful for surgical strikes and supporting Veteran advances. If the Stormtrooper unit chose the "Recon" Mission, they then confer Scout to their Chimera, which can be incredibly useful in getting a head-start at assaulting objectives or, like with Behind Enemy Lines, allow you to Outflank.

Valkyrie - Is the Stereotypical transport for Stormtroopers (its on the artwork after all!). It not only meshes well with the 'elite' feel of Stormtroopers, but it gets them where you need them, quickly and efficiently. When combined with the Airborn mission, the Valkyrie can zoom across an enemy position and deploy the Stormtroopers via Deep Strike. This is also a good choice in some Air Cavalry armies as well, as they're able to support a sorely needed anti-MEQ function to the army. This particular vehicle also has the option of Deep Striking as well, though it doesn't get the benefit of the reroll that the Stormtroopers inside would. In addition, with the Scout USR, a Valkyrie can outflank as well, giving this unit a much better chance at surviving on the way to their target.

Vendetta - This is slightly different than the Valkyrie, as the Vendetta is a dedicated AT vehicle. However, instead of being offensively motivated, the Stormtrooper unit inside can strongly fulfill a defensive role, both supporting ground forces as the Vendetta flies around, or to defend the Vendetta itself from an approaching assault unit (Like those pesky assault Marines). However, if you utilize its Scout USR to outflank, this particular unit can be an excellent surgical strike against enemy armor.

CONCLUSION

Stormtroopers are an extremely versatile unit in the fact that you can cater them to strike or defend based on your opponent and his force's stance. They excell at supporting advances towards an objective as well as clearing said objective, and they also tend to excell at surgical strikes, destroying a key enemy unit. While less inclined in this particular route, they can also help defend a static gunline from enemy assaults as well. Above all else, Stormtroopers, like a lot of other things in the Imperial Guard Codex, are not meant to operate all by themselves unless they're doing a surgical strike at the rear of the enemy lines. Even if you want them to clear an objective, it is highly advised that they do so either in pairs of squads, or in conjunction with a Veteran assault force (or 50 guardsmen charging to their deaths, etc).

One thing to note: As this squad is an Elite, and not a scoring unit, this is the squad that needs to be out front, taking the hits, and absorbing the enemy's attention. Whether its in a deep strike, outflank, or just plain up the middle, the Stormtroopers need to be the center of enemy attention while your other units grab objectives.

If this unit is at full strength at the end of the game you have not used them well. If they survive the game at all, you will still want to review how you are using them. Stormtroopers are the Imperium's glory boys and they will die for the Emperor.

Stormtroopers do not have to be niche in your army, but rather, are designed to be a quick support element for the body of your forces. Since 2/3rds of all games are objective-based games, its important to note that Stormtroopers excell at storming objectives and clearing them out (I cannot stress this enough), as is the case with almost all Elites or Fast Attackers.

NOTE: Some of you who frequent 'Boot Camp' might recognize this.
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 13:27   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elites: Storm Troopers

Nice, All looks good. one thing i would point out is that valks/vendettas can outflank as standard because of the scouts USR. i have just been given 10 kasarkins for Christmas and i was just debating what to do with them, i think i will save them for Apocalypse
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 13:39   #3 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Elites: Storm Troopers

Great write up. I guess the real question is, what can Stormtroopers do that something else can't do for equal cost or cheaper? They are AP3, but still only S3, so you still need 5's to wound against Marines. Low S also hampers what I'd love to use this unit for - sniping 3+ save MCs. Wounding on 6's just isn't great.

I've been tooling around with these guys lately and they are competent, but I'm not sure if they're worth the points.
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 13:55   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elites: Storm Troopers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schev
Great write up. I guess the real question is, what can Stormtroopers do that something else can't do for equal cost or cheaper? They are AP3, but still only S3, so you still need 5's to wound against Marines. Low S also hampers what I'd love to use this unit for - sniping 3+ save MCs. Wounding on 6's just isn't great.

I've been tooling around with these guys lately and they are competent, but I'm not sure if they're worth the points.
I won't lie. Storm Troopers have very stiff competition against Veterans, mostly as Veterans have equal BS, Leadership, and access to a lot of the same weaponry and gear, not to mention veterans can get a Demolition Charge and Meltabombs for a measily 30 points (in essence, you're either spending 3 points per model to get Melta Bombs with the DC for free, or a 30 Point DC with Melta Bombs for free). The only things that Storm Troopers have on Veterans is their Special Missions, AP3 Standard Weaponry, and Base 2 Attacks (1 Base + 1 for Pistol/CCW).

As it stands, these guys tend to excell fairly well against MEQ units and Light infantry, but require a particular loadout in order to be effective against anything else. While they have Krak grenades as standard, Meltaguns are a must if you're going to go hunting Tanks or Monstrous Creatures, Plasma Guns enhance MEQ function but are good against said MCs.

At any rate, you really do spend the points on those Special Missions and AP3. While Storm Troopers are very flexible for nearly any battlefield situation, its that same flexibility that can kill them.
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 14:07   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elites: Storm Troopers

Nice article, thanks for putting the time in to write it. +1
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 14:20   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elites: Storm Troopers

Nice but I would put it in a proper format namely underlining, enlarging the front, maybe even bold some of it so it look proper and such.
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 14:39   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elites: Storm Troopers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenai
Nice but I would put it in a proper format namely underlining, enlarging the front, maybe even bold some of it so it look proper and such.
I'm mostly trying to make sure the content looks at least somewhat cohesive before worrying about the formatting, but now that someone's said something, I can likely start working on that.

EDIT: Thanks for the Karma!
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 14:50   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elites: Storm Troopers

I've done a bit of editing on the fly for you.
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 15:35   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elites: Storm Troopers

I dunno if the Hot-shot is the way to go. Sure it's good. But it's also (In my mind) not fitting the purpose of Stormtroopers...I liked the old Hellguns :'(.

[hr]

I totally agree with that they need to be at the forfront of your lines storming the objective. This is why the Recon mission is worth it, it gets them into the fight and strangely it's making your guard look assualty. Particularly when you've thrown a powersword on that sarge!

Psychologically your opponent is going to be thinking; "What is that unit aiming for?" In essence this is the whole fun of Stormtroopers. Choose one of the things you'd least like to be on the board that your opponent has, then aim for it.

The kraks give it a good chance against vehicles, their better CC ability allows them to be a unit on the charge. While it probally won't survive, it's forcing your opponent to make a decision about committing his own unit, particularly if that unit might be good at CC but is using terrain to hide it from shooting.

Their armour allows them to take a bit of fire, which means sticking to cover is not a 'requirement' (generally when I play once my squads have reached some cover they stay their unless they can't fire at anything).

All together this makes your Stormtroopers the ultimate decoy unit. It will scream; "Shoot me!" and hopefully you'll opponent will agree. More fool him for the rest of your army striking him while it is ignored.

WEAPONS
Hmm...I'm not decided on the Plasmagun. I've never liked losing my own expensive model when it gets hot, and a stormtrooper is even more expensive. Hence I don't use those models.

I know I have a thing for Melta weapons, but well I think they are a good weapon. Not so much for their tank hunting in this roll. There is often that situation where you'll stand there and rapid fire a unit because it's the better option.

This is why I don't think the hot-shot is worth it. Because this situation is likely to occur at the beginning of the game, where your not in a position to assault/threaten assault. That's when range is important, and losing that option to shoot can be bad. But I hear you cry; "What about the Meltas?" It doesn't make sense does it? Well this is why I would say that the grenade launcher is a better buy here now.

It gives you flexibility, and that is what Stormtroopers are, flexible. They are not your Vets with a grudge and a way to do what they are good at. They are your shocktroops who are going to shock you opponent by being unexpected and throwing any plan he/she might have had into disarray at the beginning of the game, thus giving you the board, and thus allowing you to control the end game, and hopefully the victory.

I do think the flamer is a waste and is better given to a throw-a-way guard squad to operate in a support roll of these Stormtroopers.

In the past I have found that two squads really is the minimum to do 'something' with the guard. If your opponent shoots the Stormtroopers, that guard squad will come up and support the attack, your opponent will have found that for all his shooting, he's got nowhere (or at least that's how he/she will feel). Nothing is worse than having shot at units bogged in some terrain, and never got anywhere.

Also you support those Stormtroopers, because once you get to the objective you need to put the guard squad on the objective. So it serves two purposes. Alternatively you can swap the weapon loadouts between the two. However I would need to test this a bit more closely before I would give it my backing as sound.

Another option that I like is to use Sentinels to backup my assaults. Of course with Recon this rather profitable. It allows you to pack some punch with an already punchy unit. However going down this route, is now becoming a major offensive push.

Hence you'll be wanting a deployment something like;

o o
_ _ _ x
_ =
-

+ + + + + + +

+ is your opponents deployment
o is your 'heavy stuff' Russes, Mortars, HW squads
x is some counter attack/flank unit Snipers/More Sentinels/Rough Riders perhaps something like another squad in heavy cover just holding that side down
- is your sentinels (spaced apart)
= is your Stormtroopers
_ is normal guard squads

That Sentinel Stormtrooper block is going to carve straight for the 'near third' of your opponent, kinda like a wedge. Those other two guard squads behind them are going to move up and 'mop up' as the wedge digs into combat.

With Outflanking this can be made very powerful somehow I need to work out how to 'roll up a line' effectively using that method. I would disagree that it is a 'distration', this is an all out assault. You need to hope you get turn one here, because you need to get your units forward, and to cover (hopefully), but the end of turn one you should either be in a position to charge, or rapid fire at close range (hopefully). Sentinels are great 'support' like this, because who is going to assult them with more troops behind them.

Cover is important here, because your guardsmen need it to be protected (you've invested in specail weapons for this type of army, hence you need those men alive), hence why Recon become strong, moving through cover to keep up with the Sentinels moving around it.

Gen
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Old 08 Jan 2010, 15:57   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Elites: Storm Troopers

Nicely put into context there Gen. Must say I love my stormies - though I would tend to mount them in a vehicle, which doesn't really fit into your diagram (initial deployment-wise).
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