Dark Troopers have finally been revealed! This has been one of the most anticipated releases in a while. We've known the primary unit card for a long time but now we have the complete picture and boy are these guys frightening.
I am looking forward to seeing these guys on the table and how it'll mix up the meta. Let's take a look at what they can do.
- Full Armor
- Red Saves
- Fancy New Keywords
- Timid Base Offense
95 Points - 95 seems like really fair pricing for them. Once you start to load them up with upgrades they pretty much double in price so having a relatively cheap starting cost is good. They'll be sitting anywhere from 95-220 points per unit depending on how you kit them.
Keywords - Two new keywords! (well, kinda 3)
- Armor - Good. This is really good. Without full armor, these guys would not be as menacing as they are. A Full unit has 24 effective wounds and armor on top of that. Gross.
- Plodding - Plodding is a word that existed on the E-Web blaster a while ago but got errata off of it. Now, Plodding is back for its second debut and I think it was absolutely the right call. If Darks could double-move twice in a turn that would be a bit awful in my opinion. With Plodding they are limited to the same amount of movement per turn as everyone else.
- Unconcerned - This is a really neat keyword that hinders them a little bit. I think this was a necessary call to make. Not allowing them to be repaired or restored is good for the game I think. No benefitting from cover seems less of a game-oriented choice and more thematic. It is still a really neat keyword and sorta allows you to really do whatever you want with them. If you'll never get cover anyway then there's no reason not to put them out in the open if you need to.
- Unstoppable - This is the one everyone is excited about. This new keyword gives Dark Troopers two activations per turn. Two. This is such a fantastic design choice and I love it. When you look at lists now it's going to be interesting to see 7, 8, or 9 activations and then realize your opponent is actually sitting at 11 or 12. I think that this really helps to deal with how expensive they are because you're effectively paying 220ish points for 2 activations which sits you around 110 for one. There is a ton of potential for big-brain plays using 2 acts but also potential for just sitting in one spot and blasting out 16 black dice a turn.
Offense - The unit card alone is pretty tame offensively. 3 Minis with 1 black die each and no surge chart is not bad, but not busted either. Their melee is pretty sneaky good though. I think 1R1W melee is decent Jedi insurance since you'll potentially get to swing at them twice with that pool. Where the Dark Troopers really start to shine is with their heavy options, which we'll cover later.
Defense - Their defense is good. Really good. 2 Wounds each with red saves and full armor makes these guys a tough nut to crack. 6 base wounds are good, but if you bring a full 6 man team then your wound count goes to 12 which is the most wounds on anything in the game and gives you an effective wound count of 24. That is the highest effective wound count in the game at the moment being trailed far behind by Clan Wren at 18.18 effective wounds.
They have 4 upgrade slots. 2 Heavy weapons, 1 Personel, and one programming. Let's talk about them:
Heavy Weapons -
MERTALIZER. This is the most fantastic name for any heavy weapon in all of Legion. Mert is a really interesting option for the Darks. If I'm being completely honest I don't think they're really going to shine as a dedicated melee unit. I think they can do some really good work in melee if they're engaged by something else but I see it as they're just a bit too slow to be running out to engage things themselves. However, I do think bringing a Mert is a decent hedge against Jedi or the like. I think maybe if you're bringing 2 or 3 units of Darks it is worth it to bring him in one of them just in case someone gets a little too close.
The SM-9 Frag Launcher is fantastic. Range 1-2 is fine to deal with for the Dicepool and Keywords this gun has. Adding Blast to a dice pool of 2r9b is absolutely nuts. Impact 2 is going to be solid in the chance you see armor but even if you feel like you won't see armor I think this card is still worth a look for blast and its dice. Cycle is a wise call here as well so that they cant blast every shot they take, but with two activations per turn, they will always be able to use this gun at least once per turn.
I am tempted to say that the XS-IV Assault Cannon should be the staple heavy option. Range 1-3 fits their base gun range and adding 4 black with Critical 1 is pretty huge. Even just adding him to an otherwise naked unit gives you 7 black a shot for up to 14 dice per turn.
Just like almost all other trooper units, Imperial Dark Troopers have access to a basic generic Dark upgrade. I think he will show up pretty commonly. 32 points is really not too bad for what is essentially 2 extra red save armor wounds and 2 extra black dice per turn. 6 Man units of Darks will be fairly common I think, at least as a one-off in a few lists. A 6 man unit comes to 220 points meaning it is impossible to bring 3 full units with Moff Gideon and 2 naked corps in a regular 800-point game, not that you'd really want to though.
There is something quite funny that you can do at the time of writing. Until AMG addresses this or fixes it you can take both other Imperial upgrades like Imperial Officer or Comms Tech with them. The comms tech is 10 base points and requires you to take a comms upgrade which the cheapest of is Integrated Comms Atena. That comes out to 13 points which is a whopping 19 points cheaper than just bringing the extra Dark Trooper. You are also able to until it's fixed, take Droid Trooper upgrades like the T-Series upgrade or Viper Droid upgrade.
Programmed Loyalty is an excellent card to bring. Only being able to get orders from Commanders is not the end of the world since most Operatives won't issue Dark Troopers anyway. Retinue is fantastic on them though. Starting every round with either an aim or a dodge (probably an aim) is phenomenal for Darks. This makes their offensive output go up quite a bit. At 5 points I don't really see a reason not to take this card unless you're planning on using Moff Gideon's 2-pip to rocket boot far away from your commander.
LIST IDEAS -
I covered this list already in my Moff Gideon Article but I figured it was a good one to show here too. 3 Darks with programmed loyalty and the Assault Cannon and then one has Mert with them as a melee hedge. Officer to pass them even more aims than they'll already have.
I don't this would be too good, but I think that New Ways to Motivate could prove to be nasty with the dark troopers. They also act as escorts for Vader where you have such a threat saturation that your opponent might drive themselves crazy picking who to shoot at.
Oh yes. Yes, please. Death Troopers being Fire supported by Darks would be just wonderful. 4 Fistfuls of dice, please. 9B9W forces around 12 saves. That is unbelievably brutal. On top of that, you can give the Dark Troopers standbys on Krennics 2-pip and A billion suppression that doesn't affect Darks from his 3-pip. You can also drop the 3 T-21s and take the Frag Launcher for even more Dark Trooper Dice.
I think Dark Troopers are the most unique unit we've seen in a long time. I am very very excited to see how the next few months play out and what crazy lists people come up with to run these guys.
Let me know what you think of them in the comments!