The backbone of the Grand Army of the Republic was its clone troopers. One of the strongest and most infamous legions was the 501st, led by Anakin Skywalker and Captain Rex. While my favorite clone unit is the 327th Star Corps, I wouldn't be surprised if at least 75% of people prefer the 501st.
They are absolute droid-killing machines in movies and TV shows, but their role is slightly different in Shatterpoint. What they do best is support Jedi and sit on objectives. Don't expect them to be dishing out a ton of damage or taking a lot of damage, but if you need someone to sit on your back objective and not move, these are your men.
- 3 Points Cost
- 0 Force
- 7 Stamina / 2 Durability
- Supporting | 501st - Clone Trooper - Galactic Republic - Trooper
These guys, so far, are our only 3 points cost Republic supporting unit. This is very relevant if you want to play with Anakin or Vader in an all-Republic list. They are the only way to make that work since we don't have a 3pc Secondary yet either. They have a pretty specific slot and it's when you need to fit with 7 SP primaries. 3 Points still do mean, in theory, they are quite flexible since they can fit with anything else so far, not that you particularly want to be under on points.
7 Stamina is not a lot. If you put these dudes near the middle of the board or anywhere there is a Primary unit, they will become wounded. Wounded Clones are a lot worse than wounded Droids so be careful. Luckily they do have Defensive Maneuver to take advantage of hunker tokens which can really assist their defenses, especially if you have Obi-Wan around. Even then, I would still be careful not to rush or overextend them because then they just become meat for the grinder.
Their tags mean less than with Primaries or Secondaries, but they do have the ever-valuable Galactic Republic tag. This tag is what binds clone lists together through Obi-Wans hunker ability and Anakins global heal ability.
I'm going to lift a few things from my 212th unit guide for this next part. (Noted by: (X) )
Defensive Maneuver - (This is their bread and butter. I don't use this all the time, but when I do, it does incredible amounts. I usually use it on them for the first turn almost every game just to gain some ground, get some cover, and get them into the middle with Rex or Cody. I would avoid using it on them unless you feel like you absolutely need to so you can save the Force for Rex, Cody, or your Jedi to use. I will also note that Take Cover -> Advance -> Defensive will get you about halfway across the table, use it with caution.) This is really the same for both clone units so far. Use it when you can, but don't go crazy.
Coordinated Fire: [Strain] - (By itself, Coordinated fire is a decent ability, however, the condition that is associated with each unit greatly affects how good it actually is.) CF: Strain is decent, but not the best. From what I've found so far this ability is not worth actively trying to set up, but good to just use it as an ability of circumstance. If you're coincidentally in range to use this ability, there's no reason not to use it unless there's another Clone support nearby with a better CF.
Brothers in Arms - (This is one of the best reasons to justify using Force for their Defensive Maneuver. Their main job is to sit on and score objectives and this helps them do that a lot better. It's an Innate Ability so if you have a hunker token it's always on, which is excellent when you consider that they want hunkers for stuff like Obi's Knowledge and Defense anyway.)
Advanced Combat Training
This is a Stance. So far, this is one of my least favorite stances in the game. It just feels like it lacks specific or relevant utility and instead trades it for wanting to do a little bit of everything. Don't get me wrong, this stance still allows the 501st to do their job effectively. That's because their job is not to be an offensive powerhouse or a tank, they are an occupation force. In a pinch, this stance can be used to some success as a way to deter backline aggressors or as a way to soften up targeted for Jedi to come in and wound after.
7 Attack dice at range 5 is actually quite good, but that is offset by the rest of this card in my opinion. 5 Attack dice in melee is not terrible, but it is absolutely not where they want to be. Their Ranged Attack expertise is not bad, but it really isn't good either. 1-3 Expertise only giving them 1 strike is... not great. 4+ for a crit is also still not super hot, but at least it's better than like 2 strikes. Their melee expertise is even worse, somehow. 1+ Expertise gets you one strike. In a pinch, this could help you, but once again, you do not want to be in melee with these guys at all.
Their Combat Tree is not terrible, it's actually decent if you consider some outside factors like a 212th Coordinated Fire: Pin. It caps out at 5 damage from 5 successes. What I do like here is that you also get a good few abilities and conditions from this stance. The Pin is nice in general, but even better if you have 212th nearby because it will essentially just increase your damage pool by 1 capping you at 6. The other options are Strain/Reposition or Shove/Heal. You'll find that they're not going to be putting out much more than two damage regularly, sometimes no more than just one pin, but that's okay! Their job is not to do damage but to sit on and contest objectives until you win, they die, or both.
Defensively they are not terrible for a support unit. They make good use of hunker tokens so there's always a reason to have at least one on them. They're only rolling 5 defense dice at range and 4 in melee, so be careful not to get them too close to the fight. Their defensive expertise is decent, but not great. 1-2 experts giving you 1 block means most of the time you're only netting 1 additional block. 3+ gives you 2 blocks, which is fine, but once again if you're rolling 3 expertise in the first place that means you're not getting a ton of blocks. Try to use hunkers and terrain to your best advantage and keep them near a unit that can heal them.
(I would, in general, recommend keeping your 501st back to cover your home objectives. They do not want to be engaged, especially with a Primary or Secondary unit. If someone tries to threaten your backline they can cover you pretty decently and since there are two of them you'll be able to keep your objectives safe from a single character unit or safe from 2 sometimes since ties go to whoever had control already, excluding the case of Inquisitor Supports.)
Squad and Strike Team Ideas
Before I wrap up today's article, I am just going to cover a few different Squads and Strike Teams I have tried, I recommend trying, or I think could be good. I'll be transparent here, I am not the biggest fan of the 501st unit. The main reason I think they're worth considering is so you can bring a 7SP unit, but the second there's another 3 Point Clone support I'll probably be dropping the 501st.
- General Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Commander Cody
- 212th Clones
- General Anakin Skywalker
- Captain Rex
- 501st Clones
They can do some decent work with this list. They're mostly here just to be able to bring Anakin along, but with Rex and Cody, they are able to help with some Offense.
The Bad Ending
- General Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Padawan Ahsoka
- 212th Clones
- Darth Vader, Jedi Hunter
- Captain Rex
- 501st Clones
This is a very fun list, the 501st don't have a specific plan but they allow you to bring Vader. The useful bit here is that the 501st makes a really good back capper which allows the rest of your lists to run up mid as fast as possible.
That's all I have to say about the 501st Clone Troopers! I think they are a pretty solid choice for support and I hope there are other units in the future that will help these boys really shine.
Thanks for reading!