Monday, March 9, 2020

Getting the Most out of Your Phase I's

If you're like me, you've really been loving playing as the Republic and building your army of Clones and you're also feeling a little overwhelmed on how to kit out your Phase I's. With four interesting weapon options and currently three personnel options (even though one is just an additional clone), you can spec them out for almost any kind of role, it's a bit daunting!


Don't worry though, as that's exactly what we're going to be talking about today. I'm going to break down some of my favorite Phase I builds (organized by the heavy weapon options), give some examples on how to use them, and mention some other, more janky builds, I've tried out that might be fun for you to play with.


General Rundown


Phase I's are one of the general purpose Corps units and I'd argue one of the best besides Shoretroopers. They're decently priced at 13 points per model, red defense, black attack out to range 3, have token sharing with other Clone Troopers, and have Fire Support. They can innately take a personnel, heavy, gear, and grenade upgrades, but they gain access to Training or a second Gear upgrade with the Captain and Specialist respectively. This also means that Phase I's are obviously a more elite choice when compared to Corps choices from other factions and a bit more well-rounded providing you with a solid platform to do almost whatever you want.

The subject of today's article
(coutesty of https://tabletopadmiral.com/)
However, as one of the more expensive and elite Corps units out there, it means you might struggle to get as many bodies or activations on the table compared to your counterparts since Phase I's are also the cheapest (currently) Corps option that Republic armies have. This makes every Phase I squad a little more important than Corps from any other faction as they have to be able to perform and do more to offset the fewer activations, attacks, and dice you'll have. Unfortunately, Fire Support is also a bit of a trap because of this. Since you're already starting with fewer actions than your opponent, everytime you use a Phase I squad to Fire Support, you're losing even more actions and the ability to deny your opponent actions through piling up on Suppression. It also means that every time a Phase I clone goes ka-poots, it hurts. Because of this, Phase I's should rarely be used as meat shields and should almost always have a plan when they hit the table. This is why I like to at put a few upgrades on every Phase I squad I take and have a general plan of what that squad will be doing.


Builds and Tactics


Leading From the Front

With the additions of Echo and Fives from the ARC Trooper box, Phase I's received a couple of new things that they can do now. In particular, your boy Fives can actually add a pretty decent amount to your usual Phase I squads. Providing a point increase to the unit's Courage, throwing three black dice, adding an additional wound to the squad, and providing the squad with Coordinate really buffs out a stereotypical, compared to other Clone units, puny squad. However, the main issue here is that Fives does take up your Heavy Weapon slot and doesn't add much 'umph' for being a Heavy Weapon. Sure, he buffs the squad, but do you really need buffs on your Phase I squad instead of more punching power? That's the real question here.

The real beauty of Fives hiding out with your Phase I's is the Coordinate though. If you've played or played against CIS/Droids, you see how important face-up Orders can be. However, you might wonder why do you care so much as a Republic/Clone player. Well, don't forget about your little Fire Support! Plus, it's just Coordinate: Clone Trooper, so you can Coordinate to ARCs if you wanted, it doesn't just have to be Corps Clones. The beauty of this tactic then becomes to issue an order to Five's squad of Phase I's, have them Coordinate to a ARC Trooper squad or Phase II's, and then have Fives and the boys Fire Support, adding in SEVEN black dice (not including any Personnel upgrades)! Phew! Here are a typical build suggestions to really help Fives and the gang shine (even though probably just Vanilla might be best):

  • Weight of Accurate Dice: Since Fives is adding an additional three black dice, it's not a bad idea to ensure the squad's seven dice have some reliability with Targeting Scopes. Maybe even throw in the Specialist to help the squad gain more Aims and add another die for eight black dice!
  • Versatile Support: While it'll cost you almost as much as a fully upgraded ARC squad (105 points), you can add a Specialist and have Five's squad act entirely as support, providing Orders, Fire Support, and Aims to your keyword-heavy units.


The Supportive Killer

Personally, the DC-15 is my favorite weapon upgrade for Phase I's because it packs a nice wallop, has Critical so can be somewhat effective against armor, it's range is 1-4, and it's pretty easy to build around. However, now you have the choice of taking Echo into the squad to act as your long range threat piece. Giving the unit Reliable 1, Lethal 1, range up to 5, and Critical 1 just like the DC-15 make be a -really- interesting choice. Not to mention that Echo innately has 2 wounds, so he also adds a little bit of padding to the squad, but you definitely pay for these upgrades! He's ten points over the regular DC-15 gunner, but one important distinction here is that Echo is a Leader. This means that he will be the last member of the squad left alive, so you'll have him stick around a little bit longer than the DC-15, pumping out those long-range critical shots for days!

A lot of the time I just take DC-15 and call it a day as this will probably be the best option. It is the more expensive option (excluding Echo and Fives) which can make it a bit hard to justify packing upgrades, but that's fine! They don't really need anything else and they make for a great long range offensive squad to pick off heavier or dodge-dependent targets especially as this squad won't need aims nearly as much as other units (i.e. Z-6 or DP-23). However, if you really wanted to make them a mean threat or a decent support piece, here's some quick ideas I've tried:
  • Character Snipers: Take a Captain (unless you're using Echo because you can't have multiple Leader models in the same unit) and Hunter then go after those pesky Commanders or Operatives, but watch out for those pesky force users with deflect!
  • Support Gunners: This build takes a specialist and then stays out of harm's way with its poking range of 4, but still provides tokens when needed to friends.
  • Mobile Cover: Give them a smoke grenade and have them provide cover to units that are moving towards an objective while still being able to take out a few enemy models.
It's also worth noting that this is a great Fire Support squad too, especially if taken bare-bones. The DP-23 or Z-6 could really use the extra punch with the red dice and could use some help converting those Surges into something more useful. While I don't always recommend actually using Fire Support, I do think a DC-15 way back in the corner makes for a great squad to either start a Fire Support attack or chip in on one.

Tokens for Everyone!

This is a pretty straight forward build idea and probably the least exciting. You take a Phase I squad and either keep them bare or give them a Specialist and then hide them out of LoS of your opponent but still within LoS of friendly Clones. This squad will mostly be there to support other Clones and help them get the most bang out of their activations by providing them with crucial tokens. This is why I like to at least give them a Specialist so you can get multiple tokens of the same type, which you normally can't do (you can't aim twice, but you can aim once and activate the Specialist), they don't mind recovering to refresh the Specialist. It's also worth noting that you can also equip them with Electrobinoulars and then be able to dispense three Aims in a single turn! Plus, as this squad will mostly be staying out of LoS of the enemy and therefore not shooting, you can even use them for Standby actions for your meatier squads enabling them to shoot twice and not having to worry about having their Standby shot off. Also, if you're taking a Commander with Aggressive Tactics, you can give this squad a Surge that they can then give to a friend, allowing a crucial squad to possibly have two Surge tokens to use (one from having their own face-up Order and then one from the support squad). Talk about efficiency!

I wouldn't really suggest this kind of build though if you're playing small point games though where every point counts. Sure, a dedicated support Phase I squad is REALLY handy, but in Skirmish games, for example, you can't really spare 52 or 69 points just to hiding behind cover and giving their friends tokens. They should at least be contributing as well. Also, one negative about this build is that you'll almost always want to activate this squad first to start building up that pool of tokens for everyone, which means your opponent will get the upper hand because they can activate their heavy hitters first and start blasting at yours.

BRRRRRRT Time!

If you like throwing dice at your opponent, then these builds will be right up your alley! This weapon is mostly used for its weight of dice and cheapness than reliability. It also has a much hire damage potential cap than any of the other weapons you can take, but getting there is more difficult. Since the Z-6 is the cheapest heavy weapon option for your Phase I's, it can be pretty easy to find some points for upgrades to help you reach that damage potential. That's why I almost always at least give them Targeting Scopes. They'll want to use Aim tokens as often as they can with being all white so having the ability to re-roll three dice instead of two when you have a pool of 4-black and 6-white dice is very handy and it's still a point cheaper than the DC-15 alone. Since this weapon is so cheap and does have a shorter range than the DC-15 (1-3), you can do some real fun builds with it:

  • More Accuracy, Sir: Toss in the Specialist with a Targeting Scope and get those double Aim turns when you need them the most as well as adding an additional black die when you attack (you can also attach Recon Intel if you want to start up closer and need to save Rex's Scouting Party for the DP-23 and RPS squads).
  • Keep Pushing: Take the Captain and Offensive Push (maybe Targeting Scopes too) to give you a really mobile and dice heavy attack that can keep going even when they should be suppressed with a bit of reliability.
  • Mobile Sentries: Again, take the Captain, but with Sentinel this time. Now you aren't wasting your range like you would with a DC-15 and can use your now 5-black and 6-white dice pool to deter any threat.
  • Phase II with a Z-6
  • Grenades out: Take any of the above builds or nothing besides the Z-6 and load up on your favorite grenade (frags). You can really make those white dice shine when you start piling up the effects of the grenades and the Z-6 already doesn't mind getting too close, but this usually works better for the DP-23 anyway.

Rockets Make Everything Better

The RPS-6 is kind of a weird option, but it still has its merits. If you look at the heavier weapon options that other Corps take across all of the factions, you'll notice that they're almost always forced to exhaust, but not this portable blam cannon. You just can't move and shoot it, which comes with its own problems. Really you should only take this weapon if you expect to face enemy armor has it only has Impact, but it can be extremely useful as another long range fire support option like the DC-15 while being cheaper. However, since it does have Cumbersome, it does limit its ability to be shoot on the run like the DC-15, which isn't much of an issue if you planned on having it sit somewhere and shoot down range anyway. This is why it's almost always recommended to give the squad Recon Intel as well or use Rex's Scouting Party with them, so you can start shooting Turn 1 and not waste time moving. Plus, this weapon does have a slightly higher damage potential with three dice instead of two (but being a red, black, and white makes it slightly less reliable). lastly, it does have a range of 2-4, so it can't be fired up close. Because of all of this, this weapon doesn't lend itself to as many fun builds as the others, but there are a couple of things you can do:
  • Heavy Duty Sentry: Assign a Captain and give them Sentinel and now you have a squad that will really make your opponent think twice about trying to close the gap and, when the squad does need to move, it can make sure it moves by not being hindered by Suppression when you activate the Captain.
  • No Range is Safe: If you're worried your opponent will get clever with their armored units and get within range one so you can't shoot with the RPS, bring some Impact Grenades and turn this unit into a long- and close-range armor hunter. RIP those Super Battle Droids with all of the crits you'll get.

Close Isn't Close Enough

One of my favorite weapons to build around with for Phase I's has definitely got to be the DP-23 and one I saved it for last (I like to end on a good note). This gun has reliability and good damage potential by throwing two blacks and a white with Pierce 1. However, the one major downside of this weapon is that it's range is 1-2, meaning you'll need to get pretty close to make it count. You should always take Recon Intel or use Rex's Scouting Party with these kinds of squads because of that short range and the need to get them up in the enemy's face as quickly as possible to start wreaking havoc. It's also worth noting that because of its excellent punch and short range, it can act as a close-range deterrent to your opponent's forces. Got some Snowtroopers trying to close the gap? They'll think twice seeing that DP-23 protecting your gunline. Those Taun-Tauns closing the gap and trying to tie you up in melee? They're going to have to be careful how they approach as that DP can be pretty mean and can make excellent use of Standby. This is all why the DP-23 does really well in squads that are kitted out a bit more than your typical weapons, but that's fine because you can do some really fun and nasty builds with it:
  • Don't Stop for Anyone: Captain and Offensive Push make their return build, but here it's extremely effective. The DP needs to keep moving to close that gap and can't waste anytime being Suppressed (and depressed as my significant other likes to say) or Aiming, so it's not as much of a points waste or over-dressing for the problem.
  • Don't Stop for Anyone pt. 2: Swap out the Captain and Offensive Push for the Specialist and Targeting Scopes (or even any of the mobility assisting gear upgrades). Again, this is a unit that really wants to get up close and deal some damage and this build can help by providing damage reliability or easily traverse terrain (or both if you use Rex's Scouting Party instead of needing Recon Intel) and provide tokens when needed,
  • Grenadiers: Since you're already going to be at range 1 or 2, then packing some grenades isn't a terrible idea, especially if you bring frags. You can also combine these with the above builds to make a real mean death-dealing-machine. I've tried this with some frags and the Don't Stop for Anyone above to tackle an AT-RT and it wiped the AT-RT right off the table, even though the unit sustained two causalities! Probably one of my favorite moments.
  • Blunt Character Remover: Bring along the Captain and Hunter to give you an excellent close range character killer. Most characters already want to be up close to get to you and by the time they close the gap (or you), they're already going to be wounded, so you'll easily be getting those free Aims from Hunter and eliminating those characters. You can either use this squad defensively to protect your gunline and have the DP-wielding model use the standard rifle until targets get close or move proactively thanks to the Captain's Suppression immunity.

For when you really want to eliminate an enemy unit
(courtesy of https://tabletopadmiral.com/)
The DP-23 is a pretty social weapon too and likes bringing friends to its parties to stack up on those keywords, so this is a weapon option that does really well by receiving Fire Support assistance. If you didn't take frags already, then the DC-15 is a great supporting piece for this build and even a Z-6 if you just want to throw even more dice and make sure you absolutely delete a unit.

Conclusion

Phase I's are by far my favorite unit in Star Wars Legion and why I love playing the Republic so much. They're versatile, highly efficient, and not too jam-packed with goodies that they're too expensive.  Plus, you can do a lot of fun and booty-kicking builds with them, making them into great support pieces for the rest of your army or the ultimate squad-clearing force you need. Of course there are definitely more builds than the ones I've listed and that's the beauty of Star Wars Legion! These are only the ones that I've personally tried and I didn't mention any of the ideas I've been brewing up. I hope this helps you get the most out of your Phase I's, commander, now go out there and make the Republic proud!

2 comments:

  1. Excellent write up! Playing mostly at the 500 point level locally (Champaign, IL), and my Clones are good at that level... Perhaps too good with Fire Support and limited options on the other side of the table... Glad we have a few more options now...

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    1. Thanks, Paul! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

      And yeah, clones are really strong, especially at 500 points and with a smaller table. Clones really shine when they can stay close together. I honestly can't wait to sink my teeth into ARC Troopers though. Talk about a versatile unit and some more options!

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