|Dust Tactics | Published 20 July 2011|
The Axis forces broke through the first line of Allied resistance and were blasting deeper into the streets of Scapa Flow. Rosie stood in a hangar bay door, loading her M9-D bazooka, while her spotter scanned the Axis approach through his binoculars. When a damaged Wildfire sprinted past the hangar, spouting smoke, Rosie raised her bazooka to her shoulder. The spotter raised his hand, “Took the bait. Coming in three… two… one…” Rosie locked in on her target and pulled the trigger.
Heroes are the main characters of the Dust universe, famous warriors and legendary fighters. In Dust Tactics, heroes provide players with tremendous tactical flexibility. Each hero has his own unit card, and you can choose either to activate your hero alone or to join him with a squad. Recognizing how best to use your heroes may give you the edge you need to destroy your enemy!
If you’re much like a lot of other Dust Tactics players, you find gathering and rolling a huge handful of dice an immense rush as you hope for enough hits to obliterate your opponent’s units. That may reduce the draw of a hero like Rosie, who rolls just a single die with her M9-D bazooka. Sure, she can destroy a Ludwig in a single shot, but when the smoke clears and you’ve got just one shot, can you count on her to score a hit? Part of learning the game is finding the synergies between units. Pair Rosie with the Allied Special Ops Rangers so that she benefits from the unit’s Spotter ability, and she’s suddenly a crack shot herself. Her bazooka will destroy a walker on the majority of shots, and if she sustains her fire (aiming carefully), she becomes an absolute ace.
The most obvious advantage of joining a hero to a unit is the additional grit the unit gains. When Sigrid joins the Axis Laser Grenadiers or Bazooka Joe joins the Allied BBQ Squad the unit benefits from the hero’s additional health points. These heavy-hitting squads frequently draw early enemy fire, and medium walkers like the Pounder and Luther can level the unit in a single burst of fire. But with a hero to help absorb some of the damage, they stand a better chance of living long enough to retaliate… with a vengeance.
The grittiest hero to date is Markus, the Axis hero and commander of the Blutkreuz Apes. His six health points can help a squad rush past the blazing barrels of Pounder or Wildfire and stay alive long enough to pound it to pieces with their panzer gloves. However, Markus can only join other Blutkreuz Ape units, meaning his versatility is severely limited.
Ozz 117 doesn’t have as many health points as Markus to share with his squad, but he can help his unit get in close for a kill by sharing his heroic attack skill. When he uses his Heroic Attack, all attacks made against his squad during the round do not cause any damage! However, because heroes can only join with squads that share the same armor class, Ozz 117 must fight alone until the Grim Reapers go on sale July 21st.
Along with Manfred Kreuzer and his five health points, Markus and Ozz 117 may be the grittiest heroes released thus far, but any hero can help a squad survive until it gets into position for its one vital strike. Put simply, heroes toughen up any squad they join.
Heroes can share many of their skills with the squads they join. In one key moment, Sigrid can lend her Berserk skill to the Axis Laser Grenadiers to increase their chances of blasting through an approaching BBQ Squad and the hull plating of a damaged Allied walker. Her berserk skill may only function once per game, but combined with sustained fire, her inspiring command lets you reroll each miss twice. Even while pinned on both sides, she boosts the chances her Laser Grenadiers can rip apart any enemy units in one massive burst of firepower. The laser werfer gains three chances at that critical hit while Sigrid and her remaining Laser Grenadiers can focus their lasers on the Allied squad. Enemies can’t hurt your units if they don’t survive long enough to fire back.
Most skills translate directly to combat prowess, but the Allied heroes Bazooka Joe and Rosie possess skills that provide their armies with different, more tactical advantages. Bazooka Joe has the Black Ops skill, and any player commanding Bazooka Joe in his army gains the benefit of an extra initiative die each round. Rosie, meanwhile, can repair a walker once per game with her Tank Head skill. While neither of these abilities lets a player toss extra dice during an attack or spur a squad forward on a dramatic charge to engage the enemy, an extra initiative die may save you when going second means you would lose a walker. And Rosie may help your hardest hitting walker survive long enough to fire one last volley.
It’s also important to remember that heroes can benefit from most skills of the squads they join. As mentioned earlier, Rosie rolls only a single die to attack to attack with her bazooka, but when she hits it’s devastating. A wise general finds the best way to use each soldier and weapon. Having her join the Special Ops Rangers and benefit from the squad’s Spotter is a great way to increase her accuracy and make an otherwise unreliable weapon into a frightening tool of destruction.
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
–Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Heroes give generals some tactical advantages that are harder to measure than extra toughness, firepower, and skill. Though heroes must start the game joined to a squad if they intend to join a squad, they can split from the squad at any point during the game. A players who chooses to split a hero from its squad suddenly gains another activation.
This is a difficult benefit to measure because it’s almost entirely situational, but this may allow you to pin an enemy between the two prongs of units that had formerly activated as one. It may allow you an extra beat in the heat of battle to force your opponent to spend his actions before pouncing on a weakness. It may allow you to rush for two objectives in a scenario after moving a force that was initially strong enough to keep your opponent at bay.
For example, the Axis hero Lara could join with the Heavy Laser Grenadiers (both from the Revised Core Set) to help them rush safely past Allied walkers into an occupied building. If they remain joined inside the building, Lara continues to add her health points and firepower to the squad, but if she splits from the Heavy Laser Grenadiers, both units gain the benefits of their Damage Resilient armor while the Heavy Laser Grenadiers also benefit from cover. As separate targets, Lara and the Heavy Laser Grenadiers effectively double the benefits of their Damage Resilient armor.
One hero can make a difference
Amid the furious battles of Dust Tactics, one hero can make the difference between victory and devastation. Head to our community forums to debrief your battles with other eager generals.
Dust Tactics is a tactical miniatures game of brutal combat for 2-4 players. Based on the popular universe created by artist Paolo Parente, Dust Tactics presents an alternate 1940s reality in which alien technology fuels gigantic machines of war, and the world's superpowers clash over rare mineral deposits that could ultimately decide the outcome of WWII.
I agree, that is exactly what the book says. However, I think the notion that they dont dive for cover or hide behind rocks and defenses (as silly as it is) does not imply to being in buildings. It is just the nature of building to building combat. Everyone (who is Infantry) inside the building should get cover.
The rule is dumb, it does not make the game more strategic (other then punish you for trying to make your hero independent and heroic) and in every single comic, movie, novel etc etc out there, heroes do indeed hide behind cover.
Really hope this is addressed in the revised rules.
And since buildings were not addressed in the core rules, I really think the fact the being in a building provides cover is a separate issue that needs a real FFG errata/FAQ to solve.
The rules clearly state (page 14 of the core rulebook) that hero's don't hide and therefore do not benefit from cover unless linked with another infantry squad. Not from Buildings, Tank Traps, Ammo Crates, etc... Period. Might not be a great rule, but adds a decent amount of strategy and encourages players to add them to other units... I honestly don't find them to be all that useful on their own anyway. Who knows, the revised core set may have some changes like Seelöwe did for some abilities.
Operation Seelowe states that Infantry units are treated as being in Soft Cover when being attacked at from those within the building and Hard Cover is the attacker is outside the building.
Yes, heroes cant use cover. And that is a rule that needs to be removed as it makes no sense at all.
[ADMIN: The article has been edited. Individual heroes cannot use cover.]
Why do you think that, no where in the rules does it say a hero gets cover, unless it is attached to a squad?
I think everyone gets cover in a building, hero or not.
Make the heroes from the night kits available...
One mistake? They are claiming Lara gets a cover save when fighting alone?
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Great article! Well done, FFG! More of such tactic and strategy articles please :) Everyone wants to take their DT skill up another level and such articles are certainly helpful. Thanks!
Cool, Lara's stat card!