The Killing Cold
Preview the Forces of the Empire in Return to Hoth
“The Rebels are alerted to our presence. Admiral Ozzel came out of lightspeed to close to the system.”
–Darth Vader, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
In the aftermath of the first Death Star’s destruction, the Empire has made ceaseless efforts to discover the location of the hidden Rebel base. At last, a remote probe droid has located the Rebellion’s presence on Hoth, and the full might of the Galactic Empire is now brought to bear against this secret base. As the Rebels scramble to escape from Echo Base, you can command a host of new Imperial and Mercenary units with Return to Hoth, an upcoming expansion for Imperial Assault!
Return to Hoth opens a new galaxy of adventure for Imperial Assault with sixteen new figures, thirty-seven double-sided terrain tiles, an entirely new campaign, and rules for expansive multiplayer skirmishes. Today, we take the side of the Galactic Empire to crush the Rebels beneath an iron fist.
Prepare for Ground Assault
As Imperial forces descend to the surface of Hoth, you’ll almost certainly lead the way with a vanguard of Snowtroopers . Like the standard Stormtroopers , Snowtroopers are Troopers that benefit from tightly knit squads and concentrated fire. Unlike Stormtroopers, Snowtroopers are uniquely adapted to hostile conditions. With Environmental Recovery Gear, a Snowtrooper can spend an action to allow himself and each adjacent Trooper to recover a damage or discard a Harmful condition. What’s more, the Snowtroopers also benefit from several powerful surge abilities. You can spend a surge to Weaken your target, pierce armor, or gain more accuracy for your attacks.
Elite Snowtroopers cost three points more than their standard counterparts, but they offer several significantly improved abilities. Elite Snowtroopers can spend their surges to pierce more armor, gain more accuracy, or Focus in addition to Weakening an enemy! They also gain increased health, and, perhaps most importantly, the Efficient Travel ability. Efficient Travel allows elite Snowtroopers to ignore additional movement costs from moving through difficult terrain or hostile figures, allowing these Troopers to easily traverse the battlefield.
You may choose to lead Snowtroopers into battle from an imposing SC2-M Repulsor Tank . This tank is Massive, which means it easily pushes aside enemy troops that block its path. It also receives a constant boost to accuracy, and by spending surges, you can increase your damage or blast additional damage to adjacent units.
Though the Blast ability gives the SC2-M Repulsor Tank the versatility to take on swarms, it may be even more suited to pursuing one key target and destroying it. By spending two actions with this Vehicle, you can use Focus Fire to immediately make two attacks targeting the same figure. Even among the greatest heroes of the Rebellion, few characters can stand up to two barrages of laser fire from the SC2-M Repulsor Tank, so Focus Fire gives you a powerful way to potentially destroy enemy figures before they activate. Finally, this tank’s powerful armor grants it the Defensible ability, which adds a block or an evade to all of its defense results. By waiting until dice are rolled, you can see which result would be more useful, then choose how to defend.
Of course, there’s more than new forces for the Empire in Return to Hoth. The Mercenaries of the galaxy also receive an influx of dangerous new units to hunt down your foes in a campaign or the skirmish game.
You may dispatch a team of HK Assassin Droids to target the Rebels as they flee from the smoking ruins of Echo Base. These droids are deadly pursuers that can easily strike from long range with two blue dice and a yellow die, spending surges to Weaken their targets, pierce clothes and armor, and deal additional damage. These hunters also benefit from their mechanical nature. Versatile Weaponry can force the defender to reroll a defense die whenever you attack, potentially negating a dodge or reducing the number of blocks. In addition, the Targeting Computer ability lets you reroll an attack die on every attack, increasing your chances of dealing maximum damage.
Elite HK Assassin Droids benefit from all of the abilities possessed by the standard version, but they gain an even more single-minded focus on their mark. The elite HK Assassin Droid gains increased health and the option to spend another surge to deal more damage, and it also receives the Priority Target ability, which means figures don’t block line of sight for this figure’s attacks! As a primarily long-range figure, the ability to stay back and trace line of sight through other figures is invaluable for the HK Assassin Droids.
With the help of the Mercenaries, you may even call upon the native fauna of Hoth to viciously attack your opponents by summoning a Wampa to join your strike team! Even though this creature has the Habitat: Snow keyword and can’t leave its native environment in a campaign, a Wampa is a dangerous opponent, rolling two red attack dice in melee combat and gaining consistent additional damage on every attack. You can even spend surges to Stun your prey or cleave damage onto an adjacent target! Elite Wampas are even more dangerous, dealing more damage with every attack, cleaving more damage to other figures, and inflicting both Bleeding and Stunned conditions with a single surge.
The only difficulty for a Wampa lies in reaching its targets: this creature’s speed only allows it to move three spaces. Fortunately, two abilities help the Wampa catch a scent and hunt down the Rebels. Like elite Snowtroopers, Wampas bear the Efficient Travel ability, which helps them move quickly through any difficult terrain or hostile figures. In addition, their Hunger gives a Wampa two extra movement points at the start of its activation, provided there are no hostile figures within three spaces. Driven by hunger, your Wampa can rush forward and attack any Rebels that trespass on its frozen homeworld.
New Forms of Warfare
This host of new figures offers an array of new options for your Imperial armies in campaigns and skirmishes, and to further supplement the Imperial efforts in any campaign, Return to Hoth introduces two new Agenda sets and two new Imperial Classes.
If you want to make the most of your Creatures, you may choose the Natural Warfare Agenda set. Unchained lets a Creature move and deal damage immediately after its deployment, getting into position to attack in the coming round. Alternatively, you may trigger Bestial Fury to grant your Creature an unexpected attack at the end of a round. The Creature become Bleeding and Weakened after the attack, but an unexpected onslaught can be worth the exchange, especially if it wounds an enemy hero.
Rather than training Creatures to wage war on your behalf, you may choose to defend your troops with the Defensive Tactics Agenda set. Personal Shield Generators can be used to apply three additional blocks to an attack that targets an Imperial figure, while Counter-Strike can boost your defense and damage the attacker if you fully block the incoming damage! Whether you prefer to unleash Creatures against your foes or play defensively, these new Agenda sets have plenty to offer your Imperial Assault campaigns.
Two new decks of Imperial Class cards offer entirely new strategies for you to develop throughout the campaign. With the Precision Training class, you can use your troops’ superior training to manipulate the combat dice as you attack your foes. Pinpoint Accuracy can negate a dodge and ensure that at least some of your attack hits, while Exacting Strike actually removes dice from your opponent’s defense pool. You can boost your own dice with Versatile Attack , which gives a figure a yellow die and three new surge abilities for an attack. You may even change a die result to any result of your choice with Single-Minded !
If your deck is focused on Vehicles, Droids, or Heavy Weapons, you can do no better than to turn to the Armored Onslaught Class deck. Cards like Automated Repairs ensure that your mechanical weapons and vehicles are always repaired, while Reactive Armor raises a figure’s health and dramatically increases the power of every black defense die. You can also concentrate your firepower and increase the damage of your attacks with this class. Heavy Firepower invites you to remove a red die from the attack pool to apply three damage to your attack results, effectively giving you one of the best possible results without rolling. Finally, Rapid Dominance quickly accelerates your Vehicles and Heavy Weapons in the push for victory, allowing you to gain actions or ready a Deployment card by spending threat!
Destroy the Rebellion
The Rebels thought they could escape the Empire’s notice in the icy wastelands of Hoth. They were wrong, and it’s your job to punish them for their grievous error in judgement. Take command of the Empire’s forces with the Return to Hoth expansion, and come back next week for another preview of Return to Hoth and its figure packs!