The AT-RT is one of those units that can go from very cheap to very expensive with just a single upgrade. The price of hard-points tend to be significant, and units that have the ability to take them, often very much want to do exactly that.
But at what point should you leave that slot empty?
At only 55 points the AT-RT is the second cheapest unit available for the rebels at launch. But it’s price dramatically increases as you add hardpoints. In fact, you can bring it up to 100 points with enough upgrades – which is almost double the starting price.
This may be a bridge too far for many lists, in which you’ll want extra activations more than simply extra upgrades. It may be easier to pass on Let’s take a look at each hardpoint available.
The Extra Guns
The AT-RT Rotary Blaster comes in at 30 points, and is the most general purposed hardpoint available. Like all of the weapons that you can add, it has Fixed: Front, restricting it’s fire to the frontal 90 degrees only. It does, however, offer five black dice, which paired with the AT-RT’s offensive surge to crit, can do some great damage to enemy targets. Keep in mind it doesn’t have any additional keywords, however.
The AT-RT Laser Cannon is the most expensive and has the longest range of the AT-RT’s weapons. It only has 3 dice, but one of them is red and combined with the surge ability, this means the AT-RT is virtually guaranteed to get some damage in.
And with its Impact 3 keyword, it can be a great tool when used against enemy targets with the Armor keyword. The downsides are that this weapon can’t be used at Range 1, and that it is the most expensive, at 35 points, nearly the cost of an entire rebel trooper unit. Is it worth sacrificing nearly an entire unit’s worth of troops and firepower just for an alternate weapon that you can’t use up close?
The Flamethrower has the opposite problem that the Laser Cannon has. It ONLY works up close. It makes up for this weakness by costing only 25 points, which might be easier for some to pay for. Against larger formations of troopers, this weapon can potentially roll the most dice and deal the most damage out of all available options, if you can make it work. But if you end up not making it work, are those points wasted?
Leaving the Slot Empty
One thing to keep in mind is that the AT-RT doesn’t have the ARSENAL keyword, like the Snowspeeder and AT-ST. This means that the AT-RT isn’t sacrificing a free weapon being fired, by leaving the slot empty. Those other vehicles are virtually required to take at least one hardpoint due to the opportunity cost of missing out on what is effectively a free attack. The AT-RT doesn’t miss out on this attack. It still can shoot at Range 3. It still has an offensive Surge, which means it still has a reasonable chance of being able to suppress enemies that are fairly far away. And it still can do serious damage to enemy units if it can close into melee range of them.
Freeing up points also allows you more room in your squad for extra units – which could go towards another AT-RT. Having an extra unit can often be more advantageous than simply having an upgraded unit that has several options on which weapon to use. This is especially true when you consider the survivability and support that AT-RTs can provide your other units.
Troopers behind an AT-RT will receive light cover. Having a front line of AT-RTs can help keep your troopers safe while you are advancing toward the enemy, or when storming an objective. And keeping them up front also allows them to have early opportunities to engage enemies with the three red dice from those terrible Grappling Claws!
Front Line List
I like the idea of being able to run naked AT-RTs so much I made a video list about it. Check it out if you’d like to learn more!
Make sure you checkout Crabbok’s site for all sorts of tactics and news on FFG’s Star Wars games from X-wing to Legion he’s got you covered!