23 April 2011

Know your support options - Soviet

The Soviet support options are mostly dominated by new additions from the Doomsday book. Not to say that what they had in the core rulebook was bad. The Soviets have a bunch of very good and affordable characters to pick from.

Vasily Zaytsev
My favorite Soviet character, one of two sniper character in the Soviet arsenal.  Vasily comes with your regular sniper equipment, but what really makes him shine are his “Killer without equal” rule. And if you would know me, I’m a person who can manage to roll 10 dice and end up with 8 dice showing results ranging from 1-3. This becomes a problem with “one shot” weapons and units. The “Killer without equal” special rule makes Vasily hit everything and everyone (including Chameleon snipers!) on a die roll of 2+.

You will most likely hit something each time you use him AND while you are at it do take advantage of his special rule and pick off enemy models in hard cover and important units like the Chameleon Snipers. While it may be fun to shoot down regular infantry part of a fire team that is not what you should use this character for. Use him to kill high priority targets and expensive models/units and he will have earned his RP worth. The second benefit of Vasily is his inspiring presence special rule that gives +2 to cool to any unit within a 10” radius! Very good if you like to support Vasilys location with additional troops.

The other sniper character, same RP cost as Vasily. She is more of a solo character, with her Deep Insertion rule and explosive charges she can pose a real threat to enemy armor. She is also Utterly fearless so no chance to inflict Suppressing fire against her. Other than that she works just like any other sniper, and to really benefit from that role she should be put in hard cover and at least 4” above ground level to get all the bonuses to hit that a scoped sniper rifle give you. The explosives and deep insertion make her a nice addition, but if I have to choose I always end up picking Vasily – mainly due to my crap die rolls.

Hammer & Sickle
A crazy good duo, for the same cost of a Sentinel or a Vampire. Sickle replaces the platoon commissar, and Hammer acts as his bodyguard. If you want to turn your command squad into a monster for 8RP this is the choice for you. Hammer is hard to kill, has a packed LMG and super strength. Sickle adds “utterly fearless” to all units within 10” and comes with a Cool of 10. You might be tempted to run havoc on the enemy with such a beefed up unit but as with everything in the SoTR universe – one bullet can mean death. And such a juicy target will attract the attention of a lot of enemy firepower. Try to use the benefit of the “utterly fearless” radius and don’t send Hammer away to bash tanks on his own in the open unless the tradeoff in points justifies such sacrifice.

Zombie hordes
Soviet platoons may field zombie hordes just like the Germans, with zombie bomb upgrades (medium AT blast).  They are identical to German zombies except for the lack of a “pinger” which makes it impossible to control their movement. Still a good meat wall – but an enemy might walk by them with a mecha and attract their attention away from the soft targets. But just like German zombies, they will annoy the hell out of your enemy as they soak up a lot of Light Infantry classed firepower.


Just like with any other situational unit it is hard to fork over 8RP on this large angry werebear.  It can punch vehicles to pieces, and with hard to kill rule revised it has become a bit more durable. It is still easy to hit though and very hard to use – you will be too cautious to risk it and the enemy will just stay away from it as much as possible with his vehicles. The difference between the Vampire and the Urzine is that the vampire could turn into mistform and be somewhat invulnerable (except for Medium AT+ blast and flamethrowers). The Urzine is large enough to attract a lot of attention making any daring move a gamble against the bad odds. From a fluff perspective, the Urzine is a cool unit, though from a gamer perspective it is just too expensive to be fielded in a regular 50RP platoon. Especially considering what other support options you can squeeze in for those points.

Siberian Subhumans
The posterboys of Soviet support options.  Ridiculously cheap for what they bring in terms of firepower and special rules.  Being “Tough” they don’t suffer the same way from the monster hunter threat and enemy flamethrowers as German werewolf units do. They are also fast, come with SMG’s and upgrades to make them multipurpose.

I would however advice on either keeping them clean and stay at the extremely affordable basic cost of 4RP or upgrade one or two with flamethrowers up to 6RP. This is a unit that is supposed to move around and get close to enemy units – adding a RPG reduces them to a static role in which other less specialized units may do just as good of a job. 

Samokhin Mech Ace pilot
Only available in a Mech platoon, my buddy Millmir have played with him and it makes the command mecha a lot more resilient as you can choose whether or not to bail with your crew when the armor gets penetrated by enemy AT fire.  Having Samokhin around for those 5RP is very valuable for other reasons as well. You get +1 on the penetration roll against enemy armor, all mech crews in your platoon receive +1 to their cool and the mecha Samokhin is commanding has 1 speed class above usual. Great and useful character all-round.

Koschei the Deathless
I have only played with this character during the beta testing phase. This is another one of those “cool story” but maybe not that good for a 50RP-game character. Pro’s, you cannot kill him and all Down results are ignored, Goner results turn into Down results. In order to kill him you have to kill the model carrying the “egg” which – if the opponent is clever – is placed with a loner somewhere at the far back of the battlefield, ideally with a sniper or a medic camping inside a building. The downside with Koschei is that he doesn’t have much to him besides being invulnerable. He can mess you up a little if he comes into close combat – but as he lacks armor he is easy to inflict Goner results against so he is easily neutralized. If you have 5RP to spare Vasily, a unit of Siberians or a light mecha is a better and more useful choice.

Guards armored squad

Excellent unit, you can go balls to the walls with the upgrades but I would advice on keeping a balance of RP spent on a single unit and the rest of the platoon. At the basic cost of 6RP they are great, with upgrades up to 8RP they are worth it. 10RP and you start to put a lot of eggs in the same basket but it’s your choice. If you uprade skip the RPG and go straight for the Grenade Launchers which have 36” range and no “move or fire” or “long range” penalties to them. Remember that grenade launchers scatter when you miss your target – making it highly probably of  still hitting something if the target model is standing next to a lot of friends.

Siberian Brute Squad
They basically do what Siberian Subhumans are supposed to do – get in close and personal. Their weapons are massive shotgun-like guns that fire a Flamethrower template sized punch. The blast is not very powerful, only light infantry, but you will cover and automatically hit a lot of models with each attack. The difference from flamethrowers is that you won’t automatically hit everyone in a small enclosed space like a room in a building. Firing at models in a building from the outside will only hit those models standing within LoS. Their close combat weapons have two modes, either regular attacks at Heavy Infantry strength, or a single Light AT slap. You decide when to use which. Overall a very good support unit – if you have a tendency to rush your Siberian Subhumans into close combat you should try these guys.

Historical vehicles
Just as with the US, German (next week UK) platoon suggestions I would advice on going for a medium ranged tank that is cost effective. You always have to consider that you will only ever get to fire the main gun on a tank 6 times per game in perfect conditions. Often even less. Thus machineguns really become important as you will always be able to fire them after having moved at full speed.

The Soviet's have a nice range of tanks, the most popular and iconic would be the T-34/76 & 85.  Those two would probably be the best option in a 50RP platoon. Medium front armor is durable enough and AT gun/MG mix is good. At 10-12RP the T34 play in the same league as the Sherman, Cromwell and PzIV tank. All decent medium range tanks that are cost effective.

You could opt for a SU-85 or something like that as well of course, they are pretty cool as well - but as getting immobilized isn't rare you may want to have a tank with a turret for obvious reasons.


I will talk about the Spider Mecha after I write about the UK support options. There will be a standalone fifth part completely focused on mechas, mechbuilding, tactics and special rules.

1 comment:

  1. Another very useful article, thanks mate. Particualrly as I read this more as a "know your enemy" edition!

    The mecha one will be particularly useful - my Jerries got smashed by multiple US Light Mecha yesterday..


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