"I don't care how many there are, FIGHT!"
The elite of the Imperial Guard and the core of the Militarum Tempestus, Stormtroopers (officially called Tempestus Scions), are the best general-combat infantry that the Imperial Guard can field, and are the toughest, best-equipped, and best-trained soldiers available to an Imperial commander that isn't a SPESS MEHREEN. While most of the Guard is armed with your typical angry flashlight and Flak Armor or Flak Vest, Stormtroopers normally pack Hotshot Lasguns, which fire much more penetrating shots that are capable of piercing most infantry armor with ease, and they are clad in Carapace Armor, which gives them substantially higher survivability on the battlefield. They are named after the elite World War I German military units who used infiltration tactics to overtake enemy trenches.
In earlier editions of the game, they were favored as "Light Marines," since they had fairly similar performance to Space Marines but cost considerably less due to their weaker gear. As of the new edition, they're now a dedicated elite choice, with all the pros and cons that implies. Unless you use their new codex, of course. Then they become troops.
There is a key difference between true Stormtroopers and many different types of regimental proxies/wannabies, the former originate from Schola Progenium, the latter are simple top-notch regimental soldiers. There is also a line between Stormtroopers analogues and Grenadiers (or Heavy Infantry Regiments): Cadia for example fields Kasrkin, Armageddon fields Steel Legion Stormtroopers, Death Korps of Krieg field Grenadiers (all three of those are armed with hellguns instead of hotshots), but the Harakoni Warhawks are grenadiers by Guard classification, armed with humble lasguns and not expected to meet Stormtroopers standards despite being clad in Carapace Armor. The Inquisition also fields their own branch called the "Inquisitorial Stormtroopers" who form the Inquisition's main offensive force and are basically 5% of Schola Progenium Stormtroopers deemed pure, faithful and overall good enough to help your average Inquisitor meet the horrors that are part of his job head-on. Regardless of their appearance or gear, they're all incredibly potent if used correctly.
Unfortunately, in terms of actual models, the only stormtroopers you can currently get (besides the Death Korps Grenadiers) are the Tempestus Scions. If you're lucky, GW may have some Kasrkin available for Made-to-Order, but only some of the time, and only in metal. If you want them in plastic, you'll have to resort to kitbashing Scions with conversion bits from Forge World like the respirators.
The average Guardsman in the street can't stand them, referring to them as "glory boys" and resenting the fact that they're a good deal less likely to die given that they're given better equipment than standard issue cardboard armor with a flashlight. With the exception of the Kasrkin (and probably Death Korps Grenadiers, since dead men don't care for glory), who are revered and respected amongst Cadia, This is likely due to the fact that Kasrkin are way more badass (not to mention the fact that they are looked up to by the average Guardsman). And unlike most stormtroopers, who are raised and trained in the prestigious Schola Progenium, Kasrkin are all trained right on Cadia and experience the same hellish conditions as everyone else. They also strongly believe that THIS WILL BE DA DAY UF GLOREE. More canonically, it is because Kasrkin have the same equipment as the grunt Guardsmen they serve with except they have a hellgun. So, they're more badass than stormtroopers despite having only a good gun and shitty everything else. That is why they are inspiring to the average Guardsmen. Kasrkin show them what normal humans can really do, even the Imperial Guard.
In Dawn of War
Kasrkin (The stormtroopers of Cadia) are available for the Imperial Guard starting in Winter Assault, and they're one of the better choices the Guard has. They suffer the same problem that almost every unit in Winter Assault has, however, in that they're redundant - they utterly replace Guardsmen by Tier 3 in that game, and in every game of WA that makes it that far, your sole mission objective from then on is to spam Kasrkin endlessly.
In the later games - Dark Crusade and Soulstorm - their numbers were hardcapped, ergo ensuring that you can only use one squad at a time. Also added in as a main unit in the Inquisition Daemonhunt mod/Ultimate Apocalypse.
Also made hideously OP after Dark Crusade's infamous moving debuff, as their ridiculous rate of fire meant that even with 15% hit chance they were still going to get a decent DPS.
In Dawn of War 2
Stormtroopers are DoW 2's equivalent of DOW's Kasrkin, they appear in all games but only become widely playable during Retribution, where the Guard becomes a playable faction. You only fight alongside them in the original DoW 2 and you get to control two squads of them on one mission during Chaos Rising. They use Hot-Shot lasguns with armor-piercing effects. Stormtroopers can be upgraded with multiple "kits" that lets them be more effective to different targets and fit certain circumstances.
The kits are:
- Assault kit, which increases their damage output and range and reload speed, but now actually costs something and makes them take more damage as well. Usually passed up in favour of melta, but still useful for dealing with some elite infantry and commanders.
- Anti-tank kit, which easily makes them the best hunter-killer unit the Imperial Guard have available in the game. Their melta guns and melta bombs allow them to wreck vehicles, fuck up enemy power supplies, and to a lesser extent, tear up enemy commanders and superheavies.
Unlike their original appearance in DoW, stormtroopers this time round actually have a role other than being guardsman squad 2.0. Their weapon options and ability to infiltrate make them ideal for removing high priority targets like enemy vehicles, elite units, or commanders. They can also be used to disrupt power supplies and decap points. Although stormtroopers are a bit tougher and have more dakka than regular guardsmen, their unit size is much smaller (compare 5 troopers to an infantry squad's maximum of 12) and they fare even worse in melee. With the addition of a sergeant and commissar, guardsman infantry squads can reinforce three troopers at a time for a fraction of the cost of a stormtrooper, which makes them a whole lot more resilient in the field when combined with a reinforcement point such as a Chimera.
Scions/Stormtroopers are difficult to classify in tabletop. Many players eschew them, since the Imperial Guard used to be able to field cheaper
Infiltrators with carapace armor (and better range as part of the bargain) via Veteran Squads, and Veterans had Objective Secured as part of the bargain (but now so do Scions, who can be taken as Troops). On the other hand, Scions Deep Strike by default and come with AP-2 weapons which can put the hurt on just about anything, including Marines.
As of 8th Scions have effectively replaced Veterans as an up-armored, elite Troops choice. Although Veterans can still take heavy weapon teams and heavy flamers (which makes them a better choice for a static gunline) they have lost infiltrate and their old doctrines (carapace armor, camo-cloaks, snare mines), making them worth just about fuck-all to anyone who isn't running a Vanguard.
Where Scions come into their own, however, is as surgical strike units. Suffice to say, Scions are amazing units when used for target elimination - nobody likes taking AP-2 fire from anything (except, you know, TEQ) and they provide easy deep-striking plasma and meltas that the Imperial Guard lacks. Scions are a comparatively mobile and deadly force whose basic guns now have better AP than a goddamn bolter. Access to up to 4x special weapons and BS+3 doesn't hurt either - well, actually it does hurt. A lot.
Scions can take a transport such as a Chimera or Taurox Prime, however, Valkries and Vendettas are much more reliable than simply deep striking. In 8th they can also be taken as their own stand-alone regiment and come with interesting stratagems and special rules. For instance, their Warlords can Deny the Witch as if they were a psyker; with Superior Intelligence you can shoot at deep strikers within 12" the instant they arrive; combine the Tactical Auto-Reliquary of Tiberius with Master of Command and your Tempestor Prime becomes a 40 pt Creed; and if your Stormies are in double-tap range then their weapons gets an extra shot whenever you roll 6+ to hit.
A common joke amongst /tg/ is that in order to win, you must spam MOAR STORMTROOPERS.
Tales of Hilarity
Almost every 40K oldfag can tell you a tale of their first (and often most memorable) encounter with Stormtroopers; usually it pans out around the same way: the player (often playing something lighter-armored, like Tyranids, Orks, or Eldar) has fought a lot of Guard units, but hasn't really seen Stormtroopers in action before, and the Storms are usually camping an objective or getting ready to clear an area. The unwitting player moves in to intercept, expecting just another Guardsman squad, and proceeds to learn that Carapace Armor is a thing and it makes its wearer substantially harder to kill than Guardsmen are. The Stormtroopers then immediately return fire and quickly mulch the squad with their BS4 and AP3 Hellguns (AP5 in the previous editions, but with 24" range) weapons, and the young player quickly learns to never take a unit lightly again.
Another humorous tale that is constantly related regarding Stormtroopers is when Inquisitorial Stormtrooper Sergeants, in 3rd edition, were able to, due to a typo in earlier prints of the codex, take Thunder Hammers. This was expensive, but since a standard power weapon was only 10 less, this quickly became a thing wherein a Stormtrooper squad could be an effective charge deterrent, as enemies would assault the squad, the Stormtroopers would armor save most of the damage, and the hits from the Thunder Hammer would screw the attacker's initiative, resulting in the one thing every close-combat squad fears: Losing an assault to a bunch of Squishy humies. This was errata'd away in later editions, though there was an article on Games-Workshop's website condoning the practice back in 2006.
|Forces of the Militarum Tempestus|
|Command:|| Tempestor Prime - Lord Commissar |
Commissar - Tempestus Command Squad
|Vehicles:||Taurox - Taurox Prime - Chimera|
|Flyers:||Valkyrie - Vendetta|
|Allies:||Imperial Guard - Inquisition|
|Forces of the Inquisition|
|Command:|| Inquisitor (Ordo Malleus Inquisitor - Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor |
Ordo Xenos Inquisitor)
|Retinue:|| Acolyte - Arco-flagellant - Astropath - Banisher - Cherubim |
Chiurgeon - Crusaders - Daemonhost - Death Cult Assassin
Jokaero - Hierophant - Mystic - Sanctioned Psyker
Sage (Autosavant - Lexmechanic - Sister Dialogous)
Servo-skull - Servitor - Sister Hospitaler - Pariah - Penitent
Ministorum Priest - Militarum Veteran Squad - Warp-Seer
|Auxiliaries:|| Inquisitorial Stormtroopers - Deathwatch - Grey Knights |
Sisters of Battle - Callidus Assassin - Culexus Assassin
Eversor Assassin - Vindicare Assassin
|Vehicles:|| Chimera - Land Raider (Land Raider Crusader |
Land Raider Redeemer) - Razorback - Rhino