Named after the elite World War I German military units who used infiltration tactics to overtake enemy trenches.
Thinking these guys are the same as their Star Wars "equivalents" will teach you a quick and decisive lesson in getting your ass kicked. Then again, that's Lucas's fault for putting the elite against the heroes.
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.
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 are many different types of stormtroopers, all depending on their homeworld. Cadia for example fields Kasrkin, Armageddon fields Steel Legion Stormtroopers, Death Korps of Krieg field Grenadiers (that being the dubious honor of being the survivors of the military equivalent of lemmings), and the Harakoni Warhawks are made up of only stormtroopers. The Inquisition also fields their own branch called the "Inquisitorial Stormtroopers", who form the Inquisition's main offensive force. 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.
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.
Stormtroopers are difficult to classify in tabletop. Many players eschew them, since the Imperial Guard can field cheaper
Infiltrators with carapace armor (and better range as part of the bargain) via Veteran Squads, and Veterans have Objective Secured as part of the bargain (but so can Scions in their own codex). On the other hand, Stormtroopers Deep Strike or infiltrate by default, come with AP3 weapons (which means they are the bane of not only marines, but other infantry armies, such as Dark Eldar, Eldar, and especially Tyranids (as if the bugs needed even more ass kicking). However, Veterans are a heck of a lot cheaper and are generally more flexible given that they can either take carapace armour, or for even cheaper (heh heh), get stealth and those mine things that stop the enemy getting +1 attack on the charge.
TL:DR The only differences between Storm Troopers and Veterans is that Veterans can choose between 3 squad upgrades and have longer range (but no ap) and the Scions get deep strike and AP3 lasguns with a 4+ save standard.
A Stormtrooper Squad used to come with one of the following rules:
Move Through Cover
With the new codex, they just get deep striking and move through cover. While this is
considerably less customisable awesome, it does tie in better with the new "army of faceless, identical elite soldiers who all obey orders perfectly" vibe GW pushed through with their new codex.
Where Stormtroopers come into their own, however, is as surgical strike units. Suffice to say, Stormtroopers are amazing units when used for target elimination - nobody likes taking AP3 fire from anything(except, you know, TEQ) they also provide easy deep-striking meltas that the Imperial Guard lacks, and are a comparatively mobile and deadly force, who have average to good basic guns and lots of cheap special weapons. Stormtroopers can take an attached transport in the form of a Chimera or a Taurox Prime, to make them even more mobile after they deep strike.
They can also be taken as a stand-alone army thanks to their own Codex: Militarum Tempestus, giving an effective and killy surgical strike to any other army. Tactics and review can be found here. This codex effectively makes Inquisitorial stormtroopers viable again: it can ally with Inquisition as Battle-Brothers. That alone makes it awesome and full of win, even if it is extremely small and doesn't include anything special except dedicated orders.
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