Star Wars: Shatterpoint – Fear & Dead Men Squad Pack Review

The Fear & Dead Men Squad pack ushers in a dark era to Star Wars Shatterpoint. The first Empire-themed box during the Galactic Civil War era and our second Darth Vader primary unit. Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Servant, will lead his band of stormtroopers to a decisive, aggressive, and hate-filled victory. Do you have what it takes to field lightning in a bottle?

Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Servant

Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Servant
Credit: Atomic Mass Games

As the primary unit, Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Servant (Vader 2) has 7 Squad Points for creation. Vader 2’s tags include Force User, Galactic Empire, and Sith, and it has two stances. His first stance, ‘Form V Djem So,’ is a powerful offensive stance, ideal for breaking enemy lines or swiftly eliminating targets. A single success on the target will apply a Strained condition, and a full walk down his tree can yield 10 damage, a jump or Disarm, and a shove, giving you the power to control the battlefield.

Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Servant Attack 1
Credit: Atomic Mass Games

His second stance is ‘Form V Shien’. While it rolls one less dice for melee, it adds the option for a ranged attack and an increase in defense dice. If the uptick in defense dice did not give it away, this stance would be best utilized for movement, healing, and control. The top path will give you 6 damage, two shoves, 3 heals, and provide the enemy with Exposed. The bottom path will give 7 damage, two shoves, Pinned, Disarmed, and a cherry on top that ends with a reposition.


Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Servant Attack 2
Credit: Atomic Mass Games

Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Servant Abilities

You Don’t Know the Power of the Dark Side

When Vader 2 activates, he has the option to heal two damage or one condition and then refresh a force.

Anger, Hate, Aggression

For one force, you can Dash, then add 3 dice to your next attack roll. It will need to be during the same activation turn. If the attack fails, Vader 2 gains Exposed.

You Are Unwise to Lower Your Defenses

One force cost will allow you to retaliate to a melee attack. If the attack against Vader 2 contained a failure, the attacking unit would suffer 3 damage.

Perhaps I Can Find New Ways to Motivate Them

When Vader 2 wounds an enemy, another allied Galactic Empire character may Dash.

You Cannot Hide Forever

At the end of Vader 2’s turn, if he is not wounded, his order card gets shuffled back into the order deck to be pulled again.

Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Servant menacing
Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Darth Vader, The Emperor’s Servant Tactics

Vader 2 offers a potent blend of aggression and strategic flexibility. In his Djem So stance, using Anger, Hate, and Aggression, you can Dash into the melee range of an enemy, Focus, and then attack with 12 dice. Unless the unit you are attacking has become wounded, flip to your alternative stance (Shien), giving Vader 2 more dice to defend with in retaliation. Utilize You Are Unwise to Lower Your Defenses as a defensive countermeasure, giving the attacker 3 damage on melee attacks.

Strategic positioning is fundamental when using Vader 2’s continuous activation. While keeping Vader 2 moving around the map may seem advantageous, avoiding isolation or getting caught in a cat-and-mouse chase is important. These previously mentioned situations can lead to a loss of a forward position. To maintain control, a balanced middle ground/front line on the map is necessary. Carelessly running him across the map and focusing on movement can leave him vulnerable, with a severe lack of force. Remember, his force only refreshes once he wounds someone, and he doesn’t get shuffled back into the order deck.

Stormtrooper Sergeant

Stormtrooper Sergeant
Credit: Atomic Mass Games

The Stormtrooper Sergeant is here to provide strategic advantages through his command abilities. The Sergeant can command the battlefield and rally the troops to take and hold objectives. Security in strength and order in obedience is his motto.

Stormtrooper Sergeant Stance
Credit: Atomic Mass Games

Stormtrooper Sergeant lays down covering fire while healing and moving. With a range of 5, he can take a farther rear position behind his troops and command them around the map. Taking the top route on his damage tree will provide 4 damage, 4 heals, and an Expose. The bottom path can provide 4 damage, 1 heal, two shoves, and a repositioning, allowing for a more tactical movement option.

Stormtrooper Sergeant Abilities

Inexorable Advance

A tactics ability at the start of the turn by moving an allied Galactic Empire Supporting Unit, giving them full movement. However, they will need to take damage to do so.

Imperial Firepower

Costing one force, you can choose an enemy within 4 distance of two or more of your Galactic Empire characters. Imposing your fear by providing a Disarm or Pinned effect.

Coordinated Offensive

Giving allied Stormtroopers, before an attack is rolled, you can add 1 dice to the attack roll for each Stormtrooper unit within 5 distance and has line of sight to the target.

Only Imperial Stormtroopers Are So Precise

Gives the Stormtrooper Sergeant Sharpshooter 1.

Stormtrooper Sergeant Tactics

The Stormtrooper Sergeant’s abilities lend to clustering within 5 measurement of other Stormtroopers. Put your other Stormtroopers in the Line of Sight of the Sergeant to ensure you can utilize both Imperial Firepower and Coordinated Offensive. With Sharpshooter and a longer firing distance, the Sergeant will be great in a mid to mid-back objective. Giving him a good field of view of the entire battlefield and the Stormtroopers that he commands.


Credit: Atomic Mass Games

The Stormtroopers will grab objectives and hold them with unyielding determination. Rebel propaganda has spread tall tales, bringing into question their effectiveness, but the Troopers are integral to the Empire’s strategy. With a churn-and-burn strategy, the Stormtroopers will ensure the Empire’s dominance on the battlefield.

Stormtroopers Stance
Credit: Atomic Mass Games

Like the Sergeant, the Stormtroopers have a 5 measurement ranged attack, allowing optimal battlefield coverage. They hit with only one less ranged dice than their Sergeant and have the same health. If you walk the top damage tree, you get 6 damage, a Strained, an Expose, and a Dash. Meanwhile, the bottom path yields 5 damage, 2 heals, a Dash, and a Disarm.

Stormtroopers Abilities

Assault Tactics

Costing a force, you can Dash each character, but they will suffer damage.

For the Empire!

Costing a force, you can push your engaged enemy 2 measurement away from you and give them an Expose.

Only Imperial Stormtroopers are So Precise

Gives the Stormtrooper Sharpshooter 1.

Gameplay Tactics

Vader 2 is at the epicenter of any assembled strike team utilizing the Fear & Dead Men squad pack. You want to get Vader 2 up close and personal early against your enemy’s secondary and supporting units. He will be best-absorbing damage and retaliating while holding an objective. Move him to the front lines. While the Stormtroopers are not far behind Vader 2, keeping the Sergeant close, have them hold position at any of the near-center objectives.

Strike Team 1:

Fear & Dead Men Squad Pack Strike Team 1
Credit: Atomic Mass Games

Moff Gideon, Death Trooper Escort, Dark Troopers
Vader 2, Stormtrooper Sergeant, Stormtroopers

With a total force pool of 6, refreshing your pool will be your secondary focus after taking objective points. This list is Trooper and ranged heavy, but don’t let that fool you; Vader 2 will get into the fray early with melee. While Gideon will help command the battlefield and bring the tactics up a notch.

Gideon will use the Galactic Empire tag with Smug Determination for a free Dash to an allied character within range 4 and Long Live the Empire, sending a supporting unit towards the nearest objective. However, they will suffer two damage.

Gideon will also grant Vader 2 an additional attack dice to a melee roll if the defender is contesting an objective the Empire does not control. If there is a tie at this objective you are trying to take over, the Empire breaks the tie in their favor. When Vader wounds a unit, an allied Empire unit can Dash. Anyone in your strike team will be able to move with Perhaps I Can Find New Ways To Motivate Them.

Death Trooper Escort and the Stormtrooper Sergeant will provide your supporting Galactic Empire units additional movement but at the cost of more damage. A huge part of playing the Empire will be managing your damage to Supporting units. Luckily, the Stormtroopers have some heals, while the Dark Troopers are there to pack a punch and apply the most damage.

You should send the Dark Troopers and Vader 2 as your front lines while Moff and Sergeant hang back towards your rear points, still within distance of the Troopers, to provide the tactical abilities.

Strike Team 2:

Fear & Dead Men Squad Pack Strike Team 2
Credit: Atomic Mass Games

Vader 2, Stormtrooper Sergeant, Stormtroopers
Iden Versio, Gideon Hask, Imperial Special Forces

This strike team packs a punch of ranged attack from every unit. Vader will provide the front lines with an intimidating presence while Inferno squad can mirror his infiltration on the other side of the map. Staying in a V pattern, Vader and Versio lead the points, and the Sergeant and Hask provide cover fire for the Stormtroopers and Special Forces units. Cycling the supporting units between your secondary units position and your primary units position.

The Future of the Glorious Empire

Come to the dark side
image by Tom Reuhl

Do you have what it takes to command the dark side and serve the Emperor’s will? The Empire is rising with the recent launch of “Today the Rebellion Dies” and “You Have Something I Want” squad packs. The future is promising if you embrace the dark side, utilizing fear and power to crush your enemies. The Dark Side awaits your command.

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