Saurian Starhost Firefight Tactics

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Saurian Starhost
Setting: Grimdark Future
Games: Grimdark Future,
Grimdark Future: Firefight
Species: Saurian
Version: v2.50


Why play Starhost

The Saurian Starhost are a melee focused faction with good mobility and devastating monsters. While there aren't many cheap and reliable ranged units, most of the monster units have decent range options, which usually come at a hefty price.

Pros:

  • Decent quality and defense across the board
  • A lot of mobility, allowing those hard-hitting units to get into melee
  • A variety of monsters in the form of dinos, providing melee, support and ranged fire power
  • Tons of AP
  • Fearless offers a lot of Durability.

Cons:

  • Lack of reliable cheap ranged options. Geckos are cheap, but their quality isn't the best while the Saurians and monsters have to pay quite a bit for their guns.
  • Relying on dinos for both deadly and blast

Special Rules

  • Beacon: Friendly units using Ambush may ignore distance restrictions from enemies if they are deployed within 6” of this model.
  • Deep Strike: The hero and its unit get the Ambush special rule.
  • Drop Bombs: Whenever this model moves over enemies, pick one of them and roll 1 die. On a 2+ it takes 3 hits with AP(1).
  • Good Shot: This model shoots at Quality 4+.
  • Heavy Shield: Attacks targeting units where all models have this rule count their AP as one step lower.
  • Pack Hunter: Once per activation, one friendly unit within 12” of this model may move by up to 6".
  • Predator: For each unmodified result of 6 to hit when attacking, this model may roll 1 extra attack. This rule doesn’t apply to newly generated attacks.
    • This will be seeing a lot of use with Saurians and Gators being more powerful in combat.
  • Primal Roar: Once per activation, pick 2 friendly units within 6” with Predator, which may roll extra attacks on results of 5-6 next time they attack.
  • Shield Wall: Enemies get -1 to hit when they attack units where all models have this rule.
  • Teleport: Once per activation, before attacking, place this model anywhere within 6”.
  • Vicious Attack: The hero and its unit get the Furious special rule.
  • Will of the Gods: The hero and its unit get +1 to AP, but you must pick whether it applies to shooting or melee when you start the game.

Psychic Spells

  • Scrutiny (4+): Two enemy units within 12” get -1 to hit next time they fight in melee.
  • Serpent Egg (4+): Enemy unit within 12” takes 5 hits. Better for swarm management.
  • Energy Reservoir (5+): Two friendly units within 6” get +2" next time they Advance, or +4" next time they Charge/Rush.
  • Jaguar Pounce (5+): Enemy model within 12” takes two AP(4) hits. Better left for heroes or to finish off a weakened Tough unit.
  • Piranha Swarm (6+): Two enemy units within 6” take six AP(1) hits each.
  • Transcend (6+): A friendly unit within 12” gets Regeneration next time it takes wounds.

Unit Analysis

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Heroes

  • Saurian Veteran: Most likely your go-to hero, the Saurian Veteran is the most flexible in combat and its 3+ Quality and Defense makes it an elite tank. That said, its shooting effectiveness is sadly limited by its options so you're likely kitting them out to be focused on melee. If you're looking for mobility, then you can buy a Raptor mount to help their speed.
    • Shooting: Aside from the stock options, you only have two options for guns. There's the carbine for a bit more range (and making it the best for gunlines) and the rapid-fire Needle Pistol for some Rending.
    • Melee: Outside of the base CCW, you can pick up the Heavy Power Spear for some Impact work (improving mounted builds), the Power Claw for some Rending and the Power Maul if you intend to rip through heavy armor with AP(4).
    • Upgrades: You have two upgrades to pick between: Crusader for Will of the Gods, for if you intend to make more of a Deathstar unit, or Coordinator, providing extra movement and better to letting other units fight first.
  • Gecko Champion: The budget hero, capable of moving around with Strider. Where the Saurian Veteran is better suited for melee, the Gecko Champion has more options at range as well as some support options. Sadly, they can't boost their speed with a Pteradactyl, but the Palanquin can still help their survivability.
    • Shooting: The Shock Pistol the champion comes with is a surprising weapon with AP(4), allowing them to handle armored foes easily. Your other options provide better range for shooting. The Shock Rifle gives you extra range with that AP(4) while the Toxin Rifle replaces that high AP with Poison. If you want to go all-in with shooting and don't care about Chameleon's Good Shot, you can exchange the CCW and pistol for a Sniper Rifle to pick off priority targets.
    • Melee: Neither option to replace the CCW really does much to improve the champion's melee prowess. The Sacred Mace only gives Blast(3) if you're planning to go up against other mobs while the Energy Shield gives Shield Wall if you intend to make a Gecko bunker.
    • Upgrades: The Gecko Champion has two different lists of upgrades to pick from.
      • Chameleon gives quite a bit, not only offering Good Shot but also Scout and Stealth for extra mobility. The Phase Backpack gives Teleport, which can offer an extra bit of movement even when shooting.
      • Pit Master provides Vicious Attack if you intend to attach the champion to a unit of bruisers. Priest gives Psychic(1) if you need a bit of casting support. Spearhead provides Deep Strike if you intend to use Ambush on a unit.

Infantry

  • Gecko: Your cheapest unit, but they're also the most vulnerable with only a 5+ defense. Fortunately, they have Strider to easily hide behind cover and a Shock Pistol to surprise unsuspecting foes. If you intend to stick with the pistol, then the Phase Backpack will see plenty of use as they offer Teleport. If you're more interested in keeping them in the field but not in a fight, then you can sacrifice their CCWs for shields since that gives Shield Wall.
    • If you intend to dedicate to shooting, then you can exchange their weapons for a Sniper Rifle if you want to pick out targets.
  • Saurian Warrior: The mainstay and most flexible unit you can pick, the Saurians come with 4+ to both Quality and Defense while Predator maximizes their efficiency when fighting. This isn't only in melee either, as the unit can swap out from their Pistols to Carbines if you intend to focus at ranged combat.
    • Strangely, going to Carbines will lock your Saurians out of the special guns, where one option can replace a single Pistol. Shock Chargers provide long-ranged AP(4) shots to pop high defenses. Blast Guns are your tank-busting implements. Flamethrowers serve as crowd control like in any other army. Spike Shooters provide give you a mid-ranged rapid-fire option.
  • Chameleon: While both Geckos and Chameleons are weedy marksmen, the Chameleon's a lot less capable of standing up in a fight in exchange for being covert with Scout and Stealth and more accurate with Good Shot. Their loadout is a lot more static, relying on their Toxin Carbine for any offense. While they can also purchase explosives for AP(4) in melee, they remain just as dodgy up close. Advanced Locator gives Beacon, which works more if you are intending to rely heavily on Ambush.
  • Cyber Swarm: The ever-present Tough(3) but defenseless swarm unit for this army, benefitting from Poison.
  • Saurian Guardian: The elite among the elites with 3+ to Quality and Defense as well as an AP(2) Hammer, so they will be the strongest bunker. If you aren't using them for a hero bunker, then you can purchase Hardened Elite for Heavy Shields and blunting any AP you are facing.
    • While the Hammers lack shooting, you can replace it with the Great Hammer to take care of any enemies that outnumber them or Tough foes. If you do want shooting, you can replace the Hammer with a Mace that lacks AP up close but has AP(1) when they shoot.
  • Raptor Rider: While lacking Tough, this cavalry unit is tankier by having a 3+ Defense. On top of the Pistol and CCW, each model also has an AP(1) bite courtesy of the angry raptor. Their ranged game won't be much, since all they can do is either stick to the Pistol or buy a Spike Pistol, their melee choices do more for them. Power Claws make their attacks potentially deadlier than the Raptors', Power Spears stack onto Impact and Power Maces have the means to rip into heavy enemies.
  • Pterodactyl Rider: The airborne cavalry is fairly durable with Tough(3) and with Shock Rifles, they can deal with plenty of foes without having to charge anything. If you intend to bolster their defenses, you'll need to sacrifice that rifle for Shield Wall and an option of either Shock Pistol or CCW, which also forces them into entering close quarters.
    • The rider isn't the only things that can take upgrades either. Ripper Breed emphasizes on the charge by improving Impact and providing Furious on the Pterodactyl while Bomb Carriers gives Drop Bombs for some off-turn damage.
  • Gator: The big bruiser of the Starhost with 3+ Defense and Tough(3) wielding AP(2) Power Knuckles. Each knuckle can be replaced with Power Claws for Rending or Bludgeons if you want to focus on Impact. You can also buy Heavy Shooters for some fire support, and these can be supported with Missile Launchers if you want to ignore cover.

List Building & Tactics

General Advice

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Tactics

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See Also

Saurian Starhost
Overview - Tactics - Firefight Tactics - Miniatures - Quickplay Armies - Firefight Quickplay Armies
Grimdark Future: Firefight tactics
Alien Hives - Battle Brothers - Blessed Sisters - Custodian Brothers - DAO Union - Dark Elf Raiders - Dwarf Guilds
Elven Jesters - Eternal Dynasty - Gangs of New Eden - Havoc Brothers - High Elf Fleets - Human Defense Force
Human Inquisition - Infected Colonies - Jackals - Machine Cult - Orc Marauders - Prime Brothers - Ratmen Clans
Rebel Guerrillas - Robot Legions - Saurian Starhost - Soul-Snatcher Cults - Wormhole Daemons