Collecting Dust: Where the Minis Are by Kenneth Kooi

The Revised Core Set contains a wad of minis not available elsewhere – this is both boon and bane.

Like many miniature games, the dizzying array of options available to the new player intent on starting Dust Warfare can appear downright daunting; especially in light of the way army construction is done.

Rather than randomly grabbing boxes off the shelf in the hope that the troops selected actually work together, I’m going to provide a quick rundown on the mechanics behind Dust force creation, which models work in which lists and where to get them.

Before I begin, I want to make two things clear: the first is that this isn’t going to be a strategy or tactics primer. How you want to build your list beyond the basics is entirely up to you as a player. Instead, this article is going to be entirely devoted to identifying what units go where to better assist players in getting started with what they need. The second is that this article assumes you own the Dust Core Rulebook. Out of respect for Fantasy Flight Games, I will not be posting point totals or going in-depth into unit rules.

With the current meta-game environment racking in at 150 points, players are allowed to bring a single platoon and up to one hero to the average Dust game (though the Allies have the option of forking out additional points for Extra Hero). At the time of writing, there are a total of 6 available Platoon choices (3 Allied and 3 Axis) with an additional 3 specialist Platoon choices (Action Jackson’s Red Devils, Totenmeister’s Axis Zombies, and Markus’ Axis Gorillas). The specialist platoons appear to be built around providing support elements for a line platoon in large games, and do not appear viable as standalones since they are unable to buy the support elements necessary to round out the 150 point total, so for simplicity’s sake, I’m leaving them outside the focus of this article.

Dust platoon construction will not be unfamiliar to players well versed with army list construction for Flames of War and Warhammer 40K. Before building a platoon, the player must choose the platoon type from his army list. The platoon type chosen dictates the options available to build the list. Regardless of the platoon type chosen, each Dust platoon comprises of a Command Section and four additional troop sections of which a mandatory Command Section and the first Section must be filled.

The Command Section of a Dust platoon is a preselected Command Squad for that Platoon type that will lead the unit. For example, an Allied Ranger Assault Platoon will always be led by a Ranger Attack Squad while the Axis Sturmgrenadier Platoon will always be led by the Kommandotrupp. A player may opt to replace a platoon Command Squad with certain heroes with the Leader ability. For instance, instead of the Ranger Attack Squad, I may instead opt to field the Allied hero Johnny One-Eye in place of the entire command squad.

The first Section of a Dust Platoon is a mandatory squad dictated by the platoon list which will present a list of options which qualify as fulfilling the first Section choice. Taking the Axis Sturmgrenadiers as an example, the platoon lists Heavy Flak Grenadiers, Recon Grenadiers, Laser Grenadiers, and Battle Grenadiers as options for the first Section. To fulfill mandatory requirements when constructing the list, one of these squads must be taken.

This leaves three remaining sections to bulk up the army list, each with their own list of available options on what troops a player can bring to the field. A player may also opt to include a hero in the army list assuming they did not already use one to replace their command squad (due to the maximum number of heroes in a 150 point game). In addition, for every two sections included in a platoon, a player may opt to buy a single Support unit such as a walker or sniper teams from their platoon’s support list. Command squads count towards the total support a player can bring, but heroes do not.

 

Dust and the Allies

In the Dust Warfare Core book, the Allies are provided three primary platoon lists to serve as the basis of their army. The lists are the Ranger Assault Platoon, the Ranger Elite Platoon, and the Ranger Combat Platoon. Thematically, the first two lists each focus on a specific Allied strength – Short Ranged Firefights and Close Combat Prowess, and Heavily Armored Mobile Infantry. The last list, the Ranger Combat Platoon is tooled as more of an all-comers ‘vanilla’ list, able to handle most situations but excelling in no particular area.

The Ranger Assault Platoon

A Ranger Assault Platoon can currently be led either by a Ranger Attack Squad or the Allied hero Johnny One-Eye. The Ranger Attack Squad is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set.  Johnny One-Eye is available in the Dust Tactics: Allies Hero Pack.

The mandatory first Section of a Ranger Assault Platoon can be filled by Ranger Assault Squad, a Heavy Ranger Assault Squad, or a Recon Rangers Squad. The Heavy Ranger Assault Squad is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set. The Ranger Assault Squad and Recon Rangers Squad are available in the Dust Tactics: BBQ Squad and Dust Tactics: Recon Boys packs respectively.

It should be noted that a Ranger Assault Platoon only has access to Sniper Teams, Observer Teams, M1 Light Walkers, and M6 Heavy Walkers as support. They cannot field M2 Medium Walkers. The M1-B Blackhawk Light Walker is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set.

The Ranger Elite Platoon

A Ranger Elite Platoon can currently be led either by a Heavy Ranger Command Squad or either of the Allied heroes OZZ 117 and Rhino. Rhino is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set. OZZ 117 is currently available only in the Dust Tactics: Operation SeeLowe Campaign Expansion.   The Heavy Ranger Command Squad is available in the Dust Tactics: Corps Officers pack.

The mandatory first Section of a Ranger Assault Platoon can be filled by Heavy Ranger Attack Squad, a Heavy Ranger Assault Squad, a Heavy Rangers Tank Hunters Squad, or a British Paratroop Squad. The Heavy Ranger Assault Squad is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set. The Heavy Ranger Attack Squad, Heavy Rangers Tank Hunters Squad, and British Paratroop Squad are available in the Dust Tactics: Grim Reapers, Dust Tactics: Tank Busters, and Dust Tactics: Red Devils packs respectively.

It should be noted that a Ranger Assault Platoon only has access to Sniper Teams, Observer Teams, M1 Light Walkers, and M2 Medium Walkers as support. They cannot field M6 Heavy Walkers. The M1-B Blackhawk Light Walker is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set.

The Ranger Combat Platoon

A Ranger Combat Platoon can currently be led either by a Ranger Command Squad or the Allied hero Bazooka Joe. Bazooka Joe is currently available only in the out-of-print Dust Tactics Core Set. The Ranger Command Squad is available in the Dust Tactics: The Boss pack.

The mandatory first Section of a Ranger Combat Platoon can be filled by Ranger Assault Squad, a Heavy Ranger Attack Squad, a Ranger Weapons Squad, or a Ranger Combat Squad. The Ranger Weapons Squad is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set. The Ranger Assault Squad, Heavy Ranger Attack Squad, and Ranger Combat Squad are available in the Dust Tactics: BBQ Squad, Dust Tactics: Grim Reapers, and Dust Tactics: The Gunners packs respectively.

It should be noted that the M1-B Blackhawk Light Walker is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set.


Dust and the Axis

Like the Allies, the Axis forces have access to three primary platoon lists: the Blutkreuz Platoon, the Schwer Platoon, and the Sturmgrenadier Platoon. Although the Sturmgrenadier and Schwer Platoons have a passing similarity to their Allied Combat and Elite Platoon counterparts, the Germans place less emphasis on overall mobility, instead focusing more on raw ranged firepower. The Blutkreuz Platoon on the other hand, relies heavily on its weird science and its ability to cycle living troopers which are killed back into play as Axis Zombies, lending the army an unnatural resilience that gives superior ‘survivability’ (as much as recycling your troops as zombies can be considered ‘survivability’).

The Blutkreuz Platoon

A Blutlkeuz Platoon can currently be led either by a Sturmpioniere Squad or the Axis hero Sigrid von Thaler. The Sturmpioniere is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set.  Sigrid von Thaler is currently available only in the Out-of-Print Dust Tactics Core Set.

The mandatory first Section of a Blutkreuz Platoon can be filled by Axis Zombies Squad, a Heavy Laser Grenadier Squad, or a Laser Grenadier Squad. The Heavy Laser Grenadier Squad is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set. The Axis Zombies Squad and Laser Grenadier Squad are available in the Dust Tactics: Axis Zombies and Dust Tactics: Laser Grenadiers packs respectively.

It should be noted that the Light Panzer Walker I-C “Hans” is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set.

The Sturmgrenadier Platoon

A Sturmgrenadier Platoon can currently be led either by a Kommandotrupp Squad or either of the Axis heroes Manfred and Stefan. Stefan is available in the Dust Tactics: Axis Hero Pack. Manfred is currently available only in the Dust Tactics: Operation Cyclone Campaign Expansion. The Kommandotrupp is available in the Dust Tactics: Kommandotrupp pack.

The mandatory first Section of a Sturmgrenadier Platoon can be filled by a Heavy Flak Grenadier Squad, a Battle Grenadier Squad, a Recon Grenadier Squad, or a Laser Grenadier Squad. The Heavy Flak Grenadier Squad is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set. The Battle Grenadier Squad, Recon Grenadier Squad, and Laser Grenadier Squad are available in the Dust Tactics: Battle Grenadiers, Dust Tactics: Recon Grenadiers, and Dust Tactics: Laser Grenadiers packs respectively.

It should be noted that the Light Panzer Walker I-C “Hans” is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set.

The Schwer Platoon

A Schwer Platoon can currently be led either by a Heavy Kommandotrupp Squad or the Axis hero Lara. Lara is currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set. The Heavy Kommandotrupp is available in the Dust Tactics: Heavy Kommandotrupp pack.

The mandatory first Section of a Sturmgrenadier Platoon can be filled by a Heavy Flak Grenadier Squad, Heavy Laser Grenadier Squad, Heavy Recon Grenadier Squad, or an Axis Gorillas Squad. The Heavy Flak Grenadier Squad and Heavy Laser Grenadiers are currently available only in the Dust Tactics Revised Core Set. The Heavy Recon Grenadier Squad and Axis Gorilla Squad are available in the Dust Tactics: Heavy Recon Grenadier and Dust Tactics: Axis Gorillas packs respectively.

It should be noted that a Schwer Platoon only has access to Sniper Teams, Observer Teams, Medium Panzer Walkers, and Heavy Panzer Walkers as support. They cannot field Light Panzer Walkers.

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