Oct 29, 2011

Target Priority

It’s something you need to be able to do accurately during a game, and it’s something you want to make difficult for your opponent. But how do you actually go about it?

I had thought up until recently that simply getting a bunch of units out would be sufficient to take care of that. Using principles like MSU and Kirby’s 1+1 to maximize the threats that have to be dealt with by my opponent. Also, limiting how much you mix Foot and Mech units. If all you’ve got is vehicle hulls for your opponent to shoot at, you can virtually ignore any Anti-Infantry fire he’s got whereas a mix allows him to use each of his guns against the target it is most effective at hurting.

However, that’s not truly what is meant by giving your opponent Target Priority issues. Look at the 1+1 again. The goal of it is to not only have units which threaten your opponent, but also Transports for your units which do the same thing. Up until recently I had considered that this meant basically only things like Razorbacks or Rhinos and either dropped off their passengers and then zoomed to make your opponent’s life hard with things like Blocking (either Movement or LoS), tank shocking, maybe even ramming something or having a big gun and putting out nearly the same firepower as the squad it carries. But it doesn’t stop at those two kinds of units. I had assumed that Drop Pods were unable to achieve 1+1 because they had no serious weapon (or Ballistic Skill) and no way to do more than temporarily inconvenience one or two of your opponent’s units. With a good number of Drop Pods this assumption is wrong.

One of the most devastating parts of my (and probably any similar) Drop Pod list is the sheer number of Drop Pods that come down; 10 in mine, 11 in Marshal Learoth’s, all AV 12 and all blocking something from your opponent. It could be movement, it could be a LoS to one of your units, or it could be both. That many Drop Pods makes for a hard decision your opponent has to make. Do they target the Drop Pods, which are not doing any damage but until they are destroyed he cannot complete his strategy, or do they target those Dreadnoughts, which pose a threat not only to Vehicles but to Infantry in both shooting and assault? Both are AV 12 on most sides, both poses a threat, the Drop Pods protect the Dreadnoughts not only by forcing your opponent to make this decision but also by denying your opponent chances to target your Dreadnoughts with some of his weapons. Of course, Mobility could potentially overcome the latter difficulty, but there are so many Drop Pods and Dreadnoughts and dead vehicles that you can’t get anywhere unless you’re a skimmer (and even then you have to move Flat Out). There is really no way of dealing with these units. Sure you can take down a Crusader Squad or damage a Terminator Squad, but the Dreadnoughts laugh at your attempts to kill them while they destroy the only things you have available to hurt them reliably.

And the key to Target Priority is right in there. There are two parts, one part you can control before the game and during deployment, the other part you need to achieve during play. First you can give your opponent a hard time by having too many viable targets for him to deal with when you build your list. Second you can place them to emphasize vulnerability over actual threat and force your opponent into making decisions that you want him to make. During the actual game you need to deny your opponent a way to do the same to you. You need to figure out which units are the most dangerous to you and balance that with how easy it is to kill them as well as how dangerous they can become. More than that, you need to not make choices that your opponent wants you to, especially if he plans on you making that choice.

If you can upset his plans, you have taken an advantage. Now you may need to compare that advantage with whatever disadvantage you have by making the less optimal choice and disrupting your opponent’s plans. Almost always, upsetting your opponent is greater than whatever negative effects you suffer, but experience tells you which is more important.

And that’s the best way to master Target Priority, experience. I have countless hours spent reading and discussing and arguing tactics, units, unit load-outs, equipment, list building philosophies and rules, but when I began to get some experience playing Vassal everything started to fall into place. Other people’s experience doesn’t quite cut it, and battle-reports are either insufficient or badly done and yield almost no chances to gain any real understanding of what’s taking place.

Now don’t get me wrong, other people’s advice is vastly important and very valuable, assuming that it’s educated experience. But it does not replace your own. Your experience and other people’s experience compliment each other and compound the benefit you gain from each, but you can’t have just one and still play to your best potential.

So that’s the first bit of advice that I have for anyone wishing to improve their game. Play some games. Play against good lists, ideally good opponents. You don’t want to get completely stomped, you want to have a tough game, a game where you can see different aspects of your list working to various success. But I just said something wrong. You don’t want to play a game; you want to play several games, against the same opponent. Then you should get several more games against a different opponent, preferably against several opponents, each playing several games. You also want to play against different lists; still good ones, but different kinds. Playing against the same type of list all the time will lead to the same problems that playing against the same opponent or on the same terrain all the time will lead to; you aren’t actually learning very much that can be taken beyond this particular terrain/opponent/type of list. Placed in a new situation and you’re suddenly not in a comfort zone that you’re familiar with; with a wide variety of experience you won’t get put off by being in an unfamiliar setting or against a new opponent, so you’re more prepared for things like Tournaments.

Target Priority is overwhelming your opponent with tough decisions (namely decisions about which units to try and kill) as well as being able to spot the best units of his to kill (not just the most dangerous/vulnerable, but also considering what your opponent expects you to do). To master this you need experience against many different opponents and lists, preferably multiple times each to remove the chance for random nature to force its way in and taint your experience.

Oct 21, 2011

Vassal Game 4. PotMS.

I played a Vassal Game today.

You know, I keep expecting my list to perform worse and worse as I get into more competitive lists, but I guess I need to go farther first (I don’t know how the DDP game is going to go as neither list can really use their normal strategies. Just my luck, it’ll end up being Kill-Points or something. Anyway, the most recent one was against the PotMS list. Not Marshal Learoth’s, mine.

The reason I played against my own version was because I looked at them both, and decided that the 5 Crusader Squads and 3 Vindicators was a preferable choice to 6 Crusader Squads and 3 Predators. For two reasons. One, the Vindicators with PotMS fit better with the rest of the list (however you work it, Predators do have to choose between static or not very good, whereas the Vindicators could move and fire to full effect every round which matched my idea of how the list should be used). Two, in Marshal Learoth’s list the Razorbacks don’t have Extra Armor, which allows them to not only still shoot when they get shot (barring destruction and weapon destroyed) but also move (take that Stunned results!) and, once again, I valued the greater mobility over the extra Crusader Squad.

In hindsight, I think that Marshal Learoth’s list would have done better, the Vindicators hardly did anything besides kill a Drop Pod and shake both Dreadnoughts in one shot (well, they also killed a few Terminators, another Drop Pod, and distracted both a Dreadnought and a Terminator Unit for several turns), Extra Armor only ever affected the Dreadnoughts, really, and the Meltaguns in the Crusader Squads were some of the most valuable weapons.

Now I can’t do a full battle-report (as I didn’t think of taking screen shots until the 4th turn and I don’t want to tackle a fully written one until I’m more comfortable doing at least some) but I can do my best. So here goes:

Roll-off to see who gets the first choice; PotMS wins and chooses to go second (to maximize the turns that they can damage the Drop Pod list). Drop Pod list chooses to play Kill Points (something I was trying out); Deployment is Dawn of War.

T1 and T2. PotMS deploys nothing at first but everything moves on T1. I knew that the Vindicators would do some serious damage if they could be kept alive, so I moved them on at full-speed ahead behind a hill in the corner, all in a line, with Razorbacks covering their flanks and rear (just in case). Now only the front armor showed and if the Razorbacks were targeted, oh well. The fifth Razorback provided obscurment to the Typhoons. This turned out to be very, very bad as I’ll point out later. Drop Pod gets most of their units, both Dreadnoughts, Terminator Command Squad, and four Crusader Squads which they began to place, with the Dreadnoughts easily reaching the Vindicators and Crusader Squads either ready to engage the enemy or laying down early fire with their Plasma Guns. Immediately, a Vindicator is killed as well as a Typhoon and a Razorback is immobilized. Next the PotMS list goes, and they realize that their awesome Mobility (you know, that 12” a turn while firing at full effect) is useless, because there are only two ways out from the deployment trap laid down by the Drop Pods. One of those avenues has a spot of Difficult Terrain (which Immobilizes a Razorback) and the other leads right past a Crusader Squad (two, actually) before you can get to the rest of the board. Their shooting is mostly ineffective (the Vindicators do some damage and a few other Drop Pods are taken hurt but nothing serious) while they try to escape the trap; their Typhoons (the two remaining ones) had gone flat out and were in the open.

T3. Everything else but one Typhoon comes down. And lots of damage is done. One Vindicator is left without a gun and immobilized, the other is immobilized but still has it’s gun, two Razorbacks are gone, two others are Immobilized, one Typhoon no longer has a Missile Launcher and the other is Immobilized, various troops are dead and the others can’t really do anything. Granted, they’ve killed a few Drop Pods and a Typhoon but still no serious damage has been dealt. Well, that’s not quite true. A Crusader Squad does charge the Terminator Command Squad and wipe it out entirely with Power Weapon attacks, poor rolling on the Terminators part, and horrible attempts at saving against Fearless wounds (I hate being fearless in Close Combat). By the way, that particular Crusader Squad goes on to claim another Kill-Point or two (in addition to the two that it just got) and it took way too much to kill them. Spoiler! They die on turn 5.

T4. The Vindicators are finally finished off, as well as two more Razorbacks and the Immobilized Typhoon. I think a few Infantry are killed, and a Dreadnought assaults the Crusader Squad with the Emperor’s Champion and kills a guy, but nothing dramatic or anything. Anyway, a Drop Pod or two are killed, Crusader Squads are assaulted (and survive, impressively), and that’s about it.

T5. That Crusader Squad that killed the Terminators? It has since assaulted another Crusader Squad which is barely holding on (one guy left) and I don’t want them to claim that kill point (or if they do, pay for it). I’ve got two more Crusader Squads not doing anything (nothing left alive near them except for this Crusader Squad), and so they both charge into the combat (along with my Emperor’s Champion). Rolling is not kind to me, and I barely do any damage (enemy squad lives, that one guy does not). The Dreadnought pings off another guy from the Squad the enemy Emperor’s Champion is in, and I make a fatal error with my Terminator Squad. It charges two enemy Crusader Squad. Since they go first, I grab the dice they will be rolling. It’s more than when a single enemy unit charges, by one Power Weapon attack. They kill all but one-two of the Terminators, who then deal paltry damage in return (either it was one Terminator left, or it was two and one died to fearless wounds. Did I mention that I hate being fearless in Close Combat?). What’s worse is that I didn’t have to assault both Crusader Squad, and the one I didn’t need to assault was already fleeing (failed Righteous Zeal Test), which would have meant half of the Power Weapon attacks and almost half of the regular attacks. Anyway. All of the PotMS vehicles are gone, they do almost nothing in Close Combat (I believe that I finish off that darn Crusader Squad) and the round ends. A 6, next turn begins.

T6. A Dreadnought assaults one of those Crusader Squads that killed my Terminators, and nearly destroys them outright (and they have nothing to use against the Dreadnought). Another dead guy in the Emperor’s Champion squad (now it’s just him and the Dreadnought), and I do very little else besides shuffle my Typhoons. His single free Crusader Squad runs away from the scary Dreadnought (I was getting ready for another charge) and his Emperor’s Champion shakes my Dreadnought. Begin Turn 7.

T7. I realize that I should rush my own Emperor’s Champion down to try and kill his off, but since he didn’t move last round he is 1 inch to far. I shoot his final Crusader Squad to nothing, and am unable to kill his Emperor’s Champion. His turn begins, he shakes my Dreadnought for the third time in a row (two of those were actually stunned results. Extra Armor FTW!). I roll to hit. No hits. I realize that a 4 actually does hit (stupid confusing To-hit assaulting table) and so I did get one hit. It wounds. He fails his Invulnerable Save. Instant Death and I win by annihilation.

So there you have it, almost a battle report (except that you don’t know where everything is going on). Next time I promise to take some Screen-shots and do this properly.

Now I’ve noticed a few things about my list. The first is that it kills things. It kills them dead. I don’t know exactly why but I know that it helps to be guaranteed the first shots. Since I drop down, the first time my opponent has a chance to target me is when I’ve already fired at him, which gives me both the advantage you get from going first (first to deal damage) as well as the advantage you get from going second (proactive reaction to the opponent plus being able to decide where I want to fight after he’s already dedicated units). The Heavy weapons don’t benefit from this, but so far only about one or two Crusader Squads per game don’t get to fire their Heavy Weapons, but when they do it doubles their effectiveness (or better).

I’ve also learned where my list could potentially be defeated (now that I know how to use it). If the opposing list spreads out then I can’t box them in to deny them their mobility and their range/LoS, and this was a mistake that I made not only with the PotMS list but also with the Templarbubble list, the All-Comers list, and, to an extent, the Dual-Raider list. Since I can deny them their mobility as well as the number of units they can target (usually not the ideal ones) I gain the upper-hand and can basically do what I want (the win is less under my control though). This includes eliminating rock units, killing their most valuable guns, denying them the chance to assault me (most of the time). This advantage turns a matched contest into a slaughter. In all four games I had close to (I think) half of my army left, while they had a few models (or less). Most of those lists were Close Combat ones, so they should have been in their element, but because of my Drop Pods and abundance on Melta Weaponry (I’m very tempted to try and fit Meltaguns into my list instead of Plasma Guns, but it just wouldn’t be as effective most of the time and I’d need to find those 24 points with no where to really pull them from) they aren’t able to get the charges they need the most, or I intercept them with a Dreadnought, and the list could continue. So, from next time I’m going to try and spread out the forces. This does mean that it’s more difficult for each unit to support the others and it could have complications if I play objectives, but it does mean that the Drop Pod list won’t be able to swamp the enemy units and bottle them up, which gives them a chance.

I’ve had some thoughts about what seems to really work and what doesn’t work as well as I thought it would in my list, but I think I should save that for another post. I also have an idea for one about how to win games, but that will also be in another post.

Oct 18, 2011

My Tournament Goal List

2,000 Point Versions

Tournament Goal List, 2,000 Points:

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Abhor the Witch…), -110
Castellan (Warlord): Bolter, Storm Shield; Command Squad (7): Bolters, 2 Meltaguns, Apothecary; Drop Pod; -258           
Castellan; Command Squad (7): Bolters, 2 Meltaguns, Apothecary; Drop Pod; -242
3x Dreadnought: Assault Cannon, DCCW, Heavy Flamer, Extra Armor; Drop Pod; -150x3
3x Crusader Squad (5/2): Bolters, Shotguns, Multi-Melta, Plasma Gun; Drop Pod; -146x3
2x Crusader Squad (5/2): Bolters, Shotguns, Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun; Drop Pod; -146x2
3x Land Speeder: Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter, -70x3

Casual Variant:

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Uphold), -100
Marshal: Terminator Armor, Storm Bolter, Thunder Hammer; Terminator Command Squad (4): 2 CMLs, Tank Hunters; Reclusiarch: Storm Bolter, Terminator Armor; -493
Castellan: Bolter, Meltabombs, Holy Orb of Antioch; -81
2x Dreadnought: Multi-Melta, DCCW, Heavy Flamer, Extra Armor; Drop Pod; -160x2
Techmarine: Servo-Harness, Bolt pistol, Frags, Combi-Melta; -122
5x Crusader Squad (5/1): Bolters, Multi-Melta, Plasma Gun; Drop Pod; -142x5
3x Land Speeder: Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter, -70x2
1,500 Versions:

Tournament Goal List:

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Abhor the Witch…), -110
Castellan: Bolter; Command Squad (5): Bolters, 2 Meltaguns; Drop Pod; -196
3x Dreadnought: Multi-Melta, DCCW, Heavy Flamer, Extra Armor; Drop Pod; -160x3
4x Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Multi-Melta, Plasma Gun; Drop Pod; -126x4
3x Land Speeder: Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter, -70x3
Casual Variant:

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Uphold), -100
Castellan: Power Weapon, Bolter, Holy Orb of Antioch; -91
Reclusiarch: Storm Bolter, Terminator Armor; Terminator Command Squad (4): 2 CMLs, Tank Hunters; Drop Pod; -370
Dreadnought: Multi-Melta, DCCW, Heavy Flamer, Extra Armor; Drop Pod; -160
Techmarine: Servo-Harness; -105
Crusader Squad (5/2): Bolters, Multi-Melta, Plasma Gun; Drop Pod; -146
3x Crusader Squad (5/1): Bolters, Multi-Melta, Plasma Gun; Drop Pod; -136x3
2x Land Speeder: Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter, -70x2

Side links.

I realized that my blog is missing something. I should have a list of links to important posts so that if someone wanted to look up something they could check there first, rather than having to sort through all of the posts looking for what they want. The next post is going to be one of those, so just a heads up.

Oct 13, 2011

Recent Vassal Games and MSU Realization.

Okay, so I’ve gotten in a couple of Vassal games in with myself the last week, and I have to say that it’s been interesting.

I’m always uncertain when setting up the terrain, but I’ve been able to use the NOVA format as a guideline. There are five larger sections (three of which block LoS, but not onto them), the center one being a hill and two being Ruins (which I really just count as Difficult Terrain), and two smaller ones, usually a Difficult Terrain piece and an Impassible piece. It seems to make terrain play an actual role and be something that needs to be worked around, rather than just being there. I’m happy so far, but I’m also not placing them super close together.

Anyway, I said I played two games and I did. Both involved my Tournament List, which may or may not be exactly as I had it before. For reference, here it is:

Emperor’s Champion (Abhor);

Castellan: Storm Bolter, Krak Grenades;

Terminator Command Squad (4): 2 Assault Cannons, Tank Hunters; Drop Pod;

Terminator Squad (5): 2 Assault Cannons, Tank Hunters; Drop Pod;

2x Dreadnought: Multi-Melta, Heavy Flamer, Extra Armor, Smoke; Drop Pod;

6x Crusader Squad (5): Multi-Melta, Bolters, Plasma Gun; Drop Pod;

3x Typhoon;

I had messed with points (dropping my Storm Shield) to get a few Chainfists, and then I decided that I wanted Multi-Meltas on the Dreadnoughts much more.

Anyway, first game was against Marshal Learoth’s Dual-Rock list, and it was Spearhead 5 Objectives. I had faced the list before (several times) but this time I had two major things helping me. One was Multi-Meltas on my Dreadnoughts (this is not to be ignored; it allowed me to take advantage of the second part). Two was some really good luck. Even though I got a ton of stuff on the second turn, one of those things was a Dreadnought, who dropped next to a Land Raider, and promptly exploded it, which then killed a Terminator. Not a whole lot of other exciting stuff happened. The next turn (actually that turn, the Drop Pod list was going first), the surviving Terminators charged the Dreadnought. That’s when I realized that only the TH/SS guy (I had accidentally killed the other) could hurt the Dreadnought. It did not go well, but that was greatly my fault.

Other points of interest include a Multi-Melta Initiate killing the second Land Raider Crusader, my Castellan plus Command Terminators charging and eliminating a entire Cruader Squad after shooting its Rhino and wrecking it. And by the end of T7, all that lived for Learoth’s list was a Crusader Squad w/ Emperor’s Champion holding an objective (their ride was dead, as were both Neophytes and most of the Initiates) and a single Lightning Claw Assault Terminator trying to contest the center objective (I didn’t bother checking to see if he was, since the only difference it made was if I had won 4-1 or 3-1). So that was fun.

Second Game. Against Marshal Learoth’s Mechanized Take-All Comers list (and by the way, to me it seems like you’ve got those two in the wrong order on your website, the Dual-Rock feels much more competitive than the all-comers, not just while playing but also in the trade-off for dropping the second Assault Terminators unit ignore that, I had looked up to see if there were Predators in the Dual-Raider list, saw some in the Take-All Comers, and somehow thought that they were in both or something. So, if you could fit in three Auto/Las Predators along with all of the other stuff, then the order would be wrong :) ). I tried a system that Brent over at Strictly Average thought of. Basically, when you roll to go first, rather than the winner deciding if he goes first or second, he chooses one of three things: the scenario, the deployment, or who goes first. The loser of the roll then selects another one of the three, and the final is decided randomly (I can include a link to the post if this isn’t clear to anyone). Well, Learoth’s list won the roll-off, so I played Kill-Points. I then decided that my list would go second. And it was Dawn of Way deployment.

Things generally went quite smoothly in the first few turns for Learoth’s list. /sarcasm First a Rhino (carrying the Emperor’s Champion) got Immobilized trying to move through Difficult Terrain to shield the side of a Predator (on the first turn). Then, when the Drop Pods started coming down, only one Typhoon got a chance to shoot for the entire game and it was immobilized, the Predators generally did poorly (though one did Shake and Destroy the Multi-Melta on my second Dreadnought, which was annoying as I was trying to use that Multi-Melta). I will say this though, that single Assault Terminator Squad with Land Raider Crusader was MVP of the entire army, probably the entire game. Together they scored about 7 kill points (3 Drop Pods, Dreadnought, Castellan, Terminator Command Squad, and I think a Crusader Squad) and one of the Terminators survived the game, refusing me the chance to table the list. The Land Raider Crusader just refused to die, the first shots against it were from Multi-Meltas on the Dreadnoughts, and they both Glanced. After the first shots, they were also both gone (at different times), plus more Multi-Melta Shots (from a stranded Crusader Squad), plus some Assault Cannon shots (which scored two Penetrating hits and a Glance), plus more than one round of assault from a Dreadnought. Do you know how it finally died? Weapon Destroyed (its Multi-Melta), Weapon Destroyed (its TL Assault Cannon), Immobilized, Weapon Destroyed (Hurricane Bolter), Weapon Destroyed (Hurricane Bolter), and a final Immobilized or Weapon Destroyed result, which wrecked it. Not a single Wrecked or Explodes result rolled, despite a half-dozen penetrating hits, most of which were AP1. And it was Turn 6 when it did die (first half of the turn). Of course, the Dreadnought who finished it off went and then killed three of the Assault Terminators (just as they finished off my Command Squad).

The MVP for my army has to have been the Crusader Squad with the Emperor’s Champion in it. They dropped down to tackle the other Emperor’s Champion plus Squad (plus Rhino). They destroyed the Rhino’s Storm Bolter, and then were promptly charged. Because of sloppy model placement on my part, and the fact that they were on the wrong side of the Rhino and that they were a little distance away, the enemy Emperor’s Champion was unable to benefit from the charge. For several turns, the small, five-man squad with Champion whittled down the larger, Close Combat squad, winning combat every turn and every turn causing more Fearless casualties, until the enemy Champion finally killed the friendly Champion (but not before being the last one alive in the squad) and later finished off the remaining two Initiates (yes, the 5-man outlasted the 9-man, I can’t believe it either). The Emperor’s Champion later died (second half of Turn 7) when he got charged by 5 Terminators, but only after killing three. I am really impressed at how deadly the Emperor’s Champion is to Terminators (much earlier game against the Dual-Rock list my Emperor’s Champion tallied up I think 7 of the 10 Assault Terminators, but I can’t remember if he survived or not).

Last interesting thing that happened was when the Crusader Squad with the Marshal had just eliminated a Crusader Squad and was sitting on the hill in the center. Three turns of three Typhoons plus some extra casualties from a couple of Crusader Squads along with four Drop Pod Storm Bolters and all 10 models finally bit the dust. If the LRC and Assault Terminators were MVP, then this squad came in second, pulling 3 kill points by itself (well, the Marshal did) and it had the opportunity to get a few Drop Pods under its belt had the Meltagun survived a bit longer. Final score of the second game: Drop Pod list Victory, 15 out of 16 Kill Points to 11 out of 24.

And, of course, there were the Storm Bolters on the Drop Pods. They rarely did anything, and most shots missed, or failed to wound, but they did some fun stuff. Notably they Shook a Typhoon, and destroyed a Lascannon on a Predator (rear armor shots FTW). Oh, and they took out the final wound of the Marshal in the second game after I had exhausted all of my other shooting on him. Overall, both games were much fun, and I look forward to being able to play actual games and putting up actual Battle-Reports.

Now then, as for a more general analysis of what I have learned. One is that it is very easy to take advantage of the Drop Pod Assault rules by putting them in your opponent’s face and using your opponent’s own units to limit where the Drop Pod can scatter to (if you’ve got multiple that you want in or near the same place, you can block movement to your squads, so you don’t even have to worry about a counter-assault half the time). So with that advantage, nearly all of my Drop Pods have landed on target, and I can’t remember any that scattered too far away to be unable to do what I wanted them to.

Another thing is really about the MSU philosophy. I had heard this before defending the high-number of Kill Points, and it was abundantly clear in the second game. High-number of Kill Points (even when nearly half of them are Drop Pods and will die half the time you get a penetrating hit), does not equate to a disadvantage in Kill-Point missions. You do have that problem, but it is balanced by the number of units you have. I could target each unit at something else, and could thus kill my opponent before they were able to take advantage of their (on average) better units. Since they had fewer units than I did, they were unable to actually kill all of my Drop Pods or Crusader Squads. Both of them are dangerous units to my opponent, but I’ve got six of them (ten Drop Pods). Now, what I mean in particular here, has been sort of mentioned before, but not clearly. Basically, if you don’t kill a Crusader Squad, then their Multi-Melta can and will cause some damage; if you do kill it, it only constitutes about 7% of my firepower, so I’m not really hurt or hampered. For Drop Pods it’s a very similar thing. They are really nice to have on the table as they keep my units safe from charges and from shooting, but if you blow them up, so what. It isn’t like they are my only scoring units, or important for my plan, or really needed at all; they are just handy. And when you shoot them, you aren’t shooting the things that can actually kill you. When you couple that with the efficiency that my units can achieve in killing the enemy units (by not wasting shots on something that is already dead) and my extra available Kill Points were irrelevant, if not an advantage for me.

Now, some notes about my Tournament list in general. I like the Multi-Meltas in the Crusader Squads. There are times that I would have really liked a Bolter instead, but it would not have made much, if any, difference. Further, I don’t think that there is any place where the extra 60 points from my Heavy Weapons would have been any great use. Maybe making a Dreadnought Venerable (and Tank Hunter), giving my Castellan some actual weapons (Combi-Melta or Power Weapon and Storm Shield) or handing out some Chainfists and going to a Marshal? But would those really help me as much as the Multi-Meltas? Not as far as I can see. Also, the Multi-Meltas on the Dreadnoughts are phenomenally good to have. Marshal Learoth’s Drop Pod list is able to get away without them because all of the Crusader Squads can do pretty much the same things, but I like having the extra overall range (Plasma Guns, Multi-Meltas) and, if I didn’t have that change, I wouldn’t really be running my own list.

Okay, so I got in a third game (against the Templarbubble list) today, and I noticed something. What happens is that I generally get a larger half of my list on turn 2, which drops down and does damage, and then most of the rest comes down turn 3. With all of the Drop Pods, models, and melta, all at once, my opponent can't really get out from where he is. He's got turn 1 and turn 2 if he goes first to get into position. That's it. A couple of Rhinos went for an objective, but they got de-meched by my Typhoons and did basically nothing (well, they kill a Dreadnought which prevented me from finishing off the Assault Terminators, and they absorbed a few turns of firing from one of my Typhoons, but they really didn't impact the game). Vehicles died like nobody's business, the Assault Terminators got clogged in and were unable to have any real impact, and the greatest benefit the Predators provided was killing a couple of Drop Pods and then being the first ones to take my firepower.

It's probably a combination of my inexperience with the list (I can do the Drop Pod one, but those Rhino-based ones are beyond me), and I very well could have played it wrong, and it could be affected by some subconscious urge for my favorite list to win (that urge is a real danger when you play against yourself). It could also have to do simply with the strategy of using Drop Pods being a better strategy than is used by the lists I've faced thus-far, and that could be affected by a number of different factors (focus on being able to get off the first shots, cheaper Drop Pods allowing for more points spent elsewhere, or maybe it's just harder to develop a strategy to use against Drop Pod armies). It could also have to do with the lists themselves; I tried to make my list as competitive as possible (for what it is, a shooty-Drop Pod instead of Defensive Drop Pod), but I've been playing against lists that are mostly Casual ones (Templarbubble excepted, but it was unable to use it's strategy to any effect). Lots of possibilities, and I won't be able to trim them down until I either play quite a few more games against a multitude of different lists or I get some games in against an actual opponent.

I also noticed that, when it got down to it, the enemy lists were unable to target my Typhoons. They were just too far away and protected by concealing Drop Pods and more dangerous units. It may be that this will change as I start to face more competitive lists, but I did find it interesting.

That’s really all I have. If there are any questions I will be happy to answer them as best I can, and I hope to get a Vassal game against Marshal Learoth’s PotMS list.

Oct 10, 2011

Making a list using Marshal Learoth's NOVA lessons.

Hello. I’m going to border on plagiarism and attempt the same thing that Marshal Learoth is attempting on his blog. Basically I’m going to attempt to make a list based on certain requirements/changes that he wants to see in his NOVA 2012 list (should he choose to take Black Templar, and I get he feeling that it will depend on if we get a new Codex by the summer). Here we go.

Requirement 1: Four Crusader Squads in Razorbacks aren’t as mobile as needed, didn’t have as many options as needed, and didn’t always shoot.

Basically, they never moved more than 6” per turn, and since the Crusader Squads were embarked (to stay alive) they didn’t get to shoot. Plus, with only four you don’t have a lot of options when deciding what goes where. That means that they need to change in some way. There are various options here, including making them into close combat units, putting them in Rhinos, and/or getting more of them. All of these options are available, and none really seem detrimental at this point (well, except for making them into Close Combat units, as I’m not convinced that will work without one or both of the other options chosen as well).

Requirement 2: A way to bring down Dedicated Close Combat units.

I’m still not convinced on this. He points to Game Three as an example of when a Dedicated Close Combat unit tore him apart, but a Dedicated Close Combat unit of his own would not have saved him (maybe a large squad of TH/SS Terminators, but even then he would have only bought time and still lost) given his rolling. He also mentioned that he had never had problems shooting them down before. Here the terrain hurt him, but from how he described it, even without cover for the TWC, he still wouldn’t have been able to take them down. His rolling to hit and to wound was just that bad. However, I’m going to keep this in mind, I need to include some way to stop a Dedicated Close Combat unit.

He also talks about Tactical Terminators being his best Close Combat units; and that he only needed them in close combat against stuff that could crush them, everything else he couldn’t get to. This is important. It doesn’t matter that they can kill 9 MEq on the charge, if they can’t kill enough after taking at least 2/3 of those losses (I expect Dedicated Close Combat units to be able to do at least as well as these guys) to cause notable damage, they aren’t the Close Combat unit you’re looking for. Why am I harping on this? Because to me it is something that I can really keep in mind when deciding how good a unit is in Close Combat and how good it is as a Counter-Assault unit. That’s why.

Requirement 3: Something(s) that can dislodge enemy units from objectives.

And why not? Why not be able to tell your opponent that they can’t claim that objective anymore? Why hasn’t this been thought of before? Well, I guess it’s the terrain. With most of my lists when I can do this it’s from massed firepower, but with the NOVA style terrain (which these requirements are based off of) you can’t get that kind of firepower at long range without being unable to really shoot at anything else. Plus, with all of the LoS blocking terrain you couldn’t bring enough long-range guns to bear to shift units, especially if they are completely out of sight or Go to Ground. The Terrain will be spoken of in a different article.

Okay, okay, back on topic here. There are various ways to shift units besides long-range firepower. Assault Terminators (either transport) are one way. Personally, I don’t really like that option. Close Combat units in general that can get to the enemy, now that I can roll with because they don’t cost an arm and a leg to field reliably. Personally, I’d like to be able to shoot them off of the objective, but I don’t have the option of long-range. Which leaves short-range. Large Crusader Squads with Bolters? No, they are too specific in their usefulness and inefficient. What else do we have to choose from? Terminators. The problem there is getting them to the enemy. When do I need to push them off? At least T5? I’ll be charging them on turn 5 assuming a few factors. The first is that they aren’t less than 6” from the table edge. The Second is that I can take a Direct Route. The Third is that we don’t play anything but Pitched Battle. I’m not going to continue with this route, I can see already that it’s going badly.

So shooting won’t work unless I drop in some Terminator (Drop Pods). That would kind of work, but I fear risking so many points in a Drop Pod (especially when there are multiple units that expensive). So I don’t like that option. Close Combat units it is. I really can’t see a better way to go about this.

And that’s the last of the requirements. I put a little bit of thought into it and finally came up with the following list.

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Accept); -140

Terminator Squad (5): 2 Assault Cannons, Tank Hunters; -255

Terminator Squad (5): 2 Assault Cannons, Tank Hunters; -255

Terminator Squad (5): 2 Assault Cannons, Tank Hunters; -255

Crusader Squad (6/1): Power Weapon, Meltagun, Frags; Rhino: Extra Armor, Smoke; -191

Crusader Squad (6/1): Power Weapon, Meltagun, Frags; Rhino: Extra Armor, Smoke; -191

Crusader Squad (5): Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun; -96

Crusader Squad (5): Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun; -96

Crusader Squad (5): Multi-Melta, Plasma Gun; Rhino: Extra Armor, Smoke; -154

Crusader Squad (5): Multi-Melta, Plasma Gun; Rhino: Extra Armor, Smoke; -154

Land Speeder: TML, Heavy Bolter; -70

Land Speeder: TML, Heavy Bolter; -70

Land Speeder: TML, Heavy Bolter; -70


Okay, so I’ve got three Terminator units with Assault Cannons, two Close Combat Crusader Squads in Rhinos, two MM Bunkers (BP/CS setup), two backfield objective holders (Bolters), and the natural complimenting wing of Typhoons.

I know that I said that Terminators couldn’t fight Dedicated Close Combat units or get to enemy objectives quickly or reliably enough to be of consistent advantage. But they aren’t really doing either of those. This goes along with them having Assault Cannons instead of Cyclones. I’ve had an urge recently to work on more aggressive lists, which is where the MM Bunkers and Terminators come in. They push forward, taking control of the board, putting pressure on my opponent, and generally trying to kill stuff. They’re dangerous at 24”, quite deadly at 12”. The Terminators won’t deal with Dedicated Close Combat units, but unless what they face is really good, they should come out on top, more-so considering their numbers and the potential aid of the two Squads to help draw attacks/deal early wounds. 5 Terminators can be brought down. How about 15? After they all shoot you? Plus the four Crusader Squads? If something can do that then it doesn’t matter what I bring. And if I don’t adjust my tactics to respond to it I deserve to let it eat my Terminators.

Moving on, the Close Combat squads were originally in Drop Pods, and by themselves that is a great option. However, I cannot afford to only have two Rhinos on the table (and two Rhinos that will be moving forward aggressively), so I need the Saturation more than the guaranteed ability to come down on an enemy objective. Plus, I can dedicate the Close Combat squads when I need them, rather than when I get them. Admitedly, I don’t have as much control of where I dedicate them, but I’m not exactly limited to a small section of the board, either. Plus, when I get ready to assault onto an objective, I can hop out of my Rhino and assault directly, rather than hopping out and getting shot before I charge (or getting Charged myself). And what’s the worst that happens? I get de-meched before I move? Unlikely, impossible with proper deployment, and then they simply run up with the Terminators, running to get a head-start as to act as Bubble-wrap/grant cover saves/get to the enemy sooner. I’d appreciate being in Drop pods (and I’d be able to afford another Initiate and Neophyte in each squad), but I’m not exactly crippled using Rhinos and they grant a greater benefit to the rest of my army.

Some potential flaws in this include only having 4 real vehicles (I hardly ever count the Typhoons for some reason). All of which advance into the Midfield and all of which are prime targets. With some play-testing I might be able to make judgment calls as to which my opponent deems the greater threat (Typhoons or Rhinos) and protect appropriately, creating decision conflicts between the more vulnerable or the more important.

Another would be if I face an army that can beat up my forward units, what do I do? Sit back and shoot them? Try to outmaneuver them? I’m not good at either of those, all I can really hope to do is both of the above and force my opponent into situations where I have the advantage (such as either moving into my charge-range or enduring another round of shooting, never giving them the chance to get the charge off when I can, you know, stuff I should be doing anyway).

But how do we really measure how well I can kill stuff? With the Metric System of course! Let’s see what we get with this list:





That’s right. Does anyone remember when I tried to make a working Close Combat list? I tried but by attempting to give it enough Anti-Tank I diluted the Close Combat without making it a true Shooty Army, so it was just generally a cross between a mess and a Shooty wannabe. Let me ask you, what is this? Is it a Close Combat Army? But what you need in DMS is 20, and we’ve exceeded that by a greater margin than we have the 40 DMCC we need.

I adjusted the numbers to take into account certain limitations, such as not counting the Missile Launcher squad in close combat as well as only including the charge bonus when I could rely on getting it, assuming that I don’t shoot Infantry with the Close Combat squads, ignoring the Plasma Guns against Vehicles as well as the regular Meltaguns, and only counting weapons with a threat range of >26” against Land Raiders (so that I can kill them before they charge me). With the changed numbers, I may have to rely on assaulting vehicles on occasion, and I might have trouble with Land Raiders (but only in larger-numbers or if I get unlucky with my rolling). But I still have plenty of Anti-Infantry (okay, the DMCC didn’t do so hot, but Close Combat isn’t my goal either, so meh), and I am still nearly up to par against Vehicles. So even under realistic circumstances, I can pass muster with this list.

Back down to earth, we need to ask ourselves if we can handle Dedicated Close Combat units. I ran a few calculations and basically, except for really, really hard rocks I will survive as long as I don’t allow them to get a Multi-Assault

In essence, the numbers above don’t lie. This list can hold out against most Close Combat lists, and stand up to Shooty-Lists. I can de-mech the opponent, even Land Raiders, and should have enough range and mobility to stop those pesky Fast Skimmer armies.

Which forces me to think of another potential problem. Is this list too vulnerable? I have so much offensive ability, have I traded that for defensive ability and gone too far? It is certainly light on vehicles, but it has more infantry than my lists usually do, though not by a whole lot. If you consider that there are 4 vehicles while my lists usually have more like 8-9+Typhoons (Marshal Learoth’s NOVA list had 7+Typhoons, my Plasmaback list has 9+Typhoons) then you’ve got a fairly serious gap, especially considering that this list doesn’t have those AV13 fronts of the Predators. So I don’t have nearly enough Saturation as I would like.

That said, I’m not really a foot list and I don’t need to shoot from my Rhinos for a few turns, which means that I can pop-smoke gradually and keep those cover saves, granting cover saves to my Terminators as needed. Of course, you could argue that the amazing saves of the Terminators could draw fire from high-strength, low-AP weapons away from my Vehicles. But I’m not so sure about that.

Well, I like it. But I would have to get some playtesting with it eventually to have any strong certainty of it (like that’ll happen anytime soon, I’ve already got multiple lists in line for Playtesting).

Oct 4, 2011

Comp List.

Alright, today I’m going to try and break the comp system found here:


By that I mean make a list gets a perfect Comp Score that does not succeed in what the comp is trying to do. This is the longest post I’ve done so far, so get comfortable.

Disclaimer: Were I actually going to the Tournament or doing this in a casual game, I would not run a list I made in such a fashion. Also, I do not count the extra 30 points from the judges as part of this, as it is so subjective (explanation of this statement at the end).

Okay, so I’m not absolutely sure what the points total is supposed to be, so I’m going to assume 2,000 since that’s what I’m most comfortable at. Any and all times of using a unit more than once is not allowed, and you can have no more than one squadron (I’m assuming they only mean Vehicle Squadrons, and do not include Biker Squadrons). I also cannot take more than two Dedicated Transports. Awesome. Furthermore, I cannot take more than one choice before taking at least one in every other group (so I can’t take a Vindicator and a Predator unless I’ve taken a Fast Attack, an Elite, and at least the minimum HQ and two troops) the exception to this is that I can take three troops without penalty, it is the fourth and fifth that have this requirement. And, just to cover everything, for taking a third of anything (or a sixth of Troops), I need to take two of everything else (five troops). No, they don’t want you to build certain types of armies. Just two last things, one being no Special Characters. The other is that there is an exception to the one of each unit rule (the one that says I can’t have two Predators) and that is troops; as long as the Wargear for troops is different, they can break this rule all day.

Now, there is one question that I have thought of. Do Predator Annihilators and Predator Destructors count as different units? Technically, they are separate in the Codex, but I’m going to assume that this system isn’t really open-minded to this argument. I am assuming no.

On to the actual list. I’m going to start with what I can bring from a regular Black Templar Gunline (because I know that I can have to most versatility in the units I choose and the Wargear for the Troops, despite being forced to foot it). Accept for the Champion for now, because we might as well improve our combat ability, Predator (Auto/Las), Terminators (Cyclones, Tank Hunting), shooty Crusader Squads on foot (Plasma Guns, one with Lascannon and one with Missile Launcher), and a Squadron of three Typhoons.

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Accept); -140

Terminators (5): 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, Tank Hunters; -265

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Lascannon, Plasma Gun; -101

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun; -96

Land Speeder Squadron (3): 3 Typhoon Missile Launchers, 3 Heavy Bolters; -210

Predator: Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons, Smoke; -128


Still have a ways to go, but we aren’t starting out poorly. How do we kill tanks? Predator, Typhoons, Terminators. How do we keep those alive long enough to kill tanks? Saturation. How do we attain Saturation? More targets, especially vehicles and things that can also kill tanks. I’m thinking Bikers, Dreadnought, Transports, and maybe even a Vindicator. But for those we need another Crusader Squad. Grab a third just like the Lascannon one except armed with a Meltagun, get the Bikers (5, 3 Plasma Guns, Attack Bike, Multi-Melta), Dreadnought (Assault Cannon, Missile Launcher, Extra Armor, Smoke), and Vindicator (PotMS, Extra Armor, Searchlight). Now we have:

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Accept); -140

Terminators (5): 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, Tank Hunters; -265

Dreadnought: Assault Cannon, Missile Launcher, Extra Armor, Smoke Launchers; -123

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Lascannon, Plasma Gun; -101

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Lascannon, Meltagun; -105

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun; -96

Land Speeder Squadron (3): 3 Typhoon Missile Launchers, 3 Heavy Bolters; -210

Biker Squad (5/1): TL-Bolters, 3 Plasma Guns, Multi-Melta; -243

Predator: Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons, Smoke; -128

Vindicator: Power of the Machine Spirit, Extra Armor; -160

Total: 1,571

Okay, now we have an entire first wave capable of doing as much as our back-group. It’s all short-range (except for the Missile Launcher on the Dreadnought) and mobile, so we’ve got that going for us. We need another HQ and two more troops to take another of anything else, so let’s focus on that.

Unfortunately they seem to consider both the Emperor’s Champion and a Command Squad as additional HQ units, and we aren’t allowed to take more than two. So we can choose between a Commander and a Chaplain. A Commander would better fit with our list, but let’s put him on hold.

We’re down to under 500 points left and still need some aggressive troops. And transports. Both should be of about equal threat to our opponent, so let’s consider a small squad with an attached HQ in a Razorback and a larger squad in a Rhino. There’s a problem there, that first (smaller) squad is going to suck all of the points. We could make the Razorback have a Heavy Bolter instead of a Lascannon, but then we would lose another threat. No, Drop Pod isn’t the way to go. Okay, lose the HQ and we should have enough. Let’s see, Crusader Squad (5, Powerfist, Frags, Meltagun, Laserback), Crusader Squad (8/2, Powerfist, Frags, Meltagun, Rhino) comes in at fifteen points too many. Not fair. Okay, drop a single Biker from his squad, give the Predator, Vindicator, Razorback, Dreadnought, and Rhino Searchlights, and give the Terminators two Chainfists. We will now have:

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Accept); -140

Terminators (5): 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, Tank Hunters, 2 Chainfists; -275

Dreadnought: Assault Cannon, Missile Launcher, Extra Armor, Smoke, Searchlight; -124

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Lascannon, Plasma Gun; -101

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Lascannon, Meltagun; -105

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun; -96

Crusader Squad (5): BP/CS, Powerfist, Meltagun, Frags; Razorback: TL-Lascannon, Smoke, Searchlight; -204

Crusader Squad (8/2): BP/CS, Powerfist, Meltagun, Frags; Rhino: Extra Armor, Smoke, Searchlight; -241

Land Speeder Squadron (3): 3 Typhoon Missile Launchers, 3 Heavy Bolters; -210

Biker Squad (4/1): TL-Bolters, 3 Plasma Guns, Multi-Melta; -211

Predator: Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons, Smoke, Searchlight; -129

Vindicator: Power of the Machine Spirit, Extra Armor, Searchlight; -161

Total: 1,997

And we have a list. Three major vehicle killers, Six or seven minor ones, almost everything is a threat to infantry (notably not the Predator and the Crusader Squads aren’t until they get close), five vehicles plus the Typhoons, thirty-six Infantry.

Alright, I’ve checked the numbers it gets on the Metric System, and here’s why it isn’t a great list.

The strategy with this can be summed up in overwhelming your opponent’s target priority so that he doesn’t kill what can kill him while you keep a cool head and take advantage of this. The Predator, foot-Crusader Squads, and Land Speeders stay back while everything else moves to midfield/to his lines. The Terminators, Dreadnought and Razorback won’t get there first, but the others will begin almost immediately, breaking his ability to move and to fight back. There is Redundancy, but it isn’t as normally thought of. You don’t have another Predator, you have something else that does the same job. To go with the Vindicator (fast, excellent at killing infantry at 24” range, capable of putting holes in Mech fairly reliably) you have the Bikers. Terminators, Dreadnought, Predator, Typhoons, foot-Crusader Squads, and Razorback all do basically the same thing. And the list is about as organized as this paragraph, the stuffs there, it is just hard to work out. Don’t praise the diversity of this list until you can at least understand and make sense of this paragraph.

Now, not much Synergizes. A few things do, and I don’t see any glaring flaws, but how does the Vindicator work with the Close Combat Crusader Squads? They both are going for the same things, but the Vindicator can easily give out some Friendly Fire. The list as a whole isn’t the best, nor is its strategy, and you would need a lot of practice with it to know how everything worked and where you need what when, but I was genuinely surprised at how well it scored:





So it has all of the bases covered, plus some. It won’t walk over anyone worth mention in Close Combat, but it has a better position that most Gunlines. A mass of Land Raiders could cause some problems, but only if the dice go against them. And once targeted, those transports and other light vehicles will die quickly.

We’re winding down now, and I think I’ve only got one more thing to say. If you don’t care about Comp one way or another, go ahead and skip the next two paragraphs. Did the Comp system work? Aside from the Bikers (mostly in that set-up), no. For me personally though, you can still only add the Vindicator and maybe the Close Combat Crusader Squads. So no, it didn’t work. *gasp*! Who could have guessed that the system could be gained? I wasn’t even making a list to use in the Tournament, if I was then I would not have gone for a perfect score and instead taken a ~30 point drop in favor of a more organized list that I was more familiar with. You’ll notice something else if you’ve read the whole post (bravo). I wasn’t choosing units because they were normally used (as I technically should have), I chose units which were the right choice to add to the list. Their system does not work.

And why is this Comp system here in the first place? They want you to ‘Explore the Codex’? AKA, the organizer(s) don’t think that there are enough different units being used in each army, so they’re going to penalize you if you bring them. Not only that, but if you bring something really off, you can’t even come. What is the purpose of Tournaments again? To see interesting lists? Gee, good thing that’s not subjective or anything and too bad you don’t have the chance to do that all the time at your local store (or others should you care to visit) [/sarcasm]. To see who is the best player? Well, assuming you include List Building, which you should. I will give this to Comp, would the defenders of it ever to bring up this argument, it usually tries to remove that ‘List Building skill’ from the process and reward actually good generals who don’t take ‘broken’ lists to win with. The problem is that they don’t, they encourage List Building skills by having another requirement to meet when building the best list you can. You need to get a good Comp Score as well as bring a strong list, so all you need to do is find the hole in how the Organizer wrote the system and use it to your advantage, it’s that simple. If you want to build a list with certain requirements, go for it. You don’t need comp for that.


Well, that’s it. All I have. Man that was long-winded. I’m still deciding on what my next post will be, though I would love to get a Vassal Report up sometime (getting closer to having a Tyranid list I’m happy with) but I don’t know when I’ll be able to do that, so no promises.

Explanation of earlier statement: That extra 30 points is awarded based on how much the Judges think that I ‘Explored the Codex’. What is ‘Exploring the Codex’? I assume it means using units that aren’t normally taken. Now which ones are those? I know of several Black Templars who use Bike Squadrons or Assault Marines, do those count as normally taken? The Assault Marines wouldn’t count on B&C, unless they are used extensively by people who don’t speak up of course. What about Dreadnoughts? I know that a lot of people take a Venerable Tank Hunting TL-Lascannon/Missile Launcher Dreadnought. Does that mean that another type (such as Assault Cannon/Heavy Flamer) would count as normally taken? Further more, this is from the Judges’ perspective. It is up to them what constitutes ‘Normally Taken’, and this could swing wide of a more accurate mark by them all coming from areas with similar ideas or preferences (you could read this, ‘metagame’, but it wouldn’t be entirely accurate). And if only one judge is familiar with Black Templars and all the others differ to him based on his experience/arguments, it could be even more skewed, especially if he is the only Black Templar player he knows. Just think, would a Close Combat player ever field things like Shooty Terminators, Typhoons, or Laserbacks? He might, but they would definitely not be considered ‘Normally Taken’. There is no accounting for these extra points, and thus I will not.

Oct 3, 2011

Assault Drop List.

Okay, so I’m back. I had fun and it actually caused me to think what I was going to do with my life in the upcoming 4+ years (no joke). Anyway, I have a list!

This list is different from any of my others, mostly because I’m confident that it is an actual, good Close Combat Black Templars list. Shocking, isn’t it?

Okay, now let’s get started explaining, because I know that I would have some doubts. (Marshal Learoth, I know that you plan on looking into making Close Combat work for the Black Templar and you may have already thought of this idea, but here we go). I began by trying to see if I could make a good Close Combat list, and so the first thing I did was scratch out some numbers comparing the efficiency of Assault Terminators, Sword Brethren, and Crusader Squads. I had some of my numbers off and came up with Assault Terminators (after adding Transport) were on par with regular Crusader Squads (Powerfist, Meltagun, 2 Neophytes, Rhino) while Sword Brethren (PoLC w/ Terminator Honors, Power Weapon w/ Terminator Honors, Furious Charge, Rhino, only 5 members) strode ahead at 125% of the other two. This led my going to my collection of Black Templar units and their scores on the Metric System.

While there, I realized my mistake with the numbers and thought once more about how hurtful it is to Assault Terminators to require a Land Raider Crusader to be a viable unit (hard when your transport costs more than you do). And then I had a thought: What if they were in a Drop Pod?

So I tried a list, and here it is:

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Accept); -140

3x Assault Terminators (5): 3 PoLC, 2 TH/SS, Furious Charge; Drop Pod; -245

Crusader Squad (6): BP/CS, Powerfist, Meltagun, Frags; Drop Pod; -157

5x Crusader Squad (5/1): BP/CS, Powerfist, Meltagun, Frags; Drop Pod; -151

3x Land Speeder: Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter; -70

Total Points:-1,997 (sorry, no place to spend the last three points)





Now, I did add the melee damage to DRPG and DLRPG from everyone, but I assumed that the vehicle moved 7”+. This is because, unless I have serious movement, they probably should. If I find them having not done so, bonus; otherwise, I’m expecting the worst. Everything has a bite in Close Combat, has a surprisingly good chance of killing a Rhino in one turn, and is a threat to Land Raiders (Typhoons and Assault Terminators being the most guilty culprits of failing this, and not even the Assault Terminators so much).

Assault Terminators are the main focus and are supported by the sheer number of Crusader Squads with Typhoons providing Fire-Support.

Possible Changes: I could change the Typhoons to MM/HF Speeders (I actually hadn’t thought of that before) and make them Suicide Melta that hopefully drops in when I have enough else close that it won’t get targeted. I would also need to find some 6 points and change that one sixth Initiate to a Neophyte. I could also convert two-three Crusader Squads to Objective Holders/Fire Support, rather than more Close Combat Squads, but I’m afraid that I am at the mercy of the Reserve Dice and am unwilling to risk mixed-troops. Normally, I’d take Power Weapons in small squads because I’m paranoid of 5-6 guys getting taken out before the Powerfist can swing, and if I needed the points then I probably would, but as it is I am more concerned about being able to kill Vehicles.

Flaws: There is the chance that I get the Pods in a bad order/at a bad time, which has a chance to have a lasting negative impact. The chance is there, but I’m not sure how it would actually happen, maybe getting all of the Assault Terminators early while everything else is late so that my opponent neutralizes them, or maybe the Typhoons come down by themselves first and get taken out which would have put me on the back-foot, or maybe all of the Pods would scatter off of the table and get enough destroyed results to ruin my chances. Another problem is that this list is in no way flexible beyond deployment, I just drop in and target things; after that I’m going to be mostly chasing my opponent around the board (unless he thinks he can take me in close combat, which is…possible? :P) . This means that against a Fast Skimmer Army I’m going to be dropping on objectives and going to ground until they decide that I’m dead enough to not threaten them (Pods can help with last-turn zooming onto objectives, but there’s no guarantee). The only way I could really beat a Skimmer Army is one of two things: 1) I win at objectives; or 2) my Typhoons/Meltaguns de-mech him, because my Terminators will only serve as meat-shields.

I don’t have much more to say about this, it has problems, and against certain lists it will do poorly. But how often do those come up? I suppose that against an army with an intense amount of shooting I would get beat up once I came down, and that will always be a negative of this type of list.