How to: Jumper Armies

Blood Angels has thrown a spanner into the works regarding Vanguard Veterans. In the Space Marine army they are regarded as vastly overcosted, not competitive in a competitive FoC slot (I’m looking at you Land Speeders!) and their role as a hammer unit can be done better by TH/SS Termies and are really seen. In fact, to make them work you need to take some sort of homing device and hope it doesn’t get destroyed and it doesn’t really gain your army much. If a unit needs to be in assault on T2 you have an unreliable unit enacting the assault (50% chance it comes in on Turn 2) which is being supported by a unit which needs to be within 6” of the unit that is being assaulted anyways. The SM army has the tools to throw very tough rock units into the fray (Raiders + TH/SS Termies) or the ability to shoot down what it wants dead. Why spend points on VV when they are really only cool models and or fluff bait? Because SM don’t have ASM as Troops or any of the goodies covered below (i.e. FNP/FC bubbles, Blood Lance or Descent of Angels), SM simply cannot do a Jumper army. If you want a Jumper army, use Blood Angels.


Enter Blood Angels. With a simple mechanic change on an army wide basis (Descent of Angels and therefore making pure Jumpers viable), VV are now an almost essential choice for a pure Jumper army and are even decent in more balanced or hybrid lists (though I’m not a fan). Let’s look at why.

They are still IMO overcosted (JP = 5 pts please?) but Heroic Intervention combined with army wide Descent of Angels has made mass deep striking possible. Take away Heroic Intervention and the list loses quite a bit of potency. Whilst Descent of Angels backed up with FNP/FC Marines totting meltaguns who can move 12” makes Deep Striking viable, it doesn’t make it good, it only makes it more reliable (particularly the re-roll for reserves). Mech armies still have the added layer of protection, don’t rely on point units for bubbles and don’t have movement/assault restrictions on the turn they arrive. Whilst 1D6” is a lot better than 2D6” scatter, you’re units could still end up 12” away (pretty crappy if one of those units had your FNP/FC bubble). How are Jumpers able to overcome this?

Through Heroic Intervention! This allows Jumper armies on the drop to tie up units. Whether these are units popped from tanks, bubble-wrap units or fire support units such as Broadsides or Long Fangs, it is less firepower levelled at your army and more damage from you. It also starts to slow your opponent’s movement. The Jumper’s initial drop outside of VV is all about tank busting. Whilst against hordes, Jumper armies generally succeed through having such a high number of FNP/FC models (Orks I laugh at you), against Mech it is paramount their defensive advantage is disabled ASAP and meltaguns are the best weapon of choice here. This generally means you’re not impacting that much on the damage that comes your way (except against tanks like Russ variants, Fire Prisms, etc.) as infantry just bail out and shoot you next turn. VV alleviate this to a certain extent and should therefore be considered an essential aspect of a Jumper army.

There are a couple ways you can run VV. Mini-super units w/a mix (or max) or shields and power weapons, minimised units w/Inferous Pistols for tank popping and a couple of PW and/or shields. I generally lean towards the 2nd option in most lists below 2500 as you want to have points for Libbys, ASM, FNP/FC, etc.

We’ve also already assumed you’re taking FNP/FC bubbles. They are pretty important too as they make your Marines keep ticking although their obvious weakness is generally being ICs and can be picked out in combat, their short range and AP2- (which is becoming more common). In any BA army FNP/FC bubbles become a trade-off between firepower and survivability. The more FNP/FC bubbles you have, the more likely all your Marines have it but the less units you can field. Honor Guard are a mitigating factor here as they can put out impressive firepower themselves but obviously become a huge target. Without FNP/FC bubbles your units are more vulnerable to firepower on the drop and also as an army aren’t as impressive in combat. A rough 16% increase in survivability and generally attacking first on the charge is huge. Combined w/VV, they make this army tick.

We’ve already touched on what else a Jumper army needs, so I’m going to make it rather blunt here. Bodies and meltaguns. Bodies is where your torrent comes from in CC (hence the added bonus of FNP/FC; you live longer and do more damage) and meltaguns are essential to crack tanks (which is why this army hates mechdar). On your initial drop you are going to lose models, it is inevitable. You’ve landed in your opponent’s face, dropping some meltagun shots into their armor and slammed into their weak links with some VV. The army is royally ticked and since you’re really close, you are most likely to be on the receiving end of a lot of firepower. The more bodies you have, the more likely you are to have surviving meltaguns, FNP/FC bubbles and Pfists (not to mention actual bodies…you know?) going into the next turn which allows you to continue to impact on the field significantly. The most obvious way to expand your model count is through ASM. These guys score, bring meltaguns, a PFist and 10 bodies, exactly what the army needs. Don’t go overboard though as it’s 235 points for this…not exactly a bargain or efficient by any means but does the job.

This brings us to the final two units I think should be considered by a Jumper army (I don’t think DC are ever an option though you could take Chaplains [HQ or Elite] but…ya. FNP/FC bubbles are better force multipliers and Libby’s provide more in the HQ slot), Sanguinary Guard and Librarians. Librarians are another essential unit for a Jumper army (another reason I think Chaplains/Captains aren’t viable, though Dante obviously is) because they disrupt castling with blood lance. Blood Lance is death to tanks lining up which means you either death to tanks w/Blood Lance or they spread out and you get to drop more meltagun shots where you want. This also makes bubble-wrapping harder as you have a bigger vehicle foot print to cover. Backed up by utility spells such as Shield or Unleash Rage and you can protect yourself from incoming fire (and importantly not require yourself to land in terrain) or improve your combat prowess. They also give you access to Honor Guard which are important to provide more FNP/FC bubbles and concentrated meltaguns.

And Sanguinary Guard…I didn’t like them initially but after some thought, they do have their place but they need to be used in conjunction with the rest of the army significantly (no way!). Without an invul, they aren’t a good super unit but w/FNP/FC bubbles and power weapons, do have good small arms survivability and impressive damage output. Add in a defensive VV unit w/lots of shields, and your VV can tie up opponent super-units to delay them as the Sanguinary Guard later assault them. The problem is this becomes an expensive combination. Sanguinary Guard w/FNP really only become vulnerable to AP2 or S8+ firepower but are sitting at 40+pts a model. Combine with the already expensive Honor Guard, Priests, Librarians and VV and you don’t have many points left for ASM. It again becomes a balancing act of all of these units to make sure the army works as a cohesive whole.

Overall, @ 2k I think 3-4 FNP/FC bubbles are an ideal goal. Surround these with 3 ASM squads, VV and HG + Libbies and you’ve got a very solid list. I’ll post a variant list including Sanguinary Guard later tomorrow unless someone beats me to the punch. Otherwise you can see two lists here (one in the main post and one by GWvsJohn in the comments).

Armies in 5th: Basics Part 8: Summary & Flexibility

My final post on basics for 5th and shockingly it’s a joint concept! If you’ve been following these posts closely you’ll notice something that seems common throughout them all. Give yourself options. The more flexibility in your army list, deployment, movement and assault, the more likely you are to have the tools for the job and therefore win. I recall seeing a game of Orks versus mech Eldar. The Eldar player wasn’t fantastic (sorry Gwar! Lol) but because his army list has so much more mobility and synergy, he nearly tabled the Ork player. This is what these previous posts are all about. Bringing the tools for any job.


When you have a flexible army, you can create a flexible battle plan. Whilst the old saying is quite true in that no plan survives contact with the enemy, having a battle plan is important. This gives your deployment and initial turns some sense of coherency rather than willy nilly killing (or failing at killing). When this battle plan can undergo infinite changes and adaptations, you’re in the drivers seat. By following the concepts I’ve lain down before in these articles, you should be able to have this flexibility built into your army and its inherent concept. If not, go back and keep reading until it does!

Once you’ve got the flexible army you’ve got a one-up on the armies that don’t but you still need to apply it correctly. Without having a lynchpin (or doubling up the lynchpin) your army is capable of operating at any point of the game. Let’s look at a 3xDread/Speeder Squad/Tacs/Pred army @ 1750. This army has no clear cut priority targets and every unit can threaten you in some fashion. You now need to apply your deployment, movement, shooting and assault flexibility to gain the most from your army but what happens when it all goes to the crapper? Your opponent gets lucky or you just screw up in some way and you’ve got minimal chance to win.

This comes down to monitoring the flow of the game and knowing what your units are capable of (including your opponent’s). If my opponent gets a lucky round of shooting in, I have to know when it’s still okay to make a push, hold or fall back. If your army completely falls apart sometimes the gamble is worth it but other times, if you gamble too early, you give up the flexibility you have left. Flexibility isn’t about slugging matches, it’s about being able to adapt on the go. Forfeit objectives or sacrifice units to make your opponent think you’re still after that objective whilst securing other objectives. It comes down to taking the best your army has to offer and applying it on the table and this cannot often be taught. Whilst the flow of the game is generally easy to read (who controls midfield more? Who has more mobility or firepower left? Who’s dictating what is happening? Etc.), adapting to it, is not. A close game can have many momentum switches and you have to keep up with them cognitively. A good round of shooting can be followed by a poor combat backed up by a good round of shooting by your opponent but his combat also sucked, etc. Fail to capitalise on these changes or push too early and you’ll find your flexibility long gone.

Overall, these articles are not going to improve your gameplay significantly. They will however, improve how you think and go about a game. This is a game of plastic soldiers but it also requires some degree of mathematical competency, strategy and even psychology mixed in with a good dose of good nature and humor. Whilst we are not operating under the fog of war (gogo birds eye), we are all human and even the best of us curses our little 12mm dice for turning up snake eyes or pout when we have to remove out pretty models (hey. I’d pout if I ever had to take one of these off the table). These articles encourage you to think first, second and third. By having flexibility built into your lists and gameplan, you give yourself more options to apply your thinking. The only thing to do from there? Practice, practice and more practice. Practice of any army is good overall but practicing with one army will generate a proficiency with that army and playstyle.

Oh and have fun or something silly like that. Phaw!

3++ Crew BatRep, Part II: The Battle!

Alright gang, here it is, the most excitingly awesome competitive funness slugfest the interwebz have ever seen.

Setup: Going second in DoW would start me off on my backfoot, for most of my anti-tank were my Fangs, who wouldn’t be able to fire the turn they walked on, so I’d basically suffer a tun of his shooting before I could return in kind. GW took top, and so formulated my rough plan around using the terrain to bottleneck him around the bottom objective. Needless to say, my plan somehow reversed on me ans you’ll see later in the game…

Turn 1:GW’s rolled all his guys on, using each other to provide cover for each other. I started one of my GH squads behind the wrecked rhino right on the objective, putting me in an early lead from the get go over GW. I moved my second squad on and popped smoke, and had the third rhino move onto my far left to try and flank around the hill. I passed my LL test, but epic failed at the night fight roll for Odin so no shooting for me.



Turn 2:
I moved my TWC on the right up, to try and set up a flank movement on his LR. Initial plan for them was 2 fold: keep his speeders distracted from my main force and try and get a flank charge on either a LR or rhino. GW’s shooting was on point and my rolls were full of fail, a common theme you’ll see throughout this battle. By the end of turn 2 I had lost 2 rhinos, effectively neutering my mobility and forcing me to footslog. I was officially headed for trouble. GW now had control of 2 objectives, to my 1 contested. BTW those terminators on the hill are still inside the LR, I just took the shot as he was preparing to disembark them.


Turn 3:

I took a big bite of the fail sandwich this turn. My TWC on the right flank got torrented to death by the speeders, who also killed Baldr’s faithful wolf companion. New goal with him: keep those speeders occupied and contest that objective. GW’s shooting really shined as he killed most of my one LF squad, and then rushed his last LR forward to assault the disembarked GH’s with some terminators. I tried to get revenge for his solid shooting and had the GH’s by the objective kill the LR on the top side of the objective, and then assault the Terms/Libby who jumped out. Sadly, even with all of their attacks, broke and ran like girls. The sole upside of my shooting is that the remaining 2 fangs immobilized one of his dakka dreads, and the othr Fangs immobilized his LR. Meanwhile I threw Tyr and his cav into the lower Term fight hoping to make quick work of them and then got to the business of caliming objectives. What did I learn? a). TH/SS are stubborn mofo’s to kill; b). GW had awesome dice rolls. Thor charged the immobilized LR and just get having his hammer bounce off. End of turn 3 was a crucial point, as it marked the culminating moment. Turn 4 would, in my opinion, decide who was going to win. If GW assault the rhino, my fleeing GH’s could regroup and either assault them again, or go after the immobilized LR/claim the objective. If he went after the GH’s, the squad GH’s in the rhino could either assault him or continue to move up to contest his upper objective. Moreover, depending on how the assaults went, would determine whether I regained the momentum.


Turn 4:
Roland had written something for this but this ****** blogger edit is terrible. It went something like “no pictures so you need to wait for T5!”

Turn 5:
So as you can see, turn 4 wasn’t kind to me. Most I managed to do was destroy that last Term from the bottom assault and have Tyr consol north. He lost his two companions to shooting in turn 5, and the remaining GH’s from that fight bit it too. And Turn 5 was not any nicer. I rushed my rhino north to try and contest the objective, maybe even set myself up for a ramming action. I lost Baldr to combined HB/Typhoon fire from the Speeders before he could ravage those Tacs. Moreover, my valiant remaining two Fangs were sniped by on of the dakka Preds. GW’ ended up assaulting the fleeing GH’s who held out for two turns before succumbing to their wounds. They did well, having only a MG dude, a PW dude, and a MotW dude going against a Libby and 3 Terms. The full strength strength GH’s rushed in, adding much needed combat power to the fight and quickly knocking the squad down to just the Libby. And here is where GW shined: From the top of turn 4 when he assaulted the squad, until the top of turn 6 when he gated out of combat, his libby saved no less than 20 saves. I kid you not. He suffered on average 5 wounds per assault phase. And he saved every.single.one. Epic SW fail, massive Iron Hands win. And Thor continued to pound on that LR. It became his obsession (cue Killswitch Engage’s new single, “My Obsession”). That was it for turn 5.


Turn 6:

Turn 6 was the beginning of the end for me. His Libby, having survived a horrendous onslaught of body blows, gated out of contact, denying me a moral victory. Odin managed to snipe one of the rhino-less tacs, and the Dread finally wrecked his remaining dakka dread. At complete waste of firepower, as it would have been better spent killing those Tacs off the objective, but, in all honesty, I was solely focused on killing that dread for some reason. Tunnel visioned, you may say. Thor continued to be mocked by the indestructible LR, and the Fangs failed to inflict any damage on it either. Heck, even the 2 melta shots by the GH’s didn’t even scratch the thing. Truly the dice Gods hated my heathen soldiers. I decided to make a huge amble and charge Tyr into the upper rhino. My hope was that with his multitude of attacks, he would destroy it and either pin/kill some of the guys inside. Additionally this would put him firmly in contest range of the flag. He managed only to immobilize it. Le sigh I say.


Turn 7:
This was the en of the line for me. Tyr got overkilled by Typhoon missiles and HB fire during GW’s turn. I decided to try to kill a speeder instead of using my dakka dread to take out more of the Tacs on the objective. Odin picked off one more Tac, but they hadn’t lost 25% so they held. Thor epic failed killing the LR, as did the melta GH’s, who managed to knock off its assault cannon and one of the Hurricane Bolter sponsons. And of course the Fangs didn’t dent the armor. By the end, I contested 1 objective and he held 2 comfortably.


Roland’s post Game Thoughts:It was definitely a fun, relaxed game, between two competitive lists and fairly competitive players. I realized afterward some key things I messed up on that contributed to my fail:
– I forgot I had a Chooser and completely neglected to deploy it. It wouldn’t have made much difference, but shooting at BS5 would have been nice.
– I never used my Wolf Standards. I’ll admit it, I completely forgot I had them. They would have been clutch in those two rounds where his Termies effectively tied up my entire army.
– Chainfists. Had Thor had one, that LR would have been slag on the first round of assault. TH are cool to model and good against things that strike back (like TMC’s and DP’s), but suck against vehicles. I’m now working on giving Baldr a Chainfist to be a tank hunter and keep Thor my hammer wielding fluff master of destruction.
– TWC are 6″ move, 12″ assault, with FoF. I kept thinking it was 12″ move and 6″ assault. Then when I corrected myself, I still kept thinking 6″ assault. I quite possibly could have assaulted the Raider on turn 2 or 3.
– My dice rolls sucked. A lot. My average TWC fleet roll was a 2. My cover save rolls for my vehicles were also 2’s. Go figure.

I also became so fixated on killing the raider and that dakka dread that I lost sight of the mission: objectives. I could have pulled a closer game had I tried to push that one Tac squad off his objective via combined Dread an Rune priest firepower. I think I was also a little hesitant in the beginning. I probably should have risked that foremost GH squad to rush forward turn 1, disembark, and pop his LR in his back field, effectively tying him up. This would have immediately given me the initiative and put him on the defensive. As I said at the beginning, my plan was to bottle neck him in between the terrain. I realized quickly though, that 2 objectives were in his deployment zone, so I had to go to him to win, which meant crossing into the bottle neck. And he did a good job of clogging it with LR’s and terms, effectively shutting down my ability of using my mobility to grab or contest. The only option would be to go for the wide, time consuming flank moves. As they say though, hindsight is 20/20.

All in all though, an excellent game (though I admit I was rusty a few times on rules, having not played a real game in over a year, and this being my first vassal game in several months). Hope you all enjoyed this report! Now, where’s GW….

3++ Crew Vassal BatRep Part 1: The Lists

Hey all! While I’m still working on part 3 of my Aircav series, I decided to take a break and write up this Bat Rep from a very fun and competitive battle between GWvs John and I from a few nights back. Some of you may have seen us playing and watched some of it, but for those who missed it, he and I will write our thoughts of the game, turn by turn. I’ll have my commentary in blue, GW’s will write his in red. So bear with us as he and I are on different time schedules, so it may be a day or so before this article is complete. And there will be many, many screenshots. Now onto the first part, the lists!

Kirby edit: seriously, you made my eyes hurt looking at that small text =D

Roland’s 2K of Wolfy Fun: “The Varyags of Miklagaard VII”
This list is built around a combination of an Amon Amarth song and the historical viking’s who served alongside the Byzantine Emperor. As such, the names/units are influenced by Norse mythology and history. I also tried to incorporate historical “realism” into the game and I’ll explain this fluff piece as I go into the units.

HQ:
Master of Runes Odin – Fairly basic mythological influenced character. Can’t be Norse without Odin on your side! Rune Priest, Living Lightning, Tempests Wrath, WTN, Chooser of the Slain, Saga of the Beast Slayer, Total: 120

Lord Tyr – He represents the viking lord in charge of the Varangian Guard during the Byzantine times. Granted vikings didn’t really ride cavalry, but hey the Kataphractoi were heavy Byzantine cavalry and I figured he would fit in nicely with that concept. Wolf Lord, Wolf Claw, SS, Saga of Warrior Born, Wolf Tail, Talisman, Thunderwolf Mount
Total: 235

Elites:

Dreadnought – Akin to the mighty ballistae used by the ancient Romans, only “modernized” to be more mobile! Historically speaking he fulfills the heavy artillery role played by the ballistae in the Byzantine Army. TLAC, TLAC
Total: 125

Thor, The Lone Berserker, Seeker of Doom – What is more viking than a viking Berserker! Need I say more? Plus the idea of using a character named Thor armed with a giant hammer was too much. Lone Wolf, Terminator Armor, TH/SS, 1X Fenrisian Wolf (Jormagundr)
Total: 95

Baldr, The Lost Brother, He Who is Bound in Chains – Another Berseker. I like the story of Baldr in the Nordic sagas so felt he’d make a fine character in the army. Also in our game he only had 1 Fen Wolf. I ater updated this list to give him a second one. Lone Wolf, Terminator Armor,TH/SS, 2X Fenrisian Wolf
Total: 105

Troops:

Emir’s Bane – Your run of the mill viking Varangian Guard.
10X GH
2X MG
PW
MotW
Wolf Standard
Rhino
Total: 230

Masters of Roos Tertius – Roos Tertius. I hate to hit people with the obvious sick, but Roos – Rus, th eonly viking name for Russia.
10X GH
2X MG
PW
MotW
Wolf Standard
Rhino
Total: 230

Protectors of Byznum
10X GH
2X MG
PW
MotW
Rhino
Total: 220

Fast:

2X Thunderwolf Cav (Lord goes here) – The viking take on Kataphractoi. In the game we played, there was 1 guy in here with MotW. I realized very quickly how useless an upgrade it is on TWC. I’ve since dropped it from this squad and the other TWC squad and used the spare points for a second Fen Wolf on Baldr. 1X Storm Shield, Meltabombs
Total: 140

3X Thunderwolf Cav, 1X SS, 1X TH, Meltabombs
Total: 225

Heavy:

Long Fangs – The “archers” of the army, there to provide long range fire support and suppressive fire. 5 LF, 1 Pack, 5X ML
Total: 140

Long Fangs, 4X LF, PL, 4X ML
Total: 115

Total: 2000

And now, I present you GW’s list.

1 Space Marine Librarian @ 140 pts (Unit Type: Infantry; …in
Terminator Armour; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Tactics;
Independent Character; Psyker; Null Zone; The Gate of Infinity)
1 …in Terminator Armour (Psychic Hood; Force Weapon; Storm Shield)

9 Terminator Assault Squad @ 400 pts (Unit Type: Infantry; Thunder
Hammer & Storm Shield x9; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads;
Combat Tactics)
1 Sergeant (Unit Type: Infantry; Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield x1;
And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics)

1 Dreadnought @ 125 pts (Unit Type: Vehicle (Walker); Searchlight;
Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked Autocannon; Twin Linked Autocannon)

1 Dreadnought @ 125 pts (Unit Type: Vehicle (Walker); Searchlight;
Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked Autocannon; Twin Linked Autocannon)

9 Tactical Squad @ 205 pts (Unit Type: Infantry; Krak Grenades; Power
Armour; Bolt Pistol x9; Bolter x7; Flamer; Multi-Melta; And They Shall
Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics; Rhino)
1 Sergeant (Unit Type: Infantry; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Bolt
Pistol; Bolter; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat
Tactics)
1 Rhino (Unit Type: Vehicle (Tank); Transport Capacity: 10 models;
Access Points: 3; Fire Points: 1; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm
Bolter; Repair)

9 Tactical Squad @ 205 pts (Unit Type: Infantry; Krak Grenades; Power
Armour; Bolt Pistol x9; Bolter x7; Flamer; Multi-Melta; And They Shall
Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics; Rhino)
1 Sergeant (Unit Type: Infantry; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Bolt
Pistol; Bolter; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat
Tactics)
1 Rhino (Unit Type: Vehicle (Tank); Transport Capacity: 10 models;
Access Points: 3; Fire Points: 1; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm
Bolter; Repair)

1 Land Speeder Squadron @ 90 pts (Unit Type: Vehicle (Skimmer, Fast);
Heavy Bolter x1; Typhoon Missile Launcher x1; Deep Strike)

1 Land Speeder Squadron @ 90 pts (Unit Type: Vehicle (Skimmer, Fast);
Heavy Bolter x1; Typhoon Missile Launcher x1; Deep Strike)

1 Land Speeder Squadron @ 90 pts (Unit Type: Vehicle (Skimmer, Fast);
Heavy Bolter x1; Typhoon Missile Launcher x1; Deep Strike)

1 Land Raider Crusader @ 260 pts (Unit Type: Vehicle (Tank); Transport
Capacity: 16 models; Access Points: 3; Frag Assault Launchers;
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Multi-Melta; 2x Hurricane Bolters; Twin
Linked Assault Cannon; Assault Vehicle; Power of the Machine Spirit)

1 Land Raider Redeemer @ 265 pts (Unit Type: Vehicle (Tank); Transport
Capacity: 12 models; Access Points: 3; Frag Assault Launchers;
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Extra Armor; Multi-Melta; 2x Flamestorm
Cannons; Twin Linked Assault Cannon; Assault Vehicle; Power of the
Machine Spirit)

GW’s Thoughts:
Space Wolves are my least favorite army to play against, insofar as I think the SW Codex is the strongest book out there.

Roland’s army fits the bill. Wolf Lord and TWC are scary. Lots of missiles and tough melta. Some things I was “happy” to see were the TH on the LW instead of CF (which became important later), the PW over PF in the GH, and the somewhat random Rifleman.

My list is the newest iteration of my double Rock list. I’ve switched to Typhoons over MM/HF as the transport busting is key to give targets to my TH guys and I don’t need the blocking ability of the short range speeders since I have the rocks 🙂 Recent experience with my Thundergate list led to the SS on the Libby over EA on the Crusader (since the Redeemer always gets shot first) but that’s a close call.

That’s it for the lists! I will begin working on part 2, the actual battle, right now, so look for it shortly! Also the photo at top is the initial set up: Dawn of War, Seize Ground. More to come in part 2!

GWvsJohn talks Necromunda, Part 1: Choosing your gang

So the Vassalmunda campaign is well under way. I’ve gotten 6 games in so far and others (cough, professor curly, cough) seem to play 6 a day.
For those who don’t know, our google group is here and the Necromunda rules are here. If you haven’t joined yet, well, what are you waiting for?
By no means am I a Necromunda expert, but my gang is 6-0 so far and I’m starting to get a feel for the rules and flow of a game and an entire campaign. I’ll be writing this series as a guide to help (mostly) new players get their feet wet with Necromunda.
The first article will be on choosing your gang. I’ll be talking about the House Gangs and Spyrers in (some) depth, then the other outlaw gang quickly, because I haven’t played with or against them yet.
House Gangs: all the House Gangs are fairly similar. They all have leaders, heavies, gangers and juves. They have access to the same territores, advances and rare items. The differences lie in the house weapon lists and house skills. For those not familiar, you can only buy from your house list when your gang starts, and you can buy any weapon from your house list at any time during the post game. If you want a common weapon that’s not on your list, you need to “spend” one of your d3 rare item rolls. For skills, a skill advance is about 75% going to restricted to your house list and 25% from any list. So the differences while seemingly small, have a serious effect. Skills matter most to Juves and Gangers, as they will be getting the most advances, Leaders can access almost any list and Heavies will be going 100% Techno (which they can all access) until they max it.
Let’s look at each house.
Goliath: commonly considered the worst House, and with good reason. They don’t have lasguns (arguably the best basic weapon) or plasma guns (arguably the best special weapon) on their house weapon list. Plasma guns can be compensated, but lasguns are a significant loss. It only gets worse with skills. Muscle is a poor skill list and it’s the primary for Goliath. You’ll probably need to try for an unorthodox shotgun and CC gang with Goliath, but they don’t get easy access to Stealth skills that would really help.
Orlock: pretty standard weapon list. No plasma gun, but the meltagun is an interesting option for a leader. Same for skills. Shooting and Combat are both decent options. The Orlocks look like a very run of the mill gang and they will probably play that way. You’ll have a mix of shooting and combat, and be good, but not great at both. A solid gang for a beginner.
Van Saar: my house, and as I get into the game more, I think it’s the best option. Weapon list is nice, with plasma guns in special and plasma pistols as an excellent choice for a shooty/CC combo leader (as most tend to be). No boltgun anywhere is a bit of a pain, but is less of an issue when you see the skill list. Techno for everyone. I’ll go into more detail in my skill article, but Techno is probably the best skill list. Gangers and Juves with Techno can lead to a lot of special weapons floating around (no boltgun? Buy a plasma gun. BS 2? Buy a flamer) If your goal is to dominate a league, Van Saar is an excellent choice.
Cawdor: as written, the best gang in the book, hands down. A single shot flamer than can be swapped out for CC? For everyone? Yikes. Give your whole gang that and an autopistol and roll your campaign with ease. If you houserule Hand Flamers (our league disallows them for now), their weapon list is still decent. Non-sword CC weapons aren’t great, so no loss there and bolt pistols and bolters for everyone is nice. For skills, Ferocity/Combat/Agility has good synergy, so it’s pretty good. Overall, plan to build an up-close gang that might do best starting with 2 flamers (heavy and leader). Probably not the best choice for beginners, but looks to be a fun, competitive gang.
Delaque: another solid weapon list like Orlock. The grenade launcher for plasma gun swap is a good one if you ask me, and the Delaque leader can get both types of bolt weapons. It’s probably the best list so far (depending on your views of the plasma pistol on Van Saar vs. the Bolter on Delaque). The Delaque skill list is nice as well. Stealth is one of the better skills list IMO, and it work with both CC and ranged gangers. You can build a wide variety of effective Delaque gangs. A great choice for a beginner.
Escher: the best weapon list, and I don’t even think it’s close. It has every good weapon mentioned so far (both plasma, flamer, bolter) except for the bolt pistol. But most importantly, unlike every other list, it has the sword. A quick read of the CC rules and parries should show why the sword is the only good “basic” CC weapon. At a measly 10 points, I’d probably give one to every member of the gang except maybe heavies with stubbers. The skill list is good. Stealth and Combat are a very nice combo (especially when everyone has swords). The girls make the best CC gang, but with lasguns and plasmaguns, they can shoot too (unlike Goliath). A solid choice for a beginner or a vet looking for a CC gang.
If I had to rank the House Gangs (assuming no Hand Flamers), I think I’d do it this way:
Van Saar
Escher
Delaque
Orlock
Cawdor
Goliath
In reality, I think Van Saar and Escher are superior, Delaque, Orlock and Cawdor are standard and Goliath is inferior.
Now the Outlaws.
Spyrers: are you feeling lucky? In most games the gang will be outnumbered, often more than 2:1, but then there’s the Mom and Pop. The Matriarch and Patriarch each show up for 1 game per “hunt” and when they do, lookout. If you’re facing Spyrers when either is around, hope for the best and enjoy your underdog bonus XP. Outside of those 2 games, the Spyrers need an experienced hand to be used properly. From what I’ve seen and read, the Yeld seems to be the best option, with the tough Jakara second. This gang is for someone who wants to run a small, elite gang with crazy rules. Spyrers leave little room for error. Not for beginners.
Scavvies: the “horde” gang. Sorta like the opposite of Spyrers. A mass of poorly equipped dregs hoping for the best. Another gang for a vet who wants a challenge. The “followers” rule where your leader attracts a pack of ghouls, zombies or rabid dogs each game might be the coolest rule in all of Necromunda.
Ratskins: I’m not that familiar with this gang to be honest (other than using the pdf to find the outlaw trade rules when researching Scavvies). From what I’ve read they’re waaaay underpowered and should only be used if you want a challenge.
Redemptionists: another gang I don’t know much about. The general consensus is that their “official” pdf is extremely overpowered (we don’t allow it in our group). There are some well-regarded fan lists that I’m going to look into soon.
So that’s a quick intro to the gangs of Necromunda from a rules standpoint (you can read the fluff on your own). Hopefully this might help you choose what gang to run, or encourage you to join the group in the first place 🙂
Next time we’ll look at actually building a roster.
-GWvsJohn

Email in: Tau Question

First, are blog authors allowed to email for help? How scandalous 🙂



I’ve never played Tau, but I want to give them a whirl. Since you
seem to be quite learned on the Greater Good, I come for advice.

How would you take Stelek’s 2000 point best-of Tau
http://www.yesthetruthhurts.com/2008/09/my-tau-empire.html and find
the points for a 3rd Broadside? With all the fear I’ve had of
Broadsides, 2 doesn’t seem like enough. Is dropping a Railhead for a
2nd Broadside squad an ok idea, or do you need the big blast from the
Hammerhead?


-GWvsJohn

Well it gives me a quick blog post, so yes (I hate cognition btw. Hate it. P.S. my thesis ethics is going in this week so fingers crossed!). So, we can do something like this to get 3 broadsides:

HQ –
Shas’el w/TL’d Missile Pod, Target-lock

Elites –
Crisis x3 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

Crisis x3 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

Crisis x3 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

Troops –
Fire Warriors x6

Kroot x10

Kroot x10
Hounds x7

Fast Attack –
Pathfinders x8
Devilfish w/SMS, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pods, Targeting Array

Piranhas x2 w/Fusion Blasters, Targeting Array, 1 Disruption Pod, 1 Target Lock

Piranhas x2 w/Fusion Blasters, Targeting Array, 1 Disruption Pod, 1 Target Lock

Heavy Support –
Broadsides x3 w/Advanced Stabilisation System, Team Leader w/hard-wired Drone controller, 2 shield drones & hard-wired TL

Hammerhead w/Railgun, Burst Cannon, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead w/Railgun, Burst Cannon, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

Total: 1999
13 suits (+2 drones)
41 infantry
8 tanks

We lose a bit of anti-infantry firepower as we drop down on SMS for the hammerheads (less range) and lose a plasma rifle but gain the extra broadside. The biggest loss though is in the Kroot screen (only one 17 squad and another of 10). The problem I guess with 3 Broadsides is you can’t split fire 3 ways so you gain a bit more reliability but not that much more killing power. Dropping a Hammerhead for a Broadside squad at this points…eh I’d say no. You lose anti-infantry, you have to drop points somewhere and the only net gain is a single TL-railgun. I think Stelek’s list w/2 Broadsides and 34 Kroot is more solid whilst the 3 Broadsides and 27 Kroot is more reliable and that little bit better equipped to handle mech.

It comes down to personal preference. Before I shelved my Tau I ran 3 Broadsides as it was cheaper than buying another set of Hounds 😛 but if money wasn’t a problem I’d lean towards Stelek’s original list. It’s more reliable in that you have a more reliable screen service and your anti-infantry isn’t really suffering. I don’t think multiple Broadside units are worth it until you start hitting 2.5k, you just lose too much anti-infantry otherwise with the current codex. Until we can pack more into FoC slots or have decent Troops…:(.

List request: Gwar!’s ‘ard Boyz Autarch-led Eldar

I’ve had a list request for Eldar from Gwar! It’s an odd one. 2k and 2.5k (for ’ard Boyz) and he’d like to include 2x Autarch and 9x Warwalkers. He would like to use the WW to take advantage of the Autarch’s reserve rule. Frankly, it’s a crappy idea :P. War Walkers can put out pretty good damage but are very much a glass cannon and without re-rolls to outflank sides…well they are an expensive prospect and we can get a lot of S6 elsewhere. So after extensive kicking of Gwar!, he’s agreed to not have them in the list! Yay for him.


So, we are starting off with double Autarch. Whilst I’d prefer at least one Farseer for psy defense, you deal with what you are dealt. The combination of these allows our whole army to reserve and come on quite reliably on T2. They have a fair statline but are stuck with Eldar S/T3, so not that great in combat. BS6 though, yummy. We’ll give them both a fusion gun for the moment. 160 pts gone.

Eldar revolve around their Dragons (not Fuegan!). We’ll take 3 squads and since we are at 2.5k, we’ll add an Exarch w/DBF and crack shot each and tuck them away safely in a Serpent w/TL-Shuricannons, Chin Shuricannon and Spirit Stones. 233 pts each for each so just under 700 for our anti-tank with some added duality.

We also need our scoring Troops and something for our Autarchs to ride around with. Dire Avenger time! Let’s start with 3 squads of 5 in Serpents. These Serpents get TL-BL and a chin Shuricannon. The BL is there for ranged anti-tank and can slow AV13+ from across the board. It’s expensive but Eldar need this. 205 pts per squad for 715 total. Remember our Autarchs are in these squads so we’ve got 5 “fusion squads.” We’re sitting just below 1600 pts atm (1574). Time to add in some real anti-infantry.

3x Prisms thanks! (with chin Shuricannon) setting us back 375pts. These are dodgy at anti-tank but are excellent anti-infantry and will attract fire away from your Serpents as they are easier to down. See here and here why no Holo-fields and Spirit Stones and yes to the Shuricannon. We’re sitting at 1949 pts atm with 17 fusion guns, 3 BLs, 3 Prisms and 45 S6 shots on 9 AV12 chassis. Decently impressive.

We’ve only got FA and Troops slots left. Time to whip out the vehicle most people disdain in today’s environment. Vypers. 70 pts for Shuricannon and Scatter Laser. 7 S6 shots. These can easily get cover with all the AV12 chassis flying about or can hide early on. They are on the easy side to kill but allow your Serpents to fire and move and aren’t that expensive. Let’s take 3×1 to bolster our firepower. 2159 pts total. That’s going to leave us with too many points for 2 more AV12 chassis, so we’ll drop one Vyper. 2089 pts and only Troops to play with (the age of the Eldar codex begins to show).

Whilst S6 is good, it only goes so far against higher AV and outside of that we’ve only got 3 dedicated anti-tank units so I’m going to do something unusual. 10x Storm Guardians w/2x fusion gun and we’ll double them up and put them in TL-shuricannon and chin shuricannon Serpents. This gives us 2 more scoring units in AV12 chassis that puts out 6 S6 shots a turn w/energy fields and also has some ability to threaten higher AV with the occupants.

And I can’t add…that leaves us with 2393 points. Woops! We’ll add back that 3rd Vyper and we’ve got 37 points to play with. Not much we can do with that so let’s chuck a Warlock into one of the Storm Guardian squads w/Spear and then tack on whatever upgrades you want on the Autarchs (or you could upgrade the Storm Guardian serpents to have TL-Scatter Lasers over the Warlock).

This gives us:

HQ –
Autarch w/Fusion Gun

Autarch w/Fusion Gun

Elites –
Fire Dragons x5 + Exarch w/DBF & Crack Shot w/Wave Serpent w/TL-Shuriken Cannons, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones

Fire Dragons x5 + Exarch w/DBF & Crack Shot w/Wave Serpent w/TL-Shuriken Cannons, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones

Fire Dragons x5 + Exarch w/DBF & Crack Shot w/Wave Serpent w/TL-Shuriken Cannons, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones

Troops –
5x Dire Avengers w/Wave Serpent w/TL-Bright Lance, Shuriken Cannon

5x Dire Avengers w/Wave Serpent w/TL-Bright Lance, Shuriken Cannon

5x Dire Avengers w/Wave Serpent w/TL-Bright Lance, Shuriken Cannon

10x Storm Guardians w/2x fusion gun w/Wave Serpent w/TL-Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon

10x Storm Guardians w/2x fusion gun w/Wave Serpent w/TL-Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon
Fast Attack –
Vyper w/Shuriken Cannon, Scatter Laser

Vyper w/Shuriken Cannon, Scatter Laser

Vyper w/Shuriken Cannon, Scatter Laser

Heavy Support –
Fire Prism w/Shuriken Cannon

Fire Prism w/Shuriken Cannon

Fire Prism w/Shuriken Cannon

Totals: 2493 pts
14 Tanks
52 infantry

3 Prism Cannons, 71 S6 across 14 units, 21 fusion guns across 7 units, 3 BLs

Not bad. I’d still prefer a Farseer but that’s quite a bit of firepower and a lot of Energy Fields to laugh at your enemy’s meltaguns with the firepower spread pretty evenly across the army (though obviously the best anti-tank lies in the Fire Dragons). If you wanted to add in the War Walkers Gwar!, drop the Vypers and Prisms for 9xWW w/2x Scatter Lasers. You gain 24 S6 shots this way but lose some durability and mobility (not to mention the 3 Prism shots). I’d prefer the Prisms/Vypers as it’s more targets for your opponent, more suppression for you and creates better army synergy overall.

So Gwar!, go win ‘ard Boyz pls?

Phoenix Lords: viable?

Stemming from this post on Warseer. In a nutshell, no. Specifically though I want to look at what Ail-Shan has said (though I didn’t read his huge wall of text. tl;dr) because…well you’ll see. So let’s start off with this quote from Ali-Shan:

I think that the phoenix lords can be well worth their points and can add a lot to a list, but they are usually quite specific in how they need to be used especially since they have no invulnerable save.

Okay…well I’ll let that pass as you did point out they have no invul save. Let’s see what else he said.

Eh….yes you can…but the phoenix lords have more ability than a squad of their aspect with all the fixings (especially Fuegan and Maugan Ra).
I’d rather have Fuegan than more fire dragons, or really anything else for my list.
 
Wait. What? Fuegan over a Fire Dragon squad? (don’t worry; it get’s better). In response to me saying essentially that…
 
Yes, because that long range melta then survives most punishment opponents can throw at it, AND can fight very well in cc against many targets, including walkers. And for those who don’t know, my long range melta gets his own holo-field falcon. He’s quite spoiled.
 
Wait wait wait. You’re saying, you put a 200pt+ model in a 170pt+ transport and saying it is BETTER than Fire dragons? For those points I’m taking 2 squads in 2 Serpents. That’s 10 meltaguns to your 1 18″ meltagun. That’s 2 AV12 chassis to your 1 AV12 chassis. That’s 4 heavy guns to your 3 heavy guns. That’s twice the amount of targets for your oppenent to deal with and 1000% more damage potential across two targets. And you’re still advocating Fuegan? And claiming he’s spoilt!? I’m sorry but when did an over glorified meltagun become worth 200pts? Never. Ever ever ever. Let’s break down the Pheonix Lords and then revisit this (oh apparently the guy won a tourney. He must be awesome. Pics or it didn’t happen!!!!).
 
Ali-Shan said it himself. Phoenix Lords have no invulnerable save. This. Is. Bad. You’re spending over 200pts on a model without an invul? No. Shoo. Go away. Begone foul model! The only Phoenix Lord which does have an invul is Asurmen. Go figure. (he should of kept his 3++ from 3rd ed. Then he’d be the new black). Let’s look at another quote, this time from Gwyidion:
 
For the price of a phoenix lord, you can get an entire 2nd squad of their aspect with all the fixings.
 
Ali-Shan’s reply is contained in the 2nd quote but Gwyidion touches on something here. Pheonix Lords do nothing significantly better than Exarchs except have an improved statline (and generally one minor ‘extra’ ability like FNP, FC, Stealth, 4+ invul, etc.) yet you pay triple to quadruple the price. Like Gwyidion said, I could get a whole squad for that or in the event you are playing 5th edition Eldar, a whole Serpent + its cargo. Let’s go back to this quote from Ali-Shan:
 
Eh….yes you can…but the phoenix lords have more ability than a squad of their aspect with all the fixings (especially Fuegan and Maugan Ra).
 
Let’s compare directly and assume we are going for full squads. 10x DA w/Bladestorm Exarch = 152 pts. Asurmen = 230 pts. Uh, DA win? Even if we add in Defend and Diresword, Asurmen has no where near the ability of that squad and is only better in combat. News flash, Eldar hate combat with their current codex and Pheonix Lords are no different. Let’s look at Fuegan then, whom Ali-Shan seems to adore and since he rides in a Falcon, we’ll take those points into consideration, too.
 
Fuegan + 5x DA + Holofalcon = 440 pts or 2x 5x Fire Dragons + Serpent w/TL Shuri-Cannon, Shuri-Cannon, Spirit Stones = 400 pts. Again, how on Earth does Fuegan have more ability than that min-sized aspect squad without ANY fixtures. Can we add 5 more Dragons? And a crackshot DBF? So Fuegan can take on a Dread in combat. woopee. Fire Dragons don’t need to take on a Dread in combat because they shoot it to death. I’m so glad that Fuegan can survive all those shots at him, he’s still a waste of 205 pts (I’m also assuming you arming your Falcon correctly but then that would be silly because you need to drop Fuegan off close. We’ve already established what a waste of holo-fields that is).
 
Maguan Ra on the other hand, is a soft spot for me. I mean, he’s covered in skulls. Awesome. This doesn’t make him good though. Sure a mobile S6 IC is pretty cool (who also isn’t too bad in combat) but again lack of invul and price tag just make him a fun toy (even if Harlequins didn’t compete with Fire Dragons where he could tag along). Ali-Shan therefore gets 1 positive point for mentioning Maguan Ra.
 
Overall, PLs are just too expensive for what they do. If you want to buff your Aspects, you take an Exarch. If you want a combat guru you take Yriel or an Autarch but at 200+pts w/no invul…ya well, some cool sculpts and fluff but they sit on the table for the time being. Characters need to be able to do certain things to be viable.
 
1) be an absolute monster in CC. This is the rarest type because it’s so one-dimensional. You’ll find CC monsters but they generally do something else for the army, too (i.e. Canis).
2) change the FoC. This is where PL’s will hopefully fall in the future (along with a damn Warp Spider one). This opens up different armies and assuming the character isn’t half bad, they will be used for variety (i.e. Biker Captain, Logan, etc.).
3) support the army. You know. Vulkan. You pay a high-price tag for someone who isn’t too bad at combat, has a nice statline, etc. but amplifies your army on a pretty dispersed field (unlike PL ‘powers).
 
If PL’s are still pretending to be wannabe CC monsters next codex, they will still run sub-par, even with an invul. 5th edition, in particular the new books, just look down on that style of play and laugh. I imagine (and hope) PL’s will in some way move their Aspect around on the FoC whilst taking a small price cut and gaining more useful and influencing powers that Exarchs cannot get. There has to be some advantage to taking them outside of fun or fluffy reasons. Atm, contrary to what Ali-Shan thinks, PL’s simply do not do this.

Army Comparison: Bikers and Jumpers

VERSUS

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a Justin from Wisconsin in relation to Jumper and Bike armies (and because I’m me, we shall also throw in the Blood Rodeo for completeness). Now I haven’t actually posted a pure biker list on this blog (I’ll post some later) but a quick one would be 2x Command Squads w/3x LC, 4x SS, TH, 4x meltaguns, 3x max bikes w/MM AB, 2x meltagun, Pfist. Should be around 2000 points. And here are the Jumper and Blood Rodeo lists. So what our conversation was about is which one is better; Bikers or Jumpers? Now we all know I prefer a different style of lists from these pure ones (I.e. Blood Rodeo and Flast’N’Slow) though will eventually build up to the pure lists but let’s take a look shall we.

First off it’s hard to compare these lists in black and white. They differ in their purpose (which will be covered) and how they operate. Recalling my attempt at a BA Fast’N’Slow with Jumpers. It just didn’t work because of the different dynamics of Jumpers to Bikers (again to everyone who says the Vanilla codex is useless. I have proven ye wrong!). So let’s analysis both of the pure forms, strengths and weaknesses, how they operate, etc.

Bikers –

The pure form of this list was original conceived by Froggage over on YTTH. It involves massing scoring bikers and meltaguns backed up by combat super units (the command squads). This army is very fast, particularly combined with the 3+ turbo boost save. This allows this army to keep up with mech, can easily pop tanks with 15+ meltas, has a lot of anti-infantry firepower in 39 TL’d relentless bolters and has excellent combat ability in one of the best super units of the game (biker Command squad). It’s essentially in your face all the time and has the tools for the job. Combat tactics allow the combat squadded Bike squads to run away but the Command squads bring a huge, massive, star-sized rock that will crush you in combat. Bikes are also tougher than your normal marine. Whilst Command squads still miss out on FNP w/S8+ weapons, the army as a whole is more resistant to light arms fire.

However, this army hates protracted combats on its Troops (hence the Command squads) and thus fears things such as Dreads and MCs which can be a pain for the army to take out in combat. Biker armies also lack in psychic defense unless a super unit is dropped. Not worth it unfortunately. And obviously the crux. A lot of bikers = a big foot print and Bikers don’t like terrain as it kills them nor can they turbo-boost through it. Therefore, to force this list into a disadvantage you have to force them in and around terrain.

Jumpers –

Pure jumpers are BA only thanks to Descent of Angels. Without DoA, deep striking is far too unreliable, particularly for the Vanguard Vets. Pure Jumpers rely on meltaguns popping tanks on the initial drop and then tying up units with Vanguard. Without the Vanguard, the army is very open to reprisal as your opponent can take advantage of your deep strike landings and full available firepower. Mech really forces the player’s hand to use Vanguard as they need to pop tanks with their meltaguns first. This army relies on meltagun firepower and FNP/FC bubbles. After the initial drop and assault by VV, FNP/FC allows the army as a whole to survive and assault with some degree of efficiency. No one likes 11 5 man squads FCing into them. Librarians are also crucial to this list’s success. As will be covered below, castling works well against DS and is therefore an excellent defense. With Librarians and Blood Lance though, you force your opponent to sacrifice some infantry (which get eaten by VV on the drop) to push you away or not castle up (which gives the DS army an advantage). Add in their 5+ cover so you can drop into the open…done. This also gives the army psychic defenses.

Like Bikers, Jumpers don’t like terrain (in particular spells like Tempest). Free shots against your guys isn’t a good thing! Combine with the minor unreliability of DS and the opponent’s ability to force you to drop into terrain and your initial causalities for Jumpers can be high. Also, because this army is primarily based on DS such defenses work against it. Whether it’s conventional screening or only leaving terrain open compared to special abilities or units like Mystics, Jumpers will be at a disadvantage against such lists. Jumpers also rely on their FNP/FC bubbles. Whilst this is a strength whilst they have them, once those bubbles are stripped away, the army can become very vulnerable. 50+ T4/3+ models are a lot easier to down than 50+ T4/3+/FNP models. Also like Bikers, Jumpers don’t like assaults with Dreads or MCs. Whilst Jumpers have more combat ability across the army, they also have less meltaguns and less speed. It is therefore paramount for the Jumper general to neutralise these threats or rely on PFists in combat to bring them down.

Blood Rodeo –

This is essentially a combination of the two armies. I personally like it better at 2500 when you can fit in 2 VV squads but otherwise works well I think @ 2k. Whilst it has the advantages of both the biker’s mobility and toughness and Jumper’s accurate DS with the combination of FNP/FC bubbles, it also has the same disadvantages of both armies (exacerbated with no VV) but is also an army that can be split up (see post on synergy). This army prefers to go 1st (or 2nd in DoW) and if not relies on reserves and the bike Turbo-boost. Due to this discrepancy in movement styles, the bikes and jumpers can become separated if deployed poorly (and thus lose out on FNP/FC coverage).

So the obvious differences between Bikers and Jumpers is survivability (Jumper > Biker w/FNP/FC bubbles), mobility (Bikers > Jumpers) and combat (Bikers = super units; Jumpers = army wide). The Bikers also have more meltaguns but the Jumpers have more spread in their anti-tank. Again it’s hard to narrow down which army is better from this data because they are similar concepts executed in different ways. Ram melta down your opponent’s throat then torrent to death. Jumpers torrent in combat and Bikers torrent with bolters. Both are weak to Dreads/MCs and have high survivability. The Blood Rodeo is in a similar boat (though does have the synergy weakness to exploit) whilst trying to combine the two army strengths.

So when it boils down to it, there isn’t much separating the armies. However, in the end I think Bikers just edge out pure Jumpers who just edge out Blood Rodeo (because of its aforementioned synergy problem). Why? Jumpers (and Blood Rodeo) are relying on that FNP/FC bubble fun; pure Bikers aren’t. Whilst I prefer Fast’N’Slow over pure Bikers (I mean seriously, instead of 2x super units I can bring 3 Dreads/Speeders/Preds?) because I have less of a footprint issue and Blood Rodeo for FNP bikers, they are all really strong lists. If you can’t deny Jumpers their FNP/FC bubbles you are in for a hard, hard fight but if you don’t take out those Command squads in Bikers…well just pack up and go. Those units are ridiculously nasty to take down and dish it out.

Anyone else have some food for thought on this or would like any other army comparisons done?

Armies in 5th: Basics Part 7: Assault II

Well thanks to some well thought out comments (and wine…) I missed some rather obvious yet less basic concepts in my last Armies in 5th article in relation to assault. So let’s cover them and anything else I can think of now and forgot to mention previously (SSBB > SSBM).

TKE and Chumb pointed out in different ways that attacking multiple targets can often be to your benefit. Continuing with the FW example. Assaulting one FW squad is likely to break them but assaulting two is less likely, etc. Whilst you are more likely to take damage in that combat you are more likely to either break both squads or have the combat ensue. Against shooting armies like Tau, being in combat is often a much better place to be. This generally falls down to a judgement call however as you don’t want to get stuck in for too long where help can arrive or be in a position where you win and get shot to death (unless you can hack it, in cover, etc.). You can also dilute your strength by stringing out your squad during the movement phase. This stops some of your models from getting into combat.

You can also use this stringing out to your advantage (MagicJuggler reminded me of this!). This is essentially blocking in the assault phase. Harder to master than blocking movement as you still need the opponent to maintain coherency and be able to assault it, it can pay large dividends in combat. Models that are not in combat can still die and using this skill properly you can get your whole unit into combat with only a few of your opponent’s models. By tank shocking opponent units you can spread them out (just like you would normally clump them for flamers/blasts but here you try and create a wedge with your tank) or using other units near your assaulting unit (including tanks) so when you charge an opponent, their defender reacts move takes them around your units (remember they can only engage the unit in combat). This can dilute your opponent’s attacks in combat or importantly keep special weapons away from your units (I.e. Nob PKs).

Furthering the blocking concept in assault and prolonging combat, when you assault you have to be able to get into base to base. If you are therefore able to keep enough enemy models alive and between you and your opponent’s units, they cannot send more units into combat (this is particularly true against horde armies who are forced to start wrapping around if they can). This can allow you to bring your reinforcements up or protect your unit in combat from more attacks. Remember though this can be done against you, too.

I also alluded to something MagicJuggler pointed out in his comment but I didn’t really go into it. By assaulting with multiple units (particularly into super units) you dilute your opponent’s strength as they have to spread attacks around your units (again, 5 man BA units). This is particularly useful for also ‘pulling’ special combat attacks onto units you want to sacrifice (like Grots) or units which can take the damage (I.e. TH/SS termies).
I think that’s a more complete summary of the more ‘advanced’ assault techniques. Anyone remember anymore? Thanks again for the heads up!

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