Armies in 5th: Tyranids Part 4: Utility Units

We’ve covered the basic concepts of the Tyranid codex and we’ve touched on units which benefit the army (i.e. Tervigons) but where do some of the other units, who get less love, fit into the scheme of things? Here we’ll be talking about such things as Mawlocs, Venomthropes, Biovores/spore mines, Deathleaper, Doom, Tervigons, Parasite, etc.

First up, remember these are not units that are there to deal massive damage and as such, a vast amount of points should not be invested into them. They are designed to disrupt whilst adding another facet to your game plan. Depending on these units, whether they are good or bad, is going to leave you in trouble. So since we’ve just covered the Tervigon, let’s look at the other spawning creature of the Tyranid codex, the Parasite of Mortex. First it’s a special character so you can’t get multiples and secondly it’s spawning power is conditional. You’ve got to kill something or something has to come in via outflank for it to work. Conditionals aren’t good when you pay for them and outside of that it doesn’t have a great stat line. For fun combined with 5 Tervigons it’d be fantastic to use 200+ models. Otherwise, stick with the Tervigon who not only spawns but provides buffs to the army as a whole.

We’ll look at the other ‘point’ specific utility options for Tyranids before covering the army-wide ones. These units provide a bonus very specifically to a battle plan rather than affecting most of the table. The most obvious of these is the Deathleaper. An excellent choice simply for psychic defense (Shadow in the Warp doesn’t have a long enough range + Eldar essentially ignore it) as well as a disruptive unit. Placing it in midfield can slow your opponent as they move through terrain and invite your opponent to try and shoot at it though remember it’s value against certain opponents is the reduction in Ld against a specific model. Whilst it competes in slots with the Hive Guard and Zoanthropes, it does become a hard choice whether to take more of the former units or add the Deathleaper.

The other ‘point’ specific options for Tyranids are far less effective. These are Doom of Malan’Tai and the Mawloc. We discussed the Mawloc before and in relation to the Trygon it’s quite sub-par (we are assuming here you understand what “anywhere on the table” means; oh and the internet generally loves this guy if he can DS anywhere). Against mech’d lists don’t expect to do too much damage with this guy, S6 is great in large numbers but single S6 hits on rear armor? Mech doesn’t tremble and if they are silly enough to group up where they can get knocked off the board, well woops. As far as anti-infantry go it’s like any S6 AP2 barrage, for 200pts… again no thanks. It has some disruptive qualities but needing to take multiples of them and have reserve bonuses makes your list very predictable and lowers your killing power. If you want to cause this kind of disruption spore mines can do just as well. The other overhyped unit online is the Doom of Malan’Tai (it doesn’t affect units inside vehicles [note exceptions say so quite specifically like the Parasite] and even if it did, the radius and ability isn’t fantastic). The damaging ability of this unit is again…only okay and is best suited for anti-infantry (in case you haven’t noticed, Tyranids don’t need help there). Whilst the large blast is AP1, lack of re-rolls or super high BS leads to an unreliable scatter and Zoans are plain better in damaging tanks. Add in it’s very susceptible to instant death (3 ML wounds and it’s dead) and you’re sacrificing real utility (Venomthroes, Deathleaper) or real killing ability (Zoanthropes, Hive Guard) for something that does niether well.

So what are the ‘army-wide’ utility units? The most obvious is the Venomthrope and doesn’t get much appreciation online. Whilst it is conceivable to get cover for most of your MCs through gaunt/warrior/MC lines or through large pieces of terrain, Venomthropes allow you to move out in the open (and thus not get slowed by terrain) and give you excellent defense against assault. The ability to take 3 in a single slot allows you to spread and overlap their effect without losing too much in offensive capabilities through Hive Guard and Zoanthropes. The other is Biovores/Spore Mines. Whilst they aren’t going to cause huge disruption those little 1″ bubbles here and there can annoy an opponent to no end, particularly pre-deployment. Again they are unreliable as an offensive mechanism but can add more consistent disruption (and at a cheaper cost) than a Mawloc. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of either Venomthropes or Biovores, they certainly have their place in specific lists but you must remember the opportunity cost of taking such (i.e. less HG/Zoans, less T-Fexes/Carnifexes/Trygons, etc.).

Overall, the ability of the Tervigon/Deathleaper/Venomthrope/Biovore to add depth and utility to your army without paying an inefficient point cost and working in against all armies (i.e. don’t care if you are mech’d or not) makes them stand ahead of the pack. Units like Doom, Parasite and Mawloc are all very situational to get their full effect and thus aren’t units that should be taken in everyday armies that want to stay balanced either because they are so useless against Mech or are too conditional in relation to their point cost.

San Antonio Spurs?

They finally coming together without Tony Parker? RJ and Manu finally seem to be putting up the points and Timmeh has been able to rest a lot lately. Let’s see versus Atlanta.

P.S. Go BRoy.

Armies in 5th: Tyranids Part 3: Midfield core

We’ve looked so far at what makes the Tyranid army effective in Mech dominated 5th edition, the ability to minimise shooting coming from mech armies and the speed with which to not be out-dictated in play but how do they cope with the midfield aspect of the game? One word. Tervigons! The best of Tyranid midfield is exemplified through this one model (which you have to make yourself…). The ability to improve all Termgaunts significantly and any other units defensive or mobility options for ~200 pts? Okay! Oh btw it’s T6/W6/3+ and scoring. Oh and makes new units. Oh and I predicted a mommy tyranid (Smurfy back me up please!).

Whilst a full reserve/spore army is generally not going to need Tervigons, most lists will be greatly bolstered by 2 (which means 2 units of Termaguants, too). Whilst this doesn’t seem like a lot on paper, the birthing ability and exponential increase in Termaguant ability the Tervigons provide cannot be seen on paper. This is before you include the powers of Onslaught or Catalyst. However, like any good midfield unit, their killing power isn’t what you would expect for their points. With poor WS/I/A for an MC they are certainly weaker in combat which is really where their bolstering abilities come into play. Counter-attack, Furious charge, poison, Ld10 Termaguants? Yes! These guys can quickly become a mass that overwhelms most opponents and have pretty fair stats. Only downside is once those Tervigons go down they take down a fair chunk of Termaguants, too.

That being said a midfield can be composed completely of 3 Tervigons and 3 Termaguant squads + whatever is pooped out (see Stelek’s 2500 list). However, at 2k points I think 2 Tervigons are best as it becomes a trade-off between firepower/close combat ability and buffs. It’s like markerlights, they are a great addition to an army but there becomes a point where they can be ignored because once the killy elements start falling the buff bonuses aren’t that scary. So once this trade-off is taken into account, what else can we add to the Tervigons and Termaguants to bolster our midfield? My personal preference is Warriors. They provide more choices forced upon your opponent, can carry a heavy weapon and can be quite good in combat. They will get quite expensive though once equipped boneswords, toxin/adrenal and a heavy weapon.

So what else is there? Genestealers, Hormaguants and Rippers. Hormaguants are an excellent close-combat addition and I believe they are best utilised in a list which takes Raveners as it adds weight of numbers behind those beasts and have the speed to help them out whilst the rest of the army arrives. I think these are the Troops of choice alongside Warriors when Tervigons aren’t taken for whatever reason (i.e. reserves list). Genesteals I think are too expensive for what they do and Raveners are able to do it better being beasts. They are an excellent delivery system for Broodlords now but at 17pts a piece (poison)…eh, expensive. I’d rather 1 Ravener for every 2 Genestealers. What about Rippers? They can be a pretty good tarpit choice for anything w/o S6 but they really put emphasis on synapse with their mindless rule. Other than that they don’t really do anything better than Termaguants and Termaguants are plain better when you add in the Tervigons buffs.

Overall Tervigons/Termaguants are going to be your staple midfield but you’re going to need something with a bit more oomph. Whilst you don’t have to get this from your Troops (i.e. Swarmlord) Warriors and Hormaguants are excellent choices which can still benefit from Tervigon buffs (i.e. Catalyst) whilst providing more choices for your opponent to make. Remember though, buffs are great but don’t focus so much on the buffs you don’t have any presence in midfield.

It seems like I’ve covered most of the book with these 3 general topics, go me. I’ll prob split up the articles into utility and leaders next but may put them together, we shall see.

Warseer: Landraiders

This post is classic Warseer with replies like

Cackle Gleefully, I’ze an Ork And any Marine List with a Deathstar unit in it is easy meat for me.

Blow up the LR and shoot down the Termies

done “

Blow up the LR and Charge the Termies

done “

Then when someone mentions screens gets insulted. Sigh. Okay first off Orks don’t like LRs and anyone charging Termies into Ork Boyz head on isn’t doing it right. Second, comments like “shoot it dead” are useless.

Land Raiders and Termies (TH/SS) are one of the best combos out there. There should be at least two of these which makes it twice as hard to “kill it.” as Warseer so simply claims (note: I didn’t read much past the first page so there might be some gems I missed). The easiest tactic is to ignore them and delay them. Use fast speeders or other tanks to block the Raider movement whilst you deal with the rest of the army. Having 900 points sunk into 4 units means the rest of the army isn’t as expansive as a normal mech army. This isn’t to say it’s weak but it can be dealt with a little more easily. If you can’t slow down the Raiders you have to sac units. Ya they can tank shock but if you’ve layered your units in a bubble-wrap that Raider is going to get wrapped up unless they are double shocking. Double shocking to get to one unit? Okay.

The short and simple of it is delay as much as possible and don’t waste shots on it unless you can get melta within 2D6 or something like a lance weapon. You’ve got a much better chance of damaging something else with the S9/10 weapons you’d be using. If you can’t delay them you have to sacrifice units and damage his army more than he is damaging you (this is the common tactic for Orks who can’t deal with AV14 or Tyranids w/o Zoans, Necrons, etc). Whilst many people site this as a problem for Tyranids, as has been mentioned in previous articles Tyranids have enough ability to deal with the rest of the mech (unlike say Orks) and scare what comes out of the Land Raider to a certain degree.

LR and termies are an excellent choice but without taking a second group they are easily isolated and ignored. When your opponent takes two of these his tactics are constrained slightly around them and you need to take full advantage of that. They will bring the hurt, they will kill what they assault most of the time but you have to control what and when they assault as much as possible. If a Termie/LR list gains the momentum, their toughness makes it hard to turn it back to your favor.

Armies in 5th: Tyranids Part 2: In your face!

Lot of posts today, that’s what happens when one is supposed to be working… So continuing with the Tyranid articles here. We’ve covered Tyranid anti-tank and what it’s main purpose is but let’s now look at the “in your face” style Tyranids can bring to bear.

Tyranids are viable as a foot/MC/DS/whateverisnotmech army because they are generally pretty quick or have the right shooting to slow you up. Things like Onslaught, spores, Raveners, Winged units outside of Fast Attack, Lictors, Harpies, Trygons, Hormaguants, Gargoyles, etc. are all good choices which can get in an opponent’s face quickly, particularly combined with a Hive Tryant with Hive Commander. Spores in particular allow you to move some of the slower units across the table faster (i.e. Carnifexes and warriors).

Why does this allow Tyranids to combat mech? Providing your shooting hasn’t been sacrificed, Tyranids can quickly minimise movement opportunities for opposing players by damaging their mech and getting units into combat quickly. This is why against non-mech opponents Tyranids have a large advantage. They don’t need to wait for your mech to pop, they simply eat you. Being eaten is bad. So let’s look at the speed factor before we go onto Spores/deep striking.

Raveners are beasts. In case you didn’t get the memo, beasts are awesome, particularly when they have rending, high I/WS and a good amount of attacks (i.e. Thunderwolves and Fiends). Minor setback for Raveners is poor save (5+) and T4 (though this is augmented by W3 but no eternal warrior). At 35 pts (take rending claws…) they are pretty good but need to cover hug and with move through cover…why not. Synapse can be problem without sporing Warriors or Winged Tyrants but with Feed they should be okay anyways. Hormaguants are sort of the mini-ravener. Not quite as fast but not quite as slow as normal infantry. Move through cover and Bounding Leap can allow them to quickly support Raveners who get into combat whilst the rest of the army trundles up. Remember, tying your enemy down whilst Tyranid shooting damages Mech is a good way to limit your opponent’s movement and Hormaguants can add to the disruptive factor Raveners bring to the table.

Other fast units like Gargoyles, Shrikes and Sky-Slashers aren’t to my liking. Gargoyles are going to have a hard time gaining cover and what Shrikes/Sky-Slashers do are generally done better by Raveners or Hormaguants. The Harpy as mentioned previously, is a pretty good mobile gun platform which is able to get into the side arcs of tanks and drop a decently reliable blast on them but with weak WS/SV/A is not the best for getting in your opponent’s face despite the MC status.

So what about deep striking units like Lictors or Trygons? Lictors can be okay for any sort of list that leaves backline units vulnerable so not really a fan. The Deathleaper however adds great utility to the Tyranid force and a lot more reliable anti-psy. The addition of allowing future spores to home in is an added benefit. Whilst the Deathleaper is more potent in combat, think of him as a utility rather than a combat unit. Trygons (and remember lists based around reserves should have two Hive Commander Tyrants) get a tough close combat monster capable of dealing with anything in your face quickly. The anti-mishap button they come with and excellent statline is a sure way to freak your enemy out. Try taking down 18 T6 wounds in one turn, even Tau are going to struggle. The tunnel they provide is so-so, any units which are delayed can come through them but building an army around it isn’t a stellar move as your army starts to slow down and trickle in as well as relying on the Trygon to enter first. The Mawloc here is sub-par to the Trygon. Mawlocs can wreck havoc on infantry lines and be mildly disruptive to mech lines, but their poor statline in comparison to the Trygon makes it a sub-par choice. I’d rather something that could dish out a beating than a super expensive yo-yo.

So finally, spores. Spores allow units like Warriors, Carnifexes and Zoanthropes to get in your face early. Like Drop Pods they aren’t going to mishap (unless you stupidly place them on top of something) but unlike Drop Pods or Daemons aren’t screwed over by a first turn “wave.” This is very important as it doesn’t make you predictable. Carnifexes in this role become a direct trade-off between Trygons. Trygons have a better average statline but the Carnifex is mildly cheaper, can take some decently reliable shooting with TL-Devs and has S10 on the charge which can be really important against AV14 and T5 armies. Zoanthropes can fulfil a similar role in being heavy hitters against armor or being able to drop down good AP blasts. The spore is able to mitigate their short range but don’t expect them to last long if there is any mech left standing after they arrive.

So whilst you’ve got your fast units and DS/spore units, you’re still missing a core. Termaguants and Warriors are your best bet here. Warriors are difficult to take down with small arms fire and if you’ve placed a lot of MCs in your opponent’s face combined with Raveners, adding in more T4 W3 critters is going to give them fits. Termaguants are a lot better with Tervigons around and unfortunately, Tervigons can’t take spores. However, with the Hive Commander upgrade they can Outflank if they are Troops but this can often be problematic when an opponent refuse flanks you. Remember also that Tervigons can cast Onslaught which can be extremely useful when keeping shooting units up with the faster assault elements such as Hive Guard or Tyrannofexes.

With so many options and “combinations” to get into your opponent’s face quickly you will have to pick and choose, you can’t take everything. 3xRaveners, 3xTrygons, 2x Zoans, DL, 3x Warriors, 2x HT could easily net you well over 2k points and you’ve gone completely in your face with little suppressing fire. I think the best combination you’ll find is a mix between suppressing fire and in your face capabilities.

Email in: more Orks (2k)

Wrote up an Ork list with the ideas you mentioned.

this list is better [Kirby edit: this is from 2nd email]

1 Wazdakka Gutsmek @ 180 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 60 & 96); Power Klaw;
Slugga; Dakkacannon; Kustom Mega-Blasta; Stikkbombs; Exhaust Cloud;
Furious Charge; Mob Rule; Bosspole; Mek’s Tools; Warbike of the

1 Warboss @ 125 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 32 & 97); Power Klaw; Slugga;
Twin-linked Dakkagun; Stikkbombs; Furious Charge; Mob Rule; Waaagh!;

15 Lootas @ 225 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 43 & 100); Deffguns; Furious Charge;
Mob Rule; Waaagh!)

15 Lootas @ 225 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 43 & 100); Deffguns; Furious Charge;
Mob Rule; Waaagh!)

10 Gretchin @ 40 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 50 & 100); Grot Blasta; It’s a Grot’s Life)
1 Runtherd ((C:Orks, pp. 50 & 100); Grabba Stikk x1; Slugga;
Furious Charge; Squig Hound)

10 Gretchin @ 40 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 50 & 100); Grot Blasta; It’s a Grot’s Life)
1 Runtherd ((C:Orks, pp. 50 & 100); Grabba Stikk x1; Slugga;
Furious Charge; Squig Hound)

10 Gretchin @ 40 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 50 & 100); Grot Blasta; It’s a Grot’s Life)
1 Runtherd ((C:Orks, pp. 50 & 100); Grabba Stikk x1; Slugga;
Furious Charge; Squig Hound)

4 Warbikers @ 100 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 46 & 101); Choppa; Slugga;
Twin-linked Dakkagun; Exhaust Cloud; Furious Charge; Mob Rule;

4 Warbikers @ 100 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 46 & 101); Choppa; Slugga;
Twin-linked Dakkagun; Exhaust Cloud; Furious Charge; Mob Rule;

1 Battlewagon @ 140 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 55 & 102); Big Shoota x1; ‘Ard
Case; Armour Plates; Deff Rolla)

1 Battlewagon @ 140 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 55 & 102); Big Shoota x1; ‘Ard
Case; Armour Plates; Deff Rolla)

1 Battlewagon @ 140 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 55 & 102); Big Shoota x1; ‘Ard
Case; Armour Plates; Deff Rolla)

5 Nobz @ 400 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 34 & 98); Count as Troop Troops; Big
Choppa x2; Choppa x1; Power Klaw x2; Slugga x2; Shoota/Skorcha
Kombi-weapon x3; Twin-linked Dakkagun; Feel No Pain; Furious Charge;
Mob Rule; Waaagh!; Bosspole x1; Waaagh! Banner x1; Warbike)
1 Painboy ((C:Orks, pp. 40 & 100); ‘Urty Syringe; Twin-linked
Dakkagun; Furious Charge; Mob Rule; Waaagh!; Dok’s Tools; Grot
Orderly; Warbike)

1 Warbuggies @ 35 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 49 & 101))
1 Warbuggy ((C:Orks, pp. 49 & 101); Twin Linked Rokkit Launcha)

1 Warbuggies @ 35 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 49 & 101))
1 Warbuggy ((C:Orks, pp. 49 & 101); Twin Linked Rokkit Launcha)

1 Warbuggies @ 35 pts ((C:Orks, pp. 49 & 101))
1 Warbuggy ((C:Orks, pp. 49 & 101); Twin Linked Rokkit Launcha)

Validation Report:
c-1. File Version: 1.06a For Bug Reports/; b-1. Roster
Options: Special Characters; a-1. Scenario: Normal Mission
Roster satisfies all enforced validation rules

Total Roster Cost: 2000

Thoughts? Not sure if the Buggies or 7 more lootas would be better.


Well GWvsJohn sent me this a while ago but I wasn’t yet done with the Orky articles so I’ve posted it now. He sent two lists but said this was better so will look at it.

It’s certainly taken the principles which I expounded to make a good list and rather than use Kanz and BM like I did, he has opted for more BWs and a Nob Biker group. I think it’s a fairly decent list considering the points dropped into the Nob Bikers. I think one less guy and it could still work. It’s not that scary as it needs wiping out and with the ability to put Wazdakka and a Warboss in the other Warbiker squads, you’ve got 3 capable combat groups coming at you. The only change I’d make to the list is make the 2×15 lootas 3×10. Whilst this makes them vulnerable to morale, you need the extra ability to damage multiple armor options.

It has more scoring options than my list posted in the summary but has less of a midfield presence without the Kanz and KFF. This may leave the Battlewagons hung out to dry if the initial assault falls to pieces but it’s pretty decent by Ork standards.

He posted this on Warseer and big walls of text there on why Trukks and Boyz are good. The internet like their boxes it seems and Ork armies like this are certainly outside of the norm.

Anyone else have any thoughts or comments?

Blog changes: pictures

Thoughts on the new pictures? Certainly breaks up the posts a bit more and I have found some pretty models! Do you prefer the indented style with the Vindicator or heading style of the Kanz/Dragons/etc? Too big? Feedback please!

Armies in 5th: Orks Part 5: Summary

Well we’ve arrived at the end of the Ork articles quickly in terms of content (if not time) and you’ll find this becomes a recurrent theme. The newer books and more competitive ones will have more to cover (particularly the newer books) as there are more variables I need to cover. Again remember I’m doing the first armies from the perspective of the under/over-rated armies in 5th edition currently. Digressing…

So we’ve looked at Orks as a whole and made some against the internet grain conclusions (i.e. Trukks are bad, Wazdakka is good, Orks are bad, etc.) based on sound principles and logic. Dispute of these leads to death :)! Now not all is lost for the Ork army, whilst you’re certainly never going to compete in the ‘top tiers’ of army lists in the hands of a compete general some of the better lists put out have the ability to win games regularly. Remember no one likes lots of S7 coming their way and you do have that normal bell curve on your side (see: Crisis suits and number of shots). But what about those units I didn’t really cover? Let’s take a look now.

Nob Bikers. We covered these briefly as a potential mini-close combat unit but otherwise said they were bad but didn’t really go into why. Unlike a Seer Council or Command Bike Squad, Nob Bikers will not make a balanced list. Both Councils and Commands are built in 24″ armies, don’t take up so many points the rest of the army doesn’t get a decent chunk and has a list around it that in isolation is very effective. Nob Bikers do not have any of this and this makes them easy to predict and sacrifice units to. Add in the firepower or certain psychic powers armies like IG, SM, SW, BA and Tyranids have and well, they just aren’t effective.

We said Lootas are hands-down the best Elite and unfortunately there are some semi-decent units in there we could of used elsewhere such as Nobz or Meganobz (hint for next codex GW make these Troop choices with an SC!). Both of the Nobz options are very feasible choices and if you wanted to drop a Loota squad for more Buggies and grab some more of these guys that’s certainly an option but remember you need to shore up your anti-tank as much as possible. The other options, Kommandos, Burna Boyz and Tankbustas are all crap “aspect warriors.” They each try to bring to bear a large amount of specialisation rarely seen out of Eldar (i.e. mass meltaguns or in this case Rokkits) but with crappy BS and reliance on numbers it doesn’t really work for Orks. You want cheap Ork Boyz, not expensive ones.

Other than that we just have the Stormboyz which I haven’t covered. Again the Deffkoptas and Buggies are your best options here for early alpha striking or TL-rokkits (Warbikers are useful as troops). Stormboyz are again basic Boyz but have that extra ability (able to move 12″). This ability however will leave them out to dry where they are going to get shot. Move into terrain and you’re going to lose 1/6 of your squad. At 12pts a model? Again not useful and they eat into your anti-tank.

So you should now be able to make an Ork list which is capable of not getting hammered every game where you are maximising your chances of popping mech. Whilst in comparison to lists on the internet you have much less anti-infantry power and close combat ability, these are useless if you can’t destroy mech. With the outlines I’ve given in my articles there are quite a few variations on what you can take which revolve around the same concept (you can’t get everything “good” in) compared to the Tau codex which after 1000 pts becomes a repeating of units (though these units are miles better than what the Ork codex has to offer currently).

With all that being said the Orks are still a sub-par army that isn’t really capable of dealing with mech. By only having 3 “reliable” anti-tank units (the Lootas) and not being able to put out the accurate firepower that can slow enemy mech (like Tyranids) they will often be on the backfoot contrary to what the internet thinks (if you do think Orks are good, speak up. You’ve been rather quiet since Trukks). I’ll drop a sample list below (which I just changed because I can’t follow codex rules properly :P).

HQ –

Warboss w/Power Klaw, Bike

Elites –
Lootas x11

Lootas x11

Lootas x11

Troops –
3x Nobz w/combi-skorchas
Battlewagon w/’ard case, Deffrolla, 2 big shootas

10x Gretchin

5x Warbikes

5x Warbikes

Fast Attack –
2x Buggies w/TL-Rokkits

2x Buggies w/TL-Rokkits

3x Deffkoptas w/TL-Rokkits, 1 w/Buzzsaw

Heavy Support –
3x Kanz w/Grotzookas

3x Kanz w/Grotzookas

Battlewagon w/’ard case, Deffrolla, 2 big shootas

Total: 2000 pts
12 vehicles
61 infantry (15 bikes)

So not at all a convetional list. I’ve gone here for a Kanz wall behind the BWs. The Buggies/Deffkoptas are your mobile light anti-armor and the Deffkoptas can get a 1st turn alpha strike in on some heavier armor if needed with the buzzsaw + scout. Lootas are pretty standard with their shooting otherwise Battlewagons advance with Bikers & KFF to push into midfield. Now remember your Fast Attack is there to land some hits, they are never going to reliably pop tanks so we want them to be limiting your opponent’s mobility and shooting whilst your Lootas pop transports. This allows the Kanz and Deff Rollas to get into position where you will have a strong midefield presence. Wazdakka can play tag with the Warbikes & Koptas as needed or munch on weak backline units. Your scoring is a bit weak but you’ve got 2 AV14/12/10 proper tanks holding units which won’t do much until late game. If your opponents shoot at them early, yay. Make sure to angle them to get as much AV14 as possible.

Again, not the most competitive of lists and there are certainly other variables that can fit into such a list but you at least have a fair chance now against mech’d armies.

Edit: Because I fail I messed up the list and have just given it a band-aid fix really. GWvsJohn’s list here is probably a better example but using a Nob Bikers unit. I’ll try and make it a more reasonable list ASAP which is more efficient. Thank you GWvsJohn and MagicJuggler for pointing out my mistake.

Armies in 5th: Orks Part 4: Heavy Support

Well I’m back here with some Ork articles. Now to build a solid all-round list we’ve pretty much used up all of our Elite/FA/HQ slots and Troops have been used to bolster the army’s midfield presence whilst not grabbing attention too much. We’ve also discussed adding in some Battlewagons w/Deff Rollas for some extra anti-mech as nothing likes S10 but let’s look at what else we can add into the HS slots. We’ve got 2 slots to use if we have 2 BWs (one being dedicated from Nobs).

Looted Wagons are out. With a boomgun they are a huge target which pretty much auto scatters, can sometimes not work right and has a low AV value + open-topped (though it can get a ‘ard case). Not really what we want in our heavy support. Add in the fact the transport capacity gets removed when you add the Boomgun and it’s a sub-par transport compared to the BW… How about Dreadnoughts? A decent combo if you’ve taken some Big Mek HQs as you can get 3-4 of these guys running about. With good AV and decently cheap it’s not that bad of a choice but it’s slow in comparison to the rest of the army and doesn’t really have that great shooting (2 weapons @ BS2) though it should generally be running anyways. It’s a pretty solid choice but what about their smaller brethern the Kans?

40pts cheaper for 1 less AV and less A in combat but the ability to take up to 3 per slot and a blast weapon with a decent BS but again we are probably going to want to run these up to support the rest of the army. So seeing as we can take two for every one of the Dreads, the kans are probably a better option. You get two vehicles, the same amount of guns (if they are used), the same base A (and more on the charge) but one less front and side AV. Pretty good deal. Also remember they have squadron rules so can always move but will die on an immob result.

So Kans seem to be apretty good option here. They are adding some good cc punch with some semi-decent anti-infantry firepower if they don’t run but what about Gunz or Flash Gitz? Flash Gitz are expensive and inaccurate with only 1 shot unlike say Lootas who have 1-3 shots. The problem is you also don’t know what type of shooting you are getting each turn. AP6 or AP1 can make a huge difference but is really unreliable if you are hoping for the low AP. The Dakka and Shootier upgrades are pretty nice for these guys as it gives them more duality and more shots to mitigte their low BS but this makes them 35pts a piece. For the base cost of a Kan? and when you’ve already got Lootas? Not worth it.

So the final option outside of Kans and BWs is Big Gunz. They have 3 options, Kannon, Lobba and Zzap Gun. The Zzap Gun is unreliable like the Flash Gitz and are obviously primarly aimed at anti-mech but with their variable strength…no go. Lobbas don’t use BS as much being a blast weapon but only have 1 S more than the Kannon which can like a standard missile launcher has some decent duality. So the kannon has a blast option and straight shot exactly like the missile launcher at range 36″. With one of the better BS’s for Orks these seem viable. Personally I’m not a fan and prefer Kans or more BWs but the ability to throw out some more S8 on T1 and then drop blasts on infantry is pretty decent. Another problem is they are an artillery unit and thus quite fragile with any dedicated long range unit able to knock them out early or even a bolter drive-by being decently effective.

Overall your best bet is more Mech through BWs or Kans. If you have a Big Mek and have taken Dreads in Troops slots they can be picked over the Kans. This adds armor saturation to the Ork army and can provide more punch in CC which most of the best units inthe Ork codex don’t really do ‘that’ well.

So next up I’ll cover any other units I haven’t really covered and why, summarise what I’ve been saying and how the codex fits into 5th edition and give a sample army list. If you’d like anything else covered let me know.

BoLS and Eldar

Well for their follow-up post to Eldar in 5th edition it could of been worse and I’m quite impressed with a few nuggets of “gold” such as:

With a mech list you are paying for speed, fire power and defense against small arms fire. To get this you typically have to give up numbers. What this means is that what you do take must perform its function in your list well, or you will not win games. This list’s overall strategy is speed, overwhelming force applied where needed, and the ability to always alpha strike your enemy and react to him after he has committed to his game plan.

That’s pretty good general advice and particulary applies to Eldar due to their 24″ movement speed. So kudos to Bigred there. Now I don’t want to rage all over BoLS again (I’m getting too old for that) but if you can find Smurfy’s comment he rages pretty well :P. I’m going to pick out what irks me the most and show why it’s wrong. If you have any other questions about this post just let me know and I’ll explain (or if you want to know what other nuggets of “gold” there are in there…). So let’s see what Bigred says about Eldar Elites…

The next section to fill this list out is Elites, where Eldar are spoiled for choice.

No they are not. They have let’s see…Fire Dragons and Harlequins and in most games you want to be using triple Fire Dragons. Why do Banshsees/Scorpions not work? Their reliance on a transport. If you were making an assault based army, that’s fine (see Blood Angels, Space Wolves, etc.) as you don’t have a max of 3 “assault units”. As it is, getting into assault range with these two units is difficult. Zoom forward and get surrounded and if you are destroyed, byebyesquad or leave yourself some room and watch your opponent run away (because they are generally mech’d up, too). This means at some point against competent players you have to get out on foot a turn before you can launch an assault and then they are dead. Harelquins can at least move quickly w/MTC, fleet and an invul save + their Veil of Tears. Furthermore, what do Banshees and Scorpions scare in combat? Orks for Scorpions (or anything with I4 or less and high saves) and that’s about it. Banshees need Doom to work. Sorry, but I’d rather Doom something I can shoot to death because if the Banshees don’t wipe their opponent, they’ll suffer a lot of deaths with T3/4+. Oh and if they do wipe their opponent they suffer a horrible death to shooting (again here Harlequins at least have an invul, Veil of Tears and Hit & Run). So really Banshees need a Farseer to run properly with Doom/Fortune and relying on another unit for one unit to work is not a good idea. Scorpions are a glorified and slower Assault Marine squad (who aren’t great at combat) but they have the added disadvantage of needing a transport. And then taking either of these (or Harlequins) makes you lose out on Fire Dragons. Hands up if your army wants a squad which costs 16pts a model with a BS4 meltagun and meltabombs. Every army raises their hands. It’s simply that good.

For this list I think a solid mix of units is the best choice as in a tournament or league setting where you may not know who your opponent will be, you need to be prepared for any list. Therefore, taking one full unit of Fire Dragons with an Exarch with Firepike and Crack Shot, a full unit of Banshees with an Exarch with an Executioner and Acrobatic, and a full squad of Striking Scorpions with an Exarch with a Claw and Shadow Strike, all of them in Wave Serpents with Spirit Stones with Shuriken Cannons, gives you a wide range of very fast units able to engage a number of different opponents. I know many number crunchers will make the argument that 6 Fire Dragons is the optimal amount to destroy any vehicle (baring a monolith), and that no more than 8 of an assault unit are needed as it makes the squad points inefficient, but in practice with a list with this few bodies, you need to get more than one assault out of the combat specialists and those fire dragons need to destroy more than one tank to make the list function. More bodies mean more endurance on the board. Also, since in 5th the ability to outflank is transferred to the unit’s dedicated transport, the Striking Scorpions are able to come on from a flank if needed which can really disrupt an opponent’s plans.

So, tournament settings. Fire Dragons again. Everyone has some form of tank/MC or high T/low save unit out there. If not ya DBF is pretty damn good. Why are we taking other squads again? Where does our redundency come in? If you do versus a mech player they are going to target your Dragons and when they are gone what is your fall-back for anti-tank? In a list w/3x Dragons in Serpents that’s 300% better anti-tank. That’s 300% more anti-tank targets your opponent has to shoot at. And if you’ve spread your other AT across your other units (i.e. BLs on Troop Serpents, etc.) there are more anti-tank units to deal with. The pattern? Overwhelm your opponent with targets. Taking one squad when it’s very feasible to take two or three is asking your opponent to exploit your weakneses. And they will.

Don’t need Spirit Stones all the time as well. On Dragons I like them because it helps you get over on T2 more reliably but again, 3 targets + whatever else you have. They are not necessary but too many Eldar players think the game is “hope I don’t die and then tankshock end-game”. That’s a bad battle plan. The ability to tankshock end game is excellent but is not a battleplan. Also, tell your opponent to neutralise all your Mech by T6 when you’ve got 9+ AV12 fast skimmers out there. 90 extra points = another Vyper.

Btw Striking Scoprions flanking =/= win. It leaves them isolated and alone 33% of the time.

P.S. that picture is from here. Some really nice paintjobs and kudos to Redbeard.