Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The 4 Things Every 40K Army Needs To Have

by SandWyrm



Sometimes, you look at the army the other guy is putting on the table, and you just go "What the...?" That happened to my twice this week. So I thought I'd go over some of the things that every army needs to have in order to be effective. (more...)

Turnout was a bit light at BMG for the escalation league, but we still had 6 people show up. The league mission was Capture and Control with a Dawn of War deployment. Here's the list I took, which is identical to the one I took last week.

    HQ
70    Primaris Psyker
   
    Elites
65    Marbo

    Troops
155    Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
155    Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
155    Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera

    Fast Attack
120    3 Scout Sentinels w/Autocannons
130    Hellhound
   
    Heavy Support
150    Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Hull Heavy Flamer

Total: 1000 pts. 

The First Whaaat...?

I got to the store at 6:00, hoping to get started early. But while there was a table open, there was nobody left for me to fight. So I decided to help with the rules for the two games that were already going on while I ate my Chinese take-out. At some point a new kid I'd never seen before walked in and started making an army list using Kriegle's newly painted Nurgle marines. I'd find out later this was his 5th game of 40K. I'll call him Tall-E.

Once Tall-E's list was ready, I unpacked and we rolled off. I won first turn and set up a single Chimera in the middle of the table to force him to deploy further back. The rest of my force would roll on, with Marbo in reserve. Fairly straightforward.

It was when I saw Tall-E's army being deployed that I groaned. I really should have helped him with the list composition. He had:

1 Daemon Prince
2 Units of Plague Marines in Rhinos. One model had a melta.
2 Obliterators

And that's it.

I slaughtered him of course. The Oblits took out a couple of Chimeras, while the Daemon Prince shook a Hellhound. And hey, he killed Marbo. But that's it. Plague Smurfs are fine troops, but given enough shots I will kill them. What Tall-E really needed was more numbers and some better anti-tank ability.


And the Second...

After that game was over BlueMoon wanted to get in some tourney practice, so we pulled out our 1750 lists. Here was mine:

    HQ
175    Company Command Squad w/4 x Melta, Astropath, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
   
    Troops
155    Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
155    Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
170    Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
115    Veteran Squad w/Shotguns, 3 x Flamer, Demolitions
115    Veteran Squad w/Shotguns, 3 x Flamer, Demolitions

    Fast Attack
130    Vendetta Gunship (Demo Vet Ride)
130    Vendetta Gunship (Demo Vet Ride)
120    3 Scout Sentinels w/Autocannons
   
    Heavy Support
165    Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Heavy Flamer
160    Leman Russ Eradicator w/Hull Heavy Flamer
160    Leman Russ Eradicator w/Hull Heavy Flamer

Total: 1750 pts.

Now, BlueMoon has some pretty good armies already. He took his Eldar Mech list to the 'Ard Boyz Semis, where he made the second table for the last game. He's also been running a cool new Ork force lately that I have a lot of respect for. This time though, he wanted to play me with his new Marines in an Annihilation mission.

I rolled up another Dawn of War deployment and lost the roll for first turn. So I cooled my heels and waited to see what he put down.

I saw Termies... walking.

Huh?

He was running a foot list with 2 Librarians attached to a 6-man TH/SS Termie squad, 2 Ironclad Dreds in drop pods. Two tactical squads without rides, and one in a pod. Plus 2 Speeders with MM/HF.

His basic idea with this force is to teleport the Termies around with one of the Librarians, while the Speeders, Dreds, and 1 Tac Squad drop onto the enemy. The other two tac squads get to stand around and shoot missiles.

Now, if there's three things that I LOOOOVE to fight as guard, it's:

1) Foot-Sloggers
2) Termies
3) Deep-Strikers

Foot-Sloggers won't make it across the field alive, while Termies are easily killed with concentrated firepower (Given enough wounds, he will roll 1's). And Deep-Strikers? They're basically jumping into my most lethal kill range.

So this was, in many ways, my dream opponent.

He left the 2 tac squads spread out in a long line in the middle of the table to force me back, deployed the Termies on his table edge, and deep striked everything else. I decided to not deploy and just roll everything onto the board on my first turn. He then drop-podded his two dreds about 9" from my table edge.

I deny-flank and roll on in a castle formation on the left side of the board right in front of his pods and open fire.  One Dred and a Drop pod go down immediately to Chimelta/Vendetta fire while I whittle down the mid-field tac squad in front of me with the Russes.

BlueMoon then teleports his termies up near my line. One dies to a failed Vortex roll (Yay failed psyker tests!), while I kill 5 more with a flamer/demo charge assault from one of my Vendettas. It went downhill for Blue Moon from there.

Final score was 11-7.


And now to my point...

Both of these armies were missing some key elements that every army needs to have in order to handle all the threats it will face. These key elements are:

1) Long-range Light Anti-Tank

I don't care if you're Grey Knights or Nids. Every army needs a way to kill light armor (AV10/11/12) while it's still on the other side of the table. This forces some or all of your opponent's army to walk piecemeal into your guns, instead of swamping you all at once.

In a guard army, this is handled by autocannons and lascannons. With multi-lasers as backup for dealing with Trukks.

At 1500 pts, you need to be able to reliably kill at least 2-3 Rhinos on the first turn, and double that for Ork Trukks. If you can handle that you'll also have the weapons you'll need for taking down Daemon Princes and Tyrannid Monsters.

The only long-range AT that BlueMoon had was a couple of missile launchers on his tac squads and the multi-meltas on his speeders. That's 2 dead tanks on the first turn and one every other turn after I kill the speeders.

In my 1000 pt. force (listed above), the long-range AT is handled by the Sentinels and the Russ. Which will give me 1-2 dead Rhinos on the first turn. My 1750 point tourney force has the ability to take down 5-6 transports (including Land Raiders) on a favorable turn 1. I'll let you guess how. :)


2) Close-Range Heavy Anti-Tank

This might be meltas, or it might be the Power Klaws in an Ork mob. Either way, you need some way of popping any armor, Monsterous creature, or annoying hero that you meet in mid-field. Got a Russ or Land Raider to kill? Lascannons aren't reliable for this. Melta is.

This was Tall-E's major failing, as he had just one lone melta gun to threaten 8 armored vehicles with up close. That's not even good enough to take out a single tank reliably.

In both my forces, this is handled by the Chimeltas. 


3) Close-Range Anti-Troop

How do you plan to kill a 20-30 boy Ork Mob that you meet in mid-field? How are you going to kill at least that many Termagaunts or Guard foot troops? What if they're in cover?

Flamers work wonders here. So do assault units and massed bolter fire.

BlueMoon had a TH/SS Termie unit for this. But that's still just one unit that can be overwhelmed.

Tall-E had his Daemon Prince, which is also vulnerable to being swamped or simply shot to death.

In my armies this is also handled by my Chimeltas. Helped in my 1K list by the Primaris Psyker and the Hellhound. The 1750 list has Chimeltas plus a Demolisher and 2 Eradicators. In addition, I can use the Sentinels in either list to tarpit problematic assault units for 2-3 turns.


4) Manueverability

More than any previous edition of 40K, 5th has become a game where the ability to move is critical. Whether it's seizing an objective, or just moving a tank to get/deny cover, effective movement will win you the game. While poor movement on your part will lose it.

This is why every unit in my army is mobile. Nothing stands still. This gives me the ability to adapt more quickly to a changing situation than most of my opponents. I can chose to get up in my enemy's face, or I can chose to avoid him if need be. But what I won't do is hand him the initiative by standing still.

So bring on the Rhinos, Trukks, Chimeras, Speeders, and Vendettas! Get across that field and into my face with Power Klaws and melta weapons. That's how Farmpunk kills me with his Sisters, and how BlueMoon beats my face in with his Orks.

Real challenges are much more fun. :)

12 comments:

  1. While I fully agree with this, it seems not every army has the best options (cough; Tyranids). We are now like eldar, without vehicles. Firedragons are useless if you can't get them to the enemy. We finally have a melta like gun, and what do they do, ruin our only semi-long-range anti-tank gun.

    And then don't get me started on mobility. I feel Nids have become as mobile as a daemon army, and it seems that is what we have become.

    I digress, you are correct on very important army building analysis.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good article. I think you covered most salient points. I would contend that an army doesn't specifically need both ranged and CC anti-tank so much as they need anti-tank with the capability to be applied early and against any opponent. Knocking out Transports at range and heavies up close is certainly the common way of doing things, but not required to be the only.

    I also think it might be good to include the concept of durability and/or redundancy.

    Still, good enough that I linked back here with my post from today. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Spam defined by YTTH = 3 that are the same.
    I don't think you should spam for the escalation games. You do have to put forth your best army for tournies, but you could also try and take some different units and see what kind of synergy you can find.
    "It's not the cheese, it's the spam."

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not sure how I can be accused of spamming when the Chimeltas only comprise 3 of the 8 FOC choices I took.

    Here's what I would call spamming:

    HQ
    70 Primaris Psyker

    Troops
    155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
    155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
    155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
    155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
    155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
    155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera

    Total: 1000 pts.

    Am I spamming Heavy Flamers? Sure. Am I spamming Chimeltas? No. Because that would result in a list without many of the things I've talked about in this article. It would smash newbs but get itself rolled by experienced players like Farmpunk.

    As it is, I'm disappointed that I couldn't swing the points for Plasmas on one of the Vet Squads. As they would have performed better than the meltas for defending my home objective.

    And... For what it's worth, my army was not being called cheesy at the shop. They were much more critical of the dual Soul Grinders Kriegle was running or the Valk and 2 Vendettas my teamate was using.

    The Vendetta/Valk list, BTW got itself tabled both last week and this week. Though none of us is quite sure why. Probably the player didn't have the tactical acumen to make it work.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This BTW, is the 1K Chaos Marine List that I would have taken:

    HQ
    135 Daemon Prince w/Wings, Mark of Nurgle

    Troops
    205 10 Chaos Space Marines w/2 x Melta, Rhino
    205 10 Chaos Space Marines w/2 x Melta, Rhino
    170 5 Plague Marines w/2 x Melta, Rhino

    Heavy Support
    155 Chaos Defiler w/Havoc Launcher
    130 Chaos Predator w/Lascannon Sponsons

    The Plague Marines and Predator would sit on the home objective, while the CSMs, Daemon Prince, and Defiler would advance into the enemy.

    This list has everything I've talked about in this article. Long-range AT is handled by the Pred and the Defiler. Close-Range AT and Anti-Hoard is handled by the Daemon Prince, CSMs, and the Defiler. Everything is also very mobile, so you can adapt to what comes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is something I'll be coming back to when I come back to 40k. Right now I've been playing Fantasy with Vampire Counts over at Saltire Games on Sundays. I plan to re-tool and rebuild my Ork army with perhaps a different style when some of the newer models like the new Deff Dred come out.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Ross!

    How many fantasy/40K players are you getting over at Saltire?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very nice article and I agree with most of what you have put up.

    The only major discontentation I have is that, a little of my soul dies when ever I see only 5 PM in a squad. Really it isn't too much more to add two to the squad, you sir just made Papa Nurgle cry.

    In all seriousness even my back field PM squads number seven. If you care not for the suffering of nurglings I would suggest seven as a bare minimum. In my experience PM face a lot of fire and the greater number is often the only thing that keeps me on an objective.

    At 191 pts 7 PM w/2Pg serve as a really good back field objective holding unit. I tend to spend more on mine adding in a fist champ and a rhino w/hl, but at 281 the price might be too step for some.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good article.
    When I built my Deathwing, I went with the models I had or was given so that limited my choices slightly. Of course Deathwing itself is very limiting.
    I try to have something for up close, meduim, and long range fighting. This way, I can maneuver my forces to bring those particular weapons to bear depending on the range my opponent is at.

    I also try and manipulate the ranges to my advantage. If my opponent is no good at close range, I try to get in there and use those weapons. And the opposite is true, if they are no good at long range, I stay there and use mine.

    Playing Deathwing forces you to change the way you fight, not just what you fight with. Even better is forcing your opponent to fight the way you want him to have to.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Chambers

    I don't play Chaos Marines, so I'm sure someone more experienced could tweak the list into something better. But it illustrates my points.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @SandWyrm

    There are about half a dozen or so fantasy players when I go on Sundays that I know of. I haven't actively sought after a 40k game in months and months so I don't know how many of those or if any more than that play 40k.

    Right now I'm in an escalation league, this month has the 1500pt tourney but sadly I only have 500pts painted up. I'm building and painting my VC army bit by bit, I'm trying for 2000pts by the time the 2000pt tourney comes in mid March.

    After that, I'm going to re-think and possibly rebuild my Orks with the models I have and perhaps some new ones(I do plan to build a new model for my Warboss!).

    ReplyDelete
  12. Excellent article, sorry I missed it first time around. I recommend you sticky it, cos I'm going to link it when I do the similar one I've been writing for 2 weeks (very stop-start) lol.

    ReplyDelete

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