Sunday, May 8, 2011

Playing The New 24" Game

by SandWyrm


The new Grey Knights have been out for a little while now, and no doubt everyone is busy figuring out how to modify their existing armies to better cope with them. It's the same with my IG. I've done OK so far, but some things definitely need to be tweaked.

One of the benefits of playing a competitively balanced list is that usually, the changes I have to make from release to release are fairly small. When Space Wolves came out, I didn't modify anything. The new Nids forced me to take lascannons (In the form of Vendettas) to deal with their swarms of T6 monsters with 3+ saves. While Blood Angels made blocking troops mandatory. With the Grey Knights, I'm finding that I need to step up my mid-range game.

To understand this, let's look at my planned 2K NOVA list from before Adepticon:

    HQ
180    CCS w/3 x Melta, Company Standard, Astropath, Chimera
   
    Elites
160    5 Stormtroopers w/2 x Melta, Chimera
160    5 Stormtroopers w/2 x Melta, Chimera
   
    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
170    Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Chimera
145    Veteran Squad w/3 x Flamer, Demolitions, Grenadiers
145    Veteran Squad w/3 x Flamer, Demolitions, Grenadiers
   
    Fast Attack
130    Vendetta Gunship
130    Vendetta Gunship
   
    Heavy Support
165    Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Heavy Flamer
150    Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Hull Heavy Flamer

Total: 2000 pts.

This is a list that was designed to fight Marines, Nids, and Orks effectively. It emphasizes movement and tactical flexibility. The Stormtroopers can outflank or scout forward into choke points, slowing the enemy and preserving my troops. While the Flamer/Demo Vets are there to provide a compact, mobile bubble wrap that can protect my tanks from assaults and put the hurt on assault troops before they get charged. It's apparent lack of long range fire is belied by the fact that I have so many fast ways of putting meltas or meltabombs on you. Either on the first turn as a scouting alpha-strike or later with a devious outflanking.

This is a pretty good list in the hands of an experienced player. It has a lot of potential to surprise people. I've used variations of it at several events, where I always felt like I had the tools I needed to win, even if I often felt like I needed more practice to handle all the possibilities and combinations.

But now I'm re-thinking the list as a result of my experiences at Adepticon. The lists that won there were pretty straightforward; boring even. But also extremely reliable. They have to be reliable in a win/loss tourney that's 8 games long. So consistency and reliability are getting more important in comparison to neat tactical tricks.

In addition, I finally faced a Manticore in combat when I fought JWolf. Having never faced them before, I'd feared Manticores/Leafblowers so much that I'd designed an entire list around being able to outflank such a build in force and take out the heavy guns from the side if need be.

But... The reality was not so fearsome. Even though JWolf rolled the maximum of 3 shots per turn all game long, it didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would. In fact, a checkerboard deployment pattern was sufficient to largely limit the damage. So I'm less afraid now of taking a more straightforward build.


And Then There's The Grey Knights

They're a mean book in certain ways for a Mechanized IG army like mine. My best range for killing is 1-12" with my meltas and flamers. So my limited long-range fire is mostly used to get you to close with me.

However, GKs are ready-made to drop outside of my melta range and de-mech me before moving in for the kill in assault. So as a result, I have to be able to kill them in the same 12-24" range that they'll be going after me in. That means changing up the list a bit. Hopefully without giving up the high level of mobility that I cherish.

How?

In general, I've found that GKs are VERY susceptible to torrent fire. That is, large numbers of high-STR shots that force them to roll lots of saves, which they will eventually fail. This is true of all Marines, but it hurts GKs a lot worse because they have so few bodies on the table. Thus I've found that my Chimera Multi-Lasers are my best friends when fighting them.

So, here's my ideas:

1) Hydras. 

I have a couple of conversions that I first started work on 2 years ago. But during testing I wasn't blown away by them. Sure, they kill things. But you can't move them around and still fire to full effect. So I shelved them in favor of more mobile choices. Like the Vendettas I'm using now.

But... With the release of the StormRaven model, both GKs and Blood Angels have these annoying skimmers running around that I need to knock down early. This, along with the excellent torrent fire these tanks put out (8 twin-linked S7 shots, and 6 S5 shots), makes a squadron of Hydras a no-brainer in the current metagame.

2) The Primaris Psyker

He was my MVP at Adepticon, so I've been putting him in a Chimera with some Grenade Launcher Vets for the average of 10 24" S6 BS4 shots (in addition to the Chimera's multi-laser) on the move. The Primaris has proven very deadly since Adepticon, and if my opponent brings good psyker protection along... well, he's only 70 points. He also comes with a force weapon, which has proven useful on occasion.

3) Grenade Launchers

Historically, I've always preferred meltas or flamers as squad special weapons. With the occasional unit of plasma guns for backfield protection. But my success with the Primaris has changed my thinking quite a bit. I used to take plasma guns in my backfield unit; and these would usually only get to fire once or twice in a game. But a unit with Grenade Launchers can shoot 24" on the move and contribute it's fire to the battle all game long. Whereas a unit with flamers can easily find itself out of position and nowhere near the enemy it needs to close with.

4) Hellhounds

I've toyed with the idea of taking Scout Sentinels with autocannons instead, but I need the utility of a fast tank that can block Land Raiders and auto-hit 5-8 models with a cover-denying S6 AP4 template at 0-32" (including it's move).


The New List

So with all of that in mind, here's the improved 2K list that I'll begin testing this week. It's slightly less deadly close up, but is far more killy at medium range.

    HQ
180    Company Command Squad w/3 x Melta, Reg. Standard, Fleet Officer, Chimera
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
140    Veteran Squad w/3 x Grenade Launcher, Chimera
145    Veteran Squad w/3 x Grenade Launcher, Grenadiers, Demolitions
145    Veteran Squad w/3 x Grenade Launcher, Grenadiers, Demolitions
   
    Fast Attack
130    Vendetta Gunship
130    Vendetta Gunship
130    Hellhound w/Hull Heavy Flamer
   
    Heavy Support
165    Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Heavy Flamer
150    Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Hull Heavy Flamer
150    2 Hydras w/Hull Heavy Bolters

Total: 2000 Points

So at 24", that gives me:
  • 6 S5 shots
  • 31 S6 shots (on average - max of 36)
  • 8 S7 shots (twin-linked)
  • 6 S9 shots (twin-linked)
  • 1 S6 template (5-8 auto-hits on average)
  • 2 Low AP Large Blasts
Call it 17 dead Marines, on average, per turn (regardless of cover) before the Russes go to work. They're usually good for about 8 more wounds.

GKs dropping in the open with 30-35 guys can't take that kind of punishment for long. But that same fire is also fairly effective at popping Rhinos and Razorbacks. StormRavens are tougher to crack, but not impossible to down. While Land Raiders can be blocked pretty easily.

Dark Eldar won't like this build either, as it has 12 units that can down a Raider without much effort.

Thoughts?

10 comments:

  1. Umm..I believe there is another reason you finally took those hydras!!!! umm!!!

    And Let's put your new list against the wolves soon. I like what you did with the grenade launchers but think you should finda way to keep 1 plasma squad.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thunderwolves? Yes, they were a consideration.

    A few tests against your Wolves are definitely in order. I'm betting that firing S6 at 24" all game long will trump Plasmas firing once or twice a game.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am sad I didn't get the opportunity to meet and play you at the K-Town Throwdown...

    One of my MVP units in every game are my Vet Grenadiers Plasmax3 in a Chimera. My opponents are always surprised at the resiliency of the 4+ save. I usually toss my Primaris with these guys and use them as a backfield Objective holder.

    I like the GL's but don't understand why you have them in two units riding in Vendettas...

    The Hellhound is always a good choice, I use a Hull MM and it has been a game-breaker when it was used as a flank march. They have to deal with it otherwise it just rips through one side.

    I hope to go to NOVA...if I don't see you next weekend I will be out in June.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Sandman

    The Grenadiers CAN ride in the Vendettas, but usually don't. I normally deploy them as forward assault protection for my tanks.

    Like so:

    http://theback40k.blogspot.com/2011/01/battle-report-sandwyrm-vs-caulyndarr.html
    http://theback40k.blogspot.com/2010/10/fine-looking-battle.html

    I'll take a hull MM on the Hellhound if I have the points. But it's less an uber tank killer than a good way of making my opponents worry about what it COULD (but usually doesn't) do.

    We may have to meet a NOVA then. I won't be at next week's tourney as it conflicts with Mrs. SandWyrm's birthday. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. "GKs dropping in the open with 30-35 guys can't take that kind of punishment for long"

    Tsk tsk, list tailoring against my drop knights?

    IMHO GK are better at massed Deep Striking than other options. This is primarily due to not needing to land within 6 inches to do their most potent damage. I can drop them at 18-24 inches without loosing any damage potential.

    One thing I've learned since I played your Guard with my GK, is to focus the drop more. I'll focus on a weak flank with all the PAGK, and then drop the DreadKnights opposite to split fire.

    Also remember that you aren't going to get the first shot against a deep striking list like mine. Those low AP template firring units are going to be where I would focus a lot of my firepower on the drop.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Naw, not tailoring. It's still an all-comers list. Just tweaked it a bit to adapt to new trends. :)

    (I know you know the difference, but some folks might not get the sarcasm.)

    But yeah, of the 3 GK styles I've played so far, I think that your drop GKs have the most potential to cause be fits once you've optimized the force and gotten some more practice in with it. If I don't adapt now, you'll walk all over me in a month or two. :)

    Even if I don't get first turn against you, I can cap the ends of a Chimera wall with the Hellhound or the Russes. So that AV12 is the best shot you're going to get until I start moving out.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Sandwyrm - probably a stupid question, but I'll ask anyway. Why do you go with the hull heavy flamers on the Russes? I've always favored the heavy bolters or lascannons. I've not talked to you much and was wanting to know your mindset on it. (Competitive players feel free to roll your eyes at this point)

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Heavy Flamer is my default choice and the only one I'll take on a mid-field Russ like the Demolisher.

    I'll sometimes take a lascannon on my Vanilla Russ if I have the extra points. But it only adds about 7% to it's anti-tank ability at a cost of 10%, so it's a marginal upgrade. Hull mounted weapons also tend to have LOS problems when they're behind a flock of other tanks like always have.

    Heavy Bolters are always a waste IMO. I'll take them on Hydras because they mesh well with the main guns, but that's it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've been trying to convince people the ways of the Grenade Launcher for quite some time! They're invaluable weapons in my list, and super flexible.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well, I've tried the Hydras in 3 games now. All of which had enemy skimmers in them (Eldar, GKs, Tau). And... they're just not amazing me.

    It's the same problem I've had with them before, and the reason that I keep stop-starting the conversions. They shoot (ok but not great) for 2-3 turns and then die to assaults and meltas. Whereas if they were a moving tank, I could just back away from the threat and shoot away to full effect.

    I'm going to switch to taking a 2nd Russ for a while and see how that goes.

    ReplyDelete

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