Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Old vs. New

I'm back!

My single-minded obsession with preparing for the (ultimately disappointing) tourney up in Lafayette last month had riled up Mrs. Wyrm something awful. So to keep the peace I decided to show her I still loved her by giving up 40K for Lent. Yeah, I hear you all laughing. At least I painted my new general (above).

Anyhow, Easter has now come and gone. And I can happily report that Mrs. Wrym is feeling very loved again. So I'm off to the FLGS tonight to get back in the fight! To that end I've made TWO lists for tonight. One which uses the old codex, and one which uses a um... preview copy of the new codex. I tried to make them as similar as possible for the sake of comparisons. And to preserve my current play style as much as possible. There's been lots of talk on the forums about the flashy new units in the codex, but I thought I'd show what an existing army might gain/lose from the update.

3rd Edition Codex List (Standard Tallarn Doctrines)

HQ Platoon (506 pts.)
116 - Command Squad (Colonel Lawrence) HSO w/Medic, Meltagun, Plasma Gun
120 - Anti-Tank Squad w/3 Lascannons, Sharpshooters
130 - Anti-Tank Squad w/3 Lascannons, Sharpshooters, Light Infantry
90 - Fire Support Squad w/ 3 Heavy Bolters, Sharpshooters
50 - Sentinel w/Heavy Flamer, Hardened Fighters

Line Platoon (326 pts.)
71 - Command Squad (Lt. Ned) w/Bolter, Squad Meltagun, 2 x Squad Plasma Guns
255 - 3 x Infantry Squad w/Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun

Ghost Platoon (300 pts.)
110 - Command Squad (Captain Feisel) w/Refractor Field, Plasma Pistol, Power Weapon, Squad Meltagun, 2 x Squad Plasma Guns
190 - 2 x Infantry Squad w/Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun, Light Infantry

Fast Attack
72 - 6 Rough Riders w/Vet. Sgt., Lances

Heavy Support
168 - Leman Russ Demolisher w/Smoke Launchers, Hull Heavy Bolter, Sponson Heavy Bolters
128 - Basilisk w/Indirect Fire

Total: 1500 pts.
KPs: 18

And now for the new codex...

5th Edition Codex List

185 - Company Command Squad (Colonel Lawrence as Creed) w/Medic, Meltagun, Plasma Gun, Creed Upgrade

Line Platoon (597 pts.)
72 - Platoon Command (Lt. Ned) w/Bolter, Squad Meltagun, 2 x Squad Plasma Guns
240 - 3 x Infantry Squad w/Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun
210 - 2 x Heavy Weapons Squad w/3 Lascannons
75 - Heavy Weapons Squad w/ 3 Heavy Bolters

Ghost Platoon (300 pts.)
140 - Platoon Command (Captain Al Raheim) w/Capt Al Upgrade, Meltagun, 2 x Plasma Guns
160 - 2 x Infantry Squad w/Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun

Fast Attack
65 - 6 Rough Riders
40 - Scout Sentinel w/Heavy Flamer

Heavy Support
185 - Leman Russ Demolisher w/Heavy Bolter Sponsons
125 - Basilisk

Total: 1497 pts.
KPs: Max 15, Min12

I'll leave it to my opponent to choose which army he gets to play tonight. But here's a rundown of the major differences as I see them.

1) Heavy weapons squads are now troops!

They're not going to be as invincible as they used to be due to the new lack of leadership bubbles and the single model rule. But they are scoring now, which lets them sit on/protect the objective and free up the line squads to maneuver more. And the new orders system should make them even more effective against tanks and vehicles.

2) Troops are both cheaper and better equipped.

All infantry squads now come with Veteran Sgts and Frag Grenades. The only gripe I have is that Sgts can't take lasguns anymore. They HAVE to take a pistol. Which means I've had to pull my old Tallarn Sgt models back off the shelf. I had been using one of the more heroic looking Tallarn trooper models as my Sgts. But not anymore. That also means, since these models have plasma pistols, and plasma pistols are a waste of points, that I'll be converting them all to laspistols before the next tourney.

3) Orders should rock!

At least I hope they do. I'll have 7 orders per turn between Creed, Al, and the other platoon leader. Which is probably overkill, but I didn't have another infantry squad ready to go. So I'll give Creed a try.

4) Kill Points are still an issue.

It's better now that my command squads are only 1 KP each. But the "Mob Up" solution for further reductions is a mixed blessing. As forming larger squads means that not only do you really need 2+ Commissars to keep those huge units from being swept (Point Sink!), but you also have to change play styles. I mean, do you really WANT your close-combat enemies being mired in a 30+ man squad for several turns while your heavy weapons just sit there waiting to shoot? I don't. I'd rather keep the smaller speed bumps so I can shoot up the enemy as he advances.

5) Tactical flexibility is an issue.

Captain Al's platoon HAS TO outflank. It's not a simple infiltration upgrade like Light Infantry that would allow me to place heavy weapons in advantagious positions like I used to. Creed is a partial solution to this, as he can enable one unit to Scout every game. But it's still not quite the same. At least I'm not in the same postion FarmPunk is in. He's going to have to re-think his entire drop force. At least I can approximate my old army pretty well.

Those are my initial thoughts, I'll probably have more after I get a chance to play a game with the new list.

UPDATE: Game Results

So I ended up playing the 5th edition list against Protem and his Plague Marine Rush List. Which consisted of 3 squads of Plague marines in Rhinos supported by a Demolisher and 3 Obliteraters. With a Chaos Sorcerer as leader. He won in an absolute slaughter. He rolled first turn on an Annihilation mission with a standard deployment on a 4' x 4' table. On his first shot he scored a lucky hit with the Oblits against the Demolisher, stunning it, and the game just went downhill from there. My Demolisher never got to fire once. My lascannon teams, even with the "Bring it down" order couldn't pop a single Rhino. In fact I was only able to kill a single vehicle - the demolisher - on the bottom of turn five right before the game ended. After firing my third plasma gun at it's rear, killing the plasma gunner in the process. In fact, EVERY plasma gunner that fired at that tank killed himself!

I really wasn't surprised that I lost given that Protem is one of the store's best players and I had never played Nurgle Marines before. But I really do feel let down by my dice. There were only 2 times that they worked for me. The first was a very nice direct hit with the Basilisk on one of the Plague Marine squads. The second was the single 6 to wound that I needed to allow Captain Al to auto-kill a T5 Chaos commander. Other than that I was rolling ones left and right. My plasma gunners were dropping like flies, while failing to wound anyone for the trouble.

But, it was interesting to see how certain things worked out in the list I took. I can't really say that anything worked well for me tonight, but I can mention a few things that DIDN'T work very well.

1) Creed isn't worth it in 1500 pt. games.

It was nice having all those orders on the first turn of shooting, but after the first turn I could never make use of more than 2 or 3 orders anyway. I think he's better suited to a larger game on a bigger table with more units than I had on my line tonight.

2) Heavy Weapon Squads will take it on the chin.

I knew this would happen, but it still sucks. The single model rule meant that I was getting insta-killed by plasma cannon fire from his Oblits. I was then failing my leadership checks by rolling 8's because the squads are only leadership 7. And there's no way to use a nearby officer's leadership anymore. In addition, they ran off the table before the "Get back in the fight!" order could be used to rally them. I'm going to have to think long and hard about how to deal with this issue. Since I just can't imagine that tanks are going to be any better at anti-armor than a lascannon squad with the "Bring it down!" order.

3) Orders really aren't that powerful.

I'll go through the list:

"Front Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire!" - Works ok, but it isn't that much of a boost versus Plague Marines. Of which only two died of lasgun fire tonight. And in the last few turns of the game you're using it on command squads just to get 1-2 extra lasgun shots off.

"Get Back in the Fight!" - Very disappointing. What I hadn't considered was that you can only issue this order during the shooting phase. Which means that if your unit ran from being fired at in your opponent's shooting phase, you will have to run them AGAIN at the start of your own turn before you can issue this order. This effectively means that you can forget about rallying any unit that started the game in your own deployment zone and didn't advance out of it. They'll run off the board before your commander ever gets to yell at them.

"Bring it down!" - Worked well. I hit more often than I would have otherwise. But my dice kept rolling ones and twos for penetration. Gar!

"Fire on my target!" - Just about useless versus Marines of any kind.

"Incoming!" - Never had a reason to use it. More useful when sitting on an objective I imagine.

"Move! Move! Move!" - Again, no reason to use it this game. Probably more useful in an objective mission.

"For the Honor of Ca... um... TALLARN!" - Gave my Rough Riders a nice little boost. Making their attacks Initiative 6, Strength 6. Almost made up for my disappointment in not getting my extra charge attacks vs. Plague Marines. Gar!

"Like the Wind!" - Captain Al outflanked onto a different table edge from the rest of his platoon. So I didn't get to use this at all.

First Game Conclusion

I miss the leadership bubbles a LOT. Orders are interesting, and they may prove their worth as I play more games, but they're not as big a boost as I was hoping for. My immediate plans are to scrap Creed and dust off an old Empire wizard to stand in as an Astropath until the new models are released. That will help me with my reserve and table edge rolls. And I can finish the Company Standard Bearer conversion I've been working on to at least allow leadership re-rolls for my Heavy Weapons. Beyond that, I'm not sure.


  1. Firstly, can you change your two colours, black on Khaki is horrible to read - my eyes hurt!

    On the new codex, I think we'll find that the big change is a move away from heavy weapons team (which are now far less durable) towards more squad based heavy weaponry.

    1. Company banner gives you reroll on a 7 ld test (average at -1 for 50% losses) - why not?
    2. Commissar Lords ARE the new heavy weapon command squad.
    3. Mortars just got a huge boost an they completely deny retaliatory fire and are cheap as chips... I'm gonna drop on in every squad because theres no downside.
    4. Artillery, Tank, Light Tank and Sentinel Platoons ARE the new heavy weapon teams (pricier but more durable).
    5. Heavy weapons teams and special weapon teams (especially mortars) are essential in objective games.
    6. BIG Squads Plus "Fire by Rank" IS effective. Combine 20 guardsmen with fire by rank, or Al'rehem D6" movement bonus - nice.

    And the Questions:

    1. Can Target on my command be used on heavy weapons teams?
    2. Where are your veterans? They've been outrageously buffed!
    3. Why all the plasma? Melta would have given you better anti MEQ and anti Tank options.

    And Finally:

    RoughRiders Rock: Sergeant with 3 S5 I5 attacks and 5 roughriders with 2 each. They then have 2 attacks per turn (as their armed with ccw and laspistol) AND two can take meltaguns (where were your melta as they're essential on the charge.

    Afterthought: I have only seen detailed rumours releases so far and I definitely don't have the same info. Interesting insights - thank you.

  2. Yeah, my choices for keeping my heavy weapons squads from running pretty much boil down to a regimental standard and/or a Commissar Lord.

    The RS is not that reassuring by itself. Since the re-roll would also be at LD 7. And the Commissar Lord has a leadership bubble of only 6 inches. Which means that you're Heavy Weapons teams will be bunched up around him. Making them even more prone to dying from blast weapons. And it's not efficient points-wise for me to spend 85 points to protect just 210 points of lascannon teams. Sure, he could do double-duty as a stubborn buff when I combine squads into 30-man mobs. But the more I think about this, the more I think that I need to design a new type of force rather than try and shoehorn my old one into a codex that really doesn't favor it.

    As for the plasma, it's always served me well until recently. And I still think that it makes sense on a gun line when facing MEQs.

    As for your questions:

    1) Yes, any of the orders can be given to a HWS.

    2) See the new list I post next.

    3) Because I've collected loads of Tallarn plasmas and only a few meltas over the years. And because until recently, the plasmas have worked really well for me. But with the point increase, I'm going to really have to think about where they make sense and where they don't.

  3. Oh, and Rough Riders don't get an extra attack when using lances for the pistol or 2nd CCW. Their entry specifically forbids this. And any special weapons REPLACE the lance carried by that model. They do get both Frags and Kraks for free though.

  4. I just played a game with the new codex last night and found orders to be satisfactory. I mostly used BID on Wraithlords and Move! Move! Move! to get my flamery death platoon command squad into position. I did get to do one FRFSRF which managed to down 3 marines by itself thanks to incredibly poor autocannon wounding from my line squad (4 1s? Really?). They definitely don't replace the leadership bubble, but are definitely fun to say!

    But I guess what really won me my game were my 2 3-man mortar squads and my LRBT. Absolutely amazing against the mostly infantry armies that I was facing.


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