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Category: Space Marines

Forge World and You: The Badab War-Part One

This is the first instalment in a series of articles which aim to make people familiar with Forge World’s more recent books and the rules therein.

With the release of Imperial Armour Apocalypse Second Edition (IAASE. Hum. Even the acronym is a bit of a mouthful) and the infamous ’40k approved’ stamp, more and more tournaments are considering permittinging a limited amount of Forge World rules.
This series is looking to inform and educate the majority without access to the books. It will not pass comment on whether the individual ruleset should be used in tournament play. Remember that this is the opinion of only one man.
Without further ado, we’ll begin with our first book: The Badab War Part One

The Story
The Badab War is the most recent wholesale revolt of multiple Space Marine Chapters, in the Imperium’s histroy. Four entire Chapters, though one was nearly the size of a Legion, rebelled against Imperial rule. Heading the rebellion was Lugft Huron, Chapter Master of the Astral Claws. Over many years, Huron had increased the size of his Chapter far in excess of the standard thousand marines laid down by the Codex Astartes. Through careful distribution of his forces and manipulation of those sent to audit him, this was kept secret for at least a century. It is also thought that he was able to merge his Chapter with the Tiger Claws, though this was never proven. When Huron destroyed an Inquisitorial task force sent to audit his Chapter, he drew the Astral Claws, The Lamenters, The Mantis Warriors and The Executioners into a bloody war of secession

Forge World delivers a great back story for the entire campaign, giving a few short extracts on individual battles as well as an overall picture of the first half of the war, lavishly detailed with star maps and artwork. It examines the reasons for Hurons initial ‘betrayal for the good of the Maelstrom’ to his fall from grace, at the beginning of the war. The background follows the Imperium’s initial response and failures to gain ground, up until the Angstorm Incident, which was the tipping point of the war.

Chapters

The book details the following chapters:
The Astral Claws
The Fire Hawks
The Marines Errant
Red Scorpions
The Fire Angles
The Raptors
The Lamenters
The Novamarines
The Howling Griffons

Accounts are given of their founding, some history, their disposition before the Badab war and selected battles they’ve taken part in. Accompanying the text are examples of marines and vehicles of the chapters, rendered in their colours through CAD. If you are a fan of any of these chapters, the Forge World writers really beef out their history and combat doctrine -developing them almost as much as the original 20- making this a must-read.

Characters

I’ll go through the characters by firstly giving you a little on background behind them and their disposition at the end of the Badab War. Following on from this I’ll go through:
  1. The points cost compared to a Company Captain.
  2. Their stat lines.
  3. Wargear.
  4. Special Rules.
  5. I’ll explain any non-standard Special Rules or Wargear and give my opinion.
  6. Finally I’ll comment on it’s relative effectiveness.
Any non-standard rules and wargear will be highlighted in bold.
Lugft Huron
One of the more badass models out of Forgeworld
The Master of the Astral Claws, this are the rules for the character as he was during the war. He would take a meltagun to the chest at the end of the Siege of Badab and go on to become Huron Blackheart in the Chaos Space Marine Codex.

HQ Choice
Points: 2.35 times the cost of a Company Captain
Profile: Exactly as a Chapter Master
Wargear: Terminator Armour, The Ghost Razors, Heavy Flamer and Iron Halo.
Special Rules: And They Shall Know No Fear (ATSKNF), Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Big Guns Never Tire, Living Legend, Shadowed Fate.

Big Guns Never Tire:
His Orbital Bombardment is Ordnance 2, otherwise it’s exactly the same as the Chapter Master’s Orbital Bombardment.
This is nice, note it’s not barrage so they scatter individually, doubling the chance that lovely Str 10 Ap1 blast will hit!

Living Legend:
Allied Space Marines may use his leadership while he is in play (Modifiers apply as normal).
Can re-roll the size the initiative dice.
Good to see the Rites of Battle back in some form, makes an army slightly more reliable. Re-roll the initiative is a common rule now for Characters, but it’s no Vect!

Shadowed Fate
The first time Huron would be removed form play as a casualty for any reason, leave him on his side, at the end of the turn this occurred in, roll a D6, on a 2+, he survives with one remaining wound. He is then placed as close as possible to where he fell. This only happens once.
Here’s half the money here! This is very sneaky, adds a lot of survivability to him as he’s not an Eternal Warrior. Lets him get to grips with larger monstrous creatures and if that Power Klaw lurking in that boyz squad snags him, he can survive it!

The Ghost Razors
Lightning Claws that force your opponent to re-roll successful invulnerable saves against wounds caused by them.
And here’s the other half of the money, With a decent WS, he’s hitting most things on a 3, re-olling 4’s to wound, forcing a re-roll on a successful Inv save.

Final Thoughts:
I’d add him to a TH/SS squad, it gives them quite a bit of anti-infantry with the Heavy Flamer and 4 attacks on the charge with the Ghost Razors aren’t to be sniffed at. I find the Big Guns Never Tire very situational as you’re staying still with what is effectively a combat character. I’d be tempted to keep him on an objective with a scoring unit providing superior LD to the army and one turn of fire support. He’d be a great deterrent against outflanking units, chewing through a squad of Wolf Scouts on his own but maybe needing help with Snickrot and his friends.


Chaplain Dreadnought Titus
Chaplain of the Howling Griffon’s Chapter, he was destroyed fighting a rearguard action against the Executioners Chapter, allowing his Battle Brothers to escape
HQ Unit
Points: 2.05 Times the cost of a Company Captain.
Profile: Same as a Venerable Dreadnaught, +1 Attack.
Wargear: Dreadnaught Close Combat Weapon (With either Storm Bolter or Heavy Flamer), Lascannon or Assault Cannon, Extra Armour, Smoke Launcher, Searchlight.
Special Rules: Living Icon of the Chapter, Venerable, Litany of Hate

Living Icon of the Chapter
Every squad within 12” of him is Fearless.
While it can be a disadvantage, fearless can anchor a flank rather well, combine this with venerable, he’s be able to hold his own, with some support.

Litany of Hate
He can re-roll failed ‘to-hit’ rolls when he charges.
This makes him particularly handy for attacking vehicles and mitigates a weakness dreadnaughts have while in combat.

Final Thoughts

As I stated previously, he could certainly anchor a flank with the fearless and makes a great counter assault unit. While the re-roll to hit diminishes one of the Dreadnaught’s greater weakness in combat, he is still slow and vulnerable to dedicated anti tank fire.


Captain Corien Sumatris
The Tyrant’s Champion, Captain of the Astral Claw’s Second Company. He was rumoured to be a member of the Tiger Claws chapter, which supposedly merged with the Astral Claws long before the start of the Badab War. He slew the previous Champion in a particularly bloody duel, a soldier who was the right hand of Huron himself. Thought dead at the end of the war, his body was never found, raising fears he is still fighting with his master.

Points: 1.65 Company Captains
Profile: +1 WS over a Company Captain
Wargear: Power Armour, Storm Shield, Spectre Pattern Bolter, Goldenfang, Digital Weapons, Frag and Krak grenades.
Special Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, The Tyrant’s Champion
Spectre Pattern Bolter:
An Assault 2 Bolt Pistol.
A nice addition for an assault character.
Goldenfang
Master Crafted Power Weapon that confers two extra attacks when charging.
Again, nice, not a cookie cutter relic blade which everyone and their mother had these days, but not that powerful until you take into account the next rule

The Tyrant’s Champion
Furious Charge is conferred to both him and the squad he’s with. In addition all Codex Space Marine units (Not independent Characters) within 12″ of him have +1 WS.
Well then, here’s the meat of Sumatris. Hell, I’d pay 65 points to give this rule to a bog standard company champion. Aim at the densest part of the enemy with a few squads and pull the trigger!

Final thoughts:
This guy is well worth his points, I can see him easily rocking out of a Land Raider with some TH/SS Terminators. He is an excellent force multiplier for any squad, build a battle line around this guy or the counterattack element of your force and you won’t go wrong.

Armenneus Valthex
In the Grim Dark Future there is only….Mechadendrites?

‘The Alchemancer’ and Patriarch of the Forges of the Astral Claws. As Huron’s Chief Techmarine, Armenneus oversaw the logistics of supplying an ever increasing army of space marines and millitia. While his forges could not produce many of the more advanced weapons used, they were more than capable of meeting the demands of simpler items from the humble bolter to Rhinos and Leman Russ Battle Tanks. He carried his Lord’s body into the Maelstrom after the Siege of Badab.

Cost: 1.45 Company Captains 
Profile: Master of the Forge, +1 Attack 
Wargear: Artificer Armour, Bolt Pistol, Conversion Beamer, Indynabula Array, Frag and Krak GrenadesSpecial Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, IC, Battle Alchemistry, Blessings of the Omnissiah, Bolster Defenses, Lord of the Armoury.


Indynabula Array
Counts as being armed with two power weapons (Additional attacks added to profile), he has the counter attack USR, a 5+ Inv. save and a re-roll on the blessings of the Omnissiah.
This gives him a degree of survivability over normal Master of the Forges but not much. The Blessing of the Omnissiah is still on a 5+.

Battle Alchemistry
Gives one squad the ability to upgrade their Bolt Pistols, Boltguns or Storm Bolters to have the Poisoned (2+) ability.
This makes shooty terminators almost useable or just give it to a Tactical Squad to make them mini Sternguard. Note it’s one -not all- of the list.

Final Thoughts:
I’d really like to have him sitting in a 10 man terminator squad with two assault cannons (Or Cyclones because they look cooler!) in base contact with a Rifleman dread in a fortified (3+ cover save) ruin. Shifting that core is no mean feat. He’s definitely a support character, sitting back and blasting away with his beamer but realistically he’ll be in a dev squad as addition fire support while he gives is poison to a tactical squad.


Lieutenant Commander Anton NearvaezThought I’d drop in some old-school right about now.

The Master Locum of the Marines Errant. The Marines Errant seem the be GW’s whipping boy chapter, they never seem to be winning, at all, ever. The only reason this guy is still alive at the end of the Badab War was because his ship, the Star Jackal, took a hiding from some Astral Claws. It was too slow to keep up with the rest of the High Command, who in turn were ambushed by some Mantis Warriors and slain to a man. Being the only Captain left, he was made de-facto Chapter Master. Everyone else was either dead or in stasis.

HQ Unit.
Points: 1.35 Company Captains
Profile: -1 Wound, -1 WS, From a Company Captain.
Wargear: Power Weapon, Bolt Pistol, Thundershock, Actinic Halo, Frag and Krak Grenades
Special Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Dark Void Elite.

Thundershock
A master Crafted Plasma-Gun.
A BS 5 Plasma gun is handy to have.

Actinic Halo
Confers a 3+ Inv. Save, but if it’s failed, roll a D6, on a 4+ it continues to work, roll a 1-3 and it cannot be used for the rest of the battle.
A toned down shadow field for the man with only two wounds. I like change up in the concept and the rules are different but it’s just not that great. 
Dark Void Elite
Anton and his squad get Scout and Move Through Cover and Void Hardened Armour (Only usable in games of Boarding Assault, more on that later)
This opens up the game for some fairly funny things such as Scouting terminators in Land Raiders and Scouting Vanguard Veterans in Rhinos. This really shines in games of Boarding Assault.

Final thoughts:
I really can’t shake the feeling that this guy is just an upgraded sergeant, which in all fairness is fairly loyal to his background. I would only take him if I was doing a Marines Errant themed army and even at that he’s not got a lot of use. I’d end up sticking him in a tactical squad in the back field, use him as a wound soak and a reliable Plasma carrier. He really shines in games of Boarding Assault where Void Hardened armour is a great bonus and Scout and Move Through Cover are extremely valuable.

Magister Sevrin Loth
I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome this armour is.
This. This is the marine Tigerius wishes he could be. The Chief Librarian of the Red Scorpions, also called the Witch-Bane. Unusually for librarians, he would rather be in the crucible of battle than meditating on aspects of the Warp. He is often accompanied by a group of Honour Guard, normally reserved for Chapter Masters. They keep him from being overwhelmed, but he doesn’t notice, he’s too busy purging xenos and murdering heretics. He is one word: Badass. He could be found wherever Commander Culln was, offering his sage advice to the new Lord Commander and fighting in the thickest battles. He survives the Badab War.

HQ Unit.
Points: 2.05 Company Captains
Profile: Same as a Librarian’s, +1 WS.
Wargear: The Armour of Selket, Force Weapon, Bolt Pistol, Frag and Krak Grenades
Special Rules: Fearless, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Master Psyker

Master Psyker:
Can use three Psychic powers a turn, but not the same once more than once. He can choose out of the following: Smite, Machine Curse, The Avenger, Quickening, Null Zone and Vortex of Doom

The Armor Of Selket
Confers an armour save of 2+, but he may use a psychic power to make this a 2+ invulnerable save, which canont be stopped by a Psychic Hood. This lasts until the controlling player’s next turn.
Bam. Dark Eldar, you can take your shadowfield back from whence you came, we have the best bit of protective wargear right here.

Final Thoughts:
This guy is pretty dam good. The 2+ inv save, the psychic hood, (Everyone has psychic powers these days!) access to all the good powers, fearless, decent combat stats and did I mention the 2+ inv save? His one real weakness is lack of eternal warrior but most things will probably be dead once he’s done with them.

This concludes the first part on the Badab War series. Part two will come shortly with notes on the Campaign, ‘The Tyrant’s Legion’ army list and the remaining characters.

Please comment below with any comments and constructive criticism.
Thanks for reading!

The Lesser Spotted Vanguard Veterans


Since this was discussed recently over on onthestep.net I thought I’d post up a few thoughts I had lying around in the old noggin regarding some of the least used and most expensive units in Codices Space Marines and Blood Angels.

Well first of all what do Vanguard Vets have that makes them different from assault marines, they both occupy the fast attack slot (except in Codex Blood Angels where they occupy the troops slot). Well here are some important differences:

  • +1A
  • +1Ld
  • Jump Packs are not included
  • The Sergeant comes with a power sword
  • Heroic Intervention

“But Joe, what the fudge is Heroic Intervention?!”

Gather round beleaguered wargamer and I shall give unto thee this information:

Heroic Intervention
If the squad has jump packs and arrives by deep strike the player can elect to perform a Heroic Intervention before the scatter dice are rolled.

If it is declared the squad cannot run or shoot but may assault that turn.

This ability cannot be used if an Independent Character joins the squad.

So there you have it, risky stuff eh?!

Well not as risky as you might think. Let’s look at what Codex Blood Angels can do to rectify this riskiness…

Codex Blood Angels

Well first off Corbulo has the “Far Seeing Eye” which he either uses to pick up hot Sisters of Battle at Imperial Bars/Clubs and also allows you to reroll one dice per game including the all important scatter dice…

And as per the rule book rerolling the scatter dice also includes rerolling the distance dice along with it.

Suddenly your risky deep strike isn’t too bad at all and combined with Descent of Angels allows for a pretty well timed critical assault to hit bang on time.

Put on top of this Commander Dante and we’ve got a nice little mixture in here. And it goes a little something like this

Dante

Corbulo

Assault Squad (10)
2xMeltaguns
Infernus Pistol
Power Fist

Vanguard Veteran Squad (10)
10 Jump Packs
3 Power Fists
5 Meltabombs

Yes this is an absurdly points heavy combination and we begin to see immediately why many competitive players don’t use Vanguard Veterans much, redundancy is important in competitive lists and points heavy combos leave little room for redundancy.

Here’s how it works:

So it’s turn two, your opponent is advancing towards you and isn’t far off doing what they will likely do to shift the balance of the game.

Your turn two, you roll your reserve rolls, Dante and his assault squad come on, the vanguard veterans don’t, you want them both in so you reroll the reserve roll (Blood Angels) and they arrive (lucky you).

Place the Vanguard Veterans first, placing one bolt pistol guy (who can afford to DS within 4″ of the enemy due to the 10 man squad size) and watch him scatter.

He scatters onto the enemy, “Mishap!” Your ridiculously uninformed opponent says.

Au contraire!” You exclaim, using Corbulo’s timely reroll to now roll a hit,

“That was so wise!” You say.

“That’s fuckin bullshit” your Blood Angel opponent responds.

So now you’re all set up for the sweetest multi charge of all time, 5 meltabombs and 9 power fist attacks going wherever you want them to.

Here comes phase two.

Dante’s squad and their turn.

Dante has Tactical Precision which means him and his doods don’t scatter when they deepstrike using jump packs. Now that you know where your Vanguard squad has ended up you can plop down Dante and his infernus pistol, your sergeant’s infernus pistol and the two meltaguns in the squad all within double penetration range (safely too) of the most expensive mechanised unit your opponent has.

Then the sneaky tricksiness begins.

Dante’s Death Mask reduces the Weapon Skill, Wound, Initiative and Attacks characteristics of an enemy independent character for the whole game.

If the enemy has a character in the open (Kustom Force Field Big Mek, Farseer on a jetbike) i.e. the type of characters who can swing the game, you get to reduce their characteristics and very quickly make mince meat of them with the impending Vanguard unit.

Something like this happening could throw even an experienced player off quite easily.

By now your opponent has seen a wild display of special abilities but knows that he/she can weather the storm.

Their next turn comes, they’ve lost 3 tanks, no big deal, pull back with some units, shoot the Vanguard and Dante’s squad (just normal old assault marines) now get assaulted by something fairly mean (a mob of boyz etc.). The opponent has them locked down, this squad has a lot of anti tank and can move fast no one wants them roaming freely. And besides there are only 2 Vanguard vets left now. It won’t be long until the opponent will move onto killing those razorbacks that have just come on from reserve.

Here’s where your special rules continue to dazzle. Dante gives his squad Hit and Run so at the end of your opponent’s counter assault suddenly you’re (if you don’t roll a 5+) 3D6″ away.

Then it’s your turn and you get to move 12″ on top of that to reach whatever your opponent has on the table.

Well that’s a nice trick, at least I think so.

Codex Space Marines

Let’s look at some differences between Codex Blood Angels Vanguard Veterans and Codex Space Marines Vanguard Veterans:

  • Blood Angels Vanguard Veterans are 10 points cheaper!
  • Blood Angels Vanguard Veterans have access to more equipment in the form of Infernus Pistols and Hand Flamers
  • Space Marine Vanguard Veterans have Combat Tactics
  • Blood Angels Vanguard Squads have the Red Thirst
  • Space Marines Vanguard Squads have access to cheaper Storm Shields (5 points less)

Some notable differences in there but nothing game breakingly different for sure.

Now let’s see what Codex Space Marines can muster. Well with cheaper storm shields you’d be as well to throw some in there.

Here are some units you could take to find some nice little combinations:

Tigurius

Scout Squad
Telion

Legion of the Damned
Multi Melta
Meltagun
Combi Melta

Vanguard Squad
3 power fists
4 meltabombs
3 storm shields

Here’s how it works:

Use Tigurius’ Gift of Prescience to ensure the Legion of the Damned and Vanguard come in together.

Again since only the Legion of the Damned (LotD) will be rerolling their scatter dice deep strike the Vanguard Squad first, placing the risky squad first and the safer squad based on where the first one ends up.

Having ten in that LotD squad will make sure you get to place them in such a way that they’ll always (almost) end up in double penetration range with all three melta weapons (remembering of course that they’re relentless so that Multi Melta can pop one off when it lands).

These guys crack open an expensive tank while the Vanguard can either assault what’s inside (after Telion has made sure to allocate a tasty wound on it and perhaps Tigurius has cast Null Zone <—another character maiming combo) or set up a sweet ass multi assault.

This also results in quite a few 3+ invulnerable saves staring your opponent in the face on turn 2.

I should also point out that both codices have access to infiltrating, scout moving, locator beacon carrying scout bikers, but that would just be too easy.

It’s probably a good time to point out that you can deep strike Lysander with the LotD….

And on that bomb shell,

I’ll see you soon for another Lesser Spotted, this time hopefully on the much more commonly spotted Sternguard Veterans.

Hope you’ve enjoyed!

Joe

New! Furioso Dreadnought and Stormraven Pre Order

Hey all,

just throwing up some recent stuff, the GW site has thrown up the new Furioso and Stormraven models for pre order here. Here are some snapshots of the models in their full GW, non converted glory:



The helmet on the Storm Raven pilot is class, same as the Sergeant Chronus one I think? Still not sold on the Storm Raven though but the new dread upgrades are awesome sauce.

J

Tactically Speaking.

The Imperium’s elite, superhuman defenders. Eight foot tall, acid spitting, mini-rocket-launcher-machine gun wielding Zealots encased in ceramite plates. Awesome! Well the back story and fluff of the Tactical Space Marine is at least. Unfortunately The Tactical Squad just doesn’t cut the mustard on the table. When my Salamander Space Marine army fist came into being it contained three full ten man Tactical Squads. Surely, I thought, a solid core of ultimate bad asses would be the base of a great army. Heavy weapons splitting into combat squads, Sergeants charging off with powerfists waving. But it was not to be. They proved to be largely ineffective. But why were the greatest soldiers of the forty first millennium failing so hard. There are two major problems with Tactical Squads.

Firstly the Tactical Squad is neither a dedicated close combat unit or a dedicated shooting unit. And suffers greatly because of this, not being able to deal with enemy assault units or form a shooting squad with less then ten troopers. Ah! but isn’t that the purpose of combat squads! Well yes, but it does little to solve the problems.

If fluff was represented by a paint job…
Taking a Tactical Squad with a flamer, Missile Launcher and Sergeant armed with a power fist might look like a decent way of splitting the capabilities of the squad, but there are huge problems. To get the most out of the squad it needs to split down into combat squads. In a third of your games you want to avoid small easily killed squads, and five marines is not a hard target, especially with wound allocation being able to knock off the few models with special gear.

Alternatively you can leave the squad whole combining the durability of a large squad and weight of fire. But the negatives are just as bad. Having a squad comprised mostly of boltguns means that infantry are the preferred target, wasting the hitting power of the free heavy weapons. It also makes the squad static. Moving with heavy or rapid fire weapons severely limits range and ability to fire. In this game static is dead.

If their rules were represented by a paint job…
Secondly, they’re scoring units. Now this shouldn’t be a big problem but it is. A squad that’s not very good at fighting and not good at shooting on the run is going to have some problems if it needs to move to objectives and then deal with anyone who might already be there or on the way. On the other hand sitting on an objective makes you predictable, another thing that your opponent can use to his advantage. A unit that needs to hold objectives and isn’t very good at either of the two unit roles in the game would be fine if they didn’t come with such a high price tag. And to make the squad better at either role it costs points, a lot of points.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, they boys do have a few options. Keeping the squad cheap is a must. Transports provide an armoured shell that needs to be cut through first. Combining this with the reserves rule, The squad hopefully will avoid the enemy until they cannot afford to spend the firepower attempting to destroy a transport and squad. A Rhino is preferable for the role as it’s so cheap. 125 points buys five Marines in a Rhino.

Drop pods give some interesting tactical advantages. They do need a full size squad to be bought but they allow a squad to break down into combat squads after arriving. Although they do need at least 2 in the list to avoid your scoring units arriving turn one. But the advantages are reasonably good. Using the Deep Strike rule to arrive with the pods rules to protect them, the squad can drop in close to enemy artillery pieces with a meltagun and combi-melta and clear objectives away from the main battle. Or just drop in away from everyone.

Another build for the Tactical Squad is commonly referred to as the “Melta Bunker”, involving as much melta in a squad as is possible and a Rhino transport. The idea being to move to a good shooting position and firing from the top hatch, preferably having the transport obscured. The squad still remains expensive, but is more mobile and has the option of dumping the squad out. I feel it still suffers too much from the problems above, as well as shaking the vehicle neuters it’s offensive ability.

They do remain quite tough with a 3+ armour save and the rule “And They Shall Know No Fear” give marines great chances of sticking around, not so much in combat but hugely from shooting. The nine inch potential move after a fall back means avoiding the enemy can be quite easy. Combat Tactics makes this very powerful but as the best Space Marine characters come with Chapter Tactics, it doesn’t appear all that often.

Being armed with Krak Grenades as standard also adds so utility against vehicles. Against armies like Imperial Guard some Tactical Marines near Hydras or Leman Russ Battletanks can help reduce incoming fire as they move to avoid automatic hits.

So to conclude, They’re expensive, not great at any particular role, too many will cripple you. But they do have some redeeming features. Keeping them cheap and going to ground in the face of low AP fire can give your opponent problems in target selection. It also allows you to take more of the heavy hitting stuff. Remember if your opponent hasn’t got any guns left he can’t hurt you back.

Coming soon to a War Alter near you:
Scouting it out.
Are the sneaky fellas any better then their power armoured buddies?

ETC Defensive/Hammer combi list

So let’s set the scene.
You’re captain of the Irish ETC team, it’s a young team with hardly any history. This is a good thing as much a bad thing, you have little history to instill pride in the team, but you also have the opportunity to set the scene, a clean sheet of sorts.

So you’ll have a decision to make bringing an Irish team (led by two previous ETC veterans in the form of Vice Captain Paul Quigley and Captain Richard Flood) to Switzerland in 2011. What do you want the composition of your team to be?
As regards the players on the team, the Irish team is chosen from the best and most dedicated players in the country, primarily using the rankings from Rankings HQ. With this calibre of player at his disposition, most of whom play more than one army, the captain has a lot of freedom to choose what kind of team he wants to field.
What does that mean though? What kind of team? Codex Space Marines or Codex Blood Angels? No that’s not quite what it is. This has been discussed extensively by many in other blogs (check out Darragh Cullen’s blog for example). Should a captain take intentionally defensive lists? If so how many? Hammer lists? Shooty lists? Assaulty lists? Or just let the best players take the list they want to take and would normally do well with.
Last year the team had a diverse selection, Imperial Guard, Orks, Witch Hunters, Eldar, Space Marines, Blood Angels, Tyranids, Chaos Space Marines, Dark Angels, Dark Eldar. So it was more of a case of players taking what they wanted and doing well with it rather than the captain imposing any kind of selection rules. The team however did communicate regularly with each other about improving each others lists and a lot of list discussion took place before the tournament (particularly regarding a certain Chaos Space Marines list) and this was quite important.
So this year the captain has a lot to consider. I’m here to present a list I think could fit into an ETC squad. It’s cheeky and would require good target priority from its general but I think it presents a lot of unique applications on the ETC scene and would like to see what our readers think.
[HQ]
Librarian
Null Zone
Gate of Infinity
[ELITES]
Terminator Assault Squad (5)
5 Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield
Terminator Assault Squad (5)
5 Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield
Dedicated Transport
Land Raider
Extra Armour
[TROOPS]
Scout Squad (7)
7 Sniper Rifles
Camo Cloaks
Heavy Bolter
Scout Squad (7)
7 Sniper Rifles
Camo Cloaks
Scout Squad (5)
Combi Melta
Meltabombs
Scout Squad (5)
Combi Melta
Meltabombs
Scout Squad (5)
Combi Melta
Meltabombs
[FAST ATTACK]
Land Speeder Storm
Multi Melta
Land Speeder Storm
Multi Melta
Land Speeder Storm
Multi Melta
[HEAVY SUPPORT]
Thunderfire Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon
Land Raider
Extra Armour
1749 points
So now that I’ve sat down and written the list it’s quite different to what I thought it might be 🙂
But in the words of Oisin McCormack:
“It’s hard to think defensive when you’re a super aggressive arrogant fuck! Go warheads!”
Let’s go through some of the unit selection.
The Librarian, with gate, the cheekiest of gypsie moves, take a unit with him if he wants and Null Zone, for rerolling successful invulnerable saves within 24”, good for when forcing enemy bikes/jetbikes to take dangerous terrain checks due to the Thunderfire Cannons. Also good for taking out Thunderwolves in combat or with shooting. Where does he go? In a raider with a hammer unit. Extends his bubble slightly for Null Zone and the psychic hood and gives him a comfortable warm home for the game if you want him to stay safe.
The hammer units, nothing ground breaking here, two 5 man thunder hammer/storm shield terminator units in Land Raiders. Nice counter attack for facing certain lists (Ork nobs, nids with list of MCs, Wolves). Couple of God Hammer pattern Land Raiders goes down easy with any player but like I say. Nothing ground breaking here.
Next up, the troops. The two sniper scout squads hug some ruins which have been bolstered and stay put, capturing a couple of objectives.
The three 5 man squads are obvious enough suicide units, scout moving up into the opponents face and crippling some lists (double hammers) right off the bat, heavy mech lists will not like these units obviously enough. And if you don’t get first turn simply outflank and salt to taste.
The Storms have multi meltas, just to make sure the enemy can’t ignore them and they have a good chance of getting the job done.
My opinions are well known on the Thunderfires and how awesome they are so I won’t go into that here but I think they mess up some opponents quite extensively.
I don’t envisage this list making it to ETC, I do however think it achieves what I want it to and that is to make you think about the possibilities that the ETC opens up when allowing you to think outside the box when list building.
You’d rarely see Thunderfire Cannons around but guess what I came up against last year at ETC? Bingo. ETC allows less typically competitive units to see the light of day on the chance that you can mess your opponent country up with your funky unit selection.

Vindicator Overview.




By Lord Reevan ,

Vindicators carry the most powerful weapons in the Space marine arsenal, the Demolisher Cannon; a str10 large blast that goes through even Terminator armour. For something to be this powerful, there has to be drawbacks.
Mainly, it’s the Vindicator’s range. 24” means that it will endure at least one turn of no shooting to get within range to do the damage. That’s one turn where every gun is pointed towards the Vindicator as nobody wants that kind of damage output landing on them. That’s why it’s best to take two. These guys are very powerful so are high priority targets. If there’s one, it’s nearly always the prime target. If there are two, the fire has to be split between the two or concentrated on just one and increases their survivability. Three increases this chance but the third one can be replaced with some other high priority target, such as a Land Raider.

Another major weakness, and probably the more popular reason to dislike them, is the fact that it’s a blast. That means every shot scatters 2D6 minus the BS of the tank. Now scatter is pretty bad but think of it this way. If you roll 2 6’s for the scatter you’re going 8” in the direction the scatter dice goes. 8” isn’t all that big to be honest (insert sexual innuendo here) and it is very easy to have your assaulting units doing their job and the Vindicators doing theirs with no risk to your own men. Unless the enemy can and does deploy everything within 10” of each other you can assault units easily and fire the Vindicators at anything roughly 6” away from the assault happening.

A majority of lists have a static firebase (auto-las predators, devastators/ long fangs, lazerbacks etc) along with an assault element. You hit the assaulting element with Vindicators before your units get into contact with them, to soften them up, then when they are held up in an assault, you can target the further away “firebase” units. The scatter can be easily avoided and therefore one weakness taken out of the equation.

Wargear Options
The vindicator has all the same options as all the other vehicles in the codices apart from one exception; the Siege Shield. This upgrade allows you to completely ignore the effects of driving through terrain which allows the vindicator to bring its cannon to bear much more easily. This is a very nice upgrade but if points are a problem then Dozer Blades for half the price are almost as good. They allow you to reroll the dangerous terrain roll which, although not as good as ignoring it completely, is nice for the cheaper cost.

Extra Armour I would recommend on vindicators from every codex apart from the Blood Angels codex. Because of the short range, it is vital to get the vehicle up there quickly and being able to move after taking damage is helpful. The Blood Angels Vindicators are fast so one turn of not moving isn’t as bitter as it is for other codices.

The extra Storm Bolter is a bit unnecessary, personally, as you already have a very powerful blast coming down on the enemy. Two extra str4 shots isn’t going to do much. Points could be much better spent on Dozer Blades instead.

Tactics
One of the best ways to use Vindicators is to draw fire away from the softer parts of your list. One on each flank is something that the enemy has to worry about and that will take his fire away from things like Rhino squads moving up to take an objective etc. Another solid tactic is, if using a rock unit such as a Land Raider with terminators, is to have one vindicator on each side of the land raider and cover the sides from fast moving melta units, counter assault units when the terminators are in an assault, basically anything that can cause trouble for a rock unit like that.

The Lesser Spotted Thunderfire Cannon, part Two


Hey everyone, we’re back with part two of the Lesser Spotted Thunderfire Cannon…

Techmarine Dexis of the Ultramarines defends a reinforced ruin with Tactical Squad Vendis.[2]

I’ll start by introducing the other rounds this mighty but fragile machine can fire…Next on our list, the Airburst round:
#2 Airburst
Range 60″
Strength 5
AP 6
Type: Heavy 4, Blast, Ignores Cover*

*Ignores Cover: Cover saves cannot be taken against wounds caused by an airburst salvo.

How to use it:This mode of firing is the obvious weapon of choice against Imperial Guard units, Ork Boyz, Termagants, Gretchin, Scouts with Camo Cloaks etc. Any of these units in cover will be reduced to using their normal armour save, for Ork Boyz in range of a Kustom Force Field equipped Big Mek they’ll be reduced from having a 5+ cover save to their normal 6+ armour save, which is then negated by the AP 6 value of the Airburst firing mode.

In the case of Space Marine Scouts with Camo Cloaks they’ll be reduced from using their 3+ cover save to their 4+ armour save. Against Imperial Guard units in cover using the “Incoming!” order their 2+ cover save wil be reduced to their normal 5+ armour save.
Take into account that these units will then not bother going to ground and you see that this mode of firing becomes well worth, especiall near the end of the game where you can inflict large numbers of casualties on units that are desperately hugging cover near objectives.

This brings us to our third and final firing mode, my favourite, the Subterranean Blast:

#3 Subterranean Blast
Range 60″
Strength 4
AP –
Type: Heavy 4, Blast, Tremor**

**Tremor: Any unit hit by a Subterranean Blast will move as if in difficult terrain in its following movement phase. If the unit is actually moving through difficult terrain, it rolls one less dice than normal to determine its maximum move. A vehicle hit by a Tremor shell must take a dangerous terrain test if it moves in the following movement phase. This applies to skimmers also.

How to use it:
This one is just pure win. There are few other weapons in the game which can immobilise an enemy vehicle so reliably. Pop a template on top of your opponents vehicle and that’s it, next turn there’s a 1 in 6 chance of it immobilising itself on the spot. Just think of all of those Death Star units, Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminators in a Land Raider, Battlewagons loaded up with diversified Nobz, etc. You have more than a 16% chance of stopping that unit from taking part in the game (obviously there may be another transport nearby they can occupy instead).

Now comes the sneaky part! Place the first template dead centre of the target vehicle, if it hits, even partially then that’s your 16% in the bag (and don’t forget the S4 hit to the rear armour you get taking into account that the weapon is AP – ). Next we move on to the neat little tricks you can try. After the first template has hit (hopefully), place the second so that it’s clipping another vehicle/unit, on the edge of the original target…you can see where I’m going with this. With some lucky shots you can clip two or three units a turn. This dramatically increases the potency of the Thunderfire.

Another thing to remember is vehicle squadrons. The unit will have to take dangerous terrain checks. Now remember that immobilised vehicles that are part of a squadron are destroyed! Another high priority target could be large units of bikes, jetbikes, jump packs, etc.

Well that’s all folks, hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this brief synopsis on the uses of the Thunderfire Cannon. Please leave some comments on the page if you have any questions or any of your own sneaky Thunderfire Tactics.

My thanks to Shem[1] and Matt[2] for the use of their Thunderfire Cannon pictures!

[1] http://ironlordsspacemarines.blogspot.com/

[2] http://thedragonstears.com/

All the best,
Joe

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