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Category: Tactics

Death by Deployment


Last time out, we discussed the idea of designing your army with waves in mind. Today, we’re going to look at some sample deployments. Bear in mind that both factions detailed here strongly favour the layered assault tactics previously mentioned. The Menoth list is the more defensive of the two, the Skorne list is more aggressive but they are equally matched on paper.

Above is the Menoth force and we immediately note that the Holy Zealots with the Monolith Bearer are the obvious first wave. However, the player (me) has made a major error in deploying his jacks. The extremely dangerous and expensive Avatar has been deployed in the first wave. The extremely cheap and less effective Crusader has been deployed in the second wave. There is no reason to risk a high-value piece when a cheaper alternative is available.

Note the artillery piece on the hill. The Sunburst can actually be considered part of the first wave. When it runs forward into a firing position, it will extend an 16″ kill zone into the enemy half of the board. This restricts movement on his right flank and in theory funnels his forces towards the waiting tarpit.

The support units have been placed behind the lines. There is a case to be made for starting them alongside the frontline. Doing so would keep them close enough to assist when units start charging away on Turn 2.

Note that when deploying initially, the player should have avoiding deploying in such a deep formation. But after his first turn of movement, he should have divided his force into a clear first and second wave.


Here is a stronger deployment by the Skorne player. The Praetorians are the first wave unit and well positioned to move across his army and screen them. Their speed will let them get ahead of the rest of army, even if the others were to run directly forward. The warbeasts and their support elements are centrally placed to allow them the largest amount of flexibility.

He also has an excellent flanking unit in the Totem Hunter assassin. The opposing army doesn’t seem to have any small or single model units which could be diverted to deal with it. The Cataphracts find themselves facing an artillery piece and will need to reconsider any advance.

Again, both armies have a similar ethos but the Skorne player’s deployment is slightly more refined. Note that when you focus on his combat elements alone, their deployment is considerably shallower than that of the opposing combat element. This translates directly into additional inches gained on the first advance and a stronger board position.

For those curious as to how the battle actually finished, the full photo-report can be found here.

Second Rank, Fire! First Rank, Die!

Flattening the Curve: Basic Wave Theory
Warmahordes enthusiasts have always mantained that their game has a relatively simple ruleset, on par with 40k and in this, they are correct. However, a beginner may still take time to grasp the important of a tuned force.

My own learning curve was a steep one. The tendency to drive forward in a shallow and wide battleline failed me time and again. The tipping point was the realisation that Warmahordes required greater depth in formation and the use of layering. Once I’d identified the basic idea laid out below, I found my lists and game performance improving enormously.

The main difficulty is that while many sites detail the most competitive caster and strongest units, these can only do so much, the key to success for a beginner is in understanding your force must have two (occasionally) three core elements to be successful. Once these have been identified, then you can design your force with some expectation of success. The compulsary elements are the First Wave and the Second Wave. Flankers are the optional element.


The First WaveAllowing your opponent to operate without restrictions is the path to defeat. Always assume that he, undoubtedly, has the perfect plan. Your first action should be to lodge a rusty spanner deep in the workings of his well-oiled machine. Your tool of choice is the First Wave.

The First Wave should be considered a sacrifical force. They are not expected to survive the game intact but shape the battlefield to benefit those units following behind.

The stereotypical First Wave unit is the humble “tarpit” unit. Whether through high armour, high defence, special rules or sheer numbers, these are intended to move forward and lock enemy assets in place. They are not expected to inflict losses, merely to tie down more than their value. A fully upgraded unit of the Protectorate’s Holy Zealots are an obvious choice with their ability to gain one turn of near-total immunity to enemy attacks.

A rarer First Wave archetype is the “Board Control” unit. Similar to the “Tarpit”, the goal is to advance and shape the enemy’s movement to better suit your army. The Circle’s Druids can lay down clouds which restrict shooting and charging. This may seem like a passive response but it has the same effect as the above.

The distinction is somewhat arbitary and there are many many options. But you should begin to grasp the idea. First Wave units which limit the enemy’s ability to move as he wishes, costing him irreplacable time and space. If you don’t have this element, then your opponent has the ability to ensure optimal positioning for his force while his First Wave denies you the freedom to react.

Your first strike units seem to be an obvious choice for this category. As very fast models, they can attack from great distances and remove key enemy pieces. In theory. In actuality, they are often better reserved as a second wave unit. Any good opponent will not expose his key units to your first strike and flinging them into the opposing First Wave plays into his hands.

So, look to your faction books and identify those relatively cheap and/or survivable units which can used as your First Wave. Anything which can truly delay an enemy advance should catch your attention. The game is fast-paced, any delays you inflict can prove fatal. This is especially true in tournament play.

The Second Wave
This is the heart of your force. The most effective assets and support elements. This vary from the actual second line units standing behind your frontline to the support units cowering in the rear of your force. Most importantly, it includes your caster. So, basically, everything else. But calling it that would ruin my lovely First/Second Wave dicotomy.

The First Wave is sacrificed to allow this wave to be used to full effect. Everything the First Wave does must be viewed through the lense of benefiting the Second Wave. Victory or defeat will be decided by whomever makes best use of this element.

The composition of your Second Wave varies wildly, depending on your faction choice. Bear in mind the relative value of your assets. The Second Wave should have all of your strongest pieces. Your best non-ranged jack, your best ranged unit, your strongest support. Critically, you wish to protect whichever units are needed to make your evil masterplan work.


The Flankers
Not all forces use flankers and some like the Legion of Everblight tend to rely heavily on their use. Hence, their use is optional but strongly recommended.

Their intentions are clear. They wish to move to a threatening position alongside or behind the opposing force. They hope to draw enemy assets away from the frontline to face them or simply bypass the frontline to strike at the enemy’s Second Wave.

The main requirement of a flanking unit is speed. Tournament games rarely go beyond the fourth turn and can often end in an assassination on the second turn. Flankers must be able to reach their angle of attack by the second turn.

The second requirement is that they must pose a credible threat. A flanking unit which is unthreatening will not provoke the desired response. You want to draw a disproportionate slice of the enemy force towards the flanker or failing that, choose a flanking unit that will be able to inflict enough damage to justify the unit’s cost.

Overall
The use of the terms First Wave and Second Wave may give the impression that Warmahordes tactics boil down to a staggered charge at the enemy but the same could be said of chess. The comparison is a fair one as Warmahordes has a strong sacrifical element. You commit assets to eliminate enemy assets in the hopes of attriting the enemy to death or establishing the conditions for a decapitating strike against the enemy caster.

The most important thing for the new player to grasp is that the notion of layered attack and defence is key to success. Although, the new player will soon outgrow the approach, the basic division of First/Second Wave should provide a good starting point to effective play.

Pythagoras and You

Proud to present a rare treat from OnTheStep.net’s Bristolscale7. A veteran Warhead you’ll be seeing Bristolscale7 cruising the Irish scene with his new Grey Knights!!

Below we have a standard Grey Knight castle in a pitched battle or spearhead scenario. Three psyflemen* dreadnoughts castle behind three razorbacks. The dreads are tall enough to shoot over the razorbacks but obscured enough to receive a cover save when taking return fire. They are accompanied by a librarian with the Shrouding psychic power which improves the dreads’ cover saves to 3+. If you come within 24” of this formation you will be subjected to withering stormbolter and psycannon fire.

How should you proceed? For the sake of this article we’ll say that you do not have sixty outflanking genestealers at your disposal. Instead, let’s assume you play the ever popular space wolves and bring fifteen missile launchers to the table. The trick is to deploy your Long Fangs beyond the range of the dreads but within reach of the razorbacks. Turn the GK castle into a prison! Your Long Fangs can take solace from the 6th century Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras.
Granny always says that pretty teeth and book learning only get you so far in life, but we all know the older generation is as thick as pigshit, so let’s see what he has to say. The Pythagorean Theorem, for those of you who slept through math class, states that a^2+b^2=c^2 where c is the hypotenuse of a right triangle and a and b are the other two sides. Like so:

We know that the table is 48” across, and because we were observant and jacked up on Red Bull during our opponent’s deployment we know that the most vulnerable razorback is five or six inches on to the table. Thus if we put a missile launcher one inch onto the table in our deployment zone he will be 42” away from the razorback and about 45” away from the nearest dread—not far enough. The Pythagorean Theorem can tell us where to deploy our precious Long Fangs such that they will be within range of the razorback but safe from those meddling dreads.

In our triangle above we know that the length of A is 42” and we know that we want the length of C to be 48”. We adjust the formula accordingly to b=√(c^2 )- a^2 and when we crunch the numbers we get just over 23” for side b. Deploy the Long Fangs one inch onto the table and 23” to the right of the razorback and they’ll be ready for action.
What’s that you say? How the @#^& are you supposed to be know where 23” to the right of the razorback is without pre-measuring? There are a number of possible solutions to this problem. If you are playing a seize ground mission perhaps you demonstrated foresight and placed an objective as close to the corner as you could—12” from each table edge. You now have a visual 12” measurement to work with. If you are playing either capture and control or kill points you’ll have to estimate the distance. If the deployment is spearhead you will know where the center of the table is and where 12” extends from the center. If all else fails a razorback is just over 4” in length so try to visual a line of five of these extending from the target razorback. The most obvious solution is to get good at estimating distance—you know like Fantasy players used to be able to do before they got to pre-measure everything.
Next time I’ll show you how understanding this can allow to control the outcome of a dice roll
– BristolScale7
*Grey Knights Dreadnought armed with two twin linked autocannons and upgraded to include psybolt ammunition.

High Altitude, Low Opening – The Lesser Spotted Deep Striking Storm Trooper


Evenin’ folks, Joey here with another Lesser Spotted, this time on the Imperial Guard Storm Trooper.

I won’t be covering all aspects of the Storm Trooper just the suicide role they can play in a Guard force equivalent to Termicide squads in Chaos Space Marine armies.

To compare, 105 points in the Chaos Codex gets you access to three melta shots on your deepstrike (and of course access to those coveted, out of heavy support, Land Raiders), while for the same points you get 5 deep striking Storm Troopers with two melta shots….


“But Joey, Joey, Joey! That’s worse?!”

True dat, except the Stormies can reroll their deep strike… combine that with the fact that if you don’t want them to deep strike (a la Warp Quaking Grey Knights) then they have other options unlike the rather one dimensional Chaos Terminators.

There are a few other things, in an army like my Guard army (tripple Vendetta, some Executioner fun times and vets up the wazzoo) these guys fit in quite nicely. How? Well my army predominantly features a lot of S9, S7 shots so nothing that really reliably ruins Land Raiders (except suiciding meltavets but they’re supposed to be my scoring ace in the pack!).

Helped by an Astropath (as long as the Astropath doesn’t mind of course) they’ll be showing up on a 3+ on T2 to accurately melta the oppositions big tanks. They occupy an Elites choice so their only competition are Psyker Battle Squads, which, although excellent, can be points better spent imo.*

Different Loadouts

Well there are a few going round my head, I would never venture more than 7 strong per squad though, for Leadership reasons (they’ll need to kill 3 to force morale) and deep striking footprint reasons as I’m sure Peter over on WarHamSandwich would have something to say about soon enough!

Anti Long Fangs
A couple of these squads would quickly diminish your enemy’s Long Fang presence on the field I think, statistically you kill two with each squad, not great I’m sure you’ll agree but if long fangs aren’t present on the field and you have some marines in the open (or termies) these guys will mince them with their AP3 lasgun shots and AP2 Plasma shots:

Storm Trooper Squad (5)
2 Plasma Guns
Plasma Pistol
125 points

And if these guys catch some guys in the open, 4 dead marines/3 dead termies/2 penentrating hits on AV10. Certainly not something to write home about.

Anti Tank

Straight forward, blow some tanks up squad.

Storm Trooper Squad (5)
2 Meltaguns
Plasma Pistol
115 points

That pistol has a 1 in 12 chance of leaving a Sergeant-shaped-stain on the unit but has an 11% chance of destroying an AV10 vehicle, worth it for ten points in my opinion.

As for Meltaguns, if you’re not sure what they do here’s a brief primer:

But seriously…he was really quite aggressive. 2 BS4 meltashots that are very likely to be within 6″ of the opponent’s armour, that’s some sweet sweet stuff since statiscally you’re very likely to get an AP1 penetrating hit and unlike combi meltas these bad boys don’t run out so the enemy has to deal with them post haste.

While they’re certainly not a fantastic unit, they’re the kind of unit that gives a creative player options he/she might not otherwise have in a force like this.

Well that’s all for this round!!

-J

*If you’re against Thunderwolves or Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminators a lot obviously Psyker Battle Squads are the way to go!

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

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?

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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