Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I have MEQ envy...

I admit it. Sometimes (hell, most times) I’m across the table from someone that has the benefit of getting saves on what seems like everything I throw at them. I do 20 wounds? He saves 19. Screw you man!

Well, I’ve decided…I’m going to shelve my long-unfulfilled plans for a Space Wolf army, but I’m going to satisfy my desire to have a stat-line full of 4s and an armour save. What army did I choose?

I want my Squats back!

No, not Squats...don't I wish...
Dark Angel Chapter! Deathwing Company!!

Anyone remember the old Space Hulk PC game? It was interesting…not the greatest of games, but it sure did hook me on Dark Angels. Somewhere buried in boxes full of boxes is my Epic army where I was attempting to put together the entire Dark Angel Chapter. I had the 1st Company done, and the Ravenwing. As I recall I was most of the way along with the rest of the Companies too…fun times!

And now, I bring my Dark Angels to my 40k tabletop!

I’m focusing on the Deathwing for several reasons: first, cost. I got a good deal on some Assault Terminator guys…with some bitz coming in from Ebay, I should be in good shape to field these guys soon! I already have everything besides the Termies, so it’s pretty cheap (less than $100 at this point) Second, I think it’s effective. With the change to their Cyclones, they become Assault Terminators that can blast away from across the table…a fine combination! Third, this army will have all the things my son really likes. This will be an army for him as much as me!

So this is just a first pass. I’d appreciate any feedback, and will be testing this on Vassal and on Tables a lot!

Who knows, I may even show up with this at Conflict! J

Belial with Lightning Claws

5 Deathwing Terminators: Cyclone Missile Launcher, Thunderhammer, Stormshield; Apothecary, Thunderhammer, Stormshield; Chapter Banner, Thunderhammer, and Stormshield; Thunderhammer and Stormshield; and 1 guy with Lightning Claws

5 Deathwing Terminators: Cyclone, Thunderhammer, Stormshield; Lightning Claws; 3 Thunderhammder, Stormshield

5 Deathwing Terminators: Cyclone, Thunderhammer, Stormshield; Lightning Claws; 3 Thunderhammder, Stormshield

5 Deathwing Terminators: Cyclone, Thunderhammer, Stormshield; Lightning Claws; 3 Thunderhammder, Stormshield

3 Dreadnoughts, each with twin-linked Autocannon and DCCW with Heavy Flamer

3 Land Speeders, each with Typhoon missile launcher and Multi-melta

2 Predators, each with Autocannon Turret and Lascannon Sponsons

Probably a lot of things in here many will say are “terribad” (right, Neil?). I’ve a reason for everything, though.

First, Belial. I wasn’t really digging him with the Sword. TH/SS isn’t a bad choice, and I may switch to that, but I went with the LC because I hate to see that I5 go to waste! Otherwise he’s remarkably unimpressive stats and rules-wise. He’d be handy to allocate wounds to, try to keep others alive, with the TH/SS, but the I5 chance to take out things before they get to attacks is pretty interesting too.

The Special Squad I went back and forth on too. Terminators with FNP are pretty hard to get rid of…and the Apothecary is not only pretty affordable but being able to wield the TH/SS makes him great. The Banner, though, I’m still not sold on. Having all those extra attacks could be really potent, particularly with Belial hitting at I5 (that’s be 6 LC attacks on the charge). I look at it like this…its 30 points for 6 extra attacks (one for each guy in the squad, including Belial). 5 points per attack isn’t horrible, right?

The other Deathwing Squads are there to shelter the Cyclone launcher and be intimidating in melee. Low AP stuff will still struggle to take a toll here with the Storm Shields, and a Claw guy in each unit gives a fair chance to kill something tasty before it dies.

Now these four Deathwing Squads are the only troops I have, but they are pretty resilient troops. Not unkillable by any stretch, but with some respectable dice they’ll do ok. I’m not sure if I want to change them to have two LC instead of just one, but for now I’m going to plan on 4 TH/SS…Storm Shields seem to be the way to go here...at least make those Nemesis Force Halberds and Deathcult Assassins work for it, right?

Typhoon Land Speeders with Multi-melta seem too good to not have in this Codex. 75 points each…what’s not to like? If I owned more models, I’d take more. I’d take more if I had the models! Stand-off ability suppliments the rest of the army, and the MM (and speed to get it in range) is vital.

Dreadnoughts aren’t something I see in many Deathwing lists. Why not? I think they’re great here to help target saturation, and to tie up things I don’t want the Deathwing tied up with (Deathcult Assassins come to mind…). They Autocannon arm seems a nice compliment to the rest of the 48” shooting I have, the Heavy Flamer helps me get some wounds out on larger units, and the DCCW makes him very capable at fighting anything I want him to! They’re affordable at 130 each, and will force the enemy to make bad decisions…shoot the Dreads or shoot the Terminators? I plan to run them alongside the Terminator squads…I think of them as Wingmen.

To further emphasize that, I decided to go with two Predators with Lascannon sponsons. These things are the biggest question mark for me. At 130 each, though, they’ll pop transports like no tomorrow, and will form a solid base of fire capable of engaging any target at range…which is what this army is meant to do. Getting them solidly in a corner where they can keep front facing towards folks maximizing their range advantage will do nicely. I think they further emphasize the target priority problem.

Torrent of fire will kill Terminators easily enough (though Belial’s squad will be a tough nut), but hopefully with all these high-range shots I can pop transports before the troops get close. Venom-spam might be a problem, and I frankly have little idea how things with Necrons will work out…we’ll have to wait and see what becomes “popular” to see if it deals well with Terminator spam. But is 21 guys really spam? Shrug...we'll see!

So I got a battle in on Vassal against my good friend Cerberus. I used the list above, while he used a mech Blood Angels list, with a few uncommon twists. I didn’t take good notes, I’m sorry to say, and like most of my Vassal games it was done late at night when I’m not playing at my best…here’s his list from memory:

Reclusiarch in Power Armour with a Power Fist
2 Sang Priests with Claws
Furioso Dreadnought in a Pod
Furioso Librarian (Wings; unsure on second power)
9 Death Company in a Rhino (Reclusiarch when here)
3x 9 ASM (MG and Fists) in Rhinos
3 Vindicators (Siegeshields)
All Rhinos had Dozer Blades

Any errors in the list are likely the fault of my memory, not his.

We rolled up Seize Ground with 5 objectives…the objectives ended up getting clumped about as closely together as we could get them…weird! The Deployment was Dawn of War. He won the roll and chose to go first. He deployed the DC Rhino with Reclusiarch. I deployed nothing. We had no reserves, everything coming on Turn 1.

He pushed up fast, as only Blood Angels can, and popped smoke on things. For what it’s worth, we were pretty loose about giving each other cover…if it was even close to being in cover, we gave the cover saves. I noted that two of the Vindicators were on the far right, with one on the far left. I planned to kind of castle up on the left, kill that Vindicator early, and make the two other Vindicators have to come out in the open to get shots at me. Sadly, by the time it was my turn to move stuff on I kind of forgot that plan :P

I flew two Speeders up to get shots at the podded-in Furioso, along with one of the Dreadnoughts to make him have bad choices on what to assault with that Furioso if it survived. I also wanted his Spotlight to shine on the Furioso. The Predators went left, and everything else kind of made a big line, maximizing to the limits of coherency to minimize potential damage from Vindicator shots. My shooting wiped out the Furioso with the first shot, then my spotlights really went to work as I let up his Vindicators nicely, but he passed many cover saves resulting in only taking the Storm Bolter off his Drop Pod.

On his second turn he just shuffled around. The Librarian failed his Psychic test, so was forced to endure the indignity of walking. His Vindicators all shot, and all scattered off to do nothing.

My second turn and the Terminators moved forward, as did the Dreads. The left-most speeder went for side armour on a Vindicator, while the others moved up enough to get melta shots on the other Vindicators. I had one of the most astoundingly bad rounds of shooting imaginable, outright missing 15 of 23 shots that I took, the rest failing to penetrate (even Meltas that hit!), and I did absolutely no damage.

His turn 3 and he just shuffled some more, nobody getting out of any vehicles. Meltaguns out the top hatches fired at Speeders, Immobilizing the left-most one (who was in a good spot, so I didn’t mind). I believe one Vindicator got to actually wound some Terminators, but I passed two Storm Shields and nothing died. The Furioso Librarian flew out of the forest and assaulted a Land Speeder, but needed 6s and missed all his attacks.

I walked forward again, except the right-most Terminators which I planned to run through the woods next turn…kind of a distraction. Shooting was moderately successful, as a Vindicator was exploded, another was Shaken, and some Rhinos were Stunned. The Furioso Librarian died to Krak missiles in rear armour.

All of a sudden it’s turn 4, and neither of us has killed much. In fact, I’ve lost nothing at all…

He shuffled the vehicles around some more. Meltaguns out of top hatches missed, and the only Vindicator that could fire scattered.

My turn, and I finally popped the DC Rhino. I Immobilzed and shook the left-most ASM Rhino, Stunned both Vindicators, and moved Belial’s squad forward, hoping to get charged by ASM or DC….or both!

His Death Company walked up to a Deathwing squad. ASM Rhinos moved on to the objectives nearest his table edges. A Meltagun shot immobilized another Land Speeder. His Death Company assaulted a Deathwing squad…I seriously underestimated them…I figured with no Power Weapons they’d be a bit lackluster, but they managed something like 26 wounds at I5, killing all but the Claw guy, who killed a few then died to the Reclusiarch. Ow!

On my turn I moved the left Dread in range to assault whatever was sitting on his objective on the next turn, and to shoot at the Rhino there now. Belial’s squad I couldn’t decide…kill the DCA or move forward. I decided to move Forward and let the middle Dreadnought deal with the DCA. Krak Grenades and one Fist…the Fist on an IC which the Dread could Insta-death. Shooting I killed the second of the Vindicators on the Right, and killed the Rhino in front of Belial’s squad. I also put some shots on the left-most Rhino, immobilizing it. Belial needed about a 5 to get in to assault, but the Difficult Terrain foiled me, they were left exposed on the hill. If I’d gotten that charge off, it would have been game over, I think. The Dreadnought went in to the Reclusiarch, and promptly missed with all three attacks. The Krak grenades did nothing, but the Reclusiarch got one hit, one pen, and explode. Sigh. Not to worry, though, as the explosion managed to kill 3 more Death Company! Feel that Pain?

If the game ends here, it’s a draw 1-1. We rolled for it, and it goes on!

The ASM in the left-most Rhino got out, and moved to assault Belials squad. The survivors of the Explosion also moved to assault them. The Death Company had crappy Difficult Terrain roll and just kind of spread out. His Shooting killed one TH/SS from Belial’s Squad. The assault of all those Furiously Charging Assault Marines was pretty effective. I shrugged off almost all of the non-power weapons, losing 2 wounds on Belial only, but after all the Claws and Fists I only had the LC Sgt and the Banner Bearer left. Thinking back on it, I’m pretty certain I forgot to attack with their Thunder Hammers, but it’s all good, end result would have been the same.

In my turn I moved squads to get on two objectives, with the right Dreadnought looking to kill the on Death Company model that looked like he’d be in range to contest. The left-most Dread moved to get tied up with the ASM and be in Contest range. I moved my last mobile Land Speeder Flat-out to be in contest range of an objective, so he’d be required to kill both Speeders to claim that objective. Shooting took down a couple Death Company, but I skipped a lot of the shooting just to get in to the fun assaults. The right-most Dread assaulted the last Death Company model and Reclusiarch. If he could kill the last Death Company and not die, I’d hold 2 objectives. If the Dreadnought died, the Reclusiarch could consolidate in to contest range. The Dreadnought did not disappoint, he killed the last Death Company, and was only Shaken by a Glance. The other Dreadnought went in to an ASM squad, kicked a few aside. The Blood Angels did 4 total wounds to Belial’s squad, with the Lightning Claw guy surviving and cutting down a few more. The Blood Angels actually lost combat by one, but took no wounds.

We rolled for it, and the game ended here. The first victory for the Deathwing!

The army didn’t quite do what I expected, but pulled out the win. I expected more resilience to non-power weapons, and I expected the shooting to be more effective versus AV11. I liked how the Dreadnoughts worked to support/counter-charge for the Terminators, though I played it a bit poorly…I should have put the Dread in front of the Terminators for the Death Company to charge. The Land Speeders worked perfectly, and the Predators were passable…I threw their Lascannons at AV13 several times, instead of using them on transports. I had a lot of fear of the Vindicators, I suppose in retrospect I should have killed transports and set up favorable charges on the ASM.

Despite my criticisms, I felt I played a semi-decent game, and pulled out a solid 2-0 win. I think if the game had gone on one more turn the objectives would be the same, I’d lose the last of Belial’s squad, but finish off the Reclusiach and one of the ASM squads…maybe a Priest too. I had a comfortable KP lead, and also could have moved one of the Terminator squads forward enough to potentially give me 3 Quarters (both top, and bottom left if I string out the Black squad to hold that top-left objective and get 2.51 models insde the bottom-left quarter).

It was a lot of fun to play an army that is completely different to anything I’ve ever played before. I look forward to a lot of fun battles with these guys! J

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