Thursday, 10 November 2011

Blob Guard Choices: Getting the right HQ for your army part 1

So with the basics of the Blob worked out we now need to get our HQ choice to lead them into glorious Battle, but which is best?

Well our choices are Straken, Creed, Lord Commissar, Platoon command Squad, Yarrick and Primaris Psyker (Along with command squad upgrades etc and non HQ chars which will be mentioned as we go along).

Firstly we’ll look at Straken who I’ve been using extensively over the last while in practise games. He’s got a solid profile, with S6 power weapon type attacks with additional D6 armour pen, he gives units within 12inches Counter attack or Furious charge, both of which are lethally good if you get them off. Furious charge making your men like a tactical marine in HTH (with still WS3) but you’ll be hitting ini 4, needing 4’s to hit and 4’s to wound now. That’s a much nicer mix for the power weapons in the squad, and if you got assaulted after hopefully releasing a FRFSRF (first rank fire second rank fire) in your turn hopefully it helps you thin down the already reduced enemy ranks.

Adding in his 3+ save, Toughness 4, Weapon Skill 5 and the plasma pistol gives you even more toys for that just in case moment. His problem though is being fearless... I’ve found this out already as I’m either assaulted or just assaulted in to a mauled squad hoping to finish it off, (I’ll use the Necrons game as a prime example for this point) and find that straken while rolling even average will hit 3 times average maybe 4 if I’m lucky (Also assuming I got counter attack off) and while he’ll kill 3 guys, the rest of his squad will usually already be dead  or mostly die on the same INI doing little back meaning poor straken who probably had to take a wound in the allocation process now finds himself losing combat and taking fearless saves either killing him or knocking him down to 1 wound... Not ideal for a Hard ass commander. If anything I wish he had stubborn which would increase his potential tenfold at least!    

In the necron game I made my counter attack roll as I was out of LOS of the guy who stops me getting the special rules. Scarabs fly in and multi-assault my blob and Strakens unit and we’re both ini 3 on the charge, my squad rolls (needing 3’s) out of the 6 rolls 3 hit, then needing 4’s none wounded... great, but it’s ok straken is here and has to go! Straken wades up needing 3’s gets ... 2... Crap....that didn’t go as planned... rolls to wound, one base dead... pants.

I know in this example I should have done better, and also is a multi assault situation, but straken should have hit with 4 attacks odd, wounded with almost all of them again and instant deathed the T3 scarab bases, but he didn’t and with the rest of the squad proving to be trained in fistycuffs and not HTH the squad died as Straken has to take masses of no retreat wounds (9 total I think).

The point I’m trying to make is the fearless ruins what could be a really solid squad, and in multi assault even more unless you roll well... a very specific example but it will happen in games so you need to be aware of how it can affect you. Meanwhile the stubborn Blob squad laughed it up and kept fighting for more turns.    

The problem then comes into what to take in his Squad to make it better... personally for Straken I’ve been running him cheapish and multipurpose, 2 melta guns give me some anti tank and instant death fun for tough enemies also allowing Straken to charge in if needed and wreck in HTH. A regimental Banner for the obvious reasons of using its reroll over the commissars if I suffer shooting effects such as pinning or the likes, an Astropath for making my outflanking Blob appear when (hopefully) and where (Again Hopefully) I need it. The 5th command squad guy is just a bare bones lasgun. To further help the squad I gave them camo cloaks just to help keep them alive if focused on so I can keep Straken alive for the boosts and the Astropath for getting my blob in, once it’s on he’s my next wound allocation.

So what could I make better? Well firstly the obvious inclusion of a medic, but for the points its expensive, but worthwhile when you consider the benefits it gives to a 5+ save allowing that essential 4+ FNP reroll. So what else could make the squad? Bodyguards, 2 of them to soak wounds meant for Straken and also giving the squad another 3-4 attacks each. Carapace armour while helping them get to a 4+ save doesn’t seem worth 20 points for 4 guys (Straken has better already). A heavy weapon, but being that it takes up 2 separate members of the squad and relies on them sitting still to use I feel ruins the purpose of Straken moving forward with the blobs to counter attack and give them his boosts.
His order range is the good 12 inch all the orders from the base range making him even more perfect to walk forward supporting and shouting commands to the squads nearby (Also handy to keep him close for when your squads break to get them back into the fight if the commissar’s shooting still fails closer to the enemy so you can hopefully consolidate and assault back in.

The next HQ I’ll briefly look at (For good reason IMO) is the Primaris Psyker... so what does he bring to the army? Very little...While his lightning arc could be useful for thinning down tougher targets or hitting light vehicles this means he has to be forward leaving him open to being removed form play via Jaws / Mind war or just outright killed in assault by something which likes squishy punchbag targets.

Nightshroud as his other power is again not that viable as the majority of units are at least Ld8+ so while it might stop a unit here and there shooting you it will be far too situational to be of benefit unless you pair him with a lord commissar and put a mass of heavy weapons in terrain. Between the making them roll leadership to be able to shoot you, and the Lord’s camo cloak you can hopefully survive better.

He does have a force weapon though which could be a surprise if he lives the combat and strikes something down, but it’s a long shot as he only a WS4, T3, S3, 2W, 5+ 5++ character... And adding him to the blob could prove dangerous if he fails a Psyker test and gets Commissar to the headed.

Moving on since I’ve mentioned him I’ll discuss the Lord Commissar, who could find a good place in blobs. Add in a camo cloak to make the entire blob stealth, a power fist (Yeah you’ll probably be going last anyways mostly) or power weapon and if you even feel like it melta bombs and you’ve a HQ ready to support and fight if the need arises throwing out his leadership bubble making orders much more likely to work, and can be placed where you want him. Stick him in the back of a big blob to avoid him being assaulted until you get him into the fight where you want or attached to PCS (Don’t attach him to a CCS or he might shoot your multi wound commander with gear! And he can either follow behind the blobs or sit him behind cover with heavy weapon teams around to issue them orders using his leadership.

Add in that he can buy a Chimera for himself and you open even more options if you’re not just playing a Blob foot list.

 So that’s it for part 1 of the HQ’s, I’ll put up more in my next post.

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