Friday, 4 November 2011

Blob Guard Choices: Heavy weapon squads or Infantry Squad heavy weapons, and which heavy weapon?

Another decision I've been pondering greatly for my lists is separate heavy weapon squads or taking heavy weapons in my infantry squads. Now both have their own advantages and disadvantages and will lead to slightly different play style of the lists.

What I mean by this is if we took heavy weapon squads   we could deploy them in cover behind the blobs and use them for fire support as the blob squad’s advance. This gives us a clear cut role for each unit, but the downside is that with so many S6 weapons and higher eventually you will fail a cover save or two and have the team instant deathed. 

This means it snot hard for Grey knights for example to shred the squad with 1-2 razorbacks dependant on rolling and your cover saves gaining a quick and easy kill point. And due to the small unit size, weak toughness and fact they have heavy hitting weapons usually, they will be target number 1 for opponents.

In kill point games this could prove to be a liability, but in sieze ground games wher eI need shots and ability to move they could prove to be worth alot more.

On the opposite end of the scale we have infantry squads, and of course these guys are already in you blob list (I hope), so is it not a good thing to give them heavy weapon teams to give them options?

What I mean by this is firstly wound allocation; you can soak 1 wound on the squads (Because I'm assuming no one mixes heavy weapon types). But this is just a minor (But still useful) benefit allowing one more guy to live and become a wound soaker afterwards. But the main bonus is not being able to be picked out in shooting! This alone swings it for me as I can Blob up in terrain Vs mech armies in kill point missions and rain down 4 lascannons on their light armour or vehicles of threat, and with BID (Bring it down - Order) I can twin-link them vs. any MC's or Vehicles making them even more likely to do something.

While people might think this limits my amount of targeting, I'd disagree, as I can target at least 2 targets a turn in a kill point game with lascannons (My only long range shots are 4 lascannon teams in each blob) but in a seize ground game I can split the blobs into two 20 man blobs meaning i suddenly gain 4 available targets, or if I really feel like it, just keep the squads as 10 man ones and have 8 available targets. By now it’s become a heavy weapon with loads of extra wounds, and a Meltagun of course for close range get away from me threat.

Also come assault if I can get the heavy weapon base into combat then alot more of my models can get within 2 inches of it who had until then been trailing behind giving me cover saves.

Finally in Kill point games intergrated heavy weapons tot he squads keeps my army own to a nice 8 kp total for the force. Not shabby when you consider 3 of those need 31 men removed, and the others can be hidden around them.
I'll properly discuss the blobs and their sizes in another article but I thought this was worth mentioning in this article as it can really make you think about blob sizes and how many heavy weapons to give them. 

The next question though, what heavy weapon?

Heavy bolters.
3x S5 shots at decent range, and one o the cheaper options.... but what’s the use? most blob armies will already have masses of lasguns and power weapons to handle anti infantry, so why give them the lowest Str heavy weapon option? in my opinion not worth it.

Now here we have something much more fondly spoken about in 5th edition, the Autocannon which some have dubbed the suppression weapon king, I see it as the cheap fat girl in the jean shorts of anti tank, In a normal list its well owrth the points, but in a blob list it’s doable but you really don't want to rely on it alone to get results. It’s a 2x S7 shot gun, and with BS3 you may still get a shot landing each turn and it only costs the same as a heavy bolter! Vs light armour this can still do ok, but my opinion is what use is suppression fire when you have limited long range shots already in a foot guard army?

I've even tested them out and found a real lack of killing power when facing units like terminators and the likes who still laugh off their damage with 2+ saves... not reliable when their all you have, but in a mech guard army they work on hydras as their so cheap and reliable. In blob guard you need things that WILL harm vehicles and be reliable at it as you have so little already.

Missile Launchers.
This weapon is where it began getting interesting for me, its multirole use of 1x S8 shot or 1x S4 small blast opened the door for me to blow light vehicles and slightly heavier ones while allowing me some more anti infantry, but with 1 shot a time it still needed BID to become reliable.  

At double the cost it was slightly harder to justify, but the S8 means you can instant death paladins or other T4 things, and this got me thinking of it in a much more useful role. But the AP3 killed this. I can mass fire marines and make them fail their 3+ saves, termies were again walking forward giggling at ap3 shots and they only had 1 wound, even paladins have a low chance to die to this with their 2+ saves.... so while for the cost it seemed better (And it slightly was) it lacked a lot in practise.  

At S4 AP6, blast, barrage it looks like it could be useful for trying to pin enemy units and smash hordes, but looking at the current edition everyone is in tanks... it had my attention for a few seconds as I mused over pinning, but it promptly went away when I realised It would lack targets even worse than the heavy bolter. So it got rejected straight away, he list needs anti tank, not more anti infantry with pinning. Pity really as I did see potential.

Now this is the hot girl in the short skirt of the anti tank weapons, you want to include it, but know it’s going to cost you a lot more than the autocannon fat girl, but it will give you better results, opponents know they have to take it on or suffer (A good reason to keep it hidden in infantry squads), also the most expensive option, but imo worth it. It’s a S9 AP2 single shot.... now this is more my anti tank style. 

Personally with only 4 available HWT spaces in my blobs (I run 40 man blobs) I know I had to spend the points to fully get what I need, and get it I did. In the test games with BID they were reliably hurting light armour and even AV13 each turn helping me remove my enemies’ ability to move around while wrecking his transports. And being AP2 the termies stopped laughing... and started dying... finally, something that none of the other weapons were achieving for me.

While the 15 points seems expensive, you will not regret spending the points when you issue orders and something explodes or stops moving. the one shot each slightly hurt, but I found still 1-2 would hit each turn without BID, and with BID the number went up to 3 meaning at least 2 would pen for sure on AV11-12 and AV13 would be suffering a pen and glance.

So in closing, If doing blob guard I’ve found its best to spend that little bit extra and get as much reliable high Str shots with as low an AP as possible to cover your needs, and with my 40 man blobs having 4 lascannons and 4 meltas I have all bases covered in case I want to sit back and shoot or wade forward and get up close... and none of it can be picked off with some lucky high Str shots.  


  1. Duce heavy weapon teams come with mortars as standard.

    Don't take missile launchers on BS3 models to instant death marines - thats what the Leman Russ Battle Tank is for. The autocannons are to reliably stop rhinos or suppress razorbacks.

    I take them because my guys cannot recieve orders inside the vehicle and are BS 3. You can pay 20 points for a 33% chance of a pen on a rhino or you can pay 10 and get 2 chances at 11%. You don't have to kill the rhino to make it useless you know.

  2. personally I think that Lascannon or the natural choice for guard the majority of times.

  3. Thanks Pug, thats what happens when you write in work while working on proper stuff using army builder, the different selections made me forget the HWT comes with mortars. Edited the post.

    I do agree in mech lists the autocannons are a steal, but in blob lists I've found relying on them not to be as good as I lack the hard punch at range manticores or russes can do.

    Also i'd agree, would never tale ML's in a mech list due to the russes, but due to me trying to keep this an all infantry army and ML's still not cutting it vs termies or 2+ save units was a cut for them.