Friday, 18 November 2011

A look at: Codex marines - Elites

Thought I'd fire up a quick review of the elites section since its friday afternoon (And I'm feeling lazy full from lunch)... Enjoy.

Venerable Dreadnought,
The expensive dreadnought, a better BS and also Venerable rule makes them more likely to perform in the game, but for the price you pay to get the reroll the damage table dice you could have upgrades in other parts of your army. The BS 5 does make plasma cannons more appealing, but again most of the dreadnought guns have more than 1 shot normally so the BS 5 is almost not needed.

They seem to do well dropping down in drop pods with a multimelta and using their increased BS successfully meltaing a tank and if placed correctly with their pod in the way to the majority of the enemy force taking a lot of fire (Between the cover save and their venerable rule they can hopefully live the turn, or at least soak alot of firepower. If you are doing this then extra armour can be worthwhile so as to make sure it can continue to move if needed and pop smoke or even assault if given the chance.

Terminator Squad,
The shootie version of termies suffers slightly in my opinion in 5th, while they can hide in cover for a 4+ cover and stormbolter out 24 inches you still waste some of their potential. the 2+ save is still there and is as good as you get, but the 5+ inv save really lets them down... power weapons and MC's will chew through them so their CC potential is limited in what you can use them on. This is further pointed out by the act their I1 with power fists which suggests they should be hitting big enemies, but without the save to go with the hits they drop quickly.

Heavy flamers while a good weapon are not imo a good choice for the unit, and while assault cannons add some nice anti tank it really is for mowing down enemies with rends and higher str shots on hordes. I rate the cyclone missile launcher the best though as it adds some good ranged anti tank to the unit but lets the termie keep its storm bolter for anti infantry, and seeing how the launcher is 2 S8 shots there is a good chance they can wreck lighter vehicles (up to Av12) effectively, and can even glance the higher AV's sometimes.

Remember to the unit is relentless and can do the old move, shoot (so add 6 inches to the weapon ranges) and then assault with their power fists. This can usually wreck a tank and if it’s a transport tie up the hopefully weak unit inside (say a guard squad for example), or even destroy a Kan squad or dreadnought.

Terminator assault squad,
Another Staple in marine armies who want a counter-attack or hammer unit, Termie assault squads can chew through a variety of enemy units and should be built with targets in mind. Some people like to run 2 Lightning claw 3 TH/SS which gives a mix of anti horde and anti tanks, but I'm more of the mind that the marine codex can handle hordes with other units... the termies are your anti big things unit. And with 5 TH/SS's they will wreck whatever they hit.

Units of all lightning claw termies can work, but you need to sink a chaplain in with them for reroll hits and their LC reroll wounds to make it fully worthwhile... it’s an option, but why do you need normal S4 power weapon attacks when you can use shooting to thin hordes more effectively. And the targets you'd be sending them vs. (Other Tact squads, grey hunters, fire warriors or battle suits etc would be their preferred enemies due to poor inv save and average Ini) aren't worth the termies as they can be dealt with by other means. Bolters or other guns should be taking down these threats, not your elite infantry. The 5++ save also lets them down as it’s not reliable in combats vs power weapons.

I've found the only real way to run them is by Land raider, rolling up the board to hit a hard unit or a few tanks with multi charge, or sitting back as a deterrent. Deep striking can have too many if or buts and you're at the hands of your scatter dice as well as the reserves roll. The other option is taking a librarian with gate and porting them forward but again there is a risk if doubles are rolled.

Both deep striking and GOF can be safe if you use scouts with locator beacons, but then again you’re relying on a soft unit to be in place for when you need it, this can't be relied on in my experiences and shouldn't be the theme an army is built around.

An odd unit in the codex, the only real uses I’ve found is taking him to bolster defences, but you rely on getting a ruin in your deployment zone for this. The other use is for some more power weapon attacks, but he’s basically a free kill point.

While he can repair vehicles or take servitors, there is no room for him in a non themed space marine army (Though he could be cool addition to a MOTF themed army with loads of dreads.

Ah sternguard, I do enjoy this unit and its fluff alot, but on the tabletop their a little less impressive. For extra points you get a normal marine with 1 extra attack and LD but they die just as quick... the perk... their special issue ammo which if used can be lethal to the target.

I'd honestly say to not ever swap out the bolters for other weapons bar in 2 occasions. The best way to spice up the squad is some combi meltas to give them anti tank; usually I give combi meltas to 20% of the squad based on its size with a min of 3 combi meltas in a 5 man squad.

My reasoning for this is they have special ammo which is a poor man’s plasma; they have mass shots through their bolter fire to cover anti horde so combi plasmas and flamers seem like spending more points on things they can do already.

The first setup I enjoy is a 10 man squad with Lysander if you wish in a drop pod, combat squad when it lands and then two ways to do this. Either half have combi meltas and the other half has combi flamers or nothing meaning you pop a transport then rapid fire or flame down its occupants. Or give both sets combi meltas and pop two tanks. Having Lysander means the bolter rounds are better, and also the half squad now has a CC monster hidden in it.

Another trick is taking a 5 man squad and taking 2 lascannons and sitting them in a rhino. Now you have a cheap anti tank unit which is protected in a rhino hull and makes the enemy have to decide is it worth shooting to stop the 2 S9 shots or focus on bigger threats.

The third setup is a squad of 10, some combi meltas, sgt with one of those combis and a PF, and two heavy flamers. Now the reasoninf for this squad is a deadly driveby shooting (Make sure to use the rhino as cover if you can form enemy shooting form other units) by either hopping out and boltering and flaming a big enemy squad to death, or firing some combi meltas at an enemy tank. Combined with the 2 attacks base and Sgt's PF the squad can hold its own in combat if it was able to charge in after the shooting.

Remember though that the special issue ammo only works in bolters, not bolt pistols or storm bolters, so those upgrades should be considered useless or even downgrades.

I've tried armies with 2 squads of them (1 nine man squad, 1 ten man squad, both with 3 combi meltas in rhinos. The nine man squad had a captain attached with bolter with hellfire rounds and a relic blade for a mix of shooting and CC, the sgt's both had PF's) and travelled them together with 3 squads of tactical marines supporting also in rhinos. it makes for a good sized marine force bodies wise and also they add some anti tank, anti 3+ armour save and anti horde power to the fight.

Again treat them like specialist marines but not heroes and you'll get good mileage from them, and remember the 30 inch range ammo you can use after disembarking them into ruins to make a fire base from.

Legion of the dammed,
Sadly this squad is overcosted and not efficient for play outside of a themed battle, the relentless helps a little but they are just marines with a 3+ inv which when bolter fired at will fail just as often as normal marine saves... Sternguard can do what these guys do for cheaper and with more options.

Ironclad dreadnought,
The Av13 monster dreadought, with +1A for having two DCCW's (Dreadnought close combat weapons) the iron clad can make a mess of units or tanks alike if it gets its hits in. The AV13 front makes powerfists etc less useful as they now need a 5 to glance.

I've found upgrading the stormbolter to flamer works well and keeping the meltagun for anti tank. Whilst if you have points free sticking on a couple of hunterkillers makes it not only even better for long ranged anti tank (Side armour shots with the hunterkillers if someone forgets the ironclad has them is a treat) but also means it takes more weapon destroyed results before it is useless.

They work well as tarpit or counterattack units. Or even in drop pods landed on the flanks of enemy formations where they can pop a tank and hide behind the pod form most of the enemy fire. Though melta will still eat them alive so plan your drop well.

The normal Dreadnought, and in my opinion the best, it comes chap with a multimelta which is perfect for walking forward to slag tanks with or dropping out of a pod.

The other weapons are more to taste, plasma cannons don't get hot on them so this is a good place to get some plasma if you want it for your army. Lascannons are solid enough but still expensive, missile launchers add some extra firepower instead of DCCW attacks.

The best option though imo is the twinlinked autocannon. twice... for 125 points you have a relentless AV12 walker who can move 6 inches (To get side armour shots if needed or just to advance into cover) fire 4 rerollable Str 7 shots which can wound MC's on 3's or instant death anything T3 on 2's while still wounding T4, 5 on 2+ rolls makes it a solid all round performer.

Even Vs light armour the dreads will find a use, Vs Av10 consider it likely to die, Vs av 11 you're glancing on 4 and pen 5+, against Av 12 fronts you're glancing on 5 and penning on 6's... so still 1/3 chance to do something, and with most of the shots hitting due to rerollable BS4 you should get 3-4 hits, meaning a glance or pen or two.

Then remember their relentless, so they can assault into the enemy unit if close enough they shot at to tie them up if their melta unit or shooty type.

I've had great success form these guys, and having 3 in army just makes them shine even brighter as they work together to thin out hordes (Ap4 gun remember so most Xenos won't get a save).

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