Wednesday, 29 June 2016

For the Emperor! Space marines in Epic Armageddon

For the Emperor! Space marines in Epic Armageddon

A big thanks to a fellow Epic enthusiast Mick for the awesome pics of his Ultras

Possibly the most iconic force in the 40k and 30k worlds and the most common force you will n counter on a Warhammer 40k tabletop. Sadly though in Epic 40k they are not an ideal learning army and can be quite tricky to learn. Basically marines are a strike force, all of your troops are great but you won't get heaps of them and if you use them poorly you'll lose the attrition game every time. So for those thinking about building a marine chapter it's all about building a force that hits hard enough that the enemy can't hit back, timing is everything.

The other thing to consider is that in my mine there is no real balance between the armies of the Epic universe. Some races just have access to far stronger choices than others, without going into great detail the top of this power pyramid would include Eldar with Gaurd not far behind while the bottom of the pyramid would be filled with Ghazghull Thrakas Orks and Tyranids in general. This is not a reason to avoid them just something to be aware of, you will need patience, you should expect to lose a few games etc. certainly the more recently approved imperial fists and space wolf armies would appear to be more powerful on paper than the standard codex marines but that is a result of them being more specialised so it is a double edged blade in many respects.

Essential units

Tactical marines - most builds won't include more than 1 of these (though that's very different in some to the alternate lists like imperial fists) but they are super flexible. An ideal place to park your hunter and usually a brilliant blitz Gaurd which can move out in their rhinos if needed. The important thing to remember is that marines can't outshoot anything so it's all about getting these guys into a support position of an enemy unit then something else engages it. Trying for an engage with these guys can be risky as they are slow outside of rhinos and at risk inside them, you could draw upon the hig strat rating of marines to move them up at the end of a turn and then engage from out of the rhinos.

Scouts - as a cheap activation they would be good by themselves but combined with their transport and extra control zone scouts are brilliant. Use them to mess up enemy movement or even just hold them back so that they can grab objectives while the more important troops in your army can focus on killing stuff.

Land speeders - similar to scouts, fast, flexible and with their macro toting multi melta they are super flexible. Yes they are light vehicles but with a solid armour save its not so bad. Spread them out to avoid copping too many hits on them and use their scout and speed to grab objectives. I also think they are interesting as an engagement unit both as support fire and as the ones who trigger engagement.

Terminators - easily the best unit in the space marine army and the one whose correct use will determine your best outcomes. The most common tactic would be to either load them into a Thunderhawk for deployment or just teleport them in drawing on your high strategy rating to hopefully go first. If you can find a spot where your opponent s vulnerable and then hit hard it will be critical. The risk though is that you need to keep them safe after the engage move, ATSKNF does go a long way in that respect. Some players will take 2 units and throw in a commander so that they can both be drawn into a single engage move, others will invest in a chaplain for the inspiring, it's really personal choice. The ideal usage will see them dropping in during turn 1-2, being collected by a Thunderhawk and then dropped again in turn 2-3. The only big drawback here is that you will need to wait/find the ideal place to attack and a good opponent won't make this easy. Every turn they are I reserve robs you of an activation so timing is a big issue.

Thunderhawks - marines are all about hitting hard in the right places. If you aren't running thunder Hawks don't expect to win a game because these are one of your best advantages. The real challenge is like terminators, dropping the engage move in the right spot at the right time to do maximum damage and not end up losing the hawk or the cargo. Also don't underestimate the effectiveness of the guns. Being able to drop a long range cannon shot to snipe of a single hydra or artillery piece in a Gaurd armies unit of 3 can be great. Dropping those heavy boaters on a broken infantry/Light vehicle unit can be huge etc.
Warhounds - almost the perfect support option for marines. It carries a nice Macro gun which can be great for shooting down the reinforced armour options that normally marines can struggle with and its a great unit to launch an engagement with supported by another unit like land speeders or tactical marines.

Thunderbolts - Marines really lack for decent long range firepower at all and their own artillery options are pretty expensive and average in general. Thunderbolts are a cheap and flexible unit that will allow you to have good air defence and strike out at targets of opportunity across the board.

Optional Units

Assault marines - in the novels these guys carve up everything in sight. In Epic their small unit size, limited attacks and upgrade options leave them pretty average IMO. I've seen some players run them along with a devastator squad in a thunderhawk as an alternative to terminators and they are a cheapish activation.

Devastators - Much like assault marines they just aren't elite enough to do much good in my mind. Yeah they shoot more than a tactical marine but you will never win the shooting game anyway. Yes they have better FF than tacticals but they die as fast and there aren't many of them. Etc.

Land raiders - you already get rhinos for free everywhere so with these guys it feels like you pay for guns and transport and armour and frankly none of it is amazing. If you have the option to take the more assault oriented variants than the standard you may consider them.

Bikes - another unit that is potentially interesting but very difficult to use effectively and I'm my mind pales in contrast with other options like speeders. Solid armour, speed and engagement speed make them a great ingredient for a FF engagement but then again so is a Warhound, so are land speeders etc. BC engage is always a tricky beast too, it can be good against units like Gaurd who suffer from being in BC but armies like Orks love it by contrast and of course the closer you need to get the more you open yourself up to support fire shots. Attack bikes are an interesting option too but don't change the equation in my mind.

Whirlwinds - yeah long range artillery! Sadly it's not that long range by the standards of many artillery options still requires you to pay the marine points premium and doesn't have the special rules to help it hit that hard. Overall it's just kinda nyah.
Predators/vindicators - certainly not a bad unit but you need to wonder what their purpose is. You can't outshoot a leman russ, can't put manoeuvre a grav tank and the unit can be wiped pretty quickly by something as small as a Warhound. Good for some medium range shots if you feel desperate.

Bigger Titans - I've seen a couple of lists running around wth reaver Titans, the logic being that you can get a hard to kill BTS and some decent ranged firepower which marines generally lack. The catch is that you will lose activations which can be so important when you are trying to do a big engage style.

Strike cruiser/battle barge - They can be very annoying for the unprepared opponent and with your high strategy rating you can easily force your opponent into a corner deployment and do big damage with a double pie plate. Followed up by a powerful drop pod assault. Or you're opponent might guess where the pie plate is going, dodge it completely and both it and your drop pods end up going nowhere useful... Worth experimenting with certainly and I've included a space wolf build below which centred around this amazing first strike capacity. It can be extremely effective if you are very good, and a bit lucky.

Marine landers - like thunder Hawks but bigger! More importantly fearless... Including these will cut down your activation count but gives you the capacity to put huge amounts of men into massive engagements, potentially planet falling for space. A Cancon this year one of the best players in the country used the wolf build below centred around landers and 3 games sum it up well. In one game he decimated an Eldar force so badly with his alpha strike the game was basically over in turn 1, in another game his lander took a crit on the way in to ground based AA and he lost so much that the game was basically over in turn 1, in the game against me he did huge damage in turn 1 but found himself then out of position for objectives so I grimly held on and won on objectives despite losing massively on points killed. Such is the dilemma of the landers. They are certainly an interesting options and I encourage you to have a go, games will be dramatic and fun, though not always successful.

Thoughts on objectives:

Objective placement - you will be placing objectives first which means your opponent gets to react to you. I would try and group them so that I can concentrate on the emery blitz and on additional point whilst trying to ensure I could deny the objectives on my side but not worry too much about holding them. Again your small numbers means you don't want to be spread too far but if you can make your opponent spread out that will be good because it will make it harder for them to layer defence against your large engagements. You also gets to use speed to you're advantage and that can't be underestimated. The other advantage to spreading your objectives in this way is it makes it harder for slow armies like Gaurd/Knights/AMTL etc and they will have to deploy to cover all but you will know that the plan is just to hit critical spots and ignore other areas completely.

BTS - Yours should be tactical marines and should be just about untouchable thanks to a combination of armour, speed and ATSKNF. Theirs will often be kill able because your force is so much about critical engagements, go for it.

Blitz - Hold yours with scouts and/or tacticals depending on how much threat is heading it's way. Absolutely go for theirs with teleport troops or a timely thunderhawk.

Hold the line - trying to hold all 3 in your half generally won't be as significant as taking the enemy objectives unless you are running Imperial Fists.

Take and hold - absolutely focus on taking 1 key enemy position and the enemy blitz to get yourself 2 objectives.

They shall not pass - again unless you are Imperial Fists expect to fight the battle in the enemy half so this really shouldn't be an issue to achieve. Catching every sneaky enemy in your half can be tricky though, don't let yourself spread out too much.

Sample builds

Sample 1 generic marines - Designed for speed, hitting power and above all flexibility: 

Codex Astartes / Codex Astartes 3000
Tactical Detachment 450 6xTactical Hunter Supreme Commander
Terminator Detachment 350 4xTerminator
Terminator Detachment 350 4xTerminator
Scout Detachment 150 4xScout
Scout Detachment 150 4xScout
Land Speeder Detachment 200 5xLand Speeder
Land Speeder Detachment 200 5xLand Speeder
Land Speeder Detachment 200 5xLand Speeder
Thunderhawk 200 Thunderhawk Gunship
Thunderhawk 200 Thunderhawk Gunship
Warhound Titan 275 Warhound Titan
Warhound Titan 275 Warhound Titan

Sample 2 Space Wolves - this time the list is far more one dimensional. All around a huge alpha strike in turn 1 followed up by another lander worth of death to hopefully knock out so much enemy that they can't recover. High risk/high reward.

6 Grey Hunters - Rhinos,
Wolf Lord,
2 Wolf Guard Terminators,
2 Blood Claws,
Land Raider Crusader

6 Grey Hunters,
Wolf Priest,
2 Wolf Guard Terminators,
2 Blood Claws,

6 Fenrisian Wolves

4 Wolf Guard Terminators,
Wolf Priest,
Drop Pods

5 Land Speeder

Space Wolves Strike Cruiser

Space Wolves Landing Craft

Space Wolves Landing Craft

2 Thunderbolt Fighter-Bombers

Sample 3 - Imperial Fists - by far the most defensive of the the marine chapters but so damn good at it. Trading transport for some amazing bunkers allows me to put solid defence onto key objective points which the enemy will struggle to shift allowing the mobile elements to focus on killing key enemy positions to secure objectives.

CENTURION [550] 4 Assault Centurion, 4 Land Raiders
SCOUTS [150] 4 Scout units
SCOUTS [150] 4 Scout units
LAND SPEEDERS [200] 5 Land speeder
LAND SPEEDERS [200] 5 Land speeder
TACTICAL [275] 6 Tactical units
TACTICAL [375] 6 Tactical units, Supreme Commander
FELLBLADE [325] 1 Fellblade
FELLBLADE [325] 1 Fellblade
HYPERIOS PLATFORMS [125] 3 Hyperios Platforms
HYPERIOS PLATFORMS [125] 3 Hyperios Platforms

Friday, 17 June 2016

Vroom Vroom... Pew Pew! - Building a Minervan Force

Vroom Vroom... Pew Pew! - Building a Minervan Force 

Sometimes you are just sick of running squishy little flesh sacs and you just want to run full metal at the enemy. Minervans are great for this purpose, giant piles of metal death to grind up the Emperors foes. Below are just my thoughts on how to put them together, as always feel free to leave comments as you like especially if you have an alternate build that works. 

Essential units 

Leman Russ exterminators - some will disagree with me with me on this point but for me the exterminator is the best of all the Leman Russ options for Minervans. Standard Russ have bigger and better guns with better range but in my mind are let down by their ordinary FF values and engagement is so important in Epic. Demolishers are great but too short ranged so for me the exterminator is the middle ground. I also really like executioners for that macro shot, great stuff. When you factor in that Minervans characters also give the extra FF shot in engagement the 3+ FF value of the exterminators is brilliant. 

The tactic you should be aiming for with Minervans is the iconic 1-2 punch where you drive up the fat tank unit and do some damage to a unit then retain and use another unit to engage with to take advantage of the fantastic support fire. Warhounds make for an outstanding unit to initiate the engage move because of their 1+ activation but I've done it with great success using salamander scout units that include a commissar and do a clever clipping assault with their huge movement values. 

Shadowswords - The key question is not if but how many you should include and in what form. I've run them as units of 3 before and as singles and in hindsight generally prefer them in singles but each to their own. The only problem with having them in 1 unit is the all eggs/one basket issue but the advantage is boosting core numbers to get more support options which can be great. 

Salamander Scouts - I'd consider these a 1-2 option in a standard 3000 point list because the biggest risk to your tank units will be BC engage from things like teleporting terminators or wraith blades etc. No scout cover is just a recipe for disaster. Not to mention that Minervans can be a fairly slow force overall so having these guys can be fantastic for late turn objective grabs. 

Hydras - can't get enough of these guys. Embed them into every core unit where possible, take them in units of 3 if you like. Mix it up as you like but don't leave home without them. Also don't neglect the amazing amount of shots they can punch out in units and their speed, I've grabbed many objectives with a timely move of the 150pt formation which has been sitting behind a forest all game previously. 

Commissars - one advantage Minervans have is that you will probably not have much more than 6 activations so you can basically just put one in each. If you had more than 6 options where they could go the priorities would be core russ/super heavy formations, salamanders (for sneaky engages), support super heavies (fearless Shadowswords are amazing) and then other units like hydras, artillery etc. 

Warhounds - these are the perfect support option for core russ formations. Everything that Russ can't do like moving rapidly these guys can do beautifully. A general pattern would be to aim to blast away with the plasma in turn 1 and go for a supporting engagement in the next turn while the plasma recharges. I run 2 as a minimum and often run 3 based on points. 

Thunderbolts - another awesome unit to give you some flexibility, smacking down some already broken units, attacking scout screens to make way for you're awesome russ formations to hit what they need too etc. 

Optional units
Other super heavies - some of these are really awesome and just not used enough, especially in big units. Baneblades I understand, for their points they really are garbage when you look at what else you can have but can I suggest that you give Stormswords a go at some point. That unit with its 9BP ignoring covet disrupting barrage can really be amazing for Minervans who often lack decent template support. Solid FF support values as well. I just wish I could thrown in ogryns like in Steel Legion!

Artillery - when I first started loved artillery, basilisks never appealed but manticores where you fire 2 in turn 1 and then 1 in the second turn so you can get a 4BP barrage. These days I'm not so keen, because I find that many opponents will just kill one or suppress them and suddenly I'm down an expensive activation etc. 

Death strikes - everyone whose gone against Deathstrikes has that story of how they wiped out some amazing something. Everyone who has used them has 100 stories of how they've rolled nothing but 1's. Work out if they work for you and swap out a Shadowsword if that floats your boat. 

Marauder bombers - nobody really runs these guys competitively and fair enough but any army without some sort of blast template is giving the opponent a big advantage. So if you don't want to run the Stormswords or an artillery option they might be worth consideration. 
General strategies and objectives. 

Objective placement and general strategies
With Minervans it's really all about maximising the output of your super powerful core units so activation order is so important. Shadowswords are amazing for what they do but they will kill a single guardsmen just as effectively if you activate at the wrong time so you really need to think ahead and have a plan, you are not a flexible or reactionary force as say marines or Orks can be because you just don't have the speed. So you think about some of the following

Minervans are generally a slowish army but with plenty of hitting power. It's usually in your interest to have everything grouped up so that you can drive forward and focus on tearing the guts out of the enemy so for me the objectives I place will be pretty close to the enemy Blitz. Often my opponents will space theirs out and try to use speed to outmaneuver me. 

BTS - Thanks to fearless commissars Minervans have some of the best BTS options that exist so keeping yours alive shouldn't be too hard. You also have plenty of hitting power so most enemy BTS formations are a reasonable option for you to take on. 

Hold the line - I find this one really tough for Minervans. You can't be everywhere and if your opponent is clever they will spread out the objectives they place to stop you concentrating your forces so my priority would be more about stopping the enemy getting 2/3 of the ones in my half than actually holding all 3 of them. 

Take and hold - definitely one of my key priorities. Drive forward in a metal tide and smash all before me. Ideally one of those 2 will be the enemy blitz but betwee tanks to grab the closer ones and Warhounds to grab the blitz I think it's a solid priority. 

Blitz - Absolutely you need to design your list to achieve this one. Warhounds and salamanders are both fantastic to give you options to take the enemy Blitz down. The other big issue that Minervans can have is actually holding their own. It's so easy to focus on the huge push into enemy territory only to watch a sneaky thunder hawk full of stuff steal yours away. Artillery units can be ok to Gaurd the blitz, hydras as well or a sniping Shadowsword for example. 

They shall not pass - again as a fairly slow army holding your half is easy enough but be conscious of putting something into the enemy half! 

Where to buy? 
Gaurd vehicles can be found pretty easily on eBay if you want originals but there are amazing proxy ranges around too. A dig through the Vangaurd website will reveal some nice looking proxies for standard vehicles and Warhounds. Gregsters lab has beautiful alternate super heavies. More recently Trolls under the bridge have launched a new Leman Russ proxy and that's where I sourced more of my models. My 'exterminators' are technically 'destructors' with twin lascannons in the turret but hell in 6mm nobody notices. I've noticed at time of writing they are about to release a minigun looking turret that would be sensational. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Exterminate! A look at the scarab legion in epic

Exterminate! A look at the scarab legion in epic

Before I'd even started building my first epic army I'd heard about Necrons. Seems everyone has a strong opinion and most of them are negative. For some reason these robotic death bots whose rules break most of the conventions of the game seem to upset people! Must be something about the abundance of teleporting living metal regenerating monstrosities that people can't come to grips with. Despite all these advantages thou we don't see them dominating every tournament that exists! My love for the deathbots began when I read "The world engine", it was so satisfying reading about a whole chapter of marines getting wiped after so many stories where a single marine seems to be able to conquer the world. So if you're like me just accept that the haters gonna hate and enjoy declaring war on every living thing in the universe with your army of terminators.

Army strategy

Before you can really think about what to include in your Necron army you need to think about what you want it to do. Many Necron players believe in literally doing nothing for the first 2 turns of the game and then doing a massive strike in turn 3 to secure to the objectives. Personally I've only had this used against me and never had any problem dealing with it. The big problem with this plan is that when Necron units break they disappear at the end of the turn so clearing them off objectives isn't actually that tricky. Combined with the reality that you're opponent has had 2 turns to get into position, set up over watch etc doesn't make this a good plan in my mind.

My attempts have all worked around a different idea, I tend to go for a big hit in turn 1, regroup in turn 2 and hit hard again in turn 3. It's had some success but I won't claim to be sky net just yet. With that in mind I've broken down the unit options for the list into what I think of as essential and optional.

Essential units

Warriors - One of the best things about Necrons in my mind is the quality of warriors. Great armour, cheap leaders and awesome firefight values makes these guys a flexible and effective unit. The real debate is around how should spend upgrading them. Some players go for a smaller number of units with heaps of upgrades with the logic being to smash whatever you hit really hard, I tend to focus on getting more activations so I don't worry too much about huge units. My list will be below so you'll see what I mean. That said some upgrades are essential, you will want some combination of:

Pariahs - a fantastic unit in both FF and BC engagement and of course that lovely inspiring which can make such a difference. Probably not s good spot to put your lord though because they can't come back with the Necron rule.

Immortals - brilliant FF capacity allows these guys to hit pretty hard, this is usually where my lord would go.

Tomb spiders - a must have if you want to do more than a 1 turn hit. Solid hitting power, an extra leader which makes so much difference when you are keen to get the troops rebuilding and fearless meaning that you're broken unit won't be wiped out... And can then return to full strength in the following turn.

Flayed ones - some will disagree with me but I love mine, started with a single unit and now I include 2 because there are so many armies like guard who suffer from terrible resistance to BC engagement. Flayed ones are cheap and hard hitting with solid armour and infiltrate making them really flexible. Not to mention teleport if you get desperate for portals.

The real trick to engagement is to pick the right unit for the job. Warriors are ideal for a clipping engage on a superior foe whilst you can't really do that with flayed ones so for them it's more about taking a unit on wholesale. Marine terminators for example could be a good target for warriors but would be a terrible choice for flayed ones. In either case be really conscious of things like blast markers. Your troops will kill s few in combat but won't wholesale slaughter like some combat troops can you will rely on winning the engage to hopefully do a bit more damage to the enemy.

Monoliths - yeah just try and run an army without them. The real question is how many and that really is down to personal flavour. Most people run 2 monoliths and 2-3 obelisks per unit but you really do need to experiment. As an idea I generally run about 7-8 portals which will often include a tomb complex and a war barque. Some players will try and do a warrior engagement where they emerge from one portal to conduct the engage and fall back through the other portal in the same unit afterwards which is interesting. I find that clever opponents will target the monoliths heavily so this is not as easy as it seems. You definitely want them for support fire if possible but when teleporting in always be conscious that you will probably lose the first activation roll so find somewhere safe(ish) to hide and use their skimming abilities to double forward and put down blast markers on a target  then retain with a warrior or flayed one unit for a solid engage hit.

Pylons - as the only AA you have you'd be foolish not to include at least 2 of these. Some might go for 3 but 2 generally feels right. The trap to this unit I reckon is its amazing potential for a standard shot as well. TKD3 sounds fantastic but the problem is that it's only a 4+ basic and it's on a dc2 unit that can't move. So most opponents can out manoeuvre you easily or just break you, especially when you consider the 33% chance of a blast marker from the teleport you have to do to get on the board... Recently I've been focusing more on getting them into a spot where they can hold an objective of some sort and use their awesome AA as their main use. If the enemy has no planes then I'll still go for an objective but try and take advantage of a really long range shot if possible. Remember to deploy them in area terrain (ruins/forests for example) where possible to take advantage of the -1 to hit. They aren't going to move all game so pick a good spot to sit for a few turns.

Warbarque - in my mind one of the best units in the Necron army but others will disagree with me, usually because a unit of monoliths can do most of what this guy can.  I love it because it's a fearless WE portal with great FF and some not bad shooting. But I really love it as my Supreme commander. Many Necron generals use the C'tan as their commander and that has merit but I've always found that they tend to get broken easily meaning they are off the board for the rally phase thus no reroll which can be terminal. The Warbarque by contrast doesn't phase out so as a commander is much better. Probably the most contentious thing in my essentials list so just experiment and decide for yourself.

Optional Units

This list is not to suggest these are bad options, I don't really think there are bad options in the approved Necrons, just that some options work better in general and with my style of play.

C'tan - technically there are two choices, the Deceiver and the Night Bringer but if you decide to bring a Night Bringer you will be the first person ever, kudos to you. Peoples run the Deceiver simply because he has a 4BP disrupt barrage backed by solid BC engagement making him super versatile. I used him extensively at the beginning and think he's great... But... As a Supreme Commander he's seriously sub par. It's all because of the phase out and my experience may be different to yours. Whenever I've played with or against him he inevitably gets broken every turn because he's such a big target and then the amount of times he doesn't rally really does taint my opinion. On a side note mine is particularly cursed because the amount of times my retelling of his role in a game ends in "and then he took a crit and exploded.." is legendary.... Experiment and see

Tomb complex - I didn't include one originally but I've come around to it because of the flexibility of being able to Marshall a unit through it turn 2 and reassemble them. Also I find that by its nature Necrons are aggressive and your blitz can be a long way away and easily exploited by fast forces like Orks and marines.

Destroyers - I've seen people's use them and I can see why, they are a good unit. It's just that in my build warriors and monoliths do everything I would ask of destroyers so I don't bother with them, you might think differently.

Abattoir and Aeonic Orb war engines - these things really are awesome, especially the Abattoir which has so much damage dealing potential... But to include one at 3000 points means no supreme commander, basically no AA and a fairly low activation count. All critical problems for me. So I'll include one in larger games but never at 3000 if I'm trying to make a rounded and competitive build.

So when you put it all together there are heaps of different list designs but they do all end up looking somewhat similar, it's the nature of the core Necron list. If you want variety go look at the Sautech Necron variant being produced on Taccoms, it's radically different and will give much more build flexibility. As an example I've included one of my current Necron builds here for reference.

Sample Build - 3000pts

6 Necron Warriors  - Necron Lord (225)
6 Necron Warriors  - Necron Lord (225)
6 Necron Warriors  - Necron Lord, 1 Immortal, 1 Pariah, 2 Tomb Spyders (425)

2 Monoliths / 2 Obelisks (275) 
2 Monoliths / 2 Obelisks (275) 
2 Monoliths / 2 Obelisks (275) 

6 Flayed Ones - Necron Lord, Tomb Spyder (275) 
6 Flayed Ones - Necron Lord, Tomb Spyder (275) 

Pylon (200) 
Pylon (200) 

Warbarque - Supreme Commander (350) 

So basically you have small warrior units for support/killing smaller formations. 7 Portals to allow for heaps of engagement opportunities, a solid BTS formation that should be able to give most things a solid thumping... Not a Warlord Titan though... Never a Warlord Titan... and 2 units of Flayed ones who can teleport in if needs be or just come through the portal to hit whatever looks squishy. Round out the build with a couple of pylons for solid AA and a warbarque for a bit of shooting, bit of portaling and a Sup Com that won't phase out and it looks solid to me! Also 11 activations which feels about right for Necrons. 

Final thoughts: what objectives should I focus on?

Break Their Spirit - you have the flexibility from teleporting and heaps of engagement that makes killing the enemy BTS possible, tricky if it's a fearless one but it's definitely a possibility. Be conscious though they the enemy will almost definitely go for yours. Yours doesn't need to be killed just broken in turn 3 and that counts which makes it one of the weakest BTS units in the game.

Hold the line - if you have a tomb complex it's much easier to hold the 3 home objectives, pylons can be good babysitters here too.

Take and hold - absolutely one I go for. To me rons are the opposite of guard and their objectives reflect this. The best for of defence is attack and and keep attacking because nobody does attrition like Necrons. Get up in their face and deliver your enemies a solid dose of freedom at point blank range.

They Shall Not Pass - Getting into the enemy's half of the table really shouldn't be a problem but it can be tricky hunting down all the random enemy stragglers that break and run into your half. See how you go.


Blitz - definitely one I'm going for every game, but always conscious of not losing mine in the process again the tomb complex makes this a bit easier.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Bring Them Down - Tackling AMTL Forces in Epic 40k

Bring them down!

How to beat a titan army… a few pointers to consider when fighting giant metal death bots in Epic
 A while back another gamer in the local crew wrote up an interesting article on constructing a Titan force for Epic 40k, having never played with or against them at that point I had a good solid read: Constructing a Titan Force

Then in the lead up to the aptly named “Titan’s tournament” held in Sydney this year there was a lot of talk going around that because of it’s name everyone should run a Titan… Ha Ha thought I, people say sill things. Then of course it dawned on me that I had zero experience against these lists so I theorhammered out the following guidelines to help me prep… worked out being well worth it, but more on that later. Below is just my general tips and guides for tackling armies comprised entirely of Titans. It seems to hold true for AMTL/Chaos/Ork lists but I’ll confess to having little idea about Eldar Titans. They operate on such a different level and thanks to their special rules really don’t suffer the weaknesses of the more traditional titan armies. Have a read and hopefully you will come away with some new thoughts, you are welcome to leave any you have in the comments section below!

Note that the lists I’ve mentioned are from players at the tournament (including mine) and can be found here:

Rule 1: Objective deployment or it’s GG - Titan armies are generally going to play across the table to minimise the run distance from one side to the other. They are generally going to put their blitz in the middle (or opposite yours if you have higher strat) because they can't run any faster... So if you have lower strat put your blitz as far away as possible and if you have higher make them play corners because it keep them that much further away which is a good thing!
The next step is to spread your objectives as wide as possible. Standard titan tactics is to put two objectives within 30cm of each other so that one titan can deal with both sooo if you have low strat put yours as far away from the one they deploy as possible. If you have high strat they may put theres 30cm away from yours, no problem, put the other one on the other side of the table 6 ft away and watch them have to decide which one they want to chase for the third one.. Also putting your first objective a few feet away from their blitz will cause them headaches too.

Rule 2: Kill the BTS - Killing the BTS is always a goal sure but if you are fighing a mixed troop/vehicle blob like mine it can be a real challenge to actually do this. You kill most of it, break it most likely it runs away and hides etc. Doubly difficult if it's a fearless thing and triple if there are other units in the army causing more grief than the BTS. Titans by contrast make the decision more binary. It will be a giant scary thing that is going to hurt you so you want to kill it anyway. So if you are looking at for example at Titan's list no 1 on WAU you will notice that the BTS is the 11xMacro2+ spewing death machine. Realistically you want that shit dead ASAP, it being the BTS is just a bonus so target the hell out of that one! With player 13's gargants the decision is a little more tricky because the BTS is soo much tougher than the normal gargants but nyah, it still needs to die if you have the tools. I think a battle report I read by Matt Shadowlord gave a really good perspective on this issue as well, check it out here:

Rule 3 - Watch your deployment. Consider the 11xMacro2+ spewing death machine I just mentioned, now consider the range of those guns. Given a cross the table standard deployment the closest you can be to your enemy is 90cms. That means if it wants to shoot into your deployment zone it needs to move on the double which is good for you. It also means that it has about 10cms from it's deployment spot to play with in determining what it can reach so unless something worth shooting at is basically sitting straight across the table those shots are wasted. Given the recharge it's only going to get 2 shots in a game so that's going to cause some grief. Now you could be silly and drive forwards so that it can just walk and shoot you, or really silly and garrison something valuable in front of it so that it can sustain but nobody is going to make that mistake... twice...
It's even worse for poor ol ork gargants where everything other than the reinforced boiler guys are even slower and literally can't reach into your deployment zone with a double move and 60cms of range so if you don't walk into their 90cm effective range they ain't doing much in the first turn...
This might sound like a dick move but remember that Titan's will just about always play for the attrition win (cos they have shields that recharge and you don't...) and will likely push hard for a 4th turn so don't feel guilty denying them in the first! Cuckold their assesses as you do donuts in your deployment zone. Or if you feel bad run forwards so that the Chaos reaver can drop 18 shots plus a double template into your unit, see if you feel better about that on your morale high horse... Remember they will pay you pack in turns 2-4 anyway!

Rule 4:Bring down dem shields - Speaking of shields, ain't they a fuck. the problem is that imperial void shields recharge every turn and can be almost instantly restored with a marshall action which really sucks. Best plan is to hammer the shit out of one titan until it's either dead or broken. Orky ones are different in that they are a real shit to break and/or kill because of the DC but at least their shields ain't coming back so hammer those things with every shot you can muster. When the smoke clears you may just find a payoff.

Rule 5 - If you can't beat em - Break em Ever noticed that Reaver Titan's only have 6DC, not so hard to put 6 blasties on one, especially if you have some disrupt guns etc but of course only after the shields have been stripped in rule 4. If like my Cadians you will quickly run out of guns that can do much to Reinforced 4+ just remember that even the humble sentinel with flashlight can put a blastie and do his part in ruining their day. A broken titan claims no objectives. Even easier with warhounds but a bit tougher with orkie ones.

Rule 6: Conserve your points - Titan armies have heaps of trouble winning on straight objectives. Your BTS is tough to get if you don't give it to them, the blitz is basically impossible. If you have spread your objectives they are going to really struggle capturing any of your's and keeping you out of their half is a nightmare. So there is a good chance it will come down to a points countoff which works in their favour because of the previously mentioned attrition issues. Best advice don't thrown stuff away. Those last two units from your big expensive unit carry the honour and pride (along with half the points) of that formation, time for a triple move away from those scary walking death machines. On the plus side that's a perfectly themey move! The counterpoint to this of course is that you will need to actually kill some of the enemy stuff, hunt down those small cheap activations of his, finish off that wounded monster, carpe jugulum.

Rule 7 -Shoot the littl-unz - Tempting as those big scary targets might be when you are a lowly gaurdsman with an autocannon can you actually do anything to them.... Would the emperor's ordinance be better spent hunting down those shiity robots at their feet which are just there to pad their activation count and give them something to use to contest your objectives at the crunch end of the game... hell yeah... so long as you aren't contravening rule 6 of course... Break them, kill them, get their points, ruin his activation count and don't feel guilty picking on the littlies... You know that to a Titan everything in your army looks puny and that isn't stopping them... In fact I'd imagine priority 1 for most Titan armies (looking at you 6 activation Chaos) is to reduce your activation count as fast as possible. As much as I love my my 14 activations I'm also well aware that the previously mentioned 18 shot chaos titan can take out pretty much anything in my army with one good volley, and I mean dead not just broken...

So how did the rules go under battlefield conditions?
I took my Cadian infantry focussed army down to Titans with a quiet hope that I would manage to dodge the armies comprised specifically of God machines…. Well that didn’t happen. I ended up drawing AMTL, Chaos Titans and finally Gargants! A great opportunity for a field test then. I was pondering what the odds were of this occurring and got this fantastic response from someone good at maths!
 If there were 16 players , 3 Titan lists and making the assumption that you can't play with yourself then the odds are about 2729 to 1 .... sounds a little suspicious Steve
So I guess we’ll put that down to fate then eh… Random draw and all…
I’m pleased to say though that the rules stood up fairly well. Here’s a brief rundown of each of the 3 games. The lists are available from the link above if you would like reference.

Game 1 – AMTL
So objectives went down exactly as predicted, AMTL BTS in the middle, mine on the extreme left, double AMTL objectives in the middle 30cms apart, mine on the outside edges etc. My plan however didn’t go so well. Deathstrikes managed to fire in turn 1 but with 1 missing I ended up doing 3 shield hits on a reaver which it marshalled back immediately… damn… so much for killing the BTS! With that in mind I went straight to plan B. Kill what I can and try not to die. Managed to bring down a warhound and take out 3 units of support robot things so that worked out ok (though the Automaton rule caught me out! No blast markers for kills changes a lot!) and I was largely playing for points at the beginning of the third. I found the titans would just marshall back any shield damage I did and I just didn’t have enough shots to do more. In the end I won 2-0 which was a  minor miracle. My opponent made 1 tiny error in turn 3 with a warhound guarding his blitz, I managed to break the thing and then get a unit of stormtroopers on foot who had walked across the entire board under the nose of a reaver to jump in and grab it. It wasn’t the plan but it worked anyway! Beyond that I would have been ok on points having focussed on finishing off whatever I could and just running everything that couldn’t do damage away to hide. Titan’s do play hide and seek pretty well though.

Game 2 –  Chaos Titans
An interesting list that is currently being reviewed quite extensively. In this game the rules worked well. Deathstikes and a Shadowsword had the BTS smouldering by the end of Turn 1 and from then on I just absorbed the casualties that were dished out and focussed on conserving points and objectives. The objectives were placed almost identically to game 1 and in the End I won 4-0 because I just had more battlefield presence than the chaos who were down to 2 Reavers with no real support.

Game 3 – Gargants
Damn that’s a lot of DC across the board… I looked at what I had available and immediately gave up on taking down the Great Gargant. The plan was to go for a 2-0 with objectives. As previously the objectives were placed in basically the same spots. I used deathstrikes to take down most of 1 smaller Gargant (who later died to combined fire) and used my shadowsword/leviathan on the extreme flank to snipe the third almost to death. That basically just left a Great Gargant with the choice to make a run for the Blitz OR go for my BTS OR try and take the two ork objectives in the middle. Without support options he couldn’t do more than 1 of those jobs. In the end he just sat in the middle of the table. My fast elements (Valkyries) all died to various ork rocket attacks so I failed miserably to take out the ork Blitz but managed to snatch the two on the sides and contest the middle. End of the game it was a 1-0 to the Guard and a count back on points which I came out ahead on thanks to having killed 1.5 gargants and losing less points (though far more bases!) worth of my stuff.

Overall I reckon the rules work pretty well, especially the objective placement and conserving VP ideas. Whether you have the tools to take the BTS down is more situational but it’s no reason not to try!

Happy Titan Killing!