Monday, December 10, 2012

The Wraithbone sings in anticipation

One does not want to make oneself seem as if one is only a one trick pony.  Some have suggested that Tony Kopach, the reknowned Warhammer championship level player could not do what he does with any other army.  He "sees the field" so well from the vantagepoint of his Thunderwolf Cavalry or the visors of his Grey Hunter Spamalotiness that he would simply be incapable of winning with anything else at the level he does.

Hey, going with what works is the orthodox aproach to take when you're paying good money to go to these events am I right?  But then, this isn'tthe land of the orthodox here is it?


So since I know that Sisters of Battle can bring me home the hardware, it's time now to see what other 6E concoctions will get me there.  Obviously we want something that defies the norm and uses tools not always talked about as much.  Enter my new Army.  The rough outline is as follows:

Autarch (Mandiblaster, Power Weapon, Fusion Gun, Warp Generator)

Farseer (Guide, Doom, Runes of neener neener)

Aegis Defense Line (Quad Gun)

D-Cannon battery (3 Cannons)

3 Dark Reapers (Tempest Launcher, Crack Shot, Fast Shot)

3 Dark Reapers (Tempest Launcher, Crack Shot, Fast Shot)

3 Jetbikes (Cannon upgrade)

3 Jetbikes (Cannon upgrade)

3 Jetbikes (Cannon upgrade)

10 Guardians (Eldar Missile launcher)

7 Striking Scorpions (Chainfisted leader)

8 Warp Spiders (Powerbladed Dualgun leader, Withdraw)

8 Warp Spiders (Powerbladed Dualgun leader, Withdraw)

8 Warp Spiders (Powerbladed Dualgun leader, Withdraw)

First, a few observations:  There is exactly ONE Melta Weapon in the whole lot.  This sets the list apart from a majority of lists on its own.  Secondly, it has zero vehicles.  It is a Footdar army.  Eldar are often characterized by their long range fusilades from Warwalkers, and their high AP.  This list does pack some decent AP weaponry, but not on the scale Eldar usually do, nor on typical platforms.  The D-Cannons are the only actual AP 2 threats in the list and they do tend to scatter and are plagued by 24" range which isn't too awesome.  In fact the entire army has incredibly short range for the most part.

Yet I think this list has scary potential.  When you look at list construction abstractly, you find out that there are some easily identifiable parts to a list that are needed to succeed.  They are:

Anti-LandRaider unit (Generally Melta variety weapons, though Scourges and EMP or similar systems can also be used).
General Anti-Armour (large numbers of grenades are exceedingly effective, but this can also include the plethora of STR 7, Rending, Powerfists and other tools for wiping Rhinos and Predators).
Anti-Horde (Sheer volume of fire, and the poor hordes of the world mourn its veritable proliferation)
Anti-Terminator (Just one unit is usually needed to soften them over the course of a couple rounds, and typically this is plasma or something similar)
Anti-Power Armor (Which can be through volume or through AP, or even melee)
Objective taking (Speed kills, peaches!)

So those are the pieces you want to have when you are building a list for success.  The real trick is in evaluating, based on the strategy you will use, how much of any one thing you really need, and also identifying where the areas of overlap can be so that your list will be more efficient.

In this case I built the list to exactly that list of needs.

For the LandRaider, I have sent my brave Autarch to bust it open with the help of the Bright Lance.  This may seem a very small amount but consider my real motivation:  I want whatever is inside to be outside.  Right?  So if I fail to kill it, while a bummer, the stuff inside is sure to come out and play with the prospect of a Warlord kill.  So I kind of get what I want either way.  Since my Warp Spider bodyguard unit can withdraw, it scarcely matters if I get charged; for now the enemy that charged me will be in the open.  I can then split the leader off to try again on the Raider, while the Spiders shoot the contents with their brethren.

Anti-Armour:  This list features a huge number of STR 6 shots, all of which are easily capable of reaching the side arcs of any tank they desire.  Put simply, this list does not fear armour generally.  There is less mechanization in the world these days and so fortunately I won't have to commit alot of effort to that task in more than half the games I'll play, but the army is absolutely filled with competence at this job.  Literally every unit can destroy the sides of more conventional tanks.  Leman Russ's are one area of concern because against a savvy opponent, I will really struggle to pop the 13 side armor on those things.  This is a potential weakness for the list since Leman Russ's tend to come in packs.  The one way to handle that is to force the tank through use of the terrain and movement to turn one way or the other and expose its rear.  Meanwhile I'll need to keep myself spread out in circular deployment until that problem is resolved.  I will acknowledge though that a large grouping of LeMan Russ's would be a real test for the list and perhaps I will seek such a force out as my first test.  That being one of 16 codex's I might face, at least I know I won't see them every round in a tournament in that configuration!

Anti-horde ability just comes purely down to the number of shots you can project.  This army not only projects a lot of shots (and at VERY high STR), but typically will have the initiative when doing so and Warp Generators extend the effective range ofthe weapons from a defensive standpoint.  Due to premeasuring, I can see where your maximum move+ fire distance is and can place myself at its edge and wait like a hunter in the grass.  Or I can just deep strike and outflank quite suddenly, wiping out the front line and then jumping back and prepaing to do it again.

Anti-Terminator duty:  This is where the D-Cannons can shine.  They are simply ruthless weapons, the bane of any multiwound model since they instakill on a 6.  They are Barrage so they can snipe characters.  They obviously work great against the threat of Deep Striking clumped up Terminators and similar threats, especially if they're not in tree cover or some other form of cover.  As a close defense weapon, you can't really find one that's better than a D-Cannon battery.  Whatever doesn't die from its blasts will still have to contend with the Guardian and other fire in the backfield.  We all know that Terminators only really can be finished off through volume of fire anyways.

The horror that this list brings is in its anti-Power Armor ability.  At this there are going to be few armies that can match it.  The Tempest Launchers and Reaper Cannons, The D-Cannons, the Autarch and the Guardian Bright lance and so so so many shots at short range (an area of overlap in the list since volume works against all unit types and the str of the weapon is unusually high making it ideal for blowing through FnP and so on) are just ridiculous in their efficacy.  That I can ignore cover and re-roll failed to wound rolls with the Tempest Launcher is really the scary aspect of it.  That I can snipe with 9 small blast templates in a first round means that any independent character should fear for his life.  The First Blood and Warlord points are easier to get with this list.  So is linebreaker. 

In single objective games it will never be enough for an opponent to control their own objective against me, forcing them into the teeth of my guns.  In the multi-objective games, my army has the speed to steal objectives with alacrity and conviction, and enough high value targets to keep you from ignoring them entirely in favor of my troops (and my troops will often be in reseve anyways).  In kill point missions, I am exposed somewhat because Eldar are squishy and there are 14 fairly small units out there that concentrated fire can eleiminate one at a time.  However to be fair, I also have all three Fast and Heavy slots filled, and so my number of scoring units is very high and very mobile in the missions Big Guns Never Tire and the mission The Scourging.  So I am well equipped for those missions.  In the case of the Heavy support, I stand a relatively good chance of not losing them unless i'm facing a drop army, but in the case of the Scourging, my special abilities are very good for avoiding the unit wipe on the fast attacks (I have withdraw, AND I have the Warp Generators!). 

I feel like the army can compete extrmely well, but the proof is in the pudding.  I will begin practicing with this army and we will see if I can master it.  Come back here later for updates.


  1. It is. It has seen two games now and in both, the army put severe damage on the enemy while relatively speaking taking little in return. In the first game it was a win. The opponent is a good General I have faced many times and he is a multiple tourney champ, including my own Ambassadorial tournament. He played a Chaos Space Marine army with a slanesh bent to it. The firepower of my units was overwhelming to him and my mobility really disallowed him from sitting back. He had to come for me and knew it and once he did I could encircle him.

    In the second game it was a loss. I lost two Jetbike units, all the Warp Spiders (the saves were just not there for them and they epically failed on their landing, taking 5 wounds just from terrain!) my Autarch (fter it imobilized the Land raider) and the Scorpions (who killed a Psyker Battle Sqaud and a Punisher tank before succumbing). It was the scourging Mission. It was mostly just a tactical lapse on my part that lost the game. He really had only killed Two Warp Spider units, the autarch and my Scorpions until the last round, so Overall I was very pleased with the outcome. He was down to 3 models, an immobilized Land Raider stuck in his backfield and two empty Vindettas. The Vindettas really made the difference in the game. As you can see, the list does not have excellent answers to flyers (which is true of many lists right now unless they want to go in for the Defense line or allies). None of the six objectives ended up being a Skyfire nexus which was also unfortunate, because going in to the last turn, I literally controlled all the objectives save one (and that one was where the tactical error occurred). I sort of beat myself in that game by not moving one of my bike units to the higher point objective. There were multiple reasons to do it but I just didn't, basically and that was the game rigth there. He astuitely had hidden his Vindettas in ongoing reserve to make a last dash at the objectives and just managed enough damage to get it done. I ended withy Slay the Warlord and Line Breaker. he ended with Slay the Warlord and First Blood which oddly he did not get until the end of turn 2. that doesn't happen too often.

    I will consider an Aegis Line in exchange for a Jetbike unit and perhaps a Reaper upgrade. I have to ponder that but it seems GW has succeeded in forcing my hand. The Flyer rules are simply too impressive to overcome with volume, even volume as great as I can bring with this force (though I did get 2 glances on one and a glance o nthe other, so it was close). I am pretty deeply disappointed by that though. I really don't like the aegis line and fortifications in general. I feel it adds a sameness to every list which is kind of boring. Everyone and their mother has one. How is it that every battlefield you go to has two of these in postion, ready to go? So WIERD right? Lol. I guess the role player in me just hates the unrealistic way that makes battlefields look and even makes some armies fight. But I see no reasonable alternative. Its nearly a straight up Firepower swap between the bikes and the cannon, only the line has more special rules, more shots and can't score. So it isn't the firepower issue that bothers me. Its just the principle of the thing. But principles will have to take a back seat to efficacy, methinks.

  2. Correction, the Autarch Stunned the Land Raider. it immobilized itself later. Lol.

  3. Landraider 0
    Difficult terrain 2

  4. Yup. Those Crazy crazy Raiders. Always looking for an excuse for their crews to loaf about.

  5. Okay I have updated the list to include the Quad gun and the Aegis Defense Line. Le Sigh.

    The good news is, the essential function of the list still works and the Firepower was upgraded just slighly. I have an interesting tactic I might try with that Aegis too. I have never seen anyone do it but from my reading of how obstacles like that work, it could be hilarious. I'll try it and maybe blog about it afterwards if it has the desired effect over thecourse of games. Plus it'll give me time to delve ino the rules and make sure I am not missing something.

  6. It has been my experience that a Land Raider is going to fail a difficult terrain test. It never fails, and the real question is why dozer blades aren't an option to take? Is it to protect the reputation of the LR?

  7. I think its because a dozer blade makes no sense on a land raider. Look at how people exit the vehicle. It's not very practical to put a Dozer there. Imagine what would happen to the dozer when those doors opened. Lol.

    The immobilization affected the game very little, but it was certainly just "one more thing" to be frustrated about". The crushing amount of damage I was able to cause really made the Land Raider just icing on the cake.

    It felt in every way like a win, but wasn't. I need to get more games in, perhaps Tuesday and Saturday. I will try and play a variety of opponents and report back here on what happens next.

  8. Oh, in the 41st Millennium I'm sure they could figure out some manner of hydraulics or other 'magix' to safely mitigate difficult terrain without blocking the front exit of a Land Raider. Because Murphy's Law dictates that a Land Raider will never, ever, fail a difficult terrain test and immobilize where you 'want' or 'need' it.

    The most majestic tank employed by Imperial Forces (so much so, that it has it's own 'spirit'), and yet it is not provided a piddly measure that even lowly Rhinos can equip for a mere 5 points...

    I'm not bitter.

  9. You don't seeem bitter.

    But you know there's only one way to overcome the bitterness you in no way are feeling right now. Fight mah! Fight mah if ya caaaahn!

    Seriously. We need to fight now. Its for your own good. A Tension filled life is no life at all. You gotta just get that aggression out...slap a few Eldar silly maybe?

  10. I really want to, but work calls :(. I need to get a game in and shake off these cobwebs. Let me talk to the Boss, and see if whats happening this weekend!

  11. Now here's a question for you. Having played successfully against a smaller Warp Spider heavy forces before with, I think with Space Wolves...How would you defeat my force?

  12. It depends on the scenario, but for the most part I would attempt to remove your force multiplier(s), then your troops! I outlined my list and thoughts about in the following blog post;

  13. Excellent I will check that out. My Farseer is the only real multiplier, and he is in a hard core unit to try and kill (tough 7, 2 wounds, 3+ saves on the guns and of course you know how artillery works). But I'll read your post and see whats up.

  14. The force multiplier would be, I assume, the Farseer since the Farseers "power" is basically unstoppable. The Farseers impact is mostly dedicated to his artillery unit and his unit doesn't need him to be good but he does make them GREAT. So a wise choice to try and end him.

    I assume the whirlwind would be the sniping tool of choice against the list I created. It's a good weapon in general and certainly ideal against lightly armored forces like mine. Taking out the Whirlwind would be an important.goal made tougher on me by the fact it will have no intention of ever being in line of sight and safely ensconced behind an Aegis Defense line if I dont miss my guess. Good show!

    I feel the Dreadnought will be hands down the biggest threat and I suspect the Eldar Artillery will have all eyes on it as it arrives! If it is left to its own devices it will never allow me to free myself up to kill those troops. The Reapers are another story though. Collectively my army is ideally suited to kill masses of Marines and in turn your force is quite excellent at attacking massed infantry. An excellent contest then!

    Speaking of troops, your flamers would be hideously effective against a foot army. They would need to be stopped in round 2 and 3 with authority. The scatter deity must shine on me just a little in order to give my force any chance. The Marines MUST charge relentlessly forward because they cannot stay back and take the artillery beating. However the sheer number of Space marine bodies is daunting and collectively they may lose many men but when they finally arrive they will do damage and are superior in every way that matters to my own troops in hand to hand combat. My initiative is not going to hep me much given I am STR 3.

    Did I miss anything?

  15. That was awesome. It leaves me wanting to play a game!

  16. Looks like it would be a good matchup. And sopuldn't you know it, I dont work on Wednesday/


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