Friday, January 17, 2014

Warp Talons

I was asked to comment on how to include Warp Talons into a Night Lords force as was described earlier at the link below:

Far be it from me to be short winded!  As for Warp Talons:  Not seen a lot, but let's look at how to use them.

The Trade Off For Ones Soul

First the bitter truth:  infested by Daemons, they gain the 5+ invulnerable save that marks the evil within.  Warp Talons stand up better to Eldar/Rending shooting than other units because they are Daemons.  They fare no better against shooting in general.  So the points can be difficult to swallow.

Oh Favored Son, Receive thy Reward

People underestimate the idea of two Gifts of Mutation.  That can be really big also.  Warp Talon champions can get that to start the game.  It can make a champion quite good, and as the killing begins, they can become special characters unto themselves.  They are likely to do some killing.  Nearly all of the Gifts of Mutation Boons are pretty awesome and rarely not useful.

Warpflame Strike

If you Deep Strike, this ability happens.  Let's face it, the reason to take them is their ability to BLIND everything within 6", forcing Initiative tests on them or be boned in the shooting phase (reduced to BS 1).  This is a very good answer to some important armies.  Necrons, some Tau and all Orks dislike this feature greatly and they are susceptible to it.  Other armies are no more fond of it, though they may weather it better.  It will hit a pretty darn fair number of units if they have clustered away from you.  Enemies that like to shoot often will, which is the purpose of this unit.  Consider the effective radius:  6 inches from the base.  2 bases wide center.  All directions.  It's cool.

BUT...  you must deep strike with balls of steel to make it a worthwhile effort.  If you possess such testicles, you may find that it is a VERY effective way to hammer the Tau Marker lights and, by extension, the entire army for a round.  Intercept, as well as all other shooting to the end of their NEXT round is affected so it can also help protect Heldrakes.

There are a number of challenges to be overcome.

1.  Talons are 13 points per model more expensive.  You can get basically 43% more Raptors.  That's not a small issue.  The Marks are even more expensive to get, for no apparent reason.  You really have to decide first and foremost whether more Raptors might not be the better answer.  However, if you want to make them work, read on.

2.  Not every enemy unit requires power weapons to kill and at AP 3 it's kind of not even useful against the ones who need heavier duty weapons like Terminators.  Having said that, I promise that a 4 attack Raptor charge will net you some results, Lightning claws or no Lightning Claws.  Winning and sweeping the enemy is usually the goal, not unnecessary creating an unnecessary pile of wounds though.

3.  ...and when its not the goal to cause crazy numbers of wounds, charging and staying in combat is a goal, which Lightning claws wont help you do.

Let's take a unit of 6 Nurgle Warp Talons and make them work for you.  About 214 points (plus any Gifts of Mutation) but let's see if we can make it happen.

"You ask for miracles?  I give you Warp Talons"

You may wish to deploy all your units on the table to start the game and maybe not play the reserve game with the rest of the Raptors.  You'll need the backup when the Talons show up in round 2 or possibly 3 but not before then.  Large units are a lot harder to fit in on Deep Strikes and mishaps as I have proven can be exceedingly costly to your chances so safe landing zones are a good idea.  Above all, you'll need the sphincter necessary, because you REALLY gotta land that unit CLOSE to enemies in order to make this count.  No fear. 

There are things you can do to help with that.  This may be one of the more interesting stratagems I have worked on in a while and you have to rely on a bit of luck to make this work as well as it CAN work.  But if it works…  It will be glorious tribute and many skulls for the skull throne.  How?

The Dimensional Key (read up on it so this will make sense), which would be the perfect tool for using Talons, makes all deep strikes flawless.  Once activated, the character with it need survive no longer for it to continue.  .  Unfortunately, it has two drawbacks:  You have to charge ASAP to ensure it works on time and you must try to hold reserves one more round if it goes to turn 2 before he kills someone.  That's a lot of list tailoring.  To do this you must:

1.  Infiltrate the leader.  That means taking Huron Blackheart into the list because his Warlord Trait guarantees at minimum that your Chaos Lord carrying the Dimensional Key can leach the life blood from a victim in time.  If fortunate, he will be able to take a bodyguard  unit with him, but we must assume the worst if we want a good enough plan.
2.  You need to go first.  No one can charge in the first turn, normally.  Therefore, going first is kind of important.
3.  You'll need a Palanquin to keep him from dying, hiding as close to the enemy as possible and ready to charge round 2.
4.  If the leader fails to charge, a Comms Relay almost becomes mandatory.  Assuming the worst, take the Comms Relay to ensure you can modify when things come in.

So let's see what that does to the list:

 Huron BlackHeart

Chaos Lord (Dimensional Key, Burning Brand of Skalathrax, Mark of Nurgle, Palanquin of Nurgle, Power Fist)

5 Chaos Marines (Flamer)
5 Chaos Marines (Flamer)
5 Chaos Marines
5 Chaos Marines

Rhino (Dirge Caster)
Rhino (Dirge Caster)
Rhino (Dirge Caster)
14 Nurgle Raptors (2 Meltaguns, Gift of Mutation+Sword+Meltabomb on Champion)
14 Nurgle Raptors (2 Meltaguns, Gift of Mutation+Sword+Meltabomb on Champion)
6 Nurgle Talons
70 Aegis Defense Line (Comms Relay)
Land Raider (Dozer Blade, Dirge Caster)

The List, Explained Further

We know what our objective is.  We know we have to start as close as possible.

The Land Raider will allow us a second way to get up on the enemy if they seem likely to advance and also a way to protect troops, bringing a Dirge Caster forward reliably in any event and providing cover to the rhinos which can hide in its shadow pretty easily.  Huron will be inside of course.  A  a Chariot befitting a Warlord and bringing him up will only encourage the enemy to either fire at it or face his wrath…  Unfortunately for the enemy, a similar choice as the Chaos Lord presents.  It has all kinds of value.

The Aegis should be placed midfield (writers note: no longer allowed in 7E).  It will provide the Rhinos excellent cover on the approach and let's call the kettle black:  you'll be at midfield or forward of it most of the game with most of the army.  There is no reason to slow your own army down by placing the Aegis farther back.

Keep in mind that the Warp Talons are there for causing a problem for armies that don’t advance (meaning gun line type forces).  Against any other, we need not worry nearly as much.  Warp Talons are an excellent X Factor against run of the mill assault units and if they choose to come at you, all the better.  Shooting armies are the primary concern for the Warp Talons.  The less shooty the enemy, the less pressing getting this strategy off will be.  So keep in mind that we are WAY ahead of the curve when using Warp Talons when we aren't facing such forces.  We prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

The Chaos Lord has the Brand.  It has the Torrent rule.  Use it to kill the second closest squad to the leader when he moves forward, not the closest (reasoning:  he will gladly accept the assault of a closer unit that much sooner to activate the Key).  In the case of Tau, that will ensure that defensive fire is minimized.  The Chaos Lord has a lot of wounds and is tough 5, but he's not immortal (yet).  So we must needs take care not to see him ended before his bloody business is through.

Having so little in the way of down the field fire is going to be the primary weakness of this list, and so stealth, use of terrain and the Land Raider to cover the approach and the Rhinos is key.

With this list, you will have to select the Land Raiders/Hurons target with care.  Anything with STR 10 weaponry is the target (T5 models with multiple wounds dislike STR 10).  If nothing falls under that category, you should be able to pull this off.

Once the dimensional Key goes off from the Chaos Lord killing a victim, any bleeding victim, He makes movement difficult for the enemy, and makes your deep strikes Pinpoint accurate.  Then who can stop you?

The Warp Talon drops in flawlessly (or the Comms Relay tries to hold them one round longer and then drops them in flawlessly!) and forces the Blinding check.  Those who fail lose their WS and BS (to a 1), and must face the onslaught of a melee oriented army with that both when charged… and their next turn thanks to Warpflame Strike.  Bon apatite

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1 comment:

  1. Great read. Been reading your stuff on dakka as well. Thank you so much :D


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