Sunday, January 31, 2016

Astra Militarum Enginseers for the win!

So I was skimming through the Imperial Guard Codex and realized there were a couple of interesting tidbits in there that I hadn't seen used, but that could be very useful.

The codex allows you to take Regimental Advisors and they don't take up any Force organization slots (though their battlefield role is that of an HQ).  Engenseers are kind of an interesting unit.  People rarely take them, but they have an ability called Awaken the Machine.  Any one vehicle within 12" can gain Power of the Machine Spirit!

Imagine that you take three Regimental Advisors and they are Enginseers.  What could be the benefits?

Hail Hydra!

Three Hydras or Wyverns in a unit could fire at six different targets!  Imagine being able to split up their fire and forcing 3-6 Jinks on three different Flying Monstrous Creatures or the like.  Or perhaps landing barrages on a large number of units.  This not only saves the other two Heavy Support Slots for things, but doesn't make you regret not taking more of them in some games where the board gets flooded with such things.  Daemon Flying Circus type lists could learn to dislike what the Enginseer is doing for this unit!  Better still, if you move at Combat speed, since Hydras and Wyverns aren't fast, their firepower reduce considerably.  The Enginseers make the unit more mobile and able to move away from danger without losing as many shots!  This is an important point!

Cornered Like a Rat

When the Manticore gets cornered by drop units, what better way to say I love you than keeping your eyes downfield and pummeling what must be pummeled while still being able to bring the Heavy flamer to bear on the drop unit right next to it?

All Guns...FIRE!

Leman Russ's are often fielded with just their cannon because the ordinance rule stops the tanks from actually firing a second weapon anyways.  The Enginseer lets you fire down on the hordes while lancing something with your LasCannon, which makes the tank a dual threat again

The Taurox Prime (specifically) is an excellent vehicle and there are tims when you do wish you could afford to mix the weapons on it but its impractical.  The Taurox Prime Battle Cannon and the Autocannon it can wield form a pretty good tandem for killing vehicles but there's times when you'd love to unleash TL STR 4 AP 3 on a unit that's threatening to charge while still able to take your shot at a downfield vehicle.  The Enginseers would allow you to mix in the Volley Gun with the Battle Cannon so you'd have a "close support gun" type of a situation on the Taurox Prime and not have to waste the Battle Cannon on the nearby Marines.  In fact this really goes for any IG vehicle where you have a Long range weapon and a closer range one.  Once someone gets close to you, you kind of get forced to choose rather than being able to use both weapon to their respective strengths.

Waste Not, Want not

The Vendetta rarely takes the Heavy Bolter Sponsons because it always ends up snap firing one as flyers can fire only four weapon in a round.  Typically those would be the three Lascannons and so two Heavy Bolters that you pay for ends up being one, plus a snap shot on another.  Is that terrible?  A discussion for a different time but with the Enginseer anywhere within 12", you'll get the full use of that expenditure.

At the end of the day this ignores the ability the Enginseer has to repair your actual Hull points and/or Immobilized/Weapon destroyed results which is what most people think about in regards to the Enginseer.

From Hell's Heart, I Stab at Thee!

The Enginseer has other virtues.  His is not typically going to be in a frontline combat role.  However he can take objectives for you like any unit and he's tougher than most guardsman with a 3+ save.  His Servitors have a 4+ save which is pretty good.  This little unit can pump out a little pain on the charge.  The Enginseer has an odd combination of weapons.  He comes with a Specialist Servo Arm and a non-specialist Power Axe +Pistol.  So you can use either one but he's going last regardless.  So on the charge you probably want to make use of the Servo arm and perhaps not in subsequent rounds just to keep your number of attacks as high as they can be.  He and a unit of servitors will always swing last but they have the potential to throw out 12 STR 6 AP 1 attacks on the charge.  That's pretty far from terrible if you're forced to defend the Machines from assaulty interlopers.  They can sport a pair of Plasma Cannons in the unit which also is far from terrible.

A full on unit of these is 120 points and bring two Plasma Cannon to the party plsu all their assault ability.  That's really economical firepower and with a lot of support for the armor that goes beyond just hoping there's enough left of a vehicle to even fix.  The added mobility it gives the list and the extra firepower it allows seem pretty great outcomes for a unit that contributes in both the melee phase and the shooting phase as well.

If you are one who really likes armored corps, I'd rather have a unit of these around my vehicles to protect them than 100 point vet squad with Meltaguns.  The Enginseers unit will have superior range and deadly firepower just like the Vets and they wont die as quickly.  They are a serious threat in melee and even though stronger units will wipe them out, that would have been true of the vets too, so you're not LOSING anything against those.  But you're gaining a lot against midline assault units or worse.

Militarum Tempestus stuff to read, click here!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Aun'Va, Master of the Undying Spirit

Certain units get buried in their codex by the aesthetic of others.  Simply put, people like the way certain models look more, so they are quite willing to play them before they play other, potentially more intriguing options.  The rule of cool is alive and well in Warhammer 40,000 and I got no problem with it, frankly.

That said, I want to talk about a guy who gets super buried.  Aun'Va, Master of the Undying Spirit is so incredibly good that I am stunned at the vitriol and sometimes just casual downright indifference he receives when people talk about the Codex:  Tau Empire.  I love taking him.

First, I think there is some misunderstanding that might be part of peoples perception.  I have seen it said on very large forums by people who seemingly play the army that they thought Aun'Va consisted of three Ethereals and thus could cost you three Victory Points once he dies.  Read again my hoov'd friends.  The unit consists of Aun'Va and two Ethereal Guard (not Ethereals) that have their own Special Rules which do not include Failure is Not An Option.  When people playing this codex, and one assumes reading it, are getting it wrong it's no wonder the internet at large doesn't make the distinction.  So I thought I'd make sure people were clear on that.

Anywho.  Here's why I love Aun'Va:

Reason 1:

100 points!  I mean for 100 points you normally can't expect much.  Most HQ's at 100 points are minor characters at best.  Space Marine Captains, bare bones, are 90 and they don't do NEARLY as much for your force until you bulk them up something serious.   They don't come with (effectively) 7 wounds.  They don't come stock with 4 STR 5 attacks.  Space Marine Captains never even thought of being as cool as Aun'Va at 100 points.

I mean shop around and find me a 100 point character that does as much and gives you as much.  He has to be top 3 for the points you pay.  There may be a couple other ones I also think highly of at this points level, but not many.  The Autarch comes immediately to mind as a contender.

Reason 2:  

Warlord Traits.  The Tau Empire get the ability to spend an entire round as an army going to ground with impunity.  3+ saves in ruins for a round, 4+ in forests and so on.  Whatever.  Then they pop right back up again and act as if they never went to ground!  Let me put this Warlord Trait in another light for you.  It grants the entire army stealth for a round only its better than that because it actually stacks with stealth and they can decide to do it any time they want once per game.  How stupid good is that?  Way stupid good.  Need more for 100 points?  Tough crowd.  Luckily there is more.

Reason 3:

He grants your entire army Twin-linked morale.  WHUUUUUUUUUT.  Yeah he does!  How many awesome things can 100 points do for an army? But wait, there's more.  He doesn't just twin-link morale army wide, but he also can give everyone within 12" Stubborn.  Now this actually can be a bad thing depending on the situation, and what do you know?  He can turn Calm of Tides OFF when it will be a bad thing!  This plays big against certain armies. To wit:  Haemonculous Cover, Dark Eldar, Harlequins, Eldar, and anyone else who can mess with leadership in general.  Leadership is generally understood to be a weakness for  the Tau Empire and you don't like a guy who heals that wound up for you?Melee isn't the only place Tau get forced to make morale checks and having them stand their ground when under heavy fire?  Priceless for retribution fire

Reason 4:  

You already have to take a leader. It isn't as if you won't be.  Commander Batlesuits aren't cheap, especially after you trick them out.  Need to squeeze that little extra into the list?  Aun'Va, Master of the Undying Spirit is your man.

Reason 5:  

Storm of Fire.  He's better than the Fireblade because this doesn't require him to be stationary and it's a 12" bubble that allows all Tau Empire pulse weaponry to fire one extra shot when within half their normal range.  Even Kroot and Sniper Drones.  Sniper Drones in particular can let loose a hail of pulse weapons fire at considerable range (24").  4 Sniper rounds per drone?  Sounds good to me.  That's 5 Rends, and 10 normal wounds against anything.  In what world does that suck?  There is a laundry list of things that don't want any part of that!  Fire Warriors/Breachers and Cadre Fireblades can form deadly hedgehogs with the combined power of Aun'Va.

Reason 6:

Those same 90 point Captains also don't get a second save!  Ever.  Under any circumstances!  They certainly don't stand up to melta fire like Aun'Va can.  After he has failed a save, he gets a second one that is equal to the AP of the weapon.  Simply fantabulous.

Now let's be fair.  Even though I've suggested that Aun'Va cures cancer, there are a couple of downsides worth mentioning.  At the beginning I pointed out that the enemy does indeed get a Victory Point for killing Aun'Va.  I don't consider this to be  a small thing.  I just don't find it a compelling reason to rob your entire army of an infinitely useful upgrade, and his unit does take punishment well from afar.  If danger is close, things aren't shifting in the right direction at this point anyways.  Aun'Va's unit can even charge and win against squishier units in close combat.. The (one) Victory Point thing is a fact though and worth mentioning, even if only for intellectual integrity.  I still take him.  I can count on two fingers the times his death was THE reason I didn't win and both of those were ties at the time, so in a sense I had not won the game one way or the other anyways.  If you get a tie and lose because of Aun'Va it was pretty unlikely with a tie that you were going to be wearing the tournament crown at the end anyways.

Aun'Va does not join units (though I have joined a Commander to Aun'Va before) and if you are attempting the Fish of Fury theme, you have to leave Aun'Va behind.  Devilfish's are...comfy affairs that do not transport Bulky units.  You can still use him, in theory, by running him behind the wall of Devilfish's but...  Would I?  Would you?  Meh.


Whether it's the rule of cool, past history with Ethereals being so negative, or just an oversight I do hope my exhortations here will lead you to appreciate Aun'Va and his contribution to a Tau Empire force.