Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Unlocking Sisters Repentia

The elites choices of the Adepta Sororitas might have been one of the most epic fails in Games Workshop design history.  These are terrific looking models, that have absolutely not seen their day in court.

In the Beginning...

In the Witch Hunters Codex, they were FAR too expensive to justify, especially considering that Arco-flagellants were available and pretty awesome once you learned how to use them.

In the White Dwarf Codex that came afterwards, the Arco-Flagellants ceased to be part of the Elites slot, and ceased to be elite for that matter.  Assassins disappeared entirely from the Codex.  That left the Elites slot with Celestians, and Sisters Repentia, basically.  However in the White Dwarf codex, their cost came down and they essentially gained the ability that Wulfen now have:  Once per game their Act of Faith was that upon dying, they still got their attacks.  This made them far more appetizing to use, and I suddenly took interest..  Getting them across the board was a big challenge and that in turn made me start to see that a mechanized Sisters of Battle Force was sadly going to be the way of the future.  Having said that I was able to get them to many fights at the end of 5E and into early 6E using the expedient of armored walls to protect them on the way in and sheer numbers.

Even this was more or less too expensive, and 6E ushered in a whole lot of things that made Sisters Repentia fade in excellence again.

Finally, a new actual codex came and with it yet another points cost reduction for Sisters Repentia, but the same dearth of options in the Elites slot as before.  After decades of futility it is small wonder that Sisters Repentia have seen little or no interest by the generals of the Adepta Sororitas.  With tools in your force like Dominion and Exorcists dominating the points expenditures, and Celestians being a complete joke in the new codex (yet again) the Sisters Repentia now stand as really your only true choice in the Elites slot.  I can count on one hand how many people I have seen field them... and I only need two fingers on that hand to do so.

I did however have a day in the sun using the White Dwarf version and so I set about finding a way to make use of this unit now.  I have discovered the way to do it.

The Secret Combination

The combination you need to turn this into a truly terrifying unit is affordable and explodable (meaning it can separate when appropriate when going second to take objectives or to disassemble when the unit is weak to join other units and maintain utility even beyond the life of the Sisters Repentia group itself).  The ingredients are as follows:

1 Canoness
1 Priest
1 Uriah Jacobus
1 unit of 7 Sisters Repentia

Let's Start With The Canoness

She is maligned among internet personalities and long threads have been devoted to this negativity.  I have been in the maelstrom of some of those discussions defending her, which is how I know.  Even as far back as the White Dwarf "Codex" wherein she was improved a bit, my use of her Sororitas Command Squad to good effect was questioned again and again.  That squad at the time was actually much better than people gave it credit for, but of course all they saw in it were T3 models that die the same as everyone else and were expensive.  As usual, I was the odd duck who found use in it.

In the new codex, she is a very affordable HQ with completely unremarkable "Space Marine Captain like" stats, maybe slightly worse but the price is right.  She is not a combat beast, but she does buff her unit with Hatred as her once per game Act of Faith.  She also gets the effect of the old Book of St. Lucius making her Stubborn (and therefore obviously her unit).  BOTH abilities, largely, are emulated already by Uriah and the Priest being Zealots, and in Uriahs case, the banner he carries, which might be a good reason why people haven't really gravitated to this particular build or seen her value. Sisters Repentia are already Fearless as well.  Yet she is pivotal to the units success.

So then why take her?

She is important because she can take two items you will want.  The first is the Mantle of Ophelia which St. Celestine cannot have, and the second is a plain old Rosarius.  You literally need take nothing else on her.  What this does is allows her to become an Eternal Warrior.  In addition, it gives her the 4+ invulnerable save.  These two things make her the perfect "tank" for the unit.  Her purpose in life is not to kill anything, it is to die for her cause and become a martyr.  How appropriate, don't you think?  In combat, when wounds are normally being allocated, she will be the first to take wounds, but she will be equipped to take any STR of wound and any AP.  Even a WraithKnight won't kill her before the Sisters Repentia get to strike, as you will see.  In fact it is quite likely that none of the Sisters Repentia will die no matter the enemy they strike, while the Canoness lives.

To make sure of this we add the next ingredient.

The Priest.

The Priest upgrades the Sisters Repentia greatly.  Youu gain Zealot, meaning re-rolls to hit on the charge.  That is important.  To add to the picture, he will take the Litanies of Faith, which is why Uriah isn't enough for this squad to do its work, for he cannot take it.  The Litanies make your Acts of Faith and War Hymns instantly successful when normally you would have to roll a LD check to pull them off (Priest LD is only 7).  No rolls necessary with this guy on the job.  No chance for failure.  Pretty big deal.  He himself requires no armaments.  After all, look at the unit he is attached to.  If they fail in their duty when re-rolling hits and wounds, no amount of points wasted on his puny butt will matter.  The Priests Warhymn of choice on the charge will be to re-roll wounds, so that the units already incredibly potent strike on offense will be compounded against tougher opponents like WraithKnights.

Uriah Jacobus Ascendant

The next ingredient is Uriah.  Now it is debatable whether he is a must include in general, but Uriah Jacobus shows up in a lot of competitive Adepta Sororitas lists, so taking him would be a relative normality in the list you probably would take anyways.  More common would be St. Celestine (or both) but not in this case.

Uriah is perfect for his job in this unit.  He comes with Indomitable will as his Warlord Trait and so you would choose him to be your Warlord in this instance.  The net result is that his unit gets a +1 to their 6+ Shield of Faith saves!  That means that the Sisters Repentia are now getting a 5+ Invulnerable save to replace their complete lack of armor.  To make this more impressive, he would choose in melee to use his War Hymn to re-roll all saves.  As he is also Protector of the Faith, he will allow his unit to use their Act of Faith one additional time for free, so he acts somewhat like a Simulacrum Imperialis for the unit which would do the same thing and Sisters Repentia normally cannot take a Simulacrum Imperialis, so this is quite useful.

The Banner he wields makes the units within 12" Fearless and the BIG deal with him is that he gives them all Counter Attack which as you will see, serves this unit devastatingly well, and it would serve the Battle Conclave well if they too were near him...and they should be, forming a wall of very mean, very fearless and very deadly killers.

The Guests of Honor

The final ingredient is the Mistress of Pain and her Sisters Repentia.  The Mistress is important because you will need her to accept challenges.  Worst case, she can also be used to pass a wound off from the Canoness, as the Canoness will always be leading the charge here.  Always.

The 6 Sisters Respentia come with an Act of Faith that gives them a 3+ Feel No Pain save in the Assault phase.  Because of the way the Act of Faith is written, this is activated at the beginning of the phase and therefore affects them even against Overwatch.  The unit itself whallops opponents, pumping out 24 STR 6 AP 2 chainfist attacks.  The Act of Faith can be repeated thank to Uriah which mans that unless the enemy is using something that is STR 6, that Canoness could perhaps survive 36 wounds on her own at STR 5 or less!

Putting it all Together

What does it all mean?  It means that whether you charge them or they charge you, this is what will happen:

The enemy will likely have initiative and go first or at the same time as the Canoness.  The wound pool from the enemy will be allocated to her first because she led the charge.  She is an Eternal Warrior.  Because of the War hymns, the Canoness will get a 3+ re-rollable save against these wounds!  If they are of a sufficient AP, her saves will be a 4+ re-rollable with the ability to pass off one to the Mistress or even to Uriah if necessary.  Uriah and the Priest all have 4+ invul saves (again, re-rolling failures) so this represents a pretty significant number of saves that should result in the unit taking no real damage of note barring fantastically unlikely rolls.  the 3+ Feel No Pain is just insult to injury.

The next thing that will happen is the Canoness will swing, re-rolling to hit and wound, and then Uriah and the Priest alike, along with the Mistress of Pain if she was able to be preserved.  Her Neural whips go off of majority leadership, and have shred if the majority is 8 or less, so this is a pretty mean weapon at AP 3.  Finally, the 24 STR 6 AP 2 attacks re-roll to hit and to wound.  the sheer volume of attacks and wounds suffices to demolish nearly anything.
This will happen even if the enemy charges because of Counter Attack.  If the enemy is an Imperial Knight, or anything else really, there simply won't be one at the end of the turn.  No unit in 40K can do much about Stomps, but with that many re-rollable saves, the only thing you'r really worried about on Stomps is the roll of a 6.  Yup it happens but that would be true for any unit, so no sense bemoaning that.  It's more a reflection of the Knights awesome nature than the Sisters Repentia failings.

But, But, But...

All of this should impress any opponent you use it on.  The standard argument against this will always be the same: "Yes but how do you get them there".

Fortunately there are answers to that questions.  Consider that the question isn't entirely meritorious to begin with,  Many excellent armies, the Wolfstars among them, are assault oriented and have strong assault elements in any event as part of their key strategy.  Chaos Cabals in Khornate Hound packs and Daemonkin in general as well as Tyranids and Bullyboy Orks.  So in many cases you'll never have to worry about that, because many good forces have no choice but to close if they wish to survive the Exorcist barrage and the like.  Also, objctives are a thing and in any ITC tournament, standing back all game simply won't be possible if you wish to win.

Lets assume we are talking about that percentage that does indeed have the means to stay away and just shoot you off  the table given the opportunity.  There are enough of them to address it.  Against them, the answer isn't much more complicated: Move flat out, preferably to cover in round one and get out round 2 or possibly sooner if you think terrain will permit.  The Sisters of Battle do have the means to shoot the enemy as well, and it is a rare army that will ignore 3-4 Dominion Squads on their doorstep to deal with a melee threat that will get their eventually.  If they do choose that route, the rhinos and wreckage should provide the unit plenty of space to go from cover to cover if you plan accordingly and the Dominion can feast on the enemies decision.

One underlying assumption when using this unit is that you are committed to playing as an armoured column and not primarily on foot so there will be many chances to take advantage of all that mobile cover as you approach.  You just have to keep the pressure on up front long enough to get them there, and we have those tools.

In Closing

This article is long enough so I will leave you with this thought.  The Adepta Sororitas are an army that is alive and well,  Many people wonder from afar if they could make such an army work and i can assure you that you can.  The Warhammer 40,000 game has grown somewhat complicated and the power curve has reached a deafening crescendo; but despite the many cool things armies can do and the ways they can be built, this unit can contribute an enormous amount to your win column if you undertake collecting this army.  I strong recommend considering not just this unit but the army itself.  It has literally, not figuratively, won me more tournaments than any other force, in 5h, 6th  and 7th Edition.  Not even the Tau Empire for which I am most known for playing, has done better.  With so little time left in the ITC season, I am going to be finishing up using this force and seeing how far I can take it in the standings.  I hope you do the same.  Feel free to ask me questions about the unit or the army.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


I have been able to play a couple of games against this new monstrosity.  Space Marines have recently received an especially huge helping of awesome from the tables of Games Workshop in the recent months and this was not even on most peoples radar's, I don't think.

Like when Cult Mechanicus dropped, it was as if Games Workshop had suddenly gone to its vaults and said to themselves "now let's read some of these 20 year old fan suggestions and see what we might do next..."

While the Ordo Xenos has been kind of a fluff thing for a long time and has "officially" been part of the Inquisition picture, it has never REALLY been distinctive enough from every other Space Marine who hates xenos to make its actual existence very meaningful.

Nothing changed except for one thing:  Games Workshop decided to go ahead and make it distinctive to sell more models.  The result?

The flyer alone is worth looking into the Deathwatch For.  It's armor, weapons and general utility are impressive to put it mildly.  It fires concussion missiles, carries troops, AV 11 rear armor, Assault vehicle and Ceramite playing make it just as tough as the Stormraven just about.  It looks boss as hell and it is worth the price in points for sure.

The deadly Frag Cannons are just insane.  My Grey Knights got surprised on the drop to find that two of these had been installed in the units and they are STR 6, Rending Assault 2 weapons, so clumping is a terribad idea against them.  Making life more interesting yet, the army has a mechanism wherein it can drop a unit in on you and then bring a unit from anywhere on the board TO them, allowing you to deliver a massive amount of pain to any ones doorstep. The Relics are interesting, though the one that allows this is the most significant and will comer to be a hallmark of most competitive versions of this army.  Castling and waiting was my only answer to it and by and large it worked, but many armies are just going to get devastated by these weapons.

Another interesting feature is that the codex allows you to field singular Vanguard Veteran models or even singular Terminator models as units.  I have already seen what SIX solo Terminators can do with Missiles and Storm Bolters attacked for about 65 points total for each.  It's a REALLY smart idea for the codex and it certainly made an impression.

The codex is elite, and the number of models will be low as a rule but they hit so hard and come from everywhere.  Veterans are actually your troops choices making all your expenditures in the codex fairly spendy.  There are no rookies in this force.  Everything is Veteran or better.

Another interesting feature of the codex is that it features a bent towards killing things from a certain battlefield Role.  there are formations that specifically allow you to create a unit that can re-roll to wound and penetrate things of a certain Battlefield role.  This is a new take on an old theme:  excuses to twin link things.  The lethality of this when combined by the weapons and special ammunitions of the Deathwatch makes it a terrifying prospect to face and brings into sharp focus the need to have ways to work with reserves and to influence them.

The Skyhammer should consider itself on notice because even though the Skyhammer is very good, this might be better.  the shock and awe and re-rolling is going to make everything the Deathwatch shoot a sure bet to force saves if not outright ignore them.

"Lethal" probably isn't even strong enough a word to use.

It suffers the same problem as most elite armies but absolutely compensates for it by allowing MSU play in a way that no army I can think of does other than Tyranids (their Mucolid Spore + Hive Tyrant  + solo model combo gives you very similar results, which is MSU with super bad ass units to back them up and confuse priority) and the Tau Empire (with its monat suit drops from the Farsight Enclaves).

The point here is this.  The first game you play against this force, spread out in big circles and do not get caught off guard by the drops.  It is going to be a bumpy couple of turns before you start to see the effects of whittling their numbers down.

Color me very impressed with most of it.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mont'Ka and the Farsight Enclaves toolbox

I attended the Bay Area Open this year, the first big major 200 player type event I have been in.  I have played in numerous 100 player events but nothing quite on that scale.

It bought home some lessons from the front and in particular I want to write about the Mont'Ka supplement which among other things, features the Tau Empire and it's new take on the Farsight Enclave.

The Combined Arms Detachment has been a mainstay in my forces for the Objecive Secured power that it brings.  Going second is not nearly as big a deal if you have Obsec and you will go second at least 50% of the time.  So given the percentages, it has always made sense to me that having Objective Secured forces is nearly a must unless your plan is to utterly wipe the enemy out.  I'll be honest, this almost never happens, which further accentuates the value of Objective Secured units.

The Tau Empire has an especially good option for this in the Mont'Ka supplement because it allows the Farsight Enclave forces of the Tau Empire to utilize Crisis Teams as Troops choices.  This was already excellent in previous editions but in 5E required you to take a character that just wasn't exciting and perhaps a bit pricey, Commander Farsight himself.  In the 6th Edition codex we have now, this is no longer the case.  To have a Farsight force you merely have to say that it is one and install Bonding Knives (and their attendant cost) on the units that can take them.  Done.  Big difference!

Bonding Knives aren't universally hailed as an excellent points expenditure but it is an entirely acceptable cost when you can take the Crisis Teams as Objective Secured Troops Choices.  The Knife itself just means that the unit with it can use Heroic Morale, regrouping at any size.  That's cool I guess.  Units like Ghostkeels practically demand you take the Bonding Knives, because the unit is nine strong at its largest and three drone deaths can send the entire unit packing.  Not good.  I've actually had it happen and its embarrassing when you have two Ghostkeels who simply can't regroup.  So Optimized Stealth Cadres should ALWAYS be taken as Farsight Enclave Formations even if the rest of the force is not!

For taking this nominal tax, you receive Preferred Enemy (Orks) in Close combat (only) but that isn't really all you get.

The current forces I am seeing at major events are absolutely festooned with Psyker ferocity.  There are enough Psykers to choke a horse and at serious events, you would be a fool not to anticipate that at LEAST one of those foes will have such a thing at their disposal.  Just to give you some perspective, there were multiple 6+ Flyrant lists at the Bay Area Open, along with multiple lists with large numbers of Sorcerous Daemons allied with Sorcerous Conclaves (or Cabals) of Psykers.  Eldar were plentiful and with them came the might of the likes of Eldrad and his cronies.  Believe me when I say that Psykers are going to be a part of your diet if you decide to compete.  The Tau Empire isn't exactly equipped to do much about it.  When the Tau Empire forces have to start at BS 1 because of the Invisibility Psyker power, it's going to take a ton of Markerlights to even hope for useful shots.  I had 11 Markerlights in my force and it wasn't nearly enough for the kind of Psyker onslaught I saw.

The Mont'Ka book provides a rare Tau answer to the problem in their Signature Systems which become available to you if you are a Farsight Enclave in the form of the Talisman of Athas Moloch.

The Talisman is an extremely good value.  For 25 points you get both a 5+ Invulnerable save and the ability, within 12", to bounce Psychic powers on a 4+.  A Shield Generator can't even compete with that in the grand scheme of things.  That is fantastic production for the points.  Now obviously this only really impacts powers that are pointed at the affected Tau Empire model so what is it we are spending these points to avoid?

Well for starters, the dreaded Chaos Cabal and its Imperial brethren, the Librarious Conclaves.  both are now seeing adept use by their respective generals and in the case of the Cabal, the Tau Empire has a serious threat in that they come stock with a power that would allow it to take control of a Stormsurge and fire off all it's weapons before it has the chance to use them in unison with markerlights!  This has actually happened to me at the hands of Alex Gonzalez and its a pretty devastating blow when it occurs.  If a Chaos player brings its Chaos Knight and buffs its saves to the nth degree, as they are wont to do, you will lose your best chance at killing it.  Likwise the Librarious Conclave can cause all manner of nasty powers.  Just a Tigurious showing up on your doorstep in a pod with his best friends can Psychic Shriek and otherwise whallop a Tau Force in pretty convincing fashion.  Eldar similarly have a lot of Leadership attacks they can use in the Psyker phase and they can bring them to bear via their allies.  The Webway Portal wielding Dark Eldar are better than any pod ever thought of trying to be.  Flying Hive Tyrants can unleash a pretty healthy dose of Psyker attacks as can the Chaos Daemons from platforms that are hard to hit.

Given all of that, you are well advised to gain what foothold you can on probability and stop the powers you can't afford to have go off.  It will take courage not to pop this too early but if you paid attention to how many dice the enemy has left and what powers he has left, you should be able to pick out the one that has to be stopped, and use the Talisman to stop it.

60-70% of the enemies you face are Adeptes Astartes of some sort.  The Dark Angels won the Bay Area open this year (to, I would suggest, some surprise).  The Talisman isn't the only thing you might find situationaly useful in the Farsight arsenal.

The MorrorCodex is an overpriced piece of wargear to be certain but the effect it can have when used to empower high volume shooters like the Heavy Burst Cannon wielding Riptides and the WraithKnight-bane that is the Stormsurge is notable.

One problem you have with the heavy Burst Cannon is that it Gets Hot when Nova Charged.  Still worth doing, pretty much always, but being able to re-roll 1's to hit and of course 1's to wound is great when Nova Charging those babies.  Many less chances to take wounds and many less points need be spent on the expensive Feel No Pain upgrade.  I saw a lot of points being spent on Feel No Pain (and frankly it paid off a lot of the time) but with that many less chances to worry about Gets Hot, via the Preferred Enemy that the Mirrorcodex provides, you might consider the MirrorCodex's 6" radius  to be a middle ground alternative to protecting yourself against Gets Hot results.

The Mirrorcodex only works against Space Marines or Imperial Guard most of the time (on a 6 it grants universal Preferred Enemy that round).  So its not a perfect solution but it is definitely not a poke in the eye.  Another value it yields if you think about it is that for some lists, you may just not be able to afford the extra Formation you need to make your Riptides into a Riptide Wing (I know, heresy right?).  I ran into this problem.  My list has three Formations in it and in ITC games, that's the limit.  So in order for me to bring the three Riptides it needed to fall into my Combined Arms Detachment.  Okay fine.  But then how do I increase their shooting effecitveness at least the way the Riptide Wing ability would have?  The MirrorCodex could help with that, again in a more situational way.

The Mirrorcodex also gives you a bonus of +1 to seize the Initiative.  This is a great boon, because it can be added to the bonus of +1 to seize when the enemy has a Super Heavy.  Add to this the re-roll bonus that you can get from, say...  the Callidus Assassin, Comms Relay or Inquisitor Coteaz?  This is not inconsiderable.  So while I consider the Mirrorcodex to be expensive, it falls very far from the "useless tripe" tree some might claim it to come from.  It would be useful in those situations, like I've said, wherein you are out of Formations and wish to buff your suits and when you wish to have the flexibility to control the game by going first against something that maybe looks daunting.  The alternative of course is to allow people to go before you do unabated.  That works for some battle plans much better than others.

The Seismic Fibrillator Node is basically an enormously powerful version of the Grav Wave Drone.  It makes everything Difficult Terrain and makes difficult terrain into dangerous terrain, much like the Necron ability could do.  A 36" radius is enormous and covers most of the board.  It can be used on the enemies turn though it affects everyone til it is turned off (on a 1-4 at the end of the turn).  So for a gun line Tau army, this is pretty magnificent.  All Cavalry such as Thunderwolf Cavalry on the board will definitely dislike it and any assault unit would find it hard to love.

Now we are seeing a lot of Battle Companies, a lot of Thunderwolf Cavalry forces, a lot of Tau Empire suit based forces (and the Drones that typically like to jump out to target you and back again), so the ability to do this is relevant and could force a number of morale checks on units, additional casualties, as well as slowing them down.  Further, it plays to the one Tau Empire strength: shooting as long and prolifically as possible.

Personally this seems like an excellent thing to add to a Crisis Bodyguard to avoid encumbering the Commander further.  It is relatively inexpensive for the task, can be deep struck in if you have reserve manipulation in your list, outflanked in (if you have the gear or Warlord trait to allow it) or simply standing there waiting.  Once it has gone off, the Bodyguard is free to do as it will.

This could be useful if you are not willing to add a Detachment for an Inquisitor and his Servo Skulls but you still want to make scouts pay in some way.  It can't stop them from Scouting, so what you would do to maximize the usefulness here is you would need a unit of Kroot to infiltrate, spreading out and thusly blocking the Scouts from Redeploying (as Scouts cannot redeploy closer than  12", the Infiltrators effectively do what Servo Skulls do if they are placed in front of the scouts).  Now the only downside here is that they could have Infiltrators and use them to stop you from doing this.  That would be in the minority of cases, comparatively, but you do take that risk when you decide not to use Servo Skulls.  Assuming you have decided not to take the Servo Skulls, Kroot would solve your problem most of the time.  The Seismic Fibrilator would then make your enemies life rather miserable until it ceases.  The Kroot wall would limit movement in general so as to mitigate the turn one charge shenanigans of Thunderwolf Cavalry and the like.  So there are several good reasons to take the Kroot with or without the Seismic Fibrilator Node.  It just happen that the Seismic Fibrilator Node makes that journey ever more perilous and in a real way.

Another interesting tool of the Farsight Enclaves:  Fusion Blades

These substantially increase the threat of a Commander and the advantage over the Onager Gauntlet is of course that you get 5 attacks on the charge at STR 8 AP 1.  No one but a fool would want to lock horns with that!  That would be great if it weren't at Initiative 3.  Like the Penitent Engine, this otherwise excellent idea falls short of the mark for 30 points, but given that most people give their commanders 2+ Armor, an invulnerable save and Feel No Pain...  the usefulness of this isn't as poor as it first appears to be.  I won't say that I get excited about the prospect of a true melee beast being available to the Tau Empire, but I think any Tau General can remember a dozen times, easily, that he wished he could have done more than watched it happen as his Warlord Point was taken from him in close combat he couldn't possibly win.  A Commander can definitely win a combat with these.

I would also offer my own experiences at the Bay Area open as a cautionary tale at this point.  Tertiary objectives were THE reason my losses happened and my opponents in the game the whole time.  I found out the hard way that tertiary objectives determined my games with annoying regularity in both directions!  So perhaps the points to give your Warlord a chance is worth it.

The Warscaper Drone is really interesting gear for a few reasons.  First, it is pretty cool that you can bring an Ethereal, attach him to a kroot unit and throw a shield Drone or two with hiim so that one of them can become the Warscaper Drone.  Kroot Warriors use Pule Weapons which the Ethereal can cause to fire three times per model at short range (sans the Kroot Gun).  His Homing Beacon can call in the Crisis teams for support flawlessly nearby, and of course all the obvious bonus's to their leadership are there as well.  The Warscaper Drone also allows the unit to ignore the effects of the Seismic Fibrilator Node which could be handy.  The Drone obviates the need to take a Kroot Hound if you don't want one, as the Ethereal will now provide Acute Senses through the Warscaper Drone.  This setup brings a fair amount of firepower, that won't likely run, to the flanks of the enemy.

Another interesting tidbit is that the Drone also does to enemies what the Fibrilator Node does, only within 12" so a little added defensive ability for the Kroot who are in harms way can make a difference for them.

The Allied Advance Cadre which will see almost no play in competitive environments (just a wild guess but...) could become a bit more potent given their increase of 1 to ballistic skill, and the terrain effects of the Warscaper.

Overall it is kind of a niche piece of Wargear but it does present interesting possibilities.

The Mont'ka supplement has interesting wargear and exploring it will be fun.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Movement as a weapon.

I have kind of seen movement as a weapon for a long time.  It was SO clearly illustrated to me in my last game that I felt compelled to post about its virtue.

There is an incredibly potent build for Space Wolves that is being used by Chancy Rickey (you can look for him in the ITC rankings).  It is very good.  VERY fast and it hits like a truck.  I really mean it.  That list will crack the skulls of anything and anyone it reaches.

Having said that, it is hyper aggressive and in your face as lists go.  And so I decided, playing Dark Eldar (and at that, kind of a hodge podge Dark Eldar force) that I would attempt to get him to chase into me as he is already wont to do...and then...  use units to interminably fence him in from going back towards their objective!  My shooting wasn't overly impressive in the force (2 venoms plus kabalites inside, two Ravagers, 3 Raiders with Lances and a Voidraven Bomber that could come in later) but it was potent enough to give him pause about letting me shoot him for too long.  His 3+ invuls made my shots far less valuable but still...

This worked very well.  It required that I be willing to sacrifice vehicles, and then units inside but the important part of the equation wasn't what I was losing (and it was a lot).  The Equation favored me in only one way:  where and when I was losing them.  So in round 2 he rushed at me on the left flank when his pods showed up and were ready to join the grand melee.  In turn three he was massacring my Beastpack but they managed to run...in turn four, both my ravagers which moved between him and the objectives died horribly...  and in round 5 my Beast pack which had run away, came back to block him again.  The Bomber joined in on the merriment as well, slaying his entire Devastator squad just so he would have to crack my vehicles the hard way.  I used other units being blown out of transports to form rainbows and blockade his other units in similar fashion to the Beastpack.  While I was hopelessly outgunned in melee (and I took a melee force!) I refused to compete with him on his ground and give in to my urges to charge him in most cases, preferring to stall and impede until the very end of the game when the Power From Pain chart was in full bloom.

This worked.  The final score was 21-0.

There are many more times when movement has serves as a way to penalize over aggressive enemy units.  Null deployment kind of draws the enemy to disparate corners of the board in order to flood them from behind with firepower they cannot then get back to in time to stop.

The concept of simply BEING somewhere is exemplified in Multiple Small Unit (MSU) strategies also.  I took 23 point Crisis Teams with nothing on them and used them to negate enemy scoring in a bunch of places during ITC missions.  Going second made those little guys pay off.  The resources used to kill one suit were, needless to say, exorbitant in some cases.

Yet another good way movement can be a weapon is to play the falling retreat game.  By pushing something up that cant compete, the enemy is forced to slow down to kill it rather than speed up and kill it.  When you force that decision with something, the enemy cannot possibly know how their shooting will go so they have to decide if they want their assault unit to handle it or just to keep pushing the field and hope the shooting doesn't go poorly.  Should they opt to move around the obstacle instead of charging it you've done some good.  Then when the unit is sent packing you just regroup, spread out and block again, running instead of shooting when necessary to regain the position.  this works better with Space Marine Forces of course but it can be used with others if their initiative is high enough to handle the fall backs.

Ablating the enemy's choices can be as good as ablating wounds at times and I really enjoy the movement part of the game.

Think about how you can maneuver and gain an advantage over superior hyper aggressive units.  I think that we get very wrapped up in kill ratios and damage output and the like as far as discussion goes but sometimes the best weapon is where and when you are.  Some enemies simply will not be overcome by strength of arms.  When you see that, you can despair...or strike!