Its been some time since I did an analysis like this one regarding BT archetypes, but I think its time.  I had hoped to do this Post-Battle Reports, but I've got the itch and it needs to be scratched.  The Black Templar armies are always changing to keep up with the needs of its players and their "meta".  But even more important, the Grand Tournament scene is also changing, so our lists need to adapt to keep pace.  If we don't, we'll always be a mediocre army.  That isn't acceptable to me.

Please note, this article is not meant to cover everything 100%.  There might be things that I forget to mention and will either edit them in or post a Part Two.  So, with that, let's begin!

The first thing that needs to be mentioned is the "improvement" to the US Grand Tournament scene.  Over the past year or so, competitive gamers have demanded more balanced tournaments to measure their skill levels free of comp, soft scores, and bogus mission perimeters.  For the most part, they have gotten these things.  Nova Open was the biggest name to bring change, throwing together an event that drew enormous praise for its competitiveness.  It was so successful, that dozens of TO's emulated the Nova Open formula for their tournaments.  Even already established events such as Adepticon and WargamesCon took the success of Nova Open and tried to improve their tournaments.  But this wasn't just an United States thing; this style of tournament spread to the UK and Australia rather quickly and has found great success there.

Now that Nova Open 2011 has come and gone, I have a feeling that we're going to continue to see even more emulation of this style of tournament.  Don't fix what isn't broken, as they say.  This means even more GT's will be featuring the Nova formula and players are going to have much more exposure than ever before.  So we all need to be prepared for it.  While I do think that certain things need to be improved before next year, the only one that really makes an impact on game play and our lists is the terrain issue.  You may have already seen/read, this year featured about a 35-40% terrain coverage on each board, with as many as 3-4 terrain pieces that blocked line of sight.  That is a lot of terrain.
One additional rule in play was that no matter where you were in a piece of terrain, you counted as if you were in cover.  Even if you were standing out in the open on the top of a hill.  As the tournament wore on, this terrain gradually gravitated towards the center of the board, causing a massive cluster #*&@ to occur.  Not only did this hamper movement significantly, except for armies that didn't care about it anyway, but it drastically cut down on LOS for shooting purposes.  Between the BLOS terrain and the cover rule, armies that relied on the shooting phase to win games had an uphill battle from the very beginning.  I've been told that MVBrandt (Nova Open founder and TO) intends to keep this setup for next year.  Thus, we need to change with the times!  To start off, we need to examine the list I took this year to Nova Open.

HQ:
* Emperor's Champion w/ Black Sword, Bolt Pistol, Armor of Faith, and the Vow: "Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch." [110]

Elites:
* Sword Brethren Terminators: 5 Terminators w/ 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, 5 Storm Bolters, 5 Power Fists, and Tank-Hunters. [265]
* Sword Brethren Terminators: 5 Terminators w/ 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, 5 Storm Bolters, 5 Power Fists, and Tank-Hunters. [265]

Troops:

* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolters, 1 Plasmagun & 1 Lascannon. Mounted in a Razorback w/ Twin-Linked Lascannons and Searchlights. [192]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolters, 1 Plasmagun & 1 Lascannon. Mounted in a Razorback w/ Twin-Linked Lascannons and Searchlights. [192]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolters, 1 Plasmagun & 1 Lascannon. Mounted in a Razorback w/ Twin-Linked Lascannons and Searchlights. [192]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolters, 1 Plasmagun & 1 Lascannon. Mounted in a Razorback w/ Twin-Linked Lascannons and Searchlights. [192]

Fast Attack:

* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]

Heavy Support:

* Predator Destructor w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Side-Sponsons, and Searchlights. [126]
* Predator Destructor w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Side-Sponsons, and Searchlights. [126]
* Predator Destructor w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Side-Sponsons, and Searchlights. [126]

Total Points: [1996]


Its pretty obvious what this list does.  The purpose and goal of the list is to shoot my opponent, pin them in their deployment zone, then pound them into submission while I move to control the objectives.  In my games leading up to Nova Open, it did this very effectively and I had little difficulty against all of the different tournament lists out there.  However, when I actually played in the GT, things were different.  Some of this can be attributed to my lack of sleep/hunger (my fault), poor decision making on Day One, and more skilled opponents.  But not all of it.  Terrain definitely played a part in my success and lack of it.  There were very few open field targets and almost everything I shot at had cover.  This made it extremely difficult to destroy my opponent's transports and I didn't have enough firepower to dislodge my opponent from objectives (which were always in cover).  I learned to play a game of cat and mouse with my opponent, picking targets with extreme care, and push for the mission goals right at the end of the game.  It was unfortunate that I adapted too late in Day One to salvage a winning record for the tournament.

Later on in my games, I felt like my Crusader squads were never actually firing their weapons, but rather packed up in their transports to preserve them.  These Razorbacks were typically moving around, trying to take advantage of cover to claim/contest objectives.  Thus, my troops squads lasted quite a long time in almost every game.  It was very rare for my opponent to kill more than two squads and their Razorbacks.  Even still, I felt like only having four limited my options in games so I would like more of them.  So in essence, my Crusader squads were not doing what they were meant to do in their games.  Because of this, they need to be changed.  Whether its how they're armed or what role they will play is yet up in the air.

The next thing that my list had an issue with was dedicated close combat units.  I was somewhat able to mitigate the effectiveness of these units by movement blocking, but as I noted in Game Three, this wasn't always possible and it hurt me badly.  Even throwing bubble-wrap units in the way didn't save me for long.  The only units that could sort of perform in CC were the tactical Terminators, but only against non-dedicated CC units.  But guess what?  I only needed them against dedicated-CC units, as all of the other units were either too far away or I couldn't reach them due to all of the terrain.  Plus, I really needed their firepower capabilities as they were the easiest to move around, position in optimal firing lanes, and provided the best kill ratio.  So some sort of close combat could definitely be beneficial to a list, but only if it has the means to get from Point A to Point B quickly and reliably. 

While I cannot say for sure yet (waiting on the lists from MVBrandt), I have a feeling that the players that did well were packing Land Raiders.  In fact, across the whole tournament, it seemed that the Land Raider lists did better overall.  Why?  Because of the terrain!  When you have pieces of terrain that could easily hide a LR, you're going to have difficulty killing it.  It also had cover moving all the way across the board, so it'd likely deliver its cargo.  Vulkan-led Space Marine lists did especially well with their Land Raiders, with several lists playing on the top tables.  Does this mean I endorse the use of Land Raiders again?  No, but its worth taking a look at.

Finally, I needed a way to dislodge units from objectives or, at the very least, threaten them in their backfield.  Too many of my opponents hid their units behind BLOS terrain where I couldn't shoot them, nor could I reach them with my transports.  Essentially, those units were guaranteed to live and claim their objective.  While this could have worked the same for me, I needed my army shooting as much as possible.  Because of that, my opponent almost always had LOS to my units.  Fortunately, there were few times where this hurt me, but it very well could have.  My inability to bring a "kill punch" to my enemy cost me games.  I need to have something in my list that essentially guarantees something dies when I either shoot at it or charge with it.  But it also needs to be durable.  Even being able to simply contest those back objectives would have helped me, but I had nothing beyond my Land Speeders able to do such a thing (and they got targeted early).

Realistically, there were a few main things that need to be addressed in some fashion in my future lists.  More mobility, improved troop durability/redundancy, an effective "kill punch", and the ability to mitigate dedicated CC-unit's effectiveness.  I found that I didn't need as much shooting as I had to be effective, because much of it was negated anyway.  My fire lanes were limited and I was only able to get a few units into position to do maximum damage.  And no, "Kill Them All" didn't really affect me.  I think I failed maybe two KTA tests all tournament.  If I combine these elements into my future lists, I think I'll be in a better position to win.  So let's take a look at what I had planned to run as my Nova Open 2012 list, should I choose to take the Black Templars:

HQ:
* Castellan w/ Lightning Claw, Storm Shield, and Frag Grenades. [106]
* Emperor's Champion w/ Black Sword, Bolt Pistol, Armor of Faith, and the Vow: "Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds." [140]

Elites:
* Sword Brethren Terminators: 5 Terminators w/ 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, 5 Storm Bolters, 5 Power Fists, and Tank-Hunters. [265]
* Sword Brethren Terminators: 5 Terminators w/ 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, 5 Storm Bolters, 5 Power Fists, and Tank-Hunters. [265]

Troops:
* Crusader Squad: 7 Initiates w/ 5 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Meltagun, 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon & Frag Grenades; 2 Neophytes w/ 2 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons & Frag Grenades.  Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [214]
* Crusader Squad: 7 Initiates w/ 5 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Meltagun, 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon & Frag Grenades; 2 Neophytes w/ 2 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons & Frag Grenades.  Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [214]
* Crusader Squad: 7 Initiates w/ 5 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Meltagun, 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon & Frag Grenades; 2 Neophytes w/ 2 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons & Frag Grenades.  Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [214]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 CCWs and BPs, 1 Flamer & 1 Power Weapon. Mounted in a Razorback w/ Twin-Linked Lascannons. [186]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 CCWs and BPs, 1 Flamer & 1 Power Weapon. Mounted in a Razorback w/ Twin-Linked Lascannons. [186]

Fast Attack:
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]

Total Points: [2000]


This list features much less long range firepower, but more more/larger troop squad sizes to compensate.  Not only that, it is much more CC-oriented, so it will bring the fight to the enemy while my strong firepower platforms (i.e. Terminators/Land Speeders) are doing their job.  The list also fairly mobile and can adapt to changing battlefields.  Even still, I don't think I'm quite there yet.  While I believe these troops will survive to the end of the game, the list feels a little "top-heavy" towards close combat.  And as we all know, I don't think that is such a great idea.  The two IC-led squads will be able to down most units, but the other three (especially the 3rd Crusader squad) troops aren't nearly as powerful.  Makes me think that I can do it better and without the waste.  Plus, I don't think I have anything in this list that can truly threaten the backfield of my opponent.

So, I want to take what is good in this list and make it better.  I like the increased amount of troops, it gives me flexibility and more tactical options on the board.  I also like that this list has the ability to put a functioning CC-unit on the board.  These Crusader squads won't slaughter every unit, but they'll do the job.  I think that my two Terminator squads and three Land Speeders are more than sufficient for most of my shooting needs, especially if the terrain stays the same.  The Razorbacks and meltaguns are really icing on the cake.  I also have a pretty mobile force, so I'd like to keep that intact.

I'm not sure the Razorbacks are needed, as it makes me want to move them around, but that keeps those units off my home objectives.  Conflict of interest here!  I also really don't feel like that 3rd Crusader squad is adding much to the CC-nature of the list, other than giving me redundancy.  Plus, all of my Crusader squads still have to avoid enemy dedicated CC-units so I'm not sure that those large squad sizes are needed either.  I still need that backfield threat as well.

Tweaking a few things, this is what I came up with:

HQ:
* Castellan w/ Lightning Claw, Storm Shield, Frag Grenades, and Counter-Attack; Command Squad w/ Fighting Company Champion, Apothecary
w/ Bolt Pistol and CCW, 2 Initiates w/ Meltaguns, and Sergeant w/ Bolt Pistol and CCW.  Squad is equipped with Frag Grenades and Counter-Attack.  Mounted in Drop Pod.  [294]
* Emperor's Champion w/ Black Sword, Bolt Pistol, Armor of Faith, and the Vow: "Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds." [140]

Elites:
* Sword Brethren Terminators: 5 Terminators w/ 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, 5 Storm Bolters, 5 Power Fists, and Tank-Hunters. [265]
* Sword Brethren Terminators: 5 Terminators w/ 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, 5 Storm Bolters, 5 Power Fists, and Tank-Hunters. [265]

Troops:
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Meltagun, 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon & Frag Grenades.  Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [158]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Meltagun, 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon & Frag Grenades.  Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [158]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Flamer, 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon & Frag Grenades.  Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [154]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Flamer, 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon & Frag Grenades.  Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [154]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolters, 1 Plasmagun & 1 Lascannon. [101]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolters, 1 Plasmagun & 1 Lascannon. [101]


Fast Attack:
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]

Total Points: [2000]


Alright, pretty interesting right?  This is definitely a hybrid list; I took almost everything beneficial in the Black Templars codex and put them into one list without it losing focus.  We have MSU going in this list, which I found to be incredibly important at Nova Open.  Even 5-man squads were difficult to kill off, so having six squads of five will be difficult to eliminate for my opponent.  Because I have six troops units, I'm able to take advantage of the 4+2 system.  Four units (which can only be described as "counter-assault") advance forward to claim/contest objectives.  They also provide me with potentially dangerous CC-units, especially if they are combined into a single combat.  Two of these units are armed with meltaguns, the other two with flamers for mob-control.  Normally my Emperor's Champion will jump in with a meltagun squad, but if my opponent has LRs, I might consider putting him in with a flamer unit.  That way I can sacrifice my melta units to stop those LR's advance.  None of these units warrant extra attention, but they are dangerous enough to be a threat to my opponent.  Nor does it particularly bother me if they die.  The final two squads are my objective holders and are armed with Las/Plas, ideal for long range fire support.  Because of the Castellan's improved LD 9, there is a lessened chance of falling back due to "Righteous Zeal" and I also have a better shot at beating "Kill Them All".  However, these guys are on foot so they are vulnerable to both incoming fire and outflanking/infiltrating units.  But because my Terminators will be close by, I don't think that will be such an issue, especially with "Accept Any Challenge".

We kept our fire support, as we wanted to, but lost the TL-Lascannons on the Razorbacks.  However, we did make that up by adding two static Las/Plas units so its not such a huge loss.  But the biggest change to this list, is the addition of the Command Squad.  At first look, it kind of looks like an overpriced "rock" unit.  To be honest, it is a bit of a points sink.  However, it has a role to play in the list and it should perform well.  This is the unit that will be threatening my opponent's backfield.  Not only is it survivable due to FNP and the Castellan's Storm Shield, the unit has enough power weapons to do serious damage in CC.  Because of counter-attack, the Command squad doesn't need to charge to stay at full effectiveness.  This will make opponent's think twice about trying to simply charge the unit to kill them off.  On top of all that, we have dual-melta in this unit.  That gives us the ability to put a down excellent AT anywhere on the board its needed.  Or you could simply blow up a transport sitting on an objective prior to charging it.  The unit is given a Drop Pod, so it'll remain in reserve until later turns.  This will cause your opponent to consistently worry about when/where its coming down. 

The ability to tie-up and kill your opponent's backfield units is a huge bonus, but the real important role this unit plays is to contest objectives.  While the Drop Pod itself may not be super durable due to its open-topped status, AV12 is decently durable.  So this gives you two separate units in which to reliably contest an objective mid-late game.  That is something that my previous lists did not have the ability to do.  Likewise, this unit can be a good stop-gap for the middle objective.  Not sure you'll be able to claim/contest one of your opponent's objectives or claim the center?  Throw this unit down in on center objective and it will likely prevent your opponent from claiming it.  Lots of options with this unit.

19 Kill Points in this list.  14 Missile Launchers (8 Tank-Hunters), 2 Lascannons, 4 Meltaguns, 2 Plasmaguns, 3 Heavy Bolters, and 2 Flamers.  This should be enough firepower to bust open transports, as well as being sufficient for my anti-infantry needs when you add in my CC abilities.

So let's hear your opinions.  I know you've not yet seen all of the battle reports, but you can kind of get an idea so far on what needs to change in my lists to improve based on the Nova Open format.  Throw them at me and let's get the discussion going.  :)
 


Comments

Trignama
10/07/2011 9:39am

ML,

Personally I'm not feeling it. I don't think the Templars can do MSU as effectively as the new codexes, and just from my own gaming experience I feel crusader squads armed for CC are just crap now-a-days. I have switched to using only 2 units of crusaders, 10 men with bolters and a plasma gun, stuck in a drop pod. I know its only 2 units, but my goal isnt to win by holding the objectives, but rather to get my opponent off of them and use the pods to contest the ones I couldn't get to with focused CC units.

It is my belief now that with Templars if you want to go for CC you must include LRC's. The problem with rhinos that I've been having is that it takes them to long to get into a spot where the squad can actually assault. Since you can't move and assault the same turn out of them, your opponent has a good chance of avoiding em moving their units out of combat range. Not to mention if the rhino goes kaboom, you now have to take a pinning test, pass that and a smart opponent will also force a zeal test. Having to take 2 leadership rolls a turn per unit in a rhino that went splat is bad news.

LRC's are expensive and so are putting good hard hitting assault units in them, but case in point is they get the job done. I usually run 2500 so I have a bit more room to play with my lists than you do, but I have found running dual LRC's one with the typical terminator setup and the other with a command squad is really taking people by surprise. The units get the job done in CC are fairly survivable, and attract alot of attention.

CML Termies are great, in fact I wish I had another squad of them so I could run 2 myself, but alas I don't so for now another unit that is in my list are sword brethren. I got 8 of em rolling with a POLC a Power Weapon and 4 SS's with the champ in their rhino. The rhino just hides behind the LRC's and is used as a counter assault unit. I know you don't agree with the Sword Brethren and alot of people think they are a points sink, but let me tell you what, I've had those Sword Brethren tarpit quite a few units for a very long time, and usually come out on top in most combats. They don't even need to really get the charge off to be effecgtive, they are just to damned hard to kill. Again its just some personal points but I've been using them and they have been doing quite well.

5 man las plas squads to me aren't worth it, I'd stick to the predators, they are more durable, you get more shots, and you can avoid most outflanking units by just keeping them more towards the center of the board edge and have your termies act as counter assault. Now granted I know you mainly play at 2k but I do very much suggest just dropping to the minimum amount of crusader squads, they just can't get the job done IMO.

Reply
S-Low
10/07/2011 11:18am

Hey ML, been reading your blog for awhile and wanted to chime in. I would take your nova list modified like this:
-4 razorbacks
-3 predators
-las/plas on one of the crusader squads
+land raider crusader w/ blessed hull
+godhammer
+marshal, fist or claw, storm shield
+fifth crusader squad with power weapon

should be about right on points. Marshal, Champion and power weapon squad go in crusader. Naked 5 man squad goes in other land raider. The remaining three claim home objectives. The HQ squad can assault people off of objectives and you can just drive land raiders onto objectives late in the game. Should solve some of your problems.

Reply
10/07/2011 1:52pm

@ Trignama

I suppose I should make a note someplace in this article that I'm not trying to make CC "work" per se. I just need something that has the ability to do it if its needed. With that being said, that is one of the reasons why the units are so small. Assuming Nova Open format, in my experience and listening to other players', those 5-man units are exceptionally durable to shooting. In all of my games, I never killed 4 Rhino chassis with all of my shooting. And I certainly didn't have enough firepower to kill 6 5-man units. Nor did anyone else I played. There simply was too much BLOS terrain and cover.

Now, I certainly agree with you that they aren't amazing in close combat and won't knock over full squads by themselves (minus the EC-led unit). But that isn't really what they are in the list for. They are taken to advance on the enemy and hopefully take/contest a few objectives for their efforts. Will they kill Long Fang units? Yes. Will they kill Wolf Scout squads? Yes. Will they kill Combat-squad Tactical squads? Absolutely. They will even kill the little 5-man Blood Angel units that run around. Now, are they going to kill off 8-10 man Grey Hunter squads? No. But they'll survive long enough to hold up that unit from advancing. Then, because they did enough damage to matter, another unit can come and clean up if needed. Its even better if my opponent moves to avoid my Crusader squads because I'm driving directly towards their objectives and/or vulnerable shooty units.

The sad fact was that in all of the games that I played or watched, there simply was not enough time in the game to table an opponent. If there was, perhaps I'd rock a more aggressive list and attempt it. Because there isn't, and objectives/table quarters were the primary mission goals in 6 of the 8 games, I have to make sure I have enough troops to pull out wins. By having a full 6 troops, I'm able to achieve that goal much quicker and more reliably. I'm also able to adapt to a changing battlefield because I have more units to play around with. As I noted in the article, my troops rarely did anything other than driving around in their Razorbacks. While doing so, I often wished I had a flamer/meltagun. There were also situations where I had to charge them into combat and I was regretting not having a power weapon. The size of the squad didn't matter, because they were usually charging already weakened units or pulling for a contest. I don't even necessarily care if these units make a charge, so long as they reach an objective outside of my two. So my concerns are this, assuming I go with the minimum troops allotment:

1) I don't have any troops dedicated towards claiming my own objectives. If you're pushing forward, then you leave your backfield open to assault. The game is much different now, especially if you consider the Nova terrain. There are a great many fast moving troops out there that can take advantage of you leaving your backfield open. Blood Angels have DoA, faster Rhinos, and Storm Ravens. All of these can easily bring a troops unit to our home objective. IG have Veterans in Vendettas/Valkyries. These things can outflank and/or move flat out to stretch across the board to our stuff easily. Tyranids have Genestealers who may either infiltrate close or simply outflank to our objectives. Hell, even the Dark Eldar can simply flat out move once and pretty much reach our objectives at will on any turn.

2) If armed in the fashion you described, you'll be dropping either be dropping onto your enemy's objectives to contest (as close as you can) OR you'll deploy on the board on your objectives and drop the pods on your enemy's objectives to contest. The latter is difficult, because your opponent will likely have the 3" range around the objective covered so you won't get close enough to contest. However, if you go with the former, you leave the other three objectives wide open with zero chance at getting to them. You'll have to wait for the pods to come from reserve, then you'll have to sit there for a turn waiting to move (you can run though). Then you're either spending the rest of the time moving towards the other objectives or you're playing with your enemy's objectives. It is very easy to contest, so even if you manage to claim one of your opponent's objectives, you have fewer resources to contest anything they claim elsewhere. And that isn't even counting what your opponent can easily throw at their home objectives to continue contesting what you just claimed from them.

3) While Land Raiders DID survive noticeably longer, they had huge another issue: immobilization on terrain features. I cannot count the number of battle reports that I have read that noted that the Land Raiders got immobilized when they were trying to navigate the terrain. When you have so many of your points into a unit that now only gives you half points for claiming table quarters/victory points and di

Reply
10/07/2011 2:18pm

@ Trig

Grrr...my comment got cut off by like half. I'll come back and finish my thought after I'm done driving tonight. Lost a LOT of important thoughts there. Rather annoyed. >.<

@ S-Low

Haha. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

As for the list suggestions, I'll examine them in more detail after my 5 hour drive today. Hopefully the hotel has internet. lol!

Reply
10/07/2011 6:13pm

In the last game of the NOVA I can't remember if my LR was disabled by terrain, by you, or maybe I just parked it weirdly in the trees. However I had it disabled twice in the tournament, which froze my assault, but it did survive as a potent bunker dishing out pain turn after turn. My predators and razorbacks failed a lot of terrain tests, but that could be dealt with a 5 pt dozer blade.

One of my lessons learned at the NOVA was to keep all of my guys in their tanks. In almost every game where my guys got out of their vehicles, they were mowed down. Basically the troops were secondary to the vehicles. In the end I could drop my sanguinary priest, my power weapons, and 1/2 of my 10 man assault squad, and just replace them with another razorback squad.

I think by your instant targeting of my vindicator that we both had figured out by game 8 that fast BA vindis with siege shields were just broken at NOVA.

Reply
10/07/2011 8:11pm

I have to say, I'm not a fan of the single Command Squad in a Drop Pod. It isn't what it's trying to do or how it goes about it, it's that there's just one. And it costs more than your Terminators. That many points, one unit.

I can't think of a fix for that which doesn't come with downsides though. Crusader Squad and Sword Brethren Squad? FNP is covered by near-double bodies, same Power Weapons (PW and LC) with only having fewer Lightning Claw Attacks (and at a lower I and WS), another Drop Pod, and the advantages of having two units (contest two objectives, more likely to have something in reserve longer). Nearly the same cost, but no Ld9. Not fantastic, but I like it more.

What are your thoughts on other options? More specifically:

What about another Terminator unit? Assault Cannons, Tank Hunters, 2 Chainfists (optional), Drop Pod? It doesn't grant the rest of your army Ld 9, but it more (if worse) Invulnerable saves, 2+ instead of 3+ FNP (so an improvement) comes at the same cost (1 point more), is better at Close Combat (though it is worse off getting assaulted, and has to wait for Initiative 1), and has a larger threat range.

Or what about a Sword Brethren Squad? 10 guys, Meltagun, PoLC (Terminator Honors on him), Counter-Attack, Frags, Drop Pod. Less Combat ability, no Ld9, no Invulnerable saves (unless you wanted to pay 20 per), only one Meltagun, no FNP (but near twice as many guys, so bonus against low-AP/Power Attacks); but only costs 275 instead of 294, which means that you can throw a couple of Neophytes/an Initiate into your Crusader Squads, or grab a couple of Terminators Honors (or one and a Storm Shield). Plus the option to decrease the bodies to spend points elsewhere.

++++++

I've got some thoughts about what you're trying to do in general, but I want to save those for my blog, rather than here (don't worry, I'll be good enough to link to here :D)

Reply
10/08/2011 1:03am

@ Trig

Now that I finally am settled down and have some hotel internet, my battery is dying on my laptop. Plus, I don't really remember all I said. :( I'm just going to redo #3:

3) While Land Raiders DID survive noticeably longer, they had huge another issue: immobilization on terrain features. I cannot count the number of battle reports that I have read that noted that the Land Raiders got immobilized when they were trying to navigate the terrain. When you have so many of your points into a unit that now only gives you half points for claiming table quarters/victory points and didn't even likely drop its load off, I cannot bring myself to take one.

You also mention the fact that I had two Las/Plas units. To be quite honest, the only reason they are armed as such is because I feel they would be a waste of points without having some way to contribute to the battle while chilling on an objective. While they aren't nearly as effective without their Razorback, they aren't exactly vulnerable due to the LD9. Cover is largely available, especially on the objectives, so hiding behind terrain where they cannot be shot is easily manageable. I also like Predators, but to be completely honest, with the terrain set up as it was, they were marginal in their effectiveness due to the lack of fire lanes.

In addition, believe it or not, I actually had considered Sword Brethren before the Command Squad. I put it all into the list, was pretty happy about it overall, then had a thought: "Wonder how much a command squad would cost?" Then I come to find out that its only slightly more expensive, so I had to do make the change. I have more power weapons available, more durability due to FNP, Counter-attack, and I have the only source of dual-melta in the codex (barring bikes). I had to do it. lol! I was getting excited to use my Sword Brethren models too. ;)

I hope you don't think I'm just trying to thrash your ideas. They are certainly valid. But I think our experiences with things have clashed a little bit, so I'm just trying to point out a few things from my perspective. Doesn't mean my way is right and you are wrong. You very well might be on the right side of the line and me on the wrong. :) It all boils down to preferences in the end I think, as while I have had great success traditionally with my gunline, not everyone else has. Likewise, you might have great success with a certain style of CC list, where that doesn't fly for me. Its often a product of our environment, and often the GT scene isn't too friendly. So that is why I'm trying to create as balanced a list for myself as possible. With everyone's assistance, of course. :)

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10/08/2011 1:30am

@ S-Low

I know that everyone else cannot see the email, but I'll respond to it anyway here (hopefully my laptop battery lasts).

The list isn't bad methinks, but it ultimately isn't my style. Its too footbased for me. I'm not afraid of hoofing it on the ground if its necessary to build an effective list, but there is a lot of that in the list you sent. I'm not sure if those units in the Land Raiders would be enough to dislodge an unit from an objective, though they certainly will be able to contest (if they don't get immobilized). Okay, actually I think the one LRC unit probably could, but that is really the only thing that can. In the end, I've always been more on the mechanized side of things and have done traditionally better when my dudes are in boxes. :D

The Techmarine idea has merit, and I actually had them in an earlier edition of the list in the article to see how it would work, but took him out. Still, even if I did add him, I'm worried that the objective holders won't be able to repel anything that gets too close without help, which is likely to be across the board. :(

@ Devjon

The Command squad isn't a necessity of the list, but even when I was doing last year's preparation articles, I noted the need for an effective distraction unit. Well, after actually playing at Nova, that distraction unit needs to be able to RELIABLY get to anywhere on the board I need it to be. That means either deep strike or drop pods. That unit also has to either be able to kill what its pointed at, or at the very least, be a pita to kill off while it contests.

As I mentioned in my updated comment to Trig, I had originally considered Sword Brethren for that role but liked the feel of the command squad better. That doesn't mean that other options are out, as I also considered dreadnoughts and terminators as well. A dreadnought, even venerable, doesn't seem like a good use of points because its likely to get lots of AT weaponry pointed its direction with no redundancy to protect it. Terminators might work as well with their Assault Cannons, but if my opponent is in cover, the rending isn't going to matter. Plus, two AC's don't match the kill power of two meltaguns. Nor is a bunch of power fists particularly useful in killing what you need to, as my experience at Nova Open showed.

That leaves me with three effective options in my mind, as I like the troops how they are (at least right now). A) Keep the command squad as is. B) Utilize Sword Brethren in some fashion. C) TH/SS Assault terminators. All three options have their pros and cons. But this early on, the list isn't set in stone so I have time to play around with things a bit. :)

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10/08/2011 8:39am

I'm almost not bothering to post because I feel like I'd be singing the same tune again. Something that just cannot be gotten away from is the sheer cost of our codex's rides except for the two Land Raiders and Drop Pods. Get rid of the Rhinos and you can put every Crusader squad in a Drop Pod (whether you want them there or not) plus have 32 points left over to spend elsewhere.

Get some empty beer cans (or soda cans if your LGS prefers) and run my list through a few games. Mostly, it is only the five Crusader squads in reserve, sometimes its everything, sometimes its somewhere in between, but I've played a few mech list games now and although they are fun, they mainly make me feel constricted at having to crawl across the board under constant fire instead of riding down in a pillar of flame.

I think it is giving up the initiative I hate.

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10/08/2011 10:31am

@ Algesan

lol! I know you like your Drop Pods. But lets be honest here, I'm only adding 92 points to my list for the ability to stay mobile throughout the game. Hiding Rhinos in Nova's terrain is NOT difficult. So I'm not stuck to one place. And it was incredibly difficult for even ME to kill 4 Rhinos and I had firepower up the wazoo. There is simply way too much cover, but...that doesn't account for luck. Potentially, I could lose them all right away and I'd be in the same position.

I also don't know when my troops are going to come down, when the rest of my forces are already on the board. If they come down too late, I'm not going to be able to do anything with their combat potential. Nor do I have really enough DPs to fully manipulate the board. I could deploy some/all of the troops on the board at the start, but then they don't really add much to the battle because their meltaguns are out of range. And they can't exactly use their CC either. Plus, what happens if I need to make a last minute objective grab/contest and my DP scatters? :(

Now, all of that wouldn't really bother me so much, but there is potentially a big issue: Lack of Time. Nova Open rounds are 2 hours long. While I don't have a problem playing a quick game, I cannot guarantee the speed of my opponent. I only finished the full game in 1/2 of my battles this year. Most only getting to turn 4. So, I could potentially lose several of my pods that way, especially if facing an IG Officer of the Fleet. That REALLY worries me. Its why I decided against playing the DDP list last year at the last minute (cause I could have arranged to get all the pods).

So, yes. I wouldn't mind playing drop pods if not for the time issue. One or two pods, I can handle because they aren't instrumental to my game. It makes me sad. But, if MVBrandt jumps the time limit to 2.5 hours as is rumored, then I'll take another serious look at them because that solves my biggest complaint.

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10/08/2011 12:52pm

<sigh> The time issue. I had two pods sitting on the sidelines that missed their drop because time ran out in that one game. NOT the reason I lost, I did that all on my own, but I had assigned them in my mind to do the grab on two objectives, but when they didn't get a chance to come in.

I've actually looked over some horde lists because of that. Lower average KP, hard to totally kill most KP and simply take a long time to move, but that would be too much gaming the tournament rules. Especially in the hour and a half time frame, I don't see an easy way to win with my list in quarters (with the one model = entire unit rule) or objectives unless the horde player fumbles. I simply don't have enough time to kill enough stuff to make stop them from at least contesting. Now if I could whip out a one of my old Deathwind lists I could probably bottle them up...

Ugh. Two hour games with a tiny lunch break is bad enough, but if it is going to two and half hours? Ten hours of games? I don't have a real big problem with that if there is a solid hour for lunch (as in don't cut lunch time) and I can arrange a quiet spot to lay down for at least 35-40 minutes or else sometime during the end of game three, beginning of game four I'll probably start zoning out.

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10/08/2011 6:47pm

Yeah, times were a little rough this year. But, as I said, sounds like Mike is thinking about making games 2.5 hrs long and a longer lunch hour. I don't think that won't be too bad, but a longer day.

However, to be honest, in the games that didn't finish...if I had maybe another 15 minutes, we would have finished. I don't think we'd actually use the full 2.5 hours.

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10/08/2011 6:47pm

Where are all the MVB rumors coming from? I think at 2.5 hours, I would have to rethink staying in all of my pill boxes as well. Like Algesan, I am not sure I could handle 10 hours of games a day. I was exhausted by round 8. It was still a great experience thought, just not sure I have the mental fortitude.

Now, back on topic, If I remember correctly POTMS can be purchased by BT for things like predators. My preds were fast, but I would have much rather had preds that could fire at two different targets. Could a list be optimized using POTMS to get a bigger bang out of fewer preds?

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10/08/2011 11:38pm

@ John

I say "rumors" because they aren't decided yet. Its a combination of the things MVB said on blogs like the back40k, YTTH, and Whiskey&40k. But more so what he said in the 3++ chatbox regarding the schedule and how he's looking to make improvements there. Two and a half hour games were mentioned and he said it was something they were going to consider, but they were going to do what was best for the players. I think he realizes its already a grind, so he might take the happy inbetween. However, it sounded MUCH more certain that he's going to increase the lunch hour time allotment since he said there were quite a few complaints on that.

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10/09/2011 12:28am

As Devjon mentions, another option is to roll with an 5-man TH/SS Assault Terminator squad in a Drop Pod instead of the Castellan and Command squad. Then fill out 3 of the Rhino squads with another initiate each (and switching all flamers to melta). Finally, searchlights on the rhinos.

Should provide a more durable unit as a threat, but I lose some utility (i.e. LD9 and dual-melta). However, it does give me a nice tarpit unit for things like TWC, which is something the Castellan-led Command squad cannot handle.

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10/09/2011 8:38am

The 3xTLC+2xTH/SS works well for me even when not in a Pod. The Pod gives a bit more security, but they deep strike & run well enough. It also gives you a nice movement block even if you do put them on the field.

Techmarine...hmmmm, let me pull him out and dust him off again as a heavy squad. GAH, you know if I could kick GW into FAQing us in a Master of the Forge, I would so love to try a six Dreadnought list. Especially if we could add in the Durendal.

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10/09/2011 5:17pm

I'm not sure how you consider the Extra Power Weapons a notable benefit over taking the a Sword Brethren squad, yet don't consider 4-5 Powerfists (with an extra attack each) sufficient for your purposes.

However, I don't think I was quite clear. A Crusader Squad in a Drop Pod and a Sword Brethren squad in a Drop Pod (both with Power Weapon/Lightning Claw and Meltagun) would serve the same purpose of the Command Squad. You trade army-wide Ld9 and concentrated ability for two different units with the same duties (aka, increased Redundancy and the advantages of MSU). Technically, the Lightning Claws become less effective (lower WS) but they also can't be singled out in combat, so they should last longer. Each squad individually won't last as long as the FNP Command Squad, but there are two of them. And, one of them is scoring, so you can do more than just contest objectives (what if one of your home-squads randomly takes a loss and runs off the board?). For me, I'm having trouble reasoning that the Command Squad is the better choice.

++++++

By the way, thumbs up on the smaller font for the list; it makes it much easier to read. And I have the answer to losing battery in your Laptop: Power Cord.

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10/11/2011 4:50am

Unfortunately, having too many powerfists in a squad leaves that squad vulnerable. Even a basic Long Fang squad can ping terminators before they strike. I am in the camp of killing as many of them before the enemy strikes, or at initiative, as possible.

Ah, gotcha about what you mean now. Thought you meant only the Crusader squad. I was like...ummm... Not sure I'll go that route, but I'm considering everything at this point. Even S-Low's list (which he emailed), though its not really my thing. More like parts of lists and trying to take everyone's ideas to meld into something that feels right for me. Though, you have to understand (its something I preach), everyone has their own style. I'm no different. :D

Unfortunately, a power outlet was not available when I was making those comments. Or else I'd have simply plugged my laptop in. So yes, I had the power cord but didn't have anywhere to plug it in. ;)

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