Last weekend, I went to the Throne of Skulls and, without false modesty, I can say that I did fairly well. Four wins and one loss isn’t bad in anyone’s books (especially when that loss was one Genestealer away from a draw, dammit!). Anyway, my brief summation about the tournament can be heard on the podcast, if you have the inexplicable interest in it.
This post is about a new unit I tried for the tournament. I had used a C’Tan Shard once before going to Nottingham, so was still very much unsure as to its capabilities, especially when you have to spend so many points to acquire them. However, now that the tournament’s over, I’ve bought another one. My Shard was pretty much the man of the match in every game. He was also good fun to play, which always helps. So this blog post is going to focus on my experiences using the C’Tan and the lessons I learned.
First, the set up. For this Shard I was going for a very specific build to complement the rest of my army. Writhing Worldscape was the key ability here. For those who may not know, WW is a passive ability that means for as long as the Shard is on the table, all Difficult terrain becomes Dangerous as well, and all Dangerous terrain will cause damage on a 1 or a 2, rather than just a 1. Naturally, this applies only to the opponent. Nice. This was a cornerstone of my build, as I was running with three Harbingers of Transmogrification (probably one of the most clunkily named units in the game) who are, by default, armed with Tremorstaves. Tremorstaves are a 36” range blast weapon that inflicts Difficult terrain on any unit it hits. This stacks with the Writhing Worldscape ability to make a nasty little combo that can really hamper enemy movement and against which there is little defence. A vehicle will immobilise itself on a 1 or a 2. Hordes of guys will dies on rolls of 1 during their own movement phase. Before, Tremorstaving was a delaying tactic. With the addition of this guy, it was now a proper weapon.
The other ability I gave him was Swarm of Spirit Dust, a fairly unflashy and utilitarian piece of kit that gives the Shard assault grenades, defensive grenades and Stealth, allowing him to better resist being charged, strike at I4 when assaulting through terrain and also give him better odds of surviving being shot at (provided he can find something big to hide behind). I found that the Annihilation Barges were about the right size and shape to provide this cover easily.
The statline of this monster also gives you a much-needed close assault element with S & T 7 and five attacks on the charge. Combined with the fact that he’s a Monstrous Creature (it’s worryingly easy to play a NecZilla list!) and he’s very good at taking down swarms of S3 and decent quantities of S4 without really breaking a sweat. Vehicles are, of course, easy pickings for him and his 4+ invulnerable save will also stand up against other MCs and power fist/klaw wielders with decent odds. His downfall, as with most other Monstrous Creatures, is Rending (by the bucketload) and Poisoned Attacks. That Invulnerable save will only get you so far.
My plans in each battle were fairly similar when it came to using the Shard. He’d advance up behind my Barges for the first couple of turns and the engage small units of elite infantry where he could do the most damage. In the first game he dealt with a weakened Strike Squad (Eternal Warrior was nice and the T7 meant that Hammerhand didn’t help them), the second game he tore through a terminator assault squad with their Chaplain, he ate a full squad of Striking Scorpions in the third game, the fourth game saw him dispatch a Trygon with ease (not a wound taken!). Sadly, the fifth game he didn’t really get up to much, but that was Dark Eldar. They were too fast and too far away for the most part. His passive ability more than made up for his relative lack of activity in that game though, as four vehicles out of the ten he was field Immobilised themselves whilst trying to move throughout the game.
He died twice during the tournament. Once when the Doom landed next to him and took three wounds off him immediately due to his death field effect (I had to roll very badly for that to happen) and having his last wound taken by a squad of charging Genestealers. And second when I was up against the Eldar player and he spent two turns levelling every applicable gun at him to score a moral victory in a losing game. Certainly not a bad survival rate.
Oh, before I forget, there are two more standard abilities for this guy that need to be borne in mind. The first is that he doesn’t care about moving through Difficult or Dangerous terrain. Having that full 6” move through craters and ruins is kind of liberating, especially if you’re trying to hunt someone down. The second ability is the post-death explosion. Everything within D6” of a C’Tan that loses its last wound will take a S4 AP1 hit. This is a very nasty surprise for Terminators and Paladins! However, it does necessitate you keeping him away from your more breakable infantry models. There isn’t a more ignominious way to go.
Apart from perhaps Tesla-ing your units to death. Which I’ve done.
And will probably do again.