Thursday, 24 October 2013

Hands Over Fists 2

So here’s my general game plan for this army.  When it comes to set up, the Master of the Forge goes in with the Sternguard in their Drop Pod and the tactical squads split, the heavy bolters manning some reinforced scenery along with the Thunderfire Cannon and the Centurions. The forward combat squads with Meltaguns and Sergeants start inside the Razorbacks and either hid behind reinforced scenery or ready themselves to gun the engines and head upfield.  The Scouts in their storms normally start on the board, infiltrated far forward.  If I can Scout closer, I do (depending on quantity and disposition of enemy units in their area).  The Ironclads are prepped to go in on Turn 1.  Basically, I start aggressive from the off.  It’s one of the many advantages of Drop Pods.  I try to get as much stuff as I can into the face of the opponent from turn one.  This usually means a combo of combat scouts and Ironclads.  Although they can’t get into combat in the first turn, the wealth of heavy flamers in close is there to target backfield guns and objective holding troops, plus anyone arming gun emplacements.  The Drop Pods are also handy for obstructing fire lines and hampering movement, especially as you can disembark so much further from them now.  Supporting fire is obviously provided by the Thunderfire and Razorbacks primarily and sometimes the tacticals may get lucky with the heavy bolters.

What are the Centurions doing though?  Probably not much in the first turn; the Cannons are woefully short range for that kind of thing.  The guy I bought them from found that they couldn’t accomplish much as they were massive fire magnets and tended to get killed by anti-tank fire before reaching decent weapon range.  So I’m trying a different tactic with them and using them primarily as board control.  Having gone against them a couple of times, I was always anxious about getting anywhere within that 24” firing range and so they seem like an ideal deterrent for anyone thinking about getting rid of my objective scorers.  Plus, the lack of an Invulnerable save seems less of a big deal when you’re tanking with 3+ Cover.  However, I may want to take a more aggressive stance with them and rely on the Ironclads to take most of the high Strength low AP shooting for a turn or two and buy the Centurions time to advance.  Time will tell as to which tactic seems the best use for the big guys.

The big down side with turn one is that most of the time I will probably be giving away first blood.  However, as I see it, it’s a sacrifice that’s worth making if I can strip objectives from an opponent.  Nevertheless, most of the time, I’ve just got to weather the return fire.  The Ironclads will probably die and if I position them wrong, the scout will take quite a few casualties as well.  They’re really not meant to be encountering massed firepower, aiming instead for backfield or outlying units to harry and distract.  The other downside with this initial rush attack is that I have woefully little decent anti-tank in it.  Make no mistake, the Dreads and Scouts can definitely deal with vehicles, but they need to be in assault in order to do so.  My first turn has to be about putting the opponent on the defensive, but also bearing in mind that I need to assault stuff a keeping targets in mind for that next turn.  This has worked fairly well versus more manoeuvrable opponents, as I have enough stuff with enough freedom of movement (or at least a free choice of where they drop) to cover most of the board with threat.

The second turn is when some more punching arrives (hopefully) as I have two Talons and my Sternguard in reserve to turn up and they can provide some effective shooting.  The Talons in particular have managed to achieve a great deal with their relatively cheap loadouts and BS 5 (versus most targets).  Never underestimate Strafing Run!  They are primarily for dealing with light-medium armour that I can’t get to normally, or for deshelling troops inside a transport.  In my last game against the Eldar, the were to blame for three dead Wave Serpents, so they definitely paid for themselves in terms of effect rather than raw points.  Once the Guardians and Aspect Warriors are out of their cans, they are very easy to remove…  The Sternguard are pretty much just as good as they ever were, but a few points cheaper, which is not something I’m going to complain about!  I have different views on the Master, unfortunately, but I’ll save that for a different post.  He can definitely work well, but I feel they’ve taken quite a few downgrades in this new book.  He in there for the fluff and feel of it more than anything.  Plus I really like the conversion I’ve done for him!

I don’t really have much else to write about my tactics beyond turn 2 though mainly because from that point onwards for me, the game becomes about adapting to the battle and the opponent more than any set plan.  Plans 1 & 2 don’t always go to plan either.  Regardless, I am trying to  train myself to play to the objectives, or at least keep one eye on them throughout the game, as ages of DE play made me too complacent in grabbing stuff at the last second and not all armies can keep up with that lack of planning!

I’ll go more in depth into a couple of things from the SM Codex later, mainly focusing on a few rules queries I’ve noticed and the strengths and weaknesses of some of the units I use.

So long!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Hands over Fists!

Right, in the long break between posts, something interesting appears to have happened in the hobby world.  Namely, the new Space Marines Codex.  My general thoughts on this are quite positive by and large, but then again, that’s been a familiar enough tune from me over the last few releases.  I feel the new Marines have not drastically changed, more than been brought into line.  Very few new units; just the Centurions at last count.  I’m not counting the Raven and Talon for that as they were both usable beforehand, but not in the codex proper.

A lot of the changes have been more tweaks than anything.  The biggest of these is definitely the Chapter Traits system which, although not the return to the broad customisability of the fourth ed dex is still very characterful and will encourage each player down a certain route depending on their chosen progenitor chapter.  I initially wrote ‘force’ instead of ‘guide’ in that sentence.  That’s one of the good things about this new system is that it doesn’t feel like it is forcing you to do certain things or create certain armies.  They all have broad advantages that benefit the majority of your army, just are in starker relief and greater effect in certain areas.  That said, let’s go onto my particular (possibly predictable) key focus in this area.  The Iron Hands.  The cold bastards of the Legiones Astartes.

The focus for their Chapter Traits appears to be sheer bloody-minded durability, although in only minor degrees.  I quite like it, but when comparing it to the more offensively aligned chapter tactics it can be easy to think that they’re hard done by.  This isn’t a ramp up to a complaint or anything though.  The Iron Hands traits are very useful, although they are unlikely to come into effect on individual occasions.  The unique thing for the Tenth is that their rules pretty much affect everything you have on the board.  However, the down side is that you need to be lucky for those things to have an effect.  You cannot actually rely on them.  You just have to hope that the dice come up in your favour.  An extra Strength on Hammer of Wrath is inviolable.  Once you charge, it’s there.  Same with Hit and Run, or Relentless.  You can go through an entire game with any of the Iron Hands doctrines helping you at all if you just don’t roll right.  Or you can be borderline indestructible.  Either way, it’s all just rolls on the dice, a fact that will turn many people off using them.

Nevertheless, they are my Legion/Chapter and I’ve naturally devised a list for them, trying to make the most of what they can bring and adding a couple of new things.  May as well let you in on it, as it seems pretty solid.  That said, like untempered iron, I might find them a touch brittle as well.

2,000 points incoming!


Master of the Forge: Xandrei Kimmel – Combi grav, Auspex


Ironclad Dreadnought – Twin heavy flamers, Seismic hammer, Drop pod

Ironclad Dreadnought – Twin heavy flamers, Chainfist, Drop pod

7 x Sternguard – two heavy flamers, Drop pod


10 x Tactical Marines – Meltagun, Heavy bolter, Meltabombs, Razorback with Assault cannons

10 x Tactical Marines – Meltagun, Heavy bolter, Meltabombs, Razorback with Assault cannons

5 x Scouts – Bolt pistols, Combat blades, Meltabombs, Landspeeder Storm with Heavy flamer

5 x Scouts – Bolt pistols, Combat blades, Meltabombs, Landspeeder Storm with Heavy flamer

Fast Attack

Stormtalon – Skyhammer missiles

Stormtalon – Skyhammer missiles

Heavy Support

3 x Centurions – Grav cannons & amps

Thunderfire Cannon

And that brings me up to about 2,000.  It’s not my typical list, certainly not for marines.  I’ve normal been a footslogging guy for them, but this time round I’m experimenting with mechanised.  Let’s see how that goes!  I’ll talk a bit more about my thoughts behind this list and some of my practical experience with it next time.

Good to see you’re still here!