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Messages - Celerior

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General Discussion / Re: My thoughts on 8th editio
« on: July 27, 2017, 12:19:56 AM »
Good to hear Orks are back! I look forward to seeing hordes of them at my first 8th ed tourney in about 10 days. They're probably the army I'm most nervous about facing, aside from another guard list.

So I'm REALLY liking what I see of 8th edition and the changes to the meta. It seems to me that GW has done many things to encourage balanced army building. Pretty much everything has a hard counter to it, and you saw what they did when silly-looking flyer-spam became a thing! They want cinematic, varied lists to be viable.

Here come some tournament related thoughts which boil down to this: Unless you're playing Orks or perhaps Harlequins, your army needs something I'm calling skirmisher units.

I'm in Paris on vacation, and have been seeing lots of awesome historical things, and I've also been learning a lot recently about WWI and am a history and military history fan. Throughout history, a lot of mistakes happened because it took armies time to adapt to new technology, and figure out tactics to counter the tactics that their opponents would develop to counter the advantage of the new technology.

Let's review some of the builds I've seen recently in person or online:

Close range shooting:
- Scion spam. (If drop pods were cheaper, you'd see them here, too.)
- Wave serpent spam. Rush fire dragons, wraiths, and guardians up the field.

Long range shooting:
- Vehicle gun line (razorbacks, leman russes, or even wave serpents again...) The idea is to shoot down incoming assaults and shrug off incoming fire.
- Infantry gun line (dark reapers, devestators...) similar to the previous entry, but leveraging 2+ saves in cover and bodies rather than high toughness and multiple wounds.
- Flying gun 'line' (Tau suits, but also flyerspam). The idea is to be hard to assault, resilient, and rely on long range shooting.

- Harlequin rush, Hormgaunt rush, and I believe another couple armies can do that decently, too.
- "Da jump" Orks, Genestealer cult, vanguard vets/terminators, and other deep strike based assaults.

What do wave serpent spam, vehicle gunline, flying gunline,  and infantry gunline have in common? They're vulnerable to the new hotness: deep strike. Whether accompished by "Da Jump", scions, terminators, flyer special delivery, or especially Genestealer cult, some of which get to move after deep striking, your army is under serious threat turn 1. What alleviates that threat? A cheap screen of space marine scouts, astra militarum ratlings or  the ubiquitous conscript screen, or whatever your codex equivalent is.

I think of these deep strike prevention units as "skirmishers". In many civil war battles, units would send scattered skirmishers ahead, to screen a larger unit's advance. A whole column fighting in one mass would be inefficient against a scattered enemy. This grew more pronounced in WWI, when "over the top" attacks did disastrously against scattered and entrenched riflemen and machine gunners. In WWII, even travelling in large convoys set you up to be bombed. Today, armies don't act in large columns at all. In 8th edition, the advent of perfectly timed and placed deep strike makes skirmishers an important part of the game in the early rounds.

I've designed my list (can be found in THE LIST section) on the idea of progressive waves of skirmishers. Scouters to defend against deep strikers, and conscripts to defend against harlequin/hormagaunt rush. This is meant to defeat armies that rely on deep strike or assault. These skirmishers can also rush up the field and assault a vehicle or infantry gunline.

Ideally, facing a deep strike based list (terminators and devestators?) that doesn't have sufficient skirmisher support, if I seized first turn I could rush my skirmishers across the field, deep strike some scions in, launch a couple of assaults to cover the last crucial inches, and deny my opponent anywhere on the board to legally deep strike. My point here is this: YOUR ARMY NEEDS SKIRMISHERS!!!

I think the designers of 8th edition had balance in mind when they designed the rules. It makes battles more cinematic if you need a little of this and a little of that, plus they can get players who used to spam one thing to need a little bit of a lot of things. The only spam that is still generally effective, in my opinion, is model spam.

Discussion: THE LIST / 2000 Astra Militarum (mostly) tourney list
« on: July 25, 2017, 11:26:22 AM »
One battalion and one brigade detachment, rearranged by battlefield role:

1st wave: The skirmishers.
Scout sentinel, heavy flamer
Scout sentinel, heavy flamer
Space marine scout squad
Space marine scout squad
Space marine scout bike squad (Raven guard, if it matters)

Their role is to start in possession of the midfield, to prevent turn 1 deep strikes from threatening the body of my army with turn 1 assaults. I expect to go second each game, but if I manage to seize the initiative, they can do some damage and maybe tie up a couple of things in assaults.

Wave 2: The tide
Conscripts (50)
Conscripts (50)
Commissar, plasma pistol
Company commander

This group's job is to charge up the board against elite gunline armies, forcing them to shoot them or else get tied up permanently in assault instead of shooting the more valuable things behind them. Against enemy assault or deep strike armies, these are the bubble wrap for turn 2 and hopefully 3. Against horde armies, these guys should be mowing the hordes down. Against well-armored gunlines, I'd be using my orders to move the conscripts twice. Against hordes, I'd be shooting double, and against assault armies, I'd be shooting despite falling back.

Wave 3: The big guns.
Sergeant Harker
Infantry squad, plasma gun, lascannon
Infantry squad, plasma gun, lascannon
Infantry squad, plasma gun, lascannon
Infantry squad, plasma gun, lascannon
Heavy weapons team, 3 heavy bolters
Heavy weapons team, 3 heavy bolters
Heavy weapons team, 3 mortars
Command squad, 4 sniper rifles
Sabre weapons platform: defensive searchlight
Sabre weapons platform: defensive searchlight

This group brings the slow, grinding firepower. It's hard to silence these plasma guns and lascannons when they come with 8 ablative wounds, a commissar to keep the morale losses low, and a horde of conscripts about to assault you if you're a shooty army, and bubble wrapping these squads if you're an assault army. If it seems to you like there's not enough here, you're right. Here comes the rest...

Wave 5: The ambush
Tempestor prime, command rod
Tempestor prime, command rod
Tempestor prime, command rod
Tempestus command squad, 4 plasma guns
Tempestus command squad, 4 plasma guns
Tempestus command squad, 4 meltaguns
Tempestus scion squad, plasma pistol and 2 plasma guns
Tempestus scion squad, plasma pistol and 2 plasma guns
Tempestus scion squad, plasma pistol and 2 meltaguns

(That's all the plasma guardsmen I own.) Their purpose is to take down key tough enemy targets, and perhaps buy the conscripts one more turn to rush enemy gunlines.

Wave 6: Backfield characters and redundancy
Commissar (the 3rd)
Company commander (the 2nd)
4 more Astropaths (numbers 2-5)

First of all, if my opponent fields snipers, its these guys job to take up their fallen comrades' job. Secondly, it's their job to deny my opponent anywhere in my backfield to deep strike. At every point in the game, my opponent should be unable to deploy deep strikers behind my lines, only facing my leading wave (usually composed of conscripts). Of course the enemy may bring flyers and snipe them by flying over my lines... and that's what my scions can hit, along with my "big guns" wave.

The whole is hopefully greater than the sum of its parts. An enemy needs to have snipers or flyers to deep strike in a useful way, but also needs horde control to actually win the objective game. With 2000 points replacing 1850 at tournaments, infantry cheaper, and the board still 4x6 feet, the idea is to dominate the limited dimensions of the table, tie up non-flying vehicles, and use raw numbers to control the board and therefore the objectives. My biggest concern would be an enemy horde army that doesn't rely on deep strike. Say, 300 conscripts or 300 boyz.

Discussion: THE LIST / Re: Space Wolves 8th Tourny 2k
« on: July 25, 2017, 10:33:36 AM »
Too many drops?!? My guard list for weekend after next's tournament has 38.
At least with the reroll on seizing the initiative, my odds of going first are about 30% each game.

Discussion: THE LIST / Re: Space Wolves 8th Tourny 2k
« on: July 24, 2017, 08:13:06 AM »
So... how did it go? What else performed well? What performed poorly?

Discussion: THE LIST / Re: 2000pt Fluffy Raptors Chapter List
« on: July 16, 2017, 04:23:14 PM »
I don't think that snipers are going to be as effective as people hope. I run conscript blobs, and if I'm facing snipers, I'll hide my commissars behind LOS-blocking terrain or vehicles. Snipers can target characters, but anyone can target snipers! If I'm running something vulnerable to that, I'm targeting the snipers early.

They ought to fix snipers by saying that models more than 9" from snipers can't shoot at them until the snipers shoot at least once.

Discussion: THE LIST / Re: Space Wolves 8th Tourny 2k
« on: July 16, 2017, 04:13:27 PM »
Two things I don't like, one thing I really do.

Seems light on model mass. I've faced Tyranids' turn 1 charge. This army is slower, and will take a round of firepower before it hits. And it will suffer as a result.

I don't think thunderwolf cavalry are as good as they used to be, unfortunately. They look great, and I loved the presence they had last edition. Facing them always sent a bit of fear through me, even if I knew exactly what I was going to do with them.

But unfortunately T5 with multiple wounds isn't what it used to be. About 20% of the time that a marine with a missile launcher fires at a thunderwolf model, it'll one-shot that model. Whoa. An opponent's army should be able to take down your spearhead before it hits.

The stormwolf, on the other hand... I approve. Flyers are a tough nut to crack, and using them to deliver units that can deliver both shooting and assault value is just right! And folks inside take much less damage these days when they crash. If you have another flyer, I'd say do it twice!

Discussion: THE LIST / Re: 2,000pt SM list with guard allies
« on: July 16, 2017, 03:17:51 PM »
Frankly, I don't think 40 bodies is enough.

Next combat patrol, I plan on bringing 100 conscripts, an astropath, company commander, and commissar. I also plan on skipping some shooting phases. Just to see how it deforms the game.

General Discussion / Re: My thoughts on 8th editio
« on: July 11, 2017, 07:03:35 AM »
Adjusting to 8th edition: Here are a bunch of things I've learned.

Item: This edition will be much more cinematically appropriate! Last edition, weaklings like guard or nids or Orks wanted to hide in cover because 4+ cover saves (and 3+ GtG saves, or even better with the right warlord trait) were serious upgrades. No longer. But marines (and often other heavy infantry like Tau suits or striking scorpions) will now double their survivability by being in cover.

Item: A year or two ago, Fritz was talking about how while playing All Quiet on the Martian Front, he used a single annoying long ranged weapon to get his opponent to advance out of cover. Meet the 8th edition lascannon on the guard infantry squad.*

Item: Considering how many lascannons it now takes to take out a vehicle, the ability to tie up a non-flying vehicle and prevent it from shooting** by assaulting is a big deal.

Item: Predators with 4 lascannons vs. 2 Razorbacks with twin lascannons each: I'd rather pay 29 more points for 9 more wounds, transport capacity, and the tactical flexibility of two separate units. Why does the same chassis (OK, 1 more wound) cost about 35 points more without transport capacity?

Item: If your weapon barely misses a crucial cutoff, then the target probably isn't your weapon's intended target. What's a crucial cutoff? Any situation where if you had 1 strength or AP or ballistic skill more, your efficiency would improve from a 1/6 chance to a 1/3 chance, or to some extent from a 1/3 chance to a 1/2 chance. This is what makes Ravenwing Darkshrouds so good against armies without BS 3+.

Related item: As a player, you want to make your opponent miss their crucial cutoffs. You have several opportunities:
  • Hitting. If your opponent has an army with poor ballistic skill, like Orks or non-scion guard, something like a flyer or Dark Angels Darkshroud can manufacture a key cutoff out of hitting.***
  • Wounding. Vehicles survive by making everything do poorly here. Just make sure that whenever possible you're barely over the key cutoffs, or at least not just under them. Don't fire bolters at land raiders; they'll be no more effective than lasguns. Autocannons are meant to shoot at multi-wound foes with T5-6, like Tyranid big bugs or land speeders or bikes or militarum tauroxes & sentinels. (Someone must have thought the meta would be bike-heavy when they points-costed the autocannon.)
  • Saves. Marines in this edition will get a lot of extra mileage by sitting in cover, making most light arms fire bounce off. Vehicles somewhat less so, since the weapons fired at them will most likely not be small arms.
  • Damage. Get your opponent to waste lascannons against 1-wound models, or shoot light arms fire against 2-wound models (like terminators or primaris psykers). Sniper rifles are generally going to be wasted against characters because just when you think you have them killed, they'll hop out of line of sight and keep buffing their neighbors.
Each defensive cutoff you can take advantage of increases the survivability of your unit exponentially. Imagine a Ravenwing Nightshroud in cover against conscript spam: 216 shots needed to take off one wound. Maybe negated by 1 command point.

Item: One major idea in Warhammer is target priority. A lot of wins and losses can be explained thusly: One player attacked the right targets, the other player didn't. In this new edition we have to figure out what works where all over again.

So after some mathhammer and seeing some examples in the field, here's some conclusions for ya:

Lasguns are for targeting light infantry. Anything with T5 or T8 is also a valid target, because your opponent is paying premium points for no benefit there. If you're facing 2+ saves, expect to do only cosmetic damage. You should probably advance, instead!
Boltguns: Similar to lasguns, but can also strip a wound off a vehicle every 13.5 marine shots.
Heavy bolters: Half-decent against everything, but optimally cost effective against marines in cover at long range.
Plasma: is great against heavy infantry, and if you have some way to reroll ones to hit, good when supercharged against tanks, too. (Better than melta at ranges 6"-24")
Mortal wounds are good for hitting tanks and heavy infantry, especially those with invulnerable saves (I'm looking at you, terminators!).
The scatter laser just got nerfed.****

This is why bypassing the marine 3+ save (or 2+ in cover) is a big deal. The best anti-marine weapon is plasma, or whatever has good AP but mediocre strength in your codex.


* I was plinking away at an imperial knight who was sitting behind other units for fear of my scions. My lascannon hit him and did a bit of damage. He returned fire, killing 6 guardsmen. My nearby commissar BLAMed a 7th guardsman, leaving the lascannon and one plasma gunner. The lascannon hit and damaged him AGAIN. He couldn't take it anymore and brought the knight out, using his own deep strike forces as a screen. Yes, I couldn't get to the knight himself, but I didn't have to worry about any more enemy deep strikers, and brought my own scions in to destroy his screen. The knight survived, but his trump card was spent.

**If an opponent's non-flying tank can be surrounded by models in an assault then it can't move free. This is especially useful for horde armies that can fall back and still act at will (Guard with orders and tyranids with one psychic power, and to a much lesser extent harlequins).

*** I've done the math on a decked-out Shadowsword shooting at a nightshroud: Its main volcano cannon, four lascannons, and 8 heavy bolters together will leave the nightshroud unscathed 8% of the time and alive about 43% of the time, even though "on average" it kills the nightshroud. Cue your opponent to start complaining about his dice. End statistics teacher rant.

**** Marines in cover will now last more than twice as long against scatter lasers. Also, vehicles' armor saves and increased wounds make them about 9 times longer lasting against scatter lasers. Scatter lasers are still pretty good against marine bikes, though.

General Discussion / Re: My thoughts on 8th editio
« on: July 10, 2017, 07:35:52 PM »
Assault got less killy, but NOT less important. Tanks can now be denied the ability to shoot next turn by assault. My conscripts have definitely taken advantage of this. Surrounding an opponent's models so that you decide when the assault ends. Firing rapid fire weapons and then charging the near-dead enemy unit just to finish it off.

Assault units got less useful, but as a guard player, I've deliberately started assaults weirdly often in my game today against Tyranids. For example, near the end, 2 infantry squads and a company commander and a sentinel and Yarrick all into 2-wound Swarmlord. Yarrick rolled poorly and only took off one wound, and then my opponent used his last two command points to kill Yarrick out of the normal order, and then the other troops finished Swarmlord off.

Looking at some battles online, units like harlequins that can jump happily into and out of the assault can surround enemy non-flying models with their pile in and consolidate moves so that they can't fall back, making the harlequins potentially unshootable once they're in the assault. I'm imagining a troupe surrounding a rhino.

Rules that let an army play with falling back and still doing stuff (Tyranid psychic power, Guard orders, Harlequins' flip belts and special rules...) are a big deal.

Discussion: THE LIST / Re: 1500 point space marine army
« on: July 04, 2017, 02:52:22 AM »
These days, the a predator has 1 more wound than the razorback, no transport capacity, and different weapon loadout options, but costs 37 points more. So my question is why wouldn't you use the razorback as a main battle tank?

Always before, the weaker armor values meant that the razorback was a fragile platform for the big guns. No more. Give your razorbacks twin lascannons or something. Twin assault cannons also look potentially horrifying.

General Discussion / Re: Braking 8th edition?
« on: July 03, 2017, 09:17:54 AM »
500 conscripts (in 10 blobs of 50) with 4 company commanders and 4 commissars? They won't scratch a wave serpent if what I've heard about them is correct. And it now takes 54 conscript shots to take out one old fashioned marine in cover.

After my first 6 or so games, it seems that scions are what's broken.

Discussion: THE LIST / 1500 Astra Militarum list and battle result
« on: July 03, 2017, 09:03:44 AM »
Over the weekend I played a 1500 point pick up game against a blood angel player. I can't call this a battle report because it wasn't a battle, it was a massacre.

Tempestus command squads are dirt cheap and NASTY. Opponents MUST have an answer. Deep strike generally has gotten way better.

My list:

Company commander x1
{Tempestor prime, command rod} x3

{Infantry squad, sniper, lascannon} x4
{Infantry squad, sniper, missile launcher} x2
Conscripts (41 bodies)
Conscripts (35 bodies)

Commissar with plasma pistol
{Tempestus command squad) x2
{Tempestus command squad, 4 melta guns} x2
{Tempestus command squad, 4 plasma guns} x2
{Astropath} x2
{Command squad, 4 snipers} x2 (Now only one is legal after the FAQ, but I hadn't read it yet.)

Heavy support:
{Heavy weapon squad, 3 heavy bolters} x3

His blood angel list had rhinos, dreadnoughts, and one unit of scouts. I got first turn. I dropped my scions behind his units and to the sides, to force him to split up and back up to go after them, and did rather a lot of damage. At the end of turn 2, he was down to two HQ characters, 2 tactical marines, and a badly damaged rhino, scattered across his side of the table, mostly done killing scions. I had lost most but not all of my scions, one commissar, one astropath, and one conscript blob.

We stopped there, after two turns.

Admittedly, my opponent's list was suboptimal and his deployment wasn't insightful. But beware. The same fate will befall those who don't learn his lesson. Deep striking scions can kill their own value in points when facing vehicles in basically one turn.

Discussion: Astra Militarum / Re: 8th Edition on IG
« on: July 03, 2017, 08:30:48 AM »
Split fire helps mixed-weapon squads, as does being able to pick which models die first. Who does this help? Infantry squads, mostly, which also got a 20% discount.

Deep strike has gotten way better. You never scatter, you never mishap, there are no dangerous terrain tests, and you never have to worry about templates being super effective against you. In all missions except narrative missions you choose which turn units arrive. So we're going to see scions more often.

Our astropaths are cheap and can buff armor. I expect competitive lists will usually include at least one, unless they're maxing out their elite slots.

Since we don't have to worry about templates or maneuvering around terrain to avoid being slowed, conscript blobs will be easier to field without being a pain in the rear to play with or against. I have a battle to report... will do so shortly elsewhere.

Fluff: a lone company of about 100 men advances beyond their lines, drawing in some hostiles... but it's a trap! As the hostiles bear down on the beleaguered company, stormtroopers appear, rising from the ground where they were camouflaged.

Two battalion detachments:

4 HQ total:
Company commander
{Tempestor prime, command rod}

6 Elites total:
{Commissar} x2
{Astropath} x2
Tempestus command squad, 4 meltaguns
Tempestus command squad, 4 plasmaguns

9 Troops total:
{Infantry squad, sniper rifle, lascannon } x4
{Infantry squad, sniper rifle, missile launcher } x2
Conscripts (31 men)
Tempestus scions, 2 plasma guns
Tempestus scions, 2 plasma guns

I faced a Dark Eldar list composed of mainly ravagers and raiders with cabalites, and one squad of scourges. The tempestus scions were very effective, but basically all dead within 2 turns. My opponent got an early advantage on objectives, and I only caught up in the last couple turns. When we called it quits at the end of turn 6, he had only 2 models left: a half dead ravager and his archon. I still had about 60 models left, including 4-5 of the heavy weapons from the infantry squads.

The sniper rifles were useful. A mortal wound from one took the last wound off of a raider sitting in cover. I guess that's what snipers will be useful for: occasional wounds against targets with good armor saves.
My lascannons and missile launchers rolled poorly. My plasma and melta did well, but when they do well for the 4th straight game, it probably isn't luck. Deep striking order givers let me fearlessly supercharge my plasma.
I had one more tempestor prime than I needed. This edition demands more HQ units than I want.

I think deep strike was the most buffed part of the game. I'll bet you all that scions will be all over the place until point values are updated and/or until people learn how to bubble wrap against deep strike in this new edition.
As for the correct mix of conscripts and infantry squads for guard players, I'm still playing around with it. I think there are tactical roles for both.

You gotta use that in the "ambush" narrative mission!!!
Unfortunately for small elite assault armies, nothing gets locked in combat this edition. I agree that there will be many hard counters to this in the competitive scene. Bubble wrap against deep strike is going to be a thing, I think.

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