Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why I don't like Kommandos

I've played with Kommandos a few times now, and I have to say, I'm not really a fan.  Even against guard, where they would theoretically shine the most, they sort fail.  I'll outline in this post why I think they aren't as efficient as other choices.

First, I guess it would be good if I outlined what they do, and their options.  Kommandos have the scout rule, and so can outflank if they want.  With their somewhat expensive point cost (for a T4 6+ save model), they really need a good reason to even be considered. 

Enter Snikrot.  He's a character who attaches to the squad, and lets them 'outflank' on any boardedge he wants- including the oppositions board edge.  He has a S6 weapon, so on the charge, he's at S7.  The squad can take a few burnas (which either count as flamers or power weapons, you get to choose the turn you use them), but for super crazy expensive.

So, the entire squad with 15 boyz and Snikrot (without any power weapons) comes to 225 points.  It's the exact same as a squad of 15 lootas.

What's not to like, you ask?  They can come in on the opponent's board edge and kill vehicles, devastator squads, and whatever!  Pure win!  Right?

I think that's wrong.  Units like Wolf Scouts can pull off those types of shenanigans because they cost like 100 points or less, for about the same impact, potentially even more.  It's worth sacrificing 100 points of scout to get rid of a Manticore, or a squad of Lootas, or even just multi-charging a tank line.  225 points doing the same thing should have double the results, logically (because it's double the points cost) and realistically, the Kommandos almost never do nearly that much.

In a game against guard, you reserve your Kommandos, and hope to god they come in on turn 2, because their Manticores and Heavy Weapons Teams are trying to kill all your (extremely fragile) Ork vehicles.  So, you march them in, charge the Manticore, and kill it.  Next turn, Imperial Guard chimeras with Heavy Flamers come in and kill your entire squad to the man, because they're all grouped up popping a Manticore.  Sure, they killed the Manticore, hopefully only letting it shoot once, or potentially twice.  But was it worth killing only half your points in models?  Sometimes it is.  Then again, you're taking a big chance, and hoping that you even roll a 4+ on turn 2.

Another scenario, where you move on and assault a Wolf player's Longfangs:  you charge, and they counter-charge, killing 3 or 4 of your Kommandos before you strike.  You throw 44 attacks, 22 hit, 11 wound, and kill 3 or 4 Longfangs.  Push?  You better hope they didn't roll just slightly better, because then you'll have to take either fearless saves, or even take a morale check.  Either way, you're risking your entire unit on one 140 point squad.  You might not even win combat!  And sure as shootin', next turn, a Grey Hunter squad is going to come in and kill the rest of the Kommandos off, before you even get to swing.

Admittedly, Kommandos can do some good work against Tau broadsides, and even against Lootas.  You can add another 45 points to their already hefty price tag and get 3 power weapons/flamers.  For 270 points, you have to be expecting them to do something other than kill something, then die terribly.  But they never really will.  Why would they?  They aren't supported.  They're not supposed to live!  15 T4, 6+ save models will not survive against much.

The argument that they could tie something up in combat, and cause a disturbance in the enemy's backfield might sound good in theory, but really, if they come in turn 2, the enemy only has to designate a single unit to go back and take care of them.  If they come in turn 3 or later, then their usefulness is drastically reduced, because against an army whose shooting you want to disrupt, they've already gotten at least two and maybe even 3 rounds of shooting on you.  Your wagons/trukks are either already there or dead and sad-faced.  The 'support' Kommandos give is nada, in that case.  Sure, kill the Manticore.  It already smoked two battlewagons.  Sure, kill the Longfangs (maybe).  They already killed 2 or 3 Trukks, or Kanz, or whatever.  At that point, the support against shooting isn't nearly as relevant to the battle.

If they came in later, they can be used to contest an objective, or pick off stragglers, I suppose.  The thing is, using them like regular boyz when they cost double what a regular boy does is entirely inefficient.

Then there's the issue of them taking up an elite slot.  They're fighting both flamers and lootas for a position, and I already know that both of those units are going to do something.  15 lootas on average shoot 30 shots, and hit 10 times with S7.  That's 3 penetrating hits against a rhino, or 1 pen and a few glances against AV12.  Hell, they can even shut a Predator up for a turn if they want.

And they do that every turn until the opponent figures out how to deal with Ghaz, 8 complex nobz, 15 burnas, and a bunch of boyz, as well as 3 wagons.  That's gonna take them at least 3 or 4 turns, during which time, the lootas are gonna kill lots of shit.  Maybe they won't kill a tank every turn.  But they'll sure do more added up over the course of a game than 15 Kommandos will. 

In the end, the idea of coming in on your opponent's board edge is a fun one, until you discover that he's just going to happily take the 100 point loss, and butcher your poor 225-point squad off the table.  It's like sacrificing a Bishop to kill an opponent's pawn.  Sometimes, it's worth it.  Most times, it's sheer madness.


Zac Pauga said...

while I completely agree that Kommandos are not as good as lootas or Burnas I think your math for the fight against Long Fangs is a bit off. You don't seem to be taking into account Snikrots 6 St6 Attacks rerolling hits at I4.

Also unless it has been changed the FAQ that said Deffrollas hit vehicles also said that Warbosses in Kommando units could come on with them so its not a bot way to get Ghazgul exactly where you want him.

Xaereth said...

Heh, you're right. He'll end up hitting like 4-5 times, and wound 4 times (instead of the 1 they would have got). It tips the balance to kill 4-5 longfangs rather than 3-4. You still gotta hope they didn't roll lucky though. The wolf player doesn't care either way- their unit is effectively destroyed one way or another. Will they destroy you in their death throes though? Gotta hope not!

As for Ghaz coming in with Kommandos, it kinda cracks me up :) It's kind of a gimmick though. An unsuppored Ghaz is going to die against any army out there. Also, what if he doesn't come in til turn 5?