Sunday, November 17, 2013

Codex: Inquisition and How it Affects my List-Building

What's up what's up folks! I'm back, after a long period of time in which I've kind of just stayed quiet. I had a bummer of a Feast of Blades, and didn't want to spread negative energy - they're my friends and run a great tournament, despite my dislike of the mission format/terrain rules.

Instead of talking about that, I wanted to discuss the new hotness, and how it will affect what I'm currently attempting to accomplish in my 40k list building. Namely, make a competitive Marine list which will consistently be able to defeat the current TauDar/Screamer-Star ridiculousness.




So, I've been playing around with the current list recently (before C:I came out):

1750 Marines (Ultramarine Primary, White Scars Allies)

Ultras:

Tiggs the Boss

10x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma, Multi-Melta // Rhino w/ Dozer Blades
10x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma, Multi-Melta // Rhino w/ Dozer Blades

Storm Talon w/ Skyhammer Missiles
Storm Talon w/ Skyhammer Missiles

8x Devastators w/ 4x Las Cannons
Thunderfire Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon

Scars:

Chapter Master w/ Bike, Shield Eternal, Artificer Armor, Power Fist, Auspex
8x Bikes w/ 2x Grav, Combi-Grav, Multi-Melta Attack Bike


Misfortune

I actually think that if Marines are going to have any chance at beating the current "Star-hammer" that people are taking to tournaments, Tigurius is going to be essential to winning. My reasoning is that it will mostly be impossible to kill those stars down in meaningful numbers without something like Misfortune to debuff them. Tiggs has a great chance at getting Misfortune, which suddenly makes those 2++ re-rollable invulnerable saves much less daunting (you wound your opponent every 6 wounds instead of every 36).

Volume of Fire

To kill these stars, we have to assume that they'll always have a 2++ save, which means that Marines will need to have lots of shooting in order to take advantage of Misfortune going off. That means that Tacticals are necessary, and taking all those bikes, Thunderfires, Storm Talons, etc. will do a great bit of damage to them, provided Misfortune works.

Killing Serpents

I also think that killing Wave Serpents is important - they do a lot of damage, hold scoring models, and just generally make a nuisance of themselves. At this point, I don't think anyone needs me to tell them how frustrating seeing Wave Serpents across the table from them is.

This is why I want the Dev squad with Las Cannons - they have a great chance to kill a Wave Serpent each turn if/when Tiggs gets Perfect Timing. Also, because they're Ultramarines, they can hide behind cover on Turn 1 if I don't get first turn, and get relentless in my own Turn 1, for the first shot.

Once they've killed a Serpent and my Bikes are turbo-ing toward whatever they think needs to be Grav'd, the Devs become less of a priority, and can probably kill at least one or two more Serpents before they die. If not Serpents, they can kill things like Broadsides, Necron Wraiths, Riptides, Wraithknights (sometimes), other transports... etc.

Distinct Weaknesses

Despite the good things people on los internets seem to be saying about Tactical Marines, I don't seem to be doing very well with them. They kind of just roll around in their Rhinos, get shaken so they can only snap fire, and then stare at targets they wish they could assault. Plasma guns are cool sometimes, but I can only shoot one of them more than one turn.

In addition, while Tacs are tough to kill, their ride isn't. If their ride fails to get them where they want to go on Turn 1, it doesn't get there ever more than likely. And Tacs are um... slow. Pretty expensive to be paying 215 points for 10 of them when they don't really give much output. Additionally, they're only Ld. 8, and get pinned/flee quite a bit.

The list also struggles when faced with claiming objectives - the Bikes are good enough at making a nuisance of themselves, but the Tacticals rarely get where they want, and when they do, they kind of just die to my opponent's firepower. I also do not actually have a "deployment objective camper" squad - the Tacs can just combat squad and do something like that, but it would be much easier to have a squad or two who could hold down the fort while the rest of my army applies pressure.

TL;DR for this section: Tactical Marines are kind of buzzkills.

This is where C:I comes in

They make all my goals better, and eliminate some weaknesses. Let's examine.

Misfortune: Coteaz has another couple rolls on Divination just in case Tiggs doesn't get it.
Volume of Fire: Acolytes with bolters are 5 points each with a single point of lower BS. They can also take
3 Plasma Guns. Servitors w/ Plasma Cannons also provide quality pain when linked with Prescience.
Killing Serpents: Well, maybe not so awesome here, though mass Plasma Guns + Inquisitor w/ Psycannon does alright. C:I also has a neat Relic which allows the carrier to bestow Scout on the unit he deployed with, which can help get the Bikes in position to potentially kill a Serpent on Turn 1!

Here's the list I'm playing around with:

1750 of Marines (Primary: Ultramarines, White Scars Allies, Codex Inquisition in there somewhere)

Ultras:

Tiggy

5x Scouts w/ Boltguns
5x Scouts w/ Boltguns

Storm Talon w/ Skyhammer Missiles
Storm Talon w/ Skyhammer Missiles

8x Devastators w/ 4x Las Cannons
Thunderfire Cannon

Scars:

Chapter Master w/ Bike, Artificer Armor, Shield Eternal, Power Fist, Auspex

8x Bikes w/ 2x Grav, Combi-Grav, MM Attack Bike

Inquisition:

Coteaz
Ordo Malleus Inquisitor w/ Terminator Armor, Psyker, Psycannon, New Relic w/ Scout, 3x Servo-Skulls

10x Henchmen w/ 3x Plasma Cannon Servitors, 7x Warrior Acolytes w/ Boltguns
10x Henchmen w/ 3x Warrior Acolytes w/ Plasma Guns, 7x Warrior Acolytes w/ Boltguns // Chimera w/ 2x Heavy Bolters, Psybolt Ammo

Notes:

First, I actually believe this comes to a bit above 1750, though not much more. I can take out a Dev and a bike or two if needed.

Alright, so let's break down what my game plan with this army is likely to look like:

Devs + Tiggy: Hide behind cover if I don't get first turn. Note that I don't always (or even, often) want first turn. Climb up, use the Devastator doctrine, shoot something valuable.

Coteaz + Plasma Cannon Henchmen: Get in some "bolstered" cover (from the TFC) and shoot stuff with Divination and potentially use Servo-Skulls to reduce scatter. They're also scoring, so make sure to sit on/near an objective. Maybe he'll let me seize the initiative sometimes, if I need to.

Note that depending on who (if either) caster got Perfect Timing, they may need to join the other squad for best effect. Las Cannons do go well with Plasma Cannons - open a transport, then kill what's inside.

Also note that with Coteaz and Tigurius, I get 8 rolls on Divination with the possibility of getting Misfortune. Maths tell me that's a pretty good chance of getting it at least once.

Scouts: Probably outflank, but potentially just reserve or deploy/infiltrate. Depends on the mission - I would prefer Kroots here, but they'll do the job well enough. For 110 points, these guys aren't killing me, and are potentially winning the game by scoring.

Thunderfire Cannon: Bolster a good piece of terrain, then (hopefully) profit from Servo-skulls and innately awesome rules.

Bikes + Ordo Malleus Inquisitor + "Psymera" Henchmen: Generally, I will probably want to attach the Inquisitor to the Bikes and Scout them up to apply pressure. As I read it (and I did scour the rulebook and FAQs), the Bikes will be allowed to move up 12" still, while he only gets 6", so long as I maintain coherency.

Once the bikes are in place, the Inquisitor will probably cast Prescience on the Bikes, send them to do God's work, and climb into the Chimera, who will have moved up 12" and popped smoke. In subsequent turns, he can cast Prescience on the squad, and they can shoot their Plasma Guns and Psycannon out of the Chimera or get out and shoot. Chimera can also spotlight something during nightfight, if needed.

Prescience on those Plasma Guns will probably make them awesome, and the unit won't entirely suck in combat. The unit is also just un-threatening enough that most of my opponents won't waste shots on the AV12 Chimera on Turn 1, and the unit can just hang out in midfield, scoring and dying in droves, with most of the shooting being tanked by the Inquisitor. Inquisitor can also give split fire to his squad for a turn, letting the Plasma Guns shoot at, say, a Riptide, while the Boltguns shoot some Kroots or something.

An interesting note here as well is that the Chapter Master on the bike will also potentially benefit from the Servo-Skulls with his Orbital Bombardment.

Why this is awesome:

Henchmen are actually remarkably efficient killers when compared to Tactical Marines. Looking at point values:

205 points of Marines gets you: 10x Tacticals w/ Plas, Combi-Plas, Rhino w/ Dozer Blades.
135 points of Henchmen gets you: 10x Henchmen w/ 3x Plas, 7x boltguns, Chimera w/ 2x S6 Heavy Bolters, Dozer Blades

VS T4:

205 points of Marines will average: ~5.1 Bolter Wounds and ~2.2 Plasma Wounds (Plas + Combi-Plas)
135 points of Henchmen will average: 3.5 Bolter Wounds and ~2.52 Plasma Wounds

This of course does not take into account the Rhino vs. Chimera, though the Chimera costs 65 of the points in the unit, and has 6 S6 AP4 shots as well.

Keep in mind that the Marines get only one use with the Combi-Plas, though I suppose it's fair to say that the Henchmen will die at an alarming rate while shooting their own Plasmas, assuming they don't have Prescience on them at the time.

I'm not ignoring that Marines have other good things about them

I realize that the Marines aren't just paying for pure offensive output - they have grenades, ATSKNF, better stats, much better saves, etc. They're also 14 points each, and pay an extra 9 points for those benefits when compared to Henchmen. Some will argue that they're worth the extra 9 points, and that's fine.

Personally, I believe that Henchmen are better all-around buys when it comes down to it. Marines die easily to much of the same stuff that Henchmen do - Bale Flamers, Riptides, Pie Plates, Plasma Weaponry, etc. I'd rather have a tank that pumps out shots and a squad who can do some damage while staying cheap rather than get that 'added utility.'

In the end, Tactical Marines don't do much but survive and annoy, for a big price tag. Henchmen do less, but for a much smaller price tag.

I expect that in the coming months, we will see many more henchmen. Hooray - as my friend CJ said, "Marines finally got cultists!"

Only difference being that Henchmen are better in every way. Madness :)


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