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Monday, June 7, 2010

Analysis: Exorcists


Well, let's get into some real 40k discussions rather than complaining about it and to each other (I know, I'm such a party pooper). So some comments were brought up in a recent internet fight (vote now) about Exorcists. Why not take a look at them. Exorcists on paper look pretty good. 13/11/10 w/BS4 & D6 S8 AP1 48" shots for not too steep a price. In today's mech-centric world that's pretty decent and is still very good against MCs and not that shabby against infantry. It does however have it's problems.

The first one is competition with the Immolator (lol what right? It's a transport. Well, we shall explore this later). The second is the one big gun factor. Every "big gun" tank has this problem. Russes, Fire Prisms, Manticores, Hammerheads, etc. Weapon destroyed = a lot of points are essentially useless. The good tanks that suffer from one gun syndrome generally have back-up guns (i.e. HBs, SMS, Shuriken Cannon, etc.), are that bloody amazing (i.e. Hammerheads, Manticores, etc.) or are just that important to an army they can rarely be done without (i.e. Fire Prisms). Unfortunately Exorcists don't fall under these blankets. Whilst the Exorcist launcher is exceptional at tank popping, it suffers from reliability issues due to D6 shots. 1 S8 AP1 shot is not worth it whilst 6 certainly is. Whilst the GW exorcist launcher has a pretty good field of fire due to its height (although this makes getting it a 3+ save nigh impossible), one weapon destroyed and it's essentially useless. Furthermore, they stand out significantly as a tank in comparison to other tanks in most WH armies.

That's the general mehness of the Exorcist and it doesn't seem too bad. Like a Prism it could really add to the WH army, especially since WH armies are generally close ranged. Well let's take a peek. We're going to assume we are running Immo spam. This uses MSUs (Min Sized Units) and min-maxing (oh no, old codex alas) to get as many meltagun squads and Immolator chassis into play which is very efficient in terms of anti-armor and anti-infantry. Due to the large amount of mech tactics such as mech-training and blocking are very important (specifically for protecting your own units; I will write up a How To on this later). There are however two different versions. One version uses SoB + ISTs as their Troops w/Immos everywhere else. The other "newer" version uses ISTs as Troops as well as IG infantry platoons. This offers long-ranged suppression firepower through AC/LCs, a big blob to objective sit and can chuck in some Chimeras for AV12 protection to the AV11 spam.

This covers one of the main advantages of the Exorcist, long-ranged firepower. Whilst ACs & potential LCs + Chimeras from IG are generally not going to meet up with 3x D6 S8 AP1 tanks, you know what you're getting and you've added a ton of firepower & bodies to an already evil army. This also means we've lost some of our forward thrust. No longer are 20-30 SoB Troops running into the opponents face in Rhinos so we need to maintain as much of a forward push as possible. Keeping a SoB squad can do this and Chimeras certainly provide with their AV12 front but we only have a max of 8 Immos which is pretty good anti-infantry but not that much. We can grab 3 more from Heavy Support slots which fit the theme of the army perfectly and for the cost of an Immo + IST w/2 meltaguns, well you've covered the cost of the Exorcist. Whilst the Exorcist is overall better at tank hunting due to range and potential of shots, the Immo + ISTs are more reliable, bring more upfield saturation to the table (thus more chances for Rhino V's, triangles and general walls) + is infinitely better at anti-infantry. Coupled with IG providing fire support and taking Exorcists might make the armored onrush too weak and easier to stem.

Let's take a look at a sample army list using Immo spam principles w/an IG blob:

HQ -
2x Palatine w/5x Celestians w/2x meltaguns w/Immolator (1 w/Book of St. Lucius)

Elites -
3x 5x Celestians w/2x meltaguns w/Immolator

Troops -
3x 5x IST w/2x meltaguns
Platoon Command w/AC
3x Infantry Platoon w/AC (inc. 1 Commisar)
Heavy Weapons squad w/3x AC

Fast Attack -
2x 5x Dominions w/2x meltagun w/Immolator
1x 5x Dominions w/2x flamer w/Immolator

Heavy Support -
3x Immolator

Totals: 1998
Tanks: 11
Infantry: 95

To get Chimeras in you can drop the Heavy Weapons team & meltaguns on the Dominions, etc. but this example shows with Exorcists instead of Immolators you'd only have 8 tanks moving forward which isn't enough. Whilst your down-field firepower would be impressive, the Exorcists would be huge primary targets and the rest of your army wouldn't be able to protect their flanks as they should be moving up (although the infantry blob can provide bubble-wrap). When you start adding in Exorcists as well the Infantry blob becomes less sustainable due to the points increase over Immolators which requires you to either dumb it down or replace it which you should be loathe to do thanks to the effectiveness of such a blob and their similar job to Exorcists. Harking back to the weaknesses of only having one main gun and Immolators are often the better choice than Exorcists in the most competitive of WH lists (i.e. Immo spam). As an army, Immolator spam is hard to suppress like RBack spam due to the saturation and cover saves so much mech generates. Add in effective downfield firepower from IG blobs...ya well owie.

7 pinkments:

Sister Hospitaller said...

Many who play Sisters of Battle wants to play, well, Sisters of Battle. Not a few Sisters and an entire entourage of Imperial Guard and Inquisitorial Storm Troopers.

Even if it might be better the margin is so small that a thematic Sisters of Battle force hardly ends up being in a worse position when compared to a mixed force.

In a pure Sisters of Battle force the Exorcist is very much a functional addition, even though it is random and suffers from the mentioned drawbacks.

Not every option in a codex is (or indeed has to be) top notch but that doesn't mean that they are incapable of pulling their weight or add functionality to a list.

MagicJuggler said...

This site is mostly about making competitive armies, though we do have our hobby elements.

This said, we do like the idea of as many options in a codex being top-notch, or even playable. The more good army types that can be built from units interacting properly with one another, then the more variety 40k has.

Which is why we like all the new codexes; even if you went the pure fluff route, decided to go for (as an example) Catachan Jungle infantry with Sentinel Support, at worst your army will be semi-competitive. Contrast with something like running Foot Grey Knights or a Firewarrior gunline. Making fluffy armies playable in-game (rather than comping armies for not being fluffy), means everyone wins.

Brother Loring said...

I was going to make an attempt to create a ranged WH/IG list with Exorcists, but even with a brief amount of thought... IG will fill 'heavy' slots more effectively. 3 flak tanks per slot is probably a better use of them... but there are definitely better sources for such advice.

I do like the list, but will just 7 BS3 autocannons be sufficient ranged fire support? I suppose with 11 melta units approaching your lines you've got bigger things to be worried about so the dakka can just keep on dakka'ing.

But what you're trying to tell is.... okay tank, too much competition?

Kirby said...

@BroLo; not too much competition, lack of synergy in relation to what SoB do best. The ACs aren't fantastic but they'll be putting out some decent suppression fire which is what the list 'needs.'

@Hospitaller; even in a pure SoB list you'd want Immos in Heavy Support otherwise you suffer from the same weak push as the aforementioned list (you'd be sitting around with 8 Immos + 2-3 Rhinos). This also means you've got no where for ISTs to hijack and if you're not using ISTs you don't have as much melta as before which keeps with the army synergy making your army a tougher nut to crack.

As BroLo insinuated, it's not a bad tank but in relation to the army SoB field, it makes the army less cohesive.

The_King_Elessar said...

Hrm...Honestly? I was really enjoying the article, then it ended. Too abrupt. :(

Needs to continue in the same vein, with an analysis (heh, anal!) of what you could build instead, by taking the Immos - and why this is more synergistic. :)

Explaining it in the comments below is simply an inferior way of doing this. It's frankly too easy to get into that mire, but you're better than that.

Kirby said...

I'll add it in then TKE. Always complaining *sniffs.* =D

The_King_Elessar said...

Um, Kirbs - didn't there used to be an Exorcist list before?

I meant both, as comparison. lol

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