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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How To: TH/SS Terminators as Bubble-wrap

(Image from Ron @ FTW from the Space Wardens project). I've put down a couple of lists lately with TH/SS Terminators as bubble-wrap from 1500pts up to 2000pts and there have been some public and private questions on why. So, here we are taking a look at why these suckers are being used on foot in front of an SM Mech list rather than trundling across the field in a big Land Raider to crush face. We'll take a look at my current SM list and see if they can be added on and then make a list specifically designed to accomodate 10 terminators sitting in front of your lines. Once this is done I'll actually analyse why we are sinking 400 pts into a combat unit to guard our precious shooty mech.

So, without a doubt TH/SS Terminators in a Raider are a very effective and scary unit. Problem is you need two to make an effective and balanced list and you've just lost a minimum 910 points of your army with no HQ and no Troops. At 1500 and even 1750, this isn't really viable. Once you hit 2k, dual Raider is a fine list as you can bring enough support for the Raiders & Termies to hypothetically deal with any threat thrown at it. But what happens if you want to use Termies at lower points? Don't like Raiders? Or want to add a combat element to most SM Mech lists currently missing since Dreads run 2x TLAC? Hell, what if you just want a spot for your Libby to hang?

This is where the TH/SS Termies as a bubble-wrap comes in. In the Blood Rodeo list they are used as a hammer unit. Once the enemy gets stuck in with the bubble-wrap of bikes, the TH/SS Termies counter other hammer units or simply start crushing face. In an SM Mech list they are both the combat hammer and bubble-wrap. So why are we taking one of the best units and making them a glorified Kroot unit outside of silly reasons like 'they lookz awsme!' Let's take a quick peek at my 2000 pt SM mech army. This is a 'classical' adaption of Stelek's original Best Of list @ 1750 adding in more long-ranged firepower at the cost of combat ability (no Dreads w/DCCW). Here the Termiantors don't really fit as the Tac squads want to camp in midfield and the Speeders are much more prone to moving around. Whilst the Termies can certainly add to this by helping protect midfield they might play a better role in a more backfield shooty list akin to a SW RBack spam. So let's see if we can change the SM list to something similar.

First let's see what changes are necessary to adapt the above list to have terminators running around in front of it. Dropping a Dread & the Scouts + swapping all the Speeder squads to Typhoons and adding 10 Terminators. This leaves us at 1995pts and is a pretty good long-ranged list but suffers a bit against AV14 and the Tac squads are still midfield oriented. Let's see if we can design a list around the concept. We obviously want to start with 10x TH/SS Terminators and a Libby w/Null Zone & Gate. 500 pts gone easily. We then want as much long ranged firepower as possible. This means AC/LC Preds, Rifle Dreads, Typhoons and LasPlas RBacks. Each of these sets us back 120, 125, 90 and 165 pts each without any upgrades. Let's see what we can fit in at 2k. Maxing the Tac squads & 3 of everything else leaves us at 2390 points, a fair bit over. If we drop 2 LasPlas RBack squads we're at 2060, much more managable and we've got a couple options. Swapping all the Typhoons back to MM/HFs gives us some Melta & spot on the money in terms of points or dropping one Typhoon allows from some HKs or combi-melta/flamers to be added to 3 of the 4 remaining RBack squads. I'd personally go this route as the Typhoons really add to the ranged damage output and combi-meltas on squads can be used as a last ditch effort against AV14. With this list you're putting out 10 lascannons (to the SW RBack spam's 9), 4 Missiles (to the RBack spam's 12), 4 plasmaguns (to the RBack spam's 9) and 7 autocannons (to the RBack spam's 0). So this list has a huge upside against medium mech with the improved S7 numbers, reliability and range but suffers a bit in terms of higher strength weapons (8 less missiles), especially if you include HKs there. Both of these lists are relying on the S9 to deal with AV14 but otherwise can really shatter lesser mech through sheer weight of fire. Whilst the SM list might suffer a tiny bit in terms of firepower once the HK numbers are included, it has a huge hammer unit protecting all of its assests that is capable of crushing anything in combat.

So what does this hammer unit as bubble-wrap do (read the link for the bubble-wrap article btw)? At first glance it seems inefficient because it's not running across the table to smash face (or if it is, it is doing so slowly) but any army which wishes to get close to your army to melta, assualt or any other reason, will have to go through the TH/SS termies in some way and thanks to combat can make this two units. Being able to make this two units is important as stringing out one unit can allow an opponent to assault one side of the wrap and drag the Terminators across the field opening up the other side of your army whilst maintaining minimal damage for the Terminators as few are in actual combat. Like with IG and Tau, this gives your shooting elements more time to shoot (which is good) and requires them to run away from combat less (meaning more shooting, which is good again). You can also expect the TH/SS termies to take a long time to fall in combat or win with some reliability, something Tau and IG would literally die for. Furthermore, against armies which are not going to threaten you in combat, the Terminators have multiple options for moving forward. Whilst walking + running is slower than a Land Raider, your opponent has to deal with them + the impressive amount of shooting coming downfield. The Terminators can also split into two groups (harder to block) or deepstrike or remain one group and use Gate of Infinity.

What this does for the army is allows SM mech to stay competitive in combat (unlike other shooty builds) whilst maintaining a solid footprint in midfield (it's called 10 TH/SS Terminators). It's an alternative to pure mech SM and dual Raider SM whilst also allowing terminators to be used at lower point values (this list can scale down to 1500 if needed). Plus it's cheaper than RBack spam (3x Megaforces gives you everything but one RBack, the RBack conversion pieces, Autocannons for Dreads, Terminators & Speeders + leftovers to sell/convert) and you get to use TERMINATORS. Whilst the list's shooting isn't as effective as SW RBack Spam, Tau or certain IG builds, it is highly impressive and everything bar the Terminators is providing significant firepower.

It's hammer time!

12 pinkments:

Gx1080 said...

So...for those lazy amoung us, which would be the list itself?

The_King_Elessar said...

I have considered this. I think, you may be spot on with the analysis, but I want to play it before committing to anything.

Chumbalaya said...

bubblewrap that fights back!

VT2 said...

I've tried this a few times, and it works wonderfully against most players and armies.
Give it a try if you own 10 hammernators.

Agama said...

I like it mate. Exactly what your recommendation was on my request a couple of days ago.

jabberjabber said...

Agreed! I think you're spot on about dual raiders not being viable below about 2000 points.

Meister_Kai said...

I'm just digging the "thunderbubble" tag more than anything.

This seems like it could possibly cause assault flavored armies to suffer defeat from the get-go, as surpassing TH/SS Termis is no small feat.

If you wanted to you could even go balls to the wall rock and make two groups of 10 TH/SS Termies, adding Shrike to give them fleet. I would like to see even Nid's get past that bullmess relabily lol.

Kirby said...

THere you go Gx1080, new post just for you :p.

No to the 2x10 TH/SS Kai as your army becomes seriously unbalanced then and you don't have enough firepower.

Meister_Kai said...



AbusePuppy said...

If "Thunderbubble" gets popular as a name I am totally demanding royalties, Kirb.

Kirby said...


Anonymous said...

Here in germany people started to use that strategy quite a while ago.
You might want to also consider regular termies with cyclones for the job since they provide some helpful shootiness while soaking up similar amounts of fire. Yes, you buy them primarily for assault defense but they are not that bad there too, especially with character support.
Wolvies excel at that stuff, even if their combined melee and shooting proficiency (if kitted out that way) is a bit prizey its worth the overall effectiveness as far as i can tell.
Just some random thoughts :)

gz from spaceClownz

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