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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, September 2, 2010

Know thy weapons.

Three things.


Small-arms is a catch-all term for the basic guns an army gets. In this case, it refers to bolters, pistols, shotguns, and stormbolters. Compared to what the imperial guard gets (lasguns, weaker shotguns, pistols, autoguns) this is a very good deal, but compared to tau (pulse rifles, pulse carbines, burstcannons, kroot rifles, smart missile system) it looks much, much less potent and impressive. But really, is it as impotent and unimpressive as the internet sometimes tells you? Not quite. Unlike what you've been told, marine toy guns are dangerous.

Your small-arms mostly have an AP value of 5, good strength, decent rate of fire, and the units themselves more often than not come with high ballisticskill. These factors mean marine small-arms is a potent source of damage, but like all other small-arms, its primary use lies in killing grunts. When unleashed, chunks of light infantry dies.

It's true that 9 veteran guardsmen aren't worth that much in points, but in model real-estate, this is impressive, and destroying the final one earns you a killpoint - alternatively, gets rid of a scoring unit. Marine small-arms is a serious threat to light infantry, and your high strength, accuracy, and rate of fire make prolonged exposure to it a concern for heavy infantry as well, but most types of armor is pretty much immune to it.

Anti-infantry is exactly what it sounds like, and you get a lot of it. Several different flamer templates, blasts, multiple medium strength guns, and plasma are all at your disposal. Some anti-infantry, such as the autocannon, the assaultcannon, and all plasma, is powerful enough to be used as anti-tank in many circumstances.

Anti-tank is there to slay armor. Being space marines, most of your anti-tank comes from melta, but there are a few other sources. All melta, krak missiles, lascannons, demolisher cannons, and that's it. It seems like a small list, then you realize melta is very, very good, available to almost every unit, and even adds a measure of duality, since it destroys all kinds of infantry, too, in addition to every single vehicle in the game - bar one.

Marine combat, as has been touched upon already, is powerful, but output is low. Where orks and eldar get to throw forty or more dice, you only get around twenty with a full squad. Versus vehicles, this number is even lower. Units with powerfists, chainfists, krak grenades, meltabombs, dreadnought close combat weapons, thunderhammers, and even relicblades all function well versus armor. Chainfists are particularly effective, but they're fairly rare. The problem lies in the fact that vehicles tend to move around. Moving vehicles are hard to hit, and even harder to engage with slow infantry and walkers.

Because of all this, trying to destroy armor in combat should be a desperation move - not something you casually attempt. If a vehicle is close by, and hasn't moved, feel free to engage it with krak grenades. Enemy dreads coming your way? Might be better to move back a bit, rather than rely on the squad's powerfist and four krak grenades.

Always use the proper tools for the job at hand, while remembering that many of your guns are effective against both armor and infantry. Plasmaguns work against some vehicles, but meltaguns are better by several orders of magnitude, and cheaper.

If given the choice between slagging a transport with meltaguns, or hitting it with krak missiles from a unit farther back, always pick the meltaguns. Your units are powerful, but few. You need to get the most bang for your buck, so should use your firepower as efficiently as possible. Slag it with melta, then throw frag missiles at the passengers that pop out. Charge any survivors with the meltagunners.

Simple and effective, but forgotten by many people - new players, especially.

Not counting this one, only two 'n00b' parts remain, then it's on to the meat.

26 pinkments:

Kirby said...

Combat is never a good place for anti-tank unless you've got A5+ per model and an ability like rending. Even then it's only passable (though TWC love that with S10 fists).

Lord Zorgatron said...

Eh, but when the anti-tankers are outright better in combat than the newly exposed unit (ie space marines vs guard vets / fire dragons) then charging them can swiftly finish them off, or at least prevent them from acting in their next turn. If you unit gets bogged down to the point that it's still engaged in your own next turn, then it can be an issue.

Rule of thumb: charge exposed units that are smaller AND weaker than you, or same strength but much smaller, or same size but much weaker. Similar unit size and/or combat ability? Leave 'em.

Borkai said...

Q? last sentence...can you charge the surviving passengers with the melta gunners? I thought that if they shot the transport (with the melta gunners), they had to charge the transport too? even if it was destroyed?

Lord Zorgatron said...

I don't have the BRB with me, but I think that is the case. It would make sense, at least.

Marshal Wilhelm said...


pg 67.
2nd paragraph of Destroyed - explodes! entry

Kirby said...

I meant trying to kill tanks in combat. Things like Kraks, etc. are a utility and smack stationary vehicles dead but check out how Orks and Daemons do with their primary anti-tank as close combat attacks.

yes you can assault whatever disembarks from a transport with the unit that shot the transport.

GreyICE said...

@Kirby - blah. Orks would do fine trying to assault tanks as anti-tank. STR 9 PKs that hit 50% will cut open your Armor 10 vehicle in no time, and if they're hitting 1/6, you're not exactly firing much. Blood Angels would be problematic, but... eh. Buggy em to stun em, and take em out. Tanks have never been the problem. What is?

Two things. First, it's the damn transports. There's just no way assaulting a transport ends well. You're at point blank range with whatever little suckers are inside, AND the rest of the army gets to shoot until the person is perfectly CERTAIN that the 'charge that cannot miss' will go off perfectly. So you blow a 200 point unit to take out a 35 point rhino. GG.

Second, it's getting there. Nids can shake and stun the shit out of vehicles with hive guard, tyrannofexes, harpies, and the fact none of their stuff breaks at all. So their MCs are heading after the vehicles to eat them. It's questionably effective, but an interesting concept.

Orks get to try and do the same thing that a 2+ Toughness 6 model does with multiple wounds does with Lootas and things that have a 24" range and 10 armor (open topped too).

GreyICE said...

By the way, between this article and the last one, this should be telling everyone how Dash wins so often with orks.

"Everyone knows ork anti-tank sucks! I'll drive up my Predator to block that mob from getting to anything, and shoot it!"

4 lascannons later... "I thought Ork anti-tank was bad!"

"Everyone knows ork boyz are really weak to CC. I'm not worried about that 20 strong squad coming out and attacking me!"

Marines kill 4 boyz in close combat, and receive 60 hits + 4 power klaws back, killing 7 marines. 24 points versus 105.

"I thought ork boyz sucked! QQ!"

No, the ork codex has some glaring weaknesses that you can take advantage of to kill them, but if you just say "It's on an ork so the internet tells me it sucks" then you're one of the noobs who gets rolled by orks and then goes on Dakka to complain how overpowered they are.

Lord Zorgatron said...

I get ya Kirbs. Yeah, unless you can get about 3 11 scores or 1 15 score on average (ie a Power fist or melta bombs, or a decent CC MC) assaulting vehicles is a poor man's strategy.

VT2 said...

Orks don't get lascannons or anything even remotely close, and you are not supposed to accept ork boy charges.

If you do, you're gonna lose.

Bad as boy may be, tactical squads are worse in combat - but if the boyz are only about 10 when they charge, you'll probably win the combat.

The thing is, a tactical squad can put out 3 strength 8 and 9 strength 6 on the charge against vehicles, and this gives absolutely no guarantee that the vehicle is gonna go poof.
Orks get a million strength 4, and 4 strength 9.

Assaulting vehicles to kill them is a desperation move for all armies in 5th edition.

GreyICE said...

Um, strength 9 power claws look an awful lot like las cannons when your tank has only moved 6. BS 3 lascannons, but... lascannons. On rear armor.

Also, a 10 man tac squad gets charged by 10 orks.

Tac squad kills 3 (wound on Nob at worst). Orks hit back, kill 3-4, make a check at leadership 7 (worst case), can take wound to try again, pass. Next round, tac squad kills 2-3, orks kill 2-3 back, and this continues until the game ends because they're never getting out of that tar pit, and the Nob PK is so much better than the Sarge's PF. Don't think your damn tac squads are anything more than glorified fire warriors with better leadership.

Keys to beating orks:
-Don't let your non-transport vehicles get charged by orks. Period.

- Don't get some insane idea that your tac squads are actual troops like Grey Hunters, and let them charge you. They'll die to a man.

- CHARGE THEM FIRST! No, seriously, 10 man tac squad charges that ork squad rather than rapid firing them, things go better.

- Their vehicles are made of tissue paper, and their anti-tank is made of tissue paper and fail. Kill it all, then just flank em and force em to commit to killing a small force while everyone else gets optimal shooting position (if they split up, just eliminate whatever is chasing your highest priorities, and let them eat something, then shoot the remainder off the board).

- If they bunker up and don't do this, they're dead anyway. Just shoot em.

- If you have real close combat troops, charge them to stall for time. Real close combat troops (i.e. not Tac squads) will win combat, and win it big.

Keys to losing to orks:
- Tanks are invincible! Only hit on 6s when I move them far! I can't die! (8,000 glances later, even if the klaw misses) - next round, dead tank.

- TAC MARINES CAN TAKE THE CHARGE! (No they can't. Go home)

- I is getting outs of my rhinos and rapid firings! (make sure you're 12" away, and preferably make them take difficult terrain tests to get to you)

- What's that spiky ball on the front of the armor 12 tissue paper battlewagon? Oh wells, transports is useless without zem guys, I'll ignore it!

VT2 said...

Why would I move 6 when orks are nearby?

Unless I was planning to tank shock and fame, why would I move TOWARDS the orks in the first place?

You're infantry. I'm mech.
You have to come to me.

Since when would I put powerfists on my tactical marines?

VT2 said...

*flame, not fame.

GreyICE said...

Usually when they see Boss Snikrott show up behind them, but I've seen it happen other times. People are crap at playing around Snikky. He shows up on the back table half, and then eats something. So they're like 'huh, sounds fair' and do little dances with their tanks while shooting at something they've designated higher priority (usually the detached Warboss, who is wasting crap in the backfield).

Snikky will beat the hell out of your tanks, and then they'll all explode and die, 6 inch move or no 6 inch move.

Basically though, we've just described why Dakka thinks orks are good, and we know they suck - good play, not panicking, threat evaluation, and proper deployment neuter them.

P.S. I love playing as orks, and I do it all the time. I have no illusion they're a good codex, but underestimate their strengths, and you're ripped to shreds. Serious matches obviously demand a different army, but you have to love the boyz. These comparison with orks seriously annoy me, because I know they're not true. Want to compare things legit to Orks? Rhinos and Trukks are the same points cost. Battle Wagons are open topped. Compare the durability of an open topped battlewagon on side armor versus a rhino on side armor against missiles and las. Or hell, assault cannons. Compare how few shots it takes to break a 10 man loota squad, and how many points just ran off the board whenever they break. Compare the durability and killy of real anti-tank, like a las sponson Predator, to Warbuggies.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

I agree with GreyICE.
Orks may not be high powered, but if you think they suck, they'll get you.

I know rules changed during the game, but Stelek v Dash did not see Stelek table him no worries. Stelek is better than Dash, imo, and so if a little shenanigans [no fault on Dash's behalf] sees Dash come closer than we'd ever have imagined, Orks ≠ Fail.

My second point: I really dislike Tacticals. Maybe it is because they have been unexciting since 1st ed, and I have always not bothered reassessing them under 5th ed. lighting. My prejudices have bitten me before.

For me, Tacticals put the beige into Ultramarine.

One HW - okay.
One SW - okay.
16 bolter shots - okay [5.3 dead Orks]
Then when they get into mêlée *zzzz*
Playing against Necrons and Tau, [2 of the 3 worst mêlée Dexes, with Guard] and thinking "wow, that was really stupid of me, now they are in mêlée, they'll do nothing for three turns...."

I know some will say you can't do unit v unit comparos, as its an army, etc. Sometimes that just falls apart though. Sometimes Bob does a good move, sometimes you do a bad one, dice, etc. Then those Tacs get mauled.

I cannot see Tacs holding a candle to Grey Hunters or Chaos Marines. Having a unit camp on a backfield objective is nice, and shooting a HW means the unit contributes something to your game, but otherwise GH will beat down Tacs in any scramble for midfield objectives.
GH can help TWC in mêlée.
Tacs all but get in the way of Hammernators.

Chaos Marines, with Champion and Icon, pass Ld tests 99.3% of the time. I think that cancels much of ATSKNF. If you don't run in the first place, keep your fancy ATSKNF.
I am not bashing ATSKNF [it is excellent] but all but never running away os pretty sweet too, you know what I'm saying?

Chaos Marines can also camp and HW.
Chaos Marines, even with only one SW, will, like the GHs, maul Tacs for any midfield contests.

I know Tacs are of a greater whole, etc. but if C:SM players had the choice between all three of those units, I wonder how many Tacs would get game time?

What do you think?

Kirby said...

@Wilhelm, no one here is suggesting you underestimate Orks. Orks like Chaos will put the hurt on you if you don't run a top notch list or play against them appropriately. What they suffer against is certain game mechanics. That being said, if you screw up, your opponent is better than you, you run a crap list, etc. these sub-par armies can beat you. Same with Necrons, Daemons, etc. You screw up and they screw you over. We've never said otherwise.

CSM suck compared to Tacs. Oh yay we are kinda good in assault. Shame we are about 30 points more to be effective. We have no MM for our heavy but get an autocannon or can take double specials even though the Chaos codex suffers horribly in firepower. We have a higher Ld and Icon but can be wiped by any decent combat unit and no combat tactics. Go read the CSM in 5th article on this.

GH do something completely different from Tacs for their army. They are a combination of Tacs (ATSKNF) and Chaos (CA, 3A, 2specials, etc.) but have the worst Ld of them all without Wolf Guard. Sure they are better in combat than Tacs but that's a SW mechanic, not a "they are better than Tacs." Mech SM with MM Bunkers aren't as strong. If I had a choice between the 3 for my Mech SM, Tacs all the way. If I had a choice for Thunderbubble I'd sure take GH but that's the trade-off between codecies. You want TH/SS termies? You don't get special weapons in 5 man squads. Simple as that, thanks GW for game balance.

@GreyICE; Why do vehicles have to be moving 6"? If I want to block or delay units I'm sending in a vehicle 12", generally a cheap one but if I have to sacrifice a Pred to keep the rest of my army functioning, there goes the Pred. Hitting on 6s in combat is not effective anti-tank unless you've got a bunch of attacks (and generally rending). TWC, Quins and Fiends can all do decent anti-tank damage in combat because they have between 4-6A on the charge and rending. TWC also get S10 in combat with 5A on the charge. Much more impressive than a bunch of S4 and 4 S9 A. Sure, you're going to wreck some tanks, shake some tanks, etc. but the stats are not in your favor. You want to hit my tanks in combat and rely upon it, go for it. I'll dominate the board.

GreyICE said...

Really? Stelek is better than Dash? Because using a codex that is admittedly (by both parties and everyone else better), using an army list that is far more optimal, and using a strategy that is a lot more versatile, Stelek managed... pretty much a draw.

I don't think you have a clearer indication of actual relative playskills than that. We're not on his blog, so he can't delete comments when I say things like that either (he typically deletes comments he doesn't like) ((Speaking of which, I should write an actual article about dice some time, he has no understanding of math, dice, or basic physics, and his response to me was hilariously off base - not that that stopped him from deleting my corrections))

Marshal Wilhelm said...

I guess I'll have to trust you about Tac v CSM.... maybe I just see someone who is weak in close combat and not great at shooting as nothing special :D
I have just read Chaos Troops, and I agree with it generally.

Tacs can split, and you place Las cannon half on your home objective and the other half can go forwards. Which is neat, I'll agree.
Chaos bringing HW have to waste 5 Marines more for that one HW ~ lol.

Tacs get to use their MM when they are in a Rhino and trundle forwards [am I correct in assuming this or is there another way?].
Is that so different from Chaos packing 2 Mg and doing the same thing?

If a mob of Orks are heading towards either squad, Chaos puts out just as much bolter fire, and can even volley and assault the Orks.
1 bp + 3a [instead of Tacs bolter RF]. Orks lose shots plus charging/FC.
By not charging the Orks, the Tacs 3 s4 attacks ~ because the Orks wont shoot ;) and gain 1a.

So Chaos tally = 1bp + 3a / 2s3 -> then 2a /2s3
1 bp + 5a and from the Orks 4s3.
Tac tally = 2 RF bolters/nothing -> then 1a/ 3 s4
2 bolter + 1a and from the Orks 3s4

I know Chaos is more exposed [fighting for 2 assaults instead of 1] but with twice [though not ignoring armour] the amount of potential s4 attacks, they should go through the Orks much more easily. And then get FEARLESS wounds on the Orks in T1 also.

Hopefully I am not mathhammering inappropriately:

2s3 a. 1 hit. 0.33 wounds. 0.11 deaths. x2
3s4 a. 1.5 hit. 0.75 wounds. 0.25 deaths.

So fighting for one less combat doesn't really help the Tacs very much, imo.
1 bp = 0.33 dead Ork & 3 a = 0.625 dead Ork
2 a = 0.417 dead Ork
1.372 dead Orks
2 Bolters = 0.66 dead Ork.
1 a = 0.208 dead Ork
0.868 dead Orks

I think Chaos Marines do a far better job against enemy grunts than Tacs do.

Marshal Wilhelm said...


I am not judging Stelek and Dash on that game, but from what I gather about their success, rules knowledge and so on, from other posts as well.

If you don't think Stelek is better, that is fine, it is not a big priority for me to argue ;P
But to share my pov:
Considering the game got changed just after set-up, when Stelek's forces were prepared to receive Dash's and then that goes topsy-turvy, and this allows the assault force to haul across the table via unpredicted routes, well I think that Stelek managed to win *does* show him as better.
But that is okay, we don't have to agree ;)

Marshal Wilhelm said...

Wolf Guard are essential for GH, imo.
You pay 43 pts for WG, PF, CombiMg.
A Vet Sgt with the same costs 61 pts.

GH hold the midfield better than Tacs, and can even be thrown against shooty squads and win. [given the chance]
Once GH are in the midfield, they don't have to combat tactics back off the needed objectives [against grunts like Boyz].

Once the Tacs are off, I cannot see RF bolters clearing an objective like a bp+3a volley and charge can.

A Las cannon for your homeguard squads would be great, which is a loss for SW. But that seems to me to be all Tacs in the rear offer over GH, a LC shot. Doesn't seem too inspiring to me.

What do you think of Crusaders then?
They can be bought to homeguard an objective, with a LC pewpewing [though target priority is a annoying] in a polite little 5 man squad.

They can MM Bunker like the Tacs can, and when confronted with grunts [because someone blew up their Rhino] they can volley and assault better than SW.

What do you think?

Kirby said...

I'll do a post on tac squads compared to their common counterparts so will cover most of your questions/points there Wilhelm. Every month it seems one of these posts needs doing to satisfy the mobs on warseer so might as well put one together ^^.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

Jolly good :)

If it is persuasive, you might even manage to take it to B&C. Whilst not everyone would agree with you, if your article is solid, you might catch a few and spread your net.

I guess without combat tactics, Tacs are yuck? So DA and BA get stooged?

VT2 said...

Next article will cover the poor tacticals.

It's a combination of free multi-melta, free flamer, combat tactics, and extremely cheap rhino that makes tactical squads useable.

Hunters are so much more effective at everything except melta-bunkering (not available to them) it's almost not funny.
Again, not a truly fair comparison, since hunters are good troops, and tacticals are bad troops.

GreyICE said...

@Kirby - what sacrificial tanks exist that aren't transports? Las/Plas razorbacks on empty squads? Everything else just costs too much to safely lose to a boyz squad over two turns.

Then there's the 52% of the time the Power klaw does actually land a hit (at 4 attacks, it'll do that). That'll be a pen, and can mean the tank is done for.

I'd rather tarpit a 5 man combat squad if I need boyz out of the way for a bit.

GreyICE said...


*Shrug* Certainly neither of us really care. I take any of Stelek's QQ anywhere with a large dose of salt, but maybe he was subject to all those awful things and such. With volume that high, it truly must be right sometimes.

Kirby said...

Do I have to state this again. Quoting myself:

"...a cheap one but if I have to sacrifice a Pred to keep the rest of my army functioning, there goes the Pred."

No idea where you're getting 52% from, with 4A hitting on 6s you get a hit 2/3 of the time, penning AV10 5/9 of the time resulting in a wrecked+ 5/27 of the time. Solid anti-tank yup and the opposing player has already sacrificed the tank so if it ends up stunned/immobed *shrug*, it did it's job. You didn't assault something more important, you've been delayed and are stuck in a certain spot in a certain formation for whatever period of time. Remember most mech armies have 10+ tanks and dedicated blockers such as transports and fast skimmers.

Again. Close combat is not the best spot for anti-tank unless you have a mass of attacks. Even that's only really good when you've got good suppression fire (which Raveners and TWC can get through Hive Guard/LF/etc). Yes it can be damaging but when your primary means of anti-tank is PKs, that's an army weakness.

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