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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flamestorm revisited: 2000 points

Continuing on from my last article regarding Flamestorm I established a solid 1750 list yet wasn’t too happy about taking it to 2000 points. Why? Not every army scales up or down perfectly. A prime example would be double Terminator in LR lists which can work at 2000-2500 but suffer greatly at anything less. Whilst I don’t think taking FLamestorm to 2000 points is as bad as double Termies at 1750, using those extra points and keeping with the theme can be difficult for this list.

One of the biggest issues on raising the points level of this list is FoC. We’ve already maxed out Troops, Fast Attack and Heavy Support and to get decent squads from HQ (Honor Guard) w need to pay a 100 point premium on a Libby (which ironically sends us to 2090 points when all is done and dusted). This basically leaves Elites and we don’t have too much there to work with. Furiosos don’t have any long ranged capability and we can drop-pod them but this becomes expensive and splits the army up (or we could take flying Dreads but they can be hooded). Terminators are too slow and Priests aren’t super duper useful (another article on that later). Sanguinary Guard are certainly an option but we only have enough points for one squad. Techmarines as sac melta are also an option but seem a waste of points all things considered. So, if we recall my original post on Flamestorm the obvious use of the extra points is Sternguard squads. They can actually take a transport in line with the Flamestorm concept and can take a bunch of weapons we want to use.

We left off the 1750 point list with 265 points spare which means there’s 130 points per squad. Not enough which means we have to drop something. In the original list I had 2 Dreads but I feel 3 is necessary to maintain suppression fire so we’ll drop a Baal Pred leaving us with 380 points (190 points per squad). Rather than taking an RBack for the Sternguards (65 left) we’re going to run around in Rhinos for some top-hatch fun (15 left), especially since we can get heavy flamers for them anyway. However, we don’t really have the points to buy two heavy flamers and combi-meltas (35 points) for each squad without dropping a serious number of hunter killer missiles from ASM squads and when we consider an extra 5 points on the Rhino buys us a TL-Heavy Flamer RBack, well we might as well do that (10 left). This leaves just enough points for two meltaguns (0 left) and we’ve got our 2000 point list.

Before we review the list or potential changes let’s look at another scaling problem. Whilst we had to fiddle with our FoC to ensure we could get in two more squads which fit the Flamestorm theme, all in all the list still works and is pretty solid. However, those 250 extra points in the end only garnered one extra chassis since we dropped a Baal and actually degraded our average AV level. In comparison to other 2000 scale-ups this isn’t as impressive and that extra chassis generally has to be compared to 250 points of extra firepower (i.e. 3 Hydras). So whilst the list isn’t bad like dual Termies at 1500/1750, it’s not operating at its peak.

So here’s the 2000 revised list which looks quite similar to the original list but with some modifications:

Librarian w/Shield, Sword
2x5x Sternguard w/2x meltaguns, RBack w/TL-heavy flamer
6x5x ASM w/meltagun, infernous pistol, RBack w/TL-heavy flamer, Hunter Killer Missile
2x Baal w/Flamestorm cannons
3x Dreadnoughts w/2x TL-autocannons

Totals: 2000 points
41 infantry
13 tanks

So , potential changes. Originally I wanted to try and fit in some HG squads to try and give us some top hatch meltagun/blood lance fun and FNP/FC bubbles for whenever anyone got bailed out of their transport but it was just too many points thanks to having to buy a 2nd Libby. Let’s look at a list though that does use this concept. If we recall, each HG/Libby combo was 285 points. Dropping the two Sternguard squads from the above list would then set us back would then send us to 2090 points. So to get down to 2000 we have to either drop a unit (i.e. ASM or Dread) or drop some upgrades. We need to keep our armor saturation up so we’ll drop the HKM and 2 infernous pistols which leaves us with:

2x Librarian w/Blood Lance, Shield
2x HG w/2x meltagun, Rhino
4x5x ASM w/meltagun, infernous pistol, RBack w/TL-heavy flamer
2x5x ASM w/meltagun, RBack w/TL-heavy flamer
2x Baal w/Flamestorm Cannons
3x Dreadnought w/2x TL-autocannons

Totals: 2000 points
42 infantry
13 tanks

So pretty similar in relation to the original list but less melta, less flamer and no HKM salvo for the gaining of top-hatch firing, Blood Lance and FNP/FC bubbles. Doable but a little weaker against long-ranged lists whilst a bit more survivable overall. The Sternguard/HKM could also be replaced by drop-podding Libby Furiosos (spare Pod on a Dreadnought) which also hurts the overall level of ranged firepower but is somewhat mitigated by Podding Blood Lances (which also adds to armor saturation which is a nice bonus). They Libby’s also provide some combat punch but like all podding Dreads are vulnerable to melta fire and are very slow in comparison to the list.

So to summarise I would argue strongly for using the 1750 list explained before. I believe this is the points level where it operates at maximum efficiency compared to other lists and although it scales to 2000, I think other lists scale and operate better. However, if running at 2000, Sternguard squads in RBacks/Rhinos are the best option in keeping armor saturation, ranged firepower, mobility and melta/flame levels as high as possible.

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