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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Doublewing: Now viable?

The quick and easy answer for pure Deathwing is no. Ya sorry, no. 30+ TH/SS Terminators which can score and have can put out 12+ missiles a turn is very scary and very easy to avoid. It basically becomes a tactic of moving into midfield and sit and hope your opponent doesn't force you to fail 30+ 2+/3++ saves or that my 12+ missiles a turn can do some damage. The real power of these terminators is getting into assault but that's just hard to do on a consistent and effective basis, even with 30+. Without any true mobility people will throw sac units at you and look to pin you in midfield and rush objectives late game in BRB missions. In tiered missions it will be about forcing the game onto a tier the opposing army is comfortable with. What about if we add in, oh I don't know, some support? Ravenwing or the new Typhoons sound good and there are Dreads, Veterans, Preds, etc. to go around! Let's see then if we can come up with anything.

The theme of the day is scoring Terminators and now with 3++ they are actually quite survivable in every game. Before they were also pretty survivable but against anything with some low AP firepower or ignored lots of saves in combat they cried. Now with a couple of 3++ mixed into units your squads are a lot more survivable and thus a lot more scary. Add in the ability to take a cyclone missile launcher and the unit can actually damage and suppress things on the way in. From there they can camp midfield or push into the backfield which the CML and SS allow but by having support elements around the Terminators, they are also capable of sitting in midfield and gaining a win due to the increased firepower across the board. So the basic setup for a squad is going to be five strong (obviously), with a cyclone missile launcher, a couple of TH/SS terminators and a couple of chainfist/stormbolter terminators. Whilst the CF/SB termies aren't as survivable they do help with anti-infantry output and in opening up tanks in combat and those anti-infantry shots at range can be pretty important. You can run pure TH/SS + CML but you can have some issues with anti-infantry. I would run the squad like so:

Terminator w/CML, Chainfist, Storm Bolter
Terminator w/Chainfist, Storm Bolter
3x Terminators w/Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield

You can put in a Lightning Claw Terminator if you want but I wouldn't really recommend it unless you aren't running Storm Bolter Terminators. With this in mind we have okay (only okay) shooting and great combat punch so we need our support units to help out here. This is where it becomes tricky for any prospective Dark Angels general. Their Fast Attack slot is loaded and whilst you can move Ravenwing squads to Troops this costs a hefty 205 points for Sammael and limits the number of scoring Terminators you can take. Taking Ravenwing squads as Fast Attack however limits the number of very cheap Typhoons you can take who provide excellent S8 firepower. Looking outside of Fast Attack and the Predators are pretty cheap (10 points more expensive than other books) whilst Devastators and Dreadnoughts are a bit pricey. Veterans however are pretty cheap compared to Sternguard but don't have the same options. Importantly though they can get quite a bit of melta. Basic Marines are pricey and don't add much to the list unlike in a SM Mech list and Scouts are also a bit pricey to get a single heavy weapon. This basically leaves us with Preds, Vets, Typhoons and Ravenwing squads for support.

There are two ways to make this list; well three really. Terminators as troops or Ravenwing as Troops and a mix. Running both HQs to enable this costs you quite a bit and doesn't gain you too much so let's try with just one. Belial is cheaper and with a 3++ is quite a good buy at 130 points but Ravenwing gets you a potential 18 troop units which is downright a pain to deal with, even if they are small squads. Let's start with Sammel then at 205 points. 190 points will get us a Ravenwing squad with two meltaguns and an AB w/MM but only four models. Still if we take six of these that's 12 separate scoring units with 18 melta weapons. Not bad but costs 1345 points with Sammael. We then want to add in Terminator squads as Elites and we're going to take all TH/SS here to be more threatening and in your face. 235 for each of these sets us back to 2050 points and we don't have any Typhoons yet. Let's see if we can't add at least two which takes us to 2200 points. We can then drop a Ravenwing squad and one meltagun and we're at 2000 points.

Doublewing 1:

3x Deathwing w/CML, TH/SS
4x Ravenwing w/2x meltaguns, AB w/MM
Ravenwing w/meltagun, AB w/MM
2x Land Speeders w/Typhoons

Totals: 2000 points
15 Terminators
21 bikes
2 vehicles

The Typhoons and Terminators are both capable of reserving with the Ravenwing pushing into your opponent's face early. With 21 bikes and 14 meltaguns that's a decent amount of models in your opponent's face and the Deathwing Terminators really make it scary. The Typhoons add a bit more firepower which isn't going to get stuck into combat and provide some extra mobility to the Bikes.

If we take Belial instead of Sammael we obviously move Terminators to Troops. This makes them a lot scarier as they have to be dealt with in objective based games. From there we want to add in some support and this doesn't always have to be Ravenwing or Typhoons. At 2000 points we have options in being able to add Veterans (particularly in Drop Pods with Dark Angel rules) and/or Predators. In fact we can do a list that looks like:

Deathwing 1:

Belial w/TH/SS
3x5x Veterans w/meltagun, MM, Drop Pod
3x Deathwing w/CML, 3x TH/SS, 2x PF/SB
2x Deathwing w/CML, 3x TH/SS, 2x PF/Chainfist
3x Typhoon

Totals: 2000 points
41 infantry (26 terminators)
3 vehicles

Here everything is able to reserve or the Terminators can start on the table and the Veterans and Typhoons come in around or with the Terminators to provide fire support.

However, we want to try this with Ravenwing so we'll start with Belial and five Terminator squads for 1335 points and 26 scoring Terminators. From there we have enough points to add in three Ravenwing squads giving us 12 bikes and nine melta shots and 75 points to play with. I don't feel this list is as scary as the first Doublewing list as the Bikes aren't scoring but you've got 11 more Terminators and they are all scoring. With those extra points you can add Apoth/Banner to a Terminator squad or even drop the AB w/MMs and add in more Ravenwing bikes for survivability and anti-infantry dakka.With ABs this list looks like:

Doublewing 2:

5x Deathwing w/CML, 3x TH/SS, 2x PF/CF
3x Ravenwing w/2x meltagun, AB w/MM

Totals: 1925 points
26 terminators
12 bikes

Pretty small in terms of actual numbers and I think the list with Veteran and Typhoon support is a little bit better as you're getting more fire support if a less aggressive and in your face list. From here we have the final Doublewing list with both Sammael and Belial. We want to take advantage of our Ravenwings as being scoring so we'll start with four of the same squad we've been using all along and then fill in the other two Troops with Terminator squads. This plus Sammael and Belial will set us back a total of 1585 points so we've got enough points to add some support. Two typhoons sends us to 1735 which looks like a decent 1750 list even with 11 terminators so for 2000 we'll add in another Terminator squad which won't be scoring. We have 20 points left so dropping a few chainfists let's us add an Apothecary to one of the scoring Terminator squads. You could also run less Ravenwing squads and more scoring Terminators but you'll need to drop the Apoth and most of your chainfists.

Doublewing 3:

Belial w/TH/SS
5x Deathwing w/CML, 3x TH/SS, 2x CF/SB
5x Deathwing w/CML, 3x TH/SS, 2x PF/SB, Apoth (scoring)
5x Deathwing w/CML, 3x TH/SS, 2x CF/SB (scoring)
4x Ravenwing w/2x meltaguns, AB w/MM
2x Typhoons

Totals: 2000 points
16 terminators
17 bikes
2 vehicles

Again a bit light on models and similar to the first list we wrote up but with some scoring Terminators and one less Ravenwing squad.

I think overall the only really weak list is Doublewing 2. I'm not a huge fan of them all as they do lack in firepower (but are generally quite survivable) which is just an aspect of Dark Angels that you'll have to deal with. With generally 10-16 missile shots and 9-14 melta the firepower isn't to be sneezed at and if all of those Terminators can make it into combat, well watch out. Like Black Templars I certainly wouldn't say they are super hot lists in terms of flexibility but are very solid and much better than they used to be. It's amazing what a couple of word changes can do to list relevancy.

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