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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

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

GWvsJohn makes a list: Drop Hammer!

So I’ve been underwhelmed by the Dark Eldar in my Vassal test games. Don’t get me wrong, I think the book is firmly in the “very competitive” category. They just aren’t working for me. Units I’m not too keen on like Wyches and Ravagers seem very good and the units I love like Archons and Voidravens aren’t quite l33t. I think it might be time to move on.

Consumed by wanderlust, I’ve been thinking about lists that might appeal to me. I keep getting drawn to the Blood Angels. Why you ask? Before we get into the appealing lists, there are a few “bonus” points for the Blood Angels. Little known fact: they were my first army. The old Death Company box set was the first thing I ever bought for 40k, even before the 2nd ed box set. I borrowed some crappy paints from my friend’s older brother (a veteran RT player who quit before 2nd ed) and slapped some glossy black with red X’s on them. Sadly, that might be the last full unit I painted. Second they have the “fluff” I like. I really want to play a non-first founding chapter with a known history, but not too many details, with a paint scheme I like and might be able to master. Blood Angels actually have a few, but the Flesh Tearers are my guys. Such a cool chapter. Anyway, let’s come up with a new list.

I’ve lately come to realize that there are very few armies that can just set up and either blow you away or outmaneuver you to victory (Tau, some IG, Nids). I think you either need a uniquely awesome unit (TH/SS Termies, Thunderwolf Cavalry) or some way to affect deployment to really compete. I don’t think Blood Angels have the former (no Gate hurts the Termies) but a lot of the latter. BA can do pure DoA/deep strike in a lot of different ways. The most honorable Master Pink broke Jumpers down to their bare atoms and built them back up with some shooty foot elements to create the super effective Blood Hammer. Blood Hammer takes an already effective list with some weak points (in this case a lack of suppressive fire, a vulnerability to walkers and an over-reliance on the “alpha” strike) and addressed those weak points without hurting the list too much. Blood Angels can also do Drop Dreads very effectively. This is another list with some glaring weakness: a lack of suppressive fire, a vulnerability to melta and over-reliance on the alpha strike (not quotes here since it actually happens turn 1). Hmm, those lists of weaknesses look remarkably similar. You don’t think…

That’s right Pink Nation, it’s time for Drop Hammer! We’ll build this from the base up. We’ll keep everything bare bones to start and add upgrades as we find points. Start with the Hammer.

130 – 5 Devs – 4 ML

We’ll take 3 and

50 – Sanguinary Priest

To babysit. 440 down. Wait, what? BA can get 12 3+/FNP missile launchers for less than 500 points. That’s, well, awesome. Ok, this is Drop Dreads, so let’s add dreads. A Vanilla pure Drop Dread list has 6 Dreads. I think the better BA Drop Dread lists have 5. Given that, let’s aim for 4. We’re running out of slots though. Looks like 2 Furioso and 2 DC.

160 – Furioso – Drop Pod
160 – Death Company Dread – Blood Talons, Drop Pod

2 of each. DC Dreads get Talons since they always get FC, Furiosos keep Fists for now to threaten tanks and other walkers. 1080 and the points are starting to creep up. We need at least 3 more pods. We also need to bring 10 Death Company, the hidden cost of the amazingly good DC Dreads. Remember, we’re still trying to keep things cheap right now.

260 – 10 Death Company – Power Fist, Drop Pod
100 – 5 Assault Marines – Drop Pod (x2)

I know I said no upgrades, but just assume the base DC squad costs 85 and comes with a Fist. A CC unit that has the option to not get pwned by Rifleman Dreads must use that option. Those Assault squads are going to get a special (obvs) but I’m not sure which one yet. We’re at 1540 and we have a pretty decent list. Good suppressive fire, 4 6/12 melta shots turn 1 forces your opponent to deploy defensively. What’s next? We still need an HQ and 10 scoring models is way too few. Let’s add a 3rd Drop Assault squad. I think by now we all know that the Librarian is almost always the best HQ choice, so let’s just add him now as well. What powers? Lance is less scary off the drop, but a s8 ap1 lance is still amazing, so that’s in. Shield is usually my 2nd go-to power, but by the time he drops it has lost usefulness. I like Sanguine Sword to give the footies some CC bailout/anti-walker. 200 more and now we’re at 1740. Let’s assess.

100 Librarian – Blood Lance, Sanguine Sword
50 Sang Priest
160 Furioso - Drop Pod
160 Furioso - Drop Pod
160 Death Company Dread - Drop Pod
160 Death Company Dread - Drop Pod
260 10 Death Company - Power Fist, Drop Pod
100 5 Assault Marines - Drop Pod
100 5 Assault Marines - Drop Pod
100 5 Assault Marines - Drop Pod
130 5 Devs - 4 ML
130 5 Devs - 4 ML
130 5 Devs - 4 ML

That’s a pretty mean 1750 list (add 2 flamers to the assault squads). I see a few areas of improvement though. Let’s get started.

Even numbers of pods makes GWvsJohn cry. Those DC would be nice to drop turn 1, but how to add a 9th pod? Oh wait, Devastators can take a drop pod (seemingly to “game” the DPA rule and for no other reason). Add 1 and done.

15 scoring models is tolerable (especially with the DC menacing and 15 high threat Devs), but since they’re on foot, a Priest seems like a given to make them tougher. Add 1 and done. What about their special? I’m tempted to say flamer, since by the time they drop many tanks will have been taken out by the Devs/Dreads and flamer is nice for mopup duty, but with BP/CCW and (hopefully) FC, Assault squads can handle in CC most anything a flamer scares. I think the MG for AT threat is my choice (although the plasma gun seems moderately interesting). Add 3.

I think all the “obvious” upgrades are done and we still have 145. What else can we add? My first thought is Deathwinds on the pods. The Devs and Dreads can crack a lot of armor on turn 1, but the disembarked troops will make short work of the Dreads with any meltaguns. Deathwinds can put a hurt on infantry especially the t3 units that carry a lot of meltaguns (Dragons, Veterans, Stormtroopers). Not sure if we need 7, but a few make sense. Second thought is Libby Dread upgrade. Lance will prevent some castling, it brings a Hood from turn 1 and Shield will give some cover to your likely exposed Dreads. Next is some ablative wounds for the Devs. They’re awfully exposed if I’m going second. Not a big fan of “just in case” purchases, but it might be needed. Finally, CC upgrades. There are 3 Assault Sgts, a WS5 Priest and a whole mess of DC with 2 attacks just begging for a sword or claw or fist.

Tough choice, but we have to run with it. I’m going to with 1 Libby Dread with Lance/Shield (95 left), 4 Deathwinds (15 left) and a power weapon for the DC.

Final list:

100 Librarian - Blood Lance, Sanguine Sword
100 2 Sang Priest
230 Furioso Librarian - Blood Lance, Shield of Sanguinius, Drop Pod, Deathwind
180 Furioso - Drop Pod, Deathwind
180 Death Company Dread - Drop Pod, Deathwind
180 Death Company Dread - Drop Pod, Deathwind
275 10 Death Company - Power Fist, Power Sword, 2 Bolters, Drop Pod
110 5 Assault Marines - Meltagun, Drop Pod
110 5 Assault Marines - Meltagun, Drop Pod
110 5 Assault Marines - Meltagun, Drop Pod
165 5 Devs - 4 ML, Drop Pod
130 5 Devs - 4 ML
130 5 Devs - 4 ML

I’m pretty happy with it. Don’t forget when you bring DC always bring a few boltguns. Why? There’s a chance you can play some allocation shenanigans, which can be useful, but more importantly, as rapid fire weapons, you can shoot them to prevent the squad from charging and control your rage a bit. In this list, I’d consider giving them even more bolters since it gives some extra anti-infantry (which the list needs) on the drop.

Questions and comments always appreciated. (I have a few emails to get to, been slacking and I also have a [horror of horrors] fluff based post brewing, so I’ll get to everything eventually)

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