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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

Monday, February 14, 2011

Adepticon Gladiator: Breaking the Broken

Adepticon is coming up, and Gladiator is part of that. A horribly unbalanced, often poorly-designed part of that. It's basically 'Ard Boyz (2250 pts), but with people also allowed to field superheavies and Forge World nonsense. Oh, and they like making "wacky" scenarios that grossly favor one army or another under the guise that this "balances" things.

So how do we break this nonsense? Well, we don't have the missions available, but if we design an army with decent flexibility we can take advantage of whatever garbage they give us. We do, however, want to design as devastating an army as possible with what we're given, so that means looking over the "special" units we have available and seeing what we can break the worst.

Strength D/Destroyer guns are key- they deny all saves but invulnerable, don't have to roll to wound/penetrate and add +1 to damage results on vehicles. Extremely large blasts (7"+) are nice too, since the effective area roughly doubles with each step up the blast chart, but if they're still getting cover saves, you aren't doing nearly as much damage as you could. We also want to look for anything that gives us an army-wide benefit (like guys who replace Combat Tactics with something else) or that let us break the normal rules of the game in some way. Let's pick through the list and see what we can find.

(Note that I don't have access to IA10 yet, so those characters will be ignored.)

Baneblade: This is what a lot of people are going to be bringing thanks to the plastic kit, but note that it doesn't have a Destroyer weapon or anything else really exciting. The giant blast template is impressive until you realize it only kills shitty foot armies.

Caestus Assault Ram: A lot of people are super-impressed with this; I am not. So other Marine armies can get a Stormraven that carries a few more dudes? Alright, but what can they do to support it? And what can they put inside? Assault Terminators are awesome, but if you're sinking all those points into delivering this thing... you had better hope to god it gets there. Go Flat Out, get shot by your opponent's whole army, crash, die, good game. It's tougher than a Stormraven, sure, but not by THAT much. Eh, we'll consider it, but it doesn't seem like something we actually need.

Eldar Cobra: A 10" Destroyer weapon; that's basically all you need to know about this thing. However, with AV12, it's incredibly fragile despite having a 4++. Some Autocannons can potentially silence this thing, as you really only need to turn off its main gun. It is, however, cheap as hell for the gun you get, so it's nothing to sneeze at.

Emporor Titan: costs 4000pts. The battle is a max of 2250. Good job, guys.

Hades Breaching Drill: Hrm. It's a 50pt S10 AP1 unit, to be sure, but requires you to invest in Engineers as well and is pretty fragile. Maybe?

Heirophant Bio-Titan: By the INAT rules, it doesn't get two sets of Talons (so no rerolling misses), doesn't have Warp Field (so no 3++), and is generally just a very, very unimpressive beast. I mean, yeah, huge wounds and toughness, but dies like anything else to Lascannons/Railguns and Destroyer weapons tear it (and the Tyranid army in general) to pieces.

Lias Issildon: This guy is a sexy beast of utility for his cost. If you're going Marines, seriously consider running him + Libby.

Lucius Pattern Drop Pod: Oh hey there T1 assaults with Dreadnoughts, how are you? I hear you guys are basically the best thing. On top of that, it gives us an amazing tool to use against superheavies that other people bring, as S10 attacks autohitting make even the biggest units unhappy dudes. (Titans can fight back, but we will consider them more in a moment.)

Scorpion: Basically just an inferior version of the Cobra. Two 5" shots is worse than one 10" one; as with its bigger brother, though, it's not something you can ignore- Destroyer shots WILL wreck you, even if they aren't ideal.

Stompa: Like the Baneblade, will be comparatively common because of the plastic kit. Also like the Baneblade it is thoroughly unimpressive compared to the other superheavies you could be taking. Also: Orks are not a good army in this size of battle. Too many huge blasts and high-strength hits being thrown around.

Vampire Raider: Double danger- not only is it a flyer, but it also can mount a multishot Destroyer gun. Whereas other flyers are, to varying degrees, ignorable, this is something that you absolutely must be able to deal with. With its transport capacity (presumably with some ) it can present a real problem, especially combined with an armada of fast skimmers to play backup to it. Oh, and to top it all off, it has the usual Eldar 4++.

Warhound Scout Titan: Since you can't take the Reaver anymore, this is pretty much your go-to: four Destroyer 5" blasts each turn and a Titan statline. For the points its way, way worse, but what are you gonna do?

So that's our list; the Warhound, Lucius, and Vampire are the big standouts, obviously. If we're going to build to win this, we want to build around one or more of them. And, as it happens, two of them come in Marine flavor, so we have an obvious choice.

2240 Blood Angels list
1 Librarian (Shield, Unleash?) (100)
1 Furioso (Lucius Drop Pod) (175)
1 Furioso (Lucius Drop Pod) (175)
1 Furioso (Lucius Drop Pod) (175)
5 Assault Marines (Melta, Drop Pod) (110)
5 Assault Marines (Melta, Drop Pod) (110)
5 Death Company (PFist, Drop Pod) (160)
1 DC Dread (Lucius Drop Pod) (175)
1 Warhound Scout Titan (2 Turbo-Lasers) (750)
1 Dreadnought (2 TLAC, Drop Pod) (155)
1 Dreadnought (2 TLAC, Drop Pod) (155)

We have two basic strategies: first, we can come in with a shitload of Drop Pods and assault first turn, making the day miserable for our opponent. Second, we have four 5" Destroyer shots each turn, which should wreck most folks pretty good. With our slew of drop pods we can bring in five of them first turn, meaning four Dreads assaulting and probably the Death Company there as an extra threat against infantry or whatever. We have two Riflemen, which isn't great against flyers, but it's better than nothing and gives us a pretty reliable penetrating hit each turn. If we wanted to shore things up in that regard a little bit we could trade the ASM's Drop Pods for TLLas Razorbacks (which are normally bad but do what we need here.) The titan should be enough to handle most hordes, but if you're really worried, go ahead and toss a Frag Cannon onto one of the Dreads; it'll do a number on most masses of troops.

We could also avoid hybridizing here and just run a pure BA (or SM) drop Dread list, but I think it's inferior to the version with the Warhound. You can pick up a better scoring presence, but when you're wiping the enemy off the board, that isn't all that relevant.

2250 Eldar list
1 Farseer (Warding, Witnessing, Spirit Stones, Fortune, Doom, Guide) (170)
1 Autarch (Fusion Gun) (80)
6 Fire Dragons (Wave Serpent, 2 Cannons, Stones) (216)
6 Fire Dragons (Wave Serpent, 2 Cannons, Stones) (216)
6 Fire Dragons (Wave Serpent, 2 Cannons, Stones) (216)
5 Dire Avengers (Wave Serpent, 2 Cannons, Stones) (180)
5 Dire Avengers (Wave Serpent, 2 Cannons, Stones) (180)
1 Fire Prism (Stones) (125)
1 Fire Prism (Stones) (125)
1 Vampire Raider (Pulsar) (730)

Looks pretty familiar to anyone who's seen Eldar before. Autarch lets us play reserve games if going second, Farseer is his usual self. Lots of pew-pew guns to score hits on enemy flyers and maybe down some Void Shields, but you'll have trouble actually killing a Titan; on the other hand, they will likewise have trouble killing you, as very few guns can actually hit a Vampire. The rest of your army has okayish, but not great, firepower, so make sure the Vampire keeps shooting and gets its hits in.

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