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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guest Article: Blob Guard Part 2: Heavy Weapons Continued... & Upgrades

Plastic Fish

Last post we looked at the size of blob squads and touched on the Heavy Weapon options. This post is going to go into such into more detail and look at the other upgrades Blobs should or should not have based on my experience. Well let’s look at the options...

Heavy bolters.

3x S5 shots at decent range, and one o the cheaper options.... but what’s the use? Most blob armies will already have masses of lasguns and power weapons to handle anti infantry, so why give them the lowest Str heavy weapon option? In my opinion not worth it.


Now here we have something much more fondly spoken about in 5th edition, the Autocannon which some have dubbed the suppression weapon king. I see it as the cheap fat girl in the jean shorts of anti tank. In a normal list its well worth the points, but in a blob list it’s doable but you really don't want to rely on it alone to get results - S7 just often isn't enough. It’s a two shot S7 gun and with BS3, the two shots means you're more likely to land one each turn. Icing on the cake - it costs the same as a heavy bolter! Vs light armour this can do ok, but my opinion is what use is suppression fire when you have limited long range shots already in a foot guard army?

I've even tested them out and found a real lack of killing power when facing units like terminators and the likes who still laugh off their damage with 2+ saves... not reliable when they're all you have, but in a mech guard army they are more workable due to the plethora of other heavy weapons you can bring easily. In blob guard you need things that WILL harm vehicles and be reliable at it as you have so little already.

Missile Launchers.

This weapon is where it began getting interesting for me. Its multirole use of a single S8 shot or single S4 small blast opened the door for me to blow away light vehicles and slightly heavier ones while allowing some more anti infantry. However, with 1 shot a time it still needed bring it down (BID) to become reliable.  

At double the cost it was slightly harder to justify compared to an autocannon but the S8 means you can instant death paladins or other T4 critters. This got me thinking of it in a much more useful role but this was hampered by its AP3 - better than the autocannon but still not punching through the tough stuff. I can mass fire marines and make them fail their 3+ saves but termies were again walking forward giggling at ap3 shots. .... so while for the cost it seemed better (And it slightly was) it lacked a lot in practise.  


At S4 AP6, blast, barrage it looks like it could be useful for trying to pin enemy units and smash hordes, but looking at the current edition everyone is in tanks... it had my attention for a few seconds as I mused over pinning, but it promptly went away when I realised it would lack targets even worse than the heavy bolter. So it got rejected straight away. The list needs anti tank, not more anti infantry with pinning. Pity really as I did see potential.


Now this is the hot girl in the short skirt of the anti tank weapons. You want to include it, but know it’s going to cost you a lot more than the autocannon fat girl, but it will give you better results, opponents know they have to take it on or suffer (A good reason to keep it hidden in infantry squads). It's also the most expensive option but imo worth it. It’s a S9 AP2 single shot.... now this is more my anti tank style though limited by Guard BS3.

Personally with only 4 available heavy weapon spaces in my blobs (I run 40 man blobs) I know I had to spend the points to fully get what I need, and get it I did. In the test games with BID they were reliably hurting light armour and even AV13 each turn helping me remove my enemies’ ability to move around while wrecking  transports. And being AP2 the termies stopped laughing... and started dying... finally, something that none of the other weapons were achieving for me

While the 15 points seems expensive, you will not regret spending the points when you issue orders and something explodes or stops moving. The one shot each slightly hurt, but I found still 1-2 would hit each turn without BID, and with BID the number went up to 3 meaning you're likely to double pen AV11-12 and AV13 would be suffering a pen and glance.


So what does that mean for the load outs in my opinion?  well I’ve already claimed I like 40 man blobs in the previous post as the basis numbers wise, mainly due to number of available bodies for soaking wounds, smacking the enemy around and making leadership tests harder to gain for the enemy.

Personally I’ve found it tough to get everything I wanted in my blobs, but then again when has it ever been easy to give an army all you want? So I had to keep upgrades to essentials. The first ones being all Sergeants getting a power weapon, a definite given if you intend to run blobs as I’ve seen a blob run without power weapons get tied up in combat for 3 turns before the rest of the opponent's army, dominated the board and game. The blob’s main role of tarpitting failed as it was held too long. Regarding the Sergeants other options I felt plasma pistols were just adding too much to the prices and would make them even more liable to be jaws sniped. Thus I kept them with just the melta bombs and power weapons - anti-tank and infantry ability in combat on one package.

To help in this role and to keep walkers away or to add some anti vehicle power I equipped all my Sergeants with melta bombs. Essential IMO as they add vast amounts of effectiveness for only 5 points each. This also gives me more coverage around the blobs edges to stop vehicles tank shocking onto my objectives as an auto hit with melta bombs should upset their day, although they are my second line of DOG (Death or glory) picks if I have a choice.

Next up I equipped my squads with Meltaguns, again purely to help in high AV anti tank keep away and also being my first choice in DOG situations. While I’ve seen grenade launchers used as cheaper and better ranged option, I felt for the extra 5 points a time it was worth investing in guns which would keep all tanks or opponents out of my face (or if they did come close, they'd die). Or add even more giggles to a terminator squad slogging towards my lines as I blast them with 4 meltaguns, 4 lascannons, and loads of FRFSRF lasguns.

As for flamers I didn’t see the point of even more anti infantry and plasma guns got too expensive for my tastes with too little a feedback (BS3 shooting, so half chance to hit, sixth chance to wound self, all for a ~20 point model. Sniper rifles just didn’t seem worth it as it would hinder the blob’s moving even more being a heavy type weapon, thus it came down to meltas or grenade launchers.

To compliment the special weapons I took Lascannon teams as discussed above to help bolster long range firepower while keeping the guns safe. I’m going to test separate heavy weapon squads as my backup and use the blobs as move forward tar pits. But I do feel they can have a place in the infantry squads, especially as it gives your blobs a use if the mission is kill points and you don’t want to close on a Hand to hand army, or to make MSU lists with loads of TL lascannons cry as they prove ineffective on your hordes of men while your own lascannons fire back.

Another essential upgrade is the commissar, a given in blobs to keep them around and not fleeing the battlefield. They also should always get a power weapon to help with combat, although I have seen some people run their blobs without power weapons and just use the commissar for day care duties of keeping the blob around. Running him cheaper here would make more sense.

Things like Vox casters, Krak grenades while both looking good; eat points which I couldn’t find, and so were left out of the list. The commissar’s leadership helped enough for tests and the grenades wouldn’t help as much as their points cost compared to other options.

So that's looking at the Heavy Weapons within the squads and other upgrades. Next up we'll look at the Platoon Command Squad.

Comments & feedback welcome!

- James

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