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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Guest Article: Blob Guard Part 3: Platoon Command Squads & HQ

Corbania Prime

Moving on to the platoon command squads (PCS) I‘ve gone for just 3 meltaguns due to points restrictions, and also to add some more close range anti terminator and tank. I was tempted (And even included in early list trials) a Lascannon or even autocannon heavy weapon team, but I found this led to them being focused fired down for quick kill points and to remove a heavy weapon. So now they remain hidden close by for orders and backup fire, and are able to move as required which I found myself reluctant to do with a heavy weapon included which made things tougher in decision making.

Regarding the wargear I didn’t find any of it that appealing for the points. The medipack etc were not essential, the special weapons went the same way in my mind as the infantry squads and what I needed from them, and while plasma guns and a medic would be interesting to run, it would also be very expensive points wise and easily torrented down as a threat to the enemy. Otherwise I’d have to hide it and that’s just like the Meltaguns but more expensive.

Regarding my PCS commander upgrades, Al’Rahem is a very viable option to make your enemy worry about the arrival of 30+ men on his flank and give the army some extra mobility... sadly though commander Chenkov didn’t seem worth the points to me although his stubborn aura did have me considering him for a few minutes about using him as a move forward and support PCS keeping the men around in case the commissars were sniped out

So with the basics of the Blob worked out we now need to get our HQ choice to lead them into glorious Battle, but which is best?

Well our choices are Straken, Creed, Lord Commissar, Company command Squad, Yarrick and Primaris Psyker (Along with command squad upgrades etc and non HQ chars which will be mentioned as we go along).

Firstly we’ll look at Straken who I’ve been using extensively over the last while in practise games. He’s got a solid profile, with S6 power weapon type attacks plus an additional D6 armour pen. He gives units within 12inches Counter attack & Furious charge, both of which are lethally good if you get them off. Furious charge making your men like a tactical marine in HTH (but still WS3) - you’ll be hitting ini 4, needing 4’s to hit and 4’s to wound now. That’s a much nicer mix for the power weapons in the squad, and if you got assaulted after hopefully releasing a FRFSRF (first rank fire second rank fire) in your turn hopefully it helps you thin down the already reduced enemy ranks.

Adding in his 3+ save, Toughness 4, Weapon Skill 5 and the plasma pistol gives you even more toys for that just in case moment. His problem though is being fearless... I’ve found this out already as I’m either assaulted or just assaulted in to a mauled squad hoping to finish it off, (I’ll use the Necrons game as a prime example for this point) and find that straken while rolling average will hit 3 times average maybe 4 if I’m lucky (Also assuming I got counter attack off) and while he’ll kill 3 guys, the rest of his squad will usually already be dead or mostly die on the same INI doing little back meaning poor straken who probably had to take a wound in the allocation process now finds himself losing combat and taking fearless saves either killing him or knocking him down to 1 wound... Not ideal for a Hard ass commander. If anything I wish he had stubborn which would increase his potential tenfold at least!

In the necron game I made my counter attack roll as I was out of LOS of the guy who stops me getting the special rules. Scarabs fly in and multi-assault my blob and Strakens unit and we’re both ini 3 on the charge, my squad rolls (needing 3’s) out of the 6 rolls 3 hit, then needing 4’s none wounded... great, but it’s ok straken is here and has to go! Straken wades up needing 3’s gets ... 2... Crap....that didn’t go as planned... rolls to wound, one base dead... pants.

I know in this example I should have done better, and also is a multi assault situation, but straken should have hit with 4 attacks odd, wounded with almost all of them again and instant deathed the T3 scarab bases, but he didn’t and with the rest of the squad proving to be trained in fistycuffs and not HTH the squad died as Straken has to take masses of no retreat wounds (9 total I think).

The point I’m trying to make is the fearless ruins what could be a really solid squad, and in multi assault even more unless you roll well... a very specific example but it will happen in games so you need to be aware of how it can affect you. Meanwhile the stubborn Blob squad laughed it up and kept fighting for more turns.

The problem then comes into what to take in his Squad to make it better... personally for Straken I’ve been running him cheapish and multipurpose, 2 melta guns give me some anti tank and instant death fun for tough enemies also allowing Straken to charge in if needed and wreck in HTH. A regimental Banner for the obvious reasons of using its reroll over the commissars if I suffer shooting effects such as pinning or the likes, an Astropath for making my outflanking Blob appear when (hopefully) and where (Again Hopefully) I need it. The 5th command squad guy is just a bare bones lasgun. To further help the squad I gave them camo cloaks just to help keep them alive if focused on so I can keep Straken alive for the boosts and the Astropath for getting my blob in, once it’s on he’s my next wound allocation.

So what could I make better? Well firstly the obvious inclusion of a medic, but for the points its expensive, but worthwhile when you consider the benefits it gives to a 5+ save allowing that essential 4+ FNP reroll. So what else could make the squad? Bodyguards, 2 of them to soak wounds meant for Straken and also giving the squad another 3-4 attacks each. Carapace armour while helping them get to a 4+ save doesn’t seem worth 20 points for 4 guys (Straken has better already). A heavy weapon, but being that it takes up 2 separate members of the squad and relies on them sitting still to use I feel ruins the purpose of Straken moving forward with the blobs to counter attack and give them his boosts.

His order range is the good 12 inch all the orders from the base range making him even more perfect to walk forward supporting and shouting commands to the squads nearby. This is also handy to keep him close for when your squads break to get them back into the fight if the commissar’s shooting still fails closer to the enemy so you can hopefully consolidate and assault back in.

I'll leave off there and cover the rest of the HQ choices next time round! Thoughts so far?

- Jamest

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