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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Imperial Armor 9 Review Part 2: The Tyrant's Legion

Okay, so unlike the characters from the previous section, the Tyrant's Legion is a stand-alone list with unique units designed to represent the mix of Astral Claws and inducted humans that comprised the bulk of Huron's forces. This combined-arms style is the main draw for the list- other than that it is rather weak, but might be of interest to players wishing to have a unique army or looking to representing an unusual force from their own fluff.

One interesting aspect of the list is the Tyrant's Due rule that the various Space Marine units in the list possess; in short form, this rule allows you to claim a +1 to any cover save gained from friendly troops being in between you and a firing unit, which is pretty nice. On the downside, the intervening unit suffers d3 casualties (no AP), which is more of an annoyance than an actual disadvantage. Their heavy/special weapons selections are also a bit different: specials are more restricted (grenade/flamer/melta, usually) and heavies are a bit different (no lascannon/multimelta, added heavy stubber.) Heavy Stubber is, unfortunately, pretty universally overpriced at 10pts- at 5pts it would have actually been quite good, but when it has to fight for space with the Heavy Bolter (strictly better) and sometimes Autocannon (fantasic), it's really no competition.

On to the list!

Lugft Huron: Ugh, this guy. He gains the Tyrant's Due rule but is otherwise his same, mediocre self. Can we have the rebellion be led by someone competent instead, like Gilligan? Oh, you're allowed to take a single Elites choice from Codex: SM and an Honor Guard squad if you take him. You know, if you hadn't spent enough points on the dude.

Legion Centurion: 55pts for a sarge with two wounds; seems rather trashy on the surface, and you're required to take these bozos if you play 1500pts or more? Seriously? It's not so bad as that, though: he is an extremely cheap HQ unit that, thanks to his Angel of Death rule, effectively makes non-Marine units he joins ATSKNF. Why this is relevant will come up in a moment. He gets the usual sarge upgrades; giving him a Fist isn't terrible, but it isn't great, either.
Verdict: Eh, he's okay. You'll take one and not be too sad about it.

Legion Auxilia Command Detachment: An IG CCS, except it can't give orders, is 5pts cheaper, and the commander comes with only one wound and Ld8. He can pass his Ld to anyone within 18", though, which sort of helps shore up your line a little bit- Ld8 still isn't exactly reliable, though. Two guys can take a special weapon- including, bizarrely, a Combat Shield- and you can add (not replace) a two-man heavy weapons squad, which gets HB, AC, HF, or ML (your choice) for 20pts. They can also get a bunch of the usual worthless IG options (Fist, Carapace, etc) that you won't take and a 20pt upgrade that gives the commander +1WS and +1W. WTF?
Verdict: It's about as good as you're going to see, BS4 Autocannons, Missiles, and Melta.


Corpse Taker: An... Apothecary that roams around with some Guardsmen, basically? Good lord. He starts with two chumps for 50pts and can bring the squad up to ten strong. If the leader dies his buddies get all stupid, just like regular Servitors, and Marine units killed within 12" of him count for double KP. And... that's it. Unlike a Techmarine, he doesn't actually do anything. Wow.
Verdict: Christ, this is no way to start a list.

Renegade Marauder: Five Guardsmen led by a BS4 dude. You can add up to five more for 10pts each, and you can add two S4/T4/W3 guys for 30pts each. 55pts, and the squad can take two specials and the sarge gets the usual options plus a Demo Charge. Huh, so you can go double-Flamer + Demo or double-Melta or whatever. You can get a Chimera or an Arvus Lighter (which is basically trash, see below) as a transport. The big draw is that the squad gets to pick one of three options: Acute Senses + Stealth + Move Through Cover, Furious Charge + Scout, or 4+ save and Krak Grenades. Scout is the big draw here, letting you rush a dedicated transport in and throw that bomb, but it's REALLY suicidal to do this with such a small squad. Oh, and you can never regroup if you fail a morale test, not that you will usually still be alive at that point.
Verdict: Erm, not great, but two Flamers and a Demo Charge only set you back 90pts, so they aren't utterly awful.

Legion Retaliator Squad: Five Marines (including sarge) for 100pts, extras @ 15pts. They come with Pistol/CCW/Combat Shield and can take one special, which includes HB or Lascutter (S9 I1 melee weapon that makes a single attack.) The whole squad can take Meltabombs for 20pts, and they can take a Rhino or Razorback. So sub-par Assault Marines with no Jump Packs and... nothing? Really? Yeah, these guys are bad.


Legion Space Marine Cohort: Oh man, did you think Tacticals were bad? These guys are here to show you the true meaning of bad. 150pts for ten guys, can can take up to ten more for 15pts/head. No Combat Squads, just like all the other Marines in the book. One gun for every five guys, picking from Flamer, Melta, Plasma, Heavy Bolter, Missile, or PWeap- and no discounts on any of them except PW, which is only 10pts. Sarge gets the usual options, and the squad can take a Rhino if its minimum size. That's it; they're marginally cheaper than Tacs, get "better" gun options (but pay full price for all of them and don't get MM, the best choice). They are the ultimate in vanilla Marine units, utterly without advantages.
Verdict: DO NOT WANT.

Legion Auxilia: A 1+ choice, so you're gonna have to deal with having this guys in the list- and, coincidentally, they work reasonably well with your 1+ HQ choice. So what do we have? For 70pts, we get twenty dudes with Lasguns and "Sub-Flak Armor" (6+ save.) And they're BS2. Wow, that's, uh... that's really something. We can add up to twenty more for 3pts each, if we want, and the unit can regroup even if it's below 50%. Every ten dudes lets us bring either a Grenade Launcher, a Flamer, or a Heavy Stubber. So basically what we have is a unit that is good for nothing but cannon fodder, since they sure as hell aren't doing anything else useful. They are at least very, very cheap, so they make a fine screening/bubble wrap unit, and depending on their role attaching a Legion Centurion to them can insure that they'll hold a little bit longer in the face of an assault; on the other hand, you may not want them to hold, so the team-up isn't a given.
Verdict: Very good at what they do, but what they do is not something that the list needs as much. Unlike IG or Tau, you don't have the firepower units to back them up.

Auxilia Armsmen Cadre: Guardsmen. Comes in a squad of ten for 50pts, can add up to ten more for 5 each; the squad gets one special (or Heavy Stubber) and one heavy weapon for every ten guys- since they're actually BS3, this is not the horrible deal it is on some other units. They can get Shotguns or Carapace and the sarge has the usual options. They also are allowed to reroll 1s to hit with their las/shotguns if they remain stationary and don't assault- meh, it's no FRFSRF, but it's something at least. They can take a Chimera if you want, and this is one of the squads more likely to want it
Verdict: They're basically an Infantry Squad, which is a fine unit. Take AC/Grenade, AC/Melta, or AC/Stubber and put them in an AC Chimera.

Auxillia Chimera: Like the usual one, but can also take a turret Autocannon (5pts) or TL HB (10pts). The former would be ridiculous if this were IG, but as it it's merely okay.
Verdict: Maybe. Getting the Autocannon is pretty decent, and a protected firing platform is nice, too.

Auxilia Trojan: Okay, this is one of those doofy FW units that doesn't actually do anything. It's a 35pt blank slate.
Verdict: ...

(Rhinos and Razorbacks are identical to their SM counterparts in all ways.)

Fast Attack

Legion Iron Hunter Squad: "The Astral Claws had a long tradition of highly adept biker units stretching back centuries..." Well hey now, that sounds promising. 155pts get us five bikers; okay, a little pricey on the up-front, but not bad. 25pts each on extras, that's pretty standard. Every five guys lets us take a special... that's crappy. No five-man teams with two Melta, I guess. And... and that's it? No Attack Bike option? Nothing fancy to make up for the loss of Combat Squads and all that? Oh, wait, look, they get Counterattack. Woo.
Verdict: Booooo-urns! Booooo-urns!

Auxilia Hellhound Flame Tank Squadron: Exactly like their IG counterpart- 130pts each, squads of up to three. You can trade the hull HB for a HF or MM, which is the only place in the list you can get a MM, so you might want to think about it.
Verdict: Well, it's a nice tank, but why do you need it?

Legion Sentry Gun Battery: So okay, finally we start seeing things that aren't just shoddy revamps. 45pts gets you three AV10 immobile platforms with BS2 and a TLHB. They also suffer from restrictions on how they can shoot- basically, it automatically targets certain things in range and in a particular arc, depending on how you "program" them at the beginning of the fight. You have the option of swapping the Heavy Bolter for a regular Multimelta (not exciting with BS2), a TL Lascannon at the cost of 15pts (pricey) or a TL Assault Cannon for 20pts (yikes). It should be noted that they are Artillery, so any glancing or penetrating hit will destroy them- this is a big downside, as otherwise they would actually be quite tough. So what can we get from them? Well, 45pts for the basic three guns is... not great, Four HB hits per turn? Meh, probably not. What about three Lascannons? Well, unfortunately our sensors limit us to 36" effective range it seems, but 90pts for the three of them is not... completely horrible; it's a way to put some firepower in the list, at least. Assault Cannons are too pricey and too hard to get in range without getting wrecked to be useful, I think.
Verdict: Maybe you'll use them if you're trying for a pseudo-IG list, as your Heavy Weapon Squad replacement.

Maelstrom Fleet Lighters: Okay, we're not gonna talk about these guys in detail, but in short, 75pts (up to x3) buys you an AV10 Fast Skimmer (Hover Flier in Apoc games) with a transport capacity of 12. For 20pts or more you can add such trashy guns as TL Multilasers. (Protip: don't do this.) It's a bad an overpriced transport for an army that has access to both Chimeras and Rhinos.
Verdict: You're not the Dark Eldar.

Heavy Support

Auxilia Battle Tank Squadron: A Leman Russ squadron, but limited to Battle Tanks, Annihilator (TL Las in the turret) or Exterminator (that's the Autocannon one). So, uh, you'll be taking the basic Russ. Since you have access to quite a few other pieces of armor, these end up being a pretty reasonable unit.
Verdict: Sure, why not. Just make sure you've got other tanks to go with it.

Auxilia Siege Defense Squadron: Another IG port, we get a squadron of Basilisks, Medusas, or... Thunderers? What the hell is a hunderer? Apparently it's got a Demolisher Cannon and... Leman Russ armor? Huh, but no turret or sponsons or anything. So a stripped-down LR Demolisher for 140pts; that's... livable. Given all the talk about Huron's "big guns" and such I was hoping for a little better than this, but I suppose that's Forge World for you.
Verdict: Again, you've got the armor to try and make it work.

Artillery Barrage: What's this now? We get a thing that stays in "reserves" and when it arrives, we pick any point on the table, and every turn for the rest of the game it drops a blast there. On a miss, we scatter double the number on the dice, with no reduction, and all types cause pinning (but, weirdly, aren't actually barrages.) 100pts gets us S8 AP3 7" pie plate- that's one step above the large blast, for those not familiar. 70pts gets us a Basilisk shot; 50pts gets us S4 AP6 small blast x3, clearly the worst of the options. Obviously dropping these on an objective in the opponent's half of the field is your go-to option, and with the 7" blast marker you can really wreak some havoc- just stay far, away from it, as this crazy thing scatters an average of 14".
Verdict: Expensive, but can make an objective basically unclaimable.

Auxilia Fire Support Cohort: So Huron's plan is apparently to group up his HWTs for concentrated fire- fair enough. 45pts gets us three teams and a sarge, armed with Mortars, and we can add more teams for 15pts each, up to three more. They can swap for the usual heavy weapons (Autocannons: 5pts), so it's looking pretty decent, as we can get six Autocannons with an ablative wound for 120pts and... wait, BS2? Are you fucking kidding me?
Verdict: I am going to kill you, Forge World. I will come to your house, silence your children and pets forever, and spend the entirety of the night teaching you new kinds of pain.

Maelstrom Fleet Naval Detachment: So we can get a three-strong squad of Lightnings (light air superiority), Thunderbolts (heavy air superiority), or Vultures (gunships.) The Thunderbolt is is interesting, as it's a flyer (so very hard to hit) and two Autocannons and a Lascannon, all twin-linked; this gives us a fairly strong shooting platform that's hard to hit for 180pts; 40pts less for the Lightning drops one of the Autocannons. The Vulture, unlike the other two, plays as a Fast Skimmer in normal games. It has a large variety of weapon options, but it can have a TLAC in the nose for base cost or a pair or Multiple Rocket Pods for +20pts- yikes. The wings can ALSO have two pods, meaning this little SOB can move 6" and put out four large blasts for 150pts; if you want an infantry-killer, this is your man. The other worthwhile option is similarly goofy, swapping all guns for a TL Punisher cannon- that's the S5 Heavy 20 gun normally found on Guard tanks. This config ends up costing the same as the swathes of Rocket Pods and so is probably not a star player, but it is there.
Verdict: A little tank hunting, a little infantry killing. Decent stuff.

Astral Claws Chapter Support: Every Legion Cohort unit (ugh) lets you take one Space Marine heavy support unit. What would you want from there? Uh, Devastators or Dakka Preds I guess? I dunno.
Verdict: Buying trash so that you have the option for taking mediocre stuff isn't a good deal.

Auxilia Heavy Ordnance Battery: IG tanks without the guns; you can get Medusas for 100 or Basilisks for 75. They're AV11 and follow the artillery rules, and thus are ridiculously fragile, but on the other hand you can fit them in 2-for-1 compared to the normal vehicle (on Basilisks, at least.) If you have a good place to deploy them, THIS is where your firepower is gonna come from- taking nine of these S.O.B.s will make a lot of people very sad and come in at a reasonable number of points. But to reiterate: they are very, very fragile, so make sure you can protect them.
Verdict: Possibly one of the few saving graces of the list.

Overall assessment: good lord, Forge World, this shit is awful. What we have is a list that has basically no way to get anti-tank, as it can't get anything heavier than an Autocannon most places and most of them as BS3 or BS2. So you're going to be very reliant on throwaway melta units and mediocre dakka to bring down tanks; Russes and artillery in the HS and Sentry Guns in the FA can help with this a little, but they aren't going to be enough on their own. Against foot armies, on the other hand, you can field absurd amounts of firepower and tear most of them to bloody shreds, so the list is fine for fighting 4E armies and battleforces.

Honestly, I'm quite surprised that FW managed to do so well on the Marine half of the book and screw this one up so badly, but I suppose that's indicative of how hard it is to write a good army. They tried to add a unique spin to the SM and IG units they included and ended up basically removing every useful feature of them, which is really unfortunate as a combined arms force is a very cool idea in theory. You're probably better off begging your friends for permission to ally some units from the other codex into your own than you are using this list, since people are going to complain either way.

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