Friday, December 31, 2010

Mech or Foot?

Happy 2011!
For the first post of the year, I will bring up a question that has plagued gamers since the beginning of 5th edition. To mech or not to mech? That is the question.
With the start of 5th edition, there was one major change that stood out more than any other. That change was the increased survivability of vehicles. No longer could a standard vehicle be destroyed by a glancing hit, and on a penetrating hit, the chance of destruction was brought from 50% down to 33%. Games Workshop didn't stop there. In addition to tanks being more survivable, almost every standard transport was reduced in cost when their new codex dropped.
This got people thinking about how metal boxes would insure that their dudes wouldn't die so fast. It also helped assault armies get across the table more quickly. Eventually, pretty much every army, barring tyranids, grey knights, daemons and necrons, was zipping across the table in their own APC.
The metagame, however, would not allow this to continue forever. As more and more tanks came into play, more and more anti-tank weapons came into play. At a tournament scene, a player could expect to come up against mech, and would pack as many lascannons, meltas and missle launchers into their list. With this, mechanized armies died down slightly. While these lists are still quite popular, lists made up of entirely infantry (simple lasagna, man!) sprang up to contest all of these anti-tank lists. Now a line is drawn, and many people are stuck in the middle, unable to decide.
I will not say which is better, for I don't believe that either one is. It depends on your army, and/or the way you want to use that army. Mechanized and foot lists both have pros and cons, but most armies are geared to be able to competitively (for the most part) use either.
With that, I will go over both armies I own and sum up why I play them the way I do. Hopefully I can give a good example that way, without imperatively saying which is better.

--Imperial Guard--
My first army, and my most tested. I run them mechanized, very mechanized. I run them so mechanized that I normally don't put a single infantry model on the table. The reason I run them like this is first off, because they have great transports. 55 points is giving me a 12 10 10 transport with 2 heavy weapons. With that, I.G. also have amazing battle tanks that never make me sad. The reason I love tanks so much is that they protect my infantry and form walls. Imperial guard are good at shooting, not staying alive. Now, this will come up later, but I've noticed that the only armies that should take transports are the armies blessed with cost-efficient transports. I.G. is one of those armies. I have played with platoons a lot, especially back when I had a single chimera, and they definitely have their place in the game. I would never want to imply that infantry guard lists are bad in any way, but they didn't impress me half as much as fully mechanized. I have also toyed with hybrid lists, or a little bit of each. I found a good balance here, but found that I'd rather have small arms fire and anti-infantry guns patter off of my armored chimera hulls than kill my dudes. In my current 1,750 I.G. list, 1,005 points are spent on vehicles, and I have 75 models.

I run my eldar fully on foot. Not a single tank in my 1000 point list (unless you count war walkers). I once ran my eldar with 3 wave serpents and a fire prism, but my ways have changed to that of simple lasagna. Truth is, the cheapest I could possibly get a single wave serpent was 100 points. As far as firepower goes, the wave serpent has less than the 55 point chimera. As far as survivability goes, it is a 12 12 10 vehicle with resistance to S9+ and weapons that roll 2d6 to penetrate. As far as cost-efficiency goes, it is much worse than the chimera. A single krak missle has the same chance of destroying it as it does a chimera when going against front armor. Yes, the wave serpent is fast, but when it comes down to it, the metagame supports multiple cheap units to single large units. Eldar are not blessed with amazingly cost efficient transports, which is why I don't prefer them to full infantry. I would like to bring up that my eldar are doing as well as my guard on the tables, if not, better. This is partially due to the smart use of cover, and I doubt that someone would consider the armies to be on par with each other when it comes to scariness. In my 1,500 point eldar list, I spend 0 points on tanks, and have 90 models.
With this, I still don't believe it matters a lot. I know, not much of an ending, but I say play what you enjoy. If you like parking lots, play mech. If you like tons of little dudes, play infantry. If Games Workshop is doing anything right, it shouldn't matter in the tournament scene.

Pray they don't take you alive...

Hello, I am back from my holiday sidetrack, and with some goodies from Asdrubael Clause. That's right, I got a Dark Eldar army for christmas! 2 Raiders, a Ravager, some Warriors, some Wyches, and an Archon, making about 600-650 points. I have so far played four games with them, and I have come to a conclusion: They rock. I love the new combat drugs, new splinter weapons, and especially the super-fastness of the army. So far, I have 1 draw and 3 wins with them, And I think I'm getting the hang of it.

The draw, which was nearly a loss, was against an Ork army, and at the end of it I had one wych, a Raider, and an immobilized ravager left. Had the game gone on another turn, i most certainly would have been tabled.

The next game, against some Chaos Space Marines, was radically different. I completely tabled my opponent. The superstars of the game were the tanks, which took out all opposing vehicles, but most of all the Archon, who took out all enemy infantry, which was twelve Khorne Berzerkers, and a Chaos Sorcerer. The Soul Trap/huskblade/shadowfield combo is working out very well, seeing as after he killed the sorcerer he was wounding the berzerkers on twos. I was very disappointed by the Wyches in this game, they did absolutely nothing. I also learned a very important lesson: Don't charge warriors into combat. EVER. Unless it's against really weak combat units like Gretchin or Firewarriors.

The next game was a very close win against some Space Wolves. My Ravager proved very good at popping Razorbacks this game, and my Wyches redeemed themselves in my eyes, killing some Grey hunters and capturing an objective to win the game. Also, I learned that Flickerfields are invaluable. Against a rifleman dreadnought, the 5++ invulnerable save did wonders, keeping a Raider in the air long enough to drive my warriors over to an objective to contest it.

The last game I played was yesterday, and proved to me that Dark Eldar can hang in there and win it for you. I was playing against some Ultramarines, and he had made this list to kill specifically Dark Eldar. The game started out badly for me, with the Wyches' raider getting popped early, and then having a whirlwind barrage land on them didn't help, as it killed five of them. In turn two, my Ravager got killed as well, leaving me with not much to play with. The Warriors got out of their raider, and the Wyches and Archon got into it, and ran up to the area where the marines had castled. In turn two, their raider took out the whirlwind in a massive explosion which killed three marines, and shorted out the Archon's shadow field. The Archon and wyches then went on to kill most of the enemy army. But I would have lost had it not been for the Warrior with a splinter cannon who caused enough wounds on the Ultramarine captain's combat squad, and made them run off the table!

So thoughts? A very good army, a master's army, but good still. I'm very pleased with the results so far, as the speed and high amount of dark lances in this army more than make up for generally weak statlines. I plan on soon adding some more warriors, as they are undoubtedly the most useful unit to me so far.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Russes...So Many Russes...

So, for the billionth time, I'm sorry for not posting in so long.
I'd like to make this post about my favorite vehicle in warhammer 40k, the Leman Russ.
In this post, I will go over each Russ variant, and rate it. I actually have experience in this field, as at one time I ran 3 of these bad boys at a time. So let's do a countdown!

#7=The Vanquisher. This is as close to sucking as a leman russ can get. A single shot, S8, AP2, rolls 2d6 to pen vehicles. First of all, I'm going to note that it has a 50% chance of missing outright. Second, it is only AP2. Now, unless you intend on shooting at terminators with your 1 shot (don't), the upgrade from AP3 to AP2 is completely useless. It is also 5 points MORE than the standard russ.

#6=The Punisher. It was a very close call between this and #5, but frankly, I don't see much use in the Punisher. Sure, it has 20 shots, but half of those will miss. Some people will suggest upgrading it with pask, but he brings its already hefty points cost of 180 base up to 230. It is geared towards anti-infantry with its 20 S5 AP- shots, but if you do the math, it will kill 5-6 orks, 4-5 fire warriors, and about 2 marines. A template would do much better here. The extra rear armor is nice, but not nice enough to justify taking one of these competitively. I say it adds a lot of fun in a friendly game, though, so the Punisher will always have a place near my heart.

#5=The Eradicator. I actually think that this is a pretty underrated tank. At 160 points, you get the amazing durability of a leman russ, and a large blast template at S6 AP4 that ignores cover. Honestly, in almost any situation this tank will be more valuable than a Punisher, as it has a 36" range over the Punisher's 24". Frankly, I can't think of any other leman russ variant that would scare my eldar more than this one. That is why the seldom-used Eradicator placed at #5.

#4=The Executioner. At this point, we are getting into the worst of the best. The Executioner is no joke, with a gun equivilent to 3 plasma cannons, and an increased rear armor. The only thing stopping this tank from being used by every guard player in the competitive gaming field is its price of 190 points base. I'd say it may still be worth it, but the best IG players live by several rules. One of those rules is to always keep it cheap.

#3=The Exterminator. It was a very close call between this tank and the Executioner, and I'm still second-guessing myself, but I personally love the Exterminator. It costs 150 points, making it tied with the standard russ for being the cheapest russ variant around. The gun doesn't scream at you "USE THIS!" but 4 twin-linked autocannon shots are pretty darn good. Think of it as a rifleman dread with AV 14, 13, 10 and a heavy bolter/flamer.

#2=The Demolisher. Honestly, the demolisher is amazing. 165 points gives you a 14, 13, 11 tank with a freaking S10 AP2 pie plate and a heavy bolter/flamer. Not much else to say, use it if you have the points. I used to take one, and it never made me sad. It managed to kill about 500 points in a single turn at one point by knocking out a asscannon/heavy flamer dread, 5 furious charge terminators, and a venerable tank hunters dread with a lascannon/miss launcher.

#1=The Battle Tank. I think that this is easily the best tank in the game. Durable as hell, a 72" S8 AP3 large blast cannon, and at a dirt-cheap 150 points, I would never go to war without one of these fellows at my back. I actually added it up, and my 150 point russ killed 380 points in my last game, and it did no better than it normally does.

Hope you enjoyed this article, and if you play guard and don't have a russ, seriously, what's wrong with you?