Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pondering the Deathwing

I've been sufficiently busy, and had some spare time to think about Marines as of late.

No, no, not power armor marines. The cool marines, the Terminators. I've mentioned it before, but the project got put on hold due to lack of Green Stuff, which was due to lack of money. I've hawked enough stuff to justify an order from the War Store, because I find GW's price for green stuff to be...a bit high, shall we say.

So, I can safely contemplate army lists now. I've got one already, though it's pure footslogging.

Belial 130
Librarian w/ Termie armor, Combi-weapon 150
Command Squad w/ Apothecary, 2x Meltagun 145
Command Squad w/ Apothecary, 2x meltagun 145
Deathwing Squad w/ Apothecary, Assault Cannon, Chainfist 280
Deathwing Squad w/ Assault Cannon, Chainfist 250
Deathwing Squad w/ Assault Cannon, Chainfist 250
Deathwing Squad w/ Assault Cannon, Chainfist 250
Deathwing Squad w/ Assault Cannon, Chainfist 250
1850 Total

The goal? Laugh my ass off with Apothecaries. I walk that way, and prepare to harm things. Yes, it's got range issues; that's Deathwing. We take Assault Cannons because they're superior to the Cyclone Launcher save for range.

I might drop an Assault Cannon for a cyclone to have a more designated score-squad, and then hand a couple meltabombs out to the command squads.

The Wing of Siege, Prototype 1
Belial 130
Dreadnought 125
Dreadnought 125
Deathwing Squad w/ Apothecary, Assault Cannon, Chainfist 280
Deathwing Squad w/ Assault Cannon, Chainfist 250
Deathwing Squad w/ Assault Cannon, Chainfist 250
Deathwing Squad w/ Assault Cannon, Chainfist 250
Vindicator w/ Dozer Blade 130
Vindicator w/ Dozer Blade 130
Vindicator w/ Dozer Blade 130

Total: 1800/1850

Note well that this list is 50 points under. I keep the solid core of 20 terminators, still. The 'siege-wing' moniker comes from the triple Vindicators, and they kind of help the list kill armor. In a pinch, if someone breaks cover? Smells like victory.

The question I'm pondering is what to do with the last 50, and how to potentially kit out the dreads. Autocannons could provide some lighter anti-tank, and some real range. Adding missiles to that might help a bit, and give me something with a threat more than 24". Or, I can just hand out the multi-meltas, and tell them to get a move on.

Or, there's always the Ravenwing tank-popping option. 3 guys, 2 meltaguns, and a multi-melta attack bike cost 190. Granted, that's not exactly resilient...but the only other way to get more Ravenwing bikers is +100 for 3 more. Yeah. Flexible, ain't it? If I dropped the dreads, I'd have 300 spare, which would get me a Ravenwing suicide* melta-squad and...110 points left over. Yay. I'd have to lose a Siege Tank, and that's cutting down on the armor a bit.

More likely, I'll add missile launchers to the dreadnoughts (20 points) and then find something to do with the remaining 30. Or, I dunno.

So it is I turn to the peanut gallery, and hope no one brought rotten fruit for the army list.

That Tactics Bit I'd Promised
So, when you get down to it, you can do a lot of stuff with a Deathwing Squad. 5 guys. By default, one carries a power sword, the other have fists, all have storm bolters. You can take chainfists for +5, a weapon upgrade (assault cannon or cyclone launcher), and anyone can trade their shooty kit for assaulty kit (2x Lightning Claws or TH/SS).

Well, the TH/SS for Deathwing is of inferior durability to the regular marine one. A 4++ in melee versus a 3++ against everything? Skip the shield.

Some people swear by lightning claws, and you could theoretically use them to have a squad of 5 unique fellows:

Sarge w/ Power Weapon, Storm Bolter
Powerfist, Storm Bolter
Powerfist, Assault Cannon
Chain Fist**, Storm Bolter
Lightning Claws

But, do the lightning claws appreciably improve your killyness in melee?

Let's compare:
Squad A has a power weapon and 4 fists
Squad B has a power weapon, paired claws, and 3 fists.

Assuming a 4+ to hit and against T4...
Squad A
Not Charging
0.5 Power Weapon wounds (1 hit, 50/50 wound shot)
4 Powerfist hits, 3.33 wounds
Total: 3.38
1.5 power weapon hits, 0.75 PW wounds
6 powerfist hits, 5 powerfist wounds
Total: 5.75

Squad B
Not Charging
0.5 Power Weapon Wounds
1.5 Claw hits, 1.125 claw wounds
3 Fist hits, 2.5 Wounds
Total: 4.125 Wounds
0.75 Power Weapon Wounds
2 Claw hits, 1.5 Claw wounds
4.5 Fist hits, 3.75 fist wounds
Total: 6 Wounds

What Did We Learn?
The claws provide you a bit of a boost vs. not having claws. Obviously against T3 folks, the claws will do a bit better. Without charging, it's a difference of 0.745 wounds, and on the charge it's 0.25 wounds.

So, next question. Shooting. Deathwing's likely to spend time shooting at folks, and the claws cost you a storm bolter. As cool as Deathwing Termies are, you're in close combat 'til the end, but if the other guy has power weapons, you're kind of hosed. Your amazing 2+ save goes to a 5+, which isn't so great.

The claws do not help against monsters or vehicles, either.

But, you do get a bit more of a wound allocation game, since a normal squad's 'groups' look like:
2x SB/PF guys
SB/CF guy
Assault Cannon/PF guy

You lose one group. Not sure how big of an impact that is, to be perfectly honest. It gives you some flexibility, but...not sure. Peanut Gallery?

My gut here says 'keep the storm bolter.' The claws are cool, but I don't know how big of an impact that is.

*Why is it suicide? Because, like Fire Dragons, no one's going to let it live long enough to get more than one shot off.

** Why the chainfist? In case you end up in assault with hefty armor. Bring those can openers. It's +5 points, people. Seriously.


The_King_Elessar said...

I think you may learn to hate the lack of flamers.

Also, in my experience (always against DW, never with) the Claws are worth it.

My captcha is radscal - that's a nuclear rascal! Just wanted to share that terrible joke. ;)

Raptor1313 said...

Your comedy-fu is weak! :)

Do you think it's worth it to even try fielding flamers in Deathwing? I'm against flamers on foot on principal. I'd rather have the range and anti-tank threat.

Slate_Blank said...

You also need to consider initiative with LCs. Against Orks or other PF/SB termies for instance that's 1.5 wounds before they strike. Always nice to have less dice rolled when they attack.

Raptor1313 said...


That is a good point as well. I'm still waffling; my gut chances its mind whenever I think about it. (Might've been that wasabi horse-radish sauce I just tried, though...)

However, it depends on what you're facing.

If it's another squad of terminators, then you are taking out enemies before they can swing reliably.

With Orks and other squads with a 'hidden' high strength, low-initiative weapon, it's iffy how much you'll get out of it. Claws might drop a spare ork, which might save you a wound or two from needing 2+ saves. On the other hand, if the unit's more cut down, you might stop the klaw.

It's a question of 'What kind of dice are you keeping from getting thrown?' If it's a 7-10 man squad with a single fist, then big whoop, you won't stop the fist/klaw, whihci s the real money-maker for the squad. But, if it's maiming a unit full of low init, high strength power weapons, then it might work out.

Of course, my real worry is something like TH/SS terminators. THOSE will maim the average Deathwing terminator something fierce.

The_King_Elessar said...

Hmmm. Most of my experience is against full on DeathRaven, where a Heavy Flamer >>>> an Assault Cannon.

On foot, I can't say for sure. :(

Raptor1313 said...

Death-Raven/Doublewing can deliver the flamers rapidly with the homing beacons.

On foot, my hunch is that if I really want to torch someone, they're probably going to charge me first.