Monday, September 21, 2009

Deathwing Allies: Witch Hunters

A few comments on the Deathwing List Types breakdown got me thinking more and more about the ally selections open to the Deathwing. First, I'll focus on the Witch Hunters.

Ally Rules
Per the ally rules in the Witch Hunters codex, you may make the following selections to the Deathwing (and other imperial forces)

0-1 HQ
0-1 Elite
0-2 Troops
0-1 Fast Attack

With that in mind, I'm going to look at what the crazy burny sisters can bring to your terminator-armored maniacs. I'm going to assume we're starting with Belial and two 5-man DW squads packing the assault cannon and chain fist, so we're spending 630 off the bat and have two troops.

What Can the Sisters Get Us?
The Sisters can bring cheaper bodies, for one thing. 43 points gets us three Sisters. Sisters have access to melta weaponry, and transports that cost less than 250 points. There are also some specialist options, and I'll run down the list.

HQ Selections
Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor Lord
This one is really 65 minimum; it's 45 but you should really pay 20 points for the psychic hood. Psychic defense is one thing the Deathwing lack; the best DW can get is a Ld9 librarian. Believe me, the extra point of leadership is worth it, since the tie goes to the other guy/girl/monster/daemon/thingy.

Past that, you're really best off making this a shooty retinue. You can get up to three Warrior henchmen at 15 a head; and if you want to stand off you can make them BS4 heavy bolters at 25 a head. You can get a 4+ save against hostile psychic powers with a Penitent for 7 points, and for 12 points you can get a Chururigeon, and ignore the first wound a turn as long as it's not power weapons or instant death.

That in mind, a sample OH setup would be:
Lord w/ Hood [65]
3x Heavy Bolter Warriors [75]
Chururigeon [12]
Total: 152

It sits back, it counters psychic powers. Not a bad price. It does compete with the Daemonhunters Inquisitor, who can get a psycannon for himself and increase the amount of fire you put out.

You could, theoretically, get a bunch of acoyltes, bring plasma on the warriors and combi-plasma on the acolytes, and be the plasma-spam-of-death squad, which is also known as the 'dies-next-turn' squad. Not a real use for that one, mind you.

There are two Psychic Powers of note for the guy, as far as I can tell. Scourge of the Witches lets you roll a d6, and your score is the number of psykers that take a Ld check or Perils, starting with the closest. No, you don't get to keep the extra hits. Otherwise, it's Hammerhand, which is a filler power that gives the Inquisitor S6 in melee. Real comforting for him, I'm sure.

Finally, if for some reason you feel the need for a spare Rhino (which costs 50 points, not 35, btw) you can get one here.

Sororitas Heroine
Yay, more fate points. That's all she really is; and you don't really need her in a DW army.

Priests
You have no use for these in a DW army; they cannot attach to your squads.

Elite Selections
Elite OH Inquisitor
Skip this one. It has Ld8 and has to buy henchmen to get up to Ld10. You don't need the plasma option, truthfully. Not for what it costs here.

Arco-Flagellents
Well, first off, you need a priest. Since priests are not actually part of the force org chart, it might be debatable whether you can even take them. Let's assume, for a moment, that you can, and you can unlock the Arcos. Ok, they're 35 points a head for a T5, 4++ guy with a random number of power weapon attacks. While that's a great fire magnet, it's also a 210 point unit for a full set of 6 that can't ride in vehicles. On the other hand, once you kick off the injectors, they're basically Fleet; they move 6", then move another d6, and may assault; OR you can just get 6+2d6" off them in a turn.

I think they could be nasty, but Deathwing isn't exactly short on high-damage power weapons.

Sisters Repentia
It's a unit full of S6 chainfists. Wherever will we find something like that? Wait. Powerfists are standard issue in a Deathwing army. I think we can safely skip these.

Celestians
Now we're getting into the nuns with guns. They're basically an elite squad of sisters with more guns. We'd take them after we take the two regular sister squads, just to have three. The downside is that they can only get a single meltagun; the other real option is a heavy flamer or multi-melta:
A sample melta configuration would look like:
5 Celestians [65]
Vet Sister upgrade [10]
Meltagun [10]
Multi-melta [15]
Rhino w/ Extra Armor, Smoke [58]
Total: 158

Or, we could drop 65 more points for a basic Immolator, and from there we get two options: 1) Realize we have a twin-linked heavy flamer we can fire even if we moved 12", or drop another 20 points for a turreted twin-linked multi-melta. Mmm, burning. AND, we still have a fire point. So, we can be a nasty melta-turret, or do nasty drive-by burnings. Hallo, options.

Assassin Operative
Note that you have to take an Inquisitor Lord to unlock these for allies. You get four options for assassins, and I'll detail them briefly. They cost 95-120 points, depending on the type.

-Vindicare Assassin: Man, snipers are cool. But impractical. He just doesn't do a lot of damage. He has some gimmicky special shots he gets to use once each, and he can pick his own targets, but...he just doesn't do enough damage.

-Culexus: I...hate psykers. I...do very little else. Skip me.

-Eversor: infiltrating CC powerhouse that explodes when killed. If you get first turn, this guy can actually do some damage. He gets a 12" assault, and +d6 attacks on the charge. He'll never need more than a 4+ to wound his target with a power weapon, AND he's got a meltabomb just in case. If you can get a good infiltration position on him, he will do unspeakable things. Downside? He's still just one T4 guy with two wounds and a 4+. But MAN, he's fun.

-Callidus: I have two uses. First, I let you reposition one enemy unit 6". Then, I pop up, fire a flamer template that's S8, AP1 vs. their leadership, and assault and ignore saves. Too bad it's limited against vehicles.

I'd have to go with the Eversor or Callidus for real utility, but the bigger problem is that you're looking to get MORE bodies out of allies, not less.

Death Cult Assassins
45 points, take up to three; they infiltrate and have power weapons. Big whoop. They're not that useful, all in all. You get much cooler guys for 43 points a head, they're called 'Terminators.'

Troop Selections
Sisters of Battle
Mmm, 11 points for T3 angry woman in power armor. Better yet, the squad can take two meltaguns, or a flamer and heavy flamer (I mean, if you're low on points, double flamers, but come on. Heavy flamers are LOVE!). Downside is a minimum of 10 per squad. A sample configuration would look like:

10 Sisters [110]
2 Meltaguns [20]
Sister Superior [14, for the fate point]
Rhino w/ Smoke, Extra Armor [58]
Total: 202

The real point is to deliver the meltaguns. in a pinch, they can rapid-fire stuff.

Or, if we really wanted to, we could bring the full 20 sisters and a leader with an eviscerator, and do some ridiculous things with Faith in combat. Oh, and bring the meltaguns. Yeah. I think I'd stick to the mech'ed up sisters first, though.

Inquisitorial Storm Troopers
We get 5-10 guys, and they each get hellguns and frags. Ho, hum. Oh, wait, we can take 2 flamers, 2 plasma guns, or, yes, two meltaguns. 70 points for two meltaguns. Theoretically we could take a combi-melta, but we'd have to pay a total of 25 for sarge and the combi-weapon, and I find that somewhat inefficient.

These guys may also access the Chimera, but their Chimera is 70 base, and must buy its weapons. It would be 85 after the obligatory multi-laser and the might-as-well hull heavy flamer. 88 after smoke, 93 after extra armor. Or, there's the Rhino at 58 after the gubbins.

5 IST [50]
2 Meltaguns [20]
Rhino w/ EA, Smoke [58]
OR
Chimera w/ Multi-laser, hull heavy flamer [85]
Total: 128 OR 155

The Chimera's a bit more durable if you can keep the front towards the enemy, and it can contribute some middleweight gunfire and such. Plus, you get a heavy flamer you might actually use. Or, you can go for the points savings you get with a Rhino.

The big question here is one of armor saturation; do you want more AV11 or AV12 (front only, naturally). You have fire points enough to shoot your specials out of the top either way.

Fast Attack
Seraphim
Jump troops. Hurrah. They're 'eh' in combat, even if they can get an Eviscerator sarge and have Hit 'n' Run. Their one real benefit to you is that they can deliver a couple of flamers or twin-linked inferno pistols (which means 6" for the regular, and 3" for the +2d6, AND no AP1). You have plenty of CC and bolter fire in the Deathwing as it is, so why bring these? And, you can get melta in other places, and you have better fast attack options, like...

Celestians
It's more Sisters of Battle. It's Sisters, except FOUR of them get weapon options, to the tune of flamers or meltaguns. Plus, they too can mount an Immolator, or a Rhino. A sample of this might be...

5 Dominions [55]
3 Meltaguns [45]
1 Flamer [6]
Vet Sarge [14]
Rhino w/ EA, Smoke [58]
Total: 178

More if you want the Immolator. 68 or 88, depending on the melta or heavy flamer. The mix of meltaguns and flamers is largely there to let you fire all of them out the top, and still have the joy of a template weapon. Plus, their meltaguns are 15 a head, not 10. Stupid witch hunters...

Option Roundup
So, that's what we get. Note that the Ordo Malleus has the same ISTs and Assassins, and their Inquisitor isn't that different. Out of the options outlined, I'd trim it down to these worth considering:

HQ Inquisitor
Celestians
Sisters of Battle
ISTs
Dominions

The Inquisitor is there SOLELY for psychic defense. The others are in there becaue they can bring you melta love. Assassins are strictly a 'for funsies' proposition. The other real choice you need to make is ISTs or Sisters for your troops buddies. ISTs are suicide units, but can get you Chimeras, which may or may not be useful. The Sisters are more costly, but more durable, and can get the Book of Saint Cheese (Or, Anyone Nearby Gets My Unmodified Ld Value) which is important for keeping them alive. The other benefit of Sisters is getting some Faint Points; the most you should really have is 4, but those Acts of Faith are potentially ludicrously effective.

Sample 1850 Lists
These are by no means a tested or exhaustive list. It's simply a sample after doing this evaluation.

Gun-Nuns
HQ
Belial [130]

Lord w/ Hood
3x Heavy Bolter Warriors
[140]

Elite
5 Celestians
Vet Sister upgrade, Book of Cheese, Meltagun,Multi-melta
Immolator w/ Extra Armor, Smoke
[188]

Troops
Deathwing Squad [250]
Lightning Claws, Assault Cannon, Chainfist, Sarge

Deathwing Squad [250]
Lightning Claws, Assault Cannon, Chainfist, Sarge

10 Sisters, 2 Meltaguns, Vet w/ Book of St Lucius
Rhino w/ EA, Smoke
[207]

10 Sisters, 2 Meltaguns, Vet w/ Book of St Lucius
Rhino w/ EA, Smoke
[207]

Fast Attack
5 Dominions,3 Meltaguns, Flamer, Vet Sarge, Book of Saint Loser
Immolator w/ EA, Smoke
[208]

Heavy Support
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons [130]

Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons [130]

Total: 1847

Pros
Lots more bodies, you have melta weapons, and some usable template weapons. You even have psychic protection.

Cons
We kind of relegated the Terminators to a supporting role. We have 10 terminators plus Belial, and we have 30 sister of battle. We're pretty much a Witch Hunter list with terminators and some longer-ranged support from Dreadnoughts.

If you wanted, you could collapse the dreadnoughts into a third Deathwing Squad, but I like the long-ranged firepower.

Allies Lite
HQ
Belial [130]

Lord w/ Hood
3x Heavy Bolter Warriors
[140]

Elites
Dreadnought w/ Multi-melta
[125]

Dreadnought w/ Multi-melta
[125]

Troops
Deathwing Squad [280]
Claws, Assault Cannon, Chainfist, Apothecary

Deathwing Squad [250]
Claws, Assault Cannon, Chainfist

Deathwing Squad [250]
Claws, Assault Cannon, Chainfist

5 IST w/2 Meltaguns
Chimera w/ Multi-laser, hull heavy flamer
[155]

5 IST w/2 Meltaguns
Chimera w/ Multi-laser, hull heavy flamer
[155]

Heavy Support
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons
[130]

Predator w/ Autocannon, Heavy Bolter Sponsons, Pintle Storm Bolter
[100]

Total: 1850

Pros
I feel a little more Deathwing-y now. We have psychic defense, a little bit of ranged love, and we have a decent chunk of melta support. We still have 15 terminators, and we've got some Angelic love.

Cons
Man, those Chimera were expensive. However, I feel like spamming more AV12 is a better idea; as it is those Chimeras will draw attention. I feel like the utility of the Chimera and the backup Melta-dreads is a balance, though.

In general, this list feels a little better balanced than the sister-heavy one. If you want symmetry with the predators, lose the Apothecary. As it is, I'm not sure about the predator loadout; that last 230ish points was a little bit of a head-scratcher. I feel like the list would be served by reaching out and touching someone, though, so Predators are pretty much in. This lets me switch the Dreadnoughts to multi-melta models, and advance them with everyone else.

Summary
Overall, I'm certain there's more I could do with the list-building. Those two are just examples, but I'm leaning a bit towards the second one. I feel like it still gets the Deathwing flavor in there, but gives me a bit more utility and redundancy. The sister-heavy one makes the Deathwing seem like an afterthought.

The biggest question with the Sisters is 'do I try to get Fate Points?' If so, you're looking at another 10-15 points per unit, and then you might as well get the Book of St. Lucius. The Fate Points are nice, but at some point I think you're diluting the Deathwing a bit much, and you're almost better off trying to slap Allied Grey Knight Terminators in there (if that works; I'm not 100% sure on it, but if the ally rules are similar then yeah, it would work).

To be honest, after this analysis I'm looking into the IST list idea. If nothing else, I feel like there's something to be had there.

3 comments:

jabberjabber said...

Very cool and thorough analysis :)

DebonaireToast said...

I think maybe your Dark Heresy withdrawls are starting to kick in - Sisters get "faith points" rather than "fate points." ;)

Other than that, interesting stuff.

Raptor1313 said...

First it's the little stuff, and soon, it's the witches...I mean twitches and then the burning sensation...I mean fire.

But yeah. The Faith Points are part of the conflict, though I might have to point out a list with Sisters that doesn't spend so much to get the Faith Points. I mean, the best you could really get with Allies is about 6, and that's paying for a Commander that you'd be hard pressed to use.