Saturday, May 1, 2010

Carnifex Spam Batrep

I decided to give the massed carnifex list a shot, as it had generated a heap of discussion. I ended up running an atypical scenario (from the Kalm Before the Waagh!, a heap of drama prevented me from being there but he'd made it) against an army that my oppenent was like 'well, maybe it'll do something interesting' though he had his reservations (which turned out to be correct).

So, at 2,000 points I had:
Tyranid Prime [Scything Talons, Devourer]
3 Hive Guard
3 Hive Guard
3 Venomthrope
Tervigon [Toxin, Adrenal, Catalyst]
Tervigon [Toxin, Adrenal, Catalyst]
10 Termagants
10 Termagants
2 Carnifex
2 Carnifex
2 Carnifex

My Logic: 'I wonder what a Half-Dozen Carnifexes will do with Venomthrope and Hive Guard Support.'

Chaos Space Marines
Slaaneshi Lord w/ Daemon Weapon
Berserkers w/ Fist Chump
Plague Marines w/ Fist, Flamers, Rhino
Plague Marines w/ Plasma, Fist, Rhino
CSM w/ Chaos GLory, Fist, Melta, Rhino
CSM w/ Chaos GLory, Fist, Melta, Rhino
Noise Marines w/ Sonic weapons, power weapon chump, Rhino
Oblit x1
Oblit x1
Land Raider w/ Posession
[NB: he'd overcosted his Land Raider; he'd been looking at the Space Wolf book and forgot his didn't have PotMS, so he was short about a marine or two]

His Logic: 'I Wonder What A Chaos Rhino Rush Will Actually Do'

Scenario: The 'Urty Dozen
Primary: Get Your Most Expensive Unit Killed (Dead mercs collect no paycheck and are thus free...)
Secondary: Objectives [6 total]
Tertiary: Kill at least one enemy HQ
Fourthiary: Victory Points

Deployment: board divided into six equal chunks. Players dice off; the winner then drops 3d6 (re-rolling any duplicates) and gets the correspondingly-numbered chunks. I ended up with two on one short side, and one on the far corner. Then, I won the roll and forced him to deploy first and go first. Hey, he's got mobility on me out the yin-yang and it's not like I can stop more than two rhinos tops before he gets there.
Red circles highlight the objective. Unsurprisingly, he deploys in the middle. I take my two adjoining segments and termagant-screen my force. I figure that he'll hit me, and then I'll have to weather the initial hit and push out to force him off objectives. Hive Guard on either flank mean I should be able to get at least one brood to draw a bead on anything, since my butt's against the 48 inche side. (actually not, since there's a BOOK CASE there...)
Here's another view of the deployment. My Tyrannofex conversions, my semi-converted Tyrants, and a couple of old mech-daemon conversions are my Carnifexes, and the mech-daemons are standing in as my 'KILL MEEEE!' objective, since two carnifexes are 320 points. I fail to seize the initiative, and this is fine.
Chaos Turn 1
Chaos advances and fans out. Noise Marines move up to grab a flank with an objective and a good view for pouring fire onto one of myo bjectives. His Land Raider drives up, spits out Berserkers, and proceeds to eat ten termagants. His powerfist champ and two others bite it on the way in thanks to the Venomthrope dangerous terrain checks. His plague marines move up and only rapid-fire ONE venomthrope down, and wound the other. That last Rhino is busting toards the back, to conga-line and grab two objectives.

Naturally, the oblits are in reserve.

Tyranid Turn 1
Ok, well, time to do something about that. I explode the horse that the Plague Marine Squad (with attached lord, the white fig) rode in on, and the Rhino that a CSM squad was in BEHIND his land raider. Thought you could hide, did you? Carnifexes move up to engage his plague marines, his berserkers, and his land raider. Tervigons spawn; one closer to the bottom of the picture runs dry. One at the top promptly craps out 10 Termagants to replace the ones that the berserkers ate.
Berserkers? Gruesome death. Land Raider? Explodes. Plague Marines? Lord insta-kills BOTH OF MY FREAKING CARNIFEXES WITH SIXES TO WOUND. I die a little on the inside. He celebrates.
Chaos Turn 2
Noise marines move up, fire on termagants. Plague Marines with a commanding view open up on carnifexes that ate the land raider. His marines that got out of the exploded rhino (well, the 8 that made it out...) also open fire on the carnies. The carnies do not appreciate this, and are hurt. One oblit falls off the table and dies horribly; the other blowtorches some termagants.
His Lord and Plague Marines get into the tervigon and termagants (due to poor placement on my part and a solid multi-assault). TERVIGON IS INSTA-GIBBED BY SLAANESHI LORD. Termagants die a deadly death.

So far, the Slaaneshi Lord has single-handedly killed 515 points of my army. He costs 135. I am a sad, sad freaking panda.

Tyranid Turn 2
Well, I've got to handle this. Two carnifexes are detailed to end the plague marines and the slaaneshi lord, along with a squad of termagants, who will be on strict orders to MAKE SURE THAT THE FREAKING SLAANESHI LORD DOES NOT GET INTO B2B WITH MY CARNIFEXES. I do NOT want to see more insta-gib sixes. Other carnifexes advance towards his CSM squad that just can't seem to move through cover away from two large, hungry, pointy things the size of building running at them with murderous intent.

The Tervigon craps out another 10-11 termagants.
Assault happens. At the end, I lost a beat-up carnifex and some termagants in exchange for the Slaaneshi lord, the oblit, and most of his plague marines. I am quite satisfied. This happens in part due to the fact the lord rolled a '1' for his daemon weapon. Whoops.

This actually defines his luck; he rolled either very hot or yahtzee'd on ones. Seriously. He yahtzee'd on ones like TWICE. Considering that he pretty much was looking at 3's to hit and 3's to wound (or sixes) it was pretty surprising.
He cries a little on the inside when the lord died. Sorry, that 135 points ONLY buys you one quarter of my army.

Holy freaking hell. I would've cried if that lord had run through more of my army. As it is, I luck out and pass the instinctive behavior on the hive guard, and the termagants just kinda lurked.

Chaos Turn 3
His advance is blunted. At this point he's got two objectives locked down solidly in the back, but his inability to roll difficult terrain is probably gonna cost him that Chaos Marine squad. His Noise Marines shell my Termagants (who go to ground, lest they fail a morale check from casualties and run off the board) but they weather it with aplomb. (Ok, not really; they just hid really well in a house. Same thing, right?)

Amusingly, I can make cover saves against meltaguns and plasma weapons, but bolters take wounds off my freaking carnifexes. I got cover because one hid behind a house. A HOUSE. Ok, more like INSIDE the house, then somehow walked out and left it intact. Go figure.
Speaking of the chaos backfield, you can see the conga line.
Tyranid Turn 3
Wall of Termagants advance; Tervigon craps out MORE. The Prime splits off from his hive guard buddie and wanders over to provide synapse while the Tervigon dumps Domination to make sure. (or maybe that was last turn? Not sure, but I did actually use that 18" synapse range).

I fire on his Noise Marines and nothing happens. My other hive guard are a couple inches short of hitting anything (other than the Chaos Marines, and I want to try to get to them with the carnifexes. I've also shot myself out of assault range more than once.)
Two Carnifexes + 8 Chaos Marines = Two Carnifexes. They had to get into terrain, but the powerfist didn't kill anyone. One 'fex only has a single wound left, though.
Chaos Turn 4
There's not a lot left to do now. He moves the Rhinos up in preparation to contest objectives, since the game lasts either 5 or 6 turns. Plague marines back up, rapid-fire the 'fexes, and actually drop one. Noise marines backpedal out of terrain and fire. My Tervigon finally runs dry this turn.
I'll summarize, since A) I forgot a few pictures, and B) it was pretty much over. The carnifex on the flank managed to get into his Noise Marines (...and eat them). The other carnifex got into and through his plague marines, tagged a rhino, and then died in assault with his remaining squad.

End Result:
Primary: Chaos
Secondary: Tyranids
Third: Tyranids
Fourth: Tyranids
1 Venomthrope
1 Tervigon
1 Carnifex
40-50 Termagants

Thoughts on the game and the lists
The Scenario
The scenario was admittedly atypical. It kept us maybe 14 inches apart, though it's possible I could've avoided the first turn assault anyway. As it was, it worked out for me, since I dropped about 500 points of his army on turn one.

Getting the most expensive unit killed is sometimes a bit odd, but the other objectives were reasonably normal. I mean, headhunting the HQ is usually a good idea; most of the time they add something to the list.

The Freaking Slaaneshi Lord
In a sense, this was dice luck. On the other hand, such lords are iffy against stuff you really wanna insta-gib (while you can wound tyranid warriors with their T4, they'll have whips and swords and shank you 'til you're dead before you can go, in all likelihood).
Still, with enough attacks, you can hope for those sixes. It was just NUTS to see instant death worth something. If we really wanted to talk about a chaos HQ for hunting MCs, though, I'd look to Kharn (...because, well, it's freakin' KHARN but he does need fours to wound...) or a Nurgle Lord with Daemon Weapon (they're like poison lightning claws against regular troops, and still the poison helps against T5+ enemies, so yeah...)

The Chaos List
Long story short: he was hella short on firepower. He just didn't have a good counter to monstrous creatures in general past 'hope the hidden powerfist works after you soften them up with meltaguns before the charge.'

The Dice My opponent's dice luck was all over the freakin' place. Seriously, the Venomthropes just about paid for themselves in the number of guys that flubbed dangerous terrain checks. I think it was a powerfist zerker, two more zerkers, then at least one plague marine (With a flamer, no less..).
Plus, he got the '1' on the daemon weapon at the exact wrong time. On the other hand, he ALSO got the sixes at the exact right time. He also managed to immobilize a crucial contest-capable rhino on terrain.

I also managed to explode half the vehicles I killed, so yeah. I ALSO had a Tervigon produce for four straight turns, so I got a total of 5 extra broods, or about 25-30 termagants. Swathes of 'em died, though, but BFD. I got more (...usually.)

The Venomthropes
Ok, honestly, unless you can hide them out of LOS, most enemies ARE capable of dumping enough fire on six T4, 4+ save wounds in a turn or two to kill 'em all off. He almost did that in the very first turn, and the noise marines KO'ed another at some point.

Still, the defensive grenades and cover have their place in some builds. Venomthropes don't belong in every army, but if you're going MC heavy (...maybe, really does depend) or going for a swarm( and want to make sure you can get cover) then it might be worth a shot.

Note, though, that like the Tervigons, it forces you to stay close and pay attention to your formation. You want at least a few guys trailing back to the magical 6-inch bubble that the venomthropes have for giving you cover/defensive grenades/dangerous terrain.

The Carnifexes
Admittedly, Living Battering Ram has a place. It helps to go before powerfists, and if I could find 30 points without a major problem I would probably think about giving them Frag Spines. On the other hand, most armies with nasty assault troops can get the charge off, and it doesn't matter that much against shooty armies.

Honestly, the 'fexes didn't face any uber-threats on the table. Two of them can nail a semi-damaged squad with decent rolls (needing 4's to hit, they should be able to kill 5-6 guys a turn) and on the charge? You're talking 7-8, and getting up to ten is possible (unless you're charging plague marines).
Even with Run moves, these guys are freakin' slow. And, well, you NEED to run them. The other worry is getting ahead of your synapse support, since Feed/Rage can be used against you and you're not always gonna make that Ld7 check to avoid being a stupid mountain of hungry, fanged, muscle with talons as long as a sedan. (I feel like I should make jokes about why T-rex is angry with regards to the functionality of his arms; t-rex at least had hands...).

And, of course, he had no dedicated melee units. If the enemy can soften up the carnifexes (...which, admittedly, most lists can) then they can probably take 'em out in assault. Pure assaulty lists can probably hurt them too; stuff like thunder-shield termies hurt and even t-wolf cav can put the hurt on.

Carnies are reasonably durable, but (lack of) speed can kill. Tomorrow I go against IG, so we'll see ho that works out. Stay tuned for another batrep.

Hive Guard
...deprived him of his mobility, and kept the Rhinos from potentially denying my the objectives. Without them, he could've just kept moving them and tank-shocking termagants around. What are Termagants gonna do if they can't furious charge the thing, try to get behind 'em and do damage with with BS3, S4 guns?

Ok, end of the day, that was an interesting match. I don't think this validates carnifexes by itself, as they really didn't have to contend with any major threats. Even then, I still lost more than half of them. I probably would've kept one more alive had the slaaneshi lord not killed BOTH of them, but even with Kharn or omething ele in his place I would've probably lost at least one. Actually, Kharn + a powerfist champ still probably would've KO'ed both, but it just would've taken longer (unless I lucked out and KO'ed Kharn, but that depends on which Carnie got wounded and which one got into assault with Mr. Kharn.)

I'm playing against IG tomorrow. Should be interesting, since this player generally does bring a pretty nasty IG list. Failing that, it'll probably be double-crusader Black Templare with Furious Charge lightning claw terminators.

Either way, both of those will be a bit rougher on the 'fexes.

Comments/Thoughts/Rage? Due to Powerpoint Making Us All Stupid, I haven't had a lot of time lately to blog. (Staring at slides for 5-6 hours a day and then having to review them or brief them the other 2-3+ hours does sap your brains and will to look at a computer screen, lemme tell ya. For like two and a half weeks straight.)


Chumbalaya said...

Did you think the extra bodies and CC punchy made up for the loss of S10 guns?

Raptor1313 said...

Not sure. Had I dropped the fexes, I would've had at least two Tyrannofexe, split the hive guard into three units (to multi-target beter) and had a unit of something like whip/sword warriors going on.

I think the whip/sword warriors would've nailed the plague marines without major losses.

I also miss the range, though admittedly it would've made the Land Raider harder to tackle.

Against this particular matchup with this particular scenario, I didn't miss the guns THAT much, though.

RayJ said...

I testing that mission for the Kalm a little over a month ago. I absolutely abhor it, as it absolutely destroys certain armies with the random deployment and primary objective.

As far as how the list performed for you, how were your carnifexes equipped? Seems to me like Heavy Venom Cannons on all the squads would provide some *decent* support fire while they advance. Carnifexes are horribly slow in my experience. I think loading up on that many HVCs will make up for *some* of the lack of rupture cannons.

I also really like bioplasma on them, but I dislike its extremely short range, so most of the time I'd probably skip the upgrade myself.

raptor1313 said...

Carnies were butt naked, pure melee killers.

Once you drop one set of scything talons, you seriously compromise your melee effectiveness (at WS3, one set of talons means re-rolling 1/3 your misses vs all of them, unless you go into Tau in assault.)

Plus, HVCs across the board are like 20-25 a head, so going with 'em jacks up the price considerably. Six carnies naked are 960, the Tervigon/Termagant core is just under 500, HQ is minimally 80, Venomthropes are 165 for three, and then it's 300 points for the rest. I'd rather have the accuracy and pain of Hive Guard than dump two of them for heavy venom cannons and carnies that kill about two units per carnie per assault.

I'll post it up later, but I went against IG today and even with awesome rolls on my side (an absurd number of 5+ saves...), terrible rolls on his side (for lascannons, no less) and him not pegging Venomthropes 'til the end, I got tabled.

(NB: posting from a friend's comp)

I like the thought of bioplasma, but the 12" range is the killer for me.

The_King_Elessar said...

I think the Day Of The Carnifex is well and truly over. :)

Damon said...

I gotta admit, not a fan of your "ultimate Carnifex test" list, Raptor. It's like you made a list to "prove" that carnifexes suck! LOL

Do please recall my comment from your previous post about how to give carnies cover in the context of the army. You'll note that Venomthropes were not involved, but Tyrants were, for example.

I also hoped that the implication was clear enough: Carnifexes are not THE heavy lifters of an entire army. Like everything Tyranids, they are merely one piece to a puzzle. That's all I wanted to get across. That they can be a valuable piece.

I would never advocate building an entire list around the carnifex. Same as I would never advocate building an entire list around Hive Guard, or Venomthropes, or Tervigons, or Tyrannofexes, or .

If you're fielding more than 2 or 3 carnies, you've probably got too many. ;)

I'm not surprised IG raped your army. You don't have any shooting! Balanced 'nid armies gotta pack in the shooting. Haven't been able to build much of an assaulty list shy of specialized all-drop 'nids, and even that can struggle. Bare-bones carnifexes can help balance a 'nids army, no more, no less. Just like the rest of the army around the carnifexes. ;)

Raptor1313 said...

I tosed out six of 'em because one of my comrades suggested it in my initial Carnifex post. I pretty much copied Duo's list, save that ran a Prime as my HQ and brought some guns.

I'm with you, Damon, in that I think a pair of them can potentially work. I think carnie spam is well and truly dead, as suggested.

The problem is that for support, well, honestly, I just think there's better. Warriors can do everything the carnie can except KO vehicles, and chances are they'll survive CC with nastier units as well.

I think I'd probably run something like:
Hive Guard
2x Carnie
2 Tyrannofex

And see how that goes, and what it has left.

Damon said...

That definitely looks like a more viable list. I'd be tempted to put shooty options on the fexes, to be honest, but I'd love to see it run both ways -- bare-bones and shooty -- against a few opponents and see what you think. I haven't yet been able to make up my mind because I end up making vary different lists (ones that do include carnifexes, that is) depending on which way I go with the fexes.