Thursday, December 22, 2016

Titanfall(in' all over me)

So this week my comrade introduced me to Knight Titans.  Apparently some folks find them cheesy.

Let me start by saying I disagree - they are strong, but at the same time I don't see them as unbeatable.  At least, not yet.

I see the major issue being that while they ARE fast and hard-hitting and durable, they're also a tiny model count that can't take losses well, can be tied up, and can be hosed by luck since they just aren't throwing that many dice.
Thoughts on Taking Lots of Titans
I feel like there are a few standout pros/cons on this, and most of the pros come paired with said cons because you ARE concentrating a lot of points into one model - which to me is the major pro/con.

1) Durability (...obviously a pro)
Pro - these things take work to knock down unless you're packing D weapons.  You need a lot of S7+ shooting to grind through the hull points.

2) Speed (Pro)
12" a turn is pretty fast - you don't get a lot of shooting against that guy if he wants to get to grips with you, and chances are that he does.

Ouch.  Those guys may not pack a lot of guns, but MAN those things hurt.  It's like you took vehicle weapons and fed them a diet of steroids and hate.  And not like you would for Space Marines, either.

4) Versatility (Pro/Con)
You're always going to pay a premium for versatility.  If you're standing back and shooting, you're melee capability isn't getting used.  If you're chainsawing/stomping things to death, you may not be shooting much.  You get the most versatility out of pushing forward, shooting, and then using your melee weapons to commit things that would, in any other universe, possibly be considered war crimes. (Read: warmup in 40k)

5) Model Count (pro/con - the meat of it)
Pro - you don't have a lot of models to get in each other's way.  If time is a factor, you also don't have that many models to move.

Con - You don't have that many attacks to spread around.  At best you've got 1-3 shooting attacks worth talking about (the heavy stubber doesn't count; it just shoots at what you think you want to charge later).  That's IF you sacrificed your Strength D melee.  This also means you might have trouble in melee against large numbers of dudes - especially if they care not about losses.

Con - holding objectives.  Hope you brought enough friends to do it if you went Titan-heavy.  That's a chunk of points to dedicate to holding an objective.

Con(ish) - Army Composition - if you bring a chunk of titans, then they're immune to S5 or less shooting/attacks, and S6 unless you can flank them.  Which means the enemy is free to focus all of that on whatever softer targets you've brought - so you have to plan around that.  Not necessarily BAD, but certainly a consideration.

Baptism By Fire
We opted to go for 1500 points - I brought the same Hunter Cadre as last time, and he brought a trio of Knights with an AdMech allied group as backup.  One Knight had the scaled-up large-blast multi-melta (or at least what the multi-melta wishes it could be), one had the rapid-fire battlecannon & three-shot krak missile launcher, and the warlord titan had the roid-ragin' Heavy 12 assault cannon with a krak missile launcher.  The formation bonus involved upgrading the Ion Shield save to a 3+ when they were clustered together.  Naturally, they all had that silly, oversized chainsword as well.  His Admech lord had a trio of Kataphron Battle Servitors.

Short version?  I got stomped on.  I played a bad game of objectives, had some bad dice rolls, and to be honest let myself get intimidated by the knights.  By turn three he'd pretty much beat down the bulk of my army that could harm the titans, and we were pretty sure a couple dozen kroot and a pair of Piranhas weren't gonna do the trick.

I ended up holding the two Crisis Suit teams in reserve for a couple of reasons - one, there was no real good place to deploy them where they'd keep cover before dying a deadly death, two - my warlord rolled the 'Doesn't Scatter when deep-striking', and three - might as well try to get into that juicy AV12 side/rear armor.

So naturally, the first team to show up DIDN'T have the warlord with them - so they stuck their landing and proceeded to have hilariously terrible armor penetration rolls, in spite of having solid BS due to markerlights and Coordinated Fire.  So they kinda blew up next turn.

Then turn three the other crisis suits showed up and promptly repeated the same dice luck, followed by the same predictable (and gruesome) annihilation.  I'm honestly not sure what I could have done other than 'rolled better' at that point; I don't see the value in having Crisis Suits getting shot to death at range when I can instead try to get them a good round of shooting before the enemy gets a chance to murder them.

I think my Hammerheads tanked about a half-dozen krak missiles each with nothing but scratched paint.  Turns out a half-dozen titan-sized chainsword strikes aren't as easy to shrug off.

I also made the mistake of charging a Kroot squad at his treadheads on the admech side.  Turns out it's really, REALLY embarrassing when you scream, attempt a charge, and fail the charge because overwatch murdered too many of your dudes.

Lesson learned - Kroot are for staying in cover and shooting, and then possibly dying.  Ideally in that order.

Also, I kinda see the value in the oversized Burst Cannon for Riptides - that ROF (especially at Heavy 12 Rending) would have been useful.

In Closing
He played well, I played less than well, and the dice laughed off a few of my attempts to deal with it.  And honestly, there's a psychological impact of seeing a few building-sized dudes lurching towards your army.  Don't lose your head, and bring something to deal with medium-to-heavy army if you want to call your list balanced.

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