Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reflections - Dealing with Genestealer Cult, KDK Experiences

I've gotten a couple more games with the Khorne Daemonkin under my belt - once more against the Genestealer Cult, and against some of the forces out of Gathering Storm 01's book.  I believe I'm getting a better handle on the various forces at this point.

Dealing With a Genestealer Cult
Some stuff has become a little more apparent over time against these fellows - I believe the following apply to any army fighting against the cult.

Short Version - deploy and plan on playing reactive early on.  Hope you brought screening units, and if you survive the initial hit plan on hitting back hard and eliminating units. They're much more mobile than you'd expect from a bunch of dudes on foot, too.

1) Deployment Zones - what are those?
The cult's big schtick that impacts your play is the Cult Ambush.  Some of their stuff starts on the table in their deployment zone.  The rest consults a table, so their guys are going to do one of the following -

a) Walk on from reserves
b) outflank
c) show up 6-9" away with guns, quite possibly shooting
d) show up 3" away ready to assault the turn they arrive

This chicanery is generally limited to infantry and the odd Scout Sentinel.  Note that 'infantry' here ranges from stuff that looks suspiciously like Imperial Guardsmen, to chumps with industrial cutting gear, to straight-up Genestealers.  Also, Sentinels are probably going to have their choice of firing angles.

2) Bring Screening Units / Bubblewrap
It's never a bad idea to have some screening elements for your army.  If you're not out-and-out fast enough to dictate an engagement (Read - can't teleport, can't turbo-boost, that kind of thing) then you want some poor chump in front of you to die and buy time.

This is extra important against GSC for a couple of reasons - units WILL pop up in random spots and you have to assume that they will be a threat the turn they arrive, either by shooting or lucking out and rolling a 6 on the cult ambush table.  You at least want to make them work to get at your important units.

The follow-on is that during deployment, it pays to be able to deny them a place to deploy.  When the initial ambush sets up, they'll have all be 3/6/9" away - and if the whole unit can't fit, well.

3) Beware the First Curse
What is this 'first curse', you ask?  It's a Patriarch (think Genestealer with psychic powers and 'roid rage) and 20 of his closest friends.  Every GSC player that looks at this dreams of going first and rolling the 'assault the turn you arrive' perk - because seriously, that's painful.  (See #1 - BUBBLE WRAP - would you rather lose chumps or something important?)

That's a lot of rending attacks - if they can assault something with the bulk of the unit, they can probably kill it.

I honestly worry about this moreso if it DOESN'T start on the table - it's one thing to bubble wrap this on the table.

Just be ready to run from it, or smash it with lots of guns - and if it shows up ready to assault the turn you arrive?  You're going to lose something - simple as that.

4) Kill Them In One Go or Shadow Them
The Cult's also very, very good at slinking off in the shadows.  At the beginning of their turn, if the unit is more than 6" away from the enemy they can return to the shadows - they go into ongoing reserves, pick up a few more dudes (up to max size) and roll on the ambush table again next turn.

...granted, if they're all dead they can't do that.

5) They play a hell of an objective game
Between the cult ambush table and their ability to re-enter ongoing reserves, these guys are pretty nasty at playing objectives.

Stuff To Bring To Kill These Fellows
1) Volume of Fire
The bulk of these models have 5+ saves - but they'll have a LOT of bodies, and with their support HQs you can end up with a lot of fearless guys with Feel No Pain.  Hell, just bring plain FIRE for that matter; they're gonna be close to you.

2) Melee - sometimes
Genestealers, patriarchs, and their HQs in general are nasty in close quarters. Outside of them (and a couple other units, like aberrants and folks with mining tools) most guys are average at best, and their strength is in the buffs from HQ and the sheer number of bodies.  You're just going to have to be selective about melee matchups if you can be.

3) Psychic Defenses
Buffs and summoning are annoying - the latter even moreso when combined with cult ambush.

4) Swift units
They're all on foot - but can cult ambush.  It wouldn't hurt to be able to rapidly re-deploy your own stuff, because this guy can.

5) Cover-busting
Remember how this whole army's got like a 4+ or 5+ at best?  Deny them cover - they'll cry.

Thoughts on Khorne Daemonkin
1) Possessed -
I love the models.  What I'm not loving is that they're required.  Don't get me wrong - if they can get into assault they are pretty nasty.

The problem is that 'if'.  Here's a short list of things I COULD have gotten instead of Possessed in a Rhino (or extra body)
-A BUNCH more bodies for hounds/bikes
-2/3 of another Bloodthirster

And I'm pretty sure all of those would've had more of an impact than the Possessed in most of my games.

I really like the free Blood Tithe from the slaughtercult, but I've yet to feel like the Possessed are anything other than a tax on my army at this point.

2) D-Thirsters are hilarious
I'm still enjoying this fellow - though he doesn't always have a ready target.  Anyone with super-heavies (outside of Knights / anything with Strength D in melee) should worry about this guy, because eight WS10 D-axe swings on the charge will pretty much wreck anything with hull points.

Outside of big, valuable targets he really needs to go after so-so melee troops - WS10 is a hell of a defense against WS4 and lower troops.  If there aren't any big juicy targets for this guy, then it's time to go find squads with WS4 or lower and thrash them.

Also he's pretty much not my first warlord choice - people tend to shoot the big ones.

3) Maulerfiends - not so bad.
I like them for a couple of reasons - they're fast, they can break vehicles, and lasher tendrils are actually pretty hilarious.  It's also kind of important to have more than one big nasty target - and maulerfiends are reasonably likely to grab a turn 2 charge with their speed.

4) Juggernaut Lord is Probably the way to go
The stat buffs on that mount are just too solid - throw in a melee weapon and the 4++ save and you're good, then stick him with a Gorepack's Flesh Hound accompaniment and go.

5) Knight Loadouts - Still Experimenting
I've tried the Slaughtercult a couple of times, so my Knight ally has come via the Renegade Knight versus a Forge World rule set or Kytan.

One mistake I've made - not going with a carapace weapon.  The Knight is pretty much the sum total of my army's shooting at this point; might as well maximize it.  I'm not super-enthralled by the performance of the Thermal Cannon or the Rapid-fire battle cannon.  The Thermal Cannon can at least bring some AP2 to the table, and if it gets lucky vs. a vehicle squadron I can possibly nuke two things with one shot.

My next experiment is going to be a Knight w/ the Avenger cannon (S6, AP3, 12 yeah) and the Heavy 3 Krak missile carapace gun.  It'll play the game of 'reach out and touch someone before wandering into melee.'

Coming Next Up
-more hobby pictures, because I hit the painting table hard
-possibly more batreps
-reflecting on CAD vs. Slaughtercult again
-reflecting on Kytan vs. Forge World Knight rules vs. Renegade Knight after experimenting.