Thursday, July 13, 2017

8th Impressions - On Chaos, Defilers, and Land Raider Crusaders

This is a bit late - I apologize for lack of pictures, but I have a couple good reasons for not logging via pics - first, there were a heap of proxies, and second, the mission summary is basically 'he drove across the field and shot/assault me.'

The Armies
Death Guard Battalion Detachment
Malignant Plaguecaster
Noxious Blightbringer
Hellbrute (Reaper A/C, flail)
16x Pox walkers
16x pox walkers
12 Cultists w/ heavy stubber
7x Death Guard (sarge w/ fist, and a plasma rifle)
2x Foetid Bloat Drone
Defiler (Reaper cannon, defiler scourge)

Black Templar Battalion Detachment
Emperor's Champion
Cenobite Servitors
Crusader Squad (handful of bobs w/ plasma gun, plasma cannon)
Crusader Squad x11 (axe, fist, meltagun)
Crusader Squad x13ish (axe, fist meltagun)
Land Speeder (Typhoon Launcher, heavy bolter)

Scenario - Big Guns Never Tire
4 objectives
First Blood
Slay the Warlord
Bonus points for killing heavy support

The Battle, in Summary
We set up across from each other - his small Crusader squad sat on an objective to one side, while his Crusaders deployed centrally.

I deployed the Defiler and Death Guard on one objective, with the Hellbrute and Cultists held another.  Pox Walkers deployed as a screen, and the support characters stayed in the middle.  My Bloat Drones deployed out of LOS, opposite his objective camping squad out on my far left flank.

The battle played out over a couple of areas -

Bloat Drones vs. small crusader squad intially - my guys advanced across the field and got into firing range on turn one, and wrought havoc on his squad.  This drew off a Land Raider Crusader - and its Crusader Squad, while the Emperor's Champion road the Crusader into my lines.

The Drones basically cleaned up the shooty crusader squad.  Being able to break off combat and fire meant they ended up killing off the other crusader squad.  One drone ended up dead, and the other ended up on the objective.

Land Raider Crusader Rush
So, I learned that Land Raiders can put out an obscene amount of firepower.  Before that, we learned that Land Speeders are really squishy - the Defiler stood still and ripped it out of the sky in round one.

The Land Raiders moved up and softened up the Pox Walker screen - and between the loss of the screen and advancing to shoot, I ended up losing my Death Guard to the crusader squad and Grimaldus.  The Defiler waded in and proceeded to rip them up over a few turns - so they fell back and boarded the Crusader, only for the Defiler to run that down and blow it up.  It died in the resulting explosion, but I'm ok with that.

Typhus and the Emperor's Champion ended up in a fight - which is to say the Champion knocked a wound off, and then Typhus annihilated the champion.

The Hellbrute died to a withering hail of Land Raider firepower.

The psykers actually get some mad points for smiting a number of wounds off the LRCs - without screening units, and with some good rolls (including Typhus knocking off 5 wounds with a single lucky smite roll) one Land Raider was wounded, and the other was softened up enough that the Defiler managed to assault it down.

End Result
Chaos Victory (called turn 4 between time and battlefield situation)
Marines had a single Crusader left

Chaos had cultists, all three characters, pox walkers, and a bloat drone.

1) Land Raider Crusaders - lotta guns
Seriously, between the twin assault cannon and hurricane bolters, they can throw a bucket of dice.  Recommend that you take the multi-melta, because otherwise you're plinking off 1 damage at a time.  That being said, they can fire heavy weapons without penalty, which is crucial becase, y'know, it's an assault transport.

I think two of them in 1500 is a bit all-or-nothing, but they have a lot of firepower-  and also blow up in grand fashion.

2) Land Speeders are squishy
I think 150 for a speeder with a heavy bolter and typhoon launcher is a bit pricey - you need a bunch of targets to make that sorta/kinda worthwhile, and in general they just aren't that hard to kill.  I'd lean towards heavy bolters (standoff range and low cost) or heavy flamers (fire after advancing, auto-hit, and painful while being cheap)

3) Real cost of Cenobites
My opponent put it well - "It's not that they're six points, it's that they're three bodies in the crusader."  They're cheap because they're easy to kill, but it's a pretty solid buff.

4) Defilers are fun counterassault / shooty
Defilers are still a multi-role unit - and that means you're getting versatility in exchange for not using all your capabilities all the time.  You have a heap of firepower and durability, but accuracy isn't your strong suit (WS/BS 4+ above-average?)

I'm pretty pleased with the loadout I picked - if I'd had the points, I would have tossed a combi-weapon on (combi-bolter if I'd had one more spare point, otherwise combi-flamer).

The scourge is crucial if you think you're going to get into a fight - you've got three base attacks (albeit, they're S16, 1d6 damage punches) and your WS starts at 4+.  The scourge gets you three more S12 swings at 2 damage each, and you need the volume (or supporting units nearby.

The reaper autocannon and twin heavy bolter cost about the same - if you think you're going to move more I think I'd go twin heavy bolter because it's more dice.  That being said, S7 is on the stronger side of anti-vehicle firepower.

Don't forget they regenerate a wound a turn, too.  It helps if the enemy is chipping away at them.

5) Plague Marines - shoot, don't punch
I went with that loadout because it's what I had out of the Dark Imperium box.  In retrospect, I could've gotten another plasma gun instead of the powerfist.

The melee capability is so-so at best on these guys - just one attack each is kinda 'meh', even if you hit on 3+ and re-roll wound rolls of '1'.

That being said, T5, 3+ saves, and Disgustingly Resilient mean they're a pain to sift out of cover - these guys laughed off a couple rounds of Land Raider shooting from cover.

6) Typhus + Pox Walkers + Support
Pushing Pox Walkers up to T4 is pretty significant - the hop from T3 to T4 makes a hefty difference against small arms.

Typhus himself is slow - if he's buffing Pox Walkers, he's walking behind them.  You want the Noxious Blightbringer to help with pushing them up the field, and you'll benefit from the Malignant Plaguecaster's power of "You take -1 to hit rolls against target unit" power.

Typhus is also kinda nasty in melee.  He technically has a pistol in his Destroyer Hive, but the manreaper has solid strength and 3 damage per hit on top of his stupid WS 2+.

Between the two psykers I had, I could fire off four 'SMITE!' in a turn.  That being said, the limiting factor is targeting - they absolutely HAVE to hit the closest target, so your enemy gets a vote in what you can smite.

That being said, Mortal Wounds vs. harder targets (like Land Raiders, for example) are much more significant than mortal wounds vs. infantrymen.

I don't think Smite Spam is going to be crazy nasty, but you can potentially do some damage.

8) Foetid Bloat Drones
These guys were MVPs.  I'd recommend deploying them in pairs.  They excel at murdering infantry - high toughness, numerous wounds and a good save mean they can weather small arms fire, and their sprays (combined with the ability to break off of a counterassault and spray again) are disgusting.

The speed is great period, but especially in a Death Guard list - it's pretty much your only speedy unit.

In Summary
Land Raiders hurt.  Foetid Bloat Drones are awesome, especially in a Death Guard list.  And seriously, everyone, bring some cheap screens for your army.

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