It seems a little strange really given how many options there are in this category in the marine codex, but my elites section is rather bare, with only a sternguard squad filling out the roster, their special issue ammunition will (hopefully) make a huge difference, and I’ve given them a couple of heavy flamers too so that if my opponent tries to swamp them with hordes of mini-gribblies they’ll be able to clear my lines.
Here’s where I like to think I’ve learned my biggest lesson in 6th edition. Games are won and lost with Troops choices, so having plenty of solid, reliable units to hold objectives is key, particularly against an opponent who is likely to be spawning them left right and centre from turn one (I can hope for doubles on his tervigons I guess but I won't hold my breath!). First up therefore was my mobile element, two big units of T5 bikes, one with a heavy bolter attack bike and the other with two melta guns and a multi melta bike (3 melta shots backed up by the rest of the unit’s bolters should put paid to a carnifex in one turn I’d think). These guys would be held away from the thickest fire with a view to scoring me linebreaker and/or claiming objectives in my opponent’s table half. I’m likely to split one of the units into combat squads so that I can concentrate that melta fire without wasting a lot of the shots from the bolters of the rest of the unit.
Next then I plumped for three full tactical squads with as much weapon variety as I could muster, one squad packs a plasma gun and plasma cannon, the second a flamer and missile launcher, and the third a meltagun and multi melta. These units also I will probably combat squad, unless we end up playing purge the alien, when I’ll be limiting the number of units as much as possible.
A Storm Talon, which would be my only reserve unit, I’m planning on having everything else on the table from turn 1. A twin assault cannon in the nose turret backed up by the typhoon missile launcher has always served me well previously, the high strength and high fire rate of the assault cannon backed up by two missile options meaning it can easily target either high toughness or horde units. My only concern for it is its light armour, so I’ll need to be very careful with its positioning.
Any of you with an idea of the space marine codex will realise that a lot of my points is going into this section of my army, and faced with a horde of gribblies sporting high toughness, lots of wounds and good armour saves that’s hardly surprising. Before I get into that however, I’ll note that I’ve included a bastion in my list with an icarus lascannon emplacement on top, because I really don’t want to have any nasty surprises from flying monstrous creatures. This will be manned by my devastator squad, who carry no heavy weapons themselves. The tactic being to use the sergeant’s signum to make the gunner BS5, pretty much guaranteeing me a hit on anything that’s flying, or a ground based monster if need be (and this is why I left the stalker at home, its lack of the interceptor rule meaning unless there are flyers it’s pretty useless)
Next up then is my go-to unit for heavy support, and believe me I’d have taken more of these guys if I had the models, my centurions. Twin linked lascannons backed up with chest mounted missile launchers means this unit has the potential to take down a tervigon in a single turn, and I’m expecting them to cause a lot of damage to my opponent, my biggest worry being if he brings a Mawloc to burrow up from under them.
To sort of help guard against that, on the basis that the burrow attack can’t hurt it and therefore would cause a deep strike mishap, I’ll be taking a land raider and placing the centurions as close to it as possible. The land raider will also give me yet more twin linked lacscannon goodness, taking the total of twin linked up to five, with a 6th hitting at BS5.
Next, and to help against the potential hordes of gaunts I’ll be facing I’ve packed in plenty of artillery, bringing along a whirlwind, thunderfire cannon (another model I’d have taken loads of if I had the models) and vindicator. There are a few nasty tricks in amongst this lot, with the whirlwind being able to ignore cover and still beat a gaunt’s save, the thunderfire cannon can use its tremor shells to slow my opponent down early on, and combined with the results of a successful enfeeble, the vindicator could be instant killing those nasty monstrous creatures with its demolisher cannon once they’re within 24”.
The plan therefore, depending on mission type, is to man the bastion and my deployment line with infantry squads as far forward as possible to start with, before falling back to increase the number of turns of shooting I can get. My bikes will either pick the weak flank if it’s not full of monstrous creatures, and head straight for it, rolling up one side of the table, or failing that will hold back adding their weight of fire before making a rapid redeployment once a hole is made. The big guns will all deploy quite far back hopefully with good lines of fire, the heavier guns picking on targets one at a time and making sure they’re dead before moving onto the next, with the horde killers focusing on keeping the number of models facing me as low as possible. The bastion will be useful to restrict lines of fire to these targets, and if it becomes necessary, the infantry squads will add their fire to the mass, 6 full squads with special and heavy weapons should certainly make a difference there!
I’ll make no bones about it, I expect to be fully up against it this game, and I’m certainly thinking that perhaps the combat oriented models I’ve taken may disappear like a drop in the ocean, with those 525 points potentially being spent more efficiently elsewhere, but similarly I really don’t like going into a game without at least something to throw into combat when the time comes.
Wish me luck!