Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Dusk Knights - CAD versus the Sternhammer?

Greetings all, welcome to another list analysis post - today I'm going to be comparing the list I have written for the Dusk Knights using a Combined Arms Detachment (CAD) and a similar list using the Sternhammer Strike Force. This will hopefully illustrate the different strengths and weaknesses of the two methods and the benefits they gain.


Pedro Kantor
5-man Melta Sternguard Squad in Drop Pod
5-man Heavy Flamer Sternguard Squad in Drop Pod
Grav Tactical Squad in Drop Pod
Flamer/H Bolter Tactical Squad in Drop Pod
Grav Centurion Squad in Fast Attack Drop Pod
Thunderfire Cannon

Knight Warden

This list includes 4 Power Fists on the squad sergeants.

Sternhammer Strike Force

Captain with Artificer Armour, Power Fist and Primarch's Wrath
5-man Tactical Squad with Heavy Bolter
5-man Tactical Squad with Heavy Bolter
Grav Tactical Squad in a Drop Pod
Land Speeder with 2 Multi-Meltas
5-man Devastator Squad with 4 Grav Cannons in Drop Pod

1st Company Task Force
5-man Sternguard squad in Drop Pod
5-man Melta Sternguard Squad in Drop Pod
5-man Melta Sternguard Squad in Drop Pod

Thunderfire Cannon

Knight Warden

So for the detachment benefits, the CAD list will get re-rolls on 'to-hit' rolls of 1, the grav centurions will get Tank Hunter (which doesn't help them as they don't roll for armour penetration), the tactical squads and their drop pods are objective secured and the warlord can re-roll his warlord trait. Kantor then adds attacks to the nearby units, makes the sternguard objective secured and brings preferred enemy (Orks) to the table. Oh and let's not forget his orbital strike!

That leaves the list with 6 objective secured units, or eight if the tactical squads split up into combat squads. Most units begin the game in drop pods so the list has a lot of tactical flexibility at deployment stage, although limited mobility after that. I have 100pts to play with also if I lose the power fists as I did on the Sternhammer list. In terms of targets, I've got plenty of flexibility of firepower with the combinations of flamers, meltas and grav, which can dual as anti tank at a push thanks to the sheer number of shots put out by the grav centurions.

In comparison, the Sternhammer puts twin linked onto all the bolters in the list, grants stubborn to the units whilst the Captain is alive and increases my chances of damaging the non-existent buildings in my enemies lists. The need to use the Battle Demi-Company means that in the Sternhammer list, I have 7 Objective secured units to start with, which stretches up to 9 if the grav squad splits up into combat squads and the Captain wanders around on his own. I've still got 5 drop pods in the list to give me plenty of tactical flexibility, though I am required to deploy much more onto the table, with the two smaller tactical squads, the landspeeder, thunderfire cannon and Knight having no transport. I have slightly more mobility with the Sternhammer list thanks to an obsec landspeeder, and because of the ability to twin link the bolters giving me more efficient shooting against infantry I've gone with more anti-tank units. If they get relentless then the Grav devastators can actually put out even more damage than centurions, but they are considerably more fragile as a result, however the lack of an option for putting centurions into a drop pod with the Sternhammer means I would be limited in the usefulness of grav centurions I think. They wouldn't be a bad choice still, as they'd have decent range and lots of firepower, so they're probably a personal choice between them and the normal devastators.

The big difference I think is with the Sternguard. The benefits Kantor grants are really nice, but the lack of an option to include him in a Sternhammer Strike Force means you can't gain the benefits of both obsec sternguard and twin linked bolters. In the Sternhammer list however, the sternguard (and their drop pods) can combine to reduce the leadership of enemy units, and gain preferred enemy against a single unit of your choice in the enemy army. Consider for example the taskforce dropping in and targeting an enemy wraithknight, not only re-rolling any failed rolls to hit but also re-rolling to wound (using fleshbane ammo so wounding on a 2+ anyway!). Or equally, you could spread those 3 units out to cause casualties on potentially 3 different enemy units, forcing morale checks on all with a -2 modifier - the possibilities are endless!

Overall then, I don't think the differences between these two lists are all that great, the CAD however to my mind just loses out to the Sternhammer - whilst the ability to take Grav Centurions is nice, the sternguard squads are considerably less effective than in the Sternhammer, which isn't made up for by the additional benefits of taking Pedro Kantor and a second thunderfire cannon (in exchange for the Power Fists).

Whilst I'd love to be able to take Kantor in a Sternhammer, I don't think he tips the scales quite enough to warrant going with a Gladius Strike Force over the obvious benefits of the Sternhammer to Imperial Fists armies.

The Sternhammer would also, should you wish to, allow you far more flexibility in swapping out those Sternguard for alternative units in greater numbers than the CAD will allow. For example I could easily take out the knight and have an artillery battery of 10 Thunderfire Cannons if I really wanted...

Till next time, when I take a look at the new Salamanders detachment and warlord traits.

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