Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Adeptus Astartes Chapter Championship

Greetings all,

So, following the release of the Angels of Death supplement, I and my closest gaming buddies are all focusing on a separate chapter of space marines with our collections, and we figured it might be fun to test out the rules, and each other, to see who could come up with the best combination of army composition and tactics.

The concept is simple, each player would choose a space marine chapter, and write lists for use at 1000pts, 1500pts and 2000pts. We would then each play the other three, and see who came out on top.



In terms of restrictions, the armies are only allowed to be drawn from a single source (so no allied knights Nick!). Now that does mean that without the use of a librarius, the only D-Slapping that would be happening on the table would be from the Salamanders, but given the scale of the games in terms of points and the benefits of using Vulkan it's not something I'm overly worried about seeing.

So, who's bringing what?

Me - the Iron Fists. I'll be using the White Scars rules to represent the Iron Fists outriders and mounted assault company.
Ryan - the Judicators. They are a successor of Ryan's making to the Imperial Fists so will be using their chapter tactics.
Martin - the Iron Hands.
Mj - the Salamanders.

Thanks to the imminent tournament I'm playing in, I'll certainly be fielding a fully painted force for this, and I know the other guys have very little in their respective armies that isn't painted too, so I'll probably look to do quite a few battle reports using these games.

So as I can't resist here are the lists I'll be using (yes, this might very well give my opponents an advantage, but that just means if I win I'm a better general, right)?

1000pts

Scarblade Strike Force.

Hunting Force
Captain - Bike, Artificer Armour, Hunter's Eye, Glaive of Vengeance, Melta Bombs
Attack Bike with Multi Melta
5-man Bike Squad with 2 Plasma Guns
3-man Bike Squad with 2 Meltaguns
3-man Scout Bike Squad with 2 Grenade Launchers

Speartip Strike
Land Speeder with Multi Melta
Attack Bike with Multi Melta
3-man Bike Squad with 2 Grav Guns

Raptor Wing (not in the Scarblade Strike Force)
Land Speeder, no upgrades
Storm Talon with Typhoon Missile Launcher
Storm Talon with Typhoon Missile Launcher

Tactics & Reasoning
Right, so at 1000pts our forces are going to be a decent size but not huge. I need to consider carefully therefore the forces I'm going to be playing against.
Iron Hands - so lots of tanks and plenty of opportunity for Feel no Pain buffs making the units difficult to kill. I'm unlikely to get to make the most of the hunting force's benefits as Martin likes to use the unkillable Iron Hands HQ.
Salamanders - extra strength flamers meaning the extra point of toughness on my bikes would count for little. Possibility of lots of transports with the stormlance demi-company available as a core choice.
Judicators - their bolter re-rolls will make their shooting more effective, though I still have the advantage of higher toughness, but the ability to bring thunderfire cannons aplenty means I'm going to have to close with them quickly and make the most of any damage I can do early in the game.

General - each model I lose is going to hurt me quite a bit at this level, I don't have the numbers to sustain early casualties and mount a threat later on. I've got plenty of legitimate threats to vehicles in the list, so the Iron Hands are covered. Once I get to turn 2, the Storm Talons bringing typhoon launchers should also help me against power armour.

Unless I get lucky, I'm going to struggle to contact the enemy on turn 1. I've picked up the bonuses from the Scarblade Strike Force though so I'm exceedingly mobile, even getting extra distance on my flat out and turbo boost moves. It should be fairly simple therefore for me to get into position to make some turn 2 charges and hopefully make the most of my Hammer of Wrath boosts, and potentially Hit and Run with re-rolls. It would have been sensible in this regard to look at boosting the size of the units to maximise that potential, however I wanted to have a decent airborne threat on the table and the only way of achieving that realistically is by taking a separate Raptor Wing. I could have taken a Storm Wing I guess, but I've used it before and I find that the Storm Raven is horribly overpriced for its effectiveness, and the formation benefits are limited.

This did leave me with a slight problem as the Raptor Wing isn't an auxiliary choice for the Scarblade, so instead I went with the Speartip Strike. I've had these in my list before but never paid enough attention to actually use the formation benefits, which allow you to mess with the enemy units by either pinning them or forcing them to move out of position. As it's a leadership based effect it may not be all that useful against marine opponents, but who knows, there's a mechanic in there that allows me to affect their leadership as well, making failure more likely. Thankfully the benefits also don't require you to actually hit or wound the enemy, simply to fire at them. With an effective minimum shooting range of 36" I should be able to decide to nullify at least one enemy unit fairly early on in the game.

Taking all these formations does mean there are two issues with my force.
1. I don't have any objective secured units, so I could struggle to take objectives off my opponents.
2. I've only got one bike unit big enough to benefit from doubled Hammer of Wrath hits. I can boost its size and durability even further with the Captain, but I'm going to have to position them carefully to make sure they don't suffer early casualties if I want to maximise their damage potential.

Finally, the scouts are potentially a vulnerable unit to an alpha strike. I know Ryan has an Ironclad he likes to use with a drop pod and I can easily see Mj's Salamanders bringing deep striking heavy flamers. This does make them a bit of a liability for heavy flamers with their lighter armour save, but against drop pods that could actually be a benefit, sacrificing them to drag the enemy out of position. The alternative is to keep them in reserve to allow them to arrive later.

1500pts

Scarblade Strike Force

Hunting Force
Captain - Bike, Artificer Armour, Hunter's Eye, Glaive of Vengeance
2-man Attack Bike Squad with Multi Meltas
2-man Attack Bike Squad with Multi Meltas
5-man Bike Squad with 2 Meltaguns and Combi-Melta, Melta Bombs
5-man Bike Squad with 2 Plasma Guns and Combi-Plasma, Melta Bombs
5-man Bike Squad with 2 Grav Guns and Combi-Grav, Melta Bombs
5-man Scout Bike Squad with 2 Grenade Launchers

Stormbringer Squadron
2-strong Land Speeder Squadron with 2 Multi Meltas, 2 Typhoon Missile Launchers
5-man Scout Squad with 5 Sniper Rifles, Camo Cloaks and Land Speeder Storm

Raptor Wing (not in the Scarblade Strike Force)
Land Speeder with Heavy Bolter and Heavy Flamer
Storm Talon with Typhoon Missile Launcher
Storm Talon with Typhoon Missile Launcher

Tactics & Reasoning
So all the squads got bigger in this force, boosting up to 5-men strong to make the most of the Hunting Force's doubled Hammer of Wrath hits. The attack bike units also got boosted, making these guys a major threat to any vehicles on the table. I also then dropped the Speartip Strike in favour of the Stormbringer Squadron. This unit gives me some objective secured on the table, even if it is just one unit. I often find that sniper fire can irritate my opponents too.

The scouts still represent probably the weakest element of the army, but with the extra bodies in the unit I'm less concerned by them getting wiped by an Ironclad. Drop podding Salamander heavy flamers (at S6) is still a problem though, but one I think I can deal with.

The other main thing here is that all the bike squad sergeants get melta bombs. I could certainly look at shaving points in this list here and there, but I'm happy with it for now.

2000pts

Scarblade Strike Force

Hunting Force
Captain - Bike, Artificer Armour, Hunter's Eye, Glaive of Vengeance, Digital Weapons, Melta Bombs
Chaplain - Bike
5-man Command Squad with Apothecary, Bikes, Banner of the Eagle, 2 Power Swords and 2 Power Axes
2-man Attack Bike Squad with Multi Meltas
2-man Attack Bike Squad with Multi Meltas
6-man Bike Squad with 2 Meltaguns and Combi-Melta
5-man Bike Squad with 2 Plasma Guns and Combi-Plasma
5-man Bike Squad with 2 Grav Guns and Combi-Grav
7-man Scout Bike Squad with 2 Grenade Launchers and Cluster Mines

Stormbringer Squadron
Land Speeder with Multi Melta and Typhoon Missile Launcher
Land Speeder with Multi Melta and Typhoon Missile Launcher
10-man Scout Squad with 10 Sniper Rifles, Camo Cloaks and Land Speeder Storm

Raptor Wing (not in the Scarblade Strike Force)
Land Speeder with Heavy Bolter and Heavy Flamer
Storm Talon with Typhoon Missile Launcher
Storm Talon with Typhoon Missile Launcher

Tactics & Reasoning
Ok so there's not much 'reasoning' left in terms of the models I've taken, since it's basically everything I own for this collection. I like the Command Squad here as it gives a bit more survivability to the Captain, even though Grav guns would be more effective on them I love having combat units in my armies. I find that the combination of all those attacks with power weapons and double hammer of wrath hits makes a big impact on the charge.

To boost the army up to 2000pts I had to increase the size of the Scout Squads, but I'll probably combat squad them and place them on two separate objectives at the start of the game to both maximise my potential targets and to give me a better chance of holding those objectives against enemies. They'll obviously be a big target for deep striking heavy flamers though, so in that game may very well start off the table and outflank.

I think that's all for now - please feel free to let me know what you think, and if there's something I could do to change things for the better. I'm aware of the potential conflict in the draft FAQ with having both the Glaive of Vengeance and the Hunter's Eye on one model, but I'm of the opinion at the moment that it can be interpreted two different ways and will be waiting for the FAQ to be finalised before I decide what I do. In honesty I'll probably drop the Glaive and take a relic blade if I have to change things.