Saturday, 4 March 2017

Emperor's children - a change to my forward planning!

Hi there, so, after I spent quite a while figuring out what I wanted to do with my Emperor's Children this year (see article here), I've now changed my mind!

Info coming out of somewhere (I'm assuming the Horus Heresy weekender) seems to suggest some love for the blood angels is now being planned. Probably still a long way off but then it would have to be, as me getting progress in with FW stuff is not easy due to the costs involved.

So, out with the old plan, in with the new!

I'm now thinking I'll broadly work towards a 2.5k list, with a few little bits hanging around the edges to allow some variety.

The list is to be based around the Maru Skara (not the 3rd company as I'd worked with before) and the reason for this is the truly devastating potential of its benefits.

The Maru Skara allows you to reserve between 1 and 3 elite or fast attack units, to arrive in a turn you specify before the game. The reason I've not used this before is simply that I think reserving a portion of a 1000pt force has the potential to be rather silly, even if you can specify the turn they arrive you're going to be limited in effectiveness and potentially open to getting your force crippled before your big hitters arrive.

So the plan therefore as I said above was to work towards a 2.5k list, and for that list to have 3 prongs to it.
1. Firebase - a solid and resilient backfield group that could lay down nasty firepower at range.
2. Bait - some units to advance 'up the middle' (read Fulgrim if you don't get that joke) and provide a threat to the enemy that had to be dealt with - something like phoenix guard in a spartan for example, or my scoring units to entice the enemy out to play.
3. Counterpunch - these units need to be absolutely devastating in terms of their damage dealing capabilities when they arrive, and more to the point, they also need to be quite mobile and reliable - there's no point your nasty reserves arriving but relying on your opponent failing lots of 3+ armour saves for example!

There are a few other restrictions placed on the list - the Maru Skara doesn't let you take anything with the immobile, heavy or slow and purposeful rules (I don't think that includes weapons, it's more thinks like tanks and cataphractii terminators).

Ironically that also meant no drop pods, but I guess not having to paint more of them is a good thing!

Outside the rite of war restrictions, I also wanted every unit to have its own method of transport - I've said it elsewhere and seen it implemented a lot, but mobility of firepower is key to winning games of 40k and 30k.

I began by writing out a list of all the units I'd like to include, which meant I'd overspent my points by about 50%. Oops!

At that point I cut things back, trimmed and re-edited a couple of times, including a unit of phoenix guard in a land raider, large unit of palatine blades, lots of outriders with plasma guns etc. The list suffered quite a bit though, with only two tactical squads and the solitary firebase unit being a Sicaran Venator.
Since that initial list idea, I've since been back to revise it even further, for two main reasons. First, whilst it's damage potential was very high, with only a paltry two units to claim any objectives, my tactical squads would be hard pressed to have any kind of impact on games where scoring objectives is harder than in 40k, and with increased damage output a single squad of ten marines won't necessarily last very long either.

Whilst I've not gone mad and stuck half a dozen tactical squads in to try and mitigate that, I have decided to include more troops units.

Here's the new list - it still works on the basic principles of the first, but is a bit more restrained and balanced I think.

Legion Champion - Artificer Armour, Jump Pack, Phoenix Spear, Refractor Field
Lord Commander Eidolon - Jump Pack

Apothecarion Detachment - 1 with Augury Scanner, Jump Pack, Power Sword, 1 with Legion Bike, Power Sword
Palatine Blades - 5 Palatines with Phoenix Spears and Jump Packs
Phoenix Guard Terminators - 5 Phoenix Guard with Grenade Harness and Sonic Shriekers

Tactical Squad - 10 Marines in a Rhino with an extra twin linked bolter. Sergeant has artificer armour and melta bombs
Tactical Squad - 10 Marines in a Rhino with an extra twin linked bolter. Sergeant has artificer armour and melta bombs
Tactical Support Squad - 10 Marines with Volkite Chargers in a Rhino with an extra twin linked bolter. Sergeant has artificer armour and melta bombs

Fast Attack
Legion Outrider Squad - 4 Outriders with twin linked plasma guns, including sergeant with a Phoenix spear
Storm Eagle Assault Gunship - twin linked multi melta, two twin linked lascannons

Heavy Support
Legion Whirlwind Scorpius
Sicaran Venator Tank Destroyer, with pintle Heavy Bolter, sponson Heavy Bolters, Auxiliary Drive and Armoured Ceramite.

This list then break down into the three elements I mentioned before as follows:

Firebase: The Whirlwind Scorpius and the Sicaran Venator. The Scorpius is practically a staple to my mind, the AP3 blasts vicious in the 30k setting and providing really good anti infantry firepower. The Venator provides a sickening anti-tank punch, forcing snap shots even onto super heavies if it gets a penetrating hit, which with S10, 2 shots and the ordnance rule is reasonably likely most turns. I've put the triple heavy bolters on it so that if an opponent brings little armour and it's all gone early, then my big investment isn't worthless, the 9 heavy bolter shots are still capable of giving it quite a nasty field presence even if the main gun isn't firing. The armoured ceramite is a necessity, and means that it's AV of 12 minimum is good value too. Finally I've given it the auxiliary drive because with it's comparatively short range and hull mounted gun, this isn't a tank that won't ever have to move in a game.

Bait: I say bait, these are the units I'm expecting to score me objectives in my games, a trio of tactical squads in Rhinos, one of them being a support squad toting volkite chargers. My intention is that these will stick close to each other as much as possible (objectives notwithstanding) to give each other mutual fire support. They won't race forward, but will advance on the enemy waiting for those transports to burst. If push comes to shove, they all have melta bombs available if they need to break transports themselves.

Counterpunch: Three main units again here - I've kept the outrider squad in principle, but given it an apothecary to keep them alive a bit longer, and cut their numbers right down to 4. A bit of mathammer to figure this out - but I reckon that 4 bikers should be sufficient to reliably kill a 5-man squad of marines, assuming no cover saves or feel no pain. It's certainly not as threatening or damaging as I'd like, but that's a trade off for the extra guns on the Venator and the inclusion of the Apothecary. The second counterpunch unit is the Phoenix Guard. Again, I've cut this squad down to the minimum of 5, and dropped the Spartan completely. Instead, I've put them in the Storm Eagle - this is a beautiful looking kit more appropriate to the 3rd legion I think than the more threatening bulk of the Spartan. I've gone with Multi Melta and Lascannons on it to provide me with additional anti tank firepower and it should dual nicely as anti air if necessary too. The long range of a flyer also means there is nowhere on the board these guys can't strike with their assault once they've arrived, and so they should guarantee me a turn 3 charge, and probable unit destruction at that point. Finally, the third counterpunch unit is the Palatine Blades. Once again, the unit size is reduced down to the minimum five, but they are then accompanied by an apothecary for feel no pain, Eidolon as the Warlord and the Legion Champion. All of the models in this unit can therefore accept and issue challenges as required, and the jump packs mean they are mobile enough to act as a threat in most places. Eidolon also brings a real threat with his thunder hammer to any vehicles hiding in the backfield trying to stay out of hitting range.

So there you have it - the evolution of my Emperor's Children.

Let me know what you think, are there any obvious flaws I've not thought of? I'm aware that the anti tank potential of the firebase and bait units is a bit limited, but with a guaranteed arrival on turn 2 (if I want it) of my counterpunch, including the Storm Eagle, plasma Outriders and Eidolon, I should be able to break into most things by the time I need to charge them.

Till next time,