Saturday, 10 May 2014

Tweaking the list

Hi guys, so the eyelids are drooping after last night’s write up – but I’ve been thinking again (I know, I really should stop doing that). I’ve played ten games with the Iron Fists now, so I thought it was time to take stock of the army, the tactics, the list and essentially, the codex. This was also an ideal opportunity to re-think my basic 1500pt list to see if anything needs adding/removing from it.

I’ve used a huge list of troop types since first starting the Iron Fists, and here are my thoughts.


Librarian. Has been a star on each of the 3 occasions I’ve used him. I’ve mainly gone with the biomancy discipline, and enfeeble was a game changer against the Carnifexes when I played tyranids (dropped their toughness to 5, allowing the Vindicator to instant kill one). The same power made a big difference in a game this week when I used it to wipe out a unit of sternguard.

Captain on Bike. Taken originally to allow access to bikes as troops, he’s a very useful character to have around, though giving him a storm shield really hurts in combat, I think I’ll be dropping this in favour of his 4+ Iron Halo and an extra close combat attack. He’s been most effective though when paired with a Chaplain, allowing me to re-roll failed hits on the charge.

Command Squad. They look great on the tabletop, but the only times they’ve been really effective at killing things were when they charged units of cultists, and quite frankly for their cost, they should be able to do that fairly easily. They did eventually see off a unit of Ork Nobz, but the biggest difficulty using them is that they tend to join the Captain and head straight for something nasty. He invariably ends up in a challenge, as the command squad doesn’t have a sergeant, and they’re often stood around just watching the challenge end. Capable, but they’re a substantial investment and the banner is rarely in a position to be of most use.


Terminators. Don’t get me started, 440 pts worth of terminators have so far killed a combat squad of marines, and spent the game walking back and forth across the table being ignored. I probably should have deep struck them, but I’ve had plenty of games where my reserves only arrive on turn 4. I’ll definitely be thinking of a comms relay if I’m going to keep a lot of units back. I may try them again, but will probably go for two smaller units instead.

Sternguard. I’ve used them a couple of times and their special issues ammunition makes them extremely flexible. Mine are also equipped with heavy flamers, which backfired a little on Wednesday when I played Salamanders, but generally speaking means they can deal with most infantry types really well. They’re expensive, even without upgrades, but worth every point.


Tactical Squad. Does what it says on the tin, and you can’t not take them really, they’re tough, though I tend to fail saves more than I should. Drop pods make them a really flexible option based on the mission you’re playing, though I wouldn’t recommend taking less than three drop pods in an army because it gives you so much more flexibility over what arrives and when.

Bike Squads. These boys are great, though I can honestly say I wouldn’t take them if they weren’t troops. The speed and 4+ jink they get when turbo boosting means you can threaten the enemy lines on turn two, plus they can take better special weapon mixtures than a normal tactical squad. Two very big bonuses make the difference though in my opinion. Toughness 5 puts them into the ‘difficult to kill’ bracket – even for Tau (comparatively), and they survive much longer than a tactical squad would. Second, is hammer of wrath. Charging is a perfectly viable tactic with bike squads, even more so with White Scars tactics, since you get the relentless shooting, hammer of wrath and then standard attacks, plus, as I found out yesterday, even chaos marine units with three attacks each will struggle to wound your bikers thanks to that extra point of toughness.

Scout Squads. I’ve only used snipers so far, and I have to say I’m extremely underwhelmed by them. Hitting your target on a Ballistic Skill of 3 is just too difficult, on average, a sniper squad will hit 5 times, and wound 2-3 times from a whole turn’s shooting, allowing many troop types a save. The only way I’d really take them is either en masse, where rending may come into play, or against Tyranids where the 4+ to wound is a definite advantage over a standard bolter.

Fast Attack.

Storm Talon. This has often been my unit of the match when I’ve taken it, and I don’t recall it ever being shot down (yet). If you can address the obvious anti air capabilities of your opponent before it arrives, the sheer quantity of fire it provides (I take twin assault cannons with a typhoon missile launcher) devastates units later on in the game – it’s even felled carnifexes for me.

Assault marines. Their biggest problem is the nerfs to assaulting in the current edition, deep striking simply paints a target on their backs, whilst starting on the board means you’ll have lost several members by the time they get into combat, and you really need them at full strength to be effective. I think crusader squads in assault transports are far more effective.

Heavy Support - my favourite part of the current marine codex.

Centurions. What can I say, these guys are my absolute favourite unit in the codex, equipped with twin lascannons and missile launchers there’s little they can’t target efficiently, and combined with tank hunters granted by the Imperial Fists Chapter Tactics that I use, they are kryptonite to most vehicles and buildings. My greatest achievement with them was destroying a Soul Grinder before it even had a chance to move, but they’ve taken down Riptides, Carnifexes (lots), Hive Tyrants, numerous tanks of every shape and size, a fortress of redemption and even managed to beat a Talos in combat on one occasion. With that armament, they usually survive to the end of the game, as they’re out of harm’s way, but placed carefully (in ruins for a 4+ cover) they are extremely survivable.

Devastator Squad. To be honest, I’ve used them very little, though their Sergeant’s ability to make another member of the squad BS5 is extremely useful when manning an Icarus Lascannon on a bastion!

Stalker. I’ve taken it twice. The lack of the Interceptor rule really hampers it, limiting its fully effective shooting to fliers and skimmers. Honestly I’d say pay the extra 25 points for a quad gun, it comes with its own 4+ cover save if you place it right, and is a damn sight more useful if your opponent is on foot.

Thunderfire Cannon. I don’t doubt the effectiveness of these, though I’ve only taken one once, and it died pretty quick to outflanking termagants. Better placement though and it becomes a real infantry killer.

Vindicator. I don’t ever underestimate the usefulness of a S10 weapon with a template that big. They need protecting but are devastating when used properly. Don’t forget also that they can move and fire that cannon to extend the range.

Whirlwind. Again, don’t underestimate the usefulness of this weapon. Needs protection even more than the vindicator, but is much cheaper and often just as good at killing infantry. Fits into a list nicely due to its cheap cost.

Land Raider. Always my biggest dilemma, since their high points cost means you really want them to affect the game. Used them a couple of times as firebase units, where the lascannons are extremely good at killing higher toughness models, or just providing enough of a threat to bottle the enemy advance into a particular area.

So what hasn't worked for me in my original 1500 point list?
Well as i said, I've largely been disappointed by the effectiveness of the Command Squad, so I'll drop them for a bit, saving me 235 points. That means the captain will need to join a different unit, and in a different unit he's unlikely to need the same amount of protection (there'll be more bodies), so I can drop the storm shield too. That'll have the bonus effect of giving him an extra attack. Next, the stalker, the lack of the interceptor rule hampers it so much that you have to be pretty lucky to hit anything ground based before the fliers/skimmers arrive, and when they do, they have a good chance to hurting it before it has a chance to shoot. Clearly a quad gun doesn't have these issues, and comes with its own bit of territory as well, so the only question was whether to go for the bastion or the aegis line. Now I like the aegis line a lot, but as a generic list I'm likely to come up against heldrakes at some point, so i need somewhere to hide (i don't want to be defeatist, but it's the most sensible option), so for an extra 25 points I plumped for the bastion, which also brings me 4 heavy bolters as a bonus.

So what else could/should i fit into the list? I had 200 points to spare, so there was plenty of scope for adding to the force, the question was what?

Well as i said earlier, part of the issue with bikes is they're great at threatening the enemy held objectives, but you don't really want them sitting static on it once it's cleared, so I picked my melta based tactical squad, with a meltagun, multi melta and drop pod, oh yeah and melta bombs for the sergeant just in case...

That gives me plenty of anti-tank capability, and boosts overall numbers by five, without taking out too much damage potential from the list. I'm a little less viable in combat, but my experience so far suggests that's not going to be a major issue.

I'll revisit things again once we know the effect of 7th edition rules!