A few Fridays ago I played my first game of 8th ed. 40k (and only 4th game of 40k ever) vs one of the club committee members, Nick. (I’ll put my thoughts on 40k in a separate post).
Nick decided to use the game to try out a number of things he hadn’t used in this edition, mainly revolving around the Dark Imperium Primaris.
What he actually bought was a modified Guilliman ‘blob’. I believe that is what the ‘technical’ name is and it involves having the core of the force within the primarch’s bubble to make effective use of his re-rolls. His list was something like this:
Roboute Guilliman – 385pts
Chief Librarian Tigurius – 130pts
Primaris Librarian – 101pts
Scout Squad (5) incl. Heavy Bolter – 65pts
Scout Squad (5) incl Heavy Bolter – 65pts
Scout Squad (5) incl Missile Launcher – 80pts
Tactical Squad (5) incl Las Cannon – 90pts
Tactical Squad (5) incl Las Cannon – 90ps
Tactical Squad (5) incl Las Cannon – 90pts
Primaris Ancient – Standard of the Emperor Ascendant – 69pts
5 Hellblasters – 165pts
5 Hellblasters – 165pts
6 Hellblasters – 198pts
6 Inceptors – 270pts
Now this list only comes to around 1960pts so i’ve missed an upgrade or two. I’m also not sure on the exact make up of detachments but it must of had at least a battalion, so with that, battle forged and Guilliman he had a minimum of 9 command points (and he had the warlord trait that regained them on a 5+ when he used them – and he rolled a 5+ a lot!).
My list and thoughts can be found here but can be summed up as: try as many different unit types as possible whilst taking all my Dreadnoughts.
Suffice to say, Nick had put in somewhat more thought into his list building.
I’ll apologise straight away as I will quite likely use fantasy lingo rather than 40k in elements of this, either due to habit or because I cannot remember the equivalent terminology.
The first decision thrown up was the type of mission to play. There are 2 styles, Eternal War and Maelstrom. Nick suggested playing the first as he thought it would probably be easier for a learning game. Having watched a number of you tube battles I however completely disregarded this and suggested the Maelstrom games. The difference appears to be that Eternal games have fairly fixed capture an objective(s) style, whereas with Maelstrom you draw random tactical objective cards (which could be anything from kill something, to capture something, to charge a unit etc.). In both styles, the player with the most points at the end wins and similar to Kings of War, the game length can be variable. I also had a copy of the space marine tactical cards and wanted to at least make use of them once, hence I again picked Maelstrom!
We rolled up Escalation, where you start with one card and draw an additional one each turn and always have a number equal to the turn number. We also had the Spearhead detachment deployment, basically a triangular shape and we played lengthwise on the table.
Knowing how many shots the Inceptors could pump out I tried to prevent any gaps in my back line where they could deep strike. As it was, it was a fairly wasted endeavour as Nick had no intention of moving much out of range of Guilliman and his infuriating ability to allow rerolls on all failed to hit and to wound dice and the only thing it accomplished was that half my forces had to spend too many turns unable to target anything and had to move up to get into range.
I got the first turn and the Aggressors lived up to their name and decimated the scouts in the central pyramid. First blood to me! The Ironclads popped smoke and charged forward as fast as possible.
The Sternguard (in the drop pod) and my Inceptors deployed in the Ultramarine backlines and proceeded to inflict damage. Everything else in range, shot up the nearest Hellblaster squad. Tigurius’s ability to nominate a unit and make it at -1 to hit didn’t help my Alpha strike. My lack of thought on targets and deployment also hindered it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and they should have all gone into the Hellblasters. Those guys are just brutal!
In Nick’s first turn the carnage continued and he took one Ironclad straight off the board, the Standard of the Emperor Ascendent allowed almost all of the slain Hellblasters to fire off a final Salvo before being removed (and they all overcharged of course as there was no reason not too). The Redemptor also took a shoeing from the remainder.
I won’t go into detail about the rest of the game as it basically involved me shooting up Hellblasters who refused to die straight away and who kept up a relentless barrage of plasma, tearing through everything in their path. By the second turn I was 4-0 up on points and it remained that way until turn 4 when Nick started to reap in points and then he leap frogged me in turn 5. By this point, he had decimated almost all of my force as they advanced piecemeal into his plasma fire. At the end of the game I had just 7 scouts left.
There was one turn that was very close to being potentially game changing. I was one wound off being able to target Guilliman with 5 Lascannon shots. I’m not saying I would have killed him but it was nice to dream 😀. Damn Tigurius and his -1 to hit ability, I just couldn’t get that final wound!
Evaluation of the list
One game does obviously not give a grounding for any kind of realistic review, however that said, you can generally get an idea for what worked, shortcomings with your list and ideas of what you want to try.
With so many Dreadnoughts I was lacking bodies so trying to cover my backfield to prevent deep strikes, did nothing but ensure I had units well out of position all game. Next time I won’t even bother for the reason given a bit below.
Stating items were starting in deep strike, counts as a drop. Something I didn’t realise until he was able to then place his scout units on the advanced objectives before I laid anything on the table. I’ll know for next time!
Aggressors vs Inceptors. Aggressors are good fun but ultimately vulnerable to a mass of shots (the same could be said of most of the force). Inceptors perform a similar role but with a consistent number of higher strength and AP shots (12 S5 -1 AP each vs 6+D6 S4 each) and greater mobility. They also only cost around 20pts more for a squad of three.
Just saying that makes you wonder why you would take aggressors over them. The answer for that is the Aggressors ability to double the number of shots if they don’t move. Even after one game, I think I’d still rather run inceptors if only for the movement and deployment advantage and the issue with getting Aggressors into a good position without taking the Primaris tank. If I took them again, I’d probably actually use them in a defensive role, guarding an objective in my deployment zone with the ability to double tap anything that came into their 18″ range.
Sternguard in drop pod
My use of these guys was poor. Position wise I deployed them outside of 12 inches so they could double tap and still get the benefits of the Chapter tactics (tick). I then proceeded to retardedly fire them against the tactical marine squad that was (a) in cover and (b) Tigurius had put a -1 to hit on. Not sure what I was thinking. They should have targeted the Hellblasters. To top it off I completely forgot to use their unique stratagem that gave them +1 to wound. I should also have used the aux scan stratagem (where you get to fire out of turn) when his Inceptors dropped in. This might have helped the sternguard survive the barrage that came their way and at the least, could have whittled down the number of shots that helped decimate them.
The question is whether they are worth it. Their guns are basically the same as those on the Intercessors (though with -2 AP) and their points are the same. They gain +1 LD but the Intercessors get +1 wound. I do think they need a delivery system (whether a drop pod or something else). I definitely need to try them out again.
I loved the Redemptor, the number of shots it can put out is fearsome. It is an auto include in my next game.
The venerable dread I used as a gun platform and I went the twin las/missile combo so that both guns had the same range. Against this mostly infantry force he wasn’t very effective but you can see how he could be against a different list.
The Ironclads had potential but again my use of them was sub-par. Charging them straight at the largest threat to them on the board was probably not the smartest move! I also think when I next use them (and I will), they will be sporting hurricanes to present more of a ranged threat.
Devastators vs Hellblasters
Well Nick definitely gave me a lesson in what a swarm of Hellblasters could do. Mine managed very little except be caught up in the plasma blob but I was able to see their potential. With the additional pip of armour penetration over the Lascannons, it meant nothing had a save and that really made a difference.
The 4 Lascannons I took had a great range but putting them on top of the rock meant they were out of my Captains bubble (doh!). They were also a bit wasted against much of his list. The D6 damage almost always ensured that they at least removed every Primaris they hit. They do however need a Captain and probably a lieutenant in range to maximise effectiveness.
Intercessors vs Scouts
I think they both have a role to play. Having a T4, 2 wound 3+ save model in troop choices with a 30″ S4 -1 AP gun is nothing to be sniffed at. 5 of them cost the same as 5 tactical Marines with a lascannon. Which is the most useful, likely depends on the rest of your list.
The sniper scouts did nothing for me all game but they were out of range for much of it so I can’t give any opinion on them. The bolter scouts did ok with the Heavy Bolter being great. I’d definitely take them and that heavy weapon again. It is surprising how much difference -1 AP makes.
He was the cheapest HQ option available and in a different game he might be worthwhile, however all the dreads were wiped out before he even got a chance to heal them. I am not at all sold on his worth in my list, especially as he needs to be within 1″ to heal. I think he favours lists with stationary vehicles. If I ever take a land raider I might well use him.
I’m not sure if he is worth the points, at least not for the powers he brings to the table. As it went, the jump pack and relic armour made him a very useful threat. I think he will be more useful in a combat orientated army.
You almost have to bring a Captain, if only for the buffs. I liked the storm of fire warlord trait and would definitely take it again if he was near units with a high number of shots. I think he would be better off dropping in using a jump pack and then having a second Captain in the gunline.
I definitely want to try out some combat troops, so vanguard veterans will be on the list. I also want to bring the land-raider crusader packed with hammer and shield terminators.
With a more combat centric force I’d definitely be bringing a chaplain, if only for fluff reasons.
A lieutenant will also be a must for a gun line list as re-rolling ones, would have made a huge difference in the game. He would be taken over the Techmarine.
I also fancy taking a Culexus assassin. The minus 2 to any power roll if he is in range would definitely hinder the number of spells going off. I suppose the question is whether I would take a librarian in the same list as him.