Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tactical changes Pt. 2 - Assault, the new challengers

I was hoping to get a couple more games in with the new FAQ to add to this, but a small visit to our house by Papa Nurgle left everyone in the house a plague zombie for a week plus, so I missed our normal gaming time.

With the changes that 6th Edition brought, when I analyzed my play style and the new rules it quickly became apparent that  I would need to make some changes.  With my Dark Eldar I always tried to use speed and assault to overwhelm my opponents, while dropping some deadly cover fire.  The firepower is actually better with the changes to rapid fire, and vehicles being easier to counter, but obviously it would require a bit more resiliency to consistently make it into close combat.  So I went back through the codex, and re-evaluated some units.
Bash Brothers

One of the first units that was re-introduced to the list was the Talos.  In  the twilight of 5th the Talos had sort of fallen to the wayside in favor of the Ravager and Razorwing, but with the Ravager seeming less reliable, the Talos was re-inserted with some haywire blasters.  Luckily my first few games after this change were vs. Tau, so I really got a good feel for how the Talos did vs. shooting and overwatch.  T7 and a 3+ save let the Talos get in close to where it wanted and once he got that first pain token he laughed at the AP1 and AP2 that had previously been the  bane of his existance.  Being AP2 in close combat the Talos can handle all those 2+ Meganobz, terminators and broadsides that became so much tougher vs the AP3 power weapon.

Bringing the Pain . . . Tokens

Along with the Talos, the Cronos was also re-introduced.  The Talos was always a beast in close combat, the Cronos not quite as much, being only strength 5 with a limited number of attacks hurt him.  But thanks to the Smash special rule, the Cronos can now play like a big boy giving up 1 attack to swing at strength 10.  This really lets him reliably ID multi-wound models, and take apart vehicles.  I've found it harder to include the Cronos with how well the paired Taloi work and the sheer firepower the Razorwing brings, but I may work more to including him to distribute the pain tokens.
The Ultimate Archon standing in for now
Something else that I've been re-visiting is one of the units that I had previously found a waste compared to other choices, the all seeing Archon.  Since he is already running a really high initiative, the furious charge changes meant less wracks and less use for haemonculi, so an HQ slot opened up to play with this guy.  So far my standard loadout has been shadowfield, blaster, djinn blade, with combat drugs and phantasm grenade launcher when I can fit it in.  I know the Djinn is a gamble, but really I want him to be perceived as more of a threat than he actually is, and it's worked out well for me; although the huskblade is really looking appealing.  Telling someone he's WS 7, I7, with 8 attacks on the charge, a 2+ invuln and an 18" dark lance causes some concern.  The trick is he can do some real damage, but he's just there to draw the lambs to the slaughter of the anvil he's running with.

One of the units that I had been eyeing up towards the end of 5th edition has become a true anvil for me in 6th, the Grotesque.  T5 with 3 wounds and a pain token for Feel no Pain off the hop make these guys hard to deal with.  There are two draw backs to these guys.  First is that they are slow, usually travelling on foot because they take up 2 transport slots each.  Second, they require a babysitter or may 'explode' causing potential ruin.  The resilience means they can take the time to footslog across the board, so it's not that big a drawback.  As I alluded to above, dropping an archon in with these guys brings the big boys to them.  With the Aberration and 4 other Grotesques, they can be dropping up to 23 attacks themselves, usually wounding on 2's.  They have been a true shining star for me and will get a full tactics article in the near future.
A Future Purchase

Lastly, one of the units that has been important in my assault testing has been the reaver jetbikes.  My intial thought was that they can easily get in position to support other units in an assault, ideally charging first and soaking up the overwatch with their T4 and 4+ Jink save.  This did work a certain amount, but as I switched my other assault units, I found that the sheer harassment potential of these guys worked much more in my favor and could easily get in close enough to tanks to make a mess with the heat lances.  They brought another high priority target for the enemy to deal with while slower units like the Grotesques go into position to do some real damage.  I'm still tweaking numbers of guys in a unit and the number of units, the fast slot is full of high demand units now.  I have found a distinctly beardy advantage to 3, as long as even 1 bike is alive, he ALWAYS regroups on his normal leadership because he is more than 25% of the starting unit.

So next I'll review how these changes have built my current 1750 point list and what my expectations are of them.

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