Friday, September 7, 2012

Tactical changes Pt. 1 - Assault, the returning contenders

Tactics article all set to post, GW releases new FAQs, I've tried to edit this real quick.  If something doesn't make sense it may be because of edits, or FAQs.  It was going to be longer, but I decided to break this into a series of articles.

Tactically, the game has changed in extreme ways for my army.  Running a hybrid webway army in 5th edition, relying heavily on the alpha strike type of assaults that it allowed for made my glass cannon a thing to be feared, death by a thousand cuts as I liked to call it.  But 6th edition came, and karma thought it would be fitting to disassemble my list in the very same way, death by a thousand nerfs.  A lot of the changes aren't that big by themselves, add overwatch, random charge distance, no run and assault, no fast moving vehicle assault, nerfs to feel no pain, nerfs to furious charge . . plus others that don't come to mind right now.  None of them seemed overly big changes by themselves, I enjoyed most of them, but coming together, they were the perfect storm of destruction for my webway list.

So as many Dark Eldar players learned, assault is much harder, and more dangerous, to get into.  Wyches take this the hardest, arguably one of the best assault troops in the game in 5th, they were the perfect dichotomy; gods in assault, wet blankets when they were shot.  The bounce back though is their access to haywire grenades.  Wyches are no longer the tarpit unit that they were, now they are used to run up to a vehicle and hit it a few times with haywire and watch the hull points melt away.  It's an odd change for a unit that doesn't want to be shot, and preferred to hide in an assault last edition.

Run from the guns . . . But get the tank?

In a similar vein, the wracks were a powerful short range torrent type squad.  10 strong with a Haemonculus out of a webway portal usually saw 3 flamer templates, followed by an assault where they leveraged 30+ attacks at initiative 5, re-rolling to wound in most cases.  They were easily the workhorse to a beautifully themed Coven army.  Now, unfortunately, wracks often loose as many models as they kill between the loss of the initiative boost and nerf to feel no pain, they could do short range fire fighting with the liquifiers, but that turns the rest of the squad into a delivery system.  With wounds coming from the front and random charge distance, they are self defeating, leaving themselves out of range for a followup assault if the liquifiers do cause any damage.  For all the struggles I've had in getting a decent set of them together, there is a good chance they are going to be sitting on the shelf mostly.

But it is about balance, and other armies are having similar issues.  So some units came through perfectly fine, or in some cases even better.

The plus side is the beasts seem to be just as good as they were before, in fact I'd almost say they are slightly better.  You loose a little average charge distance, and the wound allocation shenanigans, but that's not a big deal.  Ideally, you want the Khymera out front now anyhow, the benefit here is the differing initiative values.  When you move into combat, Khymera and Beastmasters are out front and make it into base to base with the rank and file guys.  Once they kill a few at initiative 6, the Razorwings now get to pile in at initiative 5, hopefully into holes created at I6 that lets them into base to base with the important guys like special weapon troopers and character upgrades.  Since wounds have to be taken from base to base with the razorwings who go on initiative 5, there is a good chance we can burn off those characters/special weapons.  Tactially, I'm looking at adding the Baron as my second HQ, just to make these guys so much better.  They will get Stealth, Hit and Run, and someone with a shadowfield to soak up wounds; oh, and thanks to a FAQ clarification that indicates that they still go at I1 even though they ignore terrain, he also gives them grenades.  With the Beastmasters being characters, it will take quite a bit to have the Baron locked in a challenge, so it should be quite effective.

Come here Mr. Terminator, tell us about your 2+ save again?
Incubi are another squad that is still pretty effective.  Up until a few hours ago, I was going to comment on how these guys would be great for challenges, and continue to fulfill most of the roles they had before.  What a difference a few hours makes.  AP 2 Glaives according to the FAQ, this means that they should still peel through terminators the same as they did before, which is one thing we were maybe going to have to worry about.  Again because of the differing initiative between the Klaivex and the squad, we can use the Klaivex to pick out characters/upgrades.  Because of their 3+ save, these guys are much more likely to survive overwatch and make it into combat with full effectiveness.

I've already touched on the Talos in a previous post, but he had mostly been on the fringes of the list, so I'll review and start with him in part 2 of the series, Assault, the new challengers.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rise of the Talos

With a change in edition, there needs to be a change in strategies, I've played the game through a little better than  four iterations of the rules and learned quickly that even though it looks like a small update, it's always a whole new game.  With that in mind, my first couple 6th edition games were ran with an old style list.  Webway portals, heavy on assault and short range units like wyches, wracks, and beasts; and of course Ravagers, and a Talos for theme.
The approach of death
Obviously, the list fell completely flat, but I needed to see how bad it was before I could re-build.  One of the things that has been echoed throughout the Dark Eldar community, is that our vehicles didn't get nerfed as badly as others with the addition of Hull Points.  To an extent I agreed with this, Raiders and Venoms were already fragile and once they got into those rapid fire and melta ranges they died, this remained the same.  The one thing I did notice was my Ravagers were getting destroyed much easier.  Sitting at a further range, I often took more heavy shots with the ravagers, resulting in stuns and weapon destroyed results  with the occasional destroyed result; often the Ravagers would still be alive at the end of a game.  6th edition though, the stun locks, or multiple stuns turned into Hull Point death, and the move and fire at full range of rapid fire weapons put more things in range sooner.  The Ravagers were still quite good at anti vehicle, but they just weren't lasting long enough to work as that anvil unit.
Bash Brothers chillin

My first instinct was to try and rely on Flyers, we have some very good ones.  But I quickly realized that two things, they weren't going to be available enough through out the game to bring to bear effectively enough(2/3rds or less of the game turns), and they were just a gimmick effectiveness for now; as more armies got flyers, or figured out how to torrent of fire them down they would be just as vulnerable.  So I was concerned for a bit, but then I noticed how well my Talos was performing, twin-linked haywire blasters had him tag teaming vehicles dead via hull points with a scourge unit with two more haywire blasters, and once he got that first pain token, he was much harder to kill.

'Come at me Bro'
So as part of my Apocalypticon build, I had gotten another Talos kit, mostly for some more bits, but also to throw together another Talos with these observations in mind.  The last few games, the Ravager has sat on the shelf, and the heavy slots have been filled with 2 Talos, and usually a Razorwing.  Surprisingly these guys have absolutely preyed on vehicles that take any damage(finishing them off quickly stripping two more hull points), laughed at overwatch as they crash into assault with hammer of wrath, and dominated the table.  In combination with a few other changes, that I'll detail in a later post, I think the foot bound Taloi are here to stay, and spark the Dark Footdar revolution, I definitely believe they give the Ravager a very viable run for that 'king of the heavy' crown that it once had.