Sunday, August 29, 2010

Any Name Suggestions?

Finished up my Chaos Lord this weekend and am already half-way into my 5 remaining termies. Of course, now that he's been freshly painted, we can pretty much guarantee that he will biff with his demon weapon next game (because nothing brings bad luck like painting a character up), but at least he'll look pretty while he's being ripped apart.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Noise Marines & Terminators

Hopefully now that school is out I'll have time to finish this army. Truth be told, I'm getting a little tired of lavender. Just 5 more terminators, 3 bikes, and a lord to go...

Noise Marines and "Null Deployment" - Part Two

In the first half of this post, I noted that my prior Noise Marine list suffered from a general inability to kill tanks and had the redeployment capacity of a glacier. Fortunately, a few months back I stumbled on an idea that may help resolve both of these issues.

For those of you accustomed to reading the interwebz tactica, you have likely already come across this series of posts by Fritz on the topic of “Null Deployment” (henceforth ND). If you haven’t seen them, take a few minutes to watch the videos- they’re worth it.

In a nutshell, the ND strategy attempts to break out of the linear deployment paradigm (see below diagrams, first is "standard", second is "Null Deployment") by utilizing a force comprised primarily of troops which can Deep Strike, Infiltrate, or Scout. Though such forces are invariably made up of smaller elite units, they leverage their hyper mobility to outnumber and strike weak points in their opponent’s line before the opposing player has time to react. Ideally, practitioners of ND will benefit from their opponent setting up and spreading their forces across the 6’ of ‘their edge’; springing down on the relatively insolated units such large formations create. Similarly, by using units that can come in virtually anywhere on the board, you restrict your opponent’s ability to react to your forces, put their heavy weapons within LOS of your key units, and get their crack assault troops within range of you.

Of course no strategy is perfect, and some armies are better equipped for this style of gameplay than others. In addition, the heavy reliance on deep strike scatter and reserve rolls means that some of your plan requires a bit of luck – but hey, few plans hold up well without a little of that.

As far as the Noise Marines are concerned, their ability to warp in powerful (and relatively cheap) terminators and obliterators, as well as demons, scouting chosen, and a few other goodies certainly makes ND a real possibility. Add to this a generous helping of melta weaponry, and you’ve got a list which solves both of my earlier-posted problems. Bearing this in mind, I’ve created a list that utilizes ND mobility and melta goodness.

The overall plan is pretty simple: Terminators, and Chosen are on permanent ‘shock duty’. That is, their only mission is to show up on parts of the table that I want to keep my opponent focused on, and to team up on nasty combat units that I don’t want to touch my Noise Marines. Here the key is not to be phased when they get shot, chopped, and smelted to little pieces. As diversions, they serve their purpose well, as most people are loathe to ignore 9 Terminators, a chaos lord, and a bunch of plasma gun-armed Chosen in their backfield. The plasma guns are especially useful at taking about heavily armored marines, Tyranid big bugs, and even the rear armor of vehicles. Most opponents, if they know these guys are outflanking, will keep the nasty stuff off their flanks. This is a great tactical boon. If a few of Slaanesh’s favored get smelted by their own guns in the process, so much the better: what’s the fun of playing Chaos if you can’t incinerate a minion every once and awhile?

As for the Noise Marines, they are the only unit in my list which truly lacks ND abilities, but with their possessed rhinos and the ability to reserve at the start of the game (thanks to my eliminating the pesky demon units), they can still show up in unexpected places and risk a dash across a hail of fire. If they decide to camp early on an objective, the hail of shots from the havoc launchers often irritates players into focusing on the rhinos with their heavy weapons. Less pressure on the rest of the army.

The Oblits and Bikers I basically throw on ‘ambush duty’. What I mean by this is that I use the bikers (and their icon) to help warp in (without scatter) termies or oblits. Thanks to their turbo boost, bikes are not only fast enough to get into position quickly, but also survivable enough to soak up enemy fire along the way. Truthfully, I sometimes don’t even use the bikers to warp anything in – I just run them up the middle at full speed in the hope that my opponent will think a terminator assault is on the way, panic and throw some shots at them! The oblits are another fun unit to harass the enemy with. If my opponent is charging fortified Noise Marines, the oblits will go in behind the enemy; forcing them to either ignore the oblits (and take some twin-linked flamer or plasma rounds) or stop charging at my troops. Either way, it’s a win-win. The oblits can also be used to support the termies, but quite frankly, as the purpose of the termies is to die, sending oblits in seems to me like a waste of points.

A final quick comment is on the chaos lord. Here I’m sure a good argument can be made for using a lash-sorcerer with the termies instead. Truthfully, this may be the better move, but for now, I like having the extra punch that his high initiative and instant-kill blissgiver attacks give him.

So how does all of this play out? Well I’ve only tried this list a few times, but so far the results have been very promising. Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll have a video ready to post.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Updated List -1750

I'll be posting Part Two of my "Null Deployment" article in a day or so. Until then, here's my updated list:

Chaos Lord, Terminator Armour, Blissgiver, MoS (150)
4 Termies w/ 3 combi melta, 1 chainfist, IoS (165)

5 Champ Termies w/ 4 combi melta, 1 chainfist, IoS (200)

Bikers x 3 melta x 2, icon (129)

Noise Marines x 10 w/ 5 sonics Rhino, DP, Havoc, icon (295)
Noise Marines x 10 w/ 5 sonics Rhino, DP, Havoc, icon (295)

Chosen x 6 w/ 4 plasma, icon of chaos, rhino (213)

Obliterators x 2 (150)
Obliterators x 2 (150)

Total = 1747

Noise Marines and “Null Deployment” – Part One

After two loses a few months back which can only be described as ‘resounding’, I’ve decided to take a fresh look at my list and come up with some new strategies/tactics.

Basically the problem is this: my Noise Marines list, as it currently stands (link) has some major flaws. First, its rather paltry anti-armor capabilities mean that when facing opponents with Land Raiders, Leman Russes, or just about anything with AV12 or better, I am at a decided disadvantage. While things like pintle-mounted combi-meltas on my rhinos as well as the Defilers hand-to-hand abilities are effective on paper, the reality is neither have the range nor the survival capacity to get close enough to shoot/fight whatever they are trying to kill. The result of which is that my rhinos invariably spend two or three turns sitting on my board edge getting stunned and wrecked, while my opponents forces close in with crack assault troops or simply sit back and pound me to dust their big guns.

Second, the necessity of having icons on the board in order to bring in demons creates a major tactical weakness in my army, especially in Annihilation missions. Because demons are destroyed if they are made available for reserves, but no icon is present to on the board (and each icon can only be used once), that means that unless I wish to simply give my opponent 2-3 kill points each game, the tactic of ‘reserve everything’ in hopes of hiding from an alpha strike is largely impossible.

Third, although the Noise Marines have yet to be bested in combat (okay maybe the infamous ‘Trygon incident’ excepted) they are a bit awkward in usage. Though their sonic blasters deal a fair amount of damage, this actually can actually be a HUGE problem when using them to fire before an assault; as they do so much damage a savvy player will simply remove his forwardmost models, leaving the survivors more than 6” way and my squad now out of charge reach. Sitting the Noise marines in the back field and shooting can work, but they absolutely need to have cover, and given my utter lack of anti-armor abilities as mentioned above, the sad reality is that by turn 3 there usually aren’t enough survivors to provide effective fire.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, my list suffers greatly against newer armies with deep striking troops and vehicles who quickly make a mockery of my more or less linear deployment style. With drop pods, storm ravens, valkeries, etc, my opponents can gleefully place their melta-guns and assault troops right in the weak spots of my line- usually unleashing a devastating barrage of melta weaponry (the bane of my defilers) in the meantime.

Taken together, these weaknesses, mean that not only am I at a disadvantage prior to deploying (no anti-tank), but once I get on the board I have a hard time forcing my opponent to respond to me (lack of mobility). Of course, some added melta-guns or lasguns may alleviate the former problem, but it’s the latter which concerns me far more. With that in mind, I’ve created a new list around the “Null Deployment” model, which I will discuss in greater detail in my next post.