Hope you all had a good week, but now it's time for some mental stretching. First off I need to say that this idea isn't entirely mine. I read an article on YTTH back during their Ard Boyz gear up bonanza and have considered the army style and how it works. While the base is Stelek's I've done some tweaking. So lets dive into how to solve our problems with the much derided Codex: Space Marines.
Our first, and possibly biggest, threat is the standard APC. Whether it comes in the form of a Rhino, a Chimera or a xenos skimmer, these vehicles get infantry where they want to go faster. Getting your infantry where you want them is conducive to your plan to win the game. Deductively reasoning, allowing your opponent to get where they want to go is detrimental to your winning the game. So we need to kill these transports as soon as possible.
We've got a few basic options on how to do this: short range fire or long range fire. With short range fire we have meltaguns and plasma guns. Loki recently discussed the advantages and disadvantages of meltaguns and plasma guns, so I won't here. As a Tau player, I've found that stopping your enemy in their deployment zone gives you time to choose how to fight them and that choice is always an advantage. To do this we need to have long range firepower.
Our first candidate for long range vehicle kill is the classic devastator squad. As pictured, it's a horrible unit with no focus on either vehicle or infantry killing and a mix or ranges. Mixing in multimeltas and plasma cannons, while they have the strength to kill, means you won't have the range for all of your guns to come to bear early. Let's keep the squad small and weapon dense, four missile launchers: 160 points. You can upgrade a ML to a lascannon, but it costs more than another missile launcher, so I say strength eight is fine. But there are better for fewer points.
I present the Mortis pattern dreadnought, more colloquially known as the "rifleman dread." Bringing two twin-linked autocannons to the table for a measly 125 points, this dread sacrifices its CCW for some of the the most efficient anti-tank in the codex point for point. Each dread has approximately a seventy percent chance of immobilizing a rhino and a forty percent chance of immobilizing a chimera. At forty-eight inches of range, these dreads can stay out of the range of most anti-tank return fire. I'd recommend three of these, so 375 points off the top.
Now to fix the other problem we have, the vehicles that the rifleman dread can't touch: AV 14. While I said melta wasn't the end all vehicle killer, it is the best way to kill AV 14 vehicles, except for the monolith. But how can we bring the best platforms for these melta weapons, and while we're at it let's bring some troops to the table.
Pictured above: the classic 5th edition melta box. A squad of either marines or IG veterans with as many melta weapons as they can bring. Every Imperial army can do this, and generally does. But by bringing the same tools as your opponent, who wins comes down to who uses them better and who rolls better. Instead, lets bring a better tool to the table, albeit sacrificing some protection for more destrcutive potential.
First, the disadvantages of the melta box and why we need a better unit from the codex. The only troops choice that can bring a transport is the tactical squad. They can pack a meltagun, a combi-melta and a multimelta. Because of the inability of the multimelta to fire if the unit moves, it cannot fire if the transport moves or if the unit disembarks, so it can generlly be discounted in a mobile fight. That leave the meltagun and the combi-melta. To have a chance at the 2D6, the unit has to start the tun within 12" of the target. Not an unreasonable distance, but one that can be avoided or maneuvered around. For 220 points, the melta box is an expensive unit for what it does.
Instead, let's go with the bike squad. Able to bring two meltaguns at any squad size, a squad of five models can be a troops choice with the right headquarters choice. We need five models and start with three, so let's bring one more and attach an attack bike for an additional wound and a multimelta. Remember how I discounted the multimelta in the melta box squad? Well the problem that handicapped it is resolved through mounting it on a bike. This is because bikes are by nature Relentless. Along with Relentless, the bike platform gives the squad an extra six inches of movement and therefore threat range. While they can be targeted directly, unlike the melta box squad, the bike squads gain an extra point of toughness and the ability to turbo-boost and gain a three plus cover save.
This squad clocks in at 185 points, a full thirty-five points less than the melta box squad. If you bring one of these squads the difference in points can buy your captain his bike to allow the squad to be troops.
Bringing four bike squads, a captain on bike and three riflemen dreads totals to twelve melta weapons, six twin-linked auto cannons and four scoring units for 1250 points. That leaves you with plenty of room to bring additional units if you want more of anything. I would suggest either some anti-horde units and / or a master of the forge and three more dreadnoughts in your heavy support slots.
Until next time, what do you think?