Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Her Name's Viera!

To mirror an article I wrote many long months ago, I will take a look at another unit of the Imperium's finest. In the Article Jumping the Gun I looked at the Assault Marines (and their counterparts) from all of the Space Marine Codexes available. Today, I'm going to take a look at another unit. Like the Assault Marines, there are some people who love them, some who swear by them, and others who simply hate them. Today, we're going to look at the Devastators.

Devastator Units in General
Devastators in general usually have a specific goal in mind... and while that generally is focused around anti-mech, it isn't there only option. Between all of the codexes out there, there are indeed many ways to play this unit. Overall, the strategy is generally based on the principle of finding a nice piece of cover to sit back in, and let the shots do the talking as the enemy is berated with a hail of angry and usually powerful weapons. Like all ranged squads, they suffer in melee... though the option of melee weapons exist (a power fist or weapon), it is not seen often as they are not meant for melee, and are usually pretty salty as they are.

Overall they add an impressive and usually well fortified addition to the Space Marine player's ranged arsenal. These shots can really affect the game more than any others in the first few volleys, and can sometimes seal the fate of both players on the battlefield depending on the dice rolls.

Codex Astartes
Seen really as the basic or standard, the Dev. unit in this codex does exactly what you would expect. They fill the roll of additional ranged firepower and have an impressive number of builds they can adjust for. On the one hand, they can equip heavy weapons such as Lascannons and missile launchers to deal with heavy infantry, they can take Heavy Bolters (or use frag missiles) as a nice relatively cheap fire base for anti-infantry, take a bundle of Multi-Meltas, and pump out the scary shots... or simply take a little of everything for the well rounded feel. Though I can see why the mix of weapons can have a certain appeal, unless you're wolves (get to them in a bit) I would suggest a more specialized build to avoid wasting shots; Heavy Bolters won't do much except chip paint if the squad needs to bring fire against a Land Raider or such.

Whatever their build, they will bring enough shots to bare to bring most anything down in a matter of a turn or two. And on top of this, they can make one shot BS 5 if the sergeant forgoes his shooting. But all of these weapons have a cost... and a high one at that. If the Lascannon spam is your game, best save your points, as these suckers come in at 35 a pop. While I was once confused by the high price of these guns, I did forget to factor in the cheaper heavy weapons allowed to this codex by the tactical squads. The cost outweighs the potential of an exorbitant amount of heavy fire.

Now, while the codex doesn't have any character support that directly affects the Devastators, there is a nice "bolster" they can receive. If taking a Techmarine, Master of the Forge, or even Lysander... the army can use Bolster Defenses to help increase the cover of a friendly ruins by 1. While this isn't huge for the army, a Devastator unit can benefit greatly from a 3+ cover. Not to shabby when it comes to helping keep the shots pumping!

All in all not to bad of a choice to run. They offer impressive shots, and high range to keep the enemy wondering how long he/she can keep their mech from looking like a bad used car lot!

Dark Angels
Well not to be outdone... the Devastators from this codex are simple amazing. In fact, they are almost mandated to be in every army that claims to be Dark Angels. Nah, just messing with you, they are pretty meh.

Like their previously mentioned counterparts, they serve pretty much the same role. The only real differences are a lack of the Signum, and the option to take additional Bolter armed members is limited to 5 more or nothing... which is a rather limited theme in this codex. Overall, I can't say much about them, as it is pretty much a copy and paste of the Codex marines. I rarely see them hit the field when clad in Green Armor, as the DA codex is rather limited in it's ability to filed a competitive army, and the alternative builds like Ravenwing or Deathwing seem to be the more visible list that come from this codex, and neither has much room for an expensive unit that doesn't belong.

Overall, they aren't bad here... but the Green Army from the codex doesn't see much play with the Black or White(ish) army options.

Black Templar
Didn't think I could review a unit in less words than the previous one... well guess again. Black Templar's do not use Devastators, and thus do not appear as a choice in this codex.

Given this, I feel the unit is a terrible choice, and should never be used over other more assault based units! To be honest though, the codex can pull off a shooting feel very well based on the wargear upgrades requiring no minimum unit (plasma gun and Lascannon in 5 man squads with razorbacks works well in that codex), but they aren't truly Devastators, simply ranged crusaders squads. Though not my favorite of choices when it comes to my beloved home-dex, I must admit it can be very effective.

Space Wolves
Known as Long Fangs, these guys are a pretty unique unit to the codex. While serving the same roll as the other Dev. counterparts... they do it very efficiently.

First, they allow an extra member of the squad to take a heavy weapon, giving the squad the ability to take 5 in total. However, this perk isn't without it's drawbacks, as they may not take extra marines to serve as early casualties.

Second, they loose the Signum, but so long as the Sergeant lives, the squad may split fire into multiple (2) units at once. This makes cracking multiple tanks, or taking a diverse squad for anti-mech and anti-infantry become viable!

Third, they bring heavy weapons to the table that no other unit in the army can bring, which serves a pretty good use when it comes to bringing heavy shots early to cripple the enemy offensive.

Overall... two thumbs up here. They are a heavy unit, that can hit 2 enemy units a turn. Efficient and scary as hell!

Blood Angels
These Devastators are pretty nice. First, they cover a similar niche to that found in the Codex Astartes, so the uses are very similar. However, with the usual emphasis on Assault Marines, these shots are usually the only long ranged ones to hit the table, so it is similar to Wolves in this regard. To account for this, the price for the weapons is less, allowing the army to spend these saved points on the more expensive assault troops without too much of a hindrance.

However, like Templar, they can capitalize on this by building and army to shoot, and gaining extra ranged firepower. I have looked at this as an option, but in both B.T. and B.A. codexes, they can gain the shots, at the cost of running units that won't benefit fully from the army rules which generally push assault based units.

This unit is a superb way to gain heavy fire, and do it cheaply (as the cost of the Assault Squad is higher than a Tactical Squad). Thumbs up here!

So there they are. These marines bring the big guns to the fight, and like I said before, their shots can often dictate the outcome. So find a good hardy piece of terrain, and lay waste to the enemies of mankind! Till next time


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