Sunday, June 5, 2011

One More Trick up my Sleeve

Good afternoon everyone, hope you've had fun since I last saw you all. Last time I said I'd be posting some pictures of my Tau, but I haven't made any considerable progress on painting them, so hopefully I'll have something worth reporting next time.

As for today, I'm reminded of a nice long conversation Loki and I had about the 'blue' space marine codex in comparison to their blood angel and space wolf brethren. I've been thinking about how to make a list that can be approximated by the other codices, but that the 'blue' codex can do better if only slightly. While the wolves and angels can each build their own unique builds, Loganwing and Jumpers respectively, the list I've chosen for comparison for all three armies is the 'razor spam' army, supported by other elements. The Ultramarines will represent the 'blue' codex in this round. Forgive me if this reminds you of Ishmael's army:
Chaplain Cassius 125
Three dreadnoughts with two twin-linked autocannons 125
Three tactical squads with combi-melta, meltagun and missile launcher in an assault cannon razorback with hunter killer missile 260
Two landspeeder duos with multimeltas 120
Three devastator teams with four missile launchers 150

I will admit there are some problems with the comparing the blood angels' and space wolves' versions of this list. Coming from the space wolves side, the problem is that there are no tactical or devastator squads for direct comparison, so I substituted the space wolves closest equivalents the grey hunters and long fangs. Using a basic rune priest or wolf priest instead of Cassius and five man grey hunter squads with meltagun and combi-melta wolf guard instead of tactical squads and five missile long fangs instead of devastators brings the wolf variant to 1714 points for the same firepower as the 2000 points 'blue' marine list. That is a striking difference, though keep in mind that there are fifteen fewer bodies in the troops section than in the 'blue' version. For the sake of effieiceincy I'll give the wolves the win hands down. As a side note, the discrepancy in points between the lists drops from 286 points to 61 if you include the fifteen extra bodies. A wolves 'razor spam' list may prefer to run lascannons and twin-linked plasmaguns rather than assault cannons but their cost is the same so that shouldn't factor into the comparison, just in case you were wondering.

Comparing blood angels' version of 'razor spam' is a bit more difficult because of their divergent (read heretical) force organization, it is impossible to have both three devastator teams and three autocannon dreadnoughts in the same detachment as both occupy a heavy support slot and blood angels do not have a master of the forge to move the dreadnoughts into another slot. On the bright side, I can decide not to care about that and compare the costs of each unit. Blood angels' obsession with speed means their razorbacks are fast, but they also cost fifteen points more expensive each. Luckily for them, their devastator missile launchers are five points cheaper each, netting them twenty points per squad. With three squads of each, the blood angels come out fifteen points ahead of the 'blue' marines. If they could have both the dreadnoughts and the devastators they would be slightly ahead of their 'blue' brethren, but they cannot.

In the 'razor spam' department, the 'blue' codex falls behind the space wolves because they need to purchase more bolter brothers to access their meltaguns and missile launchers and have the melta and missile capacity of space wolves at a lower points level. On the other hand, having access to shooting dreadnoughts in their elites choices allows the 'blue' marines to field more long range anti-tank shooting than the blood angels. Out of the fifth edition marine codices, barring grey knights, the 'blue' codex falls between the shooting capacity of the wolves and that of the blood angels, netting the 'blue' book a solid okay rating.

I'll try to cook up an assault comparison using the best close combat units from each of the codices to see if the 'blue' codex can hold on to its okay rating. On that note, what units would you like to see in that comparison, as I'm not the most familiar with any close combat units.

Till then,
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam


  1. Why Cassius? Chaplains are assault oriented HQ selections. If the point of your lists is to shoot, take something else. Anything else.

    That in mind, I anticipate your CC analysis. I would begin discussion about it but I feel that such is better saved for the article in question.

    All things considered, your post missed more than a few points but I feel the okay rating is... acceptable enough. As far as shooting is concerned, the codex could be far worse. Perhaps not as point efficient as its brethren but it does have razorback options not available to green or black marines.

  2. I'll admit that Cassius was only included because I like the character and couldn't think of a good use for 25 points. If I wanted to improve the list I'd make him a Librarian.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the article enough to comment on in. For everyone's benefit, what points do you think I missed? I'd love to expand my understanding and have a nice discussion.

  3. The lack of typhoons on the speeders surprised me for one. With the presence of hunter killer missiles on all three of your razorbacks, it seems like you really want the missile shots.

    Second, with the angels, the points you save in other areas will allow you to sub out those 3 riflemen with: 2x 5-man Assault Squad w/ meltagun & infernus pistol, swapping jump packs for a razorback with TL assault cannon and hunter killer missile. All this with 45 points to spare. Given that their rhino chassis are fast, I'd argue that these squads more than compensate for the lack of riflemen, especially when you consider their melta weaponry they'll be baring into the fray.

    Short of bringing Vulkan or Pedro in, I think the other two codices trump the blue one pretty soundly for shooting capability.

  4. You make a good point about the Typhoons that I had not considered. I had been considering only the value of the speeder as a fast melta platform. By dropping the hunter killers I can trade four melta speeders (2x2) for three individual typhoons, netting three missile shots for one turn and six for any others.

    I will disagree with you on the substitution of the two razorbacks for the dreadnought, though substitution may be the wrong word if the dreadnoughts couldn't be in the list to begin with. The melta weapons and assault cannons would add to the tank killing firepower against most opponents, barring mechanized eldar, and provide more anti-infantry firepower. However, and this is based in my experience of playing Tau and Eldar, I would prefer to have more firepower at forty-eight inch range, though the thirty-six inch effective range of the fast assault cannon is not to be disregarded.

    I will also disgree with your assessment of the necessity of bringing Pedro or Vulkan to elevate the 'blue' codex to parity in shooting with Blood Angels, though Vulkan certainly has his benefits.

  5. On the whole, I feel the thing that both of us miss is that, if nothing else, the red codex puts up at least a modest fight when it is to be a very assault oriented codex. To me, it speaks to issues with the blue codex that have been widely debated on here and with members of other groups.

    Pedro brings a lot to the table too if you ask me. Sure it forces out the riflemen but it opens the door to scoring choices that are really superb in my opinion. You can take 10 sternguard, buy them 2 missile launchers and 5 combi-weapons and a razorback, and watch as combat squads opens you to hold even more on your back lines and up front.

    Vulkan certainly does, but not necessarily in a missile spam list as presented here.

  6. You guys are all silly. Paint your armor black, put some chains on those weapons, and smash them in the faces! :D

  7. You are all silly. Paint your armour grey, grow some fangs and balls, and do it all son! There is no need to decide!

    I play Space Wolves, they are OP. Deal with it! LoL!