Thursday, January 26, 2012
Man(iple) Up! part 6
The time has come for me to acknowledge some well-considered and intelligent criticisms of my example list and adapt the example to accommodate those criticisms and better suit the maniple principles I wrote. The new list will look significantly different and will use some rare choices, but I believe that this revision may both better suit the principles and reward aggression like my previous example has done for me.
Before I begin I have to acknowledge that Corvus' advice has been very helpful and I look forward to his comparison battle and hope to post about it in the future.
One of the objections to my example list was the use of Vulcan, who rewards aggression more than caution and good judgement. Using a non-named or Ultramarines character would probably be a better fit for the maniple because they allow the use of combat tactics to withdraw from a poor situation and allow more points to be used elsewhere. Personally, I appreciate the re-rolls and the rewarding aggression, as my other armies do not, so I will keep him in my personal army. So here is the revised maniple that makes this more of a xenos style marine army, because I guess I can't get rid of my xenos heresy...sigh:
Librarian (Null Zone, The Avenger) 100
Three tactical squads each with flamer, combi-flamer and multimelta with heavy bolter razorbacks 220
Three scout squads with shotguns and a combi-melta 85
Three land speeder storms with multimeltas 65
Three devastator squads with four missile launchers each 150
So let's start with the change from drop pods to the more expensive razorbacks. On the negative side of the ledger: razors are more easily damage because of their eleven armor, they can be destroyed before they reach their destination, they can only hold six models, and they cost five points more. On the positive side of the ledger: the razorback is able to better take cover, can transport a combat squad and a character with some protection, and the razorback will be able to contribute more firepower than the drop pod could.
The protection of the razorback is a nice bonus to the combat squad that the drop pod cannot provide that simply reserving the unit cannot also provide, thought the immediate mobility of the drop pod does play to my personal tastes. However, the availability of the razorback as a target does allow more of the target priority manipulation that, as Corvus rightly pointed out, my previous list lacked. The viability of these units as high priority targets in an environment where mechanized infantry is prevalent is less than the viability of a tactical squad that has just disembarked from a drop pod, because the units that will be transported will have no ranged anti-vehicle firepower beyond the twin-linked heavy bolter as opposed to the drop pod squad's twin-linked meltagun. These units, having the sergeant, flamer, and probably a character with template weapons. These would be a higher priority to an opponent with a large number of infantry, but that depends of the tactical squad being transported.
The tactical squad has been changed from having a meltagun to having a flamer, which does look like a small change, but has a large effect. Godfrey talked about specialists and generalists in his last article and he had some good points about how those units function. I wanted to utilize the combat squad rule and built the tactical squads with the ability to destroy vehicles both on the turn they came in and in following turns by including a meltagun and multimelta, but by including a combi-flamer rather than combi-melta I ensured that one of the weapons in the combat squad would not be firing at an optimal target. I was using a generalist mentality at the combat squad level, rather than the tactical squad level. Combat squads allow the full tactical squad to generalize, while the individual combat squads can be specialists. The change from meltagun to flamer allows my forward combat squad to specialize in anti-infantry operations, which the characters can help them with much more than if they tried to generalize into anti-vehicle operations.
The rear combat squad no longer is forced to spend a turn running toward cover and not using their, admittedly free, heavy weapon on the turn they enter play. Now, because of the limited size of the razorback, these squad will be forced to camp an objective with their heavy weapon, contributing to anti-tank fire more than they would have in a drop pod list. For armies that value their infantry, these will be less important than the razorbacks and for armies that value their vehicles they will be less important than the devastators or the scouts and storms. The multimelta benefits from Vulcan's chapter tactics more than the missile launcher or heavy bolter would, and the addition of another heavy bolter or missile launcher would be less beneficial because there are more or better duplicates of those weapons elsewhere in the list. These combat squads should be rather ignorable, which is a great quality for an objective holder.
The scouts and storms (in combination) have a more flexible role in the maniple based on the opponent. In an annihilation game, these units will bring six twin-linked melta shots and thirty strength four shots. If my opponent is heavily mechanized I hope to be able to remove a few vehicles from operation on the first turn. The ability to scout move means I can move aggressively toward my opponent if I don't fear them seizing or moving toward cover if I'm facing someone playing Vect or Imhotek. The scout squads themselves are closer to dire avengers than they are to most marine units as after using the combi-melta, the squad becomes a focused short ranged anti-infantry squad.
The scouts shine in objectives games, because they combine with the storms to create a highly mobile and flexible scoring unit. While changing from drop pods to razorbacks means my tactical squads cannot deep strike, the storms allow the scout squads to deep strike in reaction to the events of the game. I can choose to deep strike on points that my opponent has neglected or abandoned or allow the rest of my army to push forward while the storms hold points in the rear. If I don't want to deep strike them I can move them along with my razorbacks and have them either advance or fall back to points I need to hold or contest. I can also use them to collapse on unit threatening points I hold or hunt any mission specific targets.
The transfer of deep striking from the tactical squads means that I have some one shot mobility in my army, so I don't need to bring gate of infinity on my librarian. Truth be told, it was redundant in a drop pod based list and would be more useful in this list, but I now have the good sense to add more teeth to my librarian by substituting gate for the avenger. While the largest threat to my army is still a large close combat hammer, I now have more templates (including an ap 3) with which I can cause excess wounds to the target. I won't have the re-roll from vulcan that a heavy flamer would, but I do get to negate all but 2+ armor saves, which in a marine heavy environment is a valuable bonus.
I'll leave this open to criticism because of personal preference. Yes, a non-named or ultramarines character would be better for the maniple as I could utilize the power of combat tactics to avoid engaging in combat on my opponent's terms, but I've got to defer to Godfrey on this one 'Love what you play, play what you love.'
Ab obice saevior ibit