Sunday, December 15, 2013
Honor the Codex: Pt. 7 Fast Attack
Assault Squad - Bad
Land Speeder - Okay
Much like the assault squad, these kind of go against one of the basic ideas of Marines: durability. These paper airplanes do offer you some unique play options. They're quick, and can either bring a typhoon missile launcher (expensive, but an option), a pair of heavy flamers (expect them to die very shortly after attempting to earn their points back), a pair of multi-meltas (see previous note), or keep their heavy bolter and pick up an assault cannon for xenos suppression (fair volume of wounds on 2+ AP4 dakka, but even more expensive than the typhoon). Treat these guys as single shot weapons which offer quick, valuable counterpunches. If your opponent is going to be aggressive, hide these out of sight, or in reserves, before utilizing the fairly efficient firepower they offer. Likewise, if your opponent tries to defend, you can deep strike them, or utilize them as a first strike while the rest of your army moves up. Again, the key is to expect them to die, not because they are dangerous, but because they're vulnerable.
Stormtalon - Okay
Oh boy. Here comes the big discussion on Marines and birds. Right, so, the best place to start is by considering which enemy flyers cause problems for us, and what things in the game can our flyers cause problems for. Which flyers cause real problems for us? The Heldrake. That's it. Yes, I know, the Vandetta is good, but the most it will do is drop guardsmen in your deployment zone after killing a marine (maybe two) or destroying a tank. Your rhinos are likely to be within its "minimum range", and your predators or dreadnoughts should be able to claim cover. Likewise, if your Space Marines in your deployment zone cannot handle a squad of enemy Guardsmen, you have deeper tactical issues than what this review is designed to address. So, the Heldrake, what do we do there? We don't consult the Stormtalon. We do not consult the Stormtalon. It's only a paltry few points cheaper than the Drake and it is not the drake. Yes, the volume of fire it can spit out, mated with Strafing Run is impressive (the lascannon is a trap, you want a volume of midrange shots out of this guy, because boo stupid assault cannon), but the fact of the matter is that the little bird dies to a single vector strike attempt from the Drake. What then do we do if the enemy brought Dragons? Ignore them. Kill the troops. Force the game into at worst a draw.
Bike Squad - Great
Attack Bike - Okay
Remember the land speeder? The attack bike is its little brother. Similar points costs. Similar weapons (with the biggest draw being a multi-melta). Similar durability (vulnerable to small arms but harder to destroy with a single lucky shot). Benefits? It can claim chapter tactics! White Scars and Iron Hands get the most out of these guys by far. Otherwise, it's all about personal preference and available points between these guys or the speeders.
Scout Bike Squad - Bad
So, you can save a few points and put scouts on bikes. Why is this so bad? They can't be troops, their grenade launchers aren't nearly as good as they used to be, they can't take real special weapons. Oh! And the other reason, besides the grenade launchers, you used to take these guys? Cluster mines? Now they tell your opponent which piece of terrain they've been used on, and they only cause it to become dangerous. If you want to take dudes on bikes, take the power armor guys, even if they're not troops. The few points you save aren't worth all the drawbacks of being a scout.
Well, this is awkward. The only unit here to be better than okay are bikes because they're a troop swap. Sure, they're mostly excellent in their own right (barring putting infantry targets on a potentially tank saturated table), but there's little reason to not take them as troops, especially with how good the Chapter Master on bike is. What do we take then? The Stormtalon is very very hard to argue with for at least one of our slots, especially if you're looking to take Riflemen anyway. Taking one or multiple Stormtalons for that same role helps you free up those valuable elite slots for Sternguard or Legion. Likewise, if speeders or attack bikes suit your fancy or chapter tactics, they're solid enough options to warrant exploring.
And now, dear readers, comes time for me to open the door for something to you. I've got several more pieces for this series, covering the Heavy Support slot, allies matrix (a crossover with my Let's Be Friends! series), extras (including fortifications, Lords of War, and some Forgeworld options), and then Honor the Codex will begin wrapping up with examining some basic tactics and list construction paradigms, including me vetting the list I've finally settled on. As a part of this conclusion, if you, my readers, have a list that you'd like to break down in a guest article, or see me examine, I need to hear from you! Email me through the Rites gmail, or for those of you sent here by my Facebook posts, feel free to send me a message. I've still got a fair amount of material to cover, but the sooner I can begin my analysis of the content you submit, the more steady a stream of articles I can maintain for you.
But otherwise, I'll see you all here shortly for part 8 and the Heavy Support section!