Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Critique Corner - Dual Wing

Hello and good day one and all. I'm excited to be presenting the latest edition of Critique Corner, with another list brought to us by Sparrowhawk. This one deviates from the 'All bikes, all the time' that he and so many have been so enamored with of late, though it does build off the Dark Angels first two companies, meaning bikes and Termis are present, and in almost equal measure. We're all set to square off at 2000 points, so let's see how the list shapes up.

Sammael on Corvex
6x Command Squad w/ apothecary
5x Bikes w/ 2x melta, combi-melta
5x Bikes w/ 2x melta, combi-melta
5x Bikes w/ 2x flamer, combi-grav
Darkshroud Deathwing
ML2 Termie Librarian w/ combi-melta
5x Deathwing Command w/ apothecary, assault cannon
5x Deathwing termies w/ 2x chainfists, heavy flamer
5x Deathwing termies w/ 3x chainfists, heavy flamer
5x Deathwing termies w/ 5x pairs of lightning claws

For a 2k list, he really has cut the points right down the middle on this one. While this is positive, as it mean the opponent has some tough choices of what to shoot at, these forces are very much elite in nature, so it may be the case that we're overspending a lot of points in a lot of places and not doing ourselves any favors on the return salvo we hope to muster. We're only putting down about 40 models but, admittedly, that's large for this game anymore sometimes. Similarly, I'm going to be going with the given context that this is not designed as a take all comers list, but rather for a big game with enemy Eldar and Tyranid forces.

The first thing that stands out to me is that if we know our foe, why aren't we footing a default 5 point tax on every bike squad for meltabombs? We know that we're trying to run down Eldar, and similarly, most of the Tyranid baddies won't care significantly about krak grenades. Maybe I'm spending too much time in 30k and other game systems, but the price for what they offer seems too good to pass up in these circumstances. Sure, we have hit and run to try to scoot away from the big bugs, but out only real answer to them are our Terminators, whose 5++ won't last long against any MCs.

From there, I do notice the two melta teams. That's a big way that this list comes out swinging. These units are purpose built to force hard choices, mainly for the Eldar player, though they can have some impact against the Tyranids. Much of this army's points have been spent on getting to CC and being good in CC, so cracking open boxes is very very important. But this leads to a bigger issue: where's all the Grav? We've got one combi-grav in the whole list, and no guns. Knowing there's a chance for wraithlords, wraithknights, and big bug baddies, why aren't we bringing the tool purpose built to shred them? What's more is that our lone combi is locked away in a unit toting two flamers. Flamers are miserable on bikes, as you'll likely just run over anything that the flamers would have been effective against. When every bike has a twin-linked boltgun, spending the points on flamers comes across as expensive.

So, just to recap, let's cut the points we're spending on flamers and all the combis, and grab two grav guns for the former flamer squad, and meltabombs for our three bike sergeants. I know that's going to put us 'over points, but we'll find them in the Termies, namely by dropping the combi-melta from the librarian, or cutting one chainfist so we're rocking two per squad. Perhaps surprisingly, I'd leave the heavy flamers alone here. We ought to have the ability to get ourselves into any position we want courtesy of our bikes, so it should be easy to fire up those flamers. The only potential change I'd make would be trading the assault cannon for a heavy flamer in the command squad, just to free up the points to grab two chainfists for them too, but at the same time, Eldar don't really have any vehicles that the chainfist is necessary against, so there's that to consider as well. The only last little nitpicky thing I would have would be to opt in to an axe on the Librarian. You'll sacrifice your initiative, but you'll gain +1S and AP2 standing, which is huge when you're trying to burst some MC's bubble.

Otherwise this list is pretty straightforward, almost to the point of being a blunt instrument. That's not to say it isn't effective, but rather that its application via repeated blows to the enemy's head in CC is fairly apparent, and early game positioning will be key to helping this list transition through the midgame and finish strong. Failed H&R attempts, as well as failed charges, will hurt this list worse than anything short of AP3+ on a hellstorm template. Similarly, this list shows, to me anyway, an evolution and adaptation in list construction. Admittedly, it's a 'smaller' list with fewer upgrades, but nevertheless, short of the unit with two flamers and a combi-grav, there's no major missteps here, and that's exciting to see.

Testing, Testing, 1,2,3

Welcome to Critique Corner - The Dark Side

Ok guys, TigerTiger here as a new addition to the Rites team and today I'll be starting with a bang by rebuilding this list for maximum power.

The Dark Angels codex is one dear to my heart and this edition is a powerhouse. Ravenwing and Deathwing can form a potent combination. The list by Sparrowhawk is a good start, but we can really ramp this up to get something a little more competitive from the theme.

So here goes...

The Ravenwing provide us some of the best bikes in 40k, high damage output and highly survivable with the rerollable jinks. To get the most for our points, the not so humble grav gun is the weapon of choice. Made for bikes, your relentless riders will always get 3 shots, perfectly suited for heavy infantry, monstrous and gargantuan creatures. They're no joke against vehicles either, each shot may only provide a glance but it's not hard to unleash a hail of 20+ shots at a tough target. Keeping the cost down to fit in more specials is key, so we'll be running 4 squads of bikes, each just 3 man with 2 gravs.

To add some bite to the bike part of this list, the Black Knight command is staying. 6 guys pump out 12 plasma shots which is no joke and with rending CC attacks and Feel No Pain from the apothecary you already have a nasty little unit. I've added the banner too, as failing your Hit and Runs sucks. This honor guard will of course accompany Sammael in to battle, who doesn't want an AP2 weapon that strikes at initiative on their side?! Accompanying them will also be an interrogator chaplain, giving Zealot to the unit (works great with Hit and Run) and providing some literal punch with a power fist.

What about the Darkshroud? Well lets give it some friends.... The Ravenwing support squad is a nice set of free rules providing defense against counter charges, enemy flyers, light vehicles and with a trio of Typhoons pumps out lots of shots that will instant death any T4 big bugs or battlesuits that come your way. They also provide a frag option to pour on hoards of course. The Darkshroud can easily keep the rest of the speeders safe even if you use it to cover your close combat advance, conferring stealth, shrouded and scout to the whole formation.

So whilst the Ravenwing provide the core hunters we still need a hard strike to bring judgement to the Fallen. The Deathwing ate honestly the only way to run terminators in 40k right now and not be sorely disappointed. But... Throw out all but one unit.

Deathwing Knights have that wonderful 3++ from their shields and when they castle up get a T5, a major boost that they can also pass on to attached characters with shields. So one squad will be joined by a Company Master armed with a Thunderhammer and shield, sporting the Shroud of Heroes for extra survivability. A second squad of knights completes the detachment. These guys when deep striking in provide a threat your opponent has to deal with, those maces and fleshbane flail are no joke against... Well anything, but specifically monstrous and gargantuan creatures your opponent may bring your way.

So, finally, here is the list, small and elite as before (35 models), but every part us a threat giving your opponent hard choices. They better be thinking fast, you can practically hear the roar of engines and boom of teleport translation...

Ravenwing Strike Force
Fast Attack
Ravenwing Bike Squad 3 man, 2x Grav Gun
Ravenwing Bike Squad 3 man, 2x Grav Gun
Ravenwing Bike Squad 3 man, 2x Grav Gun
Ravenwing Bike Squad 3 man, 2x Grav Gun
Ravenwing Command Squad 6 man, Apothecary, Banner
Interrogator-Chaplain, Power Fist, Space Marine Bike
Sammael Corvex

Deathwing Strike Force
Company Master, Terminator Armour, Shroud of Heroes, Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer
Deathwing Knights 5 man
Deathwing Knights 5 man

Ravenwing Support Squadron
Ravenwing Darkshroud
3x Ravenwing Land Speeders, Typhoon missiles

Enjoy.... Even if your opponent doesn't!

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