Another Email (YAY!) And this time I decided upon a different tack...Due to the nature of the email (questions, questions :p) I'm simply going to interject my own thoughts, Dethtron-style, in BLUE. Then, I'm going to post it, and probably realise the colour doesn't look different enough and change it. Meh. Without further ado -
Hey, I've been following your blog and comments on YTTH for a while, and you seem to know your game well.Thanks! :D Cause Stelek is busy with his 'ard boyz lists and I can only dream of those point limits due to Finnish tourny scene - I'd like to ask you for help with my new BA. Mind you, I've never played Marines before and the scene here is very - can I stress it more - VERY mech oriented, though I guess it is the same almost everywhere these days.
I often WISH it were more Mech-oriented around here...but it has improved so much in the last year that I really can't complain. It's mostly kids who don't Mech Up here these days, and Transport vehicles aren't as cool as those extra Sanguinary Guard...
I'm not an awesome player yet and can't really make subpar stuff work - so I need something that in theory should work well so I can only blame myself when I fuck up and then learn from it. LOL! No pressure then... So, I find the Codex neat but also find it really hard to make out balanced stuff at lower point levels - especially with the fact I find it hard to calculate how many troop marines are enough and how to set them up - due to my inexperience with them.
Entirely understandable. Please remember that, despite my complete confidence in how awesome I am, I haven't playtested the BA at all yet, and when I've been witness to them being used, it hasn't exactly been by players of my calibre. Arrogant as that may come across - I'm phrasing it that way to be diplomatic, and kind...
I'm building from scratch, so open to all suggestions. I still like to keep some of the elements that I love about the codex included: Lib dreads and perhaps Baals. I've been magnetizing every ******** assault marine with /packs since I started painting the "sure" choices and I'm nearing the point that I need to know what the fuck I am actually aiming at. Too many years spending €€ on shit ( LOL, LOOK AT ME DEFF DRED. ) that never sees use. So, I'm trying to figure out lists between 1500 and 1850 points.
I can write a list with anything in it you want - the issue isn't that, it's more trying to craft a list that is still balanced at low-ish points levels. The modern Codexes seem to be written primarily for 2k games, and the BatReps in the Dwarf (well, the last one at least, the rest aren't memorable [note, this one's abysmal too!]) are circumstantial evidence in support of this idea.
I'm coming up with ideas such as: Librarian: Lance, Shield 100 / Librarian: Lance, Shield /w Jump pack 125. Awesome. I'm a big fan of the Libby in the list, as you will see when I finish my Part 2/2 HQ review. I think this has probably already come across though, in previous lists.. ;) Furioso Librarian Dreadnought 175 Furioso - Another Lib or a Blood Clawed one /w pod perhaps? 125 (+35 ) to 175. Doubling up with an identical one is very important, to mess with enemy Target Priority, and to have that level of redundancy. From an aesthetic point of view (screw you Mark! [Not Mercer]) it also helps to allow a nice mirrored deployment. Mandatory Sanguinary Priests x 2 50 or x 2 /w Jump packs 150. Hah-hah! They aren't ALWAYS going to be mandatory, I reckon...but mostly, yeah. They're simply too good to ignore, for the most part.
And here for the hard part: Assault Marines - how many is enough and how to set them up? 10 x Assault Marines, Melta x 2, Pfist /w Rhino 250. or/and 5 x Assault Marines, 1 x Melta, PFist /w HB/HF Razor 155 or 10 x Assault Marines, Melta x 2, Pfist /w Jump packs 235. I run into problems figuring out whether JPacks can be worth it at 1500. Can/Should you mix them with some armor? This is the thing. Partly, it depends how many units can fit in the army...but, even more so, it depends on the rest of the list. Now, while Semi-Mech is a great overall type of army, it simply DOES NOT work with BA, when the 'Semi' part is Jump Packers. On the face of it, it's perfect - they can keep the pace, they won't (maybe...) get shot to shit, because they aren't the dangerous vehicles closing on the foe...Problem is, you are talking Blood Angel Jump Packs here. By not using the improved Reserving ability, and the improved Scatter, you are wasting a great opportunity to get the foe off-guard. Now, of course you will want to deploy against some foes - but often, you will want to all-Reserve, and the static elements above (the Lib Dreads) will HAVE to deploy, or else get a Drop Pod.
If they have a Pod, it slows down/screws with the JPs even then, because DPs come in turn one, JPs turn 2+. Isolating your own units to let the foe kick the crap out of them more easily isn't good, not at all. That's not to say some armour can't be blended in - a DC Dread has some chance of surviving a turn of shooting, and getting rescued - while the lovely Baal Predator can Outflank, and thus arrive from 2+ like the JPs...without clogging the Drop Zone.
If running pure mech, how the **** to set them up? It pisses me off to try to find space for the priests/lib as it can really effectively be done with Razors and I'm not sure am I comfortable with handling small 5man squads well. Doing pure Mech with Razors seems like the best way to do it at first. Personally, I think pure Rhino may work out better overall - but at 1500, especially, I think the list would have a lot of problems.
Easier: 2 x Baals, maybe barebones 115 pts per piece at 1500 or 145 /w HB at 1850? I think it's rare you won't WANT Baals in the list. The issue becomes - 'do I have enough anti-Infantry' and that means you are really looking at the rest of the list for this answer. BA, as much as anyone and more than some, cannot construct lists easily in total isolation. When I type a post writing a list stage by stage, I'm a few steps ahead of typing, at all times. Sometimes, I know the rough list in it's entirety - I just need to put figures in, and see if I get 11 Meltaguns, or just 9 - things like that. For the BA Mech - you need Fire Support to help get Transports from Turn One onwards, not so much for JPs though, because you never want to deploy 3 or 4 units while waiting for the rest of the list to show up. This is not limited to BA, of course. lol
And then the alternative ideas/upgrades to 1850 that I'm very uncertain about: Honor Guard? Land Speeders /w Typhoons or just MM's - they seem to have great utility and synergy with BA. Riflemen dreads? Here you identified what I just mentioned above...although I knew that, having read this email a few times before adding these comments. ;)
Honour Guard are actually very damn good - the ability to take up to 4 Meltaguns - (stupid me put 5 in a previous list, and 5 Flamers - strangely, none of you caught it... :p The Sang Novitiate cannot carry one, of course.) - is invaluable, compared to the relative lack of Multi-Meltas (and therefore, Midfield AP1) in the list.
If you can, give me some tips and if feeling really generous, try to work something somewhat reliable out of this mess with me. Everything would be so much easier if I could at least find a way to set the troops properly but right now they are just making me choose the blissfully ignorant approach of not thinking about them. Thanks in advance, Aleksi.
Working on the Troops first for a 1500 list, I think, is the main thing, yeah. 1500 puts such an unnatural constriction on latter-day books that you find there are few toys, and virtually no room for error. I'll write a 1500 list, because you're starting from scratch, and it seems to be your main gaming level - but, for learning the game, an army, a Codex, a mission, ANYTHING about the game, except how to rely on luck and maybe deployment - play above 1500 guys. In all seriousness, even playing at 1k is probably better, unless playing against IG. lol
Anyway, onwards and upwards!
Starting with Troops, and playing JPs, partly because you magnetized your Marines...partly because Rhinos aren't actually cheap in this book.
Assault Squad; w/ 2 Meltaguns, Power Fist. - 235
As you identified above, this is the optimal build, as it brings in the necessary Melta, while providing the beefiness of the added Fist. For assaulting Troops units, the ability to NOT get tied down by a Dreadnought is huge - and MCs even more so. (Because MCs will eventually kill you, and move on - not just waste both units' game!) So, we take 3 of these Troops. At 1500, usually 2 Troops is sufficient. With Troops like this, especially because they can't take a Transport and have JPs, so are instanly vulnerable to anti-personnel fire, but also because Pies eat them (like in Soviet Russia!) very easily - we need 3. As we are to play aggressively, attrition will be high, basically. So, 3 of them is 705. Ouch...
Now, we take those Sang Priests - we only need 2, but we need the Infernus for extra Melta much more than a Power Weapon. Power Weapons don't scare Terminators any more. They only scare things like Tac Marines, and other BA - and in BA vs BA, the charger will almost certainly win. Tac Marines should be scared - but ideally not wiped, to let you avoid shooting directed at you.
Sang Priest; w/ Jump Pack, Infernus Pistol - 90
Another 180 on top of the 705- 885...so we take a Libby.
Librarian; w/ Blood Lance, The Sanguine Sword, Infernus Pistol, Jump Pack. - 140
This takes the running total to 1025...and we have, so far, 3 decent squads - and 9 Melta weapons. Let's have more...but first, to get around the whole 'can't assault' element.
Vanguard Veterans; w/ Jump Packs, 2 Power Weapons, Glaive Encarmine, Power Fist - 220
Oh! 1245!! Nuts...okay, with 255 left, we have the option of:
Honour Guard; w/ 4 Meltaguns, Jump Packs - 205
Or another VV squad. We have enough points left for Flamers on the HG, and for some Hand Flamers in the VVets. Honestly, without trying the list, I can't honestly suggest either - but for 1850, clearly both units are what I suggest, with a second Libby also. No need for the Flamers then, of course, as the extra Attacks make up for the lessened a-i ability, and then some. I think I MIGHT suggest playtesting the second VV unit first, simply because most enemy vehicles will be stationary, allowing you to drop in, Glaive, Fist and Krak them, and watch the explosions begin, and smoke billow out.
I hope those musings helped! :D
*In hindsight, maybe I should answer every email like this...It's time consuming, but so is the original method. Wish I'd thought of it sooner...*