Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Much delayed Email...

Sorry Jason! I'd like to say I didn't forget, but I sorta did.  I can only offer the lamest of excuses - that I was busily trying (and finally succeeded, yay!) to get accommodation sorted for my holidays, and that a girl distracted me in one of those unfair ways they have.  Suffice it to say, I remembered, and this is the first in a couple articles devoted to your interesting problem.

Well...I don't get as many emails as Stelek and Kirby, so I have to stretch them out.  :(

In fairness, I am pretty bad at replying in under a week, unless actually replying by email...which doesn't help the Blog, so...Here goes!

"Hey King,

I'm interested in making an Alpha Legion army but I'm struggling to come up with something that is quite competitive yet still feels Alpha Legion-y.

I dunno if you can help me out, I don't really want to use the Chaos Codex cause it's kinda lame... any other 5th Ed Marine Codex I don't mind.

Kind Regards

As you yourself (but no-one else, so shushhhh!) know, the conversation actually continued a little bit after that.  That said, the relevant information for this post is already there - since this post is going to discuss what we could do to get a semi-competitive build out of the WolfDex.  Why the WolfDex? Well, becasue I have had less 'downtime' with it that the others; because I recently had to replace the one I bought on release day, cos it went walkabout; because it's kinda chronological, since this best reflects them Pre-heresy, and immediately afterwards; and because it is closest to me where I'm sitting.  Apart from my Dark Elf book, that I keep sneaking glances at, like it's a hot girl, and I'm in school wondering what I have to do to impress her enough to actually speak to me.  Not that the speaking is the most appealing part...Er...where was I? Oh, right.  Wolva Legion.  Ugh.  That sounds too wrong...let's just leave it at Alphas, huh.

Well, we start with the basic blokes, the 'CSM' squad equivalent - our favourite mediocre Troop Type, Grey Hunters.

Slight divergence - I've told the story before, but the WolfDex was the first one I bought.  It was my birthday (January, feel free to buy me stuff!) and I bought it, loving the artwork, and idea.  Oh, and it was new - cos this was 2e.  It had a BatRep between Andy Chambers, and a guy who was, at the time, cool - wearing shades in his photo, and talking about this game we all love with such drive and passion.  Sigh.  I miss both of those people.  Anyway - the game was a tight fought contest between Orks and Wolves, and I was struck deeply by the imagery of the Wolves, and resolved to have an army of them.  I still haven't got that army, 16 years later - but I will goddamn it.  Grey Hunters were particularly cool.  Obviously, Wolf Guard were the coolest - but GHs were close behind.  So calm, so collected - yet so ferocious when appropriate.  They were just as cool as other Marines, but they also had Chainswords.  /Reminisce

So, we want a core of these guys.  I have read (and thoroughly enjoyed) Legion, and I am familiar with the 2e fluff (what little there was) of Alphas well. Unusually, though, I have researched this article, rather than spewing my thoughts in a twisted cavalcade of words and emotions.  Or rather, I have researched, instead of JUST doing that.

Obviously, this meant plumbing the depths of what I had...or a quick refresher at Lexicanum.  It's quite a handy resource, really.  Essentially, it didn't offer anything new, though it did amuse me to see how there was no mention of the use of Cultists as their predominant military strategy - y'know, cos that's BS spouted by revisionist anti-Thorpians disgusted to an extreme degree by their crappy Codex.  Get over it.

Anyway, like I said - it did nothing to contradict my initial feelings for the project - not least because I <3 all aspects of the Hobby, albeit to different degrees, and my fluff-fu is not exactly weak.

That said, it gave me the idea of ensuring I only had evenly-numbered units.  I know, you're wondering why.  Well, there is method.  Y'see, Alphas recruited by squad, not individuals, for the Legion.  Even now, they operate as smaller bands, like roving pirate forces, only better organised than Blackheart's rabble.  As a result, and their fascination with symmetry and whatnot, I figured it would be much more fluffy to take evenly sized units, so their would be that element of symmetry throughout.  Sergeants would break that - so it's good news the Wolves don't really have those.  I also decided to make these squads 8-strong, where possible, to represent both the star of Chaos...and the 8 points on their Chapter symbol.

This led to the following Troops selection:

8 Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Power Fist, Rhino. - 185

I think we need to start with 4 of these, for symmetry.  Well that, and for a reason I will get to.  [Just so's we're clear, dear readers - I haven't actually worked out the whole list yet.  Honestly.  I'm working it out, as I type the post.  However, I DO have a plan in mind, which involves taking exactly 4 Troops choices.  Also, Jason never specified a Points Level, and I was too dumb to ask, so I'm working towards 2k, why not.]
Our spending on Troops thus far (and in total, why the hell would I take Blood Claws? :s ) is therefore 740.  Not too bad. Next slot? Elites of course.  We need the Stealthy part of the list.  Wolf Scouts.  Fun times.

6 Wolf Scouts; Meltagun, Meltabombs. - 130

So, two of these units leaves us an Elite slot, which can be filled with...oh.  We are unable to take the Fire Support I want here, because we would need at least 2 Riflemen, and, sadly, we also NEED two squads of WScouts.  :(

Alright, Wolf Guard I reckon.  However - let's slide across to Heavy Support and Fast Attack first.  Now, here's the thing.  This post was meant to be typed up 24 hours ago, and posted about 18 hours ago - but, I couldn't reconcile the issue of HS and FA fitting what I wanted.  I was going nowhere but circles, so I went to sleep, went to work, and went to see Predators (pretty good - not spectacular, but not a let down.)  I gave the brain a rest, and went flitting around the Blogosphere and Heresy and Warseer briefly before returning, brain ready for the challenge.  In  the end, it was easy.  :-\  Well, can't win em all.

Anyway, we do this:

Predator; Lascannon Sponsons - 120
Predator; Lascannon Sponsons - 120

Land Speeder Squadron [1 Speeder]; MM, HF - 70
Land Speeder Squadron [1 Speeder]; MM, HF - 70
Land Speeder Squadron [2 Speeders]; Typhoon, HB - 180

For a total of 1010 spent before them, we now lose another 660, to take us to 1670 spent.  Nice, eh? A cheap 100 point HQ, and we have a reasonable, but not special, 1750 list.  [With a little tinkering...] That's not what we want though.  So, we aim a little higher.  We still go for the Priest though.  Lightning and Tempest, please.  Lightning for ranged support (Only 2 Autocannons makes me EMO) and Tempest to slow down the armies that are more manoeuvrable than yours.  Now, I seriously thought about, mainly for fluff reasons, a nice beefy WGBL or, literally, two.  However, that would make the list less Competitive I reckon, and, at this point, that would be bad, since it's not the best in the world right now.  Let's work on that.  We have 230 left, so what about filling that totally empty HS slot I deliberately left, but filled in my head?  Okay, let's have a look...

Long Fangs Pack [3 LF, 1SL] ; 3 Missile Launchers, Razorback (Las/Plas) - 165

Well, that's nice, but breaks symmetry, by only having one Razor around.

Leaves us a mere 65 points, too - so we need a unit that costs under ten points...hrmmm....might not be too easy, that.  Okay, let's rejig somewhat.  The Fangs will end up being evenly numbered, because the Priest goes with them.  So, we buff them with another guy carrying ML.  Takes up another 25 points, and leaves us with just 40.  Okay, now we drop those extra Scouts.  Yeah, screw em.  Down to 5 guys/unit, saves 40, and gives us now 100.  Know what? If we drop an extra GH from each unit also, we save ourselves another 60 - which gives us enough for (quick mental maths) 6 Wolf Guard, right?  Six, with 52 points of gear.  52/6 is 8 each, with a few to spare...Oh look.  Putting all the tasty Combi-Meltas you could possibly desire takes that to an additional 30 points, meaning the unit now costs 138 out of our budget.

How nice.  This allows you to take either 4 Melta Bombs, Runic Armour for the RP, PWs for the Scouting WGuard, a Chooser...a pile of customisation options abound.  If you want to know how I would get in the final Razor, the only way I can see is to drop another GH each unit, and screw the nice idea of 8-strong units completely.  That generates 92 points, which allows 17 after paying for the RB...get that Chooser, methinks.


The completed list is, then:

Rune Priest;
Living Lightning, Chooser of the Slain, Tempest's Wrath. - 110

5 Wolf Scouts; Meltagun, Meltabombs. - 110
5 Wolf Scouts; Meltagun, Meltabombs. - 110

6 Wolf Guard; Combi-Meltaguns [6] Melta Bombs [2] - 148

7 Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Power Fist, Rhino. - 170
7 Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Power Fist, Rhino. - 170
7 Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Power Fist, Rhino. - 170
7 Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Power Fist, Rhino. - 170

Land Speeder Squadron [1 Speeder]; MM, HF - 70
Land Speeder Squadron [1 Speeder]; MM, HF - 70
Land Speeder Squadron [2 Speeders]; Typhoon, HB - 180

Predator; Lascannon Sponsons - 120
Predator; Lascannon Sponsons - 120
Long Fangs Pack [4 LF, 1SL] ; 4 Missile Launchers, Razorback (Las/Plas) - 190

TOTAL: 1998

Conceptually, I think they work fine with Wolves for Alphas, but the issue becomes trying to build a shooty list, since you don't want TWC when repping non-Wolf Founding Legions.

Next time around, Vanilla, I think.  Also, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how fun it'd be to create Iron Wolf MM bunkers, and put a Termie in every squad, a la Iron Hands...so I have to write that list out before I go mental with the distraction, gnawing away at my mind like the Horned Rat at the root of the world.  Upshot of that is - more content for the readership! Yeah!

Wolf Experts are more than welcome to tell me where I went wrong with this, those interested in that 'backstory' post I promised but am yet to deliver are welcome to salivate over the spoilers here, and anyone wishing to make a dick or Jervis joke, also welcome.  Hell, even comment on Predators, or my insistence upon using Predators in this list, with energy-based weaponry...

Talk to me, goddamn it! I'm wronery... :p

Nah, seriously, all comments welcome, True Believers.

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