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Monday, 23 April 2012

Army List Challenge/Paladins Suxxors

St. George's Day and 30th anniversary of the ZX Spectrum
/This thread on Heresy: http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/showthread.php?t=108949&page=4 I got into a debate about Paladins, and specifically how bollocks they are.

I don't need to get back into the reasoning all over again, it's there in the thread.  There are certainly a few things I missed, but this article is about living up to the challenge I set and presenting three 1500-point lists that would give that GK army fits, and obviously there's no point in tailoring the,.  Apart from the fact that tailoring your list is cheating and I'm no cheat, any fool can tailor a list and write it to defeat a specific, pre-known opponent...for instance if I wrote a list of Orks with 45 Tankbustas, in order to take advantage of the lack of vehicles and simply missile-rape the Purifiers.



For summary purposes, here again is the Grey Knight list I am challenged by, although it isn't quite what I was expecting, as I assumed throughout the thread that the Paladins were Scoring, ie Draigo was involved, and they were the focus of the list, not a supplementary support element.

Total Roster Cost: 1498
HQ1 Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor, Servo-skulls x2 + Power Armour + Condemnor Boltgun + Null Rod x11 Castellan Crowe, 
1 Vindicare Assassin, 
Inquisitorial Henchmen Warband,3 Inquisitorial Servitor, Plasma Cannon6 Psyker,
Elite: Paladin Squad1 Apothecary,Halberd1 Paladin, Halberd Master-craft Nemesis Weapon1 Paladin, Halberd + Psycannon1 Paladin, Halberd + MCPsycannon1 Paladin, Brotherhood Banner
Troops: 2 x Purifier Squad1 Knight of the Flame, Nemesis Force Halberd5 Purifier, Nemesis Force Halberd4 Purifier, Psycannon


A full analysis of this list in unnecessary at this juncture, though certainly some things stand out.
Obviously, the OH Inquisitor has no choice but to run around with the Henchmen - having the Servitors Mindlock is too irritating for anything else.
Crowe has no Transport to steal (as there are no Transports) and so will probably begin the game in Reserve, as not to grant an easy las-snipe opportunity.
The Vindicare is the only model in the army capable of threatening from range, and the only reliable anti-tank that AV12+ will be genuinely wary of.
The army presents excellent anti-infantry fire, primarily against MEQs - but it mostly comes from the one unit, and it's a unit without much in the way of saves or Toughness.
Servo Skulls can do a job at helping get past the immobility of the list, most notably the Paladins themselves - but Transports, Skimmers and Jump infantry remove Skulls easily, as do Scouts and Infiltrating models.  If deploying second, they're practically a gimmick...I guess reducing Plasma Scatter would be nice too.
The ability to hold Scouting and Infiltrating units at arm's length is neat though.  Overall, they're still a good choice, but the temptation to use those to provide accurate Deep Striking is one that should probably be avoided.

On to the challenge itself.

The first thing I had to do was think to myself what Codexes I wanted to look at.  Obviously with Space Wolves and Grey Knights being considered overpowered by many denizens of the Internet, there wasn't much point highlighting the flaws in the list with them.  Even though IG are better than either, most still don't recognise that, so I felt fine with taking them as an example.  I also had to bear in mind that some armies get worse and some better at this points level, and try to take that into account adequately.

Firstly then, I wrote an Imperial Guard list.  As with most games against that list, mine will aim to avoid the Paladins, bubblewrapping to mitigate damage if they do reach my lines, and repeatedly Tank Shocking if possible to break them and chase from the board.  I have enough firepower to remove one or two of them, and hopefully force further rolls against their LD in the process - all I need to do is remove the purifiers though, as the Paladins won't win any games on their own at merely 5-men.  The Vindicare is the biggest threat to this list, as Plasma Cannons don't worry AV12 in the least, and the Purifiers will be kept at arms' reach long enough to kill most of them, especially if they Combat Squad.  If they try to teleport in, then I will simply bombard the Henchmen and then kill the Troops when they arrive - without Psychic Communion I shouldn't need to worry about them swarming me with Power Armoured bodies.  I have more than enough mobility and Troops for Scoring missions, and DoW will be an absolute walk in the park with my Platoon.

IG 1500 points:

Lord Commissar;
Camo Cloak, Power Weapon, Chimera - 145
Veteran Squad;
3 Meltaguns, Chimera - 155
Platoon:
PCS;
3 Meltaguns, Shotguns, Chimera - 115
Infantry Squad;
Lascannon - 70
Infantry Squad;
Lascannon, Chimera - 125

Infantry Squad;
Lascannon, Chimera - 125
SWS;
3 Meltaguns - 65

SWS;
3 Meltaguns - 65
HWS;
3 Autocannons - 75
Vendetta - 130
Vendetta - 130
Leman Russ MBT - 150
Leman Russ MBT - 150

I think we can agree that my 9 likely units deployed (well, 11, but the SWS hijack two Chimeras very early on.) are enough to deal with the 8 potentially being deployed against me by the GKs.  What's more, this is a list that is pretty well balanced, and would suffer against no particular list.  Even though every unit seems to have had anti-tank as it's focus of upgrades, 27 Lasguns aren't insignificant anti-infantry, the Russes are chiefly anti-infantry, and we have 5 Chimerae with Multi-Laser and Heavy Flamer for even more fun.

Next, I turned my hand to an army that the internet largely believes stronger at 1500, despite the overcosting of virtually every unit within.  That's right, I returned to the Children of the Stars.  While I wanted a GuideSeer in the list, I couldn't see him not using both Runes, and had to swap out for the points to get ChinCannons on the Prisms.  At least as valid an option, however, would be to replace the Falcon's BL with a Scatter Laser, swap the second Autarch for said Farseer, and watch as GKs heads explode when they try to Psychic stuff...though that is not what I opted to do - perhaps slightly motivated by my desire not to look like I was tailoring...

Eldar 1500:

Autarch;
Fusion Gun, Scorpion Chainsword - 85

Autarch;
Fusion Gun, Scorpion Chainsword - 85
5 Fire Dragons;
Wave Serpent [Scatter Laser, Shuriken Cannon] - 205

5 Fire Dragons;
Wave Serpent [Scatter Laser, Shuriken Cannon] - 205
5 Dire Avengers;
Wave Serpent [Bright Lance, Shuriken Cannon] - 205

5 Dire Avengers;
Wave Serpent [Bright Lance, Shuriken Cannon] - 205

5 Dire Avengers - 60
Fire Prism;
Shuriken Cannon - 125

Fire Prism;
Shuriken Cannon - 125
Falcon;
Bright Lance, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones, Holo-Fields - 200

Again, I think we can agree that the list has little to fear bar the Vindicare, and his 3++ is good...but he only has 2W, and if he fails against a Lance?  Well.  Strangely, this list actually has more chance of taking out the paladins than the IG, because this list can wipe them out at range, particularly if they DS in and don't run far enough apart [Twin-Linked S10 AP1 Blast anybody?]

For the last Codex, I had a bit of a dilemma.  Like I said, I didn't want to simply pick Wolves, and point out the obvious Long Fangs > Purifiers on foot dynamic, so I had to stretch myself slightly better.  I considered both Necrons and Blood Angels, but decided that their exorbitant costs in several places meant that they'd suffer too much at 1500...and while I could possibly write lists that would be very capable of winning, they wouldn't be ones I'd personally want to play, so it kind of held no interest for me.  Similarly, writing Lash-based Chaos would've been too easy, and Daemons too pointless.

At this point, another problem occurred - even though the IG were clearly a hybrid list, not purely mechanised, I might just come across as pointing out the strengths of mechanisation, and vehicles in general, turning this into a pointless ego-stroking exercise, instead of actually teaching anything.  Despite the risk of the same with illustrating my point through yet another 4e Codex, I felt I had little choice - it was Orks or Nids.  Since Nids rely on Combat, they'd get served by Cleansing Flame and Halberds no less than Jumper BA, so Orks it was.  Now, don't misunderstand me - Orks are an inherently bad match-up against Grey Knights.  The thing is though, without enough mobility or bodies in the list above, the Orks can overcome this, and since they're already stronger at 1500 points (as the game is more rock-paper-scissorsy) they were a fair choice to end this article.

Orks 1500:
Big Mek;
KFF, Eavy Armour - 90

Big Mek;
KFF, Eavy Armour - 90

5 Lootas - 75
5 Lootas - 75
5 Lootas - 75
20 Boyz;
Shootas, 2 Rokkits - 140

20 Boyz;
Shootas, 2 Rokkits - 140

20 Boyz;
Shootas, 2 Rokkits - 140

20 Boyz;
Shootas, 2 Rokkits - 140
10 Gretchin;
Runtherd, Grot-prod - 45
10 Gretchin;
Runtherd - 40
3 Killa Kans;
3 Rokkit Launchas - 150
3 Killa Kans;
3 Rokkit Launchas - 150
3 Killa Kans;
3 Rokkit Launchas - 150


While the GKs certainly have the firepower to trouble the Kans, and even blow them up, if even one reaches their lines, they're toast.  The Gretchin, frankly, are a little superfluous, but would excel in Objective games being so low on Target Priority, and seemed overall a more balanced addition to the list than a Deff Dread.  If getting to shot first, the list has 17 Rokkits, which is going to average enough to kill a Combat Squad, and the Lootas should force the Vindicare to keep Going to Ground pretty often.  The Paladins themselves pose a potential danger to the list, as do the Purifiers if they get close enough to assault me of course, and Boyz disappear under Stormbolter shots - but there isn't a single Nemesis Daemon Hammer in the list, so, again - a single Kan reaches you with my 4++ cover all the way up the board, and you're just another corpse to the Power Klaws and Buzz Saws.

Certainly, this last is probably the weakest, because foot elements are almost invariably weaker than mechanised ones in 5e, because it's an old Codex, and because Orks are made of paper and shoot like their eyes are closed before exploding in a cloud of confetti in combat with anything stronger than the Imperial Guard.  But it's still able to force the Paladin-user to reconsider his lack of bodies, especially when failing to take more Purifiers - who are the most points-effective gun unit in the book he's using...
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