Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dark Angel units- Wintercon list review

Today i'm putting up some throughts I've had regarding the units I fielded for Wintercon, weighing up the pros and cons. Im thinking of using some of this list as a basis for a 1500pt force for ANUCON in late September.

Belial was instrumental in allowing me to put various DW units where I needed (deepstrike without scatter), mainly to allow for maximum shooting damage and also to threaten units that may wish to charge them. He never got a successful enemy Warlord kill, as he was taken out by a Great Unclean One and Kharn (both out of his league), and in all other games was simply brought down through weight of fire. However his main benefit was making the three DW units ‘troops’, and for his points cost he’s definitely worth taking.

Fire-support Dreadnoughts
The missile and twinlinked autocannon/ lascannon dreads were great for sitting at 48” range and throwing anti-armour shots out, I had a few games where they out-ranged their opponents and survived the entire game (pre-measuring rocks). Both are very effective for their points, and the number of shots/twinlinking allowed them to land quite a few snap-shots at Flyers (a Stormraven was their biggest flyer kill). I will definitely try keeping these guys in my 1850 lists, they are great to use.

Deathwing- shooty
These two squads racked up more kills than all the rest of the army combined, due in no small part to their ability to Deepstrike in and have twinlinked shooting- the Plasma Cannon is now my favourite DW heavy weapon. They almost always ended up in close combat and with Termy armour/ pfists they acquitted themselves well. For the next tourney (possibly ANUCON) I might subsume a couple of TH/SS termies into each shooting DW squad (end up with 7 or 8 per unit) to give some dedicated MC defense/offense and to tank the big hits.  

Deathwing- TH/SS
These guys actually spent a few games deployed on the ground in front of key units as a barrier against fast-closing assault units, or were used to run forwards to join the deepstriking DW shooty units as a counter-attack punch once those guys had engaged a nasty target unit. As expected they took a load of punishment, and only ever died under a huge number of shooting or close combat attacks. As mentioned above, may just absorb these minis into the two shooty DW units- one to enter with Belial (no scatter) and one to land independently and form another bulwark/strongpoint. However, another thought for certain games is to deploy them facing the biggest/fastest threat with Belial in their midst, advancing forwards tanking the hits, and then deepstrike in the other two ‘shooty’ DW units on turn one or two (depending on circumstance) within 6”- Belial’s teleport homer will let them land without scatter, suddenly tripling the amount of Deathwing in that area- possibly good for wrong footing the opposition or dominating a flank. 

Sniper Scouts
The snipers were excellent for a measly 70 points, which included their camo cloaks- most of the time they had a 3+ cover save meaning they had awesome survivability, and the Vet Sgt kept them in the game with his Ld9. Although they landed a heap of shots, they never achieved any Rends or Pinned any units, but were able to draw a heap of fire and took some objectives in a few games. For their points cost they’re great, although I’m thinking of chucking in a Missile Launcher for some extra sting with harassing units- for example a frag missile against MEQs is wounding on the same roll (4+) as a single sniper shot, so for an extra 10 points I could be getting four or more shots with a frag blast, and even when accounting for Rending the frag is statistically better at causing casualties. Something to playtest I think.

Tactical Squad
Not much to say here, except that the new Stubborn rule kept my boys in the game many many times- none of the non-DW units (ie not Inner Circle) broke, ever. This allowed me to stay on the board and in a few cases I was able to deny VPs to my opponent where the units still had a couple of guys left at the end of the game.
The heavy bolter I took was fairly useless in most cases, I feel paying the extra points for a Plasma Cannon would have been a much better idea, although the Flamer was good- I assaulted some Khorne Bezerkers (honestly, it was better than being charged by them!) and I got 8 hits on my way in, flamers are awesome!!

Black Knights
Wow!!! With only three of these guys (126pts) I did some major damage coming on with Outflank. Skilled rider meant ignoring difficult terrain and one point better cover/jink save (4+ normal, 3+ turboboosting) which gave them incredible survivability, I survived high strength pie plates and heavy weapons fire and almost every time was able to get off a Rad grenade hit on the target unit. Knocking a point of Toughness from enemy units wasn’t ever really doing any difference when they fired with their Plasma Talons, (still 2+ to wound most of the time) but it certainly helped when I had the Dark Talon attacking in tandem, or sending fire from the Devs or Dreads- I took out a host of T5 multi wound Spawn like this- drop them to T5 and hammer in the Str8+ fire for instant death…. I am still thinking that it would be a smart idea to upgrade the Huntsmaster to have a power weapon (sword) as the Corvus Hammer’s Rending just isn’t dependable enough. However, the ability to hit-and-run (and T5) does mean you can engage 3+ armour and run off (through cover) 2D6 inches once you’re done to keep the bikes alive.    
Im hoping to pick up another box set of RW BK’s and flesh it out to five or six bikes for maximum plasma carnage, and also to boost up their close combat capability. 

Dark Talon
I did a lot of Internet searching before deciding whether to build a Dark Talon or Nephilim from my boxed set, and can happily say that IMHO i've made the right choice. The DT puts out magnificent ground-support firepower from its Hurricane Bolters and can easily de-buff enemy units with its ability to blind (Rift Cannon) or impose a -3 on both WS and Initiative with the Stasis Bomb. Being a flyer means that in a lot of cases you have the speed to always be in rapid fire range for the bolters- 12 re-rollable Str4 shots can mow down light infantry and even make a mess of MEQ targets. In this tourney I ran it in tandem with my Black Knights- coming in from outflank they used their grenade launcher to lower enemy toughness (and get their Plas shots off) and the DT would then unload with its armament and in most cases finish the job. These two units work brilliantly together, and even though I believe one could be taken without the other i'd be hesitant to do so- they compliment each other very well.

Although the DT does have the ability to hover I've never used it, although it is a useful ability if I need to plot a flight course that may end up taking it off a table edge (which in some games could mean its counted as destroyed for VPs if the game ends), however this is also subject to the army I'm facing and their AA capability. A good idea might be to run it into a far back corner mid game, and then hover in the next turn with a 180 degree pivot before coming back across the board for another two-turn strafing/bombing run- this may be useful against Nids or other armies with low AA abilities.

As its a support craft for attacking ground troops it works well, as mainly second-turn arrivals mean its within range of targets that my ground forces should be just about to assault (esp. where DW have deep-striked in turn one). So far, very happy with how this has turned out.

Not surprisingly the Devs drew some serious firepower from my opponents in all games, the only way I could guarantee their safety was to take shelter in ruins or out of range of opposing fire. I used them twice to literally stall enemy flank movements- whilst the enemy armour did advance it did so very slowly, trying to hug cover and take as little damage as possible.
In conjunction with the Dreads the Devastators threw up loads of Krak Missiles trying to knock enemy flyers from the sky, and in one game they landed 3 hits which all penetrated, however my opponent was able to safely jink each one! Im thinking that it might be worthwhile to spend the points and buy some Flakk Missiles (60pts for all four launchers) as this would allow me to tackle flyers and free up one or both of the Dreads to continue harassing ground forces. Only problem is that Flakks don’t give you the Interceptor rule, so you have to weather a turn of fire before getting shots off.

Will be definitely playtesting this setup to see how good it is for the points, which are starting to get quite expensive. While I don’t think they’ll in any way fix my Helldrake woes they’ll definitely provide a foil for the flyers of most other armies. 

So, do you agree with my thoughts, or have anything else to add? So far im happy with the way the Dark Angels play under the new codex, and the new units seem to work togehter well.


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