Monday, July 13, 2009

Mechanized Armies - My Thoughts

It's been a while since I've posted, but life keeps us down in the form of obnoxious internet and computer related problems. But lo! They have been fixed.

I just read one of Goatboy's posts on BoLS and everything he says is really right on the dot. If you haven't read it, read it. It's worth the time.

I played a nice big multi-player game the yesterday at 3000 points each; Eldar/Tau vs. SM/SM/Dark Angels Double-Wing. The game was Kill Points with long table edges. I was expecting to get have terminators and drop pods down my throat almost immediately, but I was wrong. My Tau ally and I deployed first, placing down our immobile elements (Dark Reapers and Broadsides) in big firing lanes and then all of our tanks (1 Wave Serpent, 1 Falcon, 3 Devilfish and 1 Hammerhead) and our other mobile units (Seer Council, Crisis suits) near the middle of the table in order to respond to our enemy's deployment. Our infiltrators (Rangers and Stealth suits) sat down near the middle of the table on elevated ground for commanding fields of fire.

As our opponents deployed, my Tau ally and I looked at each other with a "...Really?" look on our faces. There was not a single troop transport on their side of the board beyond a single Land Raider Redeemer. Nearly all their models were going to be foot-slogging it across the board, with the exception of a squad of Ravenwing Bikers, Pedro Kantor + Huge Honor Guard in the Land Raider and a Ravenwing Land Speeder. Heck, even Captain Sicarius was gonna be making moves on foot.

Needless to say, our side won the final battle some 9-10 kill points to 4. However, I feel strongly that the reason is not because we used cheesy lists or because the odds were just stacked in our favor. I think it's because we had very few static elements in our respective lists - everything that wasn't sniping or toting heavy weapons was locked in a troop transport for quite some time before seeing the light of day (in the case of a Fire Warrior squad, never seeing the day at all).

Random Reader: "But Squirrel Fish! Transports give up kill points! It's not worth it!"

NO! It is worth it, even if it can give up a kill point. Even in a Kill Point game, the lone Rhino or Chimera or Wave Serpent allows its squad to choose its battles; the when and the where. By being able to maneuver around the battlefield, you can bring your fire to bear on your opponent's weak points and straggling squads. If their army is turtled up or is advancing as one solid column, your superior mobility gets you to their weak side, where you can spectacularly crush them.

However, for sheer metagame reasons I do like my long range anti-tank weapons. The current environment says that melta is the weapon of choice for special weapons teams and they're right. The only downside is that you have to be right up in their face to use it and more than likely, that melta-squad is gonna bite the dust the following turn.

Because of this, I still insist on keeping a few shots of some longer ranged anti-tank weapons on hand. As delicious as that 200+ point Leman Russ looks to kill, your first target should be the enemy's troop transports. If you cripple/hamper the enemy's able to respond to your own movements, the rest of the game becomes simply dissecting their army.

Anywho, this has turned into a much longer post that I had originally thought out. Next time, pics of my completed Eldar and pics of the WiP Space Marines.

C&C always welcome!



  1. You're dead-on about transports.

    Sure, it's KP. On the other hand? A Rhino means that your marines aren't getting shot. T4 and 3+ saves keep you alive only so long. And for people like Guardsmen? Either lotta guard, or a decent number of guard living in a Chimera. (in case of melta-vets, there are 10 guys in a chimera, 10 guys out of it, and then 0 vets after the next shooty phase).

    Plus, they get you where you need to be, when you need to be there. What good is a meltagun if it's 24" away from that Land Raider?

    And you have to go mechanized because a single armored unit somehow attracts every last anti-tank weapon out there.

    For anti-tank weapons, I think you need to gun for effectiveness, and melta is not the end-all. Melta is certainly important (...since, y'know, autocannons do jack-all to Land Raiders, missile launchers don't count, and even lascannons have their issues). I'd lean towards rate of fire, and then settle for melta for the more certain kills. I mean, when I did marines, I ran a heap of melta and flamers, but also ran 2-3 autocannon/heavy bolter predators as well. Autocannons do a number on most transports.

  2. Ditto all of the above.

    Of course, I'm not exactly complaining about this change. I've been playing mech heavy lists for this and Fluff reasons since 2nd edition. My Wolves loved it when Rhino Rush was possible. Now I get by on mech Eldar.

    Though I'd say it isn't the only way to go either. Bikes, Jetbikes, Jumppacks or really tough units can make up this difference. So mech isn't an auto-win button, but it certainly makes a difference.

  3. Cool that I inspired you to paint your Eldar last month =-D Those turned out great!

  4. I agree that transports are really needed in alot of armies, mostly MEQ.

    I've run fullsized bike squads, and fullsized Tac squads, and the tac squads always survive longer, since the 35pt bus keeps the troopers alive alot longer. So yes, a transport can give an easy killpoint, but alot of the time it prevents loosing a killpoint on the unit it carries