Friday, 10 September 2021

Updating my kill teams


So, with the release of kill team 2021, I have been looking at my teams. At present I have a number of teams, guard, scions, admech, sisters, chaos, tyranids and various marines,Grey Knights, Deathwatch, BA, SW, DA and Scouts. Plus there’s enough models in the house to build a Necron team. But, and it’s a big but, many of these teams will now be illegal to field in games of kill team. I’ll not go into depth on them too much, rather I will run through the basics of each new build and the maximum number of models I can field.

New teams in the left case, non-usable models in the right

As such we’ll  start with the most important ones, the guard and scions rosters.

Guard, Scions, AdMech and Sisters.

The guard are currently formed of 31 models, 30 guardsmen and one ogryn. The ogryn is out, as it’s no longer valid but what of the others? There are 2 sergeants, both of which will be kept due to their different loads. There are also two vox casters, now I’ve never needed two but had them anyway, now I’ll ditch one as part of the reshuffle. The "medic" however, is safe for the moment, even though there is no actual medic role. Next up are the special weapons troopers, of which I have 2 of each type, plasma gun, grenade launcher, melta, flamer and sniper. Under the new rules I can only ever field 1 of each, regardless of number of fire teams, so one of each type will be moved on. That gives me a total of 9 retained and 6 removed. Lastly we have all the general guardsmen, all 15 of them. Now, with the new fire teams, I can only ever field a maximum of 13 standard guardsmen and if I include the medic mentioned earlier, 3 of these have to go. Now, moving these models on is actually easier than it sounds, as it will be 5 special weapons, a vox caster and at least 3 guardsmen, which can, with a little bit of work and an additional Sgt, form a Veteran infantry squad in big 40k. That will leave me with 21 models in my guard roster.

The Scions however are in a slightly different boat. As it stands there are two sergeants including my "Inquisitor". Both will be kept in the new roster. There is only one flamer, Melta gunner and vox caster in the old roster, so they will all stay to the new one. There are however, two plasma gunners, two grenade launchers and two hotshot volley gunners, one of each will have to go. That will mean 8 remain and 3 will be lost. Of the rest, there is the "medic" again, who will be retained plus 8 scions. Now in the new format, I could have a maximum of 9 scions, so actually, all of the Scions plus the "medic" will be retained, meaning only 3 models will need to find a new home amongst the 40k inquisitional units as acolytes.

Next up we have the AdMech and again, there isn't much to loose here due to the difference in the rules. In terms of leaders, I have 3 alpha models available and all will be kept in the new roster. As for the rangers, I can field all the other 9 models, as there are two arc rifles and two transuranic arquebus', plus 5 standard rangers. This means one of each special weapon per fire team plus 3 rangers or 2 and an alpha. The vanguard however have a bit of a problem. With 2 alpha models and two special weapons, I have only 6 normal vanguard and I need 7 to be able to field two vanguard fire teams. This means that I can only ever field one fire team and so do not need 1 plasma Caliver and 1 vanguard model. So I may look at moving these across to 40k some how or maybe I'll just repaint the plasma Caliver from a vanguard to a ranger.

My sisters kill team is in a bit of a mess. Built for the last edition it is full of special weapons, one of each and also one of each of the heavy weapons options. These plus the sister superior and the icon bearer means that 7 of the 10 models are not standard sisters. So as it stands, I can build one fire team with a superior, icon, gunner and heavy gunner plus single warrior. The second fire team can have a gunner and only 2 sisters, 2 short of what I need to form a team. I can't sub in a different fire team as I don't own enough repentia or any arco-flagellants. I will have to see if I can find two more sisters from somewhere but for now the team will be shelved, unpainted and unfinished. 

Nids and Chaos

One of the few non-imperial forces, my chaos or traitor space marine kill team is also not in a great place. While the chaos cultist fire team is fine, with plenty of cultists, a cultist champion and options for gunners, the chaos marine fire team has more problems. A number of models are now illegal, being armed with lightning claws. I also have more bolter armed marines than I need. Overall about half the marines from the team will be dropped, to form a final team of 3 marines and cultists.

Tyranids are another faction with some issues. Currently there is just one Tyranid warrior in the force and numerous small bugs. You now need 3 Tyranid warriors to make a full fire team. I may well be able to find another two warriors to fill out the force but I honestly don't know if I will bother, as I'm not really that interested in having a Tyranid kill team and only had one to play against my son, which I can still do with the current models.

The collection of marines, in a rough order, DA, BA, SW, Scouts and Deathwatch.

The Grey Knights, are also in a strange place as technically all the models are still relevant. With the set-up I have I can still use all the models to form a kill team, as there are no restrictions on models or weapons apart from gunners but I only have one of each weapon. So at the moment, all the models will remain. 

Another marine team is the Deathwatch. Now straight off 5 models now illegal, seeing as they are equipped with jump packs. As for the rest, most of the rest are still legal. The few issues that arise are from the fights and gunners. The issue with fighters is that I have two heavy thunder hammers, 1 more than is allowed in a kill team. The other issue is with the gunners, as I have several models armed with combi weapons and power weapons, which are now not legal. 

BA, SW, DA kill teams are all in a right pickle. The BA kill team is currently formed of 7 illegal models and 3 legal, with a Sgt, gunner and tac marine. The SW kill team is formed of 5 illegal models and 6 legal models, including 2 Sgt models, 1 gunner, 1 heavy gunner and 2 tac marines. Lastly we have the DA kill team, consisting of 7 illegal models and 3 legal, including 2 Sgt models and 1 tac marine. This give a total legal model count of 5 sgt's, 2 gunners, 1 heavy gunner and 4 tac marines, enough to make a single kill team with a couple of Sgt models (removing duplicates), a flamer and plasma gun armed gunners, a missile launcher heavy gunner and 4 tac marines. It does mean that over half the models from the old rosters are now no longer usable. 

Finally, we have the Scout kill team. Now originally this was a composite team of marines and scouts, so straight up 2 models are out, although both could be used in the main marine kill team, they are both Sgt models and there's already loads of them. There are also several scout sergeant models, which will be dropped I only need one. As for the rest, well I should have more than enough models to fill a team, with a mix of snipers, bolters and shotguns with a chunk of pistol and knives. 

Friday, 3 September 2021


 Finally we have the elite section of the codex. I've saved this for last as I think it's going to be the longest post. The Elite section of the codex is the most populated section in the entire codex, with 21 options, the next biggest section is HQ's with just 9. There are several options within the elites list that I think are in the wrong section, for a number of reasons. I think that a number of these issues could be easily solved by adjusting units to other sections, including the option to not take up a detachment slot. 

I'll go into more details about units I think need there data sheets updated in a bit but first we'll dice in to units I think are in the wrong section. We'll start with platoon commanders. I think that these should be moved to the HQ section and grouped together in a similar way to SM lieutenants, giving to option to take multiple platoon commanders in a single slot, up to 3 would be good. Talking of commanders, I would also argue that the command squads should be removed from the elite section, or at the very least have a rule that says they don't take up a slot if you have a commander and seeing as you can't have a command squad without a commander, it basically means all the time. This would mean that you could take a proper command structure without taking up valuable elite slots. There are other changes to command squads that I'll go over later which make this option more viable. 

I also think that the old advisers; Master of Ordnance, Officer of the Fleet, Astropath and Ministorum Priest, should be put back in to a similar no force org slot, but be limited to one (of each) per commander, also within this list should be Nork and Ogryn Bodyguards, following the same limitations. The last unit that I think needs its detachment slot looking at is Colour Sergeant Kell. Kell is a elite choice that can be taken in any Cadian detachment but he should be a no force org choice that can only be taken when creed has been selected. All of that might sound complicated but it isn't really, it just harks back to the command squads of old and is just a case of if you take X you can take Y.

Talking of command squad options, there are quite a few that I think need adjusting. Medic from both the standard command squad and MT command squad. Most other medic type characters heal wound automatically and some have Stratagems to help with extra healing, (I'm looking at you Mr Apothecary), our medics have a 50\50 chance of healing a single wound. We don't even have a Feel No Pain bubble. We need that 4+ removed at the very least, meaning that they will at least be healing one model a turn. A FNP bubble would be nice but I think just limiting it to the squad is a better option. These changes would make the medic a usable model again. The main problem with command squads, and this applies mostly to the standard command squad, is the availably of special weapons. The squad can take 4, making it just a better special weapons squad, with BS3 and one extra weapon. There is really little point taking special weapons squads when you can take command squads. I think that the number of weapons for command squads should be restricted, to say 2, along side the restrictions I mentioned previously. This would really turn the command squads in to command squads and not super special weapons squads.

Of the various characters there are so.e tweaks that I think need making. Mostly they are little ones, such as being able to give the Officer of the Fleet some sort of combat weapon, such as chainsword or power sword, he's an officer and what sort of officer doesn't carry a sword! The same can be said for the Master of Ordnance. In addition, why does he have a 36 inch minimum range on his ability? Either he needs some glasses for his long sightedness or he's prettified of getting hit. A 12 inch minimum range I could understand but 36 seems a little long, especially give the new, smaller board sizes. Priest are next on the block and while the base profile is ok, I still think they should give a some sort of bonus to leadership as well. The best thing to me would be to modify combat attrition test, so that you can only ever fail on a 1, regardless of unit losses. Alternatively halving the number of models that flee would work. Priests are supposed to be shipping the troops up into a frenzy, yet it doesn't really work out that way. 

That last character on the list is the commissar. Now, I probably should have written something about this when I did HQ units but for some reason I didn't. The main issue with commissars is the Summary Execution rule. The rule allows you to execute a model to re-roll morale if you fail. What I think it should do is allow you to execute a model before morale is rolled to either autopass morale or roll a d3 for moral rather than the standard d6. Autopassing morale is my pick, as it's more inline with the fluff.

For the various units, darlings are in desperate need of some love. For starters they need a +1 to strength and toughness, even grots are tougher now! They also need a +1 to their armour as well. If a bare chested Catachan can get a 5+ so can a ratling in clothes! Also, for sniper specialist you'd think they'd have good sniper rifles, as it is they are the standard rubbish. An increase in ap would be a good start, although I still think it needs more. Options for rounds, similar to the SM Eliminators is another option, one I like the look of and will add some flexibility to the unit.

Another unit that seems to lack some purpose are Wyrdvane Psykers. With only rolling 1d6 rather than the standard 2d6, your really limiting the powers to smite and mental fortitude. Even with the plus' for larger squads, the highest you can ever roll is 8 but average of 6. This means most of the time your going to fail to cast even though you've been forced to spend a chunk of point maxing out the unit. Just allowing the unit to roll 2d6 would make this a proper psychic unit and a reasonable alternative to Primaris Psykers. 

The next units to look at are the Ogryn units, the standard Ogryns and their Bullgryn cousins. While I think that the various stat lines for these units is fine, I think that they are both overpriced, not by much but enough that they are not points efficient. Ogryns suffer most out of the two and require a bigger points drop, even just a couple of points a model would make a significant difference to them. I also think that Orgyns need so improvement on their weapons, either in the form of an increase to ap or damage. At the moment they are very lack luster. I also think that an alternative weapon would be useful, either a form of grenade launcher, similar to Bullgryns grenadier gauntlets or flamer type weapon, maybe similar to a heavy flamer. This would give them alternative rolls within the army. 

Next up are a unit that I think just needs removing from the codex. Crusaders are a strange inclusion in the guard codex, as they are not really guard units but Ministorum units and are more at home in the Sisters codex. While they are useful units, they are not guard units and should be removed.

Lastly for the elite units, we have the Veterans.  Now, I think there are quite a few issues here. While the basic profile is good, I think that there are a few tweaks that are needed to make these in to true veterans. Most of these tweaks revolve around the combat potential of the unit, as they presently only have 1 attack, the same as a standard guardsman. I think that all vets should gain an additional attack (vets squads and command squads). This would mirror a number of other factions veteran options and also make these a little different to standard troops. In addition to this I think that there should be the option to build vets as combat oriented troops, with every one being armed with pistols and chain swords. This would make them into a very different unit to standard guardsman as well and really give them a unique role within the guard. Building on this, I also would like to see the option for Carapace armour, and a 4+ save, return to vets. This would take them into the same from as the Scions, but mean that you can still field a "pure" guard army. Lastly, I still don't understand why these are not a troop choice. I understand that they are the "elite" of the guard, but they still aren't really elite units. They have always been troops choices in the past and I still think they should be, that being said, I still think that they should have kept the whole platoon system that guard had as well. 

In addition to all these changes, there are a couple of units that I think should be created for the elite section. Both these units tie in with the restrictions that I would like placed on the command squads. What I would like to see are two new special weapons squads, one for veterans and one for MT scions. For veterans it would follow the same lines as the standard SWS and take over from the special weapons heavy command squads. The Scion weapons squads however would have to be a bit different as a standard Scion squad can have 2 special weapons for 5 blokes, plus the Sgt can carry a pistol. A Scion special weapons squads would need to be something different to the standard squad and the altered command squad, which to my mind mean having a 5 man squad with up to 4 special weapons plus a Sgt. This means you could still field the 4 special weapons were use to with command squads but in a standard squad size. This is by no means a perfect solution and there are others, such as a squad along the lines of the current command squads, the standard special weapons squad set up or just going with something entirely new that I haven't thought of. 

Friday, 27 August 2021

Heavy support and Superheavies

 The heavy support section is one of the populated sections of the codex, with a number of good units and some not so go units. While there are some units that I think need some work to get them up to a more competitive level, there are also a couple of units that I think will see some characteristics changed due to streamlining. I'll start with these units, as they will be quick to deal with. 

The two main units that I think will see some changes are the Basilisk and Manticore, and the main change will be the damage going from d3 to a flat 2 or maybe 3 damage, although 2 would be more likely. This is due to some other weapons loosing their variable damage characteristics, which is good as it gives a more accurate estimate of damage dealt. I think this is most likely with manticores as a way of reducing the effect of Full Payload manticores.

There are a few other units that need a few adjustments in my view. The Leman Russ Battle Tank, while the main tank is pretty good and not much needs changed, if anything, there are a few of the weapons options that need looking at. The Executioner plasma cannon, which follows the same profile as the standard plasma cannon with the exception of d6 shots. This means that you could end up getting just 1 shot, practicality the same as a standard plasma gun, for a weapon that is supposed to be a tank mounted plasma cannon. I think the shots need to be changed to a 2d3 or d6 with minimum number of shots, say 3. This give it the feel of a proper tank mounted gun. The other option would be to increase the strength, just 1 up, to S8 and S9, giving it that extra bit of punch and bringing it inline with the marines macro plasma incinerator. Personally I think more shots is the way to go, rather than extra strength. This would mean that the tank as a whole, with sponsons, could put out a significant amount 9f firepower. The 9ther version of the LRBT that needs looking at is the Exterminator and it's Autocannons. At present it's two barreled autocannon kicks out just 4 shots, the same as two separate Autocannons carries by guardsmen. Being vehicle mounted it should kick out more shots, in my view, double the number, although 6 would still be better. If marines can carry a 3 shot version around by hand, then a tank should be able to do at least the same, if not more. Again, I don't think that extra strength or ap is needed, just more shots, the guard is, after all, about volume. 

Talking about volume, we have the Wyvern. Now, I love this weapon, it is a good weapon but as I have said before several times, it needs something more, because right now the only thing that makes it better than mortar equipped heavy weapons squads is that you can take more of them. Simply adding an extra point of strength or ap would make all the difference and make them stand out from regular mortars. I think the ap is the way to go, keeping them as S4 with re-rolls to wound. An alternative route would be extra special rules, such as re-roll number of shots or ignoring cover, even going back a few editions and being able to add one to BS if you can see the target unit (advanced vehicle mounted targeting units?) Either way, I think that it needs something extra.

Next we have to fun one, the Deathstrike missile launcher! Now, we all know that the Deathstrike is not a competitive choice, not can the tabletop model ever represent what we read in books, after all, if it did, firing one on the tabletop would wipe out the gaming hall, not just your table! The biggest issue with Deathstrike missile launchers however is the random number of shots and BS. With 3d6 shots and a 4+ BS your looking at just 5 hits. For a single shot super weapon that you can't actually fire turn 1, 5 hits is pretty rubbish. Even with the possibility of extra hits on nearby units, which is slim, as by the time.youanage to fire it most units are going to be out of range of other units, so you might get to roll 2 other dice of which one might hit and get 2 mortal wounds. Against marines, this will mean 3 and a half dead models, not a great return. I think this model needs either a big price reduction, significant damage output improvement or auto hitting shots, maybe even all three! The death strike probably shouldn't be a competitive choice but it should be a devastating one. 

Next up we have what I think is the unit that needs the biggest improvement, not in terms in the units price or stat line, both of which I think are fairly balanced. The biggest issue is the restrictions in match play, know as the rule of 3. Heavy Weapons Teams are a staple of guard units, however they have been severely restricted by the rule of 3, far more so that vehicles. This is because the rule states you can only take 3 of each data sheet, and with guard vehicles this means that you can actually take 9 vehicles due to the squadron rules. Only Manticores and Deathstrikes don't have the squadron rules. This means that taking heavy weapons squads only happens if you've spare point not spent elsewhere, which is rare. I think that either heavy weapons squads need to be allowed to take more teams, at least 5, if not more, up to 9 (3 lots of 3) or we should be able to take them in "squadrons" or multiple squads in a single slot. This would mean that they would become a usable force again.  

I also mention here an additional unit that I think needs adding in, the MT scions heavy weapons squad. I've mentioned scions needing heavy weapons in the troops and transports post but I think that they need a dedicated heavy weapons squad as well. I still think that these squads should have limited weapons options but I also think that they should have unique choices, such as multi-melta's and maybe even plasma cannons. The squads should follow the same rules as the standard HWS, as these could well be the only long range heavy hitting weapons and main anti-tank weapons in the army. 

The last thing to mention here are the super-heavy tanks. Now, in general these are fairly balanced and don't really need adjustment. One thing they do need however is a boost to their saves, in the form of an invulnerable save. These vehicles, while tough with lots of wounds, are still fragile for their size and cost. An invulnerable save would be perfect for them. I'm not after anything crazy, just a 6++ would be perfect, just something to ensure these prized relics have a save. I'm not expecting Knights level of shielding, but just a little extra would be useful.

Friday, 20 August 2021

Fast attack and fliers

 There are only a couple of entries here that we need to look at, sentinels, hellhounds and Valkyries, although I will be including Vendettas in this list as well, as they are a common flyer within guard armies.

Sentinels are a good example of what I was talking about with the Chimera and taurox, you have two options that's cost the same but have very different roles. There are a few issues with the two.profiles though I think. Firstly I think there needs to be a greater difference in the movement 9f the two vehicles, with scouts getting faster, at least an extra inch. Secondly I think there needs to be more restrictions on weapon choices, with flamers removed from armoured sentinels, to mirror the availablity of plasma cannons. These are minor changes that shouldn't make much difference to the units. Apart from these changes I think sentinels are pretty good where they are. 

The last fast attack choice is the Hellhound, although it's really three versions, Hellhounds, Devil Dogs and Bane Wolves. All three versions have flaws that need dealing with, some.more serious than others. The basic Hellhound needs the Inferno Cannon range increased. Previously the range was double the standard flamer range, thanks to the old torrent rules, now however it's only just longer than the standard flamer range. The flamer needs to be upped, to at least 18 inch range, 24 would be better. I also think that the ap needs upping as well, just by 1, beefing it up over the standard heavy flamer. 

The devil dog main weapon also needs changing. The Melta Cannon is an assault d3 weapon, which 2as good against the old multi-melta but against the new version it needs adjusting. I think it should go up to 2d3 shots or d6 with a minimum of 3, either way it means that you will get at least the same number of shots at the multi-melta, rather than less. The other option would be to make it stronger with greater damage but keep the d3 shots, otherwise you might as well have two multi-melta's. I still think changing the shots to 2d3 is the best option.

The Bane Wolf is the worst option out of all the variants at the moment. This is due to the small range of the Chem Cannon. At present it's range is laughable and needs a significant increase, at least doubling. It was the same as flamers, but now it is significantly shorter, well within counter charge range. As the weapon is also a d6 weapon it's highly variable and unreliable. If it was a 6 shot weapon or even 3+d3, then you could be more confident about attacking a unit. I think that there are really two ways to fix this weapon, increasing the range, at least doubling it or changing the weapon to either 2d6 or even better 4d3. This would mean that you have the range to engage without worrying about getting swamped in return, alternatively the increased shots means that you can get up close and personal with a good chance of killing off what your shooting at. As it stands you never see Bane Wolves on the table and unless something significant changes, you never will.

I also think that we need a significant improvement in the fast attack section. We have only 2 real options, Hellhounds and sentinels, and there are plenty of gaps in the guard arsenal. For starters I think we need a fast\light tank, something along the lines of the Taurox but without the transport capacity. Even something along the lines of the Chimedon or Chimerax would be fine. Alternatively there are the Tauros models that you used to be able to get from forge world. These models would also be a suitable for filling the role above, fast mobile units with firepower. There would need to be some changes, such as the addition of other weapons, such as heavy bolters and autocannons. There would need to be some changes to the stats, to stop the unit clashing with sentinels, in terms of profiles but I think that could be managed by increasing the firepower and resilience of these units over sentinels. Then there are rough riders, we need our rough riders back and I think they should on horses still. I think that we should have some options for rough riders as well, one lot should be the classic hunting Lance equipped unit and another should be equipped with different weapons, something like flamers or grenade launchers for mobile firepower. These two options, and their alternative builds, would boost up the fast attack slot to proper proportions and fill in the gaps in the guard range. 

Next we have the flyers. The only option in theain guard codex is the Valkyrie, which as it stands is in a pretty good place. There isn't anything that I would change about it as it stands. The only thing I to see in relation to the Valkyrie is some proper alternative builds, along the lines of the new AdMech flyer. We currently have just one option with two weapons choices. The missiles are not great anti-armour options, while the MRP's are reasonable anti-horde weapons. What I would like to see is a proper anti-armour version, basically the Vendetta, a anti-infantry version, with MRP's or even punishers and finally bomber variant, with similar rules as the AdMech version or even just battle cannon type damage. 

While we're talking about flyers, I'll mention the Vendetta, as it's an aircraft that lots of people take. This should be in the main codex, as it use to be. However, there are a few issue with it as it stands. It's to expensive and needs a significant price reduction, as it is nearly twice the cost of a Valkyrie at the moment. It needs to loose at least a quarter of its cost to make it a competitive choice, especially as it doesn't have a number of special rules that the Valkyrie gets. The main rule that is missing is Roving Gunship. This would make a huge difference to Vendettas, meaning that they would be able to reliably hit with their lascannons and do some real damage. I have referred to lascannons a lot here but there is also the hellstrike missiles. These are however a bit lacklustre, being weaker, with less ap, for only a bit more damage. Oh, and your dropping half the number of shots. No body takes hellstrike missiles and unless they do something about it no body will. Yes, the extra damage is too, but I think it needs to do a lot more damage to balance out loosing half your shots. Either that or up the ap to guarantee the kill. 

In think that these two sections of  codex are the weakest sections and need some work on them to bring them up to standard. I doubt we will get much of what I've said but I am very hopeful for rough riders and a Tauros like vehicle. Next we'll jump to heavy support and circle back to Elites, as that's the biggest section in the book.