Monday 12 August 2019

Kill team elites - unit review part 3 (the actual units!)

So we are finally on to the review of the actual new units in the Kill Team Elites expansion and as I start to write this I realise that I haven't actually done a proper review of the units in the original book! Oh well, probably a bit late for that now. In this post I will look at the new units from the Marines (not including primaris units) and also the Deathwatch options. I will also briefly touch on the Grey Knights new units but it will only be briefly. I will then look at the new guard units before moving on to touch on the AdMech and Chaos models. Hopefully I'll get it in to a reasonably sized post but I've a feeling this could spread to a part 4.

Anyway, without further ado, let's look at Terminators. And as you'd expect, there isn't much that was unexpected. They got the standard profile and standard weapons. You can field them as normal or assault variant. Space Wolves get some extra love, being able to take more weapon options that the regular termies but that just reflects the standard 40k setup with wolf guard termies. Dark Angels get to go big with the plasma cannon, which could be fun.

Next up are the Veterans, a whole smorgasbord of options! Included in the "veterans" datasheet are Sternguard, Vanguard and Company versions for a total of 7 entries. Why they just didn't enter them all separately I don't know, maybe so as not to outdo the primaris options? Again though there really isn't much out of place from 40k. All the profiles look (at a glance) to be the same and the weapon options are also the same, but  I'll break it down a little for ease and convenience.

Sternguard can take regular vets, gunners and Sergeants. Now, in general I can't see why you would ever take these as anything but standard, as there special issue boltguns are excellent and you can take options like Combi weapons on other units, without loosing anything in the process. The only exception to this is the gunners, where taking a heavy flamer is just too much fun to not use. Also, plasma cannon can be useful but I really like the look of the grav-cannon. No, I know that grav weapons have taken a bit of a fall this edition but in kill team I think they make more sense. The short range is not so much of an issue and they can put out enough shots and damage to count. I may even think about getting one myself.

Next up are vanguard vets and they are the only ones (apart from SW company vets) to be able to take jump packs. While not overly important in kill team, they can be useful for getting around the board for control of objectives. The only issue is, that once you've kitted them out with the pack and weapons, your looking at 25+ points. My first thoughts are either a pair of lightning claws or thunder hammer and storm shield, 22 and 32 points respectively. I have seen a few options running things like twin plasma pistols for some short range dakka but it's not my personal choice. I would only look yo take these guys normal vets and wouldn't bother with the sergeants.

Lastly, we have the company vers and here things get a little more complicated! Dark angels can only take vets, but only 4 normal and 1 Sgt, no other vets and the wolves can also only take company vets but can take as many as they like and can also take jump packs. I've said it before, but did Dark Angels get screwed over or what? No jump packs, limited numbers, reduced options. Anyway, company vets, the final choice, with options for normal vets and vet Sgt. Now, there are a few options with these guys but I really only see the point of taking them if your going for Combi weapons or special weapons. If your going for pistol and\or melee weapons, you might as well take a Vanguard vet. Special weapons wise I can really only see the point in plasma. Grav could be useful but the others don't really seem worth it for kill team. Combi weapons are pretty useful though, giving you the advantage of options, which are good for a small team.  For the Combi options this is about the only times I would recommend taking a flamer or melta on a marine, as you have the option to use the boltgun most of the time but switch it up when you need to. Again, I wouldn't bother with grav, despite having said how great I think the grav-cannon is! My first choice though would be the storm bolters, 4 shots at 12 inches is not to be sniffed at! One of my favorite load outs  for company vets would be a storm bolter and storm shield, giving a good output of shots and some good durability. Send him up in support of a vanguard vet with either claws or hammer and you'll have a solid core to a team. Support it with some long range shooting scouts and job done, maybe.

At this point I'll throw in the Deathwatch, as they can take only one option a Vanguard vet, which has to take a jump pack, meaning that it's will cost you a minimum of 21 points (vet + pack + special issue ammo). If your taking a Vanguard vet, your probably not going to want to go standard, so it's probably going to cost you more, which is reducing your overall team numbers, potentially down to as little as 4 members. Not sure if the Vanguard vet is worth taking over a black shield, as base cost is more plus you loose some special rules. I can see you running one if you want to take a hammer and shield or a pair of claws but apart from that I can't really see why you'd take one.

Grey knights also seems a little odd. Now I fully admit that I know very little about grey knights but the new options, terminators and paladins don't seem to offer much except more wounds and a greater save, weapon options seem to stay the same. Also, a paladin paragon is 50 points, 50! That's crazy money that is, even in the 125 point elite games.

Next and lastly for this part ( I'll look at AdMech and Chaos in another part) are the guard models. Now as a guard player, you'd probably expect me to write loads here but I'm not. The new options are Ogryns and Bullgryns, that's it. Ogryns are ok, there tough and strong with a reasonable weapon but there not outstanding and definitely not an auto take option. For what they are and what they do, I wouldn't even bother with Ogryns. Bullgryns on the other hand are worth considering but only just. There expensive, have not shooting and against Marines are just short of getting the 2+ to wound, being S7 and therefore on a 3+. They add in some combat ability, which is lacking with guard but only if you bring the maul and slabshield. The bruteshield is ok but it only give a 4++ invulnerable save and unless your going to face lots of high AP weapons, your better off with the slabshield. I like them and all but I think they are just to expensive for what they bring to the table.

Edit: I was intending to post this last Friday but didn't get it finished in time, which is quite lucky as it turns out! Today (Saturday) I played a game of kill team at my local toy store, a sort of demo game and decided to run a Bullgryn for the fun. It absolutely smashed everything it touched. 4 turns and in splatted 2 Vanguard vets and one primaris Sgt. The maul is brutal, especially with 2 damage. As a result I have reconsider my position. Ogryns are probably still pants but Bullgryn rock, as long as there in combat. Even out of combat there a tough nut to crack with a slabshield for a 2+ base save.

Next up and the final post I promise, will be chaos and AdMech units.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Kill team elites - unit review part 2

So on to part 2 of this little review, part 1 was a lot longer than expected! In  this I will cover the AdMech Dogma's and the Chaos Legion Traits. In theory this should be a shorter post, as I won't be going in to the finer details of each, just a basic run down, especially the Legion Traits but we shall see.

So AdMech Forge World Dogmas' and straight off the bat one of them is out. Graia's dogma, whilst sounding good, relies on a commanders to make the whole thing work and as I don't use commanders, it's out of the running. Next that is off the list is Ryza, as it purely affects combat, which I'm not set up for apart from 2 models. If your running lots of the elite options then this is a very good dogma but not for me. Similarly, Metallica's dogma could be good but the way I plan on running my forces it wouldn't work. Vanguard have assault weapons and I plan on using these as my forwards units, supported by the Rangers, so being able to turn the Rangers weapons from rapid to assault isn't much good. Yes the removal of the negative to assault weapons could be useful but your still only using half the dogma. Stygies VIII could also be good, especially for a Rangers heavy team, but Vanguard's need to get withing 9 inches to get within half range, negating the obscured bonus. A possible dogma but not the best. Agripinaa is up next, and again, it could be a good one, if your running a combat heavy army and want to get in to a fight. Being able to double your chances of hitting on overwatch are always welcome but for an army that doesn't want to be in combat, it's a bit useless

That just leaves Lucius and Mars. I like Lucius as there are a lot of -1 AP weapons out there and with only a 4+ save, that extra minus can really hurt. The question becomes whether this is better than being able to gain 2 canticles? Mars dogma enable you to roll two dice for canticles and keep both results rather than just 1, giving you a chance to get the result that you want. However, there are only a few that I think can be useful. A couple are based around combat which isn't very useful to me, although one, which dishes out mortal wounds can be useful but the other isn't. That accounts for half of the canticles, of the other half, only 1 directly effects shooting, the other two effect nerve tests and being shot at. Personally, I think that being able to get 2 canticles isn't a great benefit, I would prefer the modifier to AP and choosing a canticle.

So for my AdMech I will be disciples of the Lucius Forge World dogma.

Next up are the Chaos Legion Traits. Now, there are two traits that are straight out, namely World Eaters and Emperor's Children ass they are limited to Khorne and Slaanesh keyworded units only and my units are Chaos Undivided. The main consideration I have with my chaos team is that traits don't apply to cultists, of which form the bulk of my team, with just half a dozen actual Marines, most of which are armed with bolters. So, the Renegade chapters trait is useless as only one Marine would be able to benefit from it. Similarly the  Night Lord's trait won't be much use, at it relies on being close to the enemy, which is the cultists job, not the Marines. The Black Legion trait could be useful, however I will usually be running the Icon of Vengeance, which gives a +1Ld bonus and the Marines on the whole will be standing still to give out fire support, so being able to advance and fire won't be that useful.

Of the three remaining traits, it is a little more complicated to eliminate them. The Iron Warriors trait could be useful, as the Marines will be sitting back firing bolters, targeting the high priority targets, so being able to remove them quicker and easier could be useful. With the Alpha Legion the same can be said in reverse, they will be sitting back, so being harder to shoot at would also be a benefit. This may keep them out of rapid fire range but careful positioning should mean I can move in on a selected target but remain obscured from other enemy units. The last is the Word Bearers, which dispute a very similar trait being dismissed previously, for a team which will include a number of easy to remove cultists, keeping the Marines fighting is essential and being able to re-roll nerve tests could be useful in doing that. It's quite hard to decide between these three but I think that I can remove the Word Bearers, as I can use tactics and also the boost to leadership with the Icon should be enough to keep things moving. That leaves Iron Warriors and Alpha Legion and my gut reaction is Alpha Legion. This is because it should enable me to start my guys off in the best position to shoot the enemy and not have to worry about them being in cover. That means turn 1 and maybe even turn 2, I can sit out and get shots off before retreating the guys in to cover and limiting my shooting angles. Being able to remove enemy models easier is useful but if you can't get the shot you need in the first place because your to busy hiding, then it's not much use. So, the Followers of Chaos will be Alpha Legionaries.

Friday 2 August 2019

Kill team elites - unit review

Kill team elites is now a few months old and people are getting to grips with the new units and options, so I thought it was about time to throw my opinions out there. This won't be a full on review of every unit in the book, as I a) don't know much about them or how they play and b) don't really care either. So what I will be covering is the units I do care about, namely the new guard options and old school Marine options. I won't be covering commanders as I don't play them and I won't be covering the new primaris units, as I don't own them or plan on owning them anytime soon.

First up I wanted to follow up on a point I made in the last post about kill team: elites, that this should really have been commanders part 2 and that it that there are 34 commanders and 38 elites in the book. So, there are actually more elites than commanders. If you take out the GSC section it becomes even more weighted towards elites, as the GSC section is all commanders, 6 of them infact. So maybe I was a bit premature in calling it commanders part 2 and should have called it "kill team elites (with quite a few commanders)".

Anyway, on with the review and first up are chapter tactics. Now, I play guard, Marines, admech and deathwatch, with a team of chaos in for good measure, so I will go over these options, as well as looking at grey knights, as I plan to field some of them soon.

I'll start with deathwatch and grey knights as they are simple, mostly because they only have 1 chapter tactics each. Grey Knights for the most part are a bit of a gimmick army, being one of the few who can use psychic powers. With there "chapter tactics" enabling them to cast 2 powers and also add 1 to the casting rolls and deny rolls. While this is great, it does kind of make the army in to a one trick pony. The Deathwatch tactic, know as mission tactics, enable you to pick a data sheet and reroll 1's against those units. This can be useful, especially when your hitting on 3's or even 2's with buffs. This can be very useful against teams that have limited data sheets they can use but some teams have lots of data sheets, which is less useful. On the whole not a bad tactic.

The Marine tactics can broadly speaking be split in to two categories, shooting and melee. For shooting we have the Dark Angels, Imperial Fists, Ultramarine and Raven Guard and for melee we have White Scars, Space Wolves, Blood Angels and Black Templars. The Salamanders and Iron Fists are the odd ones out as they could be applied to either. I'm planning two Marine kill teams, one scout one, which is ready for painting and one more elites team. The scout team will be a mixed roster of shooting and melee units but will usually be fielded as either a shooting team or a melee team and so I will possibly need two tactics, one for each element of the team.

Of the shooting tactics, there are some that stand out more than others. The Ultramarine tactic for example does not jump out, as although the leadership buff is useful, the ability to shoot when falling back does not feel very useful. Similarly, the Imperial Fists ability to ignore the injury roll modifier, while useful, does not jump out as a tactic. Ignoring modifiers for range or for being obstructed would have been better and would have pulled me more towards this tactic. So that leaves Dark Angels or Raven Guard. The Dark Angels tactic is good, but it restricts your movement, more or less forcing you to stand still. The Raven Guard tactic is also good, especially in the first round or two but after that it is next to useless, as most units will have closed to within half range. Of  these 4 tactics, it's the Dark Angels that I'm drawn to most of all. Getting to re-roll 1's is useful but I'm unsure if sacrificing movement is worth it. The tactic that really stands out as the best tactic of my shooting units is actually the Salamanders tactic. This gives you a free re-roll for one hit and one wound roll per phase. This means that you effectively get 2 free command points per phase, or up to 4 per turn (2 in the shooting and 2 in the fight phases). I think that this is going to be a great tactic and can see it being used quite a lot.

For the other half of my team, a melee tactic will be required. I included the Whatever Scars in this list, as part of the tactic is about being in combat but it does give you a bonus to advances which could be useful if your running a lot of assault weapons. However, the ability to recharge a model that has fallen back is very useful. The Space Wolves and Blood Angels are very similar, the former granting a +1 to hit and the latter a +1 to wound, both in combat only though. Depending on what weapons your using, will depend upon which works better. For things like Fists and hammers, then the Wolves +1 to hit would be better but for chain swords, the +1 to wound is better. As I'm probably going to be using chain swords or other similar weapon, the +1 to wound d of the blood Angels would be better. The Black Templars is also useful, as re-rolling your failed charges can make a big difference.  In theory, the Salamanders tactic could also be used here and would be useful but I think there are better ones from the list above. For me I think that it really comes down to the Blood Angels or Space Wolves, as you can't wound if you can't hit and you can't kill anything if you don't wound it! As most of my scout force are armed with chain swords, using the Blood Angels +1 to wound, I think, is the best fit, meaning I will have two half's of the roster, one half with the Salamanders tactic and one half with with Blood Angels.

One last tactic to mention is the Iron Hands tactic, which can ignore wounds. However, it's a 1 in 6 chance and when you've probably only got 6 models on the table, it doesn't seem worth it. If your running lots of multi-wound models or lots of models then it could be worth it but with only a few single wound models it's a bit pointless in my opinion.

My Astra Militarum teams have a different problem. While I have two teams, one of them is made up completely of Militarum Tempestus and so is more or less locked to the MT Doctrine, as I wouldn't get any benefits from many other doctrine. This means that I really only need to find a doctrine for the other team. Again, the doctrines can be split in to two categories, although this time it's more shooting and other. Some of them can be eliminated quite quickly, such as the catachan's doctrine, as i have little intention of getting in to combat. The Mordian doctrine is also questionable. While it does give a good leadership buff, it also requires you to group your men up, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but does restrict you. The overwatch bonus is also not that great. The only other non-shooting doctrine is the Valhallans'. I'm not sure on this doctrine, as most of the time I've found that if they don't die, they become very ineffective with even 1 flesh wound. Yes, increasing the chances of passing a nerve test is great for keeping men fighting, especially when running large 16 or 17 man lists, it still seems unnecessary, as loosing a man or two to a nerve test doesn't greatly reduced the overall fighting force. I might have to play with this doctrine to be sure but for now it's not one I would consider.

The rest are shooting based doctrines and vary considerably. The Cadian Doctrine is the standard re-rolls for standing still which for a plasma heavy army is very useful. The Vostroyan trait is, I think, more effective in kill team than in 40k. Removing penalties for long range shooting means that you can actually shoot obscured targets at long range, which could make quite a difference to a game. The Armageddon doctrine definitely has a use, giving 50% extra rapid fire range but having no effect on the long range penalties. In kill team this extra range is more significant than in 40k and give a good advantage to the guard where weight of numbers really counts. The last doctrine is the Tallarn doctrine. This is another good doctrine but is more useful if you have lots of assault weapons but can still be used with other types. If you want to run a mobile army, then this is the Doctrine for you. In addition to these there is nothing stoping you from using the Militarum Tempestus doctrine on normal units although I think there are better doctrines to use on normal troops.

As my list is basically just a few special weapons and lots of troops, I don't have the bodies to run 2 separate doctrines, so I will only use 1. As listed above, the ones that stand out are Vostroyan, Armageddon and Cadian. However, even though I use a lot of bodies and tend not to move around much, I do like to have the option to move and with the Cadian doctrine I think I will be reluctant to move and so it's out. Vostroyan is good for early shots but that tends to only last a round or maybe 2 at most, so is of limited use. That leaves just Armageddon, which I think is a good compromise. The extra shots in the 12 to 18 range of set the -1 to hit and still give a good early game advantage. It also means that even in the late game when units are a lot closer in general, shooting across the board at those targets that are 13 inches away is still a viable option as well.

So of my two lists, one, the Inquisition based list, will be running the Militarum Tempestus doctrine and one, the guardsman based list, will be running the Armageddon doctrine.

Now I was going to go on and have a quick look at the AdMech and Chaos traits but there is already a mountain of text above, so I'll split the content in to a couple of posts and end this one here. Next up, a "quick" look at AdMech and Chaos traits followed but a post on the new Marine and guard units.