Friday, 15 February 2013

Getting the best out of Belial

I have been reviewing the lessons from our game at the weekend and it seems to me that: -

a) Belial is my chosen character and I should stick with him for the story line
b) I need to spread the effect of the Preferred Enemy Chaos so I will need more Inner Circle characters

So first things first - lets review the rules for Belial against Nurgle and then work out how to make the most of them.

I had been playing Belial with a pair of 'Lightening Claws' and this means that we lose some of his shooting prowess. I switched just before the start of the last game but did not get the advantage due to my tactics.

Belial is BS 5 which is a good start. He comes with a storm bolter R24", S4, AP5, Assault 2. He is a member of the Inner Circle and therefore has Preferred Enemy Chaos and therefore rerolls any '1's' on both 'To Hit' and 'To Wound'. He also has Vengeful Strike meaning that his shots are twin- linked when he arrives from Deep Strike and he has Marked for Retribution granting Precision to his shots i.e. all shots that are 5+ 'To Hit' are resolved on a model of Belial's choosing.

So he hits on a 2+ and can reroll any '1's' and he is also twin-linked on the first round arriving from deep strike. That should be 2 hits with a 33% chance that he achieves 'Precision'

Nurgle are 'T5' so Belial will need 5+ 'To Wound' but has re-rolls on any '1's' due to being a member of the Inner Circle.

Belial could therefore target a specific model perhaps with a Heavy or Special weapon. There is good potential to take out high points in the first round of shooting.

The downside is that the Storm Bolter is an Assault weapon not Melee so we will lose an attack in hand to hand.

Deep Strike
That is a good start but he must be coming in by Deep Strike to maximise the benefit so lets review the implications of that. He has some good special rules here. Tactical Precision means that he does not scatter when coming in by deep strike!! This takes all the chance out of the manoeuvre. He can land exactly where required and force the enemy to turn and face him.

He also has Deathwing Assault. So no need to roll for Reserves. Belial gets to choose to come in on turn 1 or 2 and that is when he will arrive. This rule applies to all models in Terminator armour so several units can arrive together but only his unit has Tactical Precision.

However Belial is also fitted with a Teleport Homer so units can arrive to his position (first model within 6"). The Teleport Homer must be on the table at the start of the turn. So if Belial arrived in turn 1 then any units arriving from Reserve in subsequent turns could be placed with a model within 6" of him. This can include Dreadnoughts etc etc.

Surviving in the open
Belial has the 2+ save granted by the Terminator armour and also comes with an Iron Halo which grants a 4+ invulnerable save. He also has 3 wounds.

In truth, he needs to be surrounded by a big group of Terminators to make the tactic viable. This is a group of up to 10 Terminators and they will come with the Split Fire and Vengeful Strike rules so that in the first turn of Deep Strike they can fire at more than one target and benefit from the twin-linked advantage. So a twin-linked Assault Cannon and a twin-linked Cyclone Missile Launcher (one for every 5 models) The Assault Cannon R24", S6, Heavy 4, Rending - Ouch! and the Cyclone Missile Launcher can go Frag or more likely Krak R48" S8, AP3, Heavy 2. And remember this will be twin-linked and likely against rear armour - double ouch!!

Hand to Hand
Belial has a WS of 6, S4, I5 with 3 attack's as standard. There is a good chance that he will be striking first. His weapon of choice is the Sword of Silence which is AP3, has Fleshbane (wounds on a 2+) and is Master Crafted so re-roll any 'to Hit' rolls of '1'. He also has the Inner Circle which allows re-rolls of both failed 'To Hit' and 'To Wound' of '1'.

So he likely to be rolling 3 dice looking for 3+ 'To Hit' (so 66% chance To Hit) with re-rolls of any '1's'. There should be 2 hits really. He will wound on a 2+ and re-roll any '1's' so that should be 2 wounds but there is likely to a 66% chance to save if fighting marines. He is likely to be in a 'Challenge' so the real pain needs to come from the supporting unit of Terminators.

This will be increased if he is on the Charge and there is also the potential to take Deathwing Company Banner which grants +1A to all models within 6".  The bigger the unit of Terminators, the better value this would become.

Note - Nurgle come with blight grenades which takes away an attack.

Spreading the Inner Circle influence
I have been looking at how I can bring more characters to spread the effect of Inner Circle.

Of the HQ choices available neither the Chaplain or the Techmarine benefit for this rule. The choices are therefore: -
a) Librarian at 65 points
b) Company Master at 90 points
c) Interrogator-Chaplain at 110 points

So I can get 2 Librarian's for 130 points and spread Inner Circle to units making them Fearless and granting Preferred Enemy Chaos so that all rolls of '1' on 'To Hit' and 'To Wound' can be re-rolled. A unit of Devastators would really like this a lot.

After all this analysis I think the tactics are becoming clear.

Deep Strike is a clear option and probably unique in its practicality to the Dark Angels. I will need to look at the composition of the Terminator squad, size, weapon choices etc but the Codex is really encouraging this approach. Any advice or thoughts are welcome.

The Librarian looks to be the best and cheapest way to spread the Preferred Enemy Chaos effect. I have not played them in the past so more research required here to understand the practical implications and again all thoughts / tips welcome.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The great Land Raider debate

So after the game at the weekend we had a bit of a chat about the Land Raider.

Nurgle had used the standard Land Raider and the Dark Angles had chosen the Crusader. They performed very differently in play.

In our first game, before christmas, I had used the crusader to great effect. I launched it across the board and the Terminators came tumbling out straight into combat with the Obliterators and Zombies. The Crusader then reversed a little and offered magnificent covering fire. I had a unit of 5 plus Belial. The Crusader offers greater capacity than the standard Land Raider which can only take 5 terminators. I considered adding a Chaplain in terminator armour to max out the capacity but ..... its a lot of points in one unit.

The Nurgle force used the twin-linked lascannons to offer huge threat and then once the Land Raider had  off loaded its cargo its role was that of mobile terrain to block line of sight and generally chase my vehicles around the board. With 4 hull points it is tough to take down.

The interesting thing is that if I took the standard Land Raider I would have shooting re-rolls because it is  a Deathwing Vehicle. It is also Venerable and can force the opposition to re-roll on the armour penetration table. Very handy if you are going to play the role of mobile terrain.

It is a lot of points though and my mind is turning to deep striking as a delivery mechanism. There are lots of rule changes to reflect on and lets face it I could bring more terminators with the points saved.

There is much to ponder.

On a lighter note we have noticed that the multi melta, which I have taken in 3 straight battles, has not hit anything at all!! Incredible. He has become a laughing stock. He had at least 3 shots this battle alone. We think it is because he is having to climb outside the vehicle and fear is effecting his aim ;-)

More to follow ...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Learning always learning

So what did I take from the game? What worked and what can be improved?


Characters are members of the Inner Circle. This conveys benefits that pass on to the squad that they join. Inner Circle = Fearless and Preferred Enemy Chaos (re-roll any 1's for To Hit and To Wound). I would suggest taking a number of such models (particularly when facing chaos) and think about where that could really be of benefit. I only had 2 and in a 2000 point army that just isn't enough.

My Interrogator Chaplain had a little unit of 5 space marines with him and this helped to take down the unit of Chaos Marines. The plasma gun worked well and the Chaplain did the business in hand to hand. (despite some rubbish dice rolls when he was locked in challenge - and I am not blaming the white dice!!)

Land Speeder Vengeance

First off, I really love the model. I have a lot more painting to do on mine and I will really enjoy putting in the hours as it is 'cool' on the playing surface. In the game we have just played I sped it off down the right flank to get full benefit for the Jink saves. It caused some threat and was able to get behind a Rhino and destroy it. It was in a great position to deal with the marines had it not been mugged by the Helldrake.

It is expensive at 140 points plus the 20 for the assault cannon. It is also easy to kill. The issue is really about getting it behind the enemy where it has access to rear armour. I notice that it can deep strike so this may be an option to consider. I also wonder how it would do with the Darkshroud in attendance. So there are options to consider for the future.

Ravenwing Darktalon

Now this is an interesting model. I do like the Stasis Bomb. I think that properly deployed it can be a real game changer.

In our game it proved to be survivable - this despite the fact that it attracted quite a lot of firepower. It survived for the full game loosing 2 hull points. It is a troop killer and probably better used against lighter opposition than marines. The Hurricane Bolters did a lot of damage to the zombies (unit of 36 so a big target) as did the Rift Cannon but my view is that this is all about the Stasis Bomb. It applies huge negatives to combat units (-3 to Initiative and to WS) and this has the potential to be a game winner.

The enemy will not be fooled twice though so not a tactic that can be relied on regularly. At 160 points I think it will be an occasional inclusion - but a sweet model to assemble and paint! I still have work to do and I am looking forward to it.

More to follow .....

Monday, 11 February 2013

Typhus gets his feathers!

Well the mighty forces of Nurgle continue to dish out some serious pain. Ouch!!

The latest battle was 2000 points each side and we were using the new Dark Angels codex, and a few new models. I took the Landspeeder Vengeance, Ravenwing Darktalon and the the Deathwing Knights. So basically all my new models - well you got to see how they play and reading the codex only goes so far.

I came to the battle determined to be defensive. My overarching plan was to assault the Knights and Belial from the Landraider having dropped a stasis bomb on the unit that I wanted to hit. Hopefully the nurgle leadership squad. Chaos have to challenge in melee and I thought this would be the best way to sink Typhus.

Everything else should delay, distract and disrupt to increase the number of turns that I would have shooting.

This all went a bit 'pear shaped' when we rolled for our mission and we ended up having to gain control of a relic that was placed at the centre of the board and we had 'night fighting' in turn one. A full turn of lost shooting - not what I needed at all.

The set-up was from the corners and we pretty much faced off, each eying up the other with the objective between us. I pushed my forces to the right attempting to draw out the nurgle forces.

Moving my vehicles like this left me with good sight lines to the objective. I just needed to break open that land raider and the fun could begin. I felt the best way to do this was to send in my Venerable Dreadnought whilst taking pot shots with my lascannons.

My Darktalon arrived in turn 2 and I sent him down the left to play with a pack of 36 zombies (cadian zombies) whilst waiting for his big moment - the delivery of the stasis bomb!

I knew that I needed to thin out the zombies before I could engage them in melee. I learned that lesson in a previous game. I could have three good turns to do just that and in the mean time just keep away from them.

Things started to go wrong when I lost my Dreadnought and Razorback early on. This took a lot of 'threat' out of my force. My Vengence Land Speeder took out a Rhino that was advancing on my right flank and spilled the marines who in turn were shot up by my Innterogator-Chaplain and the unit of 5 that he had joined. We took some damage in return and then the Chaplain charged.

Then the Helldrake made its appearance.

My quad gun opened up on it as soon as it arrived. It was the reason that I had brought it. I knocked lumps out of the Helldrake but it was still alive and proceeded to rip up the right flank taking out my Vengance Landspeeder and a couple of units of marines. I couldn't use the quadgun in my next turn as it had fired during the chaos turn. It did take out the Helldrake in the following turn but the Helldrake had served its purpose. A job well done but my god that Helldrake is as awesome to face as it looks. Well done Dark Templar it is superb!!

Meanwhile the centre of the board was developing into a real feast of action.

Typhus launched his Landraider past the objective blocking line of sight for most of my remaining guys. A second squad of chaos marines excited their Rhino and snaffled the objective, leaving the Chaos Sorcerer free to to join in with Typhus.

The Defiler tore open my Landraider which meant that the Deathwing Knights had to deal with it, and they did. I do like their weapons.

Now came the big moment. Turn 5 and it was stasis bomb time!! My Darktalon swept over the massed troops and successfully bombed the Chaos marine squad. My Deathwing Knights were where they needed to be to engage the leadership group. The Challenges had to come.

And guess what - they did but from the Chaos Champion and the Chaos Sorcerer. Typhus did not step up to the plate.

It is on days like these that legends are created. On this day, February 10th in the year of our lord 2013 Typhus acquired his tail feathers along with a wonderfully crafted yellow stripe that will ever be visible to the forces of the Dark Angels. It is positioned directly along his spine!! lol.

The game ended at turn 5.

It was a chaos victory 4 - 0. They had the objective (3 victory points) and had taken 'first blood' (1 victory point). But physiologically Belial had the pleasure of remaining on the field and witnessing Typhus quiver. A good feeling indeed!

A very enjoyable day indeed. I have learned a lot, but more on that another time.