Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Locator Beacons and Teleport Homers

I want to discuss the locator beacon and teleport homer separately from the units they can be deployed with. Both options increase the accuracy of your deep strikes (the locator beacons for all deep strikes, while the teleport homer only works with Terminators) if you deep strike near them.

Due to Descent of Angels, our jump packers rarely need the help of a locator beacon to land where we want them to. However, they are very helpful in some situations that require very precise positioning. These are any time that you want to destroy tanks with infernus pistols and when Vanguard Veterans are assaulting when they drop. These can both be done fairly reliably with Descent of Angels, but they tend to involve expensive units and you should do anything you can to prevent them from mishapping or scattering out of range. The flip side of this is that these units will usually be dropping in the midst of the enemy army, and it is difficult to get a locator beacon into position to help them.

Drop pods are also very reliable on the drop, as they can only mishap if they go off the table. Again, this means they don’t need a locator beacon to perform their role. In the case of drop pod armies, however, they allow you to reliably cluster your pods to make sure that your forces don’t becomes separated and can gain cover from multiple pods. It’s also worth noting that taking a single Drop Pod with locator beacon to guide in other deep strikers is a very bad idea. The Drop Pod arrives alone on the first turn, while all of the other squad will begin arriving on the second. This makes the Drop Pod a high priority, isolated target that is unlikely to survive until it’s needed.

The units that most benefit from this wargear are those that deep strike normally. This is most often Terminators, though it sometimes includes Land Speeders and Stormravens. If you ever intend to deep strike a Land Raider for whatever insane reason, you absolutely need to have a locator beacon. It’s far too risky otherwise. If your army relies heavily on deep striking these units, locator beacons and teleport homers are worth taking.

Tactical squads have access to teleport homers, while Scouts, Scout Bikers, Drop Pods, and Stormravens can take locator beacons. Remember that you want to have the locator beacon in place at the beginning of the second turn. This is difficult for Tacticals to do, but they can make it with our fast Rhinos. The other choices have a much easier time because of their special deployment rules or really fast movement. Scout Bikers deserve special mention here, as their 24” turboboost combined with their Scout move and Infiltrate mean that they have access to any part of the battlefield that the enemy hasn’t totally blocked off. The hardest part here is keeping them alive until your deep strikers arrive.

Stormravens also have a special consideration when determining whether or not to take locator beacons. If you plan to use Skies of Blood to disembark units after moving more than 12”, a locator beacon is a great buy. It prevents the unit from scattering as long as you drop it near the Stormraven (which is likely) and saves it from taking dangerous terrain tests. Once again, this isn’t nearly as important if you’re deploying jump pack units from the Stormraven.

Locator beacons and teleport homers aren’t mandatory for a deep striking Blood Angels army. You should look at the units in your army and see if any will greatly benefit from some deep striking assistance before deciding whether or not to take a locator beacon.

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