Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Support Units

While it is entirely possible to make an all jump packer army, it does have some weaknesses that are better filled by other units. Its main problem is a lack of long range fire. In my experience, this leads to three problems.

The first is destroying transports; destroying transports at close range often allows the squad inside to deploy in such a way as to limit your assault or force you to assault through dangerous terrain. Even worse, destroying transports on the drop leaves your squad open to being rapid fired or counter-charged by the occupants.

Second, there are simply some units that your don’t want to engage in close-combat. This includes Assault Terminators, Wolf Lords, Tyranid Warriors with lash whips and bone swords, and Incubi, to name just a few. These units will all annihilate Assault squads, even if you charge them. If you’re only using jump packers, your best option here is to take Vanguard Veterans or Honor Guard with storm shields and use them to hold up these units.

Finally, all jump pack armies tend to lack convenient scoring units for taking backfield objectives. You want your Assault squads to advance on the enemy with overwhelming force, and they add nothing to the army when left on a backfield objective. This often leads to the Assault squads running back across the battlefield in the final turns of the game, madly dashing to reach objectives.

These problems can be remedied by adding some non-jump units to the army. I prefer to use infantry units here, though some of the gaps can be filled by adding vehicles. I prefer to avoid vehicles because an all-infantry force robs your opponent of good targets for their anti-armor weapons. However, I will mention vehicle units where applicable.

Devastators and Predators both provide exactly the firepower you need to destroy transports before your assault troops arrive. Devastators provide cheaper firepower, are generally more survivable, and keep your army all infantry. However, you generally will deploy them at the start of the battle, since keeping them in reserve really limits their use. This can leave them very vulnerable to enemy shooting during the first turn, though they can be made very survivable by taking a priest with them and deploying them in cover. Predators have a massive mobility advantage, allowing them to deploy out of sight or even stay in reserve with minimal loss of firepower.

Just as for every other Space Marine army, Assault Terminators with thunder hammers and storm shields provide the ultimate answer to elite enemy assault units. They’re harder hitting and more survivable than Vanguard Veterans for far less points, and they can even deep strike, meaning they fit very well in an all deep striking army. Their main downside is that they are slow; really slow compared to the rest of the army. This means that you have to deep strike them very aggressively in order to get full use out of them.

Finally, we come to scoring units. Both Tactical squads and Scout squads can provide good backfield scoring units that can still contribute to the battle. Tactical squads provide a reliable heavy weapon, as well as being very durable. However, I prefer Scout squads due to their cheaper cost. Going to ground in cover, they’re just as survivable as Tactical marines against shooting (more so if you spring for camo cloaks). Their infiltrate and scout abilities allow them to deploy to immediately take objectives, even outside your deployment zone. Also, their ability to take sniper rifles gives them a longer reach than Tactical Marines.

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