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As a devoted Chaos player I have had the pleasure of running the versatile Obliterator many times. This is my tribute to this amazing unit. If you have not run Obliterators before or are just new to the game then hopefully this article will help you to better understand and use these amazing units.
When you are first deciding on how you want to use Obliterators in the game you have two options. First, you can place them somewhere with a good line of fire and let them shoot every turn. The second is to have them Deep Strike. The great thing about Obliterators is they are a powerhouse at nearly every range in the game. This gives them a huge advantage because it does not matter how far away you are, you will be very affective in damaging your enemy. Because of this I would suggest going with the first option. This gives them as much time shooting as they can, doing their massive amount of damage nearly every turn. This also forces your opponent to come to you, allowing you to use the battlefield to your advantage. If you are planning on Deep Striking then replace Obliterators with something much better for the Deep Striking role. Obliterators are just too expensive to be sacrificed in this way. Although they are strong enough to take out something of greater value when you do this, they will take out even greater value still firing from a nicely covered position. If you are playing Dawn of War then these guys just got better. With Slow and Purposeful Obliterators can move in from the table edge and still shoot. This will give them an advantage over nearly every opponent with rare exceptions. The only drawback to Slow and Purposeful is that you may not be able to move six inches every turn. However, being able to move and shoot off any weapon you want is well worth this minor drawback.
Obliterators are also extremely durable. With similar armor to Terminators they have an amazing 2+ armor save. Plus they have 2 wounds in case something slips through. If you get them into some cover these guys become extremely difficult to kill. I highly recommend getting them into cover as soon as possible and then just sit back and fire away. With this setup, it doesn't matter if someone targets your Obliterators every turn. Even if one wound gets through you are still sitting good. The only thing you really have to watch out for is squads with a lot of special weapons to either shoot at your Obliterators or assault you. Power weapons are a real danger to them along with those Strength 8 and greater weapons. This is why you always want to be able to back up your Obliterators when someone pulls out one of those dangerous units. If you are forced to retreat keep in mind you are able to move and shoot. This can gain you valuable time while you wreak havoc on the attacking squad.
The true strength of an Obliterator is in its wargear. As an Obliterator commander you get to make a choice concerning which type of gun you want to use each turn. This can be a difficult choice but with my help you may be better equipped to make the right decision. So what are your choices? Each Obliterators has a Lascannon, a Multi-melta, a Plasma Cannon, a Twin-linked Plasma Gun, a Twin-linked Meltagun, a Twin-linked Flamer, and a Powerfist. He is a bristling powerhouse of firepower. This provides you with tons of ways to destroy your enemies. An Obliterator has a gun for every occasion. So which ones are best for which occasion?
Lascannon- This is great for most vehicles and almost all forms of armor
Multi-Melta- Another great weapon for vehicles at closer ranges this can destroy those AV 14
Plasma Cannon- Nothing hurts Terminators like a Plasma Cannon to the face, destroys Infantry in a blink
TL Plasma Gun- This is great for just a few stronger guys that may have some really nice armor
TL Meltagun- Only for heavy armor when you are pretty much standing next to it
TL Flamer- The can handle swarms of things by making them nonexistent
Powerfist- Great for fighting Monstrous Creatures and other deadly HQs
Vehicles AV13+_____TL Meltagun____Multi-melta____Multi-melta
Vehicles Under AV12_TL Meltagun___TL Meltagun____Multi-melta
Vehicles Open Top___TL Meltagun___TL Meltagun____Multi-melta
MC T4_____________TL Meltagun___TL Meltagun____Multi-melta
MC T5+____________TL Plasmagun__TL Plasmagun___Lascannon
Infantry T3_________TL Flamer_____TL Plasmagun__Plasma Cannon
MEQ_______________TL Flamer_____TL Plasmagun__Plasma Cannon
TEQ______________TL Plasmagun___TL Plasmagun__Plasma Cannon
Vehicles Under AV12__Lascannon______Lascannon
Vehicles Open Top____Lascannon______Lascannon
Infantry T3________Plasma Cannon____Lascannon
There are also three different ways of using your Obliterators.
Stand and Fire – If you have 4+ cover or lower in or near your deployment zone then you will want to take the Stand and Fire approach. Get into cover and shoot every turn. This forces your opponent to come to you or to ignore your Obliterator(s) all together, which is a grave mistake. With a range of 48” this can be a very effective strategy. With proper placement only units at the edge of the map will be able to evade your fire. And they will not be getting a lot of use out of those units unless they are a rail gun, or another gun with similar range. This strategy is extremely useful in an objective scenario. If the objectives are near your side then the enemy has to come closer to you in order to take them. This leaves them at your mercy. This is the most common way of using your Obliterator(s). Remember, your damage potential goes up the closer they get to you. So in their attempt to take the objectives they will very likely get destroyed, or heavily damaged. If you do get put in danger by a squad with power weapons, do not hesitate to fall back, moving to the strategy described below to keep advantage of the situation. Whether it is a swarm of Termagants charging you to stop your Obliterator(s) from firing, a monstrous creature trying to cut you down or just a troop of Space Marines roaming around an Obliterator has one of the best ways of destroying them.
Move and Fire – If there is no 4+ or lower cover near your deployment zone or this cover does not have clear lines of fire, then you will want to use the Move and Fire approach. During this approach you will be relying heavily on your armor save and your invulnerable save. However, an advantage to this is you get to use some of the more dangerous weaponry at your disposal. In order to use some of the more dangerous weaponry sometimes it is necessary to charge. With Slow and Purposeful it is very unlikely you will be able to charge all the way across the map. However, it will bring you within weapons range of some of the stronger weapons that you carry. Remember, it is not your intention to get into an assault unless you are forced to. Getting into assault will take away a very valuable ranged weapon. At mid-range you are now able to use powerful weaponry like the Plasma Cannon or the TL Plasma Gun. These guns can absolutely devastate your foes. Against vehicles you also have the powerful Multi-melta or the TL Meltagun. At mid range Obliterators are their strongest, literally ‘obliterating” their foes. With this much firepower your opponent will very likely attempt to assault you as soon as he can. Thankfully, you are equipped with the Powerfist to make these encounters more amiable. Combined with their amazing armor save they will likely destroy most assaulting units as well. Beware units with power weapons though, because your armor save will do nothing against them.
Deep Strike – The final way of using your Obliterator(s) is by deep striking them. I would not recommend that you use this method of deployment in competitive games. There are exceptions to this rule. Sometimes your opponent will enter play with a land raider and a contingent of terminators inside. Destroying this is well worth the loss of an Obliterator unit. This also may be useful against other high value targets but be sure to use good judgment when making this decision. Ask yourself whether or not your Obliterator(s) would be better off sitting back shooting at those units instead. Sometimes you will be able to take them out and not lose your Obliterator(s) in the process, which is the best result. However, as I mentioned there are times where it is worth it to lose an Obliterator unit. In the Land Raider example you have now forced the Terminators to foot slog their way to you, allowing your other units to gain time to fire on them as well. Keep in mind that forcing them to come to you gives you a similar result without the loss of your Obliterators. The Deep Strike Option is to be used only with careful consideration. It is not something to be done every game.
In the Warhammer 40k community you find tons of people that know how good Obliterators are so they try to run other guys to equal the skill of a team of Obliterators. I have found there are a few possibilities when it comes to combinations of units that are about as good as a team of Obliterators. The best two combinations of units I have found that work about as well are one Havoc squad with four Lascannons and a five man squad of Terminators with three combi-meltas and two combi-flamers. The other combination is instead of the Terminators you run a squad of Chosen with two meltas and two flamers. The Terminators having the Deep Strike special rule is just like the Obliterators and the Chosen can Infultrate or Outflank which is similar to the Deep Strike special rule. I know that a team of Obliterators only fills up one Heavy Support choice while both of these combinations take up one Heavy Support and one Elite choice. The other draw back is how many points you are spending for both of these combinations and even then Obliterators have many more options available to them. This is why Obliterator(s) are the best unit for almost any job you have. If you want something cheap and effective then even a few Obliterators is all you need. To sum up, never leave home without your Obliterators.
I fully have to agree with your last statement, if you have them use them, there aren't many chaos units that are just that good for their price compared to obliterators.
Very well written good info especially for new Chaos players. The only thing i disagree with is the cheap part. At 75pts a head they are not that cheap, especially since a missle launcher can instant kill 1. I love my Oblits as much as the next guy but i would never call a squad of 3 at 225, aka the cost of a land raider cheap.
Just my 2 cents
Last edited by Sykodmon; December 19th, 2010 at 15:07. Reason: edit for spelling
I have played with them and against them, I personally find deepstriking them very useful as it allows you to take out enemy vehicles, a must if you are playing against Imp guard, a squad of 3 is much more useful than a land raider (about the same points) being able to deal with any threat. However when playing against them I sent a crusader to target them, multi melta killed one, assualt cannon wounded another (due to rending) and the bolters hitting on a 2+ because of chronus killed 1 and wounded the last one, he was then destroyed by tactical squad fire.
Overall they are very useful.
I just got mine and like them a lot. I disagree about the price maybe being off; they are just more than twice that of a regular Terminator plus you get 6 kick butt weapons and an extra wound. Therefore I believe the price is right. If you compare 3 of them to a Landraider: it takes one penatrating hit to wreak havoc on the Landraider or a 1 in 3 chance to nerf it totally on that penatrating hit. With Obliterators, it takes 2 unsaved wounds to kill one and they have a 1 in 3 chance of saving any hit against it, then you have to do that again 2 more times to kill them all. Plus, they don't stop firing. The one thing that hurts are strength 8 or higher weapons that kill on any unsaved wounds. To help against these, I've been running Oblits behind cover. They have a long range, so I snuggle them in somwhere safe (4+ cover) and blast away. That way any nasty hit only gets through 50% of the time.
Dont get me wrong i dont think Oblits are over priced i just cant call them cheap. Now if they were still Elites like the last codex i would run 3 squads of 3 all day long.
A BS4 las canon, for example, has only a 3% chance of destroying a land raider, whereas the same las canon will pop an oblit 37% of the time. That's a 12 fold difference! On the other hand, an oblit is a third the cost of a raider. Given this, it might be more useful for comparing a 3-man oblit unit to a single land raider. However, even then you're still 4 times more likely to destroy the entire obliterator squad, albeit with multiple shots.
Of course, running the oblits in cover greatly helps. In this case, the oblit would have a 28% chance of dying to a las shot.
Spambot kill tally. . .337
I agree with your math over mine Mr.Rabbit. But what do you like to run, a Landraider or 3 Obliterators? I like the Oblits, but I don't own a Landraider so it is a biased opinion. I know that in a battle just yesterday, our young Marine player took two Landraiders and he had quite a time with them because even if you glance them, the best you can get is not being able to fire with them. His Landraiders didn't blow up, but he got shaken a bunch of times and couldn't fire with the things! At least with Oblits, the can fire every round they are alive. Of course Oblits can't carry troops safely either, so it's a trade off I guess.
The other thing about deep-striking is that if 3 oblits destroy 1 landraider, the terminators must then either footslog, to get to their original target and be shot at by the obliterators, or turn on the obliterators, wipe them out, but probably lose about 2 of their number to the obliterators in cc, or fire arms are used on the obliterators instead, then even if the obliterators are wiped out, then a large amount of fire is directed away from your main army, probably during a critical turn.
I use them all of the time due to their power and versatility.