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Although technically a tactics post I'm putting this here, as it applies only to marines (At the moment dark Angels, but very soon this will apply to all marines) - some hints are good for standard marines too.
After playtesting furiously I have some conclusions on the humble tactical squad:
With squads being 5 or 10 man squads (soon to be for all marines) with combat squads you are extremely flexible as you choose the squad composition at deployment:
In games for objectives (2/3rds of games rolled) split your squads. It gives two scoring units, and you want to be able to defend your objectives as much as take the opponents (In some games i've lost: although taking my opponents objectives successfully, I've lost my own. This isn't that uncommon either at the moment.)
Transporting your squad across the battlefield is vital (more on transports later), and, what's more you can still contest the opponents objective with a vehicle if the squad fails / gets wiped out.
The "Home Team" squad, given a Heavy Weapon can sit back and shoot things, maybe scoring "Home Turf" objectives.
In Annihalation games (1/3rd of games) you can halve the kill points given away, by not splitting your squad. That sounds good on paper, but in reality it is a absolute must. So you won't fire your heavy weapon most turns / or use your power sword/fist to full effect. Well, losing 15 points out of 210 (approx) is a drop in efficiency, but it's not as bad as giving your opponent double the amount of targets (and increasing the amount of morale checks / decreasing the amount of melee attacks.)
Playtesting, and watching many games have shown me two things that are important on paper, but vital when you get onto the table:
1) AP1 Weapons. That Melta gun is kissable. Adding +1 to a damage result is absolutely priceless. 50% of your penetrating rolls (which is what you should get using meltas) kill a vehicle. Only 1 result means it's not immobalised/lost a weapon/dead. Oh, and if you only glance you can still destroy a vehicle.
Hint: I've tried playtesting multimeltas, with limited success; they're cheap but still a waste on troops moving across the field. Defensively, I had some success with them - your opponent rushing a vehicle up late game to contest a objective is proving to be quite a popular tactic (Considering how tough vehicles are now) and a 24" AP1 defending weapon can put a real stain on that plan. However, i'd only use one in a large game, in smaller games use a missile launcher (better range, still threatens vehicles, great vs infantry)
I'd like to defend with a melta gun more, and am considering giveing 3 devastators missile launchers/H Bolters (one combat squad), and the sargent with a sword with a multimelta to defend objectives,(2nd objective) however they don't score.
2) Templates. No partials are absolutely spiffy. Missile Launchers and Plasma Cannons are now fantastic.
Plasma Cannons are a bit dangerous, but not as dangerous as before. (No template on top, just a wound) You sometimes end up with 4x bolter marines playing cards on a objective due to a unlucky roll, but the ability to bust open 2+ save squads is grreat. They also offer 2+ to wound on the majority of units. I wouldn't give all my Heavy Weapon slots Plasma Cannons though as they're touch and go vs vehicles - a glance is what you'll realistically get at best.
Missile Launchers are a thing of beauty - Templates for infantry, Krak for tanks or IC's. And they're cheap. Take them. They're the mainstay of your squad from now on. I don't feel the need to explain any more as this will become a universal knowledge very soon.
The remaining Heavy Weapon's:
(See important point 2) for Plasma Cannon & Missile Launcher)
Lascannons: They've lost some of their use. The High STR is good for acheiving penatrating rolls, but your one shot has to: Hit, Penetrate then with one straight roll on the damage chart do something. The best way of killing High AV vehicles is with a melta under half range, or in melee (as you hit the rear armour.)
I'd only reccomend slotting one or two in a list for larger games, or for monolith / land raider killing duties. (You are still pushing your luck though.)
Heavy Bolters: Now with True LOS they're still good, and still cheap. But i'd prefer a missile launcher nowerdays, unless facing a high Toughness army, or low AV army with not much cover on the board. The majority of units now get a 4+ cover save, so AP4 weapons aren't too much to be exited about anymore. A Light sprinkling amongst a army, or large devastator squads are still reasonably usefull. They still have a use on razorbacks or predators (Anti infantry Predators only), but i'd rather get two razorbacks than a predator, as it's the same cost, pretty much same firepower, two vehicles compared to one and transport capable. HB's are slightly let down by decreased range (compared to a Missile Launcher)
The remaining Special Weapons:
(See Important point 1) for Melta Guns.)
Flamer templates are great. They ignore cover, you can assault, and there's no partials. They're also dirt cheap. My only reservation is with Low T units like guard your opponent can remove casualties near to your squad, depleting the charge distance. (As wounds are split into sub groups, however he still chooses who dies in that group.) mind you, if your problem is you're killing everyone before you can charge them, I wouldn't worry. Don't forget about placing it on the second floor of buildings now, and pathfinders should have had little signs in the luminous green objective sprue saying "Flame Me". (Eldar pathfinders are now disgusting, and also score to boot. Expect to see alot more.)
The debate will run forever, and staunch supporters will always love them, but I believe in a marine force plasma guns have had their heyday. It's not assault, so your 5x man combat squad doesn't really need it (If you're in a transport, you'll either be using smoke or be too far away (more than 12"). If you're not in a transport, you should be running / charging.)
You could put it in your heavy weapon (combat squad), but it's a bit too short ranged, and expensive for that.
The only viable option is if you were to defend tour table side with both parts of a combat squad - It goes with the sgnt and he has a power sword, to camp out in cover (sword to use his initiative) and beat off troops. I'd still rather get a melta or flamer and be offensive.
The Sargents Weaponry.
Hint: Sargents now basically come with terminator honours (As known from the 4th Ed marine codex) as per standard. This cost is included in the squad's price, so it's a shame not to equip him, and with his extra attack putting melee weapons is a good choice.
This is, i'm afraid the worst option for your sargent. It's got a high cost, and makes your LD drop should your sargent roll badly and trust me, you'll wish for every point of LD you can get, especially in melee. This is not a good use of points. Oh, it does have a use in a assault squad, if they float your boat, but only as they can't take special weapons.
(I was heartbroken as i'd painted a really nice sgnt with pl/ pistol up, as one of my favorite models. His arm's coming off soon though.)
It's great. It looks expensive initially, but ignoring saves in melee is a must. In combat squads you only have 5 men, so your wound allocation means you may have to give one to the sgnt when you are charged, and your alternative weapon - The fist - with Initiative 1 - may be in trouble here. This is the weapon of choice for your defensive squad, in cover.
Oh no, you don't get +1 attack anymore. Well, let's make sure you charge people more now then, won't we? It still rocks. Absolutely rocks. Tanks are so much harder to kill, with one weakness being melee - you hit their rear armour. It's priceless (And Walkers are scary as heck now too - Grenades are very hard to use against them.) Used in ten man squads (I.E. if playing annhialation) they're more survivable as you allocate all the wounds from init step... whatever opponent is to your boltgun weilding sub group, so you get to Initiative 1 most times. In 5 man squads you are more fragile.
Hint: Powerfists really do benefit from charging, as they'd get an additional attack - Defensively the power sword (with +1 attack) and going on initiative does have it's uses, along with being cheaper - which is not something to be ignored.
Don't add +1 to damage, even though their melta. You don't want it if you have a power fist (1x attack vs many) and if you have a sword, scrape 5x points together from elsewhere and get a fist. It has a use on scout sgnts, if you don't want to give him a fist / are just using up spare points but that's about it.
Allocation of Stuff.
I've found that composing a squad is alot harder than originally thought. Here is a good Guide:
Hint: The cost is paramount. With the cost going up on equipment, you can't give everyone shiny guns without cutting back your numbers noticably.
Your Sargents assault 5x man squad:
Power Fist combined with flamers = It has anti tank, and anti infantry capability.
Power Sword and Melta Gun = It has anti tank, and anti infantry capability. The Better choice vs Dreadnaughts / walkers.
- These choices are mid-range in cost and give the best, most flexible options. The sword is better for taking a charge (still 3x attacks, using init if in cover - and the melta may have shot at a vehicle too), the fist is better to charge with (Flamer for destroying troops in cover, a precious +1 attack with the fist.)
If I was to move two squads, knowing one was to be charged and the other was to counterattack i'd let the sword get charged.
Hint: Now, considering if you make them 10x man squads (In annhialation) where you put your heavy weapons is important, as it affect's who is paired up. Bear this in mind when writing army lists.
Missile Launchers go best with the Fist/flamer (Still has Ranged Anti Tank) If they're close enough to flamer i'd charge.
Plasma Cannons go best with the Melta Gun. (This squad goes behind a Fist squad if there's a option, but don't be afraid to charge if it's viable.)
In the Dark Angels codex transports are at a reduced price, with expensive extra armor. They also automatically come with searchlights and smoke launchers (A feature that's totally universal on DA vehicles.) I expect this to be standard for vanilla marines.
Often maligned, very rarely chosen and not appreciated. Most people forget about them. Don't. One third of your games will be Dawn of War, and if you can shoot your vehicle at a target (Spotting distance roll) ALL of your units can target that unit. No spotting required. So, fire your vehicles first and don't forget the searchlights during movement, to shave that 6" off the distance.
They used to be standard for any transport, but their effectiveness is limited in their old role now. However, their necessity in their old role is no longer there: You are no longer forced to disembark with a penetrating hit.
They now give a 4+ cover save, which you can get from reasonable terrain, or your rhino chum next to you. Use them if you're zooming across open terrain by all means, however I'm starting to save them for when you're going to get charged in melee-This is incorrect, cover saves do not stop you being bashed in melee, but left in for completions sake. It's not reliably going to save you, but it helps.
On the remaining upgrades:
A one shot S8 missile for the same cost as a power weapon / plasma cannon. Don’t buy these, they’re a waste of points. When are you going to fire them? You should be moving flat out for the first 1-2 turns, and then the transport’s role does not involve shooting at tanks. (Tank shock if you have to.)
There is a line of thought that you rush across a battlefield, and blast away at rear armor with this. I’ve never had the guts to spend the points on it, I’d rather change into a razorback or put points elsewhere.
Hint: They do have a use in apocalypse, due to “unlimited range” But I wouldn’t bother in standard 40k.
For absolutely peanuts you get a second storm bolter. It’s like having extra marines in your squad, and adds that little bit of longevity to your tank (one more weapon destroyed result to immobilize, then destroy from glances / mid-range penetrating damage results.)
Hint: Don’t glue your empty hatch into place, and swap it with your Whirlwind/Predator/Razorback’s etc spare Storm Bolter on-a-stick as required. (If you also keep your spare rear hatches in a razorback kit, with a bit of work you have a razorback / rhino as required. Then if you buy F/W conversion kits you can just slot in as required onto your modular rhino chassis)
They’re not really useful on your transports as far as I can tell, (This will depend on your scenery I suppose). Why are you going across rough terrain moving 6” or less? It could be useful on a whirlwind or a razorback being used for fire support, to stop you from being auto hit when charged, while also hiding in cover, but it’s really a waste of points.
Hint: The bulldozer blade from the IG tank kits do look cracking on them with a little bit of work.
The most important rules change here is that you don’t have to automatically get out because of a penetrating hit. This is just as well, as transports aren’t exactly the highest AV on the table, however don’t underestimate their staying power. The new damage table makes all vehicles a lot harder to destroy. In the event it is destroyed, don’t sweat it to much. Your marines can take a S4 hit, with their save.
They do have the slight problem that if the vehicle is shaken or stunned, the inhabitants are too, but that’s only whilst in the vehicle. The Marine “Drive By” plasma gunning is now restricted.
Transports have good uses after deploying their troops, here are the best:
Your 5x man squad will probably appreciate being behind a LOS blocking lump. This is a good use after you’ve transported the unit about, and in the event you have a heavy weapon your LOS blocking transport can move out of the way come your next turn, allowing the infantry to fire. This is aided by the access points being on the side of a rhino, so to a limited degree this will work when the rhino is destroyed. (But it won’t obviously be able to move out the way, unless it’s a zombie rhino.)
I now have a new tactic: My transports stick to my squad like glue, to allow my “heroic” troops to get in and be immune from being charged by the opponent. This lets them live for one more turn.
This also means that in your next turn (after the vehicle takes the charge) your men can get out and charge (If the vehicle doesn't move. I should check that rule still works actually), so you have the additional attack, or rapid fire at your opponent.
This is all the more usefull as if the turn ends you can still score with troops inside a vehicle. (But in all likelyhood you won’t be able to shoot from the vehicle at attackers, as the vehicle should be stunned / shocked.) Let me give you some playtesting examples:
Example 1: my 5x man squad heroically hopped inside their rhino as a winged hive tyrant bore down on it. One turn later, the vehicle is shocked, stunned, immobalised and weaponless. My marines hop out onto a objective and rapid fire the hive tyrant (to no effect I have to add, damn you melta! can't you hit a barn door?). In short, the men survived another turn, presenting more firepower.
Rampaging assault squad is closing in, my tac squad jump into the rhino. Rhino pops smoke. Assault squad rip pieces off rhino, but fail to destroy it. (lucky 4+ smoke rolls vs powerfist) In my turn, tac squad jump out and bolt pistol assault squad, then charge them. (Hey, we'd have the same amount of attacks - bar I get 1 more powerfist attack, and next turn they would have had triple mine if i hadn't) I win combat, they fail morale. (This was also aided by cutting down the squad with shooting a bit.)
Hint: It's really important to be carefull while using this due to "No Escape". Don't forget, if you aren't locked in combat (due to no WS) the opponent doesn't move his men more after charging, unlike with infantry-infantry combats.
Combat is, and has been for some time the more efficient choice for a unit to specialise in. you get to shoot in your turn, you get to melee in both. The new 5th ed rules have a few perks/problems for us here:
1) No consolidating into combat. This is very good for us in that a dedicated combat team should wipe out one of our units, then be shot up in our turn (I'm noticing howling banshees / harlequins, genestelars are going into more smaller squads recently, so they finish you off in your turn. combat Squads again prove to be out saviour here, as it's a good thing to die quickly - you can then shoot them.)
2) Making someone break from the negative wounds means scoring wounds quickly, in one shot is very important.
Charge! Dark Angels even get a bolt pistol, so you can only drop one rapid fire shot to get 2x extra attacks, and DENY THEM THE CHARGE - That stops their plan, and it also stops their extra move into your board and (Probably) objective(s).
Hint: If you don't take LD tests you take over-run hits. If your marine squad is in combat with a squad of gaunts and a Big Beastie target the gaunts, the amount you win by will automatically score that many hits on the gaunts and the big beastie again. (Thanks Cho for that tidbit)
3) Allocate your wounds.
I'll tell you a little story. My 9x man squad was assaulted by 10 harlequins the other day, and i thought (assumed) they'd be wiped out. They drew.
Heres how: There's a subtle difference in allocating wounds now, in a Initiative step of a melee you don't remove models until the saves have been taken, and you have complete control over the sub groups wound allocation.
In the example above there was 4x power weapon wounds, and three wounds wrapped around. (8x standard saves too).
I gave a wound i couldn't save to a missile launcher, a wound i couldn't save to my flamer, one to each of my 6 marines and one to the sargent. (Two power weapon wounds and a standard save) I gave another power weapon save to the missile launcher (He's dead twice now), another to the flamer (he's dead twice now) and the last remaining wound to the squad. Then i rolled the sargents save, and 7x saves amongst 6 men (one died)
Then my 5x remaining men and sargent caused 3 wounds, and we drew (and i piled another squad in next turn, winning.)
to be clearer:
If you have to wrap wounds around, and have multiple power weapon wounds don't be afraid to sacrifice a heavy/special to save the squad. If the squad fold's they're gone anyway, and counting the amount of wounds you take is VITAL - sacrifice anything to win that combat.
The good news: you always hit the rear armour. The bad news: Krak grenades are appropriately named.
Okay, i'm being a bit harsh there. They've got the ability to penetrate almost anything, but unfortunately you swap all your attacks for it.
Stripping a weapon off a vehicle or Immobalising it DOES not stop it moving/shooting (if immobalised it won't move, you know what i mean) anymore. No auto stun/shock result. Thery may just continue pounding you.
Therefore if i charge a tank without a powerfist i'll normally make the sargent go for his normal strength, to help the stunned / shocked result. - If you can't kill it easily, try to make it not work.
Instead of 5x krak grenades, I'll opt for 4x krak grenades and 4x S4 standard hits. You're trading that as:
a 1/6 chance of a glance, and 2/6 chance of a penetrate for:
4/6 chance of glancing - and due to the amount of dice rolled - you may get 2x 6's (and if you have to roll to hit it really helps to have more dice).
In annhialation it sometimes really helps to stop that tank shooting / (and sometimes moving) for just one more turn.
- Alot, and I mean alot of people will disagree with this. It's your own taste.
don't forget, you get to hit a vehicle in melee on your opponents turn (if it hasn't moved) now.
p.s. a bit on melee, when to charge (really, it's alot of the time) and why (grinding your opponent down no longer matters as much as really pummeling them in one turn)
While not normally a troops selection you can add them to your DA force, so i'll go over them also.
Other than the obvious 2+ save there's more than meets the eye with Deathwing terminators:
1) They're fearless. this means no marale tests required should you lose a combat, or if reduced to one man there's no last man standing tests (Just as well considering they're 5 man squads)
2) You can add an apothecary. This is absolute gold dust. You pretty much (bar instant death weapons) have a ablative extra terminator every turn. I cannot stress just how good this is - maybe not so much in your assault based squad, but I tend to deep strike them with a AC and Belial to cause serious disruption don't forget you can ignore a failed save - including invunerable save with this (If it doesn't cause instant death)
3) You can add a standard for a extra attack on all models in the unit - this adds 50% to the amount of power fist attacks you have, making them disgusting.
4) you can mix and match assault / shooting terminators in the same squad. Trading one for a thunder hammer isn't a bad idea, especially as walkers are gross in combat (Being charged by two wraithlords is daunting, but with a Th/Hammer in a squad you can hurt them alot better than with just power fists.)
With wound allocation, as it is your choice it really isn't a bad idea to have five differently equipped mini's in a squad - The apothecary with S/Bolter and Fist / The AC with Fist / A marine with S/Bolter and Fist / A marine with Th/Hammer and Storm Sheild and The sargent (I give him claws, as that's what i gave my Belial originally, but realised he deserves a Th/Hammer. I just repainted his name plate.) I use this combination with Belial, and deep strike on the first turn (Using Deathwing Strike) behind a vehicle (Ideally)
Deep striking is no-where near as scary as it once was, as now only one in three mis- scatters result in death (Your opponent can re-deploy then, which may be just as bad)
I would tend to give a assault squad (Land Raider bourne) the standard and a Heavy Flamer - I give them less chance of survival (especially without the apothecary) so don't want them to be so hideously expensive as a AC (don't forget you can assault regardless with Terminators) Staying at Initiative 1 with Fists / Th/Hammers isn't so bad as you don't have frags anyway, and your Init isn't that great anyway - if you're beating them it shouldn't be a problem anyway.
Belial - Although a HQ he has to be there for Terminators to be troops. For his cost he's amazing: A company master and any of his weaponry is pretty much the same cost, but if you drop the Iron Halo he has Terminator armour. You still have rites of battle. What should he be equipped with?
1) The sword and a storm bolter: The worst combo available, as his strength is still poor. His stats scream for melee, so a storm bolter for attack is just poor, even at BS5.
2) Lightning claws - I originally used this to take advantage of his Init. however with no frags and the fact that most competent melee opponents will still beat or draw against him I've decided to drop it. It also can't harm Walkers - a serious problem considering their popularity.
3) Thunder Hammer and storm sheild - A great Instant death Weapon, helped by his extra attacks. His lack of iron halo is compensated by the storm sheild, soon to be made better if the 3+ save rumors are true. I highly reccomend this choice.
To be finished when my lunch re-starts (pesky reality) and i'm not distracted, covering walkers, and a honary mention of Terminators / Bikes.
Last edited by stayscrunchyinmilk; August 20th, 2008 at 13:11.
Very nice, but vehicles do not score.Transporting your squad across the battlefield is vital (more on transports later), and you can contest the opponents objective with a vehicle if the squad fails / gets wiped out.
"One must do violence to the object of one's desire; when it surrenders, the pleasure is greater."
Marquis De Sade
You can however sit the squad in the transport and still claim the objective with them which is handy.
This a good guide, I've been a big supporter of Tactical Squads for ages so it runs in line with my thinking anyway, but I agree they are even better in 5th Edition :-) - and will be even more so when frag and krak grenades and bolt pistols are standard issue... gahh hurry up new Codex!!!
Last edited by stayscrunchyinmilk; August 7th, 2008 at 14:34.
Very good. How about flamers, though?
Last edited by stayscrunchyinmilk; August 8th, 2008 at 14:09.
Good Emperor - whatever were you doing at seven years of age that enabled you to be my father ?
Just kidding. The reason I posted was because I didn't see the rest of the heavy weapons listed as a todo, and thought you maybe just forgot it - and I <i>do</i> like my flamers.
As a sidenote, I'm reppin' this, 'cause this... is the good stuff.
Thanks for that, gr8 post. I cannot wait till i can try these ideas out...damn school
solid stuff. good to see the death of 6-man lasplas, is all i can say.