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Okay, it's been well established that unless you're in desperate need of fluff, a Devastator Squad beats the living crap out of Techmarine Gun Servitors. A dev marine barely costs more points than a servitor, and after all is said is done, you get more survivability with a dev squad for equal points. I'm not trying to revisit this topic. It's dead. If it was a horse, it would have already been beaten very soundly into glue by this point. If it was a parrot, it would be a Monty Python sketch.
...but what about if you can't field a Devastator Squad? Perhaps your mother taught you that devastation is a horrible thing, and you have horrible seizures whenever you even look at the entry in the codex. Perhaps you're playing Black Templars.
Perhaps I am, indeed, playing Black Templars.
In a world without Dev Squads, would a gun squad with a Plasma Cannon and some other bundles of joy be worth the points? 190 with Techmarine, Plasma Cannon, and 3 Heavy Bolters or 220 with Techmarine, Plasma Cannon, and 3 Multi-Meltas. The ubiquitous 4 ML 4 Bolter Dev Squad comes in at 200 points. It doesn't seem past the realm of reason that this Servitor squad could do a good job.
How about another frequently maligned beast, the Command Squad? You can only field two heavy weapons instead of four, plus you need to sacrifice one of your HQ slots to do it, however you do get an apothecary and the option to buy special skills. Plus, even if that Commander of yours never sees a battle, he's still boosting your leadership. With the new rules for Righteous Zeal for Black Templars, that boost to your leadership turns RZ into a fairly useless ability into something possibly better than the old rules, although I haven't done the math to back this up. This unit also can fall into a bait role as Chaosbrynn mentioned in his Tactics: Manuevering thread. 240 points for a Master Commander (minimally equiped), Apothecary, 2 Bolter Marines, and 2 Missile Launcher Marines, all with a special skill.
Are these squads just point sinks? Are we better off simply buying 5 man Tactical Squads and putting a heavy weapon on them? At some point though, you're going to run out of Troop slots and still need more firepower. Tanks can provide more firepower for fewer points, but a single lucky shot can take them out. Of course, you can fire a Bolter at a Landraider until your face turns blue and never scratch it. I fully plan on trying to play these things a bit and see if they can do a decent job or not, but I'm lucky if I can get in two games in a month... so playtesting could take awhile. I'm wondering if people think these things are actually worth the points you spend on them in a world without Devastator Squads.
Hopefully this can find a new angle to approach an old subject. Or at the very least amuse someone before a mod decides that this is, in fact, not a new angle.
Command squad, good alternative for you, dont overspend though. Use the cheap commander and only give the squad what they absolutely need. They may not even need a skill.
Servitors = N O
They are far to fragile. They have crappy saves, crappy T, and the whole squad costs more then the aformentioned dev squad (and command squad) and has absolutely no extra meat to soak wounds.
Command squad: good alternative for you.
Servitors: Garggle Acid before using these.
Mentor of Space Marine Commanders far and wide.
Efficiency VS Point Cost VS Ease Of Use - Your best bets:
1) Chaplain led Assault squad - 2 plasma pistols, powerfisted sergeant
2) 8 man Devastator squad - 4 missile launchers
3) Land Speeder Tornado - HB + AC
I play blood angels, so I hate devistators ^_^
I use 6 man tactial squad with a lascannon, mounted in a razorback with twin lascannons to get around not useing them.
It's still a max squad size, and you get a lascannon and a lascannon that can't miss (unless your bad a rolling)
Tomb Kings, Marines, Eldar
i play BA too, tho i still like devs, but i only go with 3 heavy weapons per squad in case they decide to romp and play...
Actually, u can always replace devs. Devastators provide long range fire support or anti tank fire. Why not a Predator Annihilator with HB sponsons? Dreadnought w/AC+HB? Even a Land Raider can do that.
Devs are the most point-effective option. So, really, there are numberless alternatives to Devs, only they are all either more expensive or less effective.
Are command squads that good? you get 2 heavy's but they cost Deavastator rather than tactical points and even with a combi-plasmagun/stormbolter the commander isnt at his best when shooting.
Every time you read this sig: a fairie dies!
Grabbing some Predators are definately an option. I already have one that I've tried out and may very well put one or two more in my line up. I don't really have much else to use my HS slots on anyways. I believe the reason I was trying to think of infantry-based solutions was to deny my opponent targets for his/her anti-tank weaponry. It was silly of me to just put them aside entirely though. Tanks -do- give you firepower just the same. They just have an entirely different mode of survivability.
Regarding command squads, with the new Zeal rules I'm not very comfortable with the SM base leadership. A loud bang can cause Infantry to make a morale save. So while the base leadership is fairly solid, you need to test against it fairly often. As such the boost you get from a Master is going to come in handy, unless I have completely failed to understand this game. So, to me at least, the question isn't if I use a commander or not. The question is what is the best way to use him and make sure he stays alive long enough for my Zeal eligible units to get into CC. I'm probably safe just tossing him in with a bunch of Marines and marching him up the field unless he's made a Very Important Pincushion. A small command squad could also be used to provide extra firepower. I may have been unduly influenced by the idea of using it as bait. I'm just going to have to play around with them and see what works best. Either that or crunch numbers when I have downtime at work.
Okay, no servitor squads. I'll find something to do with my Techmarine other than have it look pretty on my desk. Honest. I have a love for lost causes. I have a note from my Doctor, he says it's going to cause cancer at some point. I'll probably try and figure out how to use my new mutant powers when that happens.
I was starting to look at Razorbacks a bit (going the opposite direction of denying my opponent AV targets.) Although I really was still thinking of using them as a transport. There's absolutely no reason that I can't just consider it a X point TLLC that stands next to a tac squad though. I already have two Rhinos from boxed sets that need a use. Convering into a Razorback is going to be easier than a predator (I've tried... I am not, by any means, a master modeller.) Thanks to the both of you that mentioned using tanks. It's making me think about them seriously now.
Thanks again to everyone that's gotten back to me on this.
IMO I don't think the comand squad is worth the points for 2 heavy weapons, and I would not use sevitors. I would take an anihilator with HB or Lascannons, although yes it can be destroyed with a lucky shot. Maby two small 5 man squads with lascannons.
One Shot, One Kill
A pred or two and a dreadnaught should work pretty well. They'll last longer than a razorback too. The big thing is to not have your tanks hanging out in the open field and give your opponent stuff to shoot at so he has to decide if he wants to concentrate his firepower on one tank or if he wants to split up on all the tanks.
I can read now!
Blood angels command squads are too power full in CC to waste giving them 2 heavy weapons any how.
Tomb Kings, Marines, Eldar
I'm refering to Black Templars in particular, BTW. That might not have been as clear as possible from my original post. I did get a touch (very) obtuse.