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I've had a couple of skirmish battles, with few points involved.
I could easily handle heavy tanks (rail guns) and light tanks (death rain suits), but I've struggled a bit against incoming MEQs.
I didn't appreciate much my helios Shas'el. He was pretty useless during the first couple of turns, and I never managed to make full use of the fusion gun due to range issues.
I'd like to play him as a MEQ-hunter, but I'm not sure about the configuration. In the sticky thread regarding HQ configurations I noticed that the Cyclic Ion Blaster \ Plasma Rifle is not one of the most appreciated.
Considering that I want a MEQ-hunter from a decent range , is the Centurian a viable option ? I don't really manage to find a configuration that allows me to shot from 15\18" with a decent fire rate and some MEQ killing power, apart from relying on the luck factor of the CIB.
Why use an HQ for anti MEQ when you could use FoF or subs?
And yes the CIB is useless (IMO) because you only get an AP1 hit 5 times in the game, and only 1.67 of these will kill a marine (and this is assuming you fire every turn!). You would be better off with the fusion for an anti MEQ HQ.
Contrary to the popular opinion the Centurion loadout 'El(CIB, PR, TA, HWMT) is a great MEQ hunter. You have to consider that the CIB hits usually 4 or 5 times(4.1667 to be exact) and then wounds on 5's with any 6's being AP1.
So the mathammer looks like this:
CIB kills VS. MEQ
5 shots @ BS5 = 4.16667 hits
4.16667 hits needs 5's to wound so 1.388 wounds half of which will be AP1 and the other half gets saves.
So .69444 + (.69444*1/3) = .9259 MEQ kills so almost 1 kill per turn at 18" from the CIB.
Compared that to the missile pod which gets .4629 kills per turn or the fusion blaster which gets .6944 MEQ kills per turn.
The plasma rifle at 24" only gets .6944 kills per turn and even at rapid fire range only kills 1.388 on average.
So yes the CIB is really one of the better MEQ killers you can put on a crisis suit and when coupled with the plasma you get a better kill rate than the other setups at <18".
Of course the missile pods may kill less but they do have the advantage of range so the CIB will, like the fusion blaster, often not see use for the first couple f turns of the game.
But the really nice thing about the CIB isn't that it is does well against MEQ(or TEQ for that matter) it's that it also is versatile enough to handly mobs og GEQ and especially 4+ saves or worse it tends to perform quite admirably. Think of it as an all around anti-infantry weapon that can back up your line no matter what threat is presented(unless you are talking about AV or MC's with T7 or better).
The reason to use an HQ as an infantry hunter is his IC status. As long as some Kroot or Piranhas or another unit is ahead of him he can aggeressively move forward to engage approaching infantry. The range of the CIB just happens to be perfect for engaging units that move 12" in the movement phase since he can move to 18" then jump back to 24" which takes him out of charge range of most things. This means he can rush forward and engage fast movers and put the hurt on them for an extra turn or two while using his IC status to protect him from the rest of the opponents forces. And since it is the most efficient anti MEQ, TEQ, GEQ crisis loadout you will often see him adding that little extra oomph where it is most needed(usually fast assaulters of course).
My 2 cents.
Oh dear I seem to have messed up my mathhammer, I think I calculated it in the belief that CIBs got AP 1 on a roll of 6 to hit not on 6 to wound. I'm sure riki will be here soon with more helpful advise although he isn't likely to suggest a centurion but will tell you to get more helios and surround them with drones to prevent them getting killed.
I'd really want to try the CIb, especially for his range. With an optimal range of 12" the Helios is a bit risky imho.
"Move at 11", kill 2 of you CSM. I move back, behind mi shield of gun drones!!1!"
"Uhm...ok...I move my remaining CSM...rapid fire your gun drones...they're dead...I shoot with my random Las Cannon your Shas'el....gg...."
Beeing able to shoot from 15\18" with a good fire rate seems much better, as my "unit" composed from HQ+ gun drones used as a shield will be out of rapid fire, and far enough to avoid beeing assaulted from 12" moving units.
@Kroxi : I noticed that it's not always possiible to use FoF. Sometimes Devilfishes get stunned, or immobilised, or they're a bit far, or it would be risky to deploy FWs in a certain zone of the field etc. etc. Since most enemies simply advance in my direction, I find it useful to have a "unit" that's able to handle slow moving MEQs, while I try to focus subs or FoFs on bikers, assault units etc etc.
First thing is you should never use the Drones as a wall (in a line) you should always use a circle of Drones surrounding the Shas'El.
This is important in two ways because:
(1) casualties can only be removed from within range.
So if you move back to 18" only a few of the Drones will be eligible for removal and as long as there is a Drone closer to the Lascannon unit then the Shas is immune.
(2) If the whole Drone unit is in range you can remove Drones from anywhere in the unit, which means that you can remove Drones from the rear to leave Drones closer to the opponent to prevent targeting, or even remove them from the front to prevent an assault (depends on the situation and this is where tactical awareness comes into the equation)
Also the Helios and Drone squad will usually kill enough of the enemy unit to prevent a hail of return fire (4.5 casulties on average which is nearly a full combat squad or half a full tactical squad) and can pin.
As for the range issue I find this a very minor issue, when your close enough (18") to fire this means that most of the time you will be in range of one or more enemy units anyway.
This is why I use the Drones and the Helios it allows me to hurt anything and be safe. Basically if I am going to be close to the enemy (which I will be with Helios or Centurion) then I want to have the maximum ability to hurt the opponent, and Helios gives me that edge.
Anti MEQ is fine but the Helios does much more.
Kroot (2 units)
Fire Warriors (FOF)
This is the way to handle any list, multiple numerous units and not relying on one unit to perform a task (like relying on HQ for anti MEQ).
One HQ suit won't ever really be able to take on a MEQ unit on it's own. Like almost everything else in the game, it needs to be supported. Firewarriors (in a Devilfish or not), Stealth Suits, sub shots from a Hammerhead, Fireknives, or Deathrains all make excellent MEQ killers. Any two or three of these units attacking a MEQ unit are going to throw down some serious hurt, but only because of the combined fire power. I like to use a Shas'el Helios with either a gun drone squad, a Stealth Squad, or a Fireknife or two to take on MEQ squads and typically I have great success.
With 2x plasma and fusion gun hitting\killing on a 2+ I think it should be fair to expect the Helios to kill 2 MEQs per turn....but how many drones does it take to reach 4.5 casualties per turn ? o_O I was planning to play a very small unit >__>
Had another game today, I simply love Deathrains °____°
Sorry I don't know what happened to that post, it should have said 4.5 hits for the Drones which is as I said nearly a full combat squad. Only half the paragraph is there. I was at work when I posed that and I tend to get distracted (damn work).
It should have said.
(4.5 hits which is a nearly a full combat squad or half a normal Marine squad, this equates to 3.06 casualties when added to the Helios results and possibly pinning.)
For a combat squad thats nearly a full squad on average and is bad for a normal Marine squad.
Sorry for the confusion I made Drones sound like uber MEQ killers, I will have to be more careful when I post at work.