I tried out the Punisher last night at the FLGS, and for once we actually had a lot of people show up! I got to play a new guy who was running a Chaos list featuring Khorne Berzerkers, a unit of Plague Marines in a land raider and a Slaaneshi demon prince with lash. Hrrm, fluff anybody?
My list was a fairly standard gunline with the highlights being 2 punishers with 3 HBs and a heavy stubber, 4 lascannon teams in my infantry squads and my standard 4 armored sentinels and 2 melta vet squads. I got pretty owned over the course of the game- I was down 2 KP at the end of turn 1 and proceeded to be wiped out by the bottom of turn 5. The Punisher failed to punish very well, mostly because of my poor placement of them (was forced to go first) and some tactical errors that I made. Two of the tanks fired into the Plague Marines one turn and only managed to kill 4 of them between them- and I realize that was a pretty miraculous turn of events, as statistically they should only kill 1 apiece!
Even when firing at Khorne berzerkers I was less than impressed- I believe that 2 died from one of my tank's firing, leaving enough to go and wreck everything around them.
So, granted that the Punisher sucks against marines and cult troops in particular... but still, I can't help but realize that the Punisher really sucks. I may try it again when I buy the new demolisher kit, but for right now I think I will stick with the good old LRBTs to carry my firepower.
I've also been underwhelmed by my line squads. Even with heavy weapons they just don't seem to do enough damage, as I generally have the problem of too many targets and not enough lascannons. They are also far too static, meaning that if I set up first I am almost always at a disadvantage, and the amount of terrain we play with also places me in the doghouse.
Having said this, here are the things that I think I need to work on:
1. Deployment. Especially if I am running a gunline, I need to have my deployment down pat. This goes for terrain and objectives as well as my boots on the ground. If I can actually focus all of my firepower instead of spreading it across the board and have some decent support in the right places I think I will do well.
2. Counter-charge. If the enemy gets close with monstrous creatures, I need a back up plan. Sentinels are fine for line troops (except maybe those with power fists), but I need some close range support to hold off nasty/fast moving MCs.
3. Mobility. I need to add more mobility to my lists. This could probably be accomplished by valks/more chimeras, but I'm in a bit of a budget slump right now and can't really afford any more models. Two tanks and two chimeras will have to do me until then.
4. Target Priority. Aiming Punisher cannons at plague marines is stupid and a waste of ammo. I should have worked harder on getting to aim at the demon prince or the obliterators that were wandering around. You can only make so many 2+ saves... This is especially important when doing kill points, as I have far too many most of the time and need to make up for it.
5. Better anti-tank. As much as I hate to say it, having 4 lascannons didn't really help my anti-tank at all in the last match. The meltas if they got into range did fine. I need to find a more efficient way to get tanks blown up so I can focus on their chewy, gooey occupants.
I'm working on a new list that will hopefully fix problems 2, 3 and 5 and make the others a bit easier to work with. Updates with that, as well as WIP pics of my veterans should be coming soon.