Friday, January 14, 2011

Army List: The Battle Tank Dilemma

Now that I've gotten a few games under my belt against some stiff competition with the list I think it's time for a few changes. Overall it's humming pretty well, but especially after last night's game (coming soon to a blog near you!) it's time for a change.

The main underperformers in the list are the Russ twins. Anybody who knows me knows I love me some str 8 AP 3 large blasts, but I'm not sure I need two of them. While very efficient FOC slot-wise, 300 points for the pair is just a bit too much for something that is still very much up to luck to see if it will do any damage or not. Plus they take up quite a bit of real estate as they need to stick together.

On the other hand, they provide a good deal of protection to the rest of my force. Few things can reliably deal with AV 14 at range so placing them as LOS blockers to my other tanks is often crucial to success. Plus, when they hit, they kill marines like nobody's business.

But if I am determined to replace the Queens of the battlefield, what would I use to fill the void? Let's look at some options:

1. Astropath

My list, like many IGuard lists likes going first. Some of my heaviest hitters are rather fragile with only AV 12 standing between them and total annihilation. Being able to play the reserve game if I go 2nd would be a great ability to have. The more reliable outflank could also potentially come in handy to help the Vendettas show up where they need to. The trouble with him is fitting him in, as a lot of the potential options cost exactly or very close to the price of a Russ, and I have little that I would want to take out from the rest of my list to afford him.

2. Psyker Battle Squad

I've tried resisting this particular piece of Camembert for a while but it has me hooked on several levels. First it can provide another high strength, potentially low AP blast, thereby replacing the Russ with little difference. Second, the Weaken Resolve power would, as in many Guard armies, help me knock squads easily off the table with only a minimum of casualties. I can already see TH/SS termies running for their lives because some scrawny little dudes wrapped in chains went BOOGA BOOGA... Third, the conversion opportunities are pretty fantastic.Since I've envisioned my force with a bit of a radical Inquisitorial bent these charming folks would blend right in. Not to mention my ideas on how to integrate playing cards into their design...

3. Close Combat Upgrades

I can't tell you the number of times that a power fist or even a sword would have turned the tide just enough. This isn't a really high priority, but a pfist on a vet squad or my CCS could have helped against even lone marines rushing in and slaughtering the entire squad. Again, like the Astropath, the problem is finding room for upgrades, especially since these can be seen as even lower priority.


Couple of ways we could go with this. With some upgrades we can sneak a couple of extra meltaguns onto my Vets as points filler. They do all right with just two meltaguns but three's just better. I could also spring for something like a suicide melta-Stormtrooper squad, or even afford another Chimera vet squad. I'm not sure how I like this version; if anything my list needs more long range shooting and melta's preferred enemies already fear the Manticore. Still, adding another Vet squad would give me another mobile scoring unit which is always useful.

These options so far have only dealt with giving up one Russ... the option remains to give up both, freeing up another 150 pts and a Heavy Support slot. With this, we have the following options:

1. Manticore

Manticores are awesome. I think I might miss the AP 3 of the blast but two Manticores is a truly impressive amount of firepower. I'd probably choose this option if I wanted more antitank, as nothing cracks a Land Raider at 300 paces like str 10 rockets of doom. Plus, PRETTY.

2. Hydras

Hydras would provide a fair bit of light anti-tank at range. Plus, as the photo above attests, fellow blogger and hero to Guard generals everywhere (despite his nautical title) Drax has a pretty cool way to convert them up, saving me money and helping me scratch that DIY itch that I wrestle with. I would probably spring for two as one just doesn't seem like enough. As my girlfriend mentioned, "Can you ever have too many Hydras? They're like potato chips." Special dear... special.

So let's look at a few possible combinations to replace one or both Russ.

  • Psyker Battle Squad with 4 additional members, Chimera, and take a melta from my triple melta squad: 150 pts
  • Veteran squad with 2 meltaguns, flamer, Chimera: 150 pts
  • Three additional meltaguns, one to each vet squad, 5 stormtroopers with two meltaguns, Astropath: 150 pts
  • Manticore plus one of the above options, plus take out 10 pts somewhere: 300 pts
  • 2 Hydras, plus one of the 150 pt options: 300 pts 
  • Just keep the Russ!
So those are the options that I can think of for 150 and 300-odd points... which one do you favor, or have I forgotten something?


The Antipope said...

2 Medusas would be also nice if you want to consider that. With a close crew compartment they come exactly at 300 points. Your best bet at killing those pesky Oblits/Thunder Wolf Cavalry/Terminators and other scary stuff. They can double up as tank killer too, a S10 ordnance has killed me many a Land Raider.

From your other options I would go for the PBS because it's an awesome unit and I always field one.

Atreides said...

lets face it, in an environment with so much cover, AP3 just isnt that useful any more.

personally, i'd either upgrade both russes to Demolishers (with heavy flamers and no sponsons) for the instantkilly and AP2 goodness, or swap them both for two hydras and a manticore. both of these options put out a terrifying amount of firepower and are much more points efficient than russes.

btw, a shameless plug, if you will permit me :) if you fancy another relatively cheap way to convert hydras, check out the blog i write for (Sons of Sanguinius).

Max said...

@ the Antipope: Hrrrmm... your idea intrigues me greatly. And if I forego the enclosed crew compartment I could afford an Astropath if my math is right... ooh, this sounds very tasty.

@ Atreides: Yeah, you're probably right on the AP 3 point. Unless it's point blank it doesn't really have chance of negating armor completely.

As for your suggestions, I unfortunately only have the one HS slot to throw around, though Hydras and a Manticore are both high on it. Demolishers... eh. I've never really loved them, plus they'd cost another 30 points to put in. The possibility of replacing both of them with a Demolisher stands, but I think more long range firepower is the priority for now.

The Antipope said...

Cool. Also consider that being in a squadron means that they'll be in cover most of the time.

The GunGrave said...


I think you should stick with the twins! For me you just cant beat the Russ (but mine tend to perform quite well!)

I've taken 2 in my Vostroyan army as well as a Medusa with enclosed crew compartment. I stick one Russ in each corner of my deployment zone with the Medusa up the middle to create a devastating crossfire that rarely fails!

But thats just me! Show the Russ some love!

DaveHowitzer said...

Well Max, you're about to see armies of 2+/3++ making a comeback so Atreides point works in that respect also.

PBS is a great option to replace the twins because it stinks of Bree, and as much is a loves me a Russ (sorry did I say love? I hate playing against the buggers) the current environment just isn't supporting their inclusion. Which sucks because I remember the big stink about Punishers ages ago -I still think they are the coolest thing ever-

Best bet is the Psykers or Medusas for some pwnage, worst comes to worst and they don't agree with your playstyle, you can sub the twins back in.

Max said...

@ Antipope: Cover is nice for AV 12 tanks indeed...

@ GunGrave: It really pains me to see them go as they were my first two tanks... but times are a-changin' and I guess I have to change with them.

@ DaveHowitzer: Yeah, silly Deathwing actually maybe being viable now... what's with that? Psykers and Medsae... possibly.

In general: gah! Too many options!

Bartender said...

With experience, you learn to enhance your army.