How they play:
Black Templars are monsters in assault. Their Crusader Squads (Tactical Squad equivalents) have the handy little option of switching their bolters with bolt pistols and Close Combat (CC) weapons that no other Space Marine Chapter has (barring Space Wolves). That means that each Marine will have 3 attacks on the charge, and a squad of ten will pound you with 30 attacks. Not a pretty prospect if you have a low Toughness like Eldar or Tau or if you have a terrible armour save, like Orks. Or both. Although they are decent shooters, like all Space Marines, they have a special rule called Kill Them All that I'll go over in the "Weaknesses" section (hint hint). So basically, against a Black Templar opponent, you better run like hell if you're even within a couple turns' assault range.
Like I said before, their style of play is assault. That means they're good at it. Really good at it. Something I didn't go over yet is the Emperor's Champion, which is a 5-attack monster who hits at I5, S6, and has WS6. He also must take a Vow, and just about the only one a Black Templar player will use is Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds. Although pricey at 50 points, it grants EVERY MODEL in the army the Preferred Enemy Universal Standard Rules (USR). That makes them even better. With 30 attacks that will probably hit, Black Templar Crusader Squads are definitely one of the best standard units at close combat. And don't even get me started on Assault Terminators or Independent Characters.... Also, they have a 3+ armour save because they are Space Marines, which makes them hard to kill with small arms fire or with standard CC weapons.
Black Templars have two special rules that are supposed to benefit them, but in reality, they usually do more harm than good. The first of these rules is called Righteous Zeal. It forces any Infantry unit that took casualties in the enemy shooting phase to move D6 inches towards the nearest enemy unit.
Although it could be incredibly useful if the unit is placed well, but most times, units are drawn out into the open, and they will usually be vulnerable units without any form of good protection (except their armour, of course). If you place your units well, you can use this rule to manipulate enemy Black Templars and draw them into death traps, or worse. (Note:This rule is counted a consolidation rule, because of this a player could take this to mean a movement of UP TO the D6 result, this could include 0 and thus no movement, though this is perhaps bending the rules that were intended, it is possible within the rules)
The second rule is called Kill Them All. This rule forces any Black Templar to take a Leadership test with a −1 modifier if they want to shoot at a unit that is not the closest to them. So for example, let's say that a Crusader Squad with a bad boy plasma cannon wants to shoot at your unit of, say, Meganobz that is 20" away. However, there is also a unit of all-too-expendable Boyz that is 12" away. The Crusader Squad would have to take a Leadership test at Ld7 (because of the modifier) to shoot at the Meganobz, and although they will still probably pass, there is still a chance that they might have to shoot at your expendable Boyz, now isn't there. Although half of this requires luck being on your side, again, good placements of your valuable units may well save them from a sticky end. Use these rules to your advantage, and show the good-for-nothing-but-close-combat Black Templars that there is true power and epicness in shooting, too.
What to watch for:
Land Raider (Crusaders) - Just like every other Space Marine army, the Land Raider is undeniably the mightiest armoured unit that can be put on the table. Black Templar Land Raiders can transport any type of squad (15 Marines, 5 Terminators), and are armed with a fearsome array of weapons as well as a near-impenetrable armour value of 14 all around. Make sure you have some kind of a melta weapon if you know you'll be facing a Land Raider, and a Strength 10 weapon just might work too.
The Emperor's Champion - A totally unique unit for the Black Templars, this bad boy strikes with 5 attacks on the charge, each at WS6, I5, and S6. He has a 2+ armour save and a 4+ Invulnerable Save, so he's pretty tough to crack too. However, he only has 2 Wounds, and has a sucky BS of 4. The best cure for the Emperor's Champion is another savage, CC-type Independent Character (cough cough Wolf Lord), a bunch of AP-really-low weapons, or just staying out of reach.
Assault Terminators - Paired with the Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds vow, Assault Terminators are all but unstoppable in assault. Armed with lightning claws, they will be able to reroll failed rolls to hit AND to wound, and they also must have either the Furious Charge special rule or the Tank Hunters special rule. Naturally, it'd be Furious Charge, so those lightning claw termies will be S5 and I5 if they charge too. Thunder hammers, on the other hand, will always strike last (or with other power fist/power klaw weapons), but will be able to reroll failed hits to hit and will probably wound. Also, thunder hammers will likely mean Instant Death for most units, and I almost forgot to mention that on the charge, each Lightning Claw Assault Termie will have 4 attacks. With thunder hammers, that's a big, bad bunch of S9, no armour save attacks that will almost always wipe out a unit. Kill these beasts by STAYING FAR, FAR AWAY and shooting the crap out of them with AP2-or-below weapons, the perfect example being a plasma cannon (small template, S7, AP2...).
How they play:
Blood Angels are a dangerous and powerful varient of regular marines, being very mobile and dangerous in close combat. This style of warfare makes them painfully dangerous, combining the toughness of a marine with the speed and melee capacity of other armies. This makes for a pretty tough combo that can happily tear chunks out of anything they come to. This means that they operate primarily at a short range and all of their army makes use of rapid movement.
Blood Angels are rapid troops and can take assault marines as standard troops, which is a big bonus as often assault marines contest in regular armies for better units, whilst in Blood Angels they can score and take up slots in the Troops section of the Force Organisation Chart. They can take regular troops on top of this along with getting several of their own unique and deadly units which can make good use of their own special rules to make them extra vicious. An example of one of their special rules is the Red Thirst, this is something that is rolled for at the start for each unit that isn't a vehicle. If they gain access to it then the unit loses 'And They Shall Know No Fear' to replace it with Fearless and Furious Charge! Now this may only appear on the roll of a 1 (or a 1-3 with the special character Astorath the Grim, but can really beef up the BA squads)
They also pack some very fearsome heroes who can help boost an army to an even more lethal level! Blood angels are very mobile, most units can take jump packs and their vehicles can move a lot faster, land raiders can even deepstrike to cause maximum carnage! The way that Blood angels fight means that they can quickly take out targets of choice and massacre unprepared units, especially since it means that they can draw on regular marine units to fight at longer ranges too, moving rapidly means they can get into their preferred positions rapidly and make excellent advantage of it. Blood angels are considerably tougher when you factor in sanguinary priests, who can help buff the army makes anything in the 6" radius around them benefit from Feel No Pain AND provide a furious charge to an already assault based army, which can make things a lot harder for the enemy to deal with
Blood Angels are not infallable, because of their unique offshoot nature they are unable to take several units that are available to regular marines which in effect limits their capacity. Equally some of their units (such as death company) suffer from Rage and therefore must run straight to the nearest target and cannot score. Many of their units are expensive to take and will eat into the points cost rapidly.
Blood Angels are also a victim to their own Red Thirst, the lack of Combat Tactics in their profile means that becoming Fearless can mean that they are subject to being 'tarpitted' which means they are stuck in combat unable to progress. This is something an army such as Blood Angels cannot afford to have happen much, as they rely on carving through units as rapidly as possible, fewer numbers means they need as much of their army as possible being used to its full potential rather than being stuck somewhere.
Things to watch for:
Assault Marines: These guys can be taken as regular troops, which is something much more worthwhile than regular marines assault marines as these guys can score and make use of a faster transport! Truly this unit is one of the embodiments of the Blood Angels
Sanguinary Priests: A 6" FNP boost can make things much harder if one of these is sitting in a land raider near by, making tough units even tougher to crack
Rapid Death: An army of Death Company with Astorath the Grim may not be able to score, but it'll deal some horrific damage before it goes out, both fast and painfully dangerous it'll cause some real grief before it departs
By: Shadowstalker Grim
How they play:
Chaos demons are unusual and play quite differently to many other armies. This is partly because they are an army that overlap both the Warhammer fantasy game and Warhammer 40k. Because of this they are all armed with melee weapons and psychic powers. Unsurprisingly it draws upon each of the gods for a slightly different aspect in gameplay, Khorne are hard hitting elite melee infantry, Nurgle are very resistant troops, Slaanesh is very fast and Tzneetch is about as ranged as you're going to get for daemons. This means that most armies are going to have multiple aspects in order to work well together and cover each others flaws. Demons also enter play strangely, the army is divided in 2 and then a dice is rolled to see which half is going to enter play first and then half the army arrives via deep strike, with the rest entering via deepstrike in subsequent turns.
Because of the nature of the daemons, they will arrive quite differently to how regular armies may expect and can be harder to plan for. The units available are each a kind of specialist which means that they can happily fit into a role without too much trouble, for instance, some nurglings on an objective can be very hard to move out the way and will take a determined push to clear them off, whilst a group of khorne bloodletters will probably massacre many enemies in close combat. Daemons also come with a host of special rules that make them tough to get rid of.
The way daemons enter play is both a blessing and a curse. Their divided nature means that unless the player is careful about how he divides his force he may well be losing huge portions of his army to enemy targetting, the units he has not fulfilling their purpose as he had hoped. Also the more or less single dimensioned nature of each of the players units will make each one struggle to fill in gaps that other units fill, so if you lose a vital unit in your first wave, it may not be possible to recover during the later ones.
Things to watch out for:
Daemon Prince: A pretty scary flying monstrous creature, be careful as they can close a gap and help out a demons army by filling in gaps and will probably force you to target either it and let the enemy army close, or the army and let the prince close. Especially dangerous in pairs.
Single God army: More for fun than a threat, an army that works for one god will work heavily in the favour of one aspect, plan a counter accordingly.
By: Shadowstalker Grim
Chaos Space Marines
How they play:
Chaos Space Marines (CSMs) are similar to other Marines on the surface being as they use many of the same vehicles and plenty of PA Marines. However they have key differences that really define the codex and the playstyle. CSMs perform best on the tabletop when they are built as an aggressive, mobile army who seek to close the distance between themselves and their opponents. 12" away or less is where you are your strongest.
* Troop Choices, I would argue that this is their greatest strength, they have amazing troop choices that will often be superior to the Elite choices from other armies, including other Marine armies. Almost every successful CSM army is built around a large core of Troops and it is one of the few armies that can be successful with only troops. This also means that objective-based games are easier on you since you will already have multiple scoring units.
* Pure killing power, Chaos can be very deadly. We often trade special rules or fancy army-wide buffs for additional killing power, mostly in close combat.
* Flexible units, this is most obvious in our Chaos Marines and Obliterators but many of our units are able to multi-task very effectively. When properly equipped, a Chaos Space Marine squad can take on any unit in the game with a reasonable chance for success.
*Expense, our cheapest scoring unit starts at 13 points and they go all the way up to 23 per model. As a whole, we find it harder to field large armies then other armies as this acts as a balance for our unit's flexibility and killing power. Be prepared to be outnumbered in most games.
* Long range firepower, with the exception of our Heavy section we lack any kind of cost effective long range firepower. This is also a balance to our short range nature and reinforces the idea that to be successful, Chaos must be aggressive and mobile.
* No army-wide bonuses or control units, with the expection of the Lash Prince, Chaos lack significant ways to control the battle outside of killing. We have very little to influence the game through reserves, special rules or other such things.
Key units to watch for:
* Daemon Princes, almost without exception they will be given wings and quite often some kind of close combat power. Fast, deadly and durable, they act to put pressure on your army and force you to choose between killing the Daemon Prince or the rest of the army.
* Plague Marines, Feel No Pain and T5 make for an extremely tough unit. Now put that unit in cover and make it Fearless and you have a scoring unit that is nearly impossible to kick off an objective without a lot of effort.
* Berserkers, in many ways the opposite of Plague Marines. They exist to slaughter your scoring units and claim their objectives (and skulls) for their own. Think of them as super Ork Boyz in Power Armor and you'll have a good idea of their capabilities.
* Obliterators, A true swiss army knife unit, they are the Chaos answer everything. Anything from heavy armor to horde, they have a weapon for it. Add on a great armor save, 2 wounds and an inv. save and you can't go wrong. Oh yeah, they can also move and shoot those weapons.
How they play:
Dark Angels are a 'specialist' chapter in a similar way to say the Black Templars and Blood Angels. However not in quite such an obvious way. They can run themselves almost the same as a regular space marine army, operating in much the same fashion. However it is the fact that they have two divergent offshoots that make Dark Angels so unique. For instance the DA have Deathwing and Ravenwing. These two particular offshoots are lethal and can be addressed as armies in their own rights and they should be! Generally Deathwing is an all terminator army (or largely terminator) and Ravenwing is a biker based army (consisting of almost entirely bikes)
A Dark Angels Army should be looked at like a regular space marine army as they have many of the same strengths, able to pick from a variety of wargear and making tough but adapatable squads. It is really when we get to the specialist armies that Dark Angels have a major difference:
Ravenwing can be introduced through the special character Sammael. He himself can be outfitted with a speeder or a bike but as a character on a bike you can expect some lethal fast moving death from this guy (as with most special characters) but the main reason he appears is for the bikes. As many people know bike armies are tough and mobile. A biker is a tougher marine, that needs no transport and is relentless. This combination makes them exceptionally fearsome as they can perform many battlefiled roles and adapt very quickly. There is almost no actual vehicles to destroy which means it is very hard to slow them down and they are tougher than a marine with a jump pack. The Ravenwing will be accompanied by other fast moving units such as speeders which will help bring anti armour to the field to assist them.
Dark Angels also have the a nice Leadership 10 accross the field (something that regular marines only get with Special Character, Cato Sicarius) which makes them a fearsome opponent in many ways, they'll be much harder to shift. They also can acquire fearless in their squads, something of a debatable double edged sword, but can be acquired with items such as sacred standards for different squads.
The weaknesses of a Ravenwing army are the same as a biker army, that they have fewer bodies on the table due to the increased cost. This is much the same as many armies who gain specialised troops. It is not a crippling problem for them, it merely means they must be careful with their troops as they cannot afford to throw them away and must play carefully and conservatively in order to maintain a strong presence on the field, lack of vehicles also means that the ravenwing are prone to any kind of fire and must use their speed in order to mitigate damage done to their numbers.
The Dark Angels also have a relatively poor stormshield, with regular marines in provides a 3+ invulnerable save, basically a good chance of shrugging off an attack as it essentially the same as a power armour save again, but Dark Angels only get a 4+ with their storm shields, which isn't such a good effect and perhaps not worth the points that you pay for the shield in the first place.
Dark Angels psychic powers do not pack as much danger as other psychic fighters as they have Ld 9 psychic hoods and array of weaker powers. Although the hoods operate over the entire field and arguably this is what you want, they lack the ferocity needed of them
Things to watch for:
Sammael: A character that spells Ravenwing on the field and thus an all biker army
Belial: A character that spells Deathwing on the field and thus an all terminator army
Venerable Dreadnought: The Dark Angel Venerable dread will be often be sat in cover, however the added potency of its smoke launchers and extra armour means that it can be very difficult to slow down the dreadnought's potency as anything less than an AP1 shot will just immobilise or stun it, not reducing its potency much at all
How they play:
A Deathwing army is a very hard army to master, but can be devastating when used properly. A pure Deathwing army consists merely of Deathwing Terminators, Dreadnoughts and Land Raiders. Don't be fooled by the small selection of units available, as they can fulfill many different roles and act in great synergy with eachother. A good Deathwing player will make sure that every unit supports the other unit. Given the small number of models on the table, the Deathwing army will often deploy on a single flank. It is vital that the various units can effectively support one another.
- The Deathwing Terminator squads can mix weaponry (both assault and shooting weapons) in a squad. A common and competitive loadout for a (tactical) Deathwing Terminator squad is:
Sergeant: Power Sword & Storm Bolter
1 Terminator: Power Fist & Storm Bolter
1 Terminator: Chain Fist & Storm Bolter
1 Terminator: Assault Cannon
1 Terminator: Twin Lightning Claws
As such, the squad is equipped to tackle various threats. Also, by assigning a different weapon load out to each terminator, the player can tactically allocate the wounds to each terminator. Don't forget that all Deathwing terminators are fearless, although that is a double-edged blade.
- Deathwing Assault. At the beginning of the first turn, the player can choose up to half (rounding up) of the Deathwing Terminator squads kept in reserve to make a Deathwing Assault. These units will arrive on the player's first turn by deep strike. Indepdent Characters (ICs) in Tactical Dreadnought Armour (TDA) can also be deployed via Deathwing Assault. When carried out correctly, this can be a great element of surprise. Be prepared!
-Mechanized Deathwing. I feel like this deserves a special bullet, as this is (in my personal view) the most competitive Deathwing army. At 1,500 pts, a Deathwing army can contain 2 Land Raiders, 3 Deathwing Terminator squads, a Dreadnought and 2 HQ's. Not a high bodycount indeed, but they are tough and can endure a lot. The Land Raiders can safely deliver Deathwing Terminator assault squads into the heart of your army at a rapid pace. And dealing with 2 Land Raider Crusaders rolling towards you is a tough job for any army out there. Obviously, melta is your biggest friend here. Destroy the transports and the terminators will have to footslog across the board, open to a torrent of fire.
-Deathwing Command Squads. Deathwing have access to an apothecary in TDA, which is very useful in the DA codex. He does not provide the unit with FNP, but he may allow any friendly model within 6" to ignore a failed save (of any sort), once per player turn. This ability cannot be used against attacks causing Instant Death and a close combat attack that allows no armor save.
- Low bodycount / high point costs. A single Deathwing Terminator squad will cost +/- 250 pts. That's 50 pts per model! A Deathwing player will generally hate to lose any model, as each one is direly needed. Concentrate fire, and let them roll their saves. They will have to roll that 1 some time! Add a librarian with Null Zone and get some plasma into them, they will fall like flies. Every model lost, be it Terminators; Dreadnoughts or Land Raiders, is an expensive loss. Taking out the transports should be priority number 1.
- Poor HQ. A Deathwing player is obliged to take Belial as an HQ choice, taking up a slot on the FO chart. Now, most people are not that impressed with Belial. And rightly so. To get the most use out of him he will often be equipped with twin lightning claws. Other than that, he really is nothing special. A WS 5, I 5, A 3 (4 with Twin Linked Claws) captain in terminator armor. Combined with an Interrogator Chaplain and a terminator assault squad, he can deal some damage. But nothing really scary.
Things to watch out for:
- Deathwing is always outnumbered, but never outgunned. Do not underestimate them by the small number of models on the table!
- Deathwing Terminator assault squads, mixing TH + SS, TLC and possibly Heavy Flamers, combined with the Deathwing Company banner (+1 attack) and a Interrogator Chaplain (re-roll to hit) in LR Crusaders. They hit (very) hard and they hit fast.
- Deathwing Assault. Sure, deepstriking can be unreliable. But just like Daemons deploy, they can also give you a nasty surprise when 3 Deathwing Terminator squads stand on your doorstep on turn one.
By: Shadowstalker Grim, Raphiel
How They Play:
Dark Eldar are one of the fastest armies in the game, and have some very nasty hard-hitting weapons. Because of their speed, firepower, and fragility, Dark Eldar armies have two common list types; Alpha strike lists, and hit-and-run lists. The new codex also gives the Dark Eldar options to break out of their traditional list style by playing a haemonculus coven army; going up against a tough and durable Dark Eldar army will be a nasty surprise for anyone who wasn't expecting it. Dark Eldar have a good mix of shooting and assault units, and so have a tool for every occassion.
• Poisoned Weapons: Painful for biker armies, Nurgle-themed Chaos armies, or other forces that depend on high toughness to increase their survivability.
• Mobility: Dark Eldar assault units can have a huge effective charge range thanks to the combination of open-topped fast skimmer transports and Fleet; unless you find some way to take away their mobility as soon as possible, their elite close combat units will be getting stuck in with you very quickly.
• High Initiative: Odds are pretty good that, with the exception of a few I4 units, the Dark Eldar will almost always hit first in close combat. This also gives that Dark Eldar a huge edge when it comes to Sweeping Advances, Hit-and-Run, and any other Initiative-based rules.
• Lances: Not much of a surprise at this point, but it still bears repeating that Lances are a reasonably dangerous threat to all armor on the table. The Dark Eldar do get a couple of nasty new variants, like the higher-strength Void Lance, and the especially nasty Heat Lance that has AP 1 and the Melta rule.
• Power From Pain: A new rule for Dark Eldar, and one that make them even much more dangerous as the fight goes on. Getting Feel No Pain can give the normally fragile Dark Eldar a major boost to their durability, while Furious Charge allows them to hit that much harder on the charge. This rule is also why combat-squadding is very dangerous against Dark Eldar; the last thing you want to do is give any of their units easy pain tokens.
• Fragility: Most Dark Eldar only have a toughness of three and a low armor save, while aside from one special character, their vehicles are all armor 10 or 11, and mostly open-topped. However, most Dark Eldar have access to ways to boost their durability, either by gaining Feel No Pain or by taking Flickerfields and Nightshields, so they are often a bit more durable than their stat-line would suggest.
• Walkers: Dark Eldar do not heave a good powerfist-equivalent for dealing with dreadnoughts and the like, which can can make them vulnerable to tarpitting. Haywire grenades can be a threat, but they still need a 6 to hit, and have a pretty high chance of not doing any serious damage even if they do hit.
• Transport Costs: The Dark Eldar have pay out a healthy chunk of points to get their transports, especially if they want to buy some of the durability-enhancing upgrades for their transports.
• Specialists: Like their craftworld brethren, the Dark Eldar have several units that specialize in one particular aspect of combat. The old maxim of "shoot the assault units, and assault the shooting ones" can be especially effective against the Dark Eldar. For example, Wyches are much easier to kill when you're facing a 6+ armor save then when you're up against a 4+ invulnerable save.
What to watch out for:
• Incubi: Really nasty in close combat, thanks to the combination of high initiative and strength 4 power weapons, and more durable than most Dark Eldar thanks to their 3+ armor save. Don't let them get pain tokens; it makes them nastier than they already are.
• Wyches: Cheap, and surprisingly durable in close combat thanks to their 4++. Invulnerable saves on a cheap basic troop are an especially nasty surprise for units that shell out lots of points for special close combat weapons; power weapons are useless unless the Wyches have Feel No Pain, and Power Fists also give a fairly underwhelming performance since their extra strength is overkill. A pair of shardnets can make them even better at tarpitting much more expensive elite units, and depending what they get for combat drugs and if they have any pain tokens, they can also pack a decent amount of destructive ability. If at all possible, shoot them before they get into close combat; 6+ dies a lot faster than 4++.
• Asdrubael Vect in an Alpha Stike list: One of Vect's abilities allows him to seize the initiative on a 4+, which makes deploying units in the open to maximize first turn alpha strike firepower much less dangerous than it normally would be.
By: Chengar Qordath
How They Play:
The Eldar, like their Dark Kin, epitomize the concept of the Glass Cannon; they are capable of hitting extremely hard and wield weapons and wargear of such an arcane nature that even Space Marines rightly fear them, but most of them lack durability and are points-intensive, meaning that every casualty is a deeper wound than they can truly afford. Nonetheless, with the appropriate upgrades, some Eldar units -- specifically, their vehicles -- become nigh on impossible to kill and those same tanks provide them with speed and maneuverability that is difficult to match on the tabletop. To fight a fully mechanized Eldar army is to fight without the initiative, because your opponent will inevitably be able to attack where and when they wish.
Eldar are the fastest army in 40k second only to their dark kin, which are a rarity at best. Their strengths lie in speed and each units utter suitability to a role. With I5 almost all around, fleet and 36" boosting tanks they can run circles around most armies, and kill them before they can attack in CC.
- Squad Specializations. The elite squads of the Eldar, the Aspect Warriors, are hyper-specialized units, capable of fulfilling a specific role on the battlefield with greater efficacy than any Space Marine squad ever could. When matched to an appropriate target with properly supported, this makes Aspect Warriors exceedingly deadly. Even non-Aspect squads, such as Guardian Defenders and Rangers, are designed for a specific role.
- Exotic Wargear. While their stat-lines are impressive, it is the weaponry and equipment of the Eldar that makes them so formidable on the battlefield. Whether it is the Banshee Mask (Initiative 10 in CC), the Reaper Launcher (S5 AP3 Heavy 2 guns), or the Laser Lance (S6 AP2 Lance or S6 power weapons on the charge), Eldar gear is across-the-board superior to what is available to most Imperial armies. There is no longer a single Rapid Fire weapon in their entire arsenal, with almost all of their weaponry being Assault weapons.
- Speed. On foot, the Eldar stand out by having Fleet of Foot as an almost-universal rule across the Codex, and even those units that lack it have some other method for closing quickly with the enemy (for instance, Warp Spiders are Jump Infantry and Striking Scorpions can Infiltrate). But their vehicles are one of their greatest assets, with both of their APCs being Fast Skimmers capable of completely ignoring terrain while delivering their infantry payloads at high speeds. A good Eldar player is capable of exploiting these advantages to take and hold the initiative throughout the game, forcing engagements exactly where and when they want to.
- Psychic Powers. The Eldar have traditionally had some of the most potent psykers in the game. The most commonly encountered powers are not direct-damage, but support powers that are capable of completely turning around the game by providing rerolls to armor saves, to-hit rolls, and to-wound rolls amongst other things. It may not seem so devastating when first mentioned, but when two Farseers are on the board, the killing power of an Eldar army almost doubles. While they do not have psychic hoods, Eldar Farseers can also take an upgrade that acts defensively against enemy psykers, providing a modicum of protection against Librarians.
- Devastating Special Characters. The Eldar have a large number of SCs to pick from, and all but a few provide a ridiculous amount of killing power to an army. Combat characters like the Avatar, Yriel, Maugan Ra, and Fuegan are capable of carving through entire squads of Space Marines in a turn or two by themselves, while Eldrad Ulthran is one of the most commonly used SCs of every codex currently in use. Beware these HQs and kill them on sight -- if you can.
- Vehicles. Each Eldar vehicle is powerful in its own right. War Walkers can take pairs of weapons that do not become twinlinked and are capable of laying down ungodly numbers of shots, while Vypers are at their best with low-cost, high-strength guns that are more than fast enough to achieve side and rear shots on our tanks in the early game. The Falcon, AV12 across the front and sides and capable of gaining a 4+ cover save when moving Flat Out, has a reputation as unkillable when equipped with Holo Fields, and the Wave Serpent is immune to the extra die from half-range meltas and ordnance rolls, and all attacks aimed at its front and sides is automatically reduced to S8. These tanks take lots of concentrated firepower to reliably put down permanently.
Eldar aspect warriors are the ultimate in dedicated killing, with high I a very good save and some other neat abilities for hunting their unit type of choice. With their speed they can easily make Turn 2 assaults, firing all the way in. and their tanks are a new level of hard to kill, by either reducing weapon strength to 8 with 1d6 max, or making you roll 2d6 and take the lowest for penetation
- Squad Specializations. The Eldar take specialization to an extreme, and these power-units can be easily defeated by creating mismatches. You can't outshoot Dark Reapers, but an Assault Squad can wipe them out in one average round of close combat; Howling Banshees should never be assaulted by Space Marines, but they fall easily to a few heavy bolter or heavy flamer shots. Learn each squad's specialty and fight them out of their element.
- Low Strength. The Eldar are no stronger or tougher than a normal human, and thus have trouble when dealing with Space Marines in close combat due to our ubiquitous S4/T4. Bike-mounted troops exacerbate this disparity with their T5.
- Fragility. Of the five vehicle types available, two of them are a mere AV10 all around, and the best armor save available to any Eldar model is a 3+ -- and even those are fairly rare, with 4+ and 5+ much more common. Combined with their T3, they can easily be killed by massed bolter fire, and any AP4 weapon will chew through the majority of their units with little complaint. The bolter is truly one of our greatest weapons against the Eldar simply because of their lower Toughness.
- Points Intensive. While there are cheap Eldar units, their best weaponry and models have points cost that make Lascannon Devastators seem attractive. Your average Eldar army is going to be outnumbered (even by Space Marines), so every casualty you can inflict upon them is crucial in reducing their effectiveness.
While fast and elite with dedicated units, the eldar have many glaring flaws. First of all, most eldar completely rely on psychic powers to boost their killiness. Kill the farseer and Eldar effectiveness drops exponentially. Also, because they have so many dedicated killers, a focused army can make many of their units nullz. For example a horde ork army is not very worried about fire dragons. In the same sense you can specifically target and destroy the eldar element that will hurt you the most right away, If you run 60 tacticals those banshees or harlequins might be target priority.
Look Out For:
- Fire Dragons. The most popular Aspect squad in the Codex, each Fire Dragon comes with a meltagun and meltabombs standard. Some army lists are built around three such squads, providing hideous firepower against Space Marine infantry formations which simply cannot stand up to that kind of concentrated firepower. Keep anything with an Armor Value away from them if at all possible; counter them by locking them in combat where their weapons give them no benefit.
- Howling Banshees. Initiative 10 power weapon squads, Banshees' main drawback is the S3. This, however, is often countered by a Farseer casting Doom on the squad they are about to assault, providing rerolls on to-wound rolls and making them just as good as S4. They are capable of cutting through Tactical Squads with relative ease and should be countered using heavy weapons whenever possible.
- Scatter Laser War Walker Squadrons. A three-Walker squadron equipped completely with Scatter Lasers (36" S6 AP6 Heavy 4) can put out 24 S6 shots in a single shooting phase; when Guided against a Doomed target, they are capable of swamping a Space Marine squad's armor saves by sheer volume, and will glance Rhinos to death. Luckily, they are only AV10 all around, so they are fairly easy to kill.
- Jetlock Councils. Short form for "Jetbike Warlock Council," Jetlocks are extremely dangerous and fairly popular. Warlocks on Jetbikes become T4 and have a 3+/4++ save and come equipped with weapons that wound on 2+ flat and are S9 against vehicles, making them both durable and capable of inflicting grievous harm against even the hardest targets. They normally come with a Farseer on a jetbike supporting them, and Fortune (re-roll failed armor saves) only increases their survivability. They are also fast thanks to their jetbikes. If your opponent brings a jetlock squad to the table, be prepared to scream in frustration trying to kill them
By: Sternguard Sergeant McColl, Deus Ex Ferrum
How they play:
The Grey Knights are a tough group of space marines and allied units that are the scourge of the demonic forces in the 40k universe. They make use of a variety of fairly specialist units which are part of both their own unique brand of s[ace marines. Generally these units are tougher than their regular counterparts but far fewer in number. However their combination of specialist gear and tough stat lines make them formidable opponents and especially troubling for daemons!
Since their recent codex release, the grey knights are a lot tougher as a faction. They feature some new units and special rules that make them a lot harder hitting and a lot tougher than their older counterparts.
Their units tend to be tougher and better than most other armies and have special rules and characters to back this up. They can therefore help themselves by constructing an army out of the variety of different units and build upon these strengths. Daemonhunters should be noted to also have exceptional psychic protection, such as aegis, making it direct powers harder to pull off!
-Close Combat is one of the places that Grey Knights excel, their weapons are generally geared to closing in on you fast and hitting you hard, almost every unit will be packing a nasty force weapon, so they can operate very well in the mid-short range bracket
-Grey Knights have access to grey knight terminators as a troop choice, weighing in a similar amount to a regular C:SM terminator squad, and have access to all kinds of formidable gear and psychic powers. Their nemesis force halberds will allow them to strike at I6 and combining this with the skill Hammerhand, can lead to a S5 hit! Combine this with the standard marine grenades and a storm bolter and they are pretty deadly all round and even cover won't help much!
-Much of the army is also capable of psychic powers, both using them and shutting them down. It'll make life harder for enemy psychics and give them a good chance to pull off a few of their own, which will really hurt anyone regardless of a psychic addition.
-Almost everything in the GK army is capable of deep striking, making for a similar feel to a daemon army, or a drop pod army. Exect lots of nasty units appearing where they're least wanted!
-The GKs also have access to a whole host of new special characters, to give their army more depth and powers, these are something to watch out for, as any character usually brings something nasty to the table!
The big problem for Grey Knights is that they have such a small number of units available to work with and will often find themselves outnumbered and without a decent set of units for every situation. This can make things highly problematic for the player as it means that they are particularly troubled in dealing with some opponents.
- Whilst grey knights still have the same downfall in low numbers as they did with daemonhunters, they can also put a lot of points into some units which will fill a vital role. Knowing what to take out and when will help bring this army down to its knees fast, otherwise it could be a hard slog unless you have lots of firepower (either quality or quantity)
-GKs also lack proper melta weaponry, which could make dealing with high AV vehicles a problem, but they have some alternatives. Keep in mind that much of the army will lack the ability to deal with something like a land raider however!
- GKs further lack decent ranged weaponry, making it hard for them to compete in a shooting match and will inevitably mean they will be aiming to reach frontline fighting asap, this is someone negated by their deep striking power, although they are limited on other transports as land raiders are all that can carry terminators!
What to watch for:
Grey Knight Terminators: The ferocity of grey knights in TDA. These guys are quite fearsome and though low in number are a threat to most things. - Now cheaper and acting as a good troop choice, lots of nasty wargear and abilities, extra evil! Paladins can be upgraded to allow the unit to take part in 'wound allocation games' making killing the desired target a pain!
Dreadknights: A new addition, standing taller than a dreadnought. Fully kitted out it can cost over 200+ points, but it'll pack one heck of a whallop in battle! It's decent 2+, 5++ save makes it pretty resilient and so engaging it as if it were a terminator (or similarly armed heavy infantry) will help whittle it down.
Dreadnoughts: Combining dreadnoughts and psychic powers is a mean combination, the Gks now can pull it off and make their dreadnoughts extra dangerous! In particular 'reinforced aegis' anything using a psychic power at a unit within 12" of the dreadnought suffers a -Ld 4, helping to negate its efficiency!
Purifier squad: A mix between a sternguard squad and a vanguard squad, they can fill either role admirably, but probably not at the same time! These guys are the elite of the GKs
Assassins: A nasty and extra dangerous group, expect these lads to pop up and start causing a mess, best to remove them early or they will prove themselves to be a real problem!
By: Shadowstalker Grim
How they play:
Imperial Guard are first and foremost a shooting army. Generally this means some form of gunline, either in infantry form or mechanized.
Now, there is the potentiality of blob platoon armies, however these will come later. In general, IG are an army built around pounding a foe with heavy weapons and ordnance, and slapping anything that gets close with a prodigious amount of special weapons like plasma guns and meltas.
Your typical competitive IG army will be mechanized, with lots and lots of armor and heavy weapons, they will want to keep you across the board and shoot you to pieces, whilst hiding within their chimerabunkers. This will work exceedingly well if you don't close that distance. Most nonmechanized IG armies will also basically do the same thing, but are more vulnerable to weapons fire and assaults and have less mobility, but more dudes.
Now, there are also blob platoons, where the Infantry Squads combine. With up to 5 powerweapon wielding commissars and 5 powerweapon wielding sergeants, with 45 ablative wounds gunning 5 special and 5 heavy weapons, sporting rerollable Stubborn Ld9, such a unit will *EAT* anything you throw into it, even something like Khorne Berzerkers or kitted Thunderwolf Cavalry, and have enough left over to still dominate a flank. The chief issue here being that it gives up a huge amount of flexibility that the small IG squads normally offer. Such units are further bolstered by Colonel Straken as an HQ choice, who gives units within 12" of him Counterattack and Furious Charge (your kitted TWC's or Assault Termi's are going to melt if they try and take on such a unit)
Strengths: Shooting. DO NOT TRY AND WIN A SHOOTING WAR. You can't. Imperial Guard will win a shooting war against any army out there barring poor dice rolling. They have answers to everything, generally in sufficient numbers to ensure that even if one misses and one is dead, another will get through. They flat out the best artillery available in the game, more access to heavy weapons (e.g. S5+ 36"+ weapons) than any other army out there, and have a greater control over how to use that firepower, due to the greater spread of weapons over more units within the army, so they can direct each weapon to it's best use better than other armies.
You can often expect that for an IG army at say, 2000pts, will have 15 distinct armor units on the table or more, consisting of AV12 to AV14 units, and still pack in 70+ infantry quire often with more heavy/special weapons than you will have models.
No army in the game can compete with the flexibility and expansiveness of the IG FoC. When other armies are essentially looking to bulk up on wargear and upgrades, IG are still adding more guns, dudes and tanks. Each IG platoon can fit in nearly 150 infantry and 6 AV12 tanks. Not only can IG expand really well, they can also pack a lot into few points. For under 1000pts, IG can pack in 6 AV12 tanks, 18 heavy weapons, and 18 meltaguns with 6 scoring units and 60 BS4 dudes.
Also, since IG are so weak in CC, generally CC upgrades are rather pointless. IG don't care about your lightning claws, powerweapons, or force weapons, these are all needless overkill. They don't care about your powerfists or Rending except in an AT capacity. Most of these things are utterly *wasted* points against Imperial Guard.
Finally, Valkyries/Vendettas can give IG a ridiculous Alpha Strike capability (scout up, turn 1 disembark melta troops, move them, shoot at tanks, follow up with krak grenades if need be, valk/vend moves back and shoots at other stuff) in addition to outflank capacity and objective nabbing capabilities.
CC. Everything in the IG army (save for the aforementioned blob platoons) dies to almost anything in CC. 3 Tac marines really are all you need to ensure a quick defeat for a 10man IG infantry squad. Nearly everything, from tanks to infantry, is exceedingly vulnerable to assaults. Multiple assaults are what kills this army.
However, a canny IG general can often turn this to their advantage. It doesn't take much to kill off most IG units, so most IG commanders are just fine with losing units to destroy yours. It's cool watching a your 200pt assault unit utterly annihilate an infantry squad before it does anything. It's not so cool after your 200pt unit gets finished slaughtering that 65pt unit and is now stuck clumped up in LoS of 2 battlecannons and in rapid fire range of 6 plasma guns and a dozen multilasers and heavy bolters.
Always, always, ALWAYS try to hit as many units as possible. If there are 3 units in a Ruin, hit them all with your tac squad or assault marines, if you can reach two chimeras, hit them both, etc. You likely won't ever be overwhelmed, and you'll likely kill everything off eventually, but probably not right away, keeping you safe from the following IG players shooting phase, and potentially clearing an entire flank in one or two decent assaults.
With IG, your shooting is supplemental, you will win through closing, getting amongst the IG player, and destroying them through assaults. If you try and win through shooting, unless you either have a very, very tailored list or the dice gods hate someone, the IG player will destroy you.
The one exception of course is the blob platoons. This is a unit that you *can* try to outshoot and outmaneuver, as it gives up lot of flexbility for power, and dumping a bunch of flamers on it before a solid assault from a couple units can swing it for you.
One of the biggest weaknesses of Imperial Guard is one that a lot of people don't think about in such a cerebral place like the internet. That issue is terrain. A Guard player can put down tons of tanks and vehicles or a 30+ unit of Troops but if the table is set up with a decent amount of terrain (at least 25-30 percent including ruins and trees and all of that cool stuff) then maneuvering these big units becomes a challenge. Maintaining synergy becomes a challenge and it forces a limit to the fire power IG can put out.
Just about any Heavy Support units from the Imperial Guard book, especially however Leman Russ Battle Tanks, Leman Russ Executioners, Collossus, Medusa, and Manticores. Also, Valkyries and most especially Vendettas, and Chimeras carrying Company Command Squads (and Advisors!), Platoon Command Squads, Veterans, and Blob platoons.
Iron Hand Straken- Old Iron Hand is one of the most popular HQ choices in the current codex. Besides his rather devastating CC ability (for a member of the Imperial Guard that is) he can take that blob platoon that Vakt outlined above and make it even MORE fearsome. Any friendly unit in his bubble gets Furious Charge and Counter Attack making all of those lowly Guardsmen hit like Space Marines! Also, he can't be singled out in CC as he is part of this Command Squad so he is covered with ablative wounds to a certain degree. Always remember: before the game starts to get a quick run down on your opponents army, even if they give you a printed out army list.
I'll add in a further note about straken: if the player also takes 2 bodyguards he can effectively stop you even getting a single wound on him for him to take a save on. Since each bodyguard can take a further 2 hits for straken that are asigned to him which means at full strength you will need to strike straken in allocation 5 times before you even get a chance to make him take a save (which is a 3+/5++ which he can also get a FNP roll for too since you can't allocate wounds to him, he often just takes chainswords to the face). Also, remind your opponent that if he says his shotgun is str4, tell him different. Imperial guard get a str3 shotgun, not str4. However if anything the shotgun is there for the badass factor!
Veteran Squads- These guys are another unit to look out for. At only 10 strong they don't take much to get rid of for a Marine player but they can pack some serious hurt with 3 special weapons in a squad and the option to give every Vet Melta Bombs and a single Demolition Charge. The now infamous Mech Vet squad is a cheap, efficient, and devastating.
Demolition Charges- These things are one of the sleeper items in the current Guard Codex. While they are just as dangerous to the users as the intended target they do get written off but they are absolutely FRIGHTENING when used tactically. If you haven't been on the recieveing end of one of these things it is a Large Blast S8 AP2 assault one shot weapon. I have had IG players destroy squads of Marines with these when they were in a vulnerable position, like disembarking or deep striking. Special Weapons Squads can carry 6 of them which is a scary proposition.
Psyker Battle Squads- I don't know why this wasn't mentioned above in detail but these units are almost game breaking. They can toss out a large blast template at up to S9 AP-D6 every turn from inside a chimera. Their other power is the the ability to lower the leadership of one unit equal to the amount of psykers in the squad to a minimum of 2. Suddenly your Marines are breaking or getting pinned really easily. The worst part about Battle Squads though is that they are CHEAP for what they can accomplish.
By: Vaktathi, Resv, Chapter Master 454
Necrons are considered one of the hardest armies to kill in 40k. You can waste an entire shooting phase to down 30 of them for 15-20 of them to come back and march forward again. They have marine toughness of T4 and even pack good armour (3+ armour save). Their shooting is their more pronouced strength, however unlike tau, you should not be assaulting necrons with anything short of dedicated assaulters (since most necron phalanx blocks consist of 10-20 necrons). With S4 they can easily assault things as Space Marines could and come out with grisly new trophies for it, however they march and fight so slowly (I2 almost nothing!) you're better to just rapid fire from guass flayers. They also carry with them limited, but extremely deadly, weapons so you're never torn for choice. Some see that as a disadvantage but in terms of utility, it makes them nearly water (Water is a reference to a style of play, water is the ability to adapt to any kind of enviroment by having ways to counter just about everything) in their style (bar the fact that they don't pack any form of transport unless you set up a monolith network and have lords running veil of darknes services like buses ).
A necron army usually consists of highly resilent troops. typically two 10 man squads of necron warriors. A typical tactic for a necron player to use is deploying 1 squad of warriors and having the other walk on from reserve at a later stage in the game.
A key mechanic that works against the necron army is the 'phase out' special rule in their codex which causes them to automatically disappear when the total number of models in their army with the 'necron' special rule drops below 25%.
Necrons have access to 'gauss' weaponary which allows even their basic troopers to be able to damage High Armour value vehicles.
Necrons are quite weak in combat , with a lower Initiative than the majority of units in the game.
Strengths and weaknesses
With necrons, they are strange in that they require spam to be effective however their basic (and only) trooper comes in at 18 points per pop. However 18 points nets you a guy who can affect any tank (albeit was nerfed in 5th edition but still works) and will rip apart most infantry with his guass flayer. They truly shine in the area of rapidly deployed rapid fire. A necron force can put up to 40 odd right next to one of your units and not have to need to move them but say 'They use X and go to Y' which is very daunting. To add to it their only tank (which is also the toughest tank in 40k bar apocalypse units) is able to not only teleport units to itself, but also deep strike in, deploy a unit of fresh warriors to the field or put down a nice tasty pie plate (explosion template).
To top it off, they have the most mobile of all heavy weapons that are also considered to be some of the most fiercesome (a unit that can most 12", fire a 36" ranged weapon that fires 3 S6 AP4 shots a turn and is T5 with 3+ save and the necron get back up roll? yeah, few can match that). In short they are quite scary looking.
However with great power comes great...drawbacks (you thought I was going to say responiblities now didn't you ) and they manifest the forms of limited options for wargear, only 4-6 units from the codex are actually of any real proper use. Any necron force without destroyers must have something like 30 immortals because thats the only reason I can think of for not fielding at least one squad of them. Even then, majority of them are necrons and this is important for their infamous phase out rule.
In short: plaster them down to below 25% strength and you win regardless of conditions. however it's below 25% of all necron models on the field. Necron refers to any of their models that get 'we'll be back' so scarabs, c'tan, pariahs, tomb spyders and even the extremely infamous monolith don't count towards it. So if see any of the listed: ignore if you can hit a necron unit. Only shoot at them if there is nothing better to shoot (and this goes infinite times more for monoliths, every last lascannon you have should focus on the necrons) because while phase out only counts necrons, if the army drops to below 25% necrons of what it started with, they all disappear regardless of th rule and necrons lose.
-Try and get your units to run down necrons, not even the infamous ressurection orb can bring them back from that
-take power weapons and get them spread out across the army. Power weapons negate WBB (We'll Be Back) rolls and also makes the necron player suffer for where his res orbs aren't
*Take care with the infamous destroyer lord. DoW games make them look like push overs but they ain't. T6, 3+ save, 3 wounds and most pack res orbs and phylacteries along with a warsycthe for elite unit hunting. Some would say ignore, some would say focus. The truth is, neither can be done because they only break cover to charge what they want then turbo boost away as your tanks/terminators lay dead from the armour and invunerable save ignoring warsycthe. S5 doesn't help either! If you do catch him though out in the open with a large unit of some kind then get them stuck in (orks can do this well with 30 odd boyz but us marines have to do with 10 man squads...ugh) to combat. Every turn he loses cutting down 16 point marines is another tank/elite unit you've stopped him mauling.
*IGNORE MONOLITHS I can't stress this enough.
Common Things to watch for:
Necron Lord. A good all round fighter with access to plenty of upgrades to augment the necron army.
Necron Destroyers: Fast , highly durable, dish out a large torrent of S6 shots per turn. Necron destroyers are a real threat on the table top, charging them pretty much renders them helpless unless a Necron destroyer lord is also present in the unit. However due to their High toughness charging them without any real muscle can result in your unit being tar pitted with the destroyers for the remainder of the game.
Necron warriors: Only troop choice available to necron players. Generally you won't see a lot of these guys on the table top as they can be easily killed in combat and are quite expensive , taking away a large chunk of points.
Monolith: Very very durable tank and the only form of mech in the necron codex. Can dish out a world of hurt at 12" range , also has a number of different abilities to help out nearby necrons. Most notably the ability to remove a nearby necron unit off the table and place them in front of the monolith portal. Generally should be ignored and focus on killing the weaker necron units.
Necron heavy Destroyers: Basically mobile lascannons. Generally a less popular choice compared to the basic necron destroyer.
The Deceiver: A necron god. Has the ability to alter deployment and the ability to disengage from combat. So a necron player using the deceiver will dictate the terms under which it will be assaulted. A close combat Monster. Concentration of ranged firepower needed to bring it down.
The Nightbringer: Another Necron god. Close combat focused. Has the ability to fire a single anti tank shot a turn. An even bigger monster in close combat monster than the Deceiver.
High Strength Low armour penetration weaponry and good close combat potential are generally the bane of necron armys.
By: Chapter Master 454, Corby
How they play:
Orks are all about numbers, they can bring lots and lots of bodies to the field. This is because they are dangerous opponents in Close Combat (CC) and although they pack an awful armour save their numbers give them the ability to ignore the losses they will take. Ork technology is ramshackle and unstable, but effective and helps them get the job done. Most orks are predictably going to want to smash your face in and have some very dangerous CC opponents such as Nobs in their army that will probably give any unprepared unit a hard time of it. Weight of numbers and a clear army wide strength in combat means that any opponent can more or less expect what they are going to do, it can be quite hard to deal with it though.
With the ability to field huge numbers (The AOBR set has a total of 29 Ork units wheras marines have a mere 17, quite a difference AND the orks are still quite a few points less than the marines!) they can expect to outnumber most people on the battlefield, thanks in large part to the fact that their models are all very cheap points-wise. Orks can run on foot if they so choose and because of their large numbers can shrug of the casualties they take getting to their foe and still be capable of ripping an opponent to pieces. Equally their sheer mass on numbers is a real danger even at a range. An ork weapon is pretty poor, but you can field a LOT of them so they can cut down even well armoured units with sheer number of bullets, which is something not often expected and quite fearsome. Orks are able to go toe to toe with a lot of enemy troops and so they have a good basic troop for hitting objectives, swamping the opponent not just with numbers but with fearsome CC. Also some of the Ork special characters such as Gahzgull Thrakka are able to give the army an even more deadly edge.
Orks have a large number of weaknesses that an enemy can play on. The first is their poor armour save. They may as well wear cardboard for the most part, as a good amount of shooting should whittle them down. Naturally this isn't too much of a deal for an ork player, but template weaponry can tear out chunks of the army at a time and seriously hamper the power of the ork hoarde.
Also Orks shooting is poor, they cannot go toe to toe with most other enemies and expect to out shoot them, Orks can manage weight of fire, but it wont be quality fire like the enemies will. Instead they must run a gauntlet of firepower to acheive their full potential which will inevitably whittle them down. Also Orks like all armies, should try and get off the charge as if the enemy pulls off the charge on them it will seriously reduce the full power of the Ork assault. Orks MUST make use of cover to try and get most of their units to the enemy with as little damage as possible.
Orks also suffer from being unable to deal with high armour targets, AV 13+ which means that they are going to suffer heavily and only able to deal with such heavy armour with a close combat weapon such as a power klaw, or deffrolla. Orks also rely on their Lootaz to deal with most other armour and although it is effective, if they lose them, they are stuck trying to deal with enemy armour inefficiently.
Things to watch for:
Ork boyz: Ok so they're the basic troops, but you can expect a lot of them. And you'll have to make sure you whittle them down whilst they're at a distance because once they get close its going to be a slog to cut through the number of them! Plus they'll probably exploit cover and shield other units with the number of bodies and help get more dangerous units to plow into your lines. Once they reach you, each one has a lot of attacks and can easily cause some big wounds if they still have enough bodies in the group.
Ork Gun army: Massive amounts of crappy awful guns. Masses of them. In number even poor stuff is dangerous and this army can perhaps even outgun a space marine army or better with just sheer numbers of guns. Forcing more saves means more chances to fail!
Da green tide: Orks can afford to drop lots of bodies on the field so you may find that the orks field huge numbers of armies purely on foot! Whilst this sounds an idea opportunity to blast them all away with ranged firepower, the orks may well close faster than you can deal with them and you'll end up with a lot of orks on your lap!
By: Shadowstalker Grim
Sisters Of Battle
How they play:
Similar to Daemonhunters, in the sense that this faction draws upon not only the Space Marine-esque Sisters of Battle, but also the forces of the Imperial Guard and many of their own unique units. The Sisters of Battle will often have many weapons available for the job at hand, often with a very unique look to it. They play quite simply by making use of the same aspects of Space Marines and Daemonhunters. They utilise squads of Sisters of Battle equipped similarly to Tactical Squads and they make good use of stormtroopers to help bulk things out and provide cheaper units. A pure Witch Hunters army operate at a much closer range to the enemy than Space Marines, by making use of multiple flamer and melta weaponry to wreak havoc, and can field more bodies than Daemonhunters due to the cheaper cost of their basic troops.
Witch Hunters can be a diverse force, with many units similar in function to that of the Space Marines; even the basic Sisters of Battle squad is perhaps comparable. The difference and strength of the Sisters of Battle is that they field some very different machinery in addition to the regular vehicles such as the Rhino. This gives them a strong force that operates differently and comparably to many other armies. The Sisters can produce a dangerous amount of close-range firepower. The sisters can pack a lot of bolters, flamers and melta weapons into a list, and if they can effectively bring all that firepower to beat the end result is pain. While Sisters are cheaper than Marines, their shooting is every bit as deadly, and can be even worse with the right Act of Faith.
However, the true strength of the Witch Hunters lies not in their equipment and numbers, but in their faith in the Emperor. Each faithful Adeptus Soriritus unit taken contributes a number of Faith points to an overall army pool. Each of these points can then be expended once in Acts of Faith which provide a benefit to the unit using it, including turning their army save invulnerable, making all their attacks rending and giving them greater strength or initiative, making them more durable against your own attacks while theirs are more dangerous. Fortunately these abilities only last for a turn, but then a canny Witch Hunters player will make it so that after that turn your forces are near powerless to respond. Furthermore, Faith points can be replenished by certain units in the army (typically ICs and sergeants) when they are killed, meaning that Witch Hunters can remain competitive throughout the game.
While the new codex has decreased the threat posed by Faith, it can still provide a nice little bonus when everything comes together for it to work properly
The army has little in the way of variety with a very limited FOC to start with and several sub-optimal units. The only real changes from list to list will be relatively minor things like taking one Heavy Bolter Retributor Squad instead of an Exorcist or a Seraphim Squad instead of Dominions. Once you've faced one Sisters list, you'll have more or less faced them all.
The new Faith mechanics are not terribly reliable, and don't scale very well. It's not reliable enough to be an important part of your opponent's strategies; so there's not much you can do beyond hope the dice gods favor you. It's worth remembering that squad leaders increase the odds of an Act of Faith working, so if you have some way to snipe them out that's worth considering.
With the exception of the Battle Conclaves, the army doesn't have much in the way of close combat ability. Getting stuck in will almost always be a winning strategy, and since the army relies on close range firepower to do damage there should be plenty of opportunities for that.
The army has no psychic defense, so a Librarian/Sorcerer should be able to operate unimpeded.
The army is lacking in long-ranged firepower; aside from the Exorcist, the only weapon the army has that can reach past 24" is the heavy bolter.
What to watch for:
Penitent Engine: Cheap, fast and very capable of killing, plus a walker so close combat is even harder.
Faith Points: A canny player will ensure a near endless supply of these through equipment and replenishment, meaning they can always spring a surprise on your army that limits its effectiveness and increases theirs.
Battle Conclaves: Combining the hard-hitting Death Cult Assassins and the very durable Crusaders into a single unit that packs a nasty cc punch, especially with a confessor letting them re-roll to hit on the charge. Be especially wary of a squad led by the SC Uriah Jacobus, who grants his squad an extra attack and Feel No Pain. However, they have no ranged firepower, and the Sisters don't have any durable or fast transports. Kill their Rhino, and force them to walk while hitting them with torrent fire.
Exorcists: Capable of putting out enough tank-busting missiles to make anything softer than a Land Raider nervous, especially with AP 1, and also quite capable of shooting up heavy infantry in a pinch. The random number of shots does introduce a luck element, but you can always expect them to get the full six shots at the worst possible time.
Dominions: Special Weapon carriers with the ability to Scout and outflank, plus and Act of Faith that makes their weapons twin-linked.
By: Shadowstalker Grim, Dark Guard, Chengar Qordath
How they play:
Space marines embody the generalist approach with squads capable of multi tasking and doing a lot of jobs well. They also can use a large variety of units and strategies. Marines operate well at a mid to long range though do have some good close combat units. Marines can also use special characters to completely change the way they play.
They have a very good 3+ save almost army wide and a decent profile in general. They pack units for every scenario and these units can usually threaten multiple enemy units. They can deploy with transports that will be mobile or deep striking and maybe a mixture of both, meaning that they have a variety of ways to deal with enemies. Their units and wargear allows them to have a mix of specialist units and generalist units to easily kill off large numbers of enemies and you can bet they’ll be easily able to pack a variety of guns for the job.
Their generalist nature means that they can struggle to deal with certain aspects of the enemy because of the way they do not have a good focus on it, equally their focussed units will not be as strong as enemy focussed units. They also need a form of transport to be generally effective, as on foot they lose much of their usefulness. High cost means that they will generally be low in numbers so marines need to make the best of what they bring.
What to watch for:
Unit – Land Raider, a tough AV 14 all round beast, well armed and armoured it’ll be tough to shift and can deal some real damage. It is also capable of loading up lots of models inside and that can assault out of it so you can bet there’s probably a nasty CC (Close Combat) unit inside. One of the variants that it may carry is the dreaded Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield (TH/SS) Terminators. These guys are probably the space marines BEST CC unit as they are tough and survivable in comparison to its other choices, the problem is they require the land raider for movement (walking and deepstriking make it hard for them to see action), which really hampers them, but they are a prime choice to sit in a Land Raider!
Tactic – Drop Pod army, The army can shoot through the sky to deploy right in the thick of it, essentially landing targets in your lap, giving you little time to react to them! This will leave them divided however so make the most of this fact
Biker army: Taking a captain on a bike provides access to bikers as troops, bikers are tougher and faster than regular marines and are very adaptable, be careful when engaging as they are formidable foes, able to be regular marines and more!
By: Shadowstalker Grim
How they Play:
The closer a Space Wolf player gets to you, the more dangerous he becomes. Long Range firepower is a fairly weak aspect, usually functioning in a support capacity while the close range units pummel you. Speed and Strength are their greatest tools, with a full mech army being one of the most dangerous things to play if a competent player is commanding it.
Like Codex: Space Marines, Space Wolves have a 3+ save on almost every unit. They have superb close combat troops and their basic unit (Grey Hunters) are able to go toe-to-toe with almost unit in the game and hold their own quite well. They excel at close range and in the assault.
Space Wolf units feature many units that operate best withing a 24" inch range and lots of expensive units. Space wolves can easily have much fewer models than regular space marines if they do not allocate points appropriately. Wolf Guard in particular can be a very expensive unit and will almost always be outnumbered.
Units to watch out for:
*Grey Hunters - Quite possibly the best value-for-points unit in the game, Grey Hunters share the statline of a Marine and have 2 attacks in every round of combat. Rather than a Heavy Weapon they can take 2 specials, a Power Weapon/Fist, Marine with D6+1 Rending attacks and an item which allows them to re-roll all 1's for a single round of combat.
*Long Fangs - Extremely deadly, they carry Heavy Weapons and can shoot 2 different targets per turn, meaning they are full capable of thinning out tanks and infantry with ease.
*Thunderwolf Cavalry - S5, T5, 2W and rending means that even without upgrades they will be able to tear through basic infantry and even handle Terminators.
*Wolf Lords - If SW players decide to go overboard on the cost of these bad boys you will be staring down the single most deadly non-named character in the game. For armound 250 Points you will be looking at a unit with S5 (6 with a Frost Weapon, 10 if given a TH) who can walk through any unit it reaches...
*Wolf Guard - The SW equivalent to Veterans, Wolf Guard can carry any CC weapon in the army and a Storm Shield. Wolf Guard are the only way for a SW player to get Terminators but will often be the unit which takes the fight to the enemy, bearing the brunt of any assault and pushing them back with equal ease.
How they play:
- The Tau are known for their powerful shooting, as well as good mobility. Although they don't have the sheer speed of the Eldar, almost every unit in a Tau army can move 12" and shoot at least a portion of their weaponry. Tau are the middle ground between an elite army like Space Marines and a horde army like Imperial Guard, and Tau are more of an 'elite-lite' army, with good armor and weaponry. However, the Tau are almost totally reliant on shooting.
- Tau favor medium-long range shooting, as they have a decent BS and are equipped with good armor and guns. The basic infantryman's gun is strong enough to threaten even Rhinos, and most other Tau units have the ability to threaten both armor and infantry with shooting. Use cover to your advantage and close with them.
- The major weakness of a Tau army is close combat. Most Tau units have an Initiative of 3 or worse, and they also suffer from a horrible weapon skill. Tau players hate close combat, and will sometimes go to great lengths to avoid it. Use this to your advantage.
Key units to watch for:
- Hammerhead Gunships. Between good armor, a main weapon that can switch between anti-tank and anti-infantry modes, and upgrades that allow it to fire like a Fast vehicle and gain a permanent cover save, the Hammerhead combines flexibility, mobility, and durability. However, their cover save does not work when the shooting is coming from within 12", and althought they have good front and side armor, they have thin rear armor. Get in close, and get behind them.
- Broadside Battlesuits. Aptly named, they are the ultimate anti-tank unit outside of Apocalypse. With a twin-linked Railgun, an excellent armor save, and a pair of wounds, the Broadside is tough to kill and it is lethal to anything with an armor value. Usually they will be either parked in cover (sometimes with Shield Drones, which are effectively extra ablative models) or equipped with the ability to move and fire (continuing the Tau theme of mobility) and used more aggressively. Like all Tau units, they are weak in close combat, and they are slow, making it easier for you to catch them.
- Crisis Battlesuits. Although not as tough as their cousin, the Broadside, they still pack a good amount of firepower and can move and fire to full effect. They can be equipped with weapons to take down anything from hordes to elite units to transports to heavy armor. The most common loadout is one that combines an Autocannon and a slightly weaker Plasma Gun with the ability to fire two weapons at once. Also, they move like standard Jump Infantry, but their move is split between the Movement and Assault phase, allowing them to jump in front of cover, shoot, and then jump back behind it. They are expensive and vulnerable to assaults, though they are quick and agile enough to avoid it. Also, Krak missiles are powerful enough to ignore their armor and insta-kill them.
- Pathfinders. Although not very strong on their own, they can boost the already good shooting of other Tau units to even better levels. They will usually be deployed in cover, but they are no tougher than a regular Fire Warrior though (T 3, 4+ Sv), so get them in close combat, or even shoot them to pieces.
How they play:
Tyranids are a horde army who bring great numbers of low armor save models and quick movement. While most of their army will consist of the weak but numerous Gaunts, they have the option to bring in some larger units to supplement their combat or shooting ability. This combination makes them a fearsome foe.
Tyranids have a decent myriad of creatures for different jobs, but being heavily dependent on numbers you'll find that they are decent CC (Close Combat) fighters, of course a large creature such as the Hive Tyrant is going to be bad news for whatever it drops down on and may prove a match for even our space marine captains. Genestealers are powerful close combat creatures can treat our armour as if it doesn't exist and a Carnifex can prove a fearsome match for almost anything it encounters, including vehicles.
Also Tyranids are not totally inept at a range and can use Zoanthropes or Biovores and masses of fire to crush down on some of your units. The army can move fast and keep up a decent rate of fire and then tear you down with weight of numbers in close combat.
Tyranids also have access to mycetic spores that fill in a role similar to that of a drop pod and will allow tyranids to drop right in on top of your back line units, several other units can also deepstrike their way toward your units so watch out!
Tyranids also have the ability to shield some of their stronger monstrous creatues with the smaller weaker ones, making it harder to pick the big and important tyranids out of the swarm, this works well as the bigger monstrous creatures will be synapse creatures and thus support the smaller ones, giving them direction and fearless as abilities. This makes a tyranid swarm very dangerous!
Tyranids lack any form of transport (bar the mycetic spore) so suffer from the shortfall of having to walk to close the distance. In some ways this is mitigated by the fact that they have the fleet of foot special rule so they can move very fast towards you, however it still means there is chance to thin their numbers before they get to you. They also have synapse creatures which when removed can be very problematic for maintaing your army. Tyranids lack a form of invulnerable save which means that they have to rely on their relatively poor armour for protection!
Tyranids also have the problem of being rather basic createures unless a synapse creature is nearby (within 12" actually) and if they are outside this range or the synapse creature nearby dies then they revert to being rather basic creatures with very little direction or power, lurking or feeding depending on the critter affected. The synapse ability is a vital cog to the tyranid game plan and will thus have synapse creatures throughout the army, which also makes them obvious and priority targets for any enemy player. Also lacking any form of grenades if tyranids assault into cover they will be I1 making them easier to kill off before they get chance to strike.
Things to watch for:
Genestealers - These creatures rip through armour almost as if it wasn't there, be careful when engaging these creatures as you'll want to keep them away from anything you want to survive. Also they can outflank meaning they can show up where you'd least expect them to attack vulnerable units.
Tervigon - This thing can spawn out lots of termagants in an unending stream that'll be tough to deal with, dealing with the monster will damage termagants around it, so it is worth getting rid of it before it can deliver much of an impact on the battle
Zoanthrope - This Tyranid nasty can pack a nasty psychic ability that can make light work of any pieces of armour on your side of the field, best to remove it before it gets chance to strip you of your vehicles. Of particular note is the Doom of Malantai, Scary brain that kills your guys, sucks their life, and gets stronger and more wounds as it does so. Still only T4 though, so Instakill with a missile or fist. Cannot affect units IN transports, as per the GW FAQ
Hive Tyrant - The main, though not ubiquitous, HQ choice. Beware of Lash Whips, reducing B2B models to I1, and Paroxysm, a psychic power reducing your WS and BS to 1 for his AND YOUR turns. Ouchie!
Hive Guard - A dedicated tank hunter, which doesn't need line of sight, so is good at lurking in cover, with S8 Ass2 shots. Nearly every Tyranid army will have these, and/or Zoeanthropes(mentioned already). BS3 means each one (up to 3 in a unit) will average a S8 hit each turn, trouble for armour.
By: Shadowstalker Grim, Commander Sasha
Chapter Master 454
Sternguard Sergeant McColl
Deus Ex Ferrum
Edited by Shadowstalker Grim, 25 March 2012 - 10:52 AM.