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A Horde of Helix


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#1
Rogue

Rogue

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Here’s another bit of pondering on my ‘What if we take something we can do well, and turn it up as far as we can?’ line of thought. This evening, the Twisted Helix creed. The basic creed gives us +1 strength and +2 advance. Simple, always on, easy to remember. And to my mind at least, more useful on acolytes than on aberrants, even if the big lumps are the poster-boys of the creed – the jump from S4 to S5 matters more than S5 to S6, and +2 advance sits nicely with the Genetic Lineage stratagem.

 

So, lets go for a bunch of hard-hitting, fast moving acolytes. How can we support them?

 

The Clamavus gives a further +1 advance, and +1 to charge. That puts us on +3 and +1 overall, meaning that an advance and charge move covers 10”+3d6, or anywhere between 13” to 28”, and averaging around 20”.

 

A Deliverance Broodsurge offers a couple of perks. Using the Iconward to gain Augur of the Insurgent means we re-roll charges (which already have +1). It also gives access to the First to Draw Blood stratagem for +1 to wound (more on that in a moment).

 

The Primus pushes acolytes up to 2s to hit. With an icon, that’s 2s re-rolling 1s. He also provides +1 to wound against one target. With a base strength of 5, we’re already wounding a lot of infantry on 3s, so the +1 pushes it to 2s. We can also get the same thing from First Blood, and the Helix psychic power, Mutagenic Deviation. Given that S5 wounds up to T9 on 5s, we can probably find one way or another to wound almost anything on 4s or better. And because rending activates on 6+, +1 to wound means it goes off on 5s instead. (Just imagine putting 80 attacks into a Land Raider, on 2s rerolling to hit, and 4s to wound – you’d expect around 39 wounds, of which 20ish would be rending. It might not kill it, but it might not be far off, either.)

 

The Magus brings Mutagenic Deviation, then, but also Psychic Stimulus for a second advance and charge option, and also Might From Beyond (pushing a full block of 20 acolytes up to those 80 attacks). If we make use of the Cult’s Psyche and the Crouchling, we can cast Stimulus on 4s, making it fairly reliable (11/12 to cast successfully before rerolls). A second Magus boosts the first, and gives a third casting option, which is helpful.

 

Here’s how that might all look in a list:

 

BATTALION – Deliverance Broodsurge

 

HQs

Iconward, Augur of the Insurgent

Magus, Focus of Adoration, Cult’s Psyche, familiar, Crouchling

Primus, Alien Majesty

 

TROOPS

20 acolytes, icon

20 acolytes, icon

20 acolytes, icon

20 acolytes, icon

20 acolytes, icon

20 acolytes, icon

 

ELITES

5 aberrants, picks (inc. hypermorph with signpost)

Clamavus

 

BATTALION

 

HQs

Magus

Patriarch, Bio-Alchemist, familiar

Primus

 

TROOPS

5 acolytes

5 acolytes

5 acolytes

 

ELITES

Clamavus

 

Which all comes to 1995 points, and uses up 7CPs (Broodcoven, Broodsurge, Field Commander, Cult’s Psyche, 3 on the second battalion). I also threw in familiars for the Patriarch and my key Magus, to up their output on a critical turn – the Magus can cast three powers once per battle, all at a minimum of +1 to cast. On the other hand, this list isn't overly reliant on the expensive stratagems. Once into the game, it's all about Genetic Lineage, First Blood and maybe Cult Reinforcements, which are all cheap.

 

The aberrants are a luxury, because I like them; but they could be swapped out for another 20 acolyte block with icon although they’d have to be in the second battalion, and wouldn’t benefit from Broodsurge. Or you could use those points to give the current six big blocks three rocksaws each.

 

Tactically, I’d start most things on the table – a wall of 120 acolytes, supported by the two Primuses and both Clamavuses, with the Magi together in the middle (partly for the casting bonus), and the Patriarch ready to hit something or hanging out with the other psykers.

 

The smaller acolyte squads and the aberrants could be in reserve. The aberrants are a candidate for Perfect Ambush, especially if you can land them near a clamavus and/or the iconward; the acolytes can go for line-breaker, or scramblers, or just drop on objectives. But you could also start them on the table too – the aberrants can benefit from Psychic Stimulus for a surprise charge, and the acolytes can sit on deployment zone objectives if necessary.

 

Then the basic plan is to flood up the board, overrun mid-table objectives, hopefully fire off turn one charges, and present a mass of bodies that can’t all be dealt with before they all sweep into combat in turn two. Not subtle, but potentially effective, maybe.

 

If it all works, then we could have a lot of bodies in combat early on, leveraging masses of attacks at 2s followed by 2s and rending (on 5s, if we have any +1s to wound active) to maul through whatever they connect with. And if it doesn’t, then we all die.

 

I’m unlikely to ever run this for real (I don’t have 135 acolytes, for starters, nor the £675 it would cost to buy them), but I am tempted to proxy it at some point (using neophytes and brood brothers to make up numbers. After all, we’re the Helix – if anyone can boost guardsmen up to S5 with rending claws, it’s us).  

 

So. That’s the thought. Feel free to pick it apart (or, you know, tell me I‘m the genius who just saved GSC...). Or, if you prefer, throw your own build into the ring. It's all good.


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Painted this year: kellermorph, ten neophytes; gravis captain

 


#2
Rogue

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Of course, the Patriarch can also advance and charge. He doesn't get the creed benefit, but moves 8" anyway, so it works out the same. So now I'm thinking you could spend another CP to get him the Amulet of the Voidwyrm and try to charge him into any nasty overwatch threats.

And while we're at it, we could also burn CPs on a 9" clamavus and a double-dipping primus through Heart of the Creed, because why not?

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Painted this year: kellermorph, ten neophytes; gravis captain

 


#3
brother_b

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I thought about the same things you’ve put down, but not in as much detail. I like the simplicity of twisted helix, I like the idea of strong fast mutants rushing to attack their foe. 
 

The brood surge looks like it was awesome, but those books are no longer supported, and then matched play they are not allowed. I know in friendly games it’s separate, but we usually play matched rules and such I won’t have access to brood surge.

 

if you get some games in with this, please share your experience.

 

Personally I would probably run some neophytes along with the acolytes, and I want the big aberrant to make a showing so I would definitely use them. Your force turned up to 10 with acolytes looks pretty menacing but would have to push enemies off of their objectives because it would be hard for them to hold objectives under any sort of concentrated fire.


Edited by brother_b, 04 April 2021 - 03:07 PM.

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#4
Rogue

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Yeah, I knew Broodsurge was in an odd place, but threw it in because it added to what I was doing with it all. If we take it out again, you gain 3 CPs back (for Broodsurge, Field Commander and the second battalion, which can drop down to a patrol now it doesn't need to accommodate the third HQ) and have 65 points to play with - two more aberrants, maybe (and the CPs to make use of Perfect Ambush or the Helix fight twice stratagem). 

 

And I agree - this army is all about sweeping over the objectives killing everything in their path, and leaving nothing behind to contest those objectives. If it has to stand and fight on equal terms, it's in trouble. (I also worked out the firepower for the acolyte blocks - 120 autopistols means 60 hits, means 20 wounds against marines, means less than 7 wounds after saves. The whole army is likely to not kill a single squad of five marines with firepower, so there really is no plan B. 


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Painted this year: kellermorph, ten neophytes; gravis captain

 


#5
Rogue

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So, it's not a game with the 2000 point list sketched out above, but it is a game, and with a 1000 point force built along the same principles (but working with the models I have).

 

This particular match-up was against roguechaplain's AdMech force - her entire collection currently comes to just over 1000 points, and is far from an optimised force (she primarily collects to paint, and plays to humour me), so we gave her an additional detachment of marines to even things up a little overall.

 

My army was a single battalion of Twisted Helix, spending 3 CP pre-games on Broodcoven, Gifts, and Cult's Psyche:

 

HQ

Patriarch (Bio-Alchemist, Amulet of the Voidwyrm, familiar [hypnosis, might])

Primus (Alien Majesty)

Magus (Focus of Adoration, Crouchling, familiar [stimulus, might, mutagenic], Cult's Psyche)

 

TROOPS

10 acolytes, icon, 4 saws

10 acolytes, icon, 4 saws

12 acolytes, hand flamers

5 acolytes

10 neophytes, 2 mining lasers

10 neophytes, 2 mining lasers

 

ELITES

Clamavus  

 

Roguechaplain fielded a battalion of Mars Admech, and a patrol of Ultramarines:

 

HQ

Belisarius Cawl

Tech-Priest (Auto-Caduceus)

Librarian

 

TROOPS

2 x 5 Rangers

2 x 5 Vanguard

2 x 5 marines

 

ELITES

5 ruststalkers

5 infiltarators

 

FAST ATTACK

3 raiders

 

HEAVY SUPPORT

Disintegrator with energy cannon

 

FLYER

Stratoraptor

 

We were playing the Ascension mission (22), with 5 objectives, and points for holding the central one with your Warlord (both of us chose this, neither of us scored it at all).

 

 

I had the first turn, and turn one went exactly to plan. Both of the 10-acolyte teams made charges on the left side of the table, one via Genetic Lineage and one via Psychic Stimulus. They made contact with two squads each, and wiped both out each time (save for one ranger, who then failed his morale and fled anyway). So that was both vanguards, one rangers and one marines gone straight away, and the AdMech removed from one flank almost completely - there was just the librarian left at this point.

 

battle 1

 

I'd committed the Clamavus and Primus to this flank too, but left the Patriarch and Magus in the middle to threaten the centre (and leave the Magus out of deny range). One lot of neophytes sat on my home objective, the others advanced into cover to take the objective on the right flank. At this point, I control 3 (mine, her's, right flank) and  threaten the other two, and she has no way to reach the left flank.

 

The AdMech responded by gunning down one of the big acolyte squads, and then shooting/assaulting the neophytes on the right, reducing them to three. i killed the librarian in combat.

 

In turn two, the remaining 10-acolyte squad assaulted the last marines, wiping them out; and the Patriarch made a long advance and charge into the ruststalkers and last vanguard, killing all the ruststalkers. The 5 acolyte squad dropped into the left corner to deploy scramblers, as did the neophytes in my deployment zone. The survivors on the right flank fell back. The clamavus hid and grabbed an objective, and the Magus moved to stand within the neophyte squad for protection.

 

AdMech firepower (and Cawl's combat skills) removed the last big acolyte squad, the small squad, the 3 neophytes on the right and a few in the centre, who were then charged (ineffectively) by Raiders. Infiltrators dropped in (clearing the neophytes off the right objective), but failed a charge. The Patriarch removed the vanguard squad.

 

battle 2

 

In turn three, the neophytes quit the home objective and went back underground (ready to return in four and deploy the last scramblers). The hand-flamers appeared in the centre and toasted the Raiders, and the Patriarch charged and killed Cawl (just). The Magus and Clamavus sat tight.

 

In return, the AdMech (now a tank, a flyer and infiltrators) shot the hand-flamer squad off the table.

 

in turn four, the neophytes reappeared to deploy scrambers and take the centre objective along with the Magus. Two smites and a Patriarch charge later, and the Disintegrator was gone. By now, the points advantage was massively in my favour, so we stopped there.

 

THOUGHTS

Turn one went exactly as I wanted it to (save having to reroll an advance). That part of the plan works, even with reduced numbers. The problem at this size of game is that I don't really have a second wave to draw fire, so I lost one of the squads straight away to return fire. Fortunately, the second squad and the Patriarch were able to tie up the rest of the infantry in turn two, but the tank was doing a lot of damage until it died, and I never got to grips with the flyer. 

 

Holding the Magus back to avoid any chance of having Stimulus denied worked, but then left him isolated from the rest of the force, and less able to make use of all his psychic potential. The clamavus did his job turn one, and then turned into an objective sitter, which seemed to work. 

 

The neophytes felt less useful, especially the mining lasers. If i could, I'd drop both squads, replace them with two five-acolyte squads for objective holding and scrambers, and use the spare 80 points on a ridgerunner or something. But 'm already maxing out my acolyte collection, so that isn't happening yet.

 

We spent some time discussing secondaries. Engage worked well for me, scoring points every turn. I got there with scramblers, but felt it took units out of the fight to perform actions. Line-breaker would have been better, I think, as I had two units in the enemy deployment zone in each of the first three turns; but that was largely down to getting first turn. If the Admech had moved forward first, all the fighting would have been in no-man's land, which would have denied me line-breaker points. 

 

And rock-saws are marine killers. With the primus and icon, they hit on 2s re-rolling 1s, wound on 2s, completely remove a 3+ save, and do two damage to take out a marine for every wounding hit. With Might from Beyond active, I've expect just four rock-saws to take out around 10 marines in a single turn. 

 

NEXT TIME

The mining lasers were a waste. One squad advanced, fought, fell back and died, so never fired them. The others fired once (taking three wounds of the tank (which were then repaired)), deployed scramblers, went of the table, and deployed scramblers again. So take the mining lasers out, saving 40 points. And if I take two of the hand-flamers out too (for a squad of 10, not 12), that saves another 22 points. As I was 3 points underspent anyway, I'd have 65 points to drop on five metamorphs. Again, less ideal than swapping the neophytes out wholesale, but it does give me another squad to put in ambush for grabbing objectives, scramblers or line-breaker, for example.


Edited by Rogue, 03 May 2021 - 03:58 PM.

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Painted this year: kellermorph, ten neophytes; gravis captain

 


#6
brother_b

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Great write up, looks like you pounded them.

 

Against any kind of armored threat though I would think that the mining lasers would be very important. Anyway, I have yet to put in serious time with my cult but stuff like this helps me ponder my army composition. I'm also considering Twisted Helix as I stated above. I really want aberrants to be good though, and worth their points.


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#7
Rogue

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Yeah, that's what I thought about the mining lasers. But in the end, the neophytes were primarily objective-grabbers rather than a fire-base, and it was the patriarch who pulled anti-tank duty. Had the acolytes survived long enough, the rocksaws could have done much the same, I think.

I'd argue that aberrants are good, but far too expensive for how fragile they are compared to most non-Cult units. Talking of anti-tank, I've had the abominant plus squad of 4 picks and a hypermorph go into an undamaged Land Raider and kill it in a single turn, so the potential is there.

But then, I've also had them perfect ambush in, still fail the charge, and then die to bolter fire. Which was painful.
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Painted this year: kellermorph, ten neophytes; gravis captain

 





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