Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Rose of a different color

So, I have been asked to do a quick synopsis of the differences between Long Fangs, BA Devs, and Vanilla Devs.  Really, their rolls are the same.  How you kit them and their unique abilities to perform their rolls are where the differences begin. 

Long Fangs

Long Fangs are fairly simple.  They can take up to 5 heavy weapons (1 more than either of the other codices) and can take as few as 1 heavy weapon.  The best part about them though, besides their cheap price tag, is that they come stock with the ability to split fire.  This makes them a much more dangerous unit as they don't have to expend superfluous shots on a single unit.  They can split fire and tempt fate hoping to take out twice as many vehicles.  Very nice.  On top of this, they can reroll night fight rolls which can help as they are usually located a good distance from most targets.  Finally, they come with counterattack so most light distraction units typically won't be able to hold them down for long.

Long fangs come in as the cheapest devstator equivalent option. With a 5 man squad containing 4 missile launchers weighing in at 115pt. or 140pt. for a 6 man squad with 5 missile launchers.

What's unique about them? 

I think one of the more intriquing things about long fangs and space wolves in general is that they can have a wolf guard join them.  So, why kind of wolf guard would want to join a long range heavy weapon squad? How about a long range, heavy weapon toting wolf guard.  I feel that the best wolf guard upgrade that can be added to long fangs would be a wolf guard in terminator armor with a cyclone missile launcher.  This beefs up to their ranged fire by an additional 2 shots.  It also allows the unit to soak krak missiles as the terminator can use his 2+ armor save to soak the damage.  Finally, the wolf guard adds an element of close combat protection as no one wants to mess with a unit that has counterattack and a terminator with a power weapon/fist. 

I run my long fangs in units of 5 with 4 missiles and one has a wolf guard terminator with cyclone missile join. This unit costs 178pt. and puts out 6 missiles shots a turn.  If for some reason it needs to move, the terminator can still at least fire 2 shots in the turn it moves. 

Vanilla Devstators

The vanilla marine devstators are decidedly more...vanilla.  They can take up to 4 heavy weapons.  Their sargeant model has a signum which allows one model to fire at BS5 if he doesn't shoot, which he rarely does.  Now, here's the catch.  You can shoot at two different targets with one squad of devastators.  You just have to have 10 models and combat squad them to do so.  What does this mean?  The same thing that I think happens to be a downfall for vanilla marines.  You have to take additional models to get the full array of abilities for a unit and those models don't do much for you.  So, for a whopping 230pt. (assuming you are taking missiles) I can take 10 devastators and combat squad them into two squads with two heavy weapons apiece. The additional guys will end up attacking as bullet catchers for your heavy weapons.  If this isn't the route for you, you can go minimal and pay 150pt. for 5 models (4 missiles).  Not as cheap as long fangs, but this will suffice as it still outshines many of the other heavy slot options.

What's unique about this unit? 

Not much in comparison to the others.  You can't really add to the unit.  The best thing they have going for them is the ability to combat squad, but that requires that you spend extra points on models you don't need to allow them to shoot at two different targets. Meh.

Blood Angel Devstators

These are essentially vanilla devastators who got cheaper.  Seeing as how the BA codex came out after C:SM, the designers dropped the points cost to a more effective amount.  A unit of 5 models with 4 missiles will run you 130pt. So the bottom lines shows us a 20pt. savings.  From a paper perspective they are devstators in almost every way.

What makes them unique?

There are two big things that make BA devs better, in my opinion, than vanilla devs. 

1) Red thirst- On a roll of "1" (or 3+ with Astorath) your devstators gain fearless and furious charge abilites.  Not too bad.  The fearless part is great.  This means they won't run away if they take some casualties.  The furious charge rule is somewhat useless unless they are the last thing standing and you need to flush out some enemy troop choices.  If that is the case, why aren't you lobbing krak and frag missiles on them? In all, this is good for the fearless.

2) Sanguinary Priests- If you can manage to keep a sanguinary priest in or around a dev unit, it will gain FnP.  This is great as it makes them far more resilient.  In cover, with a 3+ save and FnP makes devstators pretty darn hard to get rid of.  The issue would be that you have a sanguinary priest babysitting devs instead of in the front lines with your fighting force.  If you can swing this and manage to keep FnP bubbles around your front lines then you are golden.  In all, BA devs stand out as being the most resilient devs of the three codices due to sanguinary priests.

Which one is best? 

Once again, I base my opinion of which one is best based on points/kill effectiveness.  Long fangs are the cheapest by as few as 15 points and as many as 115 points depending on what you do with your units. They come stock with the ability to shoot at two targets and are able to handle most light units that attack them.  I find this very effective and points efficient.

BA devs are super resilient and if all of the dice rolls work out, can be fearless to boot.  Don't imagine that you will be able to shift them without some seriously focused firepower.

The marine devs seem to be the redheaded stepchild of the group.  The combat squad ability would be a huge benefit if you didn't have to pay an additional 80pt. (opn useless models) to make it work. The only thing that might be considered an advantage over the other two codices is combat tactics.  If they are in range to be assaulted and are force to take a morale test, they could auto fail it in order to keep themselves from dying to assault.  I feel that this is kind of stretching due to a) they will probably be close to a board edge being long range units, and b) if your opponents on assault your board edge, then you have probably already lost the game. 

So, that about wraps up my look at the various devastator equivalents.  Which one will you choose?

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