Wednesday, November 3, 2010

That's no moon...that's a space station!

I have seen a few threads lately about deathstar units and I thought I would analyze a few of the ones available to Space Wolf players.  These are not original compositions.  Most of the deathstars I have heard of have been known of and used for quite some time, far longer than even I have played 40k.  It is my mission with these next fews posts to determine if these deathstars really are efficient or not. 

Box o' Blood Claws

The deathstar unit that I am going to investigate in this post is the large pack of Blood Claws led by known other than Ragnar Blackmane.

This unit will include a full unit of 15 Blood Claws + Ragnar.  Alone this setup weighs in at 465pt.  Add a powerfist and 2 meltaguns to make it able to handle armored targets and you tack on another 30pts.  Of course, what is a unit of 15 Blood Claws led by Mr. Beatstick going to do if they can't get across the board?  They need a pimped out ride.  Enter a LR Crusader at 260pts if you want the option pintle mounted multi-melta.  So, we are looking at a whopping 755pt. for a single unit!  Yikes.

So, what does it do?

The landraider is the most highly protected vehicle we have.  It has AV14 and can move a full 12" disgorge models another 2.99" away from its front door and then allows them to assault in the turn that they disembark.  Nice.  It also is able to shoot at weapon after moving 12".  It also allows the group to act as if they have grenades when they assault out.  Big whoop.  They have grenades anyway. 

More than likely, these guys will get to assault into another unit.  That is why they are dangerous.

Blood Claws have the bezerk charge rule.  This means that they get +2 attacks when assaulting instead of the normal 1.  Nice.  So, I have a model with pistol/ccw that has 4 attacks on the charge.  Ragnar bumps this up to be D3 additional attacks instead of +2.  This could be a step back, but statistically is at least the same as bezerk charge and has a 33% chance of being +3 attacks. 

Blood Claws also have the headstrong rule that says that if they are within 6" of an enemy, they have to forgo shooting and must assault.  This can be a two-edged sword.  A canny opponent can exploit this by putting sacrificial units in the way to kite your unit along.  Luckily adding Ragnar (due to his being an IC) nullifies this. 

Finally, Ragnar gives the unit he is with Furious charge for the entire game and will give every Space Wolf within 12" furious charge once a game.

So, we have 15 Blood Claws statistically getting 4-5 attacks per assault.  These attacks are at S5 and I5.  Ragnar will have around 6-7 attacks on the charge and due to his frostblade, he will be S6 and I6 on the charge.

The ideal situation would be that I see a unit that I want to destroy.  I move my LRC 12" up to it, disembark 2.99" away from the front hatch with 16 models and charge another 6" into the unit. 

I am going to use a 10-man tactical squad to show the numbers of what said charge can do.

Ragnar will statistically have 6 attacks hitting on 3s, so 4 will hit.  They will wound on 2s so being optimistic 4 will wound with no armor save being allows.  4 dead marines.

Next 14 blood claws will attack at I5.  2 will have melta guns so will have 3 attacks while they other 12 will have 4 equaling a staggering 54 attacks.  The powerfist will go last (though probably won't be needed).  The attack hit on 4s, so 27 attacks will land.  They will wound on 3s yielding 18 wounds.  Marines will save on 3+s equaling 6 wounds dealt.  6 dead marines.

The unit is squashed and won't even be able to fight back.

The math I used for this is as follows:

Ragnar- 4 attacks + D3 (statistically 2 extra hits), so 6 x 2/3(hits) x 5/6(wounds with no save) = 3.298 wounds rounded up to be 4 in favor of the power weapon
Blood Claws- 2 attacks per model + D3 (statistically 2 extra) melta will have 1 + 2.  4 x 12 and 3x 2 = 54 attacks.  54 x 1/2(hits) x 2/3(wounds) x 2/3(saves)= 6.06 wounds rounded to 6 wounds.
If any models should survive, the power fist would attack as such:
Powerfirst- 1 attack + D3( statistically 2), 3 x 1/2(hits) x 5/6(wounds with no save)= 1.245 rounded to 2 in favor of the powerfist.

So this unit on average pumps out 12 wounds on the charge against MEQs.  This is sure to wipe out most units.  Against Elite CC units such as Hammernators, you will have different results.

The downside is that they are 3+ save marines.  Torrents of fire will whittle these guys down fast.  Personally, I would feed this unit a sacrificial unit to keep it away from the rest of my army and plaster it with as much fire as possible. 

Also, if this unit doesn't get off the charge, its efficiency in combat is severely limited.

Final consideration:

What about the rest of the army?

In this one unit, we have an HQ, a Troop choice, and a Heavy choice.  That leaves 3 HQ spots to fill, a required additional troop choice and only two open heavy slots left. 

If I were building an army around this deathstar, I would start with my heavy selections.

Long Fangs are almost a must in a Space Wolf army and with only two heavy slots left, I will max them out.  So that will be two units of 6 long fangs with 5x missiles apiece coming in at 140pt per unit. We now have 1,105pt left if building a full-on 2,000pt army.

A rune priest is a great selection for any all-comers created army.  For this we are looking at 100pt based but if we take living lightning, we will also need the chooser to improves it capability.  Rune priest coming in at 110 with chooser, living lightning, and jaws of the world wolf.

Next we need our other mandatory troop choice.  Let's go with a minimum sized razorback grey hunter unit. This is 5 grey hunters with meltagun and laz/plas razorback coming in at 155pt.

Next, I need something to threat armor.  I generally like to take two wolf scout units with meltagun at 85pt apiece.  To buff them up I will need some Wolf guard with combi-meltas and perhaps a power weapon for 33pts. apiece and the 3rd one will have just a pistol/power weapon for 28pt.

At this point, we have

Rune priest- chooser, living lightning, jaws- 110pt. 
Ragnar- 240pt.

5 wolf scouts-meltagun, WG with combi-melta/power weapon- 118pt. (included WG)
5 wolf scouts-meltagun, WG with combi-melta/power weapon- 118pt. (included WG)
Wolf guard unit

15 Blood Claws- 2x meltaguns, powerfist- 255pt.
5 grey hunters- melta, las/plaz razorback, WG with pistol/power weapon- 183pt.

6 Long Fangs- 5x missiles- 140pt.
6 Long Fangs- 5x missiles- 140pt.


At this point I would add at least one more wolf guard and another grey hunter razorback unit. I love my thunderwolves, so I am going to take 2 single model units.  I take a mixture of equipment, but simplicity, I am going to give them all powerfists and stormshields for 105pt. apiece. To fill in I am going to drop one powerfist/storm shield to a wolf claw and add a second wolf claw model.  I will use my remaining 7 points to buy a 5 pt. wolf tail talisman for my rune priest
So the finaly product is:

Rune priest- chooser, wolf tail talisman, living lightning, jaws- 115pt. 
Ragnar- 240pt.

5 wolf scouts-meltagun, WG with combi-melta/power weapon- 118pt. (included WG)
5 wolf scouts-meltagun, WG with combi-melta/power weapon- 118pt. (included WG)
Wolf guard unit- 2x pistol/power weapon, 2x combi-melta/power weapon

15 Blood Claws- 2x meltaguns, powerfist- 255pt.
5 grey hunters- melta, las/plaz razorback, WG with pistol/power weapon- 183pt. (included WG)
5 grey hunters- melta, las/plaz razorback, WG with pistol/power weapon- 183pt. (included WG)

Thunderwolf- powerfist/stormshield- 105pt.
Thunderwolf- wolf claw- 70pt.
Thunderwolf- wolf claw- 70pt

6 Long Fangs- 5x missiles- 140pt.
6 Long Fangs- 5x missiles- 140pt.


Does this look like a list that would work?  Could it handle all-comers? Does it present threats to armor and infantry?  Can it claim and contest the board well?  Let me know what you think.


GDMNW said...

I think you are better off putting Ragnar with another unit for this sort of rock. While he does bring some huge advantages some of them are nullified by the fact that the blood claws already have them.

Your biggest problem is that you will only ever have one of these in your army. A lot of players are familiar with the generic super-killy unit in a super tough transport tactic.

I think you will find the challenge this faces isn't killing guys when you make the charge. Instead it's getting blocked by cheap transports or melta'd and made to walk around the whole game.

Plus 10 Wolfguard, three in terminator armour with a pair of Heavy Flamers and Power Fists, and five or six frost weapons riding around in a crusader actually cost you less than 600 points and frankly do the same job, perhaps even better because they can stand up to return attacks better.

2 cents

Dave said...

You bring up good points and yet again I will state that I am just the messenger. This is a unit/tactic that many seem to think is viable. I totally agree with you that it isn't original nor is it always as effective as it may look on paper.

I also agree with your tactical analysis. Block the unit, torrent it with fire, and it is a big waste of points.

I still have to analyze the wolfstar and Logan and the gang, so stay tuned for additional articles.

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