Thursday, July 7, 2011

All Terminator Lists Part 1: Deathwing

Well as you’ve obviously noticed I played an all Terminator list this last weekend at the Bugeater GT in Omaha. I went 5-1 and am now an EXPERT on all Terminator armies, including ones I’ve never played! J

Now my list had a lot of cool factor to it. I have to say that shoving 35 Terminators down the throat of your opponents is a blast! That being said there are some inherent weaknesses in these types of lists. Originally I was going to cover some thoughts on the weaknesses of all Terminator lists, their strengths, and some points to focus on when building a list for all terminator forces. On second thought I think I’m going to refocus the article into a series covering the 3 armies allowed to take termies as troops and include their strengths, weaknesses, differences, building techniques, and how to capitalize on their strengths.
Let’s start with Deathwing and the easy strengths:

-2+/3++ Saves
-Negation of the current favorite heavy weapon: Missile Launchers
-Armor Save negation abounds in close combat
-Decent ranged heavy weapon combined with the above
-Low Kill Point Totals

Easy Negatives:

-Limited Numbers (generally 30-35 scoring models)
-No Mech (not a good idea to combine mech and terminators)
-Limited Damage output (limited by fewer numbers of units overall)
-Piss Poor Psychic Defense
-No Low AP Weaponry

As you can see it’s definitely a trade off that you’re looking at when you bring all Terminator based armies. The positives add up into basically a way to break the “meta” of the game. Most armies have shifted to Autocannons/Missile Launchers for light anti-tank work due to cost and number of shots. This means that there are far fewer weapons over 12” that can hurt you. However you do have to close with the enemy when playing Deathwing which brings you into range of the where most armies have their Ap1-2 weapons like plasma and melta. So as you can see it’s a bit of a catch.

Another telling issue is your own lack of Ap1-2. You, like most other armies today, are relying on Missile Launchers to get the job done and open up tanks. This can be a problem when you encounter units like Oblits where they will be able to shrug off your ranged firepower and pick you apart.

With all of the above in mind I’ve come to the conclusion that a combine arms approach is going to be required for a Deathwing list to work. You are going to need the additional AP1-2 support to mitigate your bad match-ups (ex. Lash) and the best way to do that is to slide in 1 of 2 options (or a combination of both).

Options 1: Dreadnoughts. These will allow you to get Ap1-2 ranged firepower on a fairly resilient frame. The glaring issue is that this gives easy target priority. They can use their high strength, non-AP 1-2 weapons on them so the Dreads, though fairly resilient, won’t last long.

Option 2: Ravenwing! By this I mean either 3 Bikes w/2 Meltas and Multi-Melta Attack Bike or Typhoons w/Multi-Melta. This is an easy place to get fast and high numbers of AP1. In the case of the first it also gives you teleport homers for DWA and 2 separate units instead of a single one like all other bike units. In the case of the second it adds another fast missile launcher for most games and AP1 for those pesky Oblits or Demolishers. Obviously the problem with these units is that they are relatively fragile so you have to be careful in how you use them but it just using them will pull some of the pressure off your Terminators.

Or you can go with a mix of the two which I think is fairly strong. Here are 3 quick lists built around the ideas in this article:

DW + Dreadnoughts (Not Recommended)
4x5 TH/SS + Cyclone
2x1 Chainfist, 3 Powerfist, 1 Powersword, Cyclone
3xDreadnought w/Multi-Melta, Venerable, Stormbolter

DW + Ravenwing
DW w/5 TH/SS, Cyclone, Banner, Apoth.
3x5 TH/SS + Cyclone
2x2 Chainfist, 2 Powerfist, 1 Powersword, Cyclone
2x3 Ravenwing Bikes w/2 Melta, Powerfist, MM Attack Bike
Typhoon w/MM

DW + Both
2xDread w/MM, Storm Bolter, Venerable
3x5 TH/SS, Cyclone
2x1 Chainfist, 3 Powerfist, 1 Powersword, Cyclone
2x3 Ravenwing Bikes w/2 Melta, Powerfist, MM Attack Bike

If you choose on the Ravenwing lists you change the “Tac” squads back into TH/SS but I prefer the extra shots at range while I’m chasing my opponent. The choice is yours I just prefer not to give up my tactical flexibility.

I’m personally leaning heavily toward the third list. The Venerable is cheap for DA’s and it’ll help keep the Dreads alive. Add in the AP1 24” gun and it’s helping. Two of these added to the Ravenwing bikers who should be very much a threat and the Dreads might not take all the ranged heavy fire. This also still leaves you with a core of scoring fearless termies and plays heavily to the armies strengths while giving you a better chance against certain match-ups.

Hope you enjoyed.
Next up: Grey Knights!