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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1850 and 2000 point Kauyon lists; also, the Hammerhead

Shadowsun -175
Fireknife Crisis Team- Shas'ui TL w/ PR, MP, MT, HWDC; 2x Shas'ui w/ PR, MP, MT; 2x Gun Drones -211
Fireknife Crisis Team- Shas'ui TL w/ PR, MP, MT, HWDC; 2x Shas'ui w/ PR, MP, MT; 2x Gun Drones -211
Deathrain Crisis Team- Shas’ui w/ TL-MP, DC; 2x Shas’ui w/ TL-MP, BSF; 2x Gun Drones -155
Fire Warriors- 6x Shas'la -60
Kroot-10x Mercs; 3x Hounds -88
Kroot-10x Mercs; 7x Hounds -112
Piranha Squadron- Piranha w/ FB, TA; Piranha w/ FB, TA -140
Pathfinders-6x Shas'la; Devilfish w/ DP -157
Pathfinders-6x Shas'la; Devilfish w/ DP -157
Broadsides- Shas'ui TL w/ AdvSS, HWDC, HWTL, HWBSF; 1x Shas'ui w/AdvSS; 2x Gun Drones -193
Broadsides- Shas'ui TL w/ AdvSS, HWDC, HWTL; 1x Shas'ui w/AdvSS; 2x Gun Drones -190

So, I discussed earlier with you all my growing disdain for the Hammerhead. This is what came of that. Originally, the plan was to lose the head and get either two more sides or a Deathrain team. Instead, I found the points for another Broadside AND a Deathrain team... just had to drop a few hounds and a handful of rather useless upgrades.

My 2000 point list uses similar ideas:
Shadowsun -175
Fireknife Crisis Team- Shas'ui TL w/ PR, MP, MT, HWDC; 2x Shas'ui w/ PR, MP, MT; 2x Gun Drones -211
Fireknife Crisis Team- Shas'ui TL w/ PR, MP, MT, HWDC; 2x Shas'ui w/ PR, MP, MT; 2x Gun Drones -211
Deathrain Crisis Team- Shas’ui w/ TL-MP, DC; 2x Shas’ui w/ TL-MP, BSF; 2x Gun Drones -155
Fire Warriors- 6x Shas'la -60
Kroot-10x Mercs; 3x Hounds -88
Kroot-10x Mercs; 7x Hounds -112
Piranha Squadron- Piranha w/ FB, TA, DP; Piranha w/ FB, TA -145
Pathfinders-6x Shas'la; Devilfish w/ DP -157
Pathfinders-5x Shas'la; Devilfish w/ DP -145
Broadsides- Shas'ui TL w/ AdvSS, HWDC, HWTL; 1x Shas'ui w/AdvSS; 2x Gun Drones -190
Broadsides- Shas'ui TL w/ AdvSS, HWDC, HWTL; 1x Shas'ui w/AdvSS; 2x Gun Drones -190
2x Sniper Drone Team -160
The Sniper Drones add some extra anti-infantry firepower and a net gain of one Markerlight. I am thinking of instead going the route of upgrading the Deathrains to Fireknives (48 points) and buying something nice instead, but I don't really see what would be worth buying. So it is Sniper Drones for now.

As to the loss of the Hammerhead, I have a few things to say on the matter:
-The Railgun does not pull it's weight as a flanking, threatening anti-tank platform.
-The submunition is terrible. I'll get to that below. 
-The contesting ability is useful, but it is easily melted at these ranges and ins't fast enough nor sneaky enough to pull it off against more intelligent players.

To 1&3, you will all probably nod your head. But 2? How can I say that the pie plate of doom is bad?
Let's look at some comparisons. First off, against a spread enemy formation (you know, the types good players use when they see templates?) the template can only really hit 3 enemies. Let's just assume, for the sake of argument, that you always get a hit with it.
So the Hammerhead gets 3 hits with S6 at AP4.
Now let's take the output of the Deathrains, shall we? They hit approximately 4.5 times, with higher Strength, and same AP. They have less range, but it will rarely come into play. Note that even with the ablative Drones (which I didn't take into account for shooting) the Deathrains still come out cheaper than most Hammerheads.

Now the Sniper Team. Assuming the same as before:
Hammerhead hits three times.
Sniper Drones (6 shots between teams) hit 3 times.
Wounds the same amount.
But SDT has AP3 and a chance to pin. 
Remember this is all assuming no scatter.

So the Hammerhead cannot match the firepower of these units. In addition, its only advantage is its speed, which is the same speed as the Deathrain and whilst being faster than the stationary Sniper Drones, rarely comes into use until late game contesting.



Sheik Yoboddi said...

I ruled out sniper teams pretty early on. I initially like the idea of AP3 but decided that they simply didn't compete with Hammerheads and Skyrays nevermind broadsides. However, I'm fast coming round to the idea of them.

Opens up ebay....

NockerGeek said...

I disagree with your Hammerhead assessment, but what else is new? Or maybe my experiences when using them have just been wholly different from yours.

As far as your three points:

1) I disagree that the Hammerhead doesn't pull its weight, either as an anti-tank or an anti-infantry platform. That's not to say that Broadsides aren't useful in an anti-tank capacity as well, but the Hammerhead is the more flexible of the two. What you take is going to come down to personal playstyle, and with your increasingly-static army, the Hammerhead may not be the best fit, but I disagree that it makes the unit objectively "horrible".

2) Your analysis of the submunitions round is built purely on the assumption that your opponent will always line up any given infantry force in a single straight line at the full 2" coherency distance. However, due to constraints on the field, such as terrain, deployment zone, other units, etc., this is often not the case. When units invariably end up clumped in one form or another, the statement that the template will only hit 3 models at best breaks down. When the template starts hitting 5, 6, 7 or more models, favor starts swinging towards the submunitions.

3) I don't often use Hammerheads for contesting points, but that's because I'm usually busy keeping them at as far a distance as possible and/or circle-strafing around the board. At most, they'll move towards an unclaimed objective to prevent a last minute rush by an opponent, or possibly to tank shock a weak infantry unit, but I wouldn't charge them forward at an entrenched enemy with melta.

I will say that with your list increasingly becoming a slow-moving block of troops, the Hammerhead would be a bit of an odd man out. That doesn't necessarily make it a bad unit, though - just, perhaps, a bad unit for your list. I still prefer it strongly over the Sniper Drone Team. Hell, I'd run an Ionhead with SMS over an SDT (and it's 15 points cheaper).

Gredus said...

Unit choice comes down to your army play style at the end of the day. If we all took and favored the same units our Blogs would be pretty boring! I love reading up different views on unit choice and for and against arguments.
Always good to see both sides of the coin.

Old Shatter Hands said...

I have to agree with you on Hammerhead. I stopped fielding them too in my competitive builds. They're just too pricey for what you get. I think thess new lists above are pretty kick-ass.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

NG, all right, then for fairness we'll factor in the fact scatter... let's be generous and say that it will hit 70%, nabbing 6.
So that'll make average hits would about 4. Even then it you would have to worry about the built in Markerlights on the SDT... which would bring up the hit rate to 3.5...
You also have to deal with AP3 and Pinning. And the SDT is cheaper.

The Hammerhead's main abilities are durability at range and contesting prowess... which don't go hand in hand.
It can't put out enough consistent firepower to really help in most situations.

NockerGeek said...

See, I wouldn't put "contesting prowess" as one of a Hammerhead's main abilities. Just because it's mobile doesn't mean it was made to do a last-minute contest rush (it can, but that's not its primary purpose). Instead, I would say that durability at range, AV/AI flexibility, and the ability to relocate to a more advantageous position are the main abilities. Since you don't value flexibility or maneuverability, I can see why you'd hold such a poor opinion of it.

AP3 is nice, but most things that can be pinned where AP3 would matter have high enough leadership that they rarely are. Pinning is hardly a selling point.

(And while I know you'll disagree with me on this point because it has no bearing on the "competitive" environment, I'm just going to throw out there that Hammerheads are more fun to use than stationary Broadsides or SDTs. Call me old fashioned, call me a scrub, call me whatever, I don't care - I just love having skimmer tanks with big-ass guns on them. :D)

Aloh'Nan'El said...

You are right in stating that relocating from a dangerous position is an ability I don't care much for, but that is because I plan to NOT get in those situations in the first place. 200 points of Kroot attest to that.
I do however, disagree in your assessment that I do not value flexibility. My list is incredibly flexible. In order:
Shadowsun is a bad way to start off my point lol. She is purely leadership, and can only really harm MCs and tanks.
Fireknives are great for saturating lower AV (read 9-12) vehicles such as transports with their missiles, their plasma helping out as well. Against infantry, the high strength missile plasma combo can shred infantry, especially with AP2 on the latter.
Deathrains have missiles primarily for lower AV, but those same missiles can be turned on Infantry with decent effectiveness.
Fire Warriors never shoot.
Kroot killing anything is a bonus.
Pathfinders light stuff up. Versatile in that they support anything.
Piranhas are great anti-tank, but with 6s to hit they are useful for corralling infantry.
SDTs can help (barely) on lower AV, and are practically made for hitting troops that are anything but the odd Termie troop. With pinning (I'll address that below).
Broadsides may seem custom built for tank-hunting (they are) but they get a nice secondary in the SMS, which is useful on all types of infantry (save for Terminators without Storm Shields, but we don't see those much).

As to pinning, look at the current marine codices around. Specifically the Wolves.
With the minimum troops in Razorback spam became a big thing, the majority of competitive Wolf armies have forgone leadership boosters such as Wolf Guard in everything but Long Fang squads... meaning Leadership 8 is everywhere, which is not that hard a number to pin.
Even against Leadership 9 we are still looking at around a 25% chance to pin. The only thing that these have no chance against are beefed up CSM with re-rollable Leadership 10...

Hammerheads are fun until their incompetence costs you the game, often.

Hedzer said...

SDT's can't move and shoot. I run three of them and although they're fun, you shouldn't overestimate their use. The last battle I played with them, two were moving and running to get into shooting positions and only one pulled its weight. This can't be solved through deployment.

NockerGeek said...

I didn't say relocating from a "dangerous" position (although that is handy as well). I said relocating to a more advantageous one. Being able to move to get around things like cover and LoS-blocking terrain, or being able to change a battle plan on the fly once I see what my opponent is doing - or better yet, to encourage him to do what I want him to do.

For example, let's say I deploy in the middle, similar to what you do, and my opponent does the same. I then block him off with my Piranhas, but I do so at an angle, forcing him to go around the open end. At the same time, I shift the rest of my army 12" in the opposite direction. I've now shifted from a frontal assault situation to refusing his flank, allowing me to maintain distance. I can then basically continue circle-strafing the enemy and force him to come along the board lengthwise at me. The whole time, I'm still able to put railgun fire into him thanks to having Hammerheads. (My poor Broadsides may get left behind, but they're really bait anyway.)

As far as Hammerheads costing you the game, well... it's a poor craftsman who blames his tools. ;) But seriously, it seems like you just prefer to hunker down and turtle through a game, so Hammerhead are probably not a good fit for you. Once again, that does not make them bad. Just bad for you, but not objectively bad.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

Sorry, have to disagree. The problem can easily be solved by deployment. With a single firebase, I force my opponent to my position, meaning that I'm going to be taking shots at him the entirety of the time, unless we play in a literal labyrinth. Kroot Walls also mitigate their vulnerabilities and their need to move.

I understand the principle of circle strafing, but I don't buy into it in games larger than 1500, and it stops working great in 1500; its best level is 1000.
The strategy loses immediately when deepstriking or otherwise quickly transported melta gets to your lines. Every Marine army in the game can do this to you. IG can do it (sort of famously) with melta, even on the first turn. Orks can effectively do the same with Deffkoptas. Eldar can transport up to three squads of Fire Dragons to where they need to be by turn 2, regardless of your blockers and movement. The list goes on, but basically, any army who wants a way to stop mechanized lists can, and Tau are not top on the list in terms of mechanized play.
The craftsman should indeed blame the ladder that snaps under him, or the hammer that comes apart in his hands.
I am saying that the Hammerhead is objectively worse in the context of firepower. This is true, as shown above. It's mobility may be of some use at some times, but mostly it is just a waste to me. Hence why I no longer use one.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

This is something I haven't done but thought to chuck it out there.
BoLS had an article where a LasRaider screens the Long Fangs behind it.

The Raider allows the Fangs to see the unit in the RH corner of the table, unit destroyed.
The Raider pivots and they do the same thing in the LH corner of the table.

Whilst this is happening, all incoming fire bounces of the Raider. That's the premise anyway.

With a Dpod, AV 13 becomes AV 14Eq. You can hide 2, maybe 3, Broadsides from TLoS behind the HH.

s7 is heavily reduced in threat. s8 -9 things can both insta-kill Broadsides, but are not so deadly to a HH.

The bad things are that if the HH cannot move and you've destroyed the target unit, you'll lose a turn of shooting by move+run'ing them.

Perhaps ASS will work well in this context?


The HH also provides rolling cover for Suits, who easily keep up with its 12" multi-tracker move.
You can do the same thing with a Fish, but you are 1 AV less on the front and sides. The HH can fire the sub-munition or solid after the Broadsides have fired.

Being able to shepherd units away from the Suits is very useful, whether you are hindering TLoS or them being assaulted. There are units out there without Melta. Even Ork PK only hitting on 6s is solid, whilst Daemon and Nid grunts don't have anything to genuinely harm the tank that needs 6s to hit.
Drive into them and physically move them away from your lines, even if you cannot tank-shock morale test them away.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

Ld 8 is 26/36 = 72.2%
Ld 9 is 30/36 = 83.3%
Ld 10 is 33/36 = 91.7%

Marshal Wilhelm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aloh'Nan'El said...

That is good in theory, but in practice all I'll see is diminished returns of firepower.
My Broadsides and Suits already all have cover from the Kroot Wall. The Hammerhead isn't needed here.

Your math seems to be correct.

I'm trying to find ways to get Fireknives in without having 100 points of useless crap in the list.

Retired said...

You are absolutely right about the hammerhead. 2 Broadsides are a better use of the points.

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