Friday, 15 February 2013

Dark Angels Analysis - Devastators

I've finally broke my losing steak (not a great start to a tactical post) that I've been on since I won all 3 of my games (that's a little better) at day 1 of Throne of Skulls, between then and Wednesday, I had only won 1 game, and that was against Black Templars. I played 1 games on Thursday, the first against a S6 spam Eldar list, 1,500pts. 2 Squads of Warp Spiders, a Scatter Laser War Walker squadron, 3 Vypers with dual Shurikan Cannons, 3 squads of bikes, Fire Prism and Eldrad in a Wave Serpent with 10 Dire Avengers. Long story short the Manticore went crazy and killed: 1 Fire Prism, 2 War Walkers, a Wave Serpent, 9 Dire Avengers, Eldrad, a Vyper (with a Heavy Flamer) and a Jetbike. 4 objectives, wierd corner deployment.

The second game was against a Draigowing army. Same points level (although we both agreed that Draigowing definitely works better at higher points levels. Draigo, Coteaz, a Dreadknight, Psyfleman Dreadnought, 10 Strikes with a Razorback, a squad of 5 Paladins and a squad of 2 Paladins. Emperor's will, Pitched battle. This was a really close game, I had a Lone Wolf contesting his objective in an everlasting dual with Coteaz, and he had a couple of Paladins on mine. I had First Blood but he had Linebreaker. 

Unfortunately for my opponent Coteaz suffered Perils of the Warp thrice in the game giving me Slay the Warlord. My Guardsmen were charged by the Paladins, and ran, but only a short distance so they were able to rally and my 2 packs of Long Fangs and the Guardsmen were able to pile on the wounds until the Paladins died. So long story short here, my opponent was very unlucky. I do have a bit to say about Draigo though, I did a post on Paladins back when 6th edition just dropped so if that's your thing go and check that out, but I'll do Draigo and I have some things to say about my army again as I'm still learning, so I'll do that at some point.

But anyway, Dark Angel Devastators.

They are pretty much standard Devastators, so there's not really much to say about them, so I'll go into a bit of a sideshow about skyfire in the Dark Angels Codex afterwards. They are pretty much identical to Havocs from my Chaos Space Marines analysis, aside from the loyalist/traitor rules and equipment. The only other difference really being that each Havoc is 1pt cheaper in the CSM codex but the base squad cost is 5pts more.

So, you can take the guys at the front to eat wounds for you. This is probably a good idea as otherwise it'll just be shooting heavy weapons in a barrel when it comes to firing at Devastators for your opponent. I wouldn't go overboard though, sinking too many points into meatshields isn't a great idea, especially with a 3+ save considering all of these Heldrakes that are knocking about.

Weapon options, Heavy Bolter. It's an ok weapon, I've found that a few can do some damage, but they're not great against Power Armour or better, which is what most units that are within range and line of sight are going to be. They're ok on a Vendetta because you're going to get line of sight for being a flyer and you can move quickly up the field to get into range, these guys may struggle a bit with those. 36” range isn't bad though and you're still churning quite a few shots if you take 4 of these. Not a bad option, and line of sight is going to impede all of the weapons available.

Multi-Melta. The short range really hurts this, you don't have the capacity to get forward and not many vehicles are going to be coming to you, I'd leave this at home.

Missile Launcher, again, not a bad option. Versatile, although not too good for thinning out hordes as you can spread out to avoid taking too many hits, plus the lower strength of 4 means less wounds. I'm going to talk a little bit more about skyfire now. I really wouldn't upgrade these to Flakk missiles. The reason is exactly that, 'eggs in one basket' line of thought.

The problem is, if you have all of your skyfire in one unit, it doesn't matter if you put 5 Marines in front as meatshields, they're still marines, your opponent will dig through them to get to your Flakk missiles, and suddenly you have no flyer defence. 10 marines isn't an unrealistic number to kill in a single turn of shooting, especially in this edition where everyone is moving to more firepower heavy builds.

If you really want to take Flakk missiles, put them in your Tactical squads, that way your opponent will be forced to dig through at least 4 marines – probably in cover as that's where you'll find tactical marines, on objectives – just to get to a single Flakk missile, and then you could waste some wounds due to killing all of the models in the unit (the MSU line of thought).

The problem is that neither Dark Angels nor Chaos Space Marines really have that much in the way of anti-flyer. Both have Flakk Missiles which are only S7, and in the case of CSM, all of them are in the same place, plus they're pretty expensive. They both also have some form of flyer, CSM have the Heldrake, which is there to burn Devastator squads/Long Fangs, and wipe tactical marines from objectives, it is pretty poor at taking out other flyers. Whilst Dark Angels have the Nephilim and the Dark Talon, the latter is a support craft and the former only has 1 Lascannon on it for almost 200pts.

But anyway, back to the options. You can take the Plasma Cannon, but as a small blast is suffers from the same problem as Frag missiles, the best use for it being when your opponent deep strikes Terminators in your face and elects to shoot rather than run apart. Situational, but are still scary to people.

Finally you have the Lascannon, a useful weapon, they are not a bad choice at all. You can still bury them in the squad because of the option to take extra marines, and they are a little cheaper than in the Devastator squads from 5th ed codecies. The only problem with them really being the lack of targets, not many vehicles around at the minute, although I think that in a few months time that'll change. The best defence to torrenting small arms fire are transports.

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