Monday, 18 February 2013

Dark Angels Analysis - Dreadnoughts, Predators and Vindicators

I've finally finished my Drop Pod, it may not be the nicest looking thing in the world and if I had put more effort into it, maybe give it a couple more washes or by a bit more careful with the weathering it could look nicer. But it's a good enough tabletop standard for me at the minute, I've still got a pack of Long Fangs to finish this week remember. So here's the picture of the Drop Pod:

In other news, 'curses to ye GW!'. I'd better get this Dark Angels analysis finished pretty quickly, due to the teaser for the new Daemons being out, and that's something that I'm going to want to look at, with me being a Daemon player and with them being my Wolves worst match up currently. I also played a game at the Oxford Gaming Club tonight, against a blob Guard army, the Relic. I started to run out of steam towards the end but although I was getting battered in the last 2 turns I would have won had I not failed my 2+ save on my Warlord, as it was it was a Draw.

I did an interview with my opponent for the 40kUk podcast afterwards (as you do) so make sure to check out the next episode with the segment 'War Stories' in it.

But anyway, if I'm going to get this done before the Daemons drop I'll need to go quickly, so on with the generic vehicles!


The Dreadnought really is pretty homogeneous to other marine codecies here. It still isn't worth taking it in a close combat capacity, nothing has changed in that respect. Krak grenades causing a problem as well as overwatch, plus the dread doesn't have that many attacks in the first place. On Krak grenades, when people were first saying about this and how this changed a lot about how dreadnoughts, etc, worked in close combat. I snorted a little under the banner of 'only 1 attack and 6s to glance'. But actually, I've been using them a lot more recently, and they're actually pretty useful. Many a comedy moment has been generated via Krak grenades. If you're looking for one such example take a look at game 2 in my Invasion Tournament Report.

But back to dreads, if they aren't worthwhile in a close combat role how would you want to use them. It straight up comes with a Multi-Melta, so you can always put it in a Drop Pod and drop it in your opponent's line, hoping to take out a vehicle. A little suicidal but you could take something out with it. The problem that I had with this is that there are too many variables in play. First you need a vehicle to shoot at, then you need a space within 12” to land, then you need to hope that you don't scatter outside of that, then you need to hit, then you need to penetrate, and then you need to roll a 4+ to explode the thing. See.

It also works well as quite a good distraction. The problem here being that if you've already destroyed your target, the Dreadnought may not be too high up on your opponent's target priority. Maybe you'll get a few meltaguns coming your way from tactical squads, etc, or maybe a couple of plasma shots, but you still aren't going to cause too much disruption. You can try and tie up units but then a clever opponent may move less valuable units around to bubblewrap their more precious ones.

You could to a similar thing with a Heavy Flamer, but then it is severely range restricted, it may cause more of a distraction in today's infantry based UK metagame but you're still giving away first blood without doing much damage in most cases.

Alternatively, you could replace the Storm Bolter on the Power Fist for a Heavy Flamer for an additional 10% of your base points cost, that way if you do destroy that Manticore or whatever is back there, you can still be a threat. Getting a little spendy though, pushing the 150pt mark for an unreliable distraction.

For an additional 20% of your points cost you can make your Dreadnought a Rifleman, with 2 twin-linked assault cannons. Some will say that Riflemen can be used as anti-flyer now, but realistically although you may be getting 4 twin-linked shots you're not going to hit flyers too often, plus you're only S7, you can get an Aegis with a Quad Gun for less points. When vehicles start to come back into the meta (and they will), maybe Riflemen will come back out again, as although they're not too bad for dealing with infantry, their forte is popping lighter vehicles like Rhinos.

What is quite interesting is that, if I recall correctly, the venerable upgrade is cheaper on the Dreadnought for Dark Angels than in other marine codecies, maybe GW are trying to bring it back. It comes in at 25% of your base cost it does what venerable has always done, but it also makes your Dreadnought a deathwing vehicle. Giving it preferred enemy, Chaos Space Marines. A nice little boost. I still wouldn't take venerable however, its main function is to increase your durability (you're not paying that many points for preferred enemy), and with vehicle killing so much less dependant on the vehicle damage table now, it isn't really doing enough. If you could make your opponent re-roll successful glancing and penetrating rolls, now that would be something.


Demolisher Cannon armed vehicles are always quite funny in my eyes whenever I see them across the table. I deploy 30” away from it (bar a Lone Wolf), it then drives forward trying to get into range, failing on the first turn, and then spends the remainder of the game reversing as a Lone Wolf attempts to charge it down.

I'm not really sure what to make of the Vindicator. I don't particularly rate blasts if I'm honest. If your opponent has spread out you're probably only going to get a maximum of 5 models. And although you're likely to kill the vast majority that you hit, it's still only 4 models.

Where I think that the Vindicator excels is taking out units deep striking in your face. For example, Terminator squads. When they deep strike down they're all bunched up, sure your opponent can run apart, but you could get a low run, plus, that Vindicator is still scary, cancelling out your 2+ save.

It's not ridiculously expensive either, coming in at the same price as a Maulerfiend. It comes with Storm Bolter, Smoke and Searchlight as standard. The Storm Bolter is useful, suffering a weapon destroyed result only has a 50% chance of making it essentially useless. As are the smoke launchers, often you're going to be out of range at the start of the game and an armour 13 vehicle with a 5+ cover save is hard to shift.

You then have the option of taking the siege shield. In my view it depends on whether you have the points spare. If you have a lot of terrain where you're going, and are looking to move the Vindicator up rather than using it as a threat daring your opponent to come any closer, go for it, if you're looking to use it for the latter, probably not, as you might not be moving around too often. However, it's only 10pts, and it makes the model look a lot cooler. Just remember to magnetise it on.

Other than that there's not a lot to say about the Vindicator. It's a decent buy, pretty cheap for the armour and the power of the weapon, shame about the range. I suppose that if you do want to push them forward it is best to take multiples of them, they're difficult to deal with on front armour and having 2 will make it harder for your opponent to hide from them, or deal with them with Lone Wolf like units/models.


The Predator is quite low priced, coming in at just 10pts more than a Whirlwind, that's not bad for a 13 front armour vehicle. The only problem is how much damage it puts out.

It only comes with an autocannon as standard, so only 2 S7 AP4 shots at BS4 per turn, I could do better than that with the Dreadnought. The only option that you have for replacing this is bumping its cost into triple figures for a twin linked Lascannon, so 1 shot at S9 AP2 that is much more likely to hit. I'm personally not a fan of a single Autocannon, it doesn't deal with vehicles well and it doesn't deal with infantry well. At least, a single Lascannon shot is ok against vehicles, although it is only 1 shot, it beats paying an extra 80pts for the same thing on a Nephilim.

If you are going to swap out for the Lascannon, I'd say that the only option that you would consider taking if you really want sponsons is the Lascannon varient, as the Heavy Bolters are not going to help you in an anti-vehicle capacity. However, it does make it just as expensive as a 6 man Long Fang pack with 5 Missile Launchers, so pretty spendy for 3 shots.

Alternatively, if you keep it with the Autocannon, I'd go for the Heavy Bolter sponsons, as you're definitely not getting your points worth from 1 autocannon. Now you're getting 8 shots which will wound marines on 3s and 2s. That's not...horrible. It does come in at under 100pts though, and wouldn't be too bad for camping objectives in Big Guns, it also comes with a Searchlight, which is useful in this situation, and smoke launchers, not so useful as you'll be in a position to fire, but it's nice to have them if you need to stay alive. It's not like you were going to cause too much damage anyway right?

Anyway, vehicle upgrades. There really aren't too many, and thank goodness for that, this post is already long enough. The first option is the Dozer Blade. I suppose if you're moving around a lot. I think that this is probably a better option for the Vindicator than the Siege Shield, it's a little cheaper and the odds of you rolling immobilised on a piece of difficult terrain twice during the course of the game is very low. One re-roll should do the trick. As for the Predator, it probably doesn't need it, it won't be moving around a whole lot.

The extra Storm Bolter. Again, pretty cheap. Not a bad option on the Predator as it's safeguarding some of your valuable weapons, but you have 3 of them, so losing one isn't as bad as if you were say, reliant on 1 big gun to be effective. Exactly like the Vindicator, so not a bad option on that, another safeguard against losing your Demolisher cannon, for a measly 5pts. Plus you're getting 4 Bolter shots at up to 24” range now, which is a nice little bonus for mopping up those 1s to wound with your cannon.

Extra armour. The same cost as the previous 2 upgrades combined, and I think that it is so unlikely that it'll get used that it's not really worth it. If you have suffered a stunned result you only have a maximum of 2 Hull points left anyway, and that's already a turn wasted where you cannot shoot, plus it's likely that you will be wrecked via Hull point subtraction before it matters. It's not going to get used too often on your vehicles to make it worthwhile.

The Hunter-Killer missile costs the same number of points as extra armour. It's kind of like a combi weapon for vehicles really, and therefore I probably wouldn't take it. It's useful if it works, but I find that paying points for something that probably won't do anything in a game to be wasted points personally. A bit like the Tachyon Arrow, although this is much cheaper (and also much less effective if it hits) so it's not so bad.

Anyway, that's it for this post. It is currently 10 past midnight 2 days after I started writing this post. Hqs up next.

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