Saturday, 2 March 2013

Dark Angels Analysis - Dedicated Transports

I've already written this post twice, but on both occasions my phone as lost it. So I'd like to jump straight into it. The news, first off, I have my Chaos Daemons Codex and it is ready to be analysed. 

I'm actually really excited about this one, so Dark Angels needs finishing, some motivation for me there. Anyway, next. On the 28th February the blog hit 10,000 views. Horrah! 

And that's enough of that. Onto the subject of today's post. Dedicated Transports in the Dark Angels Codex.

The 3 most widely available Dedicated Transports in the Dark Angels Codex are the Drop Pod, the Rhino and the Razorback. So starting from the top.

In 6th edition, with the presence of the Scouring mission and the inclusion of Linebreaker, it is really important to be able to get into your opponents deployment zone, and a Drop Pod is a way to achieve this. You can put a squad of marines inside (assault or tactical), jump them out and contest objectives whilst claiming Linebreaker. I do this in the Space Wolves Codex with my Jaws bomb. The question then comes to, 'how does it work for Dark Angels?'

The tactic itself works ok provided that you can throw out a decent number of shots or have a special kicker in there (like Jaws) or are particularly durable. The Dark Angels version of it probably isn't the best, as the optimal version will be maxing out Marines, but it does ok. The reason why you are unlikely to take it is due to the alternatives.

The Dark Angels Codex certainly isn't lacking in ways to get into your opponents deployment zone. Here are 2 examples: Firstly, Deathwing units are fantastic for doing this. They can match the Drop Pods ability to come in turn 1, but are not restricted in the way that they are forced to do so, and they take the incoming fire from reacting backfield units much better.

In addition, Deathwing Terminators are capable of putting out more damage on the Drop than 10 Tactical Marines in a Drop Pod. They can take much better heavy weapons such as Assault Cannons, are not forced to get in close to get the shots out as their weapons aren't rapid fire, and they're twin-linked on the turn that they arrive. They also don't need to purchase a vehicle to do this, and if Belial is in the squad making them scoring then they won't scatter when they arrive, making the Deep Strike even safer than that of a Drop Pod. Finally, they will cause your opponent much more of a problem after the first drop than Tactical Marines due to their increased close combat capability.

The Ravenwing also have the ability to do this much better. For example, a small Ravenwing Biker squadron can hide until, say, turn 4. Before speeding up in the late game and contesting objectives on your opponent's side of the board or taking Linebreaker. They too are more durable than Tactical Marines, and a lot cheaper for a small squad as well.

So the problem with using the Drop Pod as a mechanism to Transport units into your opponents back field is that you simply don't need it. There are other units in your Codex that can contest objectives and gain Linebreaker much more efficiently.

The alternative use for the Drop Pod then is to aid in an initial Alpha Strike, by dropping shooty yet short ranged units into your opponents face. The 2 most common variants of this are the Dreadnought with Melta type and the squad full of Plasma type. Starting with the former.

The Dread with Melta essentially involves dropping a Dreadnought with a Multi-Melta close to one of your opponents vehicles in the hope of wrecking it, and then attracting a large amount of attention afterwards. I'm going to be brutally honest with this one, I find it overrated, and here's why.

The only people that I ever see running this are people who are preparing to go to their first Throne of Skulls (myself included if you look back at May-July 2012 posts). The reason that I have never seen this at any higher level than that is that it simply isn't a very efficient way to spend points. If you want to spend 140pts on a worse than 50% chance of wrecking a vehicle, go ahead. The fact remains that at least half of the time this is going to do nothing for you other than attract attention, and what kind of attention is it going to attract?

Krak Grenades will kill your Dread if you have enough attacks, maybe a few Meltas or Missiles will be pointed in your direction, but none of the anti-infantry stuff. The fact is that it's not that big of a threat. Plus, it having a chance of being useful is predicated on your opponent having vehicles, and then your opponent making the mistake of not bubble wrapping the more valuable ones to prevent you from getting into Melta range.

So what's next. The squad of Company Veterans in the Drop Pod covered in combi-plasmas is actually not something that I've seen yet, which tells you about its effectiveness in a way. Whilst 20 Plasma shots coming out of a squad in 1 turn will be absolutely devastating, again you need to be within 12” rapid-fire range of a valuable target to get the most out of it, and those valuable targets are likely to be bubble wrapped by less valuable units, but you're still going to cause a decent to excellent amount of damage to your target depending on its and your position.

The problem really is that this squad costs a lot of points, and it really is a 1 hit wonder, as afterwards it's basically just a tactical squad as far as its shooting capability goes, so if your rolling is bad for that turn, again that's a large boat of points under performing. As I say though, this last one is all theoretical, so I'd recommend that you go out and try it, and if you have any experience with this type of squad, I'd like to hear it. Just drop them in the comments section below. Thanks.

Anyway, onto the Rhino. The problem with the Rhino is the same as the problem with the Drop Pod. Dark Angels don't really need any help getting into the opponents deployment zone or getting forward, and that is what a Rhino is best at really. Sure, it forms good bubblewrap, but this was mainly needed against Flamers of Tzeentch coming down turn 1, and with the new Daemons Codex this is not really needed anymore. They also make good pieces of moving cover, but then when they're wrecked (and they will be wrecked), they will block line of sight restricting your own shooting. In essence, Rhinos are not really needed as far as Dark Angels are concerned.

As for the Razorback, the thing that it has over the Rhino is the heavy weapon atop its hull. So if the Rhino as a Transport isn't particularly useful here, neither will be the Razorback with its smaller capacity, the only other way then being as a gunboat.

It's still a relatively cheap vehicle. The problem with Razorbacks is that they are so flimsy, so in order to get the most out of them you need saturation, and to get this you need to take as many Razorbacks as you can. Then, in order to take as many Razorbacks as you can, you will need to take as many squads of Tactical Marines as you can, and although they're quite cheap in comparison to Marines from other Codecies (Vanilla), they still don't churn out very much damage, and so all of the points that you pump out in unlocking those Razorbacks will be on what are essentially, deckchair units, and so aren't really contributing to your damage output. Unfortunately, you don't need 6 units of Tactical Marines to sit back and hold your objectives.

So, some food for thought there. I'm tired though, so this will have to continue tomorrow, moving on to Special Characters.

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