Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deathwing Sergeants: Making the most of 5pts

Man of the Match during my last game, which earned him a paintjob.

Right, not long ago, I had another game using Deathwing, and I think I've hit upon a reasonably solid list that gets the job done. This is it:

Level 2 Librarian in Terminator armour
DW Command Squad with 2 Hammers & Shields, Cyclone Launcher, Deathwing Champion and Banner of Fortitude on one of the Hammer & Shield-bearing Terminators
7 Deathwing Knights 
5 DW Terminators with Cyclone Launcher, Chainfist and Hammers & Shields for the Sergeant and Cyclone Terminator
5 DW Terminators with Assault Cannon, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant
5 DW Terminators with Plasma Cannon, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant

This comes to 1,747pts, by my reckoning, and thus far it has stood surprisingly firm against lists with pretty vicious firepower. This is due to 2 things:
  1. The Deathwing Knights - This is a pretty serious Deathstar unit, and with Belial, it has the pretty nasty ability of being placed exactly where it's needed. On top of that, with Storm Shields and Fortress of Shields all round, it can (and has, twice) soak up the entire opposing army's firepower for a turn and still have enough Knights to pose a serious threat. 
  2. A Storm Shield for the Sergeants of the plain old Deathwing squads.
The 1st point is obvious enough. The 2nd needs a closer look to truly appreciate.

The thing about Deathwing is Hammers & Shields are expensive. 5 Terminators with Hammers & Shields will set you back 200 pts for Vanilla Marines, 225 pts for Blood Angels, and 245 pts for Deathwing. A bit on the pricey side On top of that, Vengeance Strike is a loud and clear signal to all that Deathwing is meant to shoot stuff. 4 twin-linked krak missiles to break open a transport and a twin-linked plasma cannon to brutalize whatever pops out. Sounds good to me! Anyway, about that shield...

What I'm trying to achieve here is to get the most out of my Deathwing Terminator Squads. As such, each squad needs a little dakka, a heavy weapon to be annoying with, a chainfist in case some big horrible vehicle strays too close, and as much invulnerable saves as I can get. I can't have both the shooty death and the shields, as such, only one can carry the shield, and it has to be the Sarge. Why? Here's how my Deathwing squads deploy as they Deep Strike:

N.B. -The dude in the middle with the brown base is placed first.

Here's where the 6th ed shooting rules really shine. Since the dakka has to be resolved from the model closest to the source of shooting, the Sarge has to be on the receiving end first. Suffice it to say, this would put Sarge at risk of going down to small arms fire, a 16.7% chance for each save he's forced to make. But, he's a character, so we can just pass the wound off to the other grunts, starting from the closest to the Sarge. That would be the dude in the center of the formation above. Now each wound has about 8.3% of killing the Sarge. And of course, the squad will be deploying somewhere near the Banner of Fortitude, meaning Feel No Pain, meaning now each wound has a 5.6% chance of offing poor Sarge. And this isn't even factoring in the rolls to hit and wound. And of course, if Sarge is on the ugly end of serious AP2 fire, he takes it for the squad!

Here are a few probabilities:
Death by BS4 bolter = 1.9%
Death by BS3 lasgun = 0.9%
Death by BS4 plasmagun = 12.3% (vs 24.7% for the grunts)
Death by BS4 lascannon = 18.5% (vs 37% for the grunts)

It may not seem like much on paper, but when the squad is staring at a Lascannon Predator, a Vendetta, a fireteam of Chosen with 4 plasmaguns or a squad of Sternguard toting combi-weapons... that Storm Shield is often the difference between life and death.

So, that's one little trick to get more bang for your buck in the world of Deathwing. Next up... I don't know. More Deathwing? Or maybe a Dark Angel/Blood Angel allied list? We'll see. Until then, happy wargaming...

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