Being & Time

Friday, December 16, 2011

So little time and so much to do. The holiday frenzy is in full swing, evidenced by the fact that I blinked at Thanksgiving and awoke today to realize we're a little over a week away from Christmas. Between family, work, and everything else going on there's been very little time for hobby stuff (or Skyrim) which is to be expected this time of year. I'm hoping to take some time off after the holidays so I can tackle some of the bigger projects on my plate.

Although I haven't had much time for painting or playing games, I've been able to draw up a couple new army lists as well as plan / prioritize my to-do list for when I get some time. I've also ordered most of the supplies I'll need to pull off some of these projects, such as new plastruct rods for replacing the gauss weapons on my Necrons and I've already got my push mold material ready to go for making more scarabs.

On the imperial side of things, I built a couple more bikes and clipped out all the bits I'll need for assembling the remaining terminators, scout bikes, and land speeders. It's not much but I've had these kits sitting around for awhile so I'm trying to make it easier to finish them whenever I get the chance. After these are done, all I need to do is build the last 2 drop pod kits then I'll be finished with my space marine back log. It's harder to motivate yourself to finish assembling and painting kits which you don't currently use in your lists or even see yourself using down the road for whatever reason.

The drop pods, for example, I bought several years ago and when I came back to the game decided to take my list in a different direction. Add to that the frustration it was to build the first drop pod and it's no surprise that these will be my last marine kits to finish. I've used the one pod in games before but to fully capitalize on what drop pods can do for your army, you really need to take several of them and build your list around them. Otherwise you're throwing out easy kill points.

To help motivate myself to knock these kits out I decided to build a list that not only includes these unfinished items but really plays to their strengths. I'm not trying to buy any more of these already under-utilized units, so don't expect this to be "optimized" or anything. But if I can complete my remaining unbuilt models, I'll have 3 drop pods, 6 scout bikers, almost a full sized terminator assault squad, and enough land speeders to tempt me into trying one of those other chapters that gets them really cheap (looking at you Black Templars with your 70pt Typhoons...)

Anyway, with these "new" unit options at my disposal, I'm initially drawn to the idea of trying locator beacons, something that only drop pods and scout bikers have access to. I like the idea of this combo; scout bikers infiltrate to deploy after your opponent and the sergeant's locator beacon helps bring your first turn drop pods down exactly where you need them. A lot will depend on whether you go first or second, but regardless don't forget to set up so you can turboboost during your scout movement (even if you think you are going first, make sure you are getting that 3+ cover save in case you get seized).

I don't want to put too much on the scout biker's plate, but it would be ideal to keep them alive as long as possible so you have a mobile beacon to bring down all those deep strikers with precision in later turns of the game. I'm not sure that 6 scout bikes will be enough wounds to keep them around for more than a couple turns, so we'll equip all 3 drop pods with locator beacons as well (the cheapest way to get more beacons in your army). I'd love to run a couple squads of scout bikes just for the mobility of their beacons, but 1) I don't want to buy more of these before I try the ones I have and 2) a couple squads would use up too much of the valuable Fast Attack FOC slots. I absolutely want to try dropping in a squadron of land speeders equipped with heavy flamers and multi-meltas, so I need to save at least one FA slot for them. I've been hesitant to use speeders in my other lists because they always seem too fragile. The typhoons can certainly hang back and keep their distance, but the other variants need to get close in order to use their weapons. At the end of the day they are still fragile and wont last long, but deep striking them with beacons on the table greatly improves the chance that they will do something before getting shot down, especially for the HF/MM loadout.

In a nutshell, I guess you could say the focus of this new list (beyond coaxing myself to build and use some unfinished units) is centered around the idea of reliable deep strikes, which is a bit of an oxymoron for vanilla marines because deep striking is typically anything but reliable. Sure, drop pods avoid a lot of catastrophic mishaps (not all of them!) and they get half on turn 1, but deep striking entails rolling the scatter dice, and that roll comes after rolling for reserves for the other half of your pods and all other units intending to deep strike. What we have so far aims to address the first part of the the deep strike conundrum; getting beacons on the board turn 1 where we need them so they can safely beam the rest in from reserves by eliminating scatter. Which brings us to the second part of the equation. Reserves can only be manipulated by 1 special character in the codex; Chief Librarian Tigurius, who can re-roll any reserves roll. Or, I can try to design a list that isn't as reliant on a specific sequence/order of units arriving and has enough durable, multi-purpose units that can hold their own if reinforcements are delayed.

I'll share what I've come up with so far and dig into this particular list concept more in the next post (since this one is all over the place lol). But the point is, I'm starting to get motivated to finish all those models collecting dust on the shelf.