Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thoughts on the New Deathwing Army

I've played about a dozen games now with an army full of scoring hammer and shield terminators, and I've become convinced of something I would not have believed two months ago:

This army fucking sucks.

Hard to believe right? I mean you have scoring hammer and shield terminators. You shoot a crazy number of krak missiles. How can it not be good? There are basically three issues that conspire to kill this army for competitive play.

1. Mobility. You have ungodly close combat ability, but no good way to deliver it. Your only options for overcoming this are deathwing assault (presenting your opponent with a neatly divided force to destroy piecemeal) and buying land raiders (expensive, die to meltas, strand their squad when they die.) All those hammers just don't matter if you can't get them into close combat. Additionally the army is pretty predictable from the opponent's standpoint. If you walk, you can't move more than 12 inches from where you start. If you teleport, you've used up half your mobility for the game in one turn. Raiders can briefly throw them, but they're not all that hard to get rid of so that doesnt last long. So in addition to being unable to catch opponents in close combat, the army isnt able to retain flexibility late into the game or surprise opponents either. All this makes for an extremely limited force that can't do much better than walk at the opponent and hope their heavy armor saves them... which it wont.

2. Krak Missiles. Ok against light vehicles but basically garbage against heavy vehicles or infantry. If you are taking fire from large formations of infantry, you can't respond at range. If you're taking fire from light vehicles like razorbacks, with six cyclone missile launchers you'll kill about one per turn, sometimes one every other turn. For your trouble you'll have killed 1 lascannon or 1 burstcannon etc. Basically you havent hurt them much. The heavier vehicles with the bigger guns tend to be alot harder to kill with krak missiles. Maybe one every third turn, and thats in a 6 turn game. So they're basically immune.

3. Resilience. Counterintuitive, but true. The army's inability to catch opponents in close combat or to respond effectively to their shooting means that they can't put a big dent into a shooting army's offensive power. So whereas most armies will take less fire as the game goes on, because they're damaging their opponent, these guys have to endure fire from basically the opponent's entire army for all 5-7 turns of the game. This tremendous weight of fire combined with the low wound count of the deathwing army will, over the course of the game, totally nullify the defensive advantages that the army gets from wearing all that heavy armor. By the last turn or so of the game the army is often so shot to pieces that even armies that arent good in assault can get close to them without fear, because there just arent enough of them left to make a difference.

So this army was a big disappointment to me. They'll see the light of day in apocalypse games, where the titan hammer and deathwing redemption force formations are pretty strong, and in a supporting role in codex space marine armies, but I wont try to build an army around them again. They just aren't as strong as they seem at first glance. C'est La Vie

1 comment:

  1. Have you thought of taking some shooty squads so you can have a balance of fire as well as assault?