Friday, 17 June 2016

Salamanders HQ Pt1

Salamanders HQ Characters

Good morning!

Today we’re looking at Salamanders HQ Characters, which in my personal opinion are pretty good.

Kicking off we have Lord Chaplin Nomus Rhy’tan. This guy is pretty awesome. He’s a Master of the Legion Chaplin with Artificer Armour, WS6, 3 Attacks and Ld10. Downside? BS4. 
He’s not cheap, though. Coming in at just over 200 points he’s one of the most expensive characters around. That's not to say he’s not worth it, quite far from it. 

Coming fully equipped with Artificer Armour, Iron Halo, Combi-Flamer and with the Zealot rule (chaplains a chaplain after all). Zealot is awesome. Re-rolls for Firedrakes in combat? Yes, please! If Zealot isn’t good enough Rhy’tan confers his amazing Ld10 to all friendly units within 12” (yes this does mean allies; Solar Auxilla, Allied Space Marines (of which Sallies have lots of) and Militia (who have terrible LD normally)).

As the regent of Nocturne during the Isstavan “incident” Rhy’tan is the keeper of the keys to the legion’s dreadnoughts. This allows you to take a non-compulsory Dreadnought Talon as an HQ slot. This is any type so you could have 3 Leviathans as your non-compulsory HQ choice. Now these guys can’t be warlord but who cares, you can have Leviathans as HQ. This does help for the 2nd Mission Onslaught, where deployment is staggered and HQ is the second to last section. 

As if this guy wasn’t awesome enough, he comes with an awesome relic for his melee weapon; Darkstar Falling. This is an awesome weapon. Somewhere in between a Thunderhammers, a power maul and a Chainfist. That's right, all 3! Darkstar Falling is a +2 str, ap2 Armourbane, Concussive hammer of death. Yeah, it’s awesome. Now it is two-handed so no +1 attacks for having a bolt pistol. 

Consider that he benefits from his own Zealot, this guy makes for an amazing combat character. You can actually be sending him against the likes of Praetors as Rhy’tan has a Mantle of the Elder Drake. With concussive Rhy’tan can possibly duel with a Primarch for a turn or two. Eternal warrior on this guy is insane! You’d still be better served by accepting a challenge with the Firedrake-master and then smashing the Primarch with the rest of the squad and Rhy’tan for the first turn. This way you keep your Zealot conferring model alive for as long as possible. 

In terms of unit combos, I’d be running Nomus with Stormshield/Thunderhammer wielding Firedrakes together in an assault transport and I’d be hunting down threat units like HQ, Monsters, Tanks and Primarchs. 

Now, considering his high points cost and the expensive combo unit I’d recommend bringing this guy in higher point games where his use as a point hunter is more justified and there will be more targets to go after. 

Overall; a great choice, possibly one for higher point games but a very competitive choice for buffs, survivability and combat power.

Cassian Dracos

Previous first commander of the Salamanders interned into a Dreadnought Sarcophagus. This an even more expensive HQ choice, who great news; can’t be attached to a squad. Good news, he doesn’t give up points for Warlord kill, and is not a character! While he looks like normal box-nought with 14/12/10 armour this guy is actually a hard nut to crack. Cassian Dracos is immune to Lance, Armourbane, Melta, Sunder, any rule that reduces or permanently degrades his armour values AND anything that gets to roll an extra D6 for armour penetration (so Primary weapon and ordnance?). This is awesome, if only he wasn’t a Walker. As per walker rules, Cassian can only move 6” + charge distances a turn/Run moves. This sucks. Cassian can’t join squads and can’t really be transported by anything under a super heavy class/LOW.

Not only is he almost impossible to damage, Cassian Dracos has IT WILL NOT (F**KING) DIE. This guy is ridiculously survivable. Not only that, he has Venerable as well, so your penetrating hit, that's a glance now

Will he may not be great for small games, in games where you can bring the new Mastodon tank he could actually be great. Pack that thing with Cassian (make him your only HQ choice so he can be warlord) and Firedrake Terminators with Stormshields. T4 2+/3++ with a 5+++ FNP save for being within 3” of Cassian (his warlord trait). This is one bubble of deathy awesomeness.

Cassian comes with 2 heavy flamers (Str6 because salamanders) which as a gimmick, can be fired as a melta gun if both weapons are on line. This is pretty neat as Cassian can go horde clearing for your Firedrakes. Not only that, but Cassian can opt to deal one Str6 Ap4 hit on every model in base contact at I1. RIP Solar Auxilia. 

With 4(5) attacks with Dreadnought Close Combat weapons and the sunder rule, Cassian can quite happily take on that tank that’s carrying the unit you want to charge with your Firedrakes.

All in all Cassian Dracos is another good HQ choice for larger games. He is not viable without a transport, but with one, and a retinue he can be a formidable force to fight against.

Salamanders HQ choices are very solid, maybe best for high point games but very dangerous.

That's it for this time, more to come for Salamanders HQ once I’ve done some digging into the new book.

Thanks for reading and Happy Wargaming

Friday, 10 June 2016

Salamanders Special Units

Now that you have an idea on how our friendly space pyro's work, let's take a look at their special units.

These two units serve very different purposes in a Salamander army and as such will be more or less effective depending on your army composition and direction.

Okay, so kicking off we have Pyroclasts. These guys are artificer armoured pseudo terminators. Coming with artificer armour and a 5++ invulnerable against melta, plasma, flamer and Volkite weapons these guys are pretty well protected. (I don't see the last two being overly helpful but it's nice to have, I guess...)

With basic marine stats, these guys don't have an awful amount going for them besides their apparent durability. Coming with flamer weapons, Pyroclasts come equipped with basic flamers (Str5 because of Promethean Gift), but with a twist, they may also make a 6" melta attack at Str6.

In my honest opinion, this attack is nearly worthless. At a 6" max range you're only going to get the extra D6 within 3", and with only Str6 the average score is 13, meaning you're only going to be penetrating the side and rear armour of light-medium vehicles. Given the short range of these weapons, it's frankly unlikely that you'll get in range of your target before you get shot up.

You can take a land raider to mitigate this range issue but that land raider is probably better spent on a unit that will be more effective.

While they can be effective anti-horde, Heavy Support Squads do this for 10 points less and have Str6 so they'll be causing instant death. Yes, they don't have 2+ armour but really I don't see that being such a major issue against horde armies.

Overall a relatively weak choice from my perspective. I'd rather have 6 flamer equipped marines with a promethium pipeline for torrent than 5 flamer marines with a 2+ save and a nearly useless melta attack. Flamer marines shouldn't really be under attack from heavy weapons and should be in cover anyway so they don't really need a 5++ invulnerable save.

In the above example, you can have 6 marines with flamers with a promethium pipeline for a 4+ cover save (that will blow up on a 6+ if you make a cover save (not destroying the pipe, just doing damage)) (barricades are an option of personal preference. If you don't like cover that explodes on you drop a marine and take the barricades for a 4+ cover and difficult terrain) all with Torrent on their flamers. Or, you can take 5 marines with a 2+/5++ equipped with normal flamers and a 6" Str6 melta attack.

Personally, I’d be taking the pipeline squad as they have Scoring and do not take up a Heavy Support Slot

Moving on to one of the best units in the from all heresy forces (I think), Firedrake Terminators!

Terminators with 2 wounds and Cataphractii pattern armour for a glorious 4++ invulnerable save. Already pretty appealing. Add to that Implacable Advance (so Scoring) and you have a pretty awesome unit.

With the option of Powerfists, Chainfists and Thunderhammers, these guys are perfect for squashing that annoying little 2+ save, multi-wound FnP death star your opponent keeps bringing.

With concussive Thunder Hammers, Firedrakes make for good Primarch or Monster hunters. With Chainfists, drakes make for excellent vehicle hunters, and with ap2 and str8 they are more than able to deal with whatever payload that Spartan Assault Tank was carrying.

As if this all wasn't enough, these guys can get, Drumroll........... Storm Shields! That's right, these guys can get the dreaded 3++ save.

Charging out of their own Spartan tank with Stormshields and Chainfists/Thunderhammers (based on opposing list) you can be sure they'll shred whatever they came to shred and you can bet that your opponents entire list will swing around to kill them, freeing the rest of your list from fire for at least a turn.

Another option I particularly like is giving these guys a Kharybdis Drop pod, this 20 man drop pod can carry a full squad or 9 and someone else (I’ll come back to that), Deep Strike in, move as a flyer, do damage to everyone near it with its Fire blast attack. Then you sink like hell for the enemy turn (they’ll be hitting on 6’s as its a flyer), fly up on your turn and drop out the payload on top of whatever poor target you selected.

As this unit is quite expensive you’ll want to have them going after priority targets, not generic joe squads. Drive or drop these guys into the hardest part of the enemy (timing can be important with the pod, you’ll want at least 1 other pod so it does come in turn one when it's isolated), rip and tear the expensive core of the enemy army while the rest of your list targets the weakest sections wolf pack style. This gives your opponent a nearly impossible choice; ignore the giant 2 wound terminators with str8 ap2 running amok in their lines and defend their dying support and scoring units or, take out the Terminators but sacrifice their support and scoring units.

In an ideal world this can cause castle ups, which is awesome as you can spring from assault to assault without having to footslog, and, it gives you near total control of the mid-field and your deployment zone. Meaning you’re free to capture mission objectives and score points while your opponent is boxed into their starting area.

The drop pod version of this tactic is more difficult and relies on a highly mobile force that can ensure that the terminators aren’t isolated. Because of this I recommend a full drop pod army, with either light forces coming in turn one to establish a beachhead and some rear board presence before the heavy units come in, or heavy units come in turn one, charge turn 2, allowing your light units to drop in and score without the fear of destruction.

The favourite nasty tactic for Firedrakes is to attach a Primus Medicae to them inside their transport. This adds an extra layer of protection in the form of 5+++ FnP on top of their armoured transport, their 2+ armour and their 2 wounds. Additionally, with to the new space marine powers (which at the time of writing are HH legal) you can add a Librarian rolling on Geokinesis for Earth Blood. This gives the unit ITWND and replenishes the wounds of a nearby character (Lib or Firedrake Master). By adding either (or both if you’re a real jerk ;D) you can dramatically increase the durability of this squad to stupid levels.

Finally, they can be taken as a bodyguard unit for Vulkan, which gives you an extra slot (as this bodyguard unit exists outside the FOC)

Overall; this unit is one of the strongest Legion Specific units in the Horus Heresy Expansion and one of the most versatile assault units. With options for both anti TEQ/Monster/Primarch or anti-Vehicle war gear, this unit can bring the pain of any expensive enemy unit (and if you’re playing Alpha Legion it’s defiantly worth a steal through Coils of the Hydra). While this unit needs a transport, it is one of the strongest units and capable of easily earning it points back when pointed at the right targets.

Salamanders’ special units are a (50/50) mix of pretty garbage and amazing. Their Pyroclasts are equally gimmicky as Word Bearer Ashen Circle and their Terminators are on par or better than Gal Vorbak, depending on play style and use.

I would strongly encourage you to look at fitting in Firedrakes into your army if and where you can. Pyroclasts, not so much.

That's all from me for now, final thoughts on Salamanders are incoming, looking at both Rites and their Characters in due time.
Until then, Happy Wargaming you crazy pyromaniac space marines.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Salamanders Legion Overview

As you might have noticed, I haven't been posting lately. Life has been doing it's best to get in my way. Back now, posts might be a tad irregular but there should be plenty coming. Now, to the salamanders!

Salamanders are the 18th* legion of the first founding. They're maybe the nicest space marines and they're also religious pyromaniacs!

Salamander infantry units all benefit from what is essentially a free Legion Vexilla. This re-roll for leadership is not only amazing but it nets you 10 points for every infantry unit that would have had to buy one. It also affects those units who couldn't have brought a Vexilla anyways. Also, they automatically pass Fear checks so yay!

However, these guys are slow, and I mean annoyingly slow. Salamanders suffer a -1 penalty to any Run, Charge and do not add their Initiative to sweeping advance rolls. This last one, in particular, is massive! Sweeping advances are huge in 30k so be aware, and avoid conflict whenever you can if it's anything but an unfair fight.

Yes, you're less likely to be swept because of your leadership re-roll, but in the event that you lose, you will almost certainly be overrun.

This is painful, very much so, and annoyingly you cant just sit back and open fire like Iron Hands can. Your weapons of choice are flamers, which require you to be up in the enemies face. Now, if you're wondering why you'd want flamers given they're so short ranged you're doing it right.

Here's why:

Salamanders and their vehicles all gain an awesome +1 str for all flamer weapons. This is amazing! Hand flamers are now no longer shitty Str3, your flamers are now Heavy Flamers, your heavy flamers are now Instant Death-ing Solar Auxilla (or Rad-Phage-d marines) and ignoring their Armour Save and any Feel No Pain rolls. (marines not included please make further purchase of Allied Malacdor Inferrus Tank from Solar Auxilla, Salamander's rules not included or compatible, other T&C may apply, subject to personal choice).

Not only that but; Salamanders (infantry and vehicles) take less damage from Flamers in the form of a -1Str penalty to all flamer hits inflicted. This means Death Guard might actually do equal or more damage to themselves when shooting at you*. This also means that your light av tanks cannot get glanced by Flamer weapons (Av10 v Str4 Flamer, Av11 v Heavy Flamer) The rule is situational but nice.

*not tested or math-hammered, purely based off individual dice rolls/luck, this blog takes no responsibility for your dead plastic soldiers.

Despite their obsession with fire, Salamanders don't like Phosphex weapons, Destroyers or Moritat Centurions. None of the above may be taken by a Salamanders Primary Detachment (but apparently allies are fine? alrighty then) (that's what allies are for, and Sally's are pretty loved by everyone).

As for what upgrades and legion war-gear Salamanders get access to, their characters all have 5-point master-crafted everything. Master-crafted Las Cannon sir? 10 point discount Mr Praetor? You may only master-craft a single weapon but who need that super bolt pistol anyway. (Yes this does include allied Salamander Moritats with Twin Infernus Pistols! I never said I was nice.)

Models in Terminator armour or Salamanders Independent Characters have access to the much hated Storm Sheild. Now, it's not as bad as 40k's Storm Sheilds (yet, wait for it). It only improves your Invulnerable Save by +1 (to a maximum of 3++, I see you there Mr Deathstar) or confers a 5++ save if you didn't have one before. For characters not in TDA, it costs a minor 10 points but for TDA hulking space soldiers it costs and even more measly 5 points! (replacing combi-bolter) (bonus attack from having two weapons gets removed, just buy a specialist weapon or something two handed (a-la Paragon Blade, Powerfist/Chainfist). Add this to Cataphractii Pattern armour and suddenly you have the much loved/hated 3++ assault terminators of 40k

This is why people hate Salamanders.

If a 3++ terminator master-crafted praetor wasn't enough you can buy them (Praetors and only Praetors), Eternal Warrior! For 20 points you can buy them a cloak of drake scale which makes them nearly impossible to put down (add FNP to milk tears).

Finally, any twin-linked Bolters or Heavy Bolters may be replaced with Twin Linked (Shred) Flamers or Heavy Flamers respectively for free. Sweet!

Looking at nasty little unit combos, we can create:

Death by Fire!
Considering the Flamer benefits for Salamanders, one of the best additions to a Salamanders force is a 10 man Heavy Support Squad with Heavy Flamers in front of a Promethium Pipeline (barricades so you get a cover save that won't blow you up). This gives your Heavy Support squad torrent of their str6 flamers. Take a librarian rolling on Divination for misfortune and this unit will literally destroy anything it sets it sights on. Even without the Librarian this is not a unit to be taken lightly and your opponent should have plenty of good reasons to avoid anywhere near it, overall an excellent area denial unit combo for a relatively small cost. 

That Dead Baneblade Over There?
Taking a Kharybdis assault claw filled with 10 Firedrake terminators will certainly not buy you any points for the nice guy prize but it will certainly wreak havoc on your opponent's army and bring down that armoured vehicle you absolutely need dead yesterday. Arm them up with chain fists, give a few Storm-shields (yes you read that right storm shields in 30k, more on that to come) and if you're feeling spicy give the rest combi-Meltas for that extra anti-vehicle punch. RIP your buddies new Questorius Knight/Titan model!

Or if you're up against the new Mechanicum unit, drop in a bunch armed with Thunder Hammers and drop that giant robot/cyborg/thing to I1 and smash it to tiny pulpy bits.

Your 1st Rite is somewhat tactically limiting, but if you were going in that vein there's very little reason not to choose it.

Your vehicles gain a 5++ against Melta, Plasma, Flamers, Volkite and uniquely Melta Bombs. This is pretty awesome and is effectively the best excuse to break out the super heavies (for under 2000, I'd take the Plasma blast gun super heavy tank for fluffy-ness, and you know, giant ap2 blasts of death)

All your units get the Move Through Cover USR. Free dozer blades! Again take vehicles!

Any basic Melta weapons get master-crafted (read Melta gun/Multi Melta/Inferno Pistol). Nice addition but be wary of armoured ceramite. If your opponent isn't packing tanks or has brought his heat shield plating this is pretty much useless. Nice bonus but not really a competitive edge.

Pyroclasts can now be non-compulsory troops. Again nice but not game breaking. Frees up a heavy support slot which is important because...

You may only take a total number of Fast Attack and Heavy Support equal or less than your number of troop choices. Read Rhino Tactical and Support Marines.

Breacher Marines could also be a strong choice but remember that they already suffer from -1 run distances due to void armour, so you will suffer -2" to their run distances. They can take Land Raiders so do that (vehicles that will be getting free dozer blades and 5++ invol saves against most heat energy based weapons as described above.

No deep striking units (therefore no drop pods or other must deep strike units). No Death from Above Firedrakes -sadface-.

No fortifications, so no death by super heavy support Flamers, again -sadface-. This isn't as bad as this Rite encourages vehicles anyway but still detrimental

Overall a nice Rite that offers some bonuses for an army already going in that direction but otherwise very restrictive.

That's it for this week, stay tuned for my next update where I'll  be looking at the Salamanders' special unit choices and their new Rite as of the most recent book (bear in mind I don't have a copy of that so if there's anything wrong with my interpretation of it please let me know in the comments and I will address that. Following that, Salamanders HQ characters.

Thanks for reading and Happy Wargaming
Meros out