Competitive 40k tactics and Battle Reports with the Tyranid Codex

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Packeged Meat: Beating the Dark Angels with Nids

OK, so the current rage across the 40k-internet is the new Dark Angel book. I've acquired a copy and read through it, although I have yet to play against it. Based on my readings, and some internet musings, I'll be giving a brief rundown on what I think is good, and how we'll be combating it...

Of course, I'll be focusing on what makes them unique. We all know what a predator is!

First, the fliers. Both are FA/SA 11, and neither are cheap. (Both easily outpoint a Vendetta, by the cost of a base Warrior and a Hive Guard.)

Dark Talon: Boy, DAngels love their bolters... this guy has Hurricane Bolters, and a large Strength 5 blast, plus the Stasis Bomb. Not bad against gants, but underwhelming vs. MCs.

Nephilim: With a lascannon, Heavy Bolters and missiles, it's not t be sniffed at or feared. It'll be better than most against us, but isn't broken at all, and is the more expenive of the two.

These are mid-toughness fliers, so can be downed by Hive Guard or Dakkarants, especially flying. A Flyrant will average 3 glances against them, and they have 3 HPs. They can hurt our infantry, but aren't too threatening to our MCs.

The new and improved Deathwing! Ok, these guys are good. Deepstrike in turn 1 or 2, no rolls made. Yowie! Also, you can bet Belial will be tagging along, and that SOB (not a sister) never scatters. They're also twinlinked he turn they come in... So basically, it's a mass Deep Strike that can lay down killer fire power if they're close. Also, note that they have Split Fire and can have Plasma Cannons. Any member may upgrade into an Assault Terminator, but note that they then have no guns, and are less effective on that Deep Strike turn, so I think that there will just be 1 or 2 TH/SS in the squad and otherwise vanilla.

Play this like Daemons! Gant bubbles all around. They die, you spawn more, and then assault those Termis to keep 'em locked up. In Close Combat they're no different than a Tactical Terminator, since we're not Chaos. It's important to not let them near your MCs, but we have the spare wounds to survive.

Librarians: There will be one in EVERY competetive DA list, trust me! While only ML 2, they can get Divination and prescience, which every Angel wants with their mass bolter Dakka.

He's still just a librarian. Shadow works fine, and it's not too hard to kill one 2 wound model. He can dish out some serious buffs, so it's worth committing a Flyrant to assault his unit aftera healthy Dakka dose.

Ravenwing Bikers: The normal SM Bikers really. Well, possibly scoring, and they max at 6 plus attack bikes/Land Speeder. Oh! One other thing... They have teleport homers, and hit and run. Gnarly huh?

 If your opponent Turbo boosts them in your face, it is a worthy invetsment to kill the suckers, fast! They die just like bikers though. Make sure you can kill them if you assault them though, because Hit and run is just annoying. Mass poisoned gants or MCs should take care of business with ease.

Black Knights: They're like extra special Ravenwing. And by "extra special" I mean deadly. They all have 18" plasma guns, and rending strength 5 hammers. The worst part is the 1 in 3 grenade launchers... rad grenades are back, and now LAUNCHABLE! WOO! Fortunately it does not stack, or I'd cry. -1 toughness sucks though. Otherwise they're scouting Ravenwing.

Yeah, these guys are nice. 12" move plus 18" means you want to keep them at arms length. Flyrants are perfect here, as they're immune to grenades (blasts). You really want to kill the launchers, with precision shots or Barrage weapons. Again, vulnerable to poison weapons, and enfeeble, like every bike ever.

Deathwing Knights: These guys have a power maul/Storm Shield, and if they're in base contact with
 two friends they're toughness 5. Also, once a game they can buff up to Stregth 10 AP 2 in CC. Ow.

They're barely more expensive than a Biovore, by 1 point exactly. Not too bad! Hold back your MCs, but Gants and Flyrant Dakka kills them like normal Terminators. Toughness 5 won't bother us too much with Enfeeble/poison. Kill them like slow bikers. Treat them how you would Thunder hammer/SS terminators. Dakka and hordes are your best bet.

New Land Speeder Variants: Both are Armor 10/10/10, so pretty vulnerable. One has a large super-plasma, that's three shots or one large blast. The other gives stealth to nearby guys, and shrouded to itself. Not too scary, a plasma blast  can only cause a max of 1 wound on an MC. The shrouded one would need to be close to us, as we have mostly short range guns, and nothing armor ignoring anyway, so not too big of a deal. Could be annoying with dreads and cover though.

Kill it like a Land Speeder. Neither look awesome, but people better than I with DA can use them I'm sure. Armor 10, 2 Hull Points... you know how to kill that.

Special Characters:

Belial: He's a terminator captain, with a nice sword. More importantly, he makes Deathwing scoring, and doesn't scatter if he Deepstrikes. He's a very solid choice. He has a flesbane power sword, so be careful with an MC. Smash him good!

He's not too much of a problem on the ground, again just a nice Terminator captain. If he's included, just be aware that his squad can hit a smaller DS spot than most. Be wary with an MC near him though, he can take off 2/3 wounds fast.

Sammael: He unlocks scoring Ravenwing, otherwise he's got Artificier armor, and rides the only non-FW Marine Jetbike. Alternatively, he can have a 14/14/10 Land Speeder. Both are good, but he rides alone. He has a punch though with a fancy AP2 sword and a Plasma Cannon.

If on a Bike, he can fly around shooting blasts. Either ignore, or send a Flyrant to swat him down. If he gets close, Gants! He's the only Eternal Warrior that I noticed, but is all alone, so I wouldn't send an MC after him (unless it's Swarmy) He's only T5 3 wounds so forcing wounds on him could work if you get a lot.

Azreal: He unlocks Deathwing and Ravenwing as Troops. Expect him in all mix-wing armies. He's nice in CC otherwise. He chooses his own warlord trait though, and has a 2+ and 4 wounds, plus basically a Relic Blade. He also gives a 4++ to his unit, which will have to be a footslogging unit, so most likely Green Marines.

This guy is tough, and will require his fair share of effort to kill. But, he doesn't have eternal warrior... Smash! Still, he can wade through gants no problem. He's good for his points since he basically has 6 relic blade attacks on the charge though... Save him for an MC with Iron arm, or the Swarmy.

Ezekiel: He's a ML 3 librarian, who gives +1 WS to buddies within 6". His Force Sword is inexplicably worse than a normal one... Master Crafted, but two handed. So minus one attack, and one reroll. I'd rather have the extra attack... He has a decent power, mind worm, but it's not great against MCs. d3 Strength 4 shots, but -3 WS/BS/LD if you get wounded. Not great against T6 really.

Deal with him exactly like a Libby. Maybe just a little more priority, because of the WS bubble, but he's really just a librarian with a 2+. No invulnerable even, just so it's easy for an MC to paste him.

Asmodai: I really don't get this guy. He's a chaplain. He has one bonus weapon, it's a CC weapon that causes instant death, but has no strength/AP bonuses... His warlord trait gives a bonus if his unit kills the enemy warlord. Otherwise, just a chaplain...

He's not too scary. Not likely to kill an MC, but it's important to be aware of. Treat like a chaplain, any of your warlords should murder him.

The Banners:

One gives counterattack, another FnP, and the last salvo 2/4 bolters. That's the key one... all also give re rollable morale checks within 12". The Salvo one looks best, but it costs more than a Tyrant Guard. It can be on a command squad marine, either Green, Ravenwing or Deathwing.

Priority number one here! If it's the Standard of  Devestation, DEVESTATE IT! That many bolters will ruin your day. Flyrants playing assassination can help with precision shots, and then an assault if needed. It's worth it. This just looks evil on a Terminator. If he's flying a flag, it's a priority. Take it down!

Wing-standards: Deathwing gives +1 attack, Ravenwing gives auto passing hit and run.

 Nice to pick out but less crucial than the Devestation one.

Other fun wargear: There are various "shields" that give all models in a range an invulnerable, but this will include yours... hitting those in CC is hilarious for gants! Another teleports the user 1d6 if he passes his 3++, and another can blind nearby units if passed. (friendlies re roll). All good and fun, and characterful, but none broken.

Final thoughts: 

This is a very good, solid codex. We matchup slightly better than most due to our numbers and poison, but it's fast and hard hitting. All the above is how to beat in a vaccuum, it'll be hard to do all at once. Still, like the GreyKnights, they're expensive equivalents of Marine things. They do require a lot of careful use of units, one slip up could see a Tervigon get obliterated by Black Knights or Deathwing murder your Tyrant. The codex seems to lack anti flyer though... Flyrants should rock against Dark Angels. I will have more to say with more experience, until then good luck, and try not to get robes stuck in your fangs!

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