Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Alpha Legiondary Journey Part 1: Evaluating Codex: Space Marines

Welcome back to the second article and the continuation of "The Alpha Legiondary Journey". Hopefully you have read and enjoyed Part I where I listed some of the goals and concepts that I'm shooting for with this series and as to why I will not be using Codex: Chaos Space Marines as the core for my Alpha Legion list.

Evaluating Codex: Space Marines
The Space Marines have been out for quite a while now and everyone and their mother are familiar with their pros and cons, their strengths and weaknesses. The tricky part is evaluating said characteristics and figuring out what can be applied to the Alpha Legion doctrine - what works and what does not.
There is a caveat, however: Supposedly the 6th Edition version of Codex: Space Marines will be hitting the shelves by the end of the year, so this article may not be relevant for long. I doubt, however, that GW will tinker with their favorite poster child too much.

Pros: Tons of incredibly flexible and customizable options, Combat Squads mimics the division of small, Alpha Legion cells, Combat Tactics can be a great bait-and-switch mechanic, many options to play with USR abilities such as Infiltrate, Move Through Cover, Scout as well as the option of having your entire list Outflank. Because of Combat Squads and Chapter Tactics, there is a lot of strategy and trickery to consider before and during deployment, really allowing you to analyze the situation and change the way your army is split and deployed.
Cons: Really.. not a whole lot. The Codex is so big that there are plenty of options to consider and use and the real cons do not really apply to the Alpha Legion play style. By itself, Codex: Space Marines totally fits the doctrine of Alpharius' progeny. What is important to figure out is if it should be used as the core for the Alpha Legion list.

I really don't know where to begin with this Evaluation as there are some great Alpha Legion tidbits.

Combat Squads is just great and allows you to play your Alpha Legion list as a collection of small, but elite cells of special operatives by splitting your 10-man squads into two 5-man squads. With some Chapter Tactics this can be pretty interesting and especially useful in non KP missions. Consider the following:
Using Kor'sarro Khan's Chapter Tactics (All units can Outflank) can allow you to have a small squad with a Heavy weapon on an objective and then the other part of the squad is equipped for tank hunting (melta, combi-melta on the sergeant) and Outflanking to screw with your opponent's plans.. and nerves.

Chapter Tactics of note..
  • Without a doubt, the winner here is Kor'sarro Khan's ability to give your entire army (or all Space Marines, at least) the ability to Outflank! Just this little rule is enough to create an Alpha Legion army using the Khan as an HQ and unlocks so many options in addition to the huge list of units available to Space Marine players. I am not sure if taking Bikers is the thing for me - they are great and Khan lists have proven to be competitive in 6th Edition, yet I am not really convinced that they are Alpha Legion material. Giving the option of Deep Striking units such as Terminators or Sternguard Veterans the ability to Outflank is great in certain scenarios and situations where terrain or enemy deployment is making Deep Striking too dangerous or impossible. 
  • Another interesting option to consider is Pedro Kantor whose Chapter Tactics give your army Stubborn and makes the amazing Sternguard Veterans scoring... AND whose Inspiring Presence works just like a Chapter Banner (+1A to all friendly units within 12''). Kantor is amazing in lists which utilize Drop Pod Assault as their main strategy. Drop Pods, however, are not to my liking - they make sense, but it is not how I envision the Alpha Legion. Best part about Pedro Kantor, however, is The Orbital Bombardment. Just because. 
  • Changes 6th Edition Assaults on Turn 1 or the Turn You Infiltrate/Outflank -  Unfortunately, some pretty cool units which were very popular in 5th Ed. are now... kind of questionable at best. Keyvaan Shrike's ability to launch crazy assaults with Fleeting Terminators, for example used to be awesome. Both this ability and the Fleet USR took a hit, though.
Special Mention:
+Thunderfire Cannon and Techmarine: Man, where do I even begin? As a Space Wolves player, the Surface Detonation (S6, AP5, Heavy 4, Blast); Airburst (S5, AP6, Heavy 4, Blast, Ignores Cover) and Subterranean Blast (S4, AP-, Heavy 4, Blast, Tremor) gets you a unit which can deal will all sorts of infantry. Tremor is just awesome against assaulty units as well. IN ADDITION, the Techmarine can repair vehicles and Bolster Defenses is just.. awesome - the ability to increase the cover save of a Ruined building in your deployment zone is fantastic and has great synergy with any Heavy Support units you may have, especially those with Stealth.
Thunderfire Cannon is.. like.. the one thing I'd totally steal and add to my SW list. With Allies, I guess I can now, huh? The Thunderfire Cannon's supporting element is, for me, the epitome of all of the tactical shenanigans of Codex: Space Marines. Three modes of fire -
    Basically an excuse to use
    the Warpsmith model.
  • This would definitely be a MUST for me if I were to play Codex: Space Marines, although I would have to go with the modeling of the Thunderfire Cannon differently. Not that I don't like it.. I was thinking of basically creating a Heavy Weapons platform with 3 Space Marines on it, each with a different kind of heavy weapon, all bunkered down and hiding behind some rubble.  

Original is "Torias Telion" by tutzdes
+Torias Telion with Scouts and Aegis Defense Line - Sergeant Telion is yet another character who does not need much explanation as he has been proven to get shit done and even more so in 6th Edition.Before, he used to be a 50 pt. model people took for his rules and because his Stealth USR saved them ~30 points on Camo Cloaks. Now, with the FAQ on how Camo Cloaks work (they give +1 to cover save, rather than Stealth), your scouts led by Sergeant Telion will enjoy a static +2 cover save.. and you don't even need the Boltered Defenses from a Techmarine! So a nice, bigass unit of Scouts with a Missile Launcher, Camo Cloaks, etc. and enjoy.
Hide behind an Aegis Defense Line with an Icarus Lascannon and enjoy your S9, AP1, Skyfire shots.. at BS6 and with Precision Shots from Telion.
Or play it safe with the Quad Gun. 

+Scout Bike Squad with.... Cluster Mines! - I'd field this (perhaps) barebones unit of 3 Bikers just so I can scare the shit out of my opponent when he triggers my trap ca-- I mean, my cluster mines. 2d6 S4 AP- hits is actually pretty decent if you think about it and with the current game mechanics, if you roll well you can glance the shit out of most vehicles. Honestly, I just want to see someone move flat out into cluster mines and get wrecked. Besides, Gretchin need to do their job. Actually, I'm not even sure if It's a Grot's Life works against Cluster Mines... Laying the field with traps is very Alpha Legion-y, so not taking the one option allowing you to do so would be a letdown.

For the purposes of "The Alpha Legiondary Journey" I hereby declare Codex: Space Marines fit for my preferred Alpha Legion list. But will it be the one Codex I choose to go with? We'll see..

Next time I'll go over Codex: Space Wolves..


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