Friday, October 2, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Stormhammer Super-Heavy Assault Tank

At the forefront of the Auxilia's part in the Great Crusade, it is easy to see why this particular tank was the "go to" tank of choice for invading hostile territory. In essence, it is a gun tank. With lots and lots of guns.

Stormhammer cannon, dual battlecannon, coaxial multi-laser, six multi-laser sponsons (yes: SIX!) and just for fun a lascannon to the front as well. This tank can shoot most others off the board for breakfast and still have enough firepower left over to challenge a terminator squad to survive.

As with other tanks on the same chassis, the AV=12 rear armour is a worry and positioning needs attention to remedy or mitigate this issue. Its also pricey in terms of the points cost, but that is justified given the sheer firepower the tank has.

Stormhammer, armoured ceramite (580 points) 
Lots of firepower, with extra durability against melta guns!

Stormhammer, armoured ceramite, targeters (600 points)
The targeters really improve the odds of all of those multi-lasers hitting their targets and is well worth it on this type of tank

Stormhammer, armoured ceramite, six lascannon sponsons, targeters (660 points)
Add hunter killer missiles, or a command tank upgrade to taste, and its good to rock and roll with the best of them. The points cost here is getting rather steep though.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Stormblade Super-Heavy Tank

Ryza is a forge world that even back in the Horus Heresy days was known for its predilections with plasma technology. To secure the allegiance of lesser forge worlds, and lacking the ability to build a shadowsword themselves, Ryza exported the Stormblade technology to seal pacts and better its own influential position.

The stormblade's plasma blast gun is a dual firing mode weapon. In its usual configuration, it has an impressive range, S8, low AP and a massive blast. In overload, the range and strength is increased as is the blast size (to an overwhelming apocalyptic blast size). Although not as strong as a shadowsword's D-class weapon, it does a fine job at posing a threat to almost everything in the game.

There's not too many weaknesses, but I'll make the same point as I made with some of the other super heavy tank options: the rear armour is vulnerable with only AV=12. Beware of positioning correctly and watch out for out flankers as well as deep strikers.

Two builds to toy with here.

Stormblade, armoured ceramite (490 points)
This is the baseline build. Don't skimp on the armoured ceramite, otherwise players like me will exploit you!

Stormblade, armoured ceramite, two las cannon sponsons (590 points)
Probably not quite worth other pintle upgrades due to the extreme range of the primary weapon here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Melta and Armoured Ceramite Conundrum in 30k

I think there is a conundrum in 30k around Armoured Ceramite and Melta weaponry. It also connects to game theory very nicely. Let me explain.

In 30k, Armoured Ceramite is a reasonably common and very available upgrade to vehicles in legion (and other armies, such as the Solar Auxilia) armoury. In brief, it negates the special melta weapon rules that provide an extra die for amour penetration.

The Conundrum.
Let's see if I can explain this using a logical chain.
(i) Because Armoured Ceramite is available, players are going to take it to negate against melta weapons.
(ii) Because players are taking Armoured Ceramite, it logically follows that players will respond by not bothering with melta weaponry. They'll take something like lascannons to deal with heavy AV armour instead.
(iii) Because players are no longer bothering with melta weapons, it logically follows that players do not need to invest the points sink in Armoured Ceramite.
(iv) Because players are not purchasing Armoured Ceramite, one should take melta weaponry to exploit them.

And therein is the conundrum, the contradiction, and (if nothing else) a downright paradox!

In some games that I've played, its clear that the meta is somewhere in the region of step (i) or step (ii). Armoured Ceramite is very popular (and probably rightly so). And this is leading to a decrease of melta weaponry in accord. I've not heard anyone reach the logical step of (iii) just yet, but it does follow quite naturally. I just don't think folks are thinking that far along the logic chain to be honest. And that's completely understandable if everyone is still salivating over Armoured Ceramite's ability.

But, being slightly twisted, and playing the Alpha Legion in 30k, I'm totally taking melta weaponry in the form of a melta support squad. Because my Alpha Legion force is rightly already at step (iv)!

Or at least that's what I keep telling myself. The reality is far removed from this, naturally, as most folks are still at step (i). But I will keep on taking the melta just to exploit folks who are not taking the Armoured Ceramite. That, and I think that melta guns are very powerful weapons if you're able to get in range of an enemy, and can cause significant damage to even terminator squads with the right positioning (which I plan on achieving with Armillus Dynat's warlord trait).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Stormsword Super-Heavy Tank

The storm sword is essentially a modification of any number of super heavy tanks. Rather than try to fully repair a broken superheavy like a Shadowsword, some forces opt to repair it by simply fitting a siege cannon on to the patched up shell. Thus the stormsword is born.

The strength of this beast is in its primary weapon. Although it is not a D class weapon, it certainly packs a punch and is (in my opinion) well worth the points cost associated with the vehicle. Firstly, its a short range weapon. But with S=10 and very low AP, its going to be dangerous to anything in the game. What makes it truly shine though, is the absolutely humongous template associated with it - a full apocalyptic blast no less. Better yet, it ignores cover!

The tank is a close range tank, and therefore must be carefully treated to ensure it gets in to the optimum firing position before being hit by enemy class D weapons, or knights in close combat and the like. Additionally, the rear armour is going to be a prime target on this tank, like its cousins, but perhaps even more vulnerable due to the need to manoeuvre in to position more acutely.

Two builds for this super heavy -- a baseline build and something a little bit more upgraded.

Stormsword, armoured ceramite (510 points)
Armoured ceramite is almost a given in the 30k environment. I deliberately take melta guns to face down enemies who don't pay the points for this upgrade, because that's how I roll.

Stormsword, armoured ceramite, two pairs of lascannon sponsons, pintle mounted multi-laser (625 points)
Very pricey here, but also very versatile and effective, so long as the range is kept to 48" and under (preferably 36" and under!). Upgrade to a command tank to taste.


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