Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April Army List Challenge (2): Poll Open

At the start of the month, I decided to try out something new for Warpstone Flux: a challenge! The idea behind the challenge was to help others create army lists that are highly themed, but also effective on the battlefield. The theme for the April Army List Challenge was the Alpha Legion. I feel I have learnt a number of things from the entries; I hope you have too.

Its fair to say that I've been highly impressed by the levels of thought displayed and attention to detail that the competitors have put in to the challenge. But like all good things, the time is over -- the entries are now closed. Today the polls open for Warpstone Flux readers to decide which of the entries is the "most effective army list that also best articulates the theme". (Please feel free to interpret that statement in inverted commas as you will).

The army lists are detailed below. The poll will remain open for one week and the winner will be announced on April 21st. There are no prizes for this competition - simply honour and kudos. We hope that they've inspired you!

Here's the entries (with some cosmetic tidying up):
(EDIT: if any of the entrants want some last minute changes done, or some extra words added, then just shout!).

(1) Chris.
Here's my entry, showing the Alpha Legion in M41, and trys to capture the feel of the Alpha Legion operating in secret and then coming together to strike out at the enemy. It uses Codex: Chaos Space Marines:

HQ: Chaos Lord, Lightning Claws, Jump Pack, Melta Bombs (145)

Elites:
5 Chosen of Chaos, 5 meltaguns, Rhino (175)
5 Chosen of Chaos, 5 flamers, Rhino (155)
5 Chosen of Chaos, 5 flamers, Rhino (155)

Troops:
5 Chaos Space Marines, one upgraded to Aspiring Champion with a power fist and melta bombs, flamer, rhino (160)
5 Chaos Space Marines, one upgraded to Aspiring Champion with a power fist and melta bombs, flamer, rhino (160)
5 Chaos Space Marines, one upgraded to Aspiring Champion with a power fist, flamer, rhino (155)

Fast Attack:
10 Chaos Raptors, one upgraded to Aspiring Champion with Lightning Claws and melta bombs (245)

Heavy Support:
5 Chaos Havocs, 4 autocannons (155)

Total 1500

Let me explain the list:

-Fast: All units (except the Havocs) are either jump infantry or mechanized, enabling them to redploy and strike where the enemy is weakest, acting on intelligence for local cult spys.

-Jump packs: The Legion likes to test its strength against opponents, particularly loyal Space Marines. Often they will hold back parts of the army so they are attacking under strength. To represent this, all Jump Pack infantry would deep strike, being committed to battle when required.

-No heavy tanks: Operating secretly behind enemy lines, I didn't think the Alpha Legion would have access to massive battle tanks like Land Raiders, Vindicators, Defilers etc. so all tanks are simple Rhinos.

-Small units: I imagine the Alpha Legion marines operating in the field behind enemy lines in small cells of a few troopers, and I've represented that in the list.

-Chosen: The indepth planning and intelligence gathering done by the Legion means they can quickly anticipate enemy manouvers and rapidly outflank them. To represent this, I've maxed out on Chosen units (which can Infiltrate)

-Melta bombs: Part of the covert action of the Legion would be to disrupt enemy communications, fuel and ammo dump, transportation etc. I've given melta bombs to as many squads as I had points for to represent the kit they'd use to do this.

(2) Raptor1313.
My take's closer to M41, and uses the Chaos Space Marines codex. The list is as follows:

HQ: Chaos Lord with Bike, Combi-melta, Meltabombs, Lightning Claws (165)

Elites:
7 Chosen, with 5 Meltaguns, Meltabombs, Rhino with Dozer Blade (221)
7 Chosen, with 5 Meltaguns, Meltabombs, Rhino with Dozer Blade (221)

Troops:
7 Chaos Marines, including a Champion with Powerfist, Meltabombs, 1 Flamer, Rhino with Dozer Blade (195)
7 Chaos Marines, including a Champion with Powerfist, Meltabombs, 1 Flamer, Rhino with Dozer Blade (195)
7 Chaos Marines, including a Champion with Powerfist, Meltabombs, 1 Flamer, Rhino with Dozer Blade (195)

Heavy Support:
8 Havocs, with 2 Autocannons and 2 Missile Launchers (160)
7 Havocs, with 2 Autocannons and 2 Missile Launchers (145)

Total: 1497

I'm angling to represent the Alpha Legion as a mobile raiding force with a balanced set of capabilities.

As such, the force is mounted in Rhinos, save for the Havoc squads and Lord.

The Lord's loadout allows him to reinforce his troops against anything short of a Monstrous Creature or Dreadnought in melee. The bike lets him get there. A combi-melta and meltabomb let the Lord take out armor, and a pair of Lightning Claws lets him bail his squad out of tense melees, or zoom forward and engage choice targets in melee.

The Chosen are in there as the Legion's veterans, tasked with handling the heaviest armor and thickest fortifications. To this end, they ride Rhinos and carry what should generally be enough melta weaponry to destroy any fortification or armor. As an added bonus, melta weapons are both reliable and silent, according to the Dark Heresy books.

The core of the army is the three 'tactical' Chaos Marine squads in Rhinos. By nature, basic Chaos Marines are adept at handling infantry at shorter ranges. A flamer accentuates this, and a powerfist on the leader allows the squad to handle hardier foes like monstrous creatures, or tanks in melee. In case there's a need for demolitions work, the Aspiring Champion also carries meltabombs. You never can have too many explosives if you're a sabateour by nature.

The heavy support breaks this army's trend of speed and mobility. 7 or 8 Havocs per squad with a mix of autocannons and missile launchers gives the squad both versatility and resiliency. Armored targets get four autocannon shots and two krak missiles. Unarmored targets get four autocannon shots and two krak missiles, so the Alpha Legion heavy weapon teams can always engage the enemy at hand.

Additionally, there are a total of 5 rhinos and 50 marines, so the entire force can be mounted. Prior to battle, the Havocs can set up using intelligence from local cultists or other underhanded means.

In all, the army is mobile, versatile, and carries a heap of demolitions supplies. There is no heavy armor, as that's harder to maintain, feed, and keep concealed.

All the Rhinos have Dozer Blades, as the Legion doesn't want to rely overmuch on roads to get to their destination.

The bulk of the weapons that the Alpha Legion employ are generally reliable models. Flamers are easy to feed. Missile launchers and autocannons are cheap, easy to find, and reliable. Meltaguns are the only energy weapon used in the force, but are widespread enough to make resupply easy.

(3) Erfunk.
Modern Alpha Legion.

"Command"
HQ: Terminator Sorcerer with Mark of Slaanesh, Lash of Submission, and a Combi-Melta (145)
4 Terminators: Icon of Chaos Glory, Champion with Chainfist and Combi-melta, and 3 Combi-plasmas (175)

"Specialists"
Elites:
5 Chosen: Icon of Chaos Glory, 4 Meltaguns, and a Rhino (175)
5 Chosen: Icon of Chaos Glory, 4 Meltaguns, and a Rhino (175)

Troops:
5 chaos space marines: Icon of Chaos Glory, Champion with Power Weapon and Meltabombs, 1 with a Plasma Gun, and Rhino (170)
5 chaos space marines: Icon of Chaos Glory, Champion with Power Weapon and Meltabombs, 1 with a Plasma Gun, and Rhino (170)

"Cultists"
8 Lesser Daemons (104)
8 Lesser Daemons (104)
7 Lesser Daemons (91)

"Fire Support"
Heavy Support: 5 Havocs: Icon of Chaos Glory, 3 with Lascannons (190)

Total: 1499 points

As others have indicated, Meltabombs make a lot of sense for the Alpha Legion. I also use Icons of Chaos Glory extensively, for a few reasons. The Alpha Legion has to be one of the most determined given the awkward/delicate position they find themselves in, so rerolling LD seems appropriate. But if they also need to convince their friends and foes alike that they're serving the Ruinous Powers, what better way? Also, it seems reasonable for most of them to be able to coordinate and maintain communication with their reserves, whether it be teleporting terminators or cultists. And that the cultists aren't terribly likely to show up without some of the Alpha Legion masters close by to direct them.

I've avoided heavy armor, as it's a lot harder to sneak into places unnoticed. Hence the presence of mostly infantry, and only rhinos as armor. In general Rhinos add a lot of versatility, something Alpha Legion can appreciate.

The Termie Sorc needs to be full of cunning and deceit to have made it into Alpha leadership, so Lash seemed appropriate. There's few stronger forms of manipulation available. Depending on the foe, he can be deployed behind a rhino or deepstrike with his terminators. With the termies, they can deepstrike off any of the marks to strike a decisive first strike on a high priority target, or even drop in behind. The other HQ I considered was a Tzeentch Lord, since it would have been as close to a SM Captain as possible.

Between the Chosen and the CSMs I went for smaller more covert squads in Rhinos. Depending on the mission the CSMs can hold back on an objective or rush forwards with the Chosen's Rhinos. They each have a Plasma Gun so they'd be more useful when camping objectives. The Chosen have lots of options: infiltrating, outflanking, or deploying normally.

And the biggest oddity of the list is an idea I had when the C:CSM first came out. Since Cultists aren't in the codex anymore the closest thing to them, the Lesser Daemons, can make do. They can be Cultists springing out of hiding, sleeper agents amongst the populace of a warzone, or under-geared and disposable new recruits being called upon by one of the riskier methods of arrival (there's precident in both Legion and Ravenor for teleporting even unarmored humans). They can be represented with converted SM Scouts, Witchhunter Zealots, etc, but their statline is most similar to some form of assassin. You just have to find an explanation for the cultists that fits the models you choose. I have Zealot models, so I'd say they're cultists hopped up on combat-drugs to represent the above-human stats.

If the WH-Zealots were still tournament legal and fell under the allying rules in C:WH I'd have switched the whole army list around to using C:SM just for them. As it is, there seems to be no obvious answer as to which codex they should use. Especially if they're still emulating some of Codex Astartes and Loyalist appearances to better go unnoticed (honestly, how many random hivers would know the difference between two SM chapters unless their world had a direct tie to one?).

(4) Suneokun.
My thoughts would be for a Space Marine Army (pre-Chaotic) in line with the book. I think this actually best represents the combination of behind the scenes Alphari, with their up front 'inductees' like members of the Gene Infantry securing positions and running interference.

Combining the Deamon Hunters Codex (DH) with Codex: Space Marines (SM) allows me a totally RAW result that I think closely relates to the sort of elements that you see in the books. I'm particularly proud of including the landspeeder Storm as this actually appears in the novel.


HQs:
(SM) Space Marine Captain
(DH) Geno Commander, 2 Mystics and a squad of 7 Geno's with Hellguns

Elites:
Callidus Assassin (Jon Grammaticus)

Troops:
9 Geno squad, 2 GL.
9 Geno Squad, 2 GL.
5 man sniper scout Squad with Rhino (led by Sergeant Telion - being Omegon)
10 man Scout Squad with Rhino

Fast Attack:
Vanguard Assault Unit (10)
Vanguard Assault Unit (10)
Landspeeder Storm

Telion and his couts take the Storm or Infiltrate. The Geno Commander (Inquisitor) take a Rhino, as does the other Geno Squad (with Alpharius), the Vanguard's are the assault force with power weapons, lightning claws and relic blades all round.

I decided against Terminators in the end as they are too heavy and limited after deepstrike. The Vanguard's special 'lictor-like' abilities are more alpha legion's style...

Thank about their assault in the desert - they draw the enemy out with their sacrificial squads and then crush the enemy entirely in close assault.

I think that's the rulesboyz satisfied too. Plus we keep Gramaticus.

6 comments:

Peter said...

All pretty solid lists but I'm going for no.1 Chris I like the units he's chosen and he's put good reasoning for taking them

eriochrome said...

The last list has scouts with a rhino but SM scouts cannot take a rhino in the new codex. Other than that all the lists look interesting. Now if I could only get to reading that book.

Alvin Khaw said...

Hi, I didn't notice the Army List challenge, but just to tell you I have my list up in my blog since I recently decided to put my Alpha Legion army in motion. I hope you would take a look at it though I think it's inappropriate of me to join this late, what more that we live in different time zones.

My list is at the latest post here...

http://gluedmyfingers.blogspot.com

Master Darksol said...

Just my 2cents: I think Suneokun's list is intriguing, and the inclusion of DH units for the genos is a great idea.

Raptor1313 said...

Just double-checked eriochrome's words, as I don't want to be 'that guy.'

But yeah...Space Marine scouts CANNOT take Rhinos as dedicated transports, so...

suneokun said...

Good grief. I'm haunted - no really I am. Thanks for the constitency of the rules checks guys - I guess I better be legit. Give the Geno HQ a Rhino ... is that ok?

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