Monday, November 19, 2012

CSM in 6th Review: Forgefiend

And finally we get to the Forgefiend - a new entry in the codex and a new appealing model on the tabletop to assemble and paint.

To me, the forgefiend is a long range support option. It can take either a pair of Hades Autocannons, or a pair of ectoplasma cannons.  Each of these configurations can be backed up by a separate ectoplasma cannon.  Although the name "ectoplasma cannon" doesn't do much for me (other than to cause a little giggle), these weapons are powerful and can be stunning (literally) with a bit of luck and the right lines of sight.  With heavy 4, the Hades Autocannons will be averaging 4 hits per turn at S=8.  Even without skyfire, that's a threat to most things on the board.  The ectoplasma cannons on the other hand are more close range (24"), but equally strong (S=8), but in a blast form with AP2.  This spells doom for terminators and the like, whilst simultaneously being a threat to many transports (etc.). 

The forgefiend is a daemon, which gives it a 5+ invulnerable save, daemonic possession (ignore shaken / stunned on 2+) and coupled with "It Will Not Die" USR, this beastie will be hanging around a while with a bit of luck.  It also gets fleet (but you're going to be shooting with it, not running), and daemonforge special rule which allows re-rolls to wound and armour penetration for one turn.  Might as well activate this on your first turn, I contend. 

Two attacks in close combat at S=6 isn't brilliant, but it'll do in a pinch.  The forgefiend is a walker afterall and might be able to tarpit a unit late on in the game.

There are 4 possible configurations (at least, the way I read the options).

(i) Two Hades Autocannons (175 points).
8 shots, averaging 4 hits per turn.  This is pretty neat!

(ii) Two Ectoplasma Cannons (175 points).
Two small blast templates that are going to tear down terminators (with a bit of luck) and be a threat to minor vehicles.

(iii) Three Ectoplasna Cannons (200 points).
Like (ii), but blastier for when you need to get the job done.

(iv) Two Hades Autocannons and one Ectoplasma Cannon (200 points).
A mixed bag.  The range of the two weapons don't match, which is an issue.  But I think you'd be using all three from turn 2+.  I suspect options (i), (ii) or (iii) are superior though.


Dan said...

Why do you think option iv is inferior to option i?

Most people I talked to, think that the 3 ecto build is hands down the best option because they think even with only a BS of 3 to reduce scatter, the killing power of the 3 blast templates is superior to 4 S8 hits from Reapers. They argue that the S8 blast will still likely kill light to med vehicles while doing a better job on terminators, MEQ, AND horde armies (killing more models than the 4 reaper shots).

However, it seems to me that a case can be made for the 2 Reaper 1 Ecto build. The Ectos can't overwatch because blast weapons can't snapshot. The Ectos also can't shoot at flyers at all, while the Reapers can do so with some chance of success. Reapers also have pinning against armies where that helps and I do not think the Ecto does. Putting the Ecto into a Reaper variant means you have some ability to shoot Terminators. This helps you if they deep strike in because they will probably be within 24" (though no variant of Forgefield weapons will even glance a Land Raider and you could be assaulted by Terminators from one of those fairly easily). It might deter deep striking Terminators who otherwise might feel much more inclined to deep strike and assault a Reaper only Forgefiend.

I can certainly see the advantage of the 3 Ecto build, especially against something like Deathwing or even just Space Marines or horde armies. And it may simply be better than taking Reapers. However, the argument can be made for a reason to take the Reaper build with a single Ectoplasma Cannon.

jabberjabber said...

Hi Dan:

I take your points!

My main reason for dis-favouring the Hades + single ectoplasma cannon is the mixed ranges. Hades has 36", whilst the ectoplasma has 24". Granted, the difference between the two is not great, but I like to have most things on an equal threat range (or have a means of rapidly transporting a squad with a mixed range so that everyone gets inside their threat range as required).

Anonymous said...

Mixed ranges is why you should never take option (iv), but the more important reason is the mixed target priorities. I wouldn't take the ectoplasm cannons in the first place, but they are best used against heavy infantry. Against light armor, Plasma blasts are pretty inefficient, giving you (at best) one hit, so the primary target for the Hades Autocannons is relatively unperturbed by the Ectoplasm. Likewise, Hades Autocannons don't to a heck of a lot of damage against Terminators for the points invested. So, no matter what you're targeting, you're not being all that efficient. Take Hades, or take Ectoplasm; if you take both, you're spending too much points to do slightly more damage to light armor, and a lot less damage to heavy armor: that's it.

Now, I would strongly argue for the Hades Autocannons, and here's why: cover and storm shields. Hades Autocannnons are very, very good at stripping hull points off of light armor, and while they lose 12" of range, 36" is still plenty. The Ectoplasm cannons want to be anti-terminators, but they have a few problems with it.
First, the range is pretty sad. 24" is not what you want on your long-range support unit. You're putting yourself within range of all those plasmaguns out there, which will glance the crap out of you. Second, you have no duality. 3 blasts sounds nice, but 200 points is WAY too much to be throwing 3 blasts at guardsmen or Orks, against whom anything more than S:6 AP:5 is overkill. Considering that you can buy 2 auto/bolter predators for the same points, you are out-classed. Finally, AP2 isn't, and never was the best way to deal with Terminators. Torrenting is how you deal with them. Heap so many wounds on them that they drown under the weight of the bullets. AP loses effectiveness immediately agaisnt terminators, who are getting, at worst, a 5+ invulnerable save. Cover can give them a 4+, and storm shields can give them a 3+. Torrent fire, on the other hand, doesnt' care what you're carrying. Those storm shields don't mean a thing to autocannons, assault cannons, beavy bolters, missiles, etc. No cover or gear will dimish the effectiveness of torrent fire, because it simply shoots until you roll those 1's and die, cover and shields or not.

jabberjabber said...

All excellent points Tim!

Dan said...

In my alter ego, I have a White Templar force. I'm posting a BatRep (well a half BatRep) on my blog ( today about it's most recent loss. However, my experience with that force which uses a Thunderfire Cannon is that I get plenty of coverage with blast templates, killing many marines even with them taking armor saves. With the game seemingly shifting to more infantry in 6th, it seems that it just makes the blast templates better. The caveat is that the T-fire is half the points and fires FOUR templates at BS FOUR. Still, I'm not sure blast templates are as bad as you suggest, Tim. I personally don't view the Ectos as anti TEQ; I see them as anti MEQ. And in that role, I can probably drop more MEQs with 3 Ectos tahn 2 Hades.

Looking at the Ecto-Hades build, your point about the compared effectiveness is well-taken, though somewhat overstated. The addition of the S8 Ecto makes it a slightly better killer of both infantry and light to medium vehicles. You'd only get one blast template with its scatter for 25 points. And they may well be better invested elsewhere.

Torrenting can be effective against 2+/5++ but I'm not sure that marines have enough guns for that. It takes a lot more shots to drop a 2+ unit than it does if you can make them have to save with their 5++. It may depend on what else they field too. If they field a lot of armor, you will probably be shooting your big guns at it, leaving you with small arms fire on the Terminators. If they go all infantry, you would probably use your big guns on the Terminators. It is this latter scenario where I would be concerned most about torrenting the TEQs. Against a Horde army, you can't tie up all your shooting for a few turns, or even one, to take out one squad. To some extent though this is a question of picking the right squad to shoot at the right target which is the whole point of your mixed target priorities comment.

I also think that an all Ecto Forgefiend will draw more fire off other units. Speaking of which, your points about the auto/Hb Predators is really poignant, but I'm not sure how often someone will be in the position to add TWO Heavies to replace the ONE. I don't have the slots in my army, personally. Still, I could buy one Predator and some other stuff like Bikes or Cultists.

I still think there is value in the Ecto-Hades 'fiend configuration, but you may well be right about it not being worth the cost for the advantage it gives you. I'm curious; if you were taking the Forgefield with two Ectos, would you add the third in that case or no?

Anonymous said...

The Ecotfiend WILL draw fire, but that's not a good thing. It doesn't have the range to fire back, is the problem. 24" is rather crippling in this regard. It's not so tough as to be able to take that amount of firepower long enough to get in range of a good target with certainty. I can understand the priciple, similar to how one might use a Blood Angels Vindicator, but Vindicators have several advantages in this field.

If I were dead-set on taking an Ectofiend, I would purchase the 3rd cannon. You're paying 25 points on an already 175 point model to incerase the model's firepower by 50%; that's pretty fair.

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