Monday, June 6, 2011

Hobby Corner – Tweaking the Terminators

Brother C here with an update on my hobbying this past couple of weeks. I’ve been testing out more combinations of terminators with various supporting elements. I have been taking learned experience from my battles at the Cabin Fever tourney, the Berks Spring Assault, the Dream Wizards Team Tournament and some online matches versus Moros, as well as the knowledge base with their ever-popular ‘net-lists’ and needless to say, I’m doing some terminator tweaking.

Now I am not fully committed on the best supporting elements to my terminators but I have figured out that my terminator armament needed some tweaking. I started my terminators with some fluffy ‘sword’ style theme. I wanted swords to be on the shoulder pads for my troops, swords to be on their backpacks and the iconography. Originally the Dark Angels’ knights had only the white sword as their emblem. When the emperor came he ‘turned’ them into his angels. (aka added wings) yay emperor. So.. I wanted to pursue an army that had this ‘sword brethren’ feel to them. I wanted my terminator sergeants to have power swords, my tacticals sergeants to have power swords and I wanted to abuse the iconography of swords.

This however has created problems for me.. problems of efficiency and competitiveness. Now I know that Lancashire has been ‘deemed’ the competitive club as compared to our friends over at the Berks club being more for hobbyists. I don’t know if I buy into that statement as I have played some very competitive people over at Berks and I know a bunch of our guys are hobbyists. That’s either here nor there. That’s another debate on a different topic and probably not for the blog. For me, when the fluff is getting in the way of creating a competitive army, I’m dropping the fluff. Why? I can always curve the fluff to whatever I am building/using. ‘my lightning claws are created from the original sword blades for the Order on Caliban’ type of stuff. I wouldn’t consider myself an ‘uber competitor’ but I surely know that winning matches feels a heck of a lot better than losing them. I can write hundreds of pages of background for each member of my army but if I through down my list against someone who kicks my face in for 2.5 hours, it hurts, and all that fluff bunny stuff isn’t going to make me feel any better.

To make a long story even longer.. I have determined that this is my current most efficient and economic terminator load out that the Dark Angels can muster. (note- this is only for DA, black Templars, blood angels, GKs, Smurfs have different rules and therefore different setups will be more efficient for them)
HQ command squad:

belial – twin linked claws to take advantage of the initiative 5, you want the rerolls to wound here as well. You also MUST take the apothecary and the banner. Why both? Wound allocation sheningans and nothing makes your opponent cry more than FNP terminators with a 3 wound HQ to stack wounds on. Plus the banner gives EACH terminator an extra attack, its like adding 3 additional terminators to your squad.

Deathwing squads: 1x chainfist with stormbolter (note this is for the CF, not the SB as you will probably be firing mostly at armor with your CML) 1x lightning claws (these are MUCH more efficient than the power sword combo even though I love the look of the sword and the fluff as previously mentioned, the rerolling to wound is just toooo dang good.) 2x termies with hammers and shield, these are for soaking up those plasma/melta wounds, and 1x terminator with Hammer, Shield and CML. (note – the CML can be moved around as needed however I have found that putting it on the hammernator is best for my wound allocation style as he is the last one in the squad to receive wounds and this lets me adjust to my opponent as to what I need to have alive, claws, chainfist or hammers. I want the 3 hammers in combat if at all possible but 2 is decent, if I lose a CML and a claw guy, that hurts more. Does that make sense? It has proven itself to me over and over again.

So that’s it.
1x chainfist + SB
1x lightning claws
2x TH+SS

It is efficient, it is economical and it can adapt to a variety of opponents. And there is always a threat to walkers with those chainfists in there. Because DA do not get many of the bells and whistles that other terminators are getting (preferred enemy, furious charge, tank hunters, etc.) DA has to maximize their ability to mix and match their range weapons (CMLs) and their close combat weaponry, (claws, CF and hammers)

So yes, I have been ripping off terminator limbs this week and converting the DA powerfists into chainfists. All should be ready and WYSIWYG for the upcoming Lancashire Wargaming 40k Day.


  1. Yeah its a tough call on the fluff to tournament play list building. Sometimes you just have to throw down pure fluff and twist things to reflect your game style.

    As for the hobby/tournament player of the two clubs. I really don't think any club is truly one or the other as we all like to win and try to once in awhile.

  2. Erik,
    thanks for commenting. I agree with you about the two clubs, that's why I wanted to throw it out there... sorta clear the air a bit.

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  4. As a fellow DW player, it is difficult to figure out the best squad layout. Too many people seem to just go all THSS with a cyclone. Then they add the 3 Typhoon speeders and call it an army. This I feel loses most of the fun of the army; sure the 3++ is great, but you still can only move 6" a turn and can't really shoot, or charge when you want to. I am much more inclined to make a more balanced squad like you posted. The wound allocation is nice and it is a lot more in-line with the background (not all THSS). Possibly you do not want a THSS on the cyclone guy? I only say this because he is the last person you want to allocate wounds to. The THSS guys should be the ones in the squad that are there to take AP1/2 wounds. You do not want to have to put it on the cyclone guy simply because he has the best save, risking his death. Although having two regular THSS guys probably largely eliminates this, as you are unlikely to be getting 3 AP1 wounds from a single unit.

  5. NLK,

    I understand your reluctancy to put the cyclone on the TH/SS but when I'm taking wounds for armor saves, I don't want the TH/SS rolling those either. I want them around to take the plasma/lacannon hits, and the CF/SB and the Lclaws taking the armor saves if needed. well, this leaves me with one guy with the CML and it worked out that it was nice to also have an extra SS in the mix.

    I don't know the meta game at your club but at ours, we have many players that go with the torrent of fire approach against my termies. and having all of them at init. 1 has been fail. I would much rather take down 2 or 3 of the charging models before they get to attack. against orks, that's like 12 attacks i'm eliminating from the squad right away. Chain fist is a necessity since I've been bogged down too many games with walkers and only atr 8 hammers.

    what list are you usually running?