Friday, 14 December 2012

Drop Pod List Analysis

I really enjoyed playing this list. Despite being an all pod army, it’s reasonably flexible, but at the same time needs a bit of thought.

Things that were awesome

  • Vulcan. Being able to twin link flamers and melta guns makes the alpha strike much more reliable. Also, while not being the beast that Lysander is, with his MC Relic Blade, Digital Weapons, 2+, 3++ saves, and FNP from the Command Squad, he’s no slouch in a fight. He’s also great at “tanking” wounds from anything with Interceptor.
  • Command Squad. I only really included them to get the 7th pod, but they worked really well as a special weapons platform. They were especially good as a plasma platform with FNP from the Apothecary. I think I only lost one guy to an overheat all weekend. One think I thought about, but never did, was doubling up on special weapons. Each vet can take 2 special weapons – so I could run both melta and plasma on each guy. However, I suspect it’s too many points in one T4, 3+ single wound model. Maybe 2 flamers on the plasma guys? It’s only 5 points each. Five points for a twin linked flamer is pretty good value. Alternatively, for the same points I could run 4 melta guns and 4 flamers i.e. a melta and flamer on each guy. Makes charging them a worry (BTW I realise that I can only fire one weapon per turn!).
  • Heavy Flamers.  The 2, twin linked Heavy Flamers on the Dreads were deadly to anything not in power armour. Being able to deploy them from the Pod 6” allows you to line up the “perfect” placement.
  • Sternguard. The Swiss army knife of the Marine Codex. With some combi weapons, they have an answer to everything. Also they combine really well with Lysander. He makes their bolters twin linked, tanks wounds that might wipe them out, and makes your opponent think twice before charging them ( i.e. twin linked Vengance Rounds on Overwatch plus the Fist of Dorn!). However, not sure melta guns on the Sternguard are the way to go. I put them there because I didn’t think Vulcan’s special rule twin linked combi melta’s. However, having re read the rules, I think it does. Combi Meltas would be better as I keep the special ammo.
  • Pods. I know there is a lot of chatter on the Internet about Rhinos and Razorbacks not being as bad in 6th as everybody first thought, but IMHO pods, are much better. Being able to react to your opponent’s deployment (whether going first or second) is golden. Being able to deploy 6” on the drop makes scatter less of an issue, and storm bolters are great at knocking off the odd wound, and finishing off that last remaining squad member – not to mention knocking down FMCs! Another thing I hadn’t though of before, is that they’re great at blocking off parts of the board. In game 3 I was able to stop the Chaos Lord and Kharn getting to my army for a couple of turns. In game 4 I was able to block the Chainfist wielding Lone Wolves from getting to my Dreads (in the end it didn’t matter as they died first turn anyway), and in the last game I was able to build a “pod wall” to stop the demons getting to my troops. They are susceptible to hard counters however – specifically interceptor, warp quake and Coteaz “I’ve been expecting you”.

 Things that weren’t so good

  • Combi Plasma weapons. Not sure it’s worth the 10pts to put them on the Tac Squad Sergeants. In most games I never got to fire them. Also putting them on Sternguard risks an expensive “overheat”.
  • Iron Clads. While the Heavy Flamers were golden, the Dread’s themselves are a bit lack luster. With AV13 front and sides they are pretty robust, and they murder vehicles, but they get bogged down too easily in prolonged combats. Don’t get me wrong – that can be a good thing. In game 4 one of them tar pitted the guard blob squad for most of the game. But it can also be annoying when there are other things for them to do. I wonder whether taking more Sternguard and giving them Heavy Flamers might be better.
  • Lysander. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great at babysitting the Sternguard, and at dealing with the hard stuff (he finished off the Mauler Fiend in game 3, and Little Geek’s Fiends in game 5). However, there is an opportunity cost – can I spend the 200pts on something better?

Overall weaknesses?

  • In game 2 I was lucky I got first turn and Hesh didn’t get warp quake off before my pods came in.
  • Generally I’m weak against fast armies, but given the style of the army I can’t think of anything I can do about that.
  • I have no answer to psykers. If I could get some psychi defence it would also help against warp quake.
  • Despite my win against Little Geek, I’m weak against Demons, and Wraiths might be tricky. A Null Zone libby might help.
  • I have no flyer defence, other than twin linked multi meltas! Maybe a Stormtalon or 2?


I’ve thought about a couple of changes over the last few days. The first was to swap out the Iron Clads for more Sternguard. However, on balance I think I’ll keep the ‘clads. They are a great delivery platform for the Flamers, and having something big and scary, which can bog down stuff that might kill the rest of your army (e.g. Wraiths), is a good thing. I think I’ll  strip the Combi Plasma’s from the Sternguard, and stick with combi melta. I’m going to take out the melta guns on the Sternguard.

I’ve also thought about a more radical overhall to make the army more mobile, or to give it some anti flyer capacity. The obvious answer is to combine it with some scoring bikes, and to add in a couple of Stormtalons. However, that’s a completely different army. I like the “theme” of an all podding list (not saying I wont build the pods, bikes and ‘Talon list in the future, ‘casue I think it would be really fun).

The big decision is Lysander. I’m thinking about swapping him out for a Libby with Null Zone and Gate. Null Zone to help against Demons and Wraiths, and Gate to get the Sternguard out of tricky situations, or to give a tac squad way more mobility. That would leave me 100pts for more Sternguard. Alternatively I could ally in a Jet Bike Farseer with Runes of Warding and Fortune, along with 3 Guardian Jet Bikers for 196pts. This would give me psychic defence, and a fast scoring unit.

However, I played a couple of games against a Grey Knight List with Coteaz and strike squads at the non-club on Wednesday. This is a very bad match up for a podding list. I was lucky and won both (one of the justicars blew his head of while falling to get Warp Quake off, and “I’ve been expecting you” bounced of the Iron Clads). However, in one of the games I played a libby rather than Lysander. What it showed me is how vulnerable the Sternguard are to units with Interceptor without Lysander to tank wounds (“I’ve been expecting you” is essentially a short ranged multi shot version of interceptor).

So, is it worth giving up Lysander for a Null Zone Libby and some Sternguard? Alternatively, is it worth giving up Lysander for a Farseer and 3 guardian jet bikes? Or should I keep him to baby sit the Sternguard.

Thoughts please.



  1. I think what would be best to take off lysander and replace him with a null zone libby and... (I know you said you didn't want to do this but I think it still fits in with the fluff and style of your army) find an extra 50 points to throw in a stormtalon w/ lascannon. But thats just personal play style and preference.

  2. Are Eldar Battle Brothers with Vanilla Marines?

    Because I thought that only Battle Brothers could score for you as allies?

  3. @ratwolf - nope, allies of convenience can also score.

    1. But don't they count as enemy models that you just cant target ?
      I'd have thought that if that was the case they could score for you.