Monday 15 June 2015

White Scars Army Review- blog wars tournament

Having reported on all my battles from Blog Wars 9, I thought I would take the time to review my army and how it performed during the day. If you need context for the review below, follow the links to get the battle reports for my battles against the Space Wolves, Necrons and Space Marines.

1. Chapter Master
My Chapter Master had the standard internet load out; bike, artificer armour, power fist, shield eternal and auspex. I liked the Chapter Master, his 2+ save, 3+ invulnerable and eternal warrior did field a lot of wounds that otherwise would have resulted in dead bikers. He managed to get into combat in all 3 games, but only in one did he make a difference. In the first game, he failed to kill my opponent's wolf lord (who was on one wound) and killed a few destroyers and immortals on my game against the necrons. In the third game, he managed to kill most of a unit of Sternguard and his orbital bombardment took out the enemy warlord and a Centurion. He only survived the final game, running off the board in the first and being killed in the second.
His warlord traits were very useful in the first and third game (infiltrate and fearless, respectively). Overall, he was a powerful unit, but I don't think I used him to optimal effectiveness. I tended to keep him out of combat, where he probably should have got stuck in more. I would probably take him again in the army.

2. Kor'sarro Khan (on Moondakken)
Khan was a necessary choice for blog wars, but is a valuable character is his own right. His scouting ability came in very useful in the first game, allowing me to get away from the thunderwolves, and proved to be essential in the second game, providing me with an outflanking scoring unit that was able to survive long enough to swoop in and get the enemy objective in the final turns.
He got into combat in all three games. In the first game, he came up against terminators, failed to get past their 2+ armour and fled of the board. In the second game, he took down some Flayed Ones and then was essential in securing my own objective. In the third game, he took out some Sternguard, but achieved very little else. Khan is a valuable addition to the army, though his Scout special rule for the army did was not well utilised, mainly due to the armies I was facing.
3. Biker units
The mainstay of any White Scars army and of vital importance at the tournament. These were probably my star players during the day. With high mobility and strong, accurate firepower, they were a threat to almost all my opponents. The grav gun units performed well, providing some useful AP2 firepower and providing a bodyguard for my two bike mounted characters. The meltagun squad did ok. I did not come up against many tanks (but a lot of drop pods), so I don't think their meltaguns were necessary. However, against certain opponents they have definitely proved their worth. I think 5 man squads are a good size, you can take a few wounds before the squad becomes ineffective. The meltabombs on the sergeants were useful in a few situations. In combat, they did ok. The S5 hammer of wrath hits did cause a few casualties and they can generate some decent attacks on the charge, but if they stay locked in combat, they have too few to make a difference.
These units will definitely continue to make an appearance in the army.
4. Grav Centurions
The biggest disappointment of the day, they achieved very little overall. In the first game, they were well protected in their bastion and were able to take out almost all of a tactical squad and quite a few of the thunderwolf cavalry. In the second game against Necrons, they were neutralised very quickly, getting locked in combat turn 2 after failing to cause any wounds in turn 1. In game three, they were targeted for elimination without achieving anything.
I have seen before how powerful this unit can be, but a smart opponent knows to eliminate them as soon as possible or avoid them (evidently, I played three very smart opponents at blog wars). An invulnerable save and/or power fist would make these guys really effective. It might have been wise to run the Chapter Master with these guys, where they could benefit from his invulnerable save.
A unit of Sternguard in a drop pod were removed from the list to make room for them. I wonder if that unit would have been more effective against my opponents? Seeing how effective Luke's Sternguard were, perhaps I need to learn to use Sternguard better.
5. Scouts and Landspeeder Storm
These guys performed magnificently at the tournament. In the first game, the sergeant had a great time, meltabomb-ing drop pods to oblivion. Their transport always performed very well. Its high speed allowed it to zoom around, avoiding the enemy and claiming objectives at will. A 30" potential movement (12" move and 18" turboboost) cannot be underestimated. It was key to scoring a lot of points in the third game. It is just enough of a non-threat (in terms of firepower) that a lot of opponents will ignore it and focus on the more dangerous elements of the army. In addition, the jamming signal made the Space Wolves and Space Marine drop pods more wary of deploying near it.
I would certainly use this unit again, it can always find a place in a well-rounded list.
6. Attack Bikes
These two bikes generally performed well. They had high mobility to grab objectives or escape the enemy and the multimeltas were useful for destroying a few of the drop pods I faced. They also provide a nuisance unit, forcing the enemy to fire a them to clear them off an objective or acting as a sacrificial charging unit to take the brunt of the enemy overwatch. I wouldn't say they were game changing in any of my battles, but they were a useful unit to have on the board.
If only they could take meltabombs to complete their tank hunting remit!
7. Tactical Squad in Drop Pod
I have seen squads in a drop pod complete a textbook alpha strike (I experienced it in my third game), but these guys just did not perform on the day. In the first two games they did not manage a single wound or hull point on the turn that they arrived (this was more due to horrendous rolling than bad strategy, at least, I think?) and quickly died not long after.
In the first game, they did provide a nice distraction meal for the thunderwolves, then fled and managed to blow up a Rhino before being destroyed. In the second game, they were next to useless. In the third game, they helped to wipe out the scouts and enemy bikers before finally being cut down. I think the idea of melta-toting marines in a drop pod is sound in theory (even in practice), but they didn't really do too much for me in my games, other than acting as a speed bump for the enemy army (which is useful too).
I would probably stick with them as they have performed well in the past, though it might be time to add a multi-melta (or grav cannon if the new rumours are to be believed!).

8. Devastators
Combat-squading this unit was definitely the way to go. It's not a tactic that I regularly used, but in the tournament it provided an additional scoring unit, while having the heavy weapons firepower holed up behind some cover. The missile launchers performed well. There was not a lot of tanks running around, but they were able to kill marines and drop pods. The frag missiles were useful for additional hits against the units packing invulnerable or 2+ saves. The long range firepower was useful, as it was something my list was lacking.
The Rhino, while thematic for the White Scars, did not really achieve much in the games. At best, it provided a distraction for the enemy, at worst, it was easy victory points.
9. Stormtalon
Again, another unit that was not magnificent, but was not terrible either. It managed to score a few wounds throughout the games, a highlight was taking out the Space Wolves Dreadnought with some rear assault cannon shots. It also proved essential in the second game, going into hover mode to contest a mid-table objective.
I really like the model and it performed ok, but maybe the points would be better spent on more bikers to add to the existing units or another unit of bikers.
10. White Scars
Without a doubt, the White Scars chapter tactics performed great in all three of my games.
The 3+ jink save is a life saver (literally), allowing the bikes to take a fair amount of punishment over the course of the three games. The increased strength hammer of wrath attack was useful in taking out marines and other units, the automatic hits don't hurt either. Of all the rules, Hit and Run was the most essential (especially in game 2). Without this fantastic ability, I would not have been able to escape combat to shoot the enemy or to claim/contest objectives. I don't remember failing a single hit and run roll in all three games (such a rarity, that I made careful not of it!). By all accounts, the traits are due to stay the same in the new marine codex, allowing the White Scars to continue to be a very powerful force.
Overall, I liked how the army performed. There were a few dud units, but my list gave me reasonable firepower, a lot of anti-tank shooting and a hell of lot of mobility to grab objective or escape the enemy.


  1. Dont' discount the storm talon quite so quickly - I've used one now for a long time and it has been so effective I've got hold of a second - the new codex storm wing formation (ok it's not new, but it's new to the book) really lets you take advantage of it, and now it has a 3+ jink on the hover it's more survivable than ever.

    One thing I do say though is take the cyclone launcher - it's much more effective than the skyhammer missiles, and it's been reduced in cost under the new codex. You also have the added advantage that losing a storm talon isn't quite the significant investment that a storm raven would be, but it's fire output is greater in relative terms.

    1. I agree, I have had some games where the stormtalon makes a big difference, it just didn't perform too well at blog wars. It might have been the forces I was up against.
      I've never tried dual flyers (at least, outwith apocalypse games), so that might be interesting. Also, I've never used the escort rule yet, is it worth it?

  2. I think two stormtalons is the magic number. The fact they can hover makes the invaluable as flyers, as they can be used to grab backfield objectives on later turns (after dealing with primary threats). I think most people forever they are BS 5 vs most ground targets, which makes them especially deadly.

    Have you had a chance to look at the new codex yet?

    1. Having the ability to hover was key for one of my blog wars games (game 2 against the Necrons) and the strafing run rule is great, especially on twin-linked guns!

      I haven't got a copy of the new codex yet, I pre-ordered it with GW, but they don't post it till the Saturday, so I imagine I'll get it at some point this week. I was away all weekend, so was unable to pick up a copy in store. I've been trying to avoid most of the rumours and spoilers, but a few have got through.

  3. I'd agree on the sternguard route, they are about 300 for 10 in a pod (I'd only use 4 combo weapons max) but they are the perfect executioners. I know I have 20 of them but they problem won me my 2&3 games.

    I think the centurions are great, I might be tempted to pod them instead. Trouble with that would be that it would leave your back line exposed- for me having them stomping around back/mid field is a real bonus to the numbers I have.

    I don't know if I would reccomend keeping your chapter master? I'd be inclined to take more bikes, and maybe a librarian on a bike?

    1. Your Sternguard certainly achieved a lot more in one turn than mine seem to do. I never normally combat-squaded them, but its something I will definitely do from now on as most of the squad's weapons were wasted if I used the combi-meltas.

      I like the Centurions, they have caused carnage for me before. The problem I had in games 2 and 3 was that my opponents had the ability to neutralise them or kill them early on, so they didn't achieve much. I might try the drop pod and see how it works out, they may die just as easily, but they might get a turn or two of fire to even it out (or I just charge them in as they can hit and run now).

      With the new mounted assault rules, I will definitely be working on a bike-mounted librarian. As it was, you needed Khan or the Chapter Master to make the bikes troops. Now I can do it with any HQ (plus I miss not having a psychic phase).

    2. The cents need a CC character with them to stop the charge that occurs after you drop them in your opponents face.

    3. Definitely. They can last in combat a little while with T5 and 2+ save, but a dedicated combat unit will chew through them quickly.
      Also, having an invulnerable save would also help them with all the AP2 firepower that comes their way.