Saturday, 7 May 2016

Stronghold V Tournament- Army Review

As usual with any tournament I attend, I like to do a review of my army to see how well it performed and what could be changed.
As a reminder, my army consisted of:
Librarian- Level 2 psyker, Bike, Hunter's Eye, Mantle of the Stormseer, Force Sword, Meltabombs
5 Command Squad- Bikes, Apothecary, 4 veterans with grav guns, stormshields and 2 with meltabombs
5 Bikers- 2 grav guns, sergeant with meltabombs
5 Bikers- 2 grav guns, sergeant with meltabombs
5 Scouts- sergeant with meltabombs
Landspeeder Storm- Heavy Bolter, Cerberus missile launcher
Drop Pod- storm bolter
3 Scout Bikers- One grenade launcher, sergeant with meltabombs and locator beacon
Stormtalon- TL assault cannons, skyhammer missile launcher
Centurion Devastators- Grav cannons and grav amps, hurricaine bolters

With the tournament being only 1250 pts, I wanted to go with a relatively cheap HQ unit and decided to go for a Librarian on a bike. He was upgraded to Mastery Level 2 and had the (almost mandatory) Hunter's Eye. As I had a few points left over, I also took the Mantle of the Stormseer to give some added protection against Psychic Attacks.

The Librarian performed OK in the tournament. For most of the games he got Psychic Shriek and Prescience. I managed to get Psychic Shriek cast a few times, but failed to roll high enough to cause any damage with it, and managed to get Prescience a couple of times. I never even attempted to cast Psychic Maelstrom from the Mantle of the Stormseer (I struggle to cast warp charge 2 powers, so trying to cast a warp charge 3 power was asking a lot).

The Mantle of the Stormseer was only really of use in game 1, where Innes was trying to target my bikers with Psychic Shriek. The other games, I was rarely targeted with psychic powers, so got no benefit from it.

The Hunter's Eye performed brilliantly as expected. Using it with either the Command Squad or Centurions ensured that the grav weapons could do maximum damage each turn.

I would say that the Librarian was only essential in the 4th game. Getting Invisibility was a game winner in that scenario and I was actually able to cast it twice in two turns.

It would have been nice to have some sort of Invulnerable save on the Librarian. I kept him out of challenges for fear of losing warlord on him, but this generally resulted in the death of the Apothecary.

I would probably have opted for Khan as my HQ unit if Special Characters were allowed, though I would have been unable to take the Hunter's Eye, which may have affected some of my games. If I was to redo the list, I would probably drop the Mantle of the Stormseer.

Command Squad
This unit was one of my key units in my games. Armed with 4 storm shields and an Apothecary, this unit could take an incredible amount of punishment and keep going. I think that if the new Space Marine psychic powers were allowed and I got Veil of Time (re-roll saves), this unit would be nigh-on invincible.

It's an expensive unit, but I think it is well worth the cost for not having to Jink each turn and still get a decent save and good firepower from the 4 grav guns.

It might be worth taking a Champion for the unit to accept challenges and free up the Apothecary and Librarian. I'm not sure if this would deny me a fourth storm shield and grav gun though.

I would definitely take this unit again, though would probably lose the meltabombs on the squad if the new FAQ rulings from GW are going to be used.

Grav Bike Squads
The staple of all my White Scars army, these units are great. They have fantastic mobility and firepower and the sergeant with meltabombs helps take care of any enemy tanks (though not in the 4 games in this tournament).

They are great units and were only completely wiped out in one of the games. These two units always make an appearance in my armies.

Scouts and Landspeeder Storm
One of my favourite units to bring, they are cheap and effective.

The high mobility of the Landspeeder Storm is great for grabbing objectives and Linebreaker at the end of the game (assuming it survives). Its best game was Game 4, where its Cerberus launcher and heavy bolter were responsible for taking out most of the two squads of guardians. The Launcher was also very useful for blinding the Plague Drones in game 3 and diminishing their combat potential.

The Scouts didn't really do much in the tournament. They are pretty much a glorified transport system for the Sergeant with meltabombs to take out vehicles. I think I might be better switching them to be armed with bolters. Their combat potential is not brilliant, so the extra shots from the boltuns may allow them to get more involved in games if the Landspeeder is taken out.

Scout Bikers
These were the big untested unit in my army, as I rarely use them and had only finished painting them up the week before the tournament.

I must say, I was pretty impressed with the unit. They had a decent damage output with the grenade launcher and bolters, especially against the Nurglings in game 3 where their S6 grenades could cause instant death.

I also like the Outflank ability of them and used it in two of my four games. Without Khan in the army, this allows me a bit of tactical flexibility with the army.

I think the inclusion of the Homing Beacon was a good move. This made my Centurions much more reliable, as I could generally put them where I needed them to go thanks to the Scout Bikers being able to close within 12" of the enemy. This was crucial in Game 2, where I was able to alpha-strike a unit of Windriders and remove this big threat from the game before they had a chance to do anything.

I would definitely take them again, maybe even boosting the numbers in the unit or adding a second unit of Scout Bikers, as they are cheap enough.

Grav Centurions
I think I am finally figuring out how to use these guys without suiciding them too early. This was partly due to the inclusion of the Scout Bikers with their homing beacon, allowing me to accurately deploy the drop pod carrying the Centurions in two of my games.

The Centurions are a very powerful unit and get a lot of attention from the enemy force. I think the inclusion of the Command Squad steals a bit of focus from the Centurions in the enemy shooting phase. Previously, I never had the Command Squad and the Centurions tended to be focussed on as the biggest threat. Now, the grav Command Squad is another durable threat that needs to be dealt with and it takes some pressure off of the Centurions.

Even though they did not survive in three of the four games, I don't think they were needlessly sacrificed in any of my games. In the second game, they were able to take out one unit of Windriders completely and managed to kill most of the second unit on their own. In the second game, they caused a lot of casualties on the Flesh Hounds and amazingly were able to hold up the Bloodthirster in combat for two phases. In the third game, they took a tremendous amount of punishment, surviving two turns of pretty much the entire enemy army firing at them (thanks to Invisibility). Invisible Centurions are pretty damn durable when in suitable cover.

I think I will be using this unit in combination with the Scout Bikers a lot more in the future, as it is a team that works well.

The Stormtalon was taken to provide some anti-air firepower, but actually ended up being a bit more useful against ground targets.

The only time I was using the Stormtalon to take try and take out flyers was in games 2 against the Hemlock Wraithfighters. The one turn I had prime position on one of the targets, they had a 3+ invulnerable save thanks to a perils roll. This meant my Stormtalon was much less effective at taking out the AV10 flyer than I would have hoped for, or at least forcing it to jink and not use its blasts next turn.

The Stormtalon proved quite effective at taking on ground targets when combined with Strafing run. It was particularly useful for taking out the Nurglings in Game 3 using Instant Death for its weapons.

I like the Stormtalon. It is a great model and provides some useful anti-air firepower when necessary.

I think the army performed very well and I would be happy to take it to the tournament again with a few minor tweaks.

I would probably drop the Mantle of the Stormseer on my Librarian and maybe even drop him down to mastery level 1. I was only really using Psychic Shriek on a regular basis, so he would be guaranteed to have this power and maybe even get lucky and get Invisibility too.

I would also drop the meltabombs on the Command Squad if the new ruling of only one grenade per assault phase is to be upheld.

This would allow me to take a Champion for the Command Squad, though at the loss of one of the grav guns and a Storm Shield, so I'm not sure the trade off is the best just for a body to deflect challenges from the Apothecary and Librarian.

This would allow me to add an additional 66 points to the army. I would be able to add another 3 Scout Bikers to the squad. I would not be able to add a second unit of Scout Bikers as I am already at the limit of Fast Attack choices. Alternatively, I could add a unit of Scouts with Sniper Rifles (though no camo cloaks) to the army.

So that is my thoughts on the army and how it performed. Any changes you would suggest or units to add?

Army Thoughts
Game 1- White Scars vs White Scars/Mechanicus
Game 2- White Scars vs Eldar
Game 3- White Scars vs Daemons
Game 4- White Scars vs Eldar
Army Review
Armies on Display


  1. I will select the sniper scout unit.
    I love/hate the sniper rifles and play in a good covered position they can do their work ;)

    1. Sniper Scouts seem to be very popular at the moment, they are great for sitting on objectives and can put out some decent firepower.

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  3. For me the command squad is too expensive, so dropping one or two storm shields isn't drastic.

    Adding a couple of scout bikers and a second grenade launcher makes the scouts a genuine threat in their own right.

    1. I was worried the squad was too expensive for 1250 pts (especially with the Centurion unit too), but they performed very well in the game. I think increasing the Scout Bikers is a good call, the grenade launchers are great.