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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Elysian Army List Review Part Deux: HQ

Time to move on with the review to the HQ section of the list. There are many changes here versus Codex: IG. The main theme is that you have less choice and different weapons options with no special characters*.

Company Command Squad
A rather radical departure from Codex: IG for this mainstay unit. You know how these guys have become a vehicle for 4 melta guns? Well not so much anymore. For 5 points more than codex: IG you get the same guys with deep strike added on. Unfortunately you lose the ability to take more than 1 special weapon. Looks like these guys aren't going to the front lines any time soon. Better keep them back and use them for orders. Imagine that, a command squad taking command of its army.

Let's look at the upgrades (prices same as codex: IG unless noted):
  • Company commander may take bolt pistol, power weapon, plasma pistol, melta bombs, homing beacon, and power fist. Why bother. Unless you have some crazy plans for this squad, this is not somewhere worth spending points.
  • veterans can switch lasgun for ccw and pistol. Oh boy, I bet that's worth it.
  • anybody can get an auxiliary grenade launcher. Now that's more like it. Too bad the range is so short and we probably don't want this unit close to the enemy. Anybody can also get krak grenades and carapace armor. Probably not a wise investment since this unit doesn't do much worth protecting.
  • Voxcaster, medi-pack, and regimental standard. Nothing new here. Nothing worth taking either, unless orders are central to your plan or you're already taking voxcasters for your Long Range Scanner (see below).
  • 1 HW team with either mortar, heavy bolter, or missile launcher. NO lascannon or autocannon. Uh oh, this theme will be repeated throughout the list so none of our favorite Lascannon/Sniper or Autocannon/GL combos are possible. Well if you're going to take a heavy weapon (and you probably do if you want fire support) it looks like it may as well be the missile launcher.
  • 1 special weapon. Any of the usual suspects, but you only get one. If you must take something it should probably be the grenade launcher to give you some long range support.
  • You can add a regimental advisor. BUUUUT, you only get to choose from Officer of the Fleet and/or up to 2 bodyguards. So the army that is most likely to want to start off the board doesn't get the Astropath, shit. Seems the Elysians have something against Psykers. Too fucking bad. Still, though, the officer of the fleet isn't a bad idea. And bodyguards- well since you don't have all those expensive special weapons to keep alive there's really no need for the extra bodies here.
  • Can take a Valkyrie as a dedicated transport. This is game changing. See my write up of "dedicated transports" coming later.
Bottom Line- well you just about have to take these guys, but I wouldn't spend too many points on upgrades, due to their decreased killing power. They are basically just there to support your troops now, so position them to give lots of orders and maybe add some grenade rounds and missiles to your offensive fire.

Lord Commissar
Same as codex: IG, but he gets deep strike and can take a homing beacon. No real reason to take this guy. Without Straken or priests, you probably don't want to make a close combat army, so you don't need him around to help buff any of that (not that he would have ever helped that much). Without autocannons and lascannons you probably don't want a foot list with a shitload of HW squads. So you don't need him to camp by your HWs and give them his leadership to help those orders get received. So what, exactly is he doing here? Well nothing in my army.

Bottom line- even less reason to take this guy than in a codex: IG list. Expect to never see this guy in an Elysian army ever.

Long Range Scanner
This is one of the only HQ options that really jumps out at me as boner inducing. Too bad it doesn't occupy a FOC slot, so you'll still have to pick at least one of the other dickheads above.

For the cost of a codex:IG Company Command Squad you get 1 lone guardsman (regular stat line) and a long range scanner. The scanner isn't a model, it's just a point on the table or a token, so as it is fresh out of the box, this unit is way too fragile to be useful. But, for 6 points each, you can take up to 3 more guardsmen to help run the scanner. That's a little better, but you still need to make sure you hide this thing really well. As with everything else this can deep strike. You're probably going to want deploy this on turn 1, though, so you can start taking advantage of it right away. Finally, for those times that you absolutely must throw away 4 points, you can give everybody krak grenades. Good luck with that.

So what the hell does the Scanner do; I'm dying to know? The scanner can run in two modes. You must pick a mode at the start of the game and can't change it in subsequent turns. If all the guardsmen in the unit die, your scanner goes down like a catholic school girl on prom night.

Here are the modes:
  • Long range sweep- if a unit wishes to infiltrate, it must role a 4+ to do so. Hey Kroot. Fuck you! So situationally important, but not worth buying the scanner for.
  • Short Range Lock- a single unit can count it's weapons as twin linked if they are within 12" of the scanner or have a vox on a roll of 4+. Now that's more like it. Merged squad with "first rank..." order- yeah, 90+ twin linked lasgun shots will probably kill just about anything. This doesn't have any effect on ordnance or barrage weapons, though, so it's not likely to help your vehicles much. But isn't there an order to twin link your guns already? Well yes, but this is yet another piece of Elysian specific rule that can multiply the effects of an order by essentially giving you the ability to put a 2nd free order on a unit- in this case "bring it down" for free plus any other order.
Bottom line- the short range lock mode is really the only reason you'd want to take this. To really take advantage of it you'd also need voxes or plans to have a camped out merged squad and CCS nearby. That's an awful lot of points to spend on something that isn't more guns or bodies. Fun gear, though.

*There are a few in the scenario section, but as they're scenario specific, they're really not worth looking at at the moment, so fuck 'em.