Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Techmarines: an alternative view

So I've been skimming back through my beloved Grey Knight book as a little break from my Space Wolf experimentation and a picture caught my eye...

Pretty darn cool I'd say
Now this got me thinking about the oft ignored techmarine. I'm not going to lie, it was this picture that did that entirely. The pencil sketches in 40k codices are some of the best artwork in my opinion.

So, why is it that the techmarine gets so little attention?

Well first off, he's competing for a precious elites slot. This is a pretty big deal as the crowd favourites Purifiers and Paladins are also in this slot (along with all the temple assassins, Ven. Dreads and Inquisitorial Warbands--although these are mainly used as troops with Coteaz). His stats aren't great, 4's across the board with a less than stellar LD8, W1 and A1, and he's fairly pricey (90pts base). So he's not the best option for that slot, but then, I was never one for taking the best options anyway.

Let's look in detail at his entry, what does he have to offer?

At base level he has:
  •  The standard Grey Knight special rules and equipment (psyk-out grenades, Aegis etc). He also comes with a Bolt-Gun instead of a Storm Bolter. That's a bit weird as all Grey Knights have storm-bolters built into their armour (even this guy's picture has one...) but this isn't much of a loss due to the improvement of Rapid-Fire weapons this edition. Mostly he'll only be on 1 shot but he can still shoot at 24" after moving. Besides, I'll be looking to fire his other weapons.
  • He also comes with a Servo-Harness. I like this little thing. It gives him a TL plasma pistol (which you can't use in combat), a flamer and 2 Servo arms! This gives him 3 shooting weapons (including his bolter) of which he can fire 2 a turn (or throw a grenade) and also 2 S8 I1 combat attacks that ignore armour saves. So in an assault he can overwatch both the flamer (d3 free hits) and another gun (TL plasma pistol, granting reroll for that all important 6?), fight with his standard attack (hammerhand-ing if he wants) and then laying some I1 smack down in case he needs to worry about armour. That's not bad.
  • He has a 2+ armour save. These are all the rave now. Yes it's not that big a deal but in this case he also has 2 S8, AP2 attacks for enemy 2+ saves and his standard (likely) AP3 attack in case of opposing powerfists. I think in duels, this guy could do quite well, considering most champions are moving towards faster, AP3/4 weapons (even many termie champs) so having the best of both worlds is good. However, he only has 1W, so 1 failed save and he dies. This is why I keep saying how taking out powerfists before they swing is particularly important.
  • He has a power sword. Well, Power Weapon, but usually I'd think sword (because of the picture!-well, mainly because he already has 2 I1 attacks, why not go for a preemptive I4 attack to take out any enemy power-fists before they swing). This isn't a nemesis force weapon, so no instant death psychic attacks. Keep this in mind.
  • Bolster Defences. He can improve the cover save of 1 ruin in your deployment zone by 1. Well, you need a ruin to make use of this, and something to sit in it. Still, it makes the ruin 3+ cover, so a 2+ if you go to ground. Great for holding objectives....except against Helldrakes...)
  • Reconstruction. etc. He can fix vehicles. On his own he will fix either: 1 hull-point, 1 weapon, or 1 immobilised result on a 4+. So to keep things going/killing a little longer he can do a good job. I don't use vehicles as I've often stated but I think this is probably best as an emergency thing. With the reduced survivability of vehicles this edition he likely won't save anything completely, just give it that little pip of threat for the opponent.
So he's not useless on his own. Now, what can we give him to make him even better:

Replace Bolter with Storm Bolter (3pts) -- It's alright, it's cheap. Mostly I'd rather use the harness guns.

Replace Bolter & Harness with Conversion Beamer (20pts) -- If you want a stay back and shoot techmarine this is a good call. It's a good gun and he can hang back and fix vehicles (psyfledreads?). Keep in mind he lost his harness to do this and can't get servitors so you need a 5+ to fix anything (this also give up his chance to fire his beamer).

Replace Power Weapon with Nemesis Sword (5pts) -- It's cheap, but all it gives you is force ID on a LD of 8. So not super reliable and he has no invun. to improve. I'd put the points elsewhere.

Replace Power Weapon with Nemesis Halberd/Hammer (10pts) -- again an ok choice but it's only for 1 attack so this is one of the few times I would choose against the Halberd. Again, you have high S low I attacks so the hammer doesn't feel it adds much

Replace Power Weapon with Nemesis falchions (15pts) -- Now, this is one of the few times I'd consider the falchions. He only has A1, so the +1 attack is going to help him remove most AP2 threats before they kill him. It is quite expensive though. For an aggressive Techmarine, I'd pick this.

Replace Power Weapon with Nemesis Stave (25pts) -- It's always so expensive. Particularly when 1 failed save deprives you of the whole thing. I wouldn't splash out on it. If he's going to need a 2+ invun in combat that much you're probably using him wrong. Or some-one else would be better suited.

Take up to 3 servo skulls (3pts each) -- servo skulls are always useful and these are even cheaper than most. If you want them, he's a good platform to take them on.

Blind Grenades (5pts) -- Good for 5pts. Defensive grenades are always useful.

Meltabombs (5pts) -- You can take these. For me, the Krak grenade and 2 servo-arms will do the job well enough but if you need him to take out MCs or vehicles this adds security

Psybolts (5pts) -- one 1 guy, not really. Not necessary. Particularly as he'll likely be trying to fire his other guns instead

Rad grenades (10)pts -- I'm a fan of these. Reliable, useful, lets your Servo arms ID Thunderwolves, Nurgle units etc. A good choice if you have the points

Empyrian Brain Mines (10pts) -- I like to take these, but they are very situational and require low I opponents. When they work they're good. Generally I'd take rad instead but don't write these off.

Digital weapons (15pts) -- Quite expensive for 1 reroll to wound. I suppose good to ensure you kill that powerfist but mostly I'd say too expensive for that 1 attack. Particularly if you're hitting on a 4 most of the time anyway

Psychotroke grenades (15pts) -- Here we go. I always like the sound of these. They're not as reliable as rad grenades but can be devastating if they work. They're a good price for an aggressive techmarine.

Orbital strike relay (50pts) -- Expensive! For a hang back and fix techmarine, not bad. I'd say too unreliable and expensive for me, but they could worry a gunline enemy.

cool, but grumpy looking

So how would I field them/what is this alternative view I'm talking about?
First off, some example Techmarines.

Techmarine #1: Standard Techmarine   90pts
No upgrades

That's right. A naked techmarine. For your usual use, this is a flexible choice, he can hang out at the back repairing any shooting vehicles, whilst giving them better cover, or join an advancing squad to keep their transport going/potentially fight if needed. A good all-rounder.

Techmarine #2: The Big-Gun   110pts
Wargear: Conversion Beamer

Sit him at the back with a unit on an objective and blast away. If the unit's manning an Aegis Line that would be ideal because otherwise you're completely wasting their shooting to make best use of the Beamer (42-72"...potentially 18-42" but that's not quite as good...). This way they can target incoming aircraft while he blasts away at very distant targets. Potentially throw blind grenades in there if you think your enemy is likely to try and charge him

Now, for what I'm going to call the alternative view:

Techmarine #3: The Brawler  130pts
Wargear: Nemesis Falchions, Psychtroke grenades, Rad Grenades

This is the version I personally would like to try out. Stick him in a fighting unit (eg terminators or such like) and use them to...well...beat face. His bolster ruins can help protect your fire support, whilst his assortment of grenades (for quite cheap when you compare him to other 'fighty' HQs, or other potential grenade carriers. Of course Xenos Inquisitors have him there but he has some other nasty tricks up his articulated sleeves) can help to bolster the fighting ability of his assault unit considerably. He can also take a bit of a punch in with a 2+ save (with 2+ LoS!) or fight well with his 2 S4/5 (/6 if you stack his & his unit's Hammerhands) AP3 force attacks and 2 S8 AP2 servo arms. I think he could hold his own. Of course, with 1W one lucky punch is going to see him come crashing down but I've used Brotherhood Champions for a while now and have rarely regretted this.

Maybe it's worth the experiment, to see if he has a place in the Grey Knight army, or if Paladins and Purifiers are too good to pick him over them. Hopefully at least for conversion reasons he's worth keeping on.

What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...