About a month ago, as I was preparing lists for the Adepticon Team Tournament, I started doing something I have done in long time, playing with myself (get your heads out of the gutter). This is common in the ccg world, where new decks always get a few dry runs just to see how the flow works. It is harder in 40k because it is so much more interactive and games last a lot longer. But I was really curious how a couple of our lists would interact so I wrote up an opposing army list. Got out the models (or proxies) and played a game. These aren’t perfect tests because the opponent never does anything unexpected, but they do go quickly (2000 point game take about 1.5 hours including setup). And they do give a fairly good idea about how units perform in situations. Why is this interesting, because last night I wanted to see just how big and scary the escalation and stronghold assault books are. So I wrote up a 1850 list to take against my standard Eldar/Mantis warrior 1850 list. Here are the lists.
Void shield generator (only 1 shield)
3 guardian squads with brightlances
2 3 man jetbike squads with cannons
2 farseers (one on a bike)
1 wave serpent (see below)
Vs. my standard list
Farseer on bike
6 bikes with 2 cannons
3 bikes with cannon
10 rangers (see below)
3 shadow weavers
Chapter master on bike
Full bike squad with power sword, melta
** The spiders, rangers and the wave serpent were accidentally left off the table so this is really more of a 1725 battle. (The spiders had planned to deep strike so just assume they mishapped)
The mission was rolled up Purge the alien with short edge deployment. Which is perfect for the titan list, no objectives to worry about, only 9 kill points to give vs. 12 for the regular army. Warlord traits were also in favor of the titan they got feel no pain, standard army got reroll save on a writhknight until it takes a wound. (Normally a good power but D weapons don’t give saves) Here are some highlights of each turn and a summary at the end. The titan got to choose side (for this I did preplaced terrain) but standard list got turn 1. No nightfight.
Turn 1: Eldar move up. The void shield is taken down by one of the wraithknights, the other gets a pen result on the titan and rolls a wrecked result (which appears to still do only 1 hull point), thunderfire wipes the non-warlord farseer and guardian unit with some help from the 3 man jetbike squad to claim first blood. Shadow weavers and chapter master's bombardment all hit the titan's holofield.
In the bottom of the turn the titan moves a mere 30 inches to the other back corner to get out of range of the shadow weavers and make the chapter master the second closest guy. 4 blasts later and 2 failed look out sirs we have a dead chapter master and only 3 bikes left, void shield also regens.
Turn 2: The three remaining bikes go after the warlord's guardian squad, wraithknight number 1 moves into the void shield. Shadow weavers barrage the shield down, thunderfire weakens the guardian unit before the bikes hit them, 6 man jetbikes open up into 3rd guardian squad and charge them. three man jetbike is forced to fire at the titan as it can't get past the void shield. Both wraithknights and newly arrived storm talon’s missiles target the titan doing a couple more hull points. Marines make it into combat rolling an 11 for a charge move (needed a 9), they win but fail to chase down the enemy warlord. The other jetbike unit wipes out the final guardian that survived the shooting.
In the bottom of the turn the reserve jetbikes came on and killed half the farseers unit but they held, titan shuffles but continues to hide from the weavers. It targets the wraithknights with each main gun killing 1 and doing 5 wounds to the other, missile go into the marine bikes which kills another.
Turn 3: Storm talon moves up and continues to target the titan, shadow weavers take out one unit of jet bikes, farseer and 3 jetbikes take out the other (in hth), thunderfire takes out the other squad. Everything else opens up into the titan raising the question of if grav guns do anything at all to it (didn’t matter as no 6 was rolled). Bikers lose 1 to overwatch and fail a 5 inch charge. Titan is down to 4 hull points.
On its turn the titan takes out the last of the marines and the wraithknight and the last jetbikes goes down. (Not the dead pile is so large at this point that the surviving farseer and 3 jetbikes (including 2 cannons) get absorbed into it by mistake). Void shield stays down.
Shadow weavers start moving to try and get into range again before the end of the game, storm talon has just enough space to stay in front of the titan. Everything (except the farseer and jetbikes hanging out by the dead pile) open up into to only remaining enemy model and manage to do 2 more hull points taking it down to 2. It returns the favor by blasting the shadow weavers and sending missiles into the final guy of the three man jetbike squad. 2 of the weavers were killed and the last is now out of range again.
Storm talon has to either hover or fly off the board. If it flies off the board there is a good chance the titan wipes out the thunderfire cannon and the last weaver and crew killing everything on the board. So it has to hover. A fury of shots later and the titan is dead and the storm talon survives the explosion thanks to a jink save.
End result was a wipe out for the standard list. It ended up being a pretty convincing victory, first blood, linebreaker (if you count the forgotten farseer squad), warlord, 3 points due to hull points and 8 units dead vs. 6 units dead and slay the warlord. However, if the talon hadn’t killed the titan the result would have been reversed in all likelihood the titan would have finished off the two artillery squads and charged the talon killing it and wiping the standard list off the board.
Final thoughts. The titan is clearly powerful. It killed 300-500 points of stuff per turn, but just as in the video battle report from Frontline showing how stupidly over powered it is in their opinion, it did still lose the game. And this was in a game where it had its best possible mission and deployment zone. The problem with it isn’t that it is too good, but that it really wasn’t fun to play with or against. I spread out my units a lot to minimize damage which did save them but it still did huge amounts of damage. It was one poor roll away from killing two unwounded wraithknights in one turn! The titans support was targeted first but in the end it still came down to, could the standard list kill the titan or not, which isn’t fun in my book.
The void shield generator was also a great buy for 50 points (although I would usually by extra shields as well) It stopped a set of barrage, 4 d-cannons, and forced me to switch targets a couple of times. The deployment also helped greatly as it could deploy far enough back that it took a couple turns of fast movement to get inside the shield. In your standard 12 inch deployment I see this being much more of a problem.