Friday, September 13, 2013

Space Marine Drop Pod Options

So I've had the book a week now and have been mulling over things.  Obviously as the internet and I all concluded the SM Bikers is going to be a rocking army.  But there are lots of other builds in the book that I think can be good.  The Chapter Tactics and special characters in this book mean you can do builds of different flavors and go fluffy and competitive which is great.  Plus adding in things like allies and you can piece bits together to make a really great force.

One thing I've been wanting to do for awhile is revisit the drop pod army.  It was fun running templar drop pods back in the day, but it fell out of favor when I could do my DoA Blood Angels.  Of course that died with 6th edition too.

Now Drop Pod armies haven't been dead by any means.  I've seen some great Blood Angels and Space Wolf armies.  Blood Angels you get the benefit of FNP bubbles, double special weapons, and AV 13 Dreads.  Space Wolf armies can go cheap with great Grey Hunter units, and/or go with Logan and do crazy combi weapon Wolf Gaurd units.  Plus has anybody forgotten how great Rune Priests are?

The problem Space Wolf pod armies is really anti air.  If you go wolf gaurd armies your shooting is usually pretty minimal after you blow the combis (though I'm a fan of Logan making a squad of MM Long Fangs Relentless).  Blood Angels can do a bit better hear with the very trusty Storm Raven as a gun ship to support the pods.  Of course mixing the two armies together to get these things going is certainly a great option also!

Blood Angels
Librarian, Combi Plas
Honor Gaurd, 4 Combi Plas, Drop Pod
3x Furioso Dread, 1 Frag Cannon, PF/Melta, Drop Pod
4x 5 Assault Marines (no JP) Melta, Infernus Pistol, Drop Pod

Space Wolf Allies
Rune Priest
9 Grey Hunters, Flamer, Wolf Standard, Drop Pod
10 Grey Hunters, 2 Plasma Guns, Plasma Pistol, Wolf Standard, Drop Pod

2000 Points

It is an interesting mix of units that covers the bases with 10 Drop pods.  Flamers?  Check.  Melta?  Check.  Plasma?  2 units is pretty good.  Anti air?  Check.  Rune priest for anti psy, I just don't remember if he mucks about with the BA libby also as I seem to recall it being only enemy powers in the Faq.  But if not you could take a cheap Captain I suppose and change up a few points in the list.

Either way lets start with that as our benchmark for what I would say is a pretty good drop pod based army.  What can regular marines bring to the table.

Let's take a look at a few other 2000 point lists using just one Chapter.

Libby Lvl 2, Combi Flamer
3x Iron Clad in DP
4x 10 Man Tacticals Melta/MM/Combi in DP
8 Assault Marines, No JP, 2x Flamer, PF in DP
10 Assault Marines, No JP, 2x Flamer, PF in DP

So a solid 9 pods.  You've got the 3 Iron Clad for AV13 troubles, lots of twin linked flamers and meltas.  I've ditched the anti air here hoping that the twin linked meltas will be enough, but that could be problems facing Stormravens.  Of course Storm Ravens aren't probably your first problem over something like Helldrakes.

Command Squad, 4 Plasma, Apoth, DP
3x Iron Clad in DP
3x 10 Man Tacticals Melta/MM/Combi in DP
2x Storm Talon

So we only have 7 pods here but one is a doozey.  Calgar paired with Tigurius can just wreck entire armies.  With the Ultramarine Chapter Tactics you can land and use your shooting reroll trait and then turn 2 use the assault trait to get in the mix.  Taking down Calgar backed with FNP and Tigurius is no easy task.  Storm Talons serve as the anti air.

Chapter Master, Termie, Shield Eternal, Thunder Hammer
5 Shooty Termies, Cyclone
2x Iron Clad in DP w Locater Beacon
4x 5 Tactical Heavy Bolter, Combi Flamer
2x Storm Talon
3x 5 Devastators, 4 Heavy Bolters

So I'm less sold on this list but it is interesting.  We're light on troops, but trying to max out the bolter reroll ability.  Plus those Devs have tank hunters so getting rear armor or glancing AV11 to death is not terrible.  I've added some shooty termies to come down turn 2 to boltster the force and give some more punch with the super Chapter Master.  The biggest problem here is 4x5 Tac squads are not resiliant, though I'm thinking those are your 'second wave' of pods.

Master of the Forge
6x Iron Clad in DP
2x 10 Man Tactical Melta/Combi in DP
8 Man Tactical Plas/Combi in DP
5 Assault Marines no JP, 2x Flamer in DP
2x Storm Talons

6 AV 13 walkers with It will Not Die, 5 Dropping down turn 1 (if you want) is a frightening thought.  I think the shock of all those Iron Clads might be worth it just to see peoples faces!

3x Iron Clad in DP
6x 5 Initiates, Melta, PW, Sword Brother, Combi in DP
2x 5Assault Marines no JP, 2x Flamer, Combi in DP
Storm Raven

So everything is minimum squads but 11 drop pods means lots of targets to shoot.  Each 5 man squad packs a punch.  I just don't know how well 5 man squads are going to survive to ever make it into assault...

Add lastly is poor Ravengaurd, who I think have maybe the most limited benefits of their Chapter Tactics.  I just don't see any great list that they can put together for Drop Pods that works out any better than another Chapter.

This isn't the end all be all of lists either.  I think Iron Clad dreads are great right now, but going with Sterngaurd are certainly a viable (if not more expensive) option as well.  Heck we could even talk about adding Pedro for a Crimson Fists lists!

So what do you think?  Do any of these look any better than the BA/SW list?  Do any of them look like they could be allied into something like SW to be any better?  I'm curious to see how some of these could play out on the table!


  1. what do you think about grey knights using drop pods?

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