Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Draigo-Wing Analysis Part 2: Paladins

Running Paladins as troops is the whole point of your Draigo-Wing army, and the only way to justify Draigo's points cost. A Paladin is basically a 2 Wound Terminator that cost an extra 15 points, but gets a few bonuses thrown in. WS 5 is very tasty as they are now hitting most enemies on 3s, and free weapons upgrades mean that you can rock halberds and hammers to your heart's content. Like Purifiers, they can take two special weapons per five models - yay! Finally they can master-craft any weapon for 5 points - worth it for psycannons as you will nearly always miss with one of those four dice, probably not for melee weapons.

So what size squad are you going to take? Well you need psycannons, so 2 5 man squads are a must. Take 2 psycannons, then make sure that you mix and match weapons, so that every model is differently equipped, to get the most out of wound allocation shenanigans. There is one reason why you might want to master-craft a melee weapon - it lets you take 4 halberds. Halberds are awesome (but useless with The Quickening) and that you should always take one hammer in case of Dreadnoughts - don't forget that it is S10 with Hammerhand. It could be worthwhile to master-craft that hammer too if you have the points spare.

The biggest weakness of these guys is S8 weapons, especially those with AP 1 and 2 like the ever-popular melta. Draigo or Karamazov can mitigate this quite well, but what do you do if you if you were seduced by the shiny Librarian? Against armies packing a lot of Strength 8 (especially Dark Eldar) my plan is to start the first unit on the table with Draigo and the Libby, and hold the second unit in reserve to protect them. Move the on-table squad up to  first turn. With Draigo's help the reserved squad should drop in turn 2, and with the Librarian's servo skulls they should fall on target, close enough to the Librarian to share his cover save bonus. Then shoot and Holocaust stuff!

What about the 70 point Apothecary upgrade, giving the squad Feel No Pain? It's a hefty price to pay, and should only ever be considered for a squad containing a T5 tank character. That said, giving Feel No Pain to Draigo and the squad is probably great, but it's situational. Feel No Pain is popular these days and people are starting to bring the tools they need to nullify it. I find it hard to scrape up the points.

I would pass on the psybolt ammo upgrade, even if you are taking a squad of 10 Paladins. It's 20 points, and only 6 models in the squad have the stormbolters that can use it. When those two psycannons shoot at a vehicle, it's going to waste anyway (landspeeders aside).

The other type of unit configuration you should consider is the one man unit with a daemon hammer. I'd always deep strike this guy in order to apply pressure where needed. With Draigo on the board you can manipulate those reserve rolls, dropping him in turn 2 next to a Leman Russ, or holding him back for a late-game objective grab. Flexible, but oh so vulnerable to instant death so keep him in cover on the drop if possible and risk the dangerous terrain test. Don't forget that he can Holocaust the turn he drops, dealing out a S5 large blast that may well be close enough to servo skulls to reroll scatter.

How is a 5 man Paladin squad with a hammer going to do against a squad of TH/SS Terminators on average? Assuming they get the charge and pull off Hammerhand, they'll kill 1 from shooting and about 2.5 in assault. In return they'll only take 1 death in return. Not bad! If they get assaulted? They'll kill 1 and lose 3 in return. Ouch.

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