Monday, October 29, 2012

I tabled draigo wing and I liked it.

Especially when it comes to paladins
    Hello everyone. I want to talk about something today that I don't ever really get to talk about. I want to talk about my first encounter with someone other than close friends grey knights and more importantly draigo wing. I played them for the first time and while they are not as powerful as they were in the last edition, they still have a certain punch to them. I ended up tabling my opponent at 1500 points in my first encounter. The smaller than usual point level showed a lot of things about the list. I have spent a fair amount of time on forums trying to look for advice on lists and I always kept coming up with the same feedback, I don't have the needed gaming experience to develop a list that could fight the power lists. The prime example was draigo wing. You never know how nasty such lists are until you actually fight them. I make it a point to never speak about something that I feel I know little about. Misinformation is worse than no information. I can say now that I have experience fighting this particular list, I want to share an idea or two from my experience.

The immovable rock that is paladins
    The first thing I noticed was that the paladin squad is a huge squad that puts the hurt on everything. Bit of a duh on that. What I also notice was that the blob doesn't lose effectiveness quickly or for any reason other than massive casualties. This is incredibly hard, especially with draigo tanking. Feel no pain makes this squad even more of a pain. It gets even worse when draigo gets the 4+ inv save power and takes the prime power (which is what happened in my game) . They have a huge footprint and kill everything they touch. But the squad is so incredibly expensive that it should kill something every time it does anything. The other elements of the army suffer from the massive points allowed in this army. No where was this more apparent than at the 1500 point range. Turn one saw me drop a psyflemen dread, a heavy bolter razorback with psy ammo and 3 members of a strike squad. It was most of his backfield at that point size. His huge unit suffered some damage, but was still really effective at what it did as it killed anything it shot at while the rest of his army was neutered mostly with the shots that wouldn't do entirely to much to the blob of paladins. Even some shots that would have hurt the paladins went to other spots in the army to drop effectiveness of his army as a whole. It was easy to focus on that blob of death coming to stomp on your cookies, but looking at the bigger picture truly helps. Rushing units to his backfield can kill his weaker units also forces a decision on your opponent. He can continue with his plan or he can deal with the threat to his objectives with his big squad. The more choices you give your opponent, the more chances they have to make mistakes.
Remember to wrap it...
    The thing about draigo wing that separates them from other Death stars I have noticed is that they can have an incredible  amount of points spent on them and they lose little for it. After a certain point, nob bikers start to lose their bang for the buck. Thunder Wolves lose a lot the more points you spend on the unit. Paladins simply don't. You drop a clean 700+ points on a paladin squad and they will do business for your 700+ points. You will be hard pressed to drop that many points into nob bikers even with characters and not suffer for it. There are two ways to help neuter the paladin squad I have noticed without having to kill them. They are usually footslogging it across the board. Out maneuver them if you can. Basic MSU loved facing draigo wing simply because I had the speed to run around the blob and ,granted I lost guys, I didn't lose 700 points to that squad. At one point, I reverse bubble wrapped the squad. A eight man warrior squad stood in front of them and forced a round of shooting or a two inch assault to get by. 104 points stopped paladins in their tracks. Granted, it was only for a turn and they promptly got shot to death out of fear for other factors, but get small victories where you can get them. If you can mitigate draigo wing getting its points back, than often, you have bettered the squad. My mitigating unit was actually a bit of a surprise to my opponent.  I used my favorite expensive Necron overlord. He has a 2+ armor save, 3+ inv save, mind shackle scarabs, and war scythe. He alone ran out in front of the paladin squad defiant. Presented my opponent with a scary choice. Do I shoot with my entire squad and kill 145 points of guy who has a one and three chance of coming back and risk the assault? Do I risk assaulting and have draigo get  challenged and tie up the unit or worse yet mind shackled and titan sword his paladins? Do I risk getting bunched up if the assault sees the paladins not get a good consolidate? (This will be important later)  Lots of choices sees more chances for more mistakes. My opponent chose to have draigo run out and charge him alone. three turns later, draigo knocked down the overlord only to see him come back and kill him in assault.  With draigo as the only support the paladins had after everything else got beaten up, he couldn't afford to force weapon 145 points of model and have his guys lose rerolls to hit and a 4+ inv. It is important to note that simply survive earns them some manner of their points back in terms of playing for the scenario.
still think we need more dakka.
      To fight paladins, you need effective Dakka. More shooting isn't really the answer as bolters vs a 2+ model with feel no pain is insane. Assaulting the paladins is just death to the assaulting squad. You need big guns that can put the hurt on people in just the right way. Strength eight is good, but you need to have ap two with it as you need more than one in six shots reliably killing. Yet again, another duh.  certain units fire can dictate action from draigo wing paladin blobs. Killing the draigo wing is good, but as mentioned earlier, they are effective right up until the end if positioned well. It is better to try to influence control of how the paladin squad acts instead of kill them dead.  If you have a high strength, low AP large blast that can sit outside of the paladins threat range and put some hurt on clumped up models, you will see your opponent often not assault cheap troops like my eight warriors and favor instead to shoot them. This drastically slows them down. You can effectively reverse bubble wrap and now force the choice of risking clumping together in order to get some consolidation towards your guys or playing it safe and simply shooting them to death. The range element is important as the paladins will shoot dead anything that can hurt them in their threat range.  In my case, I was running twin doomsday arks as I have since the necron codex came out. These units are primarily anti light armor  and general things clumped together. They didn't shoot at the paladin blob first turn and instead destroyed the razor back (killing two strikes inside), two paladins that got clipped from the large blast at the razor back, and the psyflemen dread. The rest of my army resulted in a single wound on the paladins since most of the other elements of my force didn't have range on anything else. 350 points did a lot of hurt first turn while easily 500+ points of guys did a single wound against the paladin squad. To make it worse, a doom scythe sitting in reserve saw the draigo wing think long and hard about placement  even more. He couldn't risk putting them in any line patterns or risk losing mutliple guys to a death ray.

The simplest of ideas.
       I did pretty well against draigo wing my first game, but I almost lost to two models left.  I completely forgot one of the most basic aspects in all of sixth edition. Playing to the scenario. I didn't have anyone on objectives turn 5. If the game ended, I lost to two models.  Draigo wing can only really hold a single objective where there are multiple objectives in almost all games. They have to sit on objectives at the end of turn 5 on or else risk not taking advantage of them being troops. Draigo can run off and do things, but this leaves the squad vulnerable to high strength weapons. If you can stay away from them and simply score enough objectives to win, than the paladin squad is in trouble. You force the rest of his army has to perform against more points. I drew the second worse scenario for facing paladins. I got emperors will. Two objectives meant that I had to claim secondary objectives or else murder everything or draw/lose. There really was no wiggle room. Could have been relic, but thank god it wasn't. The scenario was bad because it meant that if paladins weren't hurt and dieing, than they could just sit on a single objective. In playing for the scenario, I threw my very mobile scoring elements as his objective knowing that they could only really kill one of them at a time. It dictated action  and made them chose what to try and go for. If he doesn't help his objective, its mine. If he doesn't come after mine, he loses. There are only so many turns in a game and 700+ points of guys gotta do something big or else they won't make their points back. 
what does all this mean
      Every thing I discussed piles up on itself. From the first section, we see trying to kill the paladins first is gonna hurt. You have to reduce the effectiveness of the entire army compared to just the paladins as it is easier to do most of the time. From the second section, we can see that trying to stall the paladins as well try and force them to not make up their overall points. From the third section, we see that simply shooting the paladins is rough, but when you can, you can use it to try and dictate action from your opponent.  From the final section, we see that draigo wing can suffer from certain objective based games while striving at others. You can win with only two models after all.  There is a further point to all of this in terms of who this applies to.
blessed of Malal. wish they would have him in some form in the new book.
    Everything I have talked about in application to the paladin unit, mildly applies to many of the units I am seeing in the new chaos codex. They are great units when you spend the points, but the points will start to dry up fast leading to units that have abilities like the paladins do. For example,  Larger squads of marines that are hard to reduce in effectiveness in terms of damage, but the army will suffer as a whole for it.  They can be stalled. Assaulting them will hurt as some of the big baddies had fearless. Certain objectives are gonna be good for chaos, but they will suffer from the need to have the option to spread out. I am looking into this more, so don't think to much about it. Thank you for reading my entirely to long rant. Good gaming to ya.


  1. '...I don't have the needed gaming experience to develop a list that could fight the power lists...'

    Deny it all you want (as you're want to do), but you're notorious for fielding the 'power lists'

    2 weeks ago, I had teh momentum early on, while that GK army fought back & damned near tabled me making for a good game. However I'd hardly use one game as a basis for definitively knowing how to defeat it. My IG had those Paladins desperately seeking HTH to save themselves from the overwhelming firepower that the IG was bringing to bear on them. That said, were I to field an identical SM list to that identical GK army again, there's no guarantee that the game would be anything like the first.

    Oh & I thought you're answer to facing Draigo 1 on 1 by using your Uber-cheese-lord was amusing as well. No idea who to root for in that scenario...

  2. good news the cheef. draigo killed my lord, than my lord came back and as a final insult draigo killed himself too because my lord wasn't awesome enough to fight. the emperors favorite demon prince banished himself back to the warp

  3. His die rolls were really bad across the board vs. me early on. Draigo was down to 1 wound by the time I charged & my captain with his power sword finished him off. Draigo only managed 1 would in return, but the banner made the force weapon kill automatic, resulting in fratricide.

  4. and 2000+ words. hope it isn't tldr

  5. How did Draigo take rulebook powers? only Librarians and Inquisitors (including Coteaz) are able to swap out powers from Codex: Grey Knights

    1. I feel silly. gotta tell my opponent that next time I see him

  6. Dispite the need for tums after eating all that cheese, I actually enjoyed reading this. That necron lord is sick...

  7. ok from what i gathered, your cheese list is better than the gk cheese list, at least at small points, therefore that makes your list not cheese?

  8. Would have broken this into two articles were I you. Liked it but I have to echo Chief by saying that playing one game doesn't give concrete means of besting the list all the time. Also I have a deep and abiding loathing for the basic Necron Lord/Overlord or whatever that monstrosity is. Considering what they can do they are ridiculously cheap.

  9. That monstrosity doesn't kill anyone most the time. Draigo killed himself more that I did. My necron lord took 2 full game turns to kill an IG command squad the game before.