Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

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Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#1 » Aug 04 2014 10:16

I did a search and couldn't quite find what I was looking for so I thought I'd start a discussion about something I feel to be fairly dangerous from the human marine arsenal.

I recently played a couple matches against a friend of mine where he employed the tactic of a hard hitting, turn one, alpha strike on some of my key units. Being that he and I both use quite a few forgeworld models, the main threat he threw out was a Contemptor ( F13 S12 R10) with a melta that would obliterate Longstrike. While I understand missilesides with EWO and IA Riptides with EWO can work, I just feel like maybe there's something I'm missing/not doing. Between the contemptor and a melee team of SM on turn 1, it's a little overwhelming.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this tactic? Seems like a pretty consistent deployment by the astartes.
"Through Boldness, Victory"

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Re: Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#2 » Aug 05 2014 02:28

Stick the TL Fusion Blaster on your Intercepting Riptide.

Also if you have enough suits - run the Fire support cadre formation. 3 Broadsides with HYMP 3 HRR. You get Tank hunters from the formation, and preferred enemy Space Marines (which does not matter for the Broadsides though). That should be more than take him out.

But i am not sure about assaulting from drop pod. After all it is a transport vehicle (and i am not sure if it has the Assault Ramp or whatnot). This is not in the vanilla codex is it ? (since you mentioned FW, there might be a version that allows assaulting)

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Re: Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#3 » Aug 05 2014 03:47

They typically can't assault after arriving by drop pod, but that initial attack (pending rolls) can be pretty harmful, even possibly crippling a counter attack. I don't have much experience with the formation, does it allow for the broadsides to take EWO?
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Re: Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#4 » Aug 05 2014 05:12

Sa'Ran'Sha wrote:Any suggestions on how to deal with this tactic? Seems like a pretty consistent deployment by the astartes.

Yeah, drop pods can be pretty nasty. The biggest problem they pose is that they can land wherever they want, and can move to avoid mishaps that deep strikes normally suffer from.

The defence against that is to at least force him to move away from where he wants to be. Remember that he can only place the drop pod where there is room for it to go - which includes folding out the doors - and that it must remain 1" away from your troops and cannot land in terrain. It's not clear from your post whether he's using the proper Dreadnaught Drop Pod model (which is a bit larger than the normal one), technically he should be but many don't enforce it (it doesn't really matter much, it just makes your opponent spend more money which isn't very nice!).

With that in mind: assuming Longstrike is your unit most at threat from this tactic, consider placing him near a table edge (drop pods can't land off-table) within say 3" of a ruin on one side (drop pods can't land within terrain, or 1" of your models ) with a unit of Fire Warriors in front and Kroot to one side, all spread out to the maximum 2" coherency (again, the pod can't land within 1" of your models). 12 Fire Warriors and/or 20 Kroot can cover a huge area at full 2" coherency, with 1" bases and a 1" exclusion zone! (In times past this was known as a "Kroot bubble", search for that to find more info). The details will vary depending on your available units and the terrain on your table, but basically you want to cover as much surface area as possible, without any gaps for the pod to land in.

When he places the pod, if you've positioned your models well he should be unable to place it very close to the target - remember that 1" minimum distance, and the doors count. Remember also that if it scatters to somewhere that it can't be placed, although it doesn't mishap it is moved the minimum possible shortest distance to where it can be placed (which is not the same as "whichever direction he wants to put it in a better position"!). Furthermore, if the pod lands only 1" away from your troops, then when the Contemptor gets out, it won't be able to get out towards Longstrike because there's models in the way, so it'll have to go a different way ie. get out of a different door. All these things matter.

If all goes well, then when the pod lands, it and its Contemptor payload will be far enough away from Longstrike not to get the melta bonus, and you certainly should get a cover save from intervening units (and you may also benefit from a disruption pod and night-fight). You should even be able to predict where it's going to end up, and ensure that position is covered by your Intercept units that you already mentioned.

In summary: by positioning your models appropriately, you can prevent him from bringing the drop pod in where he wants it (ie. near your key units), and predict with some accuracy where he will be forced to bring it down instead. Knowing where it is likely to be dropped, you can cover that position with Interceptor and/or units capable of taking out the payload of the Drop Pod.

Also, as others have noted, a unit can't assault on the turn it arrives from Deep Strike, even if it's in a Drop Pod (unless he's playing Blood Angels or something, in which case some of them can, though IIRC they have jump packs and I don't think they can arrive on turn one).
Last edited by Bitterman on Aug 05 2014 06:01, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#5 » Aug 05 2014 05:46

Drop pod assaults are always difficult to prepare for, but no matter what army, they are not assault vehicles so they can only move out and shoot. This means they do have to plan where it lands so that it can land, open doors and the models inside can move out. They then do get to shoot but will never get to assault anyone. This means you just have to weather the one round of shooting. Then you get to open fire back. The contemptor can be something to worry about, but it is still a dread, so only it's still rather easy to penetrate its armor and blow it up. Fire warriors can penetrate it from the rear, smart missile systems can strip the hull points away pretty easily. The hammer head might suffer, so as mentioned by others protect it somehow. The fire base support cadre would be a good investment against the marine player because the riptide and broadsides would not need to rely on marker-lights to hit those marines, and they get tank hunter as well so they can make short work of the contemptor. Also remember he only needs one pod to drop down first turn, after that, he has to split his pods to those that can drop in first turn to those that come in reserves rounding up. So five pods means only three can come in first turn, the other two drop in later in the game.

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Re: Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#6 » Aug 05 2014 06:47

Ahh my favorite topic to discuss!

The issues with Drop Pod assaults have been a persist threat for many editions but 7th is giving them an extra edge.
In order to battle this threat, we need to look at it from their perspective.

They have the ability to strike at turn 1 without fear of repercussion even if they go 2th.
They strike where they want and when is predetermined.
After the initial strike, you are crippled and still have a heap of MEQ bodies to deal with and nowhere to go.
With the advent of 7th edition, you are not only boxed in but all the objectives are most likely claimed by the AV12 hull of the drop pod.

A strong equation but they do suffer on a few points!
after the initial strike, their mobility advantage is completely lost.
If you are able to preserve your MEQ hunters, they will lose their staying power faster then you.

If we compare those lists, we are able to influence where and what they strike. If done properly, our advantages will play out better then their strenghts.
How to do this is tricky.

The rules for Drop Pod assault state that if they deviate, they only deviate until they hit a piece of terrain or unit and move as close as possible. We can actually use this to our advantage.
The more general C:TE armies can use bubble wrap methods to protect key units. The drop pod units will favor short ranged weapons that strike hard such as plasma and melta. Depending on army there are 2 special weapons where you might get lucky or it will come from expensive sternguard that wield some combi weapons and ap 3 rounds.
We will be unable to completely avoid getting shot. However, if we can avoid giving away rapid fire shots at key units that might prove to be enough to wither an attack.
The bubble wrap method will also provide a 5+ cover save in order to prevent casualties.
Besides denying extra shots, this will also provide us with some space. After the initial massacre is over, we can increase the already existing gap. If you roll above average for the Thrust move, it is quite possible that they will not be able to fire a single shot in the next phase.
After all, 3 squads of marines are not scary if they can't reach you.

To get more out of your bubble wrapping, leave 4 - 5 inch between each unit. That space is large enough to avoid those rapid fires but small enough that a drop pod wouldn't fit. Be wary of spaces between units since the marines can still move 6' after disembarking.

In order to get even more out of your bubble wrapping, use terrain to fill in the voids between your army. They can only drop in front or behind of the terrain and not in it. so this is a fairly safe zone to create distance. Again, beware of the disembarking move.

Practical example:

X = Kroot
Y = Crisis suit
V = Skyray
T = Terrain

Code: Select all

           X  X  X  X  X
        X                      TTTTTTTTTTTT
        X          Y          TTTTTTTTTTTTTT
         X            Y         TTTTTTTTTTTTTT
            X      Y
           X           VVVVV
              X  X    VVVVV

The marine player can elect to drop directly in front of the kroot but if done right, a rapid fire should not be possible.
The same for the side with the terrain.
If your opponent decides to drop multiple squads so that he can wipe out the Kroot first, take unhindered shots at the Crisis suits and have another squad take out the skyray, then that is fine.

you will lose units, make no mistake. But on average an 1850 list should go with a drop pod or 7.
Taking out of the kroot first is a major loss in firepower for him since they weren't all that awesome to begin with compared to plasma rifle toting crisis suits. He might require an additional squad to take out the Crisis suits but that will also reduces the casualties since he now has one squad less to take out a vital unit.

Combine the above deployment with a table corner. If there is a scatter, on average it will be a 7. If you leave gaps behind you on the table edge, you create a risky drop for him. He might deploy as normal and risk it or lose a full squad.
From the table corner out, use the terrain and bubble wrap method to stretch out a bit and keep your anti-meq units at a good distance from a strike. Doing this, you have prevented him from pushing you in a corner, from losing everything that is ap 3 or less AND now he needs a 2th turn to strike hard but will find himself a short.

The more terrain you use, the easier ofcourse. It is highly dependent of your table setup. If you use some LOS blocking terrain then that is also perfect to avoid getting shot at in the first place. Again, do not forget that they can move 6" to get a better view of your units.

A last method to overcome this is to anticipate these kind of builds in your army. I played a local tournament where I had placed 1ste if I had not failed the 3 pinning checks that come with one of warlord traits.
My opponent was a space wolves player with 7 drop pods and 5 bikes. 3 pods with plasma guns, 3 pods with melta guns and 1 pod with flamers.

I fielded the following:

2 Riptides IA, EWO, CDS, TLFB
2x 3 XV8 +2xPR
1x 3 XV8 +2xBC
1x 3 XV8 +2MP
2x Skyray
1x C:TE Commander +2xMP, Iridium
1x 6 Firewarriors.

In my deployment I used the firewarriors, riptides, skyrays and burst cannon suits to make up the outer shell. Everything on the outer ring would have a cover save regardless of any angle he would choose. I deployed in my right table corner with a 6" space from the edge and stretched up to 24" from the right table side. I had an anti-meq unit on each side so that even if he commited to a single side, he would not be able to take out all my plasma rifles.

When the dust settled he killed one skyray, one riptide and the 2 burst cannon suits. After he deployed, I noticed that he had 3 plasma squads near one riptide so I had that one intercept the 4th squad that was on my left side. He killed 7 marines and essentially saved my MP squad that contained my markerlights.

At this point I failed my 3 pinning checks for the MP squad with Commander, Plasma rifle squad and the Riptide. The loss of mobility and markerlights at this point decided the game for me. If I had a single movement phase, I would have deleted 2 squads and put enough space between my most left units and the right side where he had his army. To stall him further, I moved the firewarriors toward him to restrict movement even further.

It was a very tight game at that point and I ended up with 1 objective claimed and 1 contested vs 2 claimed.
If I had the movement, he would not have been able to launch assaults on my plasma rifle suits and lockdown that area of the board.

In the end, deployment wins the game against this kind of army. or take interceptor on everything :D

**Edit: fixed example formatting

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Re: Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#7 » Aug 05 2014 09:07

De'terra wrote:In the end, deployment wins the game against this kind of army. or take interceptor on everything :D

tl;dr: this. ;-)

Spread out. Don't let his pods land near what he wants them to land near. Open fire.

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Re: Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#8 » Jun 13 2015 04:58

I am rewiving this topic for with the release of the new Space Marine codex this month there has been much to talk about, but from all the things there is one that should directly concern us.

Skyhammer Annihilation Force ... 000%29&m=1

In the "cover of the night" (if you will :D ) GW has released a special assault formation. Here is the summary of the rules for that formation.
When you finish reading, drink your tee, and after 30 minutes of blank staring at the wall in front of you wondering what the Jolly Roger is this thing, you will notice that this affects armies like Tau (seems like it was build especially against Tau, and static Guard lines). Those who did not, should by now smell the power creep that started around the time new Necron codex came out.

The word Annihilation.... yes thats very on spot. With some luck and precision this can table your average Tau army turn one, before you even get your turn. The sky is not falling, but its definitely coming down with fire and fury ;)
Last edited by Myrdin on Jun 13 2015 09:48, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#9 » Jun 13 2015 05:45

Wow. Yeah, this is devastatingly powerful. It effectively negates the restrictions inherent in Deepstriking. Good gracious. This would cause havoc against all manner of factions, but I agree that it hits the Tau especially well. Supportive Fire is the Tau response to Assualt Troops of all types, and when used correctly, it can mitigate the damage that Melee masters can cause against our beloved "Not-in-the-face!" Blue marksmen.

Wait. I was about to write about how destructive the Suppressing Fire rule is to the Tau (Even if you pass a loaded Morale test, you can't Overwatch!) but after some careful scrutiny, I think the Tau have one of the ONLY counters to it.
It states
A unit targeted by a Skyhammer Annihilation Force's Devastator Squad....yadayada... test is failed, the enemy unit...must immediately Go to Ground...test is passed, the enemy unit is unable to fire Overwatch for the rest of the turn.

It specifically states that it only affects the unit that was targeted and fired upon! That means, in any interpretation of the rules, that another Tau unit within 6 inches can still fire Overwatch!
Of course, it doesn't help the fact that with Assault Marines using Jump Packs in Movement AND Assault phases, they will be tearing through our units like a Gorilla through a roll of cheap TP.....
Geez. I'm not gonna tell my Space Marine Friends about this.....
Mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy

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Re: Space Marine Drop Pod Assault

Post#10 » Jun 13 2015 07:06

Two options to consider when my opponent is bringing in multiple deep strike/ drop pod units.

1) Put interceptor on everything. Chances are that you can't shoot at his other units which are hiding anyway. A commander with Pec in CSS with Fusion/ Plasma will wreck that contemptor. A buffmander in CSS with double MP will do good too.

2) I have recently experimented with a voidshield generator. For 10 burst cannons you get a medium armor 13 building with 3 armor 12 void shields extending out 12 inches from building. If you position your units correctly, your opponent cannot get inside the bubble. They have to go through bubble before they kill your units. This is also assuming they survive interceptor.

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