Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

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CanadianCadian
Shas
Posts: 6

Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#1 » Jan 04 2015 11:11

Comrades,

I'm playing against a friend who draws his units from among Salamanders Space Marines and Space Wolves. We typically play 2500ish games. He takes 3 (or sometimes 4) Grav Centurions with Harath Shen, the FW Salamanders Apothecary (who provides 4+ FNP and rerolls his LoS attempts) in a Space Wolves-provided Drop Pod. Sometimes also accompanied by a tanky HQ character with Shield Eternal.

How do you deal with a Centurion Alpha-Strike of this sort? I know we have endless opportunities for Interceptor, but even with it on my Broadsides and Riptides via EWO, I can seldom kill these super-tough units when they land due to LoS shenanigans and 2+/4+ FNP. He's not running it with Invisibility at least, thank the Tau'va.

For greater clarity: I run a fairly Riptide-heavy list (2-3, and a Y'Vahra), and combine one of my regular XV104s with two 3-man Missileside Teams for the sweet, sweet Tank-Hunter goodness. The Sallies/Wolves player also has a Knight Acheron (which is insane but Tank-Hunter Broadsides do okay against it), packs of Space Wolf cavalry/wolves/S10 Hammer Iron Priests and 2 SW flyers brimming with Multi-Meltas.

The Acheron vaporizes suits and infantry with its S7AP3 Hellstorm template, so I feel compelled to take Riptides, which then get vomped by the Grav-Cannon Centurions. Do you think that 3-man XV8 teams with 6 Plasma Rifles, lurking around, might do the trick? Outflank and kill Centurions with rapid-fire 12 Plasma shots?
Last edited by CanadianCadian on Jan 04 2015 11:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Deepstrike
Shas
Posts: 355

Re: Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#2 » Jan 04 2015 11:16

Definite possibility (plasma armed crisis teams). Have you considered a skyray for its aa support against drop pods? That and its ability to marker light during the interceptor phase... It could help other units hit the pods as well if necessary.

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Das'Kyman
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Posts: 1153

Re: Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#3 » Jan 05 2015 11:33

Skyrays do not have Interceptor and Drop Pods are not fliers, so a Skyray would only be useful as either a small markerlight source against the centurions, or for trying to wreck the Drop Pod with seekers after it lands.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

1-How is he fitting 4 centurions and 2 characters into a drop pod? Unless there is a special rule I am missing, a Drop Pod can only carry 3 centurions and one other character (as long as that character is not Bulky). The salamanders character has no invulnerable save and is only T4 and 2 wounds.
3 cents, disembarking from a drop pod, can put out 9 shots. Against a Riptide with Stims, and regular 5++, they can only be expected to put 2-3 wounds on a it. If they stand still they can be expected to put 4-5 wounds on it, possibly killing it outright.

2-Interceptor Iontides. If he is going to be targeting your Riptides anyways then it might as well try, just in case it does die. The S8 blast is instant death to the special character, so the wounds will likely get transferred to the centurions, weakening them for the rest of your army. If it hits, you have good chances of getting at least one wound onto a Centurion.

3-Tarpit. That unit is not very good in close combat and it has to arrive within 12" of a Riptide. If you can't kill it with shooting, it wouldn't be too hard to tarpit it and shut it up for a turn or two.

4-Burning Eye-D/Sunforge-D/Helios squads. A full squad runs almost 160 pts, but with just a couple markerlights or a Kingfisher, it can put out quite a bit of low AP fire on Your turn. I wouldn't try to intercept with them, since your opponent may not allow you to fire both weapons and you can't boost the effectiveness with markerlights and signature systems. A couple squads of Helios would be my choice. Alongside a couple Riptides you should have enough low AP sources to survive the drop pod alpha strike and then cripple the centurions.

5-Put things in perspective: this is a unit that costs over 400 points. It can kill a Riptide with Stims every turn, but only if the unit doesn't move (not on the first turn), a Riptide is within 24" and LoS, it hasn't nova-charged its shield, and the unit hasn't lost any centurions. Take away Any of those qualifiers and it can't be expected to kill a Riptide in a single shooting phase. For the points invested, it is scary, but not that scary, and it is certainly much easier to kill than it could be.

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AcidZombie
Shas
Posts: 4

Re: Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#4 » Jan 05 2015 11:38

Da Skyman wrote:Skyrays do not have Interceptor and Drop Pods are not fliers, so a Skyray would only be useful as either a small markerlight source against the centurions, or for trying to wreck the Drop Pod with seekers after it lands.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

1-How is he fitting 4 centurions and 2 characters into a drop pod? Unless there is a special rule I am missing, a Drop Pod can only carry 3 centurions and one other character (as long as that character is not Bulky). The salamanders character has no invulnerable save and is only T4 and 2 wounds.
3 cents, disembarking from a drop pod, can put out 9 shots. Against a Riptide with Stims, and regular 5++, they can only be expected to put 2-3 wounds on a it. If they stand still they can be expected to put 4-5 wounds on it, possibly killing it outright.



They have slow and purposeful which more or less grants them relentless which means that as far as i can see they'll always be able to pump out the expected 4-5 wounds unless you nova charge the shields

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Das'Kyman
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Posts: 1153

Re: Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#5 » Jan 05 2015 01:10

My mistake, I should check ALL my rules before posting :P
So against a Riptide with stims they stand a decent chance of killing it outright. That can be rough if you are going second, but it isn't so bad when you remember what Riptides are really for (at least, what I use them for). Riptides can dish out some pain, but they are really meant to soak up fire and get your opponent's attention. If you get to go first then you should definitely be using the 3+ invulnerable when you can.

I do wonder if this unit of his is actually intended to function as a distraction. Does he use Drop Pods for any other units?

Dolannavydoc75
Shas
Posts: 33

Re: Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#6 » Jan 05 2015 01:22

Greetings fellow Tau,
I recently skirmished with these grav centurians, and much to my disappointment, watched 2 riptides fall within 3 turns!!!. I found the trick is to wrap them in close combat. Their stats are not great in CC, but they are straight deadly at range with grav cannons and amps, then throw in invisibility, wow!! All this came from a 10 year old kid who is being mentored at my local meta by a very experienced player. So, next time I am going to lock them into close combat and hope the dice gods are on my side.

Dolannavydoc75

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reconjsh
Shas
Posts: 509

Re: Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#7 » Jan 05 2015 02:23

My small contribution: if you know you're going to face a Grav Gun/Cannon against your Riptides, bring Shielded Missile Drones so you can change your majority Armor Value to 4+ instead of 2+... that takes some of the bite out of the Grav Gun/Cannon.

NOTE: how Grav Guns/Cannons vs. mixed Armor Values is resolved is not clearly defined in the BRB, so I believe the majority opinion is that you treat mixed Armor Values the same as you'd treat a unit with Mixed Toughness... which IS clearly defined. This is probably not the right thread to debate this, if anyone is so inclined.

I've ran into this unit myself... and it was Invisible too. Ugh. Chewed through Riptides like they were Kroot. (exaggeration). I took my xv107 R'Varna and sand-pitted this unit the second time I faced it and that seemed to work well, as other people have already suggested.

Recon.
Last edited by reconjsh on Jan 05 2015 05:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Kael'yn
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Re: Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#8 » Jan 05 2015 04:41

Talking about kroots...

Your problem are the ranged weapons.
For the price of a riptide, you can throw a full unit of kroots, with the max bodycount (kroots and hounds) at the Centurions.
These guys may lock them in CC (as they have very few attacks in CC) for some turns. Adding an ethereal (Aun'shi will be best) or a mentor helps for Ld tests.
And by the time they unstick themselves from CC (one or two turns), their targets were gone.

The riptide in CC can be good too, with its AP2. Maybe add VRT and drones to disengage in the enemy turn, fire in your turn and make another assault.

Also, you can ally yourself with an army with HQ and cheap choppy troops (Orks or Nids for example) to do the same.

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O'Shaska
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Posts: 335

Re: Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#9 » Jan 05 2015 04:57

Firstly, a unit of 3 grav centurions puts out 15 grav shots because they are armed with grav cannons rather than grav guns. Given this, they can reliably demolish most units in one turn of shooting. That said, you're opponent is paying (guesstimating) about 350-400pts for that unit, so if you can destroy it, then you will be putting a serious dent in your opponent's army.

Now let's discuss the ways you can destroy such a unit. First, if he tells you that he's bringing 4 centurions and two characters in a drop pod, politely inform him that it is not a Tardis and that his centurions are Very Bulky, and thus he cannot fit all of that into one pod. If he instead brings a 3-man grav centurion unit with Shen, here's what you're facing: 15 grav shots that, on average, will get 10 hits with 9 wounds on average (8.9 was the exact number). With a riptide's 5++, he will only pass 3 of those, which leaves him as a very dead riptide. You, however, can turn this to your advantage. Assuming average rolls, taking shield drones would allow your riptide to escape with one wound and no drones from such an onslaught, but you'd be taking a morale test (which you never want to do with a riptide). Or, when you castle your forces, you could put your riptide out front to screen less assuming units and bait your opponent into killing it first. Then that one unit has an entire army to deal with after killing only about half their points value.

For dealing with this unit, I would recommend Hammerheads. Take 3 and support them with markerlights, specifically marker drones (either on their own or in a crisis team) led by a DC commander. 3 S10 shots will force your opponent to do one of two things, either bounce the shots onto the centurions off of Shen, or sacrifice Shen to keep the centurions alive. He's not getting his FnP either way, and each shot that successfully wounds dismantles his unit that much further.

Now, for castling, kroot are a great bubble wrap unit. A unit of 20 with a shaper can provide excellent coverage, and at the maximum 2" coherency, more so. The shaper also provides solid leadership for a small points investment. Two units can cheaply push your opponent's deep-strikers far back, giving you some breathing room for your essential units. They're also really inexpensive, too. A squad of 20 Kroot with sniper ammo and a shaper are 160 blacksun filters. Additionally, if you give them sniper ammo and are lucky enough to force your opponent to sacrifice Shen, you can light up that unit with sniper shots galore.

If you want to talk further, feel free to hit me up with a PM. I have an appointment to keep this evening but I'll get back to you when I can.
Unity is a rock against the tides of conflict.

CanadianCadian
Shas
Posts: 6

Re: Drop-podding Grav Centurions (with tanky characters)

Post#10 » Jan 07 2015 09:25

Thank you for all of your insight!

I will remember that only 3 and a (non-bulky) character can fit in a pod. That should make them a little more manageable!

If it is Shen and 3 Centurions, they won't have anyone with a 3++, or any Invul at all for that matter. With that being the case, a flurry of AP2 may be my best bet, as sickening as it is to see those 4+ FNPs get passed again and again. I also agree that getting our own 3++ up on the Riptide is vital. I'm reticent to add Stims to my Riptides as it adds up quickly, points-wise, and the only Riptide I can justify it on is the Y'Vahra given his comparatively paltry 4 wounds.

I think my strategy going forward will have to be taking it on the chin with the Riptides (who hopefully can get their 3++s up before the Pod arrives). While that is unfortunately quite reliant on getting first turn, I don't see any other way that this can be prevented. I've basically abandoned taking Plasma Rifle-armed Crisis Teams since 6th edition (as I prefer the Riptide for my source of AP2 firepower) but they may be the best way to go about doing that. Tying them up in hand-to-hand is a risky proposition with how many quality Assault units this opponent brings (i.e. Thunderwolves, Bikers/Chapter Master) so rapid-firing Plasma at them until they die will have to be my strategy.

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