Monday, 20 July 2009

CHALLENGE: 40k Gladiator Winner!

By Suneokun

Further to a dramatic (weather wise) camping holiday in Cornwall, Suneokun's back on the ball with the results of the 150pt Galdiator Challenge. Many thanks to all the participants ... here's my crib on the following entries:
  • Jimmy: Straightforward balanced concept, nice and clean. They will struggle with monstrous creature (such as a Carnifex), but would be good against most adversaries. Storm bolters are very handy in Gladiator (like grenade launchers).
  • Raptor1313 #1: The Sisters of battle would offer a solid durable power armoured force, with the numbers that the above space marine force might struggle with. Down side in range and mobility (combined) as they're only really effective under 12" and could be wittled quickly by standing troops.
  • Raptor1313 #2: Eldar Warwalker and Guardians - Warwalkers are disgustingly cheap and can prove ridiculously effective at this side of game. That said the combination is very tempting as the warwalkers longer range (a whole 24" - oh my!) would compensate for the poor range of the guardians. I'd be tempted to swap out the guardians for Dire Avengers though...
  • Raptor1313 #3: 4 Jetbikes and a Warlock. Combining speed and small numbers, these guys would be effective ambushers, and like Stealth teams, the double move is very helpful. Suffers from low numbers and a lot of HEAT though.
  • Dave Huddleston: 5 Bloodletters ... I love bloodletters too - but who is their right mind is going to let these monsters anywhere NEAR your lines...
And the winner is ... the grey knights (mainly because I'm a little loath to give the prize to a player who's had three bites at the cherry!!! - but great entries Raptor. As I'll demonstrate below, the balancing limitations of Gladiator mean that some surprising units come to the fore.

Because you are facing multiple opponents, the force multiplier of 'percieved' danger become a lot more relevant. As anyone familiar with multi-player online games will be aware... sometimes being the uber godlike player will simply attract you the greatest amount of heat and subsequently firepower. In a normal game, such uber-units would attract firepower, but this would be mitigated through deployment, the use of reserves, transports or simply by hiding behind something durable (like 30 ork boyz!).

In Gladiator, such protection is missing (except if you bring a tank) and there are no plans to adopt deep strike or flanking rules. Effectively, your unit is on their own. As such many 'overlooked' units are ideal for Gladiator. This is many due to the fact that 'all-rounders' are less useful than 'specialists' in 40k.

Tau: Tau were built for Gladiator, their mobile infantry units give a combination of speed and high strength firepower. An all kroot unit (including krootox and kroothounds) would be a devastating force, 3-4 kitted up crisis battlesuits would also raise hell - however I'd plump for: StealthSuits: I'd recommend the 4 man (plus 3 gundrone) stealth team. Outside 21" they can effectively ignore everyone (thanks to their stealth field) and within this their combination of blistering firepower AND 3+ save is awesome. 3 gundrones are the same price as one stealthsuit with the same firepower and to hit. Additionally they give a chance to pin the enemy AND three disposable wounds when you DO get caught out.

Orks: Orks are a lovely option for such a close in fight. The ability to field a scrabbling mob of Ork Boys is a tempting prospect. Alternatively a solid unit of Nobs with a pain boy should offer serious consideration. However for a neat unit, I'd plump for Deffkopta's: 4 Deffkopta's, 1 with the rokkit launcher upgrade gives the unit with high speed (12" plus), high firepower and good saving throws.

Space Marines: I struggle to fit the space marines into this key hole as they really aren't designed (in price or configuration) for anything under 200 pt. The only suggestion I can make is the one fielded. 5 Sternguard, each with a combi-plasma boltgun. They are above average in close combat. Alternatively, I can see the much maligned Assault troops with their jump pack movement benefitting greatly in Gladiator.

Imperial Guard: The guard can field a glut of troops for gladiator. The combination of a basic platoon command and two guard squads (with a decent amount of upgrades) is remarkably effective. Gladiator ignores deployment rules - so it's possible to deploy a platoon command, a normal infantry and a special weapon team in this game. Personally though, I think a squad of Veteran troopers with grenade launchers (the 24" move and fire ability is brilliant in Gladiator) combined with some upgrades and a supporting squad of ratlings would be my recommendation.

Tyranids: The problem with tyranids is that they are the kings of specialised troop types. Clearly, no player in his right mind would allow a cluster of genestealers or hormagaunts anywhere near him. The Carnifex is a fun addition - but attracts so much heat it dies quickly under the combined attacks of all it's opponents. To top things off the cheaper Tyranid units are hamstrung by the 'Synapse' rule - which effectively leaves you with walking warriors (very vulnerable) or something a little different. I'd go with a squadron of 12 Gargoyles, they combine a powerful S4 gun with a 12" move - plus they are pretty handy in close combat too. As they don't have any high strength weaponry, they'll struggle against monstrous creatures or high toughness opponents - but if held back they would make a lot of trouble for the leftovers.

Chaos Marines: My latest purchase reflects my growing admiration for these warriors. After much thought I went and bought myself some DeathGuard. The combination of T5, FNP and Power Armour overcomes their shortcomings in range (12" if moving) and lack of heavy weaponry (although I will buy them a flamer and a meltagun!). 6 Deathguard could prove a formidable force in closecombat and in this close in arena. The only problem with them is that maybe they are too hard. Their appearance may require the addition of plasma weaponry!

Eldar: While the jetbike option above is tempting, I'd have to go with the massed firepower and devious movement of 5 Warp Spiders and an Exarch with twin deathspinners at 149pts. These guys would make the Tau stealth suits look tardy, while still combining a power armour save they can move, fire and then move up to 12" - nice!

And that's my suggestions for Gladiator. If you've got an hour to spare and a few takers - why not give it a go - the tactics are familiar and brutal and the gameplay fast and furious.