Back again with the next installment of the ongoing Lost and the Damned Tactica, this time it is the turn of the Daemon Engines of Khorne. I know it has been a while since the last post of this series dealing with Air Support, but job hunting and thesis writing have been keeping me busy and sadly away from gaming. I should be moving down to London with my boyfriend toward the end of this summer, so hopefully gaming (and employment!) will pick up then.
Known throughout the 40k universe as bloodthirsty and obsessed with close combat, EPIC allows more of the nuances of Khorne to come out in the form of long-range and technologically superior war machines all designed to cause massive amounts of blood and carnage.While close combat is undoubtedly a significant part of the flavour of Khorne, any bloodshed, whether caused by a chain-axe or a mortar feeds Khornes appetite for death and destruction.
The Lost and the Damned list has two available formations dedicated to Khorne – the Lord of Battles and Daemonic Assault Engines. The Hellfire Cannons are also often thought of as Khornate (stemming as they do from the old Cannons of Khorne and Doomblaster models) but they appear in the list as undivided and that is how they appear here. A word of warning before starting though – my Lost and the Damned army is themed as a Traitor Guard force, so makes little use of the more established Daemon Engines, and therefore I don’t have as much experience using them as I do with the guard elements of the list. Bear with me, and sling a comment my way if I miss something!
Lord of Battle: The Lord of Battles (recently kind of re-envisioned in 40k as the Lord of Skulls) is a large, titan-sized war engine armed with a mix of close-combat and medium range weaponry. In EPIC it is a DC6 war engine with a 4+ Reinforced Armour save meaning it is one of the biggest things available to the Lost and the Damned, and is the equivalent in size to a Reaver Titan. Armament wise it wields a +3 Extra Attack Macro close combat weapon, 4 AT/AP 4+ shots at 45cm, and 2 AP/AT 4+ shots at 75cm, giving it a decent amount of firepower in the medium range band and 9 attacks in CC (6 DC + 3 Macro) all of which will hit on a 2+. Overall this is pretty respectable for 400pts (250pts cheaper than a Reaver, only 150pts more than a Warhound), but there are a couple of things that bring the Lord of Battles back down for me. The first is the lack of Void Shielding – something de rigeur war machines in other armies but completely unavailable to the LatD – which hampers the survivability of these war machines. While a Shadowsword is likely to have to fire once at a Warhound Titan before it even scratches the paint thanks to its two Void shields, with the Lord of Battle that first shot is likely to blow a pretty big chunk out of it. While the 4+ Reinforced armour save makes it resilient against normal firepower, any dedicated anti-titan weaponry (Shadowswords, Deathstrikes, Cobras, Scorpians etc) are likely to make pretty short work of it long before it reaches combat. Something making this problem worse is the lack of other good targets for this kind of firepower to fire at in a normal Lost and the Damned army – few other war machines or high-value targets – meaning that all of that type of firepower can be directed at the Lord of Battles, while the lack of reliable alpha-striking formations on the Lost and the Damned side make taking these kind of formations out before the fire unlikely.
Combined with its speed of 25cm, and the ubiquity of anti-Titan weaponry in decent sized games of EPIC, I just see the Lord of Battles as being somewhat sub-par in the context of the Lost and the Damned list – although very effective at certain particular roles, I feel it will struggle to reliably get into combat before being shot up, and at 400pts (or 800 if you take a formation of two!) it is likely to be the BTS.
Daemon Assault Engines: These Assault Engines are essentially the little brothers of the Lord of Battles, being 25cm Speed, 4+ Reinforced Armour vehicles, with D3+1 close combat attacks hitting on 3’s, and two AP 4+ / AT 5+ 30cm shots each. They come in a pack of 4 for 300pts. So a fairly close combat centric vehicle with some token shooting and a good armour save (RA and an Invulnerable Save), they are just as fast as their big brother with the added benefit of being easier to hide, but lose out on resilience (4 vs. 6 DC) and macro attacks for a 100pt price drop. These stats mean they will be great at driving into hordes of lightly armoured troops and mincing them, but will struggle against more heavily armoured foes, while the armour save should keep them safe from incoming fire on the way in. Overall I quite like the look of the Daemon Assault Engines, but the comparison between them and Defilers with their Infiltrator and MW attacks is a close one.
In the context of a list both formations really dictate the way in which list can be built – both, I feel, need a saturation of targets to make them worthwhile and shore up their weaknesses.
With the Daemon Assault Engines, I would be tempted in 3000pts to try and take as many formations as possible to overwhelm the opponent and make up for the lousy strategy rating of the Lost and the Damned. Combined with a load of mechanised Cultist Covens with Daemon support it would rely on fast movement and giant assaults to throw the enemy off balance. Something like:
Coven (Khorne) w/ DPact, Demagogue, Land Transporters x 4
Coven (Khorne) w/ 3 Griffons
Khorne Assault Engines x 4
Daemon Pool w/ 7 Lesser, 1 Greater
Throw the eight main formations up in the first turn, using cover and praying that the enemy panics and shoots at the wrong things. Then in the second turn summon daemons (Bloodthirster to take on enemy hard targets if possible, otherwise Flesh Hounds) and launch assault after assault – even if some do not go well, you should have enough pressure on the enemy to break any kind of plan they have. Use the Griffon formation as cheap backfield artillery / Blitz guard to try and make the opponent spread out, while the Thunderbolts intercept to try and keep things like Nightwings from having a field day on your Assault Engines. Maybe not a terribly competitive list (it would struggle against air-assaults, lacks scouts, and would struggle against something like a Reaver or Warlord) but I imagine it would be very fun to play!
Of course the four formations of Assault engines could be replaced by three separate Lords of Battle – providing a pretty solid core to the army, but running into BTS issues (maybe one formation of 2 and one formation of 1 would be better), but not really presenting the same tidal wave of second turn pressure.
That is pretty much it for the vaunted Daemon Engines of Khorne – some good, but not stellar, options that require alot of thought / list building around them to get the best out of them. Still they give players a great opportunity to make up some really crazy and aggressive Lost and the Damned lists, and to rack up skulls for the skull throne!