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Rogue Trader 'counts as' Inquisitor
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Old 18 Sep 2006, 09:24   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Posts: 903
Default Rogue Trader 'counts as' Inquisitor

I've been considering a new unit to add some variety to my rather mundane shooty Imperial Guard army, which is modelled as a force of Tau-allied gue'vesa ('human helpers&#39. After some thought, I'm leaning towards the idea of using the Ally rules to include an Inquisitor and retinue from the Witch- or Daemon-hunter codices. Obviously an Inquisitor wouldn't be caught dead consorting with xeno scum, but it occurs to me that the same rules could be used to represent a Rogue Trader and an entourage made up of several members from his crew. They're a bit more flexible in their loyalty than the Inquisition.

I've read MalVeaux's excellent guides to Inquisition units (for Witchhunters and Daemonhunters), but the sample units that he gives tend to be static and shooty. I'm not necessarily opposed to that, but I'd like a chance to try something a little more distinct from the rest of my army. I've played around a bit with the codices, and come up with the following units:

Witch-hunters
Inquisitor (power weapon; bolt pistol; frag grenades)
Acolyte (carapace armour; bolt pistol; man-catcher; frag grenades)
Imperial Guard Veteran *2 (hellpistol; close combat weapon)
Familiar
Chirurgeon
Total: 90 points

Daemon-hunters
Inquisitor (power armour; thunder hammer; bolt pistol)
Acolyte *3 (laspistol; close combat weapon)
Imperial Guard Veteran (hellpistol; close combat weapon)
Total: 90 points

Both are counter-charge units, and would most likely hang around my rear lines until the enemy made it into assault, and then wade in to relieve the beleagured guardsmen. The first has an Inquisitor striking at initiative 5, and a majority 4+ save to help protect them against small-arms fire. The second has a bit more punch with the Inquisitor's thunder hammer, as well as power armour and three sacrificial acolytes to keep him alive long enough to strike with it.

Modelling-wise, I already have models for the Veterans - the sergeants from my stormtrooper squads, made with a combination of Cadian and Fire Warrior bits. The Inquisitor obviously represents the Rogue Trader, and I could probably use a standard Inquisitor model for the first version - but for the second, I might try converting him out of one of the plastic stealth suits (as that's the closest thing to power armour that the Tau would be able to supply). The acolyte from the first unit would be the ship's First Mate, with suitably nautical-looking insignia on the shoulders of a Cadian model, while the acolytes from the second unit would definitely have red shirts to reflect their low life expectancy. (I might even look and see if there are any 40k-scale Star Trek miniatures.) The chirurgeon and familiar would be the ship's doctor and navigator respectively, but I have no particular plans on how to model them yet.

Can anyone recommend one of these possible units over the other, or suggest a third alternative? I'm open to comments on their battlefield effectiveness as well as any opinions you may have on the thematic concept.
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Old 18 Sep 2006, 14:42   #2 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Rogue Trader 'counts as' Inquisitor

Heya,

Don't rule out the Ordos Xenos. The Alien Hunters. Those Inquisitors spend time with Aliens; and would be the ones to have ties with Tau, not just hostile. So just use whatever rule set you like (DH or WH) and call it an Ordo Xenos operative.

The reason the majority of example Inquisitors are stationary, shooty, etc, is because that's what they're good at. Inquisitors and their retinues are far from cheap for what you get. We pay premiums for something average. In assault, they're no better than standard Guardsmen; yet we pay a lot more for what we're doing. We pay double the cost for Guard strength power weapons. And in the end; paying a lot of points for a little Str3 power weapon attack that is based on an ind. character (thus singled out in assault) is just not a good idea. It's fluffy, but it's pretty ineffective and a point sink. Most Inquisitors simply are not good at assault and instead, most =][= players use them as "Metal Storm" configurations instead, which focuses on throwing out as many of our lovely BS4 shots as we can at long range. It's the one thing our squads are good at: shooting. Combat, we're just expensive guardsmen. Shooting, we're as good as marines with lots of weapon options. Anyhow, that's the reason for it.

As for you, if you want a combat squad, that's totally fine. I simply will recommend a few things and make some notes for you to think about.

Inquisitor in assault - Typically, he will not be very good. He's got decent stats on WS and initiative, but everything else is average. He's just a fancy guardsmen. And since he's an ind. character, he's singled out and much easier to just murder. He's insta-killed by most dangerous things too, due to his T3. He's just not good in assault. Because of this, I will highly recommend you avoid power weapons entirely. Paying all those points for a little Str3 attack simply isn't worth it. Instead, if you truly want to attack something in assault, use a weapon that will wound--eviscerator or power fist, or thunder hammer. It's expensive, way more than we should probably pay, costing as much and more than the actual model (which is silly). Also, we're paying more points for armor. It's a dead end upgrade since he has so few wounds and only T3. You can however, use him as a decoy. See, as an ind. character and thus a separate unit in assault, your opponent must separate attacks to either hit the Inq. or hit the retinue. You can use this to your advantage.

Retinue in assault - The retinue is better in combat than the Inq. You can get power fists here, that are buried and not singled out. That's a good thing. That's more damage for cheaper than your Inquisitor could hope for. So it's better to use that. The rest of the squad can simply be wounds to absorb the damage. And the Inquisitor can act as a decoy to absorb a few attacks as well. As an elite, he really doesn't matter all that much since they're not fearless (an HQ has Iron Will though, which is nice). So here, you would probably want to get cheap models like Familiars, Mystics, Penitents, Heirophants, Acolytes, etc. You don't need fancy saves there, since T3 and a 4+ save isn't going to win a real assault anyways, so no point investing in that; instead, invest in wounds.

Transportation - This is another problem. These squads are paper thin and if shot at, they're dead. Yet, they can't move fast and are not in a transport to get to assault. Counter assault is nice, but only if you can actually get to it. Moving slow doesn't make you good at counter assault. Consider that as much as you think you'll be good at counter-charging, it's no good if you can't even charge due to only moving like standard infantry or being naked and in the open to be shot at. After all, a handful of T3 models that cost nearly 100 points? Great victory point target for your opponent. So hide them well.

Examples:

Daemonhunter Inquisitor
-CCW, Bolt Pistol, Emperor's Tarot
Retinue:
Combat Servitor
Mystics x 3
Heirophant x 1
Familiar x 1
94 points.

Your Inquisitor has Ld9 due to the Heirophant, which is important (big time). It's permanent too. The familiar raises the Inq initiative (though it's rather pointless). The mystics are simply utility and wounds. All together you have 5 wounds there to just die for you. Your Inquisitor is a cheap decoy, but useful in that he bought the Tarot for the rest of your army. The power fist on the servitor does the real damage.

Or you can go with an HQ level Inquisitor (so that you can get more models, more offensive punch and iron will).

And there's lots of ways to go about it, but remember, you'll never really have something good in assault. Even maximum upgraded, it will simply not be that good. Keeping it cheap is a good idea.

Personally, I would recommend you focus on close range assault based shooting; with a little combat element to support them once they're locked in (such as close range flamers or plasma and a power fist for backup).

Cheers!
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Old 19 Sep 2006, 12:16   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Rogue Trader 'counts as' Inquisitor

Thanks for the (extremely) detailed reply!

I hadn't thought of the Ordo Xenos. I suppose I could see them allying with Tau or Eldar (but not Necrons or Tyranids!) under certain situations - but probably not against other Imperial forces, who make up many of my opponents. I've also written a bit of fiction about one particular trader and his relation to the Tau, which I'd like to work into my army's background. Perhaps I'll keep it open for now - I might end up picking a couple of different units, and modelling them with different themes.

As for the game mechanics, I'm not sure that Inquisitors are quite as poor at close combat as you suggest. Under normal circumstances, their Independent Character status would be a problem - but the special rules for the acolyte henchman state that a wound on an Inquisitor may be allocated to the acolyte instead. In some ways this is better than simply being buried in a squad - you can freely choose to allocate any power weapon (or power fist!) attacks to the cheap acolytes, while allowing standard close combat attacks to bounce off the heavy armour that you've purchased for the Inquisitor.

In terms of offensive power, an Inquisitor with a thunder hammer (and at least one warrior henchman) has as much punch against WS4 opponents as two combat servitors. He costs about the same, is similarly durable (but can be upgraded with better armour), and has almost as many warm bodies to throw between him and a threat (3 acolytes versus 4 non-servitor henchmen).

After some calculation, I've confirmed something that you said in your post - S3 power weapons just don't cut the mustard. A charging Inquisitor with a power weapon will be lucky if he kills even a single MEQ. For a SM commander or other such close combat monster, striking at initiative 5 is a chance to clear one's kill zone before the enemy has the chance to strike back; but for an Inquisitor, it's just not practical. Lightning claws improve the situation slightly, but are immensely expensive.

A thunder hammer, however, is another matter. The Inquisitor from my second squad - the Daemon-hunting one - could be expected to kill around two MEQs per turn. He could finish off a typical six-man Assault Marine squad in three turns - which is about the same amount of time it would take them to overwhelm him, or for their sergeant with his power fist to chew through his supply of protective acolytes. That's a draw, roughly - against a melee-dedicated squad which costs almost twice as much.

This assumes that the enemy squad directs all their attacks towards the Inquisitor. In fact, they have a better chance if they direct their standard attacks towards his retinue, wiping out the acolytes so that the power fist can strike the Inquisitor directly. One solution to that, if you get to charge, is to place only the Inquisitor in base-to-base contact with the enemy. That leaves him safe at least until the second turn. Alternatively, you can try to 'snipe' the buried powerfist by moving the Inquisitor next to it, and forcing the sergeant to be the only valid casualty.

The greatest problem with a melee Inquisitor unit, I believe, is another one that you mentioned - transportation. They're a slow unit, and would take a long time to counter-attack against an enemy assault on your flank. They have the option of taking a transport vehicle, but that's expensive, and there will still be a turn after they've disembarked when they're vulnerable to shooting - and they're very vulnerable to shooting.

Compare them, for example, with rough-riders - perhaps the best Guard counter-assault unit. Like the Inquisitor squad, these are both vulnerable to shooting and strong in an assault. Unlike them, the riders have speed - the ability to rush halfway across the table in a single turn and charge into combat. I fear that the Inquisitor's other attributes fail to compensate for this deficiency.

Here are some of the odd combinations that I've considered over the last day or so:

Inquisitor (terminator armour; psycannon)
Total: 70 points

This guy can deep-strike and unload S6 firepower onto the rear of an enemy vehicle. The psycannon can be replaced with an incinerator for a surprise flamer template, but then it's even more reliant on the deep-striking roll. Besides, either role can already be accomplished by a deep-striking Sentinel, armed with either a multilaser or a heavy flamer.

Inquisitor (psycannon)
Total: 50 points

This model exploits the Independent Character rule to provide an untargettable heavy weapon. It's not very interesting.

Inquisitor (psycannon)
3 Imperial Guard Veterans (grenade launchers)
0-2 Sages
Total: 110-130 points

This squad provides mobile S6 firepower. It's slightly less efficient than hardened veteran squads with similar armament.

Inquisitor (psycannon)
3 Gun Servitors (heavy bolters)
0-2 Sages
Total: 125-145 points

This squad provides static AP4 firepower. It's slightly less efficient than Guard heavy weapon squads, once you allow for its lack of durability.

Inquisitor (bolter-flamer)
3 Acolytes (bolter-flamers)
3 Imperial Guard Veterans (flamers)
Total: 129 points

Now, this is something unusual. Seven flamer templates! I don't think there's any other unit in the game that can manage that. It would need a transport vehicle to carry it to its target, and it would only get one shot, but it might be worth it. Variations are possible with melta or plasma shots in place of the flamers.

Inquisitor (eviscerator)
3 Acolytes (man-catchers)
3 Combat Servitors
Total: 159 points

This is a good unit for going character-hunting, thanks to the man-catchers which reduce its opponents' attacks. A fully-upgraded Hive Tyrant would probably find this squad too tough to handle. If you remove the servitors, and add a second, identical, squad, you could probably deal with two Tyrants - provided that they came in one at a time.

Inquisitor (power weapon; bolt pistol; 'Hammerhand' power)
3 Acolytes
Combat Servitor
Heirophant
Familiar
Total: 109 points

The retinue here isn't as important as the Inquisitor's equipment. The power weapon is for dealing with heavily-armoured opponents, while the 'Hammerhand' power is for dealing with high-toughness opponents. Unfortunately, he doesn't have any way of dealing with opponents who are both at once - like the omnipresent MEQs.

And of course, there are various utility items that can be given to any Inquisitor for a general effect: like the Liber Heresius, or Excruciators. I'm not terribly keen on such meta-game rules, to be honest. I rather intended to make fun of them when I proposed a house rule here, which requires a player to drink three pints of beer before the game.

I've been freely jumping back and forth between the Daemon-hunters and Witch-hunters codices here, I'm afraid. Each unit is individually codex-legal, but I haven't been specifying which codex I used.

Currently, I'm still thinking in terms of a close combat squad. Perhaps it could be deployed in front of my Command HQ unit with its master-vox, since that's the target that my enemies seem most eager to assault.
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Old 19 Sep 2006, 14:31   #4 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Rogue Trader 'counts as' Inquisitor

Heya,

Well, if you believe your Inquisitors can tango with enemy marines, the likes of Assault marines, I suggest you actually try that out. At this point level that you're using, the retinue will be destroyed in a single assault round against something like that pretty often. And the Inquisitor cannot attack unless he's in base to base contact. Pretty easy to just assault the retinue and leave your Inquisitor out of it, kill them all, and then let him check moral and see if he fails or not. You may want to consider things like this.

Quote:
As for the game mechanics, I'm not sure that Inquisitors are quite as poor at close combat as you suggest. Under normal circumstances, their Independent Character status would be a problem - but the special rules for the acolyte henchman state that a wound on an Inquisitor may be allocated to the acolyte instead. In some ways this is better than simply being buried in a squad - you can freely choose to allocate any power weapon (or power fist!) attacks to the cheap acolytes, while allowing standard close combat attacks to bounce off the heavy armour that you've purchased for the Inquisitor.
It is true, we have Acolytes, which can swallow 3 wounds that normally we would have taken. However, again, this only is if something is in base to base or the kill zone of something base to base with the Inquisitor. In the initiative steps, most assaults with your I4 marine friends are going to be hitting before acolytes, around the same time as your Inquisitor unless you have a familiar. Killing the acolytes instead of the Inquisitor is fine, but that just means you have what, one or two henchmen left? They're probably dead at the I4 assault round, the Inquisitor may survive this turn, but everything else is gone; leaving just the Inquisitor and a pretty healthy assault squad; you lose assault, are outnumbered and you're looking at a non-fearless Inquisitor who easily will be outnumbered 4:1 in that losing assault, even if you killed 2 marines, yet lost your retinue. Do you still think those 3 acolytes will keep you in this game? I'm not trying to change your mind--but I just want to pose questions of common occurring reasons why Inquisitors fail combat for you to think about.

Quote:
Compare them, for example, with rough-riders - perhaps the best Guard counter-assault unit. Like the Inquisitor squad, these are both vulnerable to shooting and strong in an assault. Unlike them, the riders have speed - the ability to rush halfway across the table in a single turn and charge into combat. I fear that the Inquisitor's other attributes fail to compensate for this deficiency.
Rough Riders outclass Inquisitors and their retinues in every way and will cost a lot less causing quite a bit more damage (as a ratio of points paid, for expected damage they can cause). Speed is of the essence though. Things that don't move, don't get assault. They just become bolter food.

[hr]

Quote:
Inquisitor (terminator armour; psycannon)
Total: 70 points

This guy can deep-strike and unload S6 firepower onto the rear of an enemy vehicle. The psycannon can be replaced with an incinerator for a surprise flamer template, but then it's even more reliant on the deep-striking roll. Besides, either role can already be accomplished by a deep-striking Sentinel, armed with either a multilaser or a heavy flamer.
Inquisitors in Termi armor cannot deep strike. Unfortunate, but read the armory rules--they specifically made it so that we can't deep strike Inquisitors via this method.

The Termi Psycannon Inquisitor is a nice option though. You see, it's a powerful gun, it fires 36" on the move, and you could do it at BS4, or BS5 if you took a single sage. If someone actually shot at the unit (if you took the sage), then mixed armor rules would have the Sage removed as a casualty instantly as you remove models who receive no armor saves first; the majority then is a 2+ and your Inq is an ind. character again, so he saves on 2+ there; and further targeting of him would be restricted by his ind. character status.

(I happen to use this type: >>Click for Image<<)

Quote:
Inquisitor (psycannon)
3 Imperial Guard Veterans (grenade launchers)
0-2 Sages
Total: 110-130 points

This squad provides mobile S6 firepower. It's slightly less efficient than hardened veteran squads with similar armament.
I wouldn't bother with this one, unless you were facing an army like Tau specifically, with a lot of Fire Warriors or Kroot, or Gun Drones. Grenade Launchers are simply not worth the cost here. In this setup, your Psycannon is 18" if you move. That GL's are 24" always. This puts your T3 4+ majority squad, right up next to your opponent in rapid-fire range. Your squad of 110~130 points vs. the equivalent points of bolters, guardsmen, etc, is a losing fire fighting for you.

Shooting Inquisitor squads are best in two ways: (1) Ranged, so Psycannon & Heavy Bolters; or (2) Up close and brutal, so lots and lots of Plasma after hoping out of a transport, or out from behind one.

Quote:
Inquisitor (psycannon)
3 Gun Servitors (heavy bolters)
0-2 Sages
Total: 125-145 points

This squad provides static AP4 firepower. It's slightly less efficient than Guard heavy weapon squads, once you allow for its lack of durability.
This is min/maxed Metal Storm. It has a lot of damage output, but it dies fast the moment your opponent wants it gone. Typically, I wouldn't suggest going all max on the heavy bolters. For this point range, consider the psycannon and one heavy bolter and then fill out the squad with free cover saving cheap wounds (mystics, familiars).

Quote:
Inquisitor (bolter-flamer)
3 Acolytes (bolter-flamers)
3 Imperial Guard Veterans (flamers)
Total: 129 points

Now, this is something unusual. Seven flamer templates! I don't think there's any other unit in the game that can manage that. It would need a transport vehicle to carry it to its target, and it would only get one shot, but it might be worth it. Variations are possible with melta or plasma shots in place of the flamers.
This simply doesn't work I'm afraid. Flamers massed up are great. Very powerful. However, delivery is the Achilles Heel. Without a transport, you will never get to use these templates. You can't fire in or out of assault. So, that leaves you with an expensive squad walking around with no targets, or lathered with bullets, or assaulted. I highly recommend against this squad; unless you have a transport.

Quote:
Inquisitor (eviscerator)
3 Acolytes (man-catchers)
3 Combat Servitors
Total: 159 points

This is a good unit for going character-hunting, thanks to the man-catchers which reduce its opponents' attacks. A fully-upgraded Hive Tyrant would probably find this squad too tough to handle. If you remove the servitors, and add a second, identical, squad, you could probably deal with two Tyrants - provided that they came in one at a time.
Definitely a no; you'll die in the Initiative steps with your whole squad striking at Ini1; the Acolytes deny attacks, but guess who the majority is here? The T3 4+ saving Inq & Servitors. The unit will take casualties and they will be removed, first, from those power fists. The acolytes are nice, but your squad still cannot tank an assault with only 3 acolytes and the rest being your actual expensive power fists.

To do a squad like this, try taking one combat servitor, 3 acolytes, and an Inquisitor with Hammerhands and several cheap models like Familiars, Penitents, etc. The acolytes can rob attacks from your opponent, if you fight single models, but squads will still steamroll you right over. Assault Marines would still butcher you, regardless of the acolytes. You need excess wounds to absorb that while your fists go to work. Hammerhands is just a cheap way to generate wounds (even if they get saves).

Quote:
Inquisitor (power weapon; bolt pistol; 'Hammerhand' power)
3 Acolytes
Combat Servitor
Heirophant
Familiar
Total: 109 points

The retinue here isn't as important as the Inquisitor's equipment. The power weapon is for dealing with heavily-armoured opponents, while the 'Hammerhand' power is for dealing with high-toughness opponents. Unfortunately, he doesn't have any way of dealing with opponents who are both at once - like the omnipresent MEQs.
Now, you're getting closer to something that works. Drop the power weapon. Drop the bolt pistol. Save those points. This squad could possibly fight against a single model. But it will not hold up against Assault Marines, or any marines for that matter. But either way, this unit is far better and better equipped for it's squad size/point cost. So the unit is good; but keep in mind, it still will not win against marines.

--- Anyhow, again, I suggest you look at doing a shooting squad that has some combat resolve.

Examples:

Inquisitor
-Combi-plasma
Vets with Plasma Guns x 2
Combat Servitor
Acolytes with Carapace Armor x 3

If you were to jump out from behind something, and get 6 rapid-fire shots off, that's a lot of BS4 plasma that will kill about 4 marines. That's a nice chunk of dead marines. And if someone assaults you, well, you have 8 wounds of T3 4+ saves. They have to deal pretty much 15 saveable wounds on average, before your Power Fist servitor falls. That gives you about 2 turns of assault to kill another marine each round. Something to consider. Slightly more expensive than what you may want to pay, but if you want to see casualties, a squad like this will produce them at 12" range and in assault, combined. Works best if they're hidden behind a vehicle, or hopping out of their own transport.

Inquisitor
-Pyscannon
Gun Servitor
-Heavy Bolter
Combat Servitor
Sage
Mystics x 3

This squad has two big guns firing at range 36". You just unload and unload, the psycannon at BS5, and the heavy bolter at BS4. Great damage dealing. You can drop a marine a turn with that. Or lots of guardsmen, or equivalents. If you take damage, no big deal. They're not that expensive for the damage they can deal each turn. If someone does bother assaulting you, they've got a good number of wounds to chop up, while that buried power fist goes to work to drag down two more victims. This squad works from a covered position, no transport, etc. Simple, effective and not too pricey.

-- Anyhow, take what you feel works for you. I do recommend you play a few scenarios out with dice though, instead of just calculations. Remember what it means to lose assault, and consider that your opponents may not always make the poorest choices when assaulting you. The ability to deal damage, doesn't mean they will in assault. But shooting and assault combined, you have better odds of actually delivering.

Cheers!
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Old 23 Sep 2006, 09:13   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Rogue Trader 'counts as' Inquisitor

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX
I do recommend you play a few scenarios out with dice though, instead of just calculations.
Alright - I'm taking this advice, and trying out a few scenarios between the following two units:

Inquisitor (thunder hammer; bolt pistol; artificer armour)
3 Acolytes (laspistol; close combat weapon)
Imperial Guard Veteran (hellpistol; close combat weapon)
Total: 95 points

4 Assault Marines (bolt pistol; close combat weapon)
Veteran Sergeant (power fist; bolt pistol)
Total: 140 points (or 105 without jump packs)

Scenario 1

The marines are charging the inquisitor's squad, which is in 5+ cover. They direct their attacks towards the inquisitor first, not moving into contact with his retinue in the first round. They get one round of shooting with their bolt pistols before they enter close combat. I played out this scenario five times, with the following results:

First run: Marines won. Massacre in second round. Two marines dead.
Second run: Marines won. Massacre in third round. Four marines dead.
Third run: Marines won without loss. Inquisition flees, having lost one acolyte.
Fourth run: Inquisition won. Massacre in third round. Everyone but Guard Veteran dead.
Fifth run: Marines won without loss. Inquisition flees, having lost the inquisitor.

This scenario doesn't look good for the inquisition. By careful model placement, the marine player can minimise their casualties in the first round, while still swinging the powerfist at the inquisitor.

Scenario 2

The conditions are the same as last time, but the marines are attacking the retinue first rather than the inquisitor. In the first round, they avoid getting into contact with the inquisitor, thus denying him his attacks. (This is what I'd expect to happen if both players played as well as possible.)

First run: Marines won without loss. Inquisition flees.
Second run: Marines won. Inquisitor flees, his retinue dead. One marine killed.
Third run: Marines won without loss. Inquisitor flees.
Fourth run: Marines won without loss. Inquisitor flees.
Fifth run: Marines won. Retinue killed trying to flee. Inquisitor escapes. One marine killed.

I'm not entirely sure what the rules dictate in the situation I encountered in the fifth run. The inquisition lost the combat and failed their morale check, forcing them to flee. The marines' initiative roll matched theirs, so they were caught and destroyed. However, the inquisitor was not engaged as he was not in base-to-base contact. Does this allow him to escape without risk? If not, the rulebook does suggest that he should have his own initiative roll to escape, which he passed.

In any case, this scenario was even less favourable for the inquisition. By horribly outnumbering the inquisitor, and winning combat by slaughtering his retinue, the marines can almost guarantee that the inquisitor will flee, although he has a good chance of doing so successfully.

Scenario 3

Because the results from the earlier scenario were so consistent, I decided to play them onwards. What happens to that fleeing inquisitor? He must fall back at least 6" to be able to regroup, and then pass an (unmodified) leadership test to regroup. If he passes, he can charge back into combat with the marines (who are assumed to be at full strength, and all engaged).

First run: Inquisitor returns to combat, kills two marines, and dies.
Second run: Inquisitor keeps running.
Third run: Inquisitor returns to combat, and dies without achieving anything.
Fourth run: Inquisitor keeps running.
Fifth run: Inquisitor returns to combat, kills three marines, and dies.

So, the picture isn't entirely rosy for the marine player. A fleeing inquisitor has a significant chance of rallying, and killing a marine or two. If he can pick his angle of attack so that he doesn't engage the sergeant, he's even better-off - but a competent marine player should be able to prevent that.

My conclusion thus far: if the inquisition is charged, they're in trouble. They might cause a bit of damage, but they're very unlikely to win.

Scenario 4

In this case, I'm assuming that the inquisition get to charge. This is generally unlikely, due to their slow movement, but possible in a counter-assault scenario. (I'll comment more on this later.) I assume here that the inquisitor moves into contact with the enemy squad, while his retinue does not - forcing the marines to concentrate their attacks on him. Cover, or the lack thereof, makes no difference here.

(Edit: I forgot to include any shooting on the part of the inquisition in this scenario - but that's not entirely a bad thing, as it more accurately represents a counter-assault scenario. See my comments later on.)

First run: Inquisition won, by massacre in the second round. Two acolytes dead.
Second run: Marines won. Inquisition flees and is caught in third round. Three marines dead.
Third run: Inquisition won without loss. Marine sergeant flees and is overwhelmed in third round.
Fourth run: Inquisition won, by massacre in second round. Two acolytes dead.
Fifth run: Inquisition won, by massacre in second round. Only guardsman is left alive.

This scenario looks a lot better for the inquisition player. He is very likely to defeat the marine squad - and if he does not, he will at least delay it for a while.

Conclusion

The two squads under consideration are close enough in combat power that the victory will be determined, in general, by which of them gets to charge. That means strategy, rather than basic tactics and model selection.

Further thoughts

It looks like I have a unit which, if it gets to charge, will deal some serious damage to a somewhat more expensive assault squad. The question then becomes: 'How do I arrange matters so that I get to charge?' If I simply send them forth across the field to assault my enemy's army, their slow movement means that they won't arrive until the game is almost over. Even if I put them in a transport vehicle, they're going to be trundling out in front of the rest of my (rather shooty) army, making themselves an obvious target for all of my enemy's guns.

These problems relegate them to a rear-line counter-assault role - but they have serious deficiencies here, too. Being so slow, they won't be able to react to threats elsewhere on my front lines. And they're so vulnerable to shooting that they have to be kept out of line of sight, further limiting their deployment options.

I have a role in mind for them that might escape these shortcomings. The most critical unit in my entire army is my command HQ with its master-vox. If it is lost, then almost every unit in my army effectively loses two points of leadership. This makes it a terribly inviting target to enemy heavy weapons (from which I keep it concealed), and to roving assault squads.

Usually I have two fire support squads near my command HQ, to benefit from its leadership bubble. It's a simple matter to place them between the commander and any likely assault threats - slightly more difficult to make sure they still have a good field of fire, but still possible. This usually results in the enemy massacring a fire support squad first, and charging into my command HQ in the next turn. An extra turn of boosted leadership is well worth the sacrifice of a few heavy bolters - but it might be possible to do better.

What if I were to place the inquisitor-equivalent and his retinue immediately in front of the command HQ, and behind the fire support squads? A group of enemy assault marines would tear into the foremost fire support squad, send it fleeing, and then be charged by a vengeful hammer-wielding maniac. Even in the worst case, they'll probably only be able to consolidate into the retinue, which should still give it a fair chance.

So, what do you think? Are my strategic ideas laughable, brilliant, or somewhere in between? Should I be testing against something other than this assault marine squad? Should I do a set of similar simulations with one of Mal'Veaux's suggested combat/shooty squads (combat servitor, heavy bolters/plasmaguns)?
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