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Efficient or Offencive Commander
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Old 11 Sep 2006, 02:18   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Efficient or Offencive Commander

Thats the question Ive been asking myself repeatedly lately. Something that has been a vast frustration to me in my games so far with my new marines is that my Master does very little but sit back with the firebase and boost leadership maybe getting a few shots off a game and killing a couple things. Its efficient and cost effective. For that one model the entire armies leadership is raised to 10. Thats great, but while my Master of Sanctity is slashing his way through my enemies flank my commander is effectively sitting back playing cards and sitting on his hands. I like my commanders to get into the thick of it. Thus the question has been, how to do that and should I do that.

Cause first off a Master with storm bolter and power weapon is really quite cheap, 95pts total infact. For leadership 10 all around and a burried power weapon thats not bad. You could even shave 15pts and just give him a storm bolter or even cheaper get a Master for as little as 77. Nothing but a close combat weapon and bolt pistol. Thats cheap and efficient, raises leadership but doesnt spend many points otherwise. But such a commander is not going to be doing really anything great on the battlefield.

Which leads to the other alternative. A Commander kitted for close combat. A few examples I see fairly often are the Master on bike with power weapon and artificer armor, or the master with a jet pack, iron halo and pair of lightning claws. Both can be devastating, but you run the risk of losing your Master and that nice all around leadership.

What do you guys do with your commanders?

Personally I was considering a Master with Jetpack, Iron halo, power weapon, plasma pistol, termi honors, frag grenades and melta bombs. A nice 6 attacks on the charge, 4+ invulnerable save, str 7 ap 2 gun for softening up termis or the like before getting into combat and taking out light vehicles from a range with. Fairly expencive though.

For reference Ill post a few sketch up commanders.

Dirt Cheap:
Master, bolter
Total: 76pts

Effect: simple leadership boost and a spare bolter.

Burried:
Master, power weapon, storm bolter
Total: 95

Effect: burried power weapon to help defend the firebase and some extra bolter shots aswell as the leadership boost.

Shrike esque assault:
Master, pair of lightning claws, iron halo, jump pack, termi honors, frag grenades, melta bombs
Total: 171

Effect: Pure assault power, 6 power weapon attacks on the charge that re-roll to wound. Slap on artificer armor and devastators, massed infantry squads and more can fall without scratching the commander.

My current prototype:
Master, storm bolter, power weapon, iron halo, termi honors, frags, melta bombs
Total: 141

Effect: Some combat ability stuck in with a slowly advancing infantry squad thats meant to take objectives, the squad has a power fist and melta gun, the commander helps boost them but so far has proved mostly a waste of points.

New prototype:
Master, plasma pistol, power weapon, iron halo, termi honors, jump pack, frags, melta bombs
Total: 171

Effect: More versatile than the straight up shrike esque but sacrifices some combat ability. Still 6 power weapon attacks on the charge, also has melta bombs for armor and a plasma pistol if he really doesnt want to get into combat or cant just het and wants to shoot.

Same coste as the shrike type. Does almost the same thing but lacks the re-roll to wound. Ive been thinking about going with the shrike type commander, one thing that stops me though is that I see it very often. The Confessors (the chapter a friend of mine players) master is that setup exactly.
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Old 11 Sep 2006, 06:06   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Efficient or Offencive Commander

just recently i played a few games with my new master. he has termie honours, storm bolter, jump pack and lightning claws. he is around 140 pts and he got all of those back. he is a force to be reaconed with and a recomend you give him a try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vash113
New prototype:
Master, plasma pistol, power weapon, iron halo, termi honors, jump pack, frags, melta bombs
Total: 171
this setup is to expensive to be of much help. you could get 3 land speeders for the price of 1 guy. he doesn't realy do much good anyway because power weapons may look nice but they are the sort of thing you give to vet serg's not masters.

jump packs are a very worth while investment because they can hook up with a jump pack chaplain and cause utter anihilation to whole squads.
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Old 11 Sep 2006, 09:31   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Efficient or Offencive Commander

In my experience it is better to get more marines instead of kitting your commander out with a lot of fancy toys. Don't try to give him too many upgrades. A Commander is a non scoring unit and shouldn't take up more than 10% of an armies points.

My Commander:

Commander Master : 125 points
- Pair of Lightning claws and a Jump pack

Cheap and effective. He joins an Assault squad to protect him in CC. If you are really looking for protecting then the Iron Halo might be worth it. Maybe think about the combat shield.

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Old 11 Sep 2006, 14:05   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Efficient or Offencive Commander

Why not go for something fast, tough and shooty!

Master w/ pair of lightning claws, bike, frag grenades, combat sheild
146

He's fairly cheap, does nasty damage and has some pretty decent survivability.
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Old 11 Sep 2006, 17:43   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Efficient or Offencive Commander

Hmm... now Ive been toying with a couple questions. To do the jump pack commander all I would need is to buy one of those packs of spare jump packs Ive seen in GW stores. That would be a master with plasma or bolt pistol, power weapon and jump pack. Not perfect. But I like the look, Im always more a fan swords I find the look of it is cool and besides the Master with a pair of lightning claws is very effective but one thing I do when picking units and army is what is not often done. Otherwise I would probably have done Space Wolves. I did Ultramarines mostly because of the "poster boy" stigma. Thus I like the look of the plasma pistol and power weapon combo but also wish to get it somewhere useful and a means to do that is obviously the jump pack.

Alternatively to fill more of a simple mobile support role a Master with Storm Bolter, Lightning claw and Jump Pack can move about the field quickly around my lines offering support where it is needed. The Lightning Claw's power cannot be denied with the ability to re-roll failed to wound die thats quite good. So thats the why to take one, the question then becomes why not. Which simply boils down to because so many people do. No other reason really.

Therefore there are three weapon options to seriously considering with a jump pack master. That are as follows:

Pistol (plasma or bolt) and power weapon
Storm Bolter and Lightning Claw
Pair of Lightning Claws

The pistol and power weapon combo offers a satisfying number of attacks. The storm bolter and lightning claw combination has one less attack but the storm bolter can fire and still allow the master to charge and the power weapon attacks get to re-roll the wounding dice so that counters the loss of an attack quite well and has its own merrits besides. The Pair of lightning claws has no ranged capability what so ever and is purely a combatant. Maximum number of attacks that are power weapons and re-roll the to wound. However Im against this one, I like my commanders to be a sort of... fall back of the army. Thus some versatility is required. Therefore I shift more towards either the storm bolter and claw or pistol and sword. The plasma pistol offers some ranged capability while still allowing for a maximum number of power weapon attacks in cc. Alternately the storm bolter allows the Master to add a little fire to a tactical squad and still charge into combat with some power.

Ideas or suggetions would be helpful.

EDITE:

Actually now I have thought of a nother option. A Terminator suit. That way I can drop the 25pts for the Iron Halo if I wish since the Termi suit will give him a 5+ invulnerable paying 25pts to improve it is not necessarily preferable. Since I intend to add a terminator squad anyway he can join them while my Chaplain leads the assault marines. Until I add the terminator squad I could just simply keep him as he is with a storm bolter and power weapon. Not too effective but characterful and he can still pack a nice punch when needed. The Chaplain more than makes up for any points lost in my Master anyway.
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Old 13 Sep 2006, 05:17   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Efficient or Offencive Commander

At the end of the day Efficient or Offensive really aren't the priority. Game in game out your commander who is X points should make back > than X points. If he isn't either you got unlucky or your commander needs to work out a bit more and trim fat off. A commander is in most cases taken for giving the army LD 10 (master) which stabilizes small shooty units.

With commanders / chaplins / libby's us space marine leaders have super choices. With commanders you take them for their solid (well as solid as it gets) leadership.

My commanders are:
-twin lightning claws + jump pack
-bolt pistol or plasma pistol or storm bolter + power sword
- (don't use a terminator option since my Libby usually fields that role in a drop pod)

Quote:
For reference Ill post a few sketch up commanders.

Dirt Cheap:
Master, bolter
Total: 76pts

Effect: simple leadership boost and a spare bolter
.

(well it does deliver as posted but i think it's just tooooo cheap)

Quote:
Burried:
Master, power weapon, storm bolter
Total: 95

Effect: burried power weapon to help defend the firebase and some extra bolter shots aswell as the leadership boost
.

(this is a GREAT option for running 2 HQ's in 2000 point game. Solid leadership with excellent surviveability and a 24 inch shot to boot.)

Quote:
Shrike esque assault:
Master, pair of lightning claws, iron halo, jump pack, termi honors, frag grenades, melta bombs
Total: 171

Effect: Pure assault power, 6 power weapon attacks on the charge that re-roll to wound. Slap on artificer armor and devastators, massed infantry squads and more can fall without scratching the commander.
(still a little expensive. I would try to trim him down to 150 or so points in a 1500 pt game. In a 2000 point game alright. Twin claws is by far my favorite option not to mention two beautiful models SHRIKE and Sincarius)

Quote:
My current prototype:
Master, storm bolter, power weapon, iron halo, termi honors, frags, melta bombs
Total: 141

Effect: Some combat ability stuck in with a slowly advancing infantry squad thats meant to take objectives, the squad has a power fist and melta gun, the commander helps boost them but so far has proved mostly a waste of points.
(a little expensive for a guy probably will never use melta bombs or frags. The iron halo in this case is probably really over kill. This guy is in theory going to stand around following the front line to probably counter charge once maybe twice.)

Quote:
New prototype:
Master, plasma pistol, power weapon, iron halo, termi honors, jump pack, frags, melta bombs
Total: 171.

(too much fat if your gonna give him a jump pack you already should have 2 plasma pistols in that unit, and if your running him alone he's dead. Take off the Iron Halo if he needs it he's in trouble.)


I think a few of your options are alright you just spent the extra points on iron halo. I'd rather spend those points on something else. I understand your reasoning and it's just two different books of theory on that.

Overall great options and i will say one thing about all your options. EVERY OPTION IS A MASTER. IT IS THE ONLY OPTION! Unless you like playing fluffy their is no reason EVER that you shouldn't pay the 15 points to bump the captian to a master. IT IS A MUST!!!!
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Old 13 Sep 2006, 05:40   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Efficient or Offencive Commander

The Commander of my future Scythes of the Emperor army list will be leading an army with Suffer Not the Alien and Trust Your Battle Brothers...and taking the Disadvantages of Aspire to Glory and Faithful Unto Death. The first three such Traits are all important as to his Wargear and weapon selections, without giving them away

Master with a bolter and power weapon. He has Terminator Honours and a combat shield. He also has Preferred Enemy (Tyranids), True Grit, Counter-Attack from his Traits.
-120pts

Expensive, but fairly powerful a defensive character with a reasonable hitting power. He'd be leading a fairly basic shooting Command Squad and be flanked by a couple of nice Tactical Squads with some Devastators up behind them to benefit from the 12" of the Standard. His Ld10 for the army is very nasty and if there's a need for a power fist, the Veteran Sergeant in the squad can do the honours and keep his healthy I5 for Marine-chopping.
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Old 13 Sep 2006, 07:21   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Efficient or Offencive Commander

I use a minimalistic assault-oriented Master, generally. Don't want them to get too expensive; otherwise it might be better to just take a Chaplain.

Master
. Bolt Pistol
. Power Weapon
. Combat Shield*
. Frag Grenades
. Terminator Honours
117 points
*Only if I have the spare points

Fairly cheap, has a good number of attacks, and has an invulnerable save just in case. Usually I just don't bring that at all. Actually, quite similar to Bash's Master.

Basically, what you want to do is throw this guy at a squad who has/is about to hit your line, hopefully without a power fist hidden in there. He'll perform admirably.
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Old 13 Sep 2006, 13:13   #9 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Efficient or Offencive Commander

Vash if you're thinking about the Terminator commander and he's going to be leading a deep striking squad why not try out this guy:

Master w/ terminator armour, combi plasma gun, lightning claw
140

He's a little expensive but let's look at what he gets.
  • a 2+/5++ save
  • 4 attacks that ignore armour and re-roll wounds
always counts as stationary
  • once a game (usually at 12") he can fire a BS 5 plasma gun. He can even charge after shooting it!
  • he's still cheaper than a lot of the other commander options


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Old 13 Sep 2006, 14:36   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Efficient or Offencive Commander

Vash,

I know how you feel. Being a Chaos player on top of Space Marines, it's not just habit, it's lust to want my HQ to be brutal and effective at slicing flesh. It's not quite as easy in the Space marines, but we still have options for relatively cheap beat sticks. The Commander is great. However, if you're going for total support, I would suggest a Captain with Bolter. Cheapest one you can get, and the difference between Ld9 and Ld10 will be up to you; personally, I've never found the need for Ld10 when they're Ld9. However, if you want a Master specifically and you want him to be in assault, then you'll have to spend points.

I would highly suggest you consider what your Master is, when he has a Strength 4 power weapon. He's not much. You'll barely kill things with good armor saves with T4, and you'll kill slightly better against T3 things which have weak armor saves already. The power weapon is just something that really isn't worth while on a Master if you want to actually win combats. Power weapons are better suited to models who cannot be picked off in assault, like squad leaders. Power fists are also great for squad leaders, as you well know. And also, plasma is something that seems like you should use, due to BS5, but honestly, it's not worth the cost. You won't really use it more than once, if even that, and for the cost, you could have gotten 3 plasma pistols in assault squads who buy them at seriously reduced costs. If you want plasma, get it in a squad, not on a commander. But if you truly want to cause death and mayham and have a Master who can deliver the goods without average luck, then I suggest the following:

Space Marine Bike - It's expensive, but T5 is a huge upgrade when you're singled out and in assault. Plus, you get to move fast. It's also a nice 3+ invulnerable save while you're moving towards that assault, though you're always better off behind a squad for protection (but the 3+ is great when something moves fast enough to flank that unit and gain priority). The bike helps you stay alive a lot longer than another 'save' does. You roll less saves when you take less wounds. Str3 models will struggle to ever even touch you; making it a cake walk. Str4 models suddenly are not on even grounds, hitting on 4's and wounding on 5's, while you swing on 3's and wound on X's (dependent to your weapon). It's a big difference and it's once that is far better to have than something like Terminator Armor or Artificer Armor. The dangerous stuff ignores these saves.

Jump Packs - If the bike is too much for you, or if you don't like the idea of the bike and want to move more freely, and you don't want a bike in your army (for theme?) then the jump pack is the way to go.

-- Seriously, a commander of any type that cannot move fast, is not worth taking if you want offensive. Commanders without enhanced movement of any kind, are support, and will rarely do anything at all beyond what your opponent literally brings to them. Enhanced movement is pretty much the most critical upgrade you can buy for your offensive character unless you are taking a command squad, in which case, he cannot be offensive anyways really (exception: drop pod).

-- Also, don't bother with guns of any kind; especially two handed ones, like Storm Bolters or combi weapons. You're denyhing yourself a +1 attack with this. You can get plasma and bolter shots elseware for far less and without crippling your character. The 3 little power weapon attacks, due to having a storm bolter, honestly do no damage. You hit one or two, and still only 50% of them even wound? You just got a single wound, if even that. So not worth the ~100 point cost for that one wound you're causing. Forget guns on your Commanders (especially twohanded ones).

Once you choose your method of delivery, you should choose your beat stick. It seems like we have a lot of options, but really, we don't. We don't have fancy weapons and strength buffs like in Chaos, where a power weapon can become a Str5 instrument of doom. Instead, we have a very bland mix of weapons. Power weapons should not even be considered. You don't take a 100+ point character to throw down a handful of Str4 attacks with no special abilities. That's a fast track to no where and your normal squads' serg can do this, just as good, for a fraction of the cost. So pretend the power weapon just isn't there. The only time the power weapon is worth while, is when it's on a Chappy who comes with it and it combines well with another weapon to give you options (such as a Power Fist & Power Weapon approach, allowing flexibility in target selection, and maintaining the +1 bonus). But that's very expensive.

Pair of Lightning Claws - If you want beat down and you want to maintain your initiative, this is pretty much the only thing we have. Unless your a Chappy or Libby, the Claws are the only Str4 weapon you should pretty much have. The reason being, as you know, the re-roll effect makes them much stronger than a normal power weapon. Against T3 targets, you would every single time. Against T4 targets, you would 75% of the time (instead of 50%). It's a huge increase in kill ability. However, it's important to note that Lightning Claws are not worth their points, if you don't give them as many attacks as possible. Meaning, take Termi Honors as well. You already have this in mind, but having 6 attacks while charging is where you need to be. If you plan on skimping and only having 4(5) attacks, then forget the claws. If you plan on killing things, keep him at 5 base attacks, 6 charging, and kill everything and be ready to charge again. 6 attacks means you'll have 4 dead models probably in your kill zone. This is defensive as well as offensive--dead things don't hit back; works great with bikes & jump packs for delivery. If you want to increase the goods, master craft the claws and it's just like getting another attack since you generally will miss at least one (re-rolling is literally just like having a 7th attack).

Thunder Hammer - Power fists are great, on vet sergs. They're cheap there. Thunder Hammers are even better, but they cost a mint no matter who takes them. So that's why this is listed here, instead of a power fist. The thunder hammer is something you can take on an offensive character, when you're looking to counter something very tough to kill. The problem is, as you expect, you will strike last. The difference is, if you survive and land wounds, whatever you're attacking will be nullified and you'll smash it to bits in the following assault round, if you haven't already. The hammer is your biggest beat stick. And to use it well, you pretty much must use the Bike if you think you'll be fighting infantry--T5 makes all the difference when you're striking last in combat; you'll live to see it. You don't need the bike if you're chasing monstrous creatures; they'll be strong enough to not care about T5. Anyhow, the hammer can be used against enemies who don't have power fists themselves. If you use a Bike and combine artificer, you get the 2+ inv. save which means you survive to see assault. Then in assault, you're T5 with a 2+ save to keep you totally safe against standard attacks. You can use this to beat down enemy marines, enemy guardsmen, etc. The only ones you avoid, are those with power fists. Power weapons, you don't care about. They wound on a 5+ (so you can ignore it). Fists are your only worry; just don't assault a squad with one. It's popular to mix a power weapon, further increasing your huge cost here, to give your Hammer a rest, when fighting things that are numerous and have low toughness already. Otherwise, you can mix in with a pistol of some kind, for more punch.

-- Really, you don't need fancy saves and invulnerable saves to do well in combat. You're better off killing everything and not taking damage due to not being attacked. Or, making it hard to score wounds in the first place, reducing the amount of saves you take, with a toughness increase.

Example:

Master
-Jump Pack
-Pair of Claws
-Termi Honors, Master Crafted
-Frags
156 points.
(if you think you need an inv. save, take a combat shield and your cost is then 166 points)
(if you want more defense, exchange the jump pack for a bike, and your cost is 166 points, 176 with a combat shield)

Not cheap, but not expensive either. 6 attacks, with a re-roll (think of it like a 7th attack), with all re-rollable wounds. You will kill most everything in your 2" kill zone. You may not have to roll saves at all in assault, if you simply kill it all before they hit you back.

For 156 points, compare how much damage you cause, compared to a ~120 point power weapon variant. The small increase in cost, is worth it.

-- Also remember; Buried power weapons and fists on commanders are not buried. They're just slow and singled out. You're always an ind. character, and in assault, you only swing if you have base to base and your commander is always singled out. Forget trying to shield him with a squad. The only time it's even worth attempting, is with a Drop Pod, simply to have a scoring unit at your side and knee deep in enemy territory. The only buried weapons you ever have, are on squad leaders or non-ind. characters.

Cheers!
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