Friday, August 19, 2011

Draigowing Nuts & Bolts

Bryce commented on my last post:


Nice to hear more about a Draigowing, I'm working on 20 paladins, a librarian, a vindicare, and Draigo although he seems lost in the mail.

Any advice?"

My reply:

If you're going to go down the Draigowing road and include a Vindicare, I would say find the points for a Techmarine. He has a couple of  uses: 1. Bolster that ruin and park your Vindi in it for a tasty 2+ cover save. 2. Grenade caddy -- though if you use him for this (and you should), make sure you pony up the points to give him a warding stave, it's the only way to give him an invul save, even though it's only there in CC the warding stave gives him a shot at surviving power weapon/high strength attacks (and he WILL be singled out if you don't hide him, your opponents will HATE those grenades). I've run a Techmarine with a paladin squad and done some tests with running him with a DCA/Crusader squad and the grenades really help and the invul keeps him alive. If you do run him, though, keep in mind the Techmarine can NOT deep strike, so you can't use that as your delivery method for the unit he's attached to.

Other than that, keep in mind that Draigowing is the most elite of the elite armies, you have to REALLY know your stuff to squeeze every point of effectiveness/efficiency out of it to win games. Consider a Land Raider or Stormraven to get them into CC (which is where they really shine) but choose every assault carefully. Avoid TH/SS terminator units because you'll struggle against them, soften them up with a few rounds of psycannon/storm bolter lovin' before assault. Definitely kit each one out individually because you'll need the wound allocation shenanigans to keep them alive longer. Always take a Brotherhood Banner, the extra attacks REALLY help. Also, remember if your pallies don't cast hammerhand that turn (the libby and/or Draigo and/or Techmarine can do that for you) you can use the BB's auto-activate force weapons ability to shorten those rounds of combat versus pesky multi-wound enemies (ork nobs, I'm looking at you). 

If at all possible, use the Vindi to snipe out rune priests, Njal, librarians, etc. -- anything that hampers your ability to cast psychic powers.  While they aren't required for GK to perform (strictly speaking) they definitely make things easier, and with Draigowing, you have to use every trick in the book to make it work. It goes without saying that if you play against Eldar and they have Runes of Warding...well, it's going to suck, and suck hard, and there's no getting around it. However, if you can mange to drop the Farseer with a lucky Vindi shot or chop him up into tasty elven chum in assault, you're in business. Unless you're playing footdar, though, most of the time the Farseer will be safely hidden away in a transport. If you can crack that open, yay, if you can't...well, continue the game minus psychic powers. Psychic powers are great buffs, but (as I mentioned), they aren't necessary.

Remember what I said about a delivery system? Here's the downside: you lose valuable rounds of shooting while embarked. And paladins with psybolts and 2 (or 4, if you're taking a full-size unit) psycannons is a punishing volume of fire. You need it. Maybe think about taking a full-size unit and combat squad them into two units, one with 4 pyscannons and a storm bolter as a firebase, the other all storm bolters. Attach a libby, Draigo and the Techmarine to this unit, embark in a LRC and head off to beat face while the other combat squads shoots, shoots, shoots to victory.

One thing I feel I should warn you about, though. Draigowing is a very unforgiving army. You just don't have the bodies to absorb wounds that any mistakes you might make will cause. You need every model in the army doing everything it can every turn or you'll quickly find yourself in trouble.

If you're looking for some other advice from other (probably much more capable players), I would suggest Black Blow Fly's Terminus Est blog (love that name, being a fan of Gene Wolff). He's been running Draigowing for a while and presents some solid ideas/advice. I got the idea of running combat-squadded paladins split along CC/shooting roles from him.

Finally, I can hear what some of you are thinking (OK, not really, as that would make me some kind of mutant), but I can imagine what some of you are thinking: "Joe, just last post you said you were giving up on Draigowing because you couldn't make it work. What gives with you passing out advice on how to use it?" That's a great question, thank you for asking. Yes, you're right, I decided that I couldn't make it work, specifically in a competitive environment. But I also said that I don't think it's an issue with the list itself, rather, my skill as a player -- all I'm doing here is relating my experiences with a Draigowing list, and hoping that Bryce (or anyone else) can build upon my experiences and hopefully do something great.

I love the concept of Draigowing -- Paladins are everything I think terminators should be (well, actually, they aren't, I think they should be at least T5, but that's a pipe dream). I do plan on re-visiting them after getting better at 40K in general. The list is too unforgiving for the number of mistakes I make in an average game. 

Good luck, Bryce. I hope you can take Draigowing to the next level!

What do you think, guys? Have you ever had a concept for an army list that you just loved, but couldn't quite make it work? Did you stick with it, or did you move on to something else? Ever re-visit a list concept? How did it go if you did?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thinking About How I Play

So, after the debacle that was 'aaaaard Boyzzz, I've been giving some serious thought to how I play.

I made some pretty serious mistakes that cost me games, or (at the very least) hamstrung my efforts at winning.

Here's a prime example: In game 1, I had a unit of paladins fail a leadership test and scamper (remember my rule about doing well with paladins, "Don't roll 1's"? Well, I rolled a couple of 1's at a very inopportune time, and followed it up with a 5 and 6 on the leadership test...don't you just love those special moments?). In and of itself, that's not so bad. I was only down a couple of guys, and still had 2 psycannons.

I forgot that you can shoot while falling back.

I even commented on it, and my opponent said nothing to correct me -- and that's not his fault, it's a tournament, and it's not my opponent's job to know the rules for me. No, I blame myself.

But by losing that unit's shooting, a good part of my offensive capability was simply not present...but it should have been, and would have been had I known the rules. Would that have turned my loss into a win? Maybe, maybe not. But the fact remains that I blew it because I didn't know the rules.

Second huge mistake: I parked a Land Raider in a place that allowed my opponent to get into position to block enough of my exits that could have lost me the unit should it have gotten wrecked. As it was, I was thinking I would disembark and move to the rear (which was open) all in one move. Faulty thinking? Not remembering/realizing that disembarking and the following movement are two separate moves. As it turned out, I had to sacrifice a unit of terminators to "speed bump" a unit of Logan and his drinking buddies to try for another turn of getting Fortitude off so I could move the LR. Granted, I shouldn't have allowed myself to put the LR in such a situation in the first place, but I didn't think enough about what my opponent was going to do before I did it. So in reality, it's one mistake setting up and then compounding a second one.

Third mistake: I totally forgot to use The Grand Strategy until the start of game 3. My paladins should have had counter-attack, but didn't, because I didn't think about using the ability. Total FAIL! on my part.

What I'm getting at is that my mistakes impair my army's performance and ultimately cost me games -- and I keep making them.

So...I've been thinking about what to do about this.

First thing, I need to play more games. The more I play, the more rules I will be familiar with and the less mistakes I will make that are rules-knowledge-related.

Second, I've actually been thinking of making myself a "cheat sheet" of things I need to remember while I'm playing until those things are drilled into my head and become second nature. 

Third, I think I'm going to have to let go of the idea of pure Draigowing being a "great" army (at least for me). It just doesn't capitalize well enough on the inherent shooting strength of the GK army. I think I can get by with just one unit of them as a death star and fill out the rest of the army with either PAGKs or purifiers to dish out a lot more tasty firepower that isn't as susceptible to losing a guy or two and having it hurt the overall strength of the army so much. The sad truth is I'm not a good enough player to make Draigowing work yet. I'm not saying I won't re-visit the concept later, but it's time to move on and try some other things.

What do you guys think? How do you train yourself out of making game-costing mistakes? Have you ever made a cheat-sheet? How about any advice on remembering everything you need to know while playing a game?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

'Aaaaard Boyzzz

So, I'm signed up.

I'm playing a dual Land Raider Draigowing.

We'll see how it goes. :)