So, you took so much time and money working to get each of your genestealers to have feeder tendrils, or acid maws because they were just so great in the previous edition. Maybe you sculpted extra armor and are sad that none of these are available upgrades to normal ‘stealers anymore. Before you go throwing your models away, consider that there are alternatives. Either you can use a few of them as Broodlords (who conveniently lost their Monstrous Creature status), or you use a few as Ymgarl’s…
Well, fans of hardened carapace (formerly dubbed “extended carapace,” but in layman’s terms: 4+ armor saves) will be glad to hear that these guys come with it standard. They also possess the basic skills that make genestealers effective: great stats, rending, fleet, and move through cover.
They also have the ability to morph their bodies in such a way that they get either +1 Strength, +1 Attacks, or +1 Toughness–but this has to change each round. This allows them to either be more intense, or more resilient, and you have the flexibility of picking a different option each combat.
More important than any of that, is their ability to deploy in non-standard methods. Before the game starts, you need to pick out a piece of area terrain. Once these guys come out of reserves, you can simply deploy them anywhere in that terrain (at least 1″ from any enemy models), after which point they can move, fleet, and charge. If an enemy gets withou 18″ of that terrain–you can theoretically assault him. Likewise, if he hasn’t filled that terrain completely with his models, you can pop out and assault a unit that’s only 1″ away.
Well, for starters, you’re paying 40% more per model than you would for normal Genestealers. You also have zero options for the squad: no talons, no impant attacks, no toxin sacs, and no Brood lords. You also have a less flexible squad size (5-10 instead of 5-20). All of these are bearable though.
If you compare them to normal ‘stealers, you can expect to lose at least 40% of a given unit as it marches across the board to get to the enemy. The lack of squad size flexibility doesn’t hurt much, because it’s often difficult to find a single piece of area terrain that 20 stealers would fit into comfortably (not that the rules state anything about the level of their comfort, but all of those flailing arms can make them hard to position). The other options are somewhat counter-balanced by their ability to morph their statline.
Which brings me to the obvious beef: why can’t they choose the same variation each turn? Are they supposed to represent genetic mutants who have lost complete control of ther bodies? If so, why not roll randomly for them each turn? I just don’t see a reason why they’d restrict you from picking the same power twice in a row.
Lastly, you’re forced to declare where they’ll start before your opponent sets up. So what happens if your opponent doesn’t deploy where you want him to?
Well, the obvious answer is that it’s safest to deploy your Ymgarl’s outside of your opponent’s deployment area in a piece of terrain near the center of the board. This will give you flexibility in where to go (since they can potentially charge up to 18″ out of cover the turn they arrive). Placing them in a larger piece of area terrain gives you even more flexibility when they arrive (since they don’t deviate), and gives your opponent less chances to wipe them out before you can place the models on the board.
A more devious (and risky) method is to try to sway your opponent’s judgement during deployment (which itself, is always a good move). If you deploy first, you can setup in such a way to encourage an opponent to use some terrain and not others (such as those that don’t have clear LoS). Use this to your advantage. Likewise, you’ll have to know your opponent. Does he traditionally take massive infantry squads to deploy in cover, or small combat squads? Remember, that if you can fit your models into the terrain and keep at least 1″ away from all enemy models, you can deploy into the same piece of terrain as your opponent.
It’s up to you whether you play it safe, or leave it to fate–but remember that your opponent’s deployment isn’t completely random. Try to think about how you’d deploy if you were in their shoes (or better yet, if you know your opponent, try to consider how they’ve deployed in the past). Using this, you can almost guarantee that your unit gets a juicy target on the turn they arrive…
For offensive power, it seems that +1str is almost always better than +1attack for these guys (by a magnetude of about 17%). The only exception being for Toughness2 or less models. That said, it’s good that they gave another offensive option so you can keep your damage high. It is important to note that there are reasons to take the Toughness option as well.
When you charge, it makes good sense to use the +Toughness ability. If you were to use one of the offensive abilities, you’ll do significantly more damage to the enemy and, in all liklihood, break them. This will leave your unit stranded from combat, and as fodder for your enemy’s shooting phase. An alternative then, is to use the +Toughness trait. This will ensure that you do less damage to the enemy, and they’ll do less damage in return as well (T5 with a 4+ save is relatively hard to kill). When your opponent loses, they’ll have much better odds to stick around–at which point you can use +Attacks during the opposing player’s turn, to decimate the unit entirely.
Sadly, I’m borrowing this from something I read on another blog, but I can’t remember where. If this was your idea, please let me know and I’ll happily give you proper credit. It really seems a brilliant tactic, and one that I wouldn’t likely come up with myself. *EDIT: Credit goes to Faolain over at Awakening Ynnead.*
The likely solution then is to run +Toughness during your turn and +Attacks during your opponent’s. If you really need the extra damage output one turn, or you can safely screen the unit (should they win), you can mix a +Strength during the opponent’s turn as well.
Whatever the case, these pricy options are just too much fun not to use. We used two squads in our recent Apocalypse game, and they had devastating effects. Feel free to check it here.
Picture from the Dawn of War 2 community blog site: http://community.dawnofwar2.com/