Friday, 4 March 2011

5 Dragons - Army list analysis

With the Battle Reports up, i'll post an analysis of how i though my units performed overall.
Remember my list can be found in this post: 5 Dragons Tournament - Battle Missions.

Starting at the top, we have Eldrad.
During the first game, he was useful, but not needed. A normal Farseer could have done what he did for the most part.
During the second game however he was extremely useful! His ability to cast two of the same power (notably Fortune) was a significant boost to the rest of my force and helped increase the survivability of some very vulnerable units such as the War Walkers while guiding something aswell. Guide on the Walkers is most likely the best use of Guide in this list, the Reapers Exarch contending for that spot.
During the third game however he gave me a significant hand in winning the game with Divination, repositioning my force to attack the SW formation side-on, and most importantly, not all at once. His powers in this game payed off quite well, Fortune helping again while Doom and Guide both played their part.
Overall, he earnt his place with Divination alone, it was a shame that i had to deploy as if from reserves for two of the games as i couldn't make use of this wonderful power. As always, Guide and Doom help me kill the enemy, even if its only to re-roll a few hits or wounds it all counts. Fortune however was the most useful, especially when turbo-boosting or helping to protect easy to take out units.

Before i get onto the mechanized 'bulk' of my army, i'll work through my heavy support. Starting with the Wraithlord.
In the run up to the tournament i did look into (and test) fielding two, and even 3 wraithlords. While incredibly fun to play with, and all together a huge fire magnet i decided to simply play one.
During the first game the Wraithlord managed to do a huge amount of damage and essentially won me that game. Coming on to get rear armour shots on a Vindicator on turn 1, then next turn managing to charge a unit of CSM and run them all down before tying up all the Plauge Marines until the end of the game. In between those events he absorbed alot of firepower and kicked an Obliterator in the face. I believe i got very lucky in this game, taking 6 lascannon shots and 3 plasma shots and only taking 2 wounds.
During the second game he again, absorbed a bit of fire, but being able to take advantage of cover was essential to keeping him alive. Once the Noise Marines moved away he managed to move up after them laying down fire. He didn't reach combat or do anything impressive this game, but he did sustain a wound, which could have wrecked a Wave Serpent.
During the third game however, as well as absorbing a bit of fire early on he managed to take out a Rune Priest, which is perhaps one of my favorite uses for Wraithlords, killing Independant Charecters, which usually cost as much, if not more than the Wraithlord itself. He did eventually die, but took the majority of a Grey Hunter unit with him.
Overall he did alot of work, earning a rest in the second game. His 7 S6 shots helped contribute to my spamming of S6 shots while the flamers were not too useful, but i was playing power armour every game. Killing off threats that I'd find hard to take out normally is also partially why i took him. Front Armour 13 vindicators could prove devestating when i need to disembark and i'd need side or rear shots with my S6 shots to take one out. Also it would have been difficult killing off the Rune Priest while he was safely tucked away inside a unit (And i wasn't getting out to Mind War him)

Next heavy support unit on the list is the Walkers!
During the first game they turned up late, so didn't do much, whatever i spent the points on would have not done much anyway if they were to recieve the same fate.
During the second game however they managed to sit safely in terrain firing away with the help of Guide. The amount of shots 2 Walkers can pump out is shocking. Just think what i can do with three... or six!... OR NINE! Well 9 might be going to far but simply handing over a fistfull of dice to an oppoent for saves can bring down anything eventually and i find it more reliable than using low rate of fire low AP weapons.
During the third game they were barely noticed and contibuted to wasting the Rhinos and their Marine contents.
Overall the amount of shots they produce is somewhat astounding for their cost. Their average BS is a downside but with so many shots its not a problem. They can also be surprisingly durable when in cover, and even out of cover its still quite difficult to destroy them without dedicated AT weapons or alot of S5+ shooting considering how difficult i found it at times to penetrate Rhinos with S6 spam and achieve a decent result.

The last heavy support choice are the reapers.
A late addition to the list, their slot was occupied by a Night Spinner, which i spent time converting from a Falcon. Shame really as i liked how it turned out but ultimatly the Spinner didn't have enough killing power. It's additional effects are useful, incredibly so, but i took the reapers in order to take out swathes of infantry in the oppertunity arose.
During game 1 their late arrival and bad arrival edge meant they were reeduced to bait. Which they did very well as it turned out. They didn't manage to get any shots off however.
During the second game however, once the Noise Marines closed to within 36" the tempest launcher got to work, and work it did! When it wasn't scattering too badly it was great at thinning out the numbers before the Noise Marines reached me. They killed more that they were worth, so i was pleased with how they managed to do.
During game 3 however, Lex was taking full advantage of the 2" coherency he was allowed so even with a direct hit i'd usually be getting 1, a good scatter getting another 1 ro 2. While the Grey hunters were in their Rhinos they did seem very useless however, but they did waste a Long Fang unit.
Overall they work great on anything with a 3+ save or worse, ignoring cover and re-rolling wounds is great. I've used them against all sorts of armies and occasionally they get some really nice shots off at grouped up models. They tend to either be avoided entirely or become a traget for fast moving units that can reach out and hit them, which i why i need to take out those units with all haste.

Next, before moving onto the Fire Dragons and Dire Avengers i'll take an overall view of their Wave Serpents. Being all equiped the same apart from one having star engines this should be pretty simple.
During the first game they arrived somewhat spreadout, however their speed and range still allowed me to concentrate fire. Combined, they can dish out 28 S6 shots, 16 of those are twin-linked. Being fast skimmers they can congregate pretty quickly and combine their fire power. While they failed at taking out the Rhino they did however kill off the Daemon Prince and drag down some Beserkers.
During the second game the serpents managed quite a bit. Firstly they augmented the Walkers and Wraithlords firepower by adding to it. After that they made a feint to push the Noise Marines towards the Reapers. Once that was achieved they took positoin in cover and laid down mobile firepower, adjusting to keep in line with the enemy and keep LOS to their targets.
The third game however is where they managed to shine brightest, deploying as a group really helped. A (small) wall of skimmers is not an exiting prospect for an opponent to face. Loosing one early on was unlucky but they managed to stop the Rhinos dead in their tracks before they got too close and managed to put wounds on the marine units inside.
Overall i found their durability their redeeming feature. I lost count of the times than a lascannon would have glanced and failed or penned and only glanced due to the energy field. Never really got to test their melta resilience but i know its not too great from friendly games, a few meltas can still bring one down its just that little bit harder. Their speed was also incredibly useful, being able to back up and fire or move up and fire is something i find very appealing.
For upgrades the star engines were wasted, but having needed them in the past, i think i'll keep at least one set. Also the spirit stones only had an effect once, but again, having needed them in the past they are staying in. Given a higher points cap i'd most likely add vectored engines to the Avenger serpents to improve objective capturing at high speeds into terrain.

Onto Fire Dragons!
During the first game they earnt their points right off the bat! Taking out a vindicator right away really helped. Once that was done they managed to survive at over half strength until the end of the game due to lack of decent targets near them. The second unit did very well and could have wiped the Obliterators if Dai wasn't so good at 5+ invun saves. They died, but at 80 points per unit and 70 per Obliterator then it wasn't so bad.
The second game they didn't do much. With no tanks to shoot at they simply waited. One unit pouncing out and getting screwed by cover saves while the other simply getting out because it was safe.
During the third game they again had a lack of decent targets, resorting to firing on marine units. One unit managed to survive again.
Overall, apart from the first game, the Fire Dragons didn't do to much. Without any big juicy tanks, Terminators, Meganobs or the like to target they simply provided some extra firepower once the enemy got close. I don't think i needed both units but i know i would be kickig myself if i ran into a Lard Raider and my Dragon Serpent got shot down before it got close. I'd rather have them and not need them than need them and not have them. With the third game they proved useful and stopping the marine infanty once they reached my lines however so they made an effective last line of defence.

Dire Avengers.
During the first game, they were useful as they were scoring. Apart from that one unit spent the game entirely within its serpent while the other popped out for one turn. Not a great show, but it was objectives, and they are scoring.
During the second game the Dires only got out at the end.
During the third game they actually saw action. One unit managed to fire at a unit of Grey Hunters before getting charged and wiped. The second unit also got out, this time they survived, they did break when tank shocked but managed to rally.
Overall i wasn't expecting much from them, if needed, the 20 shots they have can do something to a doomed enemy. If i was playing anything with a poor save i suspect they'd see alot more action but against power armour its simply not worth it to get out and 'maybe' kill a marine or two with each squad. The resilence of their Serpent makes them great at holding objectives and getting to them fast, but i hardly ever expect a minimal size unit to do anything.

Last but not least, the Guardian Jetbikes!
These little guys! I love them!
During the first game they sat on an objective all game, firing off into the distance before jumping back into cover. I think they wounded the Deamon Prince once.
During the second game they hid, jumped out to shoot, then hid again.
During the third game, they came on in a safe area, i think they killed a marine.
Overall they don't do much. They can cap an objective easily if you manage to place an objective where they can capture it our of LOS. Their shurican cannon can be effective at times, and its more S6 shooting to add to the rest of the army. I found their most redeeming feature was to be seen as an annoyance, in my experiance people have gone out of their way to try to take them out, spending a turn or two to get into position before the bikes turbo-boost away to safety. All in all, don't expect much from them unless theres objectives to grab or you need a bait unit.

Do you have anything else to add to each units performance? What would you add to make an 1850 force? I have my own ideas, but will post them when i settle on some specifics.


  1. As someone building a GJB squadron right now, I'm glad to hear you're a fan. Is three a good number? I was imagining a larger squadron - 6 guardians (2 cannons) and an Embolden Warlock.

  2. @D'Ork
    Lots of people told me to include an Embolden warlock, so when you get shot at your unit wont flee so easily. Personally i don't intend to let my unit get shot at all. But its needed for larger units that can't hide out of LoS so easily.

    It all depends on what you want the unit to do. My unit was cheap, scoring and able to hide, and thats all i wanted from it.

  3. Well I took the time to convert a bike warlock so I'll give him a spin. I can always break the unit down into two smaller squadrons later.


  4. @D'Ork
    Nice, I'd like to see it if you can e-mail me a picture =D
    As for your unit it should be fine as is, for a bit of mobile firepower mixed with some survivability.


    That's the finished squadron with one close-up of the Warlock.