Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Contemptor and You

So I slept through about 50% of yesterday and I was at school or similar the rest of the time. Life is busy, I've got things to do, and my blog unfortunately sees the lag. With luck, next week I'll not only be able to get a post up on time, but start working on some extra posts so I can have something to put up when I don't have the time/inclination/ideas required to write.

In the meantime, have some thoughts about the Contemptor Dreadnought.

So the Contemptor Dreadnought, for those unfamiliar with the concept, is a Forge World unit whose sculpt is based loosely on Rogue Trader dreadnoughts and more closely on some of the old Epic Dreadnought models. In terms of fluff, the Contemptor is a lost pattern of Dreadnought whose construction is a secret that, like so many other technological wonders, has been lost to time. It can be taken by all the major Space Marine chapters (except the Grey Knights, who have more than enough other toys), and the variant chapters have a couple of unique wargear choices. Down to the gritty.

Available to Space Marines, Black Templars, and Dark Angels armies. The Contemptor suffers from a lot of the same issues that the baseline Dreadnought does. At a base cost of a buck seventy five, they bring slightly increased armour on front and rear facings, increased base Strength (I guess for kicking things harder once your fist gets broken?), Fleet (good, but REALLY expensive for a unit with a max of 3 attacks base), and Atomantic shielding, which gives you a 5++ at range and a 6++ in melee. Seems to me they could have just made it a flat 5++ save and been fine, but... opinions or whatever.

Gun choices are similar to the base Dread, with a couple of goodies. The Kheres-pattern assault cannon is basically an assault cannon and a half. Moar dakka is moar better, no exceptions. The Heavy Conversion Beamer is cool, I guess, but why would I want to move my dreadnought farther away from the target? The Contemptor also has the option to swap its built-in Storm Bolters (you can have two if you swap the ranged weapon for a second DCCW or a chainfist) with a Plasma Blastgun or a Graviton Gun; both are interesting weapons, but why are you limited to one of each? If I want to pay a premium and get two plasma blasters, one in each fist, then I should be able to. Now, in Apocalypse you can just use two plasma blasters and damn the rules, but if you're playing a normal game with Apoc units, you don't have that kind of freedom. One final ranged option I'd like to take a glance at: the Cyclone Missile Launcher. I've wondered since the dawn of time why Dreadnoughts can take single-shot missile launchers but not Cyclones. Well, now that question is moot. The best part? It's an additional back-mounted weapon, not an arm replacement, so you can have a Cyclone and a twin-linked autocannon for maximum transport popping fun. One final note regarding ranged combat: Target Augury, for 15 points, lets you raise your BS to 5. Might be cool, but you can see how it would be easy to start overspending on this beast. You'd think extra armour would be standard with this price tag, but it's also not free.

So, the good: a harder version of the Dreadnought with some cool shooting options and a fancy resculpt. The bad? It's expensive, and for the premium you're paying you'd really expect a bigger jump in performance.

This guy loses some of the shooting options that you got in the Space Marine version, but it gains a lot in terms of CC hitting power. First, it gets Blood Talons, which turn Dreadnoughts from a tarpit to a deadly close combat blender. Secondly, it has Red Thirst. One time in six, or half the time if you took Astorath the Muscular, you have the ability to charge into combat at s8 and i5, rerolling failed wounds and getting extra attacks based on the wounds you deal. I call it the Tyranid Slayer. You lose plasma blaster and graviton gun, but you gain the option to swap a storm bolter for a meltagun and the ability to buy a magna-grapple. If it's a CC dread you want, this one makes a lot more sense than the Space Marine version. Stick it in a Lucius drop pod with a pair of claws, drop it in on turn one, and rip and tear. With Fleet, it's not completely helpless against faster enemies. Still a bit expensive without Extra Armour as standard - I feel the same way about Venerable Dreads. But that's a personal gripe, and I'll leave it where it is for now. Overall, a lot to like in the Blood Angels contemptor.

This is interesting. Each SW contemptor gets a Saga of choice. Black Cull: Furious Charge. Okay, that's cool I guess, but... didn't we already talk about how adding Strength is silly when your Fists max you out at s10 already? And no Blood Claws on this variant, so that's right out. The saga is easy though. Just kill an infantry unit. I guess with FC, if you score four kills on the charge and don't get socked in the nose with a power klaw/fist, you can Sweep a non-Fearless unit. Eh.
Forsaken One: Gets Counter-Attack. That's cool, I guess. One more swing when the enemy charges you. The Oath is just don't fight in a combat that other Space Wolves are fighting in. That's easy enough, unless some dickbag multi-charges you. Not super-exciting, but certainly not bad.
Iron God: 1 on damage table versus walkers. Cool, if you're fighting head-to-head with another Dreadmob. Oh, wait, it's only in CC. Well that's... disappointing. I guess you'll always get at least a Shaken on the table, which is decent for prolonged walker-vs-walker combats. Which is basically never a thing. Helps you kill 3 Killa Kans in one turn? The Oath, all enemy Walkers must be destroyed or immobilized by endgame, is probably something you'll be doing anyway, so it doesn't hurt. So the Sagas are okay, but hardly something to jump for joy at. I'd rather just have Majesty for that morale bubble.
Wargear: No special weapon options on the DCCW beyond the normal heavy flamers. That's disappointing.Aside from that, it's like a Loyalist contemptor with Wolf Tail and Wolftooth options. Close combat buffs in a disappointing CC unit? Eh.

Holy shit. I was all ready to be disappointed, and then the Mortis showed up. Base point value is twenty cheaper than the standard Contemptor. Lose Fleet, but that's no biggie on a shooty dread. It's an AA mount if you stand still. Cool in Apoc. BS5 standard? I'll take it. So, the options:
Quad heavy bolters. This one's a lemon. Six linked shots at s5... I could get three Razorbacks for cheaper and put squads in them.
Dual Multimeltas. Who doesn't like two BS5 multimeltas that can shoot on the move? Combined with the Atomantic shield, you have a downright useful anti-tank platform.
Quad Autocannons. It works on a normal dread. It works on a venerable dread. Of course it will work here. This is actually a better, cheaper buy than a similarly-equipped vendread. Still more expensive than a Psyfleman, but I'll leave that one alone.
Dual Plasma Cannons. Well... for a similar price the Imperial Guard can get a Russ with PCan sponsons... and a turret gun to boot. This being Free Carapace Edition, your plasma cannons will fall flat an awful lot of the time.
Quad Lascannons. I'm torn. On the one hand, a Predator Annihilator is cheaper. On the other hand, this can move 6" and fire twice, and its cannons are both twin-linked. It's a decent heavy support if you have a Master of the Forge, but there are better options.
Dual Kheres Assault Cannons. I think I wet myself from joy and excitement. Twelve s6 Rending shots? Gimmegimmegimmegimmegimme. It's like a buy two get one free deal on assault cannons. Words cannot express the love I feel for these six-barreled death machines.
Cyclone Missile Launcher. This back-mounted beauty is in addition to your arm weapons. If you've got a short-ranged weapon, like multimeltas, you can use this to pop off some s8 shots while you walk downfield. If you've got long-range guns, like autocannons or lascannons, you can stay stationary and drop tanks and transports like so many limes.
Why can't I drive all these Rhinos?

And that's the Contemptor, Ferrus Fair style.

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