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El_Jairo
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PostSubject: Is assault based pure DE viable   Thu Nov 13 2014, 17:20

Hey everyone,

I have always been a big fan of Wych Cults and assault based armies. Sadly the general feeling is that 7th edition doesn't really benefit the assault.

I have had the following experience lately in my last game.
Turn 2 I have set up my 9 Reavers to charge in some Grey Hunters, to roll charge distance of 4" and don't make it into combat.
Turn 3 my 10 Wyches set up for a charge of 8" roll 5 (3-2), re-roll both dice for snake eyes...

This made me think: if you budge your shooting role, you aren't generally screwed over because you unit is stuck out in the open and waiting to get massacred by enemy shooting.

Now, as I see, apart from fleet, DE don't have any charge range buffing features. Are there some options I have overlooked or does assault basically boils down to luck on the charge roll and the only way to overcome this is Reavers or just have so many assault options that at least one should make it?

What is your experience with the Assault Phase? Worth it? Or mainly use it to counter assault any assault based race?

As a side note, I see that in 7th edition you can only kill a unit in a transport by completely surrounding the transport, before wrecking it.

PS: I still won my game because the SW were mainly an elite army and I succeeded in splitting up his force because a large part came in by flying transport. I locked his two Grey Hunter squad deep in his deployment zone, were they fell to Reavers and Grots eventually.
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Thu Nov 13 2014, 18:58

El_Jairo wrote:
I have always been a big fan of Wych Cults and assault based armies. Sadly the general feeling is that 7th edition doesn't really benefit the assault.
For the record, I don't think this is a feeling - I think it's a flat out fact. Shooting is king right now, and anyone who thinks the edition is built around assault is welcome to show me an all assault army that has any chance in a competitive environment and I will happily show you multiple all shooting armies that easily are.

This is a fact - 7th is about shooting.

El_Jairo wrote:
Now, as I see, apart from fleet, DE don't have any charge range buffing features. Are there some options I have overlooked or does assault basically boils down to luck on the charge roll and the only way to overcome this is Reavers or just have so many assault options that at least one should make it?
Fleet is, in my opinion, actually a pretty solid assault boost tool - another of our tools is just a lot of fast open topped transports, which a not every army has access to and that does help us as well.

El_Jairo wrote:
What is your experience with the Assault Phase? Worth it? Or mainly use it to counter assault any assault based race?
Worth it for what?

I still run assault units in my lists because I think it adds tactical flexibility and has many solid uses. That said, I am conscious that what I am doing is adding on a tool option, not making a focused strategy. I do think there are better strategies than simply 'counter charge/lockdown' but I also note that the DE as an army are poorly designed to provide much assault threat in any case, so I definitely don't think it's our forte'.

El_Jairo wrote:
As a side note, I see that in 7th edition you can only kill a unit in a transport by completely surrounding the transport, before wrecking it.
That or a lot of flamers, I suppose Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Thu Nov 13 2014, 19:29

Yeah assault based army is competitively dead. Grotesques/Talos are still good but essentially not standard dark eldar. I would argue that Dark Eldar assault is dead, Coven on the other hand can be pretty nasty (please don't activate force weapons).

If I want to play a game to win or I'm going up against a competitive player I wont go assault because we don't have the tools or methods to really excel in it. We have the mechanisms to get into assault, bit not to win in it! If we do get charged at the end of the day you wont normally just lose the squad, you have the initiative and armour/fnp to help take something with you, but that's making the most out of very little.

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Thu Nov 13 2014, 21:18

Reavers don't have fleet. But they ignore difficult terrain. Still those rending HoWs are great to have at I10.

I think now a hybrid build of shooty army with assault elements is better than just shooty. New power from pain supports DE in this quite nicely.

But still I wouldn't say that purely assault armies are dead in competitive play. There are some viable builds that can compete with top shooty lists. Assault DE is not one of those lists.

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Thu Nov 13 2014, 21:43

Vasara wrote:
But still I wouldn't say that purely assault armies are dead in competitive play. There are some viable builds that can compete with top shooty lists. Assault DE is not one of those lists.
Viable pure assault lists?
Like which?

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Thu Nov 13 2014, 22:19

Assault based armies are armies with 70% or more of the points dedicated to assault units. I cant say i ever saw DE army like that. Even when Wyches were better they still werent the main chopping force.

RIght now assault based armies are kinda strange beast, everyone expect them to removing models like shooting do, naturally it fails abysmally at this for obvious reasons - less turns to actually do damage, unreliable charge roll, combat result doesnt mean anything against marines and fearless units.

One of the succesfull assault armies i saw were based around some or the other deathstar, or just pile of units designed to hold enemy units and waste their turns, while something other just claimed objectives. And those were 3+ armies.

I dont think i can formulate what is assault based DE army now. Thats a chalenging thing.

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 00:15

I think (in addition to the problems already stated in this thread) Assault based units suffer from the problem of needing to get stuck in, and once they are... well they're stuck. Units that are mobile and can shoot well reign supreme at the moment, because they can do their job - shooting - while still contributing to other actions or objectives during the game.

Once an assault unit is in combat, well it cant do anything but fight in that combat until it is done. So while I definitely don't think assault is dead or useless (assault units tying up dangerous units you don't want near you, or just forcing dangerous shooting units to stop shooting is important to supplement the rest of your army) I don't feel an army so one dimensional as a full on assault army will do well. Whether the game was shooty meta or not. As it's less of an all comers tactic.

Think of assault units as another tool to use in your army and not a "theme" of the army. So just as anti tank weapons are a tool you'll use (you wouldnt make an army of only anti tank would you?), so are assault units - there to stop dangerous guys getting to you and/or stopping guys from shooting at your other stuff)

Even assault heavy armies such as Tyranids and Orks rely on having shooting in some way shape or form, and would prefer all comers lists to be more competitive.

Even the old seer council or beast pack lists from 6th edition still had some measure of shooting in it like a wraith knight and venoms/wave serpents, and those lists had like 80% of their points tied up in those assault deathstars.
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 07:29

Thor665 wrote:
Vasara wrote:
But still I wouldn't say that purely assault armies are dead in competitive play. There are some viable builds that can compete with top shooty lists. Assault DE is not one of those lists.
Viable pure assault lists?
Like which?

We have two daemon players that do well with their rush lists.

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 09:59

Well I would say that assault based DE list is certainly possible. And I would bet it could do very well in comp environment, especially against some lists. Namely Serpent Spam, WKs, Biker spam, etc. However I believe that it would have to be an all-out list with only minor shooting elements to open up transports. Utilizing Corpsethief and perhaps other formations is the key IMHO, especially with the VP boosts.

Inspired by one of our fellow archons, I did some mathammer on our assault choices (established best points-cost-per-unsaved-wound-caused ratio) (against MEQ, TEQ, GEQ and MC) and there is sooo much potential in there. Definitely much more than in shooting TBH. From PURELY OFFENSIVE point of view the top choices starting with the best are Incubi, Grots, Reavers, Hellions (!I know!) (fully kitted), Mandrakes, Sslyth, Scourges (Carbines, fully kitted), Wyches (fully kitted). Counting that all units with assault weapons shoot their target prior to charging. The only exception are Reavers, who will probably be jinking. I also counted the cost of delivery system (transport) in this ratio. I need to remake the table though, coz I did not count the possible shooting of the transport. But the results will differ only slightly. Fully kitted means champion with Agoni (or ECW in Grots).

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 10:36

Thor665 wrote:
Vasara wrote:
But still I wouldn't say that purely assault armies are dead in competitive play. There are some viable builds that can compete with top shooty lists. Assault DE is not one of those lists.
Viable pure assault lists?
Like which?
Vasara wrote:
We have two daemon players that do well with their rush lists.

CSM Jugg Lord + blind fury + chaos beasts (moving 12"), combined with double/triple maulerfiend (moving 12") can be nasty (with some long range support of course).

Everybody will agree that an assault list relies on inherent speed (too me, relying on vehicules is dangerous as they can be easily immobilised).
Unfortunately, our only assault troop moving 12" a.k.a. beastpack has been nerfed with last codex... reavers are cool, but they are not resilient enough when facing "ignore cover" armies...

Our other Close Combat troops need an expendable vehicule to be efficient. And we do not have access to Land Raider...
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 10:52

I think the way things are going and have gone with assault, the workable focused assault armies are very thin on the ground, whereas (like Thor said) the number of workable balanced and shooting armies outnumber them drastically (I'm not saying a competitive assault list isn't possible, but there won't be many).

Fluffily, I can completely see why GW have taken the view that shooting is more important, because in an environment where ships can cross the galaxy in a matter of weeks, clubbing someone over the head with a big stick does seem like it would be kind of inefficient (anyone that's thinking starship troopers by the way, I'd just like to point out what happened when they started doing stuff right, and used aircraft to bomb the bugs).

In game terms though, what infuriates me most about the assault phase (said it before and i'll say it again until it changes) is that movement, which is supposed to be your unit advancing carefully and cautiously, gets you 6". Charging headlong screaming and brandishing your club/axe/pointy stick you could quite reasonably end up travelling a significantly lower distance than that. Charge range of 6+D6" PLEASE GW!

Going back to the OP, yes, I think the assault phase is 'worth it', i use a succubus with grotguard as my main HQ and with the open topped transport and their damage, they are successful. Sure, they don't always win you the game, or even necessarily 'make their points back' in terms of kills, but yesterday i played Tau, and even though I lost, my assault unit took down my opponent's HQ netting me a couple of VP's and forced his riptide to spend most of the game running away from them.

@Aurynn - the problem with that concept is that the fragility of everything in that list bar the grots means that against a competent opponent, you'll maybe get a third of your assault units into combat - casualties to shooting, overwatch and morale check failures will mean that your assault is ineffective.

As others have said, assault is a tool, and a useful one, but I wouldn't try to build a competitive army around it (well, maybe wraithblades on raiders...)

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 11:20

You think that there is an army that can destroy 2/3 of your army in one turn? Because T2 you are charging. I am not saying it is an easy way to win or that it is all-powerful, but I believe that it is viable and sorely underestimated and in comp environment it should utilize alternate VP gains like Corpsethief.

And Wraithblades? From math point of view they are offensively slightly worse than Sslyth or Mandrakes on MEQ, much much worse against TEQ, significantly worse on GEQ and same or worse on MCs (depending on MC type). They look very good on paper. But reality is bit different.
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 11:31

They don't have to kill 2/3 of your army from their own shooting, but between blowing up transports, which cause their own casualties, failed pinning tests, morale checks and charges, and overwatch I think 1/3 isn't an unreasonable estimate.

the wraithblade comment was pure throwaway silliness, I'd never use eldar with dark eldar unless it was part of a narrative game.

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 11:58

Well I think it is very unlikely. Not impossible, but very unlikely and can be helped or avoided. I have heard of armies that can put out 140 S6 shots, but do not see many of these running around.

I dont even want to start a debate about exploding transports and the possible losses as I consider this friendly brainstorming, but will just say this - we have units that are not bothered by exploding transports because they are tough, have high AS or just dont use transports.

And the greatest advantage? Who will expect it? Take White-Scars bike rush - do you think they expect getting charged and bitchslapped? :-) Just for the look on the opponent's face! :-D
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 16:14

Vasara wrote:
We have two daemon players that do well with their rush lists.
I will admit, hearing that, and the CSM/Maulerfiend one, mostly makes me think that they are playing against players who haven't figured out how to build a shooting list. I would be pretty content facing those with my DE who are not a top tier list and are more fragile to multi-assault than most.

aurynn wrote:
You think that there is an army that can destroy 2/3 of your army in one turn? Because T2 you are charging.
That's not actually the question - the question is "how much can he kill in one turn + overwatch + his own swings in assault + his shooting phase afterwards compared to how much you can kill in one turn of assault"

The answer is usually "enough that you can't properly wipe him out, and thus he secures the victory" in my opinion. And since usually means most of the time, that means that shooting appears to be more powerfully placed in the game, making it the wiser competitive track.

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 17:09

Thank you all for sharing your opinions and experiences. I'm curious about the math hammer Aurynn did on assault units effectiveness.

I'm aware that in a competitive environment assault based DE (70% assault with shooting support) isn't the most effective because of the current rules set.

I'm playing in a more casual setting, so I'm not looking for the OP builds with deathstars and the likes.

As an example the list I ran for 1500 points:

Succubus
4 Grots with Agoniser Aberration in Raider with EA and NS.
10 Wyches with 3 Hydras and Agon Heka in Raider with EA and NS.
5 Warriors with Blaster in Venom
Empty Venom
9 Reavers with 3 CC and Agon A Champ
HayScourges (for popping a transport a turn)
Dark Artisan Formation (Heamy with the Nightmare Doll and is the Warlord) for soaking fire and boosting FnP and claiming the centre of the table.

The current tactic I'm inclining too is to set up Reavers as a screen unit and deploy as forward as possible behind them. This to ensure assault in Turn 2. Move everything up as deep into enemy DZ to minimize Flyer punishment.
My idea is that putting 100% of the army on the board on turn 1 can give you an advantage over armies who do use reserves. That might create an opportunity to force the opponent back or lock them in CC.
Of course, if the opponent has a decent source of Ingore Cover fire, the whole plan should be adapted to cowering behind LoS blocking terrain and hope that you still make it into CC. This is the main reason for me that it won't work in a competitive environment.

An important part of picking your assaults is that you shouldn't wipe them on the charge turn, as you want to get stuck in CC. So that why I have OS Wyches in the list: they can assault a unit camping on an objective and still be able to score objectives. Reavers will do the same but will be able to also use Hit & Run.
Turn 3 Grots (and Reavers) can charge in for killing off certain units.
Later the Dark Artisan can destroy any unit it can reach or at least lock it down.

I only played one game and even with the failed charges the plan seemed to work. I must admit that I was lucky enough to have two skyfire nexuses.
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 18:56

Thor665 wrote:
shooting appears to be more powerfully placed in the game, making it the wiser competitive track.
I dont dispute this. But that does not make assault lists not viable. Only more difficult to build and play.

@Jairo I am not sure when I will be able to finish the table, but the important stuff I already wrote. The units I mentioned are just offensively best overall. Which does not mean that a list built only from those will necessarily be good. :-)

Although for a friendly environment I think that assault units can be superfun!
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 19:17

aurynn wrote:
Thor665 wrote:
shooting appears to be more powerfully placed in the game, making it the wiser competitive track.
I dont dispute this. But that does not make assault lists not viable. Only more difficult to build and play.
If something is "more difficult" to win with then it is "less viable" when the goal is winning with regularity.

Like, if I was given two players of equal skill and each designed an army, one based on shooting and the other based on assault (with, let's say the 70/30 split discussed earlier), and no one suffered "bad luck" or "good luck" who would one expect to win, on average, more games?

If the answer is - the shooting army.
That does suggest that assault is gakky in this edition and that assault armies are not viable builds for competitive play.

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 20:16

You are very right Thor. And yet I really like to create a working assault army. Maybe because of the challenge but mainly just because I like the idea of assault.
I would like to discuss here how this can be done most effectively.
Aurynn, you did mention that Hellions are one of the more effective assault units. What factors do you take into account?
My gut analysis is that their main strength is their skyboard and splinter pods.
But they need to remove their target as they don't have any survivability. I disregarded assault because they lack grenades.
I am really curious on how they could work.
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 21:33

You are of a similar mind as I am Jairo. While Thor is right, I dislike the fact that just because statistics, internet and general consensus says that shooting is superior, people do not even try to make assault work. Considering sweeping advances and other elements we have units that can be brutally efficient in assault.

As for Hellions - yes. Their splinterpods make majority of the damage. And the AP3 Agoniser on champ. Their fragility though makes them really fall in the back of the choices available even if they can get S6 on charge with PfP and good drug roll. They also could make an appealing (fragile) target which could take some heat off the major elements of the army while if left ignored, they CAN cause a real damage, but this is just a theory and to be honest, I will not be trying them before I try everything else.

With Wyches, Reavers, Hellions, Incubi a good part of damage output lies with one or few models out of the entire unit (Caltrops, Champion with Agoni). Which is a curse and a boon. As their offensive power diminishes slower with each casualty. It also makes the units more expensive and the calculated effectiveness ratio that I am using goes down with the champ. Not up. And to have it even more complicated, without the tooled champ the units would need to linger too long in one combat or emerge in a wrong phase.

Assault lists are IMHO very, very difficult to build and balance properly. But the challenge is interesting and it also removes some of the difficulties our shooting lists have.
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 21:39

aurynn wrote:
You are of a similar mind as I am Jairo. While Thor is right, I dislike the fact that just because statistics, internet and general consensus says that shooting is superior, people do not even try to make assault work. Considering sweeping advances and other elements we have units that can be brutally efficient in assault.
I am not saying assault doesn't work.
I am also not saying that assault cannot work.
I am saying that an assault centric army is a poor choice competitively speaking since shooting is superior this edition.

I think assault, and assault units, are good and have a place in army builds.
But if you ask me to go to a tourney and ask if I'll focus my army on shooting or assault - I'm always answering 'shooting'.

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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 21:45

40k is a futuristic game, so it makes sense that shooding would be the most common and effective method of fighting. But that doesnt stop me from running my Footslogging Coven army lol
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 21:49

I know. I understand what you are saying and cannot disagree in general. But I think it is a shame.

All I am saying is that I welcome everyone who has the balls to try something shunned by others and I want to encourage this because they might just show us that the truth is not as universal as is believed... :-)
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Fri Nov 14 2014, 21:53

My rule of thumb is this: The Internet is not the real world, just because they say it's the meta or the best (And it may very well be) it doesnt mean that its the be all end all of army building in 7th. My Coven of 1000pts held out against 2000pts of mixed shooty aand assaulty tyrandis until turn 5. Needless to say i wwas killed, but damn those tyranids had only a HANDFUL of models left.
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PostSubject: Re: Is assault based pure DE viable   Sat Nov 15 2014, 01:57

Been reading along here as I come up with plans for my own DE collection. I really, really dislike the drive-by-shooting style of play conceptually, as effective as it is. So looking for other ways to use the army.

One of the biggest issues an assault focused army will have to contend with IMHO is - What do you do when you come across another assault based army? Against a shooting army, your objectives are clear (get to assault, tie the dangerous stuff down, choppy while minimizing their firing lanes). But you still need an answer for when you happen across that full Khorne or CC Daemons list.

Also, mathammering CC units is less reliable than shooting. In shooting, you fire, cause X expected casualties with a certain deviation and both units move on with the game. In CC, that happens, then they strike back, then there are break checks and then maybe another round or not. Definitely, the idea is to get a unit into CC and kill the enemy in 2 turns, but not 1 - but this is a difficult thing to groom squads for in an all comers list thanks to the variation in potential enemy types and squad sizes.

An upside for CC to consider is if you do tie things into a prolonged assault, CC units get to strike twice per game turn while shooters only shoot once. This is why the defensive characteristics of CC units are worth looking at too, keeping more models around means more offense as well.

The more I look at CC, the more MSU looks appealing. One, it gives more transports for some fire support and juking enemies if their CC ends up being better than mine. Two, this is a way to reduce the effectiveness of overwatch. I'd much rather be charging with 2 squads of 5 wyches than one squad of 10, since they can only overwatch one enemy.
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