Thursday, December 9, 2010

Deathstars: Can your shields repel firepower of this magnitude?

Well, last night I saw the beginning of a fight for the ages: a Bear riding Wolf Lord and his Thunderwolf buddies facing off against a Warboss and his nob squad of ultimate cheesiness.  I was pretty sure that how it was going to end when I left (only one assault phase in, but there were only 4 wounds worth of wolves left on on the field).  It did prompt me to think about Deathstars - those mass of killy-ness that you fear hitting your lines and rejoice when you see them die.

Everyone has seen at least one example: wound-allocation optimized Nobs, bike and foot mounted Seer Councils riding the Fortune/Doom train, maxed out Nob bikers with a 3+ cover and FNP, Thunderwolf cav with Stormshields and a couple Thunderhammers, Skarbrand and his Bloodcrusher buddies, an Archon and Drazhar leading Incubi off a fast Raider...

They can certainly hurt, but are they worth it?  It can certainly save on Kill Points by investing that many points in one uber-unit (SeerK had a 11 man Seer Council in his 9 KP 1850 list last night), but it can only be in one place.  It certainly focuses your opponent's attention, which could distract him from the rest of your army - assuming they can take that much hostile attention.

For me, my guard armies don't tend to have the option of fielding a Deathstar.  About the closest we could come would be a 50man power blob with Straken or Creed in support, and I don't have the models.  My personal answer is the Psyker battle squad - many uber-units are not fearless, and I can do 25% and then watch them flee, hopefully off the board.  Failing that, mass firepower will eventually stop them and the occasional unit may have to be sacrificed to slow them down.

I have been known to stuff a Grey Knight Grand Master and his 7 NFW-wielding buddies in a GK Land Raider Crusader when playing Daemonhunters, and that's about as Deathstar as you can get there - 557 points plus transport of STR 6 power weapons and a "remove from play" force weapon.  They wiped out Capt. Obvious's Bloodcrushers in a single turn, without losses, a week or so ago.  But charged by a pair of Demon Princes, they could not take that many armor-ignoring attacks.  Still, they were almost certainly worth their points that battle (they may have been less central if the rest of my dice had been less hostile).

So, what are your opinions?  Do you field your own Deathstar forces, or do you see them as too many chickens in too small of a basket?  And how do you deal with uber-units on the other side of the field from you?


  1. I have played deldar for 2 years and with the new codex I really have no idea whether or not it's deathstar.

  2. As for your IG, you don't need deathstar. Just throw enough Chimera to slow down their deathstar, you should have enough turns of shooting to melt them.

    I personally like multi-mini-deathstars. They act as a distraction, and that's it.

    Very often, I have seen people commit so much into their big deathstar. Once we kill it, their list just fall apart.

    My short answer to you regarding how to deal against our opponents' deathstars is understanding their deathstars' weakness and exploit it.

    Easy examples are Seer Council is instant kill the Farseer at all cost, and then the warlock will fall apart.

    Nob bikers is str 8 weapons. And the list goes on....

  3. Deathstar units are much more commonly used as a focal point in armies run by newer players or folks who haven't refined their game. The reason more experienced players quit messing with them is because they are very expensive and will do well unless somebody can exploit their weakness. Suddenly your playing rock paper scssors amd your rock Deathstar gets killed by IG paper.

    I won't say they this OS totally exclusive as an experienced player who has overcome his deathstar fascination can then build deathstar like units and use them to manipulate the Enemy's decisions. Just some of my thoughts. As a bug player I can say that dealing with things like fateweaver is very frustrating as I lack the volume of mid to high strength shots to make him run away, then durable s5 powerweapons come along for an even carrier ride. That same fateweaver setup will get blown away by shoot codex marines, wolves or guard.

  4. Death stars really do take the focus off of the rest of your army. I don't know if my big seer councils can be considered a true death star, but the unit is very nasty and expensive. IT my case it is multi funtional though. If I field one Farseer its Eldrad because of the amount of psychic powers he can cast. this makes up for the lack of a second seer. Psychic powers make up a big portion of my army theme and strategy so I need to keep Eldrad alive with the 25 point buffers I call warlocks. it just so happens when these guys are weilding witch blades they can deal with just about anything thrown at them.
    Having the invulnerable save also means they take a lot of fire the rest of the army does not get.
    Case in point our game Wednesday. We were shutting each other down like crazy when it came to psychic powers. that really hampered my game and resulted in the Avatars very early death.
    I also like staying below 10 kill points in an army. Dark Eldar is killing me on that one so far.