Lord Kaldor Draigo. If you spend any time on the various internet 40K forums, you know this name as the worst fluff GW has ever written, and a stain on the 40K universe. I really don't think it's as bad as that (people exagerate WILDLY for effect when talking about him), and isn't it really more important how effective he is on the table? So I decided to try him out this past weekend, first against Papa Nurgle's demons, then against a local ork player. And since Supreme Grand Master Draigo make squads of Paladins Troops, I ran an all-Paladin list with possibly the finest Death Star unit in the game today.
My list was simple:
Lord Kaldor Draigo
Grey Knight Librarian w/ Warp Rift, Might of Titan, Shrouding, Sanctuary and a MC Halberd
2 Rifleman Dreads w/ Psybolts
5 Paladins w/ 2 MC Psycannons, 2 Halberds, 2 Swords, and a Hammer
10 Paladins - 4 MC Psycannons, Warding Staff, Apocothery, Brotherhood Banner, mix of Hammers/Swords/Halberds/MC Halberds, Psybolts
And that's it. 1850 points, 19 models. It felt terrifyingly small, but the squad of 12 (Draigo, Librarian, 10 Paladins) proved to be incredibly resistant.
My first game was against our local demon player named "Papa Nurgle". But his list today was Tzentch/Slanesh - 3 squads of Horrors (one with Changling), 3 squads of Flamers, 2 heralds (attached to flamer squads), a Keeper of Secrets, and a Slaneshi Prince. All the squads at at least one bolt, both MCs had pavane, and his strategy was quite simple (we discussed it after the game) - Pavane my squads into nice flamer-sized bunches, jump the flamers in and hose me down. It was a good plan - taking advantage of my lack of good invul saves vs. shooting. However, it was not to be.
Papa's mistake was to fatally underestimate the shooting potential of my Paladin units. I think that everyone is so used to seeing Assault Terminators (let's face it - when was the last time you saw a SM player take shooty termies?), that they don't expect to see mass shooting coming from them, and Paladins can do it better than most (16 Str 7 rending shots, 12 Str 5 shots, and I could have thrown a large blast if I remembered it). Both of his MCs died the turn they dropped, one due to rifledreads alone, one due to dreads plus Paladins. The Horrors with changeling also died from a single volley of the large paladin squad. The flamers came in, shot at me once, then died (or got assaulted - one flamer squad that mishapped got placed out of flame template range but within charge range of a dreadnaught - took them completely out of the game). At the end of round 5, the only models he had left were the few flamers still in combat with that Dread - by the end of 7 (we rolled it out for fun), he had exactly one flamer left in that squad - so at least I didn't table him, he claims! On my end, I lost ZERO models - I had 6-8 wounded paladins (from flamers), but no deaths.
Draigo didn't do much in this fight as far as combat, but he did add a surprising survivability factor to the Paladin squad. As I mentioned, every horror and flamer squad had a model with bolt available. With my Paladins, I would lose a whole model every time I failed a 5+ invul save against them. However, with Draigo in the squad, I could always allocate the bolt to him. No only was he T5 eternal warrior (so no instant death), but he had a 3+ invul from his stormshield. One bolt did get through the shield, but it only caused a wound - and since he had 3, I felt safe continuing to allocate bolts to him. Really eased my worry about those Bolts of Change.
My next game, as I mentioned, was against Orcs. I took the same list, and faced 3 battlewagons (one with mega-armored nobs+warboss, 2 with 20 boys), a truck full of nobs, a 30 man foot shoota squad, and a warbuggy. I was a little worried about that AV14, but figured I'd have to trust to the rending, and moving the Dreads for flank shots. We ended up rolling Spearhead deployment, and 3 objectives. I put one fairly center board, my opponent put one 13" away also centered, and I shrugged and put the last one 13" away from the other two, in a nice triangle in the middle of the table. I figured this favored me - my one rock hard unit could potentially claim all 3 objectives.
As my opponent said after the game, he "just didn't have ANYTHING to deal with those Paladins". Mass shooting does incredibly little to 2+, FNP, 2 wound models. His nob squad managed to kill off my 5 man paladin squad (although it was closer than I thought, due to Sanctuary and force weapons), but Meganobs vs Force weapons is a BAD idea, I managed to pop or immobilize the battlewagons before they could Deffrolla me, and the brotherhood banner plus charge meant that I was killing so many boys they broke everytime I fought them in CC. I did lose a total of 8 models this game (including my Librarian), but basically tabled him (2 broken units below 50%, a Big Mek, and an immobilized buggy) turn 4 or 5.
Now, the Death Star did perform above my expectations (I really expected to lose more to Bolts and Claws instant death), but it did cost 1255 points with the 2 ICs attached (800 points for the 10 pallies). It is definately the nastiest Death Star in the game, in my opinion (perhaps with one small addtion - a Techmarine with Rad/Psykotroke/Blind grenades), far exceeding Nobs, Thunderwolf Cav, or even FateCrushers.
Would I run this competitively? Probably not. I hope to try it out against Mech IG or Space Marines soon, just to watch it fail. Anything with large numbers of melta, STR 8 shooting (preferably AP 1 or 2), and such is going to eat this for lunch, I'm guessing. But it was a nice change from IG!