On Episode 60, we have a little banter going on about 13 armor walkers, but there isn't much substantial in the conversation other than some points and quips.
I thought it would make a good BLOG post to explain the finer points about 13 Armor Walkers and why I'm mildly obsessed with them at the moment.
So, what's the deal with 13 Armor Walkers? 13 Armor Walkers provide some substantial advantages in a game of 40K that should be seriously considered by anyone building a list, especially if you are having trouble with some of the rougher assault armies in the game. If you aren't having troubles with assault armies, you might not care about 13 Armor Walkers. (That also tells me that your local meta really needs somebody to start playing some good assault armies!)
What do 13 Armor Walkers bring to the table that is so special? 13 Front Armor of course! No, really. Let's examine the benefits that 13 Front Armor provides in an assault.
1) Anything Strength 3 can't hurt it. So what, you say? I mean anything! Doesn't matter if it's carrying a power fist or has rending. That means your 13 Front Armor walker is invincible versus some really nasty beasties out there in the 40K Universe like embedded guard fists/eviscerators or more importantly, Slaanesh demons. Having trouble with big pack of Seekers? Not anymore because once your walker assaults them, they are screwed.
2) Anything with Strength 4/5/6 can't hurt it. So what, you say? What does this mean? First, it means Marines assaulted by a 13 FA Walker can't use their grenades to glance it. Sure, 12 FA Walkers are the bomb here too, but the 13 FA guarantees no damage. Death Company pissing your off? How about those Demon Bloodcrushers? Relic blade wielding maniac? Some crazy Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard unit backed up by some priest, Dante, and the kitchen sink got you down?
3) Dude. That's why people take thunderhammers and powerfists in their squads! Because Dreadnaughts suck to tangle with.
True. Those things are great answers to 12 FA Dreadies, but against 13 FA, they aren't so great. Can they get lucky and penetrate your 13 FA? Of course! Let's get real about those odds though!
First, let's assume that some Powerfist wielding Death Company maniac is going to try to take your Iron Clad dreadies' lunch money. Okay, he needs 3's to hit. So, that's 2/3 of his attacks that hit. If he gets 3 attacks, that means he'll get 2 hits.
Next, he needs a whopping 6 to penetrate you. Hmmm... not looking good for our black clad maniac. Only 1/6 of his hits will penetrate. That means of his two hits, 1 in every 3 rounds of combat will result in a penetrate on average.
Then, once he finally does penetrate, he needs to roll a 5 or a 6 to kill your Dread to escape the combat. Crud, that means only 1 in 3 penetrates will destroy you, and thus, only 1 in every 9 rounds of combat will that Death Company psycho actually kill your Dread.
In the meantime, your Dread is chopping up death company with his DCCW like he's practicing for The Iron Chef.
4) So, a 12 FA is good enough right? Using our example from above, note instead of 1/6 to penetrate, it's a 1/3. For those of you even slightly math inclined, you'll note that a 13 FA is 100% more (or twice as) survivable as a 12.
That's pretty darn significant if you are fighting SEVERAL black clad, powerfist wield, maniacs at the same time. A normal Dread might go down in a round or 2. A 13 FA will stand up longer which invariably means more dead DC by the time they exit the combat. Your Dread might have already chewed up enough of them that they no longer pose a threat.
5) Normal Strength 4 rending attacks can only ever glance. Sucks to be a genestealer fighting a 13 FA dread because they basically can't kill you. They need to hit. They need 6's to rend. They need a 5/6 just to glance. And from there, they need to immobilize, knock both your arms off, and finally kill you. Good luck while the Dread is merrily tearing them asunder.
6) Strength 5 and 6 monstrous creatures don't like 13 FA so much either. Even at Strength 6, they need a roll of 8 or higher to penetrate. Might not seem like much, but it's only like a 40% chance. This isn't the case for FA 12, where a roll of 7 means they have about a 58% chance to penetrate per swing. This is significant.
Basically, you take a 13 FA Dread when you find yourself constantly having to deal with some assault unit that is fast and you can't stop it. Of course, it doesn't work versus a squad of thunder hammers. (But it is does work 100% better than a normal dread.)
However, against so many other really irritating assault units in the game, he will work like a champion. How many Blood Angel players carry enough fists to kill a 13 armor dread reliably? Think about it. Your Dread waits patiently while the enemy closes, then he jumps on 'em like a spider monkey. You could effectively wipe out huge, very expensive squads while they helplessly sit there.
I know. You'll just shoot my Dread right?
Here's the thing. I've spent usually around 130ish point for my little toy. He's cheap. I also know how ridiculously effective he is against a lot of assault elements. Let's say you have some of those elements, and I just KNOW how awesome it's going to be when my dread ties up your 400 point monstrosity in a protracted combat, your 200 point IC who would otherwise wreck face, your most expensive hammer squads, or what have you.
You know it too so you REALLY want to shoot my dread before you get close to my army.
Tactically, the advantage is mine. I can hide my Dread, out of LoS. Who cares if he doesn't get to shoot? You can't shoot him, and he's effectively stalling what would otherwise be something really nasty from getting into my lines. More turns for me to shoot. I'll hide him. Bubblewrap him. Whatever. Because, basically, he's the answer to all my problems.
Think about it next time you are wondering what you could add to your list that would be pretty effective at stalling an assault army.
And remember, in a pinch, even though 13 FA is ideal, 12 FA works too.
Hold up entire 30 man boyz squads for round after round....
Be impervious to most demon units....
Cause many Blood Angel assault units to wonder if descent of angels works in reverse...
13 FA Walkers are definitely worth some thought.