Are Hammer units dead?

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Are Hammer units dead?

Postby Generalissimo_Fred » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:30 am

I don't get to very many tournaments, but I keep up with things on websites and blogs. I appreciate that most 40k players want to tell the world about their exploits and I am oh so eager to learn what they are doing and read their minds. Reading a few blogs this weekend (especially the 11th company) got me thinking.

Are 40k Hammer units dead?

A Hammer unit is a high point 'death star' unit. Thunderwolf Cav, Nob Bikers, TH/SS Terminaters, etc...


The idea that the Hammer unit is dead begins with the advent of the Grey Knight Codex. The units in that codex excel at killing Death Stars (Hammer units). It's not just Paladins or other GK marine death stars, it has been shown that 8 Death cult Assassins with a techmarine can take out pretty much any enemy Hammer unit in the game. The DCA cost 120pts and the techmarine might be 130pts max. That's not the cost of a death star, but it takes other ones out.

I myself have used Hammer units in almost every army I write up to some degree. A minimal sized hammer unit (like 5 assault terminators) is good at countering enemy death stars. Maybe not to beat them straight up, but at least to tie them up or weaken them to the point that something else can stop them.

Has the advent of the GK codex put an end to death stars?

I loved to play with 6 death company marines all with power weapons and a chaplain. That unit has 24 ws 5, str 5 power weapon attacks at initiative 5 that can reroll all hits and all wounds. It is fantastic at taking out anything it touches and was my counter to enemy assault termies or T-Wolf cav. With the GK codex I have removed them from my list because GK purifiers with halberds would strike at initiative 6 and decimate the death company before they could attack. DCA do the same thing. It nerfed my hammer unit.

I've removed that hammer for a more defuse attack by using those points to pick up multiple smaller units.


I don't see Space Wolves being able to hold on to their T-Wolf Cav for very long. There are to many GK units that will kill the Cav unit (even with T-Wolf Lords in there). And those GK units will be a fraction of the cost of the T-Wolf Unit.

GK are easy to make and easy to paint. They should be in every tournament and in good numbers. I would be surprised if the local meta does not have them present in good numbers. How stubborn can us old Hammer unit players be in the face of this?

When DE hit the stores it signaled the end of walking lists as their poison weapons made a mockery of things outside of transports. Has the GK codex put an end to an entire list building strategy in Hammer unit (Death Star builds)?
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Postby seahawk » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:49 am

If anything, I'm happy for it. I disliked death star units (like the really nasty ones) because of their power. Now, 40k is more rock-paper-scissors. There's a counter to everything instead of one thing being able to dominate everything all the time. Everyone (seemingly) used thunderpoops and that made going to AWC events incredibly boring.

Now that things are switching up, the games are more interesting and entertaining.

Hammer units are not dead. They just need to be handled with more finesse and skill, rather than "point and click I win hurr hurr."
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Postby Generalissimo_Fred » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:21 am

seahawk wrote: Everyone (seemingly) used thunderpoops and that made going to AWC events incredibly boring.




I remember when a good 25-30% of participants were Space Wolves. I made a Tyranid list designed to just kill Space Wolves and it did very well against them. Ymgarls to jump on Long Fangs in the backfield, poisoned Hormagants to maul TWC in combat, etc... Then it met the Dark Eldar and rock-papers-scissors took over.
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Postby seahawk » Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:59 pm

A good thing about it is that it encourages the use of different armies. At the last AWC there was what, 2-3 puppy players? There were 3 GK players as well, I being one of them. I didn't play against any SW armies, but the threat that anybody bringing a GK army poses to the death star unit makes others less likely to bring certain armies/units. While one could argue that this is a bad thing, I like to think it produces variety instead of stagnation. Creativity can once again be used to possibly win tournaments ;).
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Postby Generalissimo_Fred » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:46 pm

Think about it. If GK do indeed kill the Death Star, then that should open up the field to armies that were once hurt by those very same Death Stars.

I have a great IG army, but I never bring it out to play because of the threat of Greg Swanson's all biker army. My IG can't hold a candle to Greg's bikes. But if the GK prevent Greg from ever bringing those bikes out again, then that should mean I can bring the IG out to play.

Let me be clear. The GK codex does not kill all Death Stars. Heck it can bring one of it's own in the form of paladins. Even 8 Death Cult Assassins can wreck havoc through an IG parking lot if they have a librarian with Might of Titan with them.

But instead of facing Death Stars from every direction I only have to worry about the GK and even with Stormravens, those TWC are still faster on the tabletop.

Some might say variety will suffer because so many will turn to GK, but not everyone needs to turn to them. Only enough to present a threat to Death Star builds. The rest of us can make army lists to defeat the GK (or at least get to a 50/50 split).
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Postby Lord Krungharr » Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:13 pm

I usually don't use a Death Star unit, but if I can make it to the next AWC tournament, we'll see if my Chaos Marine version can do something competitive. Maybe I'd call more of a Death Star and Star Destroyer list.
Then if I get whooped maybe I'll call such units dead (for now...)
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Postby tg787 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:07 pm

Fred, the title should be “Is close combat dead for everyone but grey knights?’. The answer is yes, from the first few days it jumped out to me how sick they are going to be in CC and being someone who prefers close combat I was interested. It makes me laugh when people say it’s a bad cc book. I decided at wargamescon that I had to play GK if I wanted to have an assault army after I played four straight really bad GK lists and they could all deal with 15 thunder wolves/lords in close combat. Oh and why we are at it they are the best shooting army also, lol. In my opinion they do every list better then any other book except spam cheap power armor guys, un killable skimmers with a crazy un-killable psycher and his pet demon, drop pod or FNP spam. Kind of stupid.
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Postby Zero_Cool » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:01 pm

tg787 wrote:In my opinion they do every list better then any other book except spam cheap power armor guys, un killable skimmers with a crazy un-killable psycher and his pet demon, drop pod or FNP spam. Kind of stupid.


Sorry to de-rail but what are these lists that you are referring to?
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Postby Generalissimo_Fred » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:45 am

tg787 wrote:Fred, the title should be “Is close combat dead for everyone but grey knights?’. The answer is yes,



I feel an army still needs CC punch. Not every game will be against Grey Knights and even Grey Knights have problems in CC against certain units and combinations. These might not be very common and they tend to not be Death Star Units.

IMO it has become unwise to sink a large number of points into one unit that can only get it's points back from CC. It can work for a while, but eventually you will have to face the GK and in that matchup it won't work.

It's not the end of the world. There are counters to the GK CC threat. Lists need to change, but the armies you play can still be effective.
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Postby muwhe » Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:40 am

It's not the end of the world. There are counters to the GK CC threat. Lists need to change, but the armies you play can still be effective.


Well it certainly is not our first rodeo is it Fred? It is hills and valleys. The game survived the 12 Oblit lists, Biel Tan spam, Mech IG, Rhino Rush Blood Angels, SW Blood Claw combos with Crusaders, Feral Orcs, and it will "Leaf Blower IG, SW Mech Spam, DE Venom spam, and Grek Knights.

At any given point there are a few in favor builds.

So my advice ... Breath deep. Don't like the current meta game. Wait a bit and things will shift. 6th edition is right around the corner and everything will come back around in time.
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