Monday, 25 November 2013

Throne of Skulls Army List

So without further ado below is what I am planning on taking.
Of course as the list submission deadline is at handing it in during registration I reserve the right to change it the night before, (somewhat unlikely).

Pre Heresy Death Guard: Ultra marines chapter tactics

HQ & Warlord



5 tactical Marines with flamer
5 scouts Bolters
5 scouts Shotguns and combi flamer
Landspeeder Storm Transport Heavy flamer, cerebus launcher

Heavy Support

3 centurions with grav cannon, hurricane bolters and omniscope
Landraider transport, twin linked heavy bolter and las cannons
3 centurions with grav cannon, hurricane bolters and omniscope
Landraider transport, twin linked heavy bolter and las cannons
Stalker, Icarus storm cannon array, (quad gun on wheels).

1500 points on the nose.

Where is the thunderfire cannon?

Good question but I’m not entirely convinced they are the auto take they once were. My first and primary reason for not having one is that I’m not purchasing one whilst it is made out of finecast. I’ve had a mixed bag with it and had happy positive experiences with Logan grimnar and mutilators to not so happy Necron lord, cryptek and the changeling. Floppy staff syndrome.

From a gaming point of view, with it being barrage four now rather than just 4 shots and the tech marine being BS4 instead of BS5, it becomes less accurate over the course of a game. Also in my list it has to start on the board to be effective and becomes the target for anything that can not harm landraiders at range. The stalker on the other hand benefits from starting off board, depending on opponent and set up.

Stalker, Hunter or even the Whirlwind?

The Hunter packs more punch but at one shot and being unlikely to be able to prescienced makes it less reliable. The stalker is a cheaper version of the quad gun but on wheels. Not super reliable at downing flyers at AV12 but AV11 or 10 are easy meat. Throw in the ability to split fire at BS2 albeit not twinlinked could be useful against flying monstrous creatures to force grounding tests.

For its points the whirlwind is not bad but the only downside is the rhino chassis it is on. The stalker has AV12 front and side and as well as being able to shoot skimmers normally. The extra survivability makes at useful for a blocking unit for the centurions rather than the landraiders. Having the stalker does take some of the strain off the centurion units for dealing with flyers.

LandSpeeder storm and scouts

Directly at the end of Octoberfest I considered dropping the storm but I have reconsidered. The mobility it grants and the ability to drop a heavy flamer on a back field unit is priceless. It also means its possible to keep the scouts safe for a further turn before jumping out for an objective.

The bolter scouts are there primarily because of cost and having the added option of infiltrating and outflanking. If I end up playing a heavy scout dependent list like white scars or khorne dogs I can speed bump them by infiltrating the scouts within 18inches of the offending unit so they can only scout 6inches directly forward. The army is a bit troop lite but hopefully they won’t face too much in the way of fire by the time they turn up. I can also use the stalker as mobile terrain to hide behind if there were no flyers in the opponent’s army.

Spell priority

The spells I want and will not reroll are the holy trinity of perfect timing, forewarning and scriers gaze. Prescience is not that essential due to the chapter tactics and tigurius’ warlord trait of Storm of fire.

Order of Preference

1 Perfect timing
2 Forewarning
3 Scriers gaze
4 Prescience
5 Misfortune
6 Precognition
7 Foreboding – dance disaster darling.

Perfect timing is the most useful and makes it very nasty as one of my Monday night opponents down Woking 1st Founding found out recently. Twin linked AP2 ignoring cove, rerolling to wound is a bag of joy and lets not forget the hurricane bolters. Forewarning and scriers gaze are not two to swap out or roll again just to try for perfect timing just because they make the army work so well. A 4+ invulnerable save does not need much explanation.

Combine scriers gaze with Tigurius’ ability to re roll reserves means I have almost complete control on when my reserves turn up and greater control to which side they outflank onto. This combination makes it a 0.14% chance for a unit to not come on from reserve if you specifically want to keep it off. Even for an outflanking unit to not get the side you want to come on from with scrier’s gaze is 3.7%.

Prescience is not as essential as mentioned above as having the holy trinity of powers make this army really powerful.

I would always roll again with misfortune mainly as it is a bit more situational and not in my opinion as useful as prescience for these guys.  It would not really come into effect until the turn after I make my first big play which is likely to be my turn two unless I have been presented with a juicy target on turn one.  That and it can be denied while with everything else I only have a 0.7% chance of not getting the power off.

Precognition is very situational as it would only be useful in close combat which is somewhere that Tiggy is unlikely wanting to be and foreboding on a unit which cannot overwatch is slightly pointless.

So in essence when I roll for powers I keep any of the first three and reroll the rest and swap out for prescience if I roll one of the other three on the 2nd occasion.  I Have so far managed to get two out of the holy trinity in each game as well as prescience which combined with storm of fire allows both units to be twin linked for one turn of shooting and the use of the tactical chapter tactic on the other turn. Not forgetting the devastator tactic if flyers are needed to be shoot at.

General Tactics

The two centurion units start on the board in their landraiders with tiggy, everything else stays in reserve with both scout units possibly outflanking. I will try and keep the troops off for as long as possible, which if I have scriers gaze is almost assured, (3d6 picking the result with the option of re rolling the whole lot). The trick as I have found is to make sure I pick my fights and target priority and then use the shooting phase to move the landraiders to block incoming on the centurions.  Not as easy as you would think it is.

Meta Expectations

This is rather tricky. I feel it will be half and half of standard competitive versus fluff based and random elements. Some seemingly off the wall lists could be tricky to play against which makes it good practice and could throw the odd spanner in the works. Based on the current meta lists this is my thoughts on dealing with them.


Always tricky but I can limit the effectiveness of their  shooting attacks early on with my movable bunkers. Scriers gaze will be a must for this to get any scoring units on late. Depending on the mission and deployment going second could be advantageous to me. So even letting a screamer star power up you can play the mission and deny early shooting damage to the army. If at any time he fails the grimoire and is in range, even with the 4+ cover save for turbo boosting, I can drop 7 screamers with the centurions and landraiders.

Flying circus:

Force grounding checks with the raiders and stalker and the use of devastator tactics. The plus side is that they have to land to be able to do something.


Lack of decent ranged anti tank allows me to alpha strike the key components. Rip tides are obvious but broadside units pose the biggest threat to taking out the centurions due to the amount of wound they dish out. It is easier to take out the riptides first, hiding behind the landraiders then smite the broadsides in the following turn.

Eldar wave serpent spam:

I need to be aggressive yet patient to take these down. Multiple bright lances and wraith knights can hurt the landraiders at range so potentially need to be neutralised first although the shot output of wave serpents is not funny. I need to be in potential charge range of the serpents to finish the job.

Seer council:

Depending on their powers and if I can get perfect timing on Tigurius makes the difficulty of this game variable. I May have to roll specifically to get perfect timing, (ignores cover). Oddly if he casts the +1 to their armour roll it makes them a bit more vulnerable.


Despite falling out of favour of late multiple units of wraiths could be a problem. Whilst I can easily remove almost two units of wraiths  in a turn on average at 12inch range the number of threats and total shot output from the necrons as a whole will be tricky to deal with. The main plus side is their lack of range so careful target priority is the key. The stalker will be immensely useful against the flyers.

Beast Council:

Depending what is supporting it would define my target priority. Shooting at the beast pack requires avoiding the Baron which would tank wounds and staying out of arms reach of it for as long as possible is key.  Outflanking units and stalker could be very handy here.


This is the first time I will use an army at an event with no real close combat ability. Even though 40K is more of a shooting game a good assault unit is always handy. One of the more tricky units I could face is chaos spawn that add high toughness to low armour which negates the usefulness of hurricane bolters and the grav cannons. This is the one time when Tigurius comes in useful in close combat with his force stave to inflict the instant death on the spawn. High toughness, low armour multi wound models are a problem at this points size.

I am still kidding myself and others that I am just going to get games in and not try and steal candy from a baby. The quality of the lists and players intrigues me and it will be an interesting comparison to some of the events I have been to recently. The main issuses with the list remain which is target priority and blocking the first lot of retaliation fire followed by keeping out of assault.

Next time I will look at the math hammer of Grav cannon centurions, Grav Hammer.


  1. Nice list, good luck. On the subject of Centurions though, I think that there is one list you might like to give a try. It basically involves taking Tau as primary, taking a buff commander, shadowstrike, and putting them both in a 6strong unit of centurions. This unit then just deletes whatever it shoots at, has stealth/shrouded, infiltrate, and I like to put in a close combat bike chaptermaster as well for some extra close combat that can break off to hit something else if need be. Not that they will get pinned down, because they can hit and run away from the combat. Take some missile crisis (so you can take out transports without wasting your star's shooting), some kroot and some bikers for scoring, and I reckon you're set. Take the split fire thing on one centurion and you can reliably destroy one unit and cripple another, while being basically unkillable. Plus, infiltrate means that they get to set up where you want them

  2. Unfortunately that means taking Tau which is never an army I have massively liked. I have considered it in regards of doing mild conversions to the mechanicum models but I I wanted to run that list it would be a fish face list. I also feel that you are better off with two units so you can delete more enemy units as a unit of 6 is overkill.

    Last night in my turn one I removed both a unit of broadsides and drones plus a riptide with both units, something you could not do with one large unit. I like the idea but I am happy to tie one hand behind my back and avoid some builds as it does not grab me. I do like the idea of the chapter master and it is in the long term planning/purchasing. I'm currently trying Mephiston and a super friend inquisitor which works quite nicely.