Saturday, 17 September 2011

A quick (Seven) heads up!

Hydras are coming!

This is Big News

The following article assumes its true...

It may not seem like it at first, but I'll be honest with you.  The Hydra is incredibly strong for how little it costs... (75 points).   This means that essentially every guard player would ideally take a squadron of two as one Heavy Support Slot.  They have something they can obliterate in almost every army...
- Land Speeders and Bikes in Marines
- Anything in Eldar, Dark Eldar and Tau
- Valkyries in Guard
- Bikes and Deffkoptas in Orks
-  Destroyers in Necrons

Suppose that leaves Tyranids with their high Toughness monsters.  Guess the Strength 7 twin linked nature of the Hydra will be pretty useful there as well.

Long story short I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.  The Hydra is good, but i put to you that it's balancing factor in the past was something unique to nerd hobbies.   By that I mean of course lack of access.  Like certain early Magic cards which are considered hugely broken the main reason Hydras were balanced is because they were forgeworld only and quite expensive.  A Genuine Games Workshop kit will eradicate this.  I worry for all non-guard. 

I expect to see a lot more guard at the next tournament i attend and I expect all of them to have at least 1 Hydra.  One isn't so bad, it's a 12, 10, 10 vehicle with a huge KILL ME sign on the front of it.  This is your highest priority "take it down!"  Even if you lack speeders or bikes it's got 72 range, is twin linked and fires four shots... That's a dead transport every turn if you take a squad of 2.

Against a Rhino
(3/4*1/2*1/3)*8 = 1

  This article tells you why it isn't a guarantee , but still.  That's a sexy use of 150 points (for two) at such long range.

The trick here is moderation.  A player who took three squads of 2 hydras would struggle.  The guns are amazing, but once the transports are popped their is nothing to wipe the troops out with, remember the cardinal rule: Lasguns do not kill MEQ.  The beauty of the Hydra is that they will survive because two Leman Russes are taking all the Lascannon shots, which as I explained last time is the mistake most people use when fighting MEQ.

Also as a final point.  When you finish this article go and have a re-read of the squadron rules.  You don't encounter them much in the modern meta game, but you need to know them.  Wounds are assigned like any squad and most importantly an immobilised result is an automatic vehicle destroyed.  


  1. 75pts for an AV12 (you're facing it the right way, right?) twin-linked double AC.

    In comparison - Rifleman Dread is 125, AV12 and twin-linked double AC (better BS though - 8/9 hits with the twin-link).

    They will murder (especially the new Necron vehicles and Dark Eldar). I think their balancing factor is that Imperial Guard have this kind of firepower all over the shop and specialising in killing the transports could leave you open elsewhere.

    Like you say, you need to balance out what you're taking.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, by the way.

    Your maths is a little off on the autocannons. You can't destroy a Rhino with a glancing hit, so it's:

    (0.75*0.33*0.33)*8 = 0.65 dead per turn.

    In reality it's slightly higher due to "death by glance" which eight shots is more than capable of causing, but it's hard to model that mathematically (well, for me it is).

  3. I think you're forgetting the low side armor of the Hydras and BS 3. These are both factors that help balance it. Also the over subscription of the Heavy Support slot in a guard army.

  4. The low side armour is difficult to model. Given the squadron nature of the beasts and Imperial Guard's general experience with creating AV12 walls out of 12/10/10 vehicles it shouldn't be a massive factor. But it IS a factor (though mainly from the kinds of vehicles it's designed to counter - wolf scouts, etc still a threat though).

    Point for point (vs Rhino):

    (0.75 * 0.33 * 0.33)* 8 = 0.65 (/150 = 0.004 per point).

    (0.88 * 0.33 * 0.33)* 8 = 0.77 (/250 = 0.003 per point).

    So, that extra 25~30% (rounding errors in above maths muddy this slightly) in points inefficiency buys us side AV 12, walker status (can move 6" and fire both the ACs, though the ability to be in CC can be a drawback), and the ability to fire at different targets. Riflemen occupy the over-subscribed Elites slot in SM army, unless you spend an extra 100pts (and a HQ choice) on their "We are also Heavy Support" upgrade.

    Overall I think it's fairly close - the low cost, bonus rule against skimmers / bikes (skimmers being often the kinds of targets ACs go after), and ability to stuff two into one FoC slot is what makes the tank better than the double Rifleman, but not by much. Taking two to pop Rhinos/Raiders/Night Scythes/etc is probably a good choice, especially for 150pts and one HS slot.

    It's only slightly less firepower than 250pts and two Elite slots in a Space Marine army. Sounds like a good deal to me. Space Marines relying on ACs against Guard are in for a world of hurt anyway though.

  5. Don't forget that being a squadron is one of their greatest weaknesses. Have to fire at same target and wound allocation means even more fragile.

  6. Squadron rules are bad for a unit so slow, this is true. Given that they're going for a reliable transport killer then firing at one target isn't so bad, but is still a factor when the first 4 shots would have killed it.

    Wound allocation I'm not sure about yet. Trying out 3x Land Speeder squadrons on Friday, can't really say if it helps or hinders until after that.

    It's a bigger issue on AV10 vehicles that small-arms fire can damage, as there will be lots of shots to allocate. Or, ironically, when being hit by 2x ACs. When being hit by single LC shots or similar it can be good - keep pouring the shots onto your already-weapon-destroyed/shaken squad member, keep the other firing.

    One useful thing though - when firing at squadrons with different facings you take the AV of the facing of the closest vehicle. That let's you extend your AV12 facing quite substantially, when played right.