Friday, April 8, 2011

What Is A Close Combat Unit?

From this post on 3++.  We get it, TH/SS termies and Genestealers eat Grey Knights, so even Purifiers cannot be considered a "close combat unit."  This is a problem because half the lists you'll face at any tournament are Stealer Shock and TH/SS spam.


A dedicated close combat unit
Oh right, chances are at any tournament you attend you won't face a single Genestealer during the course.  You are more likely to be matched up against some TH/SS termies, but not 30 of them.  On the the off chance that you do face those armies with your GK Purifier list I have some advice: sit 24" away and shoot the piss out of them.  

For anyone else, Purifiers rape them in close combat.  OK, not totally true, Incubi and Daemonettes are still mean to Purifiers, but those are even more rare than Genestealers.  But take a look at the army lists at Adepticon.  You'll see that there are not many units in many armies that Purifiers wouldn't want to be mixing it up with.  From a Tactical Marine's and Guardsman's perspectives (the most common perspective one could have) they are close combat nightmares.  Best yet for GK, they have duality out the ass.  OK, so we can't charge a particular dedicated CC unit, GK are more than capable of shooting them to death.  Who Is The Gunline?  Once you realize you're the gunline, be the gunline.  Just because someone on the internet says that Purifiers or Interceptors aren't close combat squads doesn't mean you should always be the gunline.  Sometimes you have to be the beatdown.

I suggested that just because something can't beat TH/SS termies or Genestealers doesn't eliminate it from being dismissed as incapable in close combat.  CommisarJalil suggest tiers.  I agree with this.  A quick ranking of CC unit tiers will help you quickly decide who is the beatdown and who is the gunline.  

Just off the top of my head, I came up with...

1.  TH/SS Terminators, Genestealers
     1a.  Nobz, Bloodcrushers, Incubi, Beastmasters, Daemonettes
2.  Purifiers, Death Company, Berserkers, Howling Banshees, Tyranid Warriors
3.  Assaulty marines (Templars with ACC, BA with a Priest, Grey Hunters), Ork Boyz, Gaunts with FC and FNP
4.  Tactical marines, Blob Guardsmen
4a.  Dudes that should never been in an assault (Non-blob Guardsman, Guardians, Necrons, Firewarriors etc)


Tier 1: units that are afraid of nobody in close combat.  They should seek to get into CC as quickly and as often as possible with anyone they can reach.
Tier 1a: units that are the same as above, except don't want to face any of the Tier 1 units.  These units are also more situational.  Daemonettes will rape power armored armies, but they die to Orks.  Generally though, these are a safe bet to get into combat with anyone.
Tier 2: these are units that are capable of close combat success, but have survivability issues, or cannot defeat one or more of the true monsters above them.  They can still be used as hammers, but you have to think carefully about what answers your opponent will have before you commit them, whereas the top tier units you don't have to be nearly as concerned.
Tier 3: These are units that are geared towards an assault role, will beat non-assault units hands down.  But they can't beat a real close combat unit either due to a lack of power weapons, low initiative, or poor survivability.
Tier 4:  There is a time and a place for these units to be in close combat, in fact it will happen fairly often.  But you cannot count on them to beat anyone, since they aren't designed for the role.  They have some edge over the sissies below them like high toughness, decent armor, or enough bodies to attrition you.
Tier 4a: Kinda explanatory.  These are units that shouldn't be in close combat at all except in some kind of emergency because they are the worst of the worst.



  1. Amen. and then some. the GK Purifiers + BT doodz with power weapon & EC= DEATH up close. that's all.

  2. Well, I was thinking the other day how totally screwed my Orks would be against a Purifiers list. Boyz would die by the dozens From Cleansing flames even if they manage to charge after all that shooting they will get. Even Nob Bikers would die horribly if they charge a unit that can pull off Hammerhand and activate the Force Weapons. That could kill them outright before even they get to strike a single hit.
    So yeah, Orks are supposed to be a CC army and still die horribly to Purifiers. And they are supposed to be a shooty unit? Go figure!

  3. Nice article, really helps to get some clarity about the potential of the new GKs in CC. Well written, man, thanks for it!

  4. thunderwolf cavalry... where do they go?

  5. Hmmm. Somewhere around 1a and 2. They beat some of those 1a units but lose to some of the tier 2.

  6. I like the tier idea but I'd consider taking out the #a tiers and just making it linear 1, 2, 3, etc...

    It would be interesting to matrix these out according to the categories you named, i.e. low initiative, low durability, etc..

  7. Good point. The only reason I did it with sub-tiers is I didn't want to make people think that Bloodcrushers or Beastmasters weren't top notch dedicated close combat units.

    You can build lists around either of them that are relient on their close combat ability to win, and generally not worry about it short of running into a ton of TH/SS terminators. That can't be said for the units I listed in Tier 2. If you try to build a CC assault list out of tier 2 units, you won't be going too far. But you can do it with 1a units.