The Road to Adepticon: Mission Testing and Lessons Learned

I have played five Adepticon practice games since the official rules packet was released (you can find it here ). So far the Wolves have taken on Orks, Imperial Fists, Grey Knights, and Tau. I wanted to walk you all through my initial approach to the missions, lessons learned from testing, and how I’m changing my list moving forward. 

My Initial List
  • Total Points:    1997
  • Battalion
  • 140    Logan Grimnar
  • 110    Arjac Rockfist
  • 86    Intercessorsx5: Stalker Bolt Rifle, auxiliary grenade launcher
  • 95    Intercessorsx5: power fist, aux grenade launcher
  • 95    Intercessorsx5: power fist, aux grenade launcher
  • 97    Impulsor: shield dome
  • 97    Impulsor: shield dome
  • 404  Wolf Guard Terminators: 5xThunderhammer/Stormbolter, 2xcyclone missile launcher,
    • 5xSB/Stormshield,
  • Battalion
  • 101    Phobos Rune Priest: relic Armor of Russ, Psychic Powers: tempest wrath, living lightning
  • 77    Primaris Wolf Priest: warlord: saga of the hunter, relic wulfen stone
  • 110    Infiltratorsx5
  • 105    Incursorsx5: haywire mine
  • 105    Incursorsx5: haywire mine
  • 165    Long Fangsx5: 4 lascannons
  • 145    Long Fangsx5: 4 missile launchers
  • 65    Drop Pod: stormbolter
The Strategy

I went into initial list design with a general strategy of keeping my heavy hitters off the board in deepstrike. This is mostly due to the lethality of the marine meta, and deepstriking is very beneficial for a game type that heavily emphasizes objective control.  

This was accomplished with teleporting the Terminators and taking the drop pod for the Long Fangs. The drop pod would essentially let me counter-deploy the Long Fangs to keep them safe with 48” range or gain line of sight to a key target. If I felt I needed help securing a kill turn 1 to avoid giving up solo blood, I had the option to bring them in turn 1 thanks to the Drop Pod special rule.

The Terminators were designed to deploy mid-board and dominate that space. Space Wolf Terminators are unique in the load-outs you can take. I gave them all Stormbolters, with half the squad taking storm shields and the other half Thunderhammers. Two Thunderhammer terminators would also be given cyclone missile launchers. They would be putting out 40 Stormbolter shots, 4 cyclone missiles, all the while having 26 Thunderhammer attacks when near Arjac and the Wulfen stone. With the objective spacing for the missions, their center position would let them influence several objectives at once.  

The infiltrating units were designed to gain early hold more on turn 2, with the two Impulsors and Intercessors reinforcing whatever side of the board required it. 

Logan is as excited to get onto the field! Just look at that smile!
Lessons 1: Practice Terrain Placement

You need to create a list of priorities with what you want to achieve with objective placement? Do you want LOS blocking in each deployment zone, or cover on midfield objectives? 

This is critical when you get varied terrain setups. Sometimes you won’t be able to accomplish everything you want with terrain, so if you know what’s the most important to your list it can help you a lot. Remember this happens during your schedules 2:45 minutes so practice practice practice!

Lesson 2: Holding more is very punishing

I knew this going in, but the bigger lesson for me was in refining my armies strategy for winning the primary.

My initial plan was to spread out my infiltrating units onto 3-4 objectives at the start, forcing my opponent’s hand. I would then reinforce with the Impulsors to try and hold more for turns 2-4. This strategy turned out to be a little too ambitious. I would do great turns 1-2, maybe even into 3 but it became very clear I was spreading my units out too thin. Losing too much infantry early punishes you hard in the middle/late turns. I started keeping my Intercessors in my Impulsors turn 1 and utilizing advances for some better positioning.  

You need some redundancy on the point.  Even a single lucky swing that removes one of your scoring units can lose you the game if it gets your opponent to hold more. You absolutely must have redundancy in place to hold two every turn. 

I was spreading my army too thin and found more success after I started loading up on two objectives, and focusing shooting to remove my opponents scoring units from objectives. The Intercessors also performed admirably in assault as this is usually a two objective swing as you gain a point while your opponent loses one. 

Lesson 3: The Primary Bonus Objective has impact

The bonus  to the primary for second turn holding objectives at the end of the game is actually better than I thought. 

A lot of games can almost stalemate to neither playing hold more. The 3 VP from the bonus can actually be a nice advantage that starts putting pressure on the first turn player. It’s not as strong as going second in ITC, but it is much better than I thought and gave me much more consideration to picking going second. 

Lesson 4: The missions reward those that think ahead

Mission 3  is probably the trickiest of the bunch. Burning objectives can be tricky, as it does shift the balance of hold more for your opponent the next turn. It really rewards assaulting deeper into enemy territory to remove an objective you can’t hold very long. If you have limited practice time, practice this mission first.  

I still have to continue my Reiver experiments! One day they will be OP!
How did my list perform?

Impulsors are amazing. I’ve been using them since release, and I am waiting for everyone to realize their potential. With the shield dome, they are just better Starweavers. They cause so many problems in the opponent’s movement phase, tying up units in combat and exploding for D6 mortal wounds. 

The ability to hold an objective with a unit inside, and have the unit hop out if they are destroyed to continue securing the objective is great.  The speed and ability for units to hop out after moving gives you a lot of plays for stealing objectives as well.

I needed to increase my point holding efficiency as well and there’s no better way to do this than assault. Impulsors help here immensely as my intercessors have performed great each game after being delivered to where they need to be. A squad of two can get on to an enemy’s objective and take it away from them especially if backed up by a Wolf Priest and the Wulfen Stone.

Fury of the firs! (Or maybe…Furry of the first?) Expect these guys to get even better with Saga of the Beast!

The Terminators are awesome. With Logan, they put out a lot of punishing fire. Without ways to boost charges, the terminators give me the guaranteed output from deep strike even when they fail their initial charge (failed all 4 games). Their ability to zone deepstrikers with chooser of the slain (A rune priest can let a unit within 6” of him shoot at reinforcements visible to him) is great as well. Anything they touch in melee drops as well. They are probably the best unit no one is using, and a very compelling choice with Logan and Arjac being so cheap now. 

I do want to up the number of storm shields in the squad from 5 to 7. Seven is the sweet spot that really lets the terminators eat an entire turn of heavy weapons fire. I’ll gladly give up two storm bolters to do this, as I still have 32 shots, two cyclones, and 5 thunder hammers. They were also forced to deploy a little further back than I wanted each game. This is mostly due to fairly minimal presence from my army turn 1. 

The Long Fangs were great, self sufficient and versatile. However, that was too many points sitting on one objective. I was mostly reliant on them for a kill turn one as well to avoid giving up solo blood. 

Changes going forward
  1. More Impulsors. I’ve been telling everyone since release (ahem..Chicagocowoby) to go buy more.  Their versatility and the wrench they throw into your opponents plans is amazing.  
  2. Terminators storm shield count raised to 7.
  3. I need more turn 1 pressure. I want to start wiping scoring units earlier and clear up room midfield for the terminators, so they don’t get pushed back so far. The 5 turn game needs them in the fight sooner. 
   The new test list
  • Total Points: 1999
  • Battalion
  • 140 Logan Grimnar: Warlord, Saga of Majesty
  • 110 Arjac Rockfist
  • 86 Intercessorsx5: stalker bolt rifle, chainsword
  • 95 Intercessorsx5: power fist, aux grenade launcher
  • 95 Intercessorsx5: power fist, aux grenade launcher
  • 97 Impulsor: shield dome: 2xstorm bolter
  • 97 Impulsor: shield dome: 2xstorm bolter
  • 97 Impulsor: shield dome: 2xstorm bolter
    404 Wolf Guard Terminators: 3xTh/SB, 2xcyclone missile launcher, 2xTH/SS, 5xstorm bolter/SS
  • Battalion
    101 Phobos Rune Priest: relic armor of russ, Psychic Powers: tempest wrath, living lightning
  • 77 Primaris Wolf Priest: relic wulfen stone
  • 95 Intercessorsx5: power fist, aux grenade launcher
  • 95 Incursorsx5
  • 95 Incursorsx5
  • 315 Repulsor Executioner: macroplasma incinerator

The extra impulsor, and change to the terminators are for the reasons explained above, but im sure the Repulsor Executioner has turned some heads. 

The Repulsor primary role is to provide that turn 1 pressure that was lacking before. In my experience, Repulsors don’t last much longer than turn 1-2, but that’s really all I need it for.  It has the following objectives in this list:

  1. Secure a kill turn 1
  2. Do as much damage to enemy scoring units as possible (hence the macro plasma)
  3. Soak anti armor fire away from the Impulsors. 

Impulsors are a huge threat to an opponent, and one they don’t see coming until it’s too late. No one wants to put shots into them, but when they are in your lines, move blocking, or blowing up in your face you will wish you had. 

It also gives me the option to fully mechanize my force by outflanking two infantry squads and is a nice deepstrike deterrent with chooser of the slain as well.  

I do have some ways to protect it, as usually I’m providing a -1 to hit aura from the rune priest using Cloaked by the storm. 

This list does want to be sure I have some LOS blocking in my deployment zone, which will shift my terrain placement priorities a little. Something I will have to keep in mind during setup. 

Looking Forward

I still have to play around with who I want as the Warlord. I really like Logan having a 9” chapter master aura. You can do tricks with Arjac’s as well getting the FNP aura by declaring charges and making saves on overwatch. Advance and charge gives me lots of utility for late game, but is an easier to kill character. 

There is also some play to be had with the Rune Priest powers. Shrouding and Tenebrous Curse are very tempting, as it will let me put an Incursor squad int he backfield to hold an objective and not be shot at. Tenebrous curse has dual utility in slowing infantry making it hard for units to get on objective or fall back from combat. You can also use it on a buffing character to make it harder for your opponent to keep their aura’s in range. It would be nice to have some powers that I don’t need to cast on the enemy so I can still get Cloaked by the Storm (Rune Priests can generate a -1 to hit aura within 6″ of them after casting a power for 3 CP). This will let me stay out of deny range of some strong psychic armies (looking at you Grey Knights) which we are likely to see much more of.

I do think hordes will be very powerful in Adepticon, and really do want to test the list versus swarms of fearless Gaunts with a 6++. I think my list is also weak versus flyers, but I may be able to outscore them in the primary if terrain is kind enough. I will be testing my army against a wide variety of opponents as I can.

In the meantime I am enjoying the Adepticon missions. As always I am eager to hear your thoughts. What have you guys learned about the missions and how are you building your lists to conquer them?