My last article gave rise to some questions about the concept of the boogeyman, and yes – for you readers in England we did add an extra O to the word! So, what is a boogeyman? In its most basic form a boogeyman is simply a shiny object used to attract attention. A perfect, and very recent, example of a boogeyman either the Wraithknight or the Riptide. Both of these units are intimidating on the table top because of their size in comparison to other models and they are both durable because of their high toughness and wounds. Both of these units are fast on the tabletop and they both pack a fairly lethal arsenal of weapons. So why are both of these very good examples of boogeymen?
The thing about both of these units is that they appear to me more troublesome than they really are. Opponents who do not understand their role will spend an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to bring them down rather than working on taking apart the pathfinders or guardian squads like they should be doing. The Wraithknight and the Riptide are both imposing models that will rip off some heavy shooting into your army, the Wraithknight in particular can bring down the heaviest of armor with two lance weapons penetrating any armor on a 4+. It is very easy to get caught up in trying to eliminate this threat and loosing focus on whats important.
Making you lose focus on what’s important is exactly the job of the boogeyman. The boogeyman becomes more important than he really is because we build him up in our minds to be more important. We remember back to last game when the Wraithknight blew up our Landraider on turn one, or when the Riptide shot our Stormraven down when it entered play and killed our Paladins inside. Both significant events to be sure, but we take these previous experiences and give them more weight than they deserve in our minds. These events add to the belief that in order to win we must first eliminate the boogeyman and remove that threat.
So what is the point? The point is not to lose sight of what is important, understand what is and what is not a threat and don’t chase rabbits down holes. While both the Wraithknight and Riptide can be very effective against armor, they don’t put out enough firepower to deal with large infantry squads. They simply can’t kill infantry in large enough numbers per turn to be concerning, and they certainly don’t want to get into assault with their low weapon skill.
Being a Space Wolf player my options for a boogeyman are fairly limited, I could go with Thunderwolf Cavalry but as a purist I can’t bring myself to play those ridiculous things. Looking around at power armor I settled on Death Company with a Reclusiarch in charge. I have tried several delivery methods and the most reliable I have found is a Landraider Redeemer. So why the Death Company and the Landraider? Many people are unfamiliar with Death Company and are intimidated by a squad with re-roll hits and wounds on the charge that also carries Fell No Pain. Most players are fearful of an AV14 anything, much more one with AP3 flamers ignoring cover at strength 6. Generally this unit gets a wide berth on the table and provides even more board control as people don’t want to get within 16 inches of them or risk their assault.
But isn’t that more of a Death Star than a boogeyman? You could make that argument, but in reality the strength of this unit is more in its ability to project power than actually apply it. The Landraider is a hard target, one that any player is loathe to allow to run around on the table – much less when it is packed full of blood frenzied crazies. But its job it not to blindly charge across the table and dive into assault, its job is to sit on my half of the table and deny terrain to the enemy. It becomes a boogeyman because it causes my opponent to plan ways to avoid it, thus allowing me more board control. It becomes the monster under the bed that keeps my opponent from going where I don’t want him to go. And if he decides to go anyway – 55 Attacks on the charge re-rolling hits and wounds at strength and weapon skill 5 await him. While I certainly agree with most people that assault armies are almost dead, counter assault armies certainly are not.
Counter Assault: They Haz It!