Come on you apes, you wanna live forever?!
It is done! Over. Finally D-O-N-E! 1750pts of painted Elysian drop troops and, with almost two weeks to go before my flight takes off for Gibraltar, this project also shows that with a somewhat optimistic time schedule you can actually get done without spending the night before a tournament painting. In this article I’ll show off some of the elements of the army, and run you through the list I’m taking to No Retreat 3 hosted by the guys at SN Battlereports.
DISCLAIMER! Now there are several things to note about the Elysian army, and although I appreciate reader comments and discussions, some points have to be made on the choice of taking an all Elysian list to a competitive environment. First of all the Elysian list is old. Like really old. Even though the Imperial Armor vol. 3 got a ‘rebooted’ second edition to bring the armies of the Taros campaign in line with 6th edition, some entries still lag behind in terms of the current 7th edition meta in general and Guard/AM meta in particular. I have talked about this in previous posts, and to make things clear the army struggles in several aspects no matter how you make the list. This mainly has to do with item and unit pricing but I’ll leave it at that. So before you start giving me advice on what is more competitive or not, take this into consideration: I applied to the tournament with the option to play my models either from the vanilla Guard codex or the Elysian list from the Taros campaign. As per requested from the organizers, I agreed on making an all Drop trooper list with as many Elysian trademark units as possible. I love the Elysian playstyle and I’m very excited about bringing a unique list to the event no matter how it performs.
Second of all, I’m somewhat limited by the logistical aspects of travelling abroad. The Elysians definitely have an edge over other “reserve heavy” armies by the fact that they can use their ‘combat drop‘ rule to bring in half of their valkyries (which are dedicated transport options for every unit in the list), drop sentinels, and tarantulas on turn one. This works exactly like the Drop pod tactics of some popular Marine lists and should not be neglected. However, since I can only fit two flyers in my travelling case I have chosen to not bring a single valkyrie. Lasty, I would love to field the Elysians from the D-99 army list. The ability to give up a warlord trait for armywide ‘preferred enemy‘ against all Xenos/Chaos/Necron models, as well as the option to equip every veteran in the army with a special weapon, really opens up for an aestheticly cool and impressive force. However, I don’t have enough models with said weapons to really build anything playable which is why I opted to go for the “regular” Elysians. Not that they are regular in any way. They are after all, a bunch of action-jacked-thrill-seeking-jarheads jumping out the back of winged containers.
Flight of the Valkyries
Combined Arms Detachment – Elysian Droptroops: Imperial Armour vol.3 2nd.ed The Taros Campaign.
Company Command Squad: Carapace armor, 2xFlamers, Missile L.
1xPowerfist for commander
– Officer of the fleet
Company Command Squad: 3xMeltaguns
Stormtrooper Squad: 1xMeltagun
Veteran Squad: Grenadiers, 3xPlasmaguns, Heavy Bolter
Veteran Squad: Grenadiers, 3xPlasmaguns, Heavy Bolter
Veteran Squad: Demolitions, 3xMeltaguns, 7xShotguns
Veteran Squad: Forward Sentries, 3xSniper Rifles, Missile L.
Vulture Gunship: Chaff Launchers, TL Punisher cannons
Vendetta Gunship: 3xTL Lascannnons
Tauros Squadron: 2xAssault w. H. FLamers, 1xVenator w. TL Lascannon
Formation: Emperor’s Talon Recon from Mont’ka
3xArmored sentinels: 3xLascannons, 3xCamo Netting
3xArmored sentinels: 3xAutocannons, 2xHunter Killer Missiles
As you can see the army has two Company Command squads. The first one holds the warlord who’s equipped with a power fist. Not the best investment for a t3 commander as he probably won’t get to strike back if he ever gets into combat with a decent close combat oriented opponent. But he’ll bite if he has to and since the tournament is stritcly wysiwyg I couldn’t leave the old Ironside at home. I’ve also gone for a Master of the Fleet which is pretty pricy (10pts more than what regular Guard regiments pay so I guess he holds a Master’s degree in some elaborate Naval Academy dicipline) but well worth his cost in this type of list. Since everything in the army can enter from either deep strike reserves or via outflanking, adding a 50% chance of getting +1 to reserve rolls is always worth it. He also has the ability to mess up the opponent’s reserves which could prove handy if there be pirates and Helldrakes around. I usually keep my CCs cheap as they’re easy prey on the battlefield. The unit is quite fragile and usually gives up both Warlord and First blood if the opponent is dedicated to taking them out, but this time I’ve opted to add a Missile launcher team and two flamers to the squad. This is due to the fact that I lack in the long range anti-armor department (Elysians can’t deploy portable lascannons), and the flamers are a nice counter to chaff units that threaten to jump over my lines and harrass the Commander.
The 2iC is joined by a squad of three meltagunners (again, I would love to take four but only had three left). This unit is pretty self explanatory: the ability to deepstrike a small unit of dedicated anti tank (that can support themselves with orders like ‘ignore cover‘ or ‘tank hunters‘) should not be taken lightly. These have quickly earned a bad reputation at my FLGS for dropping in behind Imperial Knights and annoying vehicle squadrons that are hard to reach – only to deliver death and destruction. Will gladly sacrifice them for a glorious suicide mission.
On to the core of the army: the Veterans. I’ve tried to get as many Objective Secured-veteran squads as possible but at an increased cost they quickly eat up points if you want to give them teeth. Two squads of Grenadiers with plasmaguns that can threaten MEQ/TEQ and move into the mid field without the fear of dying to bolterfire have proved very useful (although expensive). I’ve also chosen some sort of support unit with sniper rifles and the Forward Sentries-doctrine. I haven’t made up my mind about these yet but the thought behind them is to get an infiltrating unit on the board with a Homing beacon which allows my deep striking units to arrive without scattering if they chose to land nearby the sentries. The sniper rifles are there for flavour reasons and the ability to perhaps put a wound or two on monstrous creatures/blob hiding Nobs etc. before the squad get blasted off the terrain they’re camping in. The final veteran squad is equipped with meltaguns, -bombs, and shotguns. Since I’m an Elysian flyboy the Vendetta still has a 12 man transport capacity which is perfect for delivering this unit of bad behaviour right into the belly of the beast.
What do I have up my Fast Attack sleeve? These unit entries are really what makes the Elysians a fun and mobile army to play. I have to start with the Vulture which is the work horse of the army. We’re talking a vector dancing flyer with 20 twin-linked Strafing run strength 5 shots. What’s not to like? Beware sloppy deployment and movement players, this beast will wreck anything from Leman Russes to Thunderwolves if you give me the opportunity. I added some extra flavour with the chaff launchers because I see a lot of missile armed flyers around my area but they’re not mandatory in any way. Some day I’ll definitely add another Vulture to my collection. I’ve also chosen to field a Vendetta as I’m in dire need of some accurate lascannon fire. Sure it might not arrive on time but when it does I can choose to go after armor and flyers alike. What makes the Elysian Vendetta a solid choice is it’s ability to transport 12 models (like all Vendettas used to) and the fact that it comes at almost a 50 point discount compared to the vanilla one. Last out is a unit of Tauros vehicles. For the trained eye this unit is somewhat awkward in it’s appearance: two heavy flamer Assault buggies and a Venator with a twinlinked lascannon. Keeping dedicated units built for a specific role is key when maximizing models/points value but as I usually run two CADs in order to get more Fast Attack slots, and the fact that I wanted to bring as many buggies as possible, I had to cram the two types together into some sort of swiss army knife on wheels. This is a single CAD tournament after all. The buggies are perfect for outflanking and frying objective campers as well as securing linebreaker, and if I have to I can take pot shots at enemy side or rear armor with the lascannon should I arrive at the wrong table edge.
For my optional formation I decided to field the Emperor’s Talon Recon company from the Mont’Ka supplement. There are several reasons for this, but mainly it is because I simply refuse to pay 75pts a piece for Scout (a.k.a Drop) Sentinels with mulimeltas from the Elysian list. Sure they are cool as hell but equally expensive. Given the fact that armored sentinels with heavy weapons cost half the price in the Guard codex I deciced to paint some auto- and lascannons to go with my models. The Drop Sentinels are iconic Elysian units and the organizers gave me green light to use them as Armored ones from this formation. The formation bonus gives every sentinel ‘preferred enemy’ against one enemy unit nominated after deployment which helps their poor marksmanship a bit, but the jewel of the crown is it’s ability to both outflank and give orders. This turns Armored Sentinel units into very mobile gun platforms that can threaten multiple units while moving (by running after shooting) at the same time. I’ve played this formation for a couple of games now and it is really growing on me. It’s not an overly powered formation in any way but it gives the Sentinels that little push from being an “okay” option to “almost good”. The best part of being armored is locking khorne hounds in combat for the rest of the game.
On a final note I added a small unit of Stormtroopers. This was a last minute meassure as I was lacking 90pts by the time of the deadline for sending the army lists. The points are probably better spent somewhere else (maybe on a pair of Tarantulas or another cheap Veteran squad for objective grabbing/screening) but I’ve had the models for a long time and decided that their time for some painting love had come. Stormtroopers are fun utility units that can either deepstrike to grab an uncontested objective or just go for a Hail Mary-shot with the meltagun or a salvo of hellgun fire, but one should not forget that the Elysian Stormtroopers still comes equipped with both pistols and close combat weapons which makes them a bit more capable of pulling off assaults against weakened units.
I hope you find my list both entertaining and thematic. Make sure to check back over the next couple of weeks as I’ll be posting some AAR from the No Retreat 3-event once I get back home!
Want some epic music along with the army pictures? Check this showcase out: