Codex: Stellan Hoplites

Today is a big day! As my early Christmas present to the blogosphere I am finally making an early version of Codex: Stellan Hoplites available to the public. I've worked very, very hard on this and I hope all of our followers will take the time to peruse it and leave their thoughts. 

I'm looking for feedback on anything you care to comment on. From rules issues to whether I've used my apostrophes correctly. The Codex is as yet incomplete but the rules have passed the first stage of playtesting and are ready to enter the beta stage. There's more artwork and background to be included as well as pictures of the models themselves.

Have at it folks.


Ahrimaneus said…

Chances of me studying in the library today? Very good.

Chances of me studying anything related to my major? Slim.

I'll let you do the math.
Master Bryss said…
Merry Christmas everyone!

Can't wait to see the actual minis. Even if it inevitably means you paint better than I do.
Master Bryss said…
Ah, forgot to say some stuff:

I'd really like a bit more clarification as to how constructing the army works. My hypothesis goes:

There is no compulsory HQ.
Begin by buying Cataphracts. These are scoring?
Once you have three squads of these you can start opening up your options with Deadstar and the like.

Also saw the battering you appear to be taking at YTTH. It seems like a 'good on paper' scenario. I'm tempted to try out building a list later and seeing field performance for myself rather than throwing theories about. Although initially I didn't think the lascarbines were Rending by default. I would have made that an option. That said, DE get all poisoned guns and potential FNP for HOW MUCH? Thundershield Termies are HOW MUCH?

There's no doubt there must be some gleam of fact in there, but quite frankly if I want a huge hyperbolic rant I'll read the far superior works of Clarkson.
Ahrimaneus said…
Could i get a link for YTTH Bryss? I don't frequent the site regularly and my finals schedule has hit my 40k-frenzy HARD with the nerf hammer
Pat said…
Atrotos said…
Ah excellent!

Ahrimaneus: "Preparations A through G have failed..." Phase one of the plan is complete.

Bryss: No publicity is bad publicity. Let anyone think what they want I would be quite surprised if anyone really had any idea how the army actually plays.
Pat said…
sabreu said…
I have to say, I really am taking a liking to the Deadstar unit. These individuals have a noble quality that isn't diminished by cartoonish super hero antics as is starkly missing in recent days from GW. As for the performance of the codex, I can only hazard a guess at how it performs without a test run. I've decided to play with a faux army against a mate soon. This codex seems particularly strong, but expensive. It should be fun to change the dynamics in the FLGS.
Atrotos said…
Any feedback from a playtest would be greatly appreciated!

The codex is really not as powerful as it seems due to the nature of its only transport. Only about half of your army is really being utilized at any one time. Long range firepower is also very expensive which puts you at  a disadvantage versus modern armies that can CC and shoot every turn.
Atrotos said…
This is excellent feedback Abreu, thanks!

From what I understand the codex appears underpowered. This has been my experience as well - there is no staying power in any of the units, they tend to kill what they are aimed at and then die.

Units are expensive without necessarily adding much to a guardsman's survivability. 

It's great to see the Orders and the Ouragos had tangible effects in game. The Dino-servitor may need to become a little less damaging to its parent unit.

Playing without transports is unlikely to work without Order of Andromeda to give you some protection. The most powerful lists will likely utilize transports and OoA. 

Deadstar are difficult to use against Orks. Even if they assassinate a warboss they are unlikely to make back their points though the strategic bonus of choosing where to strike is really what you pay for. They are overcosted of course as are most things in the codex.

I am not surprised that Vespor failed to make it into combat. He is fragile despite his upgrades and Shoota boyz are his worst nightmare. 

As for the Dolophon being "point and click" I will take your feedback into consideration since I've yet to really test him. However a single meltabomb attack still has less than a 50% chance to destroy a stationary vehicle. It's far more likely that your opponent would have been moving his vehicles every turn in anticipation reducing the chances significantly. On paper he far more likely to die without doing anything in game. 

Again I can't thank you enough for feedback of this quality. 
sabreu said…

I really can't express how fun it was to play the Stellan Hoplites. They are different than what I am accustomed to. They lie somewhere between Eldar, Space Marines, and Imperial Guard. Their fragility is offset by their offensive power and superior equipment. While I've only scratched the surface so far, I am looking forward to giving them another go against my own Khornate marine army. 

The story in the codex is well written as well. It's a tale of a radical Inquisitor, and an equally radical Techpriest creating a private army which could be seen as heretical if their true nature were to be discovered by the orthodox organizations. While the Stellans fight bravely to further the advancement of mankind, they stand on the knifes edge between being viewed as saintly or demonic. Even minor additions as the Dino-Servitor serve to give their background more life and show case the Imperium's willingness to adapt it to better their cause. Ultra-Violent xeno beast? Let's turn them into battle weapons! Having original artwork of great quality helps to give the Stellans a definitive feel.

Well, until the next game.
sabreu said…
Stellan Hoplites:
Cataphracts: x3 Meltagun, Ouragos, Stellan Blade(one squad without), Order of the Mercury Moon
x3 Aesir transports
Total: 1200

Chaos Space Marines
Kharn the Betrayer
10 Khorne Berzerkers 
9 Khorne Berzerks
2 Land Raiders
5 Chaos Terminators (Icon of Khorne, Powerfist)
Total 1194

I fought against my own models yesterday so I knew what to expect. I chose from the Stellan Hoplites with what I thought would be most effective: Inquisitor Corydon would be my 'trump card' against Kharn with his psychic power, three cataphract units all armed with Meltaguns to rip through armor, with the Order of the Mercury Moon to help mitigate close combat against berzerkers, and a dolophon to wreak havoc. Learning from my past mistake I made sure to bring three transports. Well, as before I'm just going to illustrate the greater points instead of a turn by turn game play.

The Good:
-Aesir Transports get me where I need to go reliably. Totally different feel this time around as I wasn't stuck with a thumb up...well you know. 
- The Dolophons saboteur ability made my opponents chaos terminators mishap. Although they ended up just delayed, it was nice it worked. Otherwise the Dolophon went splat without doing much else.
- Aesirs did most of the killing. While the cataphracts were equipped properly  in my opinion, they failed to hold the line. 

The Bad:
- I kept my Aesirs in reserve to deep strike them which allowed the land raiders to push forward on turns 1 and 2.  I lost one Aesir (containing Cordyon) and was forced to disembark due to lascannon fire from both raiders. Anticipating (or just hoping) this my opponent had deployed Kharn and 9 berzerkers prior, who shot a plamsa pistol shot and 9 bolt pistols into the squad, killing four. In the Assault phase, Kharn ripped Cordyon a new one. Since it wasn't my turn, my psychic defense I planned didn't pan out. 
- My two remaining aesirs deployed their squads and immediately went to the task of taking out the betrayer and his followers. I failed to kill Kharn (the squad died though) thanks to scatter. Since i used the Cataphracts to take out the Land Raiders, Kharn ended up assaulting the following turn and wiping out another squad single handily.

The outright Ugly:
-The troops have no staying power! As before, they just kill something and then die. 
- The FOC defying aspect of the codex irritates me at times. Especially when I want one squad of Deadstars but can't have them due to the minimum necessity of having three cataphracts. lol

Post-Game notes:
This game ended by a technical draw: It was an objectives game, but we both lost all our troops capable of claiming them. At the end of turn five I had one Aesir left. The second had been taken out of the game by the delayed terminators, who managed a very lucky powerfist hit, causing it to get immobilized, and then swamped in the following turn. Kharn reeked havoc and brutalized my troops with no equal. Basically, by turn six it was an aesir, kharn, and three terminators remaining. Much fun was had. 

Now, I have to play a bigger game against the same army to test out the bad boys of the codex: Adrastus Sun, The Stymphalian platform, etc. I'm starting to get the grasp of not overloading the cataphracts with too many upgrades, as they actually become dentrimental when you do so it appears. 
Atrotos said…
I think a lot of your difficulty may be coming from the expensive units at such small point games. This match up feels like you are playing with half the points of the Chaos player! I can't really figure out how much of this is due to the extra upgrades you've taken. If the Hoplites were used more as IG Veterans (just meltaguns) you might get more mileage out of them but I'm not sure.

The clear message I'm getting is that the codex is underpowered. In truth I knew it would be when I was writing it but the feedback has been soooo negative throughout the design process. The kneejerking forced me to put a lid on the Stellan's power making them sub-par. 

I think the Cataphracts need better support (or maybe just cheaper). Something to keep the enemy occupied while they do their jobs.

The anti-FOC should be less restrictive than an FOC! You don't even need an HQ. I will be looking forward to reports from your larger point games to see if the same factors apply when you have room to take more Cataphracts. 16 Cataphracts vs. 20 Zerkers is a tough match!

Also I'll be posting this on The Codex Project forums in the hopes of exposing your excellent criticism to more enthusiasts.
sabreu said…
My initial flaw in game 1 was overloading the troops with anything I could conceivably kill Orks with: Flamers, Heavy Flamers, Incendiary Grenades, Inspectors, Dino-Servitors, etc. The points costs of all the options (ouragos, stellan blades, etc) became a crippling factor because I forgot to allocate points to purchasing transports. Easy mistake to fix, I thought.

During the second game I largely corrected this at the expense of losing Deadstars and Dino-Servitors (and accompanying Inspectors). This gained me mobility with transports, but I still over equipped myself slightly (The unit upgrades other than Melta Guns were largely unnecessary, and may have bought me another unit). So I would say this was my moderate approach to upgrading the Stellans. 

Now I have concluded my third game and am in process of writing a synopsis to dissect. Some rather good points were brought up in the game which I will illustrate later. Bottom line is, however, this codex is over costed just enough to make the Hoplites underpowered against the mainstream armies. 

I should have the analysis up fairly soon. Thank god for unemployment allowing me so much time to play games. 
sabreu said…
Stellan Hoplites:Squad Alpha: 6 cataphracts, x3 Meltaguns, Power weapon, Order of the Mercury Moon, Ouragos with Stellan Blade, Adrastus Sun
Total Points: 375
Squad Bravo: 8 Cataphracts, X3 Meltaguns, Power Weapon 
Total: 155
Squad Charlie: 8 Cataphracts, X3 Meltaguns, Power Weapon 
Total: 155
Squad Delta: 8 Cataphracts, X3 Meltaguns, Power Weapon 
Total: 155
Squad Echo: 7 Cataphracts, X3 Meltaguns, Power Weapon, Inspector
Total: 155
Aesir transport: 155
Aesir transport: 155
Aesir transport: 155
Aesir transport: 155
Stymphalian Platform: 200Chaos Space Marines:Kharn: 165Berserkers: 10 Berserkers, Skull Champion, x3 Plasma Pistols, Power Weapontotal: 285Berserkers: 10 Berserkers, Skull Champion, x3 Plasma Pistols, Power Weapontotal: 285Berserkers: 9 Berserkers, Skull Champion, x2 Plasma Pistols, Power Weapontotal: 249Land Raider: 220Land Raider: 220Land Raider: 220Chaos Havocs: 5 Marines, 4 LascannonsTotal: 215Chaos Terminators: x4 Terminators, x2 Powerfists
Synopsis:The game went well. I approached this battle with the idea of "less is more", only truly indulging in my so-called 'Alpha' unit containing Adrastus Sun. Other than that particular unit, the only other outstanding difference was an Inspector to call down the hammer of dawn, I mean the Stymphalian Platform. lol. 

The Good:
- The Stymphalian Platform is really well balanced. While extremely powerful, the fact that it has to 'arrive' (which it did for me on turn 4) and then be directed is a great balance. Also, the fact that it has a straight line that is semi randomly generated insures you can't always get lucky. I only managed to kill three zerkers with it's use but it could have done much, much better had I rolled lucky.
- With every squad equipped with metas inside, it was no wonder I dominated the shooting phase.
- With less upgrades, I really packed a greater punch this game.
- Adrastus Sun led a counter assault Kharne and his berzerkers, and while his buffer ability helped his unit fight off the squad (kill two outright via power weapons, one other and a wound on Kharne), the Berzerkers simply tore through them like no tommorrow. The fact that I caused that many wounds on the charge is enough to keep me happy. 
The Bad: 
- Havocs are evil. Roughly felling one Aesir a turn, despite their formidable defenses, I should have prioritized their dismemberment. However, I was too focused on popping land raiders and khorne berzerkers. With 6 additional twin-linked lascannon shots from the raiders, my four Aesirs barely survived past turn two. It basically became a race of who could pop the other first.
- Despite having good WS and a selection of combat weapons, combat is still not a good idea with a largely guard state-line.

Conclusion:I lost this game. It was another objective game, but that didn't really matter. By turn 6 I had only three cataphracts survive and one Aesir. The enemy had Kharne (down to 1 wound), Five berzerkers, three terminators, and the havocs untouched. My cataphracts that survived did so solely based on the fact they were my 'objective grabbers' who did not have a transport. 

My current opinion of the codex being under powered remains. Or at least the Cataphracts seem to be. Aesirs are just right, as the Stymphalian Platform is spot on with uniqueness, effectiveness, and balance. Dead stars proved their weight and dolophons can be the risky gambit. Dino-servitors could be tweaked and made a unit in their own right. All in all the codex works well enough, but it lacks a certain punch to make it competitive.

Well Atrotos, I hope that helps.