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Friday, 17 June 2011

Full Webway portal builds: In or out?


So, today I painted up my webway portal marker, inspired by all the GW artwork of imperial guardsmen being pwned. I thought I'd write up some of my thoughts on webway portals. There are two ways to play them: full portal, or portal-hybrid for lack of a better term.

Full Portal

This is a list which is completely built around the concept of reserving and entering out of webway portals. A list like this needs min 2 portals deployed on opposite sides of the board to make the most use out of them, and making outmanouvering you more difficult. Let's look at the pros.

You save points not buying transport vehicles. That's pretty nice since DE transports are min 60 points and generally don't contribute very many turns to the game anyway. Ofcourse, if you love the new raider/ravager models like me, this will be a major con :D .

Units without a transport option (such as beasts, pain engines and hellions) can be in your opponent's deployment zone without having to withstand a single shooting phase. This can wreck shooty armies. It also migitates the slow speed pain engines to some extent.

How about the cons? Well the first is that you need a way to deliver those portals (preferrably on t1). This means starting something on the table. If you're playing 2 portals, that means minimum 4 kill points (2 haemonculi and 2 venoms/raiders) that you are serving to your opponent on the platter. However, we have to remember that portal lists don't have as many av10 transports, so perhaps the 4 killpoints are an acceptable loss?

Another con is predictability. Your opponent knows where you are coming from, and can plan accordingly. Not a big con, but somethinbg to keep in mind. This makes bubblewraping and other forms of blocking easier for your opponent.

Last, and perhaps the largest con is voluntarily going into reserve. My Raider rush list will most often have to reserve when going second, but a portal list will do it every time. This means you are preparing to bring 50% of your army up against 100% of your opponent's on t2. In my opinion, this doesn't work well with the fragile nature of dark eldar. In many ways, the lightly armoured but well equipped Dark Eldar units are meant to drown opponents with high priority targets. Atleast, that is my philosophy, When reserving, you only bring 50% of those units to bear.

However, one easily forgets that we aren't paying for those transport vehicles. Wouldn't a portal list thus have more units and thus get more into that 50% then other lists would? I think time will tell how effective full portal lists turn out to be. They don't fight my playstyle, although I would take a second look if Dark Eldar had gotten some form of reserve manipulation.

I'll try and write about a portal-hybrid army tomorrow. In essence, it is similar to the talos build I talked about yesterday. You begin most of your army on the table (thus making placing the portals easier) and only open up another front for your reserves (generating a threat area that your opponent has to react to). I think, a hybrid list is much more viable, although it has its own problems.

What are your thoughts on full-portal lists?

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