40K Tactics: Terminators Aren’t as Great as Everyone’s Thinking

The Original Terminator!

I am reading all over the place that people are thinking Termies are the new hotness, some even calling them broken. I’m here to tell you that it just isn’t the case.

So, why all the hubbub in the first place?

Power Weapons went to AP3.

That’s it!?

Well no, but that is the basis of many folks’ arguments for Termies gong god mode. They did get some other, minor improvements as well as several minor nerfs. So why in the blazes are folks getting so crazy over it?

They still die to the same shooting attacks they did before, slightly more so due to the reduction of many cover saves. Volume of fire still brings them down, and Plasma is better at it than before as Plasma armed infantry units can move and shoot to a greater range than before. If they have a Tanking character in Termie armor they are more durable, but so is every unit that can take a 2+ save IC.

In close combat they did get more potent, as power weapons don’t punch their armor. However, how many power weapons do you see? Grey Knights and DE are the only army that are reliant on power weapons in HtH, but who cares? Both armies EASILY have the firepower to shoot Termies to death, so don’t bother engaging them. If the Termie player does manage to engage you though, they deserve it as that means they outplayed you, and in that case prepare for the ass whippage! Not many other armies use them: most every Sarge, Wolf Guard, Nob or what have you come with a Fist. Fists work just as well as they ever did against Termies. Rending too, works just as well as before.

Random charge lengths give them potentially a longer reach, but nothing to be relied upon. They still can’t make sweeping advances, and they still struggle with hordes. Lightening Claws got less appealing for the same reasons Termies got more appealing. It would be quite amusing to watch two L.Claw equipped Termies in a duel!

Deep Striking got safer, slightly, so there is that.

Honestly though, I am not seeing it. They are good, certainly, but not so much so that they are going to be broken by any stretch of the imagination. With the changes to rapid fire weapons I am still of the opinion that skirmishing infantry units are your better bet due to a higher number of wounds, lower points cost and the fact that they are scoring. With a variability range of 1-6 in 40K, more bodies with more attacks typically means a better army. If you look at the top lists of the top players, they often have a lot of warm bodies on the table, and there’s a reason for that.

So are Termies cool? Yes.

Are Termies better? Slightly, yes.

Are they going to dominate the game? Not even close.



About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

36 Responses to “40K Tactics: Terminators Aren’t as Great as Everyone’s Thinking”

  1. Avatar
    Son Of Dorn July 30, 2012 12:09 am #

    I’m gonna say shooty Terminators got a huge boost. That 3++ is no longer a mandatory requirement for them to survive a game. I basically never took them before because of it, now I’m willing to throw them in lists much more often 🙂

    • Avatar
      Double D July 30, 2012 2:47 am #

      Why is the 3++ no longer mandatory? They still die easily to DS 2/1 shooting as before. And now with Plasma becoming more popular, you have to take stormshields, if you want your termies to survive! Shooty terminators are still meh. Everone who used Hammernators before will use them further and anyone who did not use tactical termies won´t use them in 6th edition.

      • Avatar
        Son Of Dorn July 30, 2012 12:19 pm #

        Their effectiveness is pretty diminished to me. Depending on the angle I’m fired at from, they’re not even counted anymore. I still take LC’s for chopping up MEQ before they hit me, so I try to keep them near the front for better assaults. While 3++ is still good, it’s not as tactically viable as it was before. At the same time, shooty Termies seem better to me by comparison.

  2. Avatar
    Morr July 30, 2012 1:45 am #

    Power fists on sarge’s arnt really anything to worry about as you can just challenge them out (unless you plan on babysitting esch unit with a character) and with your sarge either striking first or at the same time with a 3++ that powerfist wont do that much damage.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 30, 2012 10:09 am #

      Good point, but I meant specifically that the fist will still kill a Termie as easily as before.

      • Avatar
        Son Of Dorn July 30, 2012 12:20 pm #

        Or even an axe. It still wounds on 2’s and they’re available to more characters for cheaper than fists. 🙂

        • Reecius
          Reecius July 30, 2012 12:55 pm #

          Yeah, often the Axe is where it’s at, and for a lot of models, it’s the clear choice (anything with low In).

          • Avatar
            Son Of Dorn July 30, 2012 4:34 pm

            Or who are unable to attain fists. 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Blackveil July 30, 2012 4:05 am #

    I’ve recently been messing around with some fun wolf guard combos. If you’ve got 5 wolf guard you’ve distributed to squads in rhinos, you can then take a wolf guard terminator squad with 2 assault cannons for 225 points. Not too shabby if you ask me. Throw in the fact that they’re all characters, and you have a cheap squad which your opponent needs to remove, which is key.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 30, 2012 10:12 am #

      Not a bad load out, at all. Termies are good still, for sure, but they really aren’t much more survivable then before is the point I was making, only against power weapons.

  4. Avatar
    BBF July 30, 2012 7:34 am #

    I am having a real blast playing Draigowing again. The army is even stronger now IMO.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 30, 2012 10:13 am #

      Draigowing specifically got better due to the improvements to FnP, and shooting, but they will get owned by TH/SS termies in assault.

  5. Avatar
    Gordy July 30, 2012 8:19 am #

    Changes to rallying are a nerf to Terminators. Used to be that you could charge in, kill half a squad and/or escort them off the board, and you could kill half their army in a single multi-charge.

    Now, not only do you lose your attacks multi-charging, but if you get into combat and don’t wipe the squad it’ll run, rally, and come right back to rapid fire you next turn. Where a Terminator HQ used to be able to walk through an entire army worth of backfield units if you could get him back there, now he just kills two or three members of the squad and gets rapid fired next turn, often with melta/plasma.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 30, 2012 12:56 pm #

      Good point Gordy, I didn’t even cover that in the article, and hadn’t even considered it, actually. With almost every unit being able to recover from a break (which is a good thing) it does mean Termies that don’t wipe their target will suffer for it.

  6. Avatar
    Mark July 30, 2012 8:45 am #

    I totally agree.

    I will say this though, the Mega Armour Nobz are much more likely to get all their Klaw attacks on the turn they charge. If you’ve got 5 in a Trukk, it’s quite feasible you can assault on turn two with an extremely beefy 20 S9 AP2 klaw attacks on the charge.

    That unit costs 235 points (200 for the Mega Armour Nobz, 35 for the Trukk). +25 if you give them Combi-Skorchas, which would be super fun. (also a Scoring unit if you’ve got yourself a Warboss)

    Not game breaking, but better than before, and not slowed down by slow & purposeful.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 30, 2012 12:57 pm #

      Now here, I totally agree. MegaNobz did get way more appealing, even on foot. Throw Mad Dok into the army, and you have a unit that has a 2+/5++ which is nothing to sneeze at.

  7. Avatar
    edwin July 30, 2012 9:06 am #

    This made me giggle. Terminators are gonna be bad because everyone wants to take either a bunch if ap2 to take vehicles and teq or just bring weight if fire. Dragging people down the good ole fashion way. The meta is going to make an interesting shift I think

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 30, 2012 12:58 pm #

      Yeah, Termies are solid, like always, but I don’t see them breaking the game by any means.

  8. Avatar
    puretide July 30, 2012 9:30 am #

    I was playing a 3000pt game with my tau with eldar allies vs space wovles and space marines which was all terminators apart from 10 scouts at the end of the game my friend only had a crippled landraider and 2 terminators I had 5 firewarriors, a shas’o and 2 tetras and 2 full squads of eldar pathfinders with a farseer and eldrad. My friend used a deathstar of 10 terminators and 7 charcters my counter was farsight with 7 bodyguards using plasma and fusion with targeting arrays and multi-trackers.

    So I don’t think terminator armour is broken its still dies just as fast to my tau weapons 🙂

    • Avatar
      Son Of Dorn July 30, 2012 12:22 pm #

      That sounds like an amazing game! 😀

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 30, 2012 12:58 pm #

      I agree, that does sound like a pretty epic game!

  9. Avatar
    conzago July 30, 2012 9:54 am #

    Nice article, I was confused about the Terminator hoopla as well.

    I can safely say I haven’t worried about terminators since 4th edition. Not sure who uses power weapons to beat termies, but I’d like to introduce that person something called a boltgun. In my opinion they got weaker, because all torrent fire weapons just became move and fire. How many times is 400 point unit going to be able to wipe 400pts of MSU troops?

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 30, 2012 12:59 pm #

      Exactly. You said it, and I think that we’re gong to be seeing a lot more infantry armies using skirmishing troops. MSU is flat out superior on a mathematical level.

  10. Avatar
    Ian (billyjoeray) July 30, 2012 11:11 am #

    I’ve been finding that random charge length really cripples assault termies in this new edition. Although the change in rules enables tactical termies to be a little bit more usable in general because they are slightly more tactically flexible. The fact that almost all melee weapons that are ap2 are also unweildy means that you will at least get to swing before you die and you don’t have to worry too much about getting punked before you even get to swing.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 30, 2012 1:01 pm #

      Good points. Tacticla terminators are a little more appealing, but I still don’t see the large points investment they cost being worth the firepower you get.

      I would rather take squads of Tac Marines on foot running and gunning with equal or better firepower, as good durability if not better )more wounds), a scoring unit and cheaper.

      • Avatar
        Ian Chadwick (Billyjoeray) July 30, 2012 11:28 pm #

        But I think that the psychological effect that tactical termies have is useful on their own. Tactical squad may have more bodies and be cheaper, but 5 termies with a cyclone will still put out more firepower than 10 tacs and they can fire their missiles on the move.
        They aren’t the be all end all, but I still think that they have a place in an army.

        • Reecius
          Reecius July 31, 2012 10:21 am #

          However, 10 tacs with a missile launcher and plasma gun put out just about the same firepower (better at close range) and can move and shoot, just not as well, and are way cheaper.

          The termies have much better assault capability, but just lack the endurance.

          Not saying you shouldn’t use them, of course, just that I would rather have the scoring unit.

  11. Avatar
    Darthdiggler July 30, 2012 5:56 pm #

    We have been running full squads of shooty terminators, both GK and BA, with attached psykers who get Prescience. Coteaz can give it to the GK termies for 100pts. An Ordo Mallus Inquisitor can give it to the GK’s for 110pts and throw in a third psycannon. You are looking at 12 str 7 shots and 16 str 5 shots that reroll all misses. Not to shabby.

    The BA version has less shooting damage output, but the Space Hulk mini’s look stone cold. The GK version can get pricey if you take a GK librarian and make him mastery 3. However you get a decent chance to get Perfect Timinjg or Misfortune which tie in very well with a Prescience Termintor Squad.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 31, 2012 10:20 am #

      See, now, I can agree with this. If you beef up their durability, then they become viable. GK Termies are the shootiest, and as such, better than Tac termies. When you toss in FnP, etc. they become pretty awesome.

      Will here runs a Thunderbubble BA list with 10 Assault Termies with a Priest and Libby, and that is a unit that is scary. But that becomes a Deathstar of sorts which is a different animal all together.

      • Avatar
        Darthdiggler July 31, 2012 10:30 am #

        We take the 10 shooty GK Termies and attached Inquisitor and use it as an allied force for a whole slew of other armies. The GK Termies are scoring and the whole thing costs about 600pts. Not bad for a great shooting unit and a pretty decent close combat unit which scores. Prescience on GK Termies means they hit harder than Paladins in combat. I’ve got an allied unit of GK Termies sitting in a Necron Airforce army. Someone else uses them as the firebase in a BA DOA list. Until this fad ends we seem to start almost every army with them as the allied unit.

        • Reecius
          Reecius July 31, 2012 11:25 am #

          Not a bad idea at all. That is a really good, self-contained unit that can and will win you the game. GK Termies are just a lot more efficient and potent in assault with with shooting, and an Inquisitor is one of the best ways to get Divination powers on the board.

  12. Avatar
    J4ck_Fr0st July 30, 2012 9:55 pm #

    IMHO, the Internet as a whole is overrating termies in 6th. I’ve tabled my friend’s death wing 2 games in a row with my infantry horde necrons, without breaking a sweat. At 2,000 points, all he killed was a unit of wraiths, a command barge, and some assorted infantry models before falling to weight of fire. Flood termies with dice and they die to probability just like they always have.

  13. Avatar
    Elios Harg July 31, 2012 6:51 am #

    In my experience so far, terminators die a lot faster than they used to. Wound shenanigans were crucial to keeping my Deathwing squads alive and that’s gone. They are far more prone to bad luck that they used to be. On top of this FNP is worse now for those terminators that can get it. Yes, we get it against plasma and such, but it’s main purpose was to mitigate damage from torrent of fire and it just stinks at that now.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 31, 2012 8:58 am #

      Do you see any ways to get around this? Maybe taking less units and more characters to beef up the wound count?

  14. Avatar
    hambilton August 9, 2012 3:40 pm #

    1 termie with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield INSIDE a guard blob squad. Passing on various things like FNP, counter attack, etc..

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