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Themed Army Ideas
Jungle Juice

Jungle Juice: June 2006  by Patrick Eibel
In response to last time’s Jungle Juice article, we received the following e-mail:

I was e-mailing to ask whether or not I could have my army featured sometime in the future on Jungle Juice. The whole concept intrigued me, as I have an army which I particularly like, but I haven’t been able to think up any sort of history or background, and I think I’ll be much more inspired if I know where it’s going. If you’re interested, here’s the concept:

The army is focused around two things: Infiltrators and Deep Strike. My-3,000 point army (which I have almost finished 1/3 of) will contain a large number of Infiltrating Marines (four squads, 35-ish models) and Scouts (three squads, 30-ish models) starting on the table. It has a large number of heavy weapons, a good deal of close range fire support, and a beefy squad of Veterans. Also included is a Damocles Command Rhino, which, if you didn’t know, is a Rhino equipped with Improved Comms and allows easier access to squads in Reserve. The Scouts use teleport homers to guide two squads of Terminators (14 models, including a Reclusiarch) into place, and the Tactical Marines hold up enemy units and soften them up for the reserve units. 

In addition to the Terminators, there are three Land Speeder Tornadoes armed with Assault Cannons, a Venerable Dreadnaught with an assault cannon and heavy flamer, and a squad of Tactical Marines with a melta gun and combi-melta. Combi weapons are used heavily throughout the army. I understand that this is somewhat similar to the first army mentioned in Jungle Juice, and I appreciate that you probably don’t like redundancy, but my army was created before April, so it’s simply coincidence. Ironically, the paint scheme is – you guessed it – red and black. 

Fluff-wise, they are a quiet army, with little heroics, and common tactical sense. They fight akin to modern day Marines, where the idea du jour is to never leave a teammate behind and to maintain personal safety. I was thinking it may have been a Raven Guard successor chapter, but if you can't work with that, feel free to ditch it as I haven't been able to do much with the idea. I haven't thought up any names so far, but I've played around with a number of them. I was thinking something that wasn't terribly Latin (I'm kind of sick of the over-use of Latin in Imperial names), but other than that, not much.

My next army is going to be an infantry-heavy Imperial Guard army, so if can work them into the plot, it would be good. Other armies me or my friends have are: 

  • A large Space Wolves army;
  • A medium-sized Puritan Daemonhunters army;
  • The beginnings of an Iron Warriors army (which actually uses the Black Legion list, since my friend has some Khorne Berzerkers in his army);
  • An Alaitoc army (which I rarely play against) and (occasionally);
  • A Dark Angels army and a Necron army. 
I'm considering having my IG army be a loyalist army which has been unwittingly swayed into the service of Tzeentch. Also, I have played around with the ideas of either having them based in a space-borne fleet, or having a Chaos revolt (where part of the Chapter turned traitor). The basic idea is that I've been considering a lot of ideas, but have been indecisive about a lot of them. Nevertheless, I hope this helps!

Thanks,

Ben

I corresponded with Ben, and he kindly sent his army list:
  • Reclusiarch w/ crozius, rosarius, Terminator armor, storm bolter
  • Terminator Command Squad (7-man). Two w/ assault cannons; all w/ Furious Charge
  • Damocles Command Rhino (Forge World model) w/ smoke launchers, extra armor, searchlight
  • Veteran Squad. Sergeant w/ power weapon, bolt pistol, and bionics; one Veteran w/ lightning claws; one Veteran w/ power weapon and bolt pistol; seven Veterans w/ bolt pistols and close combat weapons. All w/ Terminator honors and Infiltrate
  • Terminator Squad (5-man). Two w/ Cyclone missile launchers
  • Venerable Dreadnaught w/ assault cannon, heavy flamer, smoke launchers, extra armor, searchlight. Uses drop pod
  • Scout Squad #1. Veteran Scout Sergeant w/ sniper rifle, auspex, teleport homer; nine Scouts w/ sniper rifles
  • Scout Squad #2. Veteran Scout Sergeant w/ bolter, auspex, teleport homer; one Scout w/ missile launcher; eight Scouts w/ bolters
  • Scout Squad #3. Veteran Scout Sergeant w/ bolter, auspex, teleport homer; one Scout w/ missile launcher; seven Scouts w/ bolters
  • Tactical Squad #1. Veteran Sergeant w/ combi-plasma, teleport homer; one Marine w/ plasma gun; one Marine w/ plasma cannon; three Marines w/ bolters; all have Infiltrate
  • Tactical Squad #2. Veteran Sergeant w/ combi-melta, purity seals, bionics, teleport homer; one Marine w/ melta gun; eight Marines w/ bolters; all have frag grenades and Furious Charge. Use drop pod
  • Tactical Squad #3. Veteran Sergeant w/ bolter, teleport homer; one Marine w/ plasma gun; one Marine w/ missile launcher; five Marines w/ bolters; all have Infiltrate
  • Land Speeder Tornado w/ heavy bolter and assault cannon (squadron of one)
  • Land Speeder Tornado w/ heavy bolter and assault cannon (squadron of one)
  • Land Speeder Tornado w/ heavy bolter and assault cannon (squadron of one)
  • Devastator Squad. Veteran Sergeant w/ bolter, teleport homer; four Marines w/ missile launchers; five Marines w/ bolters; all have Infiltrate
I have left the army list just the way Ben sent it. I mention this because Ben used Army Builder to create his army. While Army Builder is an excellent program for generating lists that take into account all of the rules and wargear specific to your army, it does nothing to put the army into some kind of context or generate fluff. Many times, players make choices for the army based solely on number crunching to maximize the number of figures and wargear (hence the irregular squad sizes in the list above). While these lists are fine for playing the game, they leave something to be desired if you want your army to be something other than a generic group of figures.

Getting Started
At first glance, this army seems very similar to the one featured in the last article. Infiltration has become very popular with the new version of the rules, since it can be used in about two-thirds of all missions. On closer look, however, Ben’s army really wants to be a drop-pod army, which will negate the necessity of using Infiltrate for the Tactical and Devastator Squads. 

By switching to a drop-pod od oriented army, I would make the following changes to Ben’s list: 1) make the Devastator Squad a five-man unit, 2) make all Tactical Squads ten-man units, 3) make all Scout Squads ten-man units, 4) equip all Tactical Squads with drop pods. The Damocles Rhino could still be used, but I don’t feel you should make a Forge World piece the center of your army, as you never know if your opponent will allow you to use it.

I would leave the rest of the army intact, but add some units which will be discussed below. 

Choosing Traits
One thing about a drop-pod assault is that you leave yourself open for a counterstrike from your opponent when you touch down close to his forces. To help with the inevitable counterassault, I suggest “Trust Your Battle Brothers,” which will give the Tactical units the True Grit and Counterstrike abilities. For a second trait, I suggest “Heed The Wisdom Of The Ancients.” Ben already has a Venerable Dreadnaught and can take one or two more as Heavy Support choices to help in tank hunting (twin-linked lascannons) or fire support (assault cannon). As for Drawbacks, I suggest “Eye to Eye” and “We Stand Alone” (which will actually be related to the background).

Fleshing It Out
One of the ideas Ben mentions is that the Chapter is similar to current day U.S. Marines. Instead, I envision them as elite paratroopers, similar to U.S. Rangers, which drop in where needed, get the job done, and move on. As such, they have no real home base and are always on the move with their fleet lending their aid wherever needed throughout the Imperium. “The A-Team” in space, if you will.

In keeping with this idea, Squad names would follow military call sign terminology: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie (*), Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf (x), Hotel (x), India, Juliet (x), Kilo, Lima, Mike (*), November, Oscar (*), Papa (x), Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform (x), Victor (*), Whiskey, X-Ray (x), Yankee, and Zulu. I have marked with an “x” the ones I would not use and with an asterisk (*) the ones I would use for character names (if you want to use them at all).

The army’s general tactics are these: at the beginning of the game, deploy the Devastator Squad and, if possible, Infiltrate the Scout Squads. All other units will enter via Deep Strike (the Terminators if allowed) or drop pod. The troops entering via drop pod will concentrate together to support each other and act as a surgical strikeforce against particular enemy objectives. These tactics can be modified as points and missions allow, but should work in most situations.

Modeling
By its very definition, a drop-pod assault army is quick deploying and very mobile. To this end, you could model the marines in action poses—running forward, kneeling, or prone—to make them look more dynamic.

I chose the name Fire Drakes for the Chapter because of the black and red color scheme (colors commonly associated with fire), and because it sounds good. Also, the idea of dropping in on your opponent is very much like how a dragon would circle their pray before swooping in for the kill, which could be worked into the backstory for the army that their homeworld was mountainous and populated by dragons. This could also be played up by using Cold One bits as trophies or ornaments on vehicles and characters.

Certainly, the name Fire Drakes evokes the Salamanders, and using their iconography and special bits (i.e. Xavier’s cloak) would be appropriate, although it will lead some to assume lineage from the Salamander chapter. Ben could easily choose to have the army be descended from the Salamanders: to do so, I would take the “Cleanse and Purify” and “See But Don’t Be Seen” traits, and use Infiltration instead of drop pods. 

Conclusion
In the last installment, I wrote a background for the army which I felt was original and interesting, but in the end, the owner opted to create their own and use only general ideas that were presented in the background. Rather than create a detailed background for the Fire Drakes, I will let Ben create his own background based on his characters and history of battles. I feel that there is enough information presented here to give Ben a launching point.

If you would like me to develop some ideas for you, check the introduction page of this series for the e-mail address.

Related Pages
More Jungle Juice

Posted June  2006. Used with permission.
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle