Friday, December 31, 2010

Daemon Prince and Dreadnought (WIP)

The only thing better than not having to work is getting to play with minis while not having to work. If all goes well, I’m gonna throw some paint on the DP tonight. Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Target Priority: Kill Points Missions

Let’s talk target priority in kill points missions. Yeah, I know, no self-respecting comp player does the whole KP thing, and I agree that KPs have their problems, but let’s just say- for the sake of argument - that you are slumming it with some fluffies or playing your little cousin and still want to kick some ass.

Question is, do you give target priority to threats, or easy kills? Your gut reaction (if like mine) will be to go for taking out threats. After all, your opponent’s nasty tanks are blasting away at you and you are going to shoot at the harmless little combat squad 12” behind them? Having played (and lost) quite a few of these missions I feel qualified to say, yes, go for the kill, collect your point and move to the next easiest thing to kill.

That’s easy to say, but perhaps we should see this idea put into action.

In the first situation, we have my Eldar army vs. an Ork horde. As you can see, I have two units of Nob bikers coming in from the left and a horde of boyz midfield. Behind them are some killa cans and gretchin. I concentrate fire on the bikers T2-3, and the horde mid-late game. I ended up losing the match, and well I should have.

Do you do the math there? Gretchin and killa cans were worth 3 points and could have been neutralized easily by my army in T2-3. Instead I went for the ‘threats’ and ended up having most my shots bounce off the high toughness and FNP of the bikers. In the end I only killed one squad of bikers. The cans and gretchin survived. Mind you, I was worrying about foot-bound orks and bikers when the majority of my army was in fast skimmers.

But that was just a noob mistake, against a horde army right?

Lets try a more recent example, this time against the ever-shooty Tau. Note totally different play style of my opponent’s army, but the principle remains the same: go for the easy kills. In fact, think of KP target priority as if you are a boxer faced against a heavy weight champion, an average adult and a six year old girl. Get the kid. Don’t be scared.

Here we are midgame, I’ve managed to neutralize some piranhas, a crisis team, and some devilfish. So far, so good. In the backfield you can see two de-meched squads of fire warriors (the “little kids”), another crisis team and a devilfish (the “adults”), and some broad sides in cover with shield generators (the “heavy weights”). My reasoning had the best of bloodthirsty intentions– kill the broad sides, then nothing can contest my mech for the next 2-3 turns. On T4 I spend a turn firing two preds, two blast masters, and a handful of havoc launchers at the broad sides. Through a bit of luck (not much though) the filthy Tau pull through unscathed. His turn they knock out another of my tanks, taking the lead and forcing me out of cover to try and catch up.

Could I have got lucky, killed the broadsides and then achieved a massacre? Possibly, but the smarter play would have been to take out the two fire warriors squads backfield. With my massed templates and their crappy Ld this would have almost been a foregone conclusion. This would have put him down two points and forced him to take risks in order to play for a draw.

Situations like these present themselves time and again in KP missions, and it is difficult, not to mention counter intuitive, to avoid nasty units in favor of easy points, but bitter experience has taught me that it’s the easy kills that win the game. Remember in KPS landraider = rhino. Abbadon = space marine captain. Ten gaunts = 20 plaguemarines with full command and weapons.

Don’t over work your self. Go for the path of least resistance.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Noise Marines at 1000 pts.

Rumor has it that next month’s tourney at the FLGS is going to feature a 5 round, 1000 point tourney. While this would be a great time to try out the Necrons, unfortunately both budget and time constraints mean I won’t be able to have 1,000 ready to go by then. February however…

In the meantime, it will have to be Chaos. This is not a big setback as I’ve got a solid variety of models to choose from, and at this level of points the constraints of the Chaos FOC aren’t felt as strongly as at say, 2k or 2.5k.

Let’s get to business. Here’s the list:

Daemon Prince w/ wings, Warptime (155)

3 Chaos Terminators w/ combi-melta x 3 (105)
5 Chosen w/ meltagun x 2, flamer x 1, IoCG (125)

5 Noise Marines w/ sonic blasters x 5, icon (130)
5 Noise Marines w/ sonic blasters x 5, icon (130)
5 Lesser Daemons (65)
5 Lesser Daemons (65)

Obliterator (75)
Obliterator (75)
Obliterator (75)

TOTAL 1000

Now for the breakdown. With this build I’ve eschewed all mech in favor of extra troops, hoping that my opponent’s dedicated anti-mech unit(s) will be effectively out of the game. Obviously there’s going to be a heavy reliance on deep-striking, and hopefully the abundance of icons in the list will keep any related wackiness to a minimum.

While in large games I think you can get away with ‘dedicated’ units, at 1000 points everything should as ‘swiss army knife’ as possible. Overall, the prevalence of icons and flexibility of units (oblits, daemons, and Prince esp.) should allow for just that. Against a shooty list I’ll hide everything off board in order to deepstrike dog pile exposed units. Against assaulters, I can probably stay more on the ground and use the termies and daemons as speed bumps and re-directors; hopefully buying more time for my oblits and Noises to shoot my opponent down to size.

One weakness as I see it now is going to be AP3 templates, as with 5 man strong units, one ‘hit’ with one of these virtually ensures the total destruction of the unit. MCs can also be a problem, as my ‘speed bumps’ won’t really hold them at bay long and I don’t enough massed shooting to be reliably pulling them down with guns alone. Here I’ll have to be careful to keep my DP alive long enough so that I can take 3-4 wounds off the MC so that he can finish them off.

Finally, although the deep striking gives me a good deal of initial mobility, the army post turn three is basically foot bound. This means that much of the tenor of the game is going to be set by my initial initial deployment, and a big mistake there will be difficulty to recover from.

That said, I’m pretty happy with the build and eager to give it a go.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

On this the celebration of the winter solstice, I wish for peace and goodwill to all. In lieu of that however, I'll accept the gods turning our suffering into plagues.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Do Necrons Dream of Electric Marines?

So I’ve been mulling over (less generous people might say obsessively so) the idea of picking a new army. I still really enjoy playing Chaos and definitely think there are a few more lists still to write for this army, but I've been doing them for well over a year now and its time to move on to something different.

My criteria for the next army was pretty simple: I wanted something that wasn't a 3+ army, that had a 5th ed. codex, and that had great models. The main contenders thus far have been Tyranids, Dark Eldar and Necrons; the first two of which fit the mold very well.

Naturally I choose the third option.

I'm know I'm raking a bit of a gamble with an army whose release has not been confirmed by GW yet, as it could very well be another 2 years before we see a Necron codex; and thus they would not meet my 5th ed. criteria or the model criteria noted above. Furthermore, there is the chance that the new codex will be a dud or there will be some glaring defect with their new rules/army composition. Given the consistent tenor of solid releases GW has been making over the last year however, I think this is not very likely to happen. Even so, with the money spent on a new army its always a chance.

Truthfully, I'd still like to have a bug army or some DE down the road, but with the prices of minis and my budget, I need to stay focused. One set of villains at a time.

So why Necrons?

From a fluff standpoint, I've always liked their feel. Of all the 'evil' armies, Necrons are arguably the most depraved - and that wins big points with me. All the rest of the bad guys have a motive for their mischief: Tyranids are ravenous bugs who don't know better, DEs are at heart just some emo kids who got mixed up with the wrong crowd, and Chaos is, IMHO, almost an anti-hero when compared to the totalitarian theocracy of the Imperium. Necrons? Well they are just plain mean. They entered this world in a harsh star system which gave them nothing but ashes and spite, and they've been lashing out at the galaxy ever since. Sign me up.

And while I hear a lot of griping on the interwebs about the 'Crons being 'souless', frankly I don't see it. There are at least a dozen good sci-fi movies showing the 'human side' of robots gone bad, and besides: at their core they are really just space undead, and undead are chock full of personality.

Modeling wise, their mins aren't too bad looking, with the exception that being an older army they still have quite a few metal models. I imagine this will resolve itself with the new relase, so this really isn't a huge drawback. Haven't settled on a conversation theme and paint scheme yet, but that's a topic for another post.

From a play-style standpoint, I also like their form. For one, they are a nice break from the mech madness that still permeates so much of the 40k universe. In addition, I like the hyper-mobility offered by their jetbike destroyers, their ability to phase in and out, and their ability to use Monoliths as onfield transports. Not unlike Eldar, this is a hit fast and run army, but with their WBB and generally higher toughness, they can actually absorb some punishment. Plus, I think that if the new codex adds some assault options, they are going to have some real interesting builds to throw out.

Finally, their battalions are still a good deal for the money, and investing in 2 now will give me a good leg up on the competition when the codex arrives.

So there it is. My first box set is already on order with my FLGS, and will be here w/i the week. Now it's off for an orgy of Google image searches and pondering a paint scheme...

Eldar for Sale

After a good deal of reflection, soul searching, and quiet walks on the beach with soft piano music playing in the background, I have decided to sell my Eldar army.

They have been an absolute blast to play with and have served me well as an excellent introduction into 5th Edition 40k. I have always liked their sleek, highly mobile skimmers and there punch-and-run gameplay.

That said, I’m ready to move on and would like to see these go to a happy loving home. I’m selling them with the help of NW Game Supply Store, who has taken some terrific pictures of the army and put them on their site.

If you are interested, feel free to leave a comment or contact them through their webpage.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Necron Rumors...

Johnny Five. Currently tougher than the average Necron foot troop.

So I know by now I'm almost two weeks behind the curve on this story, but I've been intrigued by the latest set on Necron rumors and, as I’m in the process of selecting a new army, thought I’d put in my own two cents. Without further ado:

New Codex drops mid year.
Let’s hope so.

WBB changes to FNP for “most” units
Given my druthers, I like the fluff of WBB, but I understand the want to move to a Universal Special Rule.

New HQ options include “One” new C’Tan. .
Not a fan of hero-hammer, and think C’tan would be cooler if left to the imagination.

Nightbringer and Deceiver to get new models…and at least one will have optional “incarnations”
See above.

New Tomb Spider plastic model. option to create alternate model that is Heavy artillery.
Um… yes please.

New fast cc focus unit. jump infantry. warrior sized.
Is this going to be a remake of wraiths? Let’s hope it’s a sign GW is going to revive the more assaulty elements of the old ‘dex. Speaking of which, Flayed ones might make a nice plastic kit…

New models for immortals.
Stands to reason. My guess is they will be plastic too.

New “tank” – could be the TS based artillery just referenced from different source.
I’d be surprised if they added anything that had an AV value, as it would stick out like a sore thumb (and make an easy target to boot). The monolith excepted, of course. Personally, I think they can easily fix the Necron’s mobility issues by allowing more ‘portals’ on the field.

new MC walker – likely the rumored “Necronmancer” – may be HQ or Heavy-conflicting rumors here.
If its anything like the Forge world Tomb Stalker this will be sweet. Again, more MCs would be nice as they would help give some more aggressive tactical options.

New plastic Lord with all options.

New named Lord metal blister. .
While the kit would be nice, what Crons really need is some HQ choices ala 5th – HQ’s that encourage alternate list building by allowing changes to the FOC. This is what Necron’s really need: rules that help them move away from the monobuilds they are currently stuck in, and allow them better longevity (both on and off the board).

New Monolith option…not represented in models to be released.

Given GW's current consistency with solid releases, I think there is little to fear from being saddled with a 'mono-build' codex, but with the amount of money ($500?) needed to complete a new army, the more reassurance the better.

While these rumors are tantalizing, I’m going to keep saving my money and wait a few more weeks before committing to anything for sure.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chaos - FTT!

So the results are in, and all I have to say is at least it wasn't another Klendathu.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

“I'm from Buenos Aires, and I say kill 'em all!”

As Johnny Rico’s timeless words suggest, this weekend is going to see a couple of matches between me and the Bugs. While I’ve only played a few games against Bugs version 5.0, they have as always proved to be entertaining opponents, and not simply because you can quote "Aliens" movies for the entire game.

Fighting Tyranids is, as always, a game of target priority, but in this recent incarnation the waters have become a bit more muddled. I remember back in 3rd Ed when all you had to do was shoot the closest ones (well, the rules kind of mandated that you did…) and if you were feeling particularly spry, you could maybe even run up and give some of the small ones a good kicking. 4th ed bugs also lent themselves to easy target priority: shoot the big ones. That was easy because in 4th ed all the Tyranid list was made up of was big ones.

5th ed not so much. In fact everything we know just got a lot more complicated. Now we don’t worry about stealers so much, but we do worry about warriors, get caught off guard by Magic Gaunts™, and just can’t seem to pull down those Tyrant’s with their retinues. What are the Iron Minstrels to do?

Well the basic tenant remains the same: avoid fighting the bugs, shoot bugs instead. This can be achieved by movement blocking (expect some empty rhinos to be whirling around the field) and castling; but even at its best, this trick will only delay the inevitable when facing a good opponent. Oh, and the guy I’m facing just won the recent tourney at my FLGS. Even knowing what you want to shoot doesn’t always help.

Take for instance a Carnifex coming at me. With my list (below) dedicating about 85% (and yes I’ve done the math) of its full firepower, it can probably bring down one of these per turn at range. That’s not particularly good any way you cut it. Add some ablative wounds like I’m bound to see in the average Tyrant and Guards, and I could literally spend an entire turn shooting and not bring down a model. Needless to say, against nids this won’t work.

Conversely, with the now ubiquitous Tervigons crapping out 3D6 Magic Gaunts™ each turn, you can’t exactly afford to avoid shooting the little ones, nor will wiping them all out be in any way effective.

The solution? As I see it, target priority will need to occur in the movement AND the shooting phase. I will have to rely on the fact that most Bug guns aren’t high enough strength (tyranofex excluded) to reliably destroy things. In fact, I’m going to have to be hoping for a lot of ‘wrecked results’ on my extra rhinos and hope they block off the big bugs T1-2 while I’m busy shutting down all my opponents support options. Once the big bugs can no longer be avoided, I’ll attempt to shoot them down to 1-2 wounds and move on to the next target (allowing me to take on two per turn). Weakened bugs will then be dealt with by my assault terminators or by dog piling them with everything nearby.

Is it a perfect plan? Perhaps not, but it should hold up well. That is unless, of course, they brought some kind of ‘smart bug’ along with them.

As always, this isn't intended to be "Best List Ever", only a good 'all comers' list from my models on hand...

Chaos Sorcerer w/ terminator armor, Warptime, MoS, combi-plasma (150)
4 Chaos Terminator w/ IoS, combi-melta x 3, H. flamer, chainfist (170)

5 Chosen w/ meltagun x 2, flamer x 2
Rhino w/ (155)
5 Chosen w/ meltagun x 2, flamer x 2
Rhino w/ (155)

5 Noise Marines w/ blastmaster
Rhino /w havoc (190)
5 Noise Marines w/ blastmaster
Rhino /w havoc (190)
5 Noise Marines w/ blastmaster
Rhino /w havoc (190)

Land Raider w/ DP (240)

Defiler w/ 2 close combat arms (150)
Chaos Predator w/TL autocannon, lascannon sponson (130)
Chaos Predator w/TL autocannon, lascannon sponson (130)

TOTAL 1850

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chaos and Suppression Fire

I’ve been loitering around 3++ a lot these last few months and have generally found their tactical articles to be spot-on.

One concept in particular that they cover in some depth there is the idea of suppression fire in competitive lists. Basically, suppression fire in 40k consists of high volume, mid-strength shots (i.e., scatter lasers, Necron Destroyers, brain leech worms, etc) which are designed not to destroy armor, but to stun and damage it just long enough to disrupt the enemy’s plans and perhaps move troops towards/away from the enemy vehicle.

Sadly, suppression fire is another area in which the Chaos codex falls short. People have already touched on the fact that Chaos units are generally overcosted as compared to the 5th edition armies, as well as the fact that their ‘specialist’ units are a bit outclassed by their counterparts. Few, to my knowledge however, have touched on the lack of suppression fire most Chaos lists are able to throw out, and this is a significant shortcoming that deserves closer inspection.

So what types of suppression fire units does Chaos have? In short: missile launchers, blast masters, autocannons, Bolts of Change and plasma guns.

Now let’s look and see why these all problematic for Chaos.

Missile launcher: The units that can carry these are Havocs, CSM and Dreds. Dreds have some potential, as with mutlimeltas they can put out some decent S8, however without a solid FAQ ruling on their fire-frenzies, they can be a bit unreliable, IMO. CSM only have access to a launcher at 10 models strong, and even then you’re only getting one. This is quite expensive and not really ‘suppressive’ due to a lack of shots. Havocs can take four, so they have a real chance at putting out some fire here, however going this route means you have to sacrifice a heavy slot (usually losing actual anti-tank options, such as Oblits or Preds). Plus, in order to get all four shooting, the Havocs need to be on foot. At almost 200 points (with a rhino and no ablative Havocs), this option is a big investment for what amounts to a stalling tactic.

Blast masters: Readers of my blog know I’ve run a few lists with these, but even I’ll confess they are not optimal. At 40 points, they are a very expensive missile launcher (with less accuracy) which basically requires the parent unit (also expensive at 20 points model) to sit still most of the game. While they can put the fear of god into elite infantry with their AP3, you basically have to couple them with sonic blasters and havoc launchers in order to get the volume of shots needed to reliably stun things.

Autocannons: The effectiveness of this weapon for suppression has been demonstrated by our non-spikey brethren, esp. with the now-popular rifle dreds. Unfortunately, they are not much of an option for Chaos (our dreds can’t take them for one thing). Havoc’s can have them, but being unable to split fire, you run into the same problem as launchers above. CSM can also take them, but again, the same tactical restriction applies as running CSM with a missile launcher. Preds can run them, but realistically these should be using a combo of AC/LC to work on priority or harder targets. Defilers have a TL Reaper AC, but to fire this you have to NOT fire the ordnance weapon, which is a difficult temptation to pass up, not to mention rather counterproductive (who designed, that one BTW…). Termies can also take a Reaper AC, and this is tempting, as they can shoot and move, however this too comes at a price. Chaos termies are generally used as either a suicide deep strike squad, in which case they are slinging combi-meltas and don’t need the AC, or they are in a raider and (likely) kitted out for assault, which will minimize the amount of shooting they will get with this 25 pt. weapon. Finally, Chosen have access to one AC, but with their ability to carry meltaguns and infiltrate they are better served either in a rhino or pushed forward in cover as an actual anti-tank option.

Bolt of Change: Need I really cover why this is a bad idea for suppression fire?

Plasma guns: Here is an interesting option that tells us a lot about how Chaos plays in 5th. Plasma guns are the closest thing Chaos has to reliable, massed suppression as they can be taken 2 to a CSM squad of 10, or with Chosen packing 4-5, with plague marines taking 2, or on oblits, and havocs. Notice a pattern here? Almost every netlist has some form of these, and with good reason: this is the only viable suppression fire Chaos has, and as result most competitive will have a couple of these units.

And while the plasma gun is undeniably useful, especially within 12”, here too there are limitations to be considered. With a range of 24”, the type of suppression a plasma squad throws down differs greatly from say a 36” scatter laser, or a 48” AC. Not only is Chaos suppression is shorter ranged, but it is often wielded by foot troops (unless you are pulling the 2-guns-out-the-rhino-hatch trick) with limited mobility. Whereas Eldar Vypers and Necron Destroyers can stun and escape, Tau missile pods come on jump infantry, Marines and IG can spam 48” ACs, etc., ‘suppression’ as it applies to Chaos still means your opponents are going to be left close to your troops when all is said and done. This means that in order to be truly effective, the fire must come from a unit which can also fight (i.e., tarpit like plaguemarines) or which has friends nearby to bail them out of an assault, and this contradicts the whole purpose of suppression fire in the first place – namely, throwing shots at units that you’d rather not deal with ‘right now’.

To wrap up this rather long-winded discussion, Chaos lists have a hard time bringing cheap suppression fire to bear on their opponents, and that which they can bring is often short-ranged enough to still leave you under threat of assault most of the time. I won’t make any sweeping conclusions as to whether this renders Chaos hopelessly undergunned for tourneys, but I will say that it is a big disadvantage, and it is something that every Chaos player is going to have to deal with if they wish to be competitive in their own circles.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

'Nother Pred Done

Not much to say on this one. This was the last model I needed to finish to get my 1850 list ready for an upcoming match against the Nids this weekend.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Null List Revisted

It is said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. Perhaps that is what my attempts to come up with a Noise Marine null list have degenerated into. Well, further down the rabbit hole we go then!

1 Daemon Prince w/ wings MoS, Warptime (160)
1 Daemon Prince w/ wings MoS, Warptime (160)

4 Terminators w/ IoS, combi-melta x 3, H. flamer, chainfist (170)
4 Terminators w/ IoS, combi-melta x 3, H. flamer, chainfist (170)
4 Terminators w/ IoS, combi-melta x 3, H. flamer, chainfist (170)

10 CSM w/ plasma, IoCG, Autocannon, rhino (220)
10 CSM w/ plasma, IoCG, Autocannon, rhino (220)

5 Summoned Daemons (65)
5 Summoned Daemons (65)

2 Obliterators (150)
2 Obliterators (150)
2 Obliterators (150)


Now some observations:

1) After much deliberation, I have concluded that the best Noise Marine null list is one which doesn’t employ Noise Marines at all. (Sorry fluffers.) In the old list I was paying 170 for a rhino with 5 guys and some sonic blasters. Their fire output was pathetic (6 S4 shots for 170 pts?!), their survivability was small (only 5 models) and their offensive capability was about zero. I have no illusions that the CSM will fair much better, but with a plasma gun and an autocannon they can at least throw out some high strength shots while they are waiting to be slaughtered. Ten models won’t survive longer than 5 against dedicated assault troops, but their 30 attacks on the charge may be enough to remove non-combat units reliably.
2) More oblits. These guys are the workhorses of Choas foot lists. I’ve yet to have a battle where I thought at the end: “Man these guys kinda suck.” No reason not to max out these guys.
3) Daemon Princes over lash sorcs. Losing the Lash will hurt, but the combat ability of the DPs is badly needed in an army which gets right in the opposing armies face (plus they can also de-mech). Running these guys separate also helps increase target saturation, and even though they will still die to sustained shooting, they are a threat that my opponent will have to deal with (hopefully buying more destruction time for my oblits and termies)
4) Summoned daemons. Yeah, I know, the internets hates them. Hell sometimes I do too. But the fact of the matter is this list needs some objective holders and some speed bumps. These guys fit that bill quite nicely.

So that’s where it stands. Sorry to see the purity of the Noise Marines gone, but they simply aren’t competitive for this type of list.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Berserkers & Chosen

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a few quiet days to get caught up on some painting. I’ve finished one squad of Chosen and some of my converted Berskers. Again, the purpose here was to make them stand out a bit from my Noise Marines, but to still have their colors work with the army as a whole.

Not to sure about the purple on the Chosen’s plasma guns, I may take it down a notch or two next time around. I've got about 15 more Berskers to do, a Dreadnought to assemble, and a pred to finish. Then its on to the Daemon Princes. More on that later.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Setup Fail

So I’ve been reviewing some of my battles from last weekend’s tourney, and trying to make some bat reps. I simply don’t have the heart to make a 7 minute long video detailing the hammering I got against the Necrons, but I did think the pictures might make for a good instructive “How Not to Setup with Mech” article. Being the first time I have attempted to field an army with that many tanks, there was bound to be some mistakes, and I definitely walked away with a few insights that I’ll use next time round.

First the field. Typical terrain, the deployment was spearhead and the mission involved taking three mobile objectives from center board back to our respective bases (located in the corner of our deployment).

As you can see, I deployed with my heavy weapons up front, with my Landraider in center field and my preds on my flank. My thinking here was twofold: give my opponent a solid wall of AV13 &14 to shoot turn one (I went second), and take advantage of the fact that Necrons can’t assault their way out of a wet paper bag by using my Serks and Kharn to dominate the center. The Chosen infiltrated towards the middle as a diversion unit intended to solely to provide cannon fodder for a turn whilst my army got in place.

Two critical mistakes where made here, that in hindsight, made defeat almost a foregone conclusion. First, was the deployment of my heavies forward which essentially trapped my rhinos in the back, and nullified most of the shooting from the blastmasters. This also guaranteed over half of my army would not be able to bring effective fire to bear towards the center, instead throwing shots at the destroyers on the my opponent’s flanks. More importantly, when the Necrons were able to immobilize the Landraider on the first turn (gauss weapons not giving a shake about AV) my route to and away from the objective completely obstructed. Worse, my assault troops would have to walk into the open in order to capture the objectives. Waiting here was a Monolith, Immortals, two destroyer squads, and a Deceiver. In short, way too many shots for a handful of Serkers to soak.

Second big mistake was that I wasted almost 550 points worth of Chosen on outflanking shenanigans or pointless suicides. Outflanking was folly as their bodies and tanks could have provided critical cover to my assault troops and Noise Marines while they grabbed objectives. Knowing that Necrons are very good at immobilizing tanks, but crappy and destroying them, I should have deployed all Chosen forward and raced them just past the objectives turn 1. This would have forced my opponent to cut through a rhino wall (and some guys behind it armed with melts guns) to get at my troops and the objectives.

In hindsight, my deployment should have looked like this:

With only 3 lascannons, I would have been hard pressed to neutralize both the Monolith and the Deceiver, both of whom basically dominated the center board once they marched up there. It would have been worth a shot however, as he placed his monolith dead center, just like I did my Raider. Theoretically, an immobilization could have choked his movement just like my Raider did mine.

Would this different setup have pulled a win? Truth is I’m not certain. That said, with more efficient concentration of force, better blocking, and more prudent use of firepower I could very likely have changed that game from a blowout to a hard fought draw.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2000 Point List: Thoughts and Revisions

So having played three games against three very different armies with my current Chaos list, its time to take a closer look at how the list functions and where it fails.

HQ – One lash sorc sucks. Either I need to go two or drop the one altogether. True, lash in great when it works, but against the 50% of lists that have some kind of psychic defense, it is simply a point sink. Truthfully, I don’t know why everyone freaks out against Lash. As for Kharn, he’s alrightish. Sure he’s a beast in H2H and can dish some pain, but he cries like a school girl when anyone swings back. With his cost and damage output, you’re tempted to have him charge of of his unit, but with T4, 3 wounds and a 5+ invul he basically kills what he touches, and then stands in the air waiting to be gunned down in the enemy’s next shooting phase. Without Eternal Warrior, that can mean one well-placed melta shot.

Elites – The Chosen generally get massacred every game, but that’s kinda what they are supposed to do. Can’t say Dreds or Termies would have done better, the former being too unpredictable, and latter being one shot (combi) wonders. I think the key to these guys is if you are going to infiltrate them on foot you need to make sure there are rhinos moving into position right behind them to push into the opponent’s next turn and press the advantage. Otherwise, their sacrifice is in vain, and an opponent who understands fire discipline will simply take them out turn one and move on to the next threat turn two.

Troops – Blastmater marines are alright as long as their rhino doesn’t move, which is kind of a big caveat. Having only played variant scenarios thus far, I suspect they’d fair better in a straight objective fight. Like all things Slaanesh in this codex they are a bit schizoid – they can’t decide whether they want to be shooty or assualty, and end up not being good at either.

Speaking of assaulty, its strange that the berskers are not actually truly good at combat, they only pretend to be. Sure they can slaughter things like Eldar and Tau, but that’s not much of a claim to fame is it? Without power weapons, most of the impressive amounts of wounds they dish just get nerfed by saves, and without FNP or invaluable saves, they aren’t hard to bring down. Plus, as the game against the Necrons demonstrated, when pitted against something with high toughness which can actually fight back they get creamed. Oh, and no ranged anti-tank, so whatever they are fighting, needs to be already sitting nice and in the open for them. Why do people fear these things? Right now I’m of the mind to drop them altogether, as they don’t mesh well with the rest of the army. They aren’t good enough to go off playing death star, and they are too expensive to be a speed bump. I’m thinking two units of CSM with special weapons can be decent speed bumps and offer a few anti-tank shots as well before they get snuffed out. All the better that they can hide in a Rhino while doing it.

Heavies – my Predators are astoundingly average. The AV13 in the front is a big help, but the main reason they survive, I suspect, is that with only throwing out 2 S7 and 1 S9 shot a turn, and they simply aren’t doing enough damage to be a priority for most opponents. While I’d much prefer the flexibility of oblits, in a mech list like this I think they would get zapped too quickly.

The Landraider was a giant failbot, but I pretty much expected it to be, and really only took it because I could not afford ($) an additional predator and rhino at the time of play. While it is mildly survivable, and the 18” assualt threat range is nice, at the end of the day it takes a heavy slot (and an expensive one at that) and in return is putting out one measly S9 shot. And that’s if you don’t move more than 6”. Suck, suck, suck.

Big Picture - So in general, between well placed smoke launchers and simply large amounts of vehicles, the list can soak a fair amount of fire power, but has problems in the dishing out department. The LR-Kharn-Serker combo is a huge point sink which is not only out of sync with the rest of the list, but occupies a heavy slot with little ‘heavy’ in return. Noise Marines with a blastmasters in rhinos are okay, but they need to be stationary for most of the game in order to actually add a useful amount of fire to the mix. At mid range they dump out a S8 AP3 blast, a S5 AP4 blast with re-roll, and 4 S4 shots – not bad, but not exactly razorback good either.

The Chosen offer nice tactical flexibility and help channel enemy deployment – if somewhat lacking in survival department. Here I need to support them with rhinos moving up or a good fast choice or two. Since CSM have… well they don’t have good fast attack outside of bikes, I think that means rhinos.

HQs are another big fail in the list. Here I think either redundancy and flexibility is needed. This almost certainly means either daemon princes or warptime sorcerers. Personally, I’m leaning toward the former, as even if their warptime gets shut down, they can still swipe down MEQs and rip open light tanks.

So with all of this in mind, here’s a first draft re-write:

Daemon Prince w/ MoS, Warptime, wings (160)

5 Chosen w/ meltagun x 2, flamer x 2
Rhino w/ havoc (170)
5 Chosen w/ meltagun x 2, flamer x 2
Rhino w/ havoc (170)
5 Chosen w/ meltagun x 2, flamer x 2 (120)

5 Noise Marines w/ blastmaster
Rhino /w havoc (190)
5 Noise Marines w/ blastmaster
Rhino /w havoc (190)
5 Noise Marines w/ blastmaster
Rhino /w havoc (190)

10 CSM w/ plasma gun, autocannon
Rhino (215)
10 CSM w/ plasma gun, autocannon
Rhino (215)

Chaos Predator w/TL autocannon, lascannon sponson (130)
Chaos Predator w/TL autocannon, lascannon sponson (130)
Chaos Predator w/TL autocannon, lascannon sponson (130)

TOTAL 2000

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Knightfall Games 40k RTT: Tournament Highlights

Considering this was my first tournament, things went well. I admit I was not prepared for the alternate scenarios they used, and this threw me off a bit, as well getting acclimated to playing for primary and secondary objectives. Some slow playing on my part on game two led me to have to rush from that table face my next opponent- literally reading the next scenario rules as he was deploying. Not optimal to say the least, but that's what I get for taking so many friggin blast weapons I suppose. I'll review my list in a later post, here I just want to touch on the events of the day.

Game One vs Necrons

This was basically a varent of spearhead with capture and control bases, with the added bonus of three randomly moving objectives (turkeys) which had to be taken from center board back to our respective bases. Extra points were awarded for capturing the opponents turkeys. This mission was an absolute disaster for me from the get go; as a combination of poor planning, terrible deployment and an inadequate list structure led to one of the worst defeats I've ever had. Had bad you ask? I didn’t remove a single one of my opponent's models in six turns of play. You really have to try and suck that hard.

So my postmortem: Putting the landraider out front and center cost me the game. Period. He went first and immobilized it, forcing the rest of my tanks to spend the entire game making long moves toward the flanks (you know, away from the objectives). Kharn and his crew briefly grabbed two of the objectives, but without fire support, they were slaughtered by the combined power of the Deceiver, a Monolith, and some immortals. My opponents performed perfectly- sloowing my tanks to a crawl and immobilizing them with massed S6 gauss fire. I think the final battle points was something like 14-1. I admit that after this game, I thought it was going to be a long, long day.

Game Two vs Tau

Similar type mission to game one, with this time a stationary objective in center board in which points were awarded for total capture and keeping opposing troops away from it. Here my head was a little less up my ass, but with only one objective, it meant either a mosh pit in the center or a shoot-out, niether of which I would be great at.. I got first turn, and my opponent made a mistake, IMO, by deploying way too far forward. This had the result of allowing my chosen to deploy 18" away, running up and melta gunning her piranhas turn one. Overall , I did well and my units all performed how they were supposed to: Chosen and LR kept my opponent distracted, Kharn did some Kharny things, and my preds and rhinos havoc'd the shit out of anything they could see. i even held the objective for the majority of the game. Unfortunately, I just did not have enough firepower/assault strength to keep the mechanized Tau away from the one objective. The game ended in a draw, but because of the bloody fighting in the center, we both racked up enough kill points to stay in the tourney overall.

Game Three vs Mech Eldar

Now this was more like it. Pitched battle with what amounted to Kill Points, only with heavy support weighted 3 points rather than one. Truthfully, at the start of this one I was expecting to get wiped out ala game one: my opponent had three fortuned/guided falcons, a torrent of EML and shurkien cannon fire coming from wave serpents, all in AV 12 with the standard shields and holo-fields. Two things proved crucial mid to late game however. My opponent did not have anything to deal with my LR (no brightlances, only one fire dragon unit) or my AV 13 preds. I sat mid to right center which kept my blast masters and preds in range all game, and I was able to use my emptied out Chosens' rhinos as blockers. Eventually, my LR was able to chase down his left flank and my blastmaster spam was able to by steady attrition take down three Serpents and a Falcon (all with S8 shooting, just goes to prove if you roll the dice enough...) In the end, the game proved a technical victory for me, but it was hardly a decisive one.

Final thoughts. Overall, it was a great day of gaming, even if I didn't crush all before me. All my opponents were great to play against both on and off the table and I've got plenty of good info to tweak my list with for the next go. The format of the tourney worked relatively well, if I had one quibble, I wished we could have had more time to see the scenarios: If not a few days prior to the game, then at least when we arrived. That said, since everyone played by the same rules at least we were all equally unprepared.

So all that left is time for listhammering, painting and maybe put together a dorky batt rep or two.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

There Will Be Blood...and Dice Rolling

So with less than 48 hours to go until tournament time, I feel reasonably prepared: my list has been checked and double-checked, I’ve given the rulebook a good once over (including the new FAQ), and have been running through a few scenarios in my head against some typical lists from other armies.

Not surprisingly, in my head I usually come out the victor in these hypotheticals, but there are a few I’m still having trouble with:

1) The “Leafblower” (IG gunline) – Even though I can hide totally off board and thus (hopefully) come in on one corner with the assistance of some outflanking Chosen, I’m not sure this will be effective in anything but KP scenarios. Even then, with the IGs overwhelming fire superiority, they should be able to rack up a few easy points early on, leaving me struggling to play catch-up mid to late game not one of Chaos’ stronger suits. In objective missions, I may be able to coax my opponent out with a few well-placed objectives mid board. That said, if there are only 3 objectives or if we are playing a capture an control mission, my only real hope is to take out his Fast Attack choices early on and fight for a tie: not something you want to do in a tourney.

2) “Razorspam” – Here the problem will likely be that my opponent is simply going to be putting out more units than I can deal with. Added to that is the problem of Fast Attack: A good Razorspam list also has 2-3 speeders (at 2k they should pack 3) which will require attention early on, leaving my opponent’s Razorbacks free to claim objectives and take pot shots at my crappy rhinos. The best counter I can think of is pushing at least two units of Chosen up midfield via infiltrate in order to create ‘danger zones’ around which he must move his speeders or risk two meltaguns and flame templates. This will hopefully buy me enough time to either put down the speeders or to move my Raider far enough forward that he then needs to turn his fire to that threat.

3) “Null NIds” – With the massive amount of template and blast weapons in my list, I feel pretty confident taking on most horde armies in a straight-up fight. This Tyranid list, however, poses problems in that in has both outflanking stealers and large, nasty buggies appearing in my backfield. True I have a Lash Sorc, but with SitW, I can’t count on it (esp against “super Tyrgons”). Kharn and my Serkers can handle a big bug or two, but if the Tyranids are deepstriking they will likely do so away from this unit; leaving me the choice of running my assault troops halfway across the board and likely leaving my center unprotected. Should I face one of these lists, I’ll likely ‘circle the wagons’ – drawing my tanks into a tight, deep-strike proof formation that will (hopefully) be able to put massed fire on anything coming in a taking out one of the outer tanks.

Anyway those are the ones that come immediately to mind, but its always the one you don’t see coming that really nails you…

Monday, November 15, 2010

On a Random Note...

I spend a bunch of time fishing around on Google searches and on 'Cool Mini or Not' in order to get ideas for painting. Not suprisingly, when doing this you owill often come across some great ideas or stunning paint jobs.

Occasionally, however, you come across an army that so effectively captures what you wanted your army to be that the only decent solution is to coat your shabby models liberally with kerosene and set fire to them while crying in shame.

Take this guy's Eldar army for example.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Death Metal-Themed Rhinos (Khorne Be Praised!)

I’ve been furiously painting away in order to get ready for the upcoming tournament next weekend. These tanks will likely serve in my Khornate faction, so I gave them a different colour scheme (still tied the to original though) to make them stand out a bit.

I’m particularly happy with the way the free-hand death-metal motifs came out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2000 RTT Tourney List

In two weeks I’ll be playing in a 2000 point RTT tourney at my local store, Knightfall Games. In light of this, its time to cook up a list and talk theory-hammer.

Without further ado here my list:

Chaos Sorcerer w/ MoS, Lash, meltabomb (130)

5 Chosen w/ meltagun x 2, flamer x 2
Rhino w/ havoc (170)
5 Chosen w/ meltagun x 2, flamer x 2
Rhino w/ havoc (170)

5 Chosen w/ meltagun x 2, flamer x 2 (120)

5 Noise Marines w/ blastmaster
Rhino /w havoc (190)
5 Noise Marines w/ blastmaster
Rhino /w havoc (190)
5 Noise Marines w/ blastmaster
Rhino /w havoc (190)

Kharn (165)
6 Berserkers w/ champ & p-fist (166)
Land Raider w/ DP (240)

Chaos Predator w/TL autocannon, lascannon sponson (130)
Chaos Predator w/TL autocannon, lascannon sponson (130)

TOTAL 2001

First a disclaimer: I realize the list isn’t 100% optimized – here budget plays a part. Ideally, I’d have dropped the ‘Raider and put in another predator and noise marine unit in its place, but I as I already had the LR and didn’t have the cash to pickup two additional tanks, this will have to do.

Secondly, people who have been following my blog will note that this list is almost a 180 from my preferred “Drop List”. While I seriously considered running a scaled up version of my 1850 list for this army, I was concerned that it just wouldn’t play well at the higher points levels.

So strategy time. The most oblivious thing is that this list has tanks. Lots of them. While I think running a MSU + tank Chaos mech list isn’t necessarily the best way to win a tourney (an imperial opponent doing likewise will almost certainly have more tanks than you), I think as long as I keep my head about I can still be competitive.

Next obvious thing is templates; and this list packs a butt-load of these as well. The theory here is that with my limited long range anti-tank (two preds and a LR IS limited at 2,000 pts) I need to ensure that these units are always shooting at armor and that my templates are geared at troops in the open. With my limited heavy firepower and poor assault capability, I simply cannot permit de-meched enemy troops to be able to reach cover, or for deep strikers to survive past their initial drop into my backfield. The lash sorc may help here, but given the prevalence of anti-psychic stuff, its foolhardy to rely on this gimmick alone.

So how should this list run? The noise marines and preds will sit backfield, holding objectives and lobbing shoots. My chosen and ‘serkers are simply an aggressive form of ‘bubble wrap’. In most cases the chosen will probably just infiltrate on foot T1 and leave their tanks for movement blocking and additional template spam. Should my opponent actually leave tanks on his flank, I have enough chosen to reliably outflank and catch them by T3.

While one LR isn’t enough of a threat to most 2000 pt armies, with a Kharn inside it will still be a threat which must be dealt with. Hopefully, this unit will draw off my opponent’s heavy assaulters into midfield- where they can have their way with the serkers- just as long as when they’re finished they are about 18” away and in the open.

Against the average horde I can probably sit back a pretend I’m a shooting army. Against actual shooty armies like Tau, IG and Razorspam, I’ll probably have to hide off board and hope that terrain will allow me to castle up T2-3 on one flank until my outflanking chosen can get into my opponents line.

So that’s as things stand right now. As I said, it’s not a NOVA winner, but then again I’m not really a NOVA general, so I suppose it will do.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Minstrels vs Space Marines 1500

This is definitely one of the better games I've played in awhile, both because my opponent gave a great match and because I was able to execute a plan start to finish.

Happy Halloween!!

Hope everyone has a great Halloween! And please, let us not forget the reason for the season: placating the restless dead, reveling in ghoulish delights, and performing the occasional vivisection on a random passerby.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Skull Rhinos: 1 of 3

So I've been working on my Khorne rhinos, trying to find a way to make them distinctively "Khorne-ish" while still having them try into the army as a whole. Green stuffed speaker-faces were the norm for my Noise Marine rhinos, so for my 'Serks I decided on, what else, skulls.

First off a disclaimer: I totally cribbed this idea from The Vanus Temple. I make no apologies as this guy's stuff looks sweet and it was just the effect I was looking for. So here's how to do it.

First, spray some cooking release on the sides of your rhinos. Grab a hunk of green stuff, roll it out flat, and then press it into the quarter panel areas. With the oil sprayed on, they should (gently) peel right off.

Next, take some skulls that you've glued to the end of something and press them into the still wet green stuff. Let these pieces dry at least overnight, until they've cured good and hard. In the meantime, you'll want to wash the oiled rhino in hot soapy water so that your primer will stick later on.

Once the molds are ready, spray them with some cooking release and push a layer of green stuff on top of them. Then, carefully peel off this new layer. I then set the pieces onto wax paper and trimmed them with a wet knife. This part takes some practice and patience, but is worth the effort. When the green stuff becomes firm, but not yet hard, gently place it into the quarter panels and use a knife or sculpt stick to press it in Don't be surprised if you have to do a little trimming.

And there you are, rhinos with great looking skulls of the sides. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out an plan to use this effect on other models in my Khorne army.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How to Strip Paint from Plastic Miniatures

So I wanted to do this as a video, but I’m still having trouble getting my video cam to talk with my computer. It’s a pretty simple process however, and pictures will have to suffice for now.

Here I have 4 jetbikes that I picked up off of eBay. The seller noted they he picked them up second-hand and that they were “painted amateurish at best.” He wasn’t kidding.

There are a variety of substances you can use. I prefer brake fluid as its 1) cheap 2) not terribly smelly 3) gets the job done quite nicely.

The soak is simple: put the minis in, make sure they are covered in the undiluted fluid, put a lid on, and leave them be for about 2 hours.

When you go to pull them, you’ll want to use gloves. Scrub them all down with an old toothbrush before you do any rinsing with water. If you use the water in between, it ruins the effect of the solvent and you have to re-soak.

As you can see, the solvent gets about 98% of the paint off, with no damage to the actual miniature. If the mini has been primed and then painted, you may need to re-soak again to pull the primer off.

All in all it’s a easy process that takes minimal time. Brand new 4 jetbikes run $60. I picked these up for $16, and by the time I re-prime and paint no one will be the wiser.