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)

1850


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.

*sigh*

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.