Friday, October 15, 2010

Utilizing Kor'sarro

Kor'sarro Khan is, by far, the weakest special character in Codex: Space Marines. Vulkan gives direct offensive benefits to all your thunderhammers, melta- weapons and flamers. Lysander is an offensive monster that buffs your army's ability to hold its ground (which can be a drawback if you're not careful). Calgar is the slayer of all things large and small, while providing the benefits normally only gained by an inquisitor lord to your squads. Even Tigurius helps out with eclectic armies that need to make coordinated strikes (not to mention that he can pull some amazing stuff out of his bag of psychic tricks). Shrike turns your marines into a speedy assault force.

...but what does Kor'sarro Khan do? He gets some special equipment and rules for himself, all he does is allow your more mobile units to outflank. So let's analyze this in its entirety.

1) He and his squad have furious charge. This is great for Khan joining a unit of assault terminators if he's on foot, or perhaps a bike-mounted command squad with power weapons. It's also nice for any other characters that want to join up with that unit like a chaplain or librarian. Take the chaplain for maximum carnage, or take the librarian for precision strikes. Nothing says 'kill' like an I5 epistolary with S7.

2) He and his squad have hit-and-run. While the effectiveness of the bonuses conferred by this ability are debatable, there are ways to turn up the dial on its power level. The main reason to use hit-and-run is to either a) escape from an undesirable combat or b) make a mildly effective charge to block your unit from being shot during your opponent's next shooting phase. So if you're using high-cost, large, resilient units that aren't very effective in close combat but are decent at dishing out the firepower, then go for it. Use the largest unit of bikes possible, led by a power weapon-wielding veteran sergeant and the Khan... or else a large unit of foot-slogging shooty terminators.

3) Moondrakken is just a bike. The only reason to use it is if you want to use the Khan to lead up a fast-moving unit that's not vehicle mounted (assault squad, bikes). If you feel the need for the Khan to leave his unit and attack a vehicle on his own or assault a small vulnerable artillery team, then he may want to leave his unit, running during the shooting phase and then charging. This just seems like a helpful option that will never see substantial use because of the subsequent vulnerable situation in which you leave the Khan after he does his damage.

4) Moonfang is a nice gem that makes the Khan just a little more tempting. While the ability to cause instant death is nice, there are tons of characters (as well as the entire Daemon army) that are immune to it. Considering that the Khan only has five attacks on the turn he charges and causes instant death only on a to-wound roll of six, it would seem beneficial to attach a chaplain to help raise the possibility that he'll hit that one six.

5) Anyone who's played an objective-based game against an army with a hefty amount of scoring units (or just a high quantity of units in general) knows that it's an uphill battle. Using bikes as scoring troop units gives you the versatility of having fast-moving anti-everything units turbo-boosting their way towards controlling or contesting objectives in the late game. It becomes much easier to manage your units' movements when you have a large web of redundancy in your usually non-scoring units to back up your objective-capturing plans.

6) Outflanking has always been and will always be a mixed bag; honestly it's just an empty bag if you ask me. Against a good player with a versatile force and the ability to mass firepower it's just a bad bet because you're dialing down your army's efficiency to take a chance at increasing that efficiency at some later point in the game. What this does is make your opponent's decision making easier. He has fewer targets and more flexibility in his target selection process. But I digress. If you're going to use the Khan's abilities, then it's best to keep this one as an option against an opponent who has decided to use similar options. Try keeping one unit in reserve; this is preferably a bike squad that can minimize the impact of having it show up on the wrong side of the table by turbo-boosting. It's probably a good idea to use this unit in an army where the Khan is on a bike and riding with a biker command squad; the remainder of your force should be fast-moving as well so that you can put pressure on one half of your opponent's force right out of the gate. This way, when your reserve bikers show up, they can either a) press the existing advantage you have in sub-dividing your opponent's army, or b) have a unit in their backfield that's there to finish what the rest of your army started (or tie things up until your main force can bridge the gap).

Thursday, October 7, 2010


After seeing the prevalence of armored units in 5th I wanted to have an army that counteracted its strengths. I wanted Vulkan to walk his armored column up to the enemy army and vaporize it in one coordinated strike. I wasn't sure at first whether or not to use massed troop units, massed elite/fast/heavy weapons, or a mix. I settled on a mix because it's not the type of Vulkan-based force you see very often. They're mostly Terminator-based forces with a Landraider; they're mundane and boring!

Salamanders - 2000 Points

Vulkan He'stan - 190

Sternguard Veterans (9) - 295
2x Flamer, Powerfist, Rhino

Tactical Squad #1 (10) - 220
Flamer, Multi-melta, Power Weapon, Rhino

Tactical Squad #2 (10) - 220
Flamer, Multi-melta, Power Weapon, Rhino

Tactical Squad #3 (10) - 235
Meltagun, Multi-melta, Powerfist, Rhino

Assault Squad (10) - 240
2x Flamer, Thunderhammer, Rhino

Attack Bike Squad #1 (3) - 150
3x Multi-melta

Attack Bike Squad #2 (3) - 150
3x Multi-melta

Thunderfire Cannon #1 - 100

Thunderfire Cannon #2 - 100

Thunderfire Cannon #3 - 100

It would seem that the force focuses a bit much on anti-troop, considering the massed artillery and flame weapons, but 9x Multi-melta (6 of which can move and fire) seem pretty destructive. The trick is to make sure you can crack an enemy tank during the shooting phase, and follow that up by charging the unit that disembarks.

There's also a ton of resilience within this force, as well as a touch of "help me, help you, no way." This means that my Techmarines give me extra cover saves against heavy fire (even for my vehicles), but any benefit you might gain from using my own terrain rules is pretty much negated by my anti-troop weaponry (Flamers, Thunderfire Cannons and Sternguard ammo).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Imperial Fists

I've really wanted to work with the 'Fists for a while now. Lysander is one dangerous guy, and I love the idea of shoving him right in my opponent's face and forcing the issue from turn 1 onwards.

Imperial Fists - 2000 Points

Captain Darnath Lysander - 200

Space Marine Librarian - 125
Terminator Armor, Smite, Gate of Infinity

Terminator Squad (10) - 460
2x Cyclone Missile Launcher

Sternguard Veteran Squad (10) - 310
Powerfist, Drop Pod

Tactical Squad #1 (10) - 235
Flamer, Lascannon, Meltabombs, Teleport Homer, Rhino

Tactical Squad #2 (10) - 235
Flamer, Lascannon, Meltabombs, Teleport Homer, Rhino

Tactical Squad #3 (10) - 260
Meltagun, Multi-melta, Powerfist, Combi-melta, Teleport Homer, Rhino

Devastator Squad (5) - 175
2x Plasma Cannon, Rhino

The plan is to mount Lysander in the Drop Pod with the Sternguard, dropping them into an advanced position on turn 1. Follow this up with the army-wide advance of a massive Librarian-led, teleporting Terminator squad that spits out dakka, as well as some Rhino-mounted Tactical squads. There's a lot of mobility here, and the army's close-combat capability is nothing to sneeze at.

We'll see how it does when faced with what might be a mirror match next week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

13th Company (or Pre-Heresy Wolves)

This was a fun army to put together because it allowed me to use a lot of my older, plastic CSM models. I had lots of CSMs configured with bolters or bolters & close combat weapons from my older, defunct CSM armies, and they basically turned into Grey Hunters; the CSMs with bolt pistols & close combat weapons turned into Blood Claws. It just seemed like a great fit for the older, CSM-themed Space Wolves from Codex: Eye of Terror.

I had some older Wulfen models that I was able to include in my Grey Hunter and Wolf Scout units so I included as many MotW upgrades as possible. The character models consist of a converted Wulfen as my Battle Leader, Njal as my Rune Priest, and a converted, scratch-built plastic Wolf Priest with lots of talismans. To make the list somewhat competitive I had to mount as many units as possible in Rhinos, each led by Wolf Guard and/or an HQ model.

13th Company - 2000 Points

Wolf Guard Battle Leader - 100
Mark of the Wulfen, Meltabombs, Mark of the Hunter

Rune Priest - 110
Jaws of the World Wolf, Murderous Hurricane, Saga of the Beastslayer

Wolf Priest - 135
Saga of the Warrior Born

Wolf Guard Pack (5) - 200
3x Wolf Guard w/Powerfist & Combi-melta
1x Wolf Guard w/Powerfist & Bolt Pistol
1x Wolf Guard w/Mark of the Wulfen

Wolf Scouts Pack (10) - 205
2x Power Weapon, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen

Blood Claw Pack (8) - 180
Powerfist, Rhino

Grey Hunter Pack #1 (8) - 200
Power Weapon, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Meltagun, Rhino

Grey Hunter Pack #2 (9) - 215
Power Weapon, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Meltagun, Rhino

Grey Hunter Pack #3 (9) - 215
Power Weapon, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Meltagun, Rhino

Grey Hunter Pack #4 (10) - 220
Power Weapon, Mark of the Wulfen, 2x Meltagun, Rhino

Grey Hunter Pack #5 (10) - 220
Power Weapon, Mark of the Wulfen, 2x Meltagun, Rhino

After I began building this force I saw a few postings on Bell of Lost Souls. Goatboy had used DoC Bloodcrushers for his Thunderwolf Cavalry unit, and I thought this was a perfect unit to incorporate into the 13th Company force I had begun building. I decided to use a unit of them, as well as a Wolf Lord to accompany them. I also wanted to take things one step further and incorporate a unit of Fenrisian Wolves to provide mobile cover saves for them. For these I used the newest versions of the DoC Fleshhounds.

Wolf Lord - 270
Thunderwolf Mount, Saga of the Warrior Born, Powerfist, Storm Shield, Wolf Tooth Necklace, Runic Armor, Wolf Tail Talisman

Thunderwolf Cavalry (5) - 275

Fenrisian Wolves (10) - 88

Incorporating these three units involves a bit of points juggling (wargear, a model here and there).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New League, New Lists

After moving cross country last winter I was forced to find some new stomping grounds; it wasn't difficult. This fall kicks off a new 40K league at my FLGS. Battle Missions are being used for the league, and it's always interesting to see what kind of wackiness will ensue when you play a game out of that book.

I've chosen to play with my standby, Codex: Space Marines, and see how well I can do with my rather mundane, yet themed army lists. They're not 'Ard Boyz quality, but anything with Rhinos and Meltaguns seems to do the trick these days.

List #1

Pre-Heresy World Eaters - 1998 Points

Chapter Master - 200
Relic Blade, Storm Shield, Meltabombs, Digital Weapons, Artificer Armor

Chaplain - 115
Meltabombs, Digital Weapons

Venerable Dreadnought - 180
Multi-melta, Extra Armor

Terminator Assault Squad (5) - 200
4x Lightning Claws, 1x Thunderhammer

Tactical Squad #1 (10) - 220
Lascannon, Meltagun, Rhino

Tactical Squad #2 (10) - 220
Lascannon, Meltagun, Rhino

Assault Squad #1 (9) - 197
Powerfist, Rhino

Assault Squad #2 (9) - 197
Powerfist, Rhino

Assault Squad #3 (8) - 179
2x Lightning Claws, Rhino

Devastator Squad (10) - 290
4x Multi-melta, Powerfist, Rhino

This World Eaters list just runs heavy on the assault element, but it really doesn't push the issue. I just wanted something to look cool when I threw a bunch of Berserker bits on regular assault marines, backing them up with tactical squad beakies that have studded pads. They look cool, but they're not going to win anything competetive.

List #2

Pre-Heresy Death Guard - 1850 Points

Chapter Master - 175
Powerfist, Combi-plasma, Artificer Armor

Terminator Squad (5) - 210
3x Powerfist, 1x Chainfist, 1x Power Weapon, 4x Storm Bolter, 1x Heavy Flamer

Sternguard Veterans (9) - 285
Powerfist, Rhino

Tactical Squad #1 (10) - 240
Powerfist, Plasma Gun, Missile Launcher, Rhino

Tactical Squad #2 (10) - 200
Plasma Pistol, Meltabombs, Flamer, Lascannon

Tactical Squad #3 (10) - 220
Combi-melta, Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Rhino

Predator Destructor #1 - 85
Autocannon, 2x Heavy Bolter

Predator Destructor #2 - 85
Autocannon, 2x Heavy Bolter

Predator Destructor #3 - 85
Autocannon, 2x Heavy Bolter

Land Raider (Terminator Squad Dedicated Transport) - 265
Extra Armor

This was my first pre-heresy list and it shows. It's all from 2005 when 4th Edition was just getting going and C:SM had access to units with the True Grit rule. I stuck mainly to Heresy-only weapons and a really simple 'heavy' theme. I just wish that I'd had access to all the cool pre-heresy bits back then; the army would look much, much better.

List #3

Pre-Heresy Emperor's Children - 2500 Points

Chapter Master - 195
Thunderhammer, Storm Shield, Artificer Armor, Digital Weapons

Captain - 165
Relic Blade, Combi-melta, Artificer Armor, Digital Weapons

Command Squad (5) - 225
2x Meltagun, Powerfist, Company Champion, Company Standard, Rhino

Sternguard Veterans (10) - 310
Powerfist, Rhino

Terminator Squad (5) - 230
Cyclone Missile Launcher

Venerable Dreadnought - 210
Twin-linked Lascannon, Extra Armor

Tactical Squad #1 (10) - 220
Power Weapon, Flamer, Missile Launcher, Rhino

Tactical Squad #2 (10) - 220
Power Weapon, Flamer, Missile Launcher, Rhino

Tactical Squad #3 (10) - 245
Powerfist, Combi-melta, Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Rhino

Assault Squad (10) - 245
2x Lightning Claws, Meltabombs, 2x Flamer

Land Speeder - 60

Devastator Squad (5) - 175
2x Plasma Cannon, Rhino

This list is semi-competitive, but only when it's heavily stripped down. I drop it to 2000 points by removing one of the characters, the assault squad, and toying around with some wargear. It performs surprisingly well for being a borderline 'elite' force... but then again, it is mechanized after all! The last time I played it was in a 2000 point event this past spring, going undefeated against other SM and CSM armies. This is another bits-intensive force that took a lot of money to put together. I actually spent some time on these terminators, as well as the Dreadnought and Speeder (they're all heavily converted).

Back in the Swing

Well, so much for writing a Warhammer 40,000 novel by the end of summer! It's still in the planning stages and I haven't yet given up hope. School has yet again swallowed all of my time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Arrogance of Youth VS Wisdom and Patience of the Aged

It has begun. I've finally laid down a plot outline for a Warhammer 40,000 novel. I fully intend to pull a 'Sandy Mitchell' if I receive a publishing offer. Space Marines are GW's bread and butter, and so the novel shall be about... Space Marines! I've taken an old chapter idea and really fleshed it out. It's great to be able to take a shabby old chapter and polish it into something special and intricate. It's great to reveal the underbelly of a chapter's inner workings.

Death is the gateway to life. The king is dead... long live the king.

My goal is to finish before the end of Summer.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Backwards Engineering

I used to work for a major game company several years ago. For all practical purposes the company has since folded. There's a vast conglomeration of reasons for why this happened, but the reason I mentioned my experience with this company is because of its marketing.

...or lack thereof. In 2005 there was a decision made to re-make an old game. The decision was made in great haste, over the course of a single weekend, and with thunderous applause. Many people working at the company loved this old game, and heavily supported its re-release. The decision was made to go ahead with its design, development and subsequent release.

Do Eskimos make a living selling ice to each other? Probably not... but maybe once upon a time there was an Eskimo who did, and chances are that he's no longer in business. My point is that when you decide to sell a product (and I'm no expert here by any means, so correct me if I'm wrong), you should probably do some demographics research to determine if anyone will show interest in buying it. No matter how much some folks just looooved the Studabaker, no one is going to re-release it to the general public because it's just not a profitable venture.

You get a general idea of what kind of product or service you're going to sell/provide, figure out if anyone wants it, create a version of it that will appeal to those people, and THEN you mass-produce it. I'm fairly sure that this is just rudimentary... but I'm getting to my point.

Do you see a parallel here? I see it every time I walk into my FLGS. There is some guy going "OMFG look at that awesome model, I will destroy everyone with it!" This guy goes home with his new models, builds them, paints them, puts them in his newest army configuration, and promptly gets utterly destroyed by a rather mundane, yet tried and true force. He begins the whole process with an impulsive decision, expecting his excitement and positive energy to pay him amazing in-game dividends. He is ultimately disappointed when his army is crushed, and he cries to his friends like a little bitch about how his new models "should have kicked SOOO much ass, and probably will next time!" This kind of rationalization is what sets a mediocre player apart from a good player.

So is it a bad thing to take cool models in a tabletop hobby-based miniatures game? Of course it isn't because creativity is at the core of Warhammer 40,000. What you want to do when you walk into your FLGS and exclaim "OMFG I will pown noobz!" when you see a new awesome model is to figure out a way to either 1) integrate the new model/unit into your existing army so that it doesn't detract from its current effectiveness level, or 2) take army construction to the next level by focusing your force on the new unit.

For example, I really love the new Sanguinary Guard. The models are awesome, and the price point is great - buy one unit in one box for around $35 and that is IT! Of course they are a kick-ass unit, but they have their drawbacks. If you're going to use them correctly, you must minimize their drawbacks and maximize your ability to utilize their strengths...

How does a jump pack equipped unit that is only five models in size survive as it's crossing the table to assault the enemy? Keep them in reserve, behind cover, keep LOS blocked, Feel No Pain, or put them inside a Stormraven Gunship. Can they get by on just their 2+ armor save? Did Terminators get by on just a 2+ save when 3rd Edition was released? NO. The safest thing to do is to either put them in reserve, in a Stormraven, or jump them up behind a fast-moving vehicle or two. This tells you that you need to be playing a semi-mechanized force.

You can see where this is going. Plan your army around a strategy, and pick your units based on how well they execute tactics that allow you to implement that strategy. Don't just say "OMFG these guys are awesome!" and expect to win.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

'Ard Boyz... finally

Yesterday was the third year for the annual GW 'Ard Boyz event. Until now I'd been unable to attend because I've always worked weekends... but being unemployed (for the moment) has its perks. The Inquisitive (of Rio Rancho, NM) held the event.

I'd been poring over old army lists and possible army configurations for about three weeks in an attempt to gain some unforseen edge. When going to a gaming competition, it's always good to bring something that no one expects - the secret 'tech' as SWCCG players used to say. Put someone on unsure footing, and nine times out of ten they will slip and fall. This is especially true for new army playstyles and strategies when it comes to Warhammer 40,000.

In my opinion there are two lists in 40K that can take all comers: Imperial Guard and Orks. 5th Edition 40K attempted to make the actual position of models on the game table much more important, and to ensure that this level of importance wasn't undercut by their subsequent elimination (through ranged attacks), the 4+ cover save was implemented. 4+ cover saves so drastically detract from ranged combat effectiveness that it's almost not worth paying the points to include long-range heavy firepower in your army (unless they have the 'ignore cover' rule). But I digress. My point is that Orks can field more than double the number of bodies that other armies can, and IG can pump out more than double the amount of firepower. These two armies over-compensate for the current climate of 4+ cover saves, so they are naturally the best choices for taking to the 'Ard Boyz events.

I own neither of these armies. I hate Orks. I hate their concept. I hate the way they play. Their models are fantastic, and somehow I am always lured into thinking that if I buy some small, elite force of them I can have a good time looking at some great models while they get shot off the table. I sold my IG army last year because I feel like they are a horrible, HORRIBLE developmental blunder on GW's part. No player should be able to field that many heavy weapons with that much ablative armor (and backed up by BS4 troops). I should NEVER be able to win games as easily as I did with my IG when their newest codex first released. Was it entertaining for me? Maybe for a game or two... but after that they just seemed like the equivalent of WHFB's Daemons of Chaos. Now that the Manticore is being released (no longer being limited to 'rich boyz tournaments), people will begin to see just how much of an uphill battle it is to play against that army. Anyways, I want to emphasize that to win in the 'Ard Boyz, you must be able to compete against both IG and Orks.

Since the Blood Angels have been released I feel like they are rather well suited to dealing with both IG and Orks, given the right army configuration. Lots of Rhinos, Baals, Vindicators and classic Predators (not to mention Immolators...I mean Razorbacks). They have the speed to run right up to the IG, press the smoke button, and then whip up a massive turn two barrage of charges and tank shocks/ramming attacks. Lots of Feel No Pain gives them survivability in close combat against Orks, and their vehicles protect them against massed Shoota fire. I figured that they are, at the very least, competitive.

...until the 'Ard Boyz scenarios were released. Scenarios one and two are pretty standard. Objectives. Victory Points. No big deal. Scenario three is ridiculously slanted against mechanized armies (and especially so against mechanized Space Marines and their AV11 Rhinos and Razorbacks, their open-topped and immobile Drop Pods, etc.). IG have always been somewhat deficient in kill point missions because they have to take large numbers of units...but scenario three puts them at a huge disadvantage. If they lose a single Chimera or Russ they have to kill three foot-slogging units to compensate. It's possible for mech IG to overcome that deficit, but unless their opponent is running a few mech units, it's probably not going to happen.

So if taking a mech SM army was too risky and taking IG or Orks wasn't possible, I had to figure out something else. I needed something with enough long-range firepower to kill tanks, enough anti-troop capability to hold off a horde, and enough mobility to control/contest objectives...and all without using more than one or two units that could move 12" or more.

A) black templars - 2500

1) emperor's champion - abhor the witch
2) reclusiarch w/bp+crozius
-terminator command squad (x4) w/2x assault cannon & tank hunters
3) reclusiarch w/bp+crozius
-terminator command squad (x4) w/2x assault cannon & tank hunters
4) sword brethren terminators (x5) w/2x assault cannon & tank hunters
5) sword brethren terminators (x5) w/2x assault cannon & tank hunters
6) sword brethren terminators (x5) w/2x assault cannon & tank hunters
7) crusader squad (x5) w/bp&ccw w/1x lascannon
8) crusader squad (x5) w/bp&ccw w/1x lascannon
9) crusader squad (x5) w/bp&ccw w/1x lascannon
10) crusader squad (x5) w/bp&ccw w/1x lascannon
11) crusader squad (x5) w/bp&ccw w/1x lascannon
12) crusader squad (x5) w/bp&ccw w/1x lascannon
13) predator annihilator w/twin-linked lascannon & 2x lascannon sponsons
14) predator annihilator w/twin-linked lascannon & 2x lascannon sponsons
15) predator annihilator w/twin-linked lascannon & 2x lascannon sponsons

This army has a ton of anti-troop capability, as well as a ton of anti-tank. Forty tank-hunting, rending shots a turn will get rid of a couple Rhinos, and the fifteen Lascannons are enough to pound any monstrous creatures and/or AV14 tanks into the dust. It doesn't necessarily solve the problem of a horde occupying objectives, and it also doesn't completely eliminate units with Feel No Pain. The Predators are somewhat risky to field, but I feel like they would be deployed far enough away from anything that could give them a serious scare (with the exception of Wolf Scouts, Snikrot, or other such outflanking nonsense. Most outflanking stuff moves 12" or more anyways, so as long as I destroyed whatever the outflanker was, I would make up the 3 point deficit easily. There's also a bit of a problem with mobility here. The Terminators are the most mobile units because they're moving and shooting...but they have relatively no resilience (2+/5+ isn't exactly the Hoover Dam in 40K terms). The Crusader squads would have to hoof it around the table in the late game to hold objectives in scenario one. And finally there is that huge drawback that the Templars have - if you cause even one casualty in their units, they must move towards you (most of the time), and can no longer charge with this move. Now, given that this is a consolidation move, the jury is out on whether they must move the full distance rolled or not, but I'm not willing to take that chance.

B) Tyranids.

1) hive tyrant w/lash whip&bonesword, old adversary, stranglethorn cannon, paroxysm, leech essence, armored shell
2) hive tyrant w/lash whip&bonesword, old adversary, stranglethorn cannon, paroxysm, leech essence, armored shell
3) zoanthrope (x3)
4) zoanthrope (x3)
5) venomthrope (x1)
6) tervigon w/catalyst, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, cluster spines
7) termagants (x25)
8) hormagaunts (x15) w/adrenal glands & toxin sacs
9) hormagaunts (x15) w/adrenal glands & toxin sacs
10) hormagaunts (x15) w/adrenal glands & toxin sacs
11) tyranid warriors (x9) w/scything talons, devourers, toxin sacs, 1 w/barbed strangler
12) gargoyles (x30) w/adrenal glands & toxin sacs
13) trygon prime

With cover being so important in 5th Edition, I figured that an army that overwhelms the table with models would be a great choice (just like Orks). Unlike Orks, however, this army has units that are amazing in close combat against EVERYTHING. When putting together this army, for this specific event, I made a list of pros: 1) T6 monstrous creatures are hard to kill, especially with 4 or more wounds, and even more so if they have cover saves, 2) a horde army with lethal, yet semi-disposable units (and the ability to make MORE disposable units) will control the flow of combat, and control my opponent's ability to move around the table, 3) mobility is not really an issue when you have 4 units with the Fleet rule. Any of them can move just as far as a unit of Assault Marines over the course of a turn (especially with the 3d6 & pick the highest for running). 4) Old Adversary ability is amazing. It's even better than being subject to the Black Templar vow that gives Preferred Enemy. Combine this with Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs and you are practically unbeatable in close combat.

There were a couple other ideas floating around in my head about what to play, but none ever really solidified in an actual list aside from a couple things I just didn't have the models to play. One was another Tyranid list involving 3 Trygons, 2 flying Hive Tyrants, and 60+ Gargoyles. One was a Ravenwing army meant to blitz gunlines. The last was a crazy mess that I won't talk about.

I ended up playing the Tyranid list because it seemed to have very few drawbacks. Scenario 1 was played against a Chaos Marine army:

1 khorne lord w/daemon weapon, icon
2 khorne berserker squads (x10) w/power weapon champion, icon
1 noise marine squad (x10) w/power weapon champion, doom siren, all sonic blasters, icon
1 plague marine squad (x10) w/power weapon champion, 2x plasma gun, icon
1 thousand sons squad (x10) w/icon, bolt of change
4 summoned lesser daemons (x10)
1 obliterator squad (x2)
1 obliterator squad (x1)
1 vindicator w/havoc launcher, daemonic possession

This list had me worried because summoned daemons showing up late game can really crush a gaunt squad or tie up a monstrous creature. I couldn't afford to lose a lot of my troops, even though I ran six units of them, and could make at least one more unit of termagants. I definitely ran the risk of losing an objective-based game against this list. Fortunately, three of his daemon units showed up on turn two and I was able to eliminate all of them that turn in addition to both squads of Berserkers and the Chaos Lord. By the bottom of turn four he had one Obliterator and a Plague Marine champion left. Massacre, 2100+ points, 23 battle points.

Scenario 2 was against a Flesh Tearers army (BA) for straight up victory points. His list was ENTIRELY composed of jump pack marines, so I had to be really careful to lure him in and wipe him out in one turn, otherwise I would be stuck fighting against 50 Marines with Feel No Pain.

Librarian, jump pack, blood lance, 5+ cover power
Honor Guard (x5) jump packs, 4x storm shield, 2x powerfist, 2x meltagun
Sanguinary Guard (x5) 2x infernus pistol, 1x powerfist
Sanguinary Guard (x5) 2x infernus pistol, 1x powerfist
Sanguinary Priest (x2) jump packs
Assault Squad (x10) jump packs, 2x meltagun, powerfist
Assault Squad (x10) jump packs, 2x meltagun, powerfist
Assault Squad (x10) jump packs, 2x meltagun, powerfist
Death Company (x10) jump packs, lemartes, thunderhammer, 2x power weapon, 6x bolter

I filled my entire deployment zone with models (since we were starting in opposite table quarters) because I didn't want any of the BA jump packers to Deep Strike in behind me and shoot my monstrous creatures up with all their meltaguns and pistols. I got the first turn, killed Assault Marines with a Stranglethorn Cannon shot, and that was it. His turn brought the Death Company within turn two charge range of my front line of Termagants, and the rest of his army jumped forward, cautious of getting to within charge range. My turn two I got really lucky and was able to break one of his Assault Squads, which promptly ran off the table. I mean...if you make an LD9 unit make enough morale/pin checks, they're going to eventually fail :)
His turn saw the Death Company run head-long into my Termagants, slaughtering them to a man and leaving them wide open for shooting and charging the next turn. The rest of his forces had moved up to within about 14" of my front line, which was just close enough for me to break out an smash them.
My turn three saw one Hormagaunt squad charge into his Assault Squad on my left flank, two Hive Tyrants, the Tervigon and another Hormagaunt squad charge the Death Company (which I whittled down to 8 after some shooting), my Trygon Prime charge into a squad of Sanguine Guard, and finally... Hormagaunt squad #3 and my Gargoyles charge into his Honor Guard on the right flank.
Now until this point, his Librarian had been canceling about 2/3 of my psychic powers... but LO AND BEHOLD I was able to use Paroxysm on the Death Company before charging them! The first combat to resolve was against the Death Company...which I wiped out to a man. The Assault Squad on the left was completely wiped out as well, followed by the Sanguinary Guard taking four casualties from the Trygon. Finally, the Honor Guard were butchered on the right by the Hormagaunts and Gargoyles.
After this turn, his only remaining forces charged what they could, knowing full well that if they didn't, they were sure to receive a charge the following turn. Dante took three wounds. The Librarian died. The Assault Squad they had joined were annihilated by the Hive Tyrant and Hormagaunts they charged into. The last Sanguinary Guard unit charged the remaining Hormagaunts on my right, smashing them, but taking 2 casualties in the process. The single Sanguinary Guard fighting my Trygon was easily cut up. At this point, my opponent conceded, knowing full well that his remaining six models would be annihilated on my following turn. I got the bonus points too. VP = 2500, Battle Points = 24, Massacre.

Scenario three I was put up against Chaos once again, only this time the list was a bit more finely tuned.

Kharne the Betrayer
Chaos Lord, mark of nurgle, daemon weapon
Summoned Greater Daemon
Chosen Squad (x8) champion, 2x plasma gun, lascannon
Obliterator Squad (x2)
Obliterator Squad (x2)
Obliterator Squad (x2)
Chaos Marine Squad (x10) chaos glory, 2x meltagun, powerfist, rhino
Chaos Marine Squad (x10) chaos glory, 2x meltagun, powerfist, rhino
Khorne Berserker Squad (x9) power weapon, rhino w/dozer blade
Plague Marine Squad (x9) powerfist, 2x plasmagun, rhino w/dozer blade
Thousand Sons Squad (x10) wind of chaos, rhino

This matchup was a dangerous one for me, but only for one reason - he had 3 units of Obliterators that could easily vape my Tyrants if I am forced to over-extend my lines. My main goal here was to destroy his rhinos. The game got a little dicey in the middle of turn three because he was able to get Kharne and his Berserker squad into a large ongoing combat involving the remains of his Plague Marines fighting my Warriors, Tervigon and one Tyrant. Unfortunately this left his entire center exposed to assault. By the bottom of turn four, he had 2 models left: Nurgle Lord w/2 wounds and Kharne. My kill point total was astronomically high (26) compared to his (2). Massacre, VP = 2150(?), Battle Points = 24

I finished out the event with 71 out of a possible 72 battle points, and around 6950 out of 7500 victory points. Total win. I took a Land Raider Redeemer for my box set, but refused my invite to round two. I'm definitely not up for trying to take a mid-June trip to Colorado when I'm at the complete whim of some terrible mission writers.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Desert Nomad, History Buff, Sorcerer Extraordinaire

It seems that I have plenty of time on my hands these days! I now live in the middle of New Mexico, in the desert, and I often find myself doing things like watching all nine seasons of Smallville in a single month. With all that time on my hands, how can I not create some new 40K armies, paint them, blog about them, and watch all five seasons of Supernatural?!

So what have I been into for the past two years? Pre-heresy Space Marines seem to be the most thematically attractive thing I've come across; I made three of them. I began with the Death Guard and World Eaters, subsequently revising both armies for 5th Edition. I moved on to the Emperor's Children last summer, incorporating a few more conversions than the first two armies. Now, finally, I find myself wanting to complete the classic quadruplet of pre-corruption by creating the Thousand Sons.

The question really is: What the hell kind of codex should I use to make them? Until now I've been using the 5th Edition Codex: Space Marines. Do I stick with this or go with Codex: Chaos Space Marines? The SM book allows me to play the 1Ksons as loyalists, using loyalist gear, vehicles, and characters that make them feel like they are still the good guys. However, the CSM book allows me to incorporate lots of sorcerers! I don't much care for the actual 1Ksons troop units because they don't feel like they're pre-heresy; they feel like robots. There's also a lot of inconsistency between the 1Ksons troop units and other CSM units I would like to use (like Raptors and Havocs (meaning that the troops have totally different saves and traits - 4++ and fearless).

I suppose that the theme issue of 'lots of sorcerers with psychic powers' can be addressed by having a SM command squad that all carry power weapons (force weapons) and plasma pistols (short-range blasts of psychic energy emanating from their hands)... not to mention I can use a Librarian with a jump pack to head-up a unit of assault marines. 1Ksons assault marines!? Who would've known?!

So I'm off to juggle the pros and cons of these two prospective 'counts as' lists...