Sunday, December 30, 2012

Panting: Chaos SM under construction

So I've been working on my Chaos SM models for the Adepticon team tourney as well as GT play. This means they need to be painted to earn high points in most painting rubrics, have a consistent theme and actually look good to boot.

I settled on a traditional black base with red and gold highlights for my Chaos army. I tend to like darker base colors and they provide a pleasant visual contrast if done properly. This army as earlier blog post photos reveal, is intended to pair with Chaos Daemons for the ultimate in punchy cheese.

Note those models are not "done", they are at about the 90% state. If they improve beyond this point it will largely depend on how much time I have left over after painting everything else up to the same standard.

Khorne lord
Basecoat - Grey

Base - Chaos Black / Khorne Red

Wash - Ogryn Flesh

Highlights - Wazdakka red / shining gold / the yellow color as pictured

Drybrush - Mechanicus Grey on black components. Wazdakka red on Red.

Red Spawn

Basecoat - Grey

Base - Skorched Brown

Wash - Ogryn Flesh

Highlights - Bone color on "claw" portions

Drybrush - Successive layers of red in the following order: Khorne Red / Mephiston Red/ Wazdakka red

Green Spawn

Basecoat - Grey

Base - Skorched Brown

Wash - Bien Green

Highlights - Bone color on "claw" portions, mephiston red for the eyes

Drybrush - Successive layers of green in the following order: Warboss green / Snot green / that ultra neon green GW sells.

So without further rambling, here they are!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Working towards perfection: List Ideas for Chaos SM with allies

As anyone following this blog by this point may have gathered, I've been playing a significant amount of orks and Chaos SM games as of late. As discussed in previous blog posts, a real issue behind Chaos SM is a lack of mobility for its MEQ units. These being a backbone of the army, its rather prohibitive. So having discussed and play tested a great deal with my teammates Eric, Jon and our alternative Matt, plus had input provided by Collin, Rob and a few others in our gaming company, I've come up with the following.

My currently proposed 2k CSM / CD list.

Primary Force:

Chaos Lord : 205 Pts
Khorne, Sigil of Corruption, Gift of Mutation, Plasma Pistol, Meltabomb, Vet's of the Long War, Juggernaut of Khorne, Axe of Blind Fury.

Chaos Lord: 190 pts
Nurgle Mark, Bike, Meltabombs, Power weapon of choice, Sigil of Corruption, Gift of Mutation, Vet's of the Long War, Burning Brand of Skalathrax

Cultists - 15 models - 70 pts
Cultists - 15 models - 70 pts
Cultists - 15 models - 70 pts

Fast Attack:
Chaos Spawn - 5 spawn - 150 pts
Chaos Spawn - 5 spawn - Nurgle Mark - 180 pts
Helldrake  - Baleflamer - 170 pts

Heavy Support:
Maulerfiend - Lasher Tendrils - 135 pts
Obliterator - Nurgle Mark - 76 pts
Obliterator - Nurgle Mark - 76 pts


The Masque - 100 pts

Plaguebearers of Nurgle - 75 pts

Fast Attack:
Screamers of Tzeentch - 225 pts

Flamers of Tzeentch - 207 pts

So, this list might look funny to you. I assure you that is has come about not lightly!

So how does one play this list? Good question!

This game starts in deployment. First you need to figure out based on your opponents army what daemons work best for the preferred wave (here we are going to assume that's what you are going to get). I would stipulate that the best preferred wave (in general) is the flamers of Tzeentch combined with the Masque.

Why the masque: She allows you to use an ability called Pavane. This lets you move your opponents models for him up to D6 inches.
How this is useful: If you are facing a blob army, you can group up blobs near flamers for a hefty dousing of flamethrowering. Or if you want to be a sneaky asshole, you can pavane models closer your spawns / lords to allow you to get turn 1 charges off. (this is the direction I'm leaning, but again, battlefield conditions will dictate which course to follow).

This, is an excellent tactic. You can pavane up to three times, that means three squads get moved to your advantage. This is a huge freaking deal. Use it wisely.

If you are facing a heavily mech'd army. You probably want Screamers and the plaguebearers in your prefered wave. Why you might ask? So you can deepstrike them somewhere safe, and set yourself up for a glorious turn 2 multicharge in which you proceed to pop every tank they have with your nasty as shit S5 armorbane destroying monsters.

It's kind of a win win for you here.

So why not play just raw Chaos Daemons? I can almost hear Neil asking this now. Because Chaos SM shores up some weaknesses that Chaos Daemons has. Namely, dealing with those pesky grey knights who maybe get that turn 1 warp quake off. Or playing vs. a good player who knows how to bubble wrap and keep Daemons at bay... Or deal with a horde ork player who doesn't give a shit about daemons.

The khorne lord on the juggy can easily kill almost any MEQ infantry squad on the charge, by himself. He's a fantastic model. The nurgle lord with the burning brand can wound tank as needed for the nurgle spawns, and his flamerthrower is good in the current meta at raking those infantry hordes over the coals.

The bale flamer dragon lets you harass backfield elements, and again, deals with pesky infantry hordes reasonably well.

The oblits give you some duel functionality. They can follow the spawns shooting at targets of opportunity or conversely, they can deepstrike into your opponents backfield, wrecking havoc with meltas, flamers, plasma, assault cannons ect.

Plaguebearers can let you take long range objectives that your cultists will be unable to get to.

15 man cultist squads are pretty survivable. Especially since you can go to ground in terrain for a nice 3+ cover save. It's pretty sexy really. Most of the time your opponent is off dealing with the rest of your army and doesn't really have the time to mess with them. Ideally you reserve deploy these guys unless you have an over-riding other need (bubble wraping yourself, ect).

The maulerfiend provides some nice options for you. It can keep up with the spawn squads. With lasher tendrils, when combo'd with a spawn charge, it can greatly reduce the number of attacks your opponent can throw at your models. It can be used to absorb overwatch (especially since it won't care about 90% of it in the first place).  It's also one more fast moving threat your opponent has to deal with.

Three fast moving assault squads is kind of the bare minimum I would want to run. I would feel way more comfortable with 4, but there simply are not the points available to make that work (nor FOC slots!).

So, that's it for now. Is this a good list? Yes I think so. Can it be improved? Absolutely. But this I feel this is honing in on making Chaos SM work. Yes, you have to take allies for best effect. But you can apply this army, and the ideas of putting pressure and remove the Daemons and come up with a pure Chaos SM army that's similar.

Most likely substituting the 600 points or so of Daemons with some nurgle marines and an extra oblit or two would do the trick.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Army Tactica: The idea of pressure

I find most often when playing in warhammer 40k, that most people tend to be defensive players. That is, they tend more to react and allow their opponent to set the pace of the game than set it themselves. I'm not sure why this is. All of my more challening games have come from opponents who refused to go at my pace, but blazed their own destructive trail.

What do I mean by pace of the game? I don't mean how quickly turns are resolved, though this can be part of it. (feeling pressured to decide / move quickly can be adverse). I mean deciding the ebb and flow of combat.
This determines the outcome of the game significantly. If I'm the dominant player, I'm deciding what models my opponent can shoot at, where charges are going to occur, where models are going to move based on pressures applied.

Many people are perfectly happy to deckchair their armies, firing off massive levels of torrent, then fling their models forward in the late stages of the game to lay claim to objectives. These people are not setting the pace of the game. They are allowing the game to happen to them and firing at targets of opportunity as provided by their opponent.

I play assault armies. To play a proper and sucessful assault army, you need to be all over someone on turn 2. The implication of being all over someone turn 2, requires turn 1 you come catapulting across the board full speed, mucking things up along the way to make sure your opponent is sitting where you want them for the turn 2 finale.

Assault armies have usually won or lost the game by the bottom of turn 2/3. They may not know it at the time though. I don't mean they(the assaulty army) have tabled their opponent. I mean if they have dictated the pace of the game. Most people hate being assaulted (rare exception, space wolves). By being forced to react to the preasure placed on them by the assaulting army, they are moving at the assaulters pace. They are usually gimped in their future actions, and if done properly, this will adversely affect them the rest of the game. This may be movement, or being tied down in protracted combats, or having such a reduced combat effectiveness, that to push out offensively risks certain death from the remaining elements of the assaulters army.

There are exceptions to this, of course, as with anything. Highly mobile or reserved amies can make a mockery of this. Especially infantry in vendettas or storm ravens. But the general application is still sound, if you are mucking up your opponents deployed army by turn 2, he is most likely spending the rest of the game reacting to the pressure you apply, than putting pressure on you.

So, in essence, the pace of the game is the ability to pressure your opponent in such a way, that they are not trying to pressure you, but respond to the pressure you give them. Thus you are dictating to them, without telling them, what they are going to do (in order to problem solve your army).

By the way this is not a new concept. This applies to pretty much every strategy game across the board. Starcraft, Command and Conquer, Chess, Checkers, Go, it doesn't matter.

I can't take any credit for being a brilliant thinker and somehow deducing this by the way. I learned this lesson learned the hard way, taught to me by Mike Brandt in repeated crushing losses. I'm just vomiting it out there for the rest of the world to learn from my failures. It's not a new concept, but it is one that I think most people don't actively think about, and it really is game changing.

It affects every aspect of your game too, from list design to tabletop deployment , to the actual combat itself. You'll end up designing armies you know can apply pressure on your opponent and derive reactions.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Late Christmas Greetings and Chaos SM review

Hey All! A late Christmas Greeting to all of you out there on the interwebs. I've been working on a Chaos SM list (2k) for SVDM GT upcoming in a few months while playtesting for Adepticon. I think I'm narrowing down on a couple of concepts that work.

Having written the article you'll read below, I am forced to add a post-script, above the article, to explain one point I think needs to be said. The Chaos SM codex is a good book, its real problem is not anything to do with the models in the book, they are all pretty good. The real issue comes from the lack of reliable infantry transportation. This is two fold, easy to blow up rhinos (due to glancing & hull points) / that you can't assault out of.  If either one of these factors were not there, it would be fine. But they exist, and this handicaps the book. That's it, full stop. Phil Kelly wrote a good book, lets not give him shit about it.  Even  mutilators which I looked at and thought were utter trash, turned out to be semi-decent after playtesting.

Every other marine book has ways other than rhinos to deliver there MEQ's faster / safer / more effective across the board. That, is the flaw / weakness in Chaos SM. I'm surprised no one has pointed it out sooner.

Having pointed out what should have been the obvious, identifying the problem, we can fix it and make it workable.

I have not yet gotten a chance to discuss what I consider listbuilding "theory" but as I mentioned in an earlier post, a lot of it revolves around the idea of the multi-tool. Taking a unit that is ok at many things and learning how to use it to fit situations. An issue with the Chaos SM codex is as follows: All the "really good" multi-tool units are asininely expensive. You can argue that regular Chaos SM with a mark + two upgrades make a good multi-tool. I might even nod my head slowly and solemnly in agreement while making eye contact to make sure you knew I meant it. However in my heart of hearts, I would be screaming to myself "BUT THEY LACK ATSKNF"!!!!! And that my friends, makes all the difference in the world.

For those of you who have not realized it, the assault phase is the winning phase. The movement phase is how you win, the assault phase determines IF you win. Everyone keeps going on about 6th ed being the shooting edition. Assault is DEAD! seems to be the rallying cry. I've got news for you suckers! Lining up guaranteed assaults is more difficult than 5th, but in this edition its more dangerous and effective than ever with one caveat... ATSKNF..

ATSKNF is a very (if not the most) powerful ability in the game. "Why?" asks you, my poor blog reader forced to read these words poured on to metaphorical paper. Well, the ability to prevent your opponent from capitalizing on any phase of the game handicaps them. It's like playing an army that can't move once it comes in. It could be the best shooting army in the world, but if it can't move, it won't win 4/6's its games right off (objectives).

Not being able to be swept in combat, forced out of an assault you don't want to leave, or to leave an assault you want to leave is powerful. You are denying your opponent vital turns of the game to do damage and move his models, if nothing else.

So, back on topic, Chaos SM's have a few "good" multi tools.
Good Bad
Chosen Speciality Weapons Price per model
Good assault easy to sweep
Leadership Efficiency is lost the larger the squad gets
Plague Marines Speciality Weapons Price per model
4+ Poisoned Efficiency is lost the larger the squad gets
FNP / T5
Noise Marines Excellent Anti-Infantry Torrent Price w/ icon for FNP is bad
Fearless Salvo weapons
FNP w/ icon
Assault vs. MEQ (I5)

If I had to choose between the them, I'd probably pick the plague marines. Hard to move bodies with good speciality weapons are not so bad. They are reasonably cheap for five guys, adding a rhino puts it in the "to much" range, but may be worthwhile.

I have a friend who likes the idea of spamming Chosen with Abby, I've got no issue with this kind of list, but you end up as a small elite army (similar in model count to deathwing). Meaning you can get blown off the board in a few turns pretty easily.

Noise marines - You can put out a world of pain with the level of dakka these boys put out. They arn't to bad in assault either. Their problem is they use salvo guns. Only being able to fire at 12 inches if you move is very painful. A skilled opponent will most likely lead you by the nose around the board then close rapidly only giving you a turn of firing before they are tied up with something. Its a rather expensive unit to have deck chairing, but they do put out some hurt in a very satisfying way if you ever do get to use them.

This leads us with some rather unpleasant choices. As we start piling up the "good" MEQ bodies, we end up not having points for the things we need to put pressure on our opponents. Lets be honest, if you sit across the board from someone with 40 - 80 MEQ bodies, its intimidating for the first turn or two, until you realize that you can focus fire squads into non existence, while they slowly walk/run at you. Not only that, if you want to foot slog marine bodies across the board, why don't you just play Blood Angels? Then you have guys in jump packs, with ATSKNF, and can still take good weapons / upgrades for cheaper than you.

If you want to marine spam, play Blood Angels or Grey Knights. Blood Angels are fast enough / flexible in their armaments to be effective foot slogging. Grey knights are shooty enough to be effective at laying out necessary torrents at excellent ranges.

What does that lead us to using? Well, Phil Kelly has provided us with an answer. Cultists.

Cultists are cheap and provide the much needed board presence to hold objectives reasonably securely, freeing up points to spend on getting all those nifty toys out of the rest of the book. If you set them up properly, your opponent is spending turn 2 on dealing with the rest of your army and if they clear that, its not till late game and now you have all these bodies taking areas of the board you needed to control.

Pro-Tip: Cultists, use about 50 or 60 of them, combination of squad sizes based on your local meta. Reserve deploy,

Ultra-pro tip: Combine with chaos daemon allies (plaguebearers) to gain two squads which can come in and steal your opponents backfield objectives / go for far objectives and be super resilient about doing it.

So what should we take from the Chaos Codex? Lets examine a few possibilities.

Small 5 man squads of plague marines in rhinos w/ plasma guns.
This squad if combined with an appropriate nurgle lord(to let them be troops) is really good at holding midfield and laying down some firepower. The rhinos can be given dirgecasters to support assault based units after dropping off their loads.

An obvious choice. Run them with nurgle marks always unless some you have some desperate over-riding reason - for example, using them paired with a khorne lord w/ juggy as wound soaks.

This guy is both better and worse than people think. I know it sounds stupid but its true. He's actually a good multi-tool. Take the bale flamer. (if you take the gun, you may want to consider if your actually trying to win). He is a good psychological weapon vs. your opponent, and can reliably eliminate 4 MEQ equivalents a turn (assuming you are playing a good opponent who spaces properly). He'll pay for himself in no time. BUT, pay attention to where he is. Don't just go, FLAME ON and bbq some marines. Placement is everything, remember your opponent has to pull from the closest to the dragon. Use him to snipe out special weapons / sarg's / characters.

All the chaos SM HQ's are in general, fantastic. The real VIP award goes to the Chaos Lords. These guys are insanely good. The sorcerers are not bad either, make sure to always tool out your chaos HQ's. They can win or lose games for you very easily. You should almost always be taking things that improve their toughness, movement speed, weapons, spell familars ect. Don't run your Hq's cheap for Chaos. Tool them out. They are terrifying and give you answers to things. Your HQ's become one of your best / most effective Multi-tools, more so than any other codex out there.
My favorite lists: Axe of blind fury, burning brand, spell familar, juggy, bike, sigil of corruption.

I have been experimenting with running a juggy lord w/ axe + nurgle lord on bike w/ brand / power axe. Running them with their respective spawn squads. It's been effective delivery. Two very assaulty, swift, and hard to remove squads.

I don't recommend running large squads of oblits. Keep them small, one or two guys. Nurgle mark them.  These guys become multi-tools for your army. You can deploy them on the board as normal, deep strike them, use them to tie up units. They don't do everything super well, but they give you some much needed punch and reach out and "touch" your enemy.

These guys are ok - Cheap and can move fast to support spawns in combat. Drop the magma cutters and take lasher tendrils instead. Their real drawback is many people are taking meltabombs on sarg's these days which can result in catastrophic failure early on. Try and be clever about where you assault with these guys and you'll be ok.

Things I would avoid in the book. Not to say they are bad, I just think other stuff works better.

Zombies - You pay the typhus tax on these guys to make them fearless and FNP. I don't think its really worth it. It's more about how you use typhus than it is about the zombies.  They can catch people off guard but your still just talking about a bunch of 6+, 5+ T3 models walking around. They arn't going to be doing real damage, just any attached Hq's (again typhus)

Lucius - He's good, but a regular chaos lord is better

Daemon Princes - unless you like playing just for funs. Don't. If he could join squads then I might be ok with him even though he's pricey. Sadly, that is not the case, he hangs out in the open constantly asking to be sniped. Avoid. If you want something fast that can do what he does, take a nurgle lord on a bike w/ the burning brand. Problem solved (and cheaper too!)

Mutilators - effective at backfield harassment, not that they are bad, its more like, why not take an oblitorator instead and have more functionality?

Raptors / Warp Talons - There is no way to make them scoring, so for their points they are too expensive for what you get. You pay a heavy price for such fast moving infantry. Play Blood Angels instead.

Possessed - These guys fall down mostly because the book lacks a good delivery mechanism for them. Failing that, they are also super pricey, conceivably they could put a serious hurt on in assault though and might be worth it.. assuming you can get them there reliably / swiftly.

You'll note I didn't include these next two on the list of good multi-tools

Khorne Berserkers - not that these guys are bad, but you can make cheaper bserkers out of regular marines, giving them a mark and icon of wrath + get two special weapons, more cheaply. You lose out on fearless, but I think the price justifies it. The regular marines have more options for flexible decision making.

Thousand Sons - decent dakka. AP3 sounds great but you are paying an arm and a leg for it. It's still just a s4 gun. They are as resilient as normal marines in almost every application, so they don't end up being worth their extra point costs. A 3/4+ is ok, but not fantastic (as you'll be saving on the 3+ in 90% of cases anyways).

Funny / good tactics worth mentioning

My friend Eric uses spawn to slingshot Typhus into turn 2 assaults. This is a very effective method of getting a slow moving model across the board quickly. He's very good in assault (though maybe not his points good, but still good). He's used this to great success to out-assault my orks (/sadface/).
Key element to this tactic. Typhus is in front of the spawns as much as possible turn 1 to tank for them against shooting. Then the spawns accelerate past him on turn 2 to get the charge. Typhus is more than capable of absorbing a ton of firepower, especially when he's a "t6" model to be shot at (due to the squad).

Burning brand on bike lord w/ power axe - This is effective beyond belief vs. MEQ armies. Use it.

Chaos Daemon allies - use them, they provide backfield harassment. When combo'd with spawn + maulerfiends, mean your opponent has a whole lot of decisions to make turn 1, all of them bad.

AV12 wall spawn. You can take hellbrutes, dragons, maulerfiends rather cheaply. It's a bad list, but watching the new "meta" struggle with. 9 AV12 guys with 5 + invulns and it will not die is rather hilarious.

That's basically where I'm at with the book currently. A lot of that may be rehash for most of you, but its out there now all the same.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

YourHobbyPlace 1850 RTT

First let me throw down for YourHobbyPlace. This is a game store in Martinsburg, WVA. It caters to every type of gamer; from magic, to star wars, to Warhammer. The guy who runs it, Dave, is a fantastic individual and often mixes with his gamers and unlike most game store owners I've met is able to hold a meaningful discussion while adding insightful comments on almost any game system. The terrain is great; the store has plenty of room and does not have that normal... uh... "odor" we find at other game stores. You all know what I mean.
While I'm at it, I should also throw down for my more local hobby store, Huzzah Hobbies. Huzzah is also an excellent, well run game store, no foul odors, very clean and something you don't see at a lot of hobby stores - well lit!. Unfortunately Huzzah does not have RTT's for 40k, so my time spent there is mostly purchasing items and shooting the shit with Chris the owner. Chris also came out for The NOVA Open and helped run Flames of War with a buddy of mine Scott.
Both good peoples. I thought I'd throw down for both. Even though no one will probably ever read this blog!
So YourHobbyPlace runs a monthly RTT with good prize support. There are a group of regulars who show up, so there are almost always at least 12-15 people on hand to throw down. The Meta there is interesting. There are a few guys who are still playing old 3rd/4th ed IG or Chaos SM lists to the full range of beat face GK/Cron air ect. So it’s a good mix and pleasant.
The RTT's are always three round tourneys, book missions with battle points.
I showed up this month knowing I'd have to leave early (Christmas Party) but I was itching to get my game on and have fun. I had just painted up a Chaos SM Daemon prince, and to be honest, I want this guy to work so badly it hurts (he doesn't really work well, as it turns out, but oh well!)
That said I took what I thought was a super lolzy list, but did surprisingly well.
My List
Mega-Armored Warboss - Bosspole, Cybork
Big Mek - KFF, Burna, 'eavy Armor
Chaos SM Daemon Prince: Tzeentch, Gift of Mutation, Spell Familiar, Burning Brand, Psyker (lvl3), Power armor, wings.
3 Meganobz w/ kombi-skorchas w/ battlewagon deffrolla / big shoota dedicated transport
3 squads of 20 shoota boyz w/ 2 big shootas and nob + pk + bp + 'eavy armor
3x battlewagons w/ deffrolla + big shoota
5 Lootas
A very simple list. Gretchin and Cultists reserve and hold back field. Lootas hang out and provide some anti-flier support if needed. Everything else rushes as fast as possible forward to shoot and assault. This isn't a great list, but it is fun.
Game 1 vs. Scott's Grey Knights
2 Objective Game, Grey knights have first go.
I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I wanted to hit his left
or right side first. It was a queston of taking on the two
dreadknights with the terminators, or the strike squad
with terminators first.
Scotts list was an interesting 5th /6th ed mix. 4 Psybolt acolyte squads. 1x fully equipped strike squad, 1x fully equipped terminator squad. Coteaz, a storm raven, and 2 heavy incinerator / teleported dreadknights.

I had to make a tough choice on what I wanted to try and slam first. His squishier troops or his dreadknights. The terminators were set to support either side of the board. I decided to go heavy into his troops to fry what I could in a single turn and then hop into melee turn 2. Lootas set on the left side as a red herring to either pop razorbacks or draw the dreadknights over.

 The dreadknights were drawn over. I was able to dakka down half the strike squad and some terminators. Unfortunately my daemon prince (far right) was grounded and has received three wounds, effectively neutering him.
On turn 2, his army moved close enough to ensure a glorious multicharge into the terminators and both dreadknights. I deployed all 60 boyz + meganobz about 3 inches away from one dreadknight and the terminator squad. Then proceed to shoot the snot out of the terminators and kill about 5 of them. Then surprise, the squad breaks and runs out of charge range. I guess counting on a LD10 to hold is bad news sometimes!
This sets me up badly, though I lock down one of the dreadknights in CC anyways. The terminators regroup and proceed to dakka down a boyz squad to about 6 guys. The 'eavy incinerator dreadknight which is free then kills a squad of boyz by itself. His razorbacks finish off the daemon prince.
The rest of his army races forward to take my objective.
Turn 3 - My meganobz + the remains of the boyz squad assault terminators + Coteaz wiping them out on the following turn, but locking them in combat through his turn (so they can't get shot woo!). The boyz squad with the dreadknight stays in and leaves him with one wound, but 11 boyz left so still fearless. 2 Battlewagons go left and start tank shocking his dreadknights + razorbacks, 2 battlewagons roll forward tank shocking strike squads + razorbacks. A bunch of stuff goes boom. My reserved cultists hang out on my objective.

Turn 4 - His heavy incinerator dreadknight clears off my objective and his razorback drops off a squad of 5 bolter acolytes on it to hold it. My b-wagons tank shocks his strike squad off the board clearing his side of units allowing me to claim his objective with my boyz. Meganobz kill the razorback they are standing next to in the photo. My battlewagons on my side of the board tank shock + kill his razorback and a few of his acolytes, the rest hold. My reserved gretchin walk on, and run next to the objective contesting it.

End of game. Had it continued it would have just been
a fight over my objective between his dreadknight / stormraven,
and my squad of gretchin, boyz, and two battlewagons. Net result - same ending
Game - My victory through the skin of my teeth. I got the primary win, slay the warlord and line breaker. My opponent got the loss, but got slay the warlord, line breaker and first blood. In the BP style, I got 18 points he got 15. So not bad for him really at all.
                                                                     Game 2 vs. Nids
I was in a bit of a rush for this game as I had to leave afterwards for my offices Christmas party. My opponent played Tyranids. His list was.. interesting but not what I’d consider very competitive.
Dakka flyrant w/ biomancy
4x squads of 20 hormagaunts with adrenal and toxin sacs
Trygon Prime w/ all the fixings
2 Zoanthropes
Dakkafex in a drop pod
3 biovores
I am sad to admit, in the interests of being fast; I didn't play this as a casual" game. I was pretty brutal and had him tabled rapidly. Sorry guy! My opponent was really nice and took the tabling really well, not a single bit of butt-hurtness, which I was gratified for.
I had to leave to go to this though!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Anyone else tired of fluffy vs. non fluffy arguments?

I normally check BOLS a couple times a day and read the "articles" to see if anything interesting or useful has come up. It feels like a meaningful way to stay connected with the community, and as one of the larger non forum driven websites out there, it is a refreshing change from the poo-slinging we often see on forums.

Lately I've taken to spending more time reading the comments than the articles themselves. Let me tell you, it’s disturbing and more than a little irritating to see the nonsense people say. Sometimes the comments are opinion gold, more often than not I find myself shaking my head in embarrassment for the words some people spew. It's like a sick fascination, I want to look away but at the same time I have to watch.

Now I will admit, whenever someone posts lists or "tactica" articles, I will read them like a hawk and usually post a comment, often times with some critique. Just ask Goatboy, I rip him a new asshole over his ork lists every time he posts one (they are bad, and his logic behind them is awful). Not mean mind you, but still there is some tearing involved! As an answer to his post today, he complained that he is often critiqued by people who never met him. As an FYI, I met you at Adepticon! Cult of Kelly ftw. (If you ever come down from your throne and read my blog that is!) But what I'm talking about is not people like me who try and add their 2 cents to the discussion while staying on topic.

No no, I’m talking about the fucking fluff bunnies. Those beardy purists’ who think that if your list involves more than one of the same unit, or if there is no historical precedent in the fluff for things to go together, you are somehow mutilating the game, committing a grave sin for which you must be shunned.

Does anyone else get irritated by this or is it just me?

I'm so sick of people posting lists and a multitude of people respond ripping the poster because of spam, or the lack of cohesive fluff, or it being a "competitive" list and the poster is a very bad man for wanting to play a hard list. Inevitably this is followed by the commenter proclaiming loudly this is the reason they stopped going to tournaments or some such, and stays at home and plays with his friends.

If you are this type of person, I have news for you; you are most likely an idiot and get off to the smell of your own farts. Seriously; full stop.

Why do these kinds of people irritate me so much? Well let’s see

- The community that plays this game is tiny enough as it is; now you have someone who thinks that it'd be even better to exclude more people from it because they don't fit their world view of how things should be

- This game is supported by the hardcore players who constantly buy GW crack as it comes out. Their impulse to buy is directly related to how badass or synergistic a unit is. These people keep the hobby alive, and therefore keep the fluff alive through their expenditures. Without them, GW would be in the trash heap of business failures

- There is nothing wrong with wanting to play hardcore competitive armies, just as there is nothing wrong with playing fluffy fun armies. We should not be spitting on each other. We are on different sides of the same fence.

- Personal experience: A list played well, is often times better than a powerhouse well designed list. Player experience is everything. I'm not saying it will be easy street. A bad player with a good list will be evenly matched with an average player with a sub-par list. The best way to learn to beat these "powerhouse" lists is to play against them. You'll quickly find strategies to beat them after getting your teeth kicked in a couple times. Losing is the best teacher. As human beings we hardly ever learn when we win. Why? Because whatever we already knew brought us to victory. Losing teaches the hard lesson that we were wrong and something else needs to be applied.

Let me apply personal experience to this last reference. I went to the Nova Open 2010 as my first ever GT. I never even knew there was a community outside my house and friends before I went to it. I proceeded to get dead last, even losing to the ringer who was playing an IG army, and had never played IG in his life. I was that bad. I had an amazing list, designed by Mike Brandt himself, who had taken pity on me after seeing my poor list designs.

I spent the next year being curb stomped by the likes of Eric Hoerger, Mike Brandt and many others, losing every single game I played. My lists fluctuated all over because I thought I needed to take the most beat face hardcore units possible in my armies, and I would still lose. Eventually I learned over time that winning games was more about analyzing what units in your list can handle your units in your opponents lists than it was about bring the most ideal armies ever. This required being comfortable using specific units in many scenarios and being able to know off the top of your head roughly how things should go using them. My lists started to stabilize. I found myself gravitating towards units/armies I liked to play, rather than "powerhouses". I would take units I liked, and equip them as best I could to handle things I knew I would come across. I call this aspect the "multi-tool" aspect in list design. Taking lists that can handle as many things as possible, not amazingly but doing it ok. I'll save that for anther post though. The point is, I became comfortable with my army, I learned how to use it, when to tweak elements of it and when not to. This applies to any army.

My strong suspicion on this? Many of these people who bitch about fluffiness, used to take "powerhouse" lists of their time. They had their moment in the sun, and now they refuse to evolve their play styles to match new units and armies. Not even realizing that the evolution is not so great, it just means you play against it a few times, and learn the new metrics of how to get the job done with your army.

So what does this really tell me about the person bitching about powerhouse lists? In addition to what I stated above, they probably are egotistical, enjoy beating up on their small gaming club (i.e. top dog in a small pen), and hate to lose (whether or not they admit it).

Bottom line. Quit bitching. The community is small enough as it is. If you really hate someone’s powerhouse list they post on the internet’s for other people to see or comment on. Instead of next time self-satisfactorily smelling your own fart and commenting how you only play with your buddy Bill in the basement because of lists like that.

Why don't you provide insightful feedback on how the user could tweak the list, based on your experiences to perhaps be more "fluffy" while still maintaining a competitive edge? Better question, why are you reading a post you know is going to irritate you and then feeling obliged to beat up the poster? You are not adding anything useful to the discussion.

Let’s be honest here. The 40k fluff is broad enough, in a galaxy so large its mind boggling, that anything can, and will happen. The guy with a beat face list may not have fluff he thought of himself or from GW to back it up, but I guarantee you could create some pretty easily. It can't be worse than the fluff written for Draigo. 40k is an amazing game, and will continue to be for quite some time.

For you fluff bunnies out there ready to shit a brick in rage after reading that entire wall of texts? I've got nothing against you for liking fluff and non-competitive gaming. I've run narrative GT events before. I wrote fluff and created fake newsletters to be distributed between games to "track the progress" of the event. I know a thing or two about being fluffy and having non-competitive gaming. I get enraged when you attack other people for not conforming to your strict and completely arbitrary standards.

 Let’s not be the guy who shits in the punchbowl ok?


Friday, December 14, 2012

11th Company GT 2012 - Recap

Hey all! So this is a bit late but I had the great fortune to be able to attend the 11th Company GT 2012! Before I go into the games, let me mention that I am a huge fan of the 11th Company Podcast. I've had the pleasure of meeting Pat, Neil, Stephen and Larry on a few occasions now and every time has been very positive. I strongly encourage anyone interested in hearing a good 40k podcast to go have a listen. I also appreciate the Discount Game Store and KR-Multicase for providing excellent prize support at the event!

The 11th company event was held in an good location, very low rates, and had a very jovial and positive atmosphere. There were only a few hickups with pairings, and those were solved relatively fast. There was a very cheap but good bar next door which most of the attendees found themselves at during lunch and dinner which greatly contributed to the comradely atmosphere.

As follows below is a recap of my games with some corresponding photos!

First off, my list!

The entire ragged crew, excluding my two precious dakkajets!
2k Orks - designed as an all comers list.
Mega-armored Warboss, Boss Pole, Cybork - 115
Big Mek - Kustom Force field, Burna, Cybork - 115ish

20 Shoota Boyz - Nob, Power Klaw, Boss Pole, 2 Big shootas - 170
20 Shoota Boyz - Nob, Power Klaw, Boss Pole, 2 Big shootas - 170
20 Shoota Boyz - Nob, Power Klaw, Boss Pole, 2 Big shootas - 170
20 Shoota Boyz - Nob, Power Klaw, Boss Pole, 2 Big shootas - 170
4 Meganobz - 4 Combi-Skorchas - 180
    Dedicated Transport: Battlewagon - Deffrolla, Big Shoota - 115
Gretchin - 40

Heavy Support
Battlewagon - Deffrolla, Big Shoota - 115
Battlewagon - Deffrolla, Big Shoota - 115
Battlewagon - Deffrolla, Big Shoota - 115

Fast Attack
Dakkajet - Supa Shoota, Fighta Ace - 130
Dakkajet - Supa Shoota, Fighta Ace - 130

Lootas - 75
Lootas - 75

So something should stick out right away to most people playing in the 6th ed paradigm. I'm rather vehicle heavy! This turned out to be a significant advantage through the course of the GT.

Let me also say, I don't recall everyones names and every detail of every game! Please don't be upset if I forgot something! All of my opponents were fantastic, played excellent games and would be an instant yes to play again.

GAME 1 - Objectives vs Sean(Tau/Eldar)!
My first game was versus Sean, who was playing Tau with Eldar allies. He brought plenty of fire warriors and broadsides to the table with a smattering of eldar farseer. With the level of torrent he was bringing and the heavy anti-vehicle firepower; I knew I was going to be in for a rough ride unless I got stuck in quick!
A devastatingly bad deployment on my part
I won deployment and first go. I deployed as shown to the left with Sean setting up directly opposite. He then seized the initiative on me! doh! I was perfectly setup to have some broadsides mow down b-wagons and that's exactly what happened!

The first squad you see on the far right got dakka'd down to a few boyz (who proceeded to skulk in the ruin the rest of the game to capture the objective).

Poor Tau, they always end up being pasted
  After a weathering a withering torrent of fire, I  launched myself forward in a desperate bid to get up close and start dakkaing/ assaulting as soon as possible. In this I was mostly successful and was able to launch turn 2 assaults. The picture on the right is the top of last turn of the game. Sean was a good sport and went on to win his bracket on day 2!

Game 2 - Quarters vs. Orks WAAAGH!

Turn 1 ! Begin!
My next opponent was another ork player. He was playing what I've noticed seems to be the current ork meta at the moment. Lots of boyz on foot, lobbas, lootas, dakkajets and an Aegis defense line. One interesting twist he added in was the use of a mini deathstar with a warboss on bike and a number of reasonably inexpensive nob bikers. We both had roughly the same number of boyz on the field, though he outgunned me severely with many more lootas than me, not to mention his lobbas. So this game would be determined by the effectiveness of my armor keeping his torrent at bay, while I dakka'd from the relative safety of the mighty battlewagons.

Side armor shot from 10 lootas? Unfortunately yes =(
My opponent won first go, and proceeded to move his nob bikers forward and dakka'd my b-wagons with loota fire. In an over-eagerness to pop my battlewagons, he made a fatal mistake which most likely cost him the game. He moved his nob bikers close enough to be tank shocked by every single battlewagon. I proceeded to do just that, killing all the nob bikers in a single glorious turn! In fairness, had his group held even with a little bit of success, he would be been in a prime position to ravage me, so he took a roll of the dice and just came out on the bottom.

Thanks to some excellent side armor shooting, my battlewagons went down really rapidly. We had a glorious shoota boyz on shoota boyz pileup in the middle for a turn or two which I managed to come out on top of.

I failed to capture the end game shot, but I think it ended with a loota or lobba still on the board lurking in the back left ruins and my meganobz standing proudly next to some lobbas but confused as how to operate them!

Storm ravens with hurricane bolters are painful =(

Game 3 - Objectives.. vs. Grey Knights

So this game I failed to remember to take any photos except this end of game shot.

My opponent brought to the field, 2x storm-ravens with hurricane bolters, 15 paladins, (10 man and a 5 man), a psybolt dread, Draigo and maybe something else I'm forgetting.

Short summary. I moved to the middle, turn 2 assaulted Draigo and 10 paladins with the meganobz, warboss, big mek, and 2x squads of boyz. Came out on top of that fight by a significant margin. Draigo lolzy challenged the warboss to combat and it was accepted. That was actually the most tense moment of the game. Draigos weapons bounced off of the Warbosses 2+ continuously, but so too did the power klaw bounce off. Eventually Draigo went down, and just in time too! The other paladin squad almost made it to join the assault and tip the balance back in favor of the Grey Knights.
The storm ravens fell down to a combination of dakkajets + lootas.

Game 4 - Quarters vs. Lukus (Space Wolves / IG)

End of game result. All the action took place here
Game 4 is when the rounds broke into their final brackets. I suddenly found out I was placed on the top table with Lukus, a SW/IG player who had gone 2-1. Apparently he had done well enough to find himself promoted to the 3-0 bracket!

So I must admit, I started this game with a bit of a yawn and over-inflated sense of ego. Pfffttt, thought I, this guy knows I'm #1 atm and he's playing what looked like a non-optimized space wolves list. I quickly found out my arrogance was undeserved as I stared at my models on the bottom of three, realizing I was being seriously outplayed and about to lose. I managed to see a path to victory though and pull it out! Not that Lukus didn't try to stop me!

He had Njyal (who swapped for book powers and found himself with ignore cover, bad for me). Logan, Grey Hunters, Wolf Guard, Drop Podding grey hunters or wolf guard.. don't remember, and plenty o longfangs. Not to mention an IG Vendetta, commissar, plasma vets, and an Aegis line with a quad gun.

This was my toughest match up of the tourney, period.

I managed to bottle up Lukus in his quarter for the entire game, but in the process lost 2 boyz squads, all my b-wagons and meganobz, warboss. A reserved squad of boyz held one quarter, and half a boyz squad held another with some lootas holding the third. Logan tried to be a terd and was contesting a quarter all by himself after slaughtering about 30 boyz but luckily died to shoota boyz torrent. He passed saves like a boss though for a couple rounds of fire/combat.

Games 5 Objectives vs. Dark Eldar / Eldar
The beast pack did what they were supposed to do
bottled me up- stalled my advance

This game I again forgot to take pictures. My opponent brought Dark eldar/eldar (as the title suggests). His list was composed of something like... The Baron, Maugan Ra, a massive beastpack with all the fixings (The Baron and Maugan ran around with it), a bastion with a quad gun, a fire dragon squad w/ the crack shot exarch(manning the quad gun on top of the bastion). Some large dark eldar squads with the splinter cannons for withering firepower, A squad with dark lances (hung out in the bastion), a void raven bomber, a venom, several squads of guardian jet bikes, a ravager, and two reaver jetbike squads. All in all, a lot of fast moving stuff with a good mix of shooty and assaulty. I would say this would have been my hardest matchup except for the previous game vs. Lukus. I only remembered to take this picture, as I was seriously contemplating the fix I was in. 

My opponent won first go, and proceeded to march his beast pack forward up and over the ruins to set up for a turn 2 assault. I rolled my b-wagons forward 6 inches and proceed to dakka for everything I was worth into the beast pack, removing a huge chunk of them. I also managed to use my lootas to down the Ravager despite night fight (thank goodness!)

Turn 2: He marched his beast squad over the middle terrain and assaulted my b-wagons and manage to pop one. Bottom of 2: I  used my dakka to reduce his beast squad down to the size pictured above (its in the bottom right). I did this while moving what I could forward as far as I dared to start moving towards his side.
Turn 3: He used Maugan Ra to blow up a my meganobz battlewagon with a rear armor shot, then assaulted into the squad. His venom danced around and removed some lootas. I ended up cleaning up in the combat leaving me free to consolidate towards his bastion.
Turn 3/4: Everything moved forward to take on the remaining squishy dark eldar. Culminating in a very lucky charge against the bastion, wrecking it. The b-wagon on the hill stayed steady holding the objective and torrented anything that got close.

 One highlight of the game was prolonged combat between my gretchin squad and guardian jetbikes (aided by a venom torrenting first) on the back right objective. The gretchin managed to win in the end rather hilariously!

Games 6 Objevtives vs. Jessie / Tyranid!

So due to a mix up in the pairings, Game 6 happened to have a late start. Given that Jessie and I were the only ones 5-0 in the room, we found each other rather quickly and shot the shit until we were allowed to play. Jessie with several of his buddies were representing the PA area. (Sorry i can't remember the club name!).

Jessie's list was
2x Flyrant w/ twin linked dev
2x Tervigon
2x devilgaunts
3x 3 hiveguard
1x 2 dakka carnifex's.
So it was a very straightforward list. Having played against tyranid on many an occasion, I knew full well the weight of dakka coming to gun down my poor orks. Not to mention that biomancied flyrants + tervigons are a terror for orks. Hive guard make short work of battlewagons....! Gaunts are great versus orks, its good to trade a cheap unit you can replenish for a cheap unit the other guy can't.'

Jessie had first turn and deploying a neutral optimal position, allowing him to quickly move to either side of the board to control. Notice his hive guard are also relatively center, so they can make a quick dash to the middle and start dakkaing the entire board. (which is what they did!)

So I decided to play extremely cagey. I deployed all my models in the ruins to give them a 4+ vs. shooting from the hive guard so i didn't end up wrecked early. Turn 1, the flyrants came at me and dakka'd my lootas. I moved almost everything down the left middle side of the field up to 12" and pivoted all my wagons to present front armor to his entire army. Then proceeded to snap fire for minimal effect.

Deployment! Night fight rules are in effect - Dont
Worry those lootas in the bottom left got shuffled back
before we started!
Turn 2. His flyrants pursued my wagons, going for side armor shots, the rest of his army moved closer to the bwagons to position for shooting and assault on the following turns. On the bottom of 2, both my dakkajets and gretchin squad arrive from reserves! The gretchin went to lurk on the bottom right objective. I scooted my wagons 6 inches towards board middle, hopped out the meganobz + boyz, and proceeded to dakka down his bubble wrap around the tervigon with the battlewagons. I also shot ineffectually at his flyrants with my dakkajets (a waaaugh wasted = ( ), but it wasn't a total loss, a boyz squad disembarked from a b-wagon and sat next to the flyrant I was shooting at in the hopes of assaulting as a follow up. Feeling pressured by a lack of success/knockdowns in dealing with the flyrants by the dakakjets. I risked dakkaing with the boyz, and success! A flyrant fell to the earth and promptly died in assault. I also assaulted a tervigon and a hive guard squad with the boyz + meganobz, wiping out a tervigon.

Turn 3 - His remaining flyrant lands, shoots at and assaults the boyz squad which had killed his friend. The remaining tervigon spawns babies and runs as far away from the boyz as it can. The dakkafex's come out to play, and after much deliberation decide to shoot at the freed meganobz, they manage to kill a meganob and the kff big mek, which turned out to be bad as it cost them the needed charge range! The hive guard shot ineffectually at the dakkajets. His hive tyrant did not manage to kill enough to render the boyz non-fearless so combat continues into my turn! On my turn, my boyz clear the combat from the hive guard, and the boyz (and a dakkajet) first dakka then assault the carnifex's killing one and taking off a wound or two on the other. My meganobz + warboss smash the other Tervigon, losing a meganob in the process to the tervigons smash attack. My remaining boyz join the fight vs. the flyrant!

Game End - bottom of turn 4 i think

Turn 4 -  Game is called, I don't remember if it was the top or bottom. Not really important. Remaining Tyranids are: two hive guard squads, a squad of gaunts in the back field objective, and the flyrant.
Two boyz squads have lost just under half their members, two meganobz died, and the kff big mek.

I think what tipped the balance in this game, was letting me get the charge off on the Tervigon and knocking out one the flyrants on turn 2. Being able to remove two such huge threats for relatively little loss so early on flipped the game on its head.


Thursday, December 13, 2012


So my friends and I from the NOVA crew signed up for the Adepticon team tourney. Our team this year, Beer for the Beer God will be running Chaos SM and Chaos Daemons.

Team Members
James - Myself! Your humble blog poster
Eric - SVDM GT winner and NOVA terrain painter!
Jon  - NOVA open Staffer, creative mind behind the NOVA open videos available on youtube.
Owen  - Nova open Staffer, starred as THE RAGE in the NOVA open video, and helped create vast quantities of terrain for the nova this past year

So as you can see, a rather star studded team! We decided on the CHAOS SM dex the day after the Adepticon team tourney last year ended, in which we ran orks (placed 20th!).

We are still attempting to "crack" the ChaosSM dex, though we've found things that are starting to work beyond the obvious MOER SPAWNZZZZZ. It's a tough nut to crack. Troops seem overcosted and under performing to some degree, but we'll figure it out!

That said, we've been working on some custom bases for our team. See the photos below (note its the same base just under two separate light sources to show differences)

These bases are from Secret Weapon Minatures. It started off as a Scorched Brown for the base, and Ushabti Bone for the skeletal bits. I then washed it with a black wash. After that I dry brushed everything with a little bit of Bestial Brown. Then proceeded for the skeletal bits only to do a light layer of Rotting Flesh, followed by a final drybrush of White Scar. The blood effect is done by mixing the secret weapon liquid effects and a little bit of Khorne Red, then placing a drop of the secret weapon red black in the center and mixing it slightly.

We are still working through the color theme for the army, more on that when its available and list ideas!

New Blog

Starting off this blog today! Never done this before so this will be new. The intention of this blog is to discuss all aspects of warhammer 40k, the NOVA open, battle reports, painting models, fluff, overall tactics, army lists and army tactica. There will be a heavy focus on orks (my army of choice!).