Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reminder: NOVA Signups Feb 1st! Thoughts on NOVA mission design

Good afternoon everyone!

I want to post a reminder that NOVA 2013 signups will start February 1st! The missions have been overhauled to represent to new 6th ed environment and offer the same tactical game play as the old 5th ed missions, while incorporating fresh game mechanics.

SIGN UP!!!! We want to see you there! More important I want to see you there! Sign up for my event! Team Trios!


So what is the NOVA mission philosophy? Well, I'm not MVB so I don't want to stick words in his mouth, so take what I say as my opinion as an semi-outside perspective.

NOVA missions are designed to be as fair, competitive wise, as possible. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean it in a couple different ways which I'll explain below. The summary is that anyone who take a balanced army, should be able to handle every mission comfortably, without feeling like the mission is screwing them over.

Let me provide you an example.

We were at Adepticon last year for the team tourney and the round one event consisted of "secret" missions which were randomly distributed at the start of the game. Our "secret" mission, was to get our troops into the enemy's deployment zone for the game end. Being orks, with battlewagons, we accomplished this really easily and then just ran amuck in our enemys deployment zone having ourselves a zoggin good time. Game end, we shook hands with our opponents for a game well played, and asked what their secret mission was. Destroy all enemy troops, well, as far as secret objectives go, that wasn't exactly an impossibility for our opponent, mechanized IG gunlines like what they were running have a field day with it regularly; but their mission wasn't nearly as simple as ours was.

Now imagine if the missions were reversed? Our opponents had vendettas, they could easily have stuck some troops inside, skimmed across the board last turn and deployed for the win. Could we have stopped them? Virtually no way, especially without knowing that was their objective.

I'm not presenting this as an example to rip on Adepticon, don't take it that way.  I liked the idea of the secret missions, and with a little tweaking I think it'd be a really killer way to run team games which are supposed to be more for fun and less "competitive" anyways!  I was one of those guys who sat at the computer at 8pm the day registration opened this year and hit refresh every 3 seconds to make sure I got a ticket, so clearly I think they put on good events!

What I am saying is, missions can screw people over who otherwise have a perfectly decent list. Ideally you want to go into a game focused on playing the mission to win, not just tabling your opponent or hoping they don't have the rock to your hammer. In order for that to work, the mission needs to be balanced to allow the "average" list a good shot at winning it, without providing significant advantages to specific builds. This means it'll come down more to player skill, and less to random pairings luck.

 NOVA missions rotated goals (5th ed) or change (6th) to prevent a "meta" gaming.

Let's use a common example.

GW always has some form of killpoints as a game objective / mission. Anyone who takes a second to think about this, can start designing lists to give up as few kill points as possible, or design lists that can morph (combat squads anyone?) depending on what's required. This is perfectly fine, but can make some games perfectly un-winnable. If I'm running my orks against Draigowing and its KP's, I have a serious mountain to climb. If I don't table my opponent, its GG and he wins almost by default. It becomes a literal tactic for my opponent to kill a few things, then run away and avoid me. Is that a fun game? Some of you may think so, I think its highly questionable and definitely unsporting.

Another example:

I played a game at Adepticon last year which had three primary goals active at once which were: KP, Capture the center with an HQ, and Quarters. My opponent ran Deathwing, and I had my orks. He proceeded to reserve deploy his entire army except for two land raiders, Belial, and one squad of terminators. We had a diagonal deployment and he sat on the far board edge waiting for me. The rest of his entire army managed to not come in from reserves until turn 4. My army positioned in an attempt to try and earn some kill points, a rather complicated affair when trying to defend quarters against deep striking terminators. Meanwhile 5 terminators +  2 land raiders basically sniped at me the entire game with lascannons blowing up kanz, b-wagons and trukks.  After killing 4 out of 5 of the terminators, he stuck the last guy out of LOS in a building where I couldn't reach him. In addition it was rather hard to catch up to a vehicle moving 12 inches away from you each turn and starts out 48 inches away. (yes I did catch them eventually, but proceeded to whiff like a boss) He won the game, by essentially not playing it.

 Now mind you I'm not whining that hard about this. I know I can compete for quarters and the center; but he wins KP by default, especially reserve deploying like that. To be fair to him, if he had started on the table or come in on turn 2 / 3, there was a fair chance he'd get obliterated. But it ultimately left me with one turn to try and eliminate 1500 points or so spread around four quarters, when he has the alpha strike on his reserve arrival.

I know this isn't legal anymore in 6th ed, but the point is, when you know a majority of missions at an event are going to be KP, it allows for some serious manipulation of the game which gives you a huge advantage before the game has even started.

Examples like the above are why NOVA's previous mission set rotated its primary mission goal every game, and didn't have all the missions in play at once as a primary.  It means if your going to try and game the system, you at least have to put some effort into it, and then know out of your 6 to 8 games, it may only help you on one or two specifically.  Since we are discussing kill points, the NOVA mission for kill points modified it from the basic book mission requiring you to win by at least 3 kill points above your opponent. This greatly helped even the balance between the super low and super high KP armies. Yes it can still be gamed, but it'll at least require a bit more skill to put that gaming into action.

The reasoning / logic is the same for why five objectives are superior to two. It is also the reason why LOS blocking terrain and a generous supply of area terrain are important. These things help even armies out, encourage more well rounded armies and a more level playing field for the game. Now are they perfect? No, some armies just plain out have advantages which you can't do anything about. But at least it gives others a chance to win with the mission, instead of trying to always table an opponent. Which by the way, is a note on sportsmanship. Who honestly likes to get tabled? If you at least have some models on the board after the dust settles, I guarantee you won't feel half as bad as if you had been tabled. It's a mental thing.

Encouragement towards playing the mission and the game, not punching the other guy in the face.

After NOVA 2012, Mike took a lot of feedback and ended up designing a new mission set. Careful observers reading the new mission packet will notice thoughtful changes to balance.

 I'm looking forward to running it at Huzzah Hobbies this weekend and seeing how the community reacts.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thoughts on Dark Angels and Recap on game vs them

Yesterday evening I was fortunate enough to be able to get a game in with my Chaos SM vs. the new kids on the block, Dark Angels. We played at an 1850 pts level, so I took a slightly toned down version of my 2k list which I took to the RTT last Saturday (essentially less 1 squad of plague bearers, some upgrades on hq's and some flamers) and my opponent (Matt) took:

Libby, psyke level 2, force axe, on a bike,  who rolled the 4+ invuln ability

Ravenwing command squad , apothecary, grenade launcher and destruction (salvo) banner.

2x 6 Ravenwing Attack Squadron w/ 2 plasma  + MM attack bike

2x 6 Ravenwing Attack Squadron w/ flamers  + MM attack bike


Primarus Psyker (rolled endurance, so the entire blob had FNP in addition to a 4+ invuln, what a pain in the butt!)
IG blob w/ a bunch of power axe sargs, 2x meltabomb.

We played the new Nova Open Crusade mission. Which while at first seemed odd, was actually rather nice. It's a 5 objective mission with a secondary of quarters. It has an interesting twist that if a squad is capturing or contesting an objective, it doesn't count towards quarters. This I actually found to be a rather nice touch and made me appreciate that it required more tactical flexibility than just parking your butt on an objective and capitalizing it to win.

Deployment was vanguard.

He went first, deploying his blob stretched out across his deployment area, with his bikes pressed up against the very front line. I'll note now, that Matt failed to read the book all the way through and didn't realize that the attack bikes are not actually part of the bike squads, so played turn 1 as if they were until I pointed it out. (While it was just one turn, it does have a significant impact overall, as he could have done things like melta the maulerfiend, or hung back to go to objectives to contest / control ect).

I deployed flatly across in some area terrain with my spawn, maulerfiend, hq's and oblits, reserving everything else. I tried to seize but failed.

He moved his bikes over 12, and proceeded to use the salvo banner to dakka me at 24 inches with 3 out of the 4 bike squads. Their torrent was more than ample to remove all 5 (who were in cover remember) of my regular spawn + kill the juggernaut lord.... le sad face. His blob walked / ran towards board middle.

I rolled my preferred wave and came in with Screamers and the Masque (flamers + plague bearers in reserve). I moved forward into assault position to hit 3 out of 4 of the bike squads. A maulerfiend into one squad, both oblits into another, plague spawn into the final. I broke the sorcerer off to use his flamer on the command bike squad to try and knock out the salvo banner. So rolling for shooting, the oblits killed two guys, the sorcerers burning brand didn't even hurt the command squad despite having 3 hits(doh!). Luckily the screamers made their overpass hits ending behind the command squad and killed the apothecary and salvo banner! Woo bullet dodged there. Also the Masque was sneaky and pavaned his guard blob backwards 4 inches.

Everyone made their charges, I killed one or two guys in each squad and then Matt passed all his hit and runs and got away.

Turn two.

Matt came at me hard, nuking the maulerfiend, tying up the screamers in combat with the command squad after dakkaing them down to a very reasonably bite sized portion with fire from both the command squad and another bike squad. My maulerfiend went boom with two attack bikes. The up until this point not engaged fourth bike squad killed the masque with a ton of dakka. He then charged the screamers with the command squad and the bike squad (which failed its charge range) and despite my screamers having 15 attacks to throw at him, failed to wound even once (he didn't even have to roll saves). Utter fail. So I lost some screamers. The sorcerer died to shooting from two squads of bikes.

My turn, dragon + flamers came in, as well as two squads of cultists (one walks onto my objective, the other walks into board middle and tries to dakka an attack bike hanging out by itself) and the plaguebearers. Plaguebeares deep strike near the objective in his deployment zone and stand around admiring the scenery. Dragon vector strikes the up until this point unharmed 4th bike squad killing a few, and then flames another bike squad down to a single guy(the one which fail its charge against the screamers). The flamers shoot at a three man bike squad eliminating it.  Then my plague spawn multicharge the screamer combat and the single biker left from the flaming bit, they manage to clear the combat.  Both oblits fire assault cannons into nearby squads doing a few wounds. Both oblits charge as follow ups, one dies to overwatch, the other gets in and kills the squad it charged.

So on my turn, I eliminated 4 bike squads, resulting in a very lucky reversal in fortune for me. All he has left at this point are two or three attack bikes, and 3-4 bikers w/ flamers.

Turn three.

Matt moves his flamer bikes over and eliminates one of my cultist squads. Two or three bikes fire melta guns at the dragon, missing.  His guard blob moves closer then dakkas my screamer squad to death.

On my turn, I use the dragon to vector strike an attack bike killing it, then flamethrower torch his platoon command squad killing two guys (they pass leadership). My flamers eliminate the remaining bike squad. The remaining oblit kills another attack bike. My spawn run run run far away from the guard blob to see how it's going to play out. Also my last cultist squad comes in which I deploy on my far left board edge to move towards that objective. My plaguebears move after the platoon squad, and then assault and kill it.

Turn four.

Guard blob runs runs runs towards the middle / my flamers. The last attack bike shoots my oblit in the face killing it.

I move my cultists/ plaguebears towards or onto objectives. I set up my flamers next to his guard blob and flame the hell out of it causing 22 wounds, of which he fails 10. (That's a 4+ invuln and a 5+ FNP). So not awful or anything. My plague spawn kill the last attack bike and move towards the middle.

Turn five.

Guard blob assault the flamers, Matt forgets he has Furious Charge as a warlord trait, so he only ends up doing like 4-5 wounds with the entire blob(minus 6-7 guys not in combat range) + Azreal vs. the flamers. We remembered right after we finished rolling, so I removed an extra guy as a consolatory move. leaving two wounded flamers and one whole flamer.

On my turn, everything just hangs out on objectives, spawn sit near the middle essentially waiting to charge the guard blob, as in the following turns no doubt he would seek to spread out to control + contest objectives + break Azrael off to kill some of my troops. Essentially forcing guardsmen to consolidate into the spawn to keep them off of an objective / contesting any objectives. Flamers die in combat, game is rolled to continue but we stop and then just play the hypothetical game for the following turns as it's more of just beating a dead horse at this point.

So it was a really fun game, both of us had moments of despair at our sudden losses, and dizzying heights of glory at our success's!


Overall the DA / IG combo seemed to be extremely effective, I can see this list, or a list like it, winning events in the near future.

The combination of fast moving relentless bikes, with the 4 shot salvo, is devastating to say the least. Being twin linked, epic, not to mention it really helped he had preferred enemy vs. me for wounding. I can see the banner being a staple in ravenwing lists, while expensive and easy to snipe out, it's one of those things that's almost to good to pass up. I think it requires better protection though if its going to be used. As that squad has skilled rider, a darkshroud to make them have a 2+ (5+ normal jink, 4+ for skilled rider, 2+ for shrouded) might make them far more survivable, especially combined with FNP.

I'm going to reference what I started with, in order to make this work properly I think some drop podding tacticals and/or deep striking deathwing might be a real necessity, to provide turn 1 or 2 pressure units to protect said salvoing ravenwing. While you can't easily stop someone from sniping a dude out of a 4 man squad, you can make it so the other player has to make a bad decision either way.

If you are running blob guard, I'd say stick them out front and use them as a giant shield for the bikers. It'd be effective and super annoying to deal with. Azrael is a champ in CC, have him some where near the front, and you'll make a lot of people regret getting in their way.

Dark Angels is a good book, it seems balanced in the same way Chaos SM feels. I'm looking forward to seeing what other ideas come out if it. As I like fast moving armies (in case that wasn't obvious!), I'm leaning towards the ravenwing side of the book, it feels more flexible overall. Terminators I actually really dislike, when your dice roll hot, they are wonderful, but sometimes you just roll a ton of 1's in a row and it can be a real pain in the butt. Terminators as such a point sink, it really hurts to lose every one of them. Not that the ravenwing are really that much cheaper, but at least they give you mobility and lots of firepower.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tactica: Rules for assault and how to avoid a challenge

Afternoon All,

So recently I posted an article done on another blog on assaulting properly. While the article was perfectly fine, I decided to do my own. This is mostly because assaults are not always clean cut, they don't involve lining your soldiers up on a perfect line and assaulting another fellow who is also on a perfect line. Multi-assaulting, while not as "powerful" as it was in 5th edition, is a useful tool to have in your pocket to tie down units. It's important to know how to maximize your assaulting utility while stretching that assault line as far as it needs to go to get the effect you want. Also a way to avoid a challenges so that way your badass characters can destroy someones squad, rather than getting stuck in a challenge and only killing (or getting killed by) an opposing champion.

So first let's examine the assault rules in a step by step fashion.

Looking at the normal rules for assault, they run along this lines.

Move the "initial charger", also known as the closest model, the shortest possible distance to the enemy unit. After this model makes base to base contact, you may move the rest of the charging models in any order provided you:

            - Maintain unit cohesion.
            - Base all enemy models within charge range, priority first to those not currently based. If all models are based within range, you must contain to base enemy models as long as you can reach them
            - if it is not possible to base enemy models, charging models must try to move within 2 inches of a model that is already in base contact with the enemy.

Sounds straightforward, but wait, on page 28, they give a slightly different set of rules for a multi-charge.

 After the initial charging model, remaining models may then move to base either the secondary or primary unit provided they can not move into base contact with an unengaged model from the primary unit.

What does that mean? Well, engaged models, does not mean only models in base to base. The definition of engaged models, as listed on page 23, is any model in base to base with an enemy model or within 2 inches of a friendly model in base to base with an enemy.

Let's pretend we have 5 spawn and a Juggernaut lord, and we want to assault two separate MEQ squads. The goal being to tie down one unit(green) in combat, and destroy the other outright(blue). Our primary target is  5 inches away from the closest model. The model we want to go into the secondary target is 8 inches away from the closest model to it.

                                                                 STEP 1


So we move into position. Our squad is red, representing our insatiable blood lust. We are 5 inches away from the Green squad, and the guy we want to deliver into Blue squad (to wipe them out), is 9 inches away. There is a Red squad model about 7 inches away from blue squad. With fleet spawn, this should not be a risky charge to pull off.

 We roll our dice, lets pretend we get a 10 inch charge and don't lose anyone to over watch from either squad. Our closest model is 5 inches away from Green squad and makes his base to base. Note the orange circle, that is now the radius of engaged models at this point in the charge. It looks like we'll need to engage more models from the primary unit before we can base the secondary, so lets move some more models in step 3.



 As we no longer have the requirement to move the shortest distance possible, we now start basing models in our best effort to engage as many enemy models as possible, in the most optimal positioning possible. You'll note that after moving two more models, we have now engaged all but one model in Green squad. The last model, is literally out of charge range of any further red models to get to (11 to 12 inches away). Note the circles of engagement for each move, purple and light blue.


We now start moving any models we would like into Blue squad.

Ok, not the super best drawing example ever, but it might visualize better than the normal optimal line up your guys perfectly format. Assaults are a messy business, you need to know when you can do something, and just as importantly, when your opponent can or can't do something too.

Ok, now let's talk about avoiding challenges. This is important especially for Chaos SM's and avoiding MC's from challenging out your pfists or equivalents that you need to smash em good.

So there doesn't necessarily need to be a drawing for this, but I'll whip one up anyways.

What do the rules for challenges say -

At the start of the fight sub-phase. So essentially, immediately after you finish moving your models, a challenge can be issued by the charging army, or if they don't, the charged army.
But wait, there's more to this text! There are two actual requirements on who can challenge or accept said challenge. The first requirement is obvious, it has to be a character. The second requires that the challenger, or the challenged model actually be engaged in the combat, and be capable of fighting or striking blows. Now this means with a bit of creative model movement, we can create situations where your powerfist nob can't be challenged out by that mean ol' tervigon, or your juggernaut lord of doom can easily wipe out that MEQ squad on the charge, avoiding getting stuck in combat with a sarge he kills 8x over. Because this challenge happens at the top of the fight sub-phase, it means after this "challenge" step has passed, you can still move at initiative order to get into the fight.

So to figure this one out, we have to remember our basic rules for charging. If charging a single enemy unit (not multi charging), it's actually more difficult to avoid a challenge than if multi-charging due to the requirement of basing and engaging requirements as outlined above.

So we need to create a situation where the challenging character is far enough away from the squad being charged in order to not let him be in the engaged zone, while still allowing us to satisfy the rules for charging and let's us move said character into combat on his initiative step so he can do the damage he needs to do.

                                                           STEP 1
 We set up our models in what we hope is ample distance to still get a charge off despite over watch and random distances, while keeping everyone in cohesion.

                                                       STEP 2
Roll the friggin dice and pray your sacrifices were ample. For this, we'll roll an 8, slightly above average. We move the first three models to satisfy all the normal rules for charging and basing models. After moving these three, it is no longer possible to base any unbased models within 8 inches.

                                                      STEP 3

With the necessary models based, we move as many models as possible to be engaged (or to base already based models, but they can't reach in this example).  Note that despite the lord moving 8 inches, he is not close enough to be in the engaged zone at the challenge step, but when moves again at his initiative step, will move into the engaged area, allowing him to swing.

While difficult due to the unpredictable dice rolls on charge ranges which may leave you to far out to engage in combat or to close to avoid a challenge, it can at least help moderate the effect.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2k 40k RTT at Showcase Comics Jan 19

Hey All!

So yesterday I attended an RTT at Showcase Comics which is about 2 hours and 40minutes from my area. It turned out to be well worth the drive. I attended this after being told repeatedly that the level of competition at this game store is quite high, so if I wanted good practice as it were, I should show up! As it turns out this was fairly accurate.

I was joined by Eric from the NOVA crew.

Ok, so my list is basically a re-iteration of what I've been posting here lately.

Khorne Lord on a Juggy w/ Axe + Meltabomb + Sigil + Boon
Chaos Sorceror on a Bike (unmarked) + Burning Brand + psyker level 3 + meltabomb w/ force axe

3x 10 cultists

1x5 Spawn
1x5 Nurgle Spawn
Bale flamer dragon

Maulerfiend w/ lasher tendrils
2x 1 nurgle oblit


The Masque

2x 5 Plaguebearers

1x 9 Screamers

1x 9 Flamers

That comes to 1999.

I played in order -
 Dark Eldar/ Eldar allies (Venom Spam w/ eldrad and lots of shooty elements)
 Chaos SM (Typhus + 40 plague marines + 6 oblits + bale flamer dragon)
 Necron (Cron air w/ 5 night scythes, 15 wraiths, Destroyer Lord, 3 Annihilation Barges, Deathmarks)

All were good games and required a lot of thought on my part, especially the first game after I got my non prefered wave (2 plaguebearers), and then proceeded to lose the maulerfiend, both spawn squads and both of my HQ's within two turns (before they could assault any infantry). The bale flamer died almost immediately after came in to some fire dragons on a quad gun and some super lucky melta shots.

Underneath the photos below, are some game photos and small battle reports of the games themselves.

So without further discourse, some photos!

Eric showing he has what it takes to be one of the emperors finest

Spaceee hulkkk. SQUEEEE


The store

Gaming section

Cool models and titans

Way to cool

As with any battle reports. my memory can be foggy or wrong. Lots of stuff is going on in a game and its hard to remember all 2 1/2 hours multiple times. Please forgive any mistakes!

Game 1 - Vs. Dark Eldar / Eldar: Hammer and anvil, 4 Objectives, Night Fight. My opponent went first.

The Deployment
 Turn 1
My opponent used Eldrad to give ignores cover and other various buffs to the nice guys surrounding him. They promptly blew up the mauler fiend. His ravager barge in the bottom right moves forward to shoot at spawn. On my turn I roll my non-preferred wave and end up deep striking two plaguebearers into his backfield. One mishaps and enters ongoing reserves. I move forward and manage to charge the barge with spawn (making it into the middle piece of terrain with a tree).

Turn 2:
More of the deployment.

I get shot to pieces losing all my spawn and both HQ's, and take wound on one oblit. (thanks ignore cover and re-roll successful saves!).
My dragon, flamers and screamers all arrive from reserve. The dragon takes a hullpoint lost from quad gun. I march everything forward in a steady fashion aiming to contest his objectives and keep him from going to mine. The dragons flame thrower goes for the fire dragons and only manages to kill 1 (despite having 5 hits). My screamers + flamers combined kill about half the dark eldar squad. Plaguebearer in reserve deepstrikes next to his objective.

Turn 3: His dark eldar shoot my flamers and all but 1 screamer to death. My dragon dies to fire dragon melta guns. The lone screamer goes suicidal and takes out one venom in assault. Plaguebearers now charge into combat. one squad charges what's left of the blob (10 warriors, eldrad and a hemocouli (spelling?)), and the other charges a 5 man pathfinder squad camping the other objective. Shockingly the plaguebearers unleash carnage and do very well in combat. At this point i have two ten man cultist squads on one objective, and one ten man on the other. My oblits continue to plod forward firing at venoms to disable them.

Turn 4: The last screamer dies, his venoms + 2 fliers go on a rampage to kill all my cultists. Killing about 5 each from the two ten mans that were hanging out together. (Aiming for a leadership check). One squad runs off the board. One hangs in tenaciously. The plaguebears continue to chop through dark eldar methodically. At the bottom of 4 the large blob now just consists of the dark eldar HQ nad I think a warrior. The pathfinders have expired, but have been replaced by a true born squad who are also being chopped down (and break and run at some point). Oblits continue to plod forward.

Turn 5: I continue to get sprayed with shots on the 5 man squad, the ten man squad  takes a few wounds but luckily is mostly out of LOS so can't take the full brunt of the damage they could receive. The fire dragons are charged into close combat to rescue the Dark Eldar HQ and whiff miserably. The other plaguebears squad now has two trueborn squads in CC with them and holding their own quite well. My opponent spreads one squad of warriors out on one objective(to touch the quad gun) but is unable to reach his second one. On my turn the oblits continue to plod forward shooting, the plaguebears win combat against the fire dragons + DE HQ, breaking free and moving towards the held DE objective but not close enough to contest. At this point if the game ends, I win 2-1 w/ linebreaker + slay the warlord. We roll, the madness continues!

Turn 6: Plague bearers in the open die. The other plaguebearer squad continues to hold on. My last ten man cultist squad passes about 8 3+'s which was amazing. The other squad dies a terrible terrible death On my turn, oblits continue to plod forward. One is now close enough to flame thrower the DE squad holding an objective, he proceeds to do so, requiring a leadership on them, and they break, running off the board! Game is called. 1-0 for a 12 point win. My opponent played very well and took 1799 VP's from me.

Game 2:  vs. CSM Plague Marine Horde!! 2 Objectives, Vanguard

I made my opponent deploy first, attempted to seize and failed. My Maulerfiend had come disconnected from his base in the previous game, so that's why just his base is on the table. As it turns out (as with all three games) that was largely irrelevant because he never moved past wherever he was at the end of turn 1. In this game, an oblit immobilized him with a lascannon shot, and he stood there as a silent guardian the rest of the game.. and no one payed him any attention!

Turn 1: He moved all his plague marines forward, shot with the oblits. Ran the marines even further forward. I take the bait, and turn 1 charged Typhus and ten marines with my spawn squad and khorne lord.... and that started my first huge underestimation of plague marines. My bike sorcerer sat in the middle with his spawn and shot a torrent flamer at some marines, killing one.  I got my preferred wave so flamers, screamers, and the masque all came in. Flamers roast 1 & 1/2 oblits, (so not quite first blood!) and screamers kill a few marines. Khorne lord and Typhus get in a challenge. Khorne lord rolls a mighty 8 hits, and proceeds to wiff, like a boss... Typhus deals 2 wounds back and fails his force weapon..

Turn 2:  One plague squad turns to join typhus & company in combat, the other one moves forward to get ready to assault the Masque. The fourth hangs back to shoot at flamers. Oblits shoot and kill a few things. One oblit assaults the flamers and dies(first blood). His dragon comes in and flames my nurgle spawn. Plague marines assault the masque, and join the combat vs. spawn / khorne lord.  The masque accepts a challenge from the plague marine sarge, and they both wiff. Khorne lord dies like a wuss after whiffing again. Spawn are holding up with 1 model left! On my turn, Sorcerer + nurgle spawn charge into combat with the masque + plague marines. Screamers, rather than doing the smart thing and killing some oblits, charge into combat with the spawn + typhus + plague marines (i expected to kill one squad outright and then lose the screamers, it did not happen). Flamers move forward and start chasing the plague marines in the back, managing to dakka 2 down. Plaguebearers come in and stand near his back objective. Cultists come in, one squad onto my objective, one races towards his. My dragon comes on and vector strikes his dragon taking off a hull point. At the end of the turn, typhus and company clear combat, the masque hits and runs away from the plague marine combat after killing the plague marine sarg, and two squads of cultists and an oblit now stand proudly near my objective.

Turn 3: Nugle spawn + sorc hang out in combat with plague marines, his dragon ends up next to my cultists and kills 5 of them, making them break (but not off the board!) Typhus and company come towards my objective. My 10 man block of cultists run towards his objective. Flamers finish off all of the marines on his objective. My dragon harasses typhus and company and kills a few marines. My oblit on my objective tries to kill his dragon unsuccessfully. My other oblit joins the combat with the nurgle spawns + sorc. My cultists who were running regroup successfully. The Masque Pavanes typhus and company backwards away from my objective.

Top of turn 5

Turn 4: Typhus and company advance towards my objective. His oblits go to his objective to remove my flamers / troops, with minimal results thanks to a large ruin blocking LOS and giving cover.  On his turn the plague marines in combat win, and consolidate towards his objective. His dragon goes into hover mode and kills even more cultists on my objective, but they pass leaderships. On my turn the flamers try to wipe out an oblit squad but whiff horrifically. My dragon finishes off the last of typhus's escorting plague marines. My second plaguebearer squad comes in on his objective making a wall between his oblits and my guys. My oblit shoots at the now hovering dragon and blows it up. My cultists run and are now pretty close to his objective, setting up three troops to hold it (perhaps unnecessarily to many). The Masque again pavanes Typhus away from my objective.

Turn 5: His plague marines advance and are now about 12 to 15 inches away from my troop choices on his objective. Typhus advances alone but is to far away to charge my cultists effectively. His plague marines advance and shoot.  My dragon flies across vector striking the only remaining plague marine squad killing a few. My flamers roast them killing some more, and the bale flamer finishes the rest. Game End 2-0, with bonuses for first blood and line breaker. More pavane = more win!

Game 3. VS. Necron (Airforce + wraithwall w/ barges). 5 Objectives, Nightfight, Dawn of War.
Middle of Turn 1, right after movement phase ended.

Almost all of the "action" as it were took place in the first three turns, so I'll walk through those. I rolled the warlord trait for infiltrate, and got two infiltrating units, I chose the oblits
He rolled higher and gave me first turn. I set up dead center with one squad to each side so I could hit any direction. He set up directly opposite me. We were both at the exact 12" line. The oblits then infilitrataed 12 inches away from his line out of LOS. My preferred wave was the masque, flamers, screamers, which I rolled successfully.

I move everything 12 inches forward and had three very successful deepstrikes close range to his line. The masque pavanes two of the wraith squads closer to my guys. I shoot the flamers at one, and overpass the other. The sorc for basically the only time I remembered to use his powers cast shriek which either killed or wounded a wraith. After this I successfully assaulted one of the two wraith squads with the khorne lord + his spawn. The sorc lord + maulerfiend was out of range. On his turn 1 he breaks the destroyer lord off from escorting wraiths and assaults the maulerfiend which thanks to lasher tendrils reduce him to only 2 attacks, one of which gets through and immobilizes it. The full squad of wraiths assault the sorc and company, and the other squad goes to help out the wraiths already in combat.

Turn 3 I think.

For turn 2/3, I think all the combats either cleared or were close to clearing. There was a lot going on so its hard to remember what happened when. The take away is that the khorne lord's squad lost a spawn and had one wounded, the sorc squad loses two spawn eventually, and the maulerfiend ends up immobilized with two hullpoints gone. The destroyer lord + all the wraiths end up dead and the lord does not get back up. All the barges are dead by the end of turn 3. Now just the air force! The rest of the game consisted of me spreading out onto all 5 objectives to either hold or contest as he worked on killing off my cultist squads (and the masque for revenge!).

Overall Results
1 - 12/13 pts
2 - 12/13 pts
3 - 15/16 pts

**Post Script**
A couple of people have texted asking how I placed overall. I am pleased to say I managed to pull out first.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tactica: A good reminder on assault rules.

I came across this and couldn't have said it better myelf. Follow the link!

Be sure to read the comments on the guys post also as the assault rules are actually more flexible than is shown in his diagram (for follow up further clarification).


Assault is important. You can win or lose the game very rapidly in it. It's not point and click like shooting so doing it right is vital.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Your Hobby Place 1850 RTT and thoughts on Chaos SM

Greets all,

I attended a local RTT over the weekend with Jon Pryts and Matt Schuchman at Your Hobby Place. It’s always a good time and as usual Dave the owner made it an enjoyable experience.

I strongly recommend anyone in the Northern Virginia / Maryland area make the trip out to the store for the monthly RTT’s. The next one is being held Feb 9th I believe.

So I played the following 1850 list

HQ –

Juggy Khorne Lord w/ Axe of fury + meltabombs + sigil + boon of mutation
Nurgle Lord on a bike w/ Burning Brand + meltabomb + aura


3x 10 cultists

Fast attack

1x5 Spawn
1x5 Nurgle Spawn
Dragon with bale flamer


2x1 Oblit
Maulerfiend w/ lasher tendrils



The Masque


1x5 Plaguebearers

Fast Attack

1x8 Screamers


1x8 Flamers

This list performed admirably. Though none of my games got past turn 4 (due to slow opponents or attempts to slow play me as in the first game). I was usually a turn away from a complete tabling of the opposition. Two of my games were vs. IG blob guard, one was split up into squads and fully meched with chimeras, backed up by basilisks and the like. The other was a full on flat gun line of the type we see often now with GK allies. My tyranid opponent was playing what I've commonly seen, that is flyrants with twin linked devourers, hive guard, biovores, and lots o tervigons.
I ended the day in second, though undefeated. I got beat by Matt who played Jon in the last round and won by 4 BP and 244 VP's.
So after these games and many others I've been playing I have a lot of thoughts on my list and its progress torwards "perfection" as it were.
The Masque - She is fantastic and almost a must take. Pavane into assault range, flamer templates, away from objectives... so many options
Flamer/Screamer - I like these little buggers. They don't really hold up to dakka, but they are good and make for excellent distraction / screening units. With only one squad of each I would laugh in the face of anyone who screams I'm running some OP cheese too. I mean come on, how hard is it to force 20 saves onto a T4 squad? They only have 5+'s after all. They die super fast. If you can't dakka them down, your list probably sucks, seriously. Ok, slightly conciliatory statement, it is nice they always get a 5+ with eternal warrior. It can make them annoying because now you do have to force on those 20 wounds. On the other hand, why can't you do that in the first place? If you are expecting to fight marines surely you can handle something with worse armor.
Flamers are good at coming in and using their guns to dakka more than even flaming. Save the flaming for follow up turns in most cases. Screamers.. do an overpass then set yourself up to assault with them. They are pure win in assault generally.
Oblits - These guys always feel like they are consistently under performing. At the same time I think I'd feel naked without them.. so I'm kinda.... all over on them. Truth be told I think I might just want one of them and to take points somewhere for another maulerfiend.. speaking of which!
Maulerfiend - This bugger is hit or miss, but has consistently acted as a solid wound soak and charge threat. I'm well satisfied. He combos well with spawn.
Juggy lord - I hate it when I see S10 on the board, otherwise I'm in love.
Bike lord - Consistent under performance except vs. MEQ armies, which shockingly I hardly get to play against now. It's all about blob IG with MEQ allies.. so.. its like.. erm.
Dragon - Under performance so far. But with the new FAQ changes I think this will change rapidly. For those who don't know, it now shoots its flamer like a turret mounted on the base.. so it can shoot backwards for lolz!
Cultists - Good, solid back fielding units if held in reserve. I'm ok here because they combo well with....
Plaguebearers - Always fun to deep strike onto far objectives that are no where near the real combat of the game.. Or steal someone else's objective and watch them fidget uncomfortably while they try and decide if they should go after the plaguies or your spawn.
Spawn - Performing as well as can be hoped. Only time they suck is if you multi-charge then roll a 1 or 2 for attacks... that makes me a sad panda.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Working Torwards Perfect: First Thoughts on Dark Angels

Greetings all!

** Post Script**

I'll note that that some people have already pointed out some ideas / other lists that are potentially way more powerful after taking a glance at mine or flat out nocking my list out of the park with their own versions of D.A. 

Its very cool people are coming up with neat combinations to put the book to work. I look forward to posting improved versions of mine soon. I'm just starting with a "what I think would be fun to play", and then I'll go from there modifying it.

Here is an example of a better list http://whiskey40k.blogspot.com/2013/01/dark-angels-ahoy-start-boring-work.html

**END post script**

Having gotten my hands on the new Dark Angels codex over the weekend and a small amount of time to digest it and discuss it with a few other 40kers (namely Jon Pryts, Matt Schuchman, Eric Hoerger and MVB), my initial thoughts are complete. I'm throwing them out there now so future me can see how right or wrong current (past) me was.

A few obligatory comments.

From the wargaming perspective Dark Angels seem to have been significantly buffed ability wise. Their army has lots of fancy new rules and neat wargear that can really allow for interesting synergy and combinations. While their trademark (and essentially mono build in the previous book) pure deathwing army seems to have been nerfed due to an increase in point costs here and there. It seems that the ravenwing side of the book has been greatly increased in power and potential.

From the fluff side, it seems like this author (Jeremy Vetock) really knows his shit. While I must admit I didn't cross reference anything, it seems to be "authentic" fluff written by someone who reads a lot of black library novels and incorporated it into the codex. This was great. I even felt like I should be fist bumping someone when I read the business about the Lion being alive, wounds healed, waiting for a call by his Father (who is watching him in that creepy paternal way from those eyeless sockets on the golden throne, as is par the norm).

If anyone is going to save the imperiums ass, its the Lion. Combo him with Vulkan (who isn't dead as far as I know), and you have a resurgent technologically advanced imperium. Vulkan probably would go split some skulls in the Adeptus Mechanicus for being so backwards by this point and force them to start innovating again. You have to remember while they worshiped technology during the time of crusade, they were still innovating actively and not as religiously dogmatic.

Overall the book seems to fall into the same category as Chaos SM's. It feels like a good balanced book with lots of neat abilities, but when you start throwing lists together it feels like you are short on points to do what you really want to do, but you can still get the job done.

I think this is a good trend if GW continues down this road. Balanced books are far and a way better than having consistent codex creep ruining the game. As a long time MMO player, I quickly figured out how expansion creep destroys the MMO experience in the long run. Those expansions always feel really cool and are shiny when you first get them, but you quickly realize everything that was previously "good" is now garbage. It's not a fun system, it keeps you hooked on working towards (or in this case buying) the latest toys but comes at a cost as the original game you fell in love with slowly disappears. I can't imagine that somehow codex creep would somehow be any different. Codex creep via books though is a substantially slower process and is much more pronounced. It can also be undone in an instant which is nice, so its not as devastating even if it does happen.

Are there super overpowered things in this book? Well just like Chaos SM's there are definitely some very strong units with excellent rules you can throw out there. But again the points costs help bring this kind of thing back to earth.

As 1850 seems to be the new black as far as events go for the near future on the east coast. I threw together my first "test" list today just to start thinking through what I might be seeing across the table from me in the near future.

Sammael 200
Ravenwing Attack Squadron 80
3 Additional Bikers 81
2 Plasma guns 30
Meltabomb 5
Attack Bike 45
Multimelta 10
Ravenwing Attack Squadron 80
3 Additional Bikers 81
2 Plasma guns 30
Meltabomb 5
Ravenwing Attack Squadron 80
3 Additional Bikers 81
2 Plasma guns 30
Meltabomb 5
Ravenwing Attack Squadron 80
3 Additional Bikers 81
2 Plasma guns 30
Meltabomb 5
Ravenwing Attack Squadron 80
3 Additional Bikers 81
2 Plasma guns 30
Meltabomb 5
Deathwing Terminators 220
4 TH/SS 20
Cyclone Missle Launcher 25
Deathwing Terminators 220
4 TH/SS 20
Cyclone Missle Launcher 25
Fast Attack
Ravenwing Darkshroud 80

So is this a good list? No its not. Is it an O.K list? Yes I think so. There may be better way to do this (all ravenwing with no deathwing). I kind of like the idea of striking ten terminators into your opponents field turn 1 or turn 2 by using the teleport homers on the bikes. It feels very fluffy and appeals somehow.

If i did not take the deathwing, I can potentially take some of the following, a 6th ravenwing bike squad, a ravenwing command squad, ravenwing black nights, or tactical squads in drop pods.

This army is going to depend on using cover to prevent itself from being shot, make good use of the darkshroud to have a 3+(cover) save at any given moment, and do its best to focus fire targets to oblivion until its not going to get torrented off the board.

It's likely going to depend on a first turn scout move + turboboost forward to get the terminators into position for a turn 2 deepstrike to maximum effect.

Should be fun!

If you face fliers? ignore them

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Announcement: February 2nd RTT at Huzzah Hobbies

Greetings all!

So a few updates about the RTT to be hosted by Huzzah Hobbies on February the 2nd.

Jon Pryts and I will be running an 1850 point, Nova Open format RTT at Huzzah Hobbies located in Ashburn, VA. The store is located near the crossroads of route 28 and route 7. 

To register please call Chris at 703-466-0460. There are currently 20 spots available and they are already filling fast, please register in advance. As with all events there will likely be a few people who can't make it to the event the day of, so please feel encouraged to come. We do prefer however you register in advance.

Registration on site starts at 10am, game 1 starts at 11am. Please bring 4 copies of your list, not hand written on a napkin or some such.
The cost is 15$ and will include the following:

Pizza Lunch
2 Sodas / beverages
GW Dice Cube

While most of the prize support will be coming from Huzzah Hobbies (as per the norm for an RTT), we will have additional support from TriageTerrain for the raffle.

There will be three games played with a win-loss format; anyone who takes a loss will receive a raffle ticket with prizes drawn at the end of the event. So only people who have lost games will be eligible for the raffle. 

The Nova Open has an award called Renaissance man. This is essentially the "Best Overall", which includes paint score. This will be the top prize at the event. Other players who go undefeated will also be scored in a similar fashion to fill out the remaining 2nd, 3rd, 4th positions ect. Note that while only a painted army can win Ren man, if you can go undefeated with an unpainted army you can still win the 2nd, 3rd, 4th positions ect. Just not the top prize. 

In case it is not obvious, there will be prize support for those spots as well!

If the event fills to at least 20 individuals, the Ren man will be awarded a spot at the NOVA Open Invitational 2013 in addition to normal prize support.

On hand to assist will be Mike Summerville to act as head rules Judge (also head judge of the upcoming 2013 GT); Bob Likins and Mike Schaefer who will be doing paints scoring with a newly revamped system (also will be judges of paint scoring at 2013 NOVA), and MVB to paint judge / assist as needed(if needed).

Monday, January 7, 2013

Announcement: Team TRIOS at the NOVA Open 2013

Good Afternoon All!

So as many of you may know. Last year I was the Tournament Organizer for both the Narrative event and Trios Team Tourney at the NOVA Open. I shared this responsibility with Mike Brandt (as he is the Narratives baby daddy) and Jon Pryts.

We produced a very well received narrative event, it included custom built terrain from the Washington D.C. area which was LED lit with help from Triage Terrain (who also provided a large portion of said D.C. terrain). It also featured a progressive storyline driven by player interaction and events, complete with newsletters updating all players on the day to day progress of the event.

Needless to say it was pretty bad ass. Photos of said narrative (and a few TRIOS) are found here. Go take a look, it's totally worth it.

While I'm at it. GT / Invitational photos here.

Unfortunately, the focus / hype on the narrative left the TRIOS community feeling a little left out. So to remedy that this year, I will be focusing on being the TO exclusive to the TRIOS, while Brandt properly fill in his paternal responsibility for the Narrative (including more than just weekend visitation rights!). Jon Pryts and I will still be contributing members on the narrative, along with many other individuals on the NOVA staff to help make it a bigger success than last year. So do not let your hearts be troubled!

As many GT's host team games of some sort or another, almost all involve pairing two individuals together to play against two other individuals. As the teams get larger, the pairings remain just 2v2.

This format is fun and widely used! However, being that everyone gets to play this format every where else. We decided we would mix it up some to bring a distinct style to the NOVA.

That said, we have the TRIOS format.

 So what is the NOVA open Trios you might ask.

The Trios Event focuses on three person teams, rather than the traditional four person. Players rotate between playing 2v2 and 1v1 matches against the opposing 3 player team
The pairings get switched up every game, so effectively everyone will play at least 2 games of 2v2 and one 1v1 game.

The 1v1 game was previously played at 2k (this may change given the NOVA is most likely switching to 1850, I have to think on it). While each member of the 2v2 played at the 1k points level.

The switch to 6th edition has given us a lot more interesting choices and flexibility for how the pairings will work, so we are already off to a promising start.

I'm going to be focusing on crafting missions that are fun, yet balanced competitively. I'll be posting mission ideas in the near future. If you would like to participate in helping craft said missions, please post suggestions or join the NOVA gaming group by attending our local RTT's and hanging out with members from the club!

Registration information for the NOVA Trios and all NOVA events can be found here. Open registration starts February 1st.