Saturday, February 27, 2010

Escalation League, Round 2: Thoughts on Air Cav

The second round of our Escalation League at Universe Games in Minneapolis has started, so here's my 750 list:

Psyker Primaris
Veteran Squad, 3 Grenade Launchers
Veteran Squad, 3 Flamers
Veteran Squad, 3 Meltaguns
Vendetta with Heavy Bolters, 3 twin linked lascannons
Vendetta with Heavy Bolters, 3 twin linked lascannons
Valkyrie with Multiple Rocket Pods and Multilaser

This list is very killy. If the Vendettas are not dealt with early in the game they will take down every vehicle within sight and then turn their fury on the poor bloody infantry. The Valkyrie hasn't really knocked my socks off quite yet but can serve as a fast, expendable transport for meltagunners to get close to their target, as well as give me much needed insurance against hordes.

I played a couple of games today, but neglected to do battle reports of them. Just a brief overview of each of them may give you a glimpse as to the reasons why I didn't record them:

Game 1 against Dark Eldar, Annihilation. He has mostly raider spam with two taloses stuck in there. He deploys, I reserve. My Vendettas come on early, destroy two raiders while my grenade launcher squad with Psyker annihilate his grotesques. His shooting knocks a lascannon off of one of my Vendettas. My Valkyrie comes on, and my shooting kills two more raiders, a Talos, a squad of Warriors and all but eliminates another squad of warriors. He concedes at 6-0 on turn 3.

Game 2 was against Space Wolves. Annihilation. Still mostly foot, with 1 rhino and 1 dreadnought with twin linked lascannon. He goes first, I reserve everything. His rhino comes on turn 2. My Vendettas come on turn 2 but fail to kill the rhino (as I was stupidly trying to hide one of them from missile launcher fire). His dread comes on, blows up a Vendetta and kills the squad inside. Valkyrie comes on, I immobilize the dread, he blows up another Vendetta and the squad inside (with the Psyker!) breaks, failing 3 consecutive leadership tests to rally before running off the board. I eventually kill the Dread, but concede at 5-1.

Game 3 was against Eldar. Annihilation. Dawn of War. He goes second and we both reserve everything. My Valkyrie and Vendetta turboboost on. His falcon, guardian squad and double EML war walker come on but some how fail to scratch my birds. My planes return fire and explode the Falcon and War Walker. His Serpent comes on, yet still I hang untouched in the sky. Second Vendetta comes on, wrecks the Serpent. I spend the rest of the game calmly shooting up the Guardians.

I really hope that these games are not harbingers of what's to come, but I think they will be. Everything comes down to just a few dice rolls- if someone can manage to break my birds, I lose. If I can get even a few shots off before that happens I win. If my shots don't connect, I lose. If they fail to scratch my modest armor, I win.

There's no real need for extensive tactics in this list- if I go first, I deploy, scout up and kill everything. If I go second and there's no where to hide, I reserve, come on and attempt to kill everything.

Maybe it will be different in an objective game, but at least right now the Air Cav list just doesn't seem fun. It's all about how much damage I can cause before return fire strikes me, and praying to God that if they do break my armor they don't roll a 4+.

There is no back up plan if things go south and I don't have to adapt to the opponent's strategy- the Valkyrie is too limited to target anything but infantry and the odd light tank while the Vendettas simply target whatever is a threat to them and are good enough that I don't have to worry for long. It's either too late or time for a victory dance at that point.

I realize I've probably said the same thing over and over again, but I wanted to make sure that my point got across. It's a good list and has tons of killy power against all lists, but just isn't fun.

Hopefully next round will be a bit more fun, but for now I have some very anticlimactic and swingy battle to fight. If anyone has some advice as to how to make the Air Cav more entertaining, I would love to hear the advice. The strains of "Ride of the Valkyries" are fun, but simply flipping a coin to see if I dominate or am crushed just isn't my style.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Escalation League, Round 1: vs Dark Eldar and Chaos Daemons

So, a real treat for you: two bite-sized battles against armies that you don't normally see on the table top, Dark Eldar and Chaos Daemons. Enjoy!

Next up will be a look at my 750 pt army that will hopefully be completed on Friday, and then a slew of 750 battle reports.

Because I am doing so many reports, I'd like to get some feedback from you all on how I am doing. Either leave a comment here or type one in my newfangled GuestBooker over on the right column and let me know how I can make these reports more useful and/or more enjoyable for you, the viewer.

Thanks, and be sure to comment!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Escalation League, Round 1: vs More Space Wolves and Eldar

Two more Escalation league battles against... well, more Wolves and Eldar. Enjoy!

Click me to read spoilers

So, welcome to another 500 pt battle report, this time against another Space Wolf army.

My list: as before (Vendetta, AS with AC, Psyker Primaris, Vet squad with 3 melta, Vet squad with 3 grenade launchers)

His list:
2*10 Grey Hunters with 1 meltagun, 1 plasma gun, 1 mark of the wulfen, and a wolf banner
Rune priest with JotWW, Living Lightning (with Squad 1)

Mission: Annihilation
Deployment: Dawn of War

He gets first turn.
Turn 1a: His troops move and run forwards.
Turn 1b: My forces enter the board. The Vendetta kills two members of Squad 2 and the Chimera kills two members of Squad 1. The AS hides behind a hill waiting to charge forwards.

Turn 2a: Squad 1 moves and shoots at my Chimera but fails to damage it, Squad 2 runs towards the Vendetta.
Turn 2b: The Vendetta turboboosts away from Squad 2 while the Chimera advances slowly towards them. The Sentinel charges Squad 1, and only krak grenades and the MotW can scratch it. The Wulfen rends, scores a penetrating hit but only manages to shake the vehicle.

Turn 3a: Squad 2 runs away from the Vendetta while Squad 1 shakes the Sentinel yet again thanks to the Wulfen.
Turn 3b: I fire at squad 2 but do nothing to it. In assault, the Wulfen explodes the walker and squad 1 consolidates towards my Chimera.

Turn 4a: Squad 1 shoots at, then assaults my Chimera and explodes it, leaving 2 meltaguns, the sarge and a mook in a crater. One Grey Hunter dies from the explosion. Squad 2 continues to run from my Vendetta.
Turn 4b: The squad in the crater meltas a Grey Hunter in squad 1 while the Vendetta kills two more members of Squad 2.

Turn 5a: My melta vets are wiped out by shooting, and Squad 2 continues to flee.
Turn 5b: My grenade vets and the Psyker unload and fire on Squad 2. In combination with the Vendetta they manage to kill 3 more members of Squad 2.

Turn 6a: Squad 1 hides in a crater, Squad 2 hides behind a rock.
Turn 6b: My shooting picks off 3 members of Squad 1 thanks to some failed 3+ cover saves.

Turn 7a: More hiding.
Turn 7b: I fail to do anything.

Space Wolves win, 3-0.


His list: 2*10 squads of Dire Avengers with Exarch (two catapults, bladestorm), Farseer with Doom (attached to squad 2) and 7 fire dragons.

Mission: 3 objectives
Deployment: Table corners

He gets first turn, I fail to seize initiative.

Turn 1a: Squad 1 moves into some ruins and are very tightly packed, Squad 2 and the Dragons hide behind LOS blocking cover.
Turn 1b: Exceedingly lucky shooting on my part kills all of Squad 1 with grenade, lightning and lascannon fire from my disembarked Vets, Primaris and the Vendetta. Everything else moves up.

Turn 2a: The remaining Eldar hide more behind LOS blocking cover.
Turn 2b: Vets and Psyker re-embark in the Vendetta, but shooting fails to do anything.

Turn 3a: The eldar move up, DAs providing cover to the Dragons while the Farseer attempted to Singing Spear my Sentinel. It hit, but failed to pen.
Turn 3b: My shooting takes out 4 dire avengers.

Turn 4a: Eldar continue to advance, but the Singing Spear still fails to do anything.
Turn 4b: I wipe out the Dire Avenger squad while the Vendetta moves towards the top right-most objective.

Turn 5a: Fire dragons blow up my Chimera, killing 7 of the passengers and causing them to flee.
Turn 5b: Vendetta moves onto the objective, Sentinel charges the Dragons.

Turn 6a: Fire dragons meltabomb the sentinel and move towards the objective.
Turn 6b: Vet squad disembarks, combined fire from my forces wipe out the Dragons.

Click me to read spoilers

So, After Action Report. In the Space Wolf battle I really didn't use my range and firepower to my advantage. Tons of firepower was left sitting in my Vendetta where it could have been hammering away at the Wolves with huge numbers of shots every turn. The Meltaguns in my Chimera also never got a chance to shoot because I was too conservative with the tank's movement.

I also relied way too much on the Sentinel to hold the close combat.I should have either moved my troops as quickly as possible away from that area or I should ahve engaged the squad later with the Sentinel to increase its chance of holding. Really, I think it was just the Rending from the MotW that got me. In cases where there is a power fist or just no rending I can count on either losing or winning the combat, but with Rending there is always the question of "Am I going to lose this time or am I going to keep on being safe?" It's such a small chance of happening, but it happens more often than you would think and often at inopportune times.

If I had sent my forces more quickly after the other Grey Hunter squad I might have fared better for me.

In the Eldar case, I got extremely lucky on the first turn. Also the Eldar player wasn't playing my fear of meltaguns well enough against me. Squads of DAs on the objectives are really tough for me to move if they are backed up by Dragons. My Vendetta can't tank shock and my Chimera would be annihilated if it got close. He also packed his DAs a bit too tight, causing my grenade launchers to be supremely effective. If I hadn't been able to get them all I would have been open to a bladestorm the next turn, which from even 4-5 DAs could have wiped out my squad.

Overall I still have a lot to learn about running Valkyries/Vendettas as I am far too used to keeping my troops safe in their little metal boxes. Now that they can't shoot out I need to know when to unload them to make the most of their firepower. Hopefully I'll learn this before too long as at 750 I am hoping to run a fully airborne list. We'll see how I run that, as it should be fairly interesting.

There might be another two 500 pt battles before next round, but other than that that's all for now. See you next time.

Friday, February 19, 2010


So, this week we will be looking at how the Guar- wait, what's that noise?



Hi there!  I'm Russell, and as you may know if you are a faithful reader, I'm the Tyranid player at Max's local store.  I'll be taking over Max's blog for the day to tell you a little bit about playing the new 'Nids in our escalation league.
The first thing that you should know about me and my 'Nids is that I play shooty Nidzilla.  If you're looking for strategies for playing assault-heavy Tyranids or Tervigon spam/Gaunt swarm lists, I can't help you.  If you're looking for a five hundred point list with only nine models in it, though... well, I know a thing or two about that.

Speaking of that five hundred point list, here it is:

That's two squads of warriors with paired boneswords, deathspitters and barbed stranglers, one Tyranid Prime with deathspitter and paired boneswords, and two hiveguard.  This list is a solid anti-mech force, with the hiveguard able to bring down most transports that you are likely to find in 500 points, and the warriors taking care of any infantry.  It can have trouble with missions with lots of objectives due to its lack of troop choices, but it does very well at Annihilation and 2 or 3 objective missions.

The glaring weakness of this list for all of you non-Tyranid players to exploit is weapons of strength 8 or more, which cause instant death to warriors.  The cheapest model on this list is 45 points, and losing about 10% of your list to a single shot is heartbreaking.  Krak Missiles, Darklances, Lascannons and the like all made my life very difficult.  This is yet another way that the Tyranid Prime helps this list, as his toughness 5 allows him to take a hit or two that should instant-death a warrior.

Much like Max, I was expecting a more mech-heavy first round of the tournament, so I thought that the Hive Guard would be my stars, but as it turned out my warriors, with their blast templates, assault 3 weapons and high close combat capability, were what won me games.  I went 2-2 in games that counted, wiping both Necrons and Daemons off the board, but losing handily to Dark Eldar and a hard-luck game to a different set of Necrons.

That's as much as I have time for in this one post.  If you liked hearing from me, or you have questions about playing with or against the new 'Nids, post a comment.  I'll answer what I can, and if you enjoy this post, Max may let me do another one in the next round of the league.  Until then!


Devouring Humanity should come back every so often from now on to give you his thoughts on the gribblies and try to convince you to love his middle-sized beasties. Post your comments now so we know what you want to hear about and I'm sure that we can oblige. Next time, your regularly scheduled Imperial programming.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Escalation League, Round 1: vs Space Wolves and Eldar

So, some video battle reports for you. In case you don't like videos, there will be hidden text versions of the games as well. Hope you enjoy!

Click me to read spoilers

My list:
Vendetta w/ 3 twin linked lascannons
Psyker Primaris
Vet squad with 3 grenade launchers
Vet squad with 3 meltaguns and shotguns
Chimera with Hvy Flamer and Multilaser
Armored Sentinel with Autocannon

His list:
Rune priest with Terminator armor, Living Lightning and Jaws of the World Wolf
8 Grey Hunters, 1 meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Power Sword (Squad 1)
8 Grey Hunters, 1 flamer, Mark of the Wulfen, Power Fist (Squad 2)
3 Long Fangs, 2 Missile Launchers

Mission: 3 objectives
Deployment: Quasi-table quarters (12" from half of short and half of long board edges each)

He wins turn 1 and deploys his forces. Squad 1 sets up inside a ruin with the Rune Priest attached and on an objective, Squad 2 sets up near a bunker (also very close to the ruins). The Long Fangs are in the second floor of the ruin with a good view of the battlefield.

I hold everything in reserve :)

Turn 1a: Squad 2 moves into the bunker, and that's it.
Turn 1b: Nothing happens

Turn 2a: He sits still.
Turn 2b: None of my reserves come in.

Turn 3a: Squad 2 moves towards one of the objectives but doesn't quite get there.
Turn 3b: My chimera comes on and moves 12". It manages to hide itself from the Rune Priest behind a ruin, as well as getting plenty of cover from the Long Fangs.

Turn 4a:Squad 2 moves up more, Long Fangs fail to dent the Chimera.
Turn 4b: Vendetta and Sentinel come on. Chimera pegs off a marine and the Sentinel pegs off a marine. Vendetta turboosts onto the far right objective.

Turn 5a: Long Fangs and the Rune Priest fail to scratch the Vendetta, while Squad 2 moves up to assault the Chimera. They rip off the Heavy Flamer, the Multilaser and immobilize it.
Turn 5b: My meltaguns pile out and Sentinel moves into position. The Vendetta turboboosts onto the marine objective. At the center objective, before shooting:
After shooting:

Assault eliminates the powerfist guy.

Turn 6a: Rune Priest JotWW my infantry squad, killing 2. A frag missile kills 1 more. Squad 1 moves to assault and melta the Vendetta, but fail to scratch it.
Turn 6b: Vendetta moves and slags the detached Rune Priest. My troops settle on both remaining objectives. Game ends, 2-0.

After battle: I got lucky with reserve rolls and benefited from his inexperience with Wolves and lack of aggression. When all of my stuff rolled in on turn 3 he had very little time to do any damage, and I simply managed to do more than he could.

Click me to read spoilers
My list:
Vendetta w/ 3 twin linked lascannons
Psyker Primaris
Vet squad with 3 grenade launchers
Vet squad with 3 meltaguns and shotguns
Chimera with Hvy Flamer and Multilaser
Armored Sentinel with Autocannon

His list:
Farseer with Fortune, Doom, Runes of Witnessing
5 Pathfinders
Squad of Guardians, Scatter Laser
Wraithlord, Bright Lance, Wraithsword

Mission: 4 Objectives (two close together mid board-ish, two on my side to the left and the right sides)
Deployment: Board edges

I set up first (!) and deploy everything on the board. The Vendetta takes the right flank while the rest of my forces stay on the left.
He sets up near the two objectives with his forces. Scout moves see the Vendetta move 24" to get a good shot on the Wraithlord, his Pathfinders move towards cover.

Turn 1a: Vendetta gets exceedingly lucky, hitting and wounding 3 times on the Wraithlord and taking it out of action. The rest of my forces move up and fire on the Pathfinders and Guardians, causing 1 casualty in each.
Turn 1b: His forces try to shoot but fail to scratch my vehicles.

Turn 2a: I shoot, kill a guardian.
Turn 2b: He shoots, knocks a twin linked lascannon off of my Vendetta.

Turn 3a: The Chimera heavy flamers the Pathfinders and eliminates them. Vendetta moves to the right and takes potshots at the guardians, killing 2 I think.
Turn 3b: The Farseer charges forward and engages the Sentinel, but only manages to immobilize it.

Turn 4a: Around this time we get confused and think that it is turn 5 instead of turn 4. Chimera backs up, unloads my troops on my objective. The fight continues against the Sentinel.
Turn 4b: Guardians spread out a bit but fail to reach both objectives. Game ends, resulting in a win for me 2-1.

After battle: taking out the Wraithlord first turn was ridiculously lucky. Without it he had no real anti-tank besides glances from the scatter laser and close combat from the Farseer. If I hadn't taken the WL out first turn it could have gotten a lot uglier, as I would have had to rely on Meltaguns and massed firepower to take out the beast without the Vendetta.

I played a couple of other games that I didn't get a chance to cover in the blog. My first four games were Wolves, Daemons, Orks and Necrons. I lost to the Daemons in hard fought game, was almost tabled by the orks and failed to earn a KP against the Necrons for a tie. Eldar were the fifth and I defeated Nids for a sixth game, but only the first four counted for scoring (all additional games earn only a single point).

I definitely misjudged the metagame as everyone except a Dark Eldar player was playing horde instead of mech. Therefore my Vendetta had few real targets for it to shoot at, and same with my melta guns. My 750 will probably include more anti-horde than anti-tank because of this.

Still, I've had fun, and will continue to share more reports with you later. Let me know if you have any suggestions/comments on either my tactics or reporting format.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentime's Day!

So, for this Valentime's Day I decided to put my modeling and painting skills to use. Using some Sculpy bakeable clay and some GW paints I fashioned a flower for my girlfriend. She seemed to enjoy it :)


So, I know that I've seen other people post about their own experiences in modeling for friends and family before, so here's my question: what was the most memorable project that you worked on for one of your loved ones? I can't wait to hear your answers!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Escalation League, Round 1: The Models

So, a bit late from when I wanted to post it, but it's still this week! Yesterday was spent doing 10 hours of straight painting trying to get my guys all finished up for the first round of the Escalation League. The fruits of my labor can be seen here:


For the League I'm trying to use all new (or relatively new) models in order to increase the size and flexibility of my Guard. I was aiming for two Vendettas in my 500 list, but the lascannons won't get here for some time yet so I decided to go with the forces above.

The Vendetta was finished up with a Badab Black wash over pretty much everything. Some Dwarf Bronze and Boltgun Metal on the thrusters, but besides that I stuck for a pretty simple color scheme. For the pilot paint scheme I was getting tired so just drybrushed them with the color of the screens in the cockpit.

The "assault weapon servitors" for Diamond squad turned out pretty well I think. I last minute added some more wire leading up to their left hand which really helped hold the entire model together.

The rest of Diamond squad was given an improved paint job as well as some more cyber implants (most of those being ocular in nature). Note: magnetizing a Guard sergeant is dumb, as the power fist is on the right arm instead of the left like the chain and power swords.

The real star is my Psyker Primaris, built mostly from the Guard Command sprue. I'm going to rip the green stuff piece off of his left hand as it looks kind of dumb, but otherwise I'm pretty happy. I tried to make him look like Gambit from the X-Men with his red eyes and metal bits around his head, and the psychic power will be represented by him throwing an energized card.

 As you can see, he was intended to be a palette swap from my Company Commander.

And the view from above to show off his crown.

Next time: secret project unveiled! Then, some battle reports from the 500 pt edition of our Escalation League.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Escalation Progress

Got a bit more progress done on Tuesday, though a large portion of my day was devoted to a secret project (the conclusion of which will be on Friday). As you can see above, I have laid some paint down on the Valkyrie, base coating it... with, well, a grey very similar to plastic grey. Hopefully the Badab Black wash will knock that down a bit.
The undercoat is a bit lighter, and the flying stand is working now! I guess I just needed to trust the designers a little bit more for the construction of their huge pieces of plastic.
And here are some preview shots of my Psyker Primaris and some of what I have christened "assault weapon servitors":


The "servitors" are made from Catachans, a Cadian rebreather and some greenstuff while the Psyker is almost entirely from the command sprue, with a Grey Knight force weapon and some greenstuff tacked on.
More pics on Friday, and sorry for the late update- work has been crazy lately.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tip for Better Magnetizing

Over the weekend I put together a few converted veteran guardsmen for my Escalation League force and I wanted to do some magnetizing again. Having had so much trouble with the Valkyrie I knew that I needed to come up with a better way of ensuring a firm connection between the two magnets than just praying that the holes were the correct size. I also needed a better way of keeping polarities from getting mixed up, and something to help me deal with how tiny the magnets were would also help.

After thinking about it for a while, I came up with the following process:


First I drilled my first hole using my dremel and glued a magnet inside so that it was flush with the outside. Then, I placed another magnet on top as can be seen above.

I then took the piece that I was going to magnetize this to and drilled a hole in that one, checking every so often to see whether it fit the magnet yet. When it did, I put some glue in the hole, then stuck the exposed magnet into the hole while still attached to the first magnet. Then I simply slid the two pieces off of one another (DO NOT pull) and let the superglue take hold.

By keeping the two magnets attached while I was drilling the second hole I made sure that the final product would still have a nice, strong connection between the two parts. 
I then proceeded similarly with the other alternate weapons load outs, this time starting from the figure and placing the magnet on top that would go in the other weapon options.

So, if you're ever having trouble getting your magnets to stick (or even keeping the polarities in the right place), try keeping the magnets connected throughout the process- you'll see a much greater success rate in making that connection really secure. And if you drill too deep on the first or the second hole, don't worry- superglue or greenstuff should provide enough extra material to make sure that your magnet is in the right place.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Assembling the Valkyrie, Part 2

No fluff today and apologies for the late post- too distracted by my life of destroying houses with a claw hammer/playing with my big flying box. Speaking of that...

On Tuesday I attempted to magnetize my Valkyrie. Attempted is the key word here, as it didn't turn out quite like I had intended. I followed the instructions here, the same place that I got them for my sentinel, and have discovered one thing:


I mean, seriously... the 1/16x1/32 ones are ITTY! I can barely get them in the correct facing to go on the model. I also apparently cannot drill to save my life, as most of the magnets ended up not being flush with the edge, leading to weak connections.

For example, the 1/16 magnets on my valk and the associated weapon hardpoints:


I also magnetized on the two neck weapon slots, so that I switch from multilaser and a targeting arrawy to two lascannons in a jiffy... though I still need to order some more lascannons.

I did get one thing right that was of my one design, though- the back door. This was an addition that I made to the guide as my door kept on opening when I didn't want it to. Two 1/8x1/32 inch magnets did the trick, and now I can open and close it with ease.

Finally, the major problem that I have been having is the flight stand. I just can get the damn thing on and off without breaking something. I tried to fix the problem by magnetizing it on, but the connection wasn't smooth/strong enough to support the bird and it kept on falling off. Anyone else had problems with getting the stand on and off, and does anyone have a solution?

EDIT: turns out sanding the slot that the stand goes into is pretty much the only way that it works. Oh well...

Hopefully this experience will have been a learning one, as I intend on magnetizing my other two Valkyries when they arrive, as well as the members of Diamond squad that I have some serious green stuff work planned for. Now I have to start painting the thing... fun fun fun!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Escalation Progress 1.1


For the Escalation League I painted up a squad of troopers. These boys, combined with some flamers from my other hearts squads will make up one of my veteran squads.
Regimental number goes on the right pauldron, suit goes on the base...
... while Squad number, platoon symbol and rank (9, X, J, Q, K, A) on the left pauldron. We can also see a bit of my Fortunan pattern power sword on the sergeant there- basically take the blade from a Catachan sword and replace the chainsword blade on a Cadian sword. I'll add in some power fields later to chop people up.

I also tried a different paint scheme on these troopers- a Badab black wash followed by a Blood Red dry brush/highlight over the Red Gore base coat.
Next time I should have my second video battle report up, again Marines and Guard vs. Tyranids. See you on Wednesday!