Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Digs: Rules Manufactorum

Hi guys!

You may have noticed that it's been a bit quite around here of late. While part of it has to do with work, that's not all! You can now find me doing a weekly article over at rulesmanufactorum.com! I'm aiming to post every Wednesday with new ways that we can subtly tweak our current rules system to either make it better, more interesting, or just closer to the fluff.

You can find my first article on reworking the Sniper rules right here!

But, I can't leave without posting a picture, as it hasn't all been work, work, and more work (though it mostly has). Here's a sneak preview of what the Circus has been getting up to:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Adventuring into Arctura: Matthias the Grey Shepherd

Recently I've been invited to join a local roleplaying group. They apparently play a loose variation on D&D 3.5 rules using a fairly amazing and well thought out campaign setting created by the GM called Arctura.

Essentially the world is for the most part covered by either ocean, jungle or savannah, with only small areas devoted to farming and cities. Humanity constantly needs to fight the jungle and its monstrous beasts back or be overrun. There is also only one god in this setting, Pelor, the god of Good and Light, though there are many lesser deities such as the great animal spirits of the tribesmen that are worshipped by some.

Over the next couple of posts I'm going to post up different possible character ideas that I have, and I'd like you to take a look at them and tell me what you think. It doesn't matter if the character can't easily fit into a class, as it sounds like the GM is very flexible when it comes to assigning mechanical abilities and it's more focused on roleplaying than dice. Since I like to play weird, out of the box characters, this plays to my tastes.

To start off with, though, here's a character that could probably pretty easily be created using character classes, Matthias the Grey Shepherd:


Necromancer by m00nlight101

Matthias comes from a parish in the Founts [largest amount of consecutive farmland on Arctura and one of humanity's great strongholds]. The teachings of Pelor hold strong there, but they have been a bit… corrupted over time. Y’see, the problem that Matthias’ corner of the Founts has is the dead. When you die, you either get to join the Sun God in his paradise in the heavens above or you get cast down into the earth, never to be heard from again. Where most priests would just call it then and there, Matthias’ flock are a bit more… forgiving. After all, doesn’t Pelor love those who return to him after succumbing to darkness and doesn't he cherish those who labor in his name?

So Matthias and other priests of his peculiar brand of Pelorism, called Grey Shepherds, give the dead a second chance. They use “sanctified” rituals of necromancy to reach down into the earth, pluck a damned soul from there and intern him in a corpse (preferably his own, but any will do) to earn his place in the heavenly kingdom. For small time offenders this might mean something like tirelessly tilling fields or performing other manual labor for a few years or decades after death. Some even volunteer if they know that they have sinned and join a quick response defense force for decades or centuries beyond death, animated when needed. For others, they might be called on crusade to push back the hellish jungle and convert the heathen by force if necessary. For if the heathen won’t be converted by speeches, punishment or even the threat of death, there is always an eternity of service that they can be called to perform…

Matthias, of course, hates unsanctioned necromancy, as it is a vile and evil sin to manipulate the dead into serving any aim but the furtherance and protection of Pelor’s realm. He is currently wandering as a missionary, using his undead servants to further Pelor’s cause and help push back the jungle.

Personality: Matthias is very out going and genuinely happy to be alive and doing the lord's work. He honestly thinks that raising sinners and unbelievers is the right thing to do, and even believes that by doing so he is bringing them closure and eternal happiness. While he has had some exposure to outside cultures and the threats of the wild, this adventure will probably be his first real encounter with the Jungle and the predatory outside world. His naive faith will keep him strong for a time, but I do not know if he will have the strength to persevere. He often knows what the "right" thing is that his faith has taught him, but exposure to the real world might change or at least challenge a lot of those beliefs.

Possible conflict: Matthias' belief system is, frankly, based on a lie. Now that he's outside of the Founts he'll likely come in contact with those that see Necromancy as an evil art, and Pelor forbid that he should wander into temple, undead manservant in tow. How Matthias will deal with this will define his character. I currently see him as soldiering on, seeing this crisis of faith as a new test but feeling inexplicably guilty each time he raises the dead, but who knows what role playing will bring.


So that's what I have for Matthias so far. He could probably be easily made into a cleric/wizard or cleric/sorceror. Comments and critiques are very welcome, as well as any cool insights that I could have on his personality and outlook on the world.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ogre Circus: Expanding the Troupe

Well, I managed to pick up the new Ogre army book this weekend and I have to say that I am very pleased with it. It looks like they've managed to make the majority of units much more viable and give the army the tools to really win in 8th edition.

However, with all of the lowering prices I've found that I really need to add more models to my army to get back up to 2k. Brilliant marketing move GW! Fortunately I really like the look of the new models, especially the Mournfang Cavalry and the Stonehorn/Thundertusk, though the Mournfang might need a bit of conversion work (i.e. lippizaner!) before they are fit for my army.

Anyway, I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to Fantasy lists, but here's what I've drawn up for 2k:

Slaughtermaster, Armour of Destiny, lvl 4, fencer’s blades 370
Bruiser, BSB, Runemaw, HA, Ironfist 193
Firebelly, Dispel scroll, additional hand weapon 157
3 Leadbelchers, Bellower 139
3 Leadbelchers, Bellower 139
2 Mournfang Cavalry, HA, Ironfists, Bellower 150
2 Mournfang Cavalry, HA, Ironfists, Bellower 150
10 Ogres, Ironfists, Crusher and Bellower 350
7 Ironguts, standard bearer, Dragonhide Banner, bellower 328

The command section I figure is pretty solid, and I wouldn't be too surprised if the trifecta of SM, Bruiser and FB don't become the default for Ogres at this points level. My Tyrant, while awesome, just doesn't do enough and now that I don't need to take him choosing the SM for my Lords slot is a no brainer.

Both he and the Bruiser/Firebelly will drop into the block of Ogres and form the center of the line, ready to mash up anything that comes their way. Off to the sides are the Leadbelchers and Mournfangs. The Leadbelchers pick off quick harassing units/add a bit of ranged punch while the Mournfangs go around the sides and either try to take out enemy war machines or get flank charges on the enemy.

Meanwhile the Irongut block moves to engage any heavy enemy infantry. The Dragonhide banner will let them absolutely murder people in assault, as rerolling 1s for everything plus the second turn simultaneous round thanks to the ice breath should make sure that they have an impact on the game.

Alternatively, I could replace the IGs with another Ogre block and/or swap out the Leadbelchers for a Thundertusk/pair of Cannons, or I could swap out the Mournfangs for a Stonehorn. I'll probably start with the above as it's very close to what I have in my collection currently, but I'm curious to see what regular Fantasy players think about the above list.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Army List: Wall of Russ

On the flight home from a business trip I accidentally trapped my travel popcorn book in the overhead compartment. Not wanting to disturb the gentleman seated next to me, I decided to whip out my phone and type up a possible list that has been brewing in my head.

One of the problems that I've been having with my Guard is that they often seem fairly schizophrenic and fragile to me. AV 12 boxes carrying meltaguns is definitely a powerful strategy, but those meltaguns just never seemed to add enough to the army's overall strategy to be supremely worth it. Sure they're scoring, well armored and deadly, but they do nothing at range and get torn up when they get close.

Meanwhile my long range heavy hitters, the Vendettas, Manticores and Hydras depended on getting in first dibs on shooting so that they could take out enemy AT. Any return fire quickly shut them down either temporarily or permanently, so going second depended a lot on waiting in hard cover or starting off the board. And I HATE starting off the board. Plus in order to protect them I needed to devote additional melta squads which meant that they weren't getting in my opponent's face.

So here are the factors that are in my brain:

-resilience to first turn/long range firepower
-unified purpose for the army
-strong emphasis on utilizing the Vet squads in midfield

I'm an avid follower of The Back 40k and, despite Mr. Sandwyrm's recent success rate at NOVA I really like the way his army plays, midfield and aggressive with plenty of Russ backup.

So, with the ideas of midfield, unified purpose, and resilience to firepower in my brain, here's what I thought up at 1850:

Company Command Squad, 3 meltaguns, Astropath, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3 meltaguns, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3 meltaguns, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3 meltaguns, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3 flamers, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3 plasmaguns, Chimera
Devil Dog, hull hvy flamer
Devil Dog, hull hvy flamer
Leman Russ Demolisher, hull hvy flamer
Leman Russ Demolisher, hull hvy flamer
Leman Russ Squadron, one Executioner and one Exterminator, both with hull hvy bolters

Yep, 4 Russes. Enough to blanket most of my line from enemy fire or at least afford them a healthy cover save, while at the same time enjoying their lovely AV 14 against ranged attacks. Long Fangs? Don't care. Vendettas? Have fun. Eldar? Hope you brought enough Bright Lances. Grey Knights? Yeah, have fun with that str 7 rending. Autocannons? Hah!

There are also no Vendettas in the list. Sure they put out a lot of firepower, but everything can see them and therefore shoot them down. Devil Dogs, on the other hand, can bookmark my Chimera line and offer them AV 12 on the sides while also grabbing cover and offering a serious threat to vehicles and infantry alike.

Tactics with the list depend on the enemy. Standard deployment is Russes up front, Chimeras behind them and Devil Dogs taking the sides. Russes are mostly there to help the army weather the first two turns of shooting. After that the Vets can be loosed on the enemy, melting enemy tanks and troops while the Russes continue to assist as needed while (hopefully) staying out of melta range.

Against drop lists deploy a small group including the CC to lure the drop troops into a trap when reserves start coming in turn 2.

Now, this isn't some perfect, win all list. It shores up one weakness of Guard (lack of resiliance) but opens up a few others. MCs are difficult to deal with at range with no Vendettas. Drop armies can cause merry hob by bringing meltas into close range right away. It also has little option in the early game beyond driving pell mell and a few 24" shots if I'm lucky.

But I think that might be worth it to not worry about the long range firepower that dominates the game again.

Let me know what you think, and thanks for reading!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ogre Circus: Loading the Wagons...

Tyrant Burnam is getting antsy. His circus, the Biggest Show on Earth, has been in storage for far too long. With the Ogres set to receive a new army book fairly soon, plus my general lack of motivation to work on anything for 40k has got me breaking out the big guys and thinking about what I need to do with them.

An easy project that I think I'll start with to ease my way back into doing hobby related activities is finally painting up this fellow, my second Butcher/Slaughtermaster. I built him for my hilariously-fated Fantasy tourney back in December but didn't have enough time/willpower to get him table top ready at the time.

Another project that I can do with my current stock of bits is put together a Slavegiant. With the current book I think I really need two to be particularly effective but I'm hoping that at smaller point levels one will be able to cut it. I already have conversion ideas ready for both of the big guys when I get them, but I think I'll keep that part a secret until I start getting work done on them.

Again, thanks for reading, and let me know what you think!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Invasion Kenosha, part 3

Before we get to the pics some words about the tourney in general. I had a great time there. Prize support was generous and consisted entirely of actual product rather than store gift cards, a very nice idea for a tourney that drew in players from across the state. While I didn't win anything with my record I did manage to get a cool Ogre/Cyclops mini from an independent company that I think will look great with my Ogres. We also got lots of cool bits in our welcome bags, including cool Pre-Heresy ish heads and some lipped bases which I'm excited to use. Plus, food was plentiful and included in the base price, always a plus for me!

More pics from Invasion Kenosha. These were pics of armies that I found to be the best of those there and showed off some pretty cool techniques.

I really enjoyed the color scheme on the Space Wolf army. The darker hues and use of more red and bone really sold me on the whole "Space Viking" concept much more than their traditional garb.

 This IG army had some rather impressive weathering effects- check it out!

 And speaking of rust effects...

That's it for now- hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Invasion Kenosha, part 2

Hi all, back to Kenosha for me. First some pics, then we'll get into the games.

All right, game time. First game was against an older gentleman named Eddie who also brought an Imperial Guard list. I learned following the game that all of the IG players bar one had been "randomly" paired up with another IG army. Interesting, but possibly legit as there were a LOT of IG players playing scarily similar lists.

Eddie's Army (love the sky/ground camo on the Valks!)

Eddie was not one of these, piloting a list with, at least in my opinion, a few too many upgrades and less efficient choices (Valks with hellstrikes?). Still, Eddie was a great opponent and we had a lot of fun. I got pretty lucky on most of my rolls, such as having my Demolisher destroy 4 vehicles in as many turns, including a Leman Russ through front armor. I ended up cleaning up all of the battle points, completely forgetting the idea of playing it safe when on the last turn Eddie encouraged me to charge in guns and bayonets ablazing to make it an appropriately epic ending.

End game

My mistake was soon laid to bare in my second game against Razor Spam Blood Angels. 5 Razors, 2 AC/HB Baal Preds and 2 AC/LC Preds and to top it off he won first turn on a board with very little LOS blocking cover in a pure KP scenario. This game really showed off my lack of long range firepower, as right from turn one I was desperately trying to knock anything out and get my tanks into position without exposing my side armor, a near impossibility due to the speed of the Blood Angels tanks.

I debated doing the all reserve but without an Astropath I didn't want to rely on the risky strategy, so I instead opted to reserve the combined platoon and the Vendettas to make sure I had some kind of punch after turn 1. Unfortunately I didn't end up getting my reserves until turn 4, at which point it was far too late to do anything. I was actually tied on kill points up to turn 5, but after that the Blood Angels got in close and tore my lines apart, earning him a Massacre. I have to say that my opponent was a gentleman and a very good player. None of his moves were wasted and all were focused on maximizing the most out of every single shot and charge possible.

Finally I played a really close game against a Nid player who played a list with no Hive Guard or Tervigons. This was a really great game that went back and forth on nearly every turn, especially turns 5, 6 and 7. There was some confusion over how the mission worked, and I may have been able to pull out a Major Victory in the end instead of the tie that we ended up with if I had read the missions more clearly, but even so it was very fun and got me to use a lot of the tools that I had brought in my army list. Favorite moments were probably charging twice with my platoon into both the Doom of Malantai and a squad of Stealers. They probably would have won the second battle if a second squad of Stealers hadn't outflanked on that edge the turn after they charged in.

So, at the end of the day I ended up near the middle of the pack, probably a fair assessment of my current level of rustiness as well as the very real limitations that my list possessed. The second and third game were very educational and I'll definitely try to remember the lessons that I learned.

Next time, some more pics from the tourney. Till then, thanks for reading!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Invasion Kenosha, pt 1

Hi all! This past weekend I got back into the 40k groove by checking out Invasion Kenosha, a tourney put on near my home town that was put on by fellow Warhammer blogger Equinox.

When I put together the list that I was taking I had a couple of thoughts in mind:

One, it was a 1500 pts tourney and so I couldn't bring the normal set of tools that I consider to be indispensable. So no ridiculous Heavy Support choices and certainly not the plurality of units that I'm used to in my Mech Guard lists.

Two, at least when I started originally putting my list together ForgeWorld units were set to be allowed. Because of this my list needed to be able to deal with some of the nastier Forge World options that were out there, such as Lucius Drop Pods, Land Raider Achilles and Hades Breaching Drills.

Three, I of course still wanted to go mostly mech. I likes my tanks and I have a lot of them, so being able to get my Vets out there was a given. However I wanted to try something that was more of a mixed mech army, so including some foot element in the army to help screen my tanks and overwhelm other infantry would be key.

So here's the list I put together. I'm using a lot of acronyms here, so if you're confused check out my IG vocabulary reference page.

CCS with 3 meltaguns in a Chimera, ML/HF
2 Veteran squads, 3 meltaguns in a Chimera, ML/HF
Veteran squad, 3 plasmaguns in a Chimera, ML/HF
PCS, 4 flamers in a Chimera, ML/HF
3 Infantry squads with power weapon sgts., one with a Commissar with power weapon
2 Vendettas
Hellhound with hull heavy flamer
Leman Russ Demolisher with hull heavy flamer

A couple of key points here:

- I don't like doing triple Vendettas in lists anymore. Vendettas continue to be awesome and incredibly efficient, but they are such high value targets that they are shot down almost instantly or are forced to turboboost the entire game due to shaking. I also really like the other Fast Attack choices and choosing one to throw in in their place sounded like a good plan. Plus, it's much easier to transport 2 Vs than 3.

-The infantry squads were included to help deal with what I consider to be the bane of Mech IG, drop armies. They can easily provide a 6 inch area of safe space between them and my tanks to help reduce the chance that a deep striking unit will blow something up. They also provide a nice buffer against assaulting armies, tying up big death star units until I can devote enough resources to blow them up. I wish I could have found the points for some special weapons for these squads, but at least at the time I thought that power weapons were more important.

-The Demolisher was chosen for two reasons: strength 10 and mobility. Strength 10 Ordnance gives me an out against a Land Raider Achilles (stupid immunity to melta) and can help blow up TWolf Cavalry and give nearly every unit in the game a hard time. I chose it over other Str 10 choices like the Manticore and Medusa because it's very mobile and well armored. Putting it at the forefront of my spearhead provides some protection for the rest of my AV 12 tanks or on the side to protect their AV 10.

-The Hellhound was a last minute choice. I was debating either it or a Devil Dog, and I'm still not sure if I made the right choice. On the one hand my Chimeras are all equipped with heavy flamers making it somewhat redundant. But, on the other hand, I often want to set guys that are over there on fire, and the Hellhound with its speed and long range super flamer excels at this task. Again, if I could have had more points a hull multimelta would have been a nice addition, but we do what we can do.

-Over all I was a bit worried at my lack of long range firepower. I have the Vendettas... and that's about it. Granted I feel that I made my army pretty effective in mid field, but not having more ability to reach out and touch people at 48" or more was a little worrying for me. Replacing the Hellhound with either a Devil Dog or some Heavy Weapon teams/Hydras (along with creative points reallocation) might have been enough to fix this problem, but even then I'd be a bit worried.

I played a pair of test games with the list against some people from my FLGS. First was against a double Raider/jumper Blood Angels list and the second was against Nids. Both ended in pretty strong wins for my list, but then again both played pretty well to my strengths (dealing with small groupings of well armored units, using speed bumps effectively and burning gribblies and MCs), but neither had the sheer weight of light mech that I knew would be popular at the tourney. Still, it showed that my list could function well against some pretty good players.

We'll get into the games next post, plus some pretty pics. As always thanks for reading, and it's good to be back!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Enter the Raptors!

Sorry for the lack of posting lately- it's been a bit of a whirlwind around here lately. I've been out on work trips for most of the past few weekends and those that I wasn't I was either at Adepticon or furiously painting and modeling for the campaign that I've joined at the club.

Even though I have plenty of pics and stories, Adepticon will have to wait as I have more pressing matters to discuss. The aforementioned campaign at my club is set during the Badab War, so I figured that it would be a great chance to build one of my favorite Space Marine chapters, the Raptors.

The Raptors strike a deep chord with me. I've never understood the mentality behind Marines, standing out in the open and charging forward to kill the enemy with chainsword and power fist. It's a cool image, but not a terribly practical one. The Raptors as of Imperial Armour 9 actually use camouflage and focus on shooting to eliminate their enemies. But above all they are practical- if there is an easier way to accomplish a goal, they will do so, no matter what it is.

So here's my work in progress for the army. I'm using Chapter Master Lias Issodon from IA 9 as my primary HQ and I'm trying to make the most of his Stealth chapter tactics ability by using a foot based build made up of Scouts and Terminators. Yeah, not the most effective in the entire world, but I'm sick of painting metal boxes for right now. Plus it lets me pursue a force based on Operation Sedna, the Raptors' crowning achievement during the war. All of my marines will be in tundra camo with snow basing, something I've wanted to do for a long time.

And here's a close up of one of my CML termies. I figured that I'm not using Typhoons on the speeders that I've built so far, so the missile launchers will easily fill out my ranks.

More updates will be following soon, and thanks for reading!

p.s. Thanks to mi40k.com for posting about my blog! Once I've finished the Raptors the Guard will have their refit. Also look forward to my introspective on my past year in the hobby!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Psyker Psolitaire: Done!

They're fairly quick and dirty, but that's what kind of time I have before Adepticon. I finished these guys up over the weekend, leaving me with a few tanks to finish painting (damn you faulty spray primer!). I'm using my Psyker Primaris as the Overseer of the squad.

I'm debating whether or not to do a display base. I was going to do one with all of the troops on different cards, but I don't think I'll have the time or inclination to make one between now and Adepticon. Plus it would need to be rather large to get everyone on, especially the Valkyries, and it's only worth 5 points at most (which I certainly won't be getting for my idea).

We'll see if I feel like it, but chances are that I won't. Besides, there's tanks to paint first!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Shout Out: The Magnet Pro

Welcome to the Sunday Shout Out, where I feature different blogs that I read and talk about why I read them. As you may have noticed I don't have a blog roll, as I figure that other sites probably have the linking craziness down much more pat than I ever could. But I want to make sure that the blogs that I follow get the praise they deserve, especially those blogs that really deserve more followers than they currently have. This week's shout out is dedicated to the Magnet Pro.

I've always liked fan generated material for game systems. Back in my White Wolf days I was a frequent visitor of sites like Sanguinus Curae that offered cool new bloodlines and powers for my vamps to play around with. Sometimes they were outright broken (I'm looking at YOU runic armored Gangrel!) and some were... interesting, but overall they added a lot of flavor and cool new ideas to the game. Same goes for fan made sets for Magic which I always tried to create but got burned out on commons.

In 40k there is a growing movement towards fan-dexes spearheaded by places like Galaxy in Flames and The Codex Project, but the fan-dex that I've enjoyed the most has been The Magnet Pro's Adeptus Mechanicus codex. There's something about it that makes it feel more "real" to me than a lot of the other fandexes out there. Nothing in the book (well, except for maybe the Warhound Titan) screams "broken" and everything feels like it's a natural extension of the 5th edition 40k mind set. There's plenty of troop swapping, crazy rules for cool units, heck there's even a walking transport!

He's also taken the codex through several iterations, fixing power imbalances and making sure that the book functions well with the other 5th ed codices. Plus he's started actually collecting the models for his fan-dex, which I for one can't wait to see. In addition to the fan-dexedness the blog's title is not just a throw away- the man has plenty of how-tos for magnetizing various Space Marine and other models and vehicles. This extends into plenty of other conversions, like this light up Monolith for one. I mean, did you SEE the Necron warrior walking through the portal? Cool stuff!

So, if you're interested in the progress of this dex or learning about how magnets can help you in Warhammer, check out the Magnet Pro!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Psyker Test Fig and New Valkyrie Bases

This weekend I managed to do two things:

1. Enjoy an awesome surprise birthday party thrown by my girlfriend! Note: beer fests make the BEST surprises
2. Get some hobby work done!

The above and below are pics of my first test model for the Psyker Battle Squad. The cards could use some more detail work, but I'm reaching the end of my freehand abilities here. Making three dots near one another is about the best that I'm gonna do for suits.

I also managed to finally spruce up the bases for my Valkyries. I've had these bases in my mind for a while but the good weather this weekend finally let me make them a reality. Plus, I got to light things on fire... whee!

Apparently if you light playing cards on fire you might get light headed afterwards... pro tip right there.

I might do something similar for my display board which... dagnabbit, I need to build that too, don't I?

Now I need to finish painting up the PBS, find an out of commission spray primer for my tanks and build a display board. Fun couple of weeks left!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Shout Out: Flashlights of Fury

I'm going to start a new series on this blog called the Sunday Shout Out, where I feature different blogs that I read and talk about why I read them. As you may have noticed I don't have a blog roll, as I figure that other sites probably have the linking craziness down much more pat than I ever could. But I want to make sure that the blogs that I follow get the praise they deserve. So join me as we explore one of the newest additions to my Reader, Flashlights of Fury.

They're a pretty darn new blog on the web, only starting posts in February, but the quality of posting has been top notch right form the beginning. I forget exactly how I found out about these guys, but one thing that I DO know is that after reading one post I kept on reading until I had read them all.

I don't think I've ever done that with a blog before, with the possible exception being Musings of a Metal Mind (congrats on the 100th post, btw!). The style and quality of writing found at FoF is consistently good and they've taken some very good looks not just at current 40k news and modeling projects but also have a series of Warhammer history lessons where they explore the origins of some of our favorite models.

They're also primarily Imperial Guard focused, and Tallarn on top of that, so that might be another reason that I like them.

Here are some of my favorites from their short collection of posts so far:

So please, if you're looking for some quality writing from some new faces in the blogosphere, give Flashlights of Fury a look!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dark Angels: Price Comparisons with 5th Ed Marines

I'm apparently still on a Dark Angels kick... probably because I don't want to work on my Guard anymore but still need to sit down and do some painting soon in order to be ready for Adepticon. Not to mention a display board...

Anyway. One thing that has really grabbed hold of my mind is comparing the Dark Angels and 5th Edition Marine codices and seeing exactly what the Dark Angels do better. We all know the differences between Space Wolves, Blood Angels and Codex Marines, but what special things beyond the Deathwing do Dark Angels have?

Let's start with a unit by unit analysis and then move on into play styles that these model choices lead to. I'll only be going over Dark Angels units that are at least potentially better than the 5th ed equivalents, so if I don't cover something it's worse than the 5th ed equivalent.


Belial: the big bad himself. Sure his stats are worse than a standard Captain but he comes at a price that can't be beat. A Captain with TH/SS would cost 40 pts more and only get +1 WS and Combat Tactics out of the deal, while Belial also gets to take Termies as Troops. Clear win for the big B here.

Chaplains: much better than their C:SM equivalent thanks to +1 BS, +1 A, cheaper combi-weapons and a cheaper bike. They do lose the ability to take terminator armor unless upgraded to an Interrogator-Chaplain, but he gets a third wound out of the deal. Speaking of which the Interrogator-Chaplain beats up his Blood Angels counter part the Reclusiarch by being at least 5 pts cheaper.

Sammael:in my opinion not as good as a biker boss from C:SM. Sure his bike can fly and has an underslung plasma cannon but neither ability plays very well with Ravenwing bike squads, not to mention the fact that he doesn’t have Scout. The other bikes can’t fly and they are generally armed with melta weaponry, which the PC doesn’t help out with a ton and is much more suited to shooting at 36” than 12. Adamantine mantle will protect him on his own for a bit but taking out 3 3+/4++ wounds on a T5 body shouldn’t be a problem.

His landspeeder form is a bit more palatable as it can use its AV 14 to good effect but needing to be within 24” to shoot brings him dangerously close to melta range which will end his day. I guess take him if you want biker troops, but otherwise he can stay on the shelf.


Deathwing Terminators: no surprise here, are awesome. They have the ability to be assault and shooty at the same time, plus scoring ability and 10 pts cheaper Cyclones. Take the CML and they only cost 5 more than the SM squad, though can’t upgrade to more than 5 terminators.

Dreadnoughts: normal ones compare poorly (more expensive, no TLAC build) but Venerable dreads might have a shot. They are 20 pts cheaper than the C:SM equivalent, but I'm not sure if that makes them worth it, especially since DA ven dreads aren’t WS/BS 5, so it’s purely a survivability upgrade. It could make sense on a podding/walking MM dread just to try to make sure it survives longer, but other than that Dreads are probably done better in the newer codexes. Still, if anyone needs a mobile multimelta it's the Dark Angels, so they might still have a shot depending on the build.


Tactical Squad: 5 man squads actually come out ahead of Codex Marines thanks to their ability to take a special weapon. It doesn't get the same discount as Codex tacticals but the chance to take a genuine flamer or meltagun rather than a combi version is gold. Their razorbacks are also only 5 pts more expensive with the TL Lascannon turret. Blood Angels assault squads still probably do this size better, as the cheaper, faster transports and ability to double up with a pistol sized special probably put them on top, not to mention Grey Hunters, but for a respectable Razor squad the Dark Angels can pull it off.

Fast Attack

Ravenwing Bike Squads: They are in an interesting position as they differ so radically from C:SM. Scout plus teleport homer plus fearless really adds on the points though. They do offer one of the few melta outlets in the army, so taking them as suicide anti-tank is an option. I don't really like them as Troops as they are rather difficult to keep alive due to their small squad size, especially with their intended role as melta-jockeys.

Fearless is a huge boon for the bikes given their fragile nature. Losing your bullet shield bike (if you could afford to take them) would normally get you zooming off the field, but Ravenwing melta bikers are good to the last drop. If your game plan doesn't involve them surviving long they can bring some much needed melta to the list. I still like vanilla bikers better, but scouting meltas make for one sweet alpha strike!

Landspeeders: the Typhoon is incredibly much better than any 5th ed equivalent. It does suffer from not being able to double up in a slot but when do you ever see Marine players do that? The MM speeders take the back seat here but can be added on as ablative wounds for your Typhoonsand/or a way to up the melta count in your army. Multimelta/Typhoon is probably the way to go here just to cram mo' melta into the list but the tried and true HB/Typhoon can also work.

Heavy Support

Whirlwinds: surprisingly cost the same for Dark Angels. Still probably not worth it (which is a shame, as I love the aesthetic), but at least they are not worse.

Devastators: Cost the same as Codex Devastators except for missile launchers which cost 5 pts more. If you like the other options they are just as viable, but especially in comparison to Blood Angel devs these guys take back seat.

Predators: Lascannon predators cost the same as their Codex equivalents, so are still pretty good buys. Autocannon preds, however, suffer as they cost 10 pts more.

Land Raiders: The Crusader is cheaper than any other marine book thanks to the free multimelta upgrade. Phobos (i.e. Godhammer lasers) is on par with other marine books.

Dedicated Transports

Rhinos cost the same, TL lascannon Razorbacks cost only 5 pts more. Drop pods are overcosted by 15 pts but don't have Drop Pod Assault, which could be seen as an advantage by some.

So, some themes that I'm seeing:

  • Awesome terminators. They don't even need to score to be worth the cost as thunder hammer wielding bubble wrap that can fire missiles is pretty frikkin' awesome in my opinion. Of course scoring is always nice and the fact that you can field 45 terminators in a maxed out list is silly. Redundancy and resiliancy are your watch words here.
  • Razorspam. Sure Dark Angels don't get the Lascannon-TWL Plasma Gun razors that everyone is cruising with these days but they can crank them out almost as easily as anyone else with better Troops options than Codex Marines. The Thunderbubble from above is very nice in this kind of list...
  • Fast Attack is for melta. Chain fists help somewhat but nothing replaces the good ol' meltagun. Whether Ravenwing or Land Speeder, it's either here, Crusaders, combi-meltas or Tac squads. I still can't get over how expensive Ravenwing are but it's a toss up as to whether they are more valuable/survivable than Land Speeders point for point. Since melta is almost a necessity expect your Fast Attack slots to be filled each and every game.
  • Quality Chaplains. These guys can seriously amp up the effectiveness of any squad in combat and are very cost effective to boot.
Well, that's what I got. What do you think of my assessments, and also do you think I'm right to focus only on the cost effective choices? As always, thanks for reading!

*The above image used without permission (but much love!) from Games-Workshop

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Psyker Psolitaire!

First, some great news... I have 100 followers! Best birthday present EVER! Thanks all for reading... we'll try to get some more regular posting going on here to accommodate you fine people.

And speaking of posting, I happened to finish modelling up my Psyker Battle Squad yesterday... enjoy!

All of the psykers are blindfolded and have "purity cards" placed on their uniforms and over their soulbound eyes. The cards were made out of pieces of old Magic cards... one hobby feeds another I guess!

The above guy is my favorite :)

I wanted to have a few soldiers with levitating cards, so pieces of gauge wire and cardstock did the trick. I'll paint up the gauge to look electric, and hopefully everything will turn out well...

I also needed a levitating guy, though I cut out the warding cards just to make him possible to transport.

I hope you enjoyed, and thanks again for following!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Old Stuff Day: Analysis of a Competitive-Casual Player

For Old Stuff Day I'll be taking a look back at a piece that wrote about a year ago. I was in the middle of an Escalation League. I had been infatuated with Valkyries and decided to go Air Cav for the League, but my decision led to me feeling uncomfortable going against the majority of other lists.

I think my opinion on competitive play has changed a bit in the past year, but I still think that making sure that both parties are geared up for the same level of game is important to both parties having fun.

Enjoy the article, and let me know what you think about the competitive/casual debate.

The past couple of weeks have not been terribly good ones for the hobby. My latest round of Escalation Leaguing left me with no need to model anything new and not a whole lot of enjoyment tactically either. It got to the point where I actually began to dread coming to the store as I simply disliked the list that I was stuck with. When this lead to me losing a game simply based on mental fatigue, I knew that a change was in store.

I had been trying to do "competitive" lists based on the most competitive things in my collection- my Valkyries, Chimeras and other tanks. But this MechVets approach didn't work with the things that I find most enjoyable about the game- namely, reserving everything and striking at you from all sides. And the lack of any modeling work to do sucked any impetus that I had built up to sit down with my supplies and create something.

Image used without permission from Wizards of the Coast

This necessitated a bit of self reflection as to why I play games at all. I'm what you might call a "casual-competitive" type of gamer. Back when I played Magic my friends and I actually believed that buying singles (or buying individual cards as opposed to simply buying packs of random cards) was a heinous sin- your collection, like it or not, was filled with all of the random things that you opened. This, combined with a healthy amount of trading, allowed us to have an artificial limitation on how good a deck could be, as we all had the same problem, namely limited selection. You might have a couple of copies of the super broken rare but having four of them (the maximum number of a single card in a deck) was almost unheard of. These powerful cards became legends in their own right, and we would dread the moment that the Super Card would rise to the top of the opponent's deck. And if you did somehow have four of them, you likely traded other equally powerful cards to get them, keeping the balance.

Now while these decks weren't as good as the decks being played in competitive magic, we were still trying our damnedest to beat the competition. The limited card pool forced us to adapt, find cool new synergies between cards of radically different sets and find the one broken combo that would grant us victory... at least until the other players cottoned on and adapted. Much like the trials of Hive Fleet Gorgon we had to adapt regularly to get around opponent's familiarity with our decks and pull out a win.

During college I received four of a kind of a powerful Soldier Lord (a card that benefits other Soldier creatures in my deck) as a birthday present and quickly added it into my Soldier deck. It wasn't the best deck in the world before, but I managed to pull out a regular win with it thanks to the rampant, at times tenuous synergy between the individually underpowered cards. With the addition of the Lords it became unbeatable- I smashed face with it again and again and again. Soon after I retired the Lords and went back to the old deck.

The reason I did that was because I now had an unfair advantage- a significant part of my deck was no longer out of the randomized chaos of packs and that, combined with the power of the Lords with the rest of my soldiers made it too good. Now of course if I had somehow managed to pull these Lords out of packs the same thing could have happened, but it would have felt different. I probably would have had to trade cards of similar power to get all four, ensuring that we all had relatively similar power levels in our card pools. And, because I wasn't having fun with this advantage, I decided to take out the cards that I had been pining over for months to restore balance and tactical enjoyment to the game

As you might have guessed, my feelings about the Air Cav style lists are similar. While I won't say that they were unbeatable super lists (I went 1-4 last round and 2-1-1 the round before) I felt terrible playing them. When I won, I felt like I was beating up on a little kid with all of my lascannons and cheaty super-fast transports. And when I lost, I felt like the dice gods had cheated me out of victory or that I was too wool-headed to see the obvious way that I could have won.

Now, I don't want to turn this into a listhammer rant or a decrying of the competitive sphere- I fully appreciate what those guys are doing and I can definitely see myself gearing up for something like that in the next couple of years. After all, I didn't have anything against netdeckers when I played Magic or against the tourney scene- that's just another arena with fewer unspoken rules. I just know that for me the joy in playing this or any other game is to take a step off the beaten path and play in a style that has me coming from an unexpected corner... which in the case of my Al'Rahem list is rather literal half the time :) I think that I kind of have the feel that the stalwart Silent Requiem over on B&C has for his Grey Knights- it's not the "best" list but it plays to what I know and love to do.

That's my idea of "competitive casual"- willing to throw plenty of tactical acumen into the field while still holding to the unspoken gentlemen's agreement of a fair chance at victory. Now, this is not to say that I will intentionally make bad lists- I'll just try to stay away from dark avenues of unfun power. I'm sure there will be a time when I head off to tourneys and have to tool up to do so, but for now I am fine with my friendly local metagame.

So, for round 3, it's back to my roots with a slight new twist thanks to some new toys that I have. There'll be a fair bit of conversion work for this round, but thankfully they've extended it to a third week, meaning that I'll hopefully have time to finish it all.

Until next time, take a look at your recent games and think about what makes it fun for you.

Thanks for reading, and check out the other old posts today!