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!