Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Destroyer Squad

Shunned by many legions, but embraced wholly by others (Death Guard in particular, but also the Alpha Legion, etc.), the Destroyer Squads make use of dread weapons from the pre-unification Terran wars: rad grenades, missiles, phospex bombs, bio-alchem munitions and so forth.

The rad grenade weaponry is interesting: it lowers the toughness of the opposition on the first round of melee, making for an easier kill. Thus, although destroyer squads are competing for an elites slot against terminators, veteran tactical squads, apothecaries (and everyone else), they're actually a rather interesting option! This is doubly so against other legion armies, even if they haven't got a suite of AP3 or better weapons to utilise. And the models produced by Forge World look cool as well(!)

Here are a few builds that entertained me.

10 Destroyer space marines, 2 rad missile launchers with suspensor webs, rhino with havoc launcher (350 points). 
This build is one that lays down suppressing fire with the rad missiles (and hopefully takes out infantry along the way) whilst using the rhino to speed it in to close combat range. The havoc launcher on the rhino simply adds extra suppression fire in the hopes of forcing a rout / morale check to back field units.

5 Destroyer space marines, jump packs, melta bombs, 1 hand flamer, sergeant with power weapon (275 points)
A jump infantry squad to threaten vehicles and counter any incoming squads wanting to kill them. The optimal way to take these guys down are with incoming fire power. Hence as long as they're on the move and sensibly using cover, these guys can really lay down a lot of pressure to the widest variety of enemy units possible.

5 Destroyer space marines, 1 rad missile launcher, sergeant with power fist (190 points)
A cheap, all round, multi purpose squad. Use to sit on objectives / deny objectives, engage enemy infantry and power fist / krak grenade some light transport vehicles on the odd occasion. Add a rhino for extra flexibility.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dark Sun Reviews: Veiled Alliance

All magic must be powered from somewhere in Dark Sun. Generally, it comes from the life force of vegetation, but occasionally also sentient beings made of flesh as well (this is the case with dragon magic - they drain humans of their vitae in order to power their supernatural effects). But most mortals can only drain fuel for their powers from plants. These people are split in to two types: defilers and preservers. The former are those mages who don't care or are not skilled enough to know the any different about how to fuel their magic. They turn to waste and black dust all plant life in a radius surrounding them to power their spells. The greater the spell, the more damage to the surrounding flora it does. The damage is also quite permanent as it robs the soils of their natural microbes and nutrients to sustain future plant life as well. In a nut shell, this is why Athasian society actively hate magic users: they have turned the world to dust.  But the populous does not readily perceive the difference between these defilers and the latter class of spell slingers: preservers. Preservers only take what they need and do so in a gentle manner so as not to kill off plant life surrounding them. They're much more careful about what they do. And it is the preservers who have gathered together in a secret society (societies as it happens) that this expansion book is dedicated to: the Veiled Alliance.

Veiled Alliance covers the ground on how the secret society of preservers is organised and acts across the different city states of Athas. As such, it gives many valuable detailed about the populous of the city states themselves and their general states. Realistically, the book is in fact much more about the city states rather than the Veiled Alliance. As such, it is a great (almost essential) expansion for player groups who want to wander about the cities and desire a little more background than what is offered within the Campaign Setting. It also offers notes about the Alliance within smaller communities scattered through the desert as a final add-on.

Beyond that, the expansion book reveals how each group of the Veiled Alliance operates within each city - their causes (ranging from bringing the sorcerer-monarch down / fighting the corrupt system that feeds them, to just down right surviving), how they recruit and initiate members (brains testing or otherwise), the leadership (benevolent, or a planted spy from the sorcerer-king?), the location and layout of their HQs (if appropriate), and some adventure hooks. 

Overall, three out of five stars from me. Its a great book for the campaign setting - no doubt about that - and hence is probably a little mis-named; although it certainly does do a very solid job of describing the Veiled Alliance cells. Get it for the background on the city states, not for the antics and cloak and dagger methods of the preservers' secret society.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rad Missiles (Horus Heresy)

Today, just a short note about the potential of rad missiles before reviewing destroyer squads in Warpstone Flux' Horus Heresy Reviews.

Rad missiles are available to destroyer squads as an exclusive type of weapon (alongside rad grenades - but I'll probably talk about them separately as well). With a missile launcher plus suspension web devoid of krak or frag, these are highly specialist options.

What makes them so great? There are 2 aspects for me that makes them good. Firstly fleshbane. With no need to roll against toughness, these are deadly to any infantry personnel. This, coupled with AP3 and a blast radius creates a highly effective anti-space marine armament.

The effect of rad phage should not be under-estimated either. A reduction of one toughness point for the remainder of the entire game is a substantial negative for the unit that suffers it -- a follow up assault by a destroyer squad employing rad grenades as well should be able to decimate such a unit (with some good die rolls!).

The only real question is whether the armament will reap its points back during a game. On that, I'm not decided yet and would welcome further thoughts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Games Workshop Durham

On my travels again recently and I was in the beautiful city of Durham in the north of England. If you've never been to Durham before, go and visit - its a totally awesome part of the world that I know and love. With sunny spring weather(!), I located the city Games Workshop on North Road, conveniently opposite the bus station and near to the railway station. In terms of accessibility, that is an awesome location, but it is not the city centre (that would be up the hill toward the square).

With few university students (Durham Uni is probably only behind Oxford and Cambridge within the UK… depending on what ranking you use) in town due to the Easter holidays, the local Games Workshop had only a few younger children inside. What took my interest in the clientele was the fact there were also three mature gamers -- even older than me -- in the store when I visited: perusing tyranids and the Black Library selection that they had. In addition to these stocks, the store also had Horus Heresy (both Betrayal and Massacre) available for sale (which is in contrast to when I left Australia). The store is not very wide as can be seen by the picture, but it is deep: allowing for several quality gaming tables and space to play around them.

The staff were also really genuinely nice. I was sorry to not actually recall their names now I've sat down to type this review out as I wanted to complement them on their service and work ethic. I didn't feel pressured in to buying (which can sometimes happen in GW) and they were very friendly with allowing me to look at their models and explaining a painting tip or two. Hats off to you gentlemen: I thought you were great. And I did end up buying something…

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